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[210] an order of the insurgent Secretary of War, directing him to select hostages, to be confined in the cells allotted to persons charged with infamous crimes, to answer with their lives for the safety of the Rebel privateersmen, held by the United States government, under a charge of piracy on the high seas. In closing his order Secretary Benjamin said:—

As these measures are intended to repress the infamous attempt now made by the enemy to commit judicial murder on prisoners of war, you will execute them strictly, as the mode best calculated to prevent the commission of so heinous a crime.

Major Revere was one of the hostages selected under this order, and he entered upon the ordeal with the equanimity of a brave soldier, who stood for his country, with its honor in his keeping. On the following Thursday, the hostages, seven in number, were transferred to Henrico County Prison, and placed in charge of its warden. The cell in which they were confined, and in which, for a considerable period of time, they were required to perform every function of life, was of most contracted dimensions,—eleven feet by seventeen in area,— faintly lighted and filthy with tormenting vermin. The situation was one almost too horrible and disgusting to contemplate. The hostages did not utter one word of complaint or remonstrance, although they felt that life could not long sustain itself in an atmosphere so foul. After a while General Winder modified this barbarous treatment, allowing a half-hour each day to prisoners for a visit to the prison yard; this half-hour being often extended into an hour by the commiserating turnkey, Thomas.

In this experience, dreadful as it was, Revere evinced the same patient manliness which had always distinguished his conduct. In a single instance only did he permit his indignation to master the habitual control which he exercised over his feelings. The circumstances of this were as follows. The prison in which the hostages were confined was surrounded by a high wall, which hid from their sight every outward object except the sky and distant house-tops. On the second Saturday of their confinement, while engaged in the simple pursuits

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