Read e-book online Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of PDF

By James M. Gillispie

ISBN-10: 1574412558

ISBN-13: 9781574412550

Quickly after the shut of army operations within the American Civil struggle, one other battle begun over the way it will be remembered via 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 legal guidelines 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 mostly been brushed off. The "Lost reason" characterization of Union criminal rules as criminally negligent and inhumane, notwithstanding, has proven awesome longevity. 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 wide examine to argue that a twin of Union legal officers as negligent and vicious to accomplice prisoners is seriously mistaken. This learn isn't an try to "whitewash" Union legal regulations 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 documents and records from either Northern and Southern assets, then a far diversified, much less unfavorable, photo of Northern criminal lifestyles emerges. whereas lifestyles in Northern prisons used to be tricky and very likely lethal, no proof exists of a conspiracy to forget or mistreat Southern captives. accomplice prisoners' agony and loss of life have been because of a couple of components, however it would appear that Yankee apathy and malice have been hardly between them. actually, most likely the main major unmarried think about accomplice (and all) prisoner mortality through the Civil conflict used to be the halting of the prisoner trade cartel within the past due spring of 1863. although Northern officers have lengthy been condemned for coldly calculating that doing so aided their battle attempt, the proof convincingly means that the South's staunch refusal to interchange black Union prisoners used to be really the main sticking element in negotiations to renew exchanges from mid-1863 to 1865. eventually Gillispie concludes that Northern prisoner-of-war regulations have been way more humane and moderate than usually depicted. His cautious research should be welcomed by means of historians of the Civil battle, the South, and of yank historical past.

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Extra resources for Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners

Example text

Thus, those who paid the ultimate price fighting a doomed crusade to protect home and family from such a venal enemy became particularly venerable rather than tragic wastes of life. Finally, as for Northerners, active contribution to the glorious cause became a mark of distinction. Those who boasted being on the great battlefields performing and witnessing great deeds were men of great honor in the region. Confederate veterans, though, who spent as much as half the The Lost Cause and the Southern Side of the POW Debate 45 war in prison camps did not want others to suspect that they were less heroic or less willing to sacrifice for the sacred cause because they were removed from the din of battle.

That statistic became an important weapon in the Lost Cause arsenal because it was higher than the mortality rate among Union prisoners in Confederate care. 36%. Unlike the well-supplied North, one Southerner wrote in 1898, “the Confederate Government did all that could possibly be done for the well-being of Federal soldiers . . 12 The problem is that the numbers given here and used quite often by Southern writers after the war was that they were contained in a report by Federal Surgeon-General Joseph K.

Richmond editor Edward A. Pollard worried that if defeat were not attributed to more earthly factors Southerners would feel the need to abandon their traditional and distinctive culture to become more like their Northern superiors. “It would be immeasurably the worst consequence of defeat in this war,” he wrote in 1865, “that the South should lose its moral and intellectual distinctiveness as a people, and cease to assert its well-known 30 ANDERSONVILLES OF THE NORTH superiority in civilization .

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Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners by James M. Gillispie

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