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1st Vermont Cavalry
Memoirs

Pvt. Mark M. Wheeler

1st Vermont Cavalry, Co. D

Mark Wheeler was a 22-year-old Peacham farmer when he enlisted in November 1861. He served in the First Vermont Cavalry, fought in battles at Bull Run, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor and numerous other skirmishes. He was part of the Wilson-Kautz Raid in June 1864 and was taken prisoner in at Stony Creek, Va. on June 29, 1864. He spent five months in four different Confederate prisons. The worst was the Confederate prison at Andersonville in Georgia where he was for four months until October 1864. He was paroled in November 1864 and returned to Peacham in December. Twenty-five years after the war, Wheeler wrote his memoir about his war and prison experiences. He spent the rest of his life telling his story and promoting patriotism.

Biographical Information

Born in Marshfield, Vt. , Feb. 18, 1839
Son of James and Sophia Gilman Wheeler (fourth child of nine)
Moved to Peacham, Vt. in 1850s
Married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clark on Nov. 8, 1861

Civil War Service

Enlisted Nov. 12, 1861 into Vermont 1st Cavalry Company D
Mustered out Nov. 19, 1861
Wheeler was a private in the Vt. 1st Regiment Cavalry Co. D. Involved in 60 engagements including Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania and Bull Run
Re-enlisted Feb. 23, 1864
Captured by Confederate Forces at Stony Creek, Va. while on the Wilson-Kautz Raid, June 29, 1864
Served Time in Confederate Prisons: Salisbury Prison in North Carolina; Richland District Jail in Columbia, South Carolina; Andersonville Prison, Georgia; and Florence Stockade in South Carolina
Entered Andersonville Prison in Andersonville, Georgia, July 6, 1864
Removed from Andersonville, October 1864
Paroled to Union Forces, Nov. 30, 1864
Returned home to Peacham, Vt., December 1864
Spent the rest of war at Sloan General Hospital in Montpelier, Vt.
Transferred to Company C, June 21, 1865
Discharged July 26, 1865

Life after Civil War

Returned home and farmed on East Hill, Peacham, Vt.
1868: Mark co-founded X.C. Stevens Post of Grand Army of Republic of Barnet & Peacham. Also served as chaplain
1890: wrote his 110-page memoir about his war and prison experiences in Andersonville
40 years a member and supporter of Methodist Episcopal Church in Peacham
Co-organizer of Relief Corps
Spoke at schools, post meetings and in town about his war and prison experiences
1890: wrote his Memoir
Moved to East Peacham Village, 1906
Died March 10, 1916.

Family History:

1st wife Lizzie Clark m. 1861, died 1875; Children: Elwin, 1862; Amy 1865 (died 1882)
2nd wife Laura Adams m. 1877, died 1882; Children: Harvey, 1877, Clyde 1881, Jude (b. 1882, d. 1882)
3rd wife Carrie White m. 1884; survived Mark.

History of Pvt. Mark Wheeler's Memoir

Written in 1890, Mark Wheeler's account starts with the Wilson-Kautz Raid and ends with his return to Peacham at the end of December 1864. After his death, the original manuscript was kept by his eldest son, Elwin, who gave it to his father's friend and fellow veteran, John Farrow. It was handed down to Mary Farrow Moore, John's daughter and then she passed it on to her son Francis and his wife Earlene Moore. Wheeler's memoir was read in local classrooms and family gatherings.

The original Wheeler manuscript was donated to the Peacham Historical Association by Francis and Earlene Moore. The original consists of 55 two-sided, loose, handwritten pages, measuring 51/8 inches in width and 7 inches in length. In 2009, the PHA received a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council and the National Endowment for Humanities to have the original document conserved by M.J. Davis of WASHI of West Burke, Vt., and also digitally scanned by Northeast Documentation Conservation Center, Andover, Mass.

The electronic images of Mark Wheeler's manuscript are available at peachamhistorical.org.

NOTE TO READERS OF TRANSCRIPTION:

The transcribed text preserves Mark Wheeler's misspellings, grammar and editing marks with minimal editorial intrusion. The text version retains the page breaks, but it does not provide a line-by-line transcription. Words divided at the end of a line are transcribed with the dash as used in the original. In a few cases of challenging misspellings, the inferred word or correct place name are supplied in brackets as superscripts. Brackets are also used to supply missing letters and words or to expand confusing abbreviations. Since the manuscript lacks punctuation, three spaces are inserted for easier reading to indicate breaks in the stream of thought and to mark the end of a sentence. Endnotes provide background information about places, people or events described in the manuscript.

Webmaster's note: every attempt has been made to preserve the original transcription of Mark Wheeler's manuscript. If any discrepencies between the web version and the original transcript, please let us know.


Use of the Mark Wheeler Memoir

Images and transcription may not be reproduced without formal permission from the Peacham Historical Association.
Permission must be obtained in writing from the Peacham Historical Association.

Please send your request to:
The Archivist, Peacham Historical Association, PO Box 101, Peacham, VT 05862
or send an e-mail message to: info@peachamhistorical.org.


Mark M. Wheeler

Co. D 1 st regt. Vt Cav.

after 25 years since the war I thought I would write what I past through while a prisoner of war   I was taken prisoner June 29, 1864 at Stoney Creek Station Va   it was while on Wilson raid we left camp near Petersburg June 21, 1864 to destroy the South Side railroad   the emiy tried to stop us but we repulsed then and distroid the railroad from foards [Ford’s Depot] to Black-s and whites [Black and White’s Depot]   in the after noon the 23. we had a hard fight near nottoway station  my regt. was at the frount all

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after noon   our regt held the railroad   the rebels made several desperate charges to drive us from it.   our regt made a charge on a rebel battery result-ed in driving the emimy from their guns   but before we could spiked or dragged away the guns[1] the rebls made a counter charge upon our flan-k compelling us to fall back to the railroad whitch was held all night   the next moning we started for the Danville road whitch we struck at meherrin station   the remainder of this day and the next day was spent in distroying the traack from the Junction to the little roanoke   the bridge across the river was destroyed    all of the mills along the rout was distroid some

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of whitch contained a large amount of grain and cotton & tobacco   we found the people abundantly suplied with the necessaries of life   hams bacon corn wheat and flour   hundreds of bushels of corn   we would find at a singal place to feed the horses of the whole command  the people are well supplied   before daybreak Sunday June 26 we started on our return   we marched south through Christian-ville then took an easterly course passing through greenburg lewisville lawenceville smorky & ordnary   about noon of the 28 we crossed the nottaway [Nottoway River] and was nearing Stoney Creek Station when we found a strong rebel force in our front   we were all hoping to reach our lines by moring   we hade done the rebls

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more harme then any other raiding party and thus far had met with little loss besides the property we had destroyed   we were brining away over a thoissand Negroes men women and children[2]   the rebels had a powerful force in our front   our regt was orded to the frount the men dism-ounted and comence to building breastworks[3]   very soon the rebels charged our skirmish line and my regt.  was orded up to surpot it     

the firing was very heavy duing the entire evineng and at times during the night    Just before day light our bregade fell back a peace   three regt. of whitch ours was one ware to keep back the emiy while the rest of the command past to the left   our men were dismounted building

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a line of breastworks in the woods   the horses hear in a field a few rods to the rear    Just after day light the rebls came on to the attack upon our lines   steady and coolly    thair ranks moved up to our front   as they approach-ed the breastworks our men took biliberate [deliberate] aim and pourd an effectual fire into there ranks   had the rebles force all been in frount very different would have been the result     with a force larger then our own they came in upon either flank.   our men were forced to fall back simultaneosly with the attack upon the men   the rebels came upon the horses and those holding them only saved them by hurrying them to of by the road to the left   the

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rebels came down upon this road thus cutting off our men from all support and leaving them no line of retreat   here it was that so many were captured   I can not discribe the feailing when we found that we had got to surender to the rebels   they came on to us like a lot of wild Indans   they wanted to butcher us   they robed us of all we had    money hats and clothings and was not saturfide with that   I had seen a great many rebels before   they more like wild beasts then any things elce   when they had got through with us we had not mutch left   they marched us back over the field where we fought the night before   the ground

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was coverd with wounded and killed   it look as though they had lost more then double that we did   they marched us back to Stony Creek Station   we had not had any thing to eat since the night before   they did not offer to give us any thing to eat in the after noon    they put us aboard off a train and started us toared the south   we could not find whair they was goin to take us   the first night we stayed in welden north Carlonia   we did not get any thing to eat till the next moning   we had just began to relise what we had got to came to   we ware a strong lot of men   Thaire was over two hundred men

