This letter to the Editor appeared in the Friday, April 26, 1912 edition of the Boston Globe. I thought it was appropriate for today, due to the fact that it was published 96 years ago yesterday, when memories of the Civil War remained relatively fresh in people’s minds and “The Bloody Shirt” was still waving in the breeze.
Editor People’s Column – I have read the recent letters in the [Boston] Globe comparing the Northern and Southern prisons during the Civil War.
There is one fact which should settle forever any controversy in regard to their respective merits or demerits, and that is the burial grounds. The graveyards speak for both sides. Compare the graveyard of the Confederate dead at Camp Morton with that of the Federal dead at Camp Sumpter. The one at Indianapolis, Ind. the other at Andersonville, Ga. Of the two, Camp Morton contained much the larger number of prisoners. You can count the graves at Andersonville by the hundreds, those at Indianapolis by the tens. The soldiers who died at Camp Morton were buried in coffins, inclosed in boxes, those at Andersonville in trenches without boxes or coffins. A record of every death, cause of death, name, rank, regiment, company, date of death, name and address of nearest relative and the graves marked and numbered, was kept at Camp Morton.
The Confederate prisoners had ample room, plenty of shade trees on the grounds, and a roof either of wood or canvas under which to sleep or lounge. There was also a good stream of running water wherein he could bathe or fish at times. At Andersonville there was no protection from the sun or storms. A line 20 feet from the stockade kept the soldiers from the shade of the stockade and many a poor man, over-heated, delirious with fever, wandered over the line to reach the little shade near the stockade was shot down. Wood was so scarce in the camp that the roots of the tree stumps were dug up. Within 30 minutes walk of the stockade was timber enough to build a city larger than any in Dixie at that time.
The Southern sun of Sumner killed the Northern bred men like frost kills flies. Dysentery and scurvy and sunstroke claimed thousands. These conditions were inexcusable. Nearby were plenty of shade and good cool water. The scurvy could have been prevented by an issue of fresh vegetables which were grown all about that neighborhood. There were a few issues of green corn, potatoes, onions and melons. The woods were full of wild berries and cherries. Old Wind and Wirz would rather dig trenches for the prisoners than potatoes.
At Camp Morton some did suffer from the cold at times. One winter it was so cold that several guards on duty were frozen to death. What wonder that men from the South should suffer. The hospital where the Confederate prisoners were treated is to this day used by the City of Indianapolis as it city hospital. I lived in that same hospital for two years and know that it is a good, clean, comfortable building. Some additions were made to it and some of the old wooden portions replaced by brick. But the executive or central portion stands just as it did 50 years ago. The prisoners were allowed to have luxuries and dainties sent to them by the Southern sympathizers of which the city had hundreds. They had sent to them great quantities of reading matter, until one day an employee let fall a box, labeled “Sunday School Papers,” which burst, exposing a lot of Navy revolvers and cartridges. That was the beginning of the exposure of the conspiracy of the Knights of the Golden Circle to organize the Northwestern Confederacy. The arming of the prisoners and Morgan, the raider, coming to their aid, and Gov. Morton’s prompt action preventing the success of the conspiracy is another story.
There’s lot of information on the Internet about Camp Morton, but this link
provides a good starting point.
Posted by Donald at 09:40 AM. Filed under: News
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From: Mejia, Leslie (CFSA)
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 4:48 PM
To: CFSA – All Staff
Subject: Holiday Reminder
Good Afternoon Everyone:
We have a holiday next Wednesday.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 is a legal holiday for District of Columbia employees. It is Emancipation Day.
If you are an essential employee, please check with your supervisor to see if you are scheduled to work on this day.
For more information on Emancipation Day, please click on the link below.
