How our Soldier Boys at Fort Delaware Amused Themselves
From the very many publications of experiences of prison life in the
North and South, during
From that mass of sorrowful narrative it is a pleasure to discover a
small bit of the silvery
Among the archives of the Louisiana Historical
Association is a newspaper published (hand-written) at Fort Delaware,
in April, 1865, by Confederate prisoners. Within the limits
The Times illustrates so plainly the cheerful and hopeful spirit of
these gallant officers, and
The original paper was presented to the Historical Association by Major E. D. Willett, who received it from the wife of Lieutenant A. T. Turner, Fifteenth Louisiana regiment, who was Chief of Division 25, in the barracks of Fort Delaware.
It is so worn and torn that it is almost illegible, and can only be
deciphered by using a strong reading-glass. As it is impossible to present
it in facsimile, it is given below in cold type, and it may prove of interest
to the survivors of the life at Fort Delaware or to their descendants,
Here it is:
Et temps et lieu.
VOL. I. FORT DELAWARE, APRIL, '65. NO. I.
In presenting to the public our first edition of the Prison Times we are aware that there will be many criticisms. As public journalists we intend to steer clear of all personalities, unless of a pleasant nature. Nothing political will be indulged in.
We will on all points of public interest speak candidly, as the interest of the public is our own.
Public improvements, the fine arts, advancement of literature, thorough school system--we are advocates of all these, and will do all we can to promote the interests of each.
We have secured the services of able gentlemen as correspondents. We feel assured their contributions will be perused with pleasure. In our miscellaneous columns we will have extracts from authors which will be interesting and edifying. In our poetical column will be found gems from celebrated authors, male and female, whose reputation is becoming known; so far as we can we will publish selections that have not appeared in print.
We intend to make the Times a good advertising medium. We ask the support of a liberal community.
Our terms are moderate. Manufacturers will find it to their interest to give us a trial.
"We are literally immersed in business," as the fellow said when he was giving a swimming lesson.
An Ancient Toast.-
"I drink to one," he said,
"To one whose love for me shall last
Each guest upstarted on the word,
St. Leon paused, as if he would
"The fortitude that neither calumny nor calamity can crush never fails to command respect. Such fortitude is only attainable when one is calm in the rectitude of the cause in which he suffers, and feels that no false testimony can mislead the universal and eternal Judge. Then, indeed, is the sufferer happy, and despite of adversity feels that the clouds around him are not the frowns of heaven."--Bulwer.
M. L. White, Lieutenant Thirty-third N. C. T., is prepared to execute all kinds of engravings on metals with neatness and dispatch.
B. F. Cartwright & Co.--Division 24--Manufacture plain and gutta-percha rings, chains and breastpins, etc. Call and see specimens of our work.
Tailoring Establishment.--Division 22--Griggs & Church, successors to Beval, Bowman & Church, are prepared to execute all kinds of fashionable tailoring at reasonable rates, at their shop, S. E. corner, upper tier of bunks. Call soon, as a stich in time saves nine.
Division 32.--Washing and ironing done with care and promptness by Davenport & Boswell. S. G. Davenport, Captain Ga. B. I.; I. C. Boswell, Captain 23d Ga. R. I.
Barber Shop.--Division 24--Shaving, shampooing, hair-cutting, dyeing and hair-dressing done up in the latest style. Choice selection of perfumes on hand. Broughton & Walker.
Dental Card.--Lieutenant R. F. Taylor can be found at all hours. Division 28.
Music.--Instructions given on the guitar by T.
Gordon Bland, Lieutenant 10th La. Cavalry.
PUBLISHED IN DIVISION 27 BY I. W. HIBBS, CAPTAIN THIRTEENTH VIRGINIA INFANTRY.
Proprietors and Editors:
George S. Thomas, Captain 64th Ga., Div. 24; W.
H. Bennett, Captain and A. C. S., Div. 24; A. Harris, Lieutenant 3d Fla.,
There are more than sixteen hundred officers in our barracks within an enclosure containing scarce five acres of ground.
