Sunday, April 12, 2009

Horace B. Franklin- Prisoner Of War.

Horace B. Franklin, enlisted for the Civil War in Allen County Indiana, after his discharge went to live in St. Louis Missouri, where if I have the right man married Margaret Michoux in 1868.

St. Louis, Missouri, October 25. 1868.

H. B. FRANKLIN, sworn and examined.
By Mr. PILE:

I reside in St. Louis, Missouri. I was in the Twelfth regiment Indiana volunteers, Company K, first brigade, first division, fifteenth army corps, General Logan commanding the corps, under General Sherman, and General Osterhaus division commander. My colonel commanded the brigade as often as any of them. I was captured on the 22d of July, and the day that McPherson was killed, in front of Atlanta. 1864. It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon when I was captured. About eighteen hundred of us were captured; we were fighting Hood at the time, and he made a charge on us. After I was captured we were double-quick from the breastworks to Atlanta; it was about three-fourths of a mile. I had at the time I was captured I was then sergeant a knapsack, gun, and cartridge box. The way we came to get captured was, they got in on the right flanked us on the right, the Seventy-first Ohio giving way, and they took one of our batteries and got the range on our works. After I was captured, as I said before, they double quick us to Atlanta, and we were drawn up in line before General Rood’s headquarters, and counted and names taken. Before this they had taken my knapsack, gun, and cartridge box.

We were divided off into detachments, and there was a cavalry guard put over us, and we wore sent from there to East Point, six miles west of Atlanta, I think it is; I understood it was when we were captured. We got into the stockade about 10 o’clock that night, after marching six miles through the dust; and in the morning we expected to get rations, but were disappointed, and did not get any. We had two majors captured with us one a major on McPherson’s staff, I don’t recollect his name, and the other a major in the One Hundredth Indiana and they persuaded the rebel officers to issue some rations, and they issued us one pint of corn meal. We had nothing to cook it with, but we looked around and found a frying pan, and we borrowed that, and took water and made a mash out of this meal, and that was a day’s rations. The next morning they issued us rations composed of a piece of bacon about an inch square, a pint of corn meal, and three hard-tack. At the end of three days we were marched to Macon, and there took a train to Andersonville.

It took us two days, I think, to get to Macon, and when we got there they rushed us into stock cars that had just been filled with cattle, and there was a large quantity of manure on the bottom of the cars. They were open stock cars, where we had hardly standing room, and they kept us in that way until we got to Andersonville. We got there in the afternoon. It was about the 29th, I think, that we got to Andersonville. They drew us up in line there in front of General Winder’s headquarters, and this notorious Captain Wirz’s. He was the man who presided there and kept in command. He rode along on his gray horse in front of us, and ordered everything taken from us that we had. I had a picture of two of my sisters and a picture of a brother in my pocket. I also had $100 in greenbacks, and my jack-knife, and I had a fork, spoon, and plate. He took everything that I had my money, my pictures, and my knife, so I had nothing at all left.

And then we were counted off into detachments of two hundred and seventy men, and a sergeant put in charge of each detachment. I was a sergeant, and was put in charge of a detachment. We were marched in front of a battery of six guns. These gnus were all loaded with grape and canister; and we were told that if we under took to get away, or made any move whatever to disobey their orders, they would open with grape and canister upon us; and so we were marched in line into the quarters, and as we were marching into the west gate they opened one piece of artillery a shell and threw it over our heads to scare us. Whoa we were marched in there, there were probably from twenty-six thousand to twenty-eight thousand prisoners in there, and the boys were glad to see us.

In the center of the stockade there was a creek running through. It was not really the center, but it was a division line. On the right hand side as we went in wre the old prisoners. On the left the stockade had been enlarged, and we were sent up there. I had nine men out of my company that were captured with me, and we went up there, and found a small place, probably ten feet. We pitched our tent there that is, staked off the ground so there was room enough to lay on. I had an old piece of oil cloth to tie around me, about six inches wide and three feet long, and I went down Broadway, which is the main street in Andersonvillle, and I traded that for a stick of wood, and we took that and split it, and made six pieces of it, and sharpened the ends and stuck them in the ground. That was the way we laid off our camp. We walked around there, and I found some boys I was acquainted with from the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Indiana, and they gave us an old blanket, and we made a shed of that, and that’s all the shelter we had just that old blanket.

