Prison Life at Fort Delaware
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net

 
“In the summer of 1863 there were four thousand prisoners, hundreds of whom were ill, and only two surgeons. In October

[Surgeon Silliman] wrote…that 331 prisoners had died during  the preceding month. “The mortality is to me fearful and it is melancholy proof of your oft-expressed views as to the unfitness of this wet island as a depot for large numbers of men.” Mosquitos and flies swarmed. The whole place was infested with bedbugs and lice. Prisoners were allowed no bedding of any sort and only one blanket. Many of them lacked clothes.
 
Nov. 24. “Already the winter is severe beyond anything I have known in years…Perhaps…attributable to our defective housing and clothing.  The most shameful piece of barbarity of recent date was the robbing us of our blankets. I have never been able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time since our blankets were stolen from us.”
 
March 2. Weather dreadful!..we are shivering form head to foot day and night. The consequence is that hundreds of weak, emaciated human beings may be seen every hour of the night, staggering through the cold, or snow or rain to the sinks, where the keen blast from the surface of the river cuts through their thin attire like a whip lash.”
 
For breakfast the prisoners had “about one square inch of boiled bacon, or an inch and a quarter of boiled beef, very slimy; and a slice of baker’s bread.”
 
“Dinner was the big meal of the two. It consisted of precisely the same quantity of bread and meat, with the addition of half a tin cup full of slop, which no man had any right to dignify with the title of soup; though it was designed to represent that article. Such was breakfast! Such was dinner! And as for supper, it failed to arrive until next morning at breakfast!
 
“But for five days we have not had a morsel of meat of any kind; the cooks allege that the supply ran short and “spoiled.”  But now we receive none at all! Talk about Andersonville! We would gladly exchange rations with the Yankees there.”
 
(Prison Experiences of Randolph Shotwell, NC Historical Review, 1925, pp. 335-341)