One would suppose that the fact of so many men being thus crowded together would tend to create the greatest amount of sociability and afford unrivaled facilities for forming and cementing extreme personal friendships.
But there seems to be as much isolation of individuals and as many little cliques and communities as in large cities of the world outside.
This is a phenomenon of prison social life to
which we can only call the attention of our
As our knowledge of the great world outside is fast becoming traditionary, or, at best, confined to "fresh fish stories," our news will be necessarily of a purely local character. Though it cannot be denied that the operators on our great Grapevine Telegraph sometimes manage to get up some wonderful and startling dispatches.
In our humble efforts to portray the prison times at this place we shall labor to keep our readers posted upon all incidents occurring in our midst worthy of record, and afford them every facility of letting them know who is here and what is being done.
Trusting that the difficulties of conducting an enterprise of this kind, under the circumstances, are duly appreciated by an intelligent public, we send forth this our first number, hoping that ere we have time to publish many numbers our Prison Times will be discontinued forever and our patrons and ourselves be far away in our loved sunny South.
OUR PRISON WORLD.
A glance at our advertising columns will prove
that to call our barracks a miniature world is
True it is that we have not the genial presence
of charming women, and the very few babies
There are also several accomplished musicians, vocal and instrumental, who occasionally enliven and charm our little community with the concord of sweet sounds. The Prisoners' Benevolent Musical Association have lately earned and received the gratitude of our community by their generous efforts in behalf of the sick and destitute of our number, as will be seen from the statement we give in another column of the receipts of the concerts given in the Mess Hall for this purpose.
Owing to the difficulty of procuring the necessary
materials the rest of the fine arts are not so entensively cultivated.
But we have, nevertheless, a few artists who exhibit considerable skill
The learned professions--theology, law and medicine--are
not without their representatives,
There are also debating clubs in Divisions "22"
and "32." Every Thursday night these clubs
Then we have a Christian Association for the relief of prisoners. We have time and space at present only to call attention of our readers to the directory of this most excellent institution, which will be found in another column. The list of standing committees there given will give some idea of the noble objects and plan of operations of this association.
We have also in our midst, busy at work, shoemakers, tailors, barbers, engravers, jewelers, machinists, washers and ironers, and ring, chain, and breastpin makers, many specimens of whose work we have seen, and must say that they reflect credit upon the patience, ingenuity and skill of the workmen.
Thus much for some of our public institutions. We have others that we expect to notice "et temps et lieu."
Variety Works.--Division 24--Whitten and Neighbors.--Having
completed our machinery, we are prepared to execute all kinds of sawing,
turning and drilling with neatness and dispatch.
Here are every day posted the latest bulletins; occasionally a startling "grape" * is seen on the board. Perhaps no city furnishes a public place where those in search of the very latest can get it as readily as at the Salle Port of the officers' barracks at Fort Delaware. The advertisements posted are gotten up--some of them--in good taste. The various tobacconists set forth their claim for public patronage; they offer at what they consider reasonable rates the finest James river to its most inferior quality. Such large quantities so suddenly thrown on the market has created a decline, and holders are not disposed to part with their best brands.
Everything except tobacco is still held at extravagantly high rates. It is to be expected, as navagation is no longer blockaded by ice, there will be a perceptible change in prices.
The milkmen have not occupied their stalls in the market places; will do so soon, as the grass furnishes good nipping.
Poultry dealers are holding back for higher prices.
Butter may be considered healthy. Small lots, several days ago, changed hands at fair prices; other lots too strong to take well.
"Fresh fish"+ of recent importation can be found in every division. It is to be hoped that consignors will not forward any more for the present, as we have a superabundance of "Fresh fish" already on hand, and storage room is becoming very scarce.
A butcher informed us that his orders thus far had been confined principally to rats. A change in favor of this kind of meat was so great, his orders were very large.
Our friends at a distance, in the upper and middle districts, must bear with us a short while, until we can procure the services of a first-class commercial reporter; we will then keep them advised as to the state of the markets.
A GOOD WORK.
