IMMORTAL CAPTIVES

Stiles/Akin

Sergeant Major
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Messages
2,277
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
#1
IMMORTAL CAPTIVES

2 JANUARY 1865 FORT PULASKI PRISON where Confederate officers were being purposely starved to death by Union General Foster and dying from exposure. It is likely that you NEVER read their story. Here it is.

2 January 1865, Captain Henry Dixon wrote “Our new rations of cornmeal, (sour pickles and 75 loaves of bread went into effect yesterday and a terrible diet it is. That it will kill some is evident. They (Yankees) have plenty of boxes and money letters (mail sent from family) for us but won’t issue them. It is said that this cruel order is Foster’s only. I should hope that a Representative man of no nation would issue such an order. Our sick in the hospital are fed bread and water only. I took up a subscription (collection) for the sick yesterday and received about ten dollars although all of us are very poor.”
LOYALTY
29 December 1864, Fort Pulaski is visited by the Governor of Iowa, William Stone to meet with Lieutenant Junius Hempstead a prisoner and the son of a former Governor. His task, to convince the officer to sign the oath of Allegiance which would free any of the men immediately.
CPT Dixon wrote “still very cold, men coughing terribly, Yanks signaling from the fort. Governor Stone of Iowa arrives. Sent for Lt Hempstead 25th Virginia, and begged him to take the oath.
(Federal Camp Commander) Brown added his persuasions and told him we were to be fed on cornmeal and pickles. Hempstead nobly refused.”
Upon his return to the casemate (prison), LT Hempstead received rousing applause.
HONOR
The Immortals were for a time allowed relief packages from family. These “care packages” contained food and money for the prisoners to use to purchase things from the Sutlers (a vendor that sold to the Union troops) the 1 January order stopped that trading.
On 13 December, the Immortals, seeing that some of their peers were not receiving packages formed the CONFEDERATE RELIEF ASSOCIATION of Fort Pulaski. Its purpose was to take care of those within their ranks who had little or nothing. Their bylaws read:
Whereas it has been suggested that a number of our brother officers confined with us, as prisoners of war at Fort Pulaski are deprived of some absolute necessities of life, by reason their inability to communicate with their homes and friends and
Whereas some of such officers, by reason of diseases incident to prison life, are exposed to much suffering and in danger of neglect if left to the care of individuals and
Whereas, we recognize the binding obligation on us as Confederate Officers to search for and relieve the distress of all worthy officers and soldiers in our common country.”
During June -July 1864 at Camp Sumter, (Andersonville) the “Raiders, ”a band of perhaps 500 Union prisoners beat, robbed and murdered their fellow prisoners. They were brought to justice by a group their fellow prisoners called “the Regulators.” Six “chieftains” were hung after a trial of their peers on 11 July 1864. No relief society for their underprivileged existed.
COURAGE.
2 January 1865 Capt. Dixon wrote “Yesterday I made no memorandum of passing events (NEW YEARS) because it was “the” cold day of the winter, which the Yanks celebrated by refusing to furnish any wood, all day and all night many of us walked to keep up the circulation, or shivered in our scanty covering. On Saturday night, it commenced to turning rapidly cold and on the first morning of the New Year, long icicles were visible and the pump was now frozen up. It continued all day and last night it was still dead cold. Many men slept none and looked haggard and woebegone. Having a moderate share, I slept very badly. How could men endure such a night with only one blanket for two, as a number situated here?
Major Coulter 12th Arkansas Infantry wrote” some of the boys had no blankets and we all slept on bare boards. It was so cold that the boys who had no blankets at all had to walk all night to keep from freezing. The next morning, they would crawl into the bunk someone else had occupied during the night and would sleep that day. It seems to me that I can hear those poor fellows yet-walking, walking up and down on that brick floor.”

49775628_1153680941453118_767329704528052224_n.jpg
 

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Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
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#4
Unfortunately, that was common Yankee practice.
Especially after Sherman's troops had encountered walking skeletons - escapees from Andersonville - along their march to Savannah.

