t# 4 % 33 J THREE YEARS FIELD HOSPITALS. Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2011 with funding from Open Knowledge Commons and Harvard Medical School http://www.archive.org/details/threeyearsinfielOOhols THREE YEARS FIELD HOSPITALS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. BY MRS. H. PHILADELPHIA: J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO. 18 67. EDrc <<f ff %4 ^ K Entered, ace reding to Act of Congress,-€ajs fear 1867, by In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. INTRODUCTION. This simple story of hospital scenes, and the unpretending sketches of the few brave soldiers to which they allude, is arranged from the mea- ger notes which were hurriedly written at the time they occurred, when there was not the most remote idea of ever preparing them for publication. The events of the war are "graven as with an iron pen" upon my memory. To preserve some slight memento of them for friends at home, was the primary object of these notes: to gratify the same persons are they now grouped together. Mrs. H. Upper Merion, Montgomery County, Penna.. October 1, 1866. (7) CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. Antietam — Hospitals — Frederick City — Virginia — Break- ing up of the Hospitals — Moving North with the Army... CHAPTER II. Battle of Gettysburg — The Wounded — Incidents in Hos- pital — Sanitary Commission Work — The Flagon "Round Top" 38 CHAPTER III. The Campaign of 1864— Port Royal— White House— City Point 58 CHAPTER IV. First Visit to Annapolis — Stories of Starved Men — Burial at Andersonville — Neely's Life in the Dungeon of Castle Thunder — Sergeant Kerker — Captains Wilson and Shel- ton in the "Iron Cage," in Buncombe County, Tenn. — The Boy and the Flag — Gould's returning Conscious- ness — Mr. Brown in Danville Prison 91 ( vii ) THREE YEAR CHAPTER I. Antietani.— Hospitals.— Frederick City. — Virginia. — Breaking up of the Hospitals. — Moving North with the Army. When the first sounds of war were heard, and there dimly dawned the startling fact that traitors were im- periling the life of the nation, we all remember how thousands rushed to arms at our country's call, eager to proffer aid in this her hour of need. City, village, and country alike gave, as their first offering, their young men, the pride and strength of the land. The first that our quiet valley knew of the prepara- tion for war, a company was being gathered from about our very doors, — with Col. Hartranft (now major-general — and nobly has he won the double stars, to which his bravery entitles him) as their chosen com- mander. We saw them as they stood beneath the shade of a spreading tree, with uplifted hand, vowing true allegiance to the best government the world has 2 (9) 10 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, ever yet beheld ; and as that roll now shows, many upOn far-off battle-fields have sealed it with their blood. They followed where Burnside led; and all along that way, which occupied four years of these eventful times, we trace their course, marked by the battles in which they so bravely bore their part. As the soldiers went out from among us, there came the yearning wish to lessen somewhat the hardships of their lonely camp life, especially when sick in hospital or wounded. What each family first began to do for their relatives and friends, soon became general; and thus by uniting together, "Soldiers' Aid Societies" were formed. With all loyal women of the land, I worked zealously in their behalf; worked, because there was irresistible impulse to do, to act. Anything but idleness, when our armies were preparing for the combat, and we knew not who should be the firstto fall, who be called ividow, or who fatherless. At length the battle of Antietam came so startlingly near, that it brought before us the horrors and sufferings of war as we had never previously felt it. From our midst six women felt called upon to offer their services, for a few weeks, to nurse the wounded. Though strongly urged to make one of the number, I declined. The idea of seeing and waiting upon wounded men, was one from which I shrank instinctively. ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 1 I But when my husband returned, soon after, with the sad story that men were actually dying for food, home comforts and home care; lying by the roadside, in barns, sheds, and out-houses; needing everything that we could do for them, I hesitated no longer, but with him went earnestly to work in procuring supplies of food, medicine, and clothing. Through the kindness of friends and neighbors, we were enabled to take with us a valuable supply of articles that were most urgent- ly required. Fortunately they were hurried through without delay, came most opportunely, and were inval- uable. The name of Antietam is ever associated in my mind with scenes of horror. As I passed through the first hospitals of wounded men I ever saw, there flashed the thought — this is the work God has given me to do in this war. To care for the wounded and sick, as sorrowing wives and mothers at home would so gladly do, were it in their power. From the purest motives of patriotism and benevolence was the vow to do so, faithfully, made. It seemed a long time before I felt that I could be of any use — until the choking sobs and blinding tears were stayed; then gradually the stern lesson of calmness, under all circumstances, was learned. We found the men, who had so bravely fought, still scattered over the hardly-contested field. At this time, 6th of October, 1862, they were all under some kind of 12 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, shelter. A sad want of suitable food and medical stores was still felt ; and though both were forwarded as rapidly as possible, yet it was insufficient to relieve the distress. At that early day in the history of the war, we found our noble United States Sanitary Commission here, doing a vast amount of good. From their store-room were sent, in every direction, supplies to relieve the greatest suffering. And to it, strangers as we were to them, we daily came for articles which we found, in our visits to the hospitals, were most urgently needed, and which our own more limited stores could not furnish. They were as freely given to us for distribution, as they had been in like manner intrusted to them by friends at home. The Montgomery County delegation occu- pied one room in a house adjoining the " German Reformed Church Hospital." In this uncomfortable, little place, crowded with boxes and swarming with hospital flies, the six ladies continued their labors during the day, waiting and working faithfully among the wounded. And so dividing their number that part went daily in the ambulance, which was furnished for their use, to look after and prepare food for those in the country that urgently required it, while the remainder attended to the same kind offices for those who were in town. Of the six who at that time volunteered their services, one remained in the hospital for two years; ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 13 two others, from that date until the close of the war, were known as reliable, valuable helpers. Added to this fatiguing kind of labor, there seemed no limit to the numbers who came looking after their dead and wounded, the "loved and lost." From that little room persons were constantly aided in their search for missing friends, food furnished at a time when it was almost impossible to buy at any price, and they directed to lodgings in the town or else- where. Among these was a young wife, whose frantic grief I can never forget. She came hurriedly, as soon as she knew her husband was in the battle, only to find him dead and buried two days before her arrival. Un- willing to believe the fact that strangers told her — how in the early morning they had laid him beside his com- rades in the orchard, she still insisted upon seeing him. Accompanying some friends to the spot, she could not wait the slow process of removing the body, but, in her agonizing grief, clutched the earth by handfuls where it lay upon the quiet sleeper's form. And when at length the slight covering was removed, and the blanket thrown from off the face, she needed but one glance to assure her it was all too true. Then, passive and quiet beneath the stern reality of this crushing sor- row, she came back to our room. The preparations for taking the body to Philadelphia were all made for 2* 14 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, her, and with his remains she left for her now desolate home. My imperfect notes of this date are filled with names of terribly wounded men, who are scattered over the entire extent of the field, recalling most vividly scenes that can never be forgotten. Those were fortunate who were in barns, where they were sure of a little hay or straw upon which to rest their shattered limbs, while many of the others lingered a few days, with no bed nor pillow other than a knapsack or piece of clothing. And then — the weary marches over, their last fight ended, they closed their eyes, and sank to rest. Upon one end of the piazza, at Locust Spring, lay Lieut, Williams, of Connecticut. For three weeks he lingered in intense suffering, and then passed from earth. That same piazza had been thickly strewn with the dying, and the wounded, ever since the battle. In the house were several officers, all seriously wounded. The barns were crowded with the sufferers; among them Lieut. Maine, of the 8th Connecticut — nursed by his wife, patient and gentle, while life lasted. In one of the tents was a zouave ; a shell had torn his chin and fractured the shoulder; both legs broken; the fingers of one hand partly gone, — yet he is cheerful, and thinks he got off well. Near him lay a young boy, from Union, Centre County, Penna., wounded in the chest badly, but, as his surgeon said, not fatally. His ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 15 thoughts, sleeping and waking, were of home. He was constantly repeating, " Oh, take me to my mother." And when I told him that I would do all I could for him, that I knew many persons in Centre County, he brightened up and quickly said : " Then you will take me to my mother." Of his wound he never seemed to think, but at each visit we saw that he was fast passing beyond our care; and in a few days, repeating, while life lasted, the same words, he "fell asleep," and so went to his "long home." In a miserable little log- house near the Potomac, thirty men lay upon the floor, ill with fever; some had a little straw, but no pillows were to be found ; at that time it was unavoidable, but their food was hardly fit for well men ; medicines very scarce; — this house the counterpart of many others, both as to occupants, food, etc. On the same road were several places filled with wounded rebels ; in their hurried flight, they had been left by thousands, and now had to be provided for. The Episcopal church in the town had also been taken for their use. The rest of the churches, and half the houses in the place, were crowded with our wounded troops. Going into the hospital one evening, I found, lying upon a stretcher near the door, Wm. P. C, of the 12th New York State Vols., "the" only son of his mother, and she was a widow." To my question, if I could do any- thing for him, he replied: "Not now; he was waiting 16 - THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, for the surgeon to attend to him." A few hours later, when taken from the operating table, I found him per- fectly calm and quiet; after making him as comfortable as could be done for the night, promised to care for him on the morrow. When I first wrote to his mother, it was only to tell her he was wounded. The following day was a decided change for the worse, and he thought he could not live. Even then, it was not upon his own sufferings and death that his mind dwelt, but upon his absent mother and sisters. He would con- stantly exclaim, "This will kill my mother; oh, break it gently to her," After messages to them, would ask that some portion of Scripture be read to him, and the prayers which he named repeated with him. Thus occupied, the hours fled too rapidly, as we felt that each moment was precious to him who was upon the brink of that unknown river, whose crossing must be alone. By his lonely bedside, I wept bitter tears for the home so darkened, the light of a mother's life departed, and the sorrowing sisters of whom he spake. Conscious almost to the moment of his departure, he calmly and trustfully passed "into the spirit land." Upon the evening of the same day, 13th of October, 1862, with my husband and a lady friend, we accompa- nied the detachment of his own regiment which carried his body to the grave. In the Lutheran church-yard, with the solemn burial-service of the Episcopal Church, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. IT Mr. Holstein committed his remains to the grave. "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust." Soon after came the most touching letter of thanks from his sister. I thought then, as I still think, that those kindly words amply repaid me for the little I had done for him, or all I could do, for other soldiers, in the future. A few months afterward we stood again beside his open grave ; this time, at the request of his sister, that we should once more look upon the body we had placed there, and know that it was indeed her brother. Painful as it was, her request was complied with to the letter ; the body, disinfected, was prepared for reinterment. With my husband as its escort, the homeward journey was taken; at length reached Utica, N. Y., in safety; then, his last request complied with, carried by loving hands to its final resting-place. Again came words of thanks, dearer far to me than any earthly treasure. While the army rested in the vicinity of Sharpsburg, in addition to the wounded, scores of fever-patients came pouring in ; some new regiments went down by hundreds. About this time the wounded were gath- ered up from the numerous scattering hospitals, and sent to " Smoketown " or "Frederick City." As the short supply of medicine, food, and clothing continued, we left, when the party of six went home. Going di- rectly to Philadelphia, came to the house of a relative as 18 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, the wedding-party of a dear friend was about proceeding to the church ; with the family, we stood around the chancel, as our beloved Bishop Potter pronounced the words which made the twain one; and then, as the guests returned to the house, for a few moments mingled with the crowd. But think of the contrast! Only yes- terday walking among, and waiting upon the mangled, brave defenders of our country's flag; men who were in want of suitable food, lying upon the hard ground ; needing beds, pillows, clothing, covering, — is it any wonder that I turned away, sick at heart, coldly calcu- lating how many lives of noble men might have been saved with the lavish abundance of the wedding festiv- ities which I saw ? Of the wedding, I knew nothing more ; but quietly withdrew to an upper room. From thence sent notes, imploring help for the wounded, to friends throughout the city: so prompt and abundant was the response, that in forty-eight hours we were oh our way back to Antietam, with boxes of medical stores, valued at one thousand dollars. Delicacies, clothing, etc., all selected to meet the wants as we rep- resented. We were again most warmly welcomed by our friends, the surgeons, under whose direction our labors had heretofore been carried on. The supplies, as they said, were in many instances a perfect ''God- send," as we had articles which it was impossible to obtain there. This time, our location was a better ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 19 one, near the Lutheran church, occupying part of a house devoted to fever-patients. A narrow entry sep- arated our room from the one where twenty men laid upon the floor. Here, in one corner, was a graduate of Yale College; his opposite neighbor, a young lawyer, from near Pittsburg, who was an only son; next to him, upon the floor, the son of a Presbyterian clergy- man ; the rest of the occupants, Eastern and Western men, indiscriminately mingled. All privates. But all, far superior to the same number from any portion of the rebel ranks that I have ever seen. The next house was filled in like manner: soon after we came, and before the names and faces of the men were familiar, I went there, carrying some nourishing food. A Pittsburg colonel had just requested that I would find some of his regiment, if possible, that he could not trace. As I opened the door, and asked, "Are there any from Pennsylvania here V a number replied in the affirmative ; but the one nearest me sank back gloomily upon his handful of straw, murmuring : "Well, as I am from Massachusetts, I suppose that means that we are not to have any of that nice supper." I quickly corrected his mistake, and explaining my errand, told them the supper was for all: there could be no distinction of States, where all the soldiers needed care. Thus early was I taught a lesson I never forgot. It was but a few days until they were all moved into 20 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, our house, and this same Massachusetts soldier, Mr. B., was one that required more kindness and attention than any of the others, during the short time he lived. In the same room was Jim C, a boy of nineteen, belonging to the 32d Massachusetts Yols. ; he had been very ill with fever, but was thought convalescent ; but owing to some imprudence, there was a relapse, and he sank rapidly. When he knew there was no hope of his re- covery, his greatest comfort seemed to be to have the Scriptures read to him ; recognizing my voice, called : "Oh, pray for me! I have sinned, have sinned; but I repent, and 'believe in God the Father,'" etc. "Jim, who taught you the Creed?" "I don't know; but I want to say it all;" so it was repeated with him; and again, with the earnestness of a child, the Lord's Prayer was uttered. He listened with the closest attention, as different passages were recited to him; and would frequently interrupt the reading, saying: "Yes, I do believe; say that over again." It was a most affecting sight, the dying boy begging God's for- giveness of his sins, that he might be "taken up," as he expressed it ; and then his body laid in the earth without a fear. The few days he lingered were all thus spent, and when death was near, almost to the last moment that consciousness remained, and his voice could be heard, prayers for pardon were upon his lips. The evening of the 24th of October, 1862, he ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 21 suddenly and peacefully died. Early the following morning, wrapped in his blanket, he was given a sol- dier's burial in the little church-yard. "Leave him to God's watching eye; Trust him to the hand that made him." At this time our valued friend, Mrs. E . . . . , who had been the directing power among the party of six, and who returned with us to Sharpsburg, had unmistakable symptoms of camp fever. She was taken home as quickly as possible; the attack at first seemed a light one, until an unlooked-for relapse brought her within the very shadow of the "dark valley," and she ap- peared sinking beyond all human skill. But prayers were heard, and answered, and a life so precious spared to be the sunlight of her husband's home, and a bless- ing to all around her. Her sister, " Miss Lizzie," then came to assist : from this period almost to the close of the war, she was my excellent co-worker. Among the wounded at Antietam, Gettysburg, and in Virginia, her kind ministrations will be long remembered. The 26th of October the army, which had been rest- ing for more than a month in the vicinity of the battle- field of Antietam, took up its line of march southward ; by the evening of the same day their camping-grounds were nearly all vacated. The 30th of the month, the 3 22 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, last of the troops were moving, and the town looked deserted; but in the hospitals the duties continue the same, and cases of the deepest interest are daily found. Of the numbers we had known upon our first arrival, many had gone to their "dreamless sleep" by the side of comrades who had early fallen ; and we now saw many hillocks in the little inclosures, where a few weeks ago lonely graves were found. The little hospital in our house continues full. When a soldier dies, his vacant place upon the floor is soon filled by another; and thus the number remains the same. D — g, from Pittsburg, an orphan, with only an elder brother to grieve for him, was a case that seemed particularly hard. "Leave of absence," at the right time, might possibly have saved his life ; but his fur- lough came a few hours after death had released the suffering body from sorrow and disappointments. Mr. B., the Massachusetts soldier, mentioned some time since, was now extremely ill : as I was busied in waiting upon them, one Sunday morning, he inquired if I would write home for him, as he dictated ; and replying that I certainly would, he directed me where to find his little writing-case, preferring that his own paper and envelopes should be used, that his wife might recognize his writing upon them. In a calm, composed manner, speaking so clear and distinct that the surgeon invol- untarily paused in his work to listen, he gave the part- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 23 ing messages to wife and children ; wished a lock of his hair cut for his wife, while he was living; then, taking a ring off his finger, it was inclosed, as he directed, to his little daughter; after disposing of other keepsakes to his children, added: that their likenesses, with his wife's, that had so often comforted him in hours of sad- ness, and weary marches, though dimmed with the smoke and dust of battles, would be buried by his side. This was all he had of his distant home — pictures that were so dear, that even when life was gone, they must not be separated from him. Then, giving instructions as to the final disposition of his property, and the education of his children, he commended them, in a few earnest words, to the loving care of their Heavenly Father. As he directed, I closed the letter, and kept it until a few days later, when another was added to it, to say that the patient sufferer was at rest. Death, to him, was not unlooked for, though it came suddenly; as I was reading to him in the evening, he fell asleep, and never more wakened upon earth. In the morning we found his lifeless body, wrapped in his blanket, lying in the entry near our door, — the same resting-place that his fellow-soldiers had found. The first coffin that we knew used in the hospital was made for Mr. B., of rough boards — the remains of our packing-boxes. His request was faithfully carried out, and the pictures placed beneath his folded hands, 24 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, Our party having for some time consisted of Mr. EL, myself, and friend, we stayed until the town was desert- ed ; the few that were left being taken to " Smoketown " and "Locust Spring." Our services no longer required, we went home the last of November ; staying there only long enough to arrange about the forwarding of supplies to us, as we should need them in the hospitals. Another trip to Antietam and Harper's Ferry, and Mr. H. returned, ill with the fever; fortunately, it was not a serious attack. We remained there only long enough to nurse him through it, when our trips to the hospitals at Antietam and Frederick City were resumed. While in the latter place, our home was the house of a well-known loyal family. They felt, what we at the North knew nothing of, that loyalty meant life was at stake, homes deserted, property destroyed, and the friends of early, happier years, all given up, — for what ? devotion to the country, and the flag ! As "Stonewall's" men marched through the town, they manifested their contempt for the "Starry Flag" by trailing it in the dust, at their horses' feet, as they rode along. Our friends, pained to know of their ill deeds, and unwilling to look upon the disgraceful act they were powerless to prevent, closed their doors and windows, that they might be out of sight. Their old neighbors pointed them out to the rebels, as they passed exultingly through their streets, as hated Unionists. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 25 But their joy was of short duration ; soon driven out by our forces, and many prisoners taken, a long line of the captured were marched by their door. Now was their hour of triumph ; the flag which had been so cau- tiously concealed, and sacredly guarded, was brought from its hiding-place, and secured to the staff. Mrs. J , an elderly lady, a Virginian by birth, de- termined they should again pass under the flag they had dishonored. "In her attic window the staff she set, To show that one heart was loyal yet. She leaned far out on the window-sill, And shook it forth with a royal will." The rebels could only threaten, as they moved on, that if again in possession of the city, they and their home were doomed. Some months after this had occurred, I stood by that attic window as she related the story, and pointed out how defiantly she had waved it over them. Its weight was as much as I could raise, and yet, in the excitement, my friend was all uncon- scious of it. It was long after, before I saw or heard of Whittier's "Barbara Frietchie," — that charming story, so told that it will live for ages to come ; and have often wondered whether his original and my friend were the same. In visits to the hospitals, collecting and distributing articles needed among the wounded, 3* 26 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, the time was occupied until the battle of Fredericks- burg. Soon after as possible, we went to Virginia, and re- mained in the Second Corps Hospital, near Falmouth. Army life taught, perhaps, all who were in it many useful lessons. I never knew before how much could be done, in the way of cooking, with so few utensils. We thought we had some experience in that line at Sharpsburg, but here the conveniences were still fewer. When we commenced, a little "camp-stove," very little larger than a lady's band-box, fell to our lot, upon which to prepare the "light diet," as it is termed. Three articles — a coffee-pot, a half-gallon tin-cup, and a small iron-boiler — were the sum total of kitchen furnish- ing: we soon learned to manage nicely; by beginning in time, were always ready at the tap of the drum. For several weeks, seventy men were daily supplied with all the "light diet" they required, prepared upon it ; our soldier assistants worked admirably with it ; — and gradually, from the Sanitary Commission and friends at home, this department was fitted for work ; an abundance of delicacies could be made with the condensed milk and fresh eggs, which were regularly forwarded to us ; bread and biscuit were also sent, with farina, wines, butter, dried fruits, etc., so that the men fared well. Penn Relief, Reading, Pottstown, Danville, and some portions of Montgomery County. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 27 were the sources from which our supplies, at this time, principally came. From the commencement until the close of the war, they never wearied in well-doing; but worked on devotedly, as only those could whose hearts were in it. The memory of them, and their good deeds, will ever be lovingly cherished by those whose hands were made the channel through which this stream of life-sustaining gifts flowed. We still depended entirely upon home-supplies for our own use; frequently, during that winter, our bread was four or five weeks old; we never called it stale even then, though at home we would think it unfit for the table in as many days. Several trips were made to Washington, to purchase bread for us; at length, at the request of the surgeon in charge, we drew army rations, and were spared much trouble. Our dwelling was a little "Sibley" tent, whose only floor was the fragrant branches of the pines — giving addi- tional care to our attentive "orderly," in its frequent renewing; there, while fully occupied, the winter slowly wore away. The deep mud, and impassable roads, cut by the army, precluded travel ; no chaplain, that / ever saw, came to our camp until the roads were in good order: men sickened and died, with no other religious services, save the simple Scripture reading, and prayers, which I was in the daily practice of using for them ; and which invariably were received with a 28 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, pleasant "thank you," and adding: "We are always glad to see you, and have you read to us." A boy, belonging to the 148th P. V., George S. L . . . . , whose home was in Centre County, Penna., was very low from hemorrhage ; his nurse came to ask if / would try to induce him to eat ; he had refused all food that had been offered, and it was important that his strength should be kept up : I prepared some article as directed by the surgeon, and took it to him ; when I entered the tent, he was lying with closed eyes, and a face colorless as the canvas above him ; 1 spoke, telling him that I came, at the surgeon's request, to feed him, that he was not to speak -or make any exer- tion — merely swallow what I gave him. The blue eyes opened wide, scanned my face steadily for a mo- ment ; possibly satisfied with the scrutiny, no objection was made, and he really enjoyed the slight repast. I told him at such an hour I would be there again, and would prepare his food and drink. For two weeks, all he ate was what I gave him ; during that time was a very decided change for the better, and he could now converse without danger. The week preceding the battle of Chancellors ville, we were obliged to go home for a short time; but left, to carry on the work, my valuable assistant, Miss P. When George -found we expected to leave, he cried bitterly, exclaiming that "he knew he should die, if I left him ;" and thanking, and blessing me for my care. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 29 As soon as it was possible, after the battle, to get within our lines, we were at our posts. During our absence the hospital had been moved two miles, and was now located near Potomac Creek. Of course, as soon as we arrived, my first inquiry was for George ; the surgeon replied, "he was living, that was all; was in a stupor, and knew no one." I could not realize that the boy must die ; when I hastened to his tent, and spoke, asking if he knew me, his reply was, calling me by name: "Do you think I ever could forget you?" My daily reading was again resumed ; the blue eyes now regularly brimmed over at my approach : it was his expressive, silent greeting; though apparently insen- sible to all around him, my voice would at any time rouse him, and a faint smile light up his wasted face. He lingered a few days longer, and then, one quiet morning, with the precious words of faith and hope yet sounding in his ears, he gently passed from earth. Trains of wounded were still coming from the late battle, when we arrived ; some had lain for many days upon the field, and were gathered up in out-of-the-way places ; one such group, of five, " shot to pieces," as they said, were entirely overlooked, until found by a New Hampshire chaplain, who brought them water for their wounds, and obliged the rebels to bring them food : finding they had not died, as they had hoped, they sheltered them slightly from the weather; and at 30 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, length, to their great joy, they were sent to our lines. In the number were many badly, some singularly wounded. While the hospital continued crowded, the duties were wearisome, giving but little time, either day or night, for any of the attendants to rest; there was much daily occurring of interest among those who now filled the wards. Our nearness to the "front," within sound of mus- ketry and cannon, prepared us for whatever might occur, so that we were always anticipating more than passed around us. As soon as transportation could be had, the number in the hospital was lessened by sending the patients ISTorth. And now that milder days gave promise of the coming spring, the "surgeon in charge" commenced the work of beautifying the grounds ; soon the sloping hillsides were covered with a neatly planted garden, containing a large variety of vegetables. Flow- ers, roots, and seeds were sent to us ; and as if by magic, beds of flowers were scattered everywhere ; many springing into beauty in the form of the corps badge — needing but a few weeks' sunshine and showers to perfect the red color of the division. Rustic work of the most artistic order graced the grounds ; all this was done for a twofold reason — to give employment to the convalescents, and amusement to the patients. In front of our tent was a rustic arbor, so complete that any of our country homes would prize it for its beautv. ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 31 Work went on, and everything made apparently as lasting as though we expected to spend the summer within sight and sound of rebel batteries. A few days previous to the army moving, a portion of the sixth corps was sent across the river to attract the attention of the rebels in that direction, and to ascertain what force they had remaining. We were close to one of our batteries during a portion of the time this was occurring, intently watching the skirmishers, and the rebels, that were plainly seen in the woods near them. Within a few minutes after we left the spot, the rebels again renewed their leaden compliments to the battery where we had been : they returned them in like man- ner ; in the distance, we plainly heard the sharp firing which ensued. Things continued in this way until Saturday, the 13th of June, 1863: while at dinner, the order was received to break up the hospital; quietly and rapidly was it obeyed ; the ambulances were in readiness to take all who could not walk, and in two hours the seven hundred men were on their way to the station. It was surprising to see how quickly crutches were thrown aside, and all who could, were willing to start for the cars — exulting in the prospect of going that much nearer home. When the order to "break up" was given, the gardener was putting the finishing touches to some ornamental rustic work about our tent : instantly hammer and hatchet were thrown aside, flow- 32 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, ers remained implanted, and, with a hurried "good-by," he fell into line with his comrades. The remainder of that day was a busy scene of destruction and confusion ; but the night found us still occupying our tent, though nearly all the others, except a few of the officers' quar- ters, had been "struck." The next day, Sunday, came with all the loveliness of June ; but there was nothing in our surroundings to point it out to us as a day of rest. Almost the first object which the early morning re- vealed to us was the Army of the Potomac in motion. Looking down upon the plain beneath, far as the eye could reach, was a moving mass of men, horses, and artillery, with the heavy army wagons and trains of ambulances ; gleaming through and above it all, in the bright sunlight, were the bayonets — upheld by that heroic column, which the future record proved to be firm and enduring as their trusty steel. It was a grand sight, never to be forgotten ; in one continued stream, this mighty army poured along. At six in the evening, our hospital train of empty ambulances was in readi- ness ; and then the torch was applied to all that re- mained of so much beauty about our camp. We sat, quietly watching the flames as they curled and flashed from one arbor to another, encircling in a wall of fire the evergreen screens which had so pleasantly shielded us from heat and dust, and crumbling into ashes in a ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 33 few moments the work of months. All hospital and army property which could not be transported, was thus consumed, two officers remaining to see that the work of destruction was complete ; what could not be burned, the axe rendered useless. As the flames less- ened, we took our places and moved on with the train, expecting to join the division at Stafford Court House; halting there long enough for a hasty supper, the march was resumed. To lookers-on, if any could be found in that desolate region, it must have presented the appear- ance of an almost unending torch-light procession : as from nearly every ambulance and wagon was suspended a lantern, to point out the dangers of an unknown road. At the crossing of Aquia Creek, rested for an hour; and here all were glad to sleep, even for that short time. A little distance beyond, passed a Connecticut battery of six siege guns — 32-pounders, each drawn by ten horses. Very early in the morning, the sixth army corps came up, moving quickly by, cheering as they passed, and calling, " On for- Pennsylvania!" Break- fasted near Quantico Creek, in a rebel house ; the occu- pants enjoyed our coffee, as a luxury beyond their reach since the commencement of the war; on the surround- ing hills, found many deserted rebel camps, abatis, and defenses of various kinds. This day's march brought us to Dumfries, and camped in its vicinity at 11 p.m., 4 34 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, the occupants of our ambulance most thoroughly used up, all but myself; assisted in arranging ouf little tent, prepared lunch, and made very strong tea with thick, muddy water — tired and hungry as we were, it was not as unpalatable as one would imagine. After three hours' rest, the order was given, quietly, to move quickly as possible, but cautiously, as we were in sight of rebel camp fires. Here, as elsewhere in this hur- ried journey, whenever such orders were given, some of the soldiers ran with our ambulance, steadying it, as the wretched roads required. The rebels were con- tinually harassing the rear of our column. We had left Stafford Court House late in the evening ; the next morning our cavalry had a short fight with them there. The morning of the 16th of June was cool and de- lightful, but the mid- day heat was intense ; the soldiers feeling it painfully, but bearing it cheerfully. From this place onward, our course could be traced by the blank- ets, coats, and knapsacks'thrown aside by the foot-sore and weary men ; broken, abandoned wagons and disa- bled horses, seen all along the route. The difficulty of procuring water was greater than any previous time; numbers of Avells by the roadside were observed filled with stones; the water was alwa} T s muddy and bad, and could be had only at long distance from the road. This day found both men and horses needing a full night's ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 35 rest : quite early in the evening we halted at the edge of a beautiful wood in Fairfax County, and in its shade our little tent was pitched; with the dawn we were astir, deeply thankful for our safe, refreshing rest and shelter during the night. Of course, in all this jour- ney, our bed was a soldier's couch — the ground; with a gum-blanket, and satchel for a pillow, could at any time or hour sleep soundly. We crossed the stony Occoquan at Wolf's Ford ; on the heights were the •remains of formidable-looking rebel fortifications. Here, June 15th, 1863, we heard the first tidings that the rebels were in Pennsylvania ; the excitement the news created was intense. This day's heat told sadly upon the men ; despite their eager- ness to reach Pennsylvania, they could not bear up, and many fell by the wayside from exhaustion : in one division, one hundred and twenty reported with sun- stroke. During the hurried march, numbers of cavalry horses had been abandoned by their riders, who only required a few days' rest to recruit, and again they were ready for duty. They were to be seen all along our route, undisturbed by the passing column, except when caught by some of the foot soldiers. It was amusing to observe the ingenious arrangements made to answer for the horses' trappings : a piece of old tent- canvas was soon converted into an admirable bridle; another piece of the same shelter kept the saddle (a 36 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, blanket) in its place ; thus mounted, he would be delighted ; and day by day added to the number of this escort. There were constantly exciting incidents : sometimes we were in a dangerous position, from our driver losing his place in the line ; then the crossing of the infantry through the train, the frequent breaking down of bridges, and the delay caused by disabled wagons constantly impeded our progress. Near "Union Mills," our troops camped for the night in "line of battle;" our little tent was pitched upon the banks of the stream, in rear of our army, almost within bugle-call of the rebel lines. Here the order was given to reduce officers' baggage to twenty pounds, forward the surplus to Washington — or destroy it. Many officers and men came with the request that we would take charge of money and valuables for them. It was a touching sight — upon the eve of a battle, as it was thought — to see keepsakes, from loved ones- at home, intrusted to comparative strangers, hoping thus to save them in case of attack, which here, near the old "Bull Run" battle-ground, seemed imminent, I wore under my coat a belt, and carried the costly sword belonging to it under my dress. A civilian, as my husband was, could not do so without danger of arrest, while I would pass unnoticed. The large amount of money and valuables in our possession were brought safely to Philadelphia, the former soon restored to its ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 3*7 rightful owners ; the sword with some other articles were unclaimed till near the close of the war. As a battle was anticipated, and we were now access- ible to railroad, near Sangster's Station, it was thought advisable to proceed without delay to Alexandria and Washington, from whence we could readily return if our services were needed. After remaining some days in Washington, Mr. H. was threatened with an attack of malaria fever — warning us to proceed homeward without delay. We came to it, worn out and wearied as we were, as to a haven of rest. 4* 38 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS. CHAPTER II. Battle of Gettysburg. — The Wounded. — Incidents in Hospital. — Sanitary Commission Work. — The Flag on "Round Top." We remained at home only long enough for Mr. H. to recuperate sufficiently to bear the fatigues of travel. While he was still unfit for the journey, the great battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d, and 3d, 1863, was fought ; within one week after it, we were on our way thither ; reaching the town late in the evening, spent the night upon the parlor floor of one of the hotels ; with a satchel for pillow, slept soundly. In the morning went to the Field Hospital, where we were most warmly wel- comed by our old friends of the second corps. The wounded, at that time, lay just where they had been placed when carried from the battle — friend and foe resting together. "Beside a stricken field