tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 14, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT
for massachusetts that were incarcerated. , this given an option goes back to stories we been told in some writings in our family. he was given the option to lessen his punishment, improve his conditions if he were to agree to work with the tradeerates to apply the -- his trade happen to be hard as maker. he agreed to do that. he writes in the journal that he did it not to support the confederates, but to guarantee that he would be coming home after the war, basically to improve his living conditions. i'm wondering if you have found any evidence of any prisons in your research where this was a .ommon practice area
professor gordon: i think you were speaking of the common point of how men came to terms with the decisions they made. again, with my work on the 16th, there's one particular soldier who, in his diary, there's one section where he is extremely critical of men that took these paroles or it again, to work in the cookhouse or work in the hospital. some of them worked as shoemakers, which was a highly valued trade for the confederacy. they wanted help making shoes. he was extremely angry and bitter about this. this was so shameful. again, death before dishonor. hisin the last page of diary, he confesses that he accepted a parole when he was at florence. it to stay alive, so we
could go home to his wife and daughter. he says he regrets that he was so judgmental of his comrades. that no one should do that. that no one should try to assume they know what it's like to be in that position. i think it speaks to this gutwrenching torments of these prisoners were going through, whether this prison or other prisons. they are feeling a have been forgotten in many cases. they don't really have a sense of the big exurb. whether it's a question of is this total war, is there attrition, is their exchanges going on? theyare trying to survive, can a lot or consider these abstract questions of patriotism and duty. even questions about the union or abolition. they are just trying to survive. some of them do give in and accept parole, and even join the confederacy. real,k they are very
human moments of crisis that can speak to us through the generations. you read about in these diaries and these memoirs that i think we have recognized enough in civil war history, the really comes to a head in stuttering -- studying prisons. virginia more call for , jump in with your question,. caller: i haven't ancestor in andersonville -- had an ancestor in andersonville. at the end of the war, i don't know how we got to washington and died and is buried at arlington. i just wondered what happened at the end of the war to the prisoners there? professor gordon: he might have been like some of the soldiers i studied. to aght have made his way place like camper oh, dash cam
perrault, there was one in fairfax virginia. he might have been in one of those hospitals due to his imprisonment, no doubt. and he died and he ended up in arlington. that would be my suspicion. and that was the end of his story. host: what would you say is the legacy of andersonville? professor gordon: i think andersonville -- some of the things i was speaking to -- andersonville doesn't fit with the sort of larger heroic narrative of so many civil war battlefields, gettysburg, of courageous soldiers and decisive leaders. it leaves us with a lot of complicated, conflicting questions and emotions. theink that's in many ways way it should be when you are studying subjects and thinking about the subject like the civil war. i think that is the legacy of andersonville.
i think it needs more attention. it is appropriate that the funeral is here for these 13,000. their comrades and survivors wanted these men to be remembered, they want to do be sure these men had a drop or burial, and i think it is appropriate -- had a proper burial, and i think it is appropriate we keep coming back to think about this experience. >> good afternoon.
you are watching american history tv. you are looking at the andersonville prison. we take you live now to the andersonville national historic site and cemetery in andersonville, georgia for the next three hours, taking your phone calls and the commemorative funeral for the soldiers who died here. joining us from the andersonville national cemetery, adjacent to the cemetery location is the chief of the
historical site and will be with us for the next hour to talk about the history of andersonville and why does consider the most notorious site of the civil war. we are joining our phone line so you can join the conversation. if you want to join the -748-8900.on, 202 you can also post questions and .omments on our facebook page mr. leonard, thank you for joining us this afternoon. mr. leonard: it is my pleasure to be here. let's start with where is andersonville? it is important to start with this idea that military prisoners and prisoners
of war are often left out of the mainstream telling of the war. quite friendly, there are no winners in the story. this is not a battlefield. it is something entirely different. it is a valor and honor. those concepts take a different form here. and many respects, in a standard guess, they are prisoners of war, and then you move right back to the battles. often, and addressing the story, there is an and knowledge of that, and then no detail, and you move on. andersonville has a name brand recognition. the public often doesn't know any of the details beyond the name and that something unusual took place there. host: let's start with the basics. when was it built? what was its purpose?
mr. leonard: in the fall of 1863 as the exchange system of the previous two years falls apart, due to the presence of black soldiers in the field, and the question over how to treat like soldiers -- black soldiers. with afederacy is faced problem. there holding the mostly in the richmond area. thousands, 10,000 prisoners in richmond -- it has a drag effect on the community. resources are going in to maintain the prisoners. if you are in the confederate army, or the government, you are looking at those resources, they should go to the army to fight the war. if you are civilian, you are thinking, my family is hungry, why am i having trouble getting food? and then, prisoners in richmond -- richmond is one of the
primary targets of the war, there is a lot of fighting having unionity -- soldiers in richmond makes that target even more attractive. the solution was to move the prisoners away. that63, there is this idea southwest georgia is a very safe, insulated place, very far from the fighting. it is serviced by the railroad system of the south, and it is an agricultural breadbasket, food should be readily available. officers come here and find a site. some of the concepts that we consider -- this idea of not in my back yard. they specify an area that is essentially 100 miles north and south.
