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[134] vigilance of the prison guard. Some prisoners were often cold and hungry because of their flirtation with the goddess of chance. To many of the prisoners with a limited outlook on life, some excitement was a necessary stimulus, and this was most easily obtained by a game of chance or, if facilities for a game were lacking, by making wagers upon every conceivable event.

At times even some of the poorly clothed prisoners on Belle Isle and in Andersonville and Florence gambled away the clothing and blankets sent by the Sanitary Commission or by the Federal Government. Others, North and South, would wager their rations and then go hungry for days, if chance proved unkind, unless some good Samaritan took pity and stinted himself that the hungry might be fed.

There was little indulgence in athletic sports even where the physical condition of the prisoners would have allowed such exertion. Generally, the prisons North and South were too crowded to afford the necessary room. We hear, however, of balls where half the participants in blanket skirts provided themselves with dance-cards, which were filled out with great formality. Wrestling-matches sometimes occurred, and occasionally boxing-matches. Some of the commanders, however, were chronic alarmists, always expecting a break for liberty, and such always forbade anything which would tend to collect a crowd. In some prisons personal encounters were frequent, and wherever conditions were hardest, then fights naturally were most frequent. Tempers flashed up in times of strain and stress over incidents which would ordinarily have been passed without notice.

Thousands found no pleasure in any of these amusements. Prison life to them was a disaster, appalling and overwhelming. This was particularly true with raw recruits from the country, captured before they had become seasoned by life in the camps. Some relapsed almost at once into helpless and hopeless apathy, caring for nothing, thinking of nothing except the homes and friends they had left. Huddled in corners they sat for hours

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