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[63] and no rights as prisoners of war if they went in the prison, but they all elected to go in, and declared to the Yankees they would stick to their young masters to the end of time, if they starved to death by doing so.

Those Confederate officers, of course, shared their rations and everything else with their servants.

When we went in prison in August, 1863, there was a sutler's shanty in the grounds, where those who had money could purchase what they wanted to eat. Most of the Port Hudson men had money, and for a time they and their negroes fared well, until late in the fall, when the Yankees shut down on us. They had failed to influence the negroes, and decided to confine us strictly to prison rations, which were very scant.

It was then that the devotion and fidelity of the negroes was put to a test, but without exception, master and servant clung together in heroic sacrifice, and no more wonderful magnetic tie ever existed than that between those Southern officers and their slaves.

One of those gentlemen was my intimate friend and companion and roommate, Colonel I. G. W. Steadman, of Alabama. I do not recall his regiment. His brother, a lieutenant in the same regiment, was also a prisoner there. Colonel Steadman's negro was named “George.” He waited on us and was untiring in his efforts to do anything in his power for our comfort.

Frequently, to my knowledge, George was sent for to go before the commanding officer outside. We often said: “We have seen the last of poor George,” but at night George would be escorted back by a guard. I asked George what they said to him. He told us that Mister Pearson (he was the Yankee Major in command of the prison) would tell him he was a free man; that he had but to say the word and he would be taken out and given work at $2 a day, and good clothes to wear, and go and live anywhere he wanted—told him he was a fool, that his master would never be exchanged or get out of prison—that if he stayed with the Rebel officer he would starve in prison. He said Pearson told him all this and more. I then asked George what he said in reply, and what George said was: “Sir, what you want me to do is to desert. I ain't no deserter, and down South, sir, where we live, deserters always disgrace their families. I'se ”

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I. G. W. Steadman (2)
Sarah Pearson (2)
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August, 1863 AD (1)
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