While they were celebrating Thanksgiving Day with a feast, their meal was interrupted by the arrival of several escaped prisoners from the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, which lay 80 miles to the southwest. The sight of the walking skeletons aroused rage and bitterness in Sherman’s men, who were furious that their comrades had been allowed to slowly die from starvation in the midst of what was clearly rich farmland. - https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/civil-war/shermans-march-to-the-sea/

These are the very Yankees who were left behind to guard the prisoners at Fort Pulaski. Ya think they might have wanted a little revenge? And, no, no Yankee POW camp had a death rate higher than Andersonville - not even close.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
40
#5
IMMORTAL CAPTIVES

2 JANUARY 1865 FORT PULASKI PRISON where Confederate officers were being purposely starved to death by Union General Foster and dying from exposure. It is likely that you NEVER read their story. Here it is.

2 January 1865, Captain Henry Dixon wrote “Our new rations of cornmeal, (sour pickles and 75 loaves of bread went into effect yesterday and a terrible diet it is. That it will kill some is evident. They (Yankees) have plenty of boxes and money letters (mail sent from family) for us but won’t issue them. It is said that this cruel order is Foster’s only. I should hope that a Representative man of no nation would issue such an order. Our sick in the hospital are fed bread and water only. I took up a subscription (collection) for the sick yesterday and received about ten dollars although all of us are very poor.”
LOYALTY
29 December 1864, Fort Pulaski is visited by the Governor of Iowa, William Stone to meet with Lieutenant Junius Hempstead a prisoner and the son of a former Governor. His task, to convince the officer to sign the oath of Allegiance which would free any of the men immediately.
CPT Dixon wrote “still very cold, men coughing terribly, Yanks signaling from the fort. Governor Stone of Iowa arrives. Sent for Lt Hempstead 25th Virginia, and begged him to take the oath.
(Federal Camp Commander) Brown added his persuasions and told him we were to be fed on cornmeal and pickles. Hempstead nobly refused.”
Upon his return to the casemate (prison), LT Hempstead received rousing applause.
HONOR
The Immortals were for a time allowed relief packages from family. These “care packages” contained food and money for the prisoners to use to purchase things from the Sutlers (a vendor that sold to the Union troops) the 1 January order stopped that trading.
On 13 December, the Immortals, seeing that some of their peers were not receiving packages formed the CONFEDERATE RELIEF ASSOCIATION of Fort Pulaski. Its purpose was to take care of those within their ranks who had little or nothing. Their bylaws read:
Whereas it has been suggested that a number of our brother officers confined with us, as prisoners of war at Fort Pulaski are deprived of some absolute necessities of life, by reason their inability to communicate with their homes and friends and
Whereas some of such officers, by reason of diseases incident to prison life, are exposed to much suffering and in danger of neglect if left to the care of individuals and
Whereas, we recognize the binding obligation on us as Confederate Officers to search for and relieve the distress of all worthy officers and soldiers in our common country.”
During June -July 1864 at Camp Sumter, (Andersonville) the “Raiders, ”a band of perhaps 500 Union prisoners beat, robbed and murdered their fellow prisoners. They were brought to justice by a group their fellow prisoners called “the Regulators.” Six “chieftains” were hung after a trial of their peers on 11 July 1864. No relief society for their underprivileged existed.
COURAGE.
2 January 1865 Capt. Dixon wrote “Yesterday I made no memorandum of passing events (NEW YEARS) because it was “the” cold day of the winter, which the Yanks celebrated by refusing to furnish any wood, all day and all night many of us walked to keep up the circulation, or shivered in our scanty covering. On Saturday night, it commenced to turning rapidly cold and on the first morning of the New Year, long icicles were visible and the pump was now frozen up. It continued all day and last night it was still dead cold. Many men slept none and looked haggard and woebegone. Having a moderate share, I slept very badly. How could men endure such a night with only one blanket for two, as a number situated here?
Major Coulter 12th Arkansas Infantry wrote” some of the boys had no blankets and we all slept on bare boards. It was so cold that the boys who had no blankets at all had to walk all night to keep from freezing. The next morning, they would crawl into the bunk someone else had occupied during the night and would sleep that day. It seems to me that I can hear those poor fellows yet-walking, walking up and down on that brick floor.”

