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care as when an intense desire for weeks before, Dr. Vanderkeift had alany particular article of food was al- lowed a man in similar condition to lowed in a measure to be satisfied. Al- start for home, and he had died on the most every man on his arrival would way; so that the Doctor had made a have his mind concentrated on some rule that no man should leave the hosone thing: with many, pickles were pital unless able to walk to head-quarthe coveted luxury; with others, milk. ters to ask for his own papers. An exOften, as I passed through the wards, ception to this rule could not be grantone or another would call out, “ Lady, ed, and the only chance was to try to do you think there is such a thing as build up Campbell's little remaining a piece of Bologna sausage here ? ” or, strength for the journey, to relieve his “ Lady, is there a lemon in this place ? sufferings by comforts, and to keep I have been longing for one for months.” hope alive in his mind by interesting The first thing that one man asked for him in stories and books. He was de
igar. He was very low, but lighted to have “Evangeline” read to said, “I would like one sweet smoke him, and the faint smile which passed before I die.” He finished his cigar over his haggard features as he listened only a few moments before he breathed told of a romance in his own life, behis last.
gun, but destined too soon to be broThe gratification of an insane crav- ken off by death. When too low to ing for food cost many a poor fellow write, as a lady was answering a letter his life. One morning a man who had from his sister for him, he asked to just come received some money from a have it read over to him. In her letter friendly comrade; going in to the sut- the sister had requested him to name ler's, he bought a quart of dried apples. her infant daughter. When the lady After eating them he became quite came to this request, he stopped her by thirsty, and drank an alarming quan- asking what she thought a pretty name. tity of cold water. It is needless to Edith was suggested, but he did not say that he died the next day. At an- seem satisfied with that; at last he said other time a boy received a box from shyly, “ How do you spell your name? home; his fond mother, with more I think I would like to have her named kindness than good judgment, sent, for you.” The lady felt rather embarwith other things, a mince-pie, which rassed in writing this, and persuaded delighted him, and he was greatly dis- him to let her mention several names, appointed in not being allowed to taste so that at least the sister might have it. Though warned of the danger, a choice. This was only a few days when the nurse left him for a few mo- before his death. His father was sent ments to bring him some beef-tea, he for, because it was evident that there got at the pie, ate half of it, and when could no longer be any hope of rethe nurse returned was lying dead. turning strength for him. The poor Perhaps his death was not caused, but old man was heart-broken when he only hastened, by this. It was im- saw his son in such an emaciated conpossible always to guard against such dition. They had heard at home of imprudences.
his severe sufferings, but said he, One of the most interesting of the “How could I ever expect to see him patients, who lived a few weeks after the like of this ?” With patient resigcoming, was Hiram Campbell, of the nation to God's will, the sufferer waitHundred and Forty-fifth Pennsylvania ed, and his life ebbed slowly away. Regiment. An imprisonment of one The sorrow-stricken father took to hundred and thirty-eight days had re- his home in the interior of Pennsylduced him to a point beyond recov- vania the body of his son, that he ery. Day by day he grew weaker, yet might rest in the village graveyard by clung to life for the sake of going home the side of his mother. By his grassy to see his friends once more. A few grave a little child often hears from her mother's lips how her uncle fought it would be returned on their release. and died for the country, and with The promise was never fulfilled, and questioning wonder asks, " And am I the men were hurried off to the sandy named for the lady who was kind to plains of Belle Isle. The death of Uncle Hiram ?” Such are the strange companions was the principal change links in life.
