some twelve feet high.
The jail was an octagonal brick structure, five stories high, with a forty foot octagonal tower raised above the main building.
Adjoining it could be seen the Workhouse, Medical College, and Roper Hospital, which were also used for the confinement of Union prisoners.
The interior of the jail contained rooms and corridors on each story, guarded by grated iron doors; the staircases were of massive stone.
This building still stands, but, being damaged by the earthquake of some years ago, was reduced in stories.
In it our men were confined with Union officers, rebel deserters, negro and white murderers and criminals, and even prostitutes.
Their rations were hardly other than cornmeal and water, eked out by food given them for cooking to supply others.
They were compelled to do menial and often repulsive work about the prison, or elsewhere about Charleston
whither some were sent.
We shall get glimpses of their life from the testimony of others confined there.
Upon their entrance into the jail, the Wagner prisoners met those of their regiment captured on James Island
, and for the first time learned who had survived of their comrades reported missing.
They also found confined four colored men belonging to the gunboat Isaac Smith,
which was captured in the Stono River
by the Confederates
, early in 1863.
By arrangement, on July 24, 1863, truce boats met in Charleston harbor
, and one hundred and four of our white soldiers who had been wounded at Wagner
were delivered up. The Confederate commissioner, Colonel Edward C. Anderson
, reports that ‘an effort was made to bring under discussion the prisoners of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, but in compliance with instructions, all information or conversation upon these troops was declined.’
This silence was maintained until the very last.
In a correspondence Gillmore
of breach of faith in not exchanging his wounded colored soldiers.
in reply said that in the arrangements for exchange General Vodges
ignored the negroes.
He wrote, ‘You chose, sir, to ignore your negro ally after having given him the right or head of your storming column on the 18th of July.’
In its issue of August 12, 1863, the Charleston Mercury made