you will notice, the president did not -- prison did not end up near a commr big communities. want the prison close to them. there are 20 people living at the andersonville station train stop. . those people do not have political power. there are willing landowners who are absolutely ready -- two of them make the deal. on paper, they are supposed to receive a rent of about $50 per year from the confederate government for leasing their property to build this massive facility. 1600 acresioned as a square design for a capacity of 6000-8000 prisoners,
essentially those being held in richmond. the intention is to move them from richmond here. construction begins in early 1864, and by the end of february, prisoners are en route and arriving here. the prison comes into being. 6000-10,000 prisoners was the original intent, how many ended up there? mr. leonard: at its height, the one time capacity in august 1864, there are over 32,000 u.s. thisers being held inside present. by that time, the original stockade had a 10 acre expansion . that is both in the month of june and open on july 1. host: also, could you follow up,
if you have that many people in such a confined space, what is living like their? give us a sense of the conditions and what ends up happening with the prisoners there. mr. leonard: this is the forest a part of south georgia -- of southpart georgia. the original 1600 stockade was built of posts that were square and fit tightly together. the first prisoners that arrive described as a place where their construction debris is clearly everywhere. it is a very disturbed place. there is no shelter. prisoners improvise shelter out of the degree that is present -- debris that is present. were gathering details are allowed out daily.
when you're gathering that would, you are looking for two purposes. obviously, all this fire wood for cooking, but larger pieces debris and castoffs of is shelter making material. don't forget, if you're watching a home and want to contribute to the conversation, again, now is the time to do so. if you want to call, 202 -748-8900 for those of you on in the eastern and central time zones. if you want to tweet at us, you can do so. you can also post on our facebook page. mr. leonard, let's pretend i am a prisoner coming to the prison, what is my day like?
in the 14 months of the present operation, the answer to a question changes to radically. for those initial prisoners who arrived in late february 1864, it seems strange when you know what comes later. they see andersonville as an improvement. it is better than other prisons. it is an improvement. the weather in south georgia seems nicer. they have a change of venue. they are kind of excited about the opportunity. , everyoners arrive prisoner that arrives here and leaves here does so on the train . the train is integral to the story. when you are offloaded at the train station, the train itself, the train tracks, and the train station are almost half a mile to the west of the main prison
compound. prisoners referred to it as . hundred paces to hell outside of the gates, closer to the main compound, you are intoed out, assigned detachments and squads. part ofl is a critical the daily experience of the prison. roll call is how the confederate command determines how many prisoners they have, and what their disposition is. they are counting the number of prisoners in the hospital, in the stockades. they're making daily lists of the number of prisoners that arrive, the transfer out, and that die. they separate that out from the number of people who die in the
hospital and die in the prison itself. host: as far as the way people, give us a sense of health conditions -- where their clean facilities? give us a sense of what living was like in that front. mr. leonard: one way to start with that is the hospital. a 14 months, there's always hospital. it is in three different locations, and there is a fourth adjunct to that. just for prisoners, there is a separate hospital facility close to the train tracks. that was a compound with two frame stone structures. where the hospital starts is inside the hospital itself -- the prison itself. that, by may, the confederate command has realized is not a good idea, it is not working
very well. the hospital downstream of the prison to the southeast. their perception is living next to the stream will be a healthier space. it is important to note that the stream that they move it next to is the stream that flows through the prison compound itself. , the, as originally built enters the middle and west side of the compound, flows through the wall, and the creek is the single most important
feature of the present. it is the plumbing. the prisoners will collect clean drinking water in the middle section of the prison, perhaps bathe and clean themselves in the creek. the creek is channeled into a .tructure that is a toilet the intention of all of this is the flow of the creek will flush the toilet. the success of that is designed on an understanding in the 1860's of germs and bacteria, which is to say, no understanding of that at all. but they don't know is they have created the perfect breeding ground for dysentery. host: we can engage in this later, only because we have calls lined up for you. let's start with paul and
tennessee. you are on with eric leonard, go ahead. caller: my question is why does andersonville have such a bad reputation with another that had a rate.ow survival andersonville did such a batter reputation.ad mr. leonard: andersonville is the deadliest place on american soil. here and 14s die months. that is a dental they cannot be compared to any other place. the percentages have been used to create a sense of false
equivalency. parish in onend is aa -- there complex reason of why that occurs. in one single month, 3000 people died at andersonville. the scale was stunning. survivors spend the rest of their lives trying to come to them to what happens to and their friends. families struggle with what was it for. while 13,000 men die here, nearly 13,000 live. that is the bigger number. the survivors of this experience come to an end. they struggle with what does it
.ean there is not this sense of valor . in fact, prisoners of war, until the late 20th century were considered to be cowards and failures as soldiers. guilt, isst survivors something that union soldiers struggle with. connieur next caller, from north carolina. caller: mr. leonard, i have a question. i recently watched the ken burns documentary on the civil war. they stated in the document that the superintendent of the warden of andersonville was convicted of war crimes and hanged. i would like to know what his name was.
can you verify that for me, please? that is absolutely true. urtz.is captain henry wo he serves -- the command structure of the prison is in byy respects dysfunctional design. it makes no sense. there is a kernel that commands the entire military complex there. this is a really big plays with, at times, thousands of confederate soldiers either by you have a or colonel in charge of that. under him, you have a serious of .epartments there is a chief surgeon who
oversees the hospital operation. captain you have a whose job is to oversee the operations of the prison. second to that, the guard forces are georgia reserves, a form of militia. these are not combat ready troops. these are teenagers, old men with little training. when they are assigned, the .aptain has authority over them when he is off duty, the authority falls to the commanders. z is often absolutely frustrated. he complains constantly. his hands are tied. he is dependent on the quartermaster for supplies, the commissary for food.
