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 would have paid the forfeit. A guard of negroes was sent through the camp to search for it, and the manner in which they performed that duty was observable in the number of bleeding heads among the prisoners. They had beat them over the head in order to compel them to tell who did it. For this conduct, their officers praised them, and told them to shoot whenever they felt like doing so, and right well did they obey this order, as will be shown hereafter. Matters were thus proceeding from bad to worse. The shooting of a prisoner was looked upon as an every day affair, especially when said shooting was done by a negro. The colored troops came on guard only once in three days, and the day of their coming was always dreaded by the prisoners. In accordance with General Butler's promise, to give us more rations, our meagre supply of coffee was cut off. This was not so much of a deprivation to us as might be supposed, for the coffee was “slop water” in every respect. Some of the prisoners went so far as to say that the Commissary actually shook a small bag of coffee at each kettle (about forty gallons of water). This was a grim joke, but it had much the appearance of truth. Shortly after cutting off the coffee supply, our rations were reduced in other respects. Bread was issued in the afternoon. The men would eat it as soon as they received it. It does not take much time to consume eight ounces of soft bread. They would then, of course, be without bread until the following afternoon. About two or three ounces of meat was given for breakfast, and a cup of greasy water for dinner. Hitherto the sulter had been allowed to sell provisions in limited quantities to those who had the money with which to purchase. This privilege was also abolished, and we were compelled to rely upon the Government rations. As the United States officers used every means to induce the prisoners to take the oath, it is fair to presume that the “best Government the sun ever shone upon” was now reduced to the policy of starving men into allegiance to it. There was much work to be done on the outside of the pen, and the prisoners were induced to do it by promise of extra rations and tobacco, and the privilege of getting out every day. There were several of the details, each numbering about thirty men. One was sent to the wharf for the purpose of loading boats, another to the quartermaster's warehouse, &c. The Government never made anything by employing these “rebels,” as they invariably “flanked” more than they received as pay. They were very useful to the men in camp, as by their aid many little comforts and articles of necessity were brought
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