Thursday, June 22, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: May 10, 1864

Capt. Wirtz very domineering and abusive. Is afraid to come into camp any more. There are a thousand men in here who would willingly die if they could kill him first. Certainly the worst man I ever saw. New prisoners coming in every day with good clothes, blankets, &C., and occasionally with considerable money. These are victims for the Raiders who pitch into them for plunder. Very serious fights occur. Occasionally a party of new comers stick together and whip the raiders, who afterward rally their forces and the affair ends with the robbers victorious Stones, clubs, knives, sling shots, &C., are used on these occasions, and sometimes the camp gets so stirred up that the rebels, thinking a break is intended, fire into the crowds gathered, and many are killed before quiet is again restored. Then Wirtz writes out an order and sends inside, telling he is prepared for any break, etc., etc. No less than five have died within a radius of thirty feet in the last twenty-four hours. Hendryx has a sore arm and in turning over last night I hurt it He pitched in to me while I was in a sound sleep to pay me for it. Woke up in short order and we had it, rough and tumble. Tore down the tent poles — rolled around — scaring Lewis and all the rest. I am the stoutest, and soon get on top and hold him down, and keep him there until he quiets down, which is always in about five minutes. We have squabbles of this sort often, which don't do any particular harm. Always laugh, shake and make up afterwards. The “Astor House Mess,” or the heads rather, have gently requested that we do our fighting by daylight, and Sanders very forcibly remarked that should another scene occur us happened last night, he will take a hand in the business and lick us both. Battese laughed, for about the first time this summer He has taken quite a shine to both Hendryx and myself. In the fore part of to-day's entry I should have stated that Hendryx has been sent inside, they not being quite ready for him at the cookhouse. He is a baker by trade.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 55-6

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