MY EXPERIENCE In the Confederate Army and in Northern Prisons

No. 1333
Copyrighted 1917

(Reprinted 1994 by great-granddaughter of John R. King, Martha Stump Benson, (Address and phone on file, e-mail provided above)


I want to explain why I am writing this little sketch. In the
first place I have never seen anything written about life in Northern
Prisons and have always had a great desire that the world be better
informed regarding the treatment of prisoners during the war.
No doubt many of my comrades in prison could have written about
our prison life much better than I, but it seems none of them
have ever made the attempt. My own children and grandchildren
have often expressed a desire that I write my experience, and
last but not least, I can say the real cause of my undertaking
such a thing is that my cousin, Mrs. George C. Stone, of Clarksburg,
President of the Stonewall Jackson Chapter, United Daughters of
the Confederacy, has desired me to write something of this nature
for their chapter; this I have done to the best of my ability
and will cheerfully give it into the hands of their Historian,
hoping that it may have something in it worthy of publication.

Being a carpenter by trade I can use a saw and square much better
than I can a pen, but in writing this there is one particular
thing which has helped me more than anything else, and that is,
I have an excellent memory. This is a blessing to me. I could
have written a great deal more from memory, but have written only
some of the most important happenings. Many things happened every
day in the army and in the prisons of which I might have spoken
and which would be new to the younger people. I could have told
how we built breastworks, how we fortified and picketed along
the Rapidan, how pickets were captured on post and how, while
we were building breastworks at Germania Fort, there was a religious
revival going on behind us in the pine woods. I could have told
about our camping on the Chancellorsville Battlefield, walking
over the ground where our beloved Stonewall Jackson fell and how
we saw human skulls and human bones bleaching on top of the ground.
I might have told of many painful sights on battlefields in the
midst of shot and shell and mangled human beings, of death bed
scenes in prison, meetings and partings on battlefields, of messages
to loved ones at home and many other minor happenings, but it
was too much of an undertaking for my awkward pen and so I ended
with my return home. If all who were in the war and in the various
prisoners were to write their experiences, there would be much
work for the publishers.

There have been all sorts or reports abroad ever since the Civil
War in regard to the feeding and general treatment of Southern
prisoners in Northern Prisons and I will say here, as I said before,
I was one of these prisoners for more than a year and what I have
stated in this little sketch is all from actual experience and
from my own observation; it is absolutely true.

I could have made our sufferings and many other things which
I mentioned a great deal blacker and more bitter, but my aim has
been to give everyone all the credit they deserve, for I feel
a number of our officers in charge of the prisons had the welfare
of the prisoners at heart; however, they were in a position where
they could not prevent our suffering. I have often looked back
over the period just after the close of the war when the poor
confederate soldiers were sent home to face the world without
money, often without credit and with but few clothes. They were
not allowed to vote, had to pay taxes, could expect no pension,
often crippled. It was a gloomy outlook, but I have lived to see
the confederate veterans honored everywhere, thousands of them
have fine homes of their own, they are surrounded with the comforts
of life, our dear old southland has come to the front and has
prospered beyond what the fondest heart ever expected to see.
I have had a great desire ever since the close of the Civil War
that people in general and my own children in particular might
be better informed regarding the South and the Southern side of
the Civil War. In this little sketch I have endeavored to uphold
our Southern side and to create a respect for the South and for
Southern people as I do at all times. None have ever done more
in uplifting the South and creating a universal respect for her
people than the noble Southern women. In all ages women have been
heroic in war and in suffering and I can say in truth that our
own dear Southern women bore their share of privations and suffering
with a heroism born in the South and it does my heart good to
speak of our dear children, the Daughters of the Confederacy,
who have pledged the best of their lives and have banded together
for the good work of uplifting and aiding the south, caring for
our old veterans, their widows and orphans. Surely God will reward
them for their unselfish work and I will pray that God may protect
everyone of them and bless them in all their efforts.

Finally, to my honored cousin Mrs. George C. Stone, I respectfully
present this little sketch and sincerely hope that she may find
something in this that may be suitable for publication.

John R. King, Roanoke, W. Va., February, 1916



I was not lucky in having an education, but will try to the best
of my ability to write of some experiences in the Civil War.

To begin with I was born in Marion Co., Virginia, on the 8th
day of April, 1842. Brother Cyrus was born in the same County
on the 5th day of December, 1838. My father moved from Marion
to Upsher Co., Va., in April, 1861. We were Democrats, but my
father was a Union man until Virginia seceded. Being a loyal son
of the Old Dominion State, he then became one of the South, and
there-by suffered for his loyalty to the good old Mother State.
The majority of the people of Upsher County were loyal to the
North. Sometimes we were looked on with suspicion and often insulted.
Once my brother Cyrus was mobbed at the church door; also stoned
and in July, 1862, my father, brother Cyrus and myself were hoeing
cane at home when we saw one of our neighbors and a few Yankee
Soldiers coming towards us. They surrounded us, took us with some
others to Buckhannon before Gen. Rosecrans, and compelled us to
take the oath of allegiance to the United States; one can easily
see that we were never safe at home.

Early in May, 1863, Cyrus and I started for Dixie. It was hard
for us to leave kind parents, good brothers and sisters. We went
by way of Beverly, W. Va., and others joined us making in all
ten bound for Dixie. One big fellow was a confederate Soldier
and carried a Belgian rifle. A short distance from Beverly we
met a Yankee cavalryman. One of our boys whom we had sent a little
distance in advance said a few words to the man, then came back
to inform us that we were in danger. We hastened to the mountains
and a few minutes later we saw about 175 horse-men come thundering
down out of Beverly. We hurried up the hill and the Yankees were
not far behind us. Fortunately the top of the hill had been fortified,
they had cut down the bushes and thrown all the brush across a
deep sharp ravine making a fine, heavy covering for it. Upon seeing
this secluded spot we all crept in and were completely hidden
from view. Many of the soldiers came very close to where we lay,
but we were quiet in our narrow quarters. They soon disappeared
and then we went a few miles into the woods, came down the pike
and stayed all night at Mr. Crawford’s. The next day we went to
Mr. White’s who lived on the top of Cheat Mountain; then we went
to Yeager’s on the top of the Allegheny mountains, the next day
to Monterey, Highland co., Va., and stayed there about a week.
We heard our regiment was coming back from the Imboden Raid and
would be at White Sulphur Springs, Va. We volunteered in Co. B.
25" Va. Infantry. That regiment and the 31" Va. regiment
had been taken from R. E. Lee’s Army and sent with Imboden’s army
to W. Va.

Our captain was W. H. Fitchett; Colonel John C. Higginbotham
who was the first captain of our company; Brigade Commander, J.
M. Jones; Division commander, Edward Johnson; Corps commander,
General Ewell, the same division and corps that Stonewall Jackson
formerly commanded. We were all under our beloved R. E. Lee, called
the Army of Northern Virginia. Our company was called the Upsher
Grays. After taking a fine bath in the warm springs we moved on
by way of Bath Alum Springs to Buffalo Gap, W. Va. We stopped
there a few days and held an election in the army. We elected
Extra Billy Smith for Governor of Virginia to succeed Gov. Letcher.
Extra Billy was a Brigadier General and commanded the Brigade
that our 25" regiment was in during part of the war. We also
elected our Lieut. Colonel Robinson to represent some of our West
Virginia Counties in the Virgina legislature.

When this was completed we went to Staunton, Va., and took the
train for Hanover Junction and then went to Fredericksburg; there
we found R. E. Lee’s main army. They had just fought the battle
of Chancellorsville and we all know what happened there. A day
or two before we moved from this place Extra Bill Smith left us
and before leaving he made a little speech. He said: "Boys,
I am sorry to part with you. You are good soldiers. I like to
have good brave fellows around me like you. It makes me feel so
darn’d strong." That is all he said. We all cheered him for
he was a good fighter. Then the army started on a long march across
the Blue Ridge, the beginning of that memorable campaign into
Pennsylvania and to Gettysburg. After several days marching we
arrived at Winchester, Va., and found General Milroy holding the
town. Our corps was the only one that crossed the mountains in
that direction. Longstreet’s and Hill’s corps went to the Potomac
river in another direction, so we had to attack Milroy with Ewell’s
corps. This was in June. On the evening of the first day we began
fighting and we continued that night, the next day and the next
night, then very early in the morning of the third day the big
flag on Milroy’s Fort was taken down. We took many prisoners and
a quantity of army stores. This was my first taste of battle and
I wish you could have seen me dodge the first shell. If a hole
had been near I would have disappeared. I would like to impress
no your minds that I had a fine brave heart, and a pair of legs
that had a wonderful inclination towards carrying my body out
of danger, but I succeeded in coaxing them to stay with the crowd.

Here I will tell you of some things that happened during the
battle. On the second day our regiment was deployed on a long
line on a low ridge some distance east of Winchester, near the
Front Royal Road. We were Sharpshooters. Our company was in front
of a large farmhouse and near the noon hour a middle aged woman
came out on the firing line and with her there came a beautiful
young southern girl 17 or 18 years of age. About a mile to our
left a long skirmish line moved slowly down the slopes of the
same hill on which we were stationed. We looked across a beautiful
little valley and saw a fine body of Yankee Cavalry coming to
meet the thin line of skirmishers. The beautiful young girl looked
too and began to lament saying: "Oh, dear, dear, all our
poor men will be killed." Then some one told her to look
out on the crest of the hill. She looked and saw Stuart’s North
Carolina Brigade coming out of the woods, a gray line a mile long;
on they came closer and closer, then the little line of skirmishers
fired a volley and fell back to the main line, on came the Cavalry,
on came the low, gray line; suddenly we saw the infantry halt
and we heard one mighty volley from their guns. The Cavalry reeled
and fled with several empty saddles; then our southern girl became
wild with joy, she said: "Do let me hollo." Some one
said, "Well, hollo all you want to." She certainly did
hollo and clap her hands. The other lady was her aunt. She said
to the girl: "Why Annie, ain’t you ashamed?" The next
morning we went quickly into Winchester. We saw a large old lady
on a porch bouncing from one end to the other, clapping her hands
and shouting: "Thank the Lord, Milroy is gone." We stayed
around Winchester for a few days caring for the wounded, burying
the dead, gathering guns and other stuff off the battlefield.