the roll call that they do every roll call,hey call the commissary officer has to provide food into the prison. food was delivered every day. henry wurtz is still on blownn as the prison is to the wind. the kernel gives the last command of the complex. he fled to florida the week before. on may 2,o his arrest 1865. heat is transferred to washington, d.c. after his arrest and the transport, his escort, at one point in chattanooga, turned him over to the guard house, the federal guardhouse in
chattanooga. that was a mistake. when the captain, who is escorting him, comes back, he has been recognized by the men who were once in his care. during his transport to washington, d.c., the end of shaving the beard off of his face so he is less recognizable. 30,000 men live through this, and they recognize him immediately. toy are the ones, and try figure out who to blame, there is a larger command structure, but prisoners do not see that. z every day.nry wurt they tell stories about the dutch captain, one of his many nicknames. he is tried in a military tribunal in washington, d.c. from august 1865 to the end of october. november 10, death 1865. he is often described as the
only confederate soldier to be put to death or tried for war crimes. that is not true. he is absolutely, positively the most famous. by the time of his institution, he is the third confederate captain to be tried and executed for war crimes in 1855. host: mr. leonard, we are asking people to give comments and questions on facebook as well. writes and on facebook saying there was a movie called andersonville and asked if it was an accurate perch rail -- portrayal. mr. leonard: there are sort of two films. miniseries about the present. it focuses on prison life and dramatizes a fairly early infamous moment in the prison operation. iding,mp ra
prosecution, and later execution of a group of prisoners known as the "raiders." separately, there was a stage play turned into a film, calledg william shatner the "andersonville trial." the play and then the film about the trial are inspired and drawn out of the trial transcript that by the u.s.d government in 1869. the tnt miniseries was a three-hour miniseries that explored the prisoner experienced by drilling down to in 14 months of the drill down to something that is over and done in one month of the prison's history. it is a very dramatic story.
the story of the raiders ultimately has a very nice, neat dramatic arc. beginning, a middle, their capture, and finally their execution. the confederate army come all thatay from richmond, ok'd . it has a nice beginning, middle, and end, but the truth is the true prisoner experienced, no one wants to watch it. you are dirty, hungry, you have to go to the bathroom -- there is a lot of sitting around and waiting on a fate that is very uncertain. the tnt film, the background detail is stunning. when i watch that, that is what into. into -- i key it is a very accurate for tail.
portrayal. host: our guest is entered eric leonard. you can call and enough questions. the numbers will be on the screen. lee in winchester, virginia, thank you for holding on. .aller: thank you mr. leonard i had a great great uncle who was brought to andersonville. i'm wondering, it's an open part, i believe. the dates and times you are able to go to andersonville, and, are you able to get records and copies of your ancestors and and the being there burial sites? as a u.s. national park site, andersonville is open to the public daily. it is closed only three days a year -- thanksgiving, christmas day, and new year's day.
the grounds are open in a clock to 5:00. the museum hours are from 9:00 .o 4:30 daily inside the national prisoner of war museum, the part maintains a database -- park maintains a database of people buried in the national cemetery, including the andersonville dead. there is a listing of the andersonville prisoners, the debt and the survivors. there also partial listings of prisoners of war. we do not have original records here. the original records are at the national archives. the most important historic document for documenting union theirers of war is th service record. again, the national archives has that. some of the records are becoming accessed and easier to
than going to the national archives. , especially the survivors, but the dead, the record was done well after the war. it is a memorandum. it identifies the captured day of the individual, often the circumstances of the capture. lists the various places where they were held prisoner. with most prisoners held andersonville, this is one of at least three, sometimes as many as six, prison facilities that they are held at in the space of one year. it is the biggest and most famous, for a lot of reasons, but it is not the only one. those national archive records .re the first source during a visit, you can use the
database to look of a person. often, we do have copies of the service record or other items. this was an enlisted prison. what is extraordinary about these prisoners, they're not famous people. are the workingmen of the u.s. army, the marine corps, the navy . their privates, corporals, sergeants. what is extraordinary about them is how ordinary their lives are after this thing that the experience. host: from california, this is david. go ahead. caller: good morning. i was told that there was a medical doctor who would examine the prisoners before they were admitted to the cap, and it's -- , andted to the camp supposedly he was a freemason. if there were any masons, and they made a note to him, he would extract them.
as that possible story -- possible story? changenard: the surgeons over time. however, it is clearly documented -- this actually makes the story better -- georgia officers who are freemasons, they recognized the ,ing and the sign, these men who under normal circumstances, their job does not bring them to the stockade, they walk in with care packages and names. there is a masons large improvised in the stockade, against the south wall of the prison. ' diary accounts -- prisoners notice this, and after the war, they want to be a
mason. that fraternity is one of a very small number of routes in which mercy is being allowed in the prison. thank you for bringing that up. host: that was david and california. mr. leonard, as far as safety within the prison walls, how did that work as far as having so may people combined in one space? mr. leonard: there is little to no internal policing. they the cards do is sa man the gates. that in their relationship to the creek. one of it is north of it, one of it is south of it. there are 52 towers around the stockade wall. what the guards do is keep you in. and so, internal policing is left to the prisoners. and if that sounds like a recipe for trouble, it is.
