A very quiet Memorial Day at Andersonville

EricW48

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Apr 18, 2015
Spent Sunday and Monday visiting the Cemetery and Park. Understandably, with the current situation the POW museum was closed. Fortunately, they had the National Cemetery open for people to pay their respects. While visiting, I did run into a couple oddities one stone 12337 B. Tweer was marked as Citizen, instead of the State of origin or US Army and 13685 J.W. Forrester's rank as Captain. I had thought officers were segregated to other prisons, but this pretty much changed my mind, I guess there were some here too. If anybody has any information on why B. Tweer was marked as Citizen please post, couldn't find any information.

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As it happens, I'm working on a book of stories from Andersonville that are not usually told, and so I've been pouring over the Atwater List, the NPS Database and the original Confederate List of prisoner departures, looking for "citizen" (not civilian) prisoners. There are a few hundred of them.

The man you're looking for has different names on each of the sources, but they all list the same grave number, so they all mean the same person. He's listed as "Citizen, Indiana" and his name is variously given as B. Tiser, B. Tucer, and B. Tweer, all of which are probably misreading of the same name. It's kind of unusual for a state to be listed for a citizen, but that's what was written.

Citizen prisoners were frequently employed by the Quartermaster's Office, usually as Teamsters, hauling equipment for the military, but I've also found wagoneers, sutlers, watermen, a railroad employee, a topographical engineer, and a couple of employees from the American Telegraph Company. Being a citizen teamster paid pretty well - more than the soldiers made, according to one ad - but if you were captured and died, there was no provision for a pension for your family, so your wife and kids were screwed.

There are just over 100 citizen graves in the cemetery.

Hope this helps.

The highest ranking officer held at Andersonville was Col. W H Noble, of the 17 Connecticut. I've heard that officers who commanded blacks were sometimes put in Andersonville. I think that was the case with Major Bogle (sp?). There was also a place toward the railroad tracks where officers were held for a while.
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Just thought of something else. The last identified prisoner to die at Andersonville was Knud/Knut Hanson, a farmer from Wisconsin. He's in grave number 12843, so the grave of the captain you're looking at would have been made after the prison closed at the end of the War. That's probably why he's an officer with his rank on the marker. The graves are numbered sequentially, beginning with Grave Number One, Adam Swarner.

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Aug 2, 2019
@Gary Morgan why did they continue burials after the war?
It's still an active national cemetery, and they are continuing to bury military personnel and their families there to this very day. I think there's also a former superintendent of the cemetery and his family buried there as well - but only one former Confederate soldier. The guards who died (and there are about 200 of them) are buried in nearby Americus.
 

EricW48

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Apr 18, 2015
Adam Swarner was where most people paid their respect for the prisoner's graves. Gary actually answered another question I had because I am not sure if this poor fellow, J. R. Perrett, from Alabama was the lone Confederate there or not. Also, you can plainly tell the difference between the Andersonville prisoner graves and more modern graves, the prisoners Head stones are so close together. They were all buried in trenches.

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Actually, Perrit was a Union soldier from Alabama. There were apparently some Union regiments made up of men from Southern states during the war. At least, that's what Kevin Frye told me when he took me on a tour of the grounds (if you ever want a really good tour, look him up online and contact him - he used to work there, but has no current affiliation with the National Park Service).

The one Confederate soldier doesn't have a number on his marker because he died in the 1930's. I'm on my phone right now, so I can't post a picture. He was Sampson Boze Kitchen, and he died in the 30's, was buried elsewhere, and a family member had him dug up and reinterred at the National Cemetery. My guess would be because it's a nicer cemetery than where he was and the burials are provided without cost to the families (my dad is in the National Cemetery down on Cape Cod, and the no-cost option is why he picked it).

Kitchen's grave is different from the others because it follows the tradition of having a peak rather than a curve on top of the grave marker - reportedly so the Yankees can't sit on them! I was told that it's the only point grave marker in the whole cemetery.

