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Pair of Manuscript Reminiscences of Captivity in Andersonville Prison by two Members of the 8th Maine Regiment, written circa 1910-1911

Octavo and quarto, 13 pages, inscribed on sheets of lined paper in pencil, in very good clean condition.

"What I saw while a Prisoner of War

I enlisted in the 8th Me Regt. Co I May 6, 1861. Was taken prisoner at the battle of Drewy's Bluff Va., May 16, 1864 they took me to Libby Prison same day. They put us in the upper story; Castle Thunder was opposite Libby Prison while in Libby they gave us bean pods and all after we picked out the pods but a few beans was left.

May 23d 1864 Left Libby Prison for Danville, Va, Arrived at Danville 24. 25 left Danville for Andersonville, Ga May 30th arrived at Andersonville Ga. The stockade wos was ma built out of timber hewn on two sides, so they would be tight when put together they was about 14 feet in length they were set in the ground 2 or 3 feet the sentry boxes were built on the outside of the stockade so the guard could look over into the prison to watch we Yanks. Inside of the stockade was the deadline; it was posts set in the ground about 3 feet high with a rail on the top, this was several feet from the stockade. We wasn't allowed inside of the dead line if we did the Guard would shoot us without any reason. If went to pick up a chip under the deadline they would shoot us.

They would not allow us to get into the shade of the stockade to shelter us from the hot sun. They would come in after and with a bar and punch round inside the dead line to see if we had made any attempt to tunnel out. They had a field piece mounted just above the prison so if we got together in groups they would throw a shot over the Prison; they were afraid we was making plans for an escape.

The Prisoners dug wells some very deep ones; they begin they would begin in the side of the well to tunnel out; they would let the dirt from the tunnel go into the well so the Johnnies could not see any signs of a tunnel. Several prisoners made their escape but a small per cent of them reached our lines. While at Blackshire I got one square meal; they had a guard around us, it was dark and I got by the guard without his notice and went to a Darkies Cabin the old woman gave us some meat and bread so we had a feast; while we were there a Darkie came in but didn't stop long; we thought he was up to something so we put for the camp just before we got in we heard a blood hound but we got in all right - The Negro had betrayed us.

Their was a stream of water ran through the Prison; they had their cook house on this stream so all of their waste they threw into this stream and we had to drink the water which was rather filthy at times. We had a heavy thunder shower that washed away part of the stockade; after the shower a pring broke out on side of the hill better water never flowed out of the ground that came from this spring they made us fall in single file to get our water for a while afterwards we had all we wanted. We were divided of into squads about 75 in a squad, had a sargent to each squad. Sergent Whittlesey had charge of the squad I was in; he belonged to a N York Regt; he was a fine fellow. I would like to know if he is living; when they brought in the rations he would take charge of them he would cut them up as best he could then he would have us all numbered, then one of us would turn our back, he would point to ration and say who will have this; the one that turned his back would say no 4 and so on till we were all served. We drew our rations once a day, they brought them in with a mule team, it didn't take us long to eat our morsel Some of the boys would say after eating their rations we are square with Jeff Davis for 24 hours. Our rations were a small piece of bread & the same of meat a little bit of salt.

Thair were a great many that had no shelter; some would dig holes in the ground; it was kind of clay that would not cave. I with several of my comrads had a shelter; but we had to lay pretty close; when one turned over we had a we all had to. I never used tobacco in any form whatever and it was well that I didn't for I should had to went without. I have seen them pick up old chews and dry them in the sun so they could smoke them.

Some of the Prisoners that had money could buy things of the guards, so they did fair better than lot of us did.

I saw a comrade eating mush on a bet; he said he could eat a pint of meal made into mush and he did how you suppose he did it; I saw him eating until had he had got it most down but and I thought he would have would to give it up, but he didn't; he turned round and run his finger down his throat up come the mush he had eaten; so he soon finished his job the rest."  

"West Baldwin Mar 5, 1911

I was 19 years old when I enlisted I first enlisted in Capt. McArthurs Co, Liming May 6, 1861 this was a State Co. Orders came to discharge this Co; but McArthur had the promise that he should go into the Army as Capt of some Co in a Maine Regt So I enlisted in his Company and was mustered into the 8th Me Reg. Sept 8, 1861. McArthur went out as Capt. and I was discharged as Brevet Brig. General.

We came out of Andersonville in Sept to go to Miller; we had a railroad accident I was in the 3d car from the Engine they had 10 cars with us Prisoners, the car that I was in was badly smashed several were killed and quite a number wounded.

I was in 6 different prisons, Libby, Savanah, Miller, Blackbrier, Thomasville and Andersonville.

We had in the Andersonville Prison band of raiders they would steal all they could from the new Prisoners that came in from the front so we reported them to the Rebel Capt. so they had them cort marshal and they sentenced them to be hung. They built a scaffold in the prison and hung 6 of them; when they took out the plank 1 of them broke his rope and ran down in the swamp; but they brought him back and hung him with the rest. After that we formed a Police armed with clubs so we didn't have any more trouble with raiders.

Their was a dead house a short distance from the Prison the dead soldiers was carried out to the dead hous every 24 hours, they carried them out to the burying with a span of mules they piled them in the cart on top of each other same as the farmer loads his pumpkins. I have read how the Prisoners were treated; but the half has never been told.

I arrived home May 29, 1865 left Andersonville Apr 28 - 65"