This account has to be untrue. Everybody knows that all Federals were angels and all Confederates were evil devils not worthy of drawing breath.
I guess the next thing that you will try to say is that the death rate for Confederates at the Elmira POW camp was only one percent less than that at Andersonville. Never mind that Elmira was in prosperous New York state.
 
#7
This account has to be untrue. Everybody knows that all Federals were angels and all Confederates were evil devils not worthy of drawing breath.
I guess the next thing that you will try to say is that the death rate for Confederates at the Elmira POW camp was only one percent less than that at Andersonville. Never mind that Elmira was in prosperous New York state.
"They began as prisons or holding facilities but, with few exceptions, quickly became nothing more than American concentration camps. Prisoners were crammed into them with complete disregard of capacity limits, hygiene, nutrition, or sanitation needs. Within a short time neither government could cope with the problems created by such a high concentration of people in such small areas or the lack of coordination within the prison system. In the end, more than 56,000 prisoners of war died in confinement, and many more were in poor or failing health when finally released.

"Neither side was more at fault than the other. The number of deaths in Confederate prisons totaled 30,218, or a little more than 15 percent of those incarcerated. In Federal prisons, there were 25,796 deaths, or slightly more than 12 percent. Although propaganda during and after the war convinced many people that the Confederate prisons were much worse than those maintained by the Union, a close examination reveals there were few differences. If Union soldiers were stricken with fear upon entering the gates of Andersonville Prison, Confederates were shocked upon learning that they were headed for Fort Delaware or Elmira prisons.

"The death rate in all the prisons amounted to nearly 13 percent of the total confined. In comparison, those who remained on the battlefield fared much better; based on available figures there, only 5 percent of the total enlistments of both sides were killed.

"When the remaining prisoners were finally released at the end of the war, they were convinced they had suffered through a conscious government effort to reduce their ranks by starvation and disease. At the same time, the public accused both sides of having used the prisoners as pawns to be sacrificed.

"In reality, though, the high mortality rate in the prisons was never intended by either side. There was never any organized effort by one government or the other to eliminate its enemy through concentration camps."
Portals To Hell - Military Prisons of the Civil War, Lonnie R. Speer, pg. xiv
 
#8
Why do you suppose this and other northern prison incidents are not widely known?
Possibly because people like yourself haven't read any of the books or articles out there describing such, instead of as you imply, this information has been part of some post-war nefarious Yankee plot to cover up such incidents.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Messages
3,839
#10
Why do you suppose this and other northern prison incidents are not widely known?
Oh, I think the poor quality of Northern prison camps is well known, at least to the extent that any the details of the Civil War are known to most people today. I went to high school in the North in the 1970s, and it was no secret to the students then. There was certainly no effort to conceal it or to suggest that only the South was guilty of POW mistreatment.
 
Last edited:
#11
Jimklag, According to "To Die in Chicago" Camp Douglas had the highest death rate of any prison camp and its commandant (inappropriately named Sweet) was especially vicious after every Confederate victory.
Andersonville had approximately 45,000 total prisoners of which 12,912 or 28.6%, died of various causes during its existence while Camp Douglas had 4,454, or 14.8% of its total prisoner population of approximately 30,000 died during its period of operation. Andersonville's high death rate occurred during its one year of existence while Douglas's rate was over a three year period. These figures are from Appendix C of Lonnie R. Speer's Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War.
 

Bruce Vail

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Joined
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Messages
3,839
#12
Unfortunately, that was common Yankee practice. You hear about Andersonville; but, the same ones who decry Andersonville try to deny Champ Douglas Chicago, Point Lookout, etc. Wasn't the death rate in Yankee prisons higher than in Confederate prisons?
I would read up on Point Lookout if I were you. Conditions were not good, but it was no Andersonville...
 
