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A freezing bath.

During the winter, when the thermometer was below zero, I saw this fiend strip a man and give him a bath in a tub of water, using a common broom to scrub him with, and this fiendish deed was repeated the second time. I heard that both men died, though I do not know it of my own knowledge. I saw the baths given. I saw this man shoot a prisoner under my bunk for being up after bed-time. The poor fellow was one of the improvident kind; had sold his blanket and coat and was trying to keep warm over a few coals in the stove, when Pfeifer came suddenly to the door of the barracks; the prisoner ran under the lower bunk of my bed, and, failing to respond promptly to the order to come out, was fired on, the ball entering his heel and coming out near the knee. This bullet, no doubt, saved his life, as he was sent to the hospital, where he received kind treatment. Without blankets he could not have survived the winter of ‘64 and ‘65. This brings me to that dreadful month of January, 1865, when we suffered most from the terrible cold. We were unable to remain outside but a few moments, as our clothing and shoes were thin and in rags, so were forced to trot round in circles on the mud floors of our pens, made soft by the snow brought in on the feet of the men. These trotting circles of men would last all day, new men taking the place of those dropping out from exhaustion. It was during this terrible weather we would be forced to remain in line at roll-call for two hours at a time, because some sergeant had miscounted his men, or some poor fellow would be found dead in his bunk and was overlooked. Many men were frozen in this way and were carried to the hospital, where but few recovered, though when once in the hands of the kind doctors and Confederate nurses they were sure of good attention and warm clothing.

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John Pfeifer (1)
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January, 1865 AD (1)
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