Letter to the Editor from a Rebel Prisoner
from Harper's New Monthly Magazine's "Editor's Drawer"
An officer of the “C. S. A.,” now a prisoner in the Myrtle
Street Military Prison, St. Louis, writes us the following long letter,
containing some capital stories. ‘We are glad to learn that the first thing he
did after becoming an involuntary guest of our esteemed Uncle Samuel was to “eat
a good deal.” Not a few of the “involuntary guests” at Richmond would be happy
to be able to follow his example in this respect. We hope to hear more from our
pleasant friend some of these days when we are all Union men again:
- Dear Old Drawer,—This den in which I now have my lair was
formerly known as Lynch’s Nigger-yard, and used as such. It is now a military
prison; and I, an officer of the C. S. A., am sojourning here, an unprivileged
guest of the great Uncle Samuel. The first thing I did on getting in here,
after eating a good deal, was to send for Harper’s Magazine, and read,
first the contents of the Drawer, then all the balance. It was like communing
with an old, much-beloved friend, from whom I had been long separated—soothing
to the spirit and comforting to the soul.
- In the July number I saw a communication from a rebel
prisoner, situated as I now am, who spoke my sentiments exactly regarding the
Drawer. With him, I regard it as one of the few remaining institutions which
exert any influence in binding together all the sections of this once glorious
and happy Union. Ah! well I remember the feelings of pleasure with which I
would open a new number of Harper’s, after the toil and cares of the busy day
were over, surrounded with the love and peace and easy repose of my then quiet
and happy home. That home is now in ashes; the angel-like partner of my joys
and cares, my prosperity and reverses, now sleeps quietly beneath the parched
sod of Texas; my jovial friends and genial associates are scattered and dead
and gone; and here I am, on a pile of straw in a nigger-yard!
[Several stories in this letter are provided on separate web pages:]
Smith, Dr. J. F., "Editor's Drawer", Harper's New Monthly
Magazine, Volume 28, Issue 164, January 1864, page 282, New York: Harper and
visits since 05/19/2004.