constanting is almost part of the prisoner experience, where early in the prison's operation, raters or rating is a raiders -- raiding or is a verb before camp robbing. thea prisoner, the more -- more friends or have, the closer your stay together, the more no one is going to steal your stuff and you are going to survive if somebody else is walking -- watching your back. host: let's go to charles and virginia. go ahead. caller: yes, i have a question about andersonville. prior to andersonville existing, the north and the south had prisoner exchange agreements.
the north had unlimited supply and the north had more troops, and the south had a limited supply of future troops. and what -- it was a war maneuver strategy brought to lincoln by his generals. the south doesn't have the troops to replenish these. andersonville wouldn't have existed, neither would have chicago, or others, if not for lincoln's war strategy. it is not lincoln's war strategy. the system ties into the evolving nature of the war. following the emancipation ,roclamation, the united states the union army start enlisting african-american men not simply by the thousands, but by the tens of thousands. and this creates a question. it is a cultural change. how do you treat these men? and in the spring of 1860 --
around the same time of 1863, the army, the lincoln administration are struggling with the changing nature of war and they bring in a legal scholar by the name of francis to develop, for the first time, a written law or code of war. they are taking evolving military tradition from 200 years in europe and in the united states, the revolutionary war, and a are codifying it. and to be code is critically important and often overlooked in american history and in world history. copieseva convention entire sections of the code. so the code survives in spirit today and these humanitarian protections for noncombatants, prisoners of war. buried within the code is a very bold statement that in a sense
is the first equal rights policy of the united states government. soldiers, regardless of their color, are to be treated equally. and it was a line in the sand. provocative and, boy, it did. they all react -- adept reactionary policies to this. be treateds are to as slaves and repatriated to slavery. white officers of black regiments are to be put to the for inciting insurrection. -- put to death for inciting insurrection. for months, that policy is just talk. following the, you know, in charleston, following the assault that is featured in the film "glory," 35 men of the 54th massachusetts are captured.
there are not killed, they are captured. and what to do with them is the tipping point. the governor of the state of south carolina wants to try them for war crimes and put them to death. the confederate army is desperate to that that not happen. the confederate government is desperate that that not happen. they became not to do that, so these 35 men and up in the charleston city jail, which still -- 35 men end up in the charleston city jail, which still exists today. throughout 1864, as the prison crisis -- the prisoner crisis gets worse and worse, at every time these two sides negotiate, the united states representatives are very clear, all you have to do is treat them equally. that is it.
and the exchanges die on that one issue alone. until really be very end of the war. host: mr. leonard, how was segregation treated there in andersonville jackson -- andersonville? mr leonard: at the battle one comes intoe the -- being, the regiments fight a rearguard action that is instrumental in allowing the union troops -- the bulk of the union troops -- to retreat from the field. approximately 50 prisoners are taken. they're not initially brought to andersonville. they are moved there at some point in the spring. there cap separately. they live within the stockade as a group. later on, they have a major , his them, a white officer
rank is disrespected by the confederacy and he is thrown in and enlisted in prison because he is an officer of black soldiers. that major is denied medical care. camps with the black soldiers. [indiscernible]- -- appointment at the prison, black soldiers are used as a slave labor. every morning, they lineup and they count out and then they walk out. think about this for a minute. if you are a white soldier from prison is like, an amphitheater. everybody can see that happening. those black soldiers
are being treated different venue. you are stuck in here. what you want is not to be stuck in here. and they walk out. now, they are being put to hard labor. around the prison compound and they are subject to punishments straight out of the plantation. if they refuse to work, if they give lip, they are beaten, they are ripped. -- whipped. and they are whipped in front of the other black soldiers. an extension of that is if you are a white soldier observing the prison operation, what you know of slavery before you came to the south to fight the war is what you read in novels. ,s a prisoner in andersonville if you attempt to escape, they hunt you down with dogs. that is straight out of the novel. and a number of prisoners come
to realize, wait, we are -- we are not slaves, but we are being treated like slaves. so you build in empathy with their -- there. the black soldiers are being used as slaves throughout the operation. york, thankrom new you for waiting, go ahead. caller: there were reports of many, several soldiers, testifying on his behalf that he did everything in his power to sustain them. and they were not allowed to testify during his trial. there were other soldiers who were never in andersonville that were allowed to testify against him. lesley gordon may speak to this later today. the sergeant of the 16th connecticut infantry, his entire regiment is held here. when he is released in exchanged
-- and exchange -- in exchange from south carolina, he starts -- he turns his journal, has diarrhea, into a book. it is published in march of 1865 before -- while he is still working here all the prison is a functional place. because of that book, he is called the testify. kellogg testifies as both the prosecution and the defense. both sides speak to this one individual soldier and say, we trust everything he says. he is very blunt about this guy being -- [indiscernible] he has a very specific story about henry werth's -- henry werth. story almost humorous where he asks permission to use his pocket knife to big up a root for extra food. permission, but
before he is done, he is told to leave. when he approaches the prison's gates, he realizes he has left his pocket and i behind. he goes to the first officer he sees and says, excuse me, i need to get my pocket knife. he walks him back, they find the knife, and t, you know, returns him to the prison. just imagine that image. a prisoner walking back to the south gate entrance with henry werth on horseback. everybody notices this. the place kind of stops for a moment. rth in the moment, captain we cracks a joke. he says, they think you are up to something. -- when weimony , 150 about the trial
witnesses testified. bluntest ofthe them, the most accusatory of them, tend to be the 50 or so confederate officers, confederate guides, confederate officials, and confederate civilians. there are the ones that speak very plainly to break down within the chains of command and assign responsibility. host: here is evan from indian wells, california. caller: [indiscernible] host: evan, go ahead. caller: [indiscernible] onto ok, let's move joanna. michigan. caller: hi. i have a question. i'm going to tell you my story. i had a great great uncle who
