From the Shippensburg (PA) News, 8/2/1862
***author of this letter was in the 7th Pa. Reserves
The following letter from D. D. CURRIDEN – whose capture by the rebels we noticed in a recent issue of our paper – we received on Tuesday last. Possessing items of general interest, we lay it before our readers entire: -
“Libby Prison,” Richmond,
Friday, July 18th, 1862
DEAR BROTHER: - Since my last letter, nothing of special interest has occurred, except that this morning about four hundred of the federal prisoners were paroled and sent in an ambulances away, it is said, to a landing seven miles below the city, where they are to be put upon the Federal Transports. Nearly all the officers who were here have gone.
Officers of the Confederate army are now engaged in paroling the prisoners in some of the rooms of this prison, and we are told that to morrow a new lot will be sent off. – Whether our room will be included in the exodus or not, I cannot now learn.
There is a possibility – I hardly think a probability – of my being sent as a nurse with the wounded I am now attending to Philadelphia, in which event I may have a chance of getting home to see you before I am regularly notified of my exchange. We have no accurate knowledge of anything transpiring around us, but we are told that all of our number who are not wounded are to placed in camp until regularly exchanged, and no furloughs are allowed to any paroled men except nurses.
I earnestly hope that our government may speedily remove our wounded to a place where they may receive proper attention. The Confederate Government have openly told us that they have sufficient to do to attend to their own wounded, and there can be no doubt of it. About forty out of three hundred of our men have died, whose lives, I firmly believe, under proper treatment, might have been saved. – Part of this mortality is chargeable to incompetent and worthless surgeons, but it is mostly owing to the want of proper bedding, medicines, and food. The only way I can account for the presence of three New York surgeons with us is by the supposition that they wished to be absent from duty at their regiments. Dr. Underwood of West Cambridge Mass., and a surgeon by the name of Foster, did their duty nobly, the others simply attended the nurses and gave general directions how to dress and bandage the wounds, and occasionally would assist in holding a patient whilst undergoing amputation. The few nurses who were competent and faithful, had nearly all the duties thrown upon them, and they were worked until half of them broke down. I was among the ones so fortunate as to have muscle and flesh enough to stand it, although I have lost twenty pounds in weight.
All of us are anxious to see our regiments – and if possible before exchanging our homes once more – that we may recruit sufficiently to “pick our flints and try again.”
Affectionately Your Brother,
DAVID DEAL CURRIDEN
“Libby Prison,” Richmond,
Yesterday about eight hundred more of our wounded were sent away. Those that yet remain have assurances that they will also be sent off before the 25th. On Friday evening I learned the whereabouts of eight of Capt. Henderson’s company besides myself. Sergt. Burkholder, Corporal Hubley and John T. Harris, are on “The Island” in the James river. Sergt. Zimmerman wounded in the shoulder, Samuel Smith, Henry S. Hocker – each of whom has lost a right arm – and William Wyres – slightly wounded in the leg – came yesterday to this prison where they are awaiting removal to the transports. They are all doing as well as could be expected. Jacques-Noble, wounded in the shoulder, went with the lot paroled yesterday.
Yesterday’s Examiner says that all the well men are to be paroled and sent North, “as eloquent missionaries to preach against enlistments.” The wounded of our company, one of whom will carry this, leaves this morning with a lot of five hundred for our lines.
On Board the Hospital Boat “Knickerbocker,”
OFF HARRISON’S LANDING
Wednesday, July 23d, 1862.
Yesterday with a lot of about six hundred of the wounded, I was paroled as a nurse and am now (with Zimmerman, Smith, Hecker and Wyre) on board the United States Hospital boat “Knickerbocker,” off Harrison’s Landing, awaiting orders.
D. D. C.
July 25th, 1862
The “Knickerbocker” reached this city on Thursday morning of last week. I should have written immediately but for the prospects of getting home, which seemed almost certain. From present indications, leave of absence will be granted to none of us, as the Doctors and Nurses are ordered to report to Surgeon Simpson to-day. Probably we are to be placed upon another boat going off soon. The “Knickerbocker” is to lie here for repairs which will take ten days. – My health is now as good as ever, although I was almost broken down when I left Richmond. The hard work of nursing combined with diet of the lowest order, reduced me twenty pounds in weight during the time I was a captive, but with plenty of good food I am now fattening up again.
A monster Union meeting to encourage enlistments is to be held in Baltimore this evening, and a lively time is expected.