TESTIMONY OF PRIVATES AND NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS (returned after confinement in rebel prisons)

Testimony taken at Annapolis, Maryland, United States Army General Hospital, Division No.1 and Division No. 2, May 31 and June 1, A.D. 1864

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:—Dr. Valentine Mott, Dr. Edward Delafield, Gouverneur M. Wilkins, Esq., Dr. Ellerslie Wallace, Hon. J. I. Clarke Hare, Dr. Treadwell Walden.

Private JOSEPH GRIDER, sworn and examined:

            I come from East Tennessee, near Knoxville; enlisted in the 3d East Tennessee infantry. I was taken prisoner near home, betrayed by a citizen, 30th October, 1863. I was taken to Atlanta, Georgia, and then taken to Richmond. I am fifty-eight years of age; my health was pretty good when I was last captured. The first time I was balled and chained at Macon, Georgia. I escaped from Macon, Georgia; was taken as a spy; some papers found on me — recruiting papers. Was put in Libby Prison first, kept there about three weeks, then was removed to Danville. I first escaped August 31st, and afterwards was retaken. I then had my uniform on as I had before when I was taken as a spy. When I reached Richmond my health was only tolerable good, which was occasioned by the treatment I had previously received. During while I was escaping I lived on stolen corn and stolen pigs; I broiled the meat in the mountains; I was in Libby about three weeks; was in Danville over five months. Left Danville 16th of April to come here.

            In Libby my daily ration was corn bread — very rough. It was not sieved — plenty of whole grains in it; (witness gives the measure, which amounts to about 31 cubic inches¹). There were corn husks also in the bread as large as my two fingers. I kept a journal, but it was taken from me; it was in the haversack. Had meat sometimes, about every other day, about two ounces. The bread weighed from a half pound to three-quarters — for two men — as some of our men weighed it. I could have eat up my rations and my partner’s and not had enough at that, when I was well. It was just the diet that made me sick; the bread was not done half the time.

            Everything was taken from me but my dress coat, shirt, pants and boots; slept on the floor; walked many a night to keep warm; there were two hundred and fourteen men in the room I staid in; we laid close together, about a foot apart.

            Rations at Libby not the same as at Danville; at Danville we got black bread, which we drew until it gave out, then we had corn bread. There were lots of men who walked all night to keep warm. At Danville we got bigger of the black bread than common; I threw it up, I couldn’t eat it. It is made of cane seed; I never knew it to be eaten before. I was in Danville about four weeks before the diarrhœa came on me; I had lost flesh before and since my capture. My healthy weight is from two hundred and twelve to two hundred and fourteen pounds.

            I went into the hospital when I had the diarrhœa; there got pea-soup and a slice of white bread, size of half my band. I found bugs in the soup, that was boiled out of the peas. I was there twelve days before they gave me any medicine, or told me what was the matter with me.

            My diarrhœa had stopped some time before I was exchanged; I afterwards had the pleurisy. I have gained flesh since I came here. They abuse the Tennesseans worse than other prisoners. Our food was about the same.

            They would not let you look out the windows. They shot seven men for looking out; one was shot on my floor; his name was Robert McGill; he got well; he had just put his hand out to throw out some water.

            It was warm enough in the day-time when we were stirring about. Sometimes we were allowed to go to the privy and sometimes we were not. We have been kept from it so much as three days, until we fouled the floor — this was for punishment for taking a little slat or such thing, by those who were on the lower floor. I can eat two such corn cakes as I got.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

 ¹Representing a fraction more than twelve ounces of raw corn meal.

Private JACKSON O. BROSHERS, sworn and examined:

            Age, twenty years; height, six feet one inch; ordinary weight from one hundred and seventy to one hundred and seventy-five pounds. I have weighed but one hundred and sixty pounds; improved for a while in weight in the army. I enlisted from Spencer county, Indiana, in the 65th Indiana; captured December 16th; in prison at Belle Isle, and at Pemberton buildings in Richmond.

