Today in History:

93 Series I Volume XXIII-I Serial 34 - Tullahoma Campaign Part I


dictate. The iron-hearted monsters who had charge of the prisons had no regard for suffering or for human life. We were closely confined the whole time; no visitors allowed; our correspondence withheld or destroyed for the most part. More than 50 men fell victims in prison to the series of barbarities inflicted upon them from Tullahoma to Richmond; others survived but a few days their exchange, and many others were disabled for life. Had our enemies give to those who fell by their cruelties the deadly and instant cup of poison, it would have been a mercy to the treatment they inflicted.

The treatment of men in Libby Prison is such as only those imbued with malignant and devilish passions can suggest. The needless discomforts of cold, of crowded rooms, of filth, of vermin, of foul food, were added to the shameful and fatal brutalities of the march. The season was cold, bitter cold; not a window in the rooms was closed with glass. Food consisted of a scanty ration, half a pound a day of brad an of putrid, starveling meat, totally unfit for use, filling the room with a foul stench on being brought in; in addition, an occasional ration of rive or of black beans. Neither sugar, coffee, good meat, or vegetables ever appeared as rations. Two wretched blankets were given to each officer and one to each man; they were lousy, filthy, fetid. The prison swarmed with vermin. No opportunity was furnished to wash our blankets, not even soap or tubs in which to wash our warning apparel. We became unhealthy by the use of the wretched food and by the filthiness of our bedding. Scurvy, itch, erysipelas, inflammatory sore throat, rheumatism, fever, lockjaw, delirium, and death in its most horrid forms were the legitimate results.

The unrecorded catalogue of barbarities must remain for the final account of the insatiate monsters who gloat upon the anguish of defenseless prisoners.

Earnestly pleading for the privilege, I, with other officers, was denied a visit to the faithful and dying men who had followed us during the war, though the distance of but 10 few et separated us. No intercourse was allowed. A list of the dead was refused, asked for in the most respectful terms. The only accounts we have are from their fellow-sufferers in the hospitals.

I have hesitated to add this list of atrocities to the casualties of war and record them against their perpetrators, but a sense of duty compelled me to expose the shameful and horrid malignity of the traitors, who have added to the highest crime against their country the cowardly and cruel torture of savages upon their enemies.

Exchanged at City Point, we were ordered on the steamboat State of Maine (lousy from stem to stern) by Colonel Ludlow, and fed, like dogs in a kennel, with bread and meat cut up and cast into two large boxes, until our arrival at Annapolis. Here ended our imprisonment and restoration to duty on the 8th day of May, 1863.

The delay in making this report was occasioned by my being kept on duty two months after my exchange at Indianapolis, Ind. Since my arrival at Murfreesborough, I have been receiving reports from my subordinate officers, the last of which came to hand this day, all of which are transmitted herewith.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.

Captain B. H. POLK,

Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.