(Note: Hard to read or faded words are marked with an 'xx' or '??')
Upon the capture of Capt.
Beall's party, they were taken to Drummond Town, a village on the Eastern
Shore of Virginia. On their arrival, they were marched into the office
of the Provost Marshal, Graham by name. Here they were mustered in
a row and, one by one, made to doff their garments, which were subjected
to a most rigorous and thorough search---pockets turned inside out, the
collars, coats, jackets, and vests vigorously thumbed; xx also the train
lands of the pants and drawers; the pen-knife applied to the lining of
every suspicious looking garment, boots, shakes, socks turned out and in,
and even the most insignificant string of a cravat subjected to the whipcracking
process, lest the tiny folds might conceal a postage stamp. The money and
watches were put into brown envelopes and sealed with red sealing wax.
A description of the contents was written on the back of each package and
the owner of the articles contained was desired to write his name in one
corner of the same. This was the last ever heard or seen of the articles
thus cached. All remaining property of the party---knives, pencils, pans,
breastpins, books, paper and all wise whatever---were thrown upon a table
in one incongruous mass and confiscated. Even the return of a little
prayer book was denied.
The party were then escorted by a strong guard to the town jail, where they were thrust into a dingy cell about twelve feet square. There were two small holes in the wall for ventilation purposes , but they so thickly set with iron bars that we could scarcely see out, and then our gaze only fell upon the high and moulded wall which beset the xx on every side.
We were confined in this locality for two nights and a day. Early one morning we were called up and hurried off to the bay xx, where we took passage on the steam transport "Gen. Meigs", bound for Fort Helibury?.
We were put into a room which had been used to tarry stock. There was not a spark of fire? near the place; the wind, dead ahead, was blowing a sharp xx and howling round in most disxxlly, whistling through the ninety and nine crew and crannies of pencheerious pen, and making us shiver with cold. We had started from the jail hungry, and Graham, the thieving provost marshal, who accompanied us, said he had no food on board the boat. About five o'clock in the evening, he sent us down a few hard crackers of which the guard got the larger portion. With the exception of this, we got nothing for two nights and a day.
About 2 o'clock on the 1?th day of November we arrived at Fort McHenry where the officers were separated from the remainder of the party, and placed in the room over the provost marshall's office, where there was a mixture of Seccesh and Yankees. Southern officers and yankee deserters together with a lot of spies paid to stay in confinement and watch the movements of prisoners and report their conversations.
The remainder of the party went into the next room, which is used? "purgatory," for as much as "Hell" (to which there were afterwards transferred lies beneath. All the above in around? places were alive with varmin of all varieties, xxxm and species; and within one hour's time all were most forcibly reminded of that song which was no doubtless composed under far different circumstances.
"Shall so gently o'er one's calling."
When morning arrived , shortly after daylight a cry was heard in the ??og of a stalwart yankee Irishman, "here's your office. Such an outturning of the seventy-six inmates of the stable loft would have thrown into the shape the ?? of swipe? to the swill trough of a still. The article called coffee after careful analyis proved to be a decoction of dandalion root sweetened with burnt molases. The bread is "hard tack" of the meanest kind; it consists of flour and water, subjected to the action of fire only statistically? long enough to dry the crackers through, leaving them, ?? cold, as hard as hickory wood. Upon laying them on a stove to warm they exchange their hardness to toughness and can scarcely be pulled apart, the only way to render them ex?? is to lay them on a hot stove until they become the toughly charred.
A few days after the party had been encarcerated? in the above named deleciable room of Capt. Holmes, Provost Marshal of the Fort, had all put in irons, the officers were sent to a cell in the interior--and the others sent to the middle room, "better known to everyone who has been imprisoned at Fort McHenry, as "Hell,". Some were at commodated with heavy shackles for their feet and others with a ball and chain, the weight of the former varing from 24 pounds to 42 pounds. Then we were not taken off until the 7th day of ??1864. Shortly after the transfer to the 'middle room', one of the men took his ?? off and escaped. Next day Capt. Holmes took on of the men, Robt L. Lanyih, a Texan, into his office, and ordered him to tell witnessed?? about this escape. He refused, then Holmes ordered him to be tied. His hands were first tightly bound with a small cott?,then a stick was put under his chin and a s?? cord tied to each end of the stick, was passed down his back, between his legs and up to the hands where it was fastened; his feet were then tied and he was tightly 'bucked'. During the 'bucking' process some difficulty was experienced in consequesce of the tightness of the other conis?, when Lieut. S?pith, the Assistant Provost Marshal, placed his foot on the prisoner's feet and pressed them down to the floor, which caused excruciating pain. After he had been th??, Smith took up a revolver and told Lloyd he would kill him in five minutes if he did not tell him the hour at which the escape was made. The ordeal being again inside the unfortunate man was camp?comp? Red? ??? in a sitting position, Holmes and Smith, ??? and ??? him, until his hands turned black from the stoppage of circulation of the blood and he eventually lost all conscienceness, and fell over on the floor. His first conscienceness was finding himself held up by two men and water being put on his hands, which were still discolored, and the marks of the cords deeply cut into the flesh on the wrists.
After the lapse of some weeks ?? the party were placed in a cell in the interior. This cell is small and built under the rampart of the fort. In cold weather, it is intensely cold; in summer it is intolerably hot, mud in wet weather dripping down from the ceiling and oozes through the walls, causing the mould to accumulate to the thickness of a quarter of an inch. As a matter of record? colds, rheumatism and neuralgia were prevelant, while fevers, pneumonia, and b?? like diseases were of frequent occurances. The unfortunate Lloyd was seized with inflammatory rheumatism and ?? -??- ?? paralyzed and swollen and his irons were buried in the flesh yet the officer in command refused to permit the irons to be removed. Finally a humane? Lieutenant was the officer of the guard, took the responsibility and took them off. This man was left at Ft. McHenry when the party were brought away; for when they attempted to carry him out of the cell to an ambulance he shrieked with pain and was carried back. This man has never been heard from.
After the arrival of the information that the Confederate Government had applied? the exalto? the party were granted little privleges, such as the reception of letters and being allowed to go out of the cell for half an hour each day, provided we were to prominade with our irons; the consequences that out we took advantage of the privlege. We were also allowed to receive some clothing and boxes of ??? from persons outside, though Provost Marshal Holmes generally appropriated all the delacacies and about two-thirds of the clothing to his own use and benefit.
On the 7th day of January, our irons were taken off and the party, with one exception, carried down to Fortress Monroe.
At this time, there was snow on the ground and the weather was very cold. At this place all were put into a cell without fire and there we remained three days, being called out each morning about daylight to stand in the snow for some ten minutes and then return shivering to a bitter cold cell.
We were carried thence to Norfolk city, and sent the same day to Fort Norfolk, where all were allowed the parole of the fort and priveleges extended as to prisoners of war.
Transcribed by the Founder
Copyright 2001, John E. Ellis, www.csnavy.org