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Prison Life in Andersonville By John L. Maile Characters: 46486

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

At the age of thirteen, the writer attended a series of religious meetings and became profoundly convicted of his obligation to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Lack of moral courage held him back from an open confession. He compromised by secretly pledging to become a Christian after he had entered upon his chosen profession of law. Thereupon his convictions ceased and the matter was forgotten.

Now, in his illness in Andersonville prison, answer to prayer, as evidenced in the instance of Providence Spring, turned his attention to his own moral necessities. Well might this introspection occur; for, in this month of August, 1864, his prospects of surviving the surrounding conditions were swiftly diminishing. Blood poisoning, in the form of scurvy, had settled in his face. He tottered from weakness. His long days and weary nights were spent on his blanket, spread on the ground, just within the little shelter tent that was wedged in among others. When eyes were closed to awful sights, the ears must listen to dreadful sounds. As vitality was ebbing away, and the things of time and sense were withdrawing, the realities of eternity seemed to come to the front. Truly it was time to "prepare to meet thy God." This must be done at once. The reading of the little pocket testament began anew, and the thought was awakened to pray for self; when suddenly there came to mind the forgotten covenant of seven years ago, "I will be a Christian after I become a lawyer."

The obvious conclusion was, "Taken on your own terms, as you cannot be a lawyer, you cannot be a Christian." Total physical and mental weakness could not cope with this mental suggestion. The reflections that followed led to feelings of utter despair. Thus he soliloquized, "In the day of my strength I said 'No' to God; now, in the hour of my weakness, he will not hear me. He knows that from fear and not from sincerity I now seek to pray. Hypocritical prayer will but add insult to injury. I must not pray." These confused reasonings were largely due to an anemic brain and mental temptation. The weakened mind accepted a lie in place of the invigorating truth that "now is the day of salvation." Eternity seemed to open its portals to a realm of darkness into which the soul was being forced by the stress of its own past decision, while high over these gates enthroned in light appeared the radiant form of the Son of God. While this Personage seemed unspeakably lovely and "chief among ten thousand," the soliloquizer said, "He has been denied, he is lost to me." These cogitations filled the waking and sleeping hours of several nights. With a sense of woe unutterable the decision of doom was accepted. The sensations of a lost soul seemed to be real. Words are entirely inadequate to express the sense of eternal, irremediable loss by which the heart was oppressed. This exhaustive strain could not long continue. The evening of a day of unusually oppressive heat presaged the end. Vividly the thought stood before the mind, "This is my last night on earth." To the comrade who was blanket-mate the home address was given and a whispered good-bye. This was the fully accepted close of life.

Sinking into an unrestful slumber, the small hours of the morning arrived, and a forgotten incident of the long ago was revived in a dream. The scene in vision occurred on a beautiful Sunday morning of spring, eleven years before. The location was a village on the old Ridge road in Niagara county, New York. The region was, and is, noted for its orchards of deciduous fruits. On this date the blossoms were out in full. Banks of pink and white embosomed the homesteads that lined the historic highway; sweet odors filled the air, and bevies of bees with droning song were industriously gathering the abundant nectar. Nothing could surpass the beauty of that quiet Lord's Day morning as the family, consisting of father, mother, older sister and younger brother, with the lad, wended its way to the brick church of the village. They habitually passed, on the outskirts of the same, the stone house of Col. N--, whose daughter's husband was absent in the West.

The good lady taught in the Sunday school a class of boys who were from seven to ten years of age, and although they were possessed of irrepressible juvenile energy, and occasionally, to her distress, seemed to be irreverent; yet they regarded her with sincere respect and gave willing obedience.

On the Saturday night, preceding this Sunday morning, a great burden of solicitude for the safety of her husband was suddenly pressed in upon her mind. To her imagination he seemed to be in extreme peril; perhaps he was unattended; he might be alone and facing a speedy and fatal termination. Possessing a strong faith in God, and believing his readiness to hear and answer prayer, at midnight she aroused from her bed and engaged in an irrepressible travail of soul for the far-away loved one. For several hours the burden of intercession continued. With the coming of the Sunday morning dawn, the light which made all nature bright and beautiful was suddenly duplicated in her heart. All at once the burden lifted. Instantaneously her being was filled with the sweet assurance that all was well with her husband; that whatever was his danger he was being saved therefrom. A tender gratitude possessed her heart. A sense of union with the mighty Jehovah suffused her being with a consciousness of strength and resource. Like Deborah of old a song of triumph arose in her soul.

As the time of going to church approached, the above mentioned family came along, and, as was their custom, the teacher and her son, who was about the age of the writer, joined them on the way to the sanctuary. As the others were conversing by the way, the two boys ran on ahead and the one, having observed on the face of his teacher the marks of suffering, said to his chum, "Newton, what is the matter with your mamma?"

"O, Johnny," was the reply; "My mamma has been feeling awful bad about my papa. I guess she thinks he is going to die, for in the night I heard her talking and talking to God about saving him and making him well. Say, Johnny, if God don't do what mamma asks I won't have any papa, will I?"

With their hands joined in a common sympathy, and with mutual tears, the two lads sorrowed for a brief moment. But what parental anxiety could hold their abounding life from immediate sympathy with nature smiling all around? By the time the church was reached and cheery salutations had been exchanged with arriving classmates, all impressions of grief were forgotten.

The teacher, in a mood of chastened gladness and confidence, listened to the sermon which the venerable pastor extended to an unusual length. This delay absorbed the brief period of time usually given to an intermission, during which the intermediates might straighten out the kinks which seemed to form in their lithe limbs while perched on cushioned seats so high that their feet dangled short of the carpet.

The good superintendent, whose gracious face and form are remembered as but of yesterday, called the school to order immediately after the benediction was pronounced. "We are late," he said, "and cannot have intermission today; classes take their places at once."

These irrepressible youngsters combined the movement of filing into the pew with motions not included in the regular order. One punched another. The lad who had recently shared the mental distress of his mother now inserted a bent pin under the descending form of his companion; resulting in a response that did not improve the discipline of the occasion. The boisterous impulse seized the entire class to the annoyance and discomfiture of the teacher, who was seated at their front in the adjoining pew. Several reproving glances directed towards the young insurgents quieted them during the opening exercises.

After the vigil of prayer during much of the preceding night and the answer of peace that had been given, we can readily understand the state of mind which now possessed the teacher. The transient, sportive disorder of the little boys was but a harmless ripple on the surface of her thought. Her soul was in a continued attitude of prayer. Her victory in intercession made easy a renewal of request at the throne of grace. Not only her mother-heart but her Christian love yearned over the lads that were committed to her care. Not the surface question of behavior, but the issue of their conversion to Jesus Christ took possession of her mind. She thought to herself, "Why not now? Why not now?" Attracting the attention of the lads by tapping on the pew-top with her ivory-mounted fan, with countenance expressing unwonted strength, she said, "My boys, I want you to now be perfectly quiet, and to bow your heads and close your eyes while I pray for you."

The spirit of quiet firmness which accompanied these words, the outreaching of her soul as in the interceding exercise of the previous night, profoundly impressed the lads. Instantly and willingly, they took the attitude of reverence; motionless they listened to the tender voice that pleaded in words like these: "O Lord, my heavenly Father, I ask Thee to help my little boys to give their hearts to Thee. Wilt Thou not, by the sacrifice of thy dear Son, cleanse their hearts from sin. Wilt Thou give to them a new heart, a clean heart? Bestow upon them freely of Thy Holy Spirit, and help them to live always for Thee. Amen."

Although eleven years had passed away, and the immature experiences of boyhood had been replaced by the opening realities of manhood, the events above described formed the subject-matter of the dream on that memorable night in Andersonville. The panorama of what was largely forgotten unfolded before the mind in what was supposed to be the sleep of approaching death. These renewed impressions were so vivid that at the instant of awaking the reality seemed to be with the old-time home; the dream was the being in the prison pen.

But a few moments of consciousness were required for the recognition of the actual circumstances of the present time and place.

But, within, all was changed. In the place of despair an inspiring hope was in the ascendant. The forms and voices of loved ones had been seen and heard. The intercession of the teacher for her little boys had restored the right to pray. While yet in much physical weakness the day was mostly passed in silent prayer.

During the second night a lessened impression of the dream was repeated. By the second morning all the processes of thought were restored to the normal condition. The mind and will were able to adopt the irreversible determination to henceforth implicitly trust in the living God and to live the life of faith and prayer. And up to the present hour that determination has sought to be unfalteringly kept.

The Beloved Teacher in After Years.

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"The mystic chord of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by better angels of our nature."-Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.

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Many narratives of experiences in the military prisons maintained by the government of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War have been written by Union officers and soldiers confined therein. With minor differences of statement arising from personal diversities these testimonies as a whole establish the fact of unprecedented suffering and mortality.

