Books NF Andersonville Raiders: Yankee versus Yankee in the Civil War’s Most Notorious Prison Camp

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Andersonville Raiders:
Yankee versus Yankee in the Civil War’s Most Notorious Prison Camp
by Gary Morgan


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.

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Virginia Dave

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View attachment 353205
  • @Gary Morgan is proud to launch his book:
    • Andersonville Raiders:
      Yankee versus Yankee in the Civil War’s Most Notorious Prison Camp
    • Published 3/15/2020
    • Launched on CWT on 3/31/2020
    • Buy it on Amazon
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.

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Oh no I have already purchased two books today from reading post here. I can't afford another one this month. Have to go on my wish list. Thanks for the post.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
First off, let me thank everyone at CWT for the outstanding job they do in bringing us all together. I feel less cut off from the world because of everyone here.

Thank you, also, for the chance to launch the book here. It's been a tough time to have a book come out - I had a student whose parent was presumed positive for Corona in one of my classes, and the school shut down March 13th. The book came out as a hardcover March 15, so there went the first few weeks of promotional while I was "self isolating" (I'm fine now). Needless to say, all presentations are off at least until May.

Once I get back into the world, I'll do an online chat here on the Raiders. I just don't think I can type fast enough on my cell phone to do it properly now.

E J Zander, I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, going by the grave number, is looks like he made it through the summer and into the fall, only to die as they started moving some prisoners out of Andersonville. So he probably came heartbreakingly close to leaving before he passed.

Virginia Dave, I hear you about needing to budget for books. No worries. I suspect the topic is close enough to "pop culture" that it will have decent staying power and remain in print for many years. They are carrying out at the gift shop at the National POW Museum at Andersonville, or, at least, they will be once it reopens.

Jamie, I'm so glad you caught me on Gerry Prokopowicz's show. Eventually they will post it here so other people can find it.

If anyone has any questions about the Raiders or the book, I'd be happy to answer them. Three interesting things I discovered while researching it:

At least some of the Raiders were definitely murderer and the killed at least two prisoners (possibly as many as ten)

"Dowd," the prisoner whose savage beating brought about the hanging, was not, as is often claimed, John Urban, but instead was a 43 year old farmer from the 93 NY

"Charles Curtis" of the 5 RI HA, was never actually at Andersonville, and the man hanged using his name was an imposter (and I think I have a pretty good idea who he might have been!)

Thanks to all! Stay safe!
 

MajorMike

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Gary was also on CivilWarTalk radio discussing the book recently
"Gary" (ahem) has done a superior job using comparative primary accounts of the identity and actions of the six principle Raiders. Particularly impressive is the research and detective work done in identifying the raider known as "Curtis." Reader beware, this does not read like a novel, it is an in depth case study the likes of which has never been undertaken for the Andersonville Six. In the best of academic traditions, the text is well cited, and supported with a strong Index and Bibliography. Ms. Gorman has added considerably to the public body of knowledge about this dark chapter in the American Civil War. Major Mike Ayoub
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Thank you, Mike!

In the interest of full disclosure, Major Mike Ayoub is the author of an excellent book on the 88 Pennsylvania, The Campfire Chronicles, and while I was researching the book, he very graciously took me across the battlefields at Gettysburg, tracing the footsteps of raider William "Mosby" Collins, who received a field promotion to Corporal on the first day of the battle.

The Raiders were not all "deserters and bounty jumpers" as is often stated.

And yes, Gary is a pen name. You can call me 'Mary".
 

Cavalier

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Jul 20, 2019
@Gary Morgan I noticed that the Chaplin that accompanied the execution was Catholic. Do you know if all, or most, of the raiders were Catholic. It seems odd to me because I had presumed Catholics were a minority in the USA during that era. I mean no disrespect to Catholics by asking this as I am one myself.

Near as I can determine my grandmother's uncle was a prisoner at Andersonville at the time of the execution so I guess he would have witnessed it.

Good luck with your book!

John
 
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Aug 2, 2019
According to his testimony at the war crimes trial of Henry Wirz, Father Peter Whelan said that five of the six were Roman Catholic. My best guess is that the one who wasn't was probably William Collins. Collins was born in Nottinghamshire, England. The others were all probably Irish.

I think the number of Catholics was probably greater in the Union Army than in the South. I read that during the Civil War, Father Whelan was one of just eleven Catholic priests in the state of Georgia.

The number of Catholics went up quite a bit in 1863 when the Federal government instituted the first draft. The Irish (who, of course, were mostly Catholic) in New York City were particularly irate about this, because A) You could be drafted even if you weren't technically an American Citizen, and B) You could either buy your way out of the draft or hire someone to take your place (I think the going rate was $250). Of course, a recent immigrant couldn't afford that kind of money. In there frustration, a lot of the Irish blamed blacks for the war and thus, the draft, and in NYC there was several days of really ugly rioting in New York City where blacks were targeted - they burned a black orphanage, there were lynchings; it is a really ugly incident known as the Draft Riots.

