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The following article appeared in the September, 1891 Century Magazine, and has been reproduced below.  
This article was written in response to an article titled "Cold Cheer in Camp Morton," 
by Dr. John A Wyeth, which appeared in the April 1891 Century Monthly Magazine 

Note: Best Viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer


 

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON

I. A REPLY TO "COLD CHEER AT CAMP MORTON"

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF INDIANA, GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC, INDIANAPOLIS, June 13, 1891.

WE, the undersigned committee, appointed by a resolution passed by the Department Encampment of the
Grand Army of the Republic, at its last session at Indianapolis, April 10, 1891, to investigate the statements
contained in an article entitled " Cold Cheer at Camp Morton," written by John A. Wyeth, and printed
in the April number of THE CENTURY MAGAZINE, have examined the evidence contained in a reply to said
article, written by W. R. Holloway, entitled "Treatment of Prisoners at Camp Morton." Most of the wit-
nesses quoted by Mr. Holloway are personally known to us, and the remainder are men of high character,
who enjoy the confidence of the communities in which they reside. We therefore indorse and approve the
article written by W. R. Holloway, entitled " Treatment of Prisoners at Camp Morton."

JAMES R. CARNAHAN,
JOHN COBURN,

CHARLES L. HOLSTEIN,
M. D. MANSON,
E. H. WILLIAMS.

LEW. WALLACE,
JAMES L. MITCHELL,

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF INDIANA, GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC,
OFFICE OF DEPARTMENT COMMANDER, INDIANAPOLIS, June 10, 1891.

THE committee appointed by order of the Twelfth Annual Encampment of the Department of Indiana,
Grand Army of the Republic, to investigate the charges made against the official management at Camp Morton
in the treatment of prisoners of war confined therein during the years 1862 to 1865 carefully examined, in
my presence, the paper prepared by Col. W. R. Holloway in relation thereto, and verified all documents and
data referred to in said paper, and found them to be correct.


I. N. WALKER, Department Commander.
 
Camp Morton Response to Cold Cheer Save 1-1.jpg
 HE April Centruy con-
tamed an article entitled
" Cold Cheer at Camp
Morton," written by John
A. Wyeth, which charged
that the rebel prisoners
confined in Camp Morton,
at Jacksonville, Illinois, one of whom visited
him at Camp Morton. Wyeth's uncle, Cap-
tain J. M. Alien. Provost Marshal of the Fifth
District of Illinois, requested the Commissary-
General of Prisoners that the boy "be removed
to his care, or to the prison at Rock Island,
which was near his home." But he adds : "If
at Indianapolis, during the
war were starved and subjected to other in-
human treatment or neglect. It has long been
a matter of pride to the people of Indiana that
they gave freely of their time and goods to
relieve the distresses of the half-clad and half-
famished prisoners who were sent to India-
napolis for safe keeping during the Rebellion.
They have asked no thanks for their humani-
tarian efforts, but they have the right, I think,
to claim exemption from such acts of ingrati-
tude as take a publicly defamatory form.


Mr. Wyeth's paper begins with a misstate-
ment, viz., that the writer had been guarded
after capture by a company under the com-
mand of his cousin Thomas W. Smith, of Jack-
sonville, Illinois (an officer who by the way had
resigned sixteen months before that time), and
ends with the libelous assertion that the 1763
deaths which occurred in Camp Morton were
due largely to starvation and other inhuman
treatment. If we may accept a statement made
by an uncle of Mr. Wyeth, and now preserved
in the files of the War Department, Wyeth, when
confined in Camp Morton, was "not quite
eighteen years old" and "rather delicate nat-
urally." Young Wyeth had three aunts residing

he cannot be removed as I suggest, I would
be glad to have him kept and not exchanged.
The dangers of the field service are much more
than those of the camp." If prisoners were be-
ing starved, frozen, or cruelly maltreated at
Camp Morton, it is not likely that this last re-
quest would have been made, particularly as
young Wyeth would have disclosed such treat-
ment to his aunt.


Young Wyeth seemed to forget that he was
a prisoner of war, and was apparently much
surprised to find that Camp Morton was not a
hotel upholstered in modern style. With his
long catalogue of inconveniences — floorless
barracks, hard beds, lack of complete bathing
appliances with hot and cold water attach-
ments — I have nothing to do. These are the
implied incidents of war, whether in the field
or in the prison, and are not feared by those
who think they are fighting for a principle, and
should be kept in view in reading Mr. Wyeth's
article. But against his charges of starvation
and cruelty I set an explicit denial.


Mr. Wyeth's statements are purely ex parte,
and abound in general assertions which are
fortified neither by names nor dates. He has
a case to plead. "The Southern side of prison


757

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
758
life has not yet been written. The reputation
of the South has suffered, not only because the
terrible trials of N orthern prisoners in the South-
ern prisons have been so fully exploited, but
because the truth of the Confederate prisons
has not yet been given to the world." At last
he consents to tell his "tale of woe," evi-
dently thinking that he has only to speak to
convince. If it were true, as he charges, that
rebel prisoners confined in Camp Morton were
deliberately starved to death, or otherwise in-
humanly treated, the facts could not have been
secreted during a quarter of a century; like
the horrors of Andersonville, they would have
obtained scandalous notoriety at the beginning.
During the year 1862 the prison was a State
institution, and was under the supervision of
Governor Morton, its immediate superinten-
dents being Colonel Richard Owen and Colonel
D. G. Rose. I need not vindicate the reputa-
tion of the war governor of Indiana—a man
who has been sanctified in memory as "the
soldiers' friend." His nature was brave and
generous, and his heart was as tender as that
of a woman. The Union soldier was his pecu-
liar care whether in the field, in the barracks,
or in the hospital; and his solicitude extended
to his captured foes as well, as many letters
written to him by grateful ex-prisoners attested.
Colonel Owen, who was a brother of the late
Robert Dale Owen, the distinguished philan-
thropist, was the first commander of the camp,
and was uniformly beloved by the Confed-
erates under his charge. On June 10, 1862,
his regiment was ordered to the front, and he
was succeeded by Colonel D. G. Rose, who
discharged his responsible duties with entire
satisfaction. In August, 1862, a general ex-
change was effected, and soon after the camp
was closed as a prison. In the following year
it was reopened under the auspices of the
general Government, but in the interim it was
occupied by our troops as a barracks. The first
commander of the prison in 1863 was Cap-
tain D. W. Hamilton, of the 7th Regiment,
Indiana Volunteers, a well-known resident of
Indianapolis. He served until November, 1863,
when he was relieved at his own request and
to the regret of many of the prisoners, by whom
he was well liked. His successor was General
A. A. Stevens, of the 5th Regiment, Veteran Re-
serve Corps. General Stevens was a man of
high character and a brave soldier. As lieu-
tenant-colonel of the 3d Michigan he was in all
of the battles of the Potomac in 1861-2, was se-
verely wounded, and was promoted for bravery
to the colonelcy of the 2ist Michigan Volun-
teers, when he was transferred to the Army of
the Ohio. He was wounded at Perryville and
at Murfreesboro, and was afterwards assigned
to the Veteran Reserve Corps. The comman-

ders of the military district for Indiana were
General H. B. Carrington, General O. B. Will-
cox, and General A. P. Hovey. The five
gentlemen just named are still living, and
will speak through me in the succeeding
pages.


As private secretary of Governor Morton
until June, 1864, and residing in Indianapolis
during the war, it was a part of my duty to
visit all of the camps and to learn something
of their management. I talked with the pris-
oners in Camp Morton almost daily, visited
their barracks, and ate of their food. I saw the
bread baked in the bakery. Save the new ar-
rivals at Camp Morton, most of whom were ill
and ragged, the prisoners were in good health
and comfortably clothed. If they were hungry,
cold, or maltreated, they made no complaint
to me, nor to any one of whom I ever heard.
Any prison-house, no matter how well condi-
tioned, will become irksome to those confined
in it, although be it said the prisoners at Camp
Morton were made as comfortable as circum-
stances would permit. They fared as well as
the Union soldiers who guarded them, if not
better, and surely this is all that could have been
expected. Homesickness, as superinducing
other ailments, and lack of occupation were
leading causes of mortality in Northern prisons.
Whenever opportunity offered work was given
to the prisoners. They assisted in building the
new barracks and hospitals, and in digging a
ditch to prevent themselves from escaping—a
labor which Mr. Wyeth seemed to regard in the
light of a hardship. But as a rule the prisoners
were indisposed to labor. In many cases they
refused even to nurse their own sick, for which
they were disciplined by being compelled to
take wheel-barrows and assist in the sanitation
of the camp.


The most efficient causes of death in Camp
Morton were the insufficient food and the expos-
ure from which the rebel soldiers had suffered
before they arrived at the prison. Mr. Wyeth
says he slept on the ground during his first
night in the camp, that he was seized with a
chill which resulted in pneumonia, and that he
was sent to the hospital on the following day.
Just why Mr. Wyeth was not assigned to quar-
ters upon his arrival is not clear. With the
incoming of himself and his associates, there
were only 1819 prisoners in camp, although
there were accommodations for 3945, and
General Stevens says that he does not remem-
ber that prisoners were ever compelled to re-
main without shelter or cover over night,
faring much better in this respect than soldiers
in the field. But, accepting Mr. Wyeth's story
as true, the statement of his illness should be
read in connection with the fact that when he
was captured, ten days or two weeks before,


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
759
THE GATE, CAMP MORTON, FROM A WAR-TIME PHOTOGRAPH.  
                   CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE
his wardrobe was "slim and ragged"; and
that rather than sleep in a stable he asked
his captors to permit him to sleep in the
open air even "without blankets." He says,
also, that while confined in the State peni-
tentiary at Nashville, Tenn., he was placed
in a "narrow stone cell, which was damp and
chilly, and being without blankets, bed, or heat
was uncomfortable enough." In other words,
he came to Camp Morton with the seeds of dis-
ease in him. No physician of Mr. Wyeth's ac-
quaintance will say that pneumonia is likely to
come on immediately after one night's exposure.
What was true of Mr. Wyeth was true of hun-
dreds of other prisoners. Of those who came
from Fort Henry and Fort Donelson five hun-
dred were immediately put into the hands of the
surgeons, and the sick-list for some time in-
creased rapidly. Says the report of the Adjutant-
General of the State of Indiana :


Ample hospital arrangements were made.
Everything that kindness or humanity could sug-
gest was done to alleviate the distressed condition
of the prisoners. The citizens of Indianapolis, as
well as of Terre Haute and Lafayette, responded
to the calls of the authorities, and did all that was
possible to be done in furnishing suitable nourish-
ment, delicacies, and attention. Many estimable
ladies and gentlemen volunteered their services
as nurses and attendants, and prominent mem-
bers of the medical profession were particularly
kind and attentive. Buildings were rented outside
the camp and converted into infirmaries, with
every convenience and comfort required by the
sick. Despite all these efforts, the mortality was
frightful during the first month or two. . . .


