The prison pen.
The place appeared to be about the size of what was then called Poplar Lawn Park
, surrounded by a high board fence, outside of which, on a platform, was the guard.
Those prisoners who had been there during the previous winter suffered much, the tents they occupied being but a poor protection against the icy breath of winter, the men being allowed only one blanket apiece.
The water was procured from wells sunk within the enclosure.
It was brackish (said to be impregnated with copper), and must have received a good deal of surface drainage.
Twice a day the men formed in line to receive their rations, consisting principally of a loaf of bread or six crackers (hard tack) once a day, a piece of meat sprinkled over with vinegar, and a tin cup of canned vegetable soup.
Coffee had formerly
been allowed, but, as a measure of retaliation, was not forbidden them.
I remember M. James Kerr
coming one day to me in his usual earnest way with the remark, ‘John, I found just one bean at the bottom of my tin cup to-day.’