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Andersonville Prison Letter

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Dear my love,
We have been captured and taken to a prison camp called Andersonville. We arrived here a week ago, and this place is terrible. There's no food, no water and no guarantee that we will survive. There is a stream that runs down the middle of the camp, but men have used the water for outhouses, washing clothes and some for drinking. The ones who used the water for drinking have died from disease. Insects have swarmed this hot place. The only way to rid ourselves of the lice is to get close enough to the fire that they pop off. Many of these men have given up all hope of ever being let out. It is like being treated like an animal, caged and only given a small ration of food. The new prisoners came in today and the Raiders,like savages, attacked quickly. They try to befriend the new men, and they make sure they are comfortable. Next, they steal everything they have given them back. Blankets are on short supply, much like everything else. It rains often, which is good and bad. It is good because if you stand out in the rain, your clothes soak it up. We have to use the water from that to drink. It is bad because it is cold rain and bone-chilling enough to make some toes turn black. Tensions are high here. Many men get into vicious and violent fights that usually lead to the ddeath of the weakest. If not death, the amputation of limbs is common. I have never seen men so easily angered, but I know why. We are starving, hopeless, and frightened. We are doing what we feel we have to do to survive. Most of the men walk around like zombies. If they are too sick and weak to walk, they lean against their tents as if they were dead. When entering this war, no one expected this to be so torturous. I feel sorrow for the men who are not educated. They do not know how to read or write. They ask the educated men to write their letters. Then, they save the letters until they have scrounged up enough money to give to the guards. I would have written to you the day I got here, but the Confederate guards will only deliver a letter for two dollars. I had to trade my last piece of food for the dollar I needed to send you this letter. I do not know if I will survive, but if I don't, I want you to know that I love you. I am determined to be let out of here alive. I am still strong. I will not try to escape because if I do, I will be locked up in the stocks, shot or starved even worse. No one has enough money to send a letter to Richard's wife. He went crazy and got stabbed by one of the Raiders. Pleasae tell his wife of this tragic news. The Raiders are theives who trade with the Confederate guards and steal from us. These Raiders are murderers who kill weak men for their own entertainment and benefit. I do not see how their hearts have not shriveled up. They have no heart and no respect for anyone. My troops and I are doing our very best to keep from going insane. This place could drive anyone to insanity. Please be safe and do not be worried. We are strong. We will make it out of here alive. I do not want to promise you anything because if something does happen to me, I do not want to leave you here on this earth with a broken promise.
I love you with my whole heart,


Daniel



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