August 14, 1864, Andersonville Prison

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Jun 7, 2021
This is really a long shot I know, but if anyone in their research or reading comes across information that mentions what happened on August 14, 1864 at Andersonville, could you share that with me? I have been trying to track down the full story of a relation who died there. Thanks to some amazing help and info from Gary Morgan and uvcrelics and others, I know Levi Funk, 1st Kentucky Calvary, was admitted to the Andersonville hospital with a gunshot wound on that date and died October 4, 1864. He was captured on October 20, 1863 at Philadelphia, TN so I'm guessing he was shot by a guard on August 14. It wasn't likely a wound he came into the prison with. I'd like to know why he was shot, if possible. Thanks for any help.
 
The only incident I've been able to uncover about that time is the Providence Spring bursts forth. But I can't find the exact date of that event online.
The torrential rain/downpour that created Providence Spring began on August 2nd according to Marvel's Andersonville - The Last Depot.
 
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The torrential rain/downpour that created Providence Spring began on August 2nd according to Marvel's Andersonville - The Last Depot.
It rained for some days though, didn't it? When did the spring actually burst out? It is mentioned in some diaries, but no one seems to agree on the date. I can see where prisoners would lose track of time though. The NPS website doesn't delve very far into that part of the story.
 
It rained for some days though, didn't it? When did the spring actually burst out? It is mentioned in some diaries, but no one seems to agree on the date. I can see where prisoners would lose track of time though. The NPS website doesn't delve very far into that part of the story.
Marvel states that the next night (Aug. 3rd) the men "were equally drenched by another cloudburst nearly as heavy as the first." (pg. 178) He does not give a date for when the fresh, clear water began flowing into the camp but it was flowing by August 12th.
 
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Aug 2, 2019
I'll go for a dig in the morning. (I am currently up because my (distant) Canadian cousin, Maggie MacNeil went for her third Olympic medal in swimming late yesterday and I got up to check the results - her team won the bronze in the women's medley relay, giving her a gold, a silver, and a bronze, which is pretty sweet!) Anyway, I have more than 40 diaries and I'm not sure how many memoirs on my book shelf, so I'll take a look at the ones who I believe are trustworthy (I'll start with Eugene Forbes, Fred James and Robert Kellogg). Off the top of my head, I don't know if I have any from Kentucky guys, but I'll check.

As far as confusion about the date of Providence Spring, after John McElroy published his best selling "memoir" - making a packet of money in the process - there was a deluge of other former Andersonville POWs trying to jump on board the gravy train by publishing theirs, which is fine, except that some guys had legit, well kept diaries, some kept diaries that are essentially weather almanacs for 1864 along with a list of what they got to eat on any given day (and they were only fed once a day, so I guess that was a high point); some had diaries but supplemented them after the fact by borrowing what John McElroy had said in his books, not realizing that McElroy was twisting the facts to tell a good story to the point of making things up and out and out lying; some guys just straight out made up having had diaries (John Ransom is a good example of this, when asked to produce his original diary, he claimed that it had been burned in a fire), and a few guys - George Murray is the one on my shelf - were never actually soldiers to start with. Murray wrote a book claiming that he was disabled due to the "Cruel treatment" he'd received at Andersonville, and that his three brothers (none of whom seem to have had a name) died there, and that he hoped to raise money from the sale of his book to support himself, but he never mentions a specific regiment that he belonged to, and if you look at the census records, he was something like 7 years old during the Civil War.

So you'll find a lot of disagreement in the different diaries, not to mention that the prison was freakingly HUGE - 26 acres. This isn't entirely accurate, but I tell people that's comparable to 26 football fields, and so it is entirely reasonable to assume that the men at one end of the prison didn't know what was going on at the other end. There are at least two groups that claimed to be the ones who stopped the Raiders, and I suspect there were more. John McElroy wrote about Leroy Key and his buddies from the 16th Illinois Cavalry, and Warren Lee Goss and Thomas Mann wrote about "Big Pete" Aubrey from the 2nd Mass Heavy Artillery.

I should probably do a post on how to tell a legit Andersonville diary from a fake one. But for now I am heading back to bed...

Be back in a few hours....
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Marvel states that the next night (Aug. 3rd) the men "were equally drenched by another cloudburst nearly as heavy as the first." (pg. 178) He does not give a date for when the fresh, clear water began flowing into the camp but it was flowing by August 12th.
Marvel is mostly good, but not always. It took me 2 years to disprove his assertion that Limber Jim and Leroy Key were the same person. Key gave an interview in Nov, 1864 after being exchanged and a prisoner named Smith wrote in his diary about going up to talk to Limber Jim in the cook house in Dec, 1864. Smith's diary is currently at the University of Virginia. The interview was published in several Northern newspapers including the Boston Post and New York Times.

