previous next


That some of the suffering in Southern prisons might have been prevented if men of greater energy had been charged with the care of prisoners, is doubtless true. The almost superhuman efforts requisite for success were not always made, and for this the feeling of despair, which began to creep over the spirits of many men during 1864, was partly responsible. That any considerable amount of the suffering was due to deliberate intention cannot be maintained, but the result was the same.

The prisoner in the North was better clothed than in the South, where, during the last eighteen months of the war, even soldiers depended to a large extent upon the clothes they captured from the Federals, but the statement that all Confederate prisoners were always well clothed is by no means accurate. Large quantities of condemned and cast-off clothing were issued, but in the bitter winter climate of northern New York or in the Lake region, prisoners from the Gulf States found it almost impossible to keep warm. In the particular of clothing, much depended upon the attitude of the prison commandant, who made requisitions for clothing at his discretion.

In the Southern stockades, there was little shelter except what the prisoners improvised, and wood was often insufficient in quantity. Shelter was always furnished in the North, and fuel in somewhat variable quantities. Where the barracks were new and tight there was generally sufficient warmth; in other cases, the number of stoves allowed did hardly more than temper the air, and as a result every window and door was kept tightly closed.

The attitude of the guards was variable, North and South. Generally speaking, they were not cruel, though they were sometimes callous. It is the unanimous testimony that soldiers who had seen actual service were more considerate than raw recruits or conscripted or drafted militia. Undoubtedly, the negroes who formed a part of the guard at several prisons were disposed to be strict and to magnify their authority, sometimes to the humiliation of their charges.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Lake City (Florida, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: