Thursday, June 29, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: May 17, 1864

Had a funny dream last night. Thought the rebels were so hard up for mules that they hitched up a couple of grayback lice to draw in the bread. Wirtz is watching out for Yankee tricks. Some one told him the other day that the Yankees were making a large balloon inside and some day would all rise up in the air and escape. He flew around as if mad, but could find no signs of a balloon. Says there is no telling what “te tam Yankee will do.” Some prisoners came to-day who were captured at Dalton, and report the place in our possession, and the rebels driven six miles this side. Kilpatrick and Stoneman are both with Sherman and there are expectations of starting out on some mission soon, supposed to be for this place. Nineteen thousand confined here now and dying at the rate of ninety per day, Philo Lewis, of the 5th Michigan Cav., can live but a day or two. Talks continually of his wife and family in Ypsilanti, Mich. Has pictures of the whole family, which he has given me to take home to them, also a long letter addressed to his wife and children. Mr. Lewis used to be a teacher of singing in Ypsilanti. He is a fine looking man naturally, and a smart man, but he must go the way of thousands of others, and perhaps myself One of his pupils is here confined. Philo Lewis must not be confounded with F. L. Lewis, the member of our mess. The latter, however, cannot live but a short time unless relief comes. Fine weather but very warm. The sandy soil fairly alive with vermin. If this place is so bad at this time of the year, what must it be in July, August and September? Every man will die, in my estimation, but perhaps we may be relieved before then. We'll try and think so anyway. New prisoners die off the fastest.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 58-9

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