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[149]

Artillery on guard over the prisoners at Elmira This is part of the military guard in the face of which ten prisoners escaped by tunneling from Elmira Prison. The incentive to get free from the conditions inside the stockade was so compelling that a battery of artillery was deemed necessary to forestall any sudden rush of the prisoners, who numbered at times as many as 10,000. In a report to Surgeon-General J. K. Barnes, dated November 1, 1864, Surgeon E. F. Sanger, assigned to duty at the prison, says: ‘On the 13th of August I commenced making written reports calling attention to the pond, vaults, and their deadly poison, the existence of scurvy to an alarming extent (reporting 2,000 scorbutic cases at one time), etc. . . . How does the matter stand to-day? The pond remains green with putrescence, filling the air with its messengers of disease and death; the vaults give out their sickly odors, and the hospitals are crowded with victims for the grave.’ In the face of conditions like these, men become desperate, for there was little choice between death by bullets and death by disease. Later on barracks were erected instead of the tents, and conditions were materially bettered. Correspondingly, Northern prisoners under the hot sun at Andersonville and on an unaccustomed corn-meal diet were contracting dysentery and other diseases more rapidly than would have been the case if they had been acclimated.

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