Since the close of the Civil War our government has unstintedly employed ability and money in compiling and publishing an exhaustive exhibit of the Union and Confederate records. These statistics and memoranda afford to the later historian abundant and reliable data, and upon his calm verdict we may rely for the substantial truth.

The holding of prisoners during our civil war was a matter of large concern. The number of Union soldiers captured was 211,411; paroled on the field, 16,669; died in captivity, 30,218. These last figures are defective. Of twelve Confederate prisons the "death registers" of five are only partial and thousands of the emaciated men passed away soon after release.

The number of Confederate soldiers captured was 462,635; paroled on the field 257,769; died in captivity 25,976. The percentage of deaths among the imprisoned Confederates, it will be seen, was far less than among the Union prisoners.

The number of enlistments in the Union army was 2,898,304; in the Confederate army from 1,239,000 to 1,400,000. The estimated cost of war to the North was $5,000,000,000, and to the South $3,000,000,000.

(The above figures are taken from a "History of the United States," by James Ford Rhodes, LL.D., Litt.D., who quotes from General F. C. Ainsworth, Chief of the Record and Pension Office.)

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"We raise our father's banner that it may bring back better blessings than those of old; ... that it may say to the sword, 'Return to thy sheath,' and to the plow and sickle, 'Go forth.' That it may heal all jealousies, unite all policies, inspire a new national life, com-pact our strength, ennoble our national ambitions, and make this people great and strong, not for aggression and quarrelsomeness, but for the peace of the world, giving to us the glorious prerogative of leading all nations to juster laws, to more humane policies, to sincerer friendship, to rational, instituted civil liberty, and to universal Christian brotherhood."-Address of H. W. Beecher at Fort Sumpter flag raising, April 15, 1865.

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It is difficult, even after the lapse of years not a few, to consider dispassionately the treatment accorded by the Confederacy to her prisoners. War had fanned to a flame the fire of sectional animosity, and a spirit of retaliation was awakened. It is true the South was comparatively a poor country, and the hand of war had stripped her bare. The mighty armies of both sides carried on their vast operations on southern soil; the one as an army of defense, the other as an army of invasion.

In the movements of strategy and battle, many combatants were taken prisoners; these were sent to the rear for safe keeping and maintenance. With practically unlimited resources this additional burden was scarcely felt at the North.

At the South, the case was different. The extended territory occupied by the armies was practically unproductive for the people. It was, therefore, inevitable that the prisoners of war share the general limitation. As their numbers increased, it was necessary that they be conveyed to localities beyond the reach of rescue. Their increasing hosts could not wait upon the size of the stockades built for their confinement, and the limited forces that could be spared for their safe keeping must in some way hold them closely in hand.

Moreover, unfriendly prejudices were increasing by the very fact of invasion, and as the North was held responsible for the war, the prisoners were the object of bitter hatred. In numerous minor particulars, such as ample supply of water, of shelter and of food and fuel, the obligations of the southern military authorities were criminally negligent; yet many of the features of the prison circumstances were probably unavoidable.

The situation in the South is summed up in the following extract from "A History of the American People," by Woodrow Wilson, Ph.D., Litt.D., Vol. IV, pp. 306, 307:

"One of the most distressing evidences of the straits to which the South had been brought was seen in the state of the prisons in which she was forced to keep the thousands of prisoners who fell into the hands of her armies.

"More than two hundred thousand, first and last, were taken, and only some sixteen thousand of these were paroled upon the field....

"Not until the war seemed turning toward its end could an exchange of prisoners be arranged. The Federal authorities knew their superiority in fighting population and did not care to lose by returning fighting men to the South. If her soldiers died in Southern prisons, they were dying for their country there, General Grant said, as truly as if they lost their lives in battle.

"In the south men could not be spared from the field to guard the prisons; there were not guards enough; there was not food enough; and many thousands were crowded together under a handful of men.

"Proper sanitary precautions were, in the circumstances, impossible. The armies themselves lacked food and went without every comfort, and the prisoners could fare no better-inevitably fared worse, because they were penned within a narrow space and lacked the free air of the camp. A subtle demoralization touched the government of the Confederacy itself as the war went its desperate course, and those who kept the prisons felt that demoralization with the rest."

One recollection has burned itself into memory. At Andersonville there was a standing offer of immediate release to any prisoner of average strength who would take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy and engage in non-combatant service. Officers who entered the prison with these proposals were shunned by our men. I recall a recently naturalized Federal prisoner who thus enlisted. When he re-entered the prison in Confederate uniform as a recruiting officer, his reception was such that he fled to the gate for his life; shouting to the guard to protect him. For flag and country our boys could uncomplainingly die a lingering death, but they could not turn traitor.

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Among the heroisms of the great Civil War none surpassed the self-sacrificing devotion manifested by the women of the North and of the South. The latter are represented by an organization known as "The Daughters of the Confederacy," within whose associations are kept alive ardent memories of heroic days.

The former have wrought enduring deeds of patriotism and of mercy, chiefly in co-operation with the Grand Army of the Republic. The work of the Woman's Relief Corps in securing and improving the Andersonville prison grounds constitutes an imperishable memorial to their patriotic devotion.

To the energy and executive ability of Mrs. Lizabeth A. Turner, Chairman of the Andersonville Prison Board, is due in large measure the complete success attending the movement to gain possession of and to beautify the site and surroundings of the historic Andersonville prison.

The following letter written two years before the decease of Mrs. Turner explains in her own vigorous expressions how these great results were secured:

"Woman's Headquarters Relief Corps, (Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic.) 46 Camp Street, New Britain, Conn., October 14, 1905."

"Rev. John L. Maile.

Dear Comrade: Some fifteen years ago the Department of Georgia, G. A. R., considered the idea of buying the Andersonville prison pen and holding it in memory of the men who there died for the preservation of the Union.

The committee bought all the land the owners would release and hoped to raise through the Northern posts and their friends a permanent fund for the care of the grounds.

The plan proved a failure. The G. A. R. in the South is very poor. Its members are mostly colored men who are able to make little more than their living.

On the property was a mortgage of about $750, which was paid by the Woman's Relief Corps, but money for the care of the place was lacking. The grounds were then offered to the United States Government on the condition of providing perpetual care. As Andersonville is not a battlefield, the authorities declined the proposition.

On two occasions a like proposal was made to the National G. A. R. Encampment, but these veterans decided that the time is not far distant when they can care only for themselves.

With better success the responsibility was tendered to the Woman's Relief Corps, which felt that if there is a place on God's earth that should be held sacred, it is that prison pen. The officials accepted the obligation, trusting to woman's patriotism for support and care, and they have not trusted in vain.

The adage that "God helps those who help themselves" has been true in our case. When we accepted the sacred trust and looked the ground over, I found a large corner of the original pen and three forts we did not own. We bought the extra grounds and the forts, paying for them several hundred dollars more than they were worth. We ventured for all or nothing-and all it was.

This occurred in 1895, and in that year I was elected President of the W. R. C. At the convention we raised by personal contributions $700 as a beginning.

During several years each member was asked to give from three to five cents; some responding, others refusing. Now all bills are paid from the general fund of the National organization.

We own eighty-eight and one-half acres of land, including the seven forts; all the earthworks and rifle pits; also the wells dug by the men in trying to reach water. These are in as perfect condition as when the war closed.

Not a well has caved in or a fort changed in shape. That hard, red clay seems as unyielding as stone.

The grounds are inclosed with a high wire fence and suitable gates. Roads are laid out and bridges built over the creek. Bermuda grass roots planted on the north side will make an even lawn.

Grass seed for a sward will not germinate in that soil. We have built over Providence Spring a stone pavilion, also a nine-room house, well furnished, and after the northern home pattern.

We also have a barn, a henyard, a good mule and all kinds of work tools for such a place.

We engage an old veteran and his wife as caretakers. From a pole 116 feet high floats in the air every day the flag those heroes died to save. At our last convention we voted to build a windmill the coming winter.

Last fall we set out 300 roses and this autumn will add 200 more. We have also set out 150 four-year-old pecan trees that are from 10 to 15 feet high. They do finely in that soil and when from ten to twelve years old will bear a paying crop. A freeze does not affect them and they are marketable without decaying.

Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Michigan have put up beautiful monuments in the prison pen. Wisconsin will have hers ready to dedicate on next Memorial Day.

Pennsylvania, Iowa and Maine have placed monuments in the cemetery. All this has been done through the work of the W. R. C.

While I believe the prison pen is the only place for the monuments, I am thankful to have any State remember their Andersonville men wherever they think best.

"Death Before Dishonor" is the motto on all the monuments within the prison grounds.

Last year we had markers put down on all the places of special interest; also on the stockade and dead lines. Trees have grown up through the forts forty feet high and are more than two feet through.


