Page images


JOURNAL NOTES IN PRISON.-Precious Tributes of Sympathy.-Portrait of the Yankee.-A New England Shepherd.-Sufferings and Reflections.-Fourth of July in Fort Warren.

JUNE 17.-The hours weigh heavily upon me. In my imprisonment and sickness I have yet much to be thankful for, especially in the assiduous and cheerful attentions of my fellow-prisoner, Doctor Hambleton. The pastimes in our prisonlife are meagre enough. Reading the newspapers and eviscerating Yankee falsehoods are our chief employments.

The good friends I have made in Boston have not forgotten me, and I have frequent occasion to acknowledge their kindness in missions of sympathy and occasionally of "material" comfort, in articles of food banished by "orders from Washington" from the slop-boards of our cook-house. Whatever thoughts I have of the cruel despotism at Washington and of those masses of population subject to it, my heart must always retain grateful and faithful memories of those few in a strange land who administered to my sorrow, and dared an expression of sympathy for me, when in the bonds of prison and disease.

I have a valued and interesting correspondence with some noble ladies in Boston, whom I have never seen, but whose names are known to several of the prisoners here, who have had various tokens of their sympathy. The correspondence in my case commenced with a present of delicious fruit, to which the card of the donor was attached. The charity of these ladies, and, more than all, the sentiments which have sweetened it, are treasured in the hearts of many prisoners here, and they may be sure that when the name and freedom of our beloved country shall no longer be disputed, their deeds will find a public record somewhere and be rewarded with conspicuous gratitude.

Before this war I had lived several years in Washington and in New York; but from all the herd of my acquaintance in the North I have not yet had one line of sympathy or of


Yet I have had letters from strangers-among them dear, noble country women of mine in the enemy's lines-which have touched my heart with inexpressible gratitude and pride.

I had been in prison but a few days when I received from Mrs. General, of Kentucky, a stranger to me, but the name of whose gallant husband, fallen on one of the bright fields of the war, lives in the glorious memories of the Confederacy, a letter of sympathy, subscribed, "a sincere though unknown friend." "Do you need aid?" wrote this generous lady. "And will you be allowed to receive any from your friends? It would be a pleasure to relieve your wants as far as we can."

Yesterday I received a letter which is so remarkable, that I cannot forbear transcribing here some passages from it, and taking the liberty of adding the name of the writer—a liberty, I think, which a grateful memoir must admit, unless there is good reason to the contrary :


June 12th, 1864.

MR. EDWARD A. POLLARD (of Richmond, Va.): I see from the papers that you are a prisoner of war at Fort Warren. All prisoners need the attention of their friends. Though entirely unknown to you, I have still the honor to be a Virginian, and love from a sense of duty all of her worthy sons. If you need money, clothes, or any thing, write immediately and inform me, with directions to whose care to send them. I have a holy veneration for my Mother State, and if I failed to do any thing in my power for her brave sons, I would feel that I had neglected a religious duty. All of my relatives, except my father's immediate family, are in the "Old Dominion." I have had a brother at Camp Chase, and a cousin at Johnson's Island, and have cause to know how comforting any sympathy is to the prisoner. Do not forget that you have many warm friends in Missouri, and in myself a faithful one. So do not fail to let me know if you wish any thing. I think, sir, that we partake of the independent spirit of our mother, and do not like to receive any thing from strangers; but you know Virginians are not strangers, but brothers and sisters wherever they are found. . .



Sweet lady, God bless you! I wrote that I was in no such need as to tax the generosity of friends; that the letter of my fair correspondent was itself a treasure; that I was proud to have such a country woman. To think that she had written to a desolate prisoner thus from her distant home, with that hearty and persistent offer of assistance, so unlike cheap sympathy, so really anxious to oblige! Well may Virginia herself be proud of such a daughter! The fragrance of many a womanly deed breathes through the gorgeous wreath Virginia has entwined in this war, and among these we would place this tribute of filial love from distant Missouri.

June 18.-The following is an excellent picture of present Yankee society, which I came across to-day, in an odd book, which gave some account of France under the rule of Henry III. :

"There was no more truth, no more justice, no more mercy! To slander, to lie, to rob, to wrench, to steal; all things are permitted save to do right and speak the truth."

