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In and Out of Rebel Prisons   By: (1830-1919)

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[Illustration: [signature] A. Cooper]

IN AND OUT OF REBEL PRISONS,

BY LIEUT. A. COOPER,

12th N. Y. CAVALRY.

ILLUSTRATED.

OSWEGO, N. Y.: R. J. OLIPHANT, JOB PRINTER, BOOKBINDER AND STATIONER. 1888.

Copyrighted 1888, BY A. COOPER. All Rights Reserved.

To CAPTAIN ROBERT B. HOCK, THE GALLANT AND LOYAL COMRADE IN THE FIELD, THE FAITHFUL AND CONSTANT FRIEND DURING THE DARK DAYS OF MY PRISON LIFE,

The Daring Companion of my Escape

AND THREE HUNDRED MILE TRAMP THROUGH THE CONFEDERACY, WHO, WHEN I BECAME TOO FEEBLE TO GO FARTHER, SO GENEROUSLY TOOK OUT HIS PURSE AND GAVE ME THE LARGEST HALF OF ITS CONTENTS, THIS BOOK IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR.

AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

Many books have been written upon prison life in the South, but should every survivor of Andersonville, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Florence, Salisbury, Danville, Libby and Belle Island write their personal experiences in those rebel slaughter houses, it would still require the testimony of the sixty five thousand whose bones are covered with Southern soil to complete the tale.

Being an officer, I suffered but little in comparison with what was endured by the rank and file, our numbers being less, our quarters were more endurable and our facilities for cleanliness much greater. Besides, we were more apt to have money and valuables, which would, in some degree, provide for our most urgent needs.

In giving my own personal experiences, I shall endeavor to write of the prison pens in which were confined only officers, just as I found them "Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice."

Being blessed with the happy faculty of looking upon the bright side of life, and possessing a hopeful disposition, unaccustomed to give way to despondency, I also write upon the bright side of my subject. The reader who expects to find in this book a volume of sickening details of the horrors of starvation and suffering endured by those whose misfortune it was to be confined in Andersonville, under that inhuman monster Wirz the mention of whose name causes a shudder will be disappointed. Having kept a complete diary of events during my ten months' imprisonment, I am able to give a reliable account of what came under my personal observation. I have often heard it said, even here in the North, that our men who were prisoners, were cared for as well as the limited means of the Confederacy would admit; but the falsity of this is seen when you remember that Andersonville is situated in a densely wooded country, and that much of the suffering endured was for the want of fuel with which to cook their scanty rations, and for the want of shelter, which they would have cheerfully constructed had the opportunity been afforded them. The evidence all goes to show that instead of trying to save the lives or alleviate the sufferings of those whom the fortunes of war had thrown into their hands, they practiced a systematic course of starvation and cruelty, that in this nineteenth century, seems scarcely believable. In this scheme, the arch traitor, Jeff. Davis, was most heartily assisted by the infamous Winder and his cowardly assistants, Wirz, Dick Turner, Tabb and others, whose timid hearts unfitted them for service in the field, but just qualified them for acts of atrocity and cruelty, such as were inflicted upon the loyal sons of the North who were in their power. Prison life, at best, to one who has been educated beneath the flag of freedom, is a trial hard to be endured; but when accompanied with indignities, insults and tortures, such as were inflicted upon the occupants of those prison hells of the South, it becomes simply unbearable.

A. COOPER.

CHAPTER I.

DESCRIPTION OF PLYMOUTH, N. C.

Plymouth, in 1863 4, was a small town, situate on the Roanoke river, about six miles from where the waters of that stream enters the Albermarle Sound.

The river at Plymouth is nearly a quarter of a mile wide, and with a sufficient depth of water to float the largest draught gunboats... Continue reading book >>




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