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‘ [421] vermin. As we passed around the line of guards I saw one of them brought from his miserable booth by two of his companions and laid upon the ground to die. He was nearly naked. His companions pulled his cap over his face and straightened out his limbs. Before they turned to leave him he was dead. A slight movement of the limbs and all was over. The captive was free! The commissary's tent was near one side of the square, and near it the beef was laid on boards preparatory to its distribution. This seemed to excite the prisoners as the smell of blood does the beasts of a menagerie. They surged up as near the lines as they were allowed, and seemed in their eagerness about to break over. While we were on the ground a heavy rain came up, and they seemed greatly to enjoy it, coming out a puris naturalibus, opening their mouths to catch the drops, while one would wash off another with his hands and then receive from him the like kind office. [From the camp of the living the visitor passed to the camp of the dead, the hospital.] A few tents, covered with pine tops, were crowded with the dying and the dead in every stage of corruption. Some lay in prostrate helplessness; some had crowded under the shelter of the bushes; some were rubbing their skeleton limbs. Twenty or thirty of them die daily,--most of them, I am informed, of the scurvy. The corpses lay by the roadside waiting for the dead-cart, their glassy eyes turned to heaven, the flies swarming in their mouths, their big toes tied together with a cotton string, and their skeleton arms folded on their breasts.’

During their stay at Florence the lot of our colored prisoners seems to have been that common to all confined there, in all its misery, despair, and wretchedness. While there even their lightheartedness seems to have been subdued to the level of that of their white comrades; the upraising of their voices in song, if voice remained, would have been a mockery. When the soul fled from their skeleton forms the colored men were laid away apart from the other dead. During the winter the cold at times was intense, for ice formed and many prisoners were frost-bitten. The prisoners, half naked, burrowed in their underground holes, and with broken health, despairing of release, bore as best they could the days and nights of torture and despair. The thinned and sluggish blood, vitiated by disease, poisoned their whole systems. Scurvy, diarrhea, and gangrene set in, the forerunner of death in many cases. As at other prisons, their loyalty was tempted; and the hearts of the stanch and true were wrung by the sight of

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Florence, S. C. (South Carolina, United States) (1)

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