of neglect, still less of design on the part of the Confederate Government.
A single train of acts is not likely to be so opposed to the whole career and consistent character of a people in a four years war. The site of the prison at Andersonville
— a point on the Southwestern railway in Georgia
had been selected under an official order having reference to the following points: “A healthy locality, plenty of pure good water, a running stream, and, if possible, shade trees, and in the immediate neighbourhood of grist and saw mills.”
The pressure was so great at Richmond
, and the supplies so scant, that prisoners were sent forward while the stockade was only about half finished.
When the first installment of prisoners arrived, there was no guard at Andersonville
, and the little squad which had charge of them in the cars had to remain; and at no time did the guard, efficient and on duty, exceed fifteen hundred, to man the stockade, to guard, and do general duty, and afford relief and enforce discipline over thirty-four thousand prisoners.
In regard to the sufferings and mortality among the prisoners at Andersonville
, none of it arose from the unhealthiness of the locality.
The food, though the same as that used by the Confederate
soldiers, the bread, too, being corn, was different from that to which they had been accustomed, did not agree with them, and scurvy and diarrhea prevailed to a considerable extent; neither disease, however, was the result of starvation.
That some prisoners did not get their allowance, although a full supply was sent in, is true.
But there not being a guard sufficient to attend to distribution, Federal prisoners were appointed, each having a certain number allotted to his charge, among whom it was his duty to see that every man got his portion, and, as an inducement, this prisoner had especial favours and advantages; upon complaint by those under him, he was broke and another selected; so that it only required good faith on the part of these head men, thus appointed, to insure to each man his share.
But prisoners would often sell their rations for whiskey and tobacco, and would sell the clothes from their backs for either of them.
In regard to sanitary regulations, there were certain prescribed places and modes for the reception of all filth, and a sluice was made to carry it off; but the most abominable disregard was manifested of all sanitary regulations, and to such a degree that if a conspiracy had been entered into by a large number of the prisoners to cause the utmost filth and stench, it could not have accomplished a more disgusting result.
Besides which there was a large number of atrocious villains, whose outrages in robbing, beating and murdering their fellow-prisoners must have been the cause, directly or remotely, of very many deaths and of an inconceivable amount of suffering.
We must recollect that among thirty-four thousand prisoners, who had encountered the hardships of the fields of many battles, and had had wounds, there were many of delicate physique-many of respect.