The prisoners themselves, very generally, were
profuse in commendations of their treatment, and
when the time came for their exchange, many of
them preferred to take the oath of allegiance,
remaining North, than to be sent back to fight

against the government that had manifested such
kindness and magnanimity towards them.


A report from the War Department shows
that 2684 prisoners of war were released upon
taking the oath of allegiance at Camp Morton,
and that of this number 620 enlisted in the
United States service.

CAMP MORTON.

CAMP MORTON was a splendid grove adjoin-
ing the city of Indianapolis on the north, con-
taining thirty-five acres, instead of twenty as
stated by Mr. Wyeth. It was fitted up for the
Indiana State Fair in 1860, but was used for
that purpose during only one week of that year.
It was occupied by the Union troops from the
breaking out of the war until the 16th of Feb-
ruary, 1862, when General Halleck, command-
ing the Department of the West, telegraphed to
Governor Morton, asking how many prisoners
he could provide for. The answer was 3000.
The only place in the State well suited for the
accommodation of the captives was this camp.
It was located on high ground with good drain-
age and a light and porous soil. There was an
abundance of pure water, supplied by a rapidly
running stream which flowed through the camp
and by a number of good wells. The camp was
excellently shaded with walnut, maple, elm, and
oak trees of the original forest, and it had for-
merly been a favorite locality for Methodist
camp-meetings. There were a number of good
and commodious buildings on the ground which
had been erected for the exhibition of machin-
ery, farm and garden products, and such articles
as are usually under shelter at agricultural fairs.
Captain James A. Ekin, U. S. Quartermaster,
converted the existing buildings, which were


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
760
80x30 feet, into pleasant quarters. Bunks were
arranged on the sides for sleeping, and long
tables were placed in the center for the serving
of rations. Stoves were set every twenty feet,
and straw and blankets were furnished to make
every man as comfortable as possible. The
halls being insufficient to accommodate more
than 2000 persons, other barracks were con-
structed out of the stock stalls adjoining the
northern fence of the camp, and all were white-
washed inside and out. Mr. Wyeth leaves the
reader to infer that he was quartered in one of
these stock stalls. Such was not the case. The
barracks which he describes were the halls;
but, in any event, be it said that the stalls had
been occupied by our own troops and were con-
sidered comfortable. They were re-modeled
for the prisoners so as to give six apartments
for sleeping and one for eating purposes, the
latter being made by throwing two stalls into
one with the table in the center. The usual garri-
son equipage and cooking utensils, with regu-
lation rations, and plenty of dry fuel—precisely
identical with what was issued to our own troops
— were furnished and were so disposed as to
be convenient for messing. The barracks were
closed at the sides with planks and the cracks
were covered with strips. If any of the strips
fell off or were pulled off by prisoners to make
ladders by which to escape, no complaint was
made to the authorities, and there was no rea-
son why the prisoners should not have nailed
others on. There were plenty of nails, tools, and
materials at headquarters, and a number of
prisoners were frequently employed in assist-
ing to build and repair barracks, being paid for
the same by the Government. In spite of in-
considerate or wilful mischief done by the
prisoners there never was a time when the
buildings occupied by them were not equal to
any occupied by our troops who were guarding
prisoners or who were quartered in the various
camps near by.


HOSPITALS.

MR. WYTH spent several months in the hos-
pitals in Camp Morton, and bears witness to
the conscientious attention and kindly treat-
ment accorded himself and comrades by the
physicians and hospital authorities; but he says
that "up to the fall of 1864 the facilities for
treating the sick were wholly inadequate, and
many deaths were doubtless due to the failure
to provide the necessary quarters." He was
taken with a chill during the morning after his
arrival, and was admitted to the hospital at 2
o'clock P.M. He surely had no just cause for
complaint. No deaths from disease are re-
ported to have occurred in the barracks. He
does not mention the city hospital, where the
worst cases were sent from Camp Morton, when

there was room. The city hospital [see page
762] was an unoccupied building when the
war broke out, and was taken possession of
by order of Governor Morton, and continued
during the war with Dr. John M. Kitchen,
a leading physician, who still resides at India-
napolis, as surgeon-in-chief. Doctor Kitchen
says:


Governor Morton ordered that there should be
no distinction made between the Union soldiers
and prisoners of war. All were treated alike; they
had the same beds and bedding, clean under-
wear, nursing, and medical aid, food, etc., etc.
No complaint was ever made of bad treatment of
prisoners in the city hospital so far as I know,
and I have letters from ex-prisoners, written since
the war, expressing their gratitude for kindness
and attention shown them while under my care.
I removed the guard from the hospital, and only
two prisoners embraced the opportunity to es-
cape. The wooden addition to the building was
built for the purpose of accommodating the pris-
oners. I also remember that when the prisoners
were exchanged, their condition was better than
that of the men who had guarded them.


The hospitals within the inclosure at Camp
Morton were in charge of Dr. P. H. Jameson
and Dr. Funkhouser (the latter is dead), from
the time they opened until 1864. Colonel
Charles J. Kipp, who now resides at 534 Broad
Street, Newark, N. J., took charge of the hos-
pitals inside of the camp January, 1864, and
remained until June, 1865. He says:


During 1864 new hospitals were built after
my own plans, with room for five hundred pa-
tients. The hospitals were furnished in the same
style as the hospitals for our own men, and were
provided with everything necessary for the proper
care of the sick. The diet was the same as that
given in the military hospital to our own men,
and delicacies were given to all whose condition
required them. The patients were under the care
of skilful physicians, and were nursed by men
selected from among their comrades by reason
of their aptitude for their work. All army sur-
geons who visited us pronounced the hospital a
model one.


General Stevens says:

I gave the hospitals my personal attention, and
they were run on the best possible plan, and had
the reputation of being the cleanest in the coun-
try outside of Washington.


Mr. Wyeth acknowledges that the hospitals
were humanely and skilfully conducted, and
inasmuch as the hospitals and barracks were
under one management, it is inconsistent to
impugn the policy governing the one and not
that governing the other. It is absurd to sup-
pose that the authorities made the prisoners
alternately ill and well, and that any incon-
veniences which the prisoners may have suf-


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
761
the "Indianapolis Journal" of January 5, 1864,
I take the following :


The morning of New Year's day presented us
with the coldest weather ever known here. On
Thursday, December 31, at one o'clock P. M., the
thermometer was 40 degrees above zero, at which
time it began going down rapidly until it reached
zero before eleven o'clock and 20 degrees below
before daylight on New Year's morning. The
most moderate temperature on New Year's day
was 12 degrees below zero, and it did not rise
above zero until Saturday afternoon, thus being
more than 36 hours below zero.


The "Indianapolis Journal" of January 2,
1864, stated:


There was a rumor that several of the union
soldiers belonging to the veteran reserve corps,
who were guarding the prisoners at Camp Mor-
ton, were frozen to death on the night previous.
Governor O. P. Morton requested General H.
B. Carrington, United States Army, then on spe-
cial duty in this State, to visit all of the camps and
hospitals in and around the city, to inspect and
report as to their condition and the amount of
suffering that had resulted from the intensely cold
weather. The following is an extract from his
report:


"Troops on duty, the Invalid corps, Colonel
Stevens. No deaths or serious injury from the
extreme cold. All reports to that effect are with-
out foundation. The guard is relieved hourly,
and as much oftener as the soldier advises the
corporal by call that he suffers in the least. Hot
coffee is served to the men when relieved, and
pains are taken to prevent suffering and needless
exposure. ...


"Among the prisoners there is less sickness
than usual. I visited nearly every barracks and
the hospitals. The men were cheerful and thank-
ful ; in fifty letters sent out nearly every one spoke
kindly of their treatment. One prisoner said to
me, 'It would be extravagant to ask for anything
else.' Seven hundred extra blankets and many
shoes had been issued. They lacked for nothing
indispensable to their personal health and com-
fort."


The "Indianapolis Journal" of January 4,
1864, says:


We are pleased to state that the item in Sat-
urday's journal relating to soldiers freezing to
death at Camp Morton is incorrect. Although
the late cold snap has been very severe on the
guards on duty there, and quite a number have
had their ears, noses, and feet nipped by the icy
winds of the past few days, no fatality has resulted
therefrom.


There was issued to prisoners at Camp Mor-
ton during January, 1864, 600 cords of wood,
and in February of the same year 560 cords.
There was issued in all 11,641 cords.


Mr. Wyeth was afflicted with double vision
when he "counted eighteen dead bodies car-

fered could have been otherwise than merely
incidental and accidental in a well-intentioned
management.


Mr. John A. Reaume, a well-known resident
of Indianapolis, who was hospital steward at
the city hospital, says :


In our hospital, so far as I ever knew or heard,
the prisoners were delighted with their treatment.
I often meet some of their number, especially in
Kentucky, and they never fail to refer with grati-
tude to their treatment at our hospital.

COLD WEATHER.

