From the National Tribune, 4/18/1901

An Ohio Man Tells of a Fight at Beverly and Subsequent Trip to Richmond.

EDITOR NATIONAL TRIBUNE: [author gives his account of battle at Beverly, West Virginia and capture on Jan. 11, 1865, and subsequent trip to Richmond - not transcribed]

...We were put on the cars like hogs, and taken to Richmond. I was glad, as I was played out on account of the veins of my right leg being burst from hard marching. It was just nine days from the time we were captured until we reached Richmond. I was among the first of our gang to enter Libby. It was so crowded that some of us were taken across the street to the Pemberton Hotel, second floor. There we experienced terrible days and nights under the management of Dick Turner. We hated him worse than a viper for his tyranny. We saw him knock a 34th boy down and trample him under his feet.

Although we did not see as much hard suffering as those in Andersonville and Salisbury, we got a taste of the real thing. Our prison-life became monotonous. Feb. 11 or 12 we were made to feel glad. We got hold of a Richmond paper that said that there was to be a general exchange of prisoners soon, on the James River first. On the morning of Feb. 14 we were called in line and answered to our names. Our parole was read to us - the best valentine ever received. In the morning we were marched down to the landing and stood there in the rain and sleet for over an hour, almost frozen. Finally we got on a rebel boat and started for home. I was among the boys put down in the hull of the boat. I did not like it very much, but we were willing to go any fashion to get out of Rebeldom. We were packed like sardines down under water, but we stood the trip to Akins’s or Eakins’s) Landing first-rate. Then we were marched off the boat single file, a Union commissioner on one side and a rebel commissioner on the other side, and counted one by one. We walked across the neutral ground to our boat and met rebel prisoners coming back. They looked well and clean, as though they had just come from Sunday school. There were two boats waiting for us - the New York City and the George St. Clare. I was on the latter boat. After we left the landing about two hours we had some crackers issued to us, and were told not too much. But the flavor of the meat cooking on the boat made the boys feel awful hungry, and when they called “coffee” we all rushed to one side of the boat and nearly made it dip water. The Captain of the boat came to us and said:

“Men, trim boat, or every one of us will drown.” You bet we made a scatter, and the Captain told us we must not all rush to one side, as the pilot could not manage the boat.

Next day we landed at Annapolis where we took a bath and drew new clothing. After we were there about there days we were sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, and thence were furloughed home. - JAMES T. FLACK, Co. D, 44th Ohio, and 8th Ohio Cav., Union, O.


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