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#13
I think Andersonville and Camp Douglas were the rock bottom of prison camps as far as
death rates and the way the prisoners were treated. Andersonville seems to be a classic
case of mismanagement by those in charge. (Henry Wirz paid the price for this after the
war on the gallows) Camp Douglas had it's cruel and inhumane commanders at times
who were more deliberate in their mistreatment of the prisoners who were there. There
was no excuse for the beatings and other punishments that the men who were interned
there had to suffer. I'm thankful two of my ancestors who had to spend time in captivity
were imprisoned on Johnson's Island (which was one of the best run prison camps) and
Fort Delaware (even though food was scanty and sanitary conditions were bad) the
authorities that ran it kept the death rate under 8% and many of those deaths were
attributed to a smallpox outbreak among the prisoners).
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Messages
532
Location
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#15
So far in the little bit of research I've done on death rates in Civil War prison camps,
Andersonville tops the list with the highest death rate among prisoners at around
29%. Elmira has the highest death rate I've seen among Union prison camps at 25%.
Camp Douglas comes in at 18%. Salisbury had a high death rate among Confederate
camps coming in at 25% due to overcrowding near the end of the Civil War when
Union prisoners from camps in Georgia and South Carolina were moved there when
Sherman was on the march through those states.
 
Last edited:

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
3,839
#16
I think Andersonville and Camp Douglas were the rock bottom of prison camps as far as
death rates and the way the prisoners were treated. Andersonville seems to be a classic
case of mismanagement by those in charge. (Henry Wirz paid the price for this after the
war on the gallows) Camp Douglas had it's cruel and inhumane commanders at times
who were more deliberate in their mistreatment of the prisoners who were there. There
was no excuse for the beatings and other punishments that the men who were interned
there had to suffer. I'm thankful two of my ancestors who had to spend time in captivity
were imprisoned on Johnson's Island (which was one of the best run prison camps) and
Fort Delaware (even though food was scanty and sanitary conditions were bad, the
authorities that ran it kept the death rate under 8% and many of those deaths were
attributed to a smallpox outbreak among the prisoners).
Likewise one of my NC family ancestors. Captured at Bentonville, he was processed through Point Lookout and sent to Johnson's Island.
He made it back home safely after the end of the war.
 
Joined
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Messages
40
#17
Especially after Sherman's troops had encountered walking skeletons - escapees from Andersonville - along their march to Savannah.

While they were celebrating Thanksgiving Day with a feast, their meal was interrupted by the arrival of several escaped prisoners from the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, which lay 80 miles to the southwest. The sight of the walking skeletons aroused rage and bitterness in Sherman’s men, who were furious that their comrades had been allowed to slowly die from starvation in the midst of what was clearly rich farmland. - https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/civil-war/shermans-march-to-the-sea/

These are the very Yankees who were left behind to guard the prisoners at Fort Pulaski. Ya think they might have wanted a little revenge? And, no, no Yankee POW camp had a death rate higher than Andersonville - not even close.

Is it time for someone to ask that you give the precise source of your statement?
Or is that only required of some parties?
Possibly because people like yourself haven't read any of the books or articles out there describing such, instead of as you imply, this information has been part of some post-war nefarious Yankee plot to cover up such incidents.

Possibly because people like yourself
Please clarify with specificity exactly who refer to by "people like yourself."
 
#19
Please clarify with specificity exactly who refer to by "people like yourself."
In post #7 did the poster not ask this question? " Why do you suppose this and other northern prison incidents are not widely known?"
The response is obvious that I was referring to the poster and other people like himself probably do not know about "other northern prison incidents" because they have not read the many articles or books available; not because the information is not available. Do you find that response "offensive?"

edit - corrected who made the statement in post #7
 

zburkett

First Sergeant
Joined
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Messages
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#20
A question just crossed my mind. Does anyone know of a comparison of death rates in prison camps as opposed the death rate in large encampments. I know that early in the war the rates were high and that across the river from Fredericksburg they were high but I can't find numbers per capata.
 



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