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Salisburg[4]

taken   how little we reilised what we had got to pass through after they given us some corn bread   they marched us to deapot and put us aboard of the train and that night we arrived at Salisbury prison   Im will now give you a glimps of Salisbury prison   as we entrd in through the gait what a seen met our eyse   men with hardly any clothing and what they had on was all in rags.   we could hardly beleave they could be so reducred so low   they began to inquire about the war   they had not had any nuse only what the rebels had given them   they told our men that the United States had deserted then and had left them to thair fate and they could not be blamed

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if they would desert and fight against a country that would not exchange them       knowing when exchange was refused that it meant starvation and death as the Confederacy had nothing to feed them with and told our men if they would enlist in thair army they would clothe them comfortably and give them plenty to eat   many brave men of many nations have done deeds for whitch thair names have been handed down in history for us to admire but none have ever exceled the union soldier whous honor and loyalty was put to the test of a rebel military prison in the south    from firmfor the cause unto death whitch was preferable to liberty and dishonor as a diserter but few men ever deserteds the union

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armey   the prisoner were so sorly afficted and at the time of my departure they too like the humins [human] victims of the pen were shorn of their vitality and strength and stood [like]bare and unsightly trunks. the surface of the ground that was coverd with green grass was also completely changed   shelters put up in all kinds of conceivable shape I supose to suit the materil they had at hand and besides these the surface[5] was pierced with inumerable holes   thair was also all kinds of old ragged tents put up in irreguler order and presenting any thing but a military aspect   the reader can now imagine for himself   what kind of a picture Salisbury prison would present suley not

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very attractive   imagine this picture if you can and then people it with sick ragged and sarving men who could be seen   some of them slowly tottering and dragging across the pen only waiting to die their only hope of liberty   and then ask your self if the
Government can ever repay the survivors or even do them Justi-ce  cancan there be a price even approaching recompense for survace and suffing such as the union prisoners of war suffered and endured in the rebels prison pen of the South    the party that I was with had now [no] blankets or tents   we had to lay on the ground   it was almost imposible to eat the raitions that we received and not half anough of that

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we was thair two nights and then we was taken out and put aboard the train    we was put into box cars as many as they could get in    they put into each car a barel of watter drawn out of thair watter tanks   poor slimy stuff it made most of us sick   it was so warm in the cars that we could harddly stand it   it brought the Diarrohea to most all of the men   we road all day and night and the next day we arived at Clombia[6] on the forth of July   we were taken out of the cars and marched to the prison   they then give us somthing to eat   I shal always remember one circumstance   thair was a union man come in to prison to see us   he told us to write some letters and

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Andersonvill

he would see that they would be sent through the lines   how glad we was to have the priviagle [privilege] to write toour loved ones at home   that was the only letters that my wife received from me after I was taken prisoner although I rote several   little did those at home relise what we had to pass through   I do not think there is 20 alive to day that was taken prisoner when I was   the next moning we were all taken out and put aboard the train and then for the first time we found out our destination   the rebs told us that we ware goin to Anders-onvill   we had herd off the place but did not think it could be any worse then other prison   on the six of July we arived at Andersonvill   they took us out

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of the cars and marched us to the prison   when we got to the prison Capt. Wertz[7] or the old dutch Capt. as we us [used] to call him came to see us and orded us all schertched    the guard went through our pockets   any one that had any thing that was worth any thing they took it from us   he told us that if we refuse to be schearched he would cut our heads off with his sabbor   I had in my pocket a pictar pictuar of my wife and baby   I refuse to give it up finally they let me keep it   it gave me great plasure to have it to look at   after they had scharched us all they wanted to  they took our names Co and regt. and then marched us through the gait

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into prison   as soon as we got into the prison the prisones colleted around us to get the nuse and to see if they had any one that belong to thair regt.   almost the first qustain that they ask was is if our government was not goin to exchange soon   we told them we did not know but we hope so   the first thought that enterd our minds was can this be in hell   it seems as though thair could not be a worst place ever in the futher punish-ment as we look upon the suffing men with hardly any thing to cover thair nakerness bare bair footed with out hats or caps and but faew that had any shelter

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for months   I found two of my Co. thair that had been prisoners a year   how they had ever lived s [o] long I do not know   they both died in a short time after I got thair   the prisoners told us to look out for the dead line[8]   if we reached our hands over the dead lines the rebels would shoot us   that we had got to be very caffall   the rebels told us we would have to find our own place to camp   thair did,nt seems a [s] though thair was any place for us   evry place was auctpide   we was all connted of [counted off] in squads of 90. and a sergent to each 90 men   he had to draw of  the ration for his 90

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our ration at that time was corn bread mad from corn and cob meal and small peice of meat   thair was not any more then anough for one meel a day   it did not seem as men could live on so small a rations but it was all they could get   as we looked over the camp or bull pen as we use to call it thair was inclosed about 26 acres in side of the Stockade   the dead line was about 20 feet from the stockade so that it took up about 5 or 6 acres of land   thair was a swamp through the senter of the camp or near the senter that took up 4 acres more   this was the single place wheair the men went[9]

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a more filthy place I never saw   the stench was so bad that we could hardly pas by it all along the side of it men ware oblige to camp   I do not know how men ever lived thair a week   men ling arround on the ground with out tents or blankets coverd with filth alive with lice   the ground was coverd with lice and in the night thair was Millions of mosketo to draw the last drop of blood   it was a continly warfair to keep those pest away   men had come so reduce that they could not keep them from devouring them   I have seen men that was so bitten by those mosketo that thair hands and feet

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and face was soswolen they could hardley see   that the first day I was thair I found a Uncle of mine[10] he was one of the first to enter into that prison pen and invited me to camp with him   he was thair when they inlarged the stockade and had move-d on to the new ground and took his place beside a large stump whitch I shal speek about father along.   when we arived at Andersonvill they were having the trial of the raders[11] them     raiders were a set of black lege[12] that had been let out of prison to go into the armey and was soon taken prisoner   thair plan of opiration was to find out if any of the new comers had any money and then

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watch where they sayed nights and then kreep up to them and stab them and rob them      they had pawled it for along time till the prisoners formed a large police force[13] and station men around the camp   after a while they capturd six of the leaders and had them tried for murd-er   the Jourry was taken from men that had Just come in   they had a Judge and layers on both sides   they had trial of several days    after the evidence was all in the layers began thair plea   we had good layers thair   they made as strong a plea as they do hear in our country corts   after the layers had got throught

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the Judge charged the Juror and they retiard to give thair [v]erdict   in a short time they brought in a erdict of murdder in the first degree   while they was having thair trial Capt. Wertz sent in word if they found them guilty he would take them and put them under guard and keep them till our men could build a scafould to hang them and soon as they received thaire erdict they sent word to the Capt. and he sent in a strong guard and took them out side and then sent in a load of lumber to build the scafoald with   our men went to work and soon had it reddy   they was to

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hunghanged on the 12 at noon   the murders thought our men did not dair to hang them    the scafold was arange to hang the six at once   on the 12 at noon the rebells brought them in and when they saw the galos they saw that they life was short   our police had a strong guard around the scafould    the rebels marched them into the ring and turned them over to our men   the leader was a powful man   he brock through the poleice and tried to escape but a number of poliece started for him and took him back and marched them upon the scafoald   after a short pray they placed the roap around thair necks and drew the black cap down overofer thair facies   each man had his hands

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tied be hind him and then the guard steped back and in a momet the drop fell   one of the mens roap brock   whair I stood it was nearly twenty rods from the scafoald but I could hear the man beggin for his life but they marched him back to the scaffoald and put the roap around his neck and pushed him of   it was the first time I ever saw a man hang and I hope it will be the last time   that night they was taken out and bared [buried] and we did not have any more trouble   we had a small poliece force to keep order   if they caught any one steeling they were punish some one we [way] or another

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the most cruil of any thing was to buck and gag them[14] and leave them two or three hours at times   they sufferd taribley   they could not help them selfes any but had to lay in the hot sun with hundrds of flies on thair face and then I have seen them turned on thair fasces and then give them so many lashes with the cat and nine tail[15]   the cat and nine tail was made of nine raw hides lashes tierd on a handle about two feet long   evry blow they strock the blood spert from the men   it seem wicked but thair had to be order     if it thairhad not been any order the week one would not have

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any thing to eat or were thair was now trouble if evry one minded his own buisness    at the time I arivd thair thair was great suffing a mong the men for want of watter   the watter we had was what we get from the brook that rann through the stock-ade   the rebels camp was above our camp and we had to take all of the filth from their camp   the watter that rann through our camp rann through the swamp   thair was not hardly any fall to drean of[16] the filth   thair was a thick scum on th top of the watter all of the time            the only place we could get any watter that we could drink was near

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the dead line  I know that the watter had more to do with the sickniss in camp then any thing elce   most all of the men had the chronic diarrhea and scurvey   I have seen men with thair legs and feet so swolen that they would burst open and the flies would get into the sores and soon the mggots would be seen in the sorse   I have seen as murc [much] their as a pint taken out of thair lege at times   what a relaif it was for those when they died and was taken out and placed in the dead ditch   as the camp began to be more crowed evry day with fresh arival of prisoner every day brought from 100 to 300 hundred in to our prison

