The Libby Chronicle, 8/28/1863
TO FACTS AND FUN.
EDITOR- IN- CHIEF, LOUIS N. BEAUDRY, CHAPLAIN FIFTH N. Y. VOL. CAVALRY.
PRISON, RICHMOND, VA., AUGUST 28, 1863.
NOTES AND NOTICES.
Felicitous. We are glad to know that THE CHRONICLE is without competition in the field. The patronage accorded to our first number is ground for hopefulness in our work. From all sides we hear the cry : "God speed thee !"
Scribblers. Contributors to our columns have been doing a commendable amount of thinking and scribbling as their articles will testify. We invite discussions on a wide range of subjects. As we make our appearance promptly at ten o'clock every Friday morning, all articles for insertion that day must be in the hands of the editor Thursday evening, at the latest.
Secrets. We call special attention this week to our article from Castle Thunder, which was brought to our hands through secret channels. The denizens of Libby will be grateful, we are sure, to all parties concerned in the preparation, conveyance to our sanctum and appearance, of this poem. (The name of the author is not at this writing known.)
The Lyce-I-see-'em. We invite attention to the discussions and meetings of the Libby Lyce-I-see-'em Association, which take place in this room every Tuesday, at 10 o'clock, A. M. Subject for discussion next week: - "Resolved, that men ought not to shave their faces." By order, H. Rees Whiting, Secretary, Chaplain Beaudry, President. All members are expected to prepare themselves for the discussion. The discussion this week on the question, "Resolved, that the Fear of Punishment has a greater influence upon mankind than the Hope of Reward," was opened by Lieut. S. H. Ballard and Lieut. James Burns as chief disputants, seconded by Lieut. Col. F. F. Cavada and Lieut. H. B. Chamberlain. As many as fifteen persons participated in the spirited debate, which elicited no little amount of general intelligence, oratorical ability, wit and humor. With the President's decision, choice of next week's question, appointments and miscellaneous business, the parties dispersed, feeling that their time had been admirably spent.
Origins. It may not be generally known that with the Libby Lyce-I-see-'em originated the project of the THE LIBBY CHRONICLE, and for this alone, if for nothing more, this Association is worthy of patronage.
McCabe. We gladly announce that next Sabbath at 10:30 A. M., in the upper west room, the Rev. C. C. McCabe, Chaplain of the 122d Ohio Vols., will preach. Those who have been often attracted and entertained by Chaplain McCabe's excellent singing, will not fail to hear him sing and preach next Sabbath morning. Preaching every Sunday morning, in the same place, the nine Chaplains confined in Libby taking turns.
Lecture. Next Wednesday evening at 7 o'clock, Chaplain Beaudry will deliver a lecture in this room. Subject: "Paul and, Silas in the Philippian prison."
LIGHTS AND, SHADES IN LIBBY.
The earliest skirmishers have not finished their bloody task before' you hear much pounding and grating, and no little rumbling and rattling. You need not wonder; the cooks have commenced their work. The stoves fairly groan under their loads of pots and kettles for soup and coffee, while their ovens are pregnant with the accustomed hash and toast. Glad as we are to have our scanty rations brought to us in gross, thus furnishing us needed employment both in cooking, and in cutting and carving the bones, there is, nevertheless, great annoyance, these hot summer days, from the extra heat of the stoves. There is pounding on the floor for water from below, when the faucets have been closed; there is haste to secure the best pots, kettles. and pans for public and private uses; there is gouge game and grab game from head cools to young apprentices, and from those who are not cooks at all, while selfishness and profanity mingle too frequently in shameful confusion.
As the inmates of each room are divided up into messes, each bearing its own number, and as each man in a mess has to take his place in rotation as cook, our culinary arrangements display very much regularity. Two long tables are stretched across the upper middle room, where, at a given signal, one mess after the other : appears for its refreshments. But how heart-rending to contemplate the supply of spoons, knives and forks or other utensils for table use! Happy is the man who can secure even a rusty or broken piece of tin for a plate, or the half section of a canteen ! Some are compelled to eat à la Turkie, that is, with their fingers, and when it comes to soup, their scanty mess is gulped with rough wooden spoons, carved out with dull jack knives. And yet all this would be considered a royal assemblage of table furniture, if there were only food enough to satisfy the tithe of your hunger!