            Was clad with great coat and blanket when taken. They were taken from me; they gave me no blankets or covering. I wore a jacket, shirt, drawers, &c., while in prison. The prison was not a very good place to stay; it was a tent; I staid in it at Belle Isle; the rain came in; suffered from the cold; it was cold weather; had some little fire part of the time; I had a Sibley tent very much torn; the fire was in the centre.

            I saw a good many men — over three hundred — without shelter for some weeks; I slept on an old coat I got from a rebel; no man ever said he was comfortable in prison; our men would sleep upon what they could get; I have a chronic diarrhœa; had corn bread in prison; before I came away they gave us more; I had enough for a while of such as was given us; no whole grains in my bread; it was white corn bread; had pork once; don’t know how often I had beef; don’t think seven times; was in Belle Isle about two and a half months; got a piece of meat about the size of my two fingers. I judge it had worms in it by the holes I saw; before I came away, I got enough of such as it was, but at first I did not.

            I lost my strength I think for the want of food; it was a mouth and a half that we had no meat; had not been sick before I entered the army; most of the men complained of being hungry; they appeared ravenous when the rations were brought in.

            I have gained strength since I have been here; I have the diarrhœa; had it about two  weeks before I came from prison; I think I lost my strength before the diarrhœa began; lost my flesh afterward; the worst of my weakness was after the diarrhea commenced; could not have walked three miles without resting before the diarrhœa came on.

            I did not suffer from the want of air, but the want of room; I suffered from cold a great deal; about fourteen to fifteen men sleep in a Sibley tent in our army.

            I got some crackers that they said came from the Sanitary Commission, a cap, overcoat and canteen; the other men got some clothing, too, that they said came from the Sanitary Commission.

            My rations were somewhat less than this bible.*


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

*Which being measured, contains 31 1/4 cubic inches

Corporal WILLIAM M. SMITH, sworn and examined

            I am twenty-two years old; from Kentucky; enlisted in the 8th Kentucky regiment September 24th, 1861; was captured September 20th, 1863; taken to Richmond, Virginia; was captured at the battle of Chattanooga.

            I was put in Smith’s building, after being some six days at Belle Isle; in Smith’s building about two months.

            Had on good clothes when taken in; they took blankets and oil cloth, extra shirt and drawers, &c., from me; while we were in Richmond, there were some Sanitary clothes sent there; they were needed mighty bad; the rebels have taken a heap of Sanitary clothing, I think.

            At Belle Isle, laid out on the naked ground; it rained some two days.

            I took the small-pox in Danville; I was then taken to the hospital; I wore the same clothing I had before I got it; I wore the same clothes when I came on here; I believe I had a shirt and my dress coat washed; I washed my drawers myself.

            I came here the second of May.

            My health was pretty good when taken prisoner; when I left I was taken out of the hospital; I guess it was the small-pox, erysipelas and diarrhœa which brought me down.

            When I was in prison, before I was taken sick, got a piece of corn bread about the size of this bible, (the same referred to by the other witness;) got meat three or four days in the week; when sick, got a small piece of wheat bread — as much as I could eat then — a piece of beef with it, about two ounces; sometimes a little beef soup, with red peas in it, and rice; we had coffee made out of rye — sometimes, once a day — most every day; I took the small-pox first; I was there about a week before I took it; felt pretty well before; did not get enough to eat before; hungry all the time.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Sergeant ALFRED P. JONES, sworn and examined:

            I am twenty-seven years of age; am from Worcester, Massachusetts; I enlisted September 14th, 1861, in Boston, in the 1st Massachusetts cavalry; was taken prisoner in Virginia, at Aldie, June 17th, 1863; was taken to Libby prison June 24th, 1863.

            Was in prison two days and one night then taken to Belle Isle, and remained there some thirty days when I was exchanged; I was protected from the weather by a tent — it was full of holes; some were as well off and others were not — some laid on the bare ground — some four hundred; had no blanket or overcoat when I went there.

            I sold my India rubber cover to a rebel to buy bread with.

            A good many who went to the prison when I did, had their blankets taken from them; the men said they wanted the clothes for their own soldiers; I used to see the rebel officers dressed in our uniforms.

            Most of the men seemed to have coughs, and were very weak.

            The prisoners complained of a want of food; it was a general complaint; I walked the streets many a night; I could not sleep from hunger; all complained.

            At the time I was there in June and July, 1863, the food was very fair, but in small quantities; received one-fourth of a loaf in the morning of wheat bread, which was three inches by three and three-fourths, by one and three-fourths. We had this twice a day; about two small mouthfuls of meat. For supper we had a half pint of bean soup; don’t remember finding any worms in it; there would be sand or gravel in it; there was no deficiency in water. We were allowed to go out in squads to bathe. There were squads let out to bathe and wash their clothes.

            I had nothing to sleep on; it was warm in the day time, cool at night.

            I heard many complain of cramp and pains. I lost flesh and strength, and so did the others, from want of food.


            Sergeant Co. C., 1st Massachusetts Cavalry.

Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private WILLIAM D. FOOTE, sworn and examined:

            I was born in Canada, and enlisted in Buffalo, New York, on 31st October, 1862, in the 9th New York Cavalry; I am twenty- eight years of age; have been in the army about a year and eight months.

            Was in the hands of the rebels about nine months; was at Belle Isle, and in the hospital at Richmond; was well when I was captured; I was taken with diarrhœa.

            For first two or three months at Belle Isle the quality of rations was very good; hardly sufficient to sustain life in quantity. It was wheat bread, almost four inches square, not exceeding half an inch in thickness, a small portion of beef— call it two mouthfuls. We had this quantity of bread twice a day, and a small tincupful of bean soup, which hall black bugs in it, which would float on the top. We then got corn bread, about half the size of this Bible, (the same one previously referred to,) twice a day.

            I was seven weeks I had no shelter at all; the latter part of the time had a tent full of holes.

            The latter part of October received blankets, &c., from our Government; my blankets and clothes had been taken from me. I lost flesh. Out of seven hundred that came to Belle Isle with me, I think there were about two hundred got shelter; we were exposed to the weather.

            There was no name for our hunger. When a bone would be thrown away by some, it would be taken up often by others, and boiled to get something out of it.

            All who were there failed in strength and flesh as I did, from starvation, I think.

            There were no sheds put up for us.

            I should judge it was the corn bread which caused the diarrhœa. It appeared to disagree with me, for when I had wheat bread, I kept my health perfect. The corn bread gave me pain in my bowels; often got whole grains and husks in the bread, I am positive, as I am on my oath; the proportion would be small; after that, we got rye and corn mixed, of a better quality of bread.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private ROBERT MORRISON, sworn and examined:

            I was enlisted from the northwest part of Ohio, in Pendleton, Putnam county, Riley township, in the 21st Ohio Volunteers; I was taken prisoner at Chattanooga, September 20th, 1863; I was removed to Richmond; was two or three days on our way; I was stout and healthy when I reached Richmond; I forget the name of the prison into which I was put — I remember, it was Pemberton I remained there about a month, was then removed to Danville, Virginia, remained there till I was brought here; was placed in buildings at Danville.

            Our blankets were taken from us; our other clothing was left to us; had no overcoat; had no watch; we saved our money; I put it in the sole of my boot; they searched us for it; we had a stove— got wood once in a while; it was not very comfortable.

            My health was first-rate before I entered the service; I was in the army about nineteen months before I was captured; had no bowel complaint or any other sickness while in our army; when I went into the army my weight was one hundred and twenty-five pounds.

            I got a chunk of corn bread daily, the size of this Bible; it satisfied me and more too, because I couldn’t eat it; sometimes it was but about half baked; it was of a yellow color; it was of a musty taste; had a very small ration of meat about as large as three of my fingers in breadth, and about two inches in thickness.

            I was about two months in prison before I took sick; my first sickness was fever and ague; I had not had it before for some years; I have a little bowel complaint now, it does not trouble me much; I had the lung fever afterwards. I got some eggs then; when I got so as to be up and around I was sent back to the prison; I then took the diarrhœa; that came on in about three weeks after my return to the prison; it reduced me down — was sent back to the hospital; got wheat bread then, an egg, small piece of meat, potatoes, salt meat, some soup not very good; there was rice in the soup; was in a bed when I had the lung fever; I could go into corn bread pretty fast at first; the meat was pretty good — fresh meat; I was there about six months; if the corn bread had been good, with the meat, it would have been plenty; had not been in the habit of eating corn bread; it was kind of musty. In the corn bread there were some grains of corn.

            A hundred and fifty men in the room where I was. In a warm evening the room was very close; we had brooms to sweep the room; the privy was handy; the room we were in was about sixty by sixty feet; we had as much food as we wanted, such as it was.

            There was about a foot between each man as we lay; we had a small yard we could walk around, about fifteen or sixteen feet wide, by one hundred and fifty feet long; I think it was the corn bread and fresh meat that gave me the bowel complaint; I was not used to the corn bread.

            I am twenty-three years of age.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private GEORGE DINGMAN, sworn and examined:

            I am fifty-four years of age; I am from Michigan; enlisted in the 27th Regiment in 1862; I had always good health till captured; was taken at Strawberry Plain; taken to Richmond, thence to Belle Island about the 26th of January; had no shelter but the heavens; was taken by some one into a tent; had the rheumatism.

            No shelter was provided by the authorities; some hundreds had no shelter, some had; no fire; had nothing to sleep on but them blankets I brought; had blankets when taken prisoner. (A ration produced); this was the rations I got; sometimes we got this twice and sometimes three times a day (the ration weighs two ounces of bread and three-sixteenths of an ounce of meat; both are now perfectly dry which causes a loss of weight); have had meat more than once a day.

            Was at Belle Isle two weeks; think the prisoners got a little more bread on the island than at the hospital; my ration was two inches in length by two and a half inches wide, and about one inch thick, three times a day, or twice a day sometimes; suffered from hunger; could not lay in bed from rheumatism; when the hungry feeling came I got so weak I could not walk; once and a while had a little soup or beans raw ; no man could eat the soup unless he was starving; it tasted nasty and briny; I could walk when I came here, but had no strength.

            I saw the rations the rebel guards got; they were four times as much as ours: they got the same kind of bread and meat, but they could help themselves out of the bag.

            There were complaints; the doctor was very kind, and did all he could.

            During January the men would run all night to keep warm, and in the morning I would see men lying dead; from three to six or seven; they were frozen; this was nearly every morning I was there; the men would run to keep warm, and then lie down and freeze to death; we made an estimate and found that seventeen men died a night from starvation and cold, on an average.

            If I were to sit here a week I couldn’t tell you half our suffering.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private CHARLES H. ALLEN, sworn and examined:

            My home is in New York; enlisted in the 16th New York Regiment last fourth of July; was sickly then; don’t know when I was captured; it was in Virginia; was taken to Belle Isle.

            They took my clothes away; my extra clothing, my overcoat and blanket; it was at the end of the winter; slept on the ground; remained about two months without shelter, then went to the hospital.

            It was cold; suffered a great deal with cold; some froze to death; I only saw dead men once.

            We got corn bread and sometimes soup; corn bread twice a day; meat three or four times a week; I got a quarter of a loaf of corn bread for each ration about as wide as my four fingers, and about four fingers thick.

            I was hungry, pretty nearly starved to death all the time.

            Rations not as good at the hospital; not so large.

            Had a frozen foot and diarrhœa when I went to the hospital; think it was the beans and water which gave me the diarrhœa; I relished the bread at first, then I lost my relish for it; was in Belle Isle about three months; from the last of the winter.

            Was in Belle Isle two months before I froze my feet; I heard that a good many more were frozen to death; about sixty I suppose; I did not go round the tents, and, therefore did not see them; I have lost the end of my little toe (witness exhibits his frozen toe to the Commission).




Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private FRANK EICHELBERGER, sworn and examined:

            I am from Baltimore; enlisted August, 1861, in the 8th Kansas, Company A; captured at Chattanooga; health good up to that time; taken to Richmond and placed in a tobacco warehouse; I am twenty-two years of age; got to Richmond 21st of October; went into prison in December, and remained till March.

            They took our blankets and coats away from us; laid on planks; on the floor; it was warm when we were crowded.

            Got corn bread, rice, sweet potatoes; meat once a week; got rice and sweet potatoes every other day; corn bread three inches square, one and a half inches thick, twice a day; teacupful of rice; sometimes soup, two-thirds of a pint; we got soup about as often as we got meat.

            It did not satisfy hunger; my appetite was never satisfied; my health declined rapidly.

            I got a heavy cold; and then went to the hospital, when I had the pneumonia; the condition of the other men was about the same with regard to their food and accommodations; they complained of their treatment while at the hospital; got dried apples and coffee sent to us from the North.

            I had no pain when I suffered from hunger; could not sleep on account of hunger; did not suffer from cold a great deal; the loaf shown to me is just like what we got; about one-third of it (loaf weighs fifteen ounces, and measured about thirty-one and a half cubic inches), twice a day.

            The rebel guards got the same kind of bread; a great deal more; enough to satisfy any man’s hunger sometimes their bread was better than this; the bread was made of corn meal not sifted; I believe some of our men did complain; haven't heard any reason why we were not fed better.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private DANIEL MCMANN, sworn and examined:

            I am from New York; enlisted in the 43d New York; captured at Gettysburg; was sickly when captured; taken to Richmond; placed in Belle Isle.

            Took my coat and blanket away; gave us no covering: some laid out on a bank; reached Belle Isle in July; a number of men had to lie out on the bare ground — two hundred; I was there till after Christmas.

            I suffered from cold very much, and so did the men more than I; we had cold rain storms; some men froze to death in a ditch.

            It was not much better in the tents; I saw men carried out of the tents in blankets, dead; saw this more than once; I suppose they died mostly from hunger and cold.

            We got about one-third the loaf shown, of corn bread (loaf weighed, and weighs fifteen ounces) twice a day; sometimes but once; meat once regularly; a small piece about as big as my four fingers together.

            Went into the hospital after Christmas, and remained till last of March; rations worse in hospital; as much bread, meat and soup given to us the same day at the hospital; they were bad and we could not eat them; a hungry man could not eat the meat and soup; there is but one man here who was in the ward with me at the hospital.

            Suffered from hunger at Belle Isle; heard others complain; had the measles and a touch of the diarrhœa; my strength did not keep up till I got the diarrhœa; when I would go down to the river to get a drink, I could hardly stand or get back; river about fifty yards off.

            My guards were not hungry, for they would sometimes throw bread in to the prisoners; have picked it up myself; it was better bread than ours; not so coarse.

            I saw a man kill a dog and eat part of it, and he sold the rest of it; I got some.




Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private WALTER S. SMITH, sworn and examined:

             Am from New York; enlisted August  27th, 1861, in the 48th New York; captured July 18th taken to Columbia, S. C.; never had any blanket; rations were corn bread—enough— small piece of meat and rice; done very well there; from there taken to Richmond — Libby Prison.

            Was put on Belle Isle in two days after; tents torn, holes in them; about half of our men slept outside—fifty; it rained through the tents.

            Some laid out in the snow and frost; I laid on the ground; the men that laid out, some had blankets and some had none; some froze to death; many had their feet frozen; all that slept out suffered from cold some in tents suffered from cold.

            I saw men that had frozen to death in the night; I saw this seven or eight times.

            We had wheat bread when we first went there; about eight inches by four and a-half, by an inch and a half or more thick; meat ration four or five times a week, as big as my three fingers, each time, for three or four months; after that got none, except once in a while: I had a chronic diarrhœa; kept my strength pretty well till then; lost flesh before.

            The corn bread was very poor—ground with cob; on the days they gave us meat, they gave us less bread; when we had meat, the bread ration was about one-half the size of the loaf produced here, (same as before referred to, weighing fifteen ounces); we got half of this loaf (for the whole day) when we got meat; two-thirds when we had no meat; we never got as much as the whole loaf; when we came away, they gave us rations to last through the day—one loaf; we got soup four or five times a week at first; soup and meat same day; latter part of time, scarce any soup.

            The guards fared better; they got meat when we did not; they got a third more bread; our rations not sufficient to keep down hunger; suffered the last three months; had the diarrhœa twice; got it the last time, three or four days before I came away; the men suffered very much who had been on the island for some time; felt no pain when hungry; never kept from sleeping from hunger; left Belle Isle, 17th of March; think thirty or forty died while I was there.

            I have heard the men running round the tents to keep warm at all hours of the night; the river was frozen a little while I was there; the current is rapid.

            The water would freeze two or three inches in the bucket at night; the main street of the camp would be very much filled with men lying there. From the general talk from the men in the camp, I think that the statement, that seventeen men would die on an average a night, is likely to be correct.


 Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  May 31st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private WM. W. WILCOX, of Cleveland, Ohio, sworn and examined:

            I enlisted August, 1862, in the 124th Ohio Volunteers.

Taken prisoner at the battle of Chickamauga, Ga. September, 1863; taken to Tunnel Hill, Ga., was in good health at the time of capture; thence to Richmond, Va.; placed on Belle Isle.

            They took everything except the natural clothing, even to knife, on body; no blankets given us; I hid my money and they did not get that.

            No shelter provided; slept on bare ground; no covering in the least; was put on the Isle the last day of September, or first of October; staid there eleven days; men came when I did; had no shelter; were turned into an enclosure in which there was no shelter; I suppose there were two thousand without shelter.

            Removed to the city of Richmond; we were all removed there; placed in Smith's tobacco factory; no covering nor bed until the blankets were sent to us by the United States; received the blankets about the 1st of December.

            Removed to Danville, and placed in tobacco warehouse; windows broken out; miserable cold place; we took the blankets with us from Richmond: so cold, we suffered; no means to keep warm, except by walking around; the cold prevented sleeping to a great extent; a man could not sleep alone comfortable with one blanket.

            There was a great deal of stealing of blankets by the guards; the men traded their blankets for rice; the guards would bring rice to the window, from fifteen to twenty pounds, and offer to exchange for our blankets; they would come to the windows and say, “stick your blanket out so I can get hold of the end of it;" then two or more of the guards would jerk the blanket away and not give the rice; this was not a general thing, though it was often done; the motive of the men for doing this, was, they were so near starved out that they were ready to take anything; the guard would pass in bags of sand in place of rice and take blankets.

            When we first came there, our bread was made from middlings, shorts and bran, such as we feed our cattle; it was a combination of most everything, corn-hulls, bran, and refuse flour; got about half pound: the bulk was only one-quarter larger than the loaf shown, but was lighter than this; I should say from two to three ounces lighter.

            Our beef, when we first went there, would range from four to six ounces a day.

            Our soup was made from sweet potatoes; about half pint in quantity, and the liquor the beef was boiled in; some days we would not get any soup; the soup was hardly palatable.

            There was a difference in our rations; we drew this black bread for about a week, then drew corn bread; the corn bread was about the size for a ration as the loaf shown here; I should judge our rations were heavier than that loaf, about two to three ounces, (loaf weighs now twelve ounces and a fraction).

            In every ration there was cobs, whole corn, as hard as on the cobs, sometimes husks as long as my finger; the loaf was sweet when we first got it; not sufficient to satisfy hunger.

            The way it affected me was to make me so weak I would become blind; if I'd get up to move as far as across this room, I would become blind and everything would get dark, and I would fall from weakness; my strength. kept declining all the time before I got the diarrhœa; did not have much diarrhœa until the first of March.

            I was removed to the hospital about the middle of December, from Danville; I had no disease I know of but weakness, swelling of the legs, with purple and, inflamed and yellow spots ; the skin cracked and water ran out of my legs; rations better at the hospital, when I first went there, than they were in prison; we were allowed no privilege at all in prison.

            After we tunnelled out, we were only allowed to go to the privy six at a time; the floor was in one mess—filthy; an ordinary one-horse wagon load of human excrement on the floor every morning.

            Not allowed to look out the window; was shot at twice for looking out; a man was shot alongside of me, while standing at the window; he was standing two feet from the window, with his hand on the casement; the sentry could not see him from the sentry's beat; I presume the sentry saw his shadow; he stepped out of his position to shoot at him, perhaps twenty to twenty-five feet; the sentry shot him in the head and kilted him instantly; I suppose I have seen five hundred. men shot at; our orders were not to put our heads out the windows; this man had not put his head out at that time; he had rolled up his blanket and was standing over the place where he slept on the floor; his name was Alexander Opes, of the 101st Indiana.

            With one exception, we were treated very well by the physicians; never heard any fault found of any physician but Dr. Moses, of Charlestown; don’t know his first name; when once we had mouldy bread given to us in the hospital, Dr. Fontleroy made a fuss about it and had it changed.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  June 1st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private WILLIAM D. FOOTE, recalled:—

            The first case of death I remember, was a Massachusetts man, who died from frozen feet; from the looks of them you could hardly tell they were feet; he laid in the next bed to me; they first took off the toes of one of the feet, and then took off the foot; in a few days he died from amputation; he was in the same ward; brought in the middle of November. Saw no man frozen to death on Belle Isle; saw any number of men brought in with frozen feet, who afterwards suffered amputation; ten or twelve persons were so brought in; two or three of the amputated cases died; I speak of what occurred in my ward.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  June 1st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private HIRAM J. NEAL sworn and examined:

            I am from Maine; enlisted in the 4th Maine Regiment; taken prisoner at Bristow Station, in October, 1863; taken to the Pemberton prison, from there to Belle Island, which I reached 24th February remained until January 18th, blankets taken from me; nothing given in their place; after eight days, we had tents at Belle Island.

            At first the men had to lay out till they could find tents; had nothing to sleep upon.

            About one-fifth of the men were permitted by the rebels to retain their blankets; had no straw or board to lie on; tents old and rotten —full of holes; those in the tents managed to keep warm, though they couldn’t sleep; those out of the tents, from three to six hundred, tried to run about to keep warm..

            Saw many with frozen feet carried off; in one morning saw eleven corpses, three frozen stiff. Near first of January, deaths occurred eight or ten in twenty-four hours, principally in the night;  I deem the causes of those deaths to have been exposure and starvation.

            When I left, January 18th, there were five thousand men there; I was transferred to the hospital for diarrhœa and disability.

            Rations not sufficient to satisfy hunger; waked up one night and found myself gnawing my coat sleeve; used to dream of having something good to eat.

            I had a pain in my chest and bowels; had the diarrhœa when I was captured; had a pain in my bowels then; had about four movements of the bowels a day before captured; not able to do duty all the time; I had been thirty-six hours on the march with one night’s rest just before I was captured; was in the fight about an hour.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  June 1st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

Private CHARLES F. PFOUNSTIEL, sworn and examined:

            I am a German; enlisted in 2d Maryland, September 24, 1862; captured in Tennessee; imprisoned in Belle Island; reached there January 21st; remained till 6th of March.

            They took my blankets, sixty dollars in money, and a watch worth thirty dollars.

            For two days had no shelter; then I got in the tents; air came in on every side; many men without tents; two hundred men went in with me; the greater part had no tents; some had a blanket or old coat.

            Some froze to death; could not keep warm; one out of my regiment froze to death; he reported to the doctor that he was sick but he paid him no attention, perhaps because the man could not speak English.

            Every morning we carried out some men froze to death, and from starvation some four or five men.

            We did not get enough to eat; ten or twelve ounces of corn bread and two spoons of beans almost rotten; sometimes we had soup—not fit to eat, yet had to eat it; had meat only three or four times while I was there; two or three ounces each time; I was hungry all the time.

            I could not sleep for hunger and cold, dirt and lice; I washed twice a day in the James river; strength kept up till last eight days; then I felt sick in my bowels; had no diarrhœa; did not go to the hospital; left with the 9th Maryland.

            I saw a good many cases carried in a blanket to the doctor, and when they got there many of them were dead; had my feet frozen.

            There might be many deaths I did not see; I have reason to believe there was. I have stated what I saw—three or four a night.

            The men would dig holes in the ground to lie in at night to protect them from the air.


Sworn to and subscribed before me,

  June 1st, 1864.

    D. P. BROWN, JR.,

      United States Commissioner.

I certify that the foregoing testimony was taken and reduced to writing in the presence of the respective witnesses, and by them sworn to in my presence, at the times, places, and in the manner set forth.


United States Commissioner.