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[33] were three floors in these buildings, and prisoners constantly arriving. Two hundred and fifty men packed on each floor, with a strong guard, not being allowed near the windows; but at times the men would venture to look out, and sometimes saw old Jeff Davis ride by in his barouche.

Our usual rations for twenty-four hours were half a loaf of corn bread, a mouthful of beef or thin yellow pork, or a half-pint of thin rice soup. No light, no fire; Union songs were not allowed to be sung, but the boys would sometimes howl them. We were allowed for a short time to write eight lines at a time, of a domestic character, unsealed, to our friends at home. I received but one letter.

Our government sent a large supply of rations and clothing, but we could get but little of it, and many of the boys were obliged to sell their clothing and shoes to the rebels to obtain food; but they would not have done so had they known what the future had in store for them. On the morning of January 1, 1864, the rebel sergeant and aides came in, as usual, to call the roll. Before going out, he said: ‘See here, Yanks, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and many a one here.’ Jud Oliver thought that a very consoling remark, and only wished the rebel's stomach groaned as his did. A few days after we were taken out of this place, at two o'clock in the morning, and sent down to Belle Isle, two miles distant, a small, low island in James River, opposite Richmond. There was snow on the ground, and many of the men were barefoot and in their shirt sleeves, suffering much cold. It was so cold for several days that the river, which had quite a current, froze over, during which we had no shelter but our blankets. For wood the rebels gave us green logs; we had no axes to cut it, and it would not burn. The only way we could survive was to walk the island nights and sleep in the daytime; and I know of our men here imploring the guard to shoot them, to end their misery, and many were shot by going too near the lines. One night twenty-four died, or were shot in the trench. We were on the island nearly two months, and what little food we got was mostly uncooked,

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Belle Isle, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
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Jud Oliver (1)
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January 1st, 1864 AD (1)
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