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by the last of August July we had 33 thousand men in the prison   we was so croaded thar was not hardley room to ley down   in goin back and forth through the camp we had to step over men lying on the ground and evry moning passing throgh the camp I would see men laying around on the grond dead and some aliving   what a sight met our eyes    I have seen men laying on the ground alive with mggets craling out and in thair mouths and ears and eyes   the swamp near whair they camped the ground was coverd with a living mass of mggets   you could see the whole 4 acres in mothing [motion] with magets and those that camped near had to fight

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them to keep them back   what a sight to see men so reduce that they could not keep them back   we would avrage from 100 to 150 a day of the dead that use to be carried    to the gait to be taken out and barried   the rebels had a gang of niggroes to work all of the time caring out and clerring   they would drive in a dead cart and then the nigroes would take them buy thair legs and arms and swing them into the cart as may as they could get on and then go out to the bearing ground and take them out and return and get another load   those that had friends would pin on to thair close thair name and regt    I do not think

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thair one in a hundred that could find where thair freinds were buared   as I saw so maney of our men carried out I did [not] know how soon my turn would com   I had th chronic diarrhea so bad that I grew week very fast but my corrage was good   I use to tell the rebels that they wood never have the priviagle of carring me out   our men us [used] to try to escape through tunels   they would work night after night digging tunels      thair plan was to start a tunel near the dead line under some tent and at first would spread the dirt aroung on the ground as mutch as they dair to and then dig a hole big anough to pack the dirt so as to leave a place large anough

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to croll through   sometimes it would take three or four weeks to get through   when they came to the stockade they had to go deep enough to get under the stockade   the stock-ade was set in the ground six feet and run up about 20 feet high   after they had got under the stockade they would dig gradley up toared the surface   as soon as they got so that they could punch a stick up through the ground they would then return and wait for a dark night and they would let thair friends know and would start and try to get away but fuew ever got away   evry moning the rebels would take a gang of blood hounds and go around the stockade   we could always

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tell when any one had escaped   the hounds would make the most unearthly nois and before night they would have the prson back   once in a while one or two wood escape     as soon as they had got back to prison they would go back to work on another tunel in some other part of the ground   some of the prisones was put in the stocks and some had to were a ball and chain fasten to thair ancle   the stocks was made of plank fited into upright standerds that had holes cut through the plank for your hands and feet and head   they would rais the plank and put your feet and hands & head through the plank and then shet them together and leave your exposed

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to the sun all the day   it was terable   the flies an mas-quito would almost eat you up       the men could not stur nor move   some would die   authers would live through it but I do not know how they did   when the rebels took them out of the stocks thair hands & feet & faces wood be swolen so that they could not see out of thari eyes   others would be brock back nearly torn to peaces by the blood hounds   the only way that they could escape out of thar way was to climb trees and those that could not get into trees the blood hounds wou-ld tear some to pieces before the rebels could get up

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when any prisoner got out the rebels would not give us any thing to eat till they had found the tunnel and had it filled up   may times we would have to go two days with [out] any thing to eat and we did not get any more   at first we got corn bread   after a while they would give us corn cob meal one pint a day when we could get any wood to cook it but many had to eat it raw   the rebels wouldwould give us one four foot stick of wood a day for 90 men to be divied into 90 pieces   it made a small piece of wood to make a fire with   we use to dig the stumps and roots out of the ground   the land that we was on was new land   the

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rebels had cut the timber of to build the stockade   the timber was pitch pine and it made a good fire   every root was dug out of the ground four feet deap   the stump that my uncle and I camped beside give us wood while I was in prison   about once a week we would get a mess of beans that we would not give to our sheep   they was a small black bean and every bean had from one to three bugs eat into them thair whole bigness      we use to cook them bugs and all and glad to get some fresh meat for it was the only fresh meat we had while in prison   in a half a pint of beans thair wood be as mutch

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as two table spons full of bugs   I have had may ask me how they tasted   I told them that they tasted a little pepery but not very bad   they want to know why I did [not] take them out   I told them that we could not ford to lose all of the best of the bean   when we cook them when the watter would began to get hot the bugs wouldkick out of the beans but they could not get away for we had them safe   they had to answer for pepper and salt & meat so you see that we some times had extrys   some times we wood not get them quite dun or some of thing had been dead to long

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they wood not cook tender when we eat on them   they would crack in our teeth like raison seeds   I have seen men ravin crazzy for want of somtime [something] to eat   they would crall down to the swamp when they could not walk and pick up beans that had not ben digested and eat them   how many times I have wished that Jeff Davis[17] & Capt. Wertz and others leaders were ablige to suffer the same as our men did   thair was a Irish man in thair said that he would like to feed Jeff Davis three month on half rasion & then see how him look and then feed him on quarters raishon three months

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more and then see how him look & then three months more on nothing and see how him look   the last three months was about the way our men look. the first of Aug. it was hot and dry   the brook that run through the stock-ade had dried up so that but a small stream runn through the camp   it began to look as if we would not have watter long    the watter in our barnyards whair it had settle into holes was as pure as the watter that we got in prison   the suffing was so great that it did not seem as though men could live any time with out better watter   one night I herd singing

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I went to the place and thair I saw a larg gething of prisoners   they were holding a pray meeting   I stad and listend to them for a long time   thair praye was that god would relive [relieve] thair suffing and these meetings continuing evry night for some time   I was not a christan at that time and I did not see how god could releive the suffing but still I wish-ed thair prays would be answ-erd   sutch pleading at the throne of grace I never have herdbefore or since   watter seemed to be thair united pleading that god would send better watter to releive the great suffing in camp   about the 7 & 8 of aug. we had one of the hevest thunder storms that I ever saw   it seem to come down in

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sheets of watter in a short time   the small brook that runn through the stock-ade rose so fast that the holes cut through the stockade could not let the watter through and began to rise very fast up against the stockade   thair was a large valley above us and the only place for the watter was to pass through the camp   in a short time the watter was to the top of the stock-ade   as the watter rose clocked so fast that the stockade gave away and the watter rushed through the camp and those that camped near the swamp had to runn for thair lives   some that could not help them self was drowned before thair

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friends could help them  as the watter sweped through the camp and struck the stockade on the lower side it gave away   the watter sweped the swamp clean of all the filth   I believe that god sent that rain to change the camp   when the stockade gave away the prisoners began to chear   what a shout went up from the prisoners   the rebels came out with thair whole force and artlly to stop our men from get out   they told our men if they a temped to get out they would open on them with thair whole force   they had two large forts near each end of the stockade so they could pour grape and canster[18] into the camp

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the rebels threw a few shels over our a camp to stop our boys from cheering but they could not for every time they thrue a shell over the camp the boys would chear the louder   as soon as the watter went down they put a large force of Nigroes to repair the stockade   it took them all night to repair it   I never saw a place that was so thourly cleneysed   it thourly clense every part of the camp   the men had to lay in thair wet close but they were use to it   many a night while I was a prisoner I lay down on the ground with my close so wet that you could ring out watter out of them   with out shelter or blanket for five months

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how men could endure so mutch I do not know   one moning soon after the rain as I was passing along near the west north side of the camp I saw a number of men standing near the dead line aboat half way down to the swamp   I went up to them and saw what they was looking at  thair was a stream of watter runing down betwene the stockade and dead line and some of the men got some short poles and tied a cup on to the end of them and reached over the dead line and diped up some watter   it was the best watter that I ever tasted while in the south   after a few days the rebels let some of our men go out and dig out a spout and run the

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watter under the dead line   what a rush thair was for the watter   thair was scutch a croud that you could not hardly get up to the watter   we hade to put on a pleice man on make evry man fall into line and stay in the line till your turn came   I had a quart cup and all I had to do was to drop my cup under the stream and it would fill in a instance   the stream of watter was as large as a mans arm   great was the mistry how the spring came to break out in that dry side hill and some would ask why it did not break out in camp insted of where it did   I do not think it could have been in a better place

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for the reasing that know one could get to the head of the spring to rile the watter   I never drinked any better watter while I was in the survace then the watter that came from that spring   I know that this watter saved hundreds of lives and I beleave it saved mine for it seemed to give me now life   I have had may ask about the spring and what I thought caused it to break out thair   I do not think thair is a man that can tell the cause but I do be-leave that it was the over ruling power of god   I beleave that it was the answer to those prayes in prison and further more I know that god dos answer pray

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for I have prawed him in my own case   I wish the world had more faith in god and to day after more than 24 years I rejoice that I am able to write out these few lines that who-eve has the privagle of reading thes few lines of mine may know that I have found that savior who is able to save and who is able to cary us safly through all of the trials an temptation of this life and to give us life ever lasting in the wold to com for some time after the spring brock out the men seemed better in health   many would giv up and would soon die   I never new a prisoner to live long after