We drew rations every day when it didn’t rain, and, of course, I had to draw the rations, and call the roll of these two hundred and seventy men every morning. We didn’t get any rations the first day we were in there not until the next morning. I had to issue them, and I counted off the men in squads of probably twenty, and put a sergeant or corporal over these squads to issue the rations to them. I couldn’t issue the whole two hundred and seventy. I would issue in quantity to them, and then they would take it and issue to their squads. For two hundred and seventy men we had a few sticks of wood to cut up. That is what we got a few sticks of cord wood, four feet long, no matter what the size was. I drew double rations, being sergeant, and I could take and split mine up into splinters like matches and it wouldn’t be a handful, and we had to cook with that for twenty-four hours.

We had nothing to cook with when I went in there, and I went around among the boys and borrowed an old coffee pot; borrowed it every morning to make coffee, which was made of corn-bread. First the corn-bread was issued to us as rations; it was about three inches long, and two inches thick, and two inches wide, and it was ground up cobs and all. The way it was made was, it was mixed with cold water and thrown into a pan and baked till the crust would burn, and then we would take that and make coffee of it. The piece of meat that we got for rations would be about an ounce, sometimes not that much, of bacon. One day we would get this corn-bread and bacon, and the next day we would get beans boiled with beef.

These beans were not clean and had never been run through a fanning mill, but just shoveled up from a barn floor and thrown into a kettle to boil, dirt and all. They were full of worms. A quarter of beef was thrown in with them and boiled. That would be issued and we would get about half a cup army cup full of these beans for a day’s rations; that is, twenty-four hours. We would get a piece of beef about the size of the bacon I spoke of, and the next day we would get half a pint of boiled rice and a little molasses. Four spoons full of molasses was our rations, and rice and molasses was what we got the next day. and then, may be, the next day after that we would get a little raw rice and raw beef. The beef was green when it was brought there from the country in the summer, and by the time it got to us it would smell awfully you could hardly go near it. That constituted our rations.

Then every day we got water from this creek I have spoken of, which run near the center of the stockade. The cook-house stood near the west end of the stockade, and all the slops and everything was thrown into this creek, and then they drove all their mule teams, horses, and cattle, and hogs through that creek; and at the upper end of this creek there was eight or ten feet where there was a dead-line fixed, about eight feet from the main stockade, and we dared not go inside that deadline; if we did we would be shot. We would have to use this water outside that deadline to cook with and drink, and, also, to wash our clothes and ourselves, at the lower end of the creek.

I was down there one day washing and saw a man go under that dead line; there was a rope run across the creek, and a stake each side of the creek, and he reached under that dead-line to get a little water to drink, and just as he Stooped down he was shot in the head by a guard, and dropped dead in the creek, and the guard hallooed and said he would shoot every Yankee son of a b—h that comes under that dead-line that they had orders not to go there. Well, I made up my mind I would undertake it. So when I wanted a little water I reached my hand under and dip it out, and not get my head under. We got along that way about a month, using that water, and then they got a spring there by some means, and then we had pretty good water.

Alter I had been there a month it commenced raining. It was the first of September, and it rained three days steady. No rations were issued during the three days, and my men, the third day, were nearly starved. They came to me and said we must have something to eat or we will go crazy. I told them I couldn’t do anything, but I would go and see Captain Wirz when he came in the morning, and see what he would do. So in the morning I went on Broadway, right by the side of the gate. I knew he came in regularly at such a time in the morning, He came in, and I took off my cap and saluted him very politely. Says I, “Captain, I wish to Speak to you, sir.” He halted, and says he, “What do you want?” Says I, “My men are in a starving condition. They have had nothing to eat for three days, and I wish you would issue me one day’s back rations due my men.” Says he, “I want to see every damned Yankee son of a bitch’s tongue hanging out in this stockade for the want of something to eat.” That is the remark he made to me, and a hundred others standing right there; and then he passed along.

