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Rowe Descendant Tree Index of Names George Henry Clay Rowe

Journal of George Henry Clay Rowe
Table of Contents

Friday, August 15th
After breakfast, a small blackeyed, humorous looking Frenchman came in from an adjoining room, bearing in his hand an old slouch hat. He stated that he had been imprisoned for so long a time, that he could claim to be an old resident, and that custom of late obtained in the Old Capitol of initiating all new arrivals, in conformity whith which, he was then present to conduct the ceremony. Then turning to Coakley, who had chanced to be nearest to him of our party, the Frenchman extended to him the hat with the request that he would lay his hands upon it. Coakley, who had been previously eyeing him, evidently, with suspicion and some apprehension, instead of complying, drew back as if he had been invited to handle an infernal machine. The Frenchman laughed, the crowd roared and Coakley looked inexplicable. Order being restored, Coakley was reassured by some of the old prisoners of Fred'by, that no harm was intended, and that the proceeding was all intended as fun, where upon he was induced to take hold of the hat. "Now," said the Frenchman, "gentleman, I call you to witness that this is a felt hat," handing it around that all might feel it and making the same statement to each, he pronounced us initiated. I learned that prisoners were permitted to write to their families and friends, and procuring materials, penned a short letter to my wife and a note to my friend Mr Leutze who I learned was in the city and hoped that, through his acquaintance with men in power here, he could probably extricate me from this imprisonment. This concluded, I returned down stairs to our den where I was informed that the seal had been taken from the door and permission granted us to take exercise in the little yard, the dimensions of which I have heretofore described. This little enclosure I found filled, about three hundred and fifty prisoners of every rank, condition and degree, statesman, lawyers, bankers, doctors, editors, officers, merchants, soldiers, deserters, and vagabonds were mingled in the court. The great majority, however, were dirty, lousy, half - clad soldiers. Indeed danger of the vermin which swarmed on all sides was so great that I retreated with a friend into a corner of the lot and there stood until the expiration of the alloted half - hour. The condition of many of the captive soldiers can be conceived when I state that many of them were actually scraping lice from their persons with knives and sticks. On returning to our room, imagine my consternation on feeling my neck where there was a slight crawling sensation, to find that it was a louse of the largest size. I immediately sounded the alarm and stripped with more alacrity than Mr Roberts had done the night previous. Mr Roberts seemed to enjoy my confusion exceedingly, so did Mr Berrey. The tables were turned. I was soon, however, arrayed in an entirely clean suit of clothes, and the subjection of those I had cast off to a close scrutiny failed to detect another "varmint." The perplexing question with me was whether the things had gotten upon me in the yard or the den, and what rendered me more unquiet was that, considering the precaution I had observed when out, the probability was the latter supposition was correct.

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