In Their Own Words
November 23, 1864
Captured Civil War Soldier Wrote of Monotony of Prison Life
A Georgia soldier being kept prisoner in Ohio wrote home to his wife, telling her of the monotony of prison life and how he did not dwell on the possibility of being exchanged.
“…Indeed since Hood’s evacuation of Atlanta I have had no direct intelligence from Monroe. I fear my recent letters may not have reached you. Cousin Carrie Cleveland wrote me recently that early in the Fall she and others of my friends expected me home through special exchange. I have heard nothing of the matter save in her letter. In fact exchange is a subject on which we rarely suffer our minds to dwell, we have been disappointed so often. Not that we are without hope; we merely consider speculations upon that contingency as unprofitable. In this way we strive to cheat our life of its despondent monotony. I am fortunate in being associated (in a small room) with educated men who are fond of reading. We employ our time as far as possible in study. It is not very enlivening, to be sure, but it is our best. … Tonight (as usual once a week) a prayer-meeting was held in our room. The singing of familiar hymns recalled vividly to mind home scenes, the happiest of my life. It is a never failing source of pleasure and interest to think of home, of the dear one that await our coming. It is particularly pleasing to me to recall memories of you. That these are tender and true, you may rest assured. …”
Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), pp. 206-207.