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they give up   some would get over the dead line on purpos to be shot and some wood be we craisey and runn away from thair friends and Jump over the dead line   the rebels wood shuit them or any one that reached his hand over the dead line   I was standing on the bridge one day before the spring brock out wating for one of our men to came up out of the brook   the bridge whair I stod was about three feet from the  dead line and above the bridge we could get clear watter   the man reached his hand under the dead line   the rebels guard shot him through the head   I help to take him out of the brook    how I

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whised I had a gun   I do not think he would ever have another privagle of shooting another man   Just as soon as they had shot any one they would take him  of and put another guard in his place   if they kiled a man they got a thirty days furlow and if they only wounded the man they got fifteen days   most every man that they shot they kiled.   great was the rejoicing one day when we heard that Killpatric[19] was with in ten miles of camp   the nose [news] was broug-ht in by some prisoner   the nose spred through the camp in a few minets   the rebels when our men began to chear thought our men began to chear was goin to try and break

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out and through a few shell over the camp to let us know that they was reddy for us   it prove to be a falce alarm   all thou R killpatric did try to get thair but he did not have force anough and had to give it up   how we wished he had aclompice his obgit   a short time after this we herd hevey firing a short distance from camp   we thought surelly that our army was cuming but it proved to be a sham fight that the rebels was having about four miles from camp   thair was a lot of Sothening geltiman and laides came to see the yankey

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prisoner after the sham fight   they came to the camp near anough to look into the prison   we could see the laides pointing thair finger at us and a laugh in   I do not see how they could enjoy looking at us. we wished they had ben oblge to come in and borded with us for a few days and see how they would like it   I think thair would be a diffance to thair tune.   every few days the rebels would report that we would soon be exchange   we soon learned that it was a rebel lie   some times we would get a rebel papper   they would be full of thair great vicures over

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our army but the new prisoners said that our army won most evry battle and we lived on those hopes that we should soon be released   the rebels Sergents that came in evry moning to count the prisones to see if any had died or had escaped if any had died or got away they would fill up with new prisones so as to keep thair nigty[20] full  these rebels sergents would bring in some thing to traid with our boys   they would bring in tobacco and exchange it for the buttens on our blouses or coat   I could get a large piece of tobaco for one button   they wanted of to by all of the green backs[21] they could get   they would give 5 for one of thair money but few

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had any greenbanks to sell   some had some money that they had hid in thair close   if any one had any money he was lucky   you could by a pint of flour for one dollar and you could get one seed potatoe for two scents of thair money   thair was a rebel suttler[22] in camp that use to sell flour & sweet potatoes & most all kinds of vetagble   how my mouth use to watter for a tast of those fruits   if our men could have had one good sise potatoe it would don them more good then any other meidican   those that had any money could get a few potatoes and it help to keep away the skervey and those that had know money

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had to suffer with the Skurvey.   I have had ma[n]y ask what we use to do for exiser    the first thing in the moning was as soon as the sun got up was to fall into line on the skirm-ish line and then we would open with our whole force   the plan of attack was to pull of our shirts and turn them rong side out and the aminishing [ammunition] that we use was our two thumbs   we would go down one seam and up another and s [o] back and forth till thair was not a single gray back[23] left   it was the greatest slauter of gray backs[24] that I ever saw   we would kill thousand in one single skirmish and this Slater took place evry day and those that neglicted of kill of the lice we woodbe eat up a live

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the last of august our men had to larg tunnel dug in the camp   one was nearest to the fort  and the other nerast to the rebels camp   they had dug to the clockade and then dug along the in side of the stockade for a road[25] or more and had packed the dirt back so that a larg force could rush against it and push it over   we had three large forces orgnize to break through and capture the rebel camp   one party was to charge on the fort and another on the rebel camp and another on the deapot whair the rebels had a lot of arms a annation [and ammunition]   evry thing had been pland to start about midnight   I do not know what scucess

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our men would had   the last day had arived to make the atempe   we had one trator in camp that told the rebels of the tunnel and the rebels sent in a large forse in to camp to fill up the tunel   I never saw men that was so mad so mad in my life    every one tried to get hold of him   thair was sutch a rush for him that I could not get very near him   some said that he was killed and other said that the rebels took him out of prison but one thing I do know that thair was never a meaner man ever lived   if our men had failed it would have been a great deal worse for

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the prisoner and some times I have thought it could not been mutch worse for they had to die a linging death   the weeks one could not get away   they would have to stay and starve to death   Andersonvill was in one of the worst places it could be put in was in a valley hair whairthe wind could not strack   it is was so warm thair that unless you cep you feet covred up the sun would burn you-r feet to a blister   it did seem as we could live throug-h the day and after the sun went down the night was cold that we would be nearly frozen  child through   after the rebels had fild up the last tunnel they

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comence to build a line of stockade out side about tow or three and had got it most don when I left in Oct.   while I was thair I rote a number letters but they never got home   I do not think that one in ten thousand aver was mailed althoe the rebels told us that they would send them   thair use to be a larg lot of letters that use to come for us but few ever got into the prison   I have said in this sketch that thairwas never a meaner man then the one that told about the tunnel but I will take that back for thair was one and that was the old Dutch Capt.   Capt. Wertz he was the most brutish man that I ever saw or ever heard

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of  he delited to see our men murded and shot down   he had to pay the penilty on the galoss[26] and Jeff Davis ought to have been hung up beside of him. before I leave andersonvill I will make a draft of it

[Text on the Lefthand Side of Sketch:  “the rebels gaurd had stairs on the outside that went up to the top of the stockade and thay stood on a platform with in two”]

[Text on the Righthand Side of Sketch: “feet of the top of the stockade   I think thair must have been fifty or more on guard at one time”]

[Text on the Sketch itself (top to bottom): fort, rebel suttler, brook, swamp, bridge, deadline, fort, south gait, gait, spring, spout, north gait, gait]

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about the middle of oct. I went to my 90 to draw my ration and as soon as they had give out our rations the rebels counted us of in two ranks and giv the order right face and marched us out of the gait   we did not know what they was goin to do with us   they told us that we was goin to be paroled   we hated to go and not see our friends again   I had a uncle that I would like to have bid good by   that was the last time I ever saw him for he soon died after I lift   it was the only disire that I ever had to go back was to bid my friends good by   some of them lived to come home   other died thair   what a sean we was leaving behind   It canot

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never be half told   I have not told half that could be told of the suffing in that prison pen    the rebels marched us to the deapot and put us into box cars that had been use to cary cattle in and had not been cleand but we had seen so mutch filth that the cars was clean and healthly beside the prison we had Just left   as we moved of from the deapot we took our last look of andersonvill   it seemed good to be out in the open cuntry     once more   the rebels told us that they was goin to take us to Charlston [South Carolina] to parole us   we arive at Charlston the next day and they took out of the cars and march-ed us out into a large

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field   they had a furrow plowed around a large piece of grond to mark the dead line and the rebels stood on the out side of the furrow   we did not have any fence around us    we was guarded by the Georgia Troops   they was the best soldier that guard us while I was a prisoner   we was about half a mile from the cittytown out toard the bay   we could hear Githman battry[27] evry fifteen minuts   thaey was out on the bay five mils from the citty and was throwing three & five hundred shells into the city evry fifteen minuts night & day   in the night I like to see them pass over our camp or nearly over us   once in a while one would burst in the air and the

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pieces of the shel would fall into our camp   I do [not]think any one was hert by the schels but it made sad work in the citty   evry day & night we would see the smoke and hear the fire alarm calling out the fire department to put out the fire   how we wished we could get to our lines but we could not   we mite as well ben twenty miles away from thair for all the good it dun us   some of the men would run the guard in the night and try to get away   the Offic rebels Officers came into our camp one day and told our men if they would inlist in thair armey they would give them a new suit of close and plenty to eat and they

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wood not have to fight any   they wanted them to do guard duity and they perswaided 50 to inlist and took them out into the citty and drest them up in a new suit of close and gave them the best of ration   after a day or two they took them down to the bay and put them on picket[28] and that night they got a nigro to get a flat boat[29] and run it clost to the shore and forty out of the 50 got aboard and cross the bay to our battry   how mad the rebels was   the took the other 10 back to camp and took away thair close and give them thair old close   I was near the line whair they took them into camp   the rebels said they would never trust another yankey   the rebels gave

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us better foodwhile we was hear    they give some rice and fauer [flour] & molesses & meat and some times they would give us some hard bread   if it could have been more in quality but the whole would not make only our meal a day   the Cathlick priest & nun ust to came out evry day and bring some tobacho and ginger bread and through it into camp when the boys saw them coming they would get as near the dead line as they daired to     when they through any into the line   what a scrable thair would be   they would be pild up 3 x 4 deep   one time I got two pieces of tobaco   that was my bigest hall   I had three or four on top of me but held to the tobaco   I neve was luckey anough to get any of the ginger

