This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 prison at Macon, while retaining for a time his control of the prisons in Virginia. His duties were largely those of a commissary-general of prisoners but without the title and without the full authority belonging to the office. The commandant of the prison interior was Captain Henry Wirz, about whose character so much has been written. This officer was of Swiss birth, and at the beginning of the war was practicing medicine in Louisiana. He enlisted as a private in a Louisiana regiment, and at Seven Pines his right arm was badly shattered. On partial recovery he was assigned to General Winder for service in the prisons in Richmond, and in October, 1862, was sent to Alabama and Mississippi in search of missing records of prisoners, and for a time served in the prison in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 1863, he visited Europe, one story says, carrying despatches to the Confederate agents. While there he sought surgical assistance but the surgeons failed to remove all the diseased bone, and during the last months of his life he was never free from pain. Early in 1864, he was ordered to report at Andersonville, where he was soon placed in command of the interior of the stockade. This command he retained while prisoners were at Andersonville. General Winder, in June, telegraphed Adjutant-General Cooper that the stockade was already taxed to its utmost extent, the mortality was considerable, and that additional guards and medical officers were needed. The assistance asked was promised him, and he was instructed to place the prisoners properly. In the light of conditions, General Winder's reply is not devoid of a certain grim humor: ‘ You speak of placing the prisoners properly. I do not comprehend what is intended by it. I know of but one way to place them and that is to put them in the stockade, where they have between four and five square yards to the man. This includes streets and two acres of land about the stream.’ The attempt of the officers in charge to remedy the bad conditions which soon arose seem to have been sincere. Captain Wirz made requisitions for hoes,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.