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Lights and Shadows in Confederate Prisons - A Personal Experience, 1864-5
by Homer B. Sprague
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APPENDIX

(From the original record. See p. 88.)

Proceedings of a Court Martial convened at Danville Mil. Pris. by virtue of the following Order:

DANVILLE MIL. PRISON, Oct. 29, 1864.

General Order

No. 1.

Pursuant to the Regulations adopted by the Union Officers of the 2d Floor Military Prison, Danville, Va., Oct. 26, 1864, a Court Martial is hereby appointed to convene at 10 o'clock A.M. on the 29th inst. or as soon thereafter as may be practicable, for the Trial of Captain [I omit from the record the name of the accused], 104th N. Y. Vols., and such other officers as may be brought before it.

Detail for the Court.

Lt. Col. W. A. LEACH, [Here follow the names 90th P. V. of Captains Bryant, Lt. Col. THEO. GREGG, Black, Clapp, Burkart, 45th P. V. Weiss (?), Reilly (?), Major J. W. BYRON, Moody, and the name 88th N. Y. V. of the Judge Advocate, Capt. G. M. DICKERMAN, Lt. and Adjt. James A. 26th Mass. V. Clark, 17th Pa. Cav.]

By order of the Officers of the 2d Floor, JAMES CARLE, Col. 190th Pa. Vols., Senior Officer.

DANVILLE MIL. PRISON, VA., 10 o'clock A.M., 31st, Oct. 1864.

The Court met pursuant to the foregoing order. Present all the members. The Court then proceeded to the trial of Capt. [we again omit the name of the accused], 104th N. Y. Vols.

The Judge Advocate stated that he had acquainted the accused of the order convening the Court, to which he replied in the words following, to wit: "What is that to do with me? I recognize no authority in this prison to convene a court martial," or words to that effect.

The accused having refused to appear, the members of the Court were duly sworn by the Judge Advocate, and the Judge Advocate was duly sworn by the President of the Court. The accused, Capt. [again we omit the name], 104th N. Y. Vols., was arraigned on the following charges and specifications:

Charge—Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Specification—In this: That Capt. [we again omit], 104th N. Y. Vols., without provocation, did say in the hearing of several officers to Lieut. Col. Homer B. Sprague, 13th C. V., speaking in coarse and ungentlemanly manner the words following, to wit: [here we omit the language uttered as being too vile and filthy to print]; that he did several times repeat the same in a coarse and angry tone, and used other vulgar and indecent expressions in an insulting tone and manner. This at Danville Mil. Prison, Va., in the lower room thereof on the 29th day of October, 1864.

The accused refusing to appear, the Judge Advocate was directed by the President to enter the plea of Not Guilty.

To the Specification, Not Guilty. To the Charge, Not Guilty.

Lieut. G. C. Wilson, 2d P. Artillery, and Lieut. Wm. Shuler, 107th P. Vols., witnesses for the prosecution, stated that they had cognizance of the facts set forth in the Specification.

The proceedings of the Court having been reviewed by the Judge Advocate, he submitted the case without argument. The Court was then cleared for deliberation, and having maturely considered the evidence adduced find the accused

On the Specification, Guilty; with the exception of the words "and used other vulgar and indecent expressions."

Of the Charge, Guilty. And do therefore sentence him to be reprimanded by the Senior Officer.

The Court is thus lenient owing to this being the first case of the kind brought before it.

WM. A. LEACH, Lt. Col. 90th Regt. Pa. Vols., Pres.; JAS. A. CLARK, Adjt. 17th Pa. Cavalry, Judge Advocate.

The Proceedings and Findings in the foregoing case are hereby respectfully submitted to Brig.-Gen. Hayes for his consideration.

JAMES CARLE, Col. 191st Pa. Vols., Senior Officer, 2d Floor.

CONFED. MIL. PRISON, DANVILLE, VA., Nov. 1, 1864.

The Proceedings and Findings of the Court Martial of which Lt. Col. W. A. Leach, 90th Pa. Vols., was President, having been submitted to Brig.-Gen. Hayes, the Senior Officer present, are approved. The extreme leniency of the Court must be apparent to all, and can only be excused by the novelty of the case brought before it. Language fails to convey censure adequate to the gross vulgarity and ungentlemanly conduct of the accused. Captain [we omit the name] seems to forget or misconceive his responsibility in his present circumstances. An officer being a prisoner of war is not relieved from his responsibility to his government nor from his liability to the regulations of the service as far as may be applied to his dishonor by ungentlemanly and unofficer-like conduct; and many other offenses committed by an officer when a prisoner of war are as punishable as if that officer were serving with his command. And it is well the officers in the prison have organized a Court for the summary punishment of those of their number, who, forgetful of their position and their honor, would bring shame upon themselves and their associates.

