By a survivor of Andersonville

August 24 1904 Morris Chronicle

I recollect well one night a man running near us moaning bitterly and whipping himself with his arms and hands. This he kept up for a long time, until his strength must have been exhausted, when with a loud cry he fell on the frozen ground like a log. He was taken up still alive but consciousness, I think, was never recovered. Others in different parts of the camp were found chilled or frozen the same morning. Time passes; numerous events of minor interest occur which I will not attempt to relate, but one event happened that was so dampening to my pride in its effect that the remembrance is still prominent in my mind. It was the result of a little accident. One extremely cold night it was agreed among us that we might afford a little fire for a while. It was kindled and we all hovered over it for some time, that we might absorb as much as possible of the precious warmth. I having smoked sufficiently a little earlier than the others decided I would retire for the night. This was a very simple process, requiring no ceremony of undressing or nightdress or anything else. We crept under the blankets, cap, boots and all, if one had them (you will recollect I was shoeless). I still swathed my feet in old rags, which had been and still was a great humiliation to me. And now another blow to vanity. It seems I must have fallen immediately asleep, and by some carelessness the others later in following me must have whisked away my cap from my head to the bed of dying embers, where just fire enough remained to burn the crown completely away and a part of the leather front piece. The loss of course was insignificant in other circumstances, but here where no possibility of replacing it existed, of course, it ment more. Just the rim of a crownless cap, henceforth for how long; shoeless, shirtless and now almost capless. Ever since I came home my people have insisted there seemed to be an unusual lack of pride in my make-up some way as relating to my dress and personal appearance. Is it any wonder, after one has been reduced to such low and humiliating condition?

One more incident and the Andersonville stories are ended. It must have been about the first of March, there came a call for me to come down to the gate, which wondering very much, I immediately answered. There I found Henry Bishop waiting to see me. He had in his hands a small sack containing three or four quarts of meal. He told me he had saved this from his extra rations, and others had added some, and he had with some difficulty obtained a pass to bring it to me. I was much effected by this evidence of friendship. Since our leaving the prison the first time and previous I had not seen him or heard one word, whether he was still here or had been transferred, dead or alive. But he by some means had known of my return, and of course knew I must still be living, as I had not been brought for burial to the cemetery. We had but a few minutes to talk. I was much reduced in flesh and quite feeble. I told him I tho't his chance of seeing home better than mine, and asked him to take some keep sakes, which I had preserved, to my friends. He accepted them and we shook hands, and again bade each other good bye at the prison gates. Afterwards he told me, at the time he knew they were to be exchanged, but refrained from telling me, thinking it might cause me to feel bad to again be left behind. Not all people who thought they knew Henry Bishop, did so. To those whom he gave his friendship no more staunch or true man ever lived than he. He would brave anything, endure anything to aid a friend. Whatever of value my life has been to myself or to others, is now or will be in the future, I sincerely believe I owe to him.


About the 10th or 12th of April, 1865, the gates were again opened to us to pass out, the remnant of the little party which had first entered them a little less that nine months before, twelve in number, now reduced to four ragged, filthy skeletons, yet hanging on to life with a new hope which inspired in them strength to keep up, to press on. It was very early in the morning when we boarded the train, and as we moved out southward toward Albany we passed through a farming section, and I saw already in the field at sunrise a company of twenty or more slaves hoeing corn, which was at this season nearly a foot in height. The slaves were of both sexes, the overseer whip in hand present, and I noticed there was no resting on the hoe to watch the train of Yankee prisoners pass by. I wonder how long before that overseer's whip was broken and those black men and women knew that they were free?

At Albany we left the train and resumed the march, and as we passed through the town many of the people came out to see us, and there were many expressions of sympathy, and some of the ladies brought out every piece of provision the home contained and distributed it among us. Again we crossed the Flint river and recognized we were retracing our journey of December. We halted for a brief rest again by the Crystal spring. Then we were led on once more through the wilderness. I cannot state just how long a time we were in making this journey. We reached some station on the Savannah and Southern road, I think, on the third or fourth day, and were again put aboard train and halted at a place called Lake City, which I have been unable to find on the map. It was across the Florida line; here we were once more corraled in the woods, though we recognized in a careless and less rigid manner. Our ration too was somewhat increased.


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