He also asserts that Frederic James - "My" Fred - died from eating an uncooked egg rather than from diarrhea, which seems like a really big jump to a conclusion with no evidence other than a mention in Fred's diary that he had eaten an egg with some rice and Fred's death weeks later. Since Fred's last entry in his diary is more than 2 weeks before his death, if it was the raw egg that killed him, it took a damnable long time to do so!
 
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Aug 2, 2019
Was there ever any record kept on the number of prisoners shot during disturbances, or with the guards trying to maintain order within the compound? To classify information is a boon to help probability accounts.
Lubliner.
No, there's nothing like that. Just several listings in the Register of Deaths that say that this man or that died of "vul scops" - Latin for a gunshot wound. But it is never clear if the fatal wound was received before or after arriving at Camp Sumter.
 
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Okay.

I don't have Kellogg's diary for that date. His diary - which provided the raw material for his book - is at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford and I only copied the dates that pertained to the Raiders, so I don't have Aug. 14.

Frederic James was pretty close to dying by this point, and just wrote, "Sunday 14th - Pleasant Lived upon boiled rice today. Read my testament and hymn book.

Fred never mentions the spring, but I've read that it appeared during the storm that washed out part of the stockade fence, and he has that happening on Tuesday, Aug 9: Cloudy most of the forenoon and in the afternoon we had a tremendous shower, which flooded out the camp & made quite a river of our swamp & also washed down 5 large gaps in the stockade, two on the ease side and two on the west side. Our rations were not served out on account of the rain."

Eugene Forbes, who like Fred, would not live to make it home, but left a really detailed diary that was published in 1865 (I don't really trust anything that was published after John McElroy's book came out in 1879). He usually wrote quite a bit, but this seems to have been slow day. "Everything very dull and quiet Drew fresh beef, salt and beans P.M. Thomas Mulvaney died in the hospital come days ago

Charles Hopkins made no entry that day.

George Hitchcock: "Prisoners from Sherman today -- report Atlanta taken by Union forces."

Amos Stearns: "A very warm day. I went to the Surgeon's Call but did not get prescribed for because the Surgeon was not there. I think I have the scurvey [sic]. I went after the ration today. Jennison got supper. I have thought of my friend at home much today. O my darling L. Maria!"

Charlie Mosher: "No entry for that date".

Those are the diaries that I have in this room. The less likely ones are upstairs - those are the ones who didn't go into as much detail or have gaps in the entries where nothing was written for several days or weeks. I also checked the entries for the 13th, since, if a man died after the bodies were collected for the day, they would tote his body over to the South Gate and he wouldn't be picked up or have his death recorded until the following day.

Most of these diaries were written by East coast men - Mass, NY, and NJ. If I were you, my next step would be to take a look at the regimental histories on the 1st Kentucky Cavalry. I found one listed - The First Kentucky Cavalry by Sgt. E Tarrant, who was a member of the regiment, and it was republished in 2013 as "The Wild Riders of the First Kentucky Cavalry: a History of the Regiment in the War of Great Rebellion." and the modern edition is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484953126/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Good luck!
 
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Jun 7, 2021
Okay.

I don't have Kellogg's diary for that date. His diary - which provided the raw material for his book - is at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford and I only copied the dates that pertained to the Raiders, so I don't have Aug. 14.

Frederic James was pretty close to dying by this point, and just wrote, "Sunday 14th - Pleasant Lived upon boiled rice today. Read my testament and hymn book.

Fred never mentions the spring, but I've read that it appeared during the storm that washed out part of the stockade fence, and he has that happening on Tuesday, Aug 9: Cloudy most of the forenoon and in the afternoon we had a tremendous shower, which flooded out the camp & made quite a river of our swamp & also washed down 5 large gaps in the stockade, two on the ease side and two on the west side. Our rations were not served out on account of the rain."

Eugene Forbes, who like Fred, would not live to make it home, but left a really detailed diary that was published in 1865 (I don't really trust anything that was published after John McElroy's book came out in 1879). He usually wrote quite a bit, but this seems to have been slow day. "Everything very dull and quiet Drew fresh beef, salt and beans P.M. Thomas Mulvaney died in the hospital come days ago

Charles Hopkins made no entry that day.

George Hitchcock: "Prisoners from Sherman today -- report Atlanta taken by Union forces."

Amos Stearns: "A very warm day. I went to the Surgeon's Call but did not get prescribed for because the Surgeon was not there. I think I have the scurvey [sic]. I went after the ration today. Jennison got supper. I have thought of my friend at home much today. O my darling L. Maria!"

Charlie Mosher: "No entry for that date".

Those are the diaries that I have in this room. The less likely ones are upstairs - those are the ones who didn't go into as much detail or have gaps in the entries where nothing was written for several days or weeks. I also checked the entries for the 13th, since, if a man died after the bodies were collected for the day, they would tote his body over to the South Gate and he wouldn't be picked up or have his death recorded until the following day.