I stood ; On the torn turf, on grass and wood, Hung heavily the dew of blood. Still, in their fresh mounds lay the slain, But all the air was quick with pain, And gusty sighs, and tearful rain." We soon found where and how to resume work, which we had so lately left, off: a tent was promptly ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 39 prepared for our use ; it was not many hours until the "diet kitchen" was in full operation; with the large and valuable supplies taken on with us, the "institu- tion" moved on in a wonderfully smooth, efficient manner. To aid in relieving the suffering among these wounded men was the "Germantown Field Hospital Association" formed; I mention it here because this was the first point where it came prominently into notice. They sent as their representative the well- known rector of one of their churches, Rev. B. W. Mor- ris ; his services as chaplain are gratefully remembered by many in these eventful times. An incalculable amount of good resulted from this new "Association:" to me was given the great pleas- ure of distributing the articles which they contributed ; and, until the close of the war, appeals for money or hospital comforts ever met with a ready, cheerful re- sponse, and an abundant supply of all that was needed. They afterward became one of the most valuable aids to the "United States Sanitary Commission" to be found in Pennsylvania. The scenes around Gettysburg were horrible in the extreme : the green sod everywhere stained with the life-blood of dying men ; the course of the fearful strug- gle marked by the "ridges" which furrowed the ground until one great hillock would be pointed out 40 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, where hundreds, perhaps, had sternly fought and bravely fallen. To persons unfamiliar with such things, as sad a sight as any are the heaps of blood- stained clothing, the shattered muskets, the discarded knapsacks, disabled cannon and caissons, and the in- numerable heaps of slain horses which literally coyer the hard- fought field. For a few weeks, the events daily occurring in the hospitals were most painful; they might be summed up, briefly, to be : fearfully wounded men ; nurses watching for the hour when suffering would cease, and the soldier be at rest; parents and friends crowding to the hospital, hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst; strong men praying that they might live just long enough to see, but once more, wife, or child, or mother. After this battle, relief came promptly ; it was upon our own soil, and the "great heart of the people" was stirred to its very depths, when they knew that among us thousands of our countrymen lay with ghastly wounds, — men who had stood as a "living wall" be- tween us and the foe, to save our homes from rebel rule. All of home luxuries that could be carried, were lavished with an unsparing hand by a now deeply grateful people. The government, fully equipped for the contest, had ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 41 medical and hospital stores abundantly supplied. With the perfectly organized system and immense resources of the ''United States Sanitary Commission," ever ready and anxious to fill up all demands which the government could not, — aided by the Christian Com-, mission and large volunteer assistance, — there was no long-continued suffering, as in the earlier battles of the war. These days have left their impress upon all who were actors in them. Now, on this calm morning upon which I write, there comes thronging before me a vast array of forms and faces that I had thought forgotten. "Awake but one, and lo ! what myriads rise !" — and so the swiftly changing scenes appear. Prominent in them, I recall a burial where three were at one time taken to the little spot we called a cemetery. One sultry afternoon in July the stretcher- bearers came tramping wearily, bearing three bodies of those who had given their lives for freedom; as the last reached the place, the men dropped with a rough, jolting motion the army couch whereon he rested. The impatient effort to be rid of their burden was prob- ably the means of saving a precious life; for the man — dead, as they supposed — raising his head, called in a clear voice: "Boys, what are you doing ?" The re- sponse as prompt: "We came to bury you, Whitey." His calm reply was: "I don't see it, boys; give me a 42 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, drink of water, and cany me back." And then glanc- ing into the open grave: "I won't be buried by this raw recruit !" The raw recruit was a lieutenant of his own regiment. Not many stand so near the "dark valley" that they look into their own graves, and live. The "boys "did carry him back; and with the greatest care, his life was saved ; months afterward he was sent to "Chestnut Hill Hospital," Philadelphia; from there he wrote to me to say that his surgeon thought he would recover. His name was Luther White, Co. K, 20th Massachusetts, from Boston; he was wounded by a piece of 'shell, which tore off part of his ear, and shattering his jaw, laid bare one side of the throat. After the battle, he remained for three days unconscious, then rallied ; and again sank away until he died, — as it was thought, and carried to the grave. While the hospitals remained in the woods, the number of deaths daily was very large ; as soon as the removal to the clover-field was accomplished, where all were in the sun, the change for the better was very decided ; the night after, only two deaths occurred. During the few weeks the wounded remained there, my notes were too hurried and unsatisfactory for reference ; they merely repeat that one and another has passed "to the land of rest." Large numbers of rebel wounded, numbering thou- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 43 sands, were left in our corps hospital ; and though attended by their own surgeons, they neglected them so shamefully that it was an act of common humanity to provide better* treatment for men helpless and suffering, — prisoners as they were. One of our surgeons volun- teered to undertake the duty of attending them, and others were detailed for that purpose. Their condition when captured was so filthy that the task of waiting upon them was a revolting one. All of our wounded that could bear transportation were forwarded, as rapidly as it could be done, to hos- pitals in Pennsylvania and Maryland. By the Tth of August there still remained three thousand, who were moved into tents at the United States General Hospital on the York Turnpike ; when our corps hospital was merged into this, we removed there; I remained as its matron until the close. While the wounded were being brought in from dif- ferent directions, a rebel was placed in a tent of Union men; one of the number protested against having him among them. As they seemed to pay no heed to his objections, ended by saying that "he enlisted to kill rebels, and certainly as they left him there, his crutches would be the death of him — he could use them, if not the musket." The attendants, finding the soldier was in earnest and the rebel in mortal fear of him, good humoredly took him among his own countrymen. In 44 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, opposite extremes of the camp this same scene oc- curred : two men protesting that they "enlisted to kill rebels," and would not have them under the same shelter. Captain J. C. H.,of the 145th Pennsylvania Yols., from Erie, had much the same idea ; he was suffering from a thigh amputation — the only one of nineteen similar cases, performed at the same time, that lived ; a rebel officer was placed in the back part of the cap- tain's tent, when he instantly ordered the nurses to carry him, upon his bed, under a tree which stood near — and there he remained nearly all day, until the sur- geon in charge settled the difficulty by removing the rebel. About one-third of the camp were rebels; this pro- portion was almost uniformly kept up ; rebel ladies from Baltimore and other places were permitted to come and wait upon their own wounded ; as matron, it was part of my duties to attend to the distribution of delicacies, etc.; I have waited upon them hour after hour, as kindly as I ever did upon our own loyal men. All this was before I had been among those who were starved in Southern prisons ; after having seen them, the task might have been a difficult one. The orders were imperative in the hospital : no difference was permitted in the treatment of the two. We found, in the rebel wards, the son of a former Secretary of State of New Hampshire, a conscript ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 45 from Georgia ; his life had been repeatedly threatened by them, if he dared to leave, or if he admitted that he was a Union man ; so that no one ever suspected the fact, until the rebel officers had all been sent to " John- son's Island" or Baltimore; the same evening he came to the Sanitary tent, and told his story; from there taken to headquarters, where it was repeated, — insist- ing that he would take his own life, rather than leave the hospital a rebel prisoner. To assure him that he was among friends, the provost marshal was sent for, and the oath of allegiance taken. He remained as clerk for some time ; when his wound permitted, was sent home. A nephew of President Johnson, named Burchett, was also a Union man among rebels ; with a number of others, they were attempting to come into our lines Avhen captured. The rebels told them they would be put in the front ranks, and when they came to Gettys- burg, carrying out their threat, they were made breast- works of. None of the sixty escaped unhurt; many were killed. Burchett lost a leg, and one arm perma- nently disabled. He was a free-spoken Union man among them, and seemed to be no favorite with the rebs on that account. He remained a prisoner, hoping in the exchange to be sent to Richmond, that he might save some property belonging to his father, who had lost everything in Kentucky. 5 46 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, In the "Union tent," as it was called, standing alone in a rebel row, I found a boy of seventeen, wounded and "sick unto death," whose wan, emaciated face, and cheerful endurance of suffering, at once enlisted my sympathy. He was the son of a clergyman in Maine ; and in answer to inquiries about his wound, told me, with a feeling of evident pride, that "early in the day his right leg was shattered and left upon Seminary Hill, and he carried to the rear ; that the stump was doing badly ; he had enlisted simply because it was his duty to do so; now he had no regret or fear, let the result be as it might." I wrote immediately to his home, to tell them he was sinking rapidly ; my next briefly stated how very near his end was; there were but a few days more of gentle endurance, and the pre- sentiment of the child we had so tenderly cared for proved true — when, with murmured words of "home and heaven," his young life ebbed away — another added to the man}^ thousands given for the life of the nation. One week after his burial his father came ; with a heart saddened with his great loss, said that his eldest had fallen at "Malvern Hill," the second was with the army at Fernandina, and Albert, his young- est bom, slept with the heroes who had made a world- wide fame at Gettysburg. They were his treasures, but he gave them freely for his country. Another, the only child of a widowed mother, from ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 47 Montgomery County, Penna., lay from July until Oc- tober, calmly bearing untold agony from a wound which he certainly knew must result in death ; yet his one anxious thought, constantly expressed, was: "Mo- ther, do not grieve ; it is best, and right ; bury me with my comrades on the field." So, at sunrise one bright autumn morning, his soul went up to God, — the casket which had held it, we laid to rest among the nation's honored dead in Gettysburg Cemetery. This bereaved mother, who gave her all for her country, — her eldest upon Antietam's hard-fought field, Willie at Gettysburg, — with the thousands of others who have made the same precious offering, are names to be gratefully remembered and cherished while the record of this war endures. It is very rarely that our brave Union soldiers com- plain, or bear impatiently their wounds; on the con- trary, they endure suffering with a heroism which exceeds even the bravery of the battle-field. George W. Warner, of the 20th Connecticut, was a case in point : while in the act of firing his musket, a shell exploded which took off both arms near the shoulders, inflicting also serious wounds in his head and leg. He was uniformly cheerful with it all ; some- times would despond for a moment when speaking of his wife and children, but the cloud was of short dura- tion; the pleasant thought of how his little children 48 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, would wait upon him, seemed to reassure him. As soon as he was able to walk, every one seemed ready to watch over, assist, and feed him. In the officers' row lay, for some weeks, a young lieu- tenant, from Schuylkill County, Penn., with both thighs shattered, suffering fearfully. A few hours before his death, at his request the Holy Communion was admin- istered to him ; after joining in the solemn services, he remained perfectly still, — unconsciously " passing away," as those present thought, — until a glee club, from Gettysburg, going through the hospital, singing as they walked, paused at his tent and sung — without knowing anything of what was passing within — "Rally round the Flag." The words and the music seemed to call back the spirit to earth, and forgetting his crushed limbs and intense suffering, sprang up, ex- claiming: "Yes, boys, we did 'rally round the flag;' and you will rally oft again!" then sank back ex- hausted, and soon was at rest. The clergyman Avho was present said it was a scene never to be forgotten ; the Christian soldier's devotion to his country, even when within the "dark valley," to be called back to life again by thoughts of the flag in whose defense his young life was given. In another portion of the hospital was a man from Western Pennsylvania, whom his friends mourned as dead; whose funeral sermon had been preached, and ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 49 his name on the rolls marked "killed in battle." His captain and comrades saw him fall in the midst of a desperate charge, and almost without a struggle life was gone, — as they thought, and so reported. But it was not so ; the bullet, in its course, went crashing through both eyes, though sparing life. A few hours later, when the wounded were gathered up, they found him — "Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day, And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen." Then taken with others to the hospital, he lay for weeks unconscious, his brain affected from the inflam- mation which ensued. He could give no history of himself; but when hungry, would make it known by calling u mother ;" and talk to her constantly, — first about his food, then of home concerns. I have heard him in these sad wanderings when he would ask : " What do the girls say about me, now I have gone to the war? does Jenny miss me?" and so on. At length his parents heard of him, and from the descrip- tion thought it might be the son they mourned as dead. I was in his tent when his father came, and recognized in the blind, deranged man his handsome, brave boy. Eventually his mind would be restored, but his sight never. In this state he took him home to the mother he talked of so much. In September, while the hospital was still crowded 5* 50 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, with patients, a festival was given for their amusement. The surgeon in charge, with the other officers, entered heartily into the plan. The Christian Commission took an active part in completing the arrangements, soliciting and obtaining abundant supplies of fruits and delicacies from friends in Philadelphia ; to this were added contributions from the town and adjoining coun- ties, making a grand feast of good things. The day selected, proving bright and balmy, tempted many, who had not yet ventured outside their tents, into the open air, hoping they might be able to participate in the promised enjoyments. The streets and tents of the hospital had been decorated with evergreens, and everything on this gala day had a corresponding cheer- ful look. Hospital life, with its strict military rule, is so wearisome and monotonous, that what would be the most trivial pleasure at other times and places, is here magnified into a matter of great importance. When the hour came for the good dinner, which was known would be provided, hundreds moved upon crutches with feeble, tottering steps to the table, look- ing with unmistakable delight upon the display of lux- uries. Bands of music enlivened the scene. All the variety of army amusements were permitted and encouraged, followed in the evening by an entertain- ment of negrr} mni^fj-pk — the performers being all white soldSSfein trie fi&sffijfaTCN^This last, the soldiers ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 51 thought the crowning pleasure of the day. At an early hour the large crowds who had enjoyed it all, with the patients, quietly dispersed. Our long residence in the hospital gave us the oppor- tunity of understanding fully all the prominent points of interest in the battle-field, which was constantly be- fore us : if we but raised our eyes, they rested upon "Gulp's Hill," "Cemetery" or "Seminary Hill," and in the distance "Round Top," made forever memora- ble by the heroic conduct of the brave men of the fifth corps, who, by order of Gen. Meade to Gen. Sykes, directed it "to be held at all hazards." Among the few valued friends who regularly met in our tent, when the fatiguing duties of the day were over, was frequently discussed the propriety of placing upon some part of the field a flag, to manifest our sym- pathy and esteem for those who "here fought and won this great battle for our liberties." Some intimation of the plan proposed reached our friends at home, and directly we heard that a flag would be sent by persons residing in our immediate vicinity. To two of the la- dies most active in procuring it, was given the pleasure of conveying it to Gettysburg. Many of the wounded knew when it arrived, and the arrangements being made to receive it; at their request, the flag (twenty- five feet in length) was carriecL.through the streets of the hospital, then taken to "Round Top." All who 52 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, could leave the hospital — officers, ladies, and soldiers — joined the procession. A large concourse of persons manifested, by their presence, the pleasure they felt in the event. Appropriate and eloquent addresses were delivered by David Wills, Esq., of Gettysburg; J. T. Seymour, of New York ; and Surgeon H. C. May, of the 145th New York Yols. Dr. May gave a graphic account of the battle as he saw it, describing, in glowing words the many historic localities now before us; and, explaining the purpose which had brought there so large an assemblage, con- tinued : "The occasion of our meeting together on this rock-bound, rock-capped hill, to-day, needs no explana- tion from me. The most rapturous bursts of eloquence, from the most gifted orator of the land, could not intensify your interest in the spot on which now we tread. When the golden rays of the rising sun lit up this elevation on the morning of July 1st, 1863, 'Round Top' was scarcely known beyond the few honest hus- bandmen who dwell beneath its shadow. When that same sun was setting behind the western horizon on the evening of July 4th, and again illumined the foliage now immediately over our heads, the name of •' Round Top ' was on the tongues of millions all over the land. It has been in contemplation, for some weeks, by a few friends at the General Hospital, to erect a national flag on the summit of 'Round Top,' ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 53 constituting, as it does, one of the flanks of the Federal position, and its elevation being so singularly located that the flag could be seen for miles in every direction. The desire was simply expressed, a short time since, to a circle of patriotic ladies of a township of Montgomery County, — the immediate vicinity of ' Yalley Forge,' of precious Revolutionary memory, — that they would contribute a flag for this purpose. Soon the word came back that the work was in progress ; later still, that it was succesfully accomplished. Willing hands from the hospital have prepared and erected this staff: and it is our delight and pride, to-day, to behold the beautiful folds of our ' Starry Banner' floating in the breeze from this hallowed spot, mid the booming of artillery and the sweet strains of music — a slight token of affection to the memory of our gallant comrades who 'sleep the sleep that knows no waking,' on every side of us." The ceremonies ended, we came back to the sad routine of hospital life and suffering ; brightened, how- ever, with the pleasant remembrance of the events in which we had been participating. The work of reducing the number of patients was now commenced in earnest. Sixty were at one time sent in the cars, who had each but one arm a piece ; the next train took the same number with one leg a piece, and one little cavalry boy who had lost both at the knee. 54 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, These sights have always been to me the saddest, most painful of any. Amid scenes like these we were constantly occupied until the breaking up of the hos- pital, and the dedication of the National Cemetery. That had to us sl deeper interest than to many of the lookers-on : many of the quiet sleepers, by whom we were surrounded, we had known, and waited upon un- til care was no longer needed. During the ceremonies of that day, we were so for- tunate as to have a place directly in front and within a few feet of our now martyred President, and there heard distinctly every word he uttered of that memora- ble speech, which will last while the Republic endures. There was now, November, 1863, nothing more to be done at Gettysburg, and we gladly turned our faces homeward. Remained there but a few days, until — at the urgent request of the Sanitary Commission — I consented to call together the various " Soldiers' Aid Societies " throughout the State, and in these meetings to tell the ladies what I knew personally of the wants of the hospitals, — the best way of preparing delicacies for their use, the clothing most required, and so on. It was impossible to be an idler while this gigantic struggle was in progress. The current of swiftly pass- ing events had, all unconsciously, drifted me to this point; I yielded to its force, and commenced this addi- tional labor as part of the work which came unsought. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 55 There was not the least recognition of self in any part of it ; had there been, it would have been impossible to have gone on with it. While talking, the disagree- ableness of the situation was all forgotten, and thinking only of far-off hospital scenes, — the lonely, dreary couch of the wounded or sick man, uncheered by loving care of wife or child, — the weary tramp of the sentinel, or the wretched life of men in trenches, I could do no- thing less than tell to other women the story that I knew so well, — of want, of suffering unparalleled, of braveiy and endurance unequaled, — and then remind them how much was in their power to soothe and comfort those on battle-field, or hospital, by the preparation of arti- cles for their use. Of our army in health, I knew comparatively no- thing. Men sick, wounded, and dying were not likely to manifest any but the good traits in their character; and from this knowledge the estimate was made. I have been for weeks the only lady in a camp of seven hundred men, and have never been treated w T ith more deference, respect, and kindness than when thus situated. The first group of ladies that I met numbered about fifty. Their eagerness to learn the little I could tell them amazed me, and made it seem a lighter task when 'I next talked to others. These meetings have fre- quently numbered from one to three hundred; often 56 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, two or three such talks of an hour and a half each in one day, continued, without any opportunity for rest, week after week. This was our plan for aiding the soldiers, while not actually in the hospital. With my husband, we traveled through Pennsylvania, taking in our route those places which were deemed of most im- portance; and were thus engaged until the spring campaign commenced in Virginia. The schools, both public and private, were also allot- ted as part of my field of labor. In Philadelphia and vicinity, the scholars often numbered from three to nine hundred. It has always been a matter of surprise, how intensely interested the children invariably were in the simple stories of hospital life I gave them, and the plans by which their work and offerings could be most effective. Their tear- dimmed eyes and eager manner always charmed me, and made this part of the work a source of pleasure. In numerous places through the State "Aid Societies" were organized by this means that worked vigorously until the close of the war. We found, among the ladies in Carlisle, several very flourishing societies. Living upon the border, they real- ized, as others more remote could not, the necessity for this kind of exertion. There was also a society of chil- dren, called " The Little Helpers. " Through the energy of the few ladies who directed them, they had accom- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 51 plished wonders. Their origin was beautiful as their title was expressive. A lady lost her little boy, a child of six summers, whose mind was full of what he and his little play-fellows could do for the soldiers. Suddenly taken from earth to the angels above, his mother, in her grief, anxious to carry out his plans, called the chil- dren together at her house. Every week found the little hands busy, — and in their simple, childlike way contriving what else they could do for the sick and wounded. A fair was the result of this first successful effort. The name, so suggestive to children of what they were, and so readily comprehended by them, was men- tioned, and adopted in many places as that by which their circle should be known. In different portions of Pennsylvania, were incidents relating to the numerous Aid Societies of deep interest to us who knew them ; but not properly belonging to the work we had undertaken, are omitted here. 58 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, CHAPTER III. The Campaign of 1864.— Port Royal.— White House.— City Point. The 9th of May, 1864, Mr. H. left Philadelphia, with a number of other gentlemen, agents of the Sani- tary Commission, for the purpose of proceeding directly to the front, to wait upon the wounded — which it was known must be expected in large numbers after the army crossed the Rapidan. The spring was rainy, and the roads horrible, even for Virginia ; with so many discomforts surrounding them, and the exposure of ly- ing upon the damp earth, it was thought most prudent for me to remain in Pennsylvania, and continue my la- bors there, until the weather became settled. Battles were now daily occurring, and our soldiers falling by thousands. The inaction and feeling of doing nothing for the wounded was unbearable, and a constant source of anxiety and trouble. On the 18th of May, with my friend Miss Lizzie B , we left home for the hospitals ; arrived at Belle Plain the evening of the 23d; the wharf was then crowded with wounded, waiting transportation to Washington ; in twenty-four hours all were removed ; and we left on a ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 59 Sanitary Commission steamboat, in company with other vessels, — all convoyed by a United States gun- boat. The shores of the bay and rivers were at that time infested by guerrillas, and as the rebels had a wholesome dread of these boats, in their armed defense was our only safety. At 7 p.m., May 26th, anchored at Port Poyal ; during the night, a barge loaded with government hay was fired by the rebels — it was sup- posed with the intention of its drifting out among the vessels, and thus destroying much valuable property ; fortunately the others could be kept away from it, and no further damage was done. Yery early in the morn ing went on shore, and here had the pleasure of finding Mr. H., who had preceded us by a few hours, with others, was already busily at work. The Sanitary Commission, with its admirably ar- ranged system of " relief," was here before any wounded were brought in ; and when the long trains began to arrive, hot coffee, farina, crackers, etc. were in readiness to hand to the exhausted, famished suf- ferers before they were lifted from the ambulances. Two thousand were now here awaiting transportation; the first food and care all had upon their arrival w r as due to them. Night and day — taking turns to sleep — the work of preparing and distributing food among them was continued. Within a few moments after we landed, a long train of ambulances came in sight; and 60 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, v finding they were moving toward a little Methodist church, we wended our way thither, taking as much as we could carry for their present relief. By the time the first man was lifted out, the little building was in readiness to receive them ; benches and stove removed, it was soon crowded to its utmost capacity. Very grateful were they for the trifling relief we gave them ; no straw, few blankets, and no pillows used in this hasty transfer arraugement, yet no murmuring word escaped them. A fine-looking Massachusetts man, with a bone crushed from the knee clown, — where mortification was just commencing, — asked in a whisper, as they were placing him within the little chancel: " Could I give him some kind of stimulant to keep from fainting? the pain was agonizing." The little tin- cup was soon filled, and as quickly drained; with the momentary strength it gave, he could better endure the rearranging of splints and bandages. The surgeon shook his head as he looked at the discolored limb, and to the soldier's urgent entreaties that "it might be taken off without a moment's delay," replied "it could be done better on the boat;" but added, when beyond his hearing, "the morning would find him out of the reach of pain." A young officer lay near him, bathing from his can- teen his badly wounded foot, and when offered assist- ance to dress it, replied : " He had the use of both hands, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 61 while many had not, and could do without help until they were waited upon." All were craving fresh vegetables, onions particu- larly; and to their inquiries, we determined to get them if the town could furnish them. We tried to purchase from a number of persons, but were always denied ; at length a place — evidently the abode of wealth — with a large, well-planted garden, was seen; the same story was repeated: "Would they sell a few onions for the wounded?" "No," was the chilling response. "But they are begging for them, and you have plenty ; name your own price in 'greenbacks,' but we must have them." Still the same "No, we don't want green- backs." A gentleman of the party then offered gold in exchange. "No, gold was of no use to them." Find- ing we were going to appeal to an officer who just then made his appearance, the lady changed her man- ner, and courteously remarked: "If we would give her farina and lemons, we might have the onions." From the Sanitary Commission rooms, we soon furnished the articles she wished. Fifty men lay upon the floor of the church, for whom we were pleading : that number of onions was unwillingly counted down ; and then the lady, appealing to the officer, asked : "Might she take a pan of clabber to the wounded Confederates next door?" His reply was: "We might, if we chose; she could have no communication with them." Of course, r>* 62 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, we could not object; and a little colored boy accompa- nied us, carrying what Mrs. WT evidently thought a great delicacy. The filthy, ragged-looking rebels crowded round us and the pan, until we were glad to deliver her message quickly and beat a hasty retreat — leaving to the boy the. pleasure of disposing of it. We saw strawberries, cherries, and many early veg- etables in her garden, which we could not obtain upon any terms. Knowing how valuable they were to our wounded, as we went back carrying our coveted onions, we told many soldiers where they came from, and ad- vised them, if they knew any of their wounded com- rades who needed them, to find more ; further instruct- ing them that there was a guard pacing up and down the pavement, to designate an officer's quarters, and another in the rear to protect his horses. If they were good soldiers, they required no other orders; the hint, it is presumed, was sufficient. In a small house, crowded with the wounded, was an old gray-headed man leaning against the wall; a ball had taken off part of his tongue ; the remaining por- tion hung, swollen and discolored, from his parched and wounded lips. Unwilling to attempt to swallow the simple food we offered, he made known by signs that it was fresh milk he craved. After diligent search, a cow was at length found, picking hay among the wag- ons; a half pint was soon obtained and given him ; his ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 63 expressive gestures of thanks showed how fully he ap- preciated the kindness. Later in the day another cow was found, and thus he was fed until taken to the boat. Noticing a neat-looking church that was not a hospi- tal, with a guard in front, we entered and found it to be the Episcopal church. Upon opening the prayer- book on the desk at the "Prayer for all in Authority," found that the words "the President of the United States'- were cut out. By it laid a manuscript copy of prayers for the rebel government. Telling the guard he might look or not, as he chose, that I intended to take that manuscript, and send to the Sanitary Fair, then open in Philadelphia, — first reading it aloud for the benefit of those present, and putting in its place a leaf upon which were the prayers, set forth by our be- loved Bishop Potter, for the army. That they might not be mistaken what it was, wrote upon the margin — "Prayers for the Union Armies of the United States, by Bishop Potter, of Pennsylvania." The exchange was a fair one, — the rebels, it is hoped, profiting by the sound doctrine which was given — for their erring prayers. At this place we saw the first great flocking to our lines of the colored population. On our way here, they were observed all along the river banks, rushing clown from every plantation and village, with cheers, waving of hats, and other demonstrations of pleasure, manifest- 64 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, ing their joy at sight of the old flag, which now meant freedom to them. A motley crowd of men, women, and children were constantly arriving, begging to be protected and sent North. An old gentleman — one of the wealthiest in the town — told us, as we sat upon his piazza watching this strangely exciting scene, that sixty of his servants had gone that day, and were in the crowd before us ; his great grief was that he was powerless to prevent their leaving, and that he had no one to till his corn crop for him. We afterward heard that the cavalry foraged upon the fields, so he was spared further trouble on that score. In the town, Mr. H. met an old woman of eighty carrying, as he supposed, a child in her arms ; but upon coming to her and questioning her as to her bur- den, said she "had her old mother, who was over one hundred; that they were going to the 'land of free- dom,' and could not leave her a slave in Virginia !" The burial of the wounded who died at this transfer- post was intrusted to the Sanitary Commission. Every soldier was carefully interred, the burial service used for all, the grave marked and numbered, and all money, valuables, and other articles found upon his person for- warded to Washington, to await the orders of relatives and friends. A plan of the ground was left with an old colored man living near, and the care of the graves given to him — for the purpose of aiding friends who ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 05 came for their remains, and knew nothing of any other direction they might have. The same plan, with the numbered graves, was retained by the Sanitary Com- mission — so that, in case the marks were removed, they could positively and certainly be identified. Last March, Mr. H. went to Port Royal, for the purpose of pointing out the resting-place of a Rhode Island soldier, and found that three days after our troops left the town, rebel cavalry entered it, — tram- pling down every head-board, destroying the graves as much as possible, and threatening to hang old George, if he put them in order. With the numbered plan in Mr. H.'s possession, all marks having been removed, by counting and measurement, the spot was readily found ; the skeleton remaining as it had been placed, with his knapsack at his feet. On the 29th of May, left Port Royal with a fleet of seventy-five vessels bound for White House, on the Pamunkey, where the wounded were now to be sent. Vessels loaded with troops for the front were contin- ually meeting us, far outnumbering those we had sent home weighed down with the wounded "soldiers of the Republic." As they pass, all were cheering heartily: no note of despondency, as they came within sound of the conflict. The evening of the 30th, landed at White House ; found Gen. Butler's command here, on their way to 66 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, the front; within twelve hours, some of his wounded were brought back; and from that date, much more rapidly than tents could be erected to shelter them, they were sent on. Day and night the interminable trains continued, bringing thousands of wounded men, with the dust and smoke of battle yet upon them. Acres of ground were soon covered with bleeding, mangled men, who had so lately stood unflinching mid the storm of rebel shot and shell ; now as bravely they endured suffering, while needing every comfort — thou- sands not even shielded from the burning sun. The work of waiting upon them continued uninter- ruptedly, all resting in turn ; sleep was almost impos- sible, as every spot of ground was covered, close up to the canvas, with soldiers who had crept there for shel- ter. Our duties were many and various : the prepara- tion of food and drinks, directing and overseeing our diet kitchen, occasionally busy for hours among the wounded. One morning as I came out of our tent very early, before the bustle of the day had commenced, a soldier came walking feebly, leaning upon a comrade's shoul- der, and inquired: "Would I dress his arm? it was untouched since first bandaged upon the field, and he knew was in offensive, bad condition, filled with creep- ing life!" The man said truly, it looked bad; and I shrank from the task, but persevered until it was nicely ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 67 cleansed and dressed. Then with a clean "Sanitary shirt," the sufferer was delighted and happy, and over- whelming in his thanks. The sincere, heartfelt grati- tude of those for whom such trifling services were ren- dered was ample recompense. Their earnest words of thanks were often more than could be borne — destroy- ing, for the moment, the composure which was all-im- portant. As the work of attending to that soldier went on, hundreds of others, reclining upon the ground, were intently watching the process. Eager for their turn, one after another came slowly up, with the same query from all : " Would the lady dress their wound V A rough-looking Irishman among the number, having a fearful-looking wound in his head, said "he could bear any pain 1 gave him, if the doctors did not dress it;" — while in the midst of it, one of our best and most experienced surgeons made his appearance; observing what was going on, came to my relief, and, to the utter dismay of the poor fellow, took the sponge out of my hand to show me how much too tenderly and carefully the work was done ; at every movement of the sponge in his hand, the soldier's head bent and shrank beneath the touch, but not one word of complaint escaped him ; as the doctor moved away, his thanks were not for the kindness shown him, but that he was gone, and that my unskillful hands would now finish. At this hour the regular dressers com- 68 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, menced their work, and the one who had usurped their office gladly disappeared among the heaps of edibles which filled the shelter nearest us. Our "diet kitchen" was almost entirely supplied from the Sanitary Commission : it seems almost in- credible the amount consumed in one day : on the 3d of June, two thousand were fed from that establishment. The working force consisted of eight soldiers; each had his allotted place, and knew the duties required of him. Caldrons of soup were quickly made : using essence of beef as the foundation, adding to it canned meats and vegetables, hard tack, or corn starch. The capacity of the caldrons varied from thirty to sixty gallons, and during these exciting times they were pushed to their utmost. There were men to act as "hewers of wood and drawers of water;" others whose work was to open the cans, which, as fast as emptied, were thrown into a barrel — and picked up directly by the soldiers to be used as tin-cups for their soup, coffee, etc. Tubs and buckets of milk-punch and lemonade were always in readiness. Apart from the eatables, one corner was appropriated to crutches, arm- slings, bandages, etc.; these were given, and fitted as required. They were clothed, bathed, feci ; all hurried, continued work, mak- ing it impossible to give an exact account of even one day's labor. This day's notes end with: "Gave my only straw pillow to a wounded zouave, Sergeant ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 69 Beecher, from Connecticut; his thanks were enough to make my sleep sweet without it." The 5th of June, Mr. Schall came, bringing the body of his brother, Col. Edwin Schall, to be embalmed. He fell at Cold Harbour on the 3d of June, shot through the neck. Connected with this gallant officer's death is an incident so singular that it is worthy of record : Sunday, the Yth of June, in the Officers' Hospital in George- town, my niece was sitting by her husband's bedside, watching the passing away of a life now near its close. As the things of earth receded, and another world dawned upon his gaze, the lamp of life flickered and flashed in this its closing scene. Suddenly rousing up, his voice, which had previously been faint and feeble, rang out in a clear, loud tone : " Lieutenant, lieuten- ant !" A wounded lieutenant lying near him answered : " What is it, captain ?" He replied : "I'm not calling you, it is Lieut.