W. R. C. has started a fund for the perpetual care of the Prison Pen Park. We began last year and have already $3,000 in the fund. The yearly income is to be added to the principal, and none to be used until the proceeds are sufficient to support the place.

We are to set aside annually not less than $1,000 for the increase of the fund, besides caring for current expenses.

You will, I am sure, be much interested in the situation. I have been Chairman of the Board from the beginning and hope to live long enough to see sufficient money set aside to care for the place forever.

Yours in F. C. and L.,


Chairman Andersonville Prison Board of Control."

Mrs. Turner served as President of the Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, and was appointed by her compeers as Life Chairman of the Andersonville Prison Board. Her death occurred at Andersonville on April 27, 1907.

A monument suitable to her memory, erected by the Woman's Relief Corps, adorns the prison grounds for which she spared not her life to preserve and beautify.

From the Annual Address of Mrs. Fanny E. Minot, President of the Woman's National Relief Corps, at the Twenty-third Annual Convention, 1905:

"In March it was my privilege, in company with Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Winans and Mrs. Kate E. Jones, to visit Prison Park at Andersonville. As I walked through the grounds and read and pondered on the suffering there endured, it seemed, indeed, a hallowed spot. Just beyond is the National Cemetery, in whose broad trenches are interred more soldiers in one group than upon any battlefield on the face of the globe. A whole army perished rather than deny the country which gave them birth! The bravery of the men at Thermopylae has been the theme of song and story; but they fought in the shadows of their soul-inspiring mountains, while these men, removed from the activities of war, the flash of arms, the long array of men eager for the contest, dragged out a miserable existence till death came to their relief. If ever men were loyal, true and brave, whose names should be inscribed on honor's roll, it was these."

"Who tasted death at every breath

And bravely met their martyrdom."

"How fitting that the magic touch of woman should consecrate this prison pen and make it a prison park! Only patient, persistent effort has made the change possible; for the soil is unresponsive, and tangled vines and underbrush had run riot for many years. But on this visit we found the grounds suitably enclosed, the Bermuda grass taking root, the moats and creek cleared of the vines and the conopy erected over that wonderful Providence Spring. The house erected for the caretaker much exceeded my expectations for comfort and convenience. Honeysuckles and roses clambered over the porch, and the rose garden, planned by Mrs. Turner, gave promise of beauty and fragrance where formerly had been barrenness and foul odors. On these grounds Ohio has raised a beautiful granite shaft, Massachusetts has placed a substantial monument near by, Rhode Island has honored her dead in bronze and stone, and last Memorial Day the Governor of Michigan came with friends to dedicate with appropriate ceremonies a monument to the brave sons of that State. Wisconsin has selected a site near the spot where some of her men encamped; and other States are planning to erect monuments, but wish first to be assured that the park will have permanent care."



We lift up the banner of freedom today,

And let the world know that due honor we pay

To liberty's martyrs, who starved for the right,

And crown them with heroes who fell in the fight.

Their chalice of woe was filled up to the brim;

They drank to the dregs with high courage and vim,

Nor faltered, nor wavered, but loyal and true,

Stood firm by their colors, the red, white and blue.

The earth was their pillow, their covering the sky;

And thousands lay down on the bare ground to die;

No artist can paint, no pen tell the story

Of all they endured for love of "Old Glory."

The Lord, in compassion, took note of their grief,

And came, in His majesty, to their relief;

He rode on the wind, where swift lightnings played,

And hallowed the ground where the prisoners laid.

They panted with thirst, ere the Presence passed by,

But flashes of glory lit up the dark sky;

A thunderbolt fell, with omnipotent ring,

And opened the fountain of Providence Spring.

And peace came at last. Ah! for thousands too late;

We mourn, as a people, their pitiful fate,

And hold the ground sacred, our care and our pride,

And plant the flag over the place where they died.

But the Nation is saved! They died not in vain;

Our people are all reunited again.

From ocean to ocean-the lakes to the sea-

One country, one people, one flag of the free!

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By Rev. H. H. Proctor, D.D., of Atlanta, Ga., in The Congregationalist of May 2, 1905.

"The thirtieth of May is sacred to the nation. With its return the heart of the country instinctively turns to those eighty-three national cemeteries, mostly on Southern soil, where in 194,492 known and 151,710 unknown graves lie 346,202 men who fell fighting for the flag. And in all the land, fittingly enough, there are no spots more beautiful than these. For their care and improvement the national government spends $100,000 a year.

