The 5-foot-3 soldier looked youthful in his dark-blue dress uniform, close-cropped hair and rimless eyeglasses. He was animated, often speaking in emphatic bursts, swiveling in the witness chair and gesturing with his hands. More than a dozen supporters were in the courtroom.
Fein, the prosecutor, said that during eight visits Manning received when he was in brig, the soldier either said he was doing fine or didn't complain about his conditions.
In one recorded visit, a friend asked Manning if he had to perform hard labor. Manning responded that he just had to sit a lot.
"It's not that bad, like people back in the Victorian age. Because you can just sit there and think a lot," Manning said, according to a transcript read by the prosecutor.
Manning appeared more relaxed on the stand Friday than the day before, when he said he felt like a caged animal while jailed in Kuwait and thought he would die in his cell.
At times he flashed a broad smile and drew laughter from the courtroom. At one point he was asked why he requested new underwear and socks.
"The ones I had were from my deployment. They still smell like Iraq," Manning said.
Manning, who was an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010, is charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy and violating espionage and computer security laws. He could get life in prison.
He is accused of sending WikiLeaks more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, classified memos, Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, Guantanamo Bay prison records and a 2007 video clip of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men who were later found to have included a news photographer. The Pentagon said its troops mistook camera equipment for weapons.
Manning has offered to plead guilty to eight of the charges, but the military judge presiding over the case has yet to decide whether to accept the plea.