1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

POW question

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by zburkett, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2015
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Orange County, Virginia
    In John H. Worsham's "One of Jackson's Foot Cavalry" he says,

    "Secretary Stanton made a report to Congress in which it appears that of all prisoners in the hands of the Confederates during the four years, there died in all Confederate prisons 22,246: while of the Confederate prisoners held by the United States there died 26,576. The whole number of prisoners captured and held by the United States numbered 220,000, while the number held by the Confederate States numbered 270,000."

    Does anyone know if this is accurate?
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Messages:
    7,051
    I don't, but it seems pretty horrific.
     
  4. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    33,348
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    A date would be useful.
     
  5. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2015
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Orange County, Virginia
    No date given in the book
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,364
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    For a baseline, we might consider the deaths from disease in the armies' own camps. Someone probably has better information, but as I recall about 10% of troops died while their own side was taking the best care it could of them. Sadly, death and disease were prevalent then, especially when large numbers of people from different regions were gathered together.
     
    major bill likes this.
  7. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    IMG_0200.PNG

    His numbers are somewhat different from the numbers Stanton reported in OR series 2, volume 8, particularly the Union prisoners held in the South. I seem to recall somewhat different numbers from later studies by scholars. I'll see if I can find that.
     
    SSgt_B, AndyHall and ErnieMac like this.
  8. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    Wikipedia has this:

    "American Civil War Prison Camps were operated by both the Union and the Confederacy to handle the 409,000 soldiers captured during the war from 1861 to 1865. The Record and Pension Office in 1901 counted 211,000 Northerners who were captured. In 1861-63 most were immediately paroled; after the parole exchange system broke down in 1863, about 195,000 went to prison camps. Some tried to escape but few succeeded. By contrast 464,000 Confederates were captured (many in the final days) and 215,000 imprisoned. Over 30,000 Union and nearly 26,000 Confederate prisoners died in captivity. Just over 12% of the captives in Northern prisons died, compared to 15.5% for Southern prisons.[1]"
     
  9. zburkett

    zburkett Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2015
    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Orange County, Virginia
    Thanks Eric
     
    Eric Calistri likes this.
  10. Dave Wilma

    Dave Wilma 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Location:
    Elliott Bay
    The Wiki source has a source, Rhodes, but we don't know his source.
     
  11. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Austin Texas

    Rhodes is on google books and he does provide some further information, though I'm certain there is more recent scholarship than this 1904 work. Rhodes does criticize the numbers used by Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, and I wonder if one of those are not the where the numbers in the OP came from (see the footnote at the bottom of page 507) and the appearance of the 270,000 Union prisoners number, which is the largest discrepancy from the Stanton memo.
     
  12. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,944
    no matter what the dates are on both sides that is way too many. It would be interesting to know if they counted wounded prisoners. Man that were too injured to move most of the time were left behind in the beginning and for the Confederacy at the end to they just didn't have the resources.
     
  13. Specster

    Specster First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Messages:
    1,580
    Location:
    Mass.
    The ACW prison system is extremely complicated due to field paroles (the soldiers had no IDs). They agreed to be paroled in exchange for not fighting in the future. With little means of identification, a man could say he agreed to the terms and be fighting a week later. Grant was livid after the parolees at Vicksburg (IMSMC), were right back in battle after signing an oath. There were several "Cartels" which freed many prisoners but in which there were many abuses. When Grant headed East he threw the whole idea on the scrap heap because he knew that the more men in federal prisons, the harder it would be on the CSA to replace them. As to that 22,246 union deaths in CSA prisons....I dont know....I am often amazed how accurate the record keeping was in the ACW, yet, its pretty much agreed that 13000 or more Union soldiers died just at Andersonville - and that operated for less than a year. I find it hard to believe that in all the other CSA prisons thru-out the war, that number was not at least tripled. I know the CSA has their issues with intentional neglect leading to death, but I just dont buy those arguments, or I feel they were "tit for tat" that the US found out what was happening in CSA prisons and wanted revenge. The issue should have its own thread, I know many will disagree but it is very complicated in my eyes - on again- off again, slow communications, paroles, cartels, medical issues, starvation, etc ad nausem.

    Andersonville didnt need to be so harsh. The CSA offered to let medical supplies in and Sherman could have sent a significant force to liberate it (a smallish force was sent which was captured and ended up in the prison). The Commandant was the only Confederate executed after the war. (I am pretty sure). Many say he was railroaded and others say that you really cant railroad a guilty man. The men at Andersonville starved and the CSA said there was no food available but Andersonville was right in the agricultural breadbasket. The CSA say that they were unable to transport the food, even though it was abundant near by. 13000 dead in 11 months in 1 prison.....is 22246 total in all prisons in 4 years realistic? - I dont think so
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)