This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 hard the stories of the attitude of some of the prisoners toward their companions are revolting. In Andersonville and Salisbury, organized bands preyed upon the weak or upon those who had managed to retain, or to obtain, some desired necessity or luxury. The possession of a little money, a camp-kettle, a blanket, or an overcoat was sometimes the occasion for jealousy and covetousness which led to a display of primeval characteristics. The trial and execution of a number of prisoners by their companions in Andersonville is well known. In those prisons where the prisoners cooked their own food, the possession of a skillet or a tin pail raised a man much above the level of his fellows. Such a plutocrat might, if he were so disposed, gain greater riches by charging rent. Perhaps he claimed a share of everything cooked, or else he demanded a button, a pin, a sheet of paper, a chew of tobacco, or other valuable consideration. For it must be remembered that prison standards of value differed from those in the world without. There were traders, speculators, and business men in the prisons, as well as the thriftless and improvident. Some prisoners always had money, and bought the belongings of the spendthrifts. Even in Andersonville, prisoners kept restaurants and wood-yards, and hundreds peddled articles of food or drink they had managed to procure. ‘The venders, sitting with their legs under them like tailors, proclaimed loudly the quantity and quality of beans or mush they could sell for a stated price.’ The great difficulty in all prisons was the necessity of getting through the twenty-four hours. With nothing to do these hours dragged slowly. Some were able to pass a great number in sleeping. Those of lymphatic temperament slept fifteen or more hours, but others found such indulgence impossible and were forced to seek other methods of enduring the tiresome days. The nervous, mercurial men devised games, laying out checker-or chess-boards on pieces of plank of which they somehow managed to get possession. These boards were never idle,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.