If the world still spins and the epidemic abates, I'm supposed to be leading a Raiders-themes tour of the prison site and cemetery for the National Park Service, July 11th, which is the anniversary of the hanging. I suspect it might get put off to next year, though.
 

John Winn

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Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
As it happens, I'm working on a book of stories from Andersonville that are not usually told, and so I've been pouring over the Atwater List, the NPS Database and the original Confederate List of prisoner departures, looking for "citizen" (not civilian) prisoners. There are a few hundred of them.

The man you're looking for has different names on each of the sources, but they all list the same grave number, so they all mean the same person. He's listed as "Citizen, Indiana" and his name is variously given as B. Tiser, B. Tucer, and B. Tweer, all of which are probably misreading of the same name. It's kind of unusual for a state to be listed for a citizen, but that's what was written.

Citizen prisoners were frequently employed by the Quartermaster's Office, usually as Teamsters, hauling equipment for the military, but I've also found wagoneers, sutlers, watermen, a railroad employee, a topographical engineer, and a couple of employees from the American Telegraph Company. Being a citizen teamster paid pretty well - more than the soldiers made, according to one ad - but if you were captured and died, there was no provision for a pension for your family, so your wife and kids were screwed.

There are just over 100 citizen graves in the cemetery.

Hope this helps.

The highest ranking officer held at Andersonville was Col. W H Noble, of the 17 Connecticut. I've heard that officers who commanded blacks were sometimes put in Andersonville. I think that was the case with Major Bogle (sp?). There was also a place toward the railroad tracks where officers were held for a while.

I'll be interested to hear when your book is available. As it happens, one of the CW veterans I researched is buried at Andersonville. The cemetery had his date of death wrong and I was able to get that corrected. They now have my research on file. That vet was also incorrectly identified by an author (Lee Oxford - The Civil War on Hatteras) who got him mixed up with a cousin with the same name (who was the man I was really trying to research; ended up sorting out the whole family). I also contacted Mr. Oxford as he has said he plans to write a second book about those who were taken prisoner.

My Andersonville guy came out to Oregon in 1853 on a wagon train, fought in the Indian wars, but returned to Indiana with his father - all before the 1860 census. He married as soon as he got home and fathered three children before being captured at Chickamauga. His wife got his pension (until she remarried).

I bet there's a lot of really interesting stories.
 
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Aug 2, 2019
I'll be interested to hear when your book is available.

I have a book on the Andersonville Raiders that came out March 15th, two days AFTER I went into lockdown because the mother of a boy in one of my classes came up positive for Covid 19. I had a couple of promotional events a week lined up til the end of May, and except for the planned tour of the prison in July and a pre-publication interview on Civil War Talk Radio on March 4th, all of them got cancelled.

I'm impressed that you got the NPS to change your man's listing. The grave stone will probably not be changed, though. Their policy is that the grave markers are historic artifacts and not to be changed in any way. Personally, I wish they'd at least engrave the right information on the backs of the markers. Seems to me, if a man died there, the least we can do for him is make sure that we remember his right name.

(As a side note, three of the names on the Raiders' markers are wrong. The short version is that A. Munn is a misreading of Andrew Muir; John Sullivan's name isn't on any of the markers even though he's identified by name in prisoners' diaries as being hanged, and W. Rickson is probably actually sailor William Ritson of the Powhatan, who was going by the alias Curtis while a POW. The real Charles Curtis of the 5th RI HA was in the hospital when his company was captured and was never actually AT Andersonville. He eventually deserted 5 months after he was supposedly executed. But that said, these guys are the last ones who deserve to have their markers changed.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a date (or a publisher) for the next book yet. I'm home until September because I work in a school, but I had only just started research for it, and most of the libraries and Archives are closed. I want to do chapters on a citizen prisoner, a guard, a prison doctor, one of the Regulators, Father Peter Whelan, an African American prisoner, a galvanized Yankee, and on the last prisoner to die there. I'll probably come up with more stories as I go along.

