By James M. Gillispie
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.