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[114]

With the daily routine of our prison life I will not weary the reader, for its only peculiarity was its dull and wearisome monotony. With nothing to occupy us from morning until night; chafing under a sense of our own unjust imprisonment, and oppressed with a sense of the misfortunes that crowded thick and fast upon our beloved country; cut off from books and ordinary sources of recreation; forbidden the privilege of receiving visits from friends in Baltimore; our only communications with home being through the doubtful and unsatisfactory medium of the flag of truce correspondence; our only news from the war coming through the fallacious bulletins of the Northern press, it required a constant struggle, as the prison discipline grew more harsh and the hope of release more distant, to ward off that prison melancholy which is so sure a precursor of debility and disease.

The usual expedients were resorted to for the purpose of driving away dull care. There was all manner of cunning artifice in wood, in gutta-percha, in ivory and in silver. Rings, chains, breastpins, lockets, charms, &c., were made and exchanged with the guard for rations or kept as mementoes for the loved ones at home. Then there was the writing and receiving of underground letters, the rehearsal of the stories of camp life, speculations upon the state of the country, discussion and criticism of military movements, the planning of imaginary campaigns, the achievement of imaginary victories, &c. As these lost their novelty, and the spirits of the party began to flag, the more bouyant amongst us resorted to fresh and somewhat juvenile methods of diversion.

First of all we organized ourselves into a regiment in burlesque of the splendidly equipped and caparisoned regiment which guarded the fort, and thus had the daily diversion, of guard-mounting and dress-parade. The uniform of the regiment, it is needless to say, was not up to army regulations. Most of us had come into the fort in badly damaged apparel. Many had been supplied by the ladies of Baltimore through “underground” channels of communication; but many were still somewhat threadbare, whilst of those who were supplied the fit of the uniform was not very exact, as our kind donors could not know the size of those whom they were to supply, and were obliged to send medium sizes of clothing. And thus it occurred that when we were drawn up in line, here stood an officer of more than ordinary height of stature, his long arms protruding several inches through his coat sleeves, and by his side a small but ambitious little soldier, who looked for all the

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