The cemetery at Andersonville, Ga., gains additional interest in view of the famous prison connected with it. Of these I wish to speak. No one can spend a day there, as I did lately, without drinking deep of the patriotic spirit. The very ground on which you stand seems holy, when you think how brave men suffered and died there. The very air seems charged with their spirit still.

Some disappointment is felt when over one hundred miles south of Atlanta you get off at a little station, with a few straggling houses here and there. But in the distance, a mile away, the national flag waving invitingly bids reassurance. At length you stand at the entrance of the cemetery, entering through the strong iron gates of the thick ivy-covered brick wall, 12,782 known and 923 unknown men are buried within.

Many things at once interest you. Walks lead to every part of the grounds. Trees, shrubbery and flowers enhance the natural beauty of the place. Feathered songers of the South chant daily requiems. Each grave is marked by a white marble headstone, on which is generally carved the number, rank, name and state of the dead soldier. Here and there we read the sad inscription, "Unknown." The white stones contrasting with the fine greensward under the soft Southern sky make an impressive scene. This is especially true in that part of the grounds where stands the splendid monument of New Jersey, as shown by the accompanying illustration.

In a convenient place there is located an octagonal rostrum, where every Memorial Day gathers a large concourse of people to pay homage to the sacred dead. After the exercises the most impressive act of all follows. Each grave, officers or private, white or black, known or unknown, is decorated with a miniature flag. And what a transformation! Instead of the monotonous rows of bare white stone a field of flags, by the magic of loving remembrance, appears!

But as impressive as is this cemetery, more impressive still to me was the prison. It is only a few rods away. Its notoriety is universal. Blaine, in his memorable speech in Congress, immortalized its more than Siberian horrors.

Some of the posts of the old stockade fence, survivors of that dread prison will be interested to know, still stand. There, within a space of thirteen acres, 52,345 men, the very flower of the Republic, were kept in a pen. For thirteen months they were exposed in that rude stockade to the heat in summer and the cold in winter, to blistering sun and chilling blasts. From cruelty and exposure, hunger and thirst, disease and dirt, they died like sheep. Every fourth man died!

The story of "Providence Spring" is universally familiar. It proves that God is yet with men as of old. The water supply for these thousands in that small space consisted of but one little brook which of course soon became unspeakably foul. In their thirst they cried unto God for water. He who hears the cry of the raven could not be dumb to the prayer of the suffering soldier. It was night. Soon the sky was overcast with clouds, the lightnings flashed, the thunders rolled, and a great rain came that night. Next morning a fountain of living water sparkled in God's sunshine near where the devout soldier had knelt in prayer the night before.

In recognition of God's providential gift they christened it "Providence Spring." Today a pavilion of stone, erected by the Woman's National Relief Corps, commemorates the spot. Two significant utterances are carved on marble tablets in the pavilion. On one we read these words: "The prisoner's cry of thirst rang up to heaven. God heard and with his thunders cleft the earth, and poured forth his sweetest waters gushing here." Over the fountain, which has never ceased from that day to this, carved in Georgia marble are the great words of that great man in whose big soul the nation was born again: "With charity to all and malice toward none."

As I stood by this spot and looked up on the hill I felt a new love of country stir within my heart. I could but say in my heart I would rather be a plain American citizen, though black, than a knighted Roman under C?sar.

As we think of that prison we are thankful for the cemetery. The prison typifies suffering. The cemetery is the symbol of peace. Through that gateway of suffering our martyrs entered into peace. How typical of the nation! Through the crucible of suffering it entered into peace."

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The magnanimity which dictated the terms of surrender at Appomattox was typical of the treatment extended by the Government of the United States to its defeated opponents. Well might this be so. The sinews of strength of the mighty North had through the four years of desperate conflict grown strong indeed.

A Confederate Major General declared that the veterans of General Sherman's army, pushing their winter way through the swamps and rivers of the South; foraging widely for subsistance and always ready to fight, illustrated a type of soldier that the world had not seen since the days of Julius C?sar.

The final parade of the Union army along Pennsylvania avenue before the President, the Cabinet, prominent Generals and notables of other nations, displayed a vast procession of seasoned veterans whose effectiveness had never been surpassed. They were the choice, steel-tempered residue of more than two millions of citizen soldiery who had enlisted to preserve the union of States, "one and inseparable," against the folly of secession.

