By Francis McCullagh
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Extra resources for A Prisoner Of The Reds
In the first place, to put it frankly, we were all terrified by the very name of the Reds . There was no doubt whatever but that they had committed appalling atrocities in Russia . The direct evidence that we had had on that subject from thousands of sources and the piles of corpses that some of us had seen put that fact outside the region of controversy, and the Bolsheviks themselves do not maintain that atrocities have not been committed . They admit them, infer27 4 28 SOME HORRORS OF THE RETREAT entially, by saying that the Whites are just as bad, or else they only dispute the figures .
No station-master would allow such a train to remain at his station . He passed it on to the next station with the result that, when it reached Vladivostock, conditions in it were so frightful that no description of them is possible . Some of the echelons which took part in the retreat presented an equally shocking sight . In one of them, that of the Izhevsky Division, about one-half the passengers died of typhus or other diseases on the way from Omsk to Krasnoyarsk, and there was no doctor aboard .
He himself spent most of the night trying to straighten out the hopeless affairs of his regiment, to get food for his soldiers, and to arrange for their departure next day . At 4 o'clock in the morning, while it was still very dark, I accompanied him in his sleigh to Taiga, passing all the way through a great forest which, with its solemn silence and its dark pine-trees laden heavily with snow, was a place of almost unearthly beauty. What set off that beauty astonishingly were the huge fires kindled in it by soldiers who had been unable to find shelter in the villages .