MR. WYETH complains that he and his as-
sociates had no straw, and yet the official re-
cords at Washington show that during the
months of February, March, October, Novem-
ber, and December, 1863, and January and
February, 1864, 78,792 pounds of straw were
issued to the prisoners at Camp Morton, and
that the total amount issued during the winter
months to the prisoners confined there was
234,272 pounds.


He says further: "The only attempt at heat-
ing this open shed [barracks No. 4] was by
four stoves placed at equal distances along the
passage-way, and that up to Christmas, 1864,
I had not felt the heat of a stove." The build-
ing being eighty feet long, and the stoves being
but twenty feet apart, it follows that the farthest
a man could get from a stove was ten feet! Dr.
P. H. Jameson, Surgcon-in-chief of Camp
Morton, and still one of the most prominent
physicians of Indianapolis, says :


I remember those stoves. They were of the
regulation camp kind, large cast-iron box affairs
taking in a four-foot stick of wood. There was a
plentiful supply of wood in camp all the time.
Prior to January 1, 1864, I went through those
barracks often and had no difficulty in getting as
close to the stoves as I wanted to, sometimes
closer. When Wyeth came into camp he had the
pneumonia as had hundreds of his comrades, and
the seemingly high death-rate at that time was
owing to that fact, as the high death-rate at Den-
ver, Colorado, is owing to the fact that persons
go there with the seeds of the disease in their sys-
tems so far developed as to render cure impos-
sible.


Mr. Wyeth says: "A number were frozen to
death, and many more perished from diseases
brought on by exposure added to their condi-
tion of emaciation for lack of food. I counted
eighteen dead bodies carried into the dead-
house one morning after an intensely cold
night."


In this statement he evidently refers to what
is remembered in Indianapolis as "the cold
New Year's day," viz., January 1, 1864. From
VOL. XLIL—97.


762
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
ried into the dead-house." The coldest weather
during his imprisonment was in the months
of January and February, 1864. A letter from
the War Department says that "during the
months of December, 1863, and January and
February, 1864, the records show that the mor-
tality among the prisoners on no one day was
greater than nine deaths. No one died from
freezing." This statement corresponds with the
books of the undertakers who buried the dead

from Camp Morton.
They show that the
largest number of
deaths that ever oc-
curred among the
rebel prisoners at

Mr. Elijah Hedges, a reputable citizen of
Indianapolis, who resides at 305 East New
York street, and now the oldest undertaker in
the city, was an employee of the firm who bur-
ied those who died at Camp Morton. He says
"there never were eighteen dead bodies in
what was called the dead-house at one time."
Dr. J. W. Hervey, one of the oldest and
most respectable physicians in Indianapolis,
was surgeon-in-charge of "Burnside Bar-

Camp Morton Response to Cold Cheer Save 1-3.jpg
racks," which were occupied by the Veteran Reserve Corps, the principal guards on duty at Camp Morton. He says: "I remember the cold night, January 1, 1864. Our guards suffered fearfully, but no soldier or prisoner of
war was frozen to death."


A. E. Winship, of the 6oth
Massachusetts Volunteers, now
the editor of the "Boston Traveler." says: "There used to be some tall swearing by the sentries on those nights, as in their loneliness they braved the weather, while the prisoners were comfortably freezing to
death, shut in by the high fence, amply protected by the barracks, with four stoves, and under three blankets."

OLD CITY HOSPITAL, INDIANAPOLIS FROM A WAR-TIME PHOTOGRAPH.
Camp Morton in one day was nine, on the 25th
day of January, 1864.


General A. A. Stevens says :

I remember the cold January very well, and
worried a great deal about the men. Without
authority I made a requisition on the Quarter-
master for several hundred blankets. I was liable
to be hauled over the coals for doing it, but
something had to be done. Indianapolis never
had such weather before nor since, and we were
not prepared for it. I was so worried about the
condition of the prisoners that I could not sleep
and almost froze myself. They suffered no more
than the rest of us after the new order for blan-
kets was given out.


REGULAR RATION.

Hard Bread ... 14 oz., or
Soft Bread . . 18 oz., or
Corn Meal. . . . 18 oz.

Beef ......... 14 oz., or
Bacon or Pork. 10 oz.
Beans or Peas ...... 6 qts.     for each 100 men.
Hominy or Rice .... 8 lbs.      "      "       "     "
Sugar ................... 14 lbs.      "      "       "     "
Rio Coffee, ground... 5 lbs.  "      "       "     "
Tea .........................18 oz.      "      "       "     "

Soap .....................  4 lbs.      "      "       "     "
Candles -adamantine 5 lbs. "      "       "     "
Candles -tallow .... 6 lbs.     
"      "       "     "
Salt. . . ............ 2 qts.             "      "       "     "
Molasses ... ....... 1 qts.        "      "       "     "
Vinegar ............ 3 qts.           "      "       "     "
Potatoes .......... 30 lbs.         "      "       "     "
THE RATION.
MR. WYETH says that at no period during
his imprisonment was the ration issued suffi-
cient to satisfy hunger, and that he knew from
personal observation that many of his comrades
died from starvation. He does not give the
name of a single person who died from starva-
tion nor offer a particle of testimony to substan-
tiate his remarkable statement. During the first
half of his imprisonment the prisoners received
the full army ration. But this being in excess
of the needs of inactive men, it was slightly
reduced June 1, 1864. The two rations are
herewith subjoined, and each reader may de-

REDUCED RATION

Hard Bread...... 14 oz., or
Soft Bread........ 16 oz., or
Corn Meal........ 16 oz.
Beef..................14 oz., or
Bacon or Pork. 10 oz.
Beans or Peas..... 12 1/2 lbs. for each 100 men.
Hominy or Rice. .. 8          "      "      "     "     "
} only issued to sick or wounded.
Soap .................. 4 lbs. for each 100 men.

Salt ............. 3 3/4  lbs.   "     "       "     " 
Vinegar....... 3 qts.          "      "      "     "
Potatoes......15 lbs.        "      "      "     "


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
763
termine for himself whether men who should
receive the reduced ration would starve or
suffer from hunger.


A letter from the War Department says:

The difference between the ration as above
established and the ration allowed by law to
soldiers of the United States army constituted the
"savings" which formed the "prison fund."
With this fund was purchased such articles not
provided by the regulations as were necessary
for the health and proper condition of the pris-
oners, as well as table furniture, cooking utensils,
articles for policing, straw, the means of improv-
ing or enlarging the barracks, hospital, etc.


That the Government did not intend to stint
the prisoners is shown by the fact that the dif-
ference in the cost of the two rations was cred-
ited to the "prison fund," and that a ration
about equal to the full army ration was given
to such prisoners as were employed upon the
public works, and by regulation No. 3: "If
the ration of soap, salt, or vinegar is found
to be insufficient, it will be increased in such
proportion as may be deemed proper by the
commanding officer of the post, not to exceed
in quantity the ration allowed soldiers of the
United States Army."


Tables prepared by Wm. H. Hart, Third
Auditor of the Treasury, at Washington, D. C.,
in whose office the accounts of commissaries
of subsistence are filed and settled, show that
the whole number of rations issued to prisoners
of war at Camp Morton from February 22,
1862, to July 31, 1865, was 2,626,684. I here-
with append, as a sample exhibit, a statement
for the year 1864, which shows in detail the
kind and quantity of rations issued.


Mr. Wyeth states in a note that "it would
be interesting to discover how many times the
contract to feed the prisoners at Camp Mor-
ton was sublet. I have no doubt the Govern-
ment intended to issue to each prisoner the
regulation prison ration above given as official,
but I know it never was received. I believe
(in fact I heard while there) that it dwindled
away under the contract system."


It is, perhaps, just as well that Mr. Wyeth
did not make this charge more definite. It is
no credit to his ability to judge what was done
in Camp Morton, or to his subsequent infor-
mation about army matters, to assert, or not to
know that the Government did not let contracts
to feed its soldiers or the prisoners of war. The
Commissary of Subsistence for this department
was required to advertise every sixty days for
bids for such articles as he desired, and to let
all contracts to the lowest reponsible bidder.
These goods were to be received and delivered
at such times and places and in such quantities
as the Commissary should direct. Every article
CLICK HERE FOR TABLE OF SUBSISTENCE STORES ISSUED TO THE PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON DURING THE YEAR 1864
 


 

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
764

PLAN OF CAMP MORTON. (COMPILED FROM SKETCHES BY SEVERAL PERSONS WHO WERE ON DUTY IN THE CAMP WHILE THE PRISONERS WERE THERE. THE GROUND IS STILL INCLOSED AND USED AS STATE FAIR GROUNDS.)  CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE


1.
Headquarters   2. Old Hospital building   3. Hospital tents   4. Sutler's store   5. Hospital buildings - built in 1863
6. New Hospitals - built in 1864   7. Barracks   8. Hospitals   9. Gates   10. Quartermaster's office   11. Commissary of
Subsistence   12. Bakery   13. Baseball grounds   14. Creek - "The Potomac" (Not Labeled)   15. Bridges  16. Pumps   17. Sheds for officers' horses   18. Ditch   19. Dining-room   20. Kitchen   21. Dining-room   22. Consulting room
23. Reception room   24. Engineer's office   25. Prescription and supply room   ------------- Guard line