We moved on down the valley to Shepherdstown and here we met
a company belonging to some of our regiments that had secured
a leave of absence and were staying at their own homes in the
town. We saw a dear mother, sister or wife, come out and meet
them and it was good to see the joy of their meeting; but then,
perhaps, at the next house, someone would go to a dear old mother
and speak gently, she would clasp her hands and loft her eyes
to heaven, touched with grief, for she knew the ground had closed
over her sunny haired southern boy forever. After pasing through
that town we waded the Potomac and camped for a day or so on the
Antietam Battlefield, then went on through Hagerstown and Greencastle
where we saw a pretty young girl standing on a portico holding
a small United States flag in her hand. She taunted us with it
and some were not courtous to her. We went ahead to Chambersburtg
and our regiment patrolled the town for a day and a night. It
was necessary to guard the place to keep order . I remember I
did a fine job guarding a bed of onions just long enough to pull
all I wanted for my own use, and I gave some to others who were
not so skillful in climbing palings as I was. We went from that
town to Shippensburg, and on to Carlisle, Pa, then turned to the
right and went to Gettysburg. General Lee gave us orders not to
destroy or molest private property. Any farmer could have a guard
for his house if he asked for one. I know this to be true for
I did that kind of guarding myself. We reached Gettysburg on the
evening of the 1st of July. There had been hard fighting before
we arrived. We saw some gruesome sights in the railroad cut near
where Gen. Reynolds was killed. Men’s heads were torn from the
bodies, legs and arms torn asunder and horses lying around mutilated.
It took courage to face these things. We passed through Gettysburg
that same evening and lay in line of battle under the guns on
Cemetery Ridge; the next day our division stormed Culp’s Hill,
and that evening late moved into the Valley of Death, then on
the third day while Pickett was making his terrible charge and
the battle was raging everywhere, we were holding our position
among the rocks under the murderous fire from Little Round Top.
My brother Cyrus was badly wounded in his right arm, so I removed
him from the battlefield under the fire of the cannons, musketry
and bursting of shells. It is due to the hand of a Divine Providence
that we were not both killed for the cannon balls bored into the
ground so close we thought sometimes we would be covered. I left
my brother on the top of the hill and went back to the line of
battle. Again it fell on me to take another one of our company
off the battlefield, but fortunately I was never hurt. About midnight
on the 3rd of July, Gen. Lee began to fall back. We lay all day,
the 4th, just a little west of the battlefield when we finally
fell back to Virginia. All the wounded had to be left in Pennsylvania
Co., (NOTE at top of page; "read Pittsylvania.") and
Rockingham Co. Va., arriving home in June, 1865, a few days before
my return.

Some of the Northern people had peculiar ideas concerning us;
while we were patrolling Chambersburg, we conversed with people
at different places. Some would say: "Why, we didn’t think
there were so many people in the South." And only a small
part of Lee’s army went to Chambersburg. At another house while
conversing one of them looked closely at us and said: "Why,
I didn’t know the Southern people looked like our people. You
fellows look just like us." Then Bill Lawhorne, a rough fellow
and one of our own company said: "What did you think we looked
like? Did you imagine we all had horns and tails like wild beasts?"
It seemed strange that anyone could know so little about the South.

Now, I will speak of our march back from Gettysburg to Virginia.
On the morning of the fifth of July we were called in line and
were standing by the roadside when Gen. Lee and most of the higher
officers of the army of Northern Va. rode up and stood in a group
near us. Gen. Lee said to Gen. Ewell: "You will march in
the rear and if the enemy comes up, give him battle and I will
go ahead and open the way." We marched in the rear all the
way back to Virginia; the enemy in small bodies would attack our
rear every day, but they did us little harm. A laughable thing
happened one evening. A big negro rode up on one of the officer’s
horses to a pump by the roadside where a great many of the soldiers
procured water. He was feeling his importance and making himself
conspicious when a shot from one of the enemy’s cannons very gracefully
knocked the pumpstick off. It was a beautiful sight to see that
Mr. Nigger taking his leave; about all we could see was a black
streak vanishing in the distance. We went ahead for several days
with about the same discouragements and finally stopped at Hagerstown,
and skirmished with the enemy for several days.

Finally, one evening several of our regiment were detailed to
go to Williamsport and bake a quantity of bread, so Bill Lawhorne
and myself from co. "B" went. We found a shed in a lumber
yard in the edge of the town where some barrels of flour had been
left. We didn’t have any vessels for cooking, but we knew a few
things about shifting for ourselves, so we went to work with a
determination. Bill Lawthorne spread an oil cloth which we used
in rainy weather on the ground, piled flour out of the barrel
on it, put salt and soda in it and mixed it while I prepared the
fire. I gathered pieces of barrel heads and scraps of boards,
these I placed on the ground. Bill spread the dough out on them
and set the boards in front of the fire. When one side was cooked
I would then turn my cake over and bake the other side. We soon
had a fine lot of bread. It certainly tasted good to us for we
weren’t troubled with gout on account of luxurious living. While
I was baking Gen. A. P. Hill’s Corps passed along the road by
the fire, so we had to watch the bread continually. We couldn’t
afford to give them any, our own hungry fellows needing it too
badly. One fellow finally slipped one of my best cakes. I tried
to forgive him for I knew that he was hungry. That night was very
dark and rainy. Toward morning some one told us our regiment was
passing through the town. We packed the bread so we could carry
it conveniently and waded in the mud and through the darkness
until we found our regiment. On reaching the upper end of the
town we could see a long line of men wading in the Potomic River.
It was just break of day and it was terrible to see the men in
the big river with only their heads above water, but we joined
them and continued our march. Orders had been given that the ammunition
be kept dry. I placed the cartridge box up on my shoulder and
held my load of bread as high above the water as possible. The
boys cried out, "For God’s sake King, take care of the bread."
It was not surprising that they were uneasy about the bread as
the water came to the level of my shoulders. How ever, we crossed
safely, many of the boys prayed and some of them used Sunday School
words in the wrong place. On leaving home my father gave me a
pocket Bible which I carried on my side breast pocket. After reading
it I enclosed it in a tight oilcloth case, and though the water
submerged my pocket, the outside leaves only were damaged. I number
it among my treasures today. Ewell’s Corps was the only one that
waded but the water was warm. We rejoiced to be again on Virginia’s

We stayed in Martinsburg two weeks during which time we destroyed
much of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. After the close of the
was I came home over that road, and at Martinsburg I recognized
the same rails replaced; they were still red and rusty from being
in the fire which we made by piling crossties, laying the rails
on top of them and setting the ties on fire; when the rails were
red hot the ends would fall to the ground. I almost felt ashamed
of myself when I saw them straightened out and I was riding home
over them, but such is war.

Gen. Bradly T. Johnson was in command of our Brigade for several
months after the battle of Gettysburg, Gen. J. M. Jones being
disabled. From Martinsburg we went by Bunker Hill to Winchester
and then from there to Front Royal where we had a little brush
with the Yankees. We then went on up the river to near Luray,
crossed the Blue Ridge into Madison County, Va., thence to Montpelier
Place, Presidents Madison’s old home near Orange Court House,
where we remained in camp three months. Our camping ground was
well located near the orchard which constantly caused us to hunger
for apples, when they were sufficiently ripe and roasting ears
and beans were ready to tempt us, the officers sent men to patrol
the country, and if one of us was caught prowling around without
a pass from Bradley T. Johnson, we were arrested, taken before
the officers and punished by having to ride a wooden horse several
hours each day or some other punishment as disagreeable. I had
been running around much before the patrol was started, so one
day Henry Hoover, one of my company, said he would write me a
pass if I would get some apples. He imitated Gen. Johnson’s handwriting
and with my bogus pass I started toward Gordensville. Seeing a
big orchard in front of me, I hastened to it and just as I was
walking through a big arched gateway the patrol seized me. Knowing
each man for they were of our own regiment I was afraid to show
my pass, so I sat down on a log and wondered what I could do.
Finally taking it from my pocket I handed it to Lieut. Yancy and
said, "Here is some kind of a paper I received this morning.
I cannot read very well and I thought I would show it to you.
After reading the pass he smiled and said, "Why, you dam’d
fool, this is a pass from Gen. Johnson. You get back to camp and
don’t let me catch you out here again." I returned in a round
about way, got a few apples and roasting ears and did not go in
that direction any more, but across the pike from our camp was
a big cornfield with a large quantity of tempting roasting ears
and beans, guards were placed in the field and orders read to
the regiment while on dress parade. I being on guard duty did
not hear the orders read, but had been told of them; nevertheless,
I went one day armed with haver sack and a good appetite with
the intention of getting a fine mess of corn and beans and perhaps,
some apples. I was getting along nicely when a guard approached
from the 50" Va. regiment. Danger surrounded me, but the
guard was a good fellow and lucky for me, his own captain as officer
of the day in our Brigade that day. I was taken before the captain
and he asked me to what regiment I belonged. I told him to the
25". He said, "Didn’t you hear the orders read to keep
out of the cornfield? " I said, "I didn’t. His reply
was. "Your Colonel is too good an officer not to have had
such orders read to the regiment." "I must have been
on guard somewhere at the time," I said, which was true.
Then the Captain said, "What did you go into the cornfield
for anyhow?" I said, "Because I wanted some roasting
ears to eat." He said, "Did you get any?" I said,
"Yes, a few." I showed them to him, he laughed and said,
"Oh, your too honest, go back to your regiment and keep your
corn." That was my last thiefing trip. We stayed in our camp
until October and got well rested, but didn’t fatten very much.
I suppose indigestion kept us thin.

