Thursday, May 26, 2011

How I became a POW (Part II, Libby Prison)

This entry is From The  Civil War Diary of Sergeant Henry W. Tisdale, Company I, Thirty-Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers 1862-1865.  This diary can be found at .

Tisdale was a prisoner of war at Andersonville and tells about it at length, including all the grim details in his diary.  This entry is a continuation of Henry's story started on May 24th.  Henry tells  how he became a temporary resident of Libby Prison in Richmond (before being transported to Andersonville).

See May 24th, 2011, "How I became of prisoner of war) for the account of Tisdale's capture by the Confederates during the battle of North Anna.

May 26, 1864  (Libby prison)

At near 1 p.m. were put on board what were once passenger cars and off for Richmond, and at about 4 p.m. became an inmate in the second story of Libby Prison.  Here we were searched.  All U. S. money taken from us (i.e. all that which we did not succeed hiding).  All our personal effects left us, but all our canteens, haversacks, knapsacks, rubber blankets taken.  Found we were in a room which had just been whitewashed and cleaned up.  Two of the windows looking out upon the James river.  Windows large and devoid of glass and heavily grated with a fairly good place for sanitary and washing.  Thus far have been well treated by our guards.  In passing through the city we were greeted with a few of the citizens making insulting remarks about we “Yanks”, and a few youngsters had a little hooting for us.  The guards would allow but little intercourse between us however.  Feel I cannot be too thankful that I have been able to keep my writing case, sewing case, letters, an extra shirt, and my wool blanket.  I find many a poor coward in the room disrobed of all but what he had on, and some who have been forced to exchange United States rigs for ragged rebel clothing.

 Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., April 1865.
Andrew J. Russell, photographer
 From Library of Congress Collection

1 comment:

  1. The actual original 4th part of Henry's diary titled "Rebel Prison Pens" was lost by his daughter, Ella, in 1967 when she took it from the Boston Public Library Rare Books Department. Luckily, the library made a photo copy of it. We still have my Grandmother's typed copy of it and Henry's 1884 edition published in the History of the Thirty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1862-1865, which can be read on Google Books.
    Mark Farrell