Monday, April 9, 2012

Vulgar Curiosity Averted

This entry is from Scraps From The Prison Table, at Camp Chase and Johnson's Island by Joe Barbier.  He was a Confederate Officer, and Civil War POW.

While on Johnson's Island as a prisoner of war, Barbiere met Colonel Joel Battle, Battle, told Barbier of an experience he had with some Union citizens while on the way to Johnson's Island.
After the capture of Colonel Battel,[sic] (one of our most distinguished fellow prisoners,) he was first taken to St. Louis, and while on the boat, ascending the river, was anxiously hunted by the curious passengers, who had never seen a "secesh," and who were astonished at the hand some and veteran-like appearance of the gallant colonel. Colonel Battel attempted to avoid them, but finding it impossible, retreated to the pilot-house of the boat.  There he was soon followed by the eager crowd, among whom was a minister of the Gospel, who instead of preaching "Christ, and him crucified," was stimulating volunteers to fight their Southern brethren. This wolf in sheep's clothing walked into the pilot house, and with that indelicacy and effrontery, that could only emanate from a bad man, or fool, asked Colonel Battel, if he had any objection to kneeling, and uniting with him in prayer. "Of course not."  The so-called saint offered up a prayer, for the United States, and for the destruction of all her enemies, and rebels in particular. On concluding, the colonel thanked him, and asked if he and the rest would unite with him in prayer, something, I am confident, Colonel Battel never did before in public. The response was in the affirmative, and at it the colonel went, praying with a will, for the Southern Confederacy, and the destruction of all her enemies, and Yankees in general; and, rising from his knees, exclaimed with an air, as only those who know Colonel Battel, as we do in prison, can appreciate: "Now, I'll bet you, or any other man, a hundred dollars, that my prayer reaches Heaven first." The colonel assures us, he was not troubled by vulgar curiosity the rest of the trip.

Colonel Joel Battle, from Metro Davidson County Collection - Nashville Public Library

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