escaped. My fellow- prisoners were not so fortunate and I since learn that the majority of them were executed. Would you be so kind as to reply to our petition that I may publish it for the benefit of others who are suffering in the dungeons of the South for their union sentiments! By so doing you will much oblige,
Your friend and fellow- citizen,
JOHN H. AUGHEY.
CENTRAL MILITARY PRISON,
Tupelo, Itawamba County, Miss., July 11, 1862.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
DEAR SIR: A large number of citizens of Mississippi holding Union sentiments and who recognize no such military usurpation as the so-= called Confederate States of America are confined in a filthy prison swarming with vermin and are famishing from hunger, sufficient quantity of food not being furnished us. We are separated from our families and suffered to hold no communication with them. We are compelled under a strong guard to perform the most menial services and are insulted on every occasion by the officers and guards of the prison. The nights are very cool and we are furnished with no bedding and are compelled to lie down on the floor of our dungeon, where sleep seldom visits us till exhausted nature can hold out no longer. Then our slumbers are broken, restless and of short duration. Our property is confiscated and our families are destitute of the accessaries of life, all that we have, yea, all their living, being seized upon by the Confederates and converted to their own use. Heavy fetters are placed by shooting. Many of us are forced in to the Army, instant death being the penalty in case of refusal, "thus containing us to bear arms against our country, to become the executioners of our friends and brethren or to fall ourselves by their hands" These evils are intolerable and we ask protection through you from the United States Government. The Federal Government may not be able to release us, but we ask protection which the Federal prisoner receives. Were his life taken swift retribution would be visited upon the rebels by a just retaliation; a rebel prisoner would suffer death for every Federal prisoner whom they destroyed. Let this rule hold good in the case of Union men who are citizens of the South. The loyal Mississippian deserves protection as much as the loyal native of Massachusetts. We ask also that our confiscated property be restored to us or in case of our death to our families. If it be destroyed let reparation be demanded from the rebels or the property of known and avowed secessionists sequestered to that use. Before this letter reaches its destination the majority of us will have ceased to be. The writer has been informed bat "his chances for living long are very slender," that he has confessed enough to cause him to lose his life, and that judge- advocate has specified Tuesday, the 15th instant, as the day of his execution. We have therefore little hope that we individually can receive any benefit from this petition, though you regard it favorably and consent to its suggestions, but our families who have been so cruelly robbed of all their substance may in after time receive remuneration or their great losses. And if citizens of avowed secession proclivities who are within the Federal lines are arrested and held as hostages for the safety of Union men who are and may hereafter be
9 R- SERIES II, VOL V