in their dreary, monotonous life, varied At this time there was in the wards also by the addition from time to time an elderly man, who for months had of others doomed to share their fate. been vainly trying to recruit his Efforts to escape were not always unstrength. He had not been a prisoner, successful. At one time eight men but had been sent to the rear on ac- burned spots on their faces and hands count of feebleness. Now John Bump with hot wire, and then sprinkled the thought it a great waste of time to be spots with black pepper. When the staying here in the hospital, where he doctor came round, they feigned illness, was doing no good to the nation, while, and he ordered these cases of small-pox if he were at home, he might be acquir- to be taken to the pestilence-house being quite a fortune from his “profes- yond the guards. In the night the men sion," for he was a chair-maker. His started for their homes in the West, and descriptive list not having been sent were not caught. from the regiment, he could draw no Tracy Rogers, with his bright, sunny pay. One day he received the following face, and sweet voice, whose merry important queries from his anxious wife, music resounded through the wards, who with eight small children at home was one of the first to regain strength did seem to be in a precarious condi- and spirits. His patriotic zeal had tion: “ The man who owns the house only been reanimated by his sufferings, says I must move out if I cannot pay the and he was in haste to be in his place rent: what shall I do? I have nothing at the front again. A brother had for the children to eat: what shall I do? been killed in the same battle in which There is nothing to feed the hens with: he was taken prisoner, and another had what shall I do? The pigs are starv- died in a Philadelphia hospital. He ing: what shall I do?" An applica- was sure that he should yet die for his tion was made, which resulted in John country, and talked of death as soon to Bump's being sent to his regiment, from come to him. With earnest thoughtwhich he no doubt soon received his fulness, he recalled the teachings of discharge papers.
a Christian mother in his far-off ConAround the post-office at noon might necticut home. As the tears filled his always be seen an eager group await- manly blue eyes one day, he asked if ing the distribution of the mail. A let
the hymn, ter from friends was the most cheering “On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, hope of the day, often proving more And cast a wishful eye,” effectual than anything else toward the could be found in the hospital. He restoration of health, by bringing vivid- said that it had been sung at his mothly to minds languid with disease all the er's funeral, on his fourteenth birthday; little interests and charms of home. that he had never seen it since, but
Gathered about the fire on a wintry that lately he had thought much about day, the men would recount the expe- it. The hymn was brought, and he riences of their captivity, from the mo- committed it to memory. We were ment when they first found themselves sorry to part with him, when, after with dismay in the power of the enemy, serving as ward-master, he was strong and, relieved of muskets, were marched enough to go to his regiment. Not without food to Richmond. There what- long after he left, a letter came, saying ever they chanced to have of money or that he had been badly wounded, and of value was taken into the care of a wished himself back among his AnRebel officer, with the assurance that napolis friends once more. We never
heard of him again, and fear that his Christmas eve, some of the men from wounds must have proved fatal.
Section V., a tent department, came to Those were quiet, solemn hours ask as a great favor that I would assist passed in the hospital in the intervals them in decorating the tent of Miss between past and coming dangers. At H- They said that she had been the close of the day, the men would ' fixing up” the wards all day, and they gather into one ward for prayers.
wanted to have her own tent adorned Many a stern voice was uplifted that as a surprise when she came down in never prayed before. After petitions the morning. for pardon and guidance had arisen to On going over to the tent, I found the Giver of all good things, the men that they had already cut out of red and would sit and sing, for hours some- blue flannel the letters for A Merry times, each one wishing for his favor- Christmas to Miss H" These ite hymn to be sung, and saying that were soon sewed upon white cotton, this time was more homelike than any which, being surrounded with everother of the day.
