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GRAPHIC Starving POW, looks worse than Nazi camp survivors?

Discussion in 'Civil War Photography' started by gold lotus 99, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. gold lotus 99

    gold lotus 99 Cadet

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    This is one of at least 3 photos from this collection showing emaciated POWs. To me, these men appear to be in worse condition than those liberated from Auschwitz and other Nazi camps. Anyone else see that, or is it my imagination?

    GRAPHIC: nude except for a drape across his lap. Disturbing to see his emaciation.
    "A Starving Soldier who was a Prisoner in the Civil War"
    http://www.old-picture.com/civil-war/Starving-Prisoner-Soldier-Civil.htm

    (Full details in thread on "Old Pictures site," posted in photo section yesterday. Info on how to navigate the site and find more.)
     

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  3. wilber6150

    wilber6150 Brigadier General Moderator

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    I wonder if this man was able to recover and survive...
     
  4. gold lotus 99

    gold lotus 99 Cadet

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    I wonder that as well, and hope the answer is yes.

    Given the state of medicine at the time, wonder if they knew how to treat malnutrition. Don't remember now where I read it, but some of the WWII POW survivors died after liberation because they were given too much of the wrong kind of food. IIRC the doctors of WWII had to develop a special diet.
     
  5. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree 1st Lieutenant Member of the Month

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    That is, sad to say, one of the iconic pictures from the Civil War.

    That prisoner, I believe, was held at the infamous Andersonville prison camp. Even many southern contemporaries who were familiar with the prison were appalled by the conditions there.

    As a result of what were considered atrocities, Captain Henry Wirz was executed for inhumane treatment of prisoners at the Andersonville Prison, as seen here:
    http://www.old-picture.com/civil-war/Warrant-Death.htm
     
  6. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    The POW camps were horrible places on both sides. Camp Douglas in Chicago was notorious also for their summery executions and inhuman treatment of prisoners on the scale of Andersonville.
     
  7. nc native

    nc native Private

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    Actually, I think the solider pictured was from the Belle's Island prison camp. Malnutrition
    and dysentery which ran rampant through prison camps both North and South were the
    main contributors to the horrific image seen. Two of my ancestors spent at least a year or
    more in Northern prison camps. James Peyton Glenn was sent to Johnson's Island in Ohio
    after recovery from a leg wound at Gettysburg. He lost over seventy pounds in captivity
    and barely survived from what I've been told. That was one of the better prison camps
    because officers were better treated than enlisted men. Thomas R. Lamm was captured
    during the Mine Run Campaign and sent to Fort Delaware. He told my great grandmother
    some rough stories about the conditions there.
     
  8. unicornforge

    unicornforge First Sergeant

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  9. TinCan

    TinCan 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    my g-g-g-grandfather was wounded and captured at Lebanon Tennessee and sent to Ft. Monroe. He survived the war.
     
  10. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    The prison camps were bad on both sided during the civil war. However, like unicornforge, I am very uncomfortable with comparing them to the Nazi Concentration Camps. Six million Jews were annihilated in those camps. It was men, women and children. They experimented on people as well as killed and tortured them. It is hard to compare anything to what happened at those camps. Photos from those camps are horrendous. My Uncle who served in Army during World War II entered one of the camps, he said what he saw was unspeakable.
     
  11. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    There is no comparison in my opinion. The nazis were exterminators and used concentration camps to herd the Jews in for extermination. Their actual POW camps were a different matter although not anywhere as laughable as Hogan's Heros.
     
  12. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    I don't think the original post was comparing conditions in WWII concentration camps to civil war POW camps. I believe Tamara simply was noting the similarities in the physical conditions of the captives in both places who suffered from malnutrition and/or starvation.

    Lee
     
  13. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    I should mention that it was a practice to pose with dead loved ones in the Victorian age.

    The individual posed appears to have perhaps lived long enough to be freed. I would have felt better if the individual posed with some sign of life, like holding up an arm or a series of poses that showed him alive. I have a gut feeling he died soon after if he hadn't died before. We, in a general sense, can hope he survived and lived a long happy life.

