Saturday, January 14, 2012

Journey of the Captives

Tuesday, January 14, 1862

Charles Peirson received an interview with Provost Marshal General Jonathan Winder and obtained the unwelcome news that the Confederate government refused his exchange. Peirson expressed to General Winder that he believed he could affect better treatment for the Confederate privateers if he were sent north by the Confederate government with assurances of their reciprocation. General Winder suggested that Peirson apply directly in writing to Secretary of War Judah Benjamin and additionally informed Peirson that the Twentieth Massachusetts prisoners would not be transferred to Salisbury with Major Gibbs. General Winder also offered to forward a request to Lieutenant Colonel Walter Jenifer, Cavalry commander at Ball's Bluff, for the return of William Putnam's sword.

General Winder gave Peirson a pass into the jail to visit Colonel William Lee and Major Paul Revere. His heart sank when he saw the squalid conditions of their confinement. Peirson observed that " .. no prison in New England is so miserable and uncomfortable, and I believe no seven imprisoned men in the North are so illy cared for as these ..."1

1Charles Lawrence Peirson, "Memorandum of the Battle of Leesburg," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 1, p. 133-34, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.

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