Mid-late July 1864 at Macon

More escapes by officers

On Friday, July 15th, Foote recorded: “Three Officers walked out of the gates this morning dressed in Rebel uniforms made by themselves.”  This is one of the five Oglethorpe escapes Foote documents. The escapes at Oglethorpe documented by Foote were June 27th (1 soldier), July 15th (3 men), and July 16th (1 man).  The next day, July 16th, another officer must have been inspired by the previous day’s successful attempt, trying the same thing. Unfortunately, the “supposed treachery” of a fellow Union-officer-turncoat exposed the escapee’s plans and he was captured before escaping.

Lack of fire wood

By the 17th the camp’s rations and food supply was rapidly dwindling. “We have no wood now for six days, and the rations are so small that 5 days rations will not last more than two, and not so long unless the most rigid economy is practiced,” recorded Foote. The lack of wood for fuel got so bad that the Union soldiers started tearing the buildings down but “Sentinel’s have received orders to shoot anyone who tears boards from the building,” wrote Foote on July 18th.  The action of the 18th was enough to spur the Confederate guards to find some fire wood because Foote says they got some the next day.

Rumors of liberation!

A report came in on Tuesday the 19th that must have been very heartening to the POWs at Camp Oglethorpe. Foote wrote in his diary that “Sherman Cavalry are making a raid to Andersonville where our enlisted men are.”   The “good report” of the 19th must have been tempered by the somber news – or rumor – the next day that “Grant was dead!”  Such was the experience of news in a Confederate prison camp.  One never knew if the news one was hearing was true, rumored or something in between.  Fortunately for the Union Officers at Oglethorpe in late July 1864, the news of Grant’s death was pure rumor.  All through July and August, Foote would record news about the Atlanta Campaign.

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