Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 5

Prisoners were grouped into administrative divisions numbering up to a hundred men. There was a larger adjacent pen for the private soldiers separated from the officers area by an alley and two plank fences topped by catwalks where sentries kept watch. //// A number of drainage ditches ran in all directions across the prison yards. They served to remove waste and offal of the thousands of prisoners and were just barely adequate. //// There were other Northern prisons with higher mortality rates, but Fort Delaware had its share. On September 20, 1863, Reverend Handy recorded: "Twenty-six bodies of Confederate prisoners were carried over to Jersey, this morning-- one of them being that of a man who attempted to escape by swimming the river. He was washed ashore with several canteens attached to his person. His eyes were eaten out, indicating that he had been drowned for several days." Because of the marshy ground of Pea Patch Island, bodies were buried in mass graves in New Jersey. //// Fort commandant General Schoepf later claimed "The number of deaths rendered it impossible to dig a grave for each body separately." //// Not So Good At Northern prisons. --Old Secesh

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