apparently, that if that were the case no responsibility could afterwards rest on the South; and this seems, curiously enough, to be the position of nearly all the Southern writers who have referred to the matter. Instead of frankly acknowledging and regretting these wrongs, they defend them. Extraordinary as it may seem, this Historical Society justifies the preparations made to blow up the thousand and odd Union officers in the Libby prison at the time when the near approach of Dahlgren threatened Richmond; and no doubt the order of Winder at Andersonville to the same effect appears to these Southern historians in the same light. After this our readers will not be much surprise to learn that Winder was a gallant hero and Wirz a saintly martyr, though the immediate responsibility for the fearful mortality rests upon them beyond a question. It appears plainly enough from this report that the mortality at Andersonville was almost wholly from diarrhoea, dysentery, gangrene, scurvy, and allied diseases, produced principally by overcrowding; filth, exposure, bad water, and insufficient food, and that all of these, except possibly the last, were easily remediable. There was an abundance of land and timber for extending the limits of the prison, crowded with more than four times the number it could healthily hold. Shelter there was none. Colonel Persons, during the brief period of his command at the first opening of the prison in the spring of 1864, collected lumber for barracks, but General Winder refused to use it, and compelled even the sick in hospital to lie on the ground in such a state that the Confederate surgeons on duty reported that the condition of the hospital “was horrible.” This refusal to provide shelter was as unnecessary as the overcrowding. When, on the death of General Winder in the spring of 1865, General Imboden took command, he seems to have had no trouble in erecting dwellings for 1,200 or 1,500 men within a fortnight by the labor of the prisoners, and he mentions the want of shelter as one of the principal causes of the death-rate of the previous year. Here again we find it difficult to put ourselves in the position of an historian who thinks that this refusal of General Winder and Lieutenant Wirz to furnish shelter was justified by an attempt to escape made by one of the first parties allowed to go outside the stockade months before. Yet this is seriously said of a prison where in five months about ten thousand men died in an average of less than twenty thousand confined, and in October the deaths were one-fourth of the average number there (1,560 in average 6,200). The drainage and water-supply stand in the same position. Both were foul, when they might easily have been fine. These things were so needless and so fatal that we can well believe Colonel Chandler, who reported officially to the Confederate Government, at the time when men were dying at the rate of over one hundred a day, that General Winder advocated “deliberately and in cold blood the propriety of leaving them in their present condition until their number had been sufficiently reduced by death to make the ”
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
The defence of Mobile in 1865 .
Detailed Minutiae of soldier life in the army of Northern Virginia .
Defence of Fort Gregg .
Address on the character of General R. E. Lee , delivered in Richmond on Wednesday , January 19th , 1876 , the anniversary of General Lee 's birth
March 7th to 12th , 1865
Maryland troops in the Confederate service.
Comments on the First volume of Count of Paris ' civil War in America .
The last Confederate surrender.
The peace Commission of 1865 .
Memoranda of the operations of Brigadier-General W. H. F. Lee 's command during General Stoneman 's raid into Virginia .
Report of Major-General C. L. Stevenson from the beginning of the Dalton - Atlanta campaign to May 30 , 1864 .
April 5th to 10th , 1865
Report of Major-General Samuel Jones of operations at Charleston, South Carolina , from December 5th to 27th , 1864 .
Sketch of the late General S. Cooper .
Report of General J. E. B. Stuart of cavalry operations on First Maryland campaign, from August 30th to September 18th , 1862 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.