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bread   we had now know shelter while I was hear   we was hear about 10 days and then they took us to the citty and put us aboard of the cars   the rebels told us that we was goin to Savania Savannah [Georgia] to be exchange   when the rebels was goin to move any of the prisoner they would tell them that they was goin to parole or exchange of us       they would not try to get away   we left Charleston and started toard Survanur Savannah    we began to think that we would soon be in our lines after we had got a few miles from Charleston   the train took another rout and then we know that the rebels had lied to us again and told them so   we did not know what whair

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they was goin to take to   the next day after we left Charleston two brothers in my car they made thair plains to escape   we told them that they had not better try it   thaire plans was to get as near the dore as the could and then spring by the guard   we was in box cars      the rebels guard stoit stood at the dors   they thall had the dors open to let in air an the rear car the had about 30 guard but now prisoner so if any one Jump of they would shoot them   they had some seats on a platform car   those two Brother got to the midle of the car     the cars was pack full 65 to each car   the train was runnig about 15 mils a hour    when those two brother Jump out of the cars one

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on each side of the train they was near a culvet one sprang into the culvet the other the [one] fell and before he could get to the culvet the rear of the train shall got along   the rebels fired a voley and kiled him   the train stoped and backed ut to the place   one of the rebels in our car Jump of and surtc-hed his pockets   he found a good silver watch    the other one got sutch a start   they could not ketch him   I do not know wether he ever got away or not   I wish I could rember thair names but It has been so long that I canot    the next moning we arived at floraner Station[30] and was to taken out of the cars we could not see the prison[31] from the deapot for

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thair was a pease of woods that we had to go through   as soon as we got through the woods we could see the prison pen   it was a mile from the deapo depot   we got thairthe first of November  the last of Oct and was put in the prison   the prison was in a better place then Andersonvill   the brook that run throug-h the prison was larger and better watter   the camp was on now grown   they had cut off the timber to build the stockade          the land on each side of the brook was on a side hill not very steep   the dead line was a small ditch about 20 feet from the stockade   they had a larg gang of

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rigroes [Negroes] to work building raised platforms for thair artilry   they was built up as high as the Stockade   theyhad of those raised forts oneat each corner of the camp so they had comple-te comand of the camp   thair was about ten thous-and prisoner in thair when I arived thair   the camp was larger then andersonvill   we was not crouded for

X__________________________________________________ [marking inserted in original text] 

room   I did not have any blanket nor any of my regt  we went at work to get a place to set up hous keeping   all the utensel I had to comence keeping house with was a quart cup and I was better off then some of them for they did not have that   how

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would you like to keep house with one quart cup and nothing to cook in it   our ration was some difance frrom what we had in Andersonvill   corn meal & rice and abut two table spunfull of molasses or Sogum   poor stuff   it wont fit to make vnigar with   I did not have but one cup so I had to draw all of my ration to gether corn meal rice and molasses to gether and cook them the best I could but the quality was so small that it did not make mutch difance for what ever we drew it had to be cook together    sometimes we would get a small piece of meat   it was so

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small that we use to slip it into our mouth to keep from loosing it   for some of it was alive and had to watch clost to keep it from runing away   a good fat mgot was about the poor kind of meat that I ever eat   after they was cooked thair did not seem to be   and any thing left but thair hides   you may think this is a tuff story to tell but it was a fact for if we took the magots out of the meat we would not have mutch left    you never new a prisoner to throw away any thing that could be eating.  a few days after we got to
forance the first tuesday in Nov. came our Presadental eliction[32] the rebels

[PAGES 71 and 72 MISSING]

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on the ground and try to fight away death but few ever lived to get out of prison   I have seen men with thair leges drawn up to thair bodies with rheumatism   how they sufferd      had to lay on the wet groun-d night and day with out shelter or blanket   I had been sick so long with the cronic diarrhea and scurvey that I had become so week that I could not stand on my feet but a short time   I had to lay on the ground with out shelter or blanket ever since I had been a prisoner   those that did not have any blanket would lay clost to gether to keep from frizzi-ng   it was very wet and raney most of the time I was thair      one moning the rebels sentt word that our Government

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had sent us sum clothing and told us to come to the gait and they would give them out as far as they would go   I went to the gait but I could not get any   the rebels said they had given out all thair was   we soon found out that they used them thair self   all the clothes I had was a blouse and pants a pair ove old shoes and cap   the blouse sleaves was wore off to the elboes and my pants was all in rags   that was all I had to keep me warm   the next day I herd that the rebels was goin to give out a few blankets   I got to the gait as soon as I could and was luckey   for once I got a blancket  I never felt so rich in my life as I did with that blancket   I went back

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to my other comads and spred it over as many us could get under it   some of the boys purswade-d the rebels to let them go out and get some lumber to build a shid for the sick   in a short time they had one large anough for four or five hundred of the sick aur our boys split out the shingle to cover cover it with and they had to fasten them on with pols and pins   they would lay a cors of Shing-l   the shingle was about 5 or 6 feet long and then fast-en them and the on with poles and pines   they made a roof that did not leak but little so as soon as it was don they came through camp and told those that was sick to go to the hospitial

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I went and was taken in   how glad I was to get under cover once more   the hospial was soon full   we had to lay on the groun-d with out any thing under us   those that had a blanket would spred it over as many as culd get under it  usual 4 would get under it one blanket   you may think that was croweding pretty clost but you must rember that we had scrunk up one half by this time so you see that we did not want but a small place to lay in and the closer we layed the warmer we would be   once a day the doctor[33] would come through the and hospial and give the men some medican   I got some quin-nine[34] once in a while for the chiles   I use to take all the medican I could get    I had every kind of disease that

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was in the hospitial so that I cold get all kinds of medicia-n for it was so small a dose that all the kinds they had would not make but little diffence   I grew week so fast that I could not get on my feet with out help   the chronic diarrohao and scurver had got sutch a hold of me and the rheumatism that I began to think my time was short on earth but I never give up but what I should get home and that was all that saved me and hundred of others   one night the one died that lay beside of me   I new when he died but had to lay beside of him till moning   in the moning they came to take him out   when they took his blanket of our him his whole

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close was in mothing [motion] with lice   they open his close and thair was one salard mass of lice   they had drawn the last drop of blood out of him   any one that negleted to kill take take of his close and kill then of they [lice] would eat them up   one day while in the hospitial I herd a man taken on as thoe he was in great distrece   I made some inquiry who it was and they sead it was one of the prisoner that had tried to get away and had him tied up by his thumbs   the rebels would bring your hands behind you and tye your thumbs together and then put the chord over a limb of a tree and draw you up so you could Just touth tutch the ground with

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your feet  toes and leave you to suffer for half a day   the suffing was turible   I herd the man begging the rebels to shote him to end his suffing   they have cap [kept] them hung up till some have died   I wish the the officer that orderd the man tied up had been oblige to take his place to endure the same suffing   the rebels tried every means in thair power to make our men suffer   I believe thair is a day comi-ng when those rebels have got to answer for the suffing that our men past through in those pri-son   all I can say is that god will have murcy on thair souls   the 30-th of November th nurse came

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through the hospitial and told all the sick ones that the rebels was goin to parole a thousand prisoners and told those that was able to walk to go to the other end of the hostitial and sign the prole papers   I was so week that I could not get onto my feet   I ask the nerse to help me unto my feet   he did and went with me to the officer and sign the parole   the rebels said they would not take any one that could not walk to the deapot   the deapot was a mile from the prison   I did not knowe howe I was goin to get thair but I was bound to try or die in the atimpe   thair was four of my company living at that time three of them

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got thair names on the roll   one was sick in the hospitial with me   his name was Josh-es Clark[35] and the other was Edwin W. Southworth[36]   Southwourth came to the hospitial that moning to see me   I told him that the rebels had parold me   he found out that the rebels had not got quite anough to make out the thousand   he made belive that he was so lame that he could hardly go and gat his name on the parole   he told me he would help me to the deapot   the rebels told us that they would take us out at four oclock in the after noon   when the hour had arived to be taken out thair seem to be a new life in me   every nerve

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seem to take new life in me   I got up and walked to the gait and answerd to my name when it was cald   as soon as they had got a hundred they would let them out of prison and took them a short distant from the prisoner to wait till they was all out   as fast as we gat out they would give us some bread   It was made from flour but it was so sour that you could hardley eat it    after the prisooners was all out thay took us a short distant tored the deapot and left us in a corn field and it began to rain hard   we said [stayed] thair for some time   the men was so week that they could not go but a few roads to time [rods at a time] before

