From the Richmond Dispatch, 4/9/1863, p. 1, c. 5
Treatment of Prisoners – Yankee paragraphists are very fond of placing before the Northern public statements of imaginary sufferings endured by “Union prisoners” confined in the Libby and other Confederate prisons in the city of Richmond and other places in the South. This is done manifestly to keep alive the war feeling amongst the ignorant populace who read their falsehoods, and whose prejudices are to be operated on by wordy pictures of the imaginary sufferings of “Union patriots,” captured whilst fighting for the “dear flag.” The truth is, there has always been a marked difference in the mode of treatment of prisoners taken by the Yankee and Confederate forces. The Yankees have ever regarded the unfortunate men who fell into their hands as objects on which to wreak in safety all the hoarded malice of years. Their diabolical ingenuity has been taxed to its utmost extent to devise new ways at rendering their temporary victims unhappy and miserable. This has been proved time and again by evidence that could not be doubted. Accounts from the West represent that 700 of the 3,500 Confederate soldiers of Arkansas Post died from exposure and hardship after falling into Yankee hands. All are familiar with the treatment of Colonel Zarvona, a Virginia officer, which surpasses in its devilish atrocity the accounts which come down to us from the dark ages. A Confederate Colonel, recently returned here by flag of truce from the North, who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the vandals in Missouri, says, when taken, the Abolitionists raged around himself and comrades like demons. Fearing to take the lives of their prisoners, they entered into the more congenial business of plunder, and soon had every article of any value removed from their persons. The officer in question was robbed of $635 in money, and all his wearing apparel was removed from his person save his boots, pantaloons, and shirt. He says handcuffing Confederate officers on the slightest pretense was resorted to in order to heap on the unfortunate men all the ignominy that brutal treatment could confer. In these statements the officer was sustained by several others who witnessed the conduct spoken of. They stated that over 600 of our men were huddled together in a room not capable of holding comfortably 125, and were left without blankets or fire. As a matter of course many died. This is only what has been and is being done at Camp Chase and other places where the Federal thumbscrew is applied unrelentingly. Yankee editors are particularly fond of depicting the horrors suffered by Abolition soldiers and officers confined in the Libby prison in this city. Everything they have said is the exact reverse of truth. The Richmond prison is kept scrupulously clean and neat; sufficient covering is given each man to render him comfortable; a fire is constantly maintained in each room of the capacious building. Possibly the inmates would be satisfied if they had the range of the town, and were allowed to go about murdering and robbing everybody, and burning down houses, with impunity, as they do generally before being captured. So far as the food given these wretches is concerned, it is far better than any one gets who belongs to our army. They get full rations, and the best that can be gotten. Even at Government prices, (at which supplies are obtained for the prison,) it costs the Confederacy $1.50 per day to support each one of the vandals in idleness. No one here ever heard of one of the Yankee officers being handcuffed, or treated with indignity. The truth is, they are not allowed the opportunity, doubtless coveted, of robbing one another. Every cent they have is restored to them on their exit from the prison. The officers and men are treated by Capt. Turner and his subordinates with all the consideration due prisoners of war. – They perform their exact duty to the Confederacy and to the vandals who are temporarily confided to their charge, and there stop, as they should. The proportion of gentlemen, either among the officers or men of the Yankee army who have been captured and brought here, is very small when compared with the vast number who have been, within the past two years, lodges at the public expense at the Libby and other prisons in Richmond.