tv The Civil War CSPAN December 24, 2015 4:48am-6:05am EST
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]
>> 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
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. in honor of those who chose to fight for freedom, the maneuver center of excellence brass quintet will play the american
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 its music and lyric of both the possibilities of a unified nation. we now present, "america the
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 to join this-- brotherhood. i know that with his persistence
-- without his persistence, we would have never known this tale , nor how his existence on this earth created a family of future soldiers. being o invention of the anon did researchmiller's through the national archives to uncover archives to pay a portrait of his ancestor. like a puzzle, piece after piece, perfectly placed, these facts and figures help contribute to our now intimate, and personal, glimpse into a shared national history that comes directly from the genealogy of many family trees. miller was himself a volunteer soldier. he chose to serve and a time of war, despite being a student at .enn state university as he turned back the pages of
american history, he learned how improbable his existence was, and yet, he stands amongst us today to share the unlikely yarn . you see, little did he know that in the course of just one year, fight, benlist, captured at st. mary's church prisonginia, survived , and be relocated to andersonville, and diet of dysentery.ie , his wife he know would succumb to the pressures of providing and caring for his for girls, and make the unimaginable choice of placing orphanage of veterans. little did he know that despite all that was stacked against their success, these girls would marry, their children, and contribute to the american story .n their own, unique ways
one of those unlikely children born to one of those girls would be the grandparent of my new friend, bill miller. he and his two brothers all served our nation. this is a story of family, of resilience, of selfless service and sacrifice. the sergeant story is the story of america. this chronicle is just one of 45,000 stories of men that endured this place of epic tragedy. it is the story of the lives they carried on afterwards. it is also the story of the 13,000 souls that never left this place, the battles they fought in, the dates entered into their letters, and the diaries of the generals who commanded them are of no magnitude in this hallowed ground at andersonville. why they chose to serve in a
time of war. today, there are approximately one million americans in the u.s. army. , yet, only about 1% of the population of this great nation will ever choose to serve. these men of andersonville were of a special breed. they were men that knew full well the consequences of their actions. for their own personal reasons, they did what few others could, do.would they served. it is this brotherhood that i'm so honored to represent here today. a brotherhood that bonds us across centuries, in life-and-death. it bonds us in history. we, who served today, are following in the footsteps of the men who injured here at andersonville. through 14 years of war on two fronts, today, still, we take
the example and use it as our , noiration to fight on matter the circumstances. banner, white, and blue of the united states of america, and the black and white flag that honors our pows fly ase-by-side together today we commemorate a nation, and a war, the change our nation. these flags honor the men of men andville and the women in the audience today who have suffered being a prisoner of war on foreign land. in vietnam, korea, cambodia, and so many places. it teaches the army much about our enemy, and the world, much
of our nation's values. what we have undoubtedly learned from the disaster at andersonville is the humane treatment of pows to finds are national identity and reiterates our army values by ensuring that dignity and respect is paid to all enemy combatant. we have also learned how precious freedom is. cost.reedom always has a the cost is paid by men and women, men and women who are willing to endure torture, knowledge or should loneliness, despair, and even death in the .ursuit of freedom history tends to remember the dates. it remembers the battles of the victories. victories.e are some places on the battlefield where dates and battles, winners and l losers are matters of an consequence.
in these places, survival is the only thing of magnitude. the men of andersonville have survived. they have survived 150 years of what makes our nation great, the american people. as i conclude with you today, my hope is for the 13,000 souls lost here to rest in peace. one aowledge sacrifice prosperous world in an ever evolving nation. and legacy lives on in the heartbeats of their descendents, and the democratic spirit they inspire in those who follow in their footsteps. although tragic, their sacrifice and service paves the way for us to become a great nation. the greatest nation in the world has ever known. the united states of america. it is a great day to be a soldier, and i am honored and privileged that these enlisted men gave me that opportunity. god bless them, not bless their
and those we were member not. and grant them rest in the land of the living and the joy of paradise where all pain and grief have fled away, for the light of thy countenance shine is forever, and guide in peace the end of our lives oh lord, when that will, and as that will , that we may enter the gate and dwell in that house where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light, no noise nor silence, but one equal music. no fears, no hoax, but one equal possession. no end nor beginning, but one equal eternity in the habitations of thy majesty and glory, world without end. and unto god's gracious mercy and protection, we commit ourselves and those near and
dear to us. the lord bless us and keep us. the lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. the lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and fill us with his piece. both this day, and evermore. amen. rest internal grant to them, lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. amen. mr. sellars: at this time i would like to knowledge largest , mr. kenneth cut from the congressman's office. [applause] mr. sellars: i would like to
mr. sellars: you may be seated. throughout the service, the united states flag stands prominently at the center of the national cemetery as set at half staff in mournfully knowledge meant of these losses. retired brew deal general robert corner him has performed the duty of raising the flag to full staff. his honors the service of medical staff throughout american military history, and echoes the role at the famous nurse clara barton played in raising a flag on the spot in august of 1865. conclusion, i want to thank
the military representatives for supporting this event. i also want to thank the public for their continual support in our national parks. we are pleased to consider this our first centennial event for andersonville national historic site. day will mark the 100 earth of the founding of the national park service, and across the country, our 408 sites will be celebrating all year long. , andvite you to join us find your part. we also hopes that one of the parks you find will be andersonville. thank you. [applause]