Most of these diaries were written by East coast men - Mass, NY, and NJ. If I were you, my next step would be to take a look at the regimental histories on the 1st Kentucky Cavalry. I found one listed - The First Kentucky Cavalry by Sgt. E Tarrant, who was a member of the regiment, and it was republished in 2013 as "The Wild Riders of the First Kentucky Cavalry: a History of the Regiment in the War of Great Rebellion." and the modern edition is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484953126/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Good luck!
Thanks so much, I really appreciate any and all information! I came across "The Wild Riders of the First Kentucky Calvary" in my research and that has provided a lot of tidbits of information about Levi's experiences in general before his capture. It is actually a free online download at archive.org along with thousands and thousands of other books and memoirs produced after the war!
Some information I'm trying to confirm is that after the resounding Union defeat at the Battle of Philadelphia, where many prisoners were taken, John Hunt Morgan lobbied to get the US government to agree to an exchange of his command, captured in Ohio in July, with the First Kentucky. This offer was refused.
But I'm getting off topic. If anyone ever stumbles across a mention of a shooting at Andersonville on August 14, or 13, please share!
 
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I found this at
https://historum.com/threads/fresh-spring-water-at-andersonville-prison.47901/

"On August 8th, 1864, the blessed relief of rain began as light showers rinsed the mass of 30,000 prisoners as they lay, stood, and walked about the seared open acreage.

Over the next 5 days, the sky remained gray and the rains grew stonger, men stood with their parched mouths open. Those who could, held up battered canteens and tin cups, and any other vessels to catch the clean, precious water. The prisoners had been soaked to the skin for days.

The downpour soon became a torrent which turned the prison's 26 acres into a vast quagmire. Stockade Creek which ran down the middle of the camp, rose and finally overflowed its banks, carrying away large quantities of accumulated filth and the prisoner's tents with its strong current.

The western wall of the prison began to sway in the storm and then fell down. Guards shot over the heads of the prisoners warning them not to try to escape. None of them had enough strength to do so......

img08.jpg


"A spring of purest crystal shot up into the air in a column and, falling fanlike spray, came babbling down the grade into the noxious Stockade Creek. Looking across the dead-line, we beheld with wandering eyes and grateful hearts the fountain spring." John L. Maile, 8th Michigan Infantry, August 15, 1864.

This source suggests it was the result of a lightening strike to the ground, and others the action of workers trying to get the stockade stabilized after a portion of the wall fell, or the fall of the wall itself that caused the spring to be uncovered, but either way it seems miraculous.
 

Lubliner

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I found this at
https://historum.com/threads/fresh-spring-water-at-andersonville-prison.47901/

"On August 8th, 1864, the blessed relief of rain began as light showers rinsed the mass of 30,000 prisoners as they lay, stood, and walked about the seared open acreage.

Over the next 5 days, the sky remained gray and the rains grew stonger, men stood with their parched mouths open. Those who could, held up battered canteens and tin cups, and any other vessels to catch the clean, precious water. The prisoners had been soaked to the skin for days.

The downpour soon became a torrent which turned the prison's 26 acres into a vast quagmire. Stockade Creek which ran down the middle of the camp, rose and finally overflowed its banks, carrying away large quantities of accumulated filth and the prisoner's tents with its strong current.

The western wall of the prison began to sway in the storm and then fell down. Guards shot over the heads of the prisoners warning them not to try to escape. None of them had enough strength to do so......

View attachment 410418

"A spring of purest crystal shot up into the air in a column and, falling fanlike spray, came babbling down the grade into the noxious Stockade Creek. Looking across the dead-line, we beheld with wandering eyes and grateful hearts the fountain spring." John L. Maile, 8th Michigan Infantry, August 15, 1864.

This source suggests it was the result of a lightening strike to the ground, and others the action of workers trying to get the stockade stabilized after a portion of the wall fell, or the fall of the wall itself that caused the spring to be uncovered, but either way it seems miraculous.
The way it sounds, I am surprised none of the prisoners drowned.
Lubliner.
 
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The way it sounds, I am surprised none of the prisoners drowned.
Lubliner.
The creek was surrounded by a "fetid swamp" where prisoners would sink to their knees in excrement and other refuse. This took up about 4 acres of the roughly 27 acre stockade, so when the creek flooded it was not immediately adjacent to the men. I have read that a few tents were lost though.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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The creek was surrounded by a "fetid swamp" where prisoners would sink to their knees in excrement and other refuse. This took up about 4 acres of the roughly 27 acre stockade, so when the creek flooded it was not immediately adjacent to the men. I have read that a few tents were lost though.
The whole thing sounds so sad and putrid and it was.
 
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