We got no rations until the fourth day about 12 o’clock, and then we got some of these beans and boiled beef. Next day I saw Jeff. Davis, General Bragg, General Hood, (at least I was told they were the ones,) and General Winder, and Captain Wirz, all riding in there. They rode all through inside the dead-line, all around the stockade and saw the condition the men Were in. They were then dying at the rate of one hundred and fifty a day, right along. It was the sickly season. I have got up there in the morning at 4 o’clock—I used to get up early in the morning to get my men out to wash in the creek, and to keep them free of scurvy—and I have got up there at 4 o’clock and walked through the streets and counted fifty men lying on their backs who had died during the night, mainly for the want of something to eat, and almost naked.

I went down one morning within probably a hundred yards of the creek, and there lay a man on his back. He couldn’t speak, ho was near gone. He had one of his fingers cut off at the second joint. There had been a ring on his finger and they couldn’t get it off, and one of the rebel guards cut it off. The ring had the man’s initials and the number of his regiment. Two of my men saw when the rebels cut it off, and told me. One day one of my men came to me and says he, “There is a man over here dying in a tent,” such as we had for shelter, and says he, “He is dying and wants to go to the hospital, and wants you to attend to it.” I had orders every morning of this kind. I would have the rebel sergeant standing by me and he would take the names of the sick and promise to send the surgeon in to see to them. I went to this man who bad sent for me, and I saw he was sick.

He was lying on his back, and was groaning. He had the chronic diarrhea very badly, and was much reduced in flesh for want of something to eat. I says, “Tomorrow we will take you down to the gate and try to get you to the hospital.” Next morning I took a blanket that he had and put him on it, and four men took hold, one on each corner, and we carried him to the corner gate at sick call. There was a sergeant there that had charge of the sick, and I said to him “Here is one of my men will die if he stays here three days longer, I wish you would take him to the hospital.” Says he, “Lay him with the rest.” Probably there were two, hundred lying the same way each side of the gate just left the road so they could pass in with teams.

I laid him down there and staid with him, thinking I might persuade them to take him out, and there was a surgeon came in and examined him, and I said to him: “Can’t you get him in the hospital, he is not fit to stay here?” “Well,” says he, “I have not room for him; and another thing, I have got orders from headquarters not to take a man into the hospital until he is so low he can’t live; and when he gets so low that they expect he will die in two or three days, they are willing to take him in.” Says I: “Can’t you get him some medicine, or give him some Says he: “No; we have none.” Then I took the man back again, and he died.

Another instance: There was a young fellow that belonged to a Pennsylvania regiment got so reduced and starved that he could not stand up, and he laid on his back one week in the hot sun, with nothing over him. He was naked except a shirt, and that nearly torn off of him. I have taken my cup and went to the creek and filled it and brought it to him. I wouldn’t let him drink out of it, because I was afraid of catching the disease, so I took my cup and turned the water in his mouth. I saw another man lay there, and I saw a Catholic priest who used to come in every morning to look at him, and I asked a sergeant if he wouldn’t take him to the hospital, but lie wouldn’t do it. That man lay there until I saw maggots crawling out of his mouth and ears a regular string of maggots running to and fro on his body, till he died, literally eaten up by maggots. Nine of my company died while I was there, for the want of something to eat.

When I was captured I had on a major’s blouse, and the uniform buttons were very nice and bright. It was a blouse I exchanged with our brigade surgeon. I let him have my jacket; and I used to cut the buttons off that blouse and trade them for a little salt with one of the guards. I would fix these buttons on a string and throw them up to the guard after dark, about 9 o’clock in the evening, and he would throw me down a spoonful of salt in exchange for the buttons. That’s the only way we could get salt, if we didn’t have something to buy it. They seldom issued it; and during the time 1 was making this trade with the guard there was a man who was crazy insane for the want of something to eat. He saw a bone lying between the dead-line and the stockade, and he crawled under the dead-line, thinking he could get it and not be seen, and when he got hold of that bone six shots were put in him, and he fell dead.

