‘We were taken to Florence Stockade and remained over winter, and from there we were brought to Raleigh, N. C., and were then taken to Wilmington, N. C., and from there to Goldsboro, N. C. We were then brought hack to Wilmington, and remained until the night before it was taken.
We were then removed to a wood the other side of the railroad bridge between Wilmington and Goldsboro.
We were there when our army came up. We heard our guns.
We were then taken back to Goldsboro, and there remained until we were paroled.
The paroling grounds were between Wilmington and Goldsboro.’
We must depend upon other testimony than that of our own men regarding the Florence
prisoners just before release.
Captain John G. B. Adams
, Nineteenth Mass. Infantry says,—
‘At Goldsboro I saw about fifteen hundred of our enlisted men, and they were in the worst possible condition.
They had been in the cars three days, and, in my opinion, not twenty-five of them were able to stand on their feet.
When they unloaded the cars three men were dead, and they threw them on the side of the railroad like so many dogs.
I saw men of my company who did not recognize me,—they were idiotic.
Some had lost their sight completely, and were covered with vermin.
They could not possibly keep themselves clean, and men died from vermin.
This was in the month of February, and they had no shoes, and some had their feet badly frozen, so that blood flowed from them when they attempted to walk.’
Julius H. Marvin
, Fifth Vermont Infantry, testifies,—
‘We were next taken to Wilmington and camped on the beach under guard, and were there issued a pint of raw meal, the first that we had to eat for three days. When we left Wilmington some of our sick men were confined in a log hut, and the lieutenant in command, a one-armed man, ordered the shanty to be set on fire, and two men were unable to get out, and were burned to death.
From there we were taken about the country in various directions.
Some of the prisoners became moon blind, and the other prisoners were made to put a rope around their necks and draw them along.
Others that lagged behind were driven up by cavalry, who were ordered to shoot them if they did not come along.
We finally reached Goldsboro, N. C., and were confined in the woods.
It was wet and damp, and the prisoners made large fires to keep themselves warm and dry. But the smoke made many blind.
I felt the effect of this smoke in my lungs many months after I got home, and have been troubled ever since from it. At Goldsboro, five thousand of us were paroled February 26, 1865.’