What a perfect delineation of Washington and New York at the present day!

June 19.-The third Sabbath in my granite prison. Some one has had such care for the souls of Confederate prisoners as to have distributed among us a number of tracts, issued by the American Tract Society, 28 Cornhill, Boston. I have just finished reading one of them, entitled "Love Your Enemies"a characteristic specimen of the Puritan Christianity of the Yankee, the blasphemy and brag of which have filled me with horror and disgust.

The writer, evidently one of the pious spitfires of New England, sets out with a terrible denunciation of the Confederacy, and, with characteristic regard for historical truth, describes the Confederates as outraging our [Yankee] "kindred," and "lurking in traitorous ambush at our [Yankee] door-posts." He then speaks of "their threats and curses, their outbursts of

furious fiend-like passion." After this very Christian vituper ation, and merciless vindication of the truth of history, our clerical friend encounters the question, how it is possible to pray that the wrath of the Lord be poured out upon the Confederates, and yet to retain Christian love for the persons of their rebellious neighbors. And he surmounts the difficulty bravely. The cause of the Yankee is "the cause of God," and to pray for the destruction of the enemies of the Yankee is "to divest themselves of all personal and merely human considerations" for God's glory, and to sink the love of the neighbor in the higher duties of the Divine service. This morsel of pious logic and Puritan charity is put in the following words:

"David recognized in his foes the foes of Jehovah and his church, and planting himself by the very side of God, divinely inspired, he invoked the most terrible calamities, the most complete ruin, even eternal evil, upon his adversaries. Our cause, too, is the cause of God; our foes the opposers of those principles of eternal truth, justice, and righteousness, which sustain the divine administration. But do we stand, where David did, in unity with the divine mind and will, moved by the same pure and holy impulses, equally divested of all personal and merely human considerations? If so, then we, too, in calm, holy, fervent supplication, may pray, 'Render unto our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom the reproach wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord!'"

Has any one ever found any thing more characteristic of New England Christianity than this passage? a mixture of old Puritan self-righteousness and modern lying, that might refresh the appetite of the Infernal. Concocted, probably, by some fellow who nurses his white dainty flesh with lace neckcloths, and spits pious venom in some fashionable church.

July 1.-I was allowed to-day to see a physician from Boston, who accompanied my sister, under a permit from General Dix.

This visit has been a precious occasion to me, and, I trust, has improved my resolution to suffer with as little complaint as possible. Even imprisonment is not without its compensa

tions and uses; is not necessarily a blank in one's life. We may learn noble virtues in prison, for it is a severe school where we are taught to moderate our desires and to confront misfortunes with that defiant patience, which more than all constitutes the force of character and tests the man.

"To suffer, as to do, our strength is equal."

There is compensation, too, in the reflection that my imprisonment is in the name of my country, and that what I uffer is a sacrifice for it. It is true we all of us must contribute to the cause of our country in some form or other-and how little have I ever contributed to it, that I should begrudge this suffering in its name, and how many more deserving than myself, with mutilated limbs, or broken hearts, have yet virtue to thank God that they have been able thus to testify their principles! These are salutary thoughts, which should chasten my pride and impatience, and teach me how little and unworthy I am, to resent the fortune which has made me a prisoner.

Fourth of July.-Captain Murden, of South Carolina, a fellow prisoner, has celebrated the day by the following lines, entitled "The Confederate Oath," which we have all "taken." It is given as a specimen of the Fort Warren Muse, and as a sentiment appropriate to the day we celebrate :

Aye, raise aloft that gory pall

Of Freedom's bleeding corse,
While craven minions, shouting all,
Its infamy indorse.

Gape, cannon, your infernal throats,
Belch at the despot's word,

While Liberty's expiring notes
Are in thine echoes heard.

Blow winds, from these accursed walls,
And to the world proclaim

How wronged, insulted, Freedom calls

To stay the branding shame.

Tell of the rights our fathers' claimed,
And claiming, dared maintain,
Tell of the deeds in history famed,

Which broke the tyrant's chain.

« PreviousContinue »