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[125] the wall, informing me that Captain Hume and Adjutant Curtis were with them. Exchange stock was unsteady; several officers were exchanged by special order, some of them through the assistance of friends south, others by the influence of friends in Washington. Often the report would come in that a general exchange had been arranged, and the cry would go through the yard “Pack up, pack up, all exchanged.” While it was an old story, and some of our comrades had heard it many times, the faintest hearts grew stronger and visions of home would come, only to be swept away by the fact that the morrow found them starving in prison as before.

The life in the jail yard began to tell on us. At Macon groups would get together, sing old army songs, and merry laughter would be heard as some wit told his story, but now we heard no songs; the men walked about sullen and silent; it required little provocation to bring on a fight, as all were nervous and irritable. Our quarters grew worse each day, as nothing was done to change the sanitary condition of the yard, and six hundred men, each doing his best, could not keep it clean unless assisted from the outside.

About the middle of August we were told by the rebel officer in charge that if we would give our parole not to escape they would provide better quarters for us. At first the feeling was general that we would not do it; but after a while they began to go out, those who had talked the loudest being the first to go. Our little mess reasoned together; we feared that we should die here, as we suffered as much for want of shelter as food; we saw that the chances for escape were very poor, and, as all the field officers had signed, concluded we would. This parole was an agreement that they

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