How Dry I am?
As today, prisons and jails don't want their inmates to have alcohol. Inmates get drunk, stupid, cause fights and are more work for the guards. It's no different in the Civil War when some prisoners were getting out of hand because they were drunk. Such was the case in New Orleans when some Corn-feds imbibed too freely. Well, the Provost Marshal wasn't very pleased with the situation and he tasked one man to investigate the source of spirits. He did and here's his story:
Well, I watched every day for awhile to see who got passes and I noticed that a certain man who went out always took his gun with him. One day he went downthe street and after he had gone I went out and saw him step to the side of a house, and I saw him stretch his arm out and put his hand against the house, then turned and walk away, but he did not have his gun. He walked around in the street awhile, looking in the show windows, then he crossed back over the street and went to the house where I had seen him beofre, stretched out his arm against the house and then turned around and walked away with his gun. He went back up the street, passed the office and around the corner of the prison pen. I crossed over to the other side of the street so that I could see right down the street where he was standing. He had his gun barrel stuck through the fence and the prisoners on the inside were catching the liquor in their tin cups as it trickled from the gun. As each one got as much as he wanted, he would shove up the muzzle and the flow would start again. Then I went back to my quarters. After a while he came up and put his gun away. I did not say anything to him but I told the marshall what I had seen. He told me to send him in. I told him he was wanted in the office. He went in, but what took place I don't know. The Provo called me again and told me to detail two men with guns and bayonets on, have them fill his knapsack full of bricks, strap it on him and march him up and down Barronne Street for six hours. We never had troubled any more with drunken prisoners."
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!