War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0568 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

could for about 800 wounded left on the field until the 26th, six days after the close of the battle. A written statement was early made to General Bragg concerning our condition. By his special order and his own team, the captain said who brought them, about 700 rations of corn-meal, salt, and hard bread, with about 100 pounds of salt pork, were issued, which were the principal rations from the enemy while the wounded were in their hands. Three yearling steers were driven to the hospital at the farm from a drove passing. One was killed that evening, one died during the night, the other was unable to get up in the morning and was killed and eaten to save it.

On the field the rebels selected out their own dead buried them, leaving ours, stripped of their clothing, to rot upon the field, the food for buzzards. Often we were met within the questions, "Why don't you bury your dead; what makes your men who are killed on the field look so black?"

The rebel cavalry commanded by General Wheeler took possession of the hospital of General Reynolds' division and others at Crawfish Springs on the morning of the 26th. General Wheeler and staff announced themselves to surgeons in charge of hospitals as victorious on the battle-field and that they were prisoners of war, subject to rebel authority. By order of the general, surgeons' horses and equipments were taken. He then ordered that the whisky should be produced, which he and his staff drank of, regardless of the limited supply or the necessities of the wounded. A guard was asked for to protect the hospital from the depredations of stragglers; the reply was that he had other use for his men and that we must take the chances of war. The camp was next visited by a major, lieutenant, and several privates of the Eleventh Texas Cavalry, who dashed up, ordered surgeons into line, and with drawn pistols ordered them to shell their overcoats, hats, gloves, sashes, and all side-arms at their disposal. They left on receipt of the articles demanded. The camp was then subjected to repeated plundering from straggling soldiers until the supply of blankets of all description was so reduced that not more than one-half of our wounded were protected from the cold. After filling hospital tents many from necessity were left without shelter. At this hospital, also, by General Wheeler's order, all nurses and hospital stewards were taken from the camp as prisoners of war, with one exception, where one was left to take care of a Confederate officer; so that here, also, the duties remaining for the surgeon were those of nurse, sexton, and surgeon. No assistance whatever was received from either rebel citizen or soldier.

No supplies were furnished at this hospital until the wounded were reduced to boiled wheat as their only article of nourishment, then only must meal and putrid bacon.

The same treatment was received here as at Cloud's farm as to removing the wounded from the field and the burying of the dead; so that the wounded lay enduring thirst, hunger, cold, and pain from fatal wounds. The accumulated horror of the stench from decaying horses and their comrades in arms filled their nostrils, and yet the heart of the rebel was not moved to give a breath of sympathy. Their feelings of revenge and individual wants seemed to prompt them in all their actions toward surgeons and wounded so that instances of brutality occurred unequaled in the history of civilized warfare. While speaking of what should be done with a sergeant who suffering from a severe wound, while en route to Atlanta, an officer said: "Take the damn Yankee out shoot him is the proper way of disposing of him. "

At Atlanta the wounded that had not been paroled were put into open sheds in the inclosure with other prisoners, where they received