|Title||:||This Was Andersonville|
|Number of Pages||:||354 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
This Was Andersonville Reviews
This book had sat on my shelf for years before I finally read it. It is excellent. I can recall reading Kantor's novel, Andersonville, way back 50 years ago. This is the better book. First published in 1957, I bought the 1979 edition, a hardcover in like new condition. A handsome 9" by 11" book, with photos and illustrations. First rate binding and heavy paper. All of which enhances the reading experience.Yet another book that will take a bit of reflection to write about. Southern apologists are constantly revising history. Therefore a careful study of any Civil War book is a necessity. For instance; on the issue of prisoner exchange, the South would have it that Grant made necessary the construction of the Andersonville stockade. By refusing to continue the practice of prisoner exchange, a huge increase of northern prisoners forced the South into actions they preferred not to take. This is pure revisionist history. The high death rate could easily have been mitigated even without any reduction in the number of prisoners. It would have cost the Confederacy nothing to allow the prisoners to gather wood from the nearby pine forest for shelter and fuel with which to boil the contaminated water and to provide warmth in freezing weather. Like the latter day Nazis, the South wanted to cause the death of as many Yankees as possible. McElroy does an excellent job in carefully arguing that point. From, http://civilwardailygazette.com/grant... "One of the major sticking points was the refusal of the Confederate government to recognize black prisoners as actual soldiers. Rather than treat them as prisoners of war, Richmond authorized its officers to sell them back into slavery or to even summarily execute them. Davis himself personally supported the idea of executing white officers in command of black troops.Additionally, as General Ulysses S. Grant discovered, many of the Rebels he captured at the battle of Chattanooga were the same Rebels he captured at Vicksburg. Richmond tried to argue that it was a clerical error, but Grant wasn’t so sure. This, for Grant, was the final straw, and on this date, he put an end to paroles and exchanges for the foreseeable future.“Until there is released to us an equal number of officers and men as were captured and paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson,” wrote Grant to Benjamin Butler, who had been placed in charge of exchanges, “not another Confederate prisoner of war will be paroled or exchanged.” Grant wanted proof that this was actually an honest mistake." (I was surprised to read that there were actually a few black prisoners in Andersonville.) Even if the Confederates could prove that, there was yet another point of contention. “No distinction whatever will be made in the exchange between white and colored prisoners,” Grant continued, “the only question being, were they, at the time of their capture, in the military service of the United States. If they were, the same terms as to treatment while prisoners and conditions of release and exchange must be exacted and had, in the case of colored soldiers as in the case of white soldiers.” The recent events in Charlottesville VA show that this is far from old, dustbin history. The North won and moved on. The South lost and to this day cannot get over it. Now we have to wonder just who the victors were. Andersonville was pure hate made manifest. Wirz was a willing tool. Not knowing what McElroy's 1879 book was like to read I can still say that Roy Meredith did a superb job of editing McElroy's text. Editing out the trial notes to an appendix was a good move. Though somewhat tedious (not to be unexpected) the notes were of interest and bring much of today's policing into an unpleasant focus.Random notes:The 400 to 500 "Raiders" were N’Yaarkers, hard-core criminals. As such, they were in the Army of the Potomac. They gamed the bounty system. They would enlist, collect their bounty, desert, and repeat. They made exceptionally poor soldiers. Once in Andersonville they banded together to prey on the other prisoners. They stole property and food, they snitched to curry favor with the Confederate guards, they murdered. Second to the guards, they were the most hazardous threat to the prisoners. Provost Marshal Winder acted as Jeff Davis’s Himmler. Personally, he was very close to Davis.During 1864 and the first three months of 1865, 25,000 prisoners died in Andersonville.From the introduction, page xviii, “Total Victory” was the only answer for the appalling cost of the war. No compromised end would be satisfactory. When one thinks about it, by the very nature of the Confederacy, the government would have had to settle with each rebellious state on an individual basis. That was never going to happen.The death rate in the Andersonville stockade seemed to be by the design of Winder and Wirz. By ’64 the South had to know that the odds were long against them. If they could not prevail then they were at the very least going to kill all the damn Yankees that they could.