Saturday, March 19, 2011

Newport News Murders II


Commanding Post, Newport News, Va.:
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following inspection report of the condition of the prisoners of war at this station for the week ending April 22, 1865:
Conduct-good. Cleanliness-good. Clothing-good. Bedding-sufficient. State of quarters-good. State of mess-houses-none state of kitchen-good. Food, quality of-good. Food, quantity of-issued per General Orders, No. 1, Office of Commissary-General of Prisoners. Water-good. Sinks-temporary ones in use, permanent ones in preparation. Police of grounds-good. Drainage-good. Police of hospital-hospital not finished. Attendance of sick-average 140 each day. Hospital diet-none issued as such. General health of prisoners-good. Vigilance of guard-good
( If shooting and stabbing Confederate prisinors is considered good this is correct)
Remarks and suggestions.-The ground enclosed comprises twenty-five acres, enclosed by a fence twelve feet high, inside of which is a railing twenty feet from the fence, which prisoners are not allowed to pass. Outside of the fence a gallery has been erected for the sentinels, from which they can observe who approaches the railing and also any unusual disturbance among the prisoners. The hospital is now building and will be finished in a few days. Wells have been sunk, which will give a full supply of water.*
It will not be necessary to erect mess-houses. A detail is made each morning from the prisoners for the purpose of policing the grounds. Personal cleanliness is very good, with but few exceptions. The present sinks are but temporary. In two or three days sinks of a permanent character will be in use.
Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, JOHNHAROLD, Second Lieutenant, 122nd U. S. Colored Troops, and Insp. Officer.

Confederate View of the same Camp !

Richmond Howitzer Battalion.
April 18.—Still sick. Most of the prisoners are prostrated with dysentery and other bowel complaints—thought to be the results of the bad water we are forced to use in this low country. Our water is obtained from barrels sunk in the low places of the surface of the ground inside the prison enclosure. Have just read an account of the assassination of President Lincoln, which took place at a theatre in Washington City. This sad occurrence will no doubt rebound to our great disadvantage. Prisoners now consider the war at an end, and most of them are ready to swallow the oath of allegiance to the government of the United States.

(*Anyone who knows the Hampton roads area knows that a barrel sunk at ground level does not provide good water. Who do you believe?)

April 21.—Our prison life grows more and more wearisome ; it is almost unbearable. Every hour seems an age, and I am in despair of ever getting out again. The negro guards of the prison become more insolent and domineering every day. They abuse us in an infamous manner. Several prisoners have been shot down for the most trivial offences, without even a warning. Two men were shot last night. Rumors to-day of a release soon, but we dare not trust ourselves to believe them, we have been so often disappointed. Our rations are codfish and hard navy crackers—a poor bill of fare for a man with bad teeth, like I happen to have. Out of heart to-day, and indescribably miserable.

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