from The Webster Times, October 18, 1862  (Volume IV # 32), 
STARVING PRISONERS

Stuartís Mansion Hospital
Baltimore, Md., Sept 23, 1862

I saw a horrid sight today. God grant I may never see such another as long as I live. We are all in a perfect frenzy, and I cannot write calmly. We thought we had seen all the horror of war over and over again, as hundreds of men have been brought here wounded and torn in every conceivable way. We have seen more suffering than in all our past lives before. Some are brought with the jagged stump of an arm, some who have lost a leg, some with the face loathsomely disfigured, multitudes have the most ghastly, horrible gashes and bullet marks on their bodies, and writhe in the most cruel spasms of torture.

But eight poor skeletons of men were brought here this morning, whose miseries are tenfold more awful than all the rest. May Heaven pity the inhuman hearts of the wretches who wrought it, if it can pity such things! They have been starving since the seven days fight, where they were taken by the rebels, having only a mouthful or two of food per day until their exchange.

One of them has since died. I have been trying to talk with them, poor men! The great drops keep welling from my eyes. I can hardly control myself when I think of how they left their dear ones like heros patriots, willing to bear toils and wounds and death, even, at the call of their country, and then to starve! The remaining seven are very low; and more may die from this atrocity which would puzzle heathen barbarian to equal, wholly surpassing the vilest fury of bullet or sword. They were almost naked, and covered with vermin. One of them has the scurvy, the result of lack of food. A fine intelligent man among them told me he weighed 190 pounds when he fell into their hands; now his weight is perhaps half of that.

One old man is almost gone, and is a raving maniac. He curses the rebels continually and bitterly. their dayís rations were a pound of bread among eight, two ounces per man; but their emaciated faces speak worse tales of woe than their voices, which are feeble. What wonder is there that out boys were terribly excited, and that many swore vengeance against the accursed conspiracy of which this is among the fruits? and yet, in the face of many such instances, our men are turned out into the open air and the prisoners occupy their tents. Scarce enough of us to cope with the gigantic evil must toil and suffer on under all manner of difficulties and break up the plot of wicked men.

Five more are dead and out of their anguish. this scene has broken up the great deep of my heart, and I am even a child again.---Cor. Waltham Sentinel

 

15th Massachusetts VI