Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Robert Sanders Northcott Prisoner Of War.

Robert Sanders Northcott
Sept. 30, 1818-Jan. 21, 1906.
Lieutenan-Colonel Robert Sanders Northcott, was in command of the 12th, West Virginia, Infantry, and found himself and his men surrounded near Winchester Virginia, and surrender on June 15, 1863.  The information here is what happen to him after his surrender.  In July of 1867, a special committee was formed to take statements from prisoners of war on the treatment they received by the rebles.  Colonel Northcott give his statement at Clarksburg West Virginia in November 1867.

NATIONAL HOTEL, Washington, February 21, 1864.

His Excellency President A. LINCOLN:

In addressing you personally I offer as an excuse a request from friends to do so. My object is to bring the subject of the imprisonment and condition of my fellow-officers at Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., and the extreme suffering of our enlisted men on Belle Isle (that rebel hell) before you. Having recently escaped from Libby with others, I can speak advisedly. So far as the officers are concerned their treatment can be tolerated, though it is indeed bad, but the enlisted men are treated brutally, cruelly. Many have frozen this winter; many more have died from actual starvation. From the causes above mentioned about twenty per day are dying, and should they remain during the spring and summer in confinement I am satisfied more than one-half will never again be fit for duty.

These men are our best and bravest soldiers, very few being skulkers. Can not, ought not, something to be done for these brave fellows? Should any question of policy stand in the way of their release? Something ought to be done, if consistent with the honor of our Government and the advancement of our common cause. I was requested by Lieutenant Colonel R. S. Northcott, of West Virginia, who is a prisoner at Libby, to call at the Executive Mansion and see you in regard to his condition. He desired me to see you because he knew you to have a warm, sympathetic heart. Colonel Northcott, Twelfth Virginia, has been confined in Libby since about the 20th day of June and would have escaped with me but that his health was too bad to undertake it. The colonel's health, if he remains much longer in Libby, will be wholly destroyed, and should he be soon released I think he could soon recruit his health and enter the field again, which he greatly desires.

I would humbly petition you for the purpose of preserving a valuable life to the country, for humanity's sake, for all that is sacred, have Colonel Northcott released by special exchange, if it can not be done otherwise. Colonel Northcott begged this favor of me, but do not think that I have forgotten my other fellow-officers. Although I have through great trials, dangers, and difficulties restored myself to liberty, which is appreciated fully by me, I can not forget my brother officers and fellow-soldiers yet in bonds. Excuse this liberty.

Yours, truly,

The following links are of Colonel Northcott Statement which are in his own words.
To enlarge the pages push on the page.

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