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[141] quarters, that army pickle be substituted. This suggestion was adopted, so that our rations consisted of ten ounces of corn meal, with acid, blood-thinning pickle. The effect of the pickle was to thin the blood, and its use was quickly abandoned by the prisoners; still it was issued to us, day by day, in kegs, which were not opened. The corn meal was furnished us in barrels, delivered in the casemates. The barrel heads showed the place and date of manufacture of the meal, and were marked thus: ‘Corn meal, kiln dried, 1861, from——Mills,’ &c. Thus, the meal upon which we were forced to subsist was four years old, kiln dried, and full of worms. To understand the insufficiency of ten ounces of wormy meal to sustain life and health, it is only necessary to state that the regular army ration issued to soldiers consists of one pound and a quarter of meal, or one pound of flour, three-fourths of a pound of bacon, or one pound and a quarter of fresh beef, with coffee and vegetables. As might have been expected, and doubtless was intended, great suffering among the prisoners ensued. One of the effects of insufficient and unhealthy food was scurvy, with which large numbers became diseased, and many died, and I am satisfied that quite a number died from actual starvation.

The prisoners cooked their own bread, and for this purpose, tin pans, of the size of the ordinary pie pan, were furnished, and a cooking stove to every alternate casemate. Each casemate furnished a detail of cooks. I remember, on one occasion, an inspecting physician, from some other post in the department, was brought into the prison by some of the officers of the fort, and observing the pans of bread upon the stove, remarked to the officers accompanying him: ‘Why, is it possible that you feed your prisoners on pies?’ evidently mistaking our wormy corn-cakes for pies.

One day a prisoner picked from his ration a dozen or more of the larger sized worms, and was in the act of throwing them through a port-hole into the moat, when he was stopped by a friend, in passing, who remarked: ‘My friend, if you take the worms out of your meal you will starve, as the meal without the worms has no nutriment in it;’ he immediately raked the worms back into his meal. The fort was garrisoned from the beginning of the war by different detachments of troops. The prisoners' quarters were separate from the casemates occupied by the soldiers of the garrison by a kind of gate made of heavy iron bars. The soldiers of the garrison had a great number of cats; indeed, every soldier seemed to have his pet. The cats had free access to our quarters through the iron grating, and being gentle and

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1861 AD (1)
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