Editors: National Tribune Syracuse, New York: n.d.
Manuscript. Manuscript. 10 pages of hand written content on the front sides of the paper measuring 8" x 10". The essay has poor grammar and many misspelled words. The writing is faint in several spots. A transcription of this manuscript is included. The manuscript is signed at the bottom of page 10 by A. Dow. Dow's short postscript reads, "Private - Mr. Editor, I send you this report hoping it will be accepted." Good. Item #16127
It is not certain if Dow was a prisoner at Libby. He writes about McCabe in a third person narrative. Possibly this information was gathered first hand from prisoners or printed articles? Chaplain McCabe was captured while under the command of General Milroy. He was denied parole by Confederate General Jubal Early who did not like abolitionist preachers. McCabe spoke of the high morale that was supposedly prevalent in Libby Prison. Dow writes about the making of a flag and hung it up on the 4th of July after receiving news Vicksburg had fallen. No military information found for A. Dow of the 3rd New York Light Infantry.
Libby Prison was a Confederate prison at Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. It gained an infamous reputation for the overcrowded and harsh conditions under which officer prisoners from the Union Army were kept. Prisoners suffered from disease, malnutrition and a high mortality rate. By 1863, one thousand prisoners were crowded into large open rooms on two floors, with open, barred windows leaving them exposed to weather and temperature extremes.
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As the Civil War broke out, McCabe helped raise a regiment of infantry for the Union Army. By October 8, 1862 McCabe was serving as chaplain of the 122nd Ohio Infantry. He was captured by the Confederate Army and sent to Libby Prison, where he served as a chaplain to his fellow prisoners of war. During his time as a prisoner of war, McCabe taught "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" to other prisoners to maintain high spirits, and latter at a meeting of the United States Christian Commission in the U.S. Capitol he greatly impressed Lincoln, who was in attendance along with many members of Congress. About his visit to the Capitol, Jule Ward Howe's daughter Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards wrote: "Among other stirring tales, he told of the scene in Libby Prison; and once more, to a vast audience of loyal people, he sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The effect was magical. People sprang to their feet, wept and shouted and sang with all their might; and when the song was ended, above all the tumult was heard the voice of Abraham Lincoln, crying while the tears rolled down his cheeks, 'Sing it again!.'" Ill health later forced him to resign his chaplaincy, January 8, 1864......Following the war, as the most famous U.S.A. chaplain, he lectured all over the U.S. on "The Bright Side of Life in Libby Prison." Prior to entering the episcopacy, he served on the Christian Commission, as a pastor and as the church extension secretary. He was a missionary promoter, an evangelist and a Gospel singer.