Thursday, January 23, 2014


A young Confederate P.O.W.
at Fort Delaware. (C.D.V., M.D.
Jones collection)
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
Jan. 28, 1864
The prisoners of the North.
          It is interesting to the friends of Confederates in prison at the North, to know where the prisoners are located, and with what degree of humanity their inmates are treated. A returned prisoner who has tried them all, writes the following description of their accommodations:
          Fort McHenry is situated on a peninsula in Baltimore city harbor, exposed to the bleak winds that blows from the Chesapeake Bay. It is very uncomfortable in every way. The officers are quartered in tolerably good buildings, but the privates of our army suffer terribly. There is generally some three or four hundred of our men here, it is , however, but a depot for Johnson's Island and Point Lookout, and they are not allowed to accumulate. Here, however, some eighty surgeons, left at Gettysburg by Gen-Lee, were confined for five months in the hay loft of a stable.
           Point Lookout is in the Chesapeake Bay, just where the Potomac river empties into that stream. The quarters here are safeguards against cold and tempest, but the other accommodations are scant and meagre. The food is bad, but this is not the fault of the United States Government--it is the fault of the sergeants, &c. They speculate upon the rations. The small-pox had appeared here, and there were quite a number of cases.
          David Island, near New York, was a very good place for our wounded. The Samaritans of New York, obtaining provisions, furnished our men with food, clothing and money, in great profusion. It is a singular fact, that the further a man goes North the better he is treated. It is explainable, however, in the fact, that what is criminal in a lady of Baltimore is simply an act of charity in a lady of New York. Our men at David Island, I can assure their friends, were treated as kindly as if they were at home.
          Johnson's Island has already been fully described by other writers. It is situated in Sandusky Bay, and is used exclusively for our officers. They make themselves as comfortable and as happy as possible. They have their dramatic societies, etc. A number of our officers are, however, in ball and chain, and many of them have over their heads sentences of death and endless imprisonment. The quarters are most comfortable, and there is no danger of any one suffering with the cold.
            West Hospital Building, Baltimore city, is in the Union block, and is the worst place a Confederate could be carried. He, if wounded, is shown to a comfortable bed; but at its head is a picture of McClellan whipping Lee before Richmond, and over him hangs the confounded Stars and Stripes Hail Columbia is his breakfast and Yankee Doodle sounds in his ear the balance of the day.
            Everything is most loyal. The very bricks he treads upon are red, white and blue, and the whole concern is presided over by the pinions of the American eagle. This nonsense may be unappreciated by those who have not been there. I will leave those who have been there to explain. Dr. Rex, the surgeon in charge while I was there, was a strict officer — he obeyed to the letter the order of his master, Schenck. The Confederate Government has outlawed Butler, pronouncing him unfit to be on earth. Those who have been under him pronounce Schenck to be unfit for hell.
           Besides these above named there are numerous prisons in which our prisoners are confined. The bastile, Fort Warren; the chateau d'lf, Fort Lafayette; the castle d' Vincennes, Baltimore jail; all of which are filled with Confederate soldiers and sympathizers. You have not seen into any of these prisons, but you have seen our prison Libby, at Richmond. It is a palace alongside of any that I have mentioned, and after five months spent in the prisons of the North, on a visit to Libby I said, "Oh, that my lot was cast in such pleasant places."

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