between the hills was low and boggy and was covered with the excrements of the men, and thus rendered wholly uninhabitable, and in fact useless for purpose except that of defecation.
The pines and other small tress and shrubs which originally were scattered sparsely over these hills were in a shot time cut down and consumen by the prisoners for firewood, and no shade tree was left in the entire inclosure of the stockade. With their characteric industry and ingenuity the Federals constructed from themselsves small huts and caves, and attempted to shield themselves from the rain and sun, and night damps and dew. But few tents were distributed to the prisoners, and these were in most cases torn and rotten. In the location and arrangement of these tents and huts no order appears to have been followed. In fact, regular streets appeared to be out the question in so crowed an area; especially, too, as large bodies of prisoners were from time to time added suddenly without any previous preparation.
The irregular arrangement of the huts and imperfect shelters was very unfavorable for the maintenance of a proper system of police. The police and internal economy of the prison was left almost entirely in the hands of the prisoners themselves, the duties of the Confederate soldiers acting as guards being limited to the occupation of the boxes or lookouts ranged around the stockade at regular intervals, and to the manning of the batteries at the angles of the prison. Even judicial matters pertaining to themselves, as the detection and punishment of such crimes as theft and murder, appear to have been in a great measure abandoned to the prisoners. A striking instance of this occurred in the month of July when the Federal prisoners within the stockade tried, condemned, and haghed six of their own number, who had been convicted of stealing and of robbing and murdering their fellow-prisoners. They were all hung upon the same day, and thousands of the prisoners gathered around to witness the execution. The Confederate authorities are said no to have interfered with these proceedings.
In this collection of men from all parts of the civilized world every phase of human character was represented. The stronger preyed upon the weaker, and even the sick, who were unable to defend themselves, were robbed of their scanty supplies of food and clothing. Dark stories were afloat of men, both sick and well, who were murdered at night, strangled to death by their comrades, for scant supplies of clothing or money. I heard a sick and wounded Federal prisoner accuse his nurse, a fellow prisoners of the U. S. Army, of having stealthily, during his sleep, inoculated his wounded arm with gangrene, that he might destroy his life and fall heir to his clothing.
The excuse given for the absence of Confederate guards and police within the inclosure of the stockade was the insufficiency of men capable of performing military duty. At the time of the establishment and during the exeistence of the military prison at Andersonville the Confederate Government was being sorely pressed on every side, the best States being overrun and desolated; and with all the forces that could be gathered from all quarters, the main armies are still largely out-numbered, and are being steadily pressed back, leaving a desolated and ruined country. It is with difficulty that the Confederate Government can spare at the present time of trouble and desaster between 2,000 and 3,000 reserves, composed of old men and boys (many of whom are wholly unfit to perform even guard duty), to guard this large number of prisoners, which they have every been anxious to exchange, adn which they believe to be forced upon their by the persistent action of the United States Government. Similar excuses are given