Return of Confederate Surgeons from the North--Yankee treatment of prisoners.

Yesterday morning one hundred and twenty-four Confederate Surgeons, who have been returned from the different bastilles of the North, arrived in this city by the steamer Schultz.

The statements which they make in reference to their own treatment, and that of our prisoners, particularly the wounded, are in keeping with other statements published of the heathenish treatment to which they are subjected.

One of these Surgeons, with whom we had a long and interesting interview, was captured at Williamsport, Md. in July last, where he had been left, in conjunction with others, in charge of some two hundred of our wounded. These men were nearly all so badly wounded that it was deemed advisable not to attempt their removal to Virginia, although abundance of time had been allowed to do so had their condition permitted it.--In a few days after the occupation of the town by the Yankees, an order was issued for the removal of all these wounded to Hagerstown. The Surgeons remonstrated, but to the purpose. The next day brought a peremptory order for their removal, and, in their helpless and nearly exhausted condition, they were packed off to Hagerstown and piled away, without comfort, in the Court-House, and a guard placed around the building. For a few days they were allowed to send out for their rations, but very soon this privilege was withdrawn, and they were compelled to prepare their own food, as best they could, with the meanest kind of facilities. The supply of medicines furnished was totally inadequate to the necessities of the suffering wounded, and they were not permitted to receive the stimulants and delicacies which the ladies of the town brought to the courtyard in profusion. In a few days they were again removed and transferred from the Court-House to the Seminary, on the outskirts of the town.

In the meantime all the nurses who had been left to assist in taking care of the wounded were seized as prisoners of war and sent off to prison, leaving only five surgeons to labor with and care for two hundred men, not one of whom was able to do anything for himself. This force, of course, was wholly insufficient for the care of so large a number, and much suffering ensued from want of proper attention, and a number of deaths resulted where the patient might have recovered if properly cared for.

Finally the Surgeons themselves were sent off to Fort McHenry. Dr. Newell was the last who left Hagerstown. He was informed that he would have to walk to Chambersburg, a distance of twenty-one miles. He told them at once that he was unable to walk so great a distance, being then, as he had been for some time previous, quite unwell. They insisted, however, that he should try it, and he was started off under guard.--He had not gone far until he became well nigh exhausted, and entirely incapable of making the speed required of him by the guard. To accelerate his movements they drew their bayonets on him and struck him over the head with their muskets. Under this persecution he fainted and fell in the road, when he was caught by the collar and dragged some distance to a house, where he was kept under guard until an ambulance came along, in which he was conveyed to Chambersburg, and from thence on to Baltimore by railroad.

One Surgeon with whom we conversed was for a time in charge of the wounded at Harrisburg, Pa. The treatment received there was in the main kind and humane, very little difference being made in the treatment of our own and the enemy's wounded. The country people around the place sent in many delicacies, and the Yankee surgeons permitted them to be distributed among our wounded.

Of the treatment at Fort McHenry, as a general thing, the darkest picture ever drawn by the New York Herald of "Life at the Libby," conveys but a feint conception. The rations consist of hard tack (except where it is completely excavated by worms) meat once a day, and a kind of slop in the morning which the Yankees politely style coffee. No fire has yet been allowed in the quarters of the officers, although the weather has been quite severe.

All the private soldiers heretofore confined In the fort have been sent off to Point Lookout, on the eastern shore of Maryland--a cold, dreary, and bleak place in the winter season. On the day that the last instalment was sent off one of them was observed by a humane surgeon to be nearly destitute of pants, and in a cold, shivering condition.--The surgeon ran off to his quarters and got a pair of his own pants, and, coming back, asked permission of the Lieutenant of the guard to present them to the destitute prisoner. The Lieutenant's reply was, "No, sir; the clothes he has on are a d — d sight better than he deserves."

On one occasion the steward of the hospital lost some money, and one of our Surgeons being found outside of his quarters when it was missed he was instantly accused of having stolen it, and forthwith thrust into the stocks, where he was kept until he fainted. He was thrown into what is known as the "middle room," a place used for the confinement of cut-throats and thieves of the Yankee army, whose crimes are base enough to require punishment even in Yankee eyes.--Here he was kept until the day before the Surgeons were sent off, when he was turned out nearly naked, not having clothes enough upon his person to cover his nakedness.--This young man, who is now in Richmond, is a son of a prominent citizen of the Valley of Virginia, and the charge of theft against him was as false as his treatment was cruel and barbarous.

These are a few of the statements received from Fort McHenry, where perhaps Confederate prisoners are better treated than in any other prison of the North, because the prisoners confined there are mostly officers.

At Fort Delaware the treatment of private soldiers, who are unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of the enemy, fare much worse. One of the returned Surgeons from this bastille says that at one time last summer they had nine thousand prisoners crowded into quarters which were insufficient for the comfortable accommodation of 2,000 men, and that the suffering among them was indescribable.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Newell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: