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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 10, 1864

Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper of the Civil War. These papers were read by millions of Americans, hungry for news of the war. Today, you can read these newspapers on our WEB site, and watch the war unfold week by week on the pages of these incredible newspapers.

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Prisoners

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Sherman's March Across Georgia

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DECEMBER 10, 1864.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

789

SERVING OUT RATIONS TO OUR EXCHANGED PRISONERS ON BOARD THE " NEW YORK."--[SKETCHED BY WILLIAM WAUD.]

OUR EXCHANGED PRISONERS

No more touching scene has occurred during the war than that which glorified the deck of the Eliza Hancox, Colonel MULFORD'S dispatch boat, on Friday, November 18, and which we illustrate on page 788. On that day we began to receive from the rebel authorities those of our exchanged prisoners who were in the best condition for removal. Shouting and cheering, they step on deck under the protection of the old flag. To these few the prison pens of Andersonville have become only a remembrance, except in so far as the terrible record of the life there lived is written in their gaunt faces, scurvied limbs, and exhausted strength. The link which has bound them to the horrors of the past is broken, though it has left its scars and lacerations on their limbs. No words can describe the exultation of these long sufferers at their release. Scrofulous cripples throw away their crutches and walk erect with the inspiration of simple joy ; men who

by want and home sickness have been brought to the verge of idiocy, or been smitten for months with almost hopeless melancholy, shout for the old flag and for Colonel MULFORD, and, regardless of the presence of their rebel companions, sing,

"Rally round the flag, boys

From near and from far, Down with the traitor, And up with the star!"

Nor is it easy to describe the good cheer inherent in plenty of hot coffee and boiled hams for men who for months have been literally starving in a country abounding with provisions. We have on this page illustrated the scene on board the New York as the rations of ham and coffee were served out to the prisoners. To the luxury of palatable food is added that of the bath and of clean, new clothes.

The number of prisoners already exchanged is twelve hundred and forty-six. According to late advises the exchange was interrupted on account of the damaged railway communications on the line

of SHERMAN'S march. We hope that SHERMAN will compensate for this by redeeming all our prisoners at Millen. The prison camp at Andersonville was almost entirely vacated early in November; east of Milledgeville a few miles is "Camp Lawton," which it is not improbable that our cavalry has reached. The stockade at Millen contains several thousand of our prisoners ; and there are a large number in the hospitals at Savannah. The largest prison camp in the rebel States is at Florence, about one hundred miles from Charleston, in the northeastern part of South Carolina ; here, within the space of thirty two acres, sixteen thousand prisoners are confined.

At Andersonville there were, a few weeks ago, from twenty five to thirty thousand prisoners. So dreadful was the pestilence engendered from the close contact of the men, from filth, and from starvation, that eleven thousand of these were thrown uncoffined into the trenches around the stockade. Then, when inhumanity itself shuddered at its own

extravagant malice when even the rebel surgeons protested and uttered complaints which more than bear out the statements which we have received from returned prisoners then the prison was broken up and the prisoners dispersed. The regulations and treatment of the prisoners at Florence are similar to what they were at Andersonville, and the mortality nearly as great. It must be rememberd that every feature of this barbarous and inhuman treatment was unnecessary. Our prisoners could have easily been supplied with food, for the Southern people are not suffering for the want of subsistence; the only difficulty has been that of transportation, and this had no application to the region in which our prisoners have been confined. Nor was there need of suffering from nakedness or insufficient warmth the former we ourselves would have promply relieved if the, opportunity had been given, and the letter could easily have been relieved by the plentiful supply of pine wood sir forests immediately surrounding the prison camps.

SUNDAY MORNING INSPECTION ON BOARD THE GUN-BOAT " METACOMET,"--SKETCHED BY GEORGE WATTERS.[SEE PAGE 790.]

Prisoners
Inspection

 

 

  

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