War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0874 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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regard to treatment received by myself. It was disobeying an order of Captain Alexander. The order was to prescribe for a patient. I am not a graduated physician and it was against the orders of the surgeon in charge. I was ordered to a dungeon in which I could not stand up straight-a cell about six feet square. I had no chance to vindicate myself as I sent for Captain Alexander and he did not visit me. I was kept in the dungeon until the next morning. I have known prisoners to be kept there or four days. I have seen on one or two occasions fifteen or twenty prisoners "bucked" and "gagged" at a time. The "gag" is effected by a stick inserted crosswise in the mouth, and the "buck" is to tie the arms at the elbows to a cross-piece beneath the things. They were generally ironed, wore ball and chain, and were charged with various offenses. I recollect now I only "gagged" one. I have seen the "barrel shirt" worn by a prisoner. The shirt is made by sawing a common flour barrel it twain and cutting armholes in the sides and an appearing a common flour barrel in twain and cutting armholes in the sides and an aperture in the barrel for the insertion of the wearer's head. The one I saw have the barrel shirt on wore it as a punishment for fighting. He saw tied up by the thumbs to the roof and stood on his feet, wearing in one day and part of the next day. Do not know how much longer he wore it.


I have been employed with Captain Alexander eleven months on the detective force' seven months of that time I have been at the prison. I have never seen a prisoners harshly treated except by orders. In was really dangerous at times for the officers to go among the prisoners, some of them were such desperate characters. A new prisoner sent in among them was usually knocked down, beat and robbed if he had anything about him. I was off and on duty at the prison, sleeping there. One night I would be off duty and go to my room at 8 o'clock and another night at 10 o'clock. I remember the occasion of the difficulty between Captain Alexander and Mr. Bland. The captain gave him an order to render service to a sick child. Bland refused to obey and Captain Alexander again reiterated his order and Bland again refused with an oath. I then put hi in the cell by the order Captain Alexander. Bland was intoxicated on that occasion. I have seen men whipped at the prison by order of the court-martial and General Winder and by order of Captain Alexander through General Winder (by the latter generally), for stealing from prisoners and the maltreatment of prisoners. I have seen prisoners tied up by the arms. They were two men whom nobody could manage. They were not tied up by the thumbs. The whipping was all done with a leather thong or strap about two feet long. In regard to the barrel shirt I saw one of Captain Bossieux's men walking in one by order of the court-martial.

MONDAY, April 13, 1863.

The examination of witness was resumed.

JOHN CAPHART, detective, was recalled to the stand.


Question. Mr. Caphart, how many years of your life were you connected with prisons before you came with me?

Answer. Thirty-one years, sir.

Question. How does my treatment of prisoners compare with what you have seen in other prison?

Answer. Very favorable. For offenses such as have been committed in the Cartel by the prisoners they would be put in irons. As I said before, at one time it was dangerous to go into the prison room. It was necessary to observe great caution in going in among them. I did not feel safe unless I went with one hand on my pistol.

Question. Do you think you ever saw a worse set in any jail?

Answer. No; I never did. They would be ironed down to ringbolts in the floor for conduct such as I have seen at the Castle.

Question. They chain men down in jails then do they?

Answer. Yes; I have seen it done and helped to do it.

Question. You have been eleven months with me as commandant of Castle Thunder post; what is my manner and demeanor toward the prisoners?

Answer. Usually kind on all occasion. Men reported to you for misconduct you have sometimes imprisoned them.