Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Journal of Sgt. John Clark Ely: Awaiting exchange at Vicksburg prison camp

Prisoner exchange negotiators at Camp Fisk (Library of Congress)

Sgt. John Clark Ely of the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry remained at a camp, likely Fisk, outside Vicksburg, Ms. He and others from Andersonville were technically still prisoners as they awaited their exchange near the end of the war. A unit of U.S. Colored Troops served as part of the prison guard. Entries are courtesy of Andersonville National Historic Site.

April 1, 1865 (Saturday)
Fixing up quarters in parole camp.  Oh how different from Andersonville. P.M. commenced clothing rolls.  Lt. went to Vicksburg.

April 2, 1865 (Sunday)
Finished rolls, Lt. drew clothing, issued it, finished rolls, etc, wrote Julia.

April 3, 1865 (Monday)
Fine day, built cane bower over front of tent and spent time.  Some 30 Johnnys came in from Vicksburg for exchange.

April 4, 1865 (Tuesday)
Beautiful day, the usual routine of camp was broken by General Daney (Gen. J.T. Dana) and staff coming out to inspect the camp, a small band of 7 instruments were along.  Wrote letter to Julia, Horace and Capt. Means, how good it seems to write to friends again. There was a big excitement in camp caused by a cavalry man coming in to camp firing at a (black soldier) and the first impression was that we were attacked by guerrillas, the (black) company turned out big, shot a horse and tore round awful, the Capt. of the company struck a Lt. of a Kentucky Regiment which added to the mess and for a time it looked like a riot sure.

April 5, 1865 (Wednesday)
High wind, looks like rain.  The (black soldiers) were taken away in night and white soldiers in their place, the 9th Indiana cavalry, all excitement gon down, rain p.m.

April 6, 1865 (Thursday)
Cloudy morning, rain in night.  Suley went to town in () Tracy got pass to town Vicksburgh, felt quite sick all night and today.  Sanitary men out today and gave us towels and comb and soap.  News of the fall of Richmond and Petersburg by order of General Dainey, also news that Selma, Montgomery and Mobile are taken by our forces, if this be true I cannot see where the Johnnys will go, they will have no resting place.

April 7, 1865 (Friday).
Heavy rain in night, was quite unwell, cool wind this morning and all day. Late p.m. Tracy was called up and told he was exchanged, he certainly is lucky.

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