The family burial ground of President Madison was near our camp.
I often walked through the enclosure. The momument erected to
his memory is a plain base of granite, something like 8 feet square
with a 4 foot square tapered shaft 20 feet high, with James Madison,
his birth and death only engraved upon it. A beautiful white slab
marks the burial place of his wife.

In October we broke camp and marched to Bristow station near
Manasses on the Orange and Alexanderia R. R. For several days
part of our army watched the Yankees while others destroyed much
of the Orange and Alexanderia R. R. When the bars were red hot
they were bent around telegraph poles. Later we camped for a week
or two at Brandy Station near the same railroad. Some of our cavalry
had a little skirmish with the enemy before we arrived in which
a few men had been killed. We had been getting our drinking water
at a little run and were ordeed to stop using that water for they
found a dead Yankee lying in the run in the woods a short distance
above where we procured drinking water. This caused much discomfort.
While in camp Wat Kirk, Bill Jarvis, and myself were ordered to
guard the Gen. Jones headquarters. Jarvis was a sergeant. We went
on post at evening, knowing we ought to guard the rail fence near,
we didn’t burn any rails. I was a cool drizzly night, the guard
before us had made fire, so we kept a small fire by adding pieces
of rails and stumps. Captain Cleary was on the General Staff,
He was a tall egotistic fellow and none of us liked him. In the
morning he had the three of us put under arrest and sent to the
guard house, whiere we were prisoners for a few days. We were
then tried before the Military Court. The judge advocate was our
own Captain Fitchett, a fine fellow. Captain Cleary entered the
courtroom with a pompous air and read his charge accusing us of
burning rails while on guard. Then Capt. Fitchett said to us,
"You are privileged to ask questions! The others were silent.
Spunking up to Capt. Cleary I asked, "Have you seen us burning
rails or disobeying other orders while on post.?" He said,
he had not, but he thought we had been. I looked at our judge
and he smiled. We were honorable discharged and went back to our

After that we went in camp a short distance below Orange Court
House. By this time the weather was beginning to grow cold, and
we had nothing so far but small shelter tents, dog tents we called
them. We crawled into the tents and spread down and old blanket
or oilcloth on the frozen ground, but owing to the hard bed and
cold we slept but little. There were three in our tent, one of
us, Joe Paugh by name was a big boyish fellow who slept in the
middle. I think he had the longest, hardest back and legs of any
man whith whom I ever slept. In the morning we left our prints
in the mud where we had thawed the frozen ground. The latter part
of November we went to Mine Run, and quarreled with some Yankees
who had crossed the Rappanhannock River, charging the enemy in
the woods near Payne’s farm. We soon found their line concealed
in some thick red brush, they sprang up within 20 feet of us and
fired. My, but the bullets passed affectionately over our heads.
A big fellow by the name of Hoy Reger, in front of me saw a gun
leveled at him, he cried sharply, "Look out, King,"
at the same time ducking his head under his cap, the crown of
which was stuffed with cotton and stuck out like a rabbit’s tail.
I dodged quickly behind a tree and had Reger not yelled sharply
at me I would have been killed. The next day we made breast works
on the hills along Mine Run and the Rebels and Yankee cannonaded
one another after the worked was completed. That night was very
cold and our company stood picket down below the works anmong
the pines. We kept a fire by burning pine knots, and the next
morning we were so black from the smoke that we hardly recognized
one another. After much cannonading, the Yankees recrossed the
river, and a number were killed during the fighting. Then we retirned
to Orange Court House, and went into camp near the one we left.

Before going further I will tell you about one of the greatest
charges I ever experienced, which took place when we were returning
from our trouble with the enemy at Bristow Station. After marching
all day with nothing to eat except a few roasting ears which we
nabbed while going along, we went into camp in the evening in
a bad humor, we were hungry and cold and had to keep our fires
by piling on limbs and brush. I was unlucky in having the back
of my jacket burnt up to my collar. The next morning we were very
hungry and there was a seven acre cornfield near our camp, which
was guarded at night, when in line ready to march we were ordered
to stack arms, then we were commanded, "Right face, Forward,
march, Break" and we soon knew what was up. No General ever
saw a finer charge for every one of us made for that cornfield.
Myself and another longlegged fellow sailed through the field
to the far side and came back pulling ears. We got a fine lot
of corn. The charge was soon over, the cornfield completely subdued
and no one was hurt. My exertion was useless for the officers
made all divide equally. Then we went back to the fire to cook
it. We had no cooking utensils near, so we set the ears on end
in the fire and built a little pen of sticks around them. When
we marched away we could have been tracked for miles by the cobs.
Our Brigade of six regiments only was in in charge in the cornfield.

The first of December we began to prepare for a large brick church
a short distance below Orange Court House. The church was called
Pisgah church. Therefore, our winter camp was called Camp Pisgah.
We suffered intensely with the cold it being near Christmas before
our shanties were completed. We were along the Rapidan River eight
miles away doing guard duty, drilling, cleaning our guns, attending
dress parade and many other things necesaary to a winter camp;
frequently lady relatives made us glad by the presence of their
gentle faces. The winter passed slowly and we were glad when the
spring of 1864 came with its usual smiles. Our army moved in the
direction of Mine Run early in May and rested near where the first
battle of the wilderness began. This brings to my memory a neighbor
in Upshur county who went with us to Dixie, and a kinder more
faithful comrade no one ever had. On the evening of the 4th our
rations did not arrive until late in the night and it was necessary
to cook them before retiring. Three of us messed together, myself,
Jerry Paugh, and Sam Lynch; Sam told Jerry and me to lie down
and sleep until midnight. When we woke he had finished the cooking
for all. We reproved him for not calling us and he said we were
sleeping too soundly to be disturbed. It was a pleasure to come
in contact with a man so kind and affectionate.

The next day was the memorable 5th of May, 1864, the beginning
of the bloody battles in the Wilderness. We were called in line
early in the day and met Grant’s army on the old stone road leading
from Orange Court House to Fredericksburg, there we had a severe
battle. Our regiment was always deployed in front of our lines
of battle as skirmishers and sharpshooters. A skirmish line is
made by a regiment deploying, that is a regiment forms a thin
line with each man 5 spaces apart. Our business was to watch the
enemy and keep their skirmish line back as long as possible consequently
we faced the enemy. If we succeeded in holding them back we were
to fall behind the line of the battle and form our regiment, then
take our place in line with the others. Soon after we deployed
the skirmishers advanced on us. We met them with vim and they
fell back, on they came the second time with a double skirmish
line. We sent them back again. Just then General Battles Alabanious
threw forward a skirmish line to assist us. In a few minutes the
foe appeared with a double line of skirmishers and a line of battle.
We poured into them with our two skirmishers and they fell back
again leaving a few dead. Phill Crites, a big robust fellow in
our company, seeing two dead Yankees in front of us, concluded
he would examine their knaapsacks. It was a mean trick and the
officers warned him, but he did not listen and as he was stooping
over the dead man he was shot and fell badly wounded. At once
four of our Company went to him, Sam Lynch, My dear classmate,
also went, not belonging to the ambulence corps it was unnecessary
for him to go. I said, "Sam, don’t go," but he set his
gun against a tree and went and as the four were ready to remove
Crites, bullets came from sharpshooters on the other side, and
Lynch fell desperately wounded. I loved my comrade so well that
I was strongly tempted to try and carry him off, but I knew it
meant death. One of our ambulance corps saw the poor boy die where
he lay a few hours afterwards, and his death hurt me worse than
any other in the war. Soon after Lynch fell, the other enemy came
upon us with a double skirmish line and a double line of battle
and our men scattered. We were ordered to fall back in the rear
of our line of battle and from our regiment as we usually did,
but while we were still stretched out in our long thin line and
the enemy was right on us, our Brigade rallied; another line of
battle came up to assist us, and the Yankees were badly defeated.
Our Colonel was so badly hurt over the way the rest of the Brigade
left us on the skirmish line that he refused to stay with the
Brigade, so Gen. Ewell told him to take what was left of the regiment
and go to Hay’s Louisana Brigade. The Company of Zouaves, called
the Louisana Tigers, were in one of the regiments in that Brigade
and we were with them a few days during which some hard fighting
took place. One day two of our Regiments were taken near Germania
Ford, along the Rapidan River, by Gen. Long, an artillery General,
to do some scouting in the woods and find out, whether or not,
the enemy might be in the thicket near our rear. We shelled the
woods to some extent and fired a few shots at single horsemen
to see them run; then we deployed and tried to penetrate the dense
thickets, but we were not successful and returned to the line
of battle in the evening. The Wilderness is the place where so
many soldiers met the "Unseen Death," as it is called
in history. It was rightly named for there was such a wilderness
of undergrowth and vines in which the soldiers could hide, that
a bullet would often strike a poor fellow and no one could tell
from whence it came.

