Reminiscences of Fort Warren.‘"Personne,"’ of the Charleston Courier, in one of his lively letters from Norfolk giving the results of an interview he recently had with an officer captured at Fort Hatteras and released from Fort Warren, Boston, on parole, writes as follows: ‘ As soon as possible after their arrival, (1,050 men from Fort Lafayette,) the prisoners were divided into messes, varying in size and character according to the tastes and inclinations of the different individuals. The particular clique of Messrs. Slidell and Mason consisted of about forty-five, and embraced the principal officers, naval and military, and most prominent political prisoners in the fortress. The expense of this style of living, over the ordinary rations allowed, was fifty cents a day, and the aggregate being sent to the Boston markets secured many conveniences which the humble fare of the prison did not afford. Whatever a gentleman desired in the way of either food, clothing, or books, be could always have by a dispatch to the city through the appropriate channel. The poorer soldiers, while they did not fare so luxuriously, were not forgotten by those more favored with wealth, and many a mess table among them was cheered by the presence of articles which would have been tabooed, but for the thoughtful kindness of the gentlemen to whom I have alluded. From such a combination of intelligence, wit and worth, each man being ‘"a host in himself,"’ it may be imagined that there was much in the social intercourse which tended to relieve the monotony and enliven the long hours of confinement. The daily papers were supplied in abundance, books were not wanting, and the principal topics of science, art, literature, and war, were discussed with an interest which might be expected from the concentration of so much of cultivated intellect. Frequently a game of foot-ball would form an episode in the day, and at night between twilight and nine o'clock, the hour of retirement, instrumental music, singing, visiting, smoking, games of chess and cards, served to while away the tediousness of the place. One of the officers who conduces most to enjoyment is Lieut. Col. Pegram, who was captured at Rich Mountain by Gen. McClellan. I may add here, parenthetically, that the General has always acted towards his captive with a generosity characteristic of the thorough-bred soldier. When ill he caused him to be sent to his own residence at Cincinnati, where he was nursed by his (McClellan's) wife — secured for him a furlough of several months, with which he might travel for either recreation or health, and placed at his disposal that excellent test of human sincerity — his purse. Col. Pegram, however, nobly declined the two latter privileges, and as soon as he was sufficiently restored, proceeded to Fort McHenry, gave up his parole, and voluntarily again became a prisoner of war. I was about to add before the above digression, that he plays admirably upon the violin, and in company with other officers, who are proficient performers on various instruments, adds not a little to the zest of every extemporized entertainment. One of the chief occupations among the ingeniously inclined soldiers, is the manufacture of such trinkets as can be made with a knife. Some of these have been brought home by the released prisoners, and consist of queerly carved pipes, (one of which, covered with sundry patriotic devices, is to be presented to President Davis) chains of wood, such as Chinese brains and hands originate, cups, puzzles, and other odd articles suggested by idle moments and curious fancy. Speaking of the personal appearance of the returned captives, ‘"Personne"’ adds: Aside from the rather empty honor that they have been ‘"prisoners of war,"’ there is one peculiarity about many of them which excites both the observation and the envy of their fellow-soldiers at home. They are radiant in splendid Yankee coats and trowsers, brass buttons and gold bands, cut, of course, to conform to the Southern style, but from the finest gray cloth that a man cares to put upon his back. From crown to sole they are covered with Northern goods and manufactures, and at a price just one third of the sum our poor fellows have to expend for a similar luxury. Many have likewise brought with them army bedsteads, cots, camp chests, and other ingenious traps which the exigency of the times has called forth from the contriving brains of the labor-saving, money-making Yankee. * * * *. ’ Among other incidents it is related that an attempt was made by some of the Massachusetts soldiers to induce the servants captured at Fort Hatteras to ‘"take the oath"’ and become citizens of the State, but the darkies indignantly spurned the idea, and one of them replied that he would ‘"radder be a nigger in de Souf dan a white man in de Norf. For hisself he was gwine to stay wid massa."’ The following is an Ode written in Fort Warren, and dedicated to the Southern Confederacy. The name of the author is not given, but it is said to have emanated from one who occupied the highest political distinction in that place of confinement:
Lines written in Fort Warren, by a Caftive.‘ See ye not the day is breaking--
Freemen from their slumbers waking--
Mightier efforts daily making
To break oppression's chain?
Who would bow to Northern power?
Who would quail in this stern hour?
Who when clouds of darkness lower,
Could tamely yield again?
Freemen — to the tented field!
Right and justice be your shield;
Make the cruel foeman yield
Your rights and liberty!
Strike — as ye have struck before!
Strike — as ye have struck, once more!
Strike — as patriot's res of yore
Determined to be free!
Strike the vile usurper low
Strike with freedom's hand the blow--
Teach the proud, insulting foe
What freemen feel and dare.
Day is breaking in the West,
O'er the land that I love best,
Patriot flies in every breast,
God and liberty are there!