By James M. Gillispie
Quickly after the shut of army operations within the American Civil conflict, one other battle started over the way it will be remembered by way of destiny generations. The prisoner-of-war factor has figured prominently in Northern and Southern writing concerning the clash. Northerners used stories of Andersonville to demonize the Confederacy, whereas Southerners vilified Northern felony regulations to teach the depths to which Yankees had sunk to realize victory. through the years the postwar Northern portrayal of Andersonville as fiendishly designed to kill prisoners in mass amounts has principally been disregarded. The "Lost reason" characterization of Union felony guidelines as criminally negligent and inhumane, even though, has proven awesome toughness. Northern officers were portrayed as turning their army prisons into focus camps the place Southern prisoners have been poorly fed, clothed, and sheltered, leading to inexcusably excessive numbers of deaths. Andersonvilles of the North, via James M. Gillispie, represents the 1st huge examine to argue that similar to Union felony officers as negligent and harsh to accomplice prisoners is seriously improper. This examine isn't really an try to "whitewash" Union legal rules or make mild of accomplice prisoner mortality. yet as soon as the cautious reader disregards unreliable postwar polemics, and focuses solely at the extra trustworthy wartime files and records from either Northern and Southern resources, then a far assorted, much less unfavourable, photograph of Northern criminal existence emerges. whereas existence in Northern prisons used to be tough and in all likelihood lethal, no facts exists of a conspiracy to forget or mistreat Southern captives. accomplice prisoners' discomfort and loss of life have been because of a couple of elements, however it would appear that Yankee apathy and malice have been infrequently between them. in truth, most probably the main major unmarried consider accomplice (and all) prisoner mortality throughout the Civil battle used to be the halting of the prisoner trade cartel within the overdue spring of 1863. although Northern officers have lengthy been condemned for coldly calculating that doing so aided their struggle attempt, the proof convincingly means that the South's staunch refusal to replace black Union prisoners was once truly the major sticking element in negotiations to renew exchanges from mid-1863 to 1865. eventually Gillispie concludes that Northern prisoner-of-war guidelines have been way more humane and moderate than typically depicted. His cautious research can be welcomed by way of historians of the Civil battle, the South, and of yankee background.
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Extra info for Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners
It is almost beyond belief. ” Most Southerners were uninterested in effacing such blots. They were actually far more interested in bringing them to light and dwelling on them in vivid detail. Hundreds of writers in the fifty years after Lee’s surrender embarked on a mission to prove “that the sufferings of the Confederate prisoners in Northern ‘prison pens’ were terrible beyond description; that they were starved in a land of plenty; that they were frozen where fuel and clothing were abundant; that they suffered untold horrors for want of medicine, hospital stores, and proper medical attention; that they were shot by 40 ANDERSONVILLES OF THE NORTH sentinels, beaten by officers, and subjected to the most cruel punishments upon the slightest pretext .
Dissertation, Miami (OH) University, 1998, 3. 20. A Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Patriotism: Being the Report of the Commission to Dedicate the Monument Erected by the State of New York, in Andersonville, Georgia (Albany, N. B. Lyon, Printers, 1916), 108; Pennsylvania at Andersonville, 40–41, 71, 91–93; Sturgis, 275; Chipman, 240–353; Isham, 398; Keen, 3–4; Boggs, 5; Long, 44, 179; Andrews, 6, 16; Goss, 100; Brownell, 7; Spencer, 147; Hamlin, 150; Clark, “Hospital Memories,” The Atlantic Monthly (August 1867): 147; Roach, 51; Abbott, 201; Hesseltine, Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology, 238–40, 251–58.
J. Palmer told a gathering of former prisoners and others at Belle Isle, a stop on their journey to Andersonville to dedicate the New York monument, “I look upon these comrades that have lain here in unmarked graves so long as the supreme heroes of the war. Every single one of them had a way to escape. ” He then asked rhetorically, “How many of them did it? ” Martha A. I. Burdick wrote a poem for the Union prisoners that built on that theme, which read in part: They died, and yet they might have lived— Might have escaped their awful lot— If they had bartered loyalty for their release, but they would not.