Lee held his position all along the line so that our Army kept
moving on the right parallel to Grants’s Army as far as Spottsylvania
Court House, where we took a position and made breastworks. The
part of the breastworks called in history, "The Bloody Angle,"
was in the shape of a horseshoe and our Brigade occupied the toe.
On the evening of the10th of May a Brigade from Georgia gave way
in the wing of the works and those on the left were ordered to
assist them in taking their position which we accomplished in
a short time. Our colonel was killed in the battle. When we returned
to our place in the Angle, some one had left a flat cake while
resting against the breastworks where I had stood. We never were
overloaded with eatables, so by hard work I stuffed Mr. Flatcake
into my knapsack. Some of them laughed at me thinking it might
be dirty. I will tell you more of Mr. Cake later. Being in the
right side of the toe of the horseshoe, we were in constant danger
of being injured by the enemy’s fire. On our left every few minutes
a shot of some kind endangered us, so we made a row of breastworks
behind us and some crosswise which added to our safety. Picketing
with the enemy continued until the 12" of May, a misty morning,
when just a little after the break of day the enemy attacked us
with an overwhelming force. One line came in front which we annihilated,
another line came and broke over the breastworks at the center
of the horseshoe while we were pouring it to the line in front.
Standing on the big breastworks in the rear was a long line of
Yankee soldiers with bayonets pointing at us, saying: "Boys,
Surrender!" They never fired again, but stood looking at
us good naturedly. Of course we had to throw down our guns. Our
men had run a battery of Artillery in front of the breastworks
and before they could unlimber, the Yankees were upon them. The
greater number made their escape through a gap in the breastworks,
but one small Artillery man coming up the gap without hat and
coat, started through the head of the flanking column unarmed
and said: "I surrender, Don’t kill me." Suddenly a big
sturdy fellow by the name of Woodsides belonging to Company "A",
of our regiment brought his gun to his shoulder and shot the Yankee.
The other Yankee never troubled him for this and that little Artillery
man was so glad his life had been saved, he clung to Woodsides’
arm like a child. While this was happening a young giant by the
name of John Keener, belonging to Company "A", also
refused to surrender. I yelled at him to surrender or he would
be killed, then some one fired and we saw him throw his arms across
his breast and fall on his face. We all thought he was killed
but two weeks later when on a steamer going to Point Lookout,
I saw a man lying on the deck. It was John Keener. I said: "I
thought you were killed at Spottyslvania." He said: "I
thought so too at first." His girl’s picture in his side
pocket had miraculously saved him. It was in a case and the bullet
that might have penetrated his heart, glanced on the picture and
ploughed through the flesh on his breast. What noble creatures
the young girls are. Isn’t it marvelous how their pretty faces
can save a man’s life? God bless them. They are precious everywhere.

We were fortunate in not loosing a man in our regiment. That
same day one of our men, John Gaitrel by name, a big strong fellow,
saw the flanking column coming and made his excape to the rear.
The rest of us threw down our guns and were hurried over the breastworks,
there in front of our lines we saw dead men, two and three in
a pile. Oh, what a pitiful sight. It became necessary to jump
over many of them as we hurried along in advance of our captors.
They paid a fearful price for us. A short distance from our breastworks
I passed a fine manly looking soldier who belonged in the storming
column. He was looking at the lock of his gun, when suddenly he
staggered and fell at my feet to raise no more. Immediately after
we were taken from our breastworks another confederate line came
up and drove out the Yankees. The fight continued all day, but
our breastworks were not removed, as we were being taken through
the Yankee lines we passed the through at least two more lines
of battle which had been kept in reserve in order to support the
two lines that had attacked us. Those near were disorderly. It
seemed as if every fellow thought he should assist in taking the
prisoners, 3000 of us to the rear. Myself and others of our Company
enraged because we were taken did rash things. With a big sharp
knife in hand I cut and slashed around in a disorderly way, until
a very young Yankee boy appeared who looked up into my face so
kindly and lovingly and spoke so gentle to me that my foolish
anger vanished. He was as pretty as a girl and we became good
friends. Dear boy, I wish I knew if he were living today. He said
the Jonies were brave and courageous and that the Yankees had
left a man on the battlefield for every prisoner they had taken.

I was told that where the flanking column broke through our breastworks,
men were piled as many as seven deep, all dead. It was part of
our Brigade that occupied that place. We were conducted into an
old field where we remained during the night. Here we found the
greater number of our Regiment who had been made prisoners on
the 5th of May in the wilderness. They were very hungry having
had little to eat for four or five days and here is where Mr.
Flat Cake came in advantageously. I divided it among old comrades
and it appeased their hunger to some extent. We started for Fredericksburg
in the morning and on the way we passed through a Brigade of impudent
negroes officered by white men who were going to the front. They
boasted that they expected to capture the rest of us. Our boys
informed them they would find the rest of us waiting which they
did to their sorrow, for those same negroes were shoved into the
most dangerous places and the Rebels killed them by hundreds without
mercy. We reached Fredericksburg, crossed the Rappanhannock river
on pantoons and went through King George Co., to Belle Plains,
on the Potomac river; here we remained a few days, then by boat
were taken to Point Lookout Prison in St. Mary’s Co., Maryland.
The 20th of May 1864, we marched through the big gate marked in
large letters, "Prisoners’ Camp." Now our campaigns
were ended and for more than a year we were to fight hunger, disease,
exposure and cruelty, a gloomy prospect indeed, for thousands
passed through that gate who never passed out alive again. I will
try to give you some idea of the prisons, the government, food,
clothing, guarding, etc. The prison at Point Lookout was located
on a narrow piece of ground about one quarter of a mile wide at
the mouth of the Potomac River. Here the river is ten miles in
width, the Chesapeak Bay on the other side of the prison more
than thirty miles. Our part of this prison embraced 30 or 40 acres
of ground surrounded by a ten foot wall which was a strong frame
work spiked with two inch plank on the inside, framed in with
the wall on the outside, three feet from the top was a parapet
or walk for the use of the sentinels. At certain distances on
the parapet small shelter houses were erected for the guards.
The inside was laid off in streets 20 feet running in the direction
of the River, they were ditched on both sides, and rows of round
or sibley tents were placed back on either side of the street.
Ten rows of tents each holding eighteen persons were in our camp.
A large section was laid off for hospital grounds and for various
other purposes. Another section which we called the officer’s
Bull Pen, the one in which we were placed, was vacant. Officers
had been confined there, but were separated from the privates
and kept in another Prison during our stay.

Captains, Lieutenants and all high officers were called commissioned
officers, all others from sergeants down were called noncommissioned
officers, and were left with the Privates. The prison was located
by the Bay with several gates leading to it, large open works
were constructed over the water 30 or 40 feet for closets, and
narrow passages were provided leading to them. At night all gates
were closed. The ground was not much above the water houses, seven
in all were built with the enclosures on foundations 3 or 4 feet
from the ground, at the side farthest from the bay ten rows of
tents, each row called a division, made a wide approach in front
of each cookhouse. I was in the tenth division which was nearest
the hospital ground. Several pumps afforded an abundance of clear
water, but it had an offensive odor and left a coating on tinware.
A dead line two or three hundred yards out in the water was made
by driving small logs in the mud with a pile driver, their ends
showing above water at low tide. It was very dangerous to swim
beyond this dead line. Many had been shot and not a few killed
for very trifling offenses. Two days out of every three we were
guarded by a gang of ignorant and cruelsome negroes.

Please do not think that I dislike the negroes as a race. Many
of them are my friends, but the negroes authority over the white
people and the defenceless prisoners suffered at their hands.
Numbers of scars were left on the frame work of the closets made
by negroes firing at the prisoners. The negro guard was very insolent
and delighted in tantalizing the prisoners, for some trifle affair,
we were often accused of disobedience and they would say, "Look
out, white man, the bottom rail is on top now, so you had better
be careful for my gun has been wanting to smoke at you all day!
Often their threats came true. Many times during the night, when
they quarreled with some poor fellow who had displeased them,
we in our tent hugged the ground very closely expecting to hear
a bullet sing at any moment. They meddled with many things that
did not concern them, always giving their orders in the most insolent

A tragedy took place at the cookhouse near our tent one day.
A negro stood near the gate leading to headquarters and one of
our prison comrades smuggled a watch into the prison which he
tried to sell to this negro. He said to him: "Don’t you want
to buy a watch?" The negro replied, "Yes, let me see
it." Handing ther watch to him, the negro leveled his gun,
saying: "If you don’t get away from here I will shoot you."
The man ran and reported to the white officers, a few days later
he saw the owner of the watch going into the cookhouse with a
hundred or more prisoners marching four ranks deep, so he fired
at the man. Missing the rank he was in, he fired at every man
in the rank next to him, two were shot through the body, one in
the arm and one in the hand. The two who were shot through the
body died, the other two lived. One was Joe Bridge of our Regiment
who was cared for in a hospital tent near us. A few of the negroes
who numbered more than a thousand knew their place and our white
guards were well liked. During the summer the Rebels were troublesome
in Virginia and many of those negroes were taken across the Potomac
to fight. When the news came that numbers were killed the negro
women in their tents wailed and mourned, after this they treated
us with more respect.