At a meeting called by a few officers in these barracks it was suggested by Lieutenant J. O. Murray, Twelfth Virginia cavalry, to organize a musical association to raise funds for the sick and destitute in our midst.
A communication was addressed by the secretary of the meeting, Lieutenant T. G. Bland, Tenth Louisiana cavalry, to the commandant of the prison, and permission was obtained for concerts to be given. Lieutenant W. Hays, Second Kentucky cavalry, the prisoners' friend, and ever ready to alleviate their condition, was selected as manager, and Lieutenant T. G. Bland musical director for the first concert, which was well attended, and the performance was highly creditable to all concerned.
We regret very much our inability to attend the
second concert. We have with pleasure seen
The good effects of this benevolent association are being already developed through their energetic and worthy committee.
Below is the statement of receipts and disbursements of concerts of the 21st and 28th of March.
Statement of receipts of concerts March 21 and 28, 1865, given for the benefit of sick and destitute officers:
By cash ...............................................
Total expenses ........................................
Cash receipts .........................................
Amount of tobacco for distribution, 178 pounds.
R. W. Carter, Colonel First Virginia Cavalry;
C. E. Chambers, Captain Thirteenth Alabama; W. Hays, Lieutenant Second
Kentucky Cavalry, committee.
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION DIRECTORY.
President--I. Hardeman, Lieutenant-Colonel Twelfth Georgia, Division 22.
First Vice-President--T. A. Boyle, Adjutant Thirty-second North Carolina, Division 25.
Second Vice-President--J. T. Kincannon, Captain Twenty-third Virginia, Division 33.
Third Vice-President--T. W. Harris, Captain Twelfth Georgia, Division 34.
Recording Secretary--John Law, Adjutant Thirty-eighth Georgia, Division 22.
Corresponding Secretary--J. F. Fuller, Adjutant Thirty-first Tennessee, Division 30.
Treasurer--G. F. Lyle, Lieutenant Virginia Artillery, Division 22.
Librarian--J. C. Wright, Lieutenant Twelfth Tennessee, Division 31.
M. Sanford, Captain Fourteenth Texas, Division
CHAIRMEN OF STANDING COMMITTEES.
On State of the Church--W. J. Clark, Colonel Twenty-fourth North Carolina, Division 28.
Introduction--J. E. Roberts, Captain Fourth Virginia, Division 22.
Education--T. W. Hooper, Colonel Twenty-first Georgia, Division 22.
Finance--J. L. Cantwell, Captain Third North Carolina, Division 35.
Religious Reading--J. L. Connor, Adjutant Sixty-first Georgia, Division 22.
Devotional Exercises--J. G. Knox, Captain Seventh North Carolina, Division 35.
Sick and Destitute--W. C. Shane, A. D. C., Division 22.
Order and Arrangements--W. R. Stephenson, Captain Thirty-third North Carolina, Division 22.
Music--C. C. Turner, Lieutenant Fifth South Carolina, Division 22.
Regular meeting of the association every Friday
The debating club of Division 22 meet every Friday night.
Riverd, Major Sixth Louisiana (?)
The debating club of Division 32 meets every Thursday evening.
President--C. J. Palmer, Captain Third Virginia Cavalry.
Darden, Captain Sixty-first North Carolina.
THE LOW, SOFT MUSIC OF THE PINES.
Oh there's music in the glad gurgling waters
There's music in the low heaving billows
There's music in the soft-sighing zephyr,
All nature's grand choral organ
There's music for stern, reckless manhood,
When the winds lash the waves into fury,
Then tell me not of the music
There's music around the home of my childhood,
The fire burned briskly in the grate,
He thought of home, of kindred ties,
Without the wall of his prison cell
What was it in the morn's dull cloak?
He'd nothing but his God to fear.
As the morning light began to dawn,
He'd been thinking all night of his mother.
L. G. B., LA.
Fort Lafayette, N. Y. Harbor, January 22, 1865.
Division 22--Chief, Captain J. E. Roberts, Fourth Virginia; adjutant, Adjutant John Law, Thirty-eighth Georgia; postmasters, Captain E. J. Dean, Twenty-second South Carolina, Captain N. C. Shane, A. D. C.