It is to be hoped that Capt. [name we omit]'s conduct in the future will be such as will cause to be forgotten his mistakes of the past.

JOSEPH HAYES, Brig. Gen. U. S. Vols.



INDEX

A

Adams, Dr. Nehemiah, 29

Adams, Sarah F., quoted, 35

ambulance, 37, 38

annihilation threatened, 23

apothecary doctor, 108, 109

Appendix, court record, 153-156

apple-jack, 39

Army of West Va., 4, 5, 6

artillery, trained on us, 51, 58

at in "Where is he at?" 73, 75

attempt to break out, 113, 118

autographs, officers', 136

B

Barnes, J. K., Surgeon-Gen., 146

battle, pomp of, 8, 134

battle-field, Winchester, 3 +

beans, soup of, ration, 44, 94, 102

Beecher, Henry Ward, quoted, 30

Beecher, married by, 52

Berryville, 3

Berryville pike, 3, 4, 7

Birge, Gen. H. W., 7, 9

blanket for several, 105

blankets "confiscated," 46

blankets, not to be shaken, 87

Blinn, Col. C. D., ill, 7

Blue Ridge, 1, 35, 36

Braxton's Confed. artillery, 9

bread, corn-cob-meal, 44, 93, 100

breakfast at Staunton, 32, 33

breakfast at Tom's Brook, 21

Breckenridge, Confed. Gen., 5

Brinton, Col., escape of, 26, 27

brooms in prison, 100, 102

Brown, John, defended, 28

Brownell, H. H., quoted, 137

Browning, Mrs., quoted, 36, 83, 91

buckets for water, 98, 110, 116

Buckingham, Gov. of Conn., 7, 129

"Bucktail Regiment," 64, 130

burning $400, 138

Burrage, Major H. S., 117, 120, 142

Bush, Lieut. W. W., 93, 96

"Butler's dandy regiment," 7 (note)

Byron, Lord, quoted, 28

Byron, Major John W., 87

Byrne, Major John, 64, 66, 141

C

cards, playing, 102, 106, 141

Carle, Col. James, 64, 66, 80

carving in prison, 49, 83, 101, 141

cavalry, 4, 5, 6, 13, 25, 34, 40, 45

chaplain, prisoner, 57, 58, 80

charge, Gordon's brilliant, 10, 12

Chautauqua, Mountain Lake, 121

checkers, 92, 102, 141

Cheever, Dr. Geo. B., 29

chess, 92, 102, 141

choosing death, 124, 125, 133, 134, 136, 143, 153

Clarke, Adjt. James A., 22, 96, 101, 117, 143, 153

clergymen's visits, 121, 122

Clover, in it at night, 47

coal, poor and scanty, 79

coal dust, very fine! 48

cold, severe and fatal, 79, 132, 142

communication, finger signs, 65, 70

communication, secret, 43, 70

Confederate currency, 27, 32, 33, 34, 94, 121, 140

Cook, Capt. William, 58, 85, 96, 103, 105, 143

cooking, how and where, 21, 95

Constitution, U. S., 29, 39, 47

Corcoran, Gen. Michael, 53

corn-cob-meal bread, 44, 93, 100, 107

corn-cob-meal soup, 94, 102

court martial in prison, 88; and Appendix, 153

Crew, John, a kind enemy, 28

Crook, Gen. George, 4

D

daily routine, Danville, 97-105, 140, 141

Dame, Rev., preaches to us, 121

Dan river, 79, 98

Danville, arrival at, 47, 48; again, 77

Danville death record, 129, 132, 142, 144

Danville prisons, 98, 129

Davies's Legendre, 140 (note)