served in the union. and he was under george custer. captive inwas taken 1864. he went to richmond, and then he was transferred down to andersonville. and he was down there from july until november, when he was paroled, pardoned, up to maryland because of his dysentery and malnutrition, where he died. and that is where he is laid to rest. interesting.s i did get my uncles civil war records -- uncle's civil war records, and they are phenomenal. they are very detailed, they are excellent. but my question is, while my uncle was down at andersonville, during that summer, some of the union soldiers were stealing from each other -- food, what not, just survival type things -- and a book i have on
andersonville lists my uncle as being a judge during the trial of these soldiers. and i was wondering if there could possibly be any sketches or photographs available of any of those kind of trial incidences with the union soldiers. mr leonard: within andersonville , there is really the only one trial. it takes place at the last days of june 1864. and so there aren't any drawings of that. certainly, especially in the later prisoner memoirs published by the 1870's, 1880's, and 1890's, they talk about the raiders in great detail. whether our drawings of is the execution -- what to there are drawings of -- what there are
drawings of is the execution of the raiders. the execution of a small number of prisoners by other prisoners, that is a big deal. 23,000 people watched that. and -- and they draw it. there are drawings of the gallo structure -- gallows themselves. there are drawings of that particular moment. host: stone mountain, georgia, jane is up next. caller: earlier this year, i went to andersonville with my boy scout troops, and i want to hear about the buddy system they had between the prisoners and the guards. buriedo the raiders were separate from all the other graves. could you tell me about that? mr leonard: absolutely. policylly, according to and regulation within the prison, prison trade is --
guards trading with prisoners is prohibited, which means it happens all the time. there is a pretty slick black market. especially early on in the spring and summer as prisoners are leading -- leaving the cabin prisoners doing work outside the main stockade, they will often interact with civilians, women coming to sell vegetables. we have descriptions of sweet potato pies being sold. if you are a prisoner coming from the battlefield that spring or early summer, you may have greenbacks, u.s. currency, union currency. that is an illegal object in the confederacy. which means, of course, there is an amazing black market. one of the ways that is kept into is the confederacy manages a settlor store within the prison -- settlers store within
the prison. and be operator is a georgia militia officer. and he is bringing in goods and selling. one of the photographs of the prison shows this lean to structure. and that is the tipping point that the street off of the northgate -- it's original name was north street. it becomes known as market street because in addition to the store, you have this -- you are creatingners their own stores. they are trading real estate within the prison. trade, you a skilled are doing that. one of the prisoners who does testify for the defense claims that it is possible to get a -- [indiscernible] there are prisoners making food and producing food. there is a free market economy, and it is a reminder that we
perceive andersonville as a hopeless place. these men have ingenuity, they have drive, they are attempting to make a life out of their circumstances. ,n regards to the raiders though six men, in late june when the arrival game is created to put an end to the camp robbing, the regulators are, quite frankly, a vigilante gang. and they go to the prison command and say you have a problem, we will help you fix it if you let us identify them. they say that is a raiders, that is a raider. those trials, prisoner trials dismiss most of them. about 70 or so. and they are made to run a gauntlet back into the prison. and they are severely beaten. we know that one of the
prisoners through the gauntlet died because of the injuries sustained. that leaves six. and -- the so-called ringleaders -- one of these -- one of the soldiers has been a prisoner at andersonville for two weeks. my provocative thought is, he is not a ringleader of anything. he made a powerful enemy. those men, after their executions, because of the dishonor of the act, stealing from other prisoners, beating other prisoners, they are executed for that. sense,e, in a dishonorably discharged and executed. who is doing the burying at andersonville? prison labor. those six men are buried in dishonor. black soldiers dying at andersonville are not buried separately. they are buried in the trenches along with everyone else.
and that is a measure of the prison labor. a black soldier who died is a soldier. they lost theers, right to be buried with their fellows. and they remained today segregated graves away from the other graves. they are separate in their dishonor. host: you're talking about prison life, mr. leonard. in our world, the word "deadline" means one thing. why was it famous? mr leonard: the deadline doesn't originate in andersonville. it is, however, an invention of the civil war military prison. prisons, north and south, have deadlines. and those deadlines take various forms. , it is a simple fence. places, over the creek, sometimes the deadline is not
obvious. sometimes prisoners deal the forrds in -- you know -- firewood or shelter building. and the rule is, of course, if you cross the deadline, guards can shoot you. and yet the photographs taken in august of 1864 illustrate the prison at its height. clearly shows shelters tied to the deadline. so andersonville is also a place of great contradiction. in some of the northern prisons, it is a ditch or a line of posts where at night they put candle lanterns on. a line that if you cross you are going to get shot at is the sort of thing which soon -- shouldn't have any ambiguity. host: the next call is mike from california. you are on with our guest, eric leonard. caller: yes, thank you for the programming. i have kind of a twofold
question. firstly, i want to know what happened to the actual prison site when the war ended? the physical structure. was it just left or was it torn down and the fields farmed? wasalso, i know that there a photographer, i think his name might've been -- [indiscernible] -- and i wondered if there were any pictures of the prison after the war ended? i wondered if there was any magazine articles or book that describes that? mr leonard: the ghost and chattels of andersonville is a , a valuable book because it is not a narrative history, it explores various components and there is a chapter in that book that focuses on our traditional pronunciation. he is a georgian photographer. those photographs aren't after
the prison. there are smack dab in the middle. read about august 16, 1864. -- read about august 16, 1860 -- right about august 16, 1864. the week before, there had been a terrible flood through the middle of the prison that had breached the wall through the creek. and that -- that is not shown in the photographs. the photographs very carefully show how tightly packed prisoners are. you can clearly see the flow of the creek through most of the prison, and you can see where there is essentially a brand-new reconstructed structure for the toilet. so the humbling thing in those photographs is this man sitting at the sink, at the toilet. they were captured for posterity , doing something that none of us want to be forgot doing.