-Col. Schall; I saw him fall, and thought the way he was lying perhaps he was dead." His wife soothed him, telling him "the colonel was all right;" and he sank exhausted on his pillow. But in a few moments called in the same tone : " Lieutenant, lieutenant !" repeating again the same words, that "he had seen him fall," etc. Again he was soothed to quiet- ness. Fully conscious that' death was near, the brave soldier, in a few earnest, never-to-be-forgotten words, sent home the message, that he "gave his life freely for 7 70 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, his country." Then commending his soul to God, and committing wife and children to the same loving care, in two hours peacefully passed to that land "where there is no more sorrow, or sickness, or pain." In Captain Bisbing's death, two homes were made deso- late; he was an only child; to the home circle of wife and children an irreparable loss, whose sorrows we do not presume to dwell upon. When Mrs. B. returned with her husband's body to their home, she then first learned that the colonel had fallen— as the captain described — two days previously. His body also was brought home for burial, and interred the day preceding the captain's funeral. June the 7th, wounded still pouring in ; frequently orders would be sent to us to prepare to feed a train of wounded five miles in length. I do not know how accurate that estimate may have been, but it seemed to us as though they never would end. Upon each arrival of the wagons, would be found some who had gone to their final rest during the roughness of the way, — suf- fering alone in the midst of so much misery, without any of the kind words and tender ministrations which we, at home, love to lavish upon those who we know are entering into the "dark vallej^." One of our party, while distributing food and drink at night, noticed a corporal's arm over the side of the ambulance, and offered to him a cup of punch; finding ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 11 another hand stretched out for it, called, "that is for the corporal;" the reply was, "he has been dead for hours." Many, of necessity, were buried by the roadside, or wherever they chanced to be ; but when practicable, the bodies were brought on and interred in our little cemetery — making this desolate land truly " sacred soil." The site selected was just without the intrench- ments, near the burial-ground of the Peninsular cam- paign : in it the graves remain as they were left two years previous ; some few inscriptions still legible. Major D. H. Yon Yalkenburg, 1st New York Artil- lery, killed May 31st, 1862, was the only officer's grave to be seen. The inscription on a head-board, at the grave of a sergeant, was re-cut by a comrade on the second anniversary of his death. The Sanitary Commission continued superintending the burial of the dead, their chaplains performing the service at the grave ; the record kept in the same order as before mentioned. Among a large number which arrived at this time was a man who had lain between the breast- works of the two armies forj/jce days without care, and no food except the very small quantity he had with him when wounded ; one leg was amputated, the other dressed, before he was brought to the hospital; he will soon be sent to Washington, and his surgeon thinks may recover. Transports leave daily, crowded with the wounded. 12 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, Among the thousand that were to- clay fed from our diet kitchen were numbers of officers, worn out and weary, who had been sent from the front with vari- ous orders. The unusual activity indicates that our stay here will be short. Eight hundred captured rebels brought in, guarded by a negro regiment — the most humiliating thing to them that could have occurred ; the sight was so novel that we all left our tents to look at them ; one of our men, recognizing his former owner, ran up with a pleased look to speak to Massa Charles, but he re- fused to recognize him, and moved on with the crowd ; among them is a rebel woman, sergeant of artillery — she was the last to leave the gun when captured. The 13th of June, we packed all that could be spared on the Sanitary Commission barge ; we remain for the purpose of waiting upon any wounded that may yet be sent ; after the removal had fairly commenced, and all in confusion, several hundred arrived; all of whom were fed and provided for at our diet kitchen. Nearly all the wounded hurried off to-day ; all that can in any way limp to the wharf do so; preparing rations for the trip. Guerrillas reported near us ; two of our soldiers, who went beyond the picket lines to forage, were caught, stripped of their clothing, and sent back to camp. It taught the boys a useful lesson — that they must be satisfied with their position as it is. White House, from very early times, has been a ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. T3 place of historic interest; here General Washington met his wife, and from here they went to the little church four miles distant to be married. At the com- mencement of the war, it belonged to the Lee family ; during Gen. McClellan's administration was carefully guarded, so much so that, when our soldiers were lying upon the wet ground, heaps of unused boards were near the buildings. The house was afterward destroyed by fire, trees cut down, fences and out-buildings removed ; at the time we were there, two tall chimneys alone remained to mark the spot. Some distance from the ruins of the house, a few T dilapidated negro cabins were standing, occupied by very old people, who had been slaves on the plantation all their lives. Before leaving, we supplied them with food, clothing, and medicines sufficient to last them six months ; it was all secreted, before we left, to secure it from the rebels. June 15th, 1864. This day last year, moving with the "Army of the Potomac" northward; now prepar- ing to move, with the same army, south. Three times this morning the order was given to proceed to the boat, but each time recalled; tents are all gone, and we wander listlessly about in the hot sun, or sit upon the boxes containing all our present " worldly goods." The soldiers who comprise our "kitchen department" take it all very philosophically ; they while away the hours lounging upon the ground, singing "When this 74 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, cruel war is over," and other favorite songs. At 12 m. the final order came to start, and the odd-looking party slowly trudged along, each laden with what they con- sidered indispensable for the trip ; a hot, dusty walk, without umbrellas, to the wharf — a mile distant ; at the last moment procure an additional supply of "hard tack" and pork, in case of emergency, and have with us five days' rations for our party. The "Montauk," a government vessel, is crowded with our corps officers, surgeons, nurses, and attend- ants; on our vessel, and the canal-boats which are lashed to its sides, there are six hundred persons. We were hardly out of sight, not yet of sound, when the rebels attacked the small force which had been left to guard the trains, and drove them within the intrench- ments; fortunately, a portion of Sheridan's cavalry came up soon after it commenced and routed them thoroughly. We steamed slowly down the Pamunkey ; came to West Point and York River about six; anchored at dark : at daybreak, moved on down the York River. This evening, full rations could not be issued to the men, a mistake having been made about the supplies being placed on the wrong boat — a load of iron bed- steads sent in their place. The morning of the 17th, the men still short of rations, and trouble threatening, the Sanitary Commis- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. f5 sion gave them $he pork and "hard tack," with coffee, which had been provided in case of need. This restored peace and order again. Soon after we came up with the rest of the fleet; anchored below Fort Powhatan ; an order was sent to the supply-boat for rations, and no further difficulty occurred. Here we were detained while Gen. Grant was crossing with his army to the south side of the James River. The pon- toon bridges upon which they passed were the objects upon which all eyes were fastened. The roads leading to the river could be traced by the clouds of dust which hung heavily over them. This was the second time we had seen that grand army moving in "battle array." In the evening signal lights were seen flashing upon the hill-tops and from their camping grounds; the ship- ping was beautifully illuminated with various- colored lanterns ; and though in the midst of war, the river, with its numerous lights, had a gay, holiday look. On the 18th of June the pontoons were removed, and we pass on up the James; at 1 p.m. landed at City Point ; the town filled with wounded. In the evening, walked through the dust two miles to the site selected for the hospital, which is a wheat- field on the Appomattox. The continued heavy firing near Peters- burg plainly heard. A few tents were arranged for the surgeons, nurses, etc., and in refreshing sleep all else was soon forgotten. 76 In the morning, our rations were very scanty — we had bnt the remains of what we brought with us from White House. Before a stove could be had, or cal- drons in readiness, those who were slightly wounded came straggling in; soon the number increased; and then trains came in sight, and were unloaded upon the ground. Battle-smoked and scarred, dusty, weary, and hungry, the poor fellows came — looking longingly at anything to eat; from early morning until late at night, the scene was the same as White House — thronged with wounded ; the worst cases sheltered in tents, the others lying upon the now trodden wheat. It was impossible, with the few conveniences at hand, to prepare food for all that number. The night was far advanced before we were ready for the rest we so much needed, and then retire, with wounded and dying men tying upon the ground close to our tent. How heartless it sounds, at home, to sleep under, such cir- cumstances ! The next day, commenced 5 a.m. Nothing before us all the day but wounded ; wounded men at every step you take. Three times that day we fed six hun- dred men (when the number is given we know it to be accurate, as it is taken from the morning-report at headquarters), not counting the stragglers who re- ceived a cup of soup, farina, or crackers, as the need might be. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 11 The first boat-load sent off to-clay, June 20th; but others directly fill their places. All that makes endur- able this voluntary life of toil, and saddening scenes, is the simple fact that we know some lives are brightened by the care we strangers give to sick or wounded men. Every train brings with it cases of especial interest: one man, as he was lifted from the ambulance, almost with his parting breath, gave his name, company, and regiment ; and then slept, to wake no more to pain and agony. Upon the ground lay a little French boy, so low he could scarcely speak; as I quietly sponged, with cool water, his face and hands, his lips quivered, and from his firmly-closed eyes tears were slowly trickling; perhaps it may have reminded him of a mother or sister's care, in the far-off land of his birth. The weather is now intensely warm, June 24th. Clouds of dust fill the air ; and though the hospital is some distance from the traveled road to the front, yet by four o'clock the rows of tents which stand but a few yards from us are obscured, and the river, about one square distant, is invisible. The Sanitary Commission, with the consent and approval of the "authorities,'*' again select the spot for the cemetery, and continue to superintend its arrange- ments and the burial of the dead. During the past week, two hundred have come to this "silent city ;" two hundred were sent North to-day, all "walking cases,' , 78 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, as the surgeons say ; but sucli walkers are uot often seen outside of a field hospital. I happened to be passing as the sad procession came in sight ; of course stopped to give them a kind word, and say good-by. As the motley -looking crowd, in their hospital uniform of shirt and drawers, — a few wearing caps and shoes, many without either, — came near, the first sentences I heard were from the " advance guard," the best walkers of the party, who shouted: "Here we come, reinforcements for Grant." Another calls: "Keep step; left, left." "We are the cripple "brigade," said his comrade with the crutch. "This is war," in a sadder tone, from a faint-looking corporal, as he feebly passed by. Some too ill even to raise their eyes, move slowly, painfully on, step by step, through the burning sand to the boat. Many who are really unfit, start to walk, as they say, imagining they will get home sooner. The stretcher-bearers bring up the rear, to pick up those who fall exhausted by the way. The next day, two hundred bad cases were sent: two of the number were soon carried up again from the boat, wrapped in their blankets, signifying that they had "fought their last battle," and were now ready to be laid beside their fellow-soldiers in the cem- etery. They died upon the wharf, while waiting to be carried on the boat. The contrabands have been coming to the hospital ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 19 in large numbers, for protection, for some days past; in their hasty flight, they pick up the very articles we would think they did not need — probably leaving what would be useful. A group of fifty just passed, well loaded : one with a bed upon his shoulders ; another, a box as large as he was ; many of th& women carrying cooking utensils ; a little fellow, of six or eight, wear- ing a gentleman's coat, the skirts sweeping the ground, a stove-pipe hat upon his head, — the style of twenty years ago, — and, above all, a huge cotton umbrella ! Many of the young girls wore flounced silk dresses, evidently " confiscated " from missus's wardrobe. Their arrival quite enlivened the hospital ; they were in every direction greeted with continued shouts, which mark of attention seemed gratifying to them. Rations are fur- nished them by government, and tents supplied for their use; all who wish to remain are employed in some way, the rest are sent to Washington. July 4th, all the North expecting some great battle or success, while here it is so quiet that it seems almost like a real Sunday. Salutes are heard from every quarter in honor of the day; and at the front, the "Petersburg Express" sent its compliments into the town, at intervals of fifteen minutes, to remind them of the day we celebrate. This morning Dr. C , of Massachusetts, told me of a young soldier in his ward that he knew must die ; while attending to 80 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, him, dressing his wound, the man inquired in a cool, calm manner: "Doctor, what is to be the result, life or death ?" The doctor hesitated a moment, and said : "There is one chance in ten that you may live." He was quiet for a little while, then, with a bright, beam- ing smile, replied : " Better than that, doctor ; God is good!" "Well, my boy," answered the surgeon, "that chance is the best." He has all the care that can be given him; but with a wounded, fractured thigh, the doctor says the " chance" is even less than he stated. A steam fire-engine has been furnished to force water from the river to the hospital, for sprinkling the streets and to cool the heated tents. Gen. Grant was walking through the hospital a few days since, and observing how much they suffered from dust, said "his wounded men must be better cared for; the streets must be watered, if it took a regiment of men each day to do it." As his word is law, the engine came: a large force of negroes have it in charge, and already the good results are seen. Water-tanks were afterward built, more engines and hose obtained, and all day long the street-sprinklers are at work. The dust continues fear- fully deep ; it is the only thing that moves about freely. The third division of the sixth corps marched by to- day, to embark on transports ; going North, it is said, to ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 81 look after Ewell's corps— that, we hear, Is destined for another raid upon Pennsylvania. Numbers of "vol- unteer aids " have been obliged to give up their work here ; many ill with fever ; Mr. H. obliged to go home for a few clays' rest, thoroughly worn out with the arduous labors which have occupied him since early in the spring. Each corps hospital has its share of the colored population : our settlement for them is on the river bank ; from there we hear their voices as they join in their evening worship ; going into their meeting, we found them kneeling upon the earth, praying earn- estly that "God would bless good President Lincoln," and "all de great Union armies;" that " He would take care of de breddern and sisters, now they be in a foreign land;" then, interrupting the prayers, a voice commenced — "0, praise an' tanks! De Lord he come To set de people free !" Prayers and their simple music were strangely blended, but all in the most devout manner. On the 14th of July, a floor was put in our tent; previous to this, the deep dust was the only carpet we had ; an arbor of evergreen branches was also placed at the two entrances ; now sheltered from the scorching sun, we are very comfortable — quite luxurious living, and certainly we should never complain while sick and 82 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, wounded lie upon the ground. But, in contrast with this dwelling, sometimes will come before us thoughts of a country home in Pennsylvania, with cool, airy rooms, and pleasant surroundings of shade- and fruit-trees, abundantly- planted gardens, etc., until the longing to be there seems irresistible. The absorbing duty in which we are engaged, is all that can make us forget it. July 30th. Rebel fort blown up at seven this morn- ing ; the cannonading and firing during the night which preceded the explosion were fearfully distinct, so much so as to prevent sleeping. Large numbers of wounded were brought in to-day, principally to the ninth corps and the colored hospital. Among the colored troops, four out of every five of their officers were either killed or wounded; yet the men behaved bravely. A young lieutenant from the ninth corps called to tell us he had been wounded in the late engagement, and that he had been promoted ; with his twin brother, he entered the service at the very commencement of the war ; the other, a lieutenant, fell at South Mountain ; but passed unhurt through numberless battles, un- til this time ; and was determined to remain with his regiment after being wounded, until told by the sur- geon that if he did so he would lose his foot, probably his life; very reluctantly he came to the hospital. When his commission was received, his comrades asked him if he was aware that "in their regiment ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 83 promotion meant death?" and then going over the list of names, such and such a one had been promoted, and soon after fallen, his reply was : "Yes, he knew all that; but should accept it just the same, if he was conscious that death came with it — was perfectly will- ing to take his chance with the 'boys!'" With him was a frail-looking lad, wounded in the head ; the lieu- tenant found him, after the fight, near the intrench- ments, sobbing; as he came near, the boy called that he was wounded, and quickly said : " Will you write to my father, and tell him I did my duty as a good soldier ?" " Yes," was the response ; "bat first bear your wound as a soldier." The sobs were instantly stilled, and he went with the lieutenant to the hospital ; his elder brothers were in the army, and he had long been anxious to join them ; but he was— "Only a boy ! and his father had said He never could let his youngest go." His parting command had been to "do his duty; that he would rather know his son had fallen in battle, than hear he was a coward." Painfully wounded in the head, he yet remembered the injunction ; his great anxiety was, that his father might know he had obeyed him. The streets of this city of tents are gradually assum- ing a much more cheerful appearance : arbors are 84 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, erected at the front and rear of the tents, thus forming a continuous shelter and pleasant walk for the patients. August 4th was the national fast-day; the camp un- expectedly short of rations, so many fasted who would not otherwise have obeyed the President's proclama- tion ; a sermon at headquarters, in the evening, by the first division chaplain. A party composed of the ladies in the hospital were invited, with the surgeons, to take a trip up the James in the Sanitary Commission boat; through the dilatoriness of one of the ladies, all were detained ; when we at length reached the wharf, it was only in time to see the boat slowly steaming on its way with not more than eight or ten of the invited party on board. Disappointed and sadly vexed, we retraced our steps ; but when, a few hours after, they returned with the mournful tidings that, near Turkey Bend, they were fired upon by guerrillas, — the engi- neer instantly killed, two Sanitary agents wounded, one mortally, — we saw how providential was our detention; had all gone, the conspicuous dress of the officers would have made them a fair mark for the rebels ; with a larger compan}^, the loss of life would probably have been greater. The boat was obliged to put on more steam, and