Davis, Jefferson, 150

Davis, Lieut., death of, 57, 58, 68

dead lines, Salisbury, 54

deaf-and-dumb alphabet, 65, 70

deaths at Salisbury, 55, 130, 134, 136, 145

deaths of Confederates in northern prisons, 146

deaths at Danville, 129, 132, 136, 145

Declaration of Independence, 47

defile, Berryville, 3, 4, 7

devastation by Sheridan, 2, 3

diary kept, 22, 28, 44

Dickerman, Capt. G. M., 32

discussion with Lieut. Howard, 28, 29, 30

discussions in prison, 47, 90, 91, 102, 110, 141

distribution of rations, 54, 100

Dolan, pitied by Confederate ladies, 37

Duffie, Gen. O. N., 113-117

Dwight, Gen. William, 12, 13

E

Early, Gen. Jubal A., 5, 9, 14, 17

Edenburg village, 26

education in prison, 69, 70, 91, 92, 140

Eighth Corps, W. Va. Army, 4, 5, 6

Election votes in prison, 90

Emerson, Rev., prison chaplain, 58, 80

enlist or die, choice to, 133, 134

Epaminondas, strategy at Leuctra, 10

"escape on the brain," 67

escapes attempted, 26, 50, 110

Estabrooks, Lieut. H. L., 72, 74, 142, 143 (note)

exchange of prisoners, 83, 89, 102, 131

exchange blocked, 89, 90, 106, 107, 124, 131, 147-151

F

Ficklin, J. F., his kindness, 125-129, 131

Fisher, First Sea Lord, quoted, 57

Fisher's Hill, battle, 25

Fisher's Hill reached, 20

"flag-of-truce fever," 106, 107, 108

fleas, wicked, 27

flour ration, how cooked, 21

Fontleroy, Dr., his hospitality, 32, 33

freemasonry, very useful, 38, 40, 42, 46

French, oral lessons in, 69, 70

Fry, Major W. H., 85

fugitive slave law, 29, 30

fun, critical and sarcastic, 104, 105

fun, sanitary, 79, 80

furnace way of escape, 110

Furness, Horace Howard, 129

G

Gardner, Adjt. W. C., 69, 70, 71, 74, 85, 107, 108, 109, 142, 143

Gee, Confed. Major, 52, 53, 56, 74

German, oral lessons in, 92

Ghost in Hamlet, 85, 86

"God's Country," 137

God's fugitive slave law, 29

"going through" prisoners, 22

Gordon, Confed. Gen. J. B., 5, 10, 17

Gordon's brilliant charge, 10, 13

gorge of Berryville pike, 3, 4, 10

gorilla or guerrilla, which? 39, 40

grain cars at Danville, 48

Grant's merciless orders, 2

Greek Testament, kept, 42; stolen, 80

greenbacks burned, 138

greenbacks, relative value of, 23, 24, 41, 140

Greensboro, N. Carolina, 48

Gregg, Lieut.-Col. Theodore, 64, 85

Grover, Gen. Cuvier, 5, 6, 8, 12

guerrilla, "I'm a guerrilla," 59

guerrilla, Morgan's, a kind gentleman, 34

gun cotton, cushion suspected, 45, 46

H

hake, issued in rations, 94

Hall, Rev. Charles K., kind, 122

Hamlet, rehearsal, 85, 86

Handy, Lieut., aide to Molineux, 11

Hartshorne, Col. W. Ross, 64, 66, 67, 68, 115, 130

Haslett, Capt., Provost Marshal, 26, 37, 38

Haurand, Major August, 22, 66

Hayes, Gen. Joseph, 53, 61, 65, 67, 92, 141

Hayes, Gen., on court martial, Appendix, 156

health, surely failing, 123

Henry, Patrick, cited, 30

"Hide your greenbacks," 41

hole in the brick wall, 43

Holland, J. H., imaginary, 128

Homer, quoted, 80; puzzled to death, 99

Hooper, Lieut.-Col. C. H., 41, 54, 100, 115

horse lost in battle, 10, 11, 19

hospital in Danville, 106, 132

hostage, Lt. Manning held as, 60

Howard, Confed. Lieut., 28, 29, 30

Howe, Capt. Wesley C., 22, 50, 72, 109, 110, 141

I

Imboden, J. D., Confed. Gen., 25

Indiana soldiers, acrobats, 24

innocent deliberately slain, 152

international war, 152

Irish Bend, La., battle, wounded in, 89

J

James river, 46, 137

Jefferson, Thomas, quoted, 31

Jersey lightning, apple-jack? 39

Johnson's Island prison, 126

Jonah, disgorged like, 49

Jordan, H. T., 126, 127

K

Keifer, Gen. J. W., 9

Kerrstown, 20

L

Ladies, Confed., kind and handsome, 37

Lee, Gen. Fitzhugh, 5; wounded, 13

Legendre, Davies's, 113, 140 (note)