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they would have to rest   my strength began to give out   I would fall down and could not get up with out help   I would tell my old legs that I had not got quite through with them yet that they had got to get me to the deapot with out fail.   my feet and legs up to my neck was dead as to any feeling in them   I could not tell by thair feeling when I stept on the ground   we was from six oclock at night till two oclock in the moning get to the deapot    you can see how week we was   thair was a namber died that night on thair way to the deapot   when we we got to the cars I could not get into the cars with out help    they put us into

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box cars as many as could sit down to gether   thair was not room to lay down   if we could have layed down we could have got some rest   they got us all loaded into the cars by day light and the train started   we bid Florance good by for ever   when our train got to the first station out of from Florance we met a larg train of our prisoner goin torid Floranc-er the trains stoped a few moments and I saw W Nelson W Wist[37] on the train    he ask me whair we was goin   we told him we had been paroled and was goin to

Surnanah [Savannah]   West said the rebels told them that they was goin to be paroled   I told him

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he was goin the rong way and that they was goin direct to Florance prison   and so it proved   they went to Florance prison   West has told me since that he tried to get a chance to Jump on to our train   when our train started we left Florane the first day of Dec 1864 and arived in Savanah the second day about midnight   the rebels run the train on to a side track and took us out of the cars and took a short distance and left us in on a small place pice of land near the river   the wind blue hard and it was so cold that it did seem as though we should freeze to death   if it had not been for the blancket I had  I should have froze to death   thair was a number that did freeze

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to death that night   the rebels might Just a well left us in the cars till moning but they wanted to get rid of as many as they could that night   the rebels gave us some hard tack[38]   they give 8 x [or] 9 hard tacks a peace   it was the first time the rebels were was Jenerast [generous] with thair ration   we had more then we could eat for once   I could not eat more than 3 or 4 of mine   my teeth want [weren’t] use to eating mutch hard bread   we had been living on faith most of the time for five month and it was hard to break over our habit   men had been use to small ration so long that it was hard to form new habits that night while we was at the deapot train after train loded

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with rebels was passing through the citty   we ask them whair they was goin   they said they was goin to meet Shur-man army[39] and was goin to give them a licking   we told them that they would be the ones that would get the licking and so it proved   Shurmans army was with in two miles of the railroad when we past over it   I have always been glad that we got past our army that night before they struck the railroad for the reason that the rebels as soon as it was day light  they took us to the boat   they had three small boats   the flag of truce was waved   Jeff Davis and one was Genl. lee and the was Genl.  Beaugard[40]   before we left the wharff a lot

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riguoin [Negro] women came to the boat to sell pyes and some small cakes   one of the boys bought a pie and gave the nigrorn women fifty dollars in con-fredic money and told her the keep the change for he did not need it any more   that was the only purtice pie that was sold  the boats left the citty as soon as they got loaded   aftor we had got 4 or 5 miles from the citty the the boat that I was on struck some on the bottom of the boat with sutch force that it it nearly stoped the boat   the rebels said it was some timber sunk in the river to keep our gun boats from geting to the citty only lights draft boats could pass over it   nine mils down the river  we came in sight of our gun boats

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as soon as we got so we could see the old flag the boys began to chear  the rebels tryed to stop them but it was now use   when we past the gun boats the boys threw up thair caps into the air and cheared   men that could not stand on thair feet with out help before got up and cheared it seem to it renued our strength   the rebels told our men if they did not stop thair nois they would take us back to prison   we told them they could not do it and pointed them to the gun boat we had past and told them that our gun boats would not let them   we soon reached our flag of truce boat and as we came up along of our boat it was one of our largest ocean Steamers   they had to have a larder [ladder] ten or twelve feet long to get on to our boat   some could not

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climb up and they had to be help   I tried my best to but could not get up   they had to help me   after they had got us all onto the boat they took those that could take care of them selves and put them on to another boat that stand beside the receing boat   I stayed on the hospitial boat   as soon as they got them all seperated they had every man take of his close and threw them over board   did we lick laff to see those gray backs go into the river   it seem that I could almost feel them runing up and down my now back now   then they gave the boys some soap and watter to wash them self and those that had not stren-gth to wash them selves the nerses would wash them   as fast as they got washed they would give them a new

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suit of close and as soon as they got drest they took them into another room and give them somthing to eat  I was so week that I had to lay down in a bunck   the nurse brot me a cup of coffe and two sody crackers and a small piece of meat   when I had tasted of that coffe Friends I cannot tell it   it now [no] use to try to tell of the Joy and the happinness that filled my sole   I shal never forget that time and how good the coffe and crackers and meat tasted   I do not never exspect to ever tast any food that tasted so good as that did on the boat   friends did you ever cry for Joy   if you have then you can reailise my feeling for the it was the first time since I had been taken prisoner that I shed any tears   it seem was the happest time

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I ever saw or ever expect to see   as soon as the nurse could he help me to an dress and got to bed   for month I had laye-d on the ground with out shelt-er or blankets     thair can never be but one greater change then the one that I had Just past through and that is from this life to life eturnal in crist Jueses   as I layed my weare hed down on a pillow once more the tears would run down my cheaks and I was not the only one on that boat that Shed tears of Joy   the officer and nurses did every thing that they could to make us comfably that night   we started for Annapolis MY[41] [Maryland]   I did not get up till the second day after we left Suannah and then I drest my self and tried to get up on deck   I was trying to

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crall up the stars   one of the nurses came along and put his arm around me and ran up the stars with me and sat me down in a chair   he said that he could cary two up those staris to once   I looked around to see if I could see any land   thair was not any in sight    that was the only time I was ever out of sight of land   I looked around as long as I wanted to and then went back to my bed and did not dress my self again till we got to Annapolis    as soon as the boat got to Annap-olis we was taken to the hospitia-l and had us take off our close and wash us again and then they gave us another suit of close         as soon as we got cleaned up the laydes came

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of the sanctary commison[42] came in to the hospial and brought paper and envelop for the boys to write to thair homes and those that was not ablee to write they rote letters for them to thair friends   I was so week that I could not sit up and they rote to my wife that I had Just arived at Annapolis and would be home as soon as I was able to travel    thair was one long man in my ward that was wounded before he was taken prisoner in the knee   the gangreen had got in and had eat all the flesh away from the knee so that it left the knee bown bair six inches above and belowe the knee   they sent a dispach to his father & mother that thair son had arived at Annap-olis   they lived in Pennsvany they both got thair the next

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day   they don every thing they could to stop the gangreen but the mortipatian[43] sit in and he lived only 4 or 5 days   while his father was thair he sent out into the vilage and got a barber to com in and shave & cut our hair   we had not been shave or had our hair cut while we was in prison   thair was one in our ward that had curly hair   he had a very curley head of hair  the barber could not get his shears through his hair  his hair was woven together so solord by lice that he had to cut it the same yould [you would] a sheap comence on his forard and turn it back and cut clost to his hed and when he got it off his hair held solid together   the barber sed that it was as hevey

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as a coming [common] fleece of wool   it was the only way that we could get rid of the gray backs was to cut our hair clost to our heads   when I was being washed one of the Dr. came into the ward   he sed I was the first living sketlen that he ever saw stand on his feet   I wayed 185 lbs. when I was taken prisoner and when I came out wayed I weighed 90 lbs.   I had the chronic diaorrhea so bad that I could not eat only the litest food   the Dr. use to give me eight ounces of whiskey and a half pint of brandey a day[44] to keep up my strength   in a few days the pay master came thair and payed us two months pay and our raiton money 25[45] a day while in prison   thair was one in our ward as soon as he got his money sead he

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was goin to have all he wanted to eat for once   he went to the suttler tent and bough-tt twelve small mince pies  the pies was about as large as a comon saucer   he set down and eat the twelve pies and he thought he did not have quite anough and bought another and while he was eating the thirteen pie he died and it was so with a great maney   they was almost crazzey for some thing to eat and if they could get it they would eat to mutch   I was so low that I could not eat mutch and I believe-d that is what saved my life   after I had been thair two weeks I asked the Dr for a furlow to go home for every one was in tittle to 30 days furlow as soon as they was able to stand

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the Journey   the Dr sed I was not able   I would die on the road   I told him I had no nothin [notion] of dying yet and that I was goin home   he told me that I should go as soon as I was able   the Dr use to give me eight ounces of whiskey and half pint of branday a day to keep up my strength   I told the dorctor if I could get home I thought I should gain faster   after I had been thair three weeks the Dr told me if I thought I could stand the gourney he would let me go home   I told him I new that I could  he said I had so mutch grit he would let me go   so he made ouit a fourlow for me and one other in my ward by the name of Sergt Charles E Merrill[46] and that night the [they] caried us to the boat  we went from