Now I will endeavor to tell you about our food and the manner
in which it was served. We were fed by the contractors, who were
paid a certain price for each man per day, so it can easily be
seen there was room for speculation. These contractors bought
damaged rations such as pickled pork, beef, etc., from the government
at a low price and they gave us barely enough to keep soul and
body together. The food was a little more satisfactory at Point
Lookout than at Elmira, New York. It was prepared in the different
cookhouses and placed on long tables ready to be carried to the
quarters. The meals were served twice a day, at 8 o’clock a. m.,
and at 3 p.m. A piece of light bread and a little beef or pork,
salt or fresh whichever was convenient was served in the morning
and evening, bread and soup in messpans. The bread for either
meal weighed when baked 3 ounces, the pork weighed about 2 ounces
and the beef three ounces, it was often bone and very little meat.
Hunger necessitated our eating this tainted food as we had nothing
else and the odor was very offensive. The pickled beef was often
tainted also, our soup was made either of potatoes, beans, onions
or a compound of cabbage, carrots, and other green garden vegetables
cooked and pressed into large squares for convenient handling.
If the soup was made of potatoes, beans and onions, the potatoes
were not peeled and the onions were not sorted and frequently
they were spoiled, when the blocks of pressed vegetables were
thrown in after the meat being cooked it was good, but the quantity
allotted to each only sharpened our appetites. Bathing in the
bay was a source of pleasure granted us and we certainly took
advantage of it. It was thick with bathers every day and it was
a great relief to stand on the beach and watch the ships and small
craft pass, some with a line and net waded in the water waist
deep and caught the big crabs. I sometimes went to the bottom
where the water was ten feet deep and found a few oysters to eat,
but they were poor and tough in the summer time. When the tide
was coming in the water was delightful, at the dead line we sat
on the post until the waves were highest, then we rode them to
the shore. We enjoyed the bathing until the middle of July, when
curious looking things called "Sea Nettles" appeared,
they must have had animal life in them for they grew from the
size of a penny to that of a breakfast plate, and they looked
somewhat like clear jelly, the edge resembled a white scalloped
squash the center being like that of a shallow bowl, appendages
nearly two feet long were on the edges and on the extremity of
these were small spots clustered together. It was amusing to watch
the bathers swim under one of these, the sting resembling that
of a nettle. They are said to be of the jelly fish family. Many
times I attemped to examine them, but upon being lifted out of
the water they separate into tiny particles. After a windy night
the beach at the edge of the water was slimy where the queer things
had been left by the receding tide.

We had a memorable Fourth of July of which I must speak. In the
rear of the hospital tents there were several rough wooden buildings
which were used as a kind of headquarters for the sergeant and
in these buildings all things sent to the prisoners were stored.
One of our prisoners, a big jolly fellow by the name of Wells,
was in charge of the things received including clothing, cakes,
cookies and various other nice things and many times the prisoners
died before receiving them. This 4th of July, while the men of
war vessels in the Bay and the Yankees were celebrating the Fourth,
a young comrade by the name of Munt said quietly to me, "Be
still about it but come with me this afternoon and we will have
a 4th of July treat." We went and fifty or sixty other detected
our plan, we fell in line in front of the building where Wells
was stationed and as we passed hegave each of us a handful of
good cakes. After Munt and myself had received our treat he said,
"King, lets go back behind and come up and get another treat."
I said, "I am afraid Wells will recognize us." Munt
insisted and we went. When we appeared Wells looked at us sharply,
seized us and took us into the house. He said, "I will punish
you later." We were somewhat frightened, but said nothing
and later he came with a large wooden bucket nearly filled with
apples and two bottles, but we did not know what the bottles contained
then he roared out in a terrible voice: "If you two do not
eat every apple in that bucket, I will compel you to drink the
contents of these bottles and it will kill you sure." We
began eating the apples which were not very attractive but were
mellow. We ate and ate and Wells looked at us ocasionally with
a terrible expression on his face. Showing the bottles he would
say: "Eat them or die. " The floor in the room had large
openings in it, so we ate a small piece of an apple while Wells
was not looking and then dropped the rest of the apple through
the floor. A Yankee guard came in and assisted us in disposing
of a few, so at last we finished our task, then with a savage
look he presented the bottle, saying: "I am going to kill
you anyhow." he roared out, "Drink it, I tell you."
The guard smiling looked at us. This gave us courage to drink
it and it was a bottle of fine pop. He gave another fellow, who
had done the flanking like we did, a suit of clothes, so that
was our 4th of July celebration and it is one that I will never

Near the middle of July officers came through the prison taking
the names of all who would apply for the oath of allegiance to
the United States, promising that those who would apply would
be released. Well, about 300 made application, but I am happy
to say that your humble servant was not included. A short time
after this the 300 marched through the big gate rejoicing. They
taunted us because we were left behind, but I will tell you more
of the 300 later. On the 27th of July we boarded a little steamer
called "Favorite" which took us out in the mouth of
the Potomac. There we were put on the big ocean steamer "Continental."
Sometime during the night we went through Hampton Roads into the
old Atlantic and turned our faces towards New York. We had not
been on the ocean long until one after another became sick and
we numbered thousands. The ship had three decks above the hold.
Sitting on the lower deck dangling my feet down in the hatch way
where it was very hot, I was sweating furiously when they lowered
over me a large canvass ventilator. I pulled off my cap, opened
my shirt bosom and enjoyed the cool air, but contracted a cold
that night which came very near costing me my life; strange to
say I had taken cold on the measles when about fourteen which
effected one lung and left me with a rather weak squeakyh voice.
Now this cold I caught on the salt water gave me a strong course
voice and splendid lungs which I still have. We reached New York
harbor and lay at anchor in the mouth the Hudson River, for nearly
half a day from our big trip. We had a good view of the city where
all was hurry and bustle, then in the evening we started on the
Erie R. R. for Elmira which is 300 miles from Jersey City . The
next evening we arrived at Elmira prison, and were assigned respective
places. Here the prison was laid off in wards instead of divisions
like Point Lookout, and our squads were in Ward 39. The first
to meet us were the grinning 300, who had marched to freedom through
the big gate at Point Lookout. We certainly did laugh at them;
they were there safe and secure with no more freedom then the
rest of us. It was all right to take the oath of allegiance to
the United States as we did after we had no Southern Confederacy.
The Yankees in general had no respect for a turncoat and those
who took the oath were always spoken of with contempt. I am proud
to say that I never even thought of taking an oath of that kind
until Lee had surrendered and the war was ended. Then it was necessary
to take the oath to get home.

The prison at Elmira consisted of thirty-six acres enclosed by
a wall constructed in the same way as Point Lookout Prison. It
was located a short distance from the Chemung River in Chemung
County, New York. The river made a bend in front of the prison,
but everything indicated that perhaps a hundred or more years
before the prison was there the river had run straight, and later
a beaver dam had changed its course. In our pen there was a body
of water within banks very much like a river which occasionally
became high. The North side of this body of water had a much higher
bank than the South side. Next to the river it became stagnated
in the warm season and was not healthful. Elmira was located on
the west and near the prison; there were hills on the east which
kept our minds on the beautiful and majesty of nature. The Elmira
prison looked much cleaner and healthier than Point Lookout, and
the water was good. It was a pleasant summer prison for the southern
soldiers, but an excellent place for them to find their graves
in the winter. The plan was different from the prison at Point
Lookout. All our quarters were built on the north side of the
water, it being higher than the south side which was a blue grass
sod and used for small pox hospitals.

We arrived on Aug. 1st, crossing the water by means of bridges.
Our camp was situated in the north east quarter of the pen. The
regular prison hospital was in the northeast quarter, the big
entrance of the big gate, a cross street leading to the cookhouse;
all other of the streets ran east and west. They were ditched
and thrown up in the center. The hospital grounds contained frame
buildings of medium size, tents and smaller buildings for carpenter
shops where coffins were made and other houses for the use of
the sergeants, and those who were compelled to be in the prison
for various purposes. An undesirable building was erected in the
middle of the camp for a guard. We lived in low tents for the
first three months, there being no houses and we often suffered
with cold. The manager arranged the building of the houses two
months after our arrival and they were completed near Christman.
They were 100 feet long by 25 feet wide; material rough lumber,
sawed blocks were set on end and on these sills and lower joists
were placed, then a double floor of rough planks was made sided
up with ten foot siding, they were stripped roughly and a few
binders used, the roof was very flat made by sheeting the rafters
with plank this was prepared and covered with pitch gravel. There
was no ceiling over head, a large door was arranged at each end
and two windows in the sides, three rows of bunks, one above the
other, were built on the sides of the building, they were 6 by
4 feet with bottom made of rough plank and six inch boards were
railed on the outside, to prevent our rolling out, shavings or
bedding of any kind was not permitted as the authorities said
they produced vermin, but it mattered little to us for we were
already well supplied. Two ventilators were placed in each roof
which provided for two stoves. At first we had wooden stoves,
but they were not satisfactory and were replaced by Burnside Coal
stoves. The management was somewhat like that at Point Lookout.
The head man inside was a major called Provost Marshall, two captains,
assistant Provost Marshall, Lieutentants and Sergeants, assisted
him. Our first Provost Marshall was Major Colt, his assistants
were Captain Mungery and Captain Peck, they were good men and
treated us well, but these officers had nothing to do with feeding,
clothing and housing us. This was done by contractors, whose ambition
was to make money, they were cruel and caused much suffering.
In the tent one night three of us, myself and two boys from Alabama,
Burd Messer and Jerry Dingler were sitting on our blankets talking,
and suddenly some one in front called out sharply, "Halt"
two shots followed tearing through our tent just above my head.
The three of us threw ourselfes on our backs instantly, and the
next morning revealed that the man who fired the shots was an
over bearing Lieutenant whom we disliked. At another time Jerry
Paugh, one of our companions discovered that some of the boys
in our ward planned to escape. Our row of tents was the nearest
to the wall and these fellows dug a hole in the bottom of the
tent extending to the outside of the prison, a distance of 25
or 30 feet, by means of haversacks they emptied the dirt in the
water without being detected. When all was in readiness a few
whistles served as a signal for those who desired to exit. Five
excaped, two of these later were caught. Others would have ventured
the following night, had not the officers been informed.

