Sunday, December 25, 2016

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 24, 1863

Very cold weather. Four or five men chilled to death last night. A large portion of the prisoners who have been in confinement any length of time are reduced to almost skeletons from continued hunger, exposure and filth. Having some money just indulged in an extra ration of corn bread for which I paid twenty cents in yankee script, equal to two dollars confederate money, and should say by the crowd collected around that such a sight was an unusual occurrence, and put me in mind of gatherings I have seen at the north around some curiosity. We received for to day's food half a pint of rice soup and one-quarter of a pound loaf of corn bread The bread is made from the very poorest meal, coarse, sour and musty; would make poor feed for swine at home. The rice is nothing more than boiled in river water with no seasoning whatever, not even salt, but for all that it tasted nice. The greatest difficulty is the small allowance given us. The prisoners are blue, downcast and talk continually of home and something good to eat. They nearly all think there will be an exchange of prisoners before long and the trick of it is to live until the time approaches. We are divided off into hundreds with a sergeant to each squad who draws the food and divides it up among his men and woe unto him if a man is wronged out of his share — his life, is not worth the snap of the finger if caught cheating. No wood tonight and it is very cold. The nights are long and are made hideous by the moans of suffering wretches.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 12-3

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