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[138] and those on the rear of Gregg were so arranged as to rake the pen fore and aft, in case of an emergency. The pen was guarded by a Massachusetts negro regiment. A platform was constructed around the stockade, outside, and about four feet from the top, and upon this platform a line of negro sentinels was posted, at intervals of about six paces. The pen enclosed an area of about two acres of sand, and on the inside, about twelve feet from the stockade, a rope, two inches in diameter, was stretched around the interior, supported on pickets four feet high driven in the sand. This was called the ‘Dead Line.’ Small ‘A’ tents, large enough for four men, had been provided for our accomodation, and pitched in rows in the space enclosed by the ‘Dead Line.’

These precautions had evidently been taken by the Federal authorities in anticipation of an outbreak when the Confederate batteries should be provoked to return the fire of the Federal batteries on Morris Island.

Such was the place and its surroundings, provided for the 600 on Morris Island.

After marching into the pen and being assigned to our tents, we were called out and formed into line, and the rules prescribed for the government of the prisoners were read to us by Colonel Molyneaux, the officer in command. One rule provided that any prisoner who touched the ‘Dead Line’ should be shot, without warning, by the sentinels on the platform above. On account of this rule the prisoners rarely approached nearer than five or six feet of the ‘Dead Line,’ and this space and the space between the line and the stockade materially diminished the small area available for our use. Another rule provided that if more than ten prisoners assembled together, the sentinel should order them to disperse, and if the order was riot instantly obeyed, he should fire into the crowd. In our crowded condition it was almost impossible to comply with this rule, and we were kept in constant fear of being shot by the negro sentinels, and the command, ‘'sperse dat crowd,’ became quite common. On one occasion, I remember, a sentinel bellowed out ‘'sperse dat crowd damn you, the bullet in de bottom of my gun is just meltina to get into you now.’ Another rule was that if a light was struck in any tent after taps, the sentinel was to fire into the tent without notice. The blankets furnished the prisoners at Fort Delaware were taken away from them before they left the Crescent, and returned to the quartermaster at the fort, the officer stating to us that other blankets would be furnished us on the island.


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