By a survivor of Andersonville

May 18 1904 Morris Chronicle

He said the original stockade had closed about twenty acres with estimated capacity for the confinement of 20,000 men. This had been far overreached before our arrival and ten acres more had been added to the north end and opened just before our coming, now fast filling to the same crowded condition. It is mid-afternoon, I am nearly fried in the sun and thirst has got possession of me, so I decided to take a walk sightseeing and at the same time to procure the desired water. I collected three or four cups from among my companions and started out. I picked my way back again to Market street, and following it nearly to the gates I find a well beaten path leading to the stream. I followed this and soon found myself at the edge of the morass. He I first came in close proximity to the "dead line". I noticed a row of posts driven in the ground some twenty feet inside the stockade, cut off to an even height of about three feet, on top of this is fastened a rail or strip; between this and the stockade is empty space, and no prisoner is allowed to enter it, the guards having instructions to shoot down any who do so. This line extends around the entire prison. My way was parallel with this line, but a few feet inside, and over a rude narrow bridge which the prisoners had constructed so as to pass from one side of the prison to the other, as well as to reach the stream for water. It was elevated a foot or more above the ground and the surface was pieces of board, barrel staves and anything that could be utilized that they could find.

Shall I tell you what I saw on either side of the bridge that made the creeps come over me and filled my soul with disgust; just a bed of maggots which hid the earth from site, writhing and wriggling in the hot July sun, a most loathsome sight. I passed on to the stream, which I found a small one, and yet of sufficient capacity to supply the prison. I looked at the water and my thirst was materially diminished. One needed to be very thirsty, take in large mouthfulls without breathing and closed eyes who drank it. I dipped up a cup of it just below the dead line, then threw it away, passed over the bride to the southern side and wandered down the edge of the morass where small springs had been cleaned out, the waters of which looked to be clear and pure, but in every one of which were more or less maggots. At last I come to one which, although not entirely free, was more so than any I had found. I decides I would fill my cups here and proceeded to do so. I stooped and dipped a cup and was proceeding to take a drink when a man in zuave uniform, whom I had noticed sitting on the bank just above the spring with a cupful by his side, threw its contents full in my face. Being similarly armed the broadside was returned promptly and accurately, the result of which, when he recovered his breath and eyesight, a roar that would have put to flight a whole regiment of Southern chivalry had it been in their faces on the battlefield. This demonstration was followed almost immediately by a seemingly miniature cyclone in which those standing at a little distance observed the flashing of tin cups amid the arms and legs of human shapes in mixed confusion. In the midst of the melee I remembered hearing voices crying "a fight! a fight!" and some one close by said 'drop your cups; I will take care of them for you!' which I did and was thereby was able to give my undivided attention to the other matter of lively interest in which I was engaged. Misfortune now began to overtake him. He first ran his left eye, by some blunder, against my right fist in a violent manner that seemed to daze him somewhat, and before he had recovered the first a second and worse overtook him. He suddenly fell to the ground with myself uppermost, in which position terms of peace were discussed, and it was agreed that he retire in peace to his place and war would be no more between us, the debts incurred to be mutually borne between us; a black eye on his side and a swollen lip and loosened tooth on mine. I think I must have caught one of his swings in my teeth when his fists were flying around my head in a reckless and disagreeable manner. However the unpleasantness was favorably over, casualties were light considering the noise. In this (on the American side) the Spanish-American war much resembled it. I was elevated to heroic heights, and victorious honors were awarded me, and when I asked my admirers what had caused the fellow to assault me in that way, they said that the springs I had discovered had been cleaned out by companies and individuals and were claimed ny them as private property, and that the public camp was not permitted to use the water. When I told them I was a new comer in the camp and had had no knowledge of this, I was freed from blame by everybody. My second in the fray, who had taken care of my cups, returned them to me all right. Another admirer took me to a spring in which he had an interest and filled them for me. Then by the way which I had come I returned to my friends, and when I had related to them the story of my adventure there was one laugh in Andersonville.


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