Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Words from the condemned -- part 3 of 7: the diary of Henry Wirz

Selections from the diary Captain Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious Confederate prison called Andersonville, made in the days leading up to his November, 1865 execution. Originally appeared in the Boston Advertiser; reprinted in the November 15, 1856 edition of the New York Times on page 1, column 1.

Part 3 of 7:Henry Wirz diary entry of October 3, 1865. [See all entries in this series]

Oct. 3, 1865

What a mockery is this trial. I feel at times as if I ought to speak out loud and tell them, why do you worry yourself and me too; why not end the farce at once, take me and hang me, be done with it. A few days I asked to arrange my defence; it was refused on the ground that I had ample time. Ample time indeed. May the day be far distant for Gen. Wallace when he may plead with grim death for a day, and receive answer No! I just received a note from my wife, saying she has tried in every way to see me, but impossible. She says she is going to her brother in Kentucky, and hopes to be able to do more for me there than in remaining here. Poor deluded woman, what do you expect to accomplish, what can you do for me, but pray? Oh, what a consolation it is to a person in a situation like mine, that there is in the wide, wide world at least one being that will pray for me. Yes, pray; but pray for thyself; the road thou hast to travel is a hard one. when thou findest out that when you pressed my hand two weeks ago, when thy lips touched mine it was in all probability the last time, then does thou need all the comfort prayer can give. May Ggod bless you and take care of the dear, dear children. I must end -- everything swims before my eyes. God, oh God, have mercy on me.

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