January 7, 1865: Those filthy Yankees

Trading rags for clothes
Released Union prisoners trading rags for clothes.


The Richmond Daily Dispatch runs an article about the Confederate prison camp at Florence, South Carolina. They’re treating the prisoners well, but they keep dying from “their own natural filthiness.” And of course, being greedy Yankees, they’re profiteering by trading in goods when they can get them. And that joke about two (fill in the ethnic group) left alone, getting rich by (engaging in some kind of lowly tradesmanship) was probably old even then.

Yankee all over.

–A correspondent of the Yorkville Enquirer, writing from Florence, South Carolina, concerning the Federal prison camp there, says:

There are still in the stockade here ten thousand prisoners, over one thousand having died from scurvy and their own natural filthiness. They are well fed, drawing the same rations we do, but they crave vegetables, which, except potatoes, are into to be had by any of us. They have booths inside, where they sell bacon, tobacco, potatoes, red pepper, and pea soup, to one another, carrying on, perhaps, old trades, except that their swindling operations are confined to one another.

They have yet some specie among them, though the currency is mostly green backs, for which the soldiers are not allowed to trade. Potatoes is our currency most available with them. –These are bought outside at five dollars a bushel, and exchanged for rings, pipes, inkstands, watches, oil-cloths, and a certain style of Yankee hat, which is becoming very fashionable among us, and which form a part of the “home remittances.” It is said if you lock two Yankees up in a room together, they can make five dollars apiece swapping jackets; if so, they have here an opportunity of carrying on a thriving business. Tunneling, it was found, would not pay.

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