so that is part of that. in terms of what happens to the prison after, it is left in place. there is an army guard here very, very quickly. and there is an army quartermaster expectation that arrives here in -- in late july and stays for about three weeks into mid-august. that quartermaster expedition is commanded by captain james moore, who by this time has already established 2 battlefield national cemeteries in virginia. and their focus is not the prison site. they are tourists at the prison site, but the army guards that accompany them on protecting all the property. that expedition that establishes the cemetery, they take the original boards that just bore a number and replace them with wooden headboards with a number, name, regiment, and date of
death. and accompanying that expedition very famously is clara barton. she uses her considerable political power, her association, her leadership with the missing soldiers office, to invite herself on captain moore's expedition. one of the dramas is those two leaders, clara barton and captain moore, are at loggerheads the entire time. the -- they are fighting over who is going to get credit for the work at andersonville. them and,peaks to quite frankly, not flattering ways. the army does the work of using the captured record, the death records they have with them. famous, the most prisoner, he served as a clerk in the prison hospital and he was one of half dozen boys who are keeping the death register,
other records of the hospital complex. he is famous, and rightly so, for one of the bravest acts of conscience in the entire civil war. in mid-august 1864, when 100 men are dying a day, he thinks to himself, if my government knew, they would stop this. and he commits an act of bravery. he makes the choice when the chief surgeon is not present to start copying the entire death register. his fellow paroled clerks, they see what he is doing, they know what he is doing, they don't tell. a couple of them copy the idea. the difference is someone like hyde copies the dead from just his home state. atwater was thinking of that posterity. he was thinking about the thousands of families across the
country who might never know. and he -- he -- oh, go ahead. host: we are just minutes away from a special semi there at andersonville. just take one more call. this is linda from jeffersonville, indiana. if you could go ahead with your question or comment. caller: i have three relatives that died in andersonville, and when my husband and i went there to visit, i found out that the section where my relatives were buried, the men were buried standing up. and that was because a lot of them had died at the same time. and so they just buried them altogether, but they buried them standing up. i was wondering if that was true because so many men died at the same time, was there a battle or an illness that swept through the prison? thank you. mr leonard: the -- from the records that describe -- that
provide us the insight into how the burying was done, that his prisoners telling us, they are not varying them standing up. they are burying them shoulder to shoulder lying down. they are digging a trench about three or four feet deep. at times, they are putting a board underneath and a board above the bodies. maybe as many as the first 50 to 100 burials are actually in caskets. it is after that they realize they don't have time. so the boards provided little bit of protection to the body, prevention of essentially the graves settling or collapsing. and each body is numbered. they put the headboard with a number on it. august is the deadliest month. the death rate is highly variable until august. august is a perfect storm because of the heavy fighting in
two places, around richmond and then as chairman is edging ever , the prisonlanta population is booming, the lack of an exchange or other facilities is studying to create anderious challenge, the -- it is in that moment that when a thousand people are dying a day, you're focusing on identifying their bodies. it is during that moment they stop putting those boards down because they don't -- to cut the boards, to protect the bodies, requires men that they need to keep digging trenches to keep up with the demand of the task. host: mr. leonard, i think we will have to leave it there. thank you so much for your participation in educating us about the events at andersonville. we have been joined by mr. leonard telling about it.
thank you for being part of our coverage today. mr leonard: oh, it is my honor really. we are glad to have you all here. and the service that is about to happen is going to be really special. host: and we are going to take it to that service later on in the program. we will talk with professor lesley gordon about other events could but for now, we go to special ceremony services at the prison site. >> [indistinct chatter] >> [indistinct chatter]
>> [indistinct chatter] >> good afternoon again. i would like to take this opportunity to thank the maneuver center of excellence brass quintet for their musical selections. their music continues to enhance our programs each year. >> [applause] >> on behalf of the national park service, i welcome you to andersonville national historic site. again, my name is charles fellers. as the park superintendent, i have the honor and privilege of serving today as the master of ceremonies. this weekend is the capstone event of the 150th anniversary
of cap sumpter military -- camp sumter military called andersonville. on behalf of the park, we sincerely thank you for being here. i invite you to stand as the georgia army national guard advances the colors. after the colors are posted, please follow me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. will you please stand?