Our rations were better after we arrived at Elmira, but they
soon decreased. We entered the cookhouse by wards, being 42 in
all. Soup was placed on long tables in mess pans. Bread and meat
was served in the morning, bread and soup in the evening. Marching
to the tables two ranks deep, the head of one column stopped at
the first place, then the column separated half of them going
on each side of the table, each man stopping at the next place
and so on down the line. By the time the last man reached his
place the first one was leaving, each man was obligated to furnish
a vessel in which to carry his soup it being hot and we were given
no time to let it cool. Those who could not carry it with them
did without soup. Many kinds of vessels were used some had canteens
with the neck broken off, others had old tin cans, coffee pots,
tin buckets or often a very small wooden bucket which a prisoner
by the name of Morgan made to sell and frequently some shiftless
fellow had nothing so punished himself trying to swallow the hot
soup. In winter on very cold mornings what a sight we were starting
to the cook house for our food; Each ward had a head man called
a war serseant, he went to the cook house morning and evering
to learn when to bring his ward, usually about 200 or 240 men.
After securing the information he called out, "Fall in 39
and get your rations." We went in a trot, canteens, buckets,
tin cans, coffee pots, rattling, old rags and strings and long
unkept hair, dirt and grey backs, cheek bones projecting for there
was very little of us except skin and bones. Our legs were spindling
and weak. Here we went over the frozen ground and in crossing
ditches some poor fellow frequently fell. We were obliged to leave
him struggling to gain his position as our time was limited. This
is only a few of the facts. It has often been said that the northern
people treated and fed their prisoners well. I wish it were true,
but during my imprisonment which was more than a year, I never
saw any of the good treatment, except from th old veterans, the
men who had been to the front and had seen service in the army
were kind.

Tainted meat appeared more frequently and our pieces of bread
was perceptibly smaller. The size and weight of our rations, as
told heretofore is exactly correct, for many times I measured
my piece of bread both in width and thickness. It was very uniform
in size, exactly as thick as the distance from the end of middle
finger to the first joint inside and just as wide both ways as
the length of a table knife blade, this being 5 12 inches wide
and 1 12 inches thick. Our meat ration was very little smaller
and often we could see through the soup to the bottom of th pan.
At times the officers discovered some dirt or misbehavior near
one of our wards, then all the ward was given small rations as
a punishment for what one or two had done. We called these morsels
of bread detailed rations because men, who were put on detail
at cleaning streets or something of the kind, were give small
pieces of bread and this was all they had to eat while working.
While they were being punished we nearly starved. In the later
part of the winter crackers were used in place of soft bread,
we enjoyed them but for some reason they were not healthul, causing
a stubborn diarrhoea and many deaths resulted. I was in the hospital
myself a month with the disease. Weakness and starvation had caused
me to lose my sight, consequently often times when wandering some
distance from our ward spots appeared before my eyes and I was
dependent upon some kind comrade to lead me home. The blindness
left me as I grew stronger. Others suffered the same way. Many
times a poor fellow staggered along until his old shaky legs failed
to support himm then he staggered until he was on his feet again
with a ghastly smile trying to bear it bravely. It was touching
to see the poor, ragged gaunt, half famished, much abused, noble
fellows trying to be cheerful through it all. Dear old comrades
in misery, how often do I remember you and our friendship. Had
all been conducted as well as the government of the prisons, we
could have had no cause to complain. The best treatment came from
the citizens, those at home and the contractors. In addition to
the other officers there were ward sergeants. who were our prisoners.
One of their duties was to examine all letters coming to or going
from the prison; also every cent of money sent to the prisoners
was credited in a big book and should we find by reading our letters
that money had been sent we secured a written order for everything
we intended to buy. We never saw any money but there was a Sutler
store inside the pen where we made our purchases. First, we ascertained
how much to our credit by examining the big book, then a clerk
filled out an order blank something like this: "This was
the Stutler’s name." Demorest, Let J. R. King have 15 cts
in apples, 10 cts cabbage, 20c onions, 10 cts on flour, and so
on. After receiving the articles we balanced the account to see
how much was left to our credit. We had but little money and prices
were high; flour five cents per pound, meal the same, onions 15
cents a pound, cabbage 10 cents, small apples one cent each, tobacco
15 cents for a small thin plug, and the man charged to suit himself.
Money letters were cried in a public place and it was necessary
to answer several questions before it was considered safe to deliver
the letter. The people at home never knew how we suffered in prison.
If we attempted to tell it in our letters, the Censor saw that
they were not mailed. The assistant Provost Marshalls Captain
Munger and Captain Peck, and several under officers looked after
the inside of the prison. They were responsible for the sanitary
condition and the management of the hospitals, cookhouse, the
wards, the dead house, burrying the dead and other things. The
ward sergeant’s duties were to conduct his men to their meals,
call the roll, give reports to headquarters concerning his ward,
make out requisitions for clothing, coal, etc. There were nearly
30,000 prisoners at Elmira one time; sometimes less and sometimes
more. During the winter those who came from the South felt the
cold exceedingly and died from pneumonia. Our clothes poor. The
pants I had when arriving at Elmira were in such a bad condition
that for a long time I wore nothing but my underwear. However,
when the cold weather appeared I was glad to welcome old pants
again and after much patching they were a great comfort. In the
late winter, out-of-date government coats were presented to us
for overcoats: for some reason unknown to us the tails had been
cut unevenly, one side being a foot long and others extending
only a few inches below the waist line. They helped to keep us
warm but should we have been out in the world in such costume,
one might have mistaken us for scarecrows eloping from the neighboring
cornfield. Oilcloth and two blankets was the covering in our bunks,
with a big snow outside and the bitter wind raging around the
plank building and whistling in at the cracks. We didn’t dream
of comforts and many of us had very poor shoes. Mine were ready
to be cast aside and did not get a new pair until the last day
of February. While in the house I wrapped my feet in old rags
which kept them warm, but in the late winter we were compelled
to stand in the snow every morning for roll call, consequently
my feet and shins were badly frozen. In the spring they had the
appearance of a gobbler’s legs and it was many years after I returned
home before they were entirely cured. Many besides myself had
frozen feet. The man who looked after the fires made only two
fires in 24 hours. Each ward had two stoves. The first fire was
made at 8:00 in the morning, the other at 8 p.m. Near noon and
midnight we were comfortable, but during the twelve hours between
fires when the temperature of the stoves lowered we often suffered

with the cold. A dead line nailed to the floor three feet in circumference
surrounded the stoves. Of course we could not cross the dead lines
and often a petty officer entering on a cold evening found some
of the ragged shivering men standing too near the fast cooling
stove, would become enraged and would run cursing, striking right
and left through the crowd, little caring who received the blows
or what he did. One day a poor fellow was standing near the stove
with an old blanket thrown about his shoulders, held at the throat
by an enormous safety pin make from a piece of large wire. The
long sharp point of a pin extended through the hook which held
it in place. The man of authority struck a swinging blow at the
poor fellow when his hand came in contact with the point of that
big pin which tore his fingers unmercifully. But it cured him
of his fighting propensities. Punishment often resulted from trifling
offences and of course we dared not defend ourselves. Some of
the men in our ward were powerful men. One was a very tall sergeant
who lived in Elmira. His duties kept him inside the prison continually
and we called him Long Tom. It gives me pleasure to speak of him
for he had a kind heart and was a favorite of every one. He was
called our coal sergeant, often when the weather was intensely
cold and our fires were low upon request our big friend would
get us coal if possible. Much sickness prevailed among the prisoners
In the latter part of the winter many came from near Mobile Bay
and brought with them small pox. There were more than forty cases
in our ward, and many died. When seven years of age I was vaccinated
and although surrounded with it I escaped, there were also many
cases of pneumonia, measles and thousands of us were afflicted
with the stubborn diarrhoea. The poor fellows died rapidly, despondent,
homesick, hungry and wretched, I have stood day after day watching
the wagons carry the dead outside to be buried and each day for
several weeks 16 men were taken through the gate. While the prison
was occupied by us which was about one year it was estimated that
3,000 men died. The physicians were very good but it was impossible
to save all. At one time scurvy was among us. There were not many
deaths, but it caused much suffering. I was among the victims.
It frequently attacked the mouth and gums, become so spongy and
sore that portions could be removed with the fingers. Others were
afflicted in their limbs, the flesh became spotted and the pains
were almost unbearable. The remedy was raw vegetables and a medicine
called chalk mixture. Our dead were buried outside by a detail
of 16 or 17 prisoners. The name of the company and Regiment of
the dead were written on a piece of paper and put in a tightly
corked bottle and burried with the corpse, all were buried in
that way. Their caskets were made in the pen by prisoners detailed
for that purpose. During the early spring the 40th, 41st and 42nd
wards were converted into hospitals. We all decided beds made
of shavings would be a luxury, so every fellow that was able procured
a sharp knife and a pine board and I doubt if the world ever saw
such a universal whitling in so short a time. All tried to possess
a comfortable bed, but in a few days the Provost Marshall inspected
our quarters and ordered every shaving burned. They advocating
that the shavings would breed vermin, but we had already been
made very uncomfortable by their presence. Near the cookhouse
there were vessels for heating water, but few of us could get
soap and consequently the few clothes we had never were washed.
The prisoners passed the time making trinkets. Capt. Munger and
Capt. Peck, secured the material and after the articles were completed
they sold them in the city for the best price possible, always
remitting the money. In passing through the prison one would see
a boisterous lot playing cards or some other game, numbers making
rings out of Gutta-percha buttons and riveting sets on to them
of real silver which the captains had purchased, others were making
pretty trinkets out of bone, such as tooth picks and seals for
watch chains, with birds, squirrels and other figures designed
on them Some made watch chains out of horeshair with single links,
with two links interlocked and others with three links interlocked
making a round chain. This was done with horsehairs and two common
needles. We took a board 18 inches wide, near one end a small
hole was made into which a flat post a foot in length with a little
pole near the top was placed, in that hole was a little round
tapered stick running almost to a point. The stick was as large
around as we desired the links of the chain inside, after taking
the coarse hair from the horses’ tails, we placed a small board
on a chair and sat on it with the post between our knees, the
little stick pointing to us, threaded the needles on both ends
of the horse hairs, then make the little links around the stick,
slide the needles each way under the link across the hair, and
worked the bottom hole stitch around the center of the link, and
then interlocked as many links as we wanted. With little practice
very pretty chains could be made. Others in our pen made fans
out of white pine wood, the board was cut in the shape of a paddle
with a fancy handle, then the part which formed the paddle was
notched and cut into thin slices with a very sharp knife. The
wood was softened with warm water and then the slices bended like
a fan. different colored ribbons were worked through the notches
and the ends tied in a bow around the handle. They were very pretty,
but frail. One man made a small parasol on the same plan. I saw
Capt. Peck, carrying it around one day. I suppose he found a purchaser
for it. Another man made a rude engine. One day I gave him a cracker
to see it run, that was the admittance. Many wore green shades
over their eyes on account of the blazing sun on the sand, tents
and water, some of the managers sowed patches of oats which was
restful to the eyes.