In the plentitude of their invincible strength, nursing no lust of power, they disbanded to peaceful homes from whence they came; subsiding from their regnant military life as the mighty storm-waves of the ocean sink away into pacific calm.

Apart from wide-spread personal bereavement the North bore no serious scars of war. The perfection of agricultural machinery enabled rich harvests to be gathered in season notwithstanding the dearth of farm help which had gone to the army. Factories of every kind were, with large profits, turning out abundantly all sorts of goods. Our commerce with the world was unhindered, save by the eccentric raids of the Alabama; the muscle and brawn of an ample labor immigration supplied the manual force necessary to national expansion; as illustrated in the building of the trans-continental railroads. The huge war debt instead of being felt as an incubus was but a process of turning into ready cash the prosperity of the future.

Contrast with this picture the condition of the Southern States at the close of the four dreadful years. Within a goodly portion of her borders the country was war-swept and harried by the consuming necessities of vast armies of both friend and foe; for hungry men and beasts on the march and in the fight must subsist largely upon the supplies which the foragers gather from the adjacent regions.

Manufacture, as compared with the North, was a neglected art south of Mason's and Dixon's line.

The most extensive and effective naval blockade of history hermetically sealed nearly every Southern port, thereby hopelessly shutting in untold wealth of cotton, the returns of which were otherwise available to every need.

No millions of stalwart immigrants reinforced Southern industry; on the contrary her labor system and property tenure in human beings were shattered in pieces.

The flower of her masculine youth perished; the prestige of ruling intelligence, culture and wealth was dethroned and, to crown her afflictions although she knew it not, the South lost her best and most powerful friend in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Then followed the agonies of political reconstruction and the ignoble invasion of carpet-bag adventurers who, in many instances, were valiant only for pelf.

Surviving this wide-spread chaos the South, for the most part, believed in their lawful right of withdrawing from the Union. By many of their leading minds this contention had been long held, and that conception of government doubtless had filtered down through all classes of society so far as thought was developed on the subject.

The defense of State rights probably was a more powerful incentive to civil war than was at first the purpose to defend slavery.

The bravery of Southern soldiers has never been surpassed. The self-sacrificing patriotism of Southern women reached the high-water mark.

The vitality and moral force of Southern chivalry was distinguished even in the remarkable loyalty of the slaves.

If the foregoing briefly stated considerations form a truthful presentation of the case, why, it may be asked, may not the National Government expand the magninimity of President Lincoln and General Grant by engaging with Congress to erect monuments and other memorials to heroes of the army and navy of the Confederacy? The first step towards such procedure has already been taken in the form of proposed legislation at Washington.

We would not imply that the most eminent leaders of the Southern forces were personally unworthy of posthumos honor.

On the contrary it is our privilege to bear testimony to the exalted individual worth, the consecrated devotion to country as they understood the duty, and the pre-eminent ability in action that characterized the most noted leaders of the Confederacy.

Nevertheless their relation to national history is determined, not by individual excellencies, but by the fact that they rebelled against the Government they were sworn to defend. To the utmost they did all they could to dismember the Union of which they were an integral part, to dishonor the flag that emblazoned the glory of a common origin and history.

In the interest of perpetuating a far-reaching sentiment of loyalty to national life and well-being we would strenuously deny the moral right of Congress to make appropriations for the erection of memorials that are designed to crown Confederate valor with renown. If by private subscriptions admirers wish to build monuments they undoubtedly will be allowed to do so.

Our Government has wisely extended high courtesies to prominent Southern Generals, and has on many occasions held out the olive branch of peace. But we must not forget that brotherly kindness and neighborly good-will cannot cancel the fact that the Southern conception of government by state rights, as against National sovereignty, meant the destruction of the Nation as such and was so intended.

Had the war for the Union been a failure this fair continent on which has been nourished the hopes of the world would have been the arena of two general governments separated by no natural dividing lines and probably at last to be succeeded by contending states and communities.

Thus the last condition of free civilization in America would have been more disgraceful than was the situation of the warring principalities of ancient Greece, because we had sinned against a greater light than they possessed.

If National monuments are dedicated to commemorate Southern gallantry will not a subtle influence steadily flow out from these reminders of civil war to the effect that assault upon the Nation's existence is an offense so trivial as to be expiated by bravery on the field of battle?

Who can tell what crises of peril may in the future break in upon our beloved land? And what if the youth of the North and of the South are, from generation to generation, taught by the influence of public memorials that there is no real distinction between those who fought to save the Nation and those who did all they could "that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall (not) perish from the earth."