letters from outside, 88, 89, 96, 132

Libby prison, 40-44, 112, 144

lice in prison, 102, 103, 132

lice of Egypt, not "in it," 80

Lincoln, Abraham, quoted, 47, 48

Lincoln on exchange of prisoners, 89, 90, 125

Lincoln on right of revolution, 47, 48

Lloyd, J. J., returns from desertion, 133

Lockwood, Capt., killed, 77

log houses for officers, 52, 53

Longfellow, quoted, 136

Lovelace, poet, quoted, 89

M

Manning, Lieut. W. C., tunnel, 60, 61, 65

Mark Tapley's "jolly" example, 38

Marmion, Scott's, quoted, 37

martyrs in reality, 133, 134, 136

Mason, Capt. Frank H., 92, 143

Masonic Hall, Winchester, 18

McIntosh's cavalry, 4

Meacham's Station, 38, 40

meat ration, 44, 93, 94

Mercutio's wound, 118, 119

Middletown in Shenandoah Valley, 20

Molineux, Col. E. L., 7, 9, 14

money concealed, 42, 119, 138

money, Confederate, 23, 32, 33, 34, 113, 140

Morgan's guerrillas, 34

Mortality in prison. See under "deaths"

"Muggers," 51

N

Napoleon, his strategy, 10; quoted, 135

nationality, northern, 149, 150

nationality, southern, 39, 150, 151

necessity, military, defies every law, 151

negroes, loyal and kind, 111

negroes, prisoners of war, 78, 129

New Market, Va., 26, 27, 28

Newtown, V., 20

Nineteenth Corps, 4, 5, 6, 10, 66, 67

O

occupations, 83, 84, 85, 91, 92; 97-105

O'Neil, Col., Yale classmate, killed, 64, 130

Opequon battle, 3-15

Opequon Creek, 3, 7

order to retreat, 11

Ould, R., Confed. Agt. for exchange, 151

ovens for baking, 110

overcoat saved, 19, 20, 42, 46, 105, 108, 109

P

"painfully sober," 85

parole given, 53, 129

parole rejected, 53

pediculidae vestimenti, non capitis, 99, 100

Petersburg shelled, 45

Pharaoh's epidermis and obstinacy, 80

Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, 10

plots to break out, 61-75; 113-119

policing prison, 87, 100

prayer of chaplain Emerson, 58, 80

prey and pray, 121

Prey, Col. Gilbert G., 54, 115, 130

prison number 3, officers', 78, +

prison 6, the worst of all, 131, 132

prison rules adopted, 87, 88

profanity of soldiers, 14, 15, 39, 87

Putnam, Adjt. G. Haven, 91, 92, 101, 110, 121, 140, 142

Q

questions, amusing or ugly, 104, 105, 141

R

Ralston, Col., killed, 61, 64, 66, 114, 118

Ramseur, S. D., Confed. Gen., 13, 15

rations, 44, 49, 56, 93, 94, 100, 102, 107, 124, 139

recapture of escaped officers, 112

recount made futile by trick, 111, 112

Redwood of Mobile, Yale classmate, 38

Reed, "shot into inch pieces," 24, 25, 26, 31

retaliation threatened, 60; done, 148

rheumatism, 123, 142

Richardson, Albert D., of Tribune, 52

Richmond, arrival at, 40, 136

Richmond, watching exploding shells, 45

Ricketts' Division, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12

riddle, fatal to the old poet, 99

riots in July, 1863, 133, 149

robbery of captives, 15, 22, 46

Rodes, Confed. General, 5; killed, 10, 13

roll-call nullified, 111, 112

roll-call sergt., queer, 99-103, 111, 112

rope ladder, twisted rags, 111, 112

rules adopted in prison, 87, 88, 141, 153

Russell, Sergt. Alfred, 89

Russell, Gen. D. A., killed, 13

Russell, Martha, 89

Russell, Gen. W. H., 128

S

Sadler, Major David, 66

Salisbury prison, 50-55; 61, 130, 133, 134, 136

sandwiches, G. W. Swepson's, 49

sanitary measures, 79, 80, 103, 141, 142

Sargent, Lieut, of 14th N. H., 23

Scott, Sir Walter, quoted, 8, 37, 134, 135

scurvy prevalent, 123, 142

searching of prisoners, 41, 42, 119

seceded states, a real nation? 150, 151

sentries' sing-song call, 44

sermons in prison, 57, 58, 121, 122

"Set the table for dinner," 96

Shakespeare, quoted, 36, 118, 119

Shakespeare's Hamlet, 85, 140

shelter, lack of at Salisbury, 53, 55, 136

Shenandoah river and valley, 1, 2

Sheridan's devastation, 1, 2, 3

Sherman, Gen. W. T., quoted, 1

"shot twice into inch pieces," 24

Simpson, Lieut. J. B.; his sly trick, 77

singing at evening at Danville, 104, 141

Sixth Corps, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13

"skirmishing" a misnomer, 102, 103

slavery doomed in any event, 149

"Slim Jim," 101

Small, Major Adner A., 142

Smith, Robert C., Confed. commandant, 81, 82

Smith, Col. Robert C., Yale man, kind, 82, +

Smith, Sergt. W. F., clerk, 129

"snack?" or snake? 49

sorghum syrup issued, 94

soup, so called (or broth), 44, 94, 102

spittoon mystery, solved? 78

spoon, carving of, 83, 141 (note)

