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August 04, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 3

Last week’s account of Company B saw them arrive at Camp Chase and their mustering in. Young continues his account by describing their duties in camp.

“Our duty was entirely with guarding the two confederate prisons. As long as the camp was fully manned it was not severe, but when a considerable part of the force was called away it was pretty hard;, some of the time the men were on duty every day right along for nearly twenty days in eight hour watches; (I am not quite sure as to the eight hour arrangement, but it averaged half the time for every man) I was officer of the day every other day. This was in July - Morgan’s raid in Ky. Only 5 companies were left in Camp. Men returned in about a fortnight or three weeks. There was some fear of an attempt of the prisoners to rise; and to give them the impression that there was still a sufficient number of guards the commandant used sometimes to have a great fuss made at guard-mounting in the way of drumming and band music, and now and then the music played as for a new regiment coming into camp. Of course the prisoners could hear but not see. There were several attempts by outsiders to communicate with the prisoners, especially with the officers prison where we had John Morgan’s brother at the time. The method was usually by throwing packages over the high, fence at night, and one or two offenders were caught.

“There were occasional attempts to dig out. One night when I was officer of the day I had to take a squad and go into the prison at midnight to investigate one of the houses in respect to which the commandant had obtained some information, -how I don’t know. We turned the occupants out, and found a tunnel some forty feet long. It had not quite reached the outer stockade, and would have required considerable more work to finish. Then on general principles we overhauled all the houses nearest the stockade in that prison, and found three more mines, one of them almost through to the outside. So far as I know no prisoners escaped Camp Chase that summer by tunnelling.”

Captain Young describes a new duty for Company B next week.

Posted by hxy2 at August 4, 2011 12:49 PM

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