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[116] pockets and lay our baggage on the ground before us, while the Federal sergeants amused themselves by kicking overcoats, blankets, oilcloths, canteens, and everything that had a U. S. on it, into the bay. This left us in a sad condition, for there was very little in our possession that had not been the property of the United States, at one time or another, and became ours by the many victories and captures we had helped to gain. After putting us in light marching order, we were marched into the prison-pen, or ‘bull-pen,’ as it was called. The prison consisted of a space of about twenty acres, surrounded by a high board fence, on the outside of which there was, near the top, a platform for the guard to walk upon. The guards consisted of negroes of the worst sort. Inside of the grounds, about fifteen feet in front of the fence, was a ditch called the ‘dead line.’ The sentry fired upon any one who crossed it. The camp was laid in regular rows of small tents, each double row being a division, of which there were ten. These were again subdivided into ten companies of about two hundred men each. Through these streets or rows there ran small ditches; but the land being very shallow, the drainage was very imperfect—Point Lookout being a tongue of land where the Potomac joins the Chesapeake Bay, barely over five feet high at its highest point; and herein was the worst feature of the prison. There was no good drinking water to be had; the water was impregnated with copperas, and tasted quite brackish. To this source was a great deal of the fearful mortality that occurred there traceable.

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