“…only Wirz…small, insignificant, miserable Wirz, the underling, the tool, the servile, brainless little fetcher and carrier of these men (Howell Cobb, Winder, Jefferson Davis), was punished, was hanged….” Just one was chosen to die for the sins of the Confederacy. John Brown was hanged for treason against Virginia (one of four charges) but the Southern Aristocracy suffered little permanent damage for instigating the events that killed 750,000 soldiers and destroyed untold millions of dollars in property. It is a shame that post-war, a lasting diminution of Southern political power was not encoded in the constitution. Nothing really happened and here we are, still battling over equal rights. For the time being, the progressive forces are losing. It never ceases to amaze me how well scapegoating works. The poor, miserable, abused white people would be rich like Trump if only the Federal Government would stop giving all their money to THOSE people. Like the Jews in Germany, the blacks of the South served a sacrificial purpose.McElroy’s book, Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Military Prisons, was published in 1879. A decent copy can be had on eBay for $100.00. It would be interesting to compare the two books. Given the year of his publication, 1957, Roy Meredith faced a formidable task in editing McElroy’s text. Knowing full well how the nation’s emotions would be stirred, every presented-fact had to be verified. The Civil Rights fight had begun. Based on volatile events, as in Little Rock, the history of Andersonville was bound to be a hot button topic. McElroy’s text was hot with anger but on analysis his story stood up. John McElroy was 16 when he enlisted in 1863. He noticed that it was the young, medium built men who stood the best odds of surviving the deprivations of Andersonville. I have come across that interesting note before. Regarding our later wars, of the men involved in the hard fighting the Rambo types were amongst the first to fall. Over the long haul, the slight, wiry men performed the best.of the 50,000 prisoners that passed through Andersonville, only 328 escaped.Page 57: “Wirz…knew no art of government, no method of discipline save “kill them!” his petty little mind’s scope reached no further. Men who have any talent for governing find little occasion for the death penalty. The stronger they are in themselves, the more fitted for controlling others, the less their need of enforcing their authority by harsh measures.” The book constantly reminds me of our present-day failures in governing. Simple minds can only grasp simple measures. Hence, diplomacy is found to be too "hard".Of the 12,012 who died in Andersonville, 6,201 died of enteric disorders. An interesting link https://www.familysearch.org/photos/a...The men suffered and died of scurvy. In Georgia? Southern greens are not costly, not rare. The deaths and suffering were deliberate. Is there a monument to Wirz or Winder? Such a monument would be more fitting for the rabid racists of today’s politics. Certainly more honest.John McElroy abstained from drinking water. His water requirements were met by cooked food. He was very disciplined in his approach to eating and drinking. This no doubt saved his life.A southern guard was quoted as asking prisoner McElroy, “why y’all down here?” Though not McElroy’s answer, a good portion of the agitation that precipitated the outbreak of open warfare was the frequent raids into the northern states by slave-catchers. Heavily armed bands of mounted southern militias that ostensibly were engaged in retrieving stolen “property” but were in fact kidnapping any black who crossed paths with them. These unfortunates would then find themselves sold into slavery again, some for the first time. Kidnapping, murder and assault were a constant provocation against northern sensibilities. The initial invaders were southern raiders. Of course, 150 years of calumny by southern apologists has stood that truth on its head.From page 232, "As a rule, the more abjectly poor a Southerner was, the more readily he worked himself into a rage over the idea of "takin' away owah niggahs". (That pretty much sums up the everlasting perversity of the great unwashed.)The monstrosity of Andersonville makes a sham of any claim to the nobility of the Lost Cause.
There are few stories more compelling that were written about the Civil War that rivals the story of Andersonville. There has been great debate as to whether the superintendent of the prison, Captain Henry Wirtz, should have been executed for war crimes at the end of the war. For to be sure, the South had few resources to imprison many soldiers, yet they did have several prisons in addition to Andersonville. In addition, the Union prisons were not much better.An additional debate rages concerning the exchange of prisoners. At the beginning of the war, anyone captured was evntually exchanged after they signed a promise to not rejoin the war. Of course, the Confederates had a limited supply of men with which to fight, so more often than not, the Union found itself capturing repeaters. Eventually, with the recommendation of U.S. Grant, the North stopped exchanging. This resulted in the debacle that soon followed.I found this book interesting on many levels.....the humanlevel to be sure; the military level(how do you keep track of 41,000 confined men and not have wholesale rioting take place?); on the political level(was Wirtz a scapegoat as a result of the stories that came out of Andersonville at Wirt's trial-some transcripts of testimonies of the prisoners are found at the back of the book)and what about the suprintendents overseeing the NORTHER prisons, that were almost equally horrific.An interesting read for the Civil War buff, but also a document of unrivaled importance to ALL Americana collectors and individuals seeking an understanding of war and it's consequences.
Outstanding personal history of one of the darkest chapters of the American Civil War.