05 June 2011

A POW'S Letter Home - Captain James A. Rice

My ancestor, Captain James A. Rice, was held as a prisoner of war in Macon, Georgia (among other places) after being captured at Chickamauga. Below is a letter sent to his brother, Arthur L. Rice, and printed by the local newspaper:

Published In The Harrisburg, Illinois Newspaper circa 1864 - Thanks To The Cousin(s) Who Sent It To Me

Letter from Capt. Jas. A. Rice--We are placed in possession of the following letter from Capt. Rice.  His many friends in this vicinity will be glad to learn that he still lives and is enduring his confinement bravely.  Were he permitted he would, no doubt, speak in a different manner of his treatment.  We sincerely hope he may be permitted to return to us, and that at no distant day:

Military Prison, Macon, Ga.
June 6, 1864

Mr. Arthur L. Rice--Dear Brother:  I write you a few lines to let you know where I am, and how I am getting along.  I enjoy good health, but am as hard up as ever a man can get.  I am out of clothing and bare-headed and bare-footed, and without money and tobacco.  There are about 1500 officers here.  We are in a lot of about three acres.  We have sheds made of plank to shelter us from the sun and rain, but as for myself  I play the part of a horse.  I stay in an old stable at night and run in the lot in daytime.  I have been very unfortunate since I left Richmond, which I will explain when I see you.  Give my respects to all my friends.  You need not send me anything, for it would never reach me.  I have no hope of getting out of prison until the war is over.

Your affectionate brother,

From this source:

New markers in Macon, Georgia, included one commemorating the POW's:

"Across town in the rail yards off Seventh Street, the old fairgrounds housed hundreds of prisoners at Camp Oglethorpe. A marker across the street in the front lawn of Sanco Cleaning Services explains how the word “deadline” may have originated in the camp. A fence 10 feet inside the stockade wall was as far as prisoners could go or they’d be shot dead in their tracks, a fact historian Conie Mac Darnell researched.  “There are a lot of folks who do not know about a lot of these places like Camp Oglethorpe,” Darnell said. “I think there will be a great appreciation from folks up North that will know where their folks were actually incarcerated.”"

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