Letters and Documents
Charles A. KiHglad: ;rexa Immortal
Contributed by FRANK E. VAN DIVER*
Richmond, Va. March 6, 1865
To His Excellency,
President Conf: States of America,
At the suggestion of Col. Lubbock I have the honor to submit for your
perusal a short account of the scenes of prison life.
Your heart has been pained so often by the recitals of the cruelty and
barbarity of our common enemy that I purpose to draw a picture in
brighter colors-not to efface the other, for truth as we know, cannot
be removed-so that we may see in prison surroundings, as in our present
gloomy scenes-"A bow in the cloud."
Soon after my arrival at Point Lookout from Bedloe's Island the plan
of starting a school for the prisoners was suggested. We appointed Mr.
A. Morgan, Superintendent. (Of S. C.)
A parole arriving I was permitted to go to New York City for thirty days.
While there I was enabled by God's blessing to enlist the sympathies
of many persons, (on the score of humanity) to contribute books, stationery,
&c., By my return everything was in working order, and as I kept up
a very large correspondence, Books continued to arrive until we were
able to instruct over a thousand men each day. A very large Sunday
school was organized by Mr. Morgan, and the Library for the camp was
gaining in volumes every day. The teachers were indefatigable in their
exertions, and as the prison rations were very small, and the labors
of the gentlemen so wearing that I determined to see the Prison Com-
missary. God prospered the interview and I was allowed thirty six extra
rations daily one each to the teacher. The prisoners captured at the
Wilderness and Spottsylvania began to arrive in a very destitute con-
The correspondence in connection with the School had brought me in
contact with many persons in New York, Philadelphia Washington,
Baltimore, and other places. I appealed for clothes, and soon hundreds
upon hundreds of suits were sent to be distributed.
The Hospital Wards were increasing in number and as there was no
Chaplain there the Federal Surgeon appointed me Acting Chaplain.
*This document came to Frank E. Vandiver from Miss Fannie Ratchford
of The University of Texas Library, who, in her turn, seems to have re-
ceived it from Dr. K. H. Aynesworth of the Board of Regents of The
University of Texas. In the copy which came to Miss Ratchford the name
of the principal is given as Charles A. Kingley. This letter was printed in
full in Dunbar Rowland (ed.), Jeferson Davis, Constitutionalist, His Let-
ters, Papers and Speeches, VI, 504-508. As Rowland was a careful scholar,
preference has been given here to the Kingland version.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/. Accessed June 30, 2015.