Eli S. Glover
was captured the same day as
Dr. G. T. Taylor, Eli was in Co. F 1st Alabama Battalion Artillery.
Experience in Elmira, N.Y.
By Dr. G.T. Taylor, Bismark, Ark.
following document comes from the Confederate Veteran, a magazine
published throughout the South from the 1890s until the 1940s. It comes
from Volume XX which contains writings from the year 1912, page 327.]
I belonged to Company
C, 1st Alabama Battalion of Heavy Artillery, and served on the Gulf
Coast most of the war of 1861-65. I was captured August 23, 1864, at
Fort Morgan and was taken to New Orleans and placed in Cotton Press
No. 3 on September 18 (?). About 300 of us were sent on board a ship
for New York City and placed in Castle Williams, on Governor's Island.
We were kept there until December 4, when were were sent to the Elmira
(N.Y.) Prison. While in New Orleans, we fared fairly well under the
circumstances. While on Governor's Island a corporal (I think his name
was Toby) stole our rations, and we suffered hunger until Colonel Bumford,
in command of the prison, removed the man, who was making money while
we were starving. While there I took small pox, as did several others,
and we carried the disease to Elmira, where a number died of it.
Talk about Camp
Chase, Rock Island, or any other prison as you please, but Elmira was
nearer Hades than I thought any place could be made by human cruelty.
It was a bend of the small river, surrounded by a high board enclosure,
with sentinels walking some fifteen or twenty feet on the inside; and
if prisoners went near the line, a wound or death was the invariable
result. Snow and ice several feet thick covered the place from December
6 to March, 1865. We were in shacks some seventy or eighty feet long,
and they were very open, with but one blanket to the man. Our quarters
were searched every day, and any extra blankets were taken from us.
For the least infraction, we were sent to the guardhouse and made to
wear a "barrel shirt" or were tied to by the thumbs for hours at a time.
There was one Major Beal who, I believe, was the meanest man I ever
knew. Our rations were very scant. About eight or nine in the morning
we were furnished a small piece of salt pork or pickled beef each, and
in the afternoon a small piece of bread and a tin plate of soup, with
sometimes a little rice or Irish potato in the soup where the pork or
beef had been boiled. We were not allowed to have money, but could make
rings or pins or buttons and sell them for suttler tickets and buy tobacco
or apples; but we were not allowed to buy rations. After the surrender
of General Lee, we thought it would be better, but were mistaken.
In May they commenced
to liberate prisoners, sending three hundred every other day. I got
out on July 7, 1865, and started for my home in Alabama. Upon arrival
in New York City I secured my first "square meal" in over ten months.
My experience was
that when you met a Western man you met a gentleman or soldier; but
when you met a "down Easterner" or a Southern renegade, you meet the
If any of the 1st
Battalion of Heavy Artillery of Alabama or any of the 1st Tennessee
Heavy Artillery or any of Captain Butt's company, 21st Alabama Infantry
sees this, please write me.