proceed on her way until they came to the gun-boat which brought them in safety beyond the reach of rebel bullets. The large Sanitary flags were floating from the mast, conclusive evidence ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 85 to the guerrillas that the vessel belonged to that noble organization whose field of labor embraced all the wounded within our lines ; Union and rebel alike kindly cared for. August 9th, a terrible explosion occurred on board the ordnance barge at City Point ; at the moment, I was occupied in the arbor in front of our tent,- and so had an unobstructed view ; with the first shock stooped to the earth, as though struck upon the head ; the tent quivered as though it must fall ; it seemed so very near that the first thought was, the rebels are shelling the hospital ; finding that not correct, the next surmise was, Gen. Grant's headquarters have been blown up. There now rose to a great height a dense column of smoke, spreading out at the top in form of an umbrella, and from it fell a shower of death-dealing missiles ; it liter- ally rained muskets ; shells flew in all directions ; some passing over us, exploded beyond the hospital. The scene upon the bluff near the landing was sickening : dismembered bodies were strewn about the ground, the dead and dying side by side ; the wounded were soon gathered up and brought to the hospital. The cause of the accident could not be accounted for, until upon the trial of the villain Werz, a rebel witness related how he had done it : making some excuse to see the captain, was told he was not on board, insisting the package that he had for him could be given to no 8* 80 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, one else, asked permission to place it upon his table ; as he did so, arranged the fuse, and withdrew to a place of safety. The explosion soon occurred, as he anticipated, destroying many lives, principally among the colored laborers ; the others having gone to dinner. A large amount of government property was destroyed, and many buildings. August 12th, a few of the ladies in the hospital, with some Sanitary Commission officers, went at 2 p. M. on board the little tug-boat " Gov. Curtin " to Point of Rocks, Bermuda Hundred, and City Point, — the first rest away from the wounded since this campaign commenced, in May; took tea on board the supply- boat of the Commission, which is anchored at City Point wharf. The short trip did us all good, and we returned refreshed, ready for our daily duties. When we reached our hospital, found the tents and every place of shelter filled ; hundreds of men lying upon the ground ; occupied until late in the evening waiting upon them. Cannon- ading again heard up the James River. The second corps is moving somewhere, and the hospitals crowded in consequence. During all that week there seemed to be no cessation of the firing; wounded were constantly sent in ; and old scenes were again and again repeated. A young lawyer, sergeant in a Xew York regiment, is so deeply grateful for the little done for him — imag- ining, as many others do, that he would have died with- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 87 out it. An elder brother had fallen in one of the early- battles of the war, and then he thought he must take his place. When he enlisted, it almost broke his mother's heart ; and now he often asked, would she ever see him again ? We feared not, and as soon as possible hurried him off to a more favorable climate and better care. Near him lies a Vermont sergeant, who tells me he has been a wanderer in many lands; but that away up in Vermont his mother is always work- ing for the hospitals ; he never could see the use of it, but now will write and tell her it is returning in bless- ings upon her son. The fight at Deep Bottom sent to us many wounded, the most serious cases taken without delay to Washington. The day before this battle, as the men marched wearily by the hospital, covered with dust, ignorant of their destination, all were exulting in the prospect of going to Pennsylvania ; still further to confirm them in the belief, they were embarked at City Point and the transports started down the river ; pro- ceeding on their way until darkness concealed them from view, they silently turned about, and moved up again, to be taken into the battle. While it was raging, a company of the 57th New York was commanded by a sergeant ; unwilling to occupy the position, as his comrades told me, he was lagging behind ; a corporal near him could bear it no longer, 88 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, and stepped out to lead the men as though he had always been accustomed to command. Gen. Barlow sat upon his horse, quietly observing the whole manoeuvre ; and when the fight was over, sent for the corporal, tell- ing him at such an hour to report to Gen. Hancock's headquarters. The man left, wondering what had been done ; and when he returned according to orders, the two generals consulted together for a few moments, the corporal was called in — and when he left the tent, it was with the rank of captain, as a reward for his gallant conduct. He again entered the battle, filling the position he so well merited ; but within an hour fell dead, shot through the heart. Similar cases were reported to us where bravery was encouraged by promotion upon the field, to show that deeds of valor were appreciated by their leader. Gen. Hancock possessed, in a remarkable degree, the power of exciting enthusiasm among the mighty hosts he so often led to victory. We, who have been with this corps long enough to become "veterans" in the service, may well be pardoned for the interest we- feel in the enduring fame they and their intrepid com- mander have achieved. The hospital again crowded with the wounded and sick, which are sent North as rapidly as the transports can take them. "Hancock's cavalry" — as the rebels style the second corps, from a way they have of ap- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. S9 pearing in most unexpected places — again "on the move," which accounts for the late unexpected addition to our numbers. September 9th. The first time during the summer, rode as far as Gen. Meade's headquarters, which is within sight of our fortifications, and within shelling distance of the rebels — if so inclined. Passed, both going and returning, through most fearfully desolate- looking country. Part of it has been beautiful, as the remains of fine orchards and the ruins of large houses testify. Where the families remained in their homes, they were not molested; if the house was vacant, it was certain to be destroyed by the army. Met hun- dreds of men returning from Northern hospitals to duty ; they look well, while those we send to the front are miserable in comparison. Graves scat- tered by the roadside, and gathered in clusters where hospitals or camps have been located, marking the course of the army. Near a deserted house, the large garden was made a burying-ground : many of its quiet sleepers are, doubtless, mourned for in Northern homes — some whose resting-place will never be known. "From Western plain to ocean tide, Are stretched the graves of those who died For you and me." My husband's health, which had not been good 90 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, during the summer, was now so much affected by the climate, that a change for him was all-important, and he again went North. We remained a few weeks longer, continuing the same routine of duties — varied only by the sad scenes around us. While in the midst of so much excitement, in the times which form history, we were unconscious of it all : it was our daily life. Now, in these peaceful days, we begin to realize where we have been, and in what we have taken part. Early in November, we left, expecting to return, after a few weeks' rest, and resume our position in the corps hospital; but Mr. H.'s health was so much impaired that it was not thought prudent for us to do so until cold weather. With a glimpse of home and its comforts, in three days we again commenced visiting the "Aid Societies" and schools, and continued uninter- ruptedly until January ; during that time, met several thousands. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 91 CHAPTER IV. First Visit to Annapolis. — Stories of Starved Men. — Burial at Andersonville. — Neely's Life in the Dungeon of Castle Thun- der. — Sergeant Kerker. — Captains Wilson and Shelton in the "Iron Cage," in Buncombe County, Tenn. — The Boy and the Flag. — Gould's returning Consciousness. — Mr. Brown in Danville Prison. In this closing period of the war, and of our labor in the hospitals, comes the darkest, saddest page of all — too terrible to be lightly spoken, and too painful in its remembrances to be dwelt upon any longer than is needful for the connected continuance of the narrative. The inhuman, fiendish treatment of our soldiers in Southern prisons has how become a matter of history, the truthfulness of which cannot be doubted. Would that it could be ! By the bedsides of dying skeletons, as they shudder- in gly recalled their prison life, I have written their sad stories, which often ended with : "We can never tell the half of all we have endured ; it would not be cred- ited, if we did." All of horrors that I had seen and known during these memorable years, faded into in- significance when contrasted with this heinous crime — a systematic course of starvation to brave men made 92 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, captives by the chances of war ! Our first visit to Annapolis was with the object of seeing and knowing more of them ; that by a recital of their condition, I might interest still more those who were devoting themselves to the preparation of hospital comforts. The little we saw of the starved men, at that time, enlisted all my sympathies. In one of the wards of the hospital at Camp Parole, a man belonging to the 5th Indiana Cavalry was reclining in a large rocking- chair near the stove ; his features sharpened by suffer- ing, the eyes sunken, skin tightly drawn over the lips, as though they could never smile again ; the whole face had an unearthly, smoke-dried parchment look. Upon asking him where he was from, he answered plainly : "Anderson ; that cruel treatment, no shelter, with want of food and water, had brought him to this condi- tion." His age was almost eighteen; I should have said at least forty. There was no appearance of flesh upon the attenuated hands and arms ; he died within an hour, before we left the building. Near him lay two others, who seemed pleased to relate their stories and have any one listen to them. All had been so long unused to kindness, that a pleasant word or the least attention surprised them. They also had been at Andersonville, Florence, and other prisons ; but the first named was worse than all. Their statements as to kind of food, want of shelter, etc. were afterward ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 93 confirmed by hundreds of others. They gave their corps, regiment, when captured, etc., stating that of the large number who entered with them, but few left it alive. Their mode of burial was this: every morning a wagon was driven through the camp, to pick up those who had died during the night; the poor, emaciated bodies were caught up by an arm and foot, and pitched into the wagon as a stick of cord-wood would be thrown ; this was continued until no more could be piled in, then taken to the shallow trenches which were to receive them ; they were packed in, lying upon the side, the head of one over the shoulder of the man in front of him ; a slight covering of earth concealed the victims from sight, relieving them of that much care by lessening the number in their vile prisons — but adding another to the list of martyrs from the North. They crept, at night, in holes burrowed in the ground; those too feeble to prepare such shelter, crowded together in rows for warmth; during the winter, the outside sleepers were almost invariably found stiff and cold, in the morning light. The appearance of those with whom I had been conversing reminded me of the skeletons I had seen washed out, upon Antietain, Gettysburg, and other battle-fields, only they had ceased from suffering, and 9 94 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, were at rest; these were still living, breathing, help- less, starved men. On board a vessel, which had just unloaded its mis- erable passengers, came a young boy, who was carried on shore ; when bathed, and made comfortable with clean clothing, taken into one of the tents at Xaval School Hospital. As he was laid upon his nice, clean mattress, he called to his comrades in suffering: "Boys, I'm ready to die, now that IVe heard the music, and have seen the old flag." Some one auswered : " Surely you don't want to die, now that we are home again ?" The boy replied: "I prayed so earnestly that I might live only long enough to die upon our own soil ; and now, though I should like to see my own home, I am perfectly happy, and ready to go ; I know I can't live." He continued to talk cheerfully of- death, repeating every few minutes: "IVe heard the music, and I've seen the old flag." In three hours the feeble spark- of life was gone ; and he was, the next morning, carried to the cemetery — with sixty -five of his companions ! the most saddening funeral procession that perhaps was ever formed. Sixty -five starved men, who lingered long enough to die upon our own soil, and under the "dear old flag !" "In treason's prison-hold, Their martyr-spirits grew To stature like the saints of old, While, amid agonies untold, They starved for me and yon /" ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 95 In one arrival of four hundred and sixty, only sixty were able to walk ashore ; the four hundred were car- ried ; half of these died within a few days ; one-third of the whole number imbecile. They appeared like a wretched bundle of bones, covered with a few filthy rags. Of those who were able to totter about, the greatest care was requisite ; they would search eagerly for bones, crusts, crumbs, or anything that was or had been eatable ; some discovered the slop-barrels, and took out of them the savory morsels of bones or vege- tables. There were instances where a sick man was feebly raising the bread to his lips, when a stronger one would snatch it from his fingers. The same look of hopeless sadness is on every face, without a smile — smoke-dried skeletons. Their statements, though coming from different prisons, all agree in this one fact : they were starved, without shelter, and wearing only the scantiest cloth- ing — the rags which remained from the time they were captured; — when their coats, blankets, and valuables were all taken from them. Many, after conversing about it, will say: "You never could imagine such horrors." In one room, I singled out the two most skeleton like, and asked the least emaciated one : "What prison did you come from?" He looked at me with a vacant stare, and answered : " Prison ? ah — yes, I'm Anderson !" I gave him up, and his friend 96 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, replied: "He thought they had been shown through all the prisons, though last from Anderson." Another, that I asked the same question, replied : " He was from Florence ; had been at Charleston once ; didn't know how long since; they were all bad alike." In another ward were five, all very low : two of the most fearfully emaciated men that we had yet seen ; one from Iowa, the other from Michigan ; they were too feeble to speak ; we could only take the nurse's account, which varied but little from the others ; both died during the night, In the next room was Andrews, from Ohio ; at the commencement of the war, he was about fin- ishing his college course — and wrote to his parents that "he must go, it was his duty to do so ; that his life was no more precious than others which must be given." His mother, repeating to me what I have just written, said : He was an only son, it was agony to think of parting with him ; but they did not, could not object, and he went. In the same town was his very dear friend, also an only son ; his parents would not consent to his going, and during that year he died at college. Now, her son had been spared through many battles and hardships, and through the sufferings of prison life ; he was ill, when exchanged ; had at one time escaped ; but chased by dogs to the swamps, was concealed in them until he became so exhausted ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 97 for food, that when he came out in search of it, was unable to run from his pursuers, and taken back to prison ; where his only shelter was a narrow alley be- tween two buildings, until a rebel, with some kindness of heart, picked him up and laid him upon a scrap of blanket, from which a dead man had just been carried out. At length, some Sanitary Commission blankets were given them — one for five men ; as their compan- ions died, they crept closer together ; and at the time of leaving, he had half of one. When he arrived, he was among the bad cases ; his mother heard he was in Annapolis, and came directly on ; to her devoted care he owes his life ; she never left him day or night, but gave him, by the spoonful, nourishing food and drink as ordered by his surgeon ; at length, to her great joy, was pronounced some change for the better. When we saw him, he was sitting up for the first time : had he been anything but a "returned prisoner," we would have said such an emaciated man could not live. His mother was sitting by him, bathing his skel- eton-looking hands; and calling our attention to the shrunken arms, said they were looking so much better, that she was perfectly happy in the thought of soon taking him home. In the same building is a man whose mind seems quite gone: he is always looking for his mother; un- conscious as he is, they cannot tell where to write, or 9* 98 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, whether she is living. As I entered the door, he sprang up in an excited manner, calling out: "Yes, yes, there is my mother!" With a few soothing words, he was soon quieted; but when the nurse attempted to give him medicine, threw it from him, saying : " They are always trying to poison us in prison." On the second floor was Arnold, from Miles- burg, Ceutre County, Penna. ; his feet were frozen, and he was so starved that but little hope was entertained of his recovery. His mother was with him, doing all in her power for him. A boy who had been very low, but then seemed ral- lying, was requested by the surgeon to show his ema- ciated arms ; unfastening his collar, he said : " This is the color I was all over, when we landed; but it is not dirt, lady; I'm clean now." The bony framework of the chest was plainly visible, giving painful evidence of what he had endured. In the officers' ward was a young man from the 121st New York, who looked feeble and emaciated, with but little hope of life ; he had just picked out a tooth; thought all were loose. Another, with a frac- tured thigh w T hen captured, but who now seemed ap- parently doing well, had been without any care while in rebel hands; they never did anything for him. As a general rule, the officers fared better than the men ; but there were also manv sad case? anions: them. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 99 The food given to the men in those hospitals was the very best, and most nourishing that could be pre- pared. As one of their surgeons remarked : "Medical skill was often at a loss ; their books never taught them how starved men should be treated." They relied almost entirely upon good food for their cure. Upon our return home, the work for the hospitals was resumed; with this added incentive, to urge upon those we met untiring efforts in behalf of our returned starved prisoners. There were but few families who had not some friend or relative among them, whose stories of patient endurance of suffering touched all hearts. While help was needed for them, there seemed no limit to the generous offerings of the people. Through the Sanitary Commission, an immense sup- ply was forwarded for their use, beside what was sent through other sources. There was too much to be done at Annapolis, for the returned prisoners, to remain contentedly telling others what they could do ; so that in a very short time we returned, — accompa- nied by a friend, Mrs. S., of Boston, who had with her a valuable contribution of articles from persons there ; she remained a few weeks, — our stay was until July. Directly after our return to Annapolis, while waiting in the Sanitary Commission Rooms, a train of ambu- lances, containing nineteen bodies, passed, the first and last of the number covered with the flag ; we followed 100 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, the procession to the cemetery, and saw them laid side by side in their quiet resting-place — Chaplain Sloan offi- ciating. Upon the head-boards of all the prisoners should be inscribed "starved to death!" that in future years Southern "chivalry" might read and know the fact. In one of the wards of St. John's Hospital was Mr. Kerker, of Ohio, watching by the bedside of his only child — the last of six ; an elder son had been captured a year previous, and afterward murdered by the rebels. This one was a sergeant of the 2d Virginia Cavalry: with three others, had volunteered to go upon a dangerous expedition for the purpose of cany in g a dispatch to headquarters for Merril's Division ; seeing troops in the distance, and not knowing who they were, gave his saber, etc. to the men, telling them if he was not back in two hours, to return and report his fate, but he would go on alone. Moving cautiously, hiding in the bushes and grass, he was at length seen by their pickets, — surrounded and captured, — but tore his dis- patch into small pieces; the rebels picked it up, and fitting it all together, read that the general must take the north road with his force, and troops would be sent to meet him. Missing the dispatch, — as intended, — he took the south road, as had previously been decided ; . the rebels were deceived, and the division saved. It was a ruse — to sacrifice one man, and save numbers. The poor fellow lived through his imprisonment, reach- ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 101 ing Annapolis an emaciated skeleton. His father heard of his arrival, and came immediately to wait upon him : he watched him with the most anxious, tender care, — hoping each day to see him better, that he might take him where he was so impatient to be — home ; but all in vain : we saw how the wasted frame daily became weaker, and at length there came sud- denly to both father and son the utter hopelessness of anticipating any change but that which death must bring. From that time, cheerfully and pleasantly, as- though preparing for a delightful journey, his last arrangements were made, looking forward to that home "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." As his father remarked : "He had always been a good boy, attentive at church and other religious duties." The first letter which he wished to dictate was to his former pastor, thanking him for all his care and kindness dur- ing his early life, and telling him how happy he was, now that earthly scenes were so nearly over, etc. There were parting messages to dear friends at home ; and all the time, loving words of thanks, and pleasure, that his father could be with him. With the most earnest, childlike faith and trust in our Saviour's prom- ises, his face ever wore a bright look when telling that "he was going home to God." A lady who had man- ifested much interest in him, he asked to "be his mother while he lived, and watch over him." Most 102 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, faithfully did she fulfill the request. As we entered his teut in the morning, he would greet us with a smile, and say: "Still here, waiting." It was one of the most beautifully touching death-beds that I have known in the hospitals. Early in the morning of the 20th of April, 1865, death came gently to the boy who had so longed for him, and the freed spirit was at rest. The wasted body was taken by the sorrowing father to their home in Ohio : another martyr added to the fearful list, whose reckoning Grod alone can balance. In the officers' ward, at Naval School, was Capt. Washburn, of Boston ; he was ill when he came from prison. His father, who had five sons out of six in the service, — all who were old enough to go, — was waiting upon him. In the late arrival was a young officer, emaciated and ill. His brother had been with him during all his imprisonment : and when the order came for their ex- change, both were permitted to leave, if they could reach the station, three miles distant ; this one started, carrying his skeleton brother upon his back for two miles, when his strength entirely failed, and he sank, overcome by the exertion,' upon the ground; after rest- ing some time, started again with his burden ; but the effort was in vain — his wearied frame could go no far- ther : and as he laid him down, the brother clasped his arms around his neck, and died ! There, by the dusty roadside, the brave young officer's grave was made. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 103 In the chapel were a number of very bad-looking skeletons ; several with frozen feet. A few days since an old gentleman came, inquiring for his son : he had died two hours before his arrival — the last of seven ! Four starved to death in rebel prisons : all were in the service. Well might he exclaim: "Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow!" Steward Newman, of Company I), 5th Michigan Cavalry, — whose statements are confirmed by Lieut. Hayes, from near Lock Haven, Penna., Miller, of Boston, and other comrades, — says : while in prison at Andersonville, he has frequently seen our soldiers tied to the whipping-post by the thumbs, their toes just touching the ground, the helpless sufferers so thin and weak that their bodies swayed in the wind like a moving pendulum ; the crime, asking for food ! — unable to eat what, at home, their cattle and horses would refuse, and even chickens could not live upon. At thanksgiving, they were kept eighty hours without any food, because they refused to tell where the tunnel was which they were digging. At length it was com- pleted, and all their arrangements made for escaping, when one of their number, tempted with tobacco, revealed their plans : one thousand were to have left that very night. The tunnel was so wide that two could go out abreast. They caught the scamp who told : with 104 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, india-ink, put a large letter T, for traitor, upon his fore- head and nose, shaved half his head, and turned him off. Their coffee was made of the burnt crusts of their mis- erably baked corn-cob bread. At long intervals a little rice would be given them, which they browned and made of it what they thought good coffee, eating the roasted grains afterward. Another drink was made by putting corn-cob meal in a bucket, and standing it for three days in the sun to ferment, adding to it molasses and sassafras — which the negroes would procure for them. A man fortunate enough to have sufficient money for the purchase of a barrel and the needful corn-meal and molasses, would soon improvise a sutler's establishment by stretching over poles the ragged remains of an old blanket : and there, with this attempt at shelter from the sun, would call to the ragged crowd, as they passed along : "Here's your good, nice beer, fiye cents a glass! Good, cool, and tart ! walk up and try; If you don't like, you needn't buy!" When the prisoners were moved from Andersonville to Florence, they left behind them all their cooking utensils, as they were told they were to be exchanged, not sent to prison ; but finding they had been deceived, asked permission of a rebel, Major Brown (it is humil- iating to add that he was formerly from Pennsylvania), ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 105 to use the tin-roofing of the cars which stood near; he consented, and they took off the entire roof of one. The only tools they had were a cold-chisel, a railroad spike, and an old table-knife ; in a marvelously short time, cooking pans, cups, and buckets were cut out and hammered together ; and when the variety was shown to the rebel major, he remarked : " They might turn a Yank into the woods with nothing, and he would soon have all he needed." Buckets, plates, and spoons were made of wood. For the buckets, they split staves of wood, the negroes furnishing poles for hoops and handles. As far as ingenuity could go, they made the best they could of their wretched surroundings. The men were divided by thousands, then hundreds, for convenience in distributing rations : while at Florence, Newman entered his name three times in one thou- sand, — giving, of course, two feigned names, — that he might draw sufficient food to sustain life ; fortunately, he was not found out; if he had been, the penalty of one hundred lashes, in his enfeebled health, would have killed him. Staunton, Pete Obrey, and Hoover were the men of infamous notoriety, who did more lashing of our sol- diers at Anderson ville than any others. Staunton was chief of police : the few picks and spades within the stockade were under his control ; Newman asked per- mission to use one, to repair his sleeping-pit ; instead 10 106 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, of a reply, was felled with it to the earth ; when con- sciousness returned, he dare not complain ; suffering with the blow, and ill as he was, could only crawl away to his ditch, thankful to escape with life. The two first named were at Annapolis while we were there ; their lives had been so often threatened, if found outside the hospital, that they were glad to keep within its walls for safety. Pete disappeared one night, do one knew where. These men all wore the Federal uniform : while doing so, possessed the entire confi- dence of the rebels in command — proving that, though wearing the "army blue," they were rebels in disguise. A Massachusetts sergeant said when his regiment entered Anderson, one hundred and thirty- five men answered roll-call ; after a captivity of eight months, nineteen only could be found. An Illinois man re- marked that twenty of his company were taken prisoners with him ; at the end of five months, five were living. A little Massachusetts fellow, wounded in the leg when captured, cut crutches from the woods, and by their aid marched, for sixty miles, with his comrades. He was afraid the rebels would do as they threatened, leave him to starve to death if he did not keep up with the party. When they reached prison, he was sent to the hospital. The ball is still in. A fresh arrival of prisoners to-day, 27th of March ; the most of them can walk ; if these were the first we ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 10? had seen, we would think them all bad. Among them was a young German who had lain for three days be- side his dead comrade, that he might draw his rations ; representing all the time that he was too ill to get up for them; and keeping him covered with their rags, when the "dead-cart" passed along. Many are suffer- ing with frozen feet: some have lost all their toes, others only on one foot. On the 28th, assisted in the distribution of Sanitary Commission articles — needles, thread, comb, paper, en- velopes, and towel — to fourteen hundred of the late arrivals : these are presumed to be well men, at least they are well enough to keep out of the hospital for a time. They march up in line for their dinner, which consists of good soup, boiled cabbage, and half a loaf of bread, given to them from an open window ; in the same order, they march on to the next building, where they receive the articles named. Their remarks, as they pass along, are amusing; many " thank you's" were said heartily; they all looked, and I have no doubt were, pleased. "Boys, wouldn't we like the rebs to see this," "the folks do care for us at home," etc., showed how gratifying it was to them to be thus remembered. In about two hours the fourteen hun- dred were all supplied, and the crowd scattered. A Maryland infantry boy, belonging to the ninth corps, was a prisoner eight months ; had had a fur- 108 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, lough, and was now back ready for duty ; had " asked to be sent front," saying, "the rebels had boarded him eight months, and he was anxious to go back and settle his bill of fare I" April 29th. A boat, with three hundred, just arrived : the drum calls the " stretcher-bearers " to fall in line ; and all who can, rush to the landing. Following the crowd, we come to the wharf just in time to see the unsteady column begin to move. On board the vessel the hospital band is playing cheerful strains of wel- come, and they come ashore to the music of familiar tunes. "Back to the North, where the air is free; Back from the land of pain." Tottering and feeble, bronzed and smoke-blackened, tangled hair and matted beards, some in rebel garb, many barefooted and bareheaded, the majority clothed in shirt and drawers furnished by the Sanitary Com- mission in Wilmington, a few fortunate possessors of a blanket, — such is the walking party. It was more than some of them could do to walk, so they gave it up, and, as the line of " stretcher-bearers " followed in their wake, were added to the number. Sorry plight for three hundred brave men to come from Southern care ! Martyrs for the nation, patient and uncomplaining, they do not blame the government — they censure no one ! ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 109 In all the precious lives lost to friends and home, and the wrecks of noble soldiers yet remaining, is not the hand of God seen ? The costly offering was asked for, and given, that the nation might be saved, and that distant lands might learn to what refinements of cruelty slavery had educated a people ! Among them one was noticed straining his eyes toward the shore, and, as they neared the wharf, was one of the first to press forward to leave the vessel ; he walked along the plank, eagerly looking in the dis- tance ; tottered with a few feeble steps upon our soil, and then — fell dead ! his wish gratified : he died at home. Another load of two hundred : some skeletons among them who could not be made to comprehend that they were in a land of plenty, and would he provided for ; but clutched with a firm grasp the bones and scraps which they had concealed ; and when forced to drop them out- side the gate, did so with tears, repeating, "they had been in prison eighteen months, and knew what starva- tion was." Thomas Gr. Spikean, from New York, while at Flor- ence was set to work outside of their prison inclosure, building chimneys for the rebels; finding food daily becoming more scarce, determined to escape, or perish in the attempt. Thinking death preferable to slow starvation, five men broke their parole and started with 10* 110 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, him : for ten days kept together, until they were tracked by clogs, and obliged to secrete themselves in the swamps ; wading about in them until they be- came chilled, at length reached a small island in safety; from there to land ; came to Orangeburg just as Sher- man's forces left it, and to Columbia as they were taking up the last pontoon ; crossed in a skiff, and were then taken care of by the army. There had been terrible suffering during all the win- ter months, among our soldiers in prisons, for want of clothing, food, fire, and shelter. Five sticks of wood were given to one hundred men once in three days ! That amounted to none at all, for, as they have shown me the size, it could all be burned in an hour. A man, who has been a prisoner since the battle of the Wilderness, now lies entirely stiffened, helpless, and unable to move, from exposure and sleeping upon the cold ground : he says, at one time Sanitary Com- mission clothing was pretended to be distributed by the rebels — six pieces to one thousand men ! the rebel guard wore the caps, clothing, and blankets, while our men died by scores for the want of them. Again assisting in distributing Sanitary Commission articles to sixteen hundred and forty men : they had been in prison but a few months; a small number among them, eighteen months ; these had been rest- ing at Wilmington, where they were well fed and ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Ill kindly cared for, and now looked well and happy in their new blue. The distributions, which are made at College Green Barracks, are a source of pleasure to the recipients, while it is both gratifying and amusing to those who act as donors. A German named Neabal, 54th New York, eleventh corps, who was captured at Gettysburg, July, 1863 : stayed in that horrid Belle Island eight months ; from there to Andersonville, thence to Savannah, where they had good rations ; then taken to Macon and Charleston ; for three weeks they were kept moving, for fear Gen. Sherman would find and release them; the corn which the cavalry horses dropped upon the ground, when they were fed, was all they had to eat for several days ; he was paroled in Wilmington the last of Feb- ruary, and soon after sent North. April 4th. Three boats filled with prisoners arrived : some shocking-looking cases among them; as soon as they were bathed, dressed, and made comfortable in good beds, you could hardly recognize the squalid- looking crowd we had so lately seen. As soon as possible, passed through the wards, taking names, and notes of messages to write to friends at home — that is always the first request ; wrote, and mailed for them that evening, twenty-two letters. In the morning, was pained to learn the number that died during the night. Mrs. Hulster, of Ohio, found her nephew in this 112 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, arrival: he had been reported dead by his comrades, and so they all believed at home. The toes of one foot were entirely gone, part of the other badly frozen ; he is ill with the terrible fever brought here by the prisoners. The one great, exciting event is the fall of Richmond, so long expected, and now occurring so quietly that these poor fellows think it cannot be ; as we move among them, they constantly ask : "Is it true ? God grant it may be !" The salute of one hundred guns, which was soon afterward fired, confirmed their belief that it was so. The Naval School band played patri- otic airs in the cupola of the State House, Governor Bradford made a speech to the excited crowd, flags were floating, and the Union people here, as every- where, jubilant over the good news. To-day, met Captains Wilson and Shelton, of the 5Tth Ohio Yols., who have been in the service four years, and intend to remain while there is a rebel in arms against the government ; they were captured at Atlanta, 20th of July, 1864; sent from there to Macon, thence through nearly all the prisons in the Confed- eracy. As soon as taken, were asked for all valuables — watches, rings, money, and clothing, — last of all, their honorable captors took their arms. On the 10th of November, escaped from Columbia; finding great diffi- culty in eluding the pickets, they secreted themselves ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 113 in the mountains, and built a hut for shelter; while there, they were kindly provided with food by the Union people and colored population ; many very poor were anxious to give up their small amount of provisions for Union officers and soldiers; at night, some of the loyal people of Transylvania County, N. C, would come, driving a cow before them loaded with whatever provisions they could collect. The rebels became so expert following a trail, that they would track them as the Indians do : as they would not sus- pect a cow, she was made to carry the burden, and de- ceive them. By such acts of kindness they were kept in good health until the 18th of January, when they were recaptured and taken to Asheville, Buncombe County, Tenn., where, with six others, they were put in an iron cage used as a dungeon. It was eleven feet in length, nine wide, and seven high ; there was no bed, bench, stool, or anything to sit or lie down upon ; no blanket, or covering of any kind, except the scanty clothing which had been left them ; they were not out of the dungeon once during the month : filth and vermin in it beyond description ; a stove stood outside their bars: if the wood was not placed just in one spot, they could have no fire, no matter how much might be there. Their miserable allowance of food consisted of the black corn-cob bread, varied at long intervals with rough pieces of boiled pork, which was 114 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, carried to them in a bucket, and served out by a rebel, who had the itch, dipping his hand into the bucket and tossing them whatever the fingers brought up ! At first they turned away with loathing, unable to catch the dainty morsels ; but continued starvation brought them to eat it without a word. While in the cage, a lieutenant in our army, Wm. Johnson, a resident of Hay- wood County, N. C, was placed there for a few hours; no clothing left him but drawers ; he was told he was a traitor, and a doomed man ; listened to it all with folded arms; and soon afterward was taken out to a field near by, and deliberately shot by a rebel sergeant named Bright; earth was thrown thinly over the young martyr's remains ; and when their food came in the morning, the man brought the tidings that the body had been nearly devoured in the night. After re- maining there one month, they were taken to Morgan- ton and put in a similar cage for a few days ; from there sent to be exchanged. Capt. Wilson said he had, at one time, a tender, sympathizing heart, even for rebels in suffering; but that was all gone now, and in its place something as hard as their own cob bread. Again occupied in the pleasant duty of distribu- ting Sanitary Commission articles, at the Barracks, to seventeen hundred and sixty men: many have been prisoners but a little while. Among them are some of Sherman's veterans, and his noted "bummers," ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 115 who, smart as they were, could not always escape from the rebels. Such work as this is a most agreeable contrast to the wards, where we see nothing but skele- tons, and hear their sad tales of suffering so touchingly related. In this arrival were many wounded from the late battles and skirmishes; their blankets and coats were taken from them : at night, without any shelter, they suffered from exposure. From Danville to Richmond, one hundred and forty miles, they were crowded on top of box-cars : the rebel lieutenant in charge telling the guard to "push them with his bayonet, crowd them up; he wished they were all dead!" The poor wounded men had to hold on with both hands ; many, unable to do so, rolled off, and had broken bones added to the suffering of their wounds ; some died there from the effects of that ride, and others who are here cannot live. A young boy, after he was captured and robbed of his clothing, was shot in the side by a man who rode up, and without one word, fired a revolver, aiming at his heart ; a quick movement saved his life, but he lies helpless, and suffering with an ugly wound. Many of the prisoners have been so long away from home and friends, that they cannot understand why so much sympathy should be manifested for them. Thomas Brown, Company I, 58th Massachusetts, who 116 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, has been for weeks the most patient sufferer, and now very near his end, says he never saw anything like the kindness and attention shown to the men in this hospital (St. John's); that certainly the Lord put it into the hearts of the people to do all this for them ; he wished the men in Southern prisons might know it. Calder, of the 174th Ohio, is a Virginian, his wife and children living on the Rapidan when last he heard from home. He had great difficulty in eluding the con- script officers ; at length crossed the lines, and enlisted in Ohio ; when captured by the rebels, was tried for treason, and a rope tied round his wrists and ankles for three months ; was nine months in prison, then made his escape. A boy was brought into "St. John's" to-day, the son of a Presbyterian clergyman near Baltimore : since the first battle in which he was engaged, he has been frantic with terror ; he knows very well that he was a prisoner in Castle Thunder, but thinks he was put there as a punishment for praying daily "that God would end the war, give victory to our armies, and peace to the land." His dread of Southern prisons is painful to behold : when the flags which hang upon the walls are pointed out, and he is asked "if they look like the rebels' ?" conscious for the moment, he will reply, "oh, no; that looks like home;" but with a shudder he is again in the dreaded prisons, and it is ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 117 with difficulty he can then be calmed and quieted. The surgeons think the rest and pleasures of home will, in time, restore his mind ; he will very soon be sent there. In another ward is a case something similar to the Maryland boy, though this man has endured longer imprisonment and greater suffering. His name is Ephraim Gould, from Maine ; his mind seemed entirely gone ; he was only conscious of his prison life : that was all fearfully distinct. To-day there seemed a gleam of returning reason : and observing a lady near him, called his wife, and asked, was she here, had she written, or was it all a dream ? Fortunately, his wife had been written to, and a letter received from her; some money was handed to him, and told it was his own ; he looked intently at it for a moment, and then remarked: "Surely that is United States; it don't look like the rebel stuff!" Then recognizing a ten, a five, and so on, gave their value correctly? Inquires as a little child would do how he must get out of bed, must he ask if he wants to sit up, and so on. It is the most complete awakening of an imbecile man that I have yet seen. To the regret of all who knew him, this was but a faint glimmer of reason, ere exhausted nature gave up the struggle. Once more he was con- scious for a short time ; then sank into the repose of death. 