I will tell you something of the many punishments inflicted on
the soldiers; one was wearing the barrel shirt, the big pork barrel
with wooden hoops was used, one end was out, a round hole was
cut in the other end large enough for a man’s head to pass through.
The barrel was put over the body by two men leaving the head sticking
out through the hole in the end . This he would have to wear two
hours before noon and two hours afternoon with a guard behind
to keep him in action. Then crosses were nailed on the sides of
the barrel on which the man’s offense was painted in big black
letters. Sometimes it was a lie; othertimes theft, so here promenaded
the man, the barrel, the crosses and the guard; one cross said:
"I am a liar." Another said: "I am a thief."
This continued day after day. Capt. Whiton, the boss of the cookhouse,
had a fat dog which was very friendly and one day was missing.
So the Captain found upon investigation that two hungry fellows
had killed his dog. Enraged with anger he had the two men taken
to headquarters, barrel shirt put on them and dog eater painted
on the cross. The prisoners ate every rat they could find and
it is well for the rat I didn’t find any. they smelt very good
while frying. Sometimes men were bucked and gagged or tied up
by the thumb for punishment, which was the most cruel of all punishments.
I would not punish a dog in that way.

Some enterprising fellow built a large frame work outside near
the big gate and not more than fifty feet from the wall. The building
had three floors besides the ground floor and was called the observatory.
There was no roof and it was built for the sole purpose of observation.
One on the upper floor had a fine view of our prison and prices
were regulated according to the floor on which they stood. The
building was forty feet in height. When the weather was pleasant
a great many went to the top to look at us. On a beautiful late
spring day there was a number of nicely dressed ladies and gentlemen
on the top floor. Our provost marshall was sitting on the floor
below when presently there came a big negro among the ladies.
He shoved them aside and squared himself to get a good look at
us. He was finely dressed and apparently thought himself a very
important character. We did not like his attitude so a number
of the men groaned at him, hissed, hooted making all sorts of
expressions about his impudence but he stood reared back and paid
little attention to them. Then the Major got up immediately, went
upstairs, took the negro by the shoulders, drew his sword, turned
him around and marched him down and out. The negro wanted to argue
with the Major but it was useless. Of course we gave the Major
a big cheer which seemed to please him. I never saw but one negro
who stood guard sometimes in our pen. He behaved like a gentleman.

After warm weather came we had many visitors, often ladies. Some
of them spoke pleasantly and were well behaved, while others were
impudent and insulting. I remember one day Colonel Moore’s son
came in our pen with a few young girls, (Colonel Moore was commander
of the post), his son was a foppish young fellow and one of the
girls overdressed and attracted him. While passing through our
ward, with her dainty fingers she tipped up her rustling silken
skirts and passed along with an effected air and a disdainful
look on her countenance, saying, "Oh, the nasty, dirty, ignorant,
beastly Rebels, how filthy they are," and on she continued
with a peculiar air, while some of the girls gave us kindly words
and looks and were embarassed by her rudeness; but she was punished
for being so unlady like. One of our number, Bish Fletcher, a
daredevil, took the opportunity as the girl passed by him to present
her with some body lice, ‘Grey Backs", we called them. Two
sisters of charity visited the prison leaving each a religious
tract published by the American Tract Society, and as they passed
they treated us with a smile and a kind word. They were real ladies.

I do not want to leave the impression that every prisoner was
sick, poor, ragged and weak like the majority of us, for there
were many who escaped sickness and numbers who were kept at detail
work. Those who worked were fed much better, but of course the
majority of us had to work. We had a ray of sunshine occasionally;
in the latter part of the winter my good sister, Elizabeth, and
my kind parents sent me a box containing biscuits, butter, a piece
of bacon, dried apples and a cake. It was all very nice, but unfortunately
just before the box arrived I was sick and had no appetite. I
ate very little of the contents of my box which was a curiosity
to the prisoners. When it came they gathered in a great circle
about my bunk and Mr. Breen, a rich iron merchant from Georgia,
made a speect to the crowd regarding my dear sister’s hands which
had prepared it and how my dear parents had remembered their boy
in the far away prison. Jaco L. Hale, a large robust man, a Virginian,
and one of the "Gray Devils", a company belonging to
one of the regiments in the Stonewall Brigade, used the bunk under
mine. He was kind to me and was always hungry. I said to Mr. Hale:
"Don’t you want some butter and bread?" "Yes, sirree,"
the big fellow answered, and it did me good to watch him sit on
the edge of my bunk and eat biscuits and butter. He was a big
bony man and a biscuit soon disappeared between those massive
jaws. I gave him much of my precious box. He was always my powerful
protector and was the last man to whom I spoke in the prison before
leaving. Dear old fellow, he had a wife and children at home and
was ever the protector of the weak. Prisoners whose homes were
within the Yankee lines could receive money at different times
and I always got credit in the big book at the headquarters. Everything
was so high at the Sutler store we could not get much but it helped
to keep the wolf from the door. Some of the prisoners bought and
made much for sale so for five cents one could be satisfied for
a while. A market place was located near one end of the cookhouse
where the prisoners congregated on certain days and tried to sell
numberless things to one and another. They sold rings, watch charms
and many other trinkets made by the prisoners and besides these
men would cry their articles on the market. Some tried to sell
eatables. We called a piece of the loaf, cut off the crust end,
a "Keno-ration", by reason of a game of chance some
of the men played called "Keno". In the game when a
certain number was called out the lucky one would cry out: "Keno-o-o".
So at the cookhouse when one got a heel ration he called in a
loud voice: "Keno-o-o". In the market some would cry:
"Here is your keno ration with five chew of tobacco on it
for five cents." Still another, "Here’s your two rations
of meat and ten chews of tobacco on it all for ten cents,"
and so on. It was a strange medley of things in progress that
could never have been seen elsewhere, but little buying was done.
Many traded rations. Money was too scarce with which to make purchases.
Hunger often caused people to do desperate things. I myself often
watched for the bones, after the meat had been eaten off. I got
up many times in my bunk with a bone and after knawing the soft
ends, sucked at the bone for hours at a time. I wasn’t the only
one. No bones went to waste as long as there was any substance
left on them One morning while we were eating our beef ration,
Dan Singleton, who occupied one of the top bunks, cried out while
holding a small rib in his hand, "Look here boys, here’s
a fine piece of mule meat." The ribs we were eating were
all alike, being round and smaller than the ribs of cattle; the
cow’s ribs are flat as every one knows. The meat was good and
we could have relished several more mules had the opportunity
been presented. A few of the under officers were quatrered in
a little house on a steep bank of a creek. They cooked and ate
in front of the house, and here the cook emptied his dishwater
which sometimes contained a little meat and bread and I often
saw two men on either side of the greasy place scrambling for
the crumbs as the dishwater rushed down the bank. It was pitiful.
Many men, once strong, would cry for something to eat. I know
from experience. A few more of us could have worked in the carpenter
shop had we agreed to take the oath of allegiance to the United
States, but we refused. Our wages would have been 5 and 10 cents
per day according to our capabilities; this didn’t tempt me. A
day or two after the lamentable death of our President, Abraham
Lincoln, the inside officers approached us with a paper telling
us that all who would say they were sorry for the President’s
death would be released first. Not many said they were sorry and
those who did stayed there as long as anybody else. I did not
say I was sorry and when I came out I left thousands in; yet of
course the whole nation was grieved over his death, but we did
not care to express our sorrow in that way. However, it was sad
to hear the bells tolling in the city when the news came that
the President was dead. When Gen. McClellan and Abraham Lincoln
ran for president, the majority of the prisoners favored McClellan.
They cheered for Little Mac, and one fellow drew the picture of
Abraham Lincoln mauling rails and McClellan marching to the White
House. Little Mac. was very popular in New York.

