Saturday, January 21, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 17, 1863

I have plenty to eat. Go outside every day whether clothing is issued or not. To explain the manner of issuing clothing: The men are called outside by squads, that is, one squad of a hundred men at a time; all stand in a row in front of the boxes of clothing. The officer in charge, Col. Sanderson, begins with the first at the head of the column, looks him over, and says to us paroled men: “Here, give this man a pair of pants,” or coat, or such clothing as he may stand in need of. In this way he gets through with a hundred men in about half an hour. Us boys often manage to give three or four articles where only one has been ordered. There seems to be plenty of clothing here, and we can see no reason why it should not be given away. Have to be very careful, though, for if we are caught at these tricks are sent inside to stay. Officers stay on the island only two or three hours, and clothe four or five hundred men, when they could just as well do three or four times as much. It is comical the notes that come in some of the good warm woolen stockings. These have evidently been knit by the good mothers, wives and sisters at the North, and some of the romantic sort have written letters and placed inside, asking the receiver to let them know about himself, his name, etc , etc. Most of them come from the New England states, and they cheer the boys up a great deal.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 18-9

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