From the National Tribune, 2/19/1891

A Chickamauga Prisoner Gives His Experience.

EDITOR NATIONAL TRIBUNE: Having been “thar” in the sugar raid that the comrade of the 84th Ill. writes about in a late issue, I want to put in my sweetening. I was in the Pemberton Prison. We had plenty salt to spare, and traded it for sugar as long as we could get a trade with the boys in the adjoining building (Crews building). We then concluded to open a mine of our own, which we did by cutting a hole through the cellar wall leading into the basement of the Crews building where the sugar was stored When this was done the boys naturally became very anxious to lay in a stock for a rainy day. There being about 2,000 prisoners in the building, the reader can readily imagine what a noise and confusion that many men would make in the dark, moving to and from the cellar all at one time in their mad endeavor to satisfy their craving, starving stomachs and sweeten their soured tempers.

The rebel officers hearing this noise and tumult came into the prison to learn the cause, when they found sugar covering the floors. They hastened in the guard, forming the prisoners in column in the center of the floor. The guards placed, they compelled us to stand up until morning. Next day they deprived us of our scanty allowance of grub; all this as punishment for emptying nine hogsheads of sugar. I had about half bushel for my share, and must say right here that the hole in the wall under the Pemberton Prison was the sweetest by far of any of the (hell hole) prisons in which I was confined while a prisoner of war; and I was in Libby, Pemberton, Danville, Andersonville and Florence, 14 months and 20 days in all, when paroled and turned over to our authorities in Charleston Harbor Dec. 10, 1864.

Now a word as to our treatment by the rebels. To show that there was a system in their premeditated, murderous work, I will simply cite you to the fact that when we were paroled we were examined by their Surgeons, and those found forever unfit for further service were paroled, while others were kept to starve a while longer. In this way they claimed they could kill more Yankees in prison than they could on the field, being mindful that two could play at the same game at the front.

I think it is high time for our Congress to do something for the few remaining victims of rebel barbarity, cruelty and torment, and unless this Congress does it soon it undoubtedly will be forever too late for some of the bravest of our boys. - JOHN P. BROOK, Co. I, 35th Ohio, Ashland, Neb.

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