Jens Dahle and James Eberhart are both prisoners in the Confederate prison at Salisbury, North Carolina. James kept a diary of his imprisonment which closely parallels that of Jens Dahle.
Finally the day of freedom arrives!
James writes in his diary:
“Feby 22, G. Washington Birth day
Was called to lines and Read a parole for us. Not to try & Escape as they were a going to Exchange. what glad news. I drew Ration & issued the same. 2 day to walk 50 miles to Greensboro. Let us out about 12. Walked until dark and camped in woods. We had plenty of wood & a good fire although it was a Raining. Rested fairly well.” — James Eberhart.1
The stories of James and Jens diverge on February 22. James, one of 2822 prisoners and 48 citizens were well enough to walk out.
As much as can be pieced together, Jens was loaded onto a train and taken to Parole Camp in Annapolis where he arrived on 3 March 1865, a trip of about 400 miles.
It is valuable to know what happens to James, our diarist, until we pick up the story of Jens in a subsequent blog posting.
Arrived at Greensboro. All hungry. after dark they gave us molasses & corn meal to eat. Slept in wood all night with a good fire.
Got on town in afternoon and arrived at Raleigh about 10 pm. encamped in open field. Nothing to eat.
We all signed a parole and put us on the cars and took us to own lines. Near [?] the Black River. Came in through the Colored Troops. What a joyous deliverance when we once more saw old Glory.2 I never saw it more beautifull. the Colored Troops fed us in their camp and then we went to Welimngton about 3 miles and got all we wanted to eat. Stayed one night and took a Steamer for Anapolis MD
18 March 1865
I am home on furlough thanks be mercifull God that brought me Home again.” — James Eberhart
I cannot even imagine the euphoria….and the sense of being safe, a quality when it is taken away permeates your psyche in such a negative way. Think of his first time in a bed or by a fire or having a cup of stew….all big events that others take for granted but James would imbue with the qualities most normally associated with miracles.
1 James Eberhart, Diary, 1864-1865.
2 36 Star Flag, “National Treasures: Union Civil War Flags from 1861-1865”, digital image, Zaricor Flag Collection (http://www.flagcollection.com : accessed 1 January 2015), ZFC3087.
3 James Eberhart, Diary, 1864-1865.