Nineteen Months a Prisoner of War

Cover of book Nineteen Months a Prisoner of War
Categories: Nonfiction

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ction of Diet?Conflict between Life and Death?Revolting Extremities? Surgeon's Call ? Richmond Hospitals ? Mortality?Soldiers buried alive. Patiently, day after day, the victims of rebel barbarism on Belle Island endured their sufferings without a murmur. Day after day as the winter grew they felt the harsh hand of hunger and cold, disease and death, seizing them with a tighter grasp, and yet they kept their peace. What was working in those minds full of anguish and despair no one knows, but with the fortitude of martyrs they asked nothing of their enemies, trusting in God. About the middle of the month of November our greatest sufferings commenced. This new regime of torture was inaugurated by a perceptible reduction in our diet. At that time the issues of meat suddenly disappeared, and by the expiration of the month the soup also ran out. In the place of soup about twice a week two spoonfuls of beans unboiled were graciously issued to each man. But here another obstacle arose. Our daily allowance of wood was so limited that it scarcely lasted more than half an hour. This was sufficient time only to soften the beans, or set the water to boiling. Hence our alternative, under these circumstances, was to give the beans and the water the full benefit of the fire, and when that gave out, to eat the parboiled mixture despite the consequences. The growing scarcity of food soon brought numbers to the most revolting extremities. Frequently. I remember seeing men of noble frames, but emaciated to mere skeletons, crawling about the camp, voraciously snatching the veriest crumbs dropped or thrown away by some new arrival. It was a daily sight to see men supporting themselves with one hand, and plunging the other into a barrel of refuse matter in search of a bone ...

Nineteen Months a Prisoner of War
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