Then a flood came in the Chemung, or Gioga River as some called
it. There had been much snow during the winter and early in March
the thaw caused high water. The snow melted rapidly and soon the
little Chemung was raging. The water came into our prison higher
and higher, and in a short time the small pox hospital across
the creek had to be abandoned. The water increased and in a few
hours it reached nearly every house in the prison. The lower bunks
were submerged and the second row was threatened. We were surrounded
by a wilderness of water. A great part of the prison wall was
gone and we could see about half of the cookhouse extending above
the water. In every direction men could be seen hustling around
in boats trying to save things. The hospitals were flooded and
all the sick had to be taken into the city. The dead house was
on a little higher ground therefore the dead were not washed away.
We were confined in the higher bunks for a day or two with nothing
to eat or drink but the dirty river water. After the water receeded
men came into our wards through the doors in row boats, passing
near where we were "roosting". They gave us something
to eat. My, but it tasted good! In transferring the sick from
the hospitals to the boat, often they fell into the cold water.
A poor fellow came out of the hospital next to our ward. He tried
to walk a short plank which had been placed from the hospital
to the boat, carrying his blanket and some old ragged clothes
which belonged to him. Trembling and tottering with weakness,
as he stepped on the plank, the boat vaciliated and the poor fellow
staggered, threw up his arms and went headlong into the water.
I feared he would drown, but he was rescued and shivvering was
taken away in the boat. I have no doubt it caused the man’s death.
As soon as we could with safety we waded out to the highest pump
in the prison, which was near the deadhouse, to get some water.
On my way to the pump I noticed several old blankets near my feet.
Looking closer I discovered a number of dead men concealed under
them. The high water had prevented the people from taking them
to the graveyard. The walls were rebuilt and in a week or so our
old prison was in its natural condition. After the overflow I
noticed several extremely large ells lying dead in the water.
One day while the cleaning was in progress a petty officer of
some sort had four or five men under him working at a crossing.
Just as the little platform or little crossing had been nearly
placed I happened along and this petty officer was bossing, puffing
and swearing at the men. He issued a mighty order to the prison
that no man should cross the platform until it was completed.
Ignoring the order I crossed and as I was landing on the other
side this great man caught me by the shoulders, shoved me roughly
towards a Yankee guard who happened to be near and said: "Here,
take this man to the guard house and put a barrel shirt on him."
The guard asked no questions but conducted me to the guard house
and in the afternoon I was wearing the barrel shirt. The Yankee
guard at headquarters said in a low voice to me "If I were
you I would saw wood for the cookhouse and you will not have to
wear the barrel longer." Next morning I told them that I
wanted to saw wood, so the old measly pork barrel and I parted
company forever. I sawed wood a few hours evry day for nearly
a week. Major Beall came to the guard house to take the place
of Major Colts as Provost Marshall. When I was brought before
him he said: "What are you here for?" I said: "For
nothing at all." He turned to the jailor and said: "What
are the charges against this man?" The jailor after looking
at his book said: "No charges." Looking at him sternly
the Major said: "Let this man out. What is he here for?"
I made my departure never to return.

As the spring passed the number in our wards decreased. At roll
call there was no answer to nearly a third of the names. Many
had died but early in the spring about 300 of the sick had been
sent south to be exchanged. I think the government had intended
to send the most of us back to Dixie in the spring had the war
not closed, but when Gen. Lee surrendered we then knew that those
who lived would return to Dixie. There was great rejoicing and
ringing bells at Elmira when the news came that Lee had surrendered.
After that we received better treatment from the Yankees and were
not guarded so closely. Of course we felt badly when we heard
that our beloved Gen. Lee had surrendered, for we knew our noble
Army of Northern Virginia would hereafter be only a memory. I
am proud to say that I once belonged to the Army of Northern Virginia
and marched and fought under the illustrious Robert E. Lee, who,
when he had to go down, went down bravely. We started out for
what we thought was right and stayed with it faithfully to the
bitter end.

I want to speak of some of the characters in our prison who were
very interesting. One fellow whom we called Shocky, seemed to
have a mysterious influence over the Yankees. He was always well
dressed and apparently loyal to the South, but it was always a
mystery to us how he could go over the wall at a certain place
at anytime he desired and always be respected by the guards. We
thought it possible that some free masonry was connected with
it. Five of the young Virginians also seemed to be more favored
than the rest of us. Among them was Bill McGruder, Bill Hale and
a Georgian called Nick Carnochan; the latter pronounced his name
Conahan. These young fellows enjoyed many privileges denied the
others. Then there was "Old Buttons", a man who sewed
buttons on promiscously to show every battle or skirmish in which
he had been. I saw the old fellow die while he and I were in the
hospital. We had "Old Blue Ridge" too, a man of gigantic
size who wore a home-made blue coat trimmed in various palces
with fringes, who with all his eccentricties was very kind. Old
Pickett, the Florida fisherman, watched from morning till night
for the chews of tobacco others had thrown away. He threw them
into his mouth as though his life depended upon it. There were
many remarkable men with us, of whom I would like to speak but
time will not permit. As the summer drew near we all became restless
and were longing for home. Parnell from South Carolina had been
employed around headquarters as a messenger boy. As I sat in my
bunk despondent and hungry one evening early in June, Parnell
appeared, saying in a low voice: "King, you are going out
on the next load. I heard your name called today at headquarters.
Be still and do not tell anybody but get ready." I asked
who elso was going from our ward. He said only four: myself, Hoy

Reger, Andrew Winster Reger, who was one of my own company in
Dixie, and himself. Elated over the news I commenced to get ready.
My pants were ragged and dirty. I had an old U. S. blanket and
ten cents in money. I went to Bill Goans, who was handy with the
needle, and asked him if he would make me a pair of pants out
of the blanket. He wanted 25 cents for the job, but I told him
I had but 10 cents in the world and that I was to start home on
the next load. He hesitated, then said: "All right. I will
do it, as you are going home." They were better than the
ones I wore but I believe Wanamaker would have made a better fit.
All our comrades were soon informed that we were going home and
we did not try to keep it a secret. As soon as Mr. Hale, a friend
of mine, knew we were going he said: "come and sit down.
I want to give you a shave before you leave. He fixed me up the
best he could. Then in a day or two we were taken out, measured
and our complexion taken down on paper. The next morning 300 of
us were taken to the cookhouse and while standing together with
our right hands raised, the oath of allegiance to the U. S. was
administered. Then we were given two days rations, our paroles
handed to us and we were ready for the journey. I will never forget
the march from the cookhouse to the big gate. All the prisoners
who were left behind congregated near the street as we went out.
No battle scarred veterans ever marched to victory prouder than
that ragged, poorly fed, miserable 300 which passed through the
big gate never to return. Many of the poor fellows left behind
waved us farewells, for but few ever met again. The last familiar
face I remember as I went out was that of Mr. Hale, my best friend.
He waved his hand and said: "Goodbye, King" This was
the tenderest goodbye for me of all. As I write today the memories
of that prison, our suffering, many old comrades I knew well,
all rush to my memory so vividly that I seem to live it all over
again. It brings a sadness to my heart that I can hardly shake
off at times.

We waited in the city until afternoon before taking the train
for Baltimore and while there I sold an old blanket I had left
for 40 cents and that was all the money with which I had to buy
anything to eat on the journey. My two days rations I drew before
leaving the prison were so small that I ate all before I passed
through the gate, so after getting 40 cents for the blanket I
spent 20 cents of it for bread and cheese and ate the most of
that before taking the train. The U. S. government gave us free
transportation home as far as we could travel by rail or water.
In the evening we started for Baltimore on the Pennsylvania North
Central R. R. We went through Williamsport, Sunburg, Harrisburg
and several other towns and passed long trains of Yankee soldiers
going to New York to be discharged. They cheered us as they passed
and our train stopped outside of Baltimore for a few minutes.
Above us were some women in a garden which had fine onions in
it and upon asking for some a negro girl threw us a few. They
were what we called clove onions and were fearfully hot. We ate
one or two of them and kept the others. In Baltimore while waiting
at the Band (circled in ink) Depot all day before getting through
to West Virginia, I was sitting in the Camden Street station eating
one of my hot onions when I noticed some ladies looking at me.
I thought probably they were admiring the fit of my new pants,
but later one said kindly: "Poor fellow, he looks pitiful."
Then I discovered that they thought I was crying and were sympathizing
with me. I concluded I would eat more onions, as it was comforting
for some one to look at me kindly. I ate my supper that evening
at the Soldier’s home near the station and I can assure you that
I did not leave that table hungry. We took the train in the evening
for Grafton, W. Va., and reached there the next day. I spent that
night with my Uncle, my Father’s brother, John M. King. The next
day I went to Clarksburg and from Clarksburg home. I walked 36
miles that night, Hoy Reger and myself. Being timid to approach
the house, we slept in a pasture field. The next day we went by
way of Buckhannon and parted at the mouth of Turkey Run. I crossed
the river at Hyer’s Mill and arrived home in the evening, finding
all alive and well. I will not try to tell about our happy reunion.
There will never be another so happy until we shall meet up there
where God will never let us part.

Brother Cyrus is sitting in front of me as I write. I have a
beautiful home, children and grandchildren who are tall big men.
In a few weeks I will be seventy-four and am hale and hearty and
I thank our good master for it all.

In conclusion I will say the war is over. We have peace and prosperity.
The North and South are united, but the South is our South. I
love it. My heart is with the South and nobler women never lived
than our women of the South and there never was in any country
nobler women banded together than the Daughters of the Confederacy
for the work which they have undertaken. Dear Children of the
South, U. D. C.’s, may the kind hand that led me through battles
and prisons safely lead everyone securely through the battle of
life to a happy old age. To you all I send a greeting. This imperfect
sketch was written near Roanoke, W. Va., Feb. 23, 1916.


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