I issued the usual army rations of provisions to
both the National troops and the Confederate
prisoners. They fared exactly alike. The rations
to each were the same in quality and quantity.
There were no differences made between the pris-
oners and National troops in the field; the Camp
Morton prisoners had even better fare, for instead
of hardtack, a well-equipped bakery on the spot
furnished them soft and fresh baker's bread daily,
my commissary depot supplying a prime article
of flour for the consumption of the bakery. The
best bacon and fresh beef were issued to the
prisoners, and coffee, sugar, beans, hominy, and
rice. . . . Neither the troops nor the prisoners
could consume the liberal rations furnished by
the Government, and both made large savings,
and the United States Commissary of Prisoners,
in his frequent periodical rounds, was not slow to
demand of me promptly in cash the value of the
prisoners' savings, which he expended in getting
them tobacco and various other comforts not in
the line of regular rations. It is within my know-
ledge that the winter quarters and bedding were
about as good as were enjoyed by the National
troops in the camp who guarded them, and who
really suffered hardships from the winter severities
when mounted as sentinels on the high platform
near the top of the fence of the corral. . . .
Governor Morton was not the man to tolerate any
but the most humane treatment of prisoners un-
der his care and watchful eye, as were those of
Camp Morton. ... It is true the prisoners' carnp
was not a paradise — it was not a parlor, nor were
feather-beds issued to them by the Quartermas-
ter's Department, but they were made comforta-

contracted for was to be the best in the market,
and all goods received were to be carefully in-
spected, and if found to be below the standard
were to be rejected. Were these requirements
obeyed ? Let us see. The rations for Camp
Morton were issued by Captain Thomas Fos-
ter, now of Greenbrier, Tennessee, and Captain
Joseph P. Pope, the present Quartermaster-
General for the State of Indiana, and a resident
of Indianapolis. These officers issued sup-
plies direct to Assistant-Commissaries John J.
Palmer, 6oth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers,
now a resident of Chicago; W. C. Lupton, 54th
Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, long since dead;
Captain L. L. Moore, now connected with the
Quartermaster's Department, U. S. A., and
Captain N. Schurtleff, of Peoria, Illinois. The
rations were issued by these officers direct to
the heads of the various divisions — who were
prisoners—upon the order of the commander
of the camp, who compared each requisition
with the morning reports, to ascertain the num-
ber of prisoners present at roll-call. The fol-
lowing is an extract from a card published by
Captain Foster in the "Nashville (Tennessee)
Banner," April 8, 1891:


I was, during the most of the war, coinmissary-
in-chief of the military district of Indiana and
Michigan, and was stationed entirely at India-
napolis, where I had United States commissary
warehouses, from which, on regular requisitions,


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
765
hominy, potatoes, besides vinegar, salt, and soap.
We never heard any complaints of lack of food.
There were no cases of starvation. The rations
were served regularly, and every prisoner received
his share. Wyeth tells of a man who used to eat
out of the swill-barrel. There was such a case,
but the man was a low-lived sort of a fellow, and
the other prisoners when they found it out ducked
him in the barrel. There was one instance of rat-
eating, and I also heard of the men eating a dog-
stew, but these cases were similar to that of swill-
eating. We had thousands of prisoners, and
among them were many of the dirtiest and low-
est specimens of humanity possible to imagine.


Dr. Charles J. Kipp says :

I know that the refuse material of the swill-bar-
rels of the hospital was often carried away by the
prisoners. I reported this fact to the officers, and
was assured by them that the men who did this
had either sold their rations or lost them through
gambling.


General A. P. Hovey, the present Governor
of Indiana, was in command of this district
from August 25, 1864. He says:


My headquarters were at Indianapolis, and
Camp Morton, containing from 3500 to 4500 rebel
prisoners, was under my command during all of
that period. I visited and inspected the camp once
or twice a week during the time of my command.
The food of the prisoners was ample, and I never
heard any complaint of the scarcity of provisions,
or that the prisoners suffered from hunger. They
fared better than our soldiers in the field, and
many luxuries were sent them from their friends.


General H. B. Carrington, United States
Army, a part of whose duty was to inspect and
report on the condition of the camps and hos-
pitals at Indianapolis, says:


There never was any restriction upon the pris-
oners receiving favors from friends nor upon cor-
respondence except what was necessary to prevent
plots to escape. There never was a time when a
reasonable complaint as to rations or treatment
was rudely or wrongfully disregarded. There
never was a time when the rations were insuffi-
cient or unwholesome. The bread was of the
best. No prisoner was either starved or frozen to
death. On one occasion I made a visit to every
barracks, and half a day was spent in inquiry as
to their condition and wants; not a single com-
plaint was made, except a suggestion, which was
acted upon. . . . The complaint most common
outside was that the prisoners were permitted too
many favors from friends.


William J. Robie, a well-known and prom-
inent citizen of Richmond, Ind., was a mem-
ber of the 6oth Massachusetts Volunteers, and
a guard at Camp Morton. He says :


I talked freely with the prisoners, and never
heard them complain that they did not receive
the full ration ordered by the War Department.

ble, had plenty to eat, pure water to drink and
for washing, and were urged to keep themselves
in good health by athletic sports and ball-playing,
which I have seen them engaged in and appar-
ently much enjoying. Some of the prisoners
thought trustworthy and honorable were allowed
to go out on parole [returning at night] and to
engage in pursuits by which they earned a little
money to send to their families. I employed one
or two clerks of this kind myself.


Captain Joseph P. Pope succeeded Cap-
tain Thomas Foster as Commissary of the De-
partment of Indiana during the summer of
1864. Captain Pope says:


My purchases were made through public ad-
vertising every sixty days. The supplies bought
were not surpassed in quality anywhere. The
issues of flour reached one hundred barrels per
day, which was made up in one-pound loaves of
soft bread, unsurpassed in quality by any private
family or public bakery. Samples of the baking
were sent to my office daily. The bakery was
within the inclosure where the prisoners were
confined, and was under charge of State authori-
ties, and to General Stone, who was directly in
charge, there was paid by me from $6000 to
$8000 every month for and on account of the
"savings" on flour alone. This money was ex-
pended for supplies not furnished by the Govern-
ment, and these supplies thus purchased were
issued to the rebel prisoners as well as to the Union
forces, including the guards. The rebel prisoners
received better supplies than our own soldiers,
owing to the fact that almost daily their "friends"
were bearers of large hampers of provisions, etc.,
not embraced in our purchases or furnished by
the Government, and these baskets of supplies
were delivered to them. The only complaints
ever reaching my ears came from our own sol-
diers in not receiving "outside supplies" in
comparison.


Full rations were issued daily. The best quality
of fresh beef was issued every other day, and it
is a well-known fact that the "poor, emaciated"
rebel prisoners left Camp Morton fat and in good
condition. I was in this camp many times, and
can testify to what I saw ; there was no complaint
of want of food ; there were immense sugar cal-
drons into which the best quality of fresh beef by
quarters was cut up and placed, making soup by
the one thousand gallons. Potatoes by the car-
load were purchased and issued.


It is a significant fact that every officer con-
nected with the subsistence department at
Camp Morton during the war was then and still
is a poor man, and no one has ever dared to
impugn the integrity of any of their number.


General Stevens says:

I went to Camp Morton November 1, 1863,
took command immediately, and remained there
until the end of the war. The food was good and
there was plenty of it. It is true the prisoners
were not given ice-cream and pie, but they had
bread, pork or bacon, fresh beef, beans or peas,


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
766
viously managed by a board of officers with
indifferent success. Flour was furnished on re-
quisition by the Commissary of Subsistence to
prisoners, guards, and other troops at this point,
as shown by the morning reports. The soldiers
and prisoners being unable to prepare their own
bread, the State issued to them one pound of
bread instead of flour. A given number of
pounds of flour will furnish an equal amount of
bread and leave a surplus of say 33 1/3 per cent,
of flour on hand. This surplus the Commis-
sary of Subsistence purchased of the State at
a price fixed by the flour contract then exist-
ing between the Commissary and the party
furnishing it. The capacity of the bakery when
General Stone took charge of it, in 1862, was
between six and seven thousand loaves daily,
but it soon was increased to eleven or twelve
thousand loaves per day. The bread ration was
much better, was subject to less waste, and in
every respect was much more acceptable to the
soldiers and prisoners than the flour ration.
The money value of each loaf was six cents,
and no man or officer who knew anything about
Camp Morton can ever be made to believe
there ever was any real scarcity of bread or food
in that camp.


Charlton Eden, for thirty years a prominent
builder in Indianapolis, says :


I had the contract for building most of the bar-
racks and hospitals in Camp Morton, during the
time the prisoners were there. I had formerly
resided at Paris, Kentucky, and soon became ac-
quainted with several prisoners whose homes were
at or near Paris, including the sons of William
Mitchell, Daniel Hilder, andWilliam and Younger
Churshire. . . . William Mitchell wrote me to
supply such of the Kentucky boys as he named
with whatever they might desire and draw on him
for the amount. I furnished them a number of
high top-boots that cost sixteen dollars a pair,
soft hats, and excellent suits of clothes for which
Mr. Mitchell honored my draft. The prisoners
knew I was authorized to furnish them anything
they needed, but not one of their number ever
asked for anything to eat.


During the 1865 session of the Indiana
Legislature, rumors reached Governor Mor-
ton that certain sympathizers with the South
who were members of that body were circu-
lating reports that the prisoners at Camp Mor-
ton were being badly treated, only half fed and
clothed, and the sick were not properly cared
for. Governor Morton, on the 14th of Feb-
ruary, sent a communication to the Senate and
House of Representatives, calling the attention
of the members to said reports. He asked them
not to appoint a committee of investigation,
but to go in a body to Camp Morton and make
a personal examination. The invitation was
accepted, and the next morning at nine o'clock

. . . No one suffered from hunger or starved
while I was there. I often saw men go about
with three or four loaves of bread under their
arms, offering to exchange them for tobacco.
Hungry men would not trade off their rations in
such manner. The story of Mr. Wyeth is absurd
and untrue, as every one connected with Camp
Morton during that period knows.


Captain Jordan M. Cross, ex-City Attorney
of Minneapolis, Minn., and now a resident of
that place, was an officer of the 5th Regiment,
Veteran Reserve Corps, on duty at Camp
Morton. He says :


The general appearance of the prisoners was
that of men well fed, so much so that visitors
and our own men often compared their condition
to the well-known starved condition of our pris-
oners in the South. No prisoner at Camp Morton
ever died from starvation. I often inquired of
prisoners if their rations were good, wholesome,
and sufficient. They never complained except
at rare instances that they would like some deli-
cacies, or possibly a greater change of diet.