I'll be sure to share the news here when I finally get a publication date. Thank you for asking!
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I have a book on the Andersonville Raiders that came out March 15th, two days AFTER I went into lockdown because the mother of a boy in one of my classes came up positive for Covid 19. I had a couple of promotional events a week lined up til the end of May, and except for the planned tour of the prison in July and a pre-publication interview on Civil War Talk Radio on March 4th, all of them got cancelled.

I'm impressed that you got the NPS to change your man's listing. The grave stone will probably not be changed, though. Their policy is that the grave markers are historic artifacts and not to be changed in any way. Personally, I wish they'd at least engrave the right information on the backs of the markers. Seems to me, if a man died there, the least we can do for him is make sure that we remember his right name.

(As a side note, three of the names on the Raiders' markers are wrong. The short version is that A. Munn is a misreading of Andrew Muir; John Sullivan's name isn't on any of the markers even though he's identified by name in prisoners' diaries as being hanged, and W. Rickson is probably actually sailor William Ritson of the Powhatan, who was going by the alias Curtis while a POW. The real Charles Curtis of the 5th RI HA was in the hospital when his company was captured and was never actually AT Andersonville. He eventually deserted 5 months after he was supposedly executed. But that said, these guys are the last ones who deserve to have their markers changed.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a date (or a publisher) for the next book yet. I'm home until September because I work in a school, but I had only just started research for it, and most of the libraries and Archives are closed. I want to do chapters on a citizen prisoner, a guard, a prison doctor, one of the Regulators, Father Peter Whelan, an African American prisoner, a galvanized Yankee, and on the last prisoner to die there. I'll probably come up with more stories as I go along.

I'll be sure to share the news here when I finally get a publication date. Thank you for asking!

There's no dates on the stone; just the name and number. Their official records, however, had the wrong death date. Turns out there's an official order in his service record that corrected the date but somehow that never got done. It has now (I provided them with his service record among other things).

I once got the Library of Congress to change the captions on two of their photos. :D
 

Ole Miss

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Gary this is a really necessary thread for those of us who have never been to Andersonville and Camp Sumter Military Prison. I can't help but think about Cypress Hills National Cemetery, where my GGGrandfather is buried with his name misspelled on his stone, when viewing the graves of those unfortunates at Andersonville.
Could you or other members who live in the Southwester corner of Georgia share more photos? Sure would appreciate more views.
Regards
David
 

Ole Miss

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Eric please excuse me for not mentioning that you are the author of this thread. I got so carried away with my brilliant writing I kinda forgot what I wanted to say.
Please share more of your photos.
Regards
David
 
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I'm actually in Massachusetts, although when I was writing the Raiders book, I got a grant from the Friends of Andersonville, and one of the perks of the grant was to stay on site in the guest residence (which was at one point a small museum and at another a groundskeepers cottage). What I didn't know was that at 5:00, everyone goes home, and they lock the gates with you inside. I've spent a total of 5 nights on the grounds, about 40 yards from the stockade site, and it is a very interesting place to spend a night!
And I am braver than I thought.

I have quite a few photos, but am waiting for my new laptop to be delivered before I can post them. The laptop is due to be delivered tomorrow. Would you like pictures of the grounds, or just the cemetery? Most of mine are of the stockade site.

I do have one picture of Andersonville in the Photo of the Month contest that's going on now, although I have a bad feeling that I entered the blurry one instead of the one I meant - it's hard to see the difference on the phone!

Hopefully, other people will post theirs as well.
 

EricW48

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Apr 18, 2015
Gary, I don't know if I would be brave enough to be all alone after dark. If any place is haunted, would think the grounds there would be. I did find my way to the Drummer Boy Museum in the Village, along with the Wirz memorial. The museum was very interesting also, though small. Didn't know they had Mary Surratt's bonnett from the execution, appears to be authentic, but I don't know.



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Aug 2, 2019
If you go on the NPS's Andersonville FB Page, there's the cutest picture of a little fawn curled up in front of an Unknown grave marker.

I have a lot of pictures. Here are a few. I'll probably open a new thread with others once I get the hang of my new laptop.

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