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Howell Cobb (search for this): chapter 3.17
subordination, quiet and good order amongst the prisoners, I went to Macon to confer with General Howell Cobb and General Gideon J. Pillow as to the proper course for me to pursue in the event of our appointment as Commissary of Prisons, in which event he would become my commanding officer. General Cobb commanded the State troops of Georgia, and I was dependent on him for a sufficient force to ds to eat out our little remaining substance. In view of all these facts and considerations, Generals Cobb and Pillow and I were of one mind that the best thing that could be done was, without furthest. It was evident that his first objective point was Andersonville. Again conferring with Generals Cobb and Pillow, and finding we were powerless to prevent Wilson's reaching Andersonville, where n. a few days, the post at Andersonville was broken up, the Georgia State troops were sent to General Cobb at Macon, and in a short time the surrender of General Johnston to Sherman, embracing all tha
F. M. Imboden (search for this): chapter 3.17
t majority of them into the deepest melancholy, home-sickness and despondency. They believed their confinement would continue till the end of the war, and many of them looked upon that as a period so indefinite and remote that they believed that they would die of their sufferings before the day of release came. I explained to them the efforts we had made and were still making to effect an exchange. A Federal captain at Andersonville, learning that I had a brother of the same rank (Captain F. M. Imboden, of the Eighteenth Virginia Cavalry) incarcerated at Johnson's Island, in Lake Erie, where he was in a fair way to die from harsh treatment and a lack of food, represented to me that he had powerful connections at Washington, and thought that if I would parole him he could effect his exchange for my brother, and perhaps influence a decision on the general question of exchanges. He agreed to return in thirty days if he failed. I accepted his terms, and with some difficulty got him t
utenant-Colonel Bondurant on a tour of inspection of the prisons in my department, with instructions to report fully on their condition and management. Whilst Colonel Bondurant was on this service, I was forced to quit Aiken by the approach of Kilpatrick's cavalry, moving on the flank of Sherman's army. A detachment of this cavalry reached Aiken within four hours after I left it. I then made Augusta my permanent headquarters, residing, however, a few miles out on the Georgia railroad at Berzelectly to the Secretary of War at Richmond. Communication with the War Office was at that period very slow and difficult. Great military operations were in progress. General Sherman was moving through the Carolinas. The Federal cavalry under Kilpatrick with Sherman, and Stoneman co-operating from Tennessee, almost suspended mail facilities between Georgia and Virginia, and the telegraph was almost impracticable, because the line was taxed almost to its capacity in connection with active milit
he only remaining available outlet was at Saint Augustine, Florida, Sherman having destroyed railway communication with Savannah. Finding that the prisoners could be sent from Andersonville by rail to the Chattahoochie, thence down that river to Florida, near Quincy, and from Quincy by rail to Jacksonville, within a day's march of Saint Augustine, it was resolved to open communication with the Federal commander at the latter place. With that view, somewhere about the middle of March, Captain Rutherford, an intelligent and energetic officer, was sent to Saint Augustine. A few days after his departure for Florida, he telegraphed from Jacksonville, Send on the prisoners. He had, as he subsequently reported, arranged with the Federal authorities to receive them. At once all were ordered to be sent forward who were able to bear the journey. Three days cooked rations were prepared, and so beneficial to health was the revival of the spirits of these men by the prospect of once more bein
oners we had at Eufaula and Andersonville to the nearest accessible Federal post, and having paroled them not to bear arms till regularly exchanged, to deliver them unconditionally, simply taking a receipt on descriptive rolls of the men thus turned over. In pursuance of this determination, and as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made, a detachment of about 1,500 men, made up from the two prisons, was sent to Jackson, Mississippi, by rail and delivered to their friends. General Dick Taylor at that time commanded the department through which these prisoners were sent to Jackson, and objected to any more being sent that way, on the ground that they would pick up information on the route detrimental to our military interests. The only remaining available outlet was at Saint Augustine, Florida, Sherman having destroyed railway communication with Savannah. Finding that the prisoners could be sent from Andersonville by rail to the Chattahoochie, thence down that river to Flo