amen. mr. sellars: thank you, reverend. for the prisoners at andersonville, prayers provided comfort, community, and sometimes even solutions. the story of providence springs is an ongoing testament to man's belief in greater things. prisoners also believed in the power of words, whether through letters from home or their own reflections. here to share his own words, i would like to introduce mitchum. -- mr. mitchum. >> what an honor it is to be here. 2015. at andersonville isry prayer once prayed here
still in the air. but there is also that old whine of astonishment, caught in the throes, so who are we to have gathered here? even in praise, even humbled by the blood of our inheritance, could we ever be too sure what history is good for? history is what we are. creatures made of time and a story. the clay of the bible. fired and shaped into brittle drawers that hold our days. and today, we are in our element , out in these fields at the end of summer, where we stroll as freely as we choose down clean lanes of grass and stone. we can take our time and try to understand what we will never understand.
but one measure of our days has commanded us to fall in and to stand at attention, to form up where the stockade swarmed and groaned of septic mod, -- mud, the soldiers prayed to god for the end of, the desk and the sunrise are still inside us. today, they are the strange beads of a prison rosary. a ruined boot lace tied in knots. amens go on, then, and say to the wetlands at our feet. blades of grass. the beautiful uncut hair. amen to the night that takes up its position. amen to the sun that advances through the risen dust, with or without us, whatever we believe. everywhere, now, in this nation
of old sorrows and new, even trembling with the past, here at andersonville, we are suffering from what we have forgotten. tell us again, if you can, how to praise and how to grieve and how to witness. give us this day. forgive us our trespasses. the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, but time and chance happen to them all. turn, you, to the stronghold. ye prisoners of hope. >> [applause] mr. sellars: thank you. the civil war was viewed by many as the second american revolution.
site was open only a short time, its impact has been felt throughout generations. for a brief history, i am pleased to introduce dr. lesley gordon from the university of akron. thank you. it is a privilege to be here today. fourth, -- 4, some 400 members entered andersonville prison. this particular regiment, which had seen much active duty, was captured at the battle of plymouth. entering the stockade here, several members described their first impressions in their diaries. sergeant major robert kellogg
wrote, quote, as we entered the place, -- [indiscernible] -- which almost froze our blood. our hearts failed us as we saw what you see men, now nothing but mere skeletons. god protect us. newvate george -- immediately that death stalked close. he wrote, it is a dirty, filthy place. a large number die here daily. sergeant oliver gates was convinced it would prove, he wrote, quote, the hardest trial of my life. although i have faced death in many forms. the confederacy erected andersonville here near the small town of anderson, georgia, to handle the growing number of captives overwhelming prisons after the breakdown of the
cartel system. in may 1864, just over 12,000 inmates crowded into this open air stockade. by the time andersonville would close its gates for good, what a 5000 union soldiers were imprisoned here. and as we know today, early 13,000 of them made andersonville and -- their final resting place. of those, 400 that entered here, about a hundred of them would die. today, we come here to commemorate those deaths with the funeral for 13,000. prisoners died, as robert kellogg described, quote, not in the heat and excitement of the battle, but in the loneliness of a multitude with a comrade only by their side with an enemy lines and under hostile flak. i call pows, members of the 16th connecticut suffered from exposure, disease, lack of adequate sanitary per --
facilities, and insufficient medical care. diarrhea, dysentery, and scurvy tormented the inmates. although the soldiers who entered had enjoyed combat, death in -- endured combat, death in prison or something entirely new. -- men die here grace fast. just over a week later, he likened the death to the falling leaves in autumn. sergeant20, sarge or -- oliver gates counted 11 dead since they had arrived on that may day. and he wrote, quote, more than ever -- here we get nothing to eat and no care. prisoners were dying in their tents, and open son, anywhere, and everywhere. onh little to do but focus the suffering, the impact of so much death, especially this kind
of death, unheroic, helpless, was profound for those who did survive. by mid august, sergeant grossman wrote in his diary that he scarcely knew what to write. terrible,ity rate was he said, the weather was unbearable, and men's hearts were thinking -- sinking. by mid-march, sergeant savage said that nearly every day, someone died. days, a man would look forward and wonder who's turn was next. grossman estimated that prisoners were dying at a rate of 45 per day. forbes counted 25 dead from the
regiment. he said, how fast we are passing away. preferable tofar imprisonment. barely two weeks into captivity, forbes wrote that it would be unspeakable happiness to return to the army and fight under the flag of honor. as it was later explained, they do not have to be free from all participation, they do long to fourth, even if it is to meet the smoke of the canon in a fiercely contested battle, because there, at least, it would be glorious action. improvement was nothing like this meant had ever experienced. it was something that would hunt aunt them. on his second day, forbes
visited one of the hospitals and was deeply shaken by what he saw. he said, i have seen many men in condition so -- i have never seen them in a condition so heart rendering as this. as the weeks turned to a month, and no exchange was made, it was astonishing how much suffering the men injured. no other place could possibly compare to the misery and destitution of andersonville. forbes wrote, perhaps i'm rush in thinking so, but it does seem that men cannot suffer more than they do in here. members of the 16 connecticut where concerned that they die a good death, and have some sort of christian service, before their removal, despite the horrific conditions around them. forbes wrote, there are no religious services held,
and none outside, a fact that reflects great disgrace. quote, when a man dies here, he is carried out on a stretcher. they can't than to the bearing ground and data hole, and throw him in, as they would a dog. recover him up without any ceremony. one person for dying so soon. upon a dyingd knows,r, he wrote, who this man may have a loving family home, who may never know his end. no one outside would ever realize one half of the suffering that occurs here, by supposed it is better. years after the war, it was a point of pride among the men of the 60 no other men of their