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annanapolis to Baltmore [Maryland] on the boat and took the cars   the next moning we got to New york we took a omsbuss[47] to go to the New inghand [England] rooms whair all the soldier stoped when thay was passi-ng through new york   every one could have his meels & loging free   thair was a stranger in the ombuss when we got in   as soon as we got in he took out som money and handed it to the driver   I did not know he had paid the driver and took out some money to pay our fair  he told us that he had paid our fair    we thanked him   he said he new as soon as we stepted into the ombuss that we was paroled prisoners and ask us several quuestion about our prison life    after we had got to the new england

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rooms they gave us a good warm meal   after our diner we ask a porice man that stayed in the rooms whair we could get our transpation renewed   he told us it was four miles from thair and sayed if we would givee us [him] our furlows he would send and get our transpation for us so we could stay whair it was warm   he sed we would nead all oof our strength to get home   how glad we was and they gave us a bed to lay down and rest   we got our transpation and 8 oclock that after noon we took the train for spring-field Mass   soon after we left N.Y. a Gentlman in the cars came to us and ask us if we had Just came out of prison   we told him we had   he took a seat next to us and ask us all about

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our prison life and what we sufferd in the prison   he ask us if we had any stiments[48]     we told him we did not have any for we was not able to go out and get some   he open his velise and took out a pint bottle of whiskey and handed it to us and told us to take some and keep it for we should need it to keep up our strength to get home   we got to springfield that night about tin oclock   when we got out of the cars he told us he would take us to a hotsel whair we could stay for the night for we could not get any father that night   we had got to wait till eight oclock the nest moning   we went

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to the hollell [hotel] with him   we went up to the disk and bocked [booked] our names   he ask the clerk how mutch our super and breakfast and loging woul-d be   he took out his walet and paid the clerk   what a difarance thair was to be among frindes then thair was among our eminys   every one tried to help us   after super we went into the bar room every one and the bar room was full would come to us and shake hands with us and sed they was glad that we had got out of prison   they keep us answer-ing questing till midnight before we got a chance to go to bed   the next moning after briskfast

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they carid us to the depot   the train was to leave at 8 oclock but on acount of a hevey snow storm we did not leave till most noon  while we was waiting in the depot a Geltiman came to us and ask us how far we had got to go   we told him   he said we did not look as we was able to travle so far and wanted to know if we had any one to help us along   we told him we told him had not any one   we had come from annaplios and we thought we could go the rest of the way   he wanted to know if we had any stimilents     we told him we had not for we had use up all of the stimelts we had

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with us   he went out and got some whiskey and told us to use it to take some every little while and then he took us by our hands and bid us good by and sed he hope we would soon be with our friends   we left Springfield about noon   the rail road was so block that we did not get to Barnet {Vermont] till 11 oclock at night   Sergt Merril lived in newport Vt   I hated to get out and leave him along for he had to go on crutches   he had ben wounded in his foot Just before he was taken prisoner and it had not heald up    he was not so reduce in flesh as I was

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for he had never had the cronic diaurohaua and scurv-ey but the gangreen had got into his foot and he lost all of his toes   I bid him good by and got out at barnet   I did not exspect to get home that night   it was so cold if I went home that night I had got to go on the stage to Peacham 7 miles   the themomter stood 26 below Zerow   I told the stage driver I wanted him to cary me to the hotell for I did not dair to go to Peacham that night for I would freeze to death  he told me he thought he could mak-e me cumpable [comfortable]   I was the only one to go up he had

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a coverd stage and had a lot of buffow[49]   I got in and layed down on the botton of the stage with a cople of buffows under me and three or four spred over me and soon went to sleep and step [slept] all of the way to Peacham   we got to Peacham about 1 oclock in the moning   my father lived about a lite [mile] from the holtoll[50]   the stage driver keep the hotell and I sayed with him till moning for my folks did not know that I was coming so soon   in the moning I went into the post office and the office was full and thair was not one that would

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have kown me if they had not herd that I had got home  they all sed I was the poors person that they ever saw   Jhon Morse[51] one of my company lived at Peacham hollow whair my folks lived   he herd that I was at the post office at Peacham Corner   we [He] took his teem and came up and got me and caried me home   when I got to fathers they saw me get out of the sligh to come in to the house   I had two sisters at home they told mother that a old codger was coming in   I raped at the dore   mother came to the dore      I spoke to her   she saw it was a soldier and sed

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can it be you Mark   I told her it was all that was left of me   she could not speek to me for some time after I got into the house   she said it did not seem posible that I was the same boy that went to the war   I told her not to feel so bad for I was in hops to look better soon   my wife lived with her father folks while I was in the war   the lived in the East part of the town two miles from my father folks   in the after noon Mr. Morse took his teem and caried me to my wife fathers   when I went into the house father Clark said how like the divel you look Mark [this was written vertically on the right-hand side of the page]

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Mark   my wife was away to one of the nabors when I got home   they sent for her   she come home she felt so bad when she saw me that she could [not speak] speat  she could not hardley bele-ive I was the same man   I do not think I should be alive to day if it had not beenfor the cair that I had after I got home   they sent for the Dr. as soon as they could   they all thought I could not live but a short time   I told them that I was not goin to die now that I had got home   the Doctor thought I was a hard looking custormy   he sed he would try and

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see what he could do for me   in a few days I began to gain and when my furlow was out I was able to go to Montipielr hostital[52] and stayed thair till the war closed   after nearly 25 years since I was taken prisoner as I atempt to rite out this short history of my life      I have indend to rite it Just as I saw it   I have rote it from memory for I have not any memrance [memoranda] to refur to   I anlis-ted the 12 of November 1861 in Co. D. 1 st regt. Vt.-Cav. and was discharged July 25 1865   up to June 29 1864[53] I had been in over 60 battles my regt. was in 73 battles

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“I have in my posession the Caledoninan that is printed by Cell. Stone & Co. St. Johnsbury Vt dated Dec. 30 1864 that gives the acount of the time that I come home and I will write it Just as is riten in the paper....”[54]


Endnotes:

[1] Spiking artillery, literally driving large spikes through the center, destroyed the unit and made it unfit for use.

[2] Freed slaves, also known as contraband, followed Union forces as the regiments traveled. On the Wilson Raid, approximately 1,000 slaves were liberated.

[3] Breastwork (later referred to as “breastmarks” in text):  A temporary, quickly constructed field trench made of earth and wood designed to protect defenders from enemy fire.

[4] Salisbury Prison in Salisbury, NC: It was the only Confederate prison in the state, established in 1861. Site consisted of 16 acres, a three-story cotton factory building, six brick tenements. The prison was within city limits.

[5] Surface refers to the ground that had holes dug into the earth for shelter which was common in stockades that had no shelter or buildings.

[6] Columbia, SC: The prison here was Richland District Jail, a three-story building in the heart of Columbia.

[7] Captain Henry “Heinrich” Wirz: Commander of Andersonville from March 1864 to May 1865. Born in Switzerland, he was banished in the 1840s and moved to America. He enlisted in the Confederate Louisiana Infantry in 1861 and was promoted to commander of prisons in Richmond and Tuscaloosa, AL before being assigned to Andersonville.

[8] Dead Line: A fence built inside the stockade, about 19 feet from the stockade walls which prisoners were forbidden to cross or they would be shot on the spot.

[9] Relieved themselves

[10] Wheeler’s uncle: Newcomb Martin of Peacham, VT. of the Vermont 11 th Regt. Co. A. Enlisted on Aug. 8, 1862, mustered in on Sept. 1, 1862; promoted to corporal on Oct. 29, 1864; taken prisoner on June 23, 1864; died at Andersonville on Nov. 2, 1864. (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[11] Trial of Raiders: There was a large gang, numbering 400 to 500 who preyed on new prisoners, stealing, terrorizing and killing them in the night. Tensions escalated and a majority of prisoners appealed to the prison authorities. At the end of June 1864, Brig. Gen. John Winder of Andersonville Prison authorized a prisoner-based police force and court to capture and prosecute the offenders. Six ring leaders, all ex-convicts who had been released from prison to fight in the war, were caught and tried. They were executed on the gallows built by prisoners July 11, 1864.

[12] Black league refers to the Raiders; Wheeler called them black as in evil not race.

[13] Police force: The prisoner police force was known as the “Regulators” in charge of keeping order and doling out justice and punishments.

[14] Buck and gag: A common form of military punishment which placed a soldier on the ground with his hands and feet bound, knees drawn up between the arms and a rod insert under the knees and over the arms.

[15] Cat o’ nine tails: A whip made of nine knotted cords attached to a handle used for flogging.

[16] Drain off. Wheeler refers to the land not having an incline so water could drain down. They were at the bottom of a valley.

[17] Jefferson Davis: Davis was the president of the Confederate States, elected in 1861 when the South seceded from the Union. He raised the Confederate armies and appointed Gen. Robert E. Lee as commander of the Army of Virginia. On May 10, 1865, federal troops captured him at Irwinville, GA. He was imprisoned from 1865 to 1867 and then the federal government dropped the case against him in 1868.

