Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hell Opened

Union prisoners of war began arriving at Camp Sumter, better known as Andersonville on February 27th 1864.

Andersonville began excepting Union POW’s on February 27th 1864.  The prison started out with 16.5 acres of land, it had a 15 foot high stockade.  The camp would be expanded in June 1864 to 26.5 acres, and the stockade finished off at 1,620 feet by 779 feet.  The stockade had two entrances, both located on the west side and known as the North entrance and the South entrance.  There was an interior fence, built about 19 feet inside the stockade, known as the dead line.  Any prisoners crossing or touching this line were shot by the sentries located in what the prisoners called the pigeon roosts.

The Union prisoners and the Confederate staff of Andersonville were undersupplied and what foods they received were of poor quality.  Men died from disease, exposure and malnutrition.  During a seven month period a third of the men held there died from dysentery and scurvy. In July 1864 five Union prisoners were sent north by Captain Heinrich H Wirz with a petition asking that the Union reinstate prisoner exchanges, hoping to relive conditions.  When their petition was denied all five of the men returned to their comrades at Andersonville.

From the time Andersonville opened until it closed it held some 45,000 soldiers, of these 13,000 lost their lives.

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