Elijah Hedges says :

I was in Camp Morton almost every day dur-
ing the time it was occupied as a prison. I talked
with the prisoners a great deal, and I never
heard one complain of not having sufficient to
eat. Before the coffee ration was cut off by what
was known as the retaliatory order, prisoners fre-
quently offered to sell both myself and the driver
of the dead-wagon whole buckets full of good
coffee that they had saved from their rations,
then worth from $3 to $4, for fifty cents. I re-
member how dejected, emaciated, and forlorn
the prisoners looked when they arrived, and how
fat and saucy they became long before they were
taken away to be exchanged.


Captain James H. Rice, of the 5th Veteran
Reserve Corps, now a retired officer of the army
and a resident of Hartford, Connecticut, says :


No prisoners at Camp Morton between Oc-
tober, 1863, and May, 1865, died of starvation or
were frozen to death. It is true that some of the
prisoners traded their rations for tobacco and then
gambled, using the tobacco as money; andto such
an extent was this done that it became necessary
to issue rations to those men, and then to see that
they not only received but ate them under, the
supervision of the guards. There was a surplus
of bread and no occasion for prisoners to be
hungry, except from their own carelessness.


Mr. Wyeth omits all mention of the bakery
in the prison. In September, 1862, Governor
Morton ordered General A. Stone, Commissary-
General of Indiana, to take charge of the bakery
at Camp Morton that had been erected by the
State some time before for the purpose of fur-
nishing bread to the prisoners, guards, and
troops in and about this city. It had been pre-


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
767
every member of the House and Senate who
was in the city visited Camp Morton, and
remained there until 12 o'clock P.M. R. M.
Lockhart, for several years President of the
Indiana State Board of Agriculture, and now a
resident of Waterloo, Indiana, and a member
of the Legislature, speaking of that visit, says :


After our arrival inside the camp permission
was given and the members were urged to visit
every part of the grounds and talk to the prison-
ers without restriction. We visited the hospitals,
sleeping quarters for the prisoners, and investi-
gated the arrangements for furnishing provisions
as well as the quality of food provided. Three
hours were spent by us in camp, and at the con-
clusion of our visit not a single member had a
word of censure for the management, or manner
in which they found Camp Morton. The prison-
ers did not complain of their treatment, or of the
want of food. From that date until the close of
the session in March, we heard nothing more of
bad treatment of the prisoners in Camp Morton.


Captain D. W. Hamilton says :

While I was in command of the camp, in ad-
dition to the regular rations, vegetables were often
purchased from the prison fund, something our
own soldiers did not get except when they pur-
chased it with their own money. I permitted a
gardener to drive into camp each day with vege-
tables, which the prisoners either purchased or
exchanged their surplus rations for. A number
of the prisoners had money in my hands sent by
their friends, which I allowed them to draw at
the rate of $2.00 per week, with which sum they
used to make such purchases as they desired.


Mr. Wyeth says: "During the first four or five
months of our life in Camp Morton, prisoners
who could obtain money from friends outside
were allowed to purchase certain articles from
the prison sutler. . . . We never ceased to
regret the order which closed this source of
supplies."


The records of the War Department show
that the order closing the sutler's store in Camp
Morton was issued December 1, 1863; but
they also show that it was reopened March
3, 1864,


CLOTHING.

CLOTHING was issued to prisoners of war
immediately upon the opening of the camp,
as shown by the following extract from the
report of the Adjutant-General of the State of
Indiana:


When the fact was brought to the knowledge
of Governor Morton that about 300 of the Fort
Donelson captives were deficient in clothing, he
telegraphed the Secretary of War for orders to
have their wants supplied by the United States
Quartermaster at Indianapolis, and the order was
promptly given. After that, whenever a prisoner
needed clothes, shoes, or whatever else was es-

sential for his health or comfort, the Government
supplied it.


Under the twelfth paragraph of the rules
governing the prison we read :


The commanding officer will cause requisi-
tion to be made by his quartermaster for such
clothing as may be absolutely necessary for the
prisoners, which requisition will be approved by
him after a careful inquiry as to the necessity and
submitted for the approval of the Commissary-
General of Prisoners.


In reply to a letter addressed to J. N. Pat-
terson, the Second Auditor of the Treasury, at
Washington, D. C., for a detailed statement of
the amount of clothing, number of blankets,
shoes, etc., issued by the Quartermaster's De-
partment to prisoners of war at Camp Morton,
I am informed that "all returns for clothing,
etc., covering the period of the late war have
been disposed of as waste paper, under a pro-
vision of a recent Act of Congress"; hence I
am unable to show what was issued. There is
abundant evidence, however, that large quan-
tities were given to prisoners. I find from an
examination of the reports of the Quartermas-
ter-General, for the years 1862-63-64-65,
that there was disbursed by that department
"on account of transportation and supply of
prisoners" the sum of $786,893.96. What por-
tion of that sum was expended for clothing I
am unable to determine. Captain D. W. Ham-
ilton says: "Just before I was relieved a large
number of blankets was issued to the pris-
oners. These I personally handed to those
who needed them. A number had blankets
and comforts of their own."


Mr. Wyeth says : "We had no way of letting
those ready and willing to send us food know
of our wants. Every line written was scanned
by the Camp Post-office Department, and a let-
ter containing any suggestion of the lack of food,
or maltreatment was destroyed." The eighth
rule of the order for the control of prisoners read
as follows:


All articles contributed by friends for the pris-
oners, in whatever shape they come, if proper to
be received, will be carefully distributed as the
donors may request, such articles as are intended
for the sick passing through the hands of the sur-
geon, who will be responsible for their proper use.
Contributions must be received by an officer, who
will be held responsible that they are delivered to
the persons for whom they are intended.


Mr. John H. Orr, who was the agent for the
Adams Express Company during the war,
which company did the largest business be-
tween this city and the South, says:


I remember that there was scarcely a day that
we did not have boxes and packages for prisoners
at Camp Morton; they were delivered at the camp,


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
768
was in the way of discipline, that had to be en-
forced as it was everywhere in the army. If any
of the prisoners suffered, it was either their own
fault or the fault of their fellow-prisoners. It
can be easily imagined that all did not belong to
the best society. Some of them were as tough
and depraved characters as I ever saw. The
officers as a rule were sent to Johnson's Island,
an officers' prison; that left us a bad lot.


Dr. J. W. Hervey, Surgeon-in-charge of the
Veteran Reserve Corps, says :


Some of the prisoners were very insulting to
the officers and men over them. They would
pelt the guards with stones and broken bottles
after night, several being severely injured. The
only prisoners that were ever shot were those
who attempted to escape and who did not stop
when they were commanded to halt.


Captain James H. Rice, 5th Regiment, Re-
serve Corps, says :


I was officer of the day every sixth day and a
part of the time every fourth day, and the state-
ment that two prisoners were "deliberately mur-
dered " and another "brutally murdered" bears
evidence of its untruthfulness on its face. I
know of no case where prisoners were killed ex-
cept in attempting to escape. I had charge of
five hundred prisoners taken to Aikens' Landing
near Richmond, Virginia, in February, 1865, for
exchange. There were no half-starved prisoners
in the lot. I delivered them in good condition,
and with the exception of about thirty sick whom
I took with me at their special request, all were
ready for field duty, and I have no doubt were
sent to their regiments at once. I met men who
had been in Camp Morton as prisoners, at Lex-
ington, Kentucky, in 1866-67; the manner of
their treatment was discussed, and it was admitted
that they had no just cause for complaint.


Captain James Todhunter, Assistant-Quar-
termaster, now a resident of Indianola, Iowa,
was present at Aikens' Landing, Va., when these
Camp Morton prisoners were exchanged, and
says :


The rebel prisoners were in good condition as
to clothing and health, but of all the distressed,
filthy, ragged, poor, starved-looking men I ever
saw, were the Union prisoners received in ex-
change. Many of them had neither hat, cap,
shoes, nor socks, and a number had their feet tied
up with rags and were unable to walk and had to
be assisted.


In a letter written to General Winder by
Colonel Robert Ould, Confederate commis-
sioner for exchange of prisoners, March 17,
1863, the latter says :


The arrangements I had made for exchang-
ing prisoners work largely in our favor. We get
rid of a lot of miserable wretches and receive
some of the best material I ever saw.

and I do not remember of ever having received a
complaint that they were not received by the per-
sons to whom they were addressed.

CRUELTY.

A NUMBER of charges of extreme cruelty
and murder are made against the guards and
non-commissioned officers. Mr. Wyeth re-
ports that in January, 1864, in an attempt to
escape two men were killed, one wounded,
and four captured. As the official record shows
but one prisoner was killed in January, 1864,
this statement is incorrect. He also says the
four men captured were tied up, their backs
to a tree, the rope lashed to their wrists, and
arms at full length above their heads, all
through the remainder of the night. "I saw
them taken down the next morning in a most
pitiable condition of exhaustion," etc.


Mr. William J. Robie, one of the men who
guarded the four prisoners, says :


They were not tied with their hands above
their heads, but simply with their arms behind
the tree. My orders were to make them "mark
time" until further orders. I was on guard from
the time of their capture each alternate two
hours until they were relieved in the morning.
We did not compel them to mark time steadily,
gave them frequent rests, and plenty of water to
drink. They did not seem especially tired when
released, but did seem to feel that they had got-
ten off very easily. There had been a large
number of tunnelsstarted, and several completed.
The officers were determined to put a stop to it,
and when these prisoners were released the
officer in charge told them that they must quit
tunneling or the next one would be caved in on
them. 1 remember the break that occurred when
some fifty prisoners escaped. It was about 6 P. M.,
and I was in the guard-house near by. When
the rush was made the guard fired one shot and
called for help. The prisoners went over the
fence like cats, and started down the bank for
the woods. I was out all night hunting them.
We did not use bloodhounds. Thirty-five men
were reported captured and returned that night
and the day following. There were only one or
two prisoners wounded, as the guards could not
fire either way without the danger of hitting our
own men. The first one up the ladder was
wounded in the knee by a bayonet, and another
was knocked off by a blow. Not one of those
captured was punished. I never heard of such
a thing as a prisoner being shot for coming too
near the dead-line. Some of the men were very
vicious and were in the habit of throwing stones,
bottles filled with water, or anything else they
could get hold of, at the guards after night, and
it is not improbable that some stray shots went
flying around when they should not have done so.


