Richmond Examiner, 10/11/61

Home
Written Accounts
Photographs
Maps
Hospitals
Prisons
Other Sites
Events
Search
Links

 


From the Richmond Examiner, 10/11/1861

THE GENERAL HOSPITAL. – There are only forty Federal prisoners, we believe, now under treatment at the General Hospital, Northeast corner of Second street. Among these is Capt. Ricketts, of the old U. S. Army, who was very severely wounded in the right knee by a Minnie ball, which shattered the bone, in the battle of Manassas, and whose injuries are of such a nature as to preclude the idea that he will be able to meet the requirements of any active service for months to come, if at all. This officer had been in the army twenty-six years, most of the time serving in the South. He has many acquaintances among those who now officer our army, a number of whom have called to see him since he arrived here. At the battle of Manassas, unfortunately for himself, his battery was mistaken for Sherman’s, and, in consequence, received the especial attention of the Confederate soldiers. The contest for its possession was so hotly contested that it was captured and retaken several times during the battle. It finally passed into our possession, the few men in charge not dead or wounded having adjourned with the rest of the Grand Army towards the Long Bridge.

The trite story of woman’s love and devotion was well illustrated by an incident which occurred shortly after the battle of Manassas. The wife of Capt. Ricketts, a lady connected with one of the most respectable families in the State of New York, had followed her husband to Washington, awaiting in painful anxiety, the result of the position in which he was engaged. Her ___ about him after the decisive action in which he bore so prominent a part, to which the fears of the flying fugitives, no doubt, gave the most sanguinary colouring, left her no room to doubt but that the “rebels” had first wounded and then summarily dispatched him, in accordance with their usually supposed bloodthirstiness. Becoming, afterwards, better informed, and ascertaining that he was alive, though badly wounded, she resolved at all hazards to join him. Not being able to hire a vehicle in Washington, she resorted to the only feasible plan: that of buying one and hiring the services of a driver at an exhorbitant rate, to conduct her in quest of the object of her solicitude. It is not known whether Old Scott, when applied to by her for permission to go beyond his lines renewed his oath of allegiance to the Lincoln Government, but it is supposed that the sordid old huckster did.

Provided with a white flag, which she kept continually flying in the breeze, Mrs. Ricketts approached the Confederate pickets, and was conducted, as a prisoner, to Col. J. E. B. Stewart, commanding the First Virginia Cavalry. This officer, an old personal friend of the lady, insisted on her going back, offering her an escort, and telling her she could only proceed further as a prisoner, and have her conveyance forfeited as contraband. Refusing to retrace her steps she was sent to the headquarters of Gen. Johnston, another friend of hers in former days, who used the like arguments, with the addition of a vivid picture of the of the horrors she might expect to encounter in the sight of the hundreds of the dead, wounded and dying she would come in contact with. In accordance with her request she was taken prisoner, and joined her husband, whom she nursed in the field and since his arrival here with a devotion worthy of all respect. – She is, in all respects, regarded by the rules of war as much a prisoner as her husband. The latter, no doubt, like most of the United States Army officers who clung to the old wreck, and who were thrown in our hands by the fortune of war, are dissatisfied to some extent at the treatment received by them. They do not like the idea that paroles are refused them, and some among whom, no doubt, is the officer above spoken of, think it hard that the consideration usually accorded “officers and gentlemen” in civilized war is not granted them. They forget that this is the most uncivil civil war that the world has ever seen. That any course of conduct that the authorities adopt towards them is necessarily directly brought about by the savage and unmanly policy that governs the sectional hybrids that have succeeded to the miserable remnant of the once flourishing and extensive estate and possession of “Uncle Sam.” If Lincoln and his advisers were not making tools of the men who, under a mistaken sense of duty, undertook to fight his sectional nigger-stealing battles, no officer or private soldier of the United States need not stat amongst us longer that he could get exchanged or get paroled.