Primary tabs

2

Barbarities of the Rebels.

We have received a copy of the report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War upon the barbarities practiced by the rebels at Manassas. The facts contained in this report would excite utter incredulity were they less fortified by the testimony of honorable men who speak of what they have seen and felt. — Such brutal malignity — such hate of dead adversaries honorable fallen in battle, such diabolical torture of living men — such savage conduct as is therein described is almost too inhuman to be believed if any other than barbarians and cannibals.

It appears from the testimony of Nathaniel F. Parker, captured at Falling Waters, Virginia, whose statements are corroborated by others, that our prisoners have generally been kept in close confinement in a small room, with "food generally scant, always bad, and sometimes nauseous; that the wounded had neither medical attention nor humane treatment, and that many of these latter died of sheer neglect." It appears from the testimony of this man and others, that prisoners were shot for looking out of the windows. Gen. Ricketts testifies, "a number of our men were shot by rebel sentries. In one instance two were shot; one was killed." Dr. Hominston's testimony is fairly horrible. — He was Surgeon of a Brooklyn regiment and captured at Bull Run. The report says:

"Dr. Homiston, of the Brooklyn regiment, testifies that he was brutally refused permission to remain on the field and attend to the wounded men. When twenty-four hours afterwards, himself and companions were allowed to go to their relief, the rebel surgeons would not allow them to perform any operations, but mangled the poor fellows themselves in a horrible manner. When they cut off Corporal Prescott's leg, he says the assistants were pulling on the flesh at each side, trying to get flap enough to cover the bone. They had sawed off the bone without leaving any of the flesh to form the flaps to cover it, and with all the force they could use they could not get flap enough to cover the gone. They were then obliged to saw off about an inch more of the bone, and even then, when they came to put in the stitches, they could not approximate the edges within less than an inch and a half of each other. Of course, as soon as there was any swelling the stitches tore out, and the bone stuck through again. Dr. Swain tried afterwards to remedy it by performing another operation, but Prescott had become so debilitated that he did not survive. Corporal Prescott was a young man of high position, and had received a very liberal education.

The same witness describes the sufferings of the wounded after the battle as inconceivably horrible; with bad food, no covering, no water, they were lying upon the floor as thickly as they could be laid. There was not a particle of light in the house to enable us to move among them. Deaf to all his appeals, they continued to refuse water to these suffering men, and he was only enabled to procure it by setting cups under the caves to catch the rain that was falling, and in this way he spent the night, catching the water and conveying it to the wounded to drink. As there was no light, he was obliged to crawl on his hands and knees to avoid stepping on their wounded limbs; and, he adds, it is not a wonder that next morning we found that several had died during the night. The young surgeons, who seemed to delight in hacking and butchering these brave defenders of our flag, were not, it would seem, permitted to perform any operations upon the rebel wounded. Some of our wounded, says this witness, were lying upon the battle field Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. When brought in their wounds were completely alive with larva, deposited there by flies, having laid out through all the rain storm of Monday and the hot sultry sunshine of Tuesday. The dead laid upon the field unburied for five days, and this included men, not only of his own, the Fourteenth regiment, but of other regiments. This witness testifies that the rebel dead were carried off and interred decently.

In answer to a question, whether the Confederates themselves were not also destitute of medicine, he replied, they could not have been, for they took all ours, even to our surgical instruments. He received none of the attention from the surgeons on the other side which, to use his own language, ‘I should have shown to them had our position been reversed.’"

Gen. Ricketts and Dr. Swain confirm the testimony in relation to poor Prescott. Dr. Ferguson, of a New York regiment, while getting into an ambulance was shot by a villain, who declared he would like a parting shot at him; and when crying out with pain from his wound, his spur irritating it, a rebel officer cocked a pistol at his head, threatening to blow out his brains if he did not keep still. Gen. Rickett's narrative is of painful interest. Beauregard was his classmate at West Point, and yet one of the first things he said to him was that his treatment would depend upon the treatment of the privateers. He was selected as a hostage by Gen. Winder, an old friend of twenty years acquaintance, and who had visited him the day before, and knew that his wounds were unhealed. Gen. Ricketts testifies that a number of the prisoners were bayoneted on the battle field. Louis Franc's testimony, of the 14th New York Regiment, shows that he was bayoneted fourteen times, when his assailant was shot by a Federal soldier. Gen. Rickett's wife came to him. The horses and carriage she came to Manassas in were stolen by Gen. Johnson, and although their return was promised, she never saw them. At Richmond, Mrs. R. was confined in a small room with her husband and four others. The prisoners were there "a common show." The prisoners were insulted by the rebel, and Mrs. Ricketts was insulted by the women, who asked her if she cooked, was a washwoman, etc. We quote from the report details still more revolting:

"Revolting as these disclosures are, it was when the committee came to examine witnesses in reference to the treatment of our heroic dead, that the fiendish spirit of the rebel leaders was most prominently exhibited. Daniel Bixby, Jr., of Washington, says he went out in company with Mr. G. A. Smart, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who went out to search for the body of his brother, who fell at Blackburn's Ford, in the action of the 18th of July. They found the grave. The clothes were identified as those of his brothers on account of some peculiarity in the make for they had been made by his mother; and, in order to identify them, other clothes may be here were taken that they might compare them. We found no head in the grave, and no bones of any kind — nothing but the clothes and portions of the flesh. We found the remians of three other bodies all together. The clothes were there; some flesh was left, but no bones! The witness also states that Mrs. Pierce Butler who lives near the place, said she had seen the rebels boiling portions of the bodies of our dead in order to obtain their bones as relics. They could not wait for them to decay. She said that she had seen drumsticks made of ‘Yankee shinbones,’ states she had seen a skull that one of the New Orleans artillery had, which, he said, he was going to send home and have mounted, and that he intended to drink a brandy punch out of it the day he was married.

Frederick Scholes of the city of Brooklyn, New York, testifies that he proceeded to the battle field of Bull Run on the fourth of this month (April) to find the place wehre he supposed his brothers body was buried. Mr. Scholes, who is a man of unquestioned character, by his testimony fully confirmed the statements of other witnesses. He met a free negro man named Simon or Simons who stated that it was a common thing for the rebel soldiers to exhibit the bones of the Yankees. ‘I found,’ he said, in the bushes in the neighborhood, a part of a Zouave uniform, with the sleeve sticking out of the grave, and a portion of the pantaloons. Attempting to pull it up, I saw the two ends of the grave were still unopened, but the middle had been pried up, pulling up the extremities of the uniform at some places the sleeves of the shirt in another, and a portion of the pantaloons. Dr. Swain, (one of the surgeons whose testimony has already been referred to) pointed out the trenches where the secessionists had buried their own dead, and, on examination, it appeared that their remains had not been disturbed at all. Mr. Scholes met a free negro named Hampton, who resided near the place, and when he told him the manner in which these bodies had been dug up, he said he knew it had been done, and added that the rebels had commenced digging bodies two or three days after they had been buried, for the purpose, at first, of obtaining the buttons of their uniforms, and that afterwards they disinterred them to get their bones. He said they had taken rails and pushed the ends in the centre under the middle of the bodies, and pried them up. The information of the negroes of Benjamin Franklin Lewis corroborated fully the statement of this man Hampton. They said that a good many of the bodies had been stripped naked on the field before they were buried, and that some of them were buried naked."

Gov. Sprague's testimony shows that the body of Major Ballou, of his State, was dug up and burned, as negroes in the neighborhood testified, being mistake for Col. Slocum. This, the Governor says, was done "on account of his courage and chivalry in forcing his regiment fearlessly and bravely upon a Georgia regiment that dishonored his remains." Gov. Sprague also testifies that our men were buried in trenches with their faces down, as a mark of indignity.

Thus we have a glimpse of this chivalric foe which Democratic organs tell us is no worse than an abolitionists, obnoxious for his opinions — whose "constitutional" rights they continually prate about — whose property must not be confiscated and who must be cultivated by kind words and coaxed by compromise. The picture above presented shows this foe to be bloody, cruel, revengeful, merciless! — a foe to be put down by the strongest measures and not to be tampered or sympathised with.

Share