russian meant lack what they call it reverend barrio. burial. it was impossible for the, to take the body outside, and thus, burial could be arranged. forbes insisted that no man of the 16 to die here was deprived of the last tribute of what he camaraderie.ian certainly, some in the regiment as to the prisoners falter and in toto despair -- give despair. some became galvanizing even served in the confederate army. those who did not die survive to face more imprisonment in
charleston or florence, before exchange finally and mercifully came. prisoners late in 1864 and early in 1965 when parole in annapolis maryland, and then they were furloughed from service. they found himself in a limbo, waiting to be formally exchanged d theirthe commenceme furloughs. one said he was thankful to be alive. he was convinced that in just a few weeks, he would have perished. for others, their imprisonment had been too long. private lewis holcomb was paroled from prison in 1864. he came home, in the words of wreck.ily, ia
his health seem to improve, and by april, he returned to the he was notowever, fully recovered and on may 19, 1865, he entered a military hospital in fairfax, virginia where he died at the age of 24. his family new england never heard from them again. reached his home, but his body was so broken and weekend, he died within one week of his arrival. read, eightne months of suffering and rebel prisons, he came home to die. he was 22 years old. for others, the imprisonment .eft their bodies showered all brigades, after work, occupations.rewar , andlost his left arm unable to do manual labor, he
lived the next 10 years off of his daughters pension from the pensionnt -- modest from the government. another member, lee, settled in connecticut, he married and had two daughters, but his health was also shattered. he set out west. he and his wife were in iowa in in 1876,when he died -- when he died at the age of 35. although a public plea was made that he be added to the civil war monument, as he had been a faithful soldier, and contracted disease from here and andersonville, it was never added to the monument. there were also those diagnosed a insane. these include those in the ranks . one, for example, who is
was admitted to a hospital for the insane, where he died. when the veterans dedicated the state monument here, robert kellogg gave a short address, addressing his fellow prisoners. he did not come here to censor those pows who broke the accepted confederate paroles. he would not dwell on difficulties that he or his comments had -- his comrades had. and said his focus was on healing and commemoration -- instead, his focus was on healing and commemoration. this event today provides us with the opportunity to remember those who died here, but also, to remember that even for the many survivors, their ordeal did
not end here. theirtruggle to resume civilian lives. they suffered difficult times. they sought to construct a new heroic narrative. quoted here,ords we hear how deeply these pows the dead ensure that here be remembered. it is important to recognize that their mother captivity left lasting scars. thank you. [applause] mr. sellars: thank you, dr. gordon. way to goe is no easy from captivity to one of our nations most beloved songs, it
mr. sellars: thank you. we would also like to acknowledge the additional wreaths that have been placed here today from the descendent organizations and the american prisoners of war. [applause] now, it is my great pleasure to induce our keynote speaker, sergeant major of the army, daniel. [applause] sergeant major dailey: it is a great day to be a soldier.
ladies and gentlemen, welcome. i am honored to be heard today. as a history major, i very excited about the opportunity to talk about what history teaches .s about ourselves history tends to remember the dates, the battles, the victories. it lost the winners -- lauds the winners. there are some places on the battlefield where dates and , arees, winners and losers matters of inconsequence. is thee places, survival only place of magnitude. this place, this ground we walk on today, is such a place. months ateriod of 14 camp sumter, not far from orersonville, nearly 13,000, 20% of the 45,000 enlisted union soldiers, who were here, confined on these grounds, died
here. andersonville is a place where survival was against the odds for those who entered the stockades. those who were blessed to leave did not have long in the world due to the disease that went unchecked here. tragedy, this humanitarian disaster, of insufficient food, shelter, and infamous inis now our civil war narrative. what i will remember today, and what i ask you to remember are the lives that lived before and as little -- andersonville, the lives lived after andersonville, and the lessons learned. in my attempt to do justice to the 45,000 stories of the prisoners, i will share the
story of just one of them. iis u.s. soldier and p.o.w. highlight today is no better or worse than any other. to those dedicated family members who are here today, please accept my sincere apology to not have enough time to tell each of every story of them. i wish i could. just know, you are there voice, and our nation appreciates you for keeping their chronicles alive. without you, america would be a place defined by numbers or markers on a map, where shells drop and men are varied. instead, our nations history is allof men and women of backgrounds, both successful and
unsuccessful, who came together with their own dreams to build a place for us to endeavor, as we may. with success at times and with failure at others. sometimes, through these stories, we get a glimpse of someone's life that enriches our own immeasurably. they make our nation great. individuals, i wanted just to you, was born and bred in my home state of pennsylvania. it was 1863. kepart andca cap enlists in the union army. he was already 31 years old with hazel eyes and a dark complexion
and our hair. i'm quite sure he was a handsome man. it is hard to know why a man of his age and with the family would decide to enlist, even if it was to be part of the famed 13th regimen, of which he served. mr. bill miller ponders the same question. why would his great-great-grandfather choose to enter the war with the family to care for. why did he serve? perhaps it was because the union victory at gettysburg, a few short months before, had galvanized enlistment among men and women in the north. perhaps it was because he felt a againstto fight slavery. perhaps it was because the lisbon bounty, a sizable amount, would do his family well in a time of need. perhaps mr. miller will never know what prompted his great great granddad to prompt this