23 May 1864: “We are guarded by negro troops, who are as mean as hell.”

Item Description: Diary entry, dated 23 May 1864, written by Louis Leon, a Confederate soldier in the North Carolina Infantry. At this point in the war, Leon has been imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland.  In this entry, he describes an incident involving African American guards at the prison and Confederate soldiers.


Item Citation: From the Diary of a Tar Heel Confederate Soldier, CC970.78 L57d, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

May 23 – We are guarded by negro troops, who are as mean as hell. At each meal there is a guard placed over 500 prisoners, who go to their meals in ranks of four. We are not allowed to cross a certain line, called the “Dead Line,” but as 500 men go at one time to meals, of course near the door there is always a rush. To-day one of our men accidentally crossed the line. He was pushed over by the crowd, when a black devil shot and killed him, and wounded two others.

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