green, was hung in the most conspicuThe inspection on Sunday forenoon ous place. Then there were crosses, made it the busiest morning of the stars, and various other designs to go week. In the chapel at two o'clock, up, among them a Goddess of Liberty and again at seven, short services were of remarkable proportions, considered held, conducted either by the chap- the masterpiece of the whole. There lain, or by the Rev. Mr. Sloan, the were only a few men present, not more devoted agent of the Christian Com- than a dozen ; each had been serimission at this post. After a while ously wounded, and nearly every one the second service was changed in- had lost either a leg or an arm. to a Sunday school, very interesting to a weird sight as they eagerly worked, our grown-up scholars. The ladies by the light of dimly burning candles, found themselves fully occupied as on this cold, full-mooned midnight, teachers in answering the various dif- cheerfully telling where they were a ficult questions crowded into a short year ago, lying in rifle-pits or on picket space of time. Sometimes the officers duty, and wishing themselves only able who were patients would take classes to be there again. too, which was far less embarrassing Christmas morning came at last. As than having them ask permission to take the sun shone brightly on the frosty the part of scholars, as they sometimes windows, each one showed its wreath, did. Before we had Sunday school, and the wards were gayly festooned. In the men in my own wards would ask to some of the larger ones there were aphave psalms and passages selected for propriate mottoes made of evergreen them to learn on Sundays. On Mon- letters; as, “Welcome home,”—“He day mornings each one would have his bringeth the prisoners out of captivity." little book ready to recite his lesson. Friends in Philadelphia had requested
For a week before Christmas, active to provide the dinner, which was most preparations were made for its celebra- lavish and luxurious. The tables were tion. The men were allowed to go into loaded with turkeys, pies of various the woods across the river, and bring kinds, fruits, and candies. This was boughs of hemlock, pine, and laurel, a feast indeed to the thousand beroes and of holly laden with bright berries. gathered around the board, and to those Every evening was occupied in twist- too ill to leave the wards a portion of all ing and tying evergreen in the chapel. was taken, that at least they might see Many a reminiscence of home was the good things which the others were told, as we sat in clusters, wreathing enjoying. The thoughts of many of garlands of rejoicing so strangely con- the sick bad centred on this Christmas trasting with the sights and sounds of dinner, and they had named the favorlife and death around us. Late on ite morsels that they wished for.
An Episcopal service was held in the gether for a pillow, — they expressed chapel in the evening, by the Rev. Mr. the change in their whole condition as Davenport of Annapolis. A crowded like coming from the lower regions of congregation gathered within the walls, misery into heaven itself. which were hung with scrolls bearing Handkerchiefs and combs, writingthe names of our battle-fields, and rich- materials and stamps, were among the ly adorned with evergreen, while the first requisites of the new-comers. A national flag gracefully draped the large few were able to write ; and for the window. Carols were merrily sung, and others, the ladies were but too happy the shattered, scarred, and emaciated to apprise the friends at home of their soldiers in the most righteous cause arrival, even if recovery were doubtful. that ever brought warfare to a nation In taking the names of the men, I came joined in heralding the advent of the to a white-headed patriarch, and exPrince of Peace.
pressed surprise at finding him in the The Christmas had been rendered army. His name was R. B. Darling ; still happier by the reception of a tele- and as I wrote it down, he said: "You gram, that another exchange of paroled might as well put « Reverend' before prisoners had been made, and we were it, for I am a Methodist minister. I hourly expecting their arrival. In the lived in Greenville, Green County, Tencold, gray dawn of the 29th of Decem- nessee, and when this Rebellion came ber, the shrill whistle of the “ New on, I preached and preached, until it York” coming up the bay was heard. did not seem to do any good ; so I Every one was soon astir in prepara- took up the musket to try what fighttion for a warm welcome. Large quan- ing would do.” He had left a wife and tities of coffee, chocolate, and gruels six children at home, from whom he were to be made, clothes were to be had heard only once, and then through a in readiness, and the stretcher corps to friend taken prisoner six months after be mustered.
himself. He had been down with “ those As the sun arose, a great crowd fiends,” as he called them, twenty-one assembled, and when the New York months, and had been in nine different Deared the wharf, shouts and cheers prisons. He had worked for the Rebgreeted her. The decks were covered els — only at the point of the bayonet with men, whose skeleton forms and — while his strength lasted, in digging vacant countenances told of starvation, wells. He had passed three months the languid glimmer that at moments in the iron cage at Atlanta, and three overspread their faces feebly betoken- months in Castle Thunder under threat ing the gratitude in their hearts at their of being tried for his life for some escape from “Dixie.”
