THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS

        ANDERSONVILLE PRISON

    "THE FEDERAL'S DISPOSABLE"
      OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND

*SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS
From the Richmond Dispatch, August 2, 1891


ANDERSONVILLE PRISON*

LINES BY REV. JOSHUA PETERKIN, D. D.

The following poem from the pen of Rev. Joshua Peterkin, D. D., appeared in the Hartford (Conn.) Courier in 1865, and, now that 
the horrors of Andersonville are again being paraded in Northern magazines, it will no doubt be read with interest by many. The quotations are from lines which a short while before had been published in a Philadelphia (Pa.) paper.

G. E. T. L. 
   Andersonville Prison

Full fifteen thousand men,
The brave, the good, the true,
As captives died in prison pen,
"They died for me and you!"
And shall not truth's indignant tongue
Declare who did this grievous wrong?

On many a bloody field
They stood 'gainst leaden hail;
And though at last constrained to yield,
Their spirits did not quail;
They safely passed their battles through,
And yet "they died for me and you."

They pined for home, sweet home,
And for their daily bread;
Alas! assistance did not come,
And now they are with the dead!

E'en hardened rebels felt their grief,
And yet could furnish no relief!
The rebel leaders durst
Not do what we have done,
Though many hearts with anguish burst
At tales from "Anderson."

For still they let our brave men share
Their own coarse food and scanty fare.

The sad tale must be told:
The brave, the true, the good,
While we were busy coining gold
They died for want of food!

Those fifteen thousand boys in blue
As victims died--"for me and you."

The rebels, in their needed,
Once, twice, and yet again,
Did all that they could do to plead
For justice to these men;
But deaf, alas! the nation's ear,
The people's servants would not hear.

Even Davis felt their grief, 
And sent his message forth,
By prompt exchange to grant relief
To prisoners South and North.

And why, alas! was it not done?

There was no heart in Washington.
 

The rebels gave us leave
To send down loyal men--*

Men good and true, who might receive
Aid for that prison pen,
And tend the suffering inmates there
With a whole nation's love and care.

But no, these gallant men
Were left to starve and die
That Northern banners might again
Mid Southern breezes fly;
And bold recruits might rush to save
Their comrades from a prison grave.

A wise, sagacious move!

A stroke of policy!

So called by those who know not love
Or human sympathy.

But ah! those noble boys in blue--
Their blood now rests on "me and you."

The rebels, pinched and pressed,
Offered to send them home+
Without exchange--you know the rest, 
For home they did not come!

Our ships could not be spared to save
Our soldiers from a Southern grave!

Who did such grevious wrong
In that sad, gloomy hour?

Men who were anxious to prolong
Their influence and power.

Who cares for fifteen thousand men
If we the helm of State retain?

*In January, 1864, the Confederates proposed to allow the Federal authorities to send their own surgeons to the South. It was proposed, also, that these surgeons should act as commissaries, and distribute whatever either the United States Government or private benevolence should furnish. Of course, the Confederates would have desired a similar opportunity for their surgeons to minister to Southern prisoners at the North. The United States authorities, however, never gave any reply to the proposition, though the war continued for more than a year after it was made.

+In August, 1864, when the mortality was increasing at Andersonville, the Confederates offered to give up from ten to fifteen thousand men unconditionally, except that the United States' authorities were to send for them. After a delay of three fearful months, the most sickly   of the year, they did send and took away thirteen thousand, leaving in their place three thousand Southerners, who were even more squalid and sickly than the poor fellows they took home.

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