William Patrick Goode, the 4th great-granduncle of my daughter-in-law, enlisted in the Confederate Army when he was 18 years old. He served in B Company, 57th Infantry, Virginia Volunteers under the command of General L.A. Armistead, Major General Anderson, and last under General G.E. Pickett.
He was captured while holding onto the position the Confederates gained during the famous “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg. He was held at Fort Delaware until his release in June of 1865. Conditions were dismal. Fort Delaware was designed to be a harbor defense, not for housing of prisoners, and after Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, its population swelled to well over 12,000.
From the memoirs of John Sterling Swann, who was also imprisoned at Fort Delaware: “I witnessed the suffering of many, consequent on want of food, clothing and warmth, and many died from these causes. I have seen many go to the hospital never to return. When the winter came on we suffered greatly. The division — our quarters were made of white pine planks, nailed up vertically. It had shrunk and left large cracks between the planks and there being but one stove to the division, and only one blanket allowed to each person, we of course suffered greatly from cold. We were at night continually getting up and coming to the stove and when a little warm we would return to our bunks. So the stove was always crowded. Hence we got but little sleep. There were many rats in the prison grounds. They burrowed under the plank walks and into the sides of the ditches. The more needy prisoners, when they could kill them, eat them with avidity.”
After the war, and upon his release, William Goode returned to Virginia where he married Malinda Jane Oxley-Wigginton, the widow of a fellow Confederate soldier who died in the Battle at Frazier’s Farm in Richmond. Together, they had ten children. He died in 1937, at the age of 92.
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