The next morning we pulled him out and asked permission to take him out. He smelt pretty bad. It was very warm weather. We took him out down to the gate; found out his regiment and company, and put it on a piece of paper and pinned it on his shirt. The way they took these dead men out, every morning we would go round in our quarters for instance, my detachment, being sergeant I would go round, and whoever we found dead, we would take them to the gate and lay them along in a row and put on a piece of paper the number of their regiment and their name, and pin it on their shirts, and they would lay there in a row till about 6 o’clock in the evening, and then they would bring a wagon in there four mules a government wagon, and there would be four negroes to each wagon, and they would take these bodies two men at the feet and two at the head and give them a swing and toss them into the wagon the same as pork, and when they got four or five wagons loaded they would start off to the burying ground, dig a hole and throw them in, and cover them up; and I have seen officers’ wives there; I know they were, because I was told by the sergeant. (There was one or two “white men there who were sergeants.)

I have seen these women standing there and making fun of it, and these men, the biggest part of them, were naked. At the time that Jeff. Davis, Bragg, Hood, and Winder are said to have went through the stockade, we had a major in there, (they didn’t know he was a major, but he was a major in the army; he looked just as rough as any of us; he went in there thinking there might be a possibility of getting the boys out some time;) well, he went up to General Winder, and spoke to him—saluted him, and says he, “General, you see the condition the prisoners are in, don’t you I” Then says he, “Can’t you help them in some way; can’t you do something for them; give them more to eat, and relieve them, and shelter f” Says he, “That’s what we are looking at now—trying to arrange it so as to build some hospitals in here.” And they went off.

In the course of a week after that, they commenced bringing in lumber there, and we put up four hospitals; built same as sheds. Our men went out and brought the lumber in and built them themselves. They got double rations for doing this work; and then these men that were sick were brought in there; had nothing to lay on or to put over them. The weather was getting cold then the nights and they had to lay there in that way. One hospital was about one hundred yards from where I pitched my tent, and sometimes I couldn’t sleep nights for hearing these men groan. The rations got so slim toward the first of October (a little piece of corn-bread, a piece of raw beef, and a little molasses, and boiled rice once a day) that I went round my detachment and got all the molasses I could, boiled it down, and made molasses-candy, and I sent some of my boys out peddling this candy, and they used to get a little money in that way, as some of the prisoners had a little left yet secreted, and with this money we used to buy things of the guard that they wouldn’t issue to us.

After awhile they quit issuing wood, and we had to go down to the creek it was a swampy place and dig three or four feet into the mud to get roots, and we would take and dry them and then bundle them up for fuel. They used to come in there with a paper to get the names of men that would go out and enlist in their army. If they would enlist in their army they would set them free, and they got a few; also tried to get shoemakers, wagon-makers, and mechanics of every description, promising to set them free; they got a few. In regard to tunneling, they used to get out through tunnels, in the night. There was one tunnel there that come out about one hundred yards from the stockade. There was a man in there that belonged to an Indiana regiment, and he exposed us once for a ping of tobacco. One night our men began to get out of a tunnel. It was about 12 o’clock at. night. The rebels knew of it, and a squad of them were in waiting at the mouth of the tunnel. They let about a dozen of our men out, and then set the hounds on them; didn’t shoot them or halt them. The men ran in every direction; climbed trees; and one man was literally torn to pieces.

Next morning we could see these men in the trees not far from the stockade, and we saw the rebels shoot at these men in the trees, and after they were shot and fell on the ground the hounds were set on them. I saw Wirz, on his gray horse, around there at the time. Boxes of clothing were sent to us by our government, but we never got it. We used to see it on the rebel guards. I sent home to Fort Wayne. and a box of provisions was sent to me, which I never got. There were ten pounds of cake, onions, and vegetables, of all descriptions, in the box; coffee and tea, socks, and everything of that description, and they kept it; we never got a thing of it; we knew it came there; we were told so.

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