In response to your request, published in the Southern
papers, I will endeavor to give additional incidents of life at Camp Morton.
But before I begin, allow me to say that your pen picture, ‘Cold Cheer in Camp Morton,’ published in the Century
, is in nowise overdrawn and scarcely up to the reality.
I was captured at the battle of Resaca
, on May 15, 1864, and was hurried to prison, via Chattanooga
jail and Nashville
penitentiary, with some forty others captured at the same place.
My experience at these points was about the same as yours.
In some instances great kindness was shown me. One cavalryman as he passed by me said: ‘Poor little Johnnie (I was seventeen years old), here's a coat; you'll need it where you're going’; and another pitched me a Bible, saying: ‘Read this and be a good boy.’
But as we got further away from the front our troubles began.
an Irishman wanted to killa Reb
, and when some one suggested he could find a few where we came from he lost his temper entirely, and cursed the whole South
generally, and our little squad particularly.
We remained one night in the penitentiary, where the hard rock floors in the halls of the prison were not conducive to sleep; but thanks to the kind United States
soldier who gave me the overcoat, I was better off than the others, and managed to catch a few hours' sleep.
The trip the rest of the way was without incident, except that our captors convinced us that we were not going to prison, but only taking a trip at Uncle Sam's expense to Richmond
, via Louisville
, where we would be detained a few days until an exchange could be arranged.
I must confess we were fully persuaded; so much so, that when one or two Texans were missing between Nashville
, we said how silly they were to try to escape, and possibly be recaptured or shot, when in a few weeks we would be in Richmond
My father, who was surgeon in charge of the medical bureau of the Confederate navy, was in that city, and I had no doubt that in a short while I would see him, and have the pleasure of an introduction to President Davis
and his cabinet.
It was many weary months ere I saw the loved ones in the Southern Capital
, and then only a few weeks before the end.
After we left Nashville
our guard gave his gun to one of his prisoners and went to sleep, and all could have made their escape had they chosen.