Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prisoners of War Going North

The steamer Evansville, from Cairo, arrived at Rock Island Yesterday afternoon, having on board 360 prisoners of war captured at Island No. 10, and a guard of twenty men, under Capt. O. C. Jenson. Of this number, 225 were sick and under the care of Dr. A. G. Quinlin, Surgeon of La Motte hospital, Cairo, assisted by a Confederate Surgeon, Dr. W. A. Martin, of Randolph, Tenn. The boat being too small for such a number of men, is of course uncomfortably crowded. The sick fill the state-rooms and are crowded along the cabin floor on each side as closely as their beds can be laid down. The are also stowed away on the deck, and even in the hold a number of the sufferers are packed together. Of course, such huddling together, with the attendant evils common to all hospitals, make the condition of the men truly heart-sickening to behold. Of the sick, ten have died since leaving Cairo, and one, a young man named Carpenter, was buried in Rock Island yesterday afternoon. He was from Nashville, and his father is said to be a very wealthy resident of that city. One of the prisoners is represented as the owner of 350 slaves. – He attempted to escape at Burlington, but was recaptured and brought back. The prisoners generally are pretty well satisfied with their experience of the war, and most of them seem to be decidedly averse to its further continuance. One man was telling a number of persons that he had been very well treated while in the Confederate army, and had received his pay regularly every two months, in Confederate money, because they preferred that; another who was standing by, an intelligent young man from North Alabama, said he had been in the Southern army eight months, and hadn’t seen any pay yet. This last person was particularly well satisfied with his position, and seemed to have no especial desire for an exchange before the war is over.

A large number of persons visited the boat, who distributed money and fruit among the sick. A number of Davenporters tried to induce those in charge of the boat to bring her over here, so that if they did our citizens would furnish the sick with delicacies and articles calculated to relieve their sufferings; but for some reason or other the officers of the boat did not see fit to do so.

The prisoners were nearly all taken from the hospitals near Island No. 10, and hence had no part in the contest at that point. They were on their way to Madison, Wis., via Prairie du Chien. Dr. Quinlin and his assistant appear to be well fitted for the delicate positions in which they are placed; and the former seems to be the impersonation of humanity and good nature. When the boat left the landing, the people on the shore bombarded the boat with apples, of which they kept up a much more pleasant cannonading to the recipients than that of the mortars at Island No. 10.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

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