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    Description

    Confederate POW Pocket Journal of Thomas Hutton Foster, a 1st Lieutenant in the 6th Virginia Cavalry. It describes his arrival at Johnson's Island and his transfer to Point Lookout in 1864. Foster has written his name adding "'Prisoner of War' / 'Point Lookout' / Md. May 18th 64 / 'Hammond General Hospital'" on the first blank page. Foster begins his journal after his health is in great decline (chronic diarrhea) and he is able to fill only the first twenty pages (including two pages of signatures). However, his rich narrative captures the hardships of life as a POW and his hopes for release in a prisoner exchange.

    In brief part: "I was captured on the 13th Sept. 1863 in a fight at Brandy Station Va. between the advance of Genl Meade's advancing columns... we were marched to 'Warrenton Junction' and put on the cars, and landed in 'Old Capital Prison,' Washington D.C. As we passed through Alex. the ladies (God bless them) showed their sympathy for us in many ways..."

    Of his time on Johnson's Island, he writes: "Thos who selected it and arranged it as a prison Depot are guilty of the murder of many human beings... Quarters are built such as no farmer would consider warm enough for his horses... the thermometer gets 24 degrees below zero..."

    Foster, along with all of the sick and injured prisoners is transferred to Point Look Out, Maryland; and while there is put in the officer's hospital. In an entry dated June 19, 1864, (the only dated entry) he advises that his "diary was not commenced until [his] sickness had begun, and much of it has been written when the mind was sympathizing with the disabled body. I have been suffering for some time... with 'Chronic Diarrhea'... The doctors had not been able to cure a single case of this disease." Although given hope by the release of forty prisoners who arrived with him, his body was already too weakened to recuperate. This would be his last entry and is followed by an entry (in pencil) by William Hays, the surgeon in charge, dated August 20, 1864 describing Foster's final days.

    The last page of writing is in an unidentified hand and was likely made by the soldier to whom the diary was given upon Foster's death. The journal measures 3.25" x 4.75" and all of Foster's entries are in ink. The journal's pages are clean and the overall condition is very good to near fine.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
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