11 118 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, Among those whose minds were not restored was "Fred," supposed to be a Swede: when asked his name and residence, would give the first he thought of — rarely the same twice. At the breaking up of the hospitals, "Fred" was sent to Baltimore: we saw him there in August, 1865; he seemed better; and wrote his name in a beautiful hand, "Fred, Chicago." An intense love of the flag is observed in nearly all who are received here. From the high flag-staff at the Naval School, the vessels can distinguish the flag floating while yet some distance out. A boy was lately carried from one of the boats who seemed wild with excitement when he gazed upon it; and when laid upon his bed in the hospital, asked that it might be placed where he could see it. A small one was given to him : his greatest pleasure seemed to be to lie under its folds ; he held it in his hands, laid it upon his face, nestled close to it in sleep, and would never have it out of his sight. The poor emaciated child lingered a few days, forgetting his sufferings and all the dark, weary months of hopeless imprisonment ; he was perfectly happy under its protection, and died with his flag in his hands ; was carried to his grave with it resting upon the coffin lid. Another boat load, of two hundred, just arrived: many of them in good condition, having been sent from Wilmington to Fortress Monroe, where they have been for three weeks ; some skeletons in the number. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 119 Met Mrs. Galbraith, of Ohio, looking for her son ; she was lost and bewildered in the crowd, and knew not where to go or what to do ; taking charge of her, he was soon found — the mother sobbing for joy that her boy was alive. He was sitting up: now, with her care, can soon bear the journey home. In the last arrival, came Wm. Neely, Company B, 83d Pennsylvania Vols., enlisted in Philadelphia. He was captured the 11th of October, 1863, and taken to Richmond, Va. After having made several desperate efforts to escape with his comrades, on the 24th of December he was put in the dark, condemned cell of Castle Thunder; an iron bar, fifteen inches long, was riveted upon his wrists and ankles ; the other end of the same bar fastened in like manner to Capt. Avery, of Kentucky. They were kept in that dungeon four months and six days ; the only clothing they were per- mitted to keep was pantaloons and blouse; no cover- ing of any kind allowed them ; no chair, bench, or bed ; nothing to sit or lie down upon but the filthy floor. Sometimes six men were kept in the same cell with them ; at night, a light was placed near the bars ; dur- ing the day, total darkness. He concealed in the roof of his mouth, for six weeks, a fine steel saw, such as is used about gun-barrels : at the time they were sent away, had one bar cut through, ready to make another effort to escape. The iron bar upon his wrist cut 120 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, into the bone, making an offensive wound; the scar it made he carried to his grave. When taken out, they were covered with filth and vermin, so enfeebled that they could with difficulty stand alone, and looking like nothing human. The captain was started for Tennes- see to be tried for treason ; but on the way escaped, and reached his command at Kuoxville in safety. JSeely was sent to Salisbury, from there to Columbia, thence to Macon, and hurried back again to Columbia, dodging Sherman. He finally escaped, by tunneling out under his prison walls, the Asylum in Columbia, eight days before Gen. Sherman entered the town ; a Union lady concealed him, a lieutenant, and sergeant until they could rejoin our forces ; he came to Fayette- ville with the second division hospital of the fifteenth army corps ; from there to Wilmington with the refu- gees, where they were kindly fed and cared for until able to bear the journey, when he was sent with others to Annapolis. He lingered two months, and died in St. John's Hospital. Continued efforts have been made to find his family : this statement has been pub- lished in city and country papers without avail : in- formation of importance to them is still in my posses- sion. Harris was one of the most revolting-looking skel- etons that was landed : when brought in, his head was without hair, except a little tuft in front ; his head ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 121 and neck were eaten in great boles by vermin — they had burrowed in ridges under the skin ; mind and body were alike weakened. He rallied for a few days: with good treatment and kindness, it seemed as though his life might be saved ; but all was of no use : rebel cruelty had too surely done its work, and the victim suddenly died without any apparent illness other than starvation. The 15th of April, 1865, came the saddest news that ever startled the American people: our beloved President Lincoln murdered ! It seemed incredible, and it was long before it could be realized. Where so lately was rejoicing, all is now changed to mourning. In one of the wards of "St. John's" is a man who had been three months a prisoner, and wounded. The flag always remained fastened to his bed : this morning it was at half-mast, heavily draped with black. Con- tinuing our walk, found many others like it: the only token of sorrow they could give. In the Naval School Hospital is a man from New York Mounted Rifles who has been a prisoner two years and three months, having tried all their prisons in turn. His stories of the "dead line" are terrible, yet agreeing accurately with all others I have heard speak of it. A boy was with him, going to the stream near the "line" to procure water that would be a little 11* 122 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, purer than that farther down : as he stooped to fill his cup, the guard tossed a piece of bread near him — eagerly the hand was outstretched to grasp it, the fingers up to the "line," when, in an instant, his brains were scattered upon the cup and bread he held ! and the guard resumed his walk, well satisfied that he had performed a commendable act. A daily occurrence is the number of those who come searching for friends : all they know is, they were pris- oners; and so hope to find them, or hear tidings of them. Many, alas ! have filled an unmarked grave at " Anderson ville," "Florence," or "Millen," or perhaps may have been among those who, unable to tell their names when landed, died and were buried as "un- known!" and so added to — "The brave hearts that never more shall beat, The eyes that smile no more, the unreturning feet." An old gentleman from Ohio could not give his son up : but telling, with tears, his affecting story, would ask help from every one he met to find his boy. All the records were searched in vain for John H. Ritchey, Company C, 122d Ohio Yols. A mother came from New York to the Sanitary Home: after searching all the records without success, she walked through all the hospitals — gazing at every ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 123 man, and inquiring if they knew her son ; at length a man said there was a book here with that name in it, that the man died as they came to the wharf; as soon as she saw it, exclaimed: "It was a Bible she had given him; her writing was in it!" It was a great comfort to her to find out that much certainly. Miller, belonging to a Massachusetts regiment, was so emaciated when he arrived that, when his father came for him, it was thought he could not reach Baltimore alive ; by resting with him frequently, reached home in safety. His weight then was sixty- five pounds, his height six feet : after some weeks' stay, returned, weighing one hundred and twenty pounds. He walks very well with a cane, but cannot stoop to the ground — as there are still large sores upon his back, from lying on the ground through storms and sun. Calling at the embalmer's about the body of a man who had just died, I found a gentleman from Con- necticut waiting to have a coffin, that had been disin- tered, opened. When the lid was thrown off, it proved to be one of the most terribly starved ones. The face had not changed : it was a ghastly green color, with mould upon it, as he came from prison ; the fair, light hair was brushed smoothly off the forehead — for some reason it remained uncut, showing that it had been 124 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, matted and sunburnt. The father's agony was most painful to those who were present : taking up the skel- eton hands, would exclaim: "If he had fallen when with Sheridan, upon the battle-field, or by illness, he could have borne it without a murmur; but this! — he never thought his brave young boy would starve to death !" repeating over and again, " starved, starved to death!" After the embalmer had prepared the body, it was again robed in nice, clean clothing from the Sanitary Commission ; but the face remained un- changed, when the father took the wasted remains to his home. Mr. Brown, a New York man, who enlisted in a Pittsburg regiment, is one of the most suffering cases among the prisoners. Directly after their capture, he was standing quietly with a group of others, when a brutal rebel soldier struck him down with his musket; he was never able to straighten himself afterward. He was taken to one of their hospitals, where, without any care, the wound sloughed and became offensive. When the men were taken from No. 4, Danville, he was left in the room alone — as he says, to die; calling to a rebel nurse, he implored him to carry him out with the others ; but all in vain ; at length some one came in to hear what he was saying, when, with the desperation of a drowning man, he clung with both arms round his ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 12") neck, telling him he would not let him go until he was taken to his companions. In that way he was carried and laid upon the platform, to wait for the cars : no blanket, or covering of any kind, to cover his poor suf- fering body; his moans and cries from pain and the cold were constant, until a rebel, more kind than his fellows, came to him, saying "he had been in our prisons, and knew how well they were treated ; and would do all he could for him." He succeeded in pro- curing some whisky, which he gave him — that warmed and quieted him ; then finding a piece of blanket, wrapped him in it and laid him near the fire. When the cars came, lifted him in, bidding him "good-by," with "Yank, you will soon be in your lines, while I go to the front to bring over a crowd with me." That was the last he saw of the man who, at that time, saved his life. During all the time he lingered, his sufferings were intense ; his sister, Mrs. Clark, of Alle- ghany City, waited upon him most devotedly until death released him from all pain. Two Georgia women, wives of prisoners, came on the boat with them, and were brought to the " Sanitary Commission Home." While the prisoners were at Macon, these girls worked in a woolen mill near : when- ever they could do so unobserved, would take some of the cloth and divide among them. The men assisted in 126 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, some kind of work outside their prison, and there the girls could take them food; when released, they were married, and marched with them fifty-eight miles — until they were put upon the cars, and sent on by boat. This is the third party of the kind we have seen here. The "Sanitary Commission Home" at this place, Annapolis, has been to hundreds a place of shelter when the town was crowded to overflowing, and a home at all times to those who were received beneath its roof: here the relatives and friends of those in the hospitals were provided for, meals and lodgings fur- nished gratuitously, and all made comfortable. Mrs. Hope Sayers, the estimable matron who presided so efficiently and pleasantly over the establishment, will ever be kindly remembered by all who were its inmates. May 13th. Eleven hundred and fifty men landed at the Barracks: again employed distributing articles among them, which are always received in the same pleasant manner. Those sent to the hospital are very dark with smoke and sun, and skeleton-looking like those who preceded them. They tell the same stories of their prison life, and repeat what others have said — how they dug wells at Andersonviile fifty feet deep, their only tools the halves of a canteen and an old table-knife. An arrival of rebel officers and privates ARMY OP THE POTOMAC. 127 with several hundred " galvanized Yanks," — an express- ive term in army parlance, meaning that these men, in their desperation for food, accepted the tempting offers of the rebels, — but they were never trusted or kindly treated by them — and despised by their old com- rades. Among the wounded is Sergeant Black, State color- bearer of the 67th Pennsylvania Yols., who lost a leg while carrying the flag. He was shot by a rebel not a yard from him : as he fell, they caught the colors ; it was but a moment ere his company had them back again, and their rebel bars with it. The fight was through a swamp, which varied in depth from four inches to as many feet. May 29th. Another arrival of prisoners : among them are the blackest white men I have ever seen. These are nearly the last from the South : they are suffering with scurvy and kindred ailments; exposed for months to the sun and storms and the smoke of pitch-pine, they are most thoroughly browned and tanned. Among them is a perfect skeleton — a boy from Ohio : he enlisted in a Kentucky regiment ; is now sixteen, and has been in the service two years. Longing and praying to see his mother, inquiring of every one how soon he will be sent home — he died suddenly at the end of two days. There are twenty 128 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, others in the same arrival almost as bad as he is ; the most of them must die, as Ohio did. The wife of one of these skeletons arrived directly after they landed. She had heard, in her home in Western Pennsylvania, that he was living, and was here. She came, dressed in the deep mourning she had worn for him for two years : for so long was it since she had heard of his death ; but — "Southern prisons will sometimes yawn, And yield their dead into life again." There was a happy meeting : he recognized, and could converse with his wife for a few hours — and then death came. The following morning a few sympathizing strangers stood with her, in the little chapel, as the last impressive service was performed ; and then he was carried to rest beside the thousands of his fellow- soldiers. A browned and emaciated boy, who had endured a long imprisonment, said the earth he burrowed out was his only shelter until he planted a few grains of corn : with great watching and care, it grew to screen him slightly from the sun, and remind him of fields of it at home. A man from the 15th Massachusetts, whose name I neglected to take, was captured at the battle of the ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 129 Wilderness eight days after re-enlisting. He had with him a blackened, soiled Bible : the binding and paper had once been handsome, but now, from exposure to storms, like its owner, looked badly; he said the rebels often tried to get it, but he managed to secrete it : it was his best friend, and very precious to him ; he hoped to take it with him to his home in Massa- chusetts. Upon giving to one of them some trifling articles, he thanked me very cordially, and said: "You must not think us a set of children, because such little things make us so happy; but remember we have had no kindness shown us for fifteen months, and these things tell us we are home again among friends." And thus they talk by the hour. Two brothers were lying side by side : one had lost half his foot and was in the hospital, while his brother was in the stockade at Andersonville. The one in the hospital had concealed some money, which he divided with his brother as soon as he could get out to him ; thus enabling both to purchase food, and probably saved their lives. Near them was a wounded Indian, and a Maine man six feet four inches tall — now so emaciated that he does not weigh one hundred pounds: in health, weighs over two hundred. 12 130 THREE YEARS IN FIELD HOSPITALS, June 6th, came the last arrival of bad cases : among them Philip Hattel, Company I, 51st Pennsylvania Vols., from near Barren Hill, Montgomery County; he was captured at the battle of the Wilderness; from prison, sent to Fortress Monroe; from there to this place. He lingered three weeks, and died, as thou- sands of his comrades had, from cruel starvation. It seems strange that one of the earliest captured should be returned among the very last. The name I have lost, but the facts are as I wrote them when the man related the story to me : After the first Bull Run fight, a number of men were making their escape to a place of safety, when some negroes offered to pilot them beyond the rebels ; but they were soon surrounded, and the whole party taken to Richmond, where they were tried for abducting slaves, and sentenced to im- prisonment during the war. They were kept in Rich- mond two years : then moved in regular rotation through all the prisons, and sent North with the very last. What became of their colored friends, they never knew. It was very mortifying to the soldier to think he had been a prisoner during the entire war: and fearful that his friends would not receive him, he de- termined to take the name of one who had died in prison ; his comrades had great difficulty in dissuading him from doing so. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. 131 An old gentleman, from Columbia, Penna., came in- quiring for " St. John's Hospital." Two days previous he had received a letter from his son, whom they had long mourned as dead ; and now, overjoyed to know that he was alive, he could hardly wait to be directed to the place. The boy came in the last arrival, is convales- cent, and will return with him. The 1st of July found the hospitals vacated, and a few months later restored to their former uses. The war ended, peace ensured, men mustered out of service, our work completed, there came for the first time in ail these long, eventful years, to overtasked mind and wearied body, the perfect rest of home! This glimpse of hospital work can give but an im- perfect sketch of a portion of that mighty host "who have filled history with their deeds, and the earth with their renown."