disrespectful speech about Rebeldom; This time the Rebel authorities had finally, after all the perils of Libby allowed only “well men,” as they called Prison and Belle Isle, he was free once them, to come, because so much had more. “These are tears of gratitude," been said at the North about “the last he said, in answer to the welcome given lot,” who came in November. Those him, as they rolled down his furrowed able to walk were landed first, the bare- cheeks; “it is the first word of kindfooted receiving shoes. Many were ness that I have heard for so long." 1 able to crawl as far as Parole Camp, a On soiled scraps of paper he had the little beyond the city. The more feeble names of many of his fellow-prisoners. were received into the hospital, where He had promised, should he ever escape, hot baths awaited them; and when they to let their friends at home know when had been passed under scissors and ra- and where they had died. Letters were zor, and were laid in comfortable beds, at once written, carrying the painful cer- only too soft after the hard ground tainty of loss to anxious hearts. To they had lain on for months, with as his own family it was useless to write, much earth as they could scrape to- for the Rebels surrounded his home, cutting off postal communication. He wards, with a bright smile and cheery brought with him six little copies of the word for each man. His eloquence Gospels, one for each child at home; reached its highest pitch, when, talking they had been given to him at the South, of the Southern Confederacy, he dehaving been sent over by the British clared that he did not believe in showand Foreign Bible Society for distribu- ing mercy to traitors, but that God intion. Surely no men ever more need- tended them to be “clean exterminated the promises of divine consolation ed” from the face of the earth, like than the captives whom these volumes the heathen nations the Israelites were reached.
commanded to destroy ages ago. He It was difficult to restrict the diet of had but too good reason for wishing this old hero. After eating an enor- justice to be done. After he returned mous meal of soup, meat, vegetables, to his home in Tennessee, he wrote: pudding, and bread, his appetite would “There is but one tale in the whole not be in the least satisfied; he would country: every comfort of life is purvery coolly remark that he had had a loined, clothes all in rags, a great many very nice dinner; there was only one men and boys murdered, and, worst of trouble about it, there was not enough. all, Christianity seems to have gone up On being told that we would gladly from the earth, and plunder and rapine give him more, were it considered safe, to have filled its place. Surely war he would persist in saying that he felt was instituted by Beelzebub. The gue“ right peart,” and begged me to re- rillas are yet prowling about, seeking member that it was twenty-one months what they may devour. In these troubsince he had had any dinners. As he lous times, all who can lift a hoe or cut gained strength enough to walk about, a weed are trying to make support, but he became acquainted with the system unless we get help from the North of the hospital and made a discovery one many must suffer extremely. The Rebs day; namely, that he was on low diet, have not left my family anything. They and that there was such a thing as full went so far as to smash up the furniture, diet for the well men. “ If my present take my horse, all my cattle, and carry off fare is low, what may not the full be?” he and destroy my library. They smashed reasoned, as visions of illimitable boun- up the clock and cut up the bedsteads; ty floated through his insatiable mind. and, in fact, ruin stares us in the face, So he asked the doctor one morning to and doleful complaint stuns the ear. transfer his name to the full-diet list; Even sick ladies have been dragged and when the bugle sounded, he joined out of bed by the hair of the head, so the procession as it moved to the din- that the fiends of Davis could search ing-hall. Salt-fish, bread, and molasses for hid treasure. All who have labored chanced to be all that presented them- for the government are destitute. Since selves to the famished, disappointed old the winter broke, I have been fighting man ; his countenance was forlorn in the thieving, murdering Rebels, and deed, as he came to the window of the now their number is diminished from low-diet serving-room to ask for some- two hundred to nine, and I can ride thing to eat. “I shall get the doctor boldly forth where for the last three to put my name back on to this list, years it would have been certain death. for I like this cook-shop the best, if it o, how are the mighty fallen!” is called low diet."
On New Year's evening the ladies Father Darling, as he used to be held a reception. Huge logs burned called, soon became a favorite all over brightly in the large old-fashioned firethe hospital. He delighted to perform place of their dining-room, and a “Hapany act of kindness for his fellow-suf- py New Year to all,” in evergreen letferers. On Sunday mornings he might ters, stood out from the whitewashed be seen wandering through the grounds, wall. Surgeons and stewards, officers, carrying books and newspapers into the extra-duty men, and patients, mingled