We present a quotation from the judgment of the Supreme Court, as given by General N. P. Chipman on page 503 of his recent and informing book on Andersonville:

"The rebellion out of which the war grew was without any legal sanction. In the eye of the law it had the same properties as if it had been the insurrection of a country or smaller municipal territory as against the State to which it belonged. The proportion and duration of the struggle did not affect its character. Nor was there a rebel government de facto in such a sense as to give any legal efficiency to its acts.... The Union of the States, for all the purposes of the constitution, is as perfect and indissoluble as the union of the integral parts of the States themselves; and nothing but revolutionary violence can in either case destroy the ties which hold the parties together.

"For the sake of humanity certain belligerant rights were conceded to the insurgents in arms. But the recognition did not extend to the pretended government of the Confederacy.... The Rebellion was simply an armed resistence of the rightful authority of the sovereign. Such was its character, its rise, progress and downfall."

The legal aspects of the case as thus expressed have their great value as indicating facts fundamental to organic National existence and they demonstrate the inherent inconsistency of devoting Federal appropriations to the erection of monuments to the honor of opponents of the Union. This can be but a transient purpose which should and, we believe will be, relinquished.

We close this narrative with the words of a departed soldier who was a devoted friend of General Lee and afterwards a trusted counsellor of General Grant, as recorded in the Memoirs of Gen. John B. Gordon, pp. 464, 465:

"American youth in all sections should be taught to hold in perpetual remembrance all that was great and good on both sides; to comprehend the inherited convictions for which saintly women suffered and patriotic men died; to recognize the unparalleled carnage as proof of unrivalled courage; to appreciate the singular absence of personal animosity and the frequent manifestation between those brave antagonists of a good-fellowship such as had never before been witnessed between hostile armies. It will be a glorious day for our country when all the children within its borders shall learn that the four years of fratricidal war between the North and the South was waged by neither with criminal or unworthy intent, but by both to protect what they conceived to be threatened rights and imperiled liberty; that the issues which divided the sections were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an ocean of fraternal blood. We shall then see that, under God's providence, every sheet of flame from the blazing rifles of the contending armies, every whizzing shell that tore through the forests at Shiloh and Chancellorsville, every cannon-shot that shook Chickamauga's hills or thundered around the heights of Gettysburg, and all the blood and the tears that were shed are yet to become contributions for the upbuilding of American manhood and for the future defense of American freedom. The Christian Church received its baptism of pentecostal power as it emerged from the shadows of Calvary, and went forth to its world-wide work with greater unity and a diviner purpose. So the Republic, rising from its baptism of blood with a national life more robust, a national union more complete, and a national influence ever widening, shall go forever forward in its benign mission to humanity."

From the oldest to the youngest, let us all unite in the patriotic salutation, "I pledge my allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands. One Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."


* * *


[1] Toward the close of the war great bounties were paid for recruits in northern cities. Many desperate characters enlisted for this money, intending to desert at the first opportunity. The vigilence of Genl. Grant forced them into battle. Many were captured and landed in Andersonville. Here they conspired to rob and murder fellow prisoners. Capt. Wirtz convened a trial court composed of prisoners who observed all the forms of law in the trial of these desperadoes. Six of them were found guilty of murder and were hung.

[2] Market Square was a piece of made ground on the edge of the swamp in the center of the prison. Here men came together to barter trinkets they had made to while away the time, to exchange parts of rations, and to indulge generally, so far as they could, in the Yankee instinct for trade.

[3] On February 20th, 1912, the writer received a call from an old friend, Rev. M. L. Holt, of Neligh, Nebraska. He gives this confirmatory statement to Mr. Maile: "As Sergeant Major of the Third New Hampshire Veteran Volunteer Infantry I can certify to the military surroundings at the place of your release. Two days before your arrival from Goldsboro, General Terry ordered our Third New Hampshire to make a forced march to a point ten miles distant from Wilmington on the Northeast branch of the Cape Fear river and take from the enemy a pontoon bridge at that point.

"We skirmished with the foe nearly the entire distance and came up to them just as they had cut the near end of the bridge from the bank. With our machine guns we drove them off and moored the bridge back to its place. On the second day after we received the old Andersonville prisoners and had the satisfaction of knowing we had prepared their way by having the bridge in readiness for them to cross the river into our lines. I shall never forget the impression made upon us by the condition of these survivors of Confederate prisons. These events occurred in March, 1861."

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