From the Richmond Enquirer, 1/4/1862

HUMORS OF PRISON LIFE. - The Yankee prisoners confined here, used to have a dramatic association, whose efforts were quite creditable to the imprisoned patriots. The association was broken up by the sending South of most of its prominent members. Since the departure of the association, the prisoners have amused themselves by composing and singing songs – their condition, &c., being the burthen of most of them. We append below one now in vogue at the prison, the composition of Lieut. Isaac W. Hart, of the 20th Indiana regiment, who was sent home a few days since. The copy of the “Prisoners’ Song” furnished us, was embellished with a cut of the “temporary seal” of the Prison Association, which bore the words “Richmond Prison Association, Instituted 1861.” Certain small creeping insects, which are said to infest the prison at a great rate, were included in the seal. The appositeness of the presence is explained by the motto “bite and be damned.” The song reads as follows:

Written expressly for the Richmond Prison Association by Lieut. Isaac W. Hart, from the Wabash, author of “Exchange.”

Come, brother prisoners, join in the song,
Our stay in the prison will not be long.
CHORUS – Roll on! roll on! sweet moments, roll on!
And let the poor prisoner go home, go home,
Our friends at home have made demand,
To have returned the patriot band.
Roll on, &c., and repeat.

Our Government is bound to obey,
For from the people they take their pay,
Roll on, &c.
They are bound to respect the public press,
And return us home our friends to bless.
Roll on, &c., and repeat.

Congressman Ely is first on the list,
And he will soon be home our friends to assist,
Roll on, &c.

And give to his mind the widest range,
And spread himself on the theme of exchange,
Roll on, &c., and repeat.

And when we arrive in the land of the free,
They will smile and welcome us joyfully,
Roll on, &c.
And when before them we shortly do stand,
We’ll repeat our motto, “Bite and be damned,”
Roll on, &c., and repeat.


Page last updated on 01/15/2008