Posted by Donald at 07:00 AM. Filed under: News
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Baseball finally returned to Washington, DC on Sunday, March 30th. Forget the fact the Montreal Expos relocated to the city in 2005 and played three years at R.F.K. Stadium, because baseball was never meant for a multi-purpose mixing bowl. This was the real deal, with foul poles and fences placed at baseball appropriate distances, with the prerequisite nooks and crannies befitting retro ballparks. Forget the horrid past that was baseball in the Nation’s capitol, when the Nationals/Senators won only two American League pennants and one World Series championship in 60 years. The ghosts of Clark Griffith, Bucky Harris, Walter Johnson, Rick Farrell, Goose Goslin, and Sam Rice, the only members of the Washington baseball fraternity enshrined at Cooperstown, were watching from the dugout, from the pitcher’s mound, from behind the plate, and from the outfield for certain. It’s unknown what they would have actually thought of the brand spanking new ballpark, unknown what they would have actually thought of the near capacity crowd, when they themselves toiled before fans who attended at two-thirds the rate of the American League average during their playing careers, before Calvin Griffith used “blacks don’t attend baseball games” as his excuse to pull up stakes and caravan to a new promised land in 1961. They probably all would have marveled at the sight. Those who attended the 2008 Home Opener, including yours truly, certainly did.
In spite of a walk off moon shot by Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the ninth, the outlook for 2008 Nationals is probably grim and a return to all those seasons when they were the bottom feeders in the American League likely. But anyone arriving at the ballpark Sunday, whether by car, bus, or as sardines on Metro trains, was treated to a Times Squaresque barrage of neon and music, a hundred foot red carpet, and groups beseeching everyone to sign petitions for the impeachment of George Bush. I don’t know if Bush is considered a beleaguered President, but there were more than a sprinkling of boos throughout the stadium when he was introduced to throw out the first pitch. And speaking of the President, his presence at the ballgame caused a one-hour delay in getting into the ballpark as everyone was subjected to a bag check, followed by a metal detector scan.
In spite of long lines at the concession stands and restrooms, which were to be expected at an opening game in a new venue, beer was in ready supply and the only item hawked in the stands during the game. The only snafu I personally observed occurred in the bottom of the third inning when the smaller scoreboards on the first and third base sides stopped functioning. They were fixed and fully operational before the top of the fourth.
Baseball moves at a pace that not everyone appreciates. As a hedge against potential boredom on those nights when the home team is, say, trailing 13-2, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 59 vendors, offering amenities ranging from a children’s playground, a store where you can build a teddy bear or Screech, the National’s mascot, a video arcade, batting cage, and 12 local food vendors, including Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC landmark. Do video arcades and build a bear stores fit into my ideally constructed ballpark, no, but then neither does the largest electronic scoreboard in North America. What can I say? I’m a ban both the designated hitter and Inter-league play kind of guy.
Washington should be proud of its moument to the National pastime. Even Adrian Fenty, who’s into his fifteenth month as mayor and opposed funding of its construction while a member of the City Council, was all smiles when he walked down the line I was standing in before the game shaking hands and probably still all smiles, even though booed when introduced just prior to the start of the game. I couldn’t be totally certain, but it sounded like he won over Bush. No, this wasn’t a booing crowd; it was a beaming crowd basking in the razzle-dazzle and spit and polish of the place.
Washington is still in the process of birthing a genuine love for the hometown team. People move to DC from other parts of the country and still have allegiances intact. In some ways it’s a tough sell, but regardless the park is going to be filled this year. A new park always draws. According to a person I spoke to at the ticket sales office they’re hoping to hit 3 million in attendance. The old Nationals/Senators drew 1.2 million in their best year, 1946. The key to survival will be what occurs in year two and on into the future. Attendance dropped 500,000 in the second year and another 200,000 by the time the Nationals finished their third and last year at R.F.K.
Still, with all the hoopla I can’t help but think, pardon me Washington, pardon me Baltimore, Frisco, Pittsburgh, and most of all pardon me “The House that Ruth Built” and Green Mon-sta Nation, that Wrigley is still the jewel of baseball diamonds.
Arriving by Metro
Note: Click on "Read More" to see more pictures. Additionally, the failure to make any mention of the Texas Rangers, who played in Washington and averaged 8200 fans a game between 1961 and 1971, was purely intentional. Washington baseball fans have suffered enough without rubbing more salt in their wounds.
Posted by Donald at 04:00 AM. Filed under: News
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