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    [Danville Prison]. Two Prison Diaries Kept by Union Soldier Patrick Grant. Private Patrick Grant enlisted in the Union Army and was mustered into Co. "H," 4th Rhode Island Infantry, on October 30, 1861. He was serving during the Siege of Petersburg when he was taken prisoner on July 30 during the Battle of the Crater. Grant makes note of his capture in his journal and thus begins a day-by-day account of his entire prison experience.

    He arrived at his new "home" at Danville, Virginia, on August 2 and three days later he writes that "one guard shot at one of the Prisoners didn't hit." In nearly every entry, Grant keeps a record of the day's meal and the state of the weather. He records all trades made such as beans for bread or wood for tobacco. The expected dullness of prison life is occasionally broken up by the arrival of more prisoners or the rare escape attempt, such as one recorded on October 10, when a group of men on a work party made good their escape. Some of the prisoners were wounded, Grant says, as were some of the guards.

    The larger of the two books, though marked 1864, contains entries for the first months of 1865, which he made mention of on the heading for January 21, stating "I having no more Paper this Ends my diary in that so called C[onfederate]. States those two sides copied this 22nd day of September 1865 . . . [signed] Patrick Grant." In the subsequent entry, filed under January 22, but in actuality dated February 17, 1865, he records his release from prison: "we left danvill Va at 11 oclock in the night arived at Richmond the 18th at half past 1 oclock went in the City Prison . . . was Paroled on the 20th the morning of the 21st we took the Boat at richmond for our lines arived at our Pickeds [pickets] about 10 ocl arived at annapoles Md the 22 went to the hospitle." Grant spent the next two and a half weeks in General Hospital No. 2 at Annapolis, Maryland. On March 13 he was transferred to Patterson Park Hospital and on June 10 to Hicks General Hospital in Baltimore. He mustered out of the army on July 20, 1865, nearly one year to the day after he was captured and imprisoned. Both journals are age-toned with areas of light staining throughout. In the larger journal, the binding is loose.





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    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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