Division 23--Chief, Major D. Hammond, First Maryland Regiment; adjutant, D. F. Grimes, Virginia; postmasters, Lieutenant C. J. Bluit, Twenty-fifth Virginia, Lieutenant J. D. Irwin, Twentieth North Carolina.
Division 24--Chief, Captain E. T. Bridges, Thirty-seventh Virginia; adjutant, Captain T. J. Pritchett, Sixty-fourth Georgia, postmasters, Captain O. W. Spriggs, Forty-second Virginia; Lieutenant N. B. Riger, Twenty-fifth Virginia.
Division 25--Chief, Lieutenant A. P. Turner, Fifteenth Louisiana; postmasters, Captain H. S. Hoffman, Tenth Virginia, J. Maynadiey, First Virginia.
Division 26--Chief, Captain R. A. Cox, A. C. S., C. S. A.; postmasters, Lieutenant L. Stripling, Sixty-first Georgia, Adjutant M. S. Smallman, Eighth Tennessee.
Division 27--Chief, Lieutenant W. Hays, Second Kentucky; postmasters, Lieutenant James Hewitt, Tenth Kentucky, Adjutant A. S. Webb, Forty-fourth North Carolina.
Division 28--Colonel W. J. Clarke, Twenty-fourth North Carolina; adjutant, Lieutenant G. P. Waldman, Forty-fourth Virginia.
Division 29--Chief, Colonel W. L. Butler, Twenty-eighth Alabama; adjutant, Lieutenant R. Neil, Second Arkansas; postmasters, H. W. Hall, Fourteenth Texas, Lieutenant T. W. Mitchell, Forty-ninth Virginia.
Division 30--Chief, Adjutant W. L. Platt, Seventh Georgia; adjutant, Lieutenant D. McCoy, Twenty-second Virginia; postmaster, Adjutant J. F. Fuller, Thirty-first Tennessee.
Division 31--Chief, Lieutenant W. F. Ratcliffe, Virginia Reserves.
Division 32--Chief, Captain C. S. Jenkins, Sixty-fourth Georgia.
Division 33--Chief, Captain B. G. Patterson, Twenty-third Virginia Cavalry.
Division 34--Chief, Captain, A. M. Cumming, First Louisiana; adjutant, Lieutenant L. Garric, Tenth Louisiana; postmaster, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Kesler, Forty-sixth Virginia Cavalry.
Division 35--Chief, Major D. A. Jones, C. S. A.
Division 36--Chief, Colonel V. H. Manning, Third Arkansas; adjutant, Lieutenant W. E. Hart, Carter's Virginia Battery.
Division 37--Chief, Captain W. A. Kendall, Third Kentucky Cavalry.
Musical Association--President, R. W. Carter, Colonel First Virginia Cavalry; secretary, William Hays, Lieutenant Second Kentucky Cavalry; manager, P. B. Akers, Lieutenant Eleventh Virginia Infantry; musical director, T. G. Bland, Lieutenant Tenth Louisiana Cavalry.
Lee Club--President, H. L. Hover, Lieutenant Twenty-fifth Virginia; secretary, J. L. Cantrel, Captain Third North Carolina Infantry.
Stonewall Club--President, W. H. Rowan, Captain Third Kentucky Battalion; secretary, T. L. Pritchett, Captain Sixty-fourth Georgia.
The allusion in the columns of the Times to the "Gravepine" and "Flesh Fish" will be recognized by old soldiers, the former being applied to the rumors of events occurring outside the prison that were supposed to be communicated through the "grapevine," or "underground telegraph" line.
"Fresh Fish" was the term applied to new arrivals,
captured on recent battle-fields. Upon their entrance to the fort they
were greeted with the cry of "Fresh Fish" by all the old residents, and
immediately interviewed to learn the latest from the outside world, and
if "Lee had whipped
The times is dated April 8th--the day before Lee
surrendered the remnants of the Army of
WILLIAM MILLER OWEN.