John A Amick
|Camp Chase Prison|
|Peter Washington Nutter commonly called Pete Nutter or Wash Nutter, who
after the war married my mother's sister, Elizabeth Eye, was with my father
at the time of his capture and of course both were taken into custody. The
capture was made by Ramsey's guerillas or "bushwhackers" as guerillas were called at that time, and the men were delivered to the military authorities through a Ramsey associate named Fuller, who apparently held a commission as Colonel or Lieutenant Colonel in the U. S. Army. The record of their capture lists them as members of Tyree's Company, Virginia Infantry. As a matter of fact, Company A of Hounshell's Battalion, while a cavalry unit, was not mounted until after the men were captured, and this probably accounts for the discrepancy in their listing.
Upon arrival in Camp Chase, father and Pete were assigned to the same mess and were together during the entire period of their internment, which proved to be greatly to their mutual benefit.
Living conditions inside the walls of Camp Chase lacked much of being ideal, even according to the standard of living in the 1860's. Water was not lacking, and the barracks, except for the presence of vermin, were not intolerable for men accustomed to life in the wilderness, but there was no plumbing, no provision for quarantine and the food was evidently intended to be sufficient only to sustain life. Meager rations of hardtack, raw meat and uncooked beans were served daily, except Sunday, with a double portion on Saturday in lieu of Sunday's issue. In the early days of their internment, coffee, tobacco, salt, sugar and a little additional food could be obtained from sutlers, but before their release these traders were banned and the internees had to depend upon their wits for such luxuries. Upon one occasion the brine from a keg of pickled fish was drained onto the ground, father and Pete salvaged a portion of the brine, boiled it down and from then on, had their private supply of salt, which, although crude and discolored, improved the palatability of their meat and beans. It was necessary for the internees to do their own cooking, but some were known to trade their beans for something else, eat their meat raw and relieve themselves of the task of cooking. Coffee was not to be had and sugar was practically unobtainable. Neither father or Pete used tobacco and conversation with the guards was forbidden and severely punishable, but these two fellows, when a kind faced guard would take his place on the parapet, would take a chance and ask him in pantomime, for a chew of tobacco. Frequently, a guard would toss them his entire supply and signal for them to keep it. Tobacco obtained inn this or any manner was readily exchanged for food, and made it possible for the boys to add greatly to their issued rations.
Exchange day was the occasion for great cheering and joyful demonstrations inside the prison walls, and Lieutenant Sankey of the United States Army, who from the parapet announced the exchange and read the terms, caught the spirit and expressed his approval of the merry making. When father's time to go arrived, he was marched to nearby Cincinnati, crowed into a box car with enough other internees to fill it, and the train, made up of other box cars filled with internees, headed for Baltimore. The matter of ventilation in father's car, at least, had been overlooked and a kerosene lamp provided to furnish light, started "dying out" for lack of oxygen, but the exchangees using such instruments for the purpose as they had, enlarged the openings around the doors, admitted more air and soon were able to breathe freely again, and the flame in the lamp became normal once more.
The last lap of the journey was by water from Baltimore to City Point. Delivery was accomplished by passing the Confederate exchangees between two lines of Federal soldiers extending from the pier to a junction with two lines of Confederate soldiers, and the procedure was no doubt reversed in delivering the Union prisoners for whom the Confederates were exchanged
As the exchangees approached the junction of the Union and Confederate soldiery and caught sight of the gray uniforms and the stars and bars of the Confederate flags, they again started cheering vociferously and were greeted by the Confederates with whoops and yells of welcome. Hounshell's Battalion, now mounted, was in the outfit which received the exchangees, and father and Pete were each taken behind the saddle of a trooper and carried, with the horses at full gallop, several time around the Confederate
After his exchange, remained in the army until the time of General Lee's surrender, then realizing that the Confederacy was breaking up and fearing he would be stranded where he was, without transportation home, he boarded a troop train headed for Richmond, got off at the point nearest his destination, walked the remaining distance and received his discharge after arriving home.
|Amick Soldier List||Tyree Soldier List|