One of the most starkly vivid and detailed accounts of survival in Georgia's notorious Andersonville prison during the American Civil War. John Ransom was only 20 years old at the time of his capture. He kept a nearly daily diary during his year of misery at the Confederate prison. He and his fellow Union prisoners endured lice, starvation, freezing cold, killing heat, theft from other inmates...and Captain Wirtz. "Capt. Wirtz very domineering and abusive. Is afraid to come into camp any more. There are a thousand men in here who would willingly die if they could kill him first." Death was a daily occurrence. Yet Ransom knew if he gave up hope, he would die. He somehow kept his humor and kept on writing. Through two escapes, time in a Rebel hospital, and eventual freedom, you'll read a POW account like none you've ever read before.
John L. Ransom joined the Union Army in 1862, serving as brigade quartermaster of the Ninth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. A year later, the 20-year-old soldier was captured in Tennessee and interned at the notorious Georgia prison camp, Andersonville. Ransom's harrowing firsthand account of Civil War prison life constitutes a valuable historical record — a true story not only of cruelty, death, and deprivations but also of acts of courage and kindness that ensured the young soldier's survival and preserved his faith in humanity.
It was the most witnessed execution in US history. On the evening of July 11, 1864, six men were marched into Andersonville Prison, surrounded by a cordon of guards, the prison commandant, and a Roman Catholic priest. The six men were handed over to a small execution squad, and while more than 26,000 Union prisoners looked on, the six were executed by hanging. The six, part of a larger group known as the Raiders, were killed, not by their Rebel enemies but by their fellow prisoners, for the crimes of robbing and assaulting their own comrades. Who were these six men? Were they really guilty of the crimes they were accused of? Were they really, as some prisoners alleged, murderers? What role did their Confederate captors play in their trial and execution? What brought about their downfall? Relying on military records, diaries, memoirs written within five years of the prison closing, and the recently discovered trial transcript, author Gary Morgan has discovered a version of events that is markedly different from the version told in later day “memoirs” and repeated in the history books. Here, for the first time in a century and a half, is the real story of the Andersonville Raiders.
Captives in Blue, a study of Union prisoners in Confederate prisons, is a companion to Roger Pickenpaugh's earlier groundbreaking book Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union, rounding out his examination of Civil War prisoner of war facilities. In June of 1861, only a few weeks after the first shots at Fort Sumter ignited the Civil War, Union prisoners of war began to arrive in Southern prisons. One hundred and fifty years later Civil War prisons and the way prisoners of war were treated remain contentious topics. Partisans of each side continue to vilify the other for POW maltreatment. Roger Pickenpaugh's two studies of Civil War prisoners of war facilities complement one another and offer a thoughtful exploration of issues that captives taken from both sides of the Civil War faced. In Captives in Blue, Pickenpaugh tackles issues such as the ways the Confederate Army contended with the growing prison population, the variations in the policies and practices inthe different Confederate prison camps, the effects these policies and practices had on Union prisoners, and the logistics of prisoner exchanges. Digging further into prison policy and practices, Pickenpaugh explores conditions that arose from conscious government policy decisions and conditions that were the product of local officials or unique local situations. One issue unique to Captives in Blue is the way Confederate prisons and policies dealt with African American Union soldiers. Black soldiers held captive in Confederate prisons faced uncertain fates; many former slaves were returned to their former owners, while others were tortured in the camps. Drawing on prisoner diaries, Pickenpaugh provides compelling first-person accounts of life in prison camps often overlooked by scholars in the field.
The name Andersonville, from the American Civil War to the present, has come to be synonimous with "American death camp." Its horrors have been portrayed in its histories, art, television, and movies. This work unlocks the secret history of America's deadliest prison camp in ways that will spur debate for many years to come.
The Confederate prison known as Andersonville existed for only the last fourteen months of the Civil War?but its well-documented legacy of horror has lived on in the diaries of its prisoners and the transcripts of the trial of its commandant. The diaries describe appalling conditions in which vermin-infested men were crowded into an open stockade with a single befouled stream as their water source. Food was scarce and medical supplies virtually nonexistent. The bodies of those who did not survive the night had to be cleared away each morning. Designed to house 10,000 Yankee prisoners, Andersonville held 32,000 during August 1864. Nearly a third of the 45,000 prisoners who passed through the camp perished. Exposure, starvation, and disease were the main causes, but excessively harsh penal practices and even violence among themselves contributed to the unprecedented death rate. At the end of the war, outraged Northerners demanded retribution for such travesties, and they received it in the form of the trial and subsequent hanging of Captain Henry Wirz, the prison’s commandant. The trial was the subject of legal controversy for decades afterward, as many people felt justice was ignored in order to appease the Northerners’ moral outrage over the horrors of Andersonville. The story of Andersonville is a complex one involving politics, intrigue, mismanagement, unfortunate timing, and, of course, people - both good and bad. Relying heavily on first-person reports and legal documents, author Catherine Gourley gives us a fascinating look into one of the most painful incidents of U.S. history.
Within the walls of the infamous Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp, a Confederate guard and his Northern captive find their fates intertwined When John Rockwell, a Yankee captive at Andersonville, reaches across the prison's "dead line" to pluck a bunch of violets, Confederate guard Jack Foster is supposed to shoot him. Conflicted over thoughts of Lucy Moore, his girl back home, Foster lowers his gun. Spared, Rockwell lives to escape Andersonville, and Foster is discharged in disgrace. After the war, the paths of the two men are predictably divergent. Foster, as a symbol of the Confederacy, is a burned-out, bitter shell. Rockwell, as an emblem of the North, is thrifty and eager to make something of himself. When Rockwell's ambitions lead him to take charge of a rundown plantation in Foster's native Mississippi, the prisoner and guard find their paths crossing once again. The struggle of these men represents the post-war chasm between North and South and raises issues of forgiveness and renewal.
IN APRIL 1865, THE NATION LEARNED OF THE ATROCITIES AND HORRORS OF THE Southern prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. An army expedition and Clara Barton identified the graves of the thirteen thousand who perished there and established the Andersonville National Cemetery. In the 1890s, veterans and the Woman's Relief Corps, wanting to ensure the nation never forgot the tragedy, began preserving the site. The former prisoners expressed in granite their sorrow and gratitude to those who died or survived the prison camp. Join author and historian Stacy W. Reaves as she recounts the horrendous conditions of the prison and the tremendous efforts to memorialize the men within.
"The articles in this book carefully consider the passionate and partisan documents of the era in order to arrive at a clear, dispassionate understanding of the prisons North and South, how they were administered, and what life for the captured soldiers was like" - from back cover.