The morning meal dispatched, we greet the "General," a colored prisoner whose chief employment is to disinfect the rooms by means of his. "union smoke," as he calls his fumigations made from burning tar, carried here and there in a small iron skillet. Groups gather around the "General," enjoying his spicy Union talks quite as well as his disinfectant. - Editor.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR NON-EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS.
It is with much regret that we announce the fact to the readers (hearers) of THE CHRONICLE that there are those among the officers now confined in this delectable (?) locality, ycleped Libby, who are uttering curses, "not loud but deep," against our government for permitting them to remain here so long. These officers evince more the spirit of spoiled children than that of manly courage and intelligence which should characterize the actions of the American soldier.
The officer who utters complaints against our government for his continued incarceration shows that he does not understand the principles involved in the controversy in relation to the exchange of prisoners, or else he is prompted by motives altogether selfish and unpatriotic. The exchange of prisoners was suspended in consequence of the unfair proceedings of the Rebel authorities about the first of June last, in retaining certain officers in an unjust and arbitrary manner. Among those thus retained were Colonel Streight and his officers, Captain McKee of the Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry, and Lieutenant Conn of the Second Virginia Cavalry. Our Commissioners on discovering this injustice respectfully informed the Rebel Commissioner that all exchange of officers would be suspended until the Rebel authorities would exchange officer for officer and man for man according to rank and date of capture.
The Rebels at that time were anticipating a series of successes which they have not realized, though they persist with a dogged obstinacy in the unjust course which they had marked for themselves. Instead of removing obstacles which they had thrown in, the way of the cartel, they continue to increase those obstacles by high-handed acts of injustice and cruelty, and thus make the affair more complicated. All that is necessary is for them to return to the cartel and proceed as formerly. When the Rebels do this, our government is ready to exchange, but until then it acts properly in refusing to do so. A partial or special exchange would leave many an unfortunate prisoner exposed to even worse insults and indignities than now. Should partial exchanges be made, a portion of the officers would be held as hostages, confined in wretched cells and reserved for hanging or shooting for the recreation of the so-called chivalry. Such exchanges would add to the comfort of some, but would increase the sufferings of others. What officer among us is so devoid of humanity as to be willing to accept his personal liberty at such expense? If there be any such in Libby, they had better tender their "immediate and unconditional" resignation, as soon as possible, and retire to their own place. But in the language of Holy Writ, let us "endure hardness as good soldiers," trusting in the God of battles to deliver us. We may be assured also, that we are not forgotten by Father Abraham who is evidently doing all that justice and mercy can prompt him to do for our relief. While it is well for us to invite the aid of our influential friends in the North in this matter of exchange, it is equally proper to bide our time with patience and manly fortitude.
Beauty is not confined to nature, to trees, to flowers and to the material world. It is the prime element of spiritual life. It manifests itself in its highest and most- sublime forms in the nobler traits of human character and conduct. The only really substantial beauty in the world is truth, mercy and love. The natural rose soon fades, but the roses of moral conduct and spiritual life bloom forever.
The highest type of beauty this world ever saw, is contained in the life and death of Jesus Christ. There is beauty in the heavens, the stars, the clouds and the arch of blue; in the wide waste of old ocean, in the hills, plains, mountains and valleys of the earth. But there is nothing in these to compare with the beauty of the feeblest effort for the elevation and welfare of the down-trodden and oppressed, the poor and despised, the ignorant and unfortunate, the erring and lost of the human race. What beauty in a fault forgiven, in a tear dried, in an error corrected, in a want supplied!
There is sublime beauty in Niagara, but sublimer in the widow's gift of mites, or in the heavenly mission of Florence Nightingale. There is more beauty in the refusal of Moses, than in the pomp and glory of Pharoah; more in the and ragged and despised Lazarus, than in the purple and fine linen of Dives ; more in visiting of widows and orphans in their affliction, than in the glory of vain princes. Such are the beauties of the soul, which reflect the brightness of heaven, and span the earth with the bow of promise. Such beauties beam forth with the rays of eternal life. - Capt. S. G. Hamlin.
We have received the following from the special correspondent of THE LIBBY CHRONICLE at Havana:
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