Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Dark Side of Sod...10

With a spirit of Thanksgiving I would like to thank our ancestry for the high price they paid so that future generations could have a chance. My Great Great Great Grandfather was a POW in the Civil War and wrote a journal of his experiences there. War is NOT Civil...ever! I treasure his words. His name was John...this week I would like to share some excerpts from his writings. I can't imagine what the times were like or what he must have felt really. He was in Andersonville, or Camp Sumter as it was known officially, located in Georgia, held more prisoners at any given time than any of the other Confederate military prisons. It was built in early 1864 after Confederate officials decided to move the large number of Federal prisoners in and around Richmond to a place of greater security and more abundant food. During the 14 months it existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements.

He writes...

Monday, July 11th 1864
...Seven hundred miles from home and in prison, watched and guarded by men who who have no feeling of honor or sympathy and who stand ready with loaded guns to send the messenger of death at the first show of an effort to escape- and even should one succeed in getting out, they are ready with blood hounds to chase him down. Every citizen is considered on military duty, and should a prisoner escape the vigilance of the guard, it is hardly possible that he would succeed traveling through 250 miles of country inhabited by the enemy. We have just had a pleasant shower and the sun is coming out to shed its last rays on some convicts that are to stretch hemp in a few minutes. Federal soldiers in Federal uniforms and a camp of Federal prisoners but by their misdemeanors they deserve their punishment. Guilty of murdering their comrades for gain and plunder, they were caught, tried and convicted and at 5 o'clock P. M. the sentence is to be executed for by order of Gen. Winder C.S.A. This is the one human act in the General, if he never did a good deed and never does another-may God have mercy on their souls.

5 o'clock and the convict prisoners are brought in, escorted by a guard of C.S soldiers headed by Capt. Wertz who delivers them over to the regulators for execution. They are attended by a priest, brought to the scaffold and ordered to ascend- but Delaney refuses and breaks through the crowd and attempts to escape, is recaptured and brought back. Mosby begs for mercy and calls several times, but none comes to the rescue. They ascend the scaffold, the ropes adjusted, the caps placed over the criminals faces - everything is ready- the moment has arrived, the ladders are pulled down and five men are seen dangling in the air. The sixth rope breaks - this is Mosby's- again he begs for mercy but the unflinching Limber Jim takes him up to the scaffold, readjusts the rope and swings him off again.

This may look hard to the civilized and enlightened world, but they have been a reign of terror to the camp. The reign of terror is broken if not subdued. What will the Federal Government think? It matters not, they leave us here. We are mixed with marauders and must protect ourselves. Justice must be administered - we have men who know what justice is and are ready to execute it.

Be well,
Julie Pope

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