"spoon fashion," lying in, 105

"Spoon"! significance of, 105

Sprague, Bvt. Col. H. B., passim, and 143 (note)

stampede, Yankee, 11, 12; Confederate, 18, 23

Stanton, E. M., War Secretary, 147, 148

State, allegiance to, 39

Staunton, Va., march to, 2, 28

Staunton, arrival and breakfast at, 32, 33

Staunton, Morgan's guerrilla kind at, 33, 34

stealing rations from guards, haversacks, 77

Stephens, Hon. Alexander H., 146, 147

"Storming Column" at Port Hudson, 7

"Stove Brigade," at Danville, 79

stoves in prison at Danville, 79, 95

Strasburg, Va., 20

Strickland, undertaker, 129

Stuart, Dr. Moses, on slavery, 29

subjugation policy, Lincoln's, 151

sunrise on the Blue Ridge, 36

sutler, Confederate, 84

swearing, copious, of two kinds, 14, 15, 39

sweeping the floors, 87, 100

Swepson, George W., very kind, 49, 50

T

table-knife saw, Lieut. Titus's, 97, 111

Tarbell, Capt. Doctor, assistant commissary, 54, 100

Taylor, Bayard, quoted, 80

tertium quid, solution of mystery, 78

theatrical collapse at Danville, 85, 86

Thirteenth Conn. Regt., very patriotic, 7

Tiemann, Capt. W. F., 14, 15, 85, 109, 143

Titus, Lieut. L. B., invents useful saw, 97, 111

tobacco and the spittoon mystery, 78

tobacco given us by kind clergyman, 122

Tom's Brook, 20, 22, 23

tooth-brush, second-hand, $300 offered, 140

Torbert, Gen. Alfred T., 3, 4, 5, 6, 17

trading with Confed. sentinels, 54, 120

tunnel through the Blue Ridge, 35, 36

tunneling at Salisbury, 60, 61; Danville, 109, 110

Turner, Nathaniel, inspector, Libby, 41

Turner, Richard, commandant at Libby, 41, 45

U

unguentum, two pounds called for, 81

university students in prison at Danville, 140

V

Vander Weyde, Lieut. Henry, artist, 101, 117

vermin at Danville, 80, 81, 87, 131, 132

view-point, all-important, 57

votes in prison for President, Nov. 8, 90

W

war, Admiral Fisher on its essence, 57

war, Lieut. Gen. S. B. M. Young, quoted on, 57

war, Gen. Wm. T. Sherman's "War is hell," 1

Washington, George, Commander-in-chief, 73, 148

Washington, Lieutenant, a Confederate, 83

Washington, President, a Mason at Winchester, 18

Washington wished slavery somehow ended, 30

water parties under guard, 98, 110

water scarce en route, 20; at Salisbury, 56, 65, 75

Watts, Isaac, quoted, 45

Waynesboro, Va., 34, 35

Webster, Daniel, 29

Wesley, John, quoted, 152

West Virginia, Army of, 4, 5

"Where is he at?" 73

Whittier, John G., quoted, 152

Wilson, Cav. Gen. J. H., 4

Winchester, Va., battle of, 3-15

Winder, Confed. Gen. J. H., Supt. Prisons, 112

wood, split without edge-tools, 97, 107

Woolsey, T. D., President of Yale, 128

Y

Yadkin river crossing, 72, 75

Yale College men, 38, 49, 64, 69, 82

Yankee ingenuity and skill, 83, 84, 97

Y. M. C. A., of Richmond, 121

Young, Lieut.-Gen. S. B. M., on war, 57



Transcriber's Endnotes:

The following significant errors have been corrected:

Portrait Caption, "Gardiner" to Gardner.

Page 102 & 160, "peculidae" to pediculidae, could be amended to pediculus however the former seems more in keeping with the original intent.

Spelling errors occurring solely in the Index have been corrected to match the main text.

THE END

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