Sunday, August 9, 2015

Prison at Andersonville, Georgia


United States Sanitary Commission - Narrative of Privations and Sufferings of United States Officers and Soldiers while Prisoners of War in the Hands of the Rebel Authorities : Being the Report of the Commission of Inquiry, Appointed by the United States Sanitary Commission

In May 1864, Dr. Valentine Mott and others members of the Sanitary Commission were charged with investigating accounts of brutal treatment of Union soldiers in Libby, Belle Isle, Andersonville, and other Confederate prisons.  The Commission’s report includes testimonies of officers and privates, medical personnel, and Dorothea Lynde Dix, the Union’s Superintendent of Army Nurses. One of the privates, Prescott Tracy of the New York Volunteers, described conditions at Andersonville.

"Wells had been dug, but the water either proved so productive of diarrhea, or so limited in quantity that they were of no general use.  The cook-house was situated on the stream just outside the stockade, and its refuse of decaying offal was thrown into the water, a greasy coating covering much of the surface. To these was added the daily large amount of base matter from the camp itself …. One side of the swamp was naturally used as a sink, the men usually going out some distance into the water.  Under the summer sun this place early became corruption too vile for description, the men breeding disgusting life, so that the surface of the water moved as with a gentle breeze.  The new-comers, on reaching this, would exclaim: “Is this hell?” yet they soon would become callous, and enter unmoved the horrible rottenness."

Some 15,000 prisoners died at Andersonville.  The map displayed shows the layout of the prison.


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