[18] Grape and canister: A Civil War artillery ammunition that resembled a coffee can full of layers of grapeshot, small iron balls, packed in sawdust. The canisters were fired from a cannon and were effective at close range.

[19] Kilpatrick: Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick was known as “Kill Calvary” for his aggressiveness and fearlessness.
After the second Battle of Bull Run in 1862, he was a successful leader of raids. In 1864, Kilpatrick was in Gen. William Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign.

[20] Ninety prisoners was the quota each Confederate sergeant was responsible for.

[21] Greenbacks: In 1861, the U.S. was in great need of money so the Treasury Department issued “paper money” that was nicknamed “greenbacks.”

[22] Sutler tents were run by civilian merchants who sold supplies to soldiers. They usually set up their sutler tents near battlefields and prisons.

[23] Grayback is the term for body lice but Union soldiers also referred to Confederate soldiers as “Graybacks” because of their gray uniforms.

[24] Wheeler uses the play on words “great slaughter of graybacks” in reference to the Confederate soldiers and their war game exercise of killing lice was a small way to get back at the Rebels.

[25] Rod: A measure of 16.5 feet

[26] Capt. Wirz was arrested and on trial for two months. He was the only defendant in the first war crimes trial in American history. Northern outrage over the Confederate prison issue demanded a scapegoat after the war ended. Wirz was found guilty Oct. 24, 1865 and hung Nov. 10, 1865 at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington.

[27] Githman battery: A Civil War battery was artillery that had six cannons with over 100 men. Union batteries were larger than the Confederates’ which had only 4 cannons. Githman may have been the commander in charge of that particular unit.

[28] Picket: A boat on sentinel duty.

[29] Flat boat: A rectangular boat with a flat bottom and square ends used to transport freight and passengers.

[30] Florence Station at Florence, SC where three railroads converged in town.

[31] Florence Prison: Florence Prison Stockade was built to absorb Andersonville and other Georgia prisoners when Gen. William Sherman was closing in on Atlanta. It was open for five months, Sept. 1864 to Feb. 1865, and was similar to the Andersonville design and terrible conditions. It was on 23.5 acres and held 18,000 prisoners. Also note that the Union prisoners were told they were being exchanged, were actually just moved to another prison at this time.

[32] Presidential Election: Democrat George McClellan ran against President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln won the election Nov. 8, 1864.

[33] Doctor: The Florence Prison did have doctors and set up a hospital shed for prisoners.

[34] Quinine: A common medicine used as a fever reducer, pain killer and anti-inflammatory drug. It was the first effective treatment for malaria.

[35] Joshes Clark: Actually Joseph O. Clark, of Barnet, VT. VT 1 st Regt. Cavalry, Co. D. Enlisted Sept. 30, 1861, mustered in on Nov. 19, 1861. Re-enlisted on Dec. 31, 1863; promoted to corporal, do. Co. Q. M.-Sergt., Dec. 1, 1864, taken prisoner May 24, 1862, paroled Sept. 13, 1862, again June 1, 1864, paroled Nov. 20, 1864, died April 1865 of disease. (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[36] Edwin W. Southworth of Concord, VT.  VT 1 st Regt. Calvary, Co. D. Enlisted Oct. 28, 1861, mustered in on Nov. 19, 1861. Re-enlisted on Dec. 30, 1863, promoted corporal,  Sergt. Dec. 1, 1864, taken prisoner April 1, 1863, paroled April 7, 1863; again June 29, 1864, paroled Nov. 30, 1864; transferred to Co. C, June 21, 1865, mustered out Aug. 9, 1865. (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[37] Nelson W. West:  Actually William Nelson West of Cabot, VT. VT 4 th Regt. Co. H, listed under “Corporals”. Enlisted on Sept. 7, 1861, mustered in Sept. 21, 1861. Re-enlisted Dec. 15, 1863, promoted sergeant, taken prisoner June 23, 1864. Paroled March 4, 1865; transferred to Co. C Feb. 25, 1865. Mustered out July 17, 1865.  Wheeler recounts meeting West on his way to freedom as West is headed to yet another prison and wasn’t paroled until March 1865.  (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

Interesting Peacham Connection: West and a Peacham soldier, Horace E. Rowe were in Andersonville Prison together. Rowe’s health deteriorated quickly and he was so weak he could barely stand. One thousand prisoners were counted off one night for an exchange the next morning. Seventeen chosen ones died overnight so the Rebel soldiers chose the closest prisoners to fill the quota. West was the last man chosen. While the chosen prisoners were lined up, West pushed Rowe into his place in line and told him “Say your name’s West and keep going, I can stand it much longer than you can.” Rowe did as told and paroled out of Andersonville. He eventually was put on a boat for New York. He once was mistaken for a dead man but he did live to make it North. The story goes that he crawled up the lane to his mother’s house and she thought it was an animal at first then recognized her son. When he went into the army, he weighed 217 lbs. and came out 90 lbs. As for West, he stayed in Andersonville another five months before being paroled in March 1865. He reunited with Rowe in Peacham and they were closer than brothers after that, and people called them “David and Jonathan.” (supplied by Anna Lang, in Peacham Historical Society files)

Horace E. Rowe was of the VT 4 th Regt. Co. H. Enlisted Sept. 1861, mustered in Sept. 1861, taken prisoner June 23, 1864, paroled Nov. 24, 1864, mustered out March 1865. (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[38] Hardtack: A common soldier food, hardtack is a thick cracker made of flour, water and salt. It was eaten alone or crumbled into coffee or soup.

[39] Sherman’s army: Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) was one of America’s greatest Army officers, who lead the Union Army in numerous successful battles all through the Civil War.

[40] Wheeler names the three Confederate boats: Jefferson Davis, the General Lee and the General Beauregard.

[41] Annapolis, MD: More specifically Camp Parole which was a way station established in 1862 for paroled soldiers and exchanged prisoners from New England and Mid-Atlantic states. The camp encompassed 250 acres with 83 buildings and a 168-bed hospital. Camp Parole was closed July 1865.

[42] Sanitary Commission: U.S. Sanitary Commission stemmed from wealthy New York men and women and the Women’s Central Association of Relief joining forces to gather clothing, blankets and monetary donations for the Union troops. In June 1861, President Lincoln made the U.S. Sanitary Commission an official agency responsible for educating the army about proper sanitation techniques to reduce spread of disease as well as a supplying unit. It was disbanded in 1866.

[43] Mortification: A stage of living tissue cells dying and becoming gangrenous from infection or loss of blood supply.

[44] Stimulants: The use of alcohol, such as whisky and brandy, was common practice to give patients nutrients and calories since they could not eat regular portions of food after being malnourished for months and years. The alcohol provided a liquid diet the patients could handle until their stomachs were accustomed to solid food. It also was used as a sedative form.

[45] Soldiers’ Pay: Union privates were paid approximately $16 per month during military service. Soldiers were supposed to be paid every two months in the field but more realistically they got paid at four-month intervals.

[46] Sgt. Charles E. Merrill of Newport, Vt., VT 11 th Regt. Co. L Heavy Artillery, listed under “Sergeants”. Listed residence as Georgeville, C.E.[Quebec], Enlisted May 11, 1863, mustered in June 27, 1863; taken prisoner on June 23, 1864, paroled on Nov. 20, 1864, mustered out on May 13, 1865.  (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[47] Omnibus: a horse-drawn bus, similar to taxis, in the cities.

[48] It was common civilian knowledge that recuperating soldiers had to keep their energy up and the stimulants in the form of alcohol were consumed to do that.

[49] Buffalo skins. During winter months, drivers and passengers of carriages, sleighs and covered stages used buffalo skins to cover and keep warm.

[50] Hotel: The hotel was located in Peacham Corner where the present Peacham Library stands.

[51] John F. Morse of Peacham, VT 1st Regt. Calvary Co. D. Enlisted Nov. 12, 1861, mustered in Nov. 19, 1861, mustered out Nov. 18, 1864 (no reason given). That would explain why he was home in Peacham by the end of December when Wheeler reached Peacham.   (Roster of Vermont Volunteers, Civil War, 1861-66)

[52] Montpelier Hospital: During the Civil War, Montpelier was the home of the Sloan U.S. Army General Hospital for injured soldiers. It was the second largest Union Army hospital in Vermont which operated from June 1864 to October 1865. It was located on the site of the Vermont College (which later merged with Norwich University) on College Street and consisted of 24 buildings and number of satellite structures.

[53] June 29, 1864 was the date Wheeler and others in his company were captured by the Rebel forces at Stony Creek, Va.

[54] Mark Wheeler copied the article from the “Caledonian Record” issue of Dec. 30, 1864 but the pages over time have disintegrated and are hard to read.


Transcribed by Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, 2009, for the Peacham Historical Association.

Copyright Peacham Historical Association. Reproduced courtesy of the Peacham Historical Association.