General Stevens says :

There was no disposition on the part of the offi-
cers to misuse the prisoners. What they did


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
770
person in Camp Morton, up to the time of this
cruel man's death, will recall his name) shoot a
prisoner for leaving the ranks after roll-call was
ended, but before 'break ranks' was com-
manded, to warm himself by a fire a few feet
distant."


General Stevens, in referring to this man,
says:


I recollect Baker, who was a corporal, but I
never heard of his shooting a man. I should have
heard of it had it occurred, so I am not inclined
to believe that he did. Baker had a pretty severe
time with some of the prisoners. There were iso-
lated cases of what might be looked upon as
cruelty, but I don't see how they could have hap-
pened, as Mr. Wyeth claims, without an investi-
gation.


A letter from the War Department says :

Corporal Augustus Baker, of Company G, 5th
Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps, who formerly
• served in Company A, 2d Indiana Cavalry, and
as corporal of Company G, 5th Regiment, Re-
serve Corps, was on duty at Camp Morton dur-
ing the period that his regiment was stationed at
that camp. There is no record that he was tried
for any offense, that he shot, or that he was ac-
cused of shooting, or of cruel treatment to, pris-
oners of war during his term of service.


Mr. Wyeth says: "Two men, for an in-
fringement, were compelled to 'mark time'
for more than one hour in the snow. One
man's feet were frost-bitten; he lost both feet
from gangrene, and died from the effects of
this inhuman punishment while en route for
exchange in February, 1865, and was buried
just west of Cumberland, Md."


As no name is given, the statement cannot
be verified, but the official report of the sur-
geon-in-charge of that particular exchange,
while it mentions the deaths and names of
nine persons who died en route, viz: six from
chronic diarrhea, two from pneumonia, and
one from dropsy, makes no mention of a pris-
oner dying from gangrene, nor is there any
record of a death near Cumberland, Md.


General O. B. Willcox, U. S. A., now Gov-
ernor of the Soldiers' Home, at Washington,
D. C., writes:


I have read the Wyeth article in THE CENTURY.
I am sure no such state of things existed at Camp
Morton while I was in command of the district
which included Indianapolis though not the pris-
oners' camp. This period was a part of the sum-
mer and autumn of 1863 during the Morgan raid.

There were a number of "trusties" in the
camp who were permitted to visit the city, and
even attend the theater, in company with non-
commissioned officers. Persons who were
known to be loyal, or who presented letters
from persons personally known to the officer
in charge of the camp, were permitted to visit
the same at will. Newsboys visited the camp
regularly with the leading daily papers, and
many of them did a good business in purchas-
ing the rings made of cannel-coal, and breast-
pins made of bone, as well as small and curious
articles carved out of wood by the prisoners,
which they sold outside of camp, as relics.
The prisoners played baseball, and had good
dramatic and glee clubs, and gave entertain-
ments in the dining-room of the largest hospi-
tal. Amusements of all kinds were encour-
aged by the officers, and everything possible
was done to make the prisoners contented.


Mr. Wyeth seems to have been particularly
unfortunate in his army career, having been
twice captured and compelled to spend most of
the term of his enlistment in prison. This half-
frozen, half-starved, emaciated youth, whose
mother and sisters were unable to recognize
him upon his return to Georgia, after his ex-
change, was able to reenter the Confederate
army within a month, and has lived to attempt
a vicarious vindication of the horrors of Ander-
sonville and other Southern prison-pens.


I regret that the space at my disposal will
not permit the use of extracts from letters writ-
ten by the Hon. A. J. Warner, the well-known
member of Congress from the Marietta, Ohio,
district; Colonel A. D. Streight; Hon. S. A.
Craig, an ex-member of Congress from the
Brookville, Penn., district; Judge L. W. Collins,
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of
Minnesota; General Allan Rutherford, ex-
Third Auditor of the Treasury, Washington,
D. C.; Dr. G. C. Smythe, ex-President of the
Indiana State Medical Society, Greencastle,
Ind.; Captain J. B. Harris, Secretary of the
Terre Haute Gas Works, Terre Haute, Ind.;
Colonel E. J. Robinson, of Bedford, Ind., and
Geo. Wagner, of Philadelphia, both of whom
served as adjutants at Camp Morton; Captain
E. P. Thompson, postmaster of Indianapolis;
J. B. McCurdy, of Oskaloosa, Iowa; J. Gil-
ford, of Minneapolis; Captain Robert Sears,
of Indianapolis; Lieut.-Colonel C. H. Fred-
rick, Omaha, Neb.; Captain W. E. O'Haver,
Lafayette, Ind., and Captain H. C. Markham,
Mount Ayre, Iowa.


W. R. Holloway.

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
771
 
II. REJOINDER BY DR. WYETH.

Camp Morton Response to Cold Cheer Save 1-6.jpg
F all the United States sol-
diers held in prison by the
Confederacy there died
153 for each 1000. Of all
Confederate soldiers held
in prison at Camp Morton
146 of each 1000 died —

says : "I recollect Baker, who was a corporal,
but I never heard of his shooting a man. I
should have heard of it had it occurred!" On
the other hand, I myself saw the pistol fire
and the man fall, and I have the testimony
of more than a dozen men who also saw this
monster do this crime, and yet it was con-
cealed. I have the proof that he shot a
second prisoner after this; yet the command-
ing officer never heard of either case. What
more proof is needed to show that we were
hedged in from all hope of relief? Nothing
is known of the poor fellow who was mur-
dered in the tunnel. How easy to conceal
cruelties and minor indignities inflicted on
helpless prisoners when greater crimes were so
successfully covered up. The statement that
we had the privilege of communicating with
our friends concerning affairs of the prison is
untrue. My uncle, an officer in the Union Army,
was not permitted to see me. He so informed
me after the war. The aunt allowed to visit
me in the hospital where I was ill was only
permitted to converse with me in the imme-
diate presence of an officer who could hear every
word she said. Every line written was scanned,
and of course, if it told of our sufferings, de-
stroyed. I did not see a newspaper during the
fifteen months of my imprisonment, and yet
we are told that "newsboys sold papers in the
camp every day." Fitting absurdity to declare
that the prisoners "fared as well if not better
than the Union soldiers who guarded them."


Equally absurd is the description of the bar-
racks, which are called "good and commodious
buildings" and "comfortable quarters." Here
is the report of the United States surgeon who
inspected these "commodious quarters." It is
official, and can be found in the medical vol-
ume (part iii.) of the "Medical and Surgical
History of the Rebellion," issued from the
Surgeon-General's Office, U. S. A. They are
described in July, 1864, as "nine dilapidated
barracks." "There were also two hundred
and ten condemned tents in use. Nevertheless
the quarters were much crowded, there being
only sixty to eighty cubic feet per man in the
barracks. This crowded condition continued
until September, 1864," etc.


Great stress is laid upon the prison ration.
If the "regular ration," or even the "reduced
ration," printed in the foregoing article had
been daily given to each prisoner, no word of
complaint would have been heard. With that
quantity of food we could have withstood

only a difference of 7 in
each 1000. These are not my figures, or South-
ern figures, but are taken from the war rec-
ords of the United States Government. Those
who deny the truthfulness of my article on
Camp Morton hope to weaken the force of
these statistics by asserting that the Confed-
erate soldiers, when brought to prison, were
in such wretched physical condition that with
"homesickness as superinducing other ail-
ments and lack of occupation" they sickened
and died!1 And yet these men came direct
from the battle-field to prison. Broken down,
forsooth, the men who went with Pickett at
Gettysburg or swept Rosecrans's gallant vet-
erans from the field of Chickamauga!


Even the apologist of Camp Morton cor-
roborates much of my narrative, and where he
fails my comrades, as it will be seen, make the
proof of its truthfulness positive and complete.
These survivors, scattered over a vast territory
without the possibility of collusion, give the
one experience of hunger, cruelty, and suffer-
ing for lack of clothing and proper protection
from the rigors of the Northern winter. That
the prisoners ate refuse matter from the hos-
pital swill-tubs is acknowledged, for Dr. Kipp,
the surgeon-in-charge,— a man whom every
prisoner respects for his humane conduct,—
is quoted as follows:


I know that the refuse material of the swill-
barrels of the hospital was often carried away by
the prisoners. I reported this fact to the officers,
and was assured by them that the men who did
this had either sold their rations or lost them
through gambling.


General Stevens, commander of the prison,
knew of "such a case" and "one instance of
rat-eating," and he "also heard of the men
eating a dog-stew." Can any one believe that
men with a full prison ration would feed on
decomposing slops and devour rats and dogs ?
The commander further shows how little he
knew of the welfare of his prisoners when he


1 At Andersonville, Georgia, 333 Union prisoners,
and at Elmira, New York, 245 Confederates out of every
1000 perished (War Department records).


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
772
cold and cruelty. With that ration the death-
rate would have been materially lowered. The
Government issued it; the prisoners never got
it.
Where did it go ?


The "Buffalo Courier" of April 6, 1891,
commenting editorially on my article, says
among other things:


Painful as it is to admit, the presumption is in
favor of the truth of his narrative. The ration
for which the Government contracted and paid
was sufficient and all that military prisoners had
a reasonable right to expect, but, as Dr. Wyeth as-
serts for Camp Morton and Mr. Carpenter for
Johnson's Island, the prisoners did not get it. And
there never was a class of men who could be
robbed with more impunity. Enemies in a strange
land, their protests were easily suppressed. If any
one inclines to disbelieve that men could be
starved for profit under the United States Gov-
ernment, here is a bit of evidence. A gentleman
now a resident of Buffalo was in the summer of
1863 one of 8000 Union soldiers in parole camp
at Alexandria, Virginia, almost under the
shadow of the Capitol. They had been prisoners,
and released but not exchanged, and were await-
ing exchange before being returned to their regi-
ments. Here were Union men in Union hands;
yet for two months they were nearly starved.
They addressed petition after petition to the War
Department, but got no redress. They became
riotous and were suppressed by an armed guard.