Prisoner Robert Kellogg once remarked that if there hadn't been the draft, there wouldn't have been the Raiders, since prior to the draft, men joined because they believed in what they were fighting for, but once the draft came, you started getting a criminal element in the army that lacked a moral compass and would prey on their own men.

Who was your grandma's uncle and what regiment was he with? There were over 26,000 men in the stockade on the day of the hanging, and so the chances are strong that he may have been there.

I happen to also be Irish Catholic. I'm currently working on a chapter on Father Whelan for a future book. Did you know that earlier in the war, he had been a POW himself and held on an island in New York harbor? There are so many amazing stories around Andersonville, that I'm not ready to move on just yet.
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Hi John @Cavalier

This is from the regimental roster for the 111th NY

Lamson, Daniel, age 23 years. Enlisted Aug 7, 1862 at Lyons to serve 3 years. Mustered in as private, Co. D, Aug 20, 1862. Wounded in action at Gettysburg, July 2 , 1863. Captured at Cold Harbor, June 5, 1864, no further record. Also borne on the records as Lampson


The 111 NY had one of the higher casualty numbers in the war, with 58 killed, 119 wounded and 11 missing at Gettysburg (over half its effective strength). Two officers and 74 men died in Confederate prisons.

Sounds like they went through the mill...
 

Randy1944

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My wife’s GGGGrandfather Elisha Parton died at Andersonville. How can I get details about buying one of your books? Thanks
 

Cavalier

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Jul 20, 2019
@Gary Morgan Thank you very much for the above. Just before she died my grandma gave me his photo, which I still have, (it seems to be fading quite a bit). And a fine, soldierly looking young lad he was too. The wall of faces at the Gettysburg Visitor Center used to have a copy of the photo but I can't find it at the new place.

The 111th was part of the "Harper's Ferry Cowards" who redeemed their reputation at Gettysburg under Colonel Willard and General Alexander B. Hays. There are a couple of real characters for you! And in Hancock's Corps to boot!

Again, thank you very much, John
 
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How can I get details about buying one of your books? Thanks

There's a link to the book's Amazon page at the beginning of this thread. I believe if you order this way, the board gets a sort of "finders fee" from Amazon that helps with its maintenance. Worth noting that the book is available both as a hardcover and an e-book. The hardcover began selling at about twice what the Kindle edition sold for, but the price has been dropping fairly steadily to the point where there's now only $3 difference in the cover price.

Your grandfather in law pops up on quite a few genealogy sites if you Google his name and Andersonville. It comes up spelled "Partin" on the National Park Service's database.

Hope you enjoy the book!
 

bdtex

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Finished reading the book last night. Rather than write a review in our Book Review forum I think I'll just make few comments here. I made a few notes while reading the book. I have visited Andersonville once, but reading this book added a few things to do if I ever get to visit again. I didn't look through the book much when I got it,just started reading it. In the Acknowledgements and First Chapter, references are made that some of the Raiders were misidentified and/or names mispelled on their gravestones. Reading Chapters 2 and 3,I kept having to go back to those references to keep things straight in my head and kept thinking I was gonna have to do that while reading later chapters. Then I got to Chapter 4 and discovered that there was a separate chapter for each Raider that was executed. I really liked the organization of the material. From Acknowledgements - Appendix C,there are 201 pages including 10 pages of photographs and drawings. Even the Appendices are good reads. The book was well sourced. Couple of sources that were cited are of interest to me in future reading.

The book also cleared some misconceptions I had about Andersonville. One was based on what I've heard and read elsewhere and a couple were things I thought I knew that just weren't true. Don't wanna divulge any details beyond that. Other readers can learn it the way I did...read the book.
 

limestone1863

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Sep 19, 2019
Hi Gary How can get info from Andersonville Prison Register of Deaths for George W, Reeves, died July 22, 1864 and Peter Elder, died August 31, 1864 to include Groups assigned to? Bought your Book and still reading it. Get confused on Curtis though. Not finished yet. Enjoying Book. Thanks
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Hospital, death, departures and claims records for Andersonville are viewable on Family Search. The easiest way to get there is to go to


Click Access the Records in the upper right hand corner. They'll ask you to register, but it is free and they've never hassled me. Pick the microfilms you want to search, but be warned that these are the original Confederate copies of the records, and they are a mess - not indexed, unreadable in places, pages out of order, pages apparently missing. But it's better than nothing, and I am very grateful to be able to access them. Dorence Atwater's original copy of the death register was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, so all we have are these and copies of Atwater's list.
 
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