ality was so great, to ascertain, if possible, its cause. The guard then on duty consisted of a brigade of Georgia State troops, under command of Brigadier-General Gartrell. The post was commanded by Colonel Gibbs, who, as before stated, was an old army officer; and the prison proper was under the immediate command of Captain Wirz, who was tried and executed at Washington, in 1865, most unjustly, as the verdict of impartial history will establish; just as will be the case in regard to Mrs. Surratt's horrible murder. The officers first named, and all others on duty there, afforded me every facility to prosecute my investigations to the fullest extent, and were prompt to point out to me measures of relief that were practicable. I went within the stockade and conversed with many of the prisoners. I found the prison and its inmates in a bad condition: not as bad as our enemies have represented, yet unfortunately bad. The location of the stockade was good, and had been judiciously
George W. McPhail (search for this): chapter 3.17
ecision, because all my official papers fell into the hands of the United States military authorities after the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston to General Sherman; but for all essential purposes my memory enables me to detail events in consecutive order, and approximately to assign each to its proper date. A few days after receiving my orders from General Winder, I reached Aiken, and visited Augusta, Georgia, and established an office there in charge of a staff officer, Lieutenant George W. McPhail, for prompt and convenient communication with the prisons of the department. About my first official act was to dispatch Lieutenant-Colonel Bondurant on a tour of inspection of the prisons in my department, with instructions to report fully on their condition and management. Whilst Colonel Bondurant was on this service, I was forced to quit Aiken by the approach of Kilpatrick's cavalry, moving on the flank of Sherman's army. A detachment of this cavalry reached Aiken within f
Lucius J. Gartrell (search for this): chapter 3.17
reach a railroad to take me to Andersonville. I made the journey, however, in February. On my arrival at Andersonville, unannounced and unexpected, I made an immediate personal inspection of everything — not only as then existing, but with the aid of the post and prison record, I went back several months, to the period when the mortality was so great, to ascertain, if possible, its cause. The guard then on duty consisted of a brigade of Georgia State troops, under command of Brigadier-General Gartrell. The post was commanded by Colonel Gibbs, who, as before stated, was an old army officer; and the prison proper was under the immediate command of Captain Wirz, who was tried and executed at Washington, in 1865, most unjustly, as the verdict of impartial history will establish; just as will be the case in regard to Mrs. Surratt's horrible murder. The officers first named, and all others on duty there, afforded me every facility to prosecute my investigations to the fullest exte
ken in connection with written applications from Captain Wirz which I had received, suggesting measures for thprison proper was under the immediate command of Captain Wirz, who was tried and executed at Washington, in 18n and rain. Before my arrival at Andersonville, Captain Wirz had, by a communication forwarded through Coloneve no record of it. I have already alluded to Captain Wirz's recommendation to put up more shelter. I ordeated from the mass of prisoners. This same man (Captain Wirz), who was tried and hung as a murderer, warmly ud, by no means unpalatable, and very wholesome. Captain Wirz entered warmly into this enterprise. I mention be called at another time; but I never was, and thus Wirz was deprived of the benefit of my evidence. My personal acquaintance with Captain Wirz was very slight, but the facts I have alluded to satisfied me that he was unless it was deemed policy to destroy them when Captain Wirz was on trial), I have not been able to go into m
ng with each other, and acting harmoniously in whatever course might be adopted. General Pillow took a leading part in the discussion, and in shaping the conclusions to which we came. In the absence of official information or instructions from Richmond, we acted upon what the newspapers announced as a recently established arrangement with General Grant, which was, in effect, that either side might deliver to the other on parole, but without exchange, any prisoners they chose, taking simply a r in our hands to eat out our little remaining substance. In view of all these facts and considerations, Generals Cobb and Pillow and I were of one mind that the best thing that could be done was, without further efforts to get instructions from Richmond, to make arrangements to send off all the prisoners we had at Eufaula and Andersonville to the nearest accessible Federal post, and having paroled them not to bear arms till regularly exchanged, to deliver them unconditionally, simply taking a r
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