And here is a bit of evidence from Indiana-
polis :


During the early winter of 1864, the grocery
firm of P. M. Gapen & Co. of this city [India-
napolis], of which I was the senior member, pur-
chased, through parties now deceased, twenty
bags of coffee at twenty-one cents, twenty barrels
of sugar, ten barrels of rice, and not less than
forty boxes of candles at correspondingly low
figures. Later, larger quantities were offered my
firm at similar reductions from current wholesale
prices. I then inquired where those goods came
from, and was informed that they came from, or
were supplies for, the prisoners at Camp Morton,
and declined further offerings.


P. M. GAPEN.

In the limited space accorded me I will give
a part of the corroborative testimony received
from fellow-prisoners. The Hon. S. Pasco,
U. S. Senator from Florida, says:


. . . I was sent to Camp Morton in May, 1864.
I was first in the prison hospital and afterwards
in Barracks No. 4, where I spent the winter.
This building was little more than a shed. . . .
Some of the incidents of cruel and inhuman
conduct which you mention occurred before my
residence there, but were among the current tra-
ditions of the camp. I often heard of them from
those who were in the prison ; others of later date
came under my personal observation. I was a
prisoner in all seventeen months, and no cloth-
ing was ever issued to me. Scanty food, harsh

and brutal treatment, and insufficient shelter dur-
ing the winter months were doubtless the cause
directly or remotely of the large percentage
of deaths which occurred during the ten months
of my confinement in the camp. Your article is
truthful, wholly free from exaggeration, and mod-
erate in tone. As you have been attacked I feel
bound to say this in the interest of truth. But I
would gladly have remained silent, and wish I
could wholly forget the misery and suffering and
inhumanity which I saw and apart of which I ex-
perienced at the hands of the prison authorities.


Hon. C. B. Kilgore, Member of Congress
from Texas, says:


I was a prisoner of war at Camp Morton for a
few weeks in the winter of 1863-64. You have
drawn a very moderate picture of the horrors of
that horrible pen. I was in prison fourteen months
in all, part of the time at Camp Morton, Camp
Chase, and Fort Delaware.


Controversies which tend to en gender bad feel-
ing are much to be deplored, but exact justice
should be done to both sides. Every ugly phase
of the Southern prisons has been frequently made
public. They were bad enough in all conscience,
and neither side can scarcely justify the treatment
given to prisoners of war.


Statement of Dr. W. P. Parr, Acting Assist-
ant Surgeon, United States Army :


Your picture of the suffering of the prisoners
falls short of the horrid reality. My blood gets
hot, even at this remote day, when I recall those
scenes of cruelty and cowardly brutality.


I was assigned to duty at Camp Morton Feb-
ruary 12, 1864, and served till March, 1865, when
I resigned. The prison barracks were boarded
with planks nailed on upright, and these having
shrunk left cracks through which the wind, rain,
and snow blew in upon the men with freezing ef-
fects, as they had nothing to cover with but thin
army blankets, with the hardboards beneath them.
I asked those in authority to have the cracks closed
by strips and plenty of clean straw put into the
bunks, which would have made the men compara-
tively comfortable, but the reply was, "Damn
them, let them freeze." And they did freeze ; how
many I do not now remember, but I do know that a
great many of the frozen dead bodies were carried
from their bunks to the dead-house, while many
others died soon after they were brought into the
hospital.


I felt then, as I do now, that it was a lasting
shame upon our country that human beings, pris-
oners of war, should be thus forced to occupy a
position where they must freeze to death, while
ample means to prevent it were close at hand.
When clothing was sent to the prisoners it was
the practice to mutilate the coat by cutting off the
skirt at the waist, allowing the owner to have the
upper part. Boxes of provisions sent by friends
to the hungry, half-naked prisoners were often
not delivered.


One cold morning as I entered the camp I saw a
lieutenant who had tied a prisoner by the thumbs


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
773
with a cord and suspended him by the cord being
attached to a spike driven into a tree just high
enough for the tips of his toes to touch the slant-
ing roots of the tree. The poor fellow hung there
till the pain caused him to swoon, when his whole
weight broke the cord and he fell to the frozen
ground in an insensible condition. This brave
officer was preparing to hang him up again when
I remonstrated with him so earnestly that he de-
sisted. I was sent for to attend one of the men
who was shot by the single guard. Talking with
the poor fellow, his dying declaration was that
they had committed no offense whatever. I be-
lieve he told the truth. It was a cold-blooded
murder, so revolting and atrocious that the sol-
diers about camp would have lynched the mis-
creant if he had not been placed beyond their
reach. This occurred just outside the camp as
the prisoners were on their way to Fall Creek
near by to load wagons with gravel. On one
occasion the prisoners had completed a tunnel.
One of their number turned informer, and a guard
was secretly placed at the opening outside. As
the first man put his head above ground the guard
blew his brains out, instead of capturing and re-
turning him to prison as a brave, humane soldier
would have done.


To speak of the minor cruelties, such as "buck-
ing and gagging," "marking time," carrying
heavy pieces of wood till the men were ready to
fall from fatigue, would fill a good-sized volume.
I remember the shooting into the barracks at
night and the wounding of prisoners as stated by
you in THE CENTURY.


It was my privilege to help those under my
care by lending them small sums of money to
obtain articles for which they were in great need.
In all this amounted to a considerable sum, and
I never lost one dollar of the money thus loaned.
I mention this fact to demonstrate the high sense
of honor that characterized these men, surrounded
by all the adverse circumstances and demoralizing
influences calculated to tempt them to acts of
dishonor.


Mr. C. S. S. Baron, of Portland, Indiana,
lately of the Baron Manufacturing Company
of Bellaire, Ohio," for whom the works were
named,"1 appointed in 1877, by Governor T.
L. Young of Ohio, colonel of the 2d Infantry,
Ohio National Guard,2 preludes his statement
with this remark:


Like my honored old commander General
James Longstreet, I have been a warm Republi-
can ever since the war, believing that the recon-
struction of the States and Government would be
best accomplished by the party which had fought
the war to a successful issue.


Continuing, he says :

I read your article in THE CENTURY to my wife,
and it so closely resembled what I have been tell-
ing her for years that she declared you and I must



1 " History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties."
2 Report of the Adjutant-General of Ohio, 1878.
have been messmates. Arrived at Camp Morton
late in autumn of 1863; when we filed in the cries
of "Fresh fish!" came from a thousand throats all
over the prison grounds as there came a mighty
rush of prisoners around us. I took a look at this
crowd and my heart began to sink. Although at
the beginning of winter, very few had sufficient
clothing, many had no coats, the pantaloons of
many were greatly dilapidated, and with many
the shoes were worn to such an extent that the
feet were not protected. I know our army had
hard times, but in the worst regiment I had ever
seen in the Confederacy I had never seen such
squalor as this. Before being distributed to the
barracks we were searched, and about $120 in
United States currency was taken from me and
my comrade. I succeeded in concealing $24 in
the waistband of my pantaloons. In our bunk we
found a thin coating of straw, and as we were at
that time pretty well clothed and each had a good
blanket, we did not suffer for a while. There
were two stoves for burning wood in our shed, and
one of these was not far from our bunk, so con-
sidering all we did not start out badly. For
a while the issue of flour, beef or bacon, with oc-
casionally potatoes, while not a full army ration,
seemed to be sufficient for our wants, consider-
ing that we had no work to do and took but lit-
tle exercise. The tyranny of one Baker was at
all times manifest. He would compel us to stand
in line at roll-call in the coldest weather, not only
until every prisoner was accounted for, but until
he could go to headquarters and make out his
report and return. One bitter cold morning in
the winter of 1863-64, while we were nearly freez-
ing in ranks waiting for Baker's return, one of the
prisoners very poorly clad and shod slipped out
of the ranks to warm by a fire in the yard near by.
Baker, coming down from headquarters, keep-
ing the barracks between him and the prisoners,
came upon the poor wretch as he was crouching
over the fire, drew his revolver, and with "Here,
d—— you, what are you doing out of line?" shot
him. The poor fellow rolled over, and as he was
carried off I am not sure what became of him.
I see it stated that clean, fresh straw was issued
with great frequency, which before God and man
I pronounce untrue. Early in 1864 the falling-
off in rations became very perceptible. About
this time my money gave out. My friend B——
grew peevish and irritable, and driven by hunger
would sometimes eat the piece of bread I had
saved for my supper.


During the period when the men were being
vaccinated I saw a big brutal sergeant knock a
prisoner down, place his knee on the man's chest,
and present his revolver at him, because he pro-
tested against being vaccinated.


In 1864, one very cold night a prisoner of our
barracks, who was in ill health, went to the stove
to warm. He was discovered by the guard, who
came up to him saying, "I'll warm you," and
with this expression shot him. The poor fellow
rolled off the box he was sitting upon. I do not
think he even groaned.


One of the most brutal deeds I ever witnessed
was that of Lieutenant or Adjutant D——.
There was a small issue of condemned clothing,


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
774
Statement of Dr. J. L. Rainey, a practising
physician of Cottage Grove, Henry County,
Tennessee :


The attempt to refute your narrative, "Cold
Cheer at Camp Morton," will be utterly futile.
There are yet living hundreds of men who know
that your statement falls short in details of many
cruelties inflicted upon prisoners there by soldiers
and officers, and many privations which were ma-
liciously inflicted. As an individual I had little
cause to complain (as I was made a dispensing
clerk in the hospital), but I am bound in honor
to say that no man can prove that there is a shadow
of falsehood in your statement.


