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Hunting roots for firewood—Andersonville prisoners in 1864 In this photograph of Andersonville Prison, the prisoners are searching along the bank of the sluggish stream for roots with which to boil ‘coffee.’ Here, as at Salisbury and other prisons, organized bands preyed upon the weak and wealthy. Wealth in this connection implies the possession of a little money, a camp kettle, a blanket, or an overcoat, which led to displays of extreme cupidity. The plutocrat owning a skillet or a tin pail might gain greater riches by charging rent. Perhaps he claimed a share of everything cooked, or else might demand a button, a pin, a sheet of paper, a chew of tobacco, or other valuable consideration. These were some of the prison standards of value. There were traders, speculators, and business men in the prisons, as well as the improvident. Even in Andersonville, there were prisoners who kept restaurants and wood-yards. Hundreds peddled articles of food and drink that they had managed to procure. Another diversion was tunneling, an occupation which served to pass the time even when it was discovered by the guards, which was true of the majority of such attempts to escape. The great difficulty in all prisons was the necessity of getting through the twenty-four hours without yielding to fatal despair.

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Salisbury, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (1)
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