    M. E. Wolf
     
  14. gold lotus 99

    gold lotus 99 Cadet

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    Thanks, Lee, you did quite well "reading my mind."

    Never occurred to me folks would interpret this as a comparison between WWII concentration or POW camps, and Civil War camps (north or south).

    In stating that this man looked worse, wasn't trying to say any type of camps, from either of the wars, were better or worse than any others.

    When I first saw this photo, thought of all other photos I've seen of starving people, across time and across place, and this man seemed to be the most ill and malnourished. That was the reality check I was seeking with my original question.

    I'll re-word my question to be most accurate, and least offensive (hopefully). Does this man appear in worse condition when you compare him to photos of others who were starving (for any reason, anywhere in the world, in all eras)?

    My apologies to Donna, Unicorn Forge, Bob Owen and all others who were offended.
     
  15. wilber6150

    wilber6150 Brigadier General Moderator

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    Thats the way I read it as well, and don't see a need for an apology...
     
  16. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    I just wanted to say that I needed no apology. I had written personal message to Tamara saying I needed no apology. we were just talking about picture. I am sorry if my post offended any one as I was just talking about Nazis and treatment of Jews in World War II. All prison camps in all wars were horrible.
     
  17. Philip B

    Philip B Cadet

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    Were any of the POW pictures ever widely published in the newspapers of the day or was it years later before the public became aware of the atrocities ?

    Philip B
     
  18. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Philip B.

    You wrote:
    Yes sir.

    Here sir:
    http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/starving-civil-war-prisoners.htm

    (Harper's Weekly - June 18, 1864)

    FURTHER PROOFS OF REBEL
    INHUMANITY.


    EVIDENCES of the inhuman treatment of our prisoners by the Confederate authorities at Richmond continue to multiply. We give on the preceding page two illustrations which afford indubitable proof on this point. These illustrations are made from photographs taken in the United States General Hospital, Division No.1, Annapolis, Maryland, under charge of Dr. Z. VANDERKIEFT. They represent two of the unfortunate prisoners as they appeared upon their return from the Richmond prisons. Dr. ELLERSLIE WALLACE, in sending the photographs, writes as follows :

    These two pictures are what may be called good specimens of the bad cases which are brought to the hospital from the prisons and Belle Isle. They are from the worst of the cases, and these worst cases form a numerous body. Both are dead.

    Out of one hundred bad cases brought in by boat on May 2 thirty have since died. Dr. VANDERKIEFT said they " died from the effects of neglect and cruel treatment a, the hands of the enemy." Dr. V. is an honorable, upright, and warm-hearted gentleman. The question is asked, "Is the condition of the originals of these pictures entirely due to starvation, or is there not some disease which has reduced them?" I answer this by giving the statements of two of the men, which are, with only a little variation of time and place, the statements of very many —of all, in fact, whom I questioned. The various ones whom I did question were in different parts of the hospital, had been brought in at different times, and could have had no collusion with each other in answering my questions.

    [rest of story is in the web site]

    M. E. Wolf
     
  19. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    At the time, photos could not be reproduced in print. They were reproduced as etchings, using a photo or sketch as a model. One might surmise that the process was expensive, so only the really significant events were favored with an image.

    In any event, the emaciated POW pictures were mostly taken after the surrender. It would be years later before they received notice.
     
  20. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy 1st Lieutenant

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    Not to mention the other 6 million people that died in the camps.

    R
     
  21. atuttle32

    atuttle32 Corporal

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    That explains a lot - I read somewhere the other day when I was reading up on Alexander Gardner about his photos of the execution of the Lincoln conspirators being "translated into woodcuts" for Harper's Weekly. It sounds like that was more difficult than original drawings that were used.

    I came across this picture by accident when perusing another on-line gallery. I won't post the picture here but will provide a link instead. The caption reads "One of the "fortunate" soldiers that survived the horrors at the Andersonville Prison Camp", and supposedly the Library of Congress has the picture, too. I haven't confirmed whether or not the gentleman actually lived though.

    http://www.mikelynaugh.com/VirtualCivilWar/New/Originals2/pages/pow-1c.html

    As far as starvation goes, I don't see how a person could be more emaciated than the two soldiers mentioned in this thread were.
     

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