others, had died at Andersonville
and other prisons; for, like us, they had been carted from one place to another, but their faces brightened as they said, “Not one of the boys went back on the old flag.”
I had been proud of the 19th regiment from the first day I joined it, but never did I see the time when I loved and respected those boys more than that day.
More than thirty thousand were crowded into the pen at Andersonville
They had seen their comrades die at the rate of two hundred a day; they had been offered plenty of food and clothing, and no fighting, if they would renounce their allegiance to the old flag and join the southern Confederacy, but they said, “No No
! Death before dishonor!”
and waited to join their comrades beneath the starry flag if they lived to.be free, if not to join those who had been loyal and true in the camp on the other shore.
We went from Charlotte
, where we arrived the next morning.
Here we saw the worst sight that the eyes of mortal ever gazed upon.
Two long trains of platform cars, loaded with our men, came in. They had been three days on the road, expecting to be exchanged at Wilmington
, but as the city was being bombarded, were turned back.
As they were unloaded not one in fifty was able to stand.
Many were left dead on the cars, the guards rolling them off as they would logs of wood; most of them were nearly naked, and their feet and hands were frozen; they had lost their reason; could not tell the State
they came from, their regiment or company.
We threw them what rations we had, and they would fight for them like dogs, rolling over each other in their eagerness to get the least morsel.
I remember one poor fellow who had lost his teeth by scurvy;