Camp Chase Letters
Having made my escape from the Federal prison located near Columbus, Ohio, I deem it due to the 240 brave but unfortunate Southern men whom I left incarcerated there on the 29th of October last to make known to the South and to the world the suffering and indignities to which they are subjected by their inhuman jailers.
The Government prison to which I refer is at Camp Chase about four miles south of the city of Columbus, the capital of the State of Ohio. Brigadier-General Hill is the commander under the direction of Generals Mitchel and Rosecrans, the prison being used for the confinement of military and political prisoners for both Kentucky and Northwestern Virginia. It contains about half an acre of ground inclosed by a plank wall nearly twenty-five feet high, with towers on two sides. Inside of this inclosure are two rows of board shanties with five rooms (16 by 18 feet) in each. In these small rooms, each occupied by about twenty-five men, and in this contracted space the crowd of prisoners are compelled to cook, eat and sleep. Men of every class and grade are huddled together and all treated as felons.
The letter goes on to describe the conditions in the prison camp, especially harsh due to the cold climate and that prisoners sometimes remained weeks in camp before even receiving a blanket. The food was also poor and ladies from Columbus who attempted to bring bedding, fresh food, and blankets were denied due to "orders" from the commandant.
Among the prisoners who were from Maysville, Kentucky, were Hon. R. H. Stanton, Isaac Nelson, W. B. Casteo, Mr. Thomas, John Hall, A.D. Hurt and George W. Forrester, proprietor and editor of the Maysville Express.
A. J. Morey, among others, were arrested in Cynthiana and were first taken to Newport, Kentucky, and confined in cells without even a blanket for twenty-four hours. They were then marched at night through the rain and mud to the Little Miami Railroad depot and, upon learning the train had already left, were then marched four miles farther to the Hamilton and Dayton depot where they took a train for Columbus.
During the march Judge Curry who is over seventy years of age being much fatigued came near giving out, but the captain of the guard with oaths gave orders to drive him up and they punched and struck him in the most brutal manner with their guns, kicking him at the same time. W. B. Glave who owing to his feebleness was also unable to keep up, the pace being double-quick, was treated in the same savage manner. Our only offense was that we dissented from the measures of Lincoln.