I well remember the man who, for attempting
to escape, was tied up to a tree by a cord around
each thumb, standing on tip-toe. The surgeon1
came in next morning and ordered him cut down.
The man could not move his arms after he was
cut down, until he was rubbed and stimulated.
I was in the presence of the two men who were
shot from behind and mortally wounded with the
single ball, and heard the statement made by one
of them that they were murdered. George Doug-
lass, of Columbia, Tennessee, member of my
company, who was nearly blind, was taken out on
detail and shot. The guard said he tried to es-
cape. He was so nearly blind that he could not
have gotten home without aid had he been set at
liberty. I examined the body at the dead-house.
He was shot in the back, and it was murder.


The man shot in No. 7 for making a light to
give a sick comrade some medicine had his arm
amputated at the shoulder, and died. I was in
the room when the operation was done.


The dire extremity to which some were reduced
caused them to steal and to resort to the slop-bar-
rels. I saw a poor, ragged, and emaciated prisoner
ravenously devouring pieces of meat out of the
slops, so rotten that it was thick with maggots.
The eating of rats and dogs was well known.


I am not willing that it should be thought that
all were like Baker, who to my knowledge did
many more cruel things than you mention. Dr.
Charles J. Kipp on taking charge made many
valuable improvements in the care of the sick. I
shall ever respect him as a kind, able, and honor-
able physician. Drs. Todd, Parr, Dow, Bingham,
and Lindsey I remember with gratitude. Lieu-
tenant Haynes, a one-armed officer, would not
tolerate cruelties when he was on duty. I was
released October 25, 1864, by order of President
Lincoln, at the request of Andrew Johnson, then
Military Governor of Tennessee.


Statement of Dr. W. E. Shelton, a practising
physician of Austin, Texas:


I was confined at Camp Morton about June i,
1863. In July or August I was assigned to duty as
physician to the sick in quarters. My duties con-
sisted in going through the barracks, prescrib-
ing for those not sick enough for the hospital, and
sending the seriously ill to the wards. The sick
were well treated. The treatment of prisoners in
a great many instances was brutal and inhuman.



1 Dr. W. P. Parr. See Dr. Parr's statement.
a few light blouses, pantaloons, and shirts.
Drawn up in line were from 75 to 100 men
almost naked, one a boy of about 17 years, thin
and delicate. Some wretch informed the adju-
tant that this boy had a jacket hid away in his
bunk. The officer, a large man, jerked the boy
out of line and threw him sprawling on the frozen
ground. Terrified and hurt, the boy could only
give stammering and incoherent answers to the
officer's questioning, who unmercifully kicked
and stamped him so that he was unable to walk
to his quarters.


I think the two men you mention as being
fatally shot through from behind were the two
from my mess who met with that fate. They
were detailed one morning for work outside the
prison. They were brought in about noon and
taken I think to a hospital tent, where some hours
later they died. Knowing they were mortally
wounded, they said that one of the guards made
a threat to kill a rebel because a relative of his
had been killed at the front by the rebels. Be-
coming alarmed, they complained to the sergeant
that they were afraid that this man would do
them harm, who however assured them there
was no danger. The guard, awaiting his oppor-
tunity, got them in line and fired a ball through
both.


As to eating rats, your statement can be sworn
to by any survivor of that horrible pen. Every
rat that was caught in Camp Morton was killed,
cooked, and eaten by the prisoners. Was the dog
your mess ate the adjutant's dog for which a
number of men were tied up by the thumbs ?
This was December 27, 1864. On this day my
father, lookingoutof headquarters,sawthose men
tied up by the thumbs to trees in the yard, just
standing on the tips of their toes, and in great
agony. Their shifting about, their groans, and
their livid faces shocked him horribly. He had
just arrived with a special pardon and order of
release for me, signed by the immortal Lincoln
at the intercession of Secretary Stanton, my
father's schoolmate at Steubenvillc, Ohio. That
is how I remember the date so well. My father
lived then in Bellaire, Ohio. He was very poor,
and could send me but little money. In Sep-
tember, 1864. I wrote him that my clothes, shoes,
and hat were about gone. My mother sent me a
coat, pantaloons, two shirts, two pairs socks, a
pair of shoes, and a hat. They allowed me to
have one shirt, the pantaloons, one pair of
socks, and the shoes. The hat, coat, and other
pair of socks I never got. When I entered Camp
Morton I weighed 180 pounds. On the night of
my arrival home I weighed 123 pounds. I had
no disease; it was starvation pure and simple.
For years past my weight has been over 200
pounds. The infernal mania for shooting into
the barracks at night I could not understand. In
closing let me say that if the good people of this
country could have been convinced of the truth
of one half of the tyranny, starvation, cruelty, and
murder going on inside that fence, they would
in their righteous wrath have leveled the whole
thing to the ground, and probably would have
visited lynch law upon those who were concerned
in this great wrong.


TREATMENT OF PRISONERS AT CAMP MORTON.
775
I can indorse all you say in regard to prison
life at Camp Morton. Was there about twenty-
three months, and suffered from hunger con-
stantly. I was witness to the murder of one
prisoner and the wounding of another by Baker.
I saw dog-meat served at fifteen cents' worth of
tobacco per pound. Many were frozen to death
for want of proper clothing and cover. My part-
ner froze at my side one night, and I did not know
he was dead until next morning.
The eating of
rats and of scraps from the swill-tub at the hos-
pital was of common occurrence. I have peeled
potatoes for the hospital cook just to get the
peelings to eat. I harbor no feeling of malice
to any one, yet the officers and guards at Camp
Morton were very cruel and allowed prisoners to
starve.


The Rev. Samuel Tucker, preacher in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Springfield,
Arkansas, says:


Was confined in Camp Morton from March,
1863, to February, 1865. I can fully corroborate
your statements concerning the treatment of
prisoners. There were fifty-one men in the squad
I arrived with, and thirty-two of these perished
there. I have seen the prisoners struggling with
each other to devour the dirty matter thrown out
of the hospital kitchen. Rats were eaten, and I
have seen dog-meat peddled out by the prisoners.
The murdering of prisoners, clubbing, tying them
up by the thumbs was known to all there. I
could put the entire piece of meat given me for
a day's allowance in my mouth at one time.


The vast bulk of testimony, which fully sustains
the charges of criminal neglect on the part of
those whose duty it was to treat prisoners of war
humanely, I cannot publish here for lack of
space. The statements of Messrs. B. P. Putnam,
Tullahoma, Tennessee; B. F. Erwin and T. W.
Cowan, Gadsden, Alabama; S. H. Russell,
Huntsville, Alabama; J. T. George, Clerk of
the Court of Graves County, Kentucky; James
A. Thomas, Nashville, Tennessee; John F.
Champenois, ex-Mayor and County Commis-
ioner, Shubuta, Mississippi; N. M. Smith, Cas-
well, Mississippi; R. M. Gtiinn, Alvarado,
Texas; I. C. Bartlett, Louisville, Kentucky;
J. N. Ainsworth, Smith County, Mississippi;
A. W. Baxter, Fayetteville, Lincoln County,
Tennessee; G. T. Willis, Greenville, South Car-
olina; S. W. Jacoway, South Pittsburg, Ten-
nessee ; J. A. Guy, Childersburg, Alabama; W.
H. Carter, White County, Tennessee, and T.
E. Spotswood, Fairford, Alabama, are, among
others, important and interesting, and with
much other valuable material will be reserved
by me for future publication.

During one very cold spell several prisoners froze
to death, and many others died from the effects
of cold. I have read "Cold Cheer at Camp
Morton," and am prepared to swear that it is true.


The Rev. W. S. Wightman, pastor of the
Southern Methodist Church, Bennettsville,
S. C., writes:


I read with feelings of peculiar interest your
most graphic description of the indignities, suffer-
ings, and deaths that make up the history of that
dreadful camp. I was taken to Camp Morton in
July, 1864, and left there for exchange March,
1865. How I managed to stand the starvation
and cold of that awful prison is something won-
derful to me. My emaciation when I reached
home was so great that my family scarcely recog-
nized me. I can substantiate what you say in your
article — the harsh treatment, the brutality, the
horrible meanness. I suffered the pangs of hunger
protracted through weeks and months, and of
cold in those dreadful sheds for lack of bedding
and clothes. I am witness to the fact that many
a poor fellow perished from cold and starvation.


The Rev. W. H. Groves, a Presbyterian min-
ister at Lynnville, Tennessee, who was in Camp
Morton in 1864 and '65, says:


Dr. Wyeth graphically and truthfully describes
Camp Morton. Every paragraph has the impress
of truth, and will bear the scrutiny of the searcher
of hearts. Think of men emaciated and ex-
hausted by hunger, many of them with no cloth-
ing but the thin suits in which they were captured,
standing that bitter winter cold — the long hours
from dark till daylight, with only a single blanket,
upon a bed of planks in an open cattle-shed. To
strike a match to look at a sick or dying com-
rade was to be shot by the guards. Our rations
were so meager that men became walking skele-
tons. No bone was too filthy or swill-tub too
nauseating for a prisoner to devour. The eating
of rats was common. I knew one of our men who
was hung up by the thumbs for eating a dog.
Some of the officials were very cruel, Baker in
particular. God removed him, and we trust that
he is in heaven. My feet were so badly frozen
that I suffered intensely and could not wear my
shoes for over a year. Our food was excellent in
quality, at least the bread. We only got a small
loaf a day. The meat was given in small quan-
tity. We got about one third enough to eat. The
mortality in consequence of short rations was very
great. Two of my mess of five died. Dr. Wyeth
has written no fancy sketch. It is what every liv-
ing Confederate who was in Camp Morton the
last year of the war will corroborate and which
God will witness as true.


W. V. Futrell, orange-grower at Ozona,
Florida, writes:


John A. Wyeth.
 

See Also: Cold Cheer in Camp Morton

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