previous next


[88] on that ominous morning the order for the lot selection came. Colonel Lee was one of the hostages. General Winder, a West Point classmate and personal friend of Colonel Lee, with a sad heart entered the prison and said to him:

Colonel, everything is changed. I come to tell you that I am ordered to place you and thirteen other officers of highest rank in close confinement as hostages for an equal number of so-called pirates. I am sorry to say, Colonel, that if these men hang so must you.’

Colonel Lee met the disappointment like a brave man, simply saying: ‘I left home thinking it possible that I might die on a battlefield; but if my country thinks that I can serve best by dying at the hangman's hands, I can meet even that death without a shudder.’ The stringent measure checked the thirst for the ‘pirates'’ blood, and the hostages, a few weeks later, were released and exchanged. As Colonel Lee was leaving Captain Warner—the humane and efficient commissary of the prison—who had won the confidence and esteem of the prisoners by his assiduous and kindly endeavors to promote their comfort—intrusted to Colonel Lee $80 in specie, to be transmitted to his (Captain Warner's) wife, then living in Central City, Illinois. He learned by letters through the lines that his wife had not received the money. After the war the Captain, being in Boston, called on Colonel Lee, was received with great kindness and hospitality. He accompanied the Captain to a Boston bank, and drew out the identical leathern purse with its inclosure of $78 in gold, and four silver half dollars, explaining that by a mistake in memoranda it had been forwarded to Central City, Ohio, instead of Illinois, whence it had been returned by express to the Colonel, and deposited in bank awaiting the owner's claim.

Many interesting incidents connected with my visits to the prisoners occur to me while writing. I remember a handsome boy, about sixteen years old, brought in wounded from Ball's Bluff, I think. His leg had been amputated above the knee. To my inquiries he answered, ‘I ran away from Rochester, N. Y., to get into the army. I had a happy home; was a Sunday-school boy, and always went to church, and only to think I have lost my leg, and may be I'll die and never get home again.’ He was among the first exchanged.

Another poor boy I call to mind too weak to talk much, and yet who did talk a little and hopefully, had both arms and both legs amputated. In a few days death ended his sufferings.

Something like yellow fever for a few weeks was endemic among


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. Raymond Lee (12)
Warner (4)
Winder (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: