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 we were allowed eight ounces per day; this you could press together in your hand and take at a mouthful. Our water was of such a character that we could scarcely use it, being so highly tinctured with sulphur and iron as to render it almost unbearable. Clothes which were washed in it were turned black and yellow. To our suffering from the cold and the want of pure water was now added that of hunger. To those who have never suffered in this respect, it is almost impossible to describe the sensations. The writer has known large, stout men to lay in their tents at night and cry like little babies from hunger and cold. We were not allowed to walk about, but were compelled to retire to our tents at “taps,” which were sounded quite early. Even the poor privilege of keeping ourselves warm by walking up and down in front of our tents was denied us, and we were compelled to lay in the cold. The supply of blankets was very scant, and “bunks” were unknown. The cold ground was our bed, and pillows we had none. To add to our discomforts, the tide from the bay occasionally backed into the camp, and compelled those whose tents had been flooded to stand all night. Midwinter was now upon us, and the intense cold we suffered may be judged when it is stated that the Chesapeake bay was frozen hard full twenty feet from the bank. Point Lookout is situated in Saint Mary's county, Maryland. The Department was commanded by General Barnes, United States army. Major Patterson was provost-marshal and had charge of the prisoners. The Second, Fifth and Twelfth New Hampshire constituted the guard, with two batteries of artillery and a squadron of cavalry. These troops were housed in comfortable tents, and as we saw the smoke rising from the innumerable stove-pipes projecting from their tents, we could not but indulge in bitter thoughts of their cruelty. If this man Patterson still lives his conscience must burn him. He was the impersonation of cruel malignity hatred and revenge, and he never let an opportunity pass in which he could show his disposition in this respect. Of the guards we could not complain, as they acted under orders and were not responsible for any of the cruelties to which we were subjected. As might be inferred, our Christmas was a dull one, and we passed the day in thinking of “Dixie” and the loved ones at home. About the 10th of January, our suffering had grown so intense that a party formed a plan to escape. It was a bold one in conception, and required men of determination and courage to undertake it. Sergeant Shears, a man of about sixty years of age and a member of a Virginia cavalry regiment, was placed in command. A tunnel
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