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Title: Martyria - or Andersonville Prison
Author: Hamlin, Augustus C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: VIEW FROM THE MAIN GATE. Taken from rebel photographs of
the prison when it contained thirty-five thousand men. Original picture in
possession of the author.]





  _Illustrated by the Author._


  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Maine.

  Cambridge Press




The author presents for review neither style nor language: he offers
simply the story of the wrong and the heroism, the cause and effect, as it
rises in his mind.

Neither does he, at this late date, seek to rekindle the smouldering
embers of hate and conflict, nor, Antony-like, attack persons under the
recital of the wrongs. Vengeance does not belong to the human race. There
are times in the history of men when human invectives are without force.
"There are deeds of which men are no judges, and which mount, without
appeal, direct to the tribunal of God."


BANGOR, September, 1866.



                      "They never fail who die
  In a great cause.    *      *      *      *
  They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
  Which overpower all others, and conduct
  The world at last to freedom."


History weighs the social institutions of men in the scale of Humanity.
Time, slowly but surely, accumulates the evidence which relates to their
materials. It calmly but firmly unveils the statues which men erect as
their principles, and with "that retributive justice which God has
implanted in our very acts, as a conscience more sacred than the fatalism
of the ancients," lays bare the secret springs of action which have
prompted the deeds of heroism or baseness, of virtue or crime.

Nations are political institutions, and like the system of nature, which
is governed by positive and fixed laws, so they likewise are swayed and
directed by mysterious forces, and influenced and moulded into form by
those external circumstances which are greatly within the control of man.
Their rise and decadence is in direct ratio to the nature and integrity of
their customs, the structure of their social fabrics, the vigor of the
spirit of independence which animates their thoughts, or the strength of
the despotism which consumes their vitals. "Liberty brings benedictions in
spite of nature, and in defiance of the same nature tyranny brings
maledictions. Slavery has always produced only villany, vice, and misery."

Men cannot perpetuate a creed or a system that is not founded on the
eternal principles of justice and virtue, no more than they can control
the elements--no more than they can remove or obliterate those
geographical boundaries, beyond which the human races cannot pass in
pursuit of the forms of wealth or the dreams of ambition.

The Belgian, who has studied so long and so faithfully the laws of
metaphysics, exclaims, "All those things which appear to be left to the
free will, the passions, or the degree of intelligence of men, are
regulated by laws as fixed, immutable, and eternal as those which govern
the phenomena of the natural world!"


Along the southern tier of the great States which form the American
Republic, whose gigantic structure and almost supernatural vigor already
overshadow and animate the older civilizations of the world, we observe
vast extents of level and alluvial lands and deltas, or "rather a series
of littoral bands of remarkable disposition," which the ocean left when
receding from the mountain shores of the interior to its present limits,
or which slowly and gradually emerged from their watery bed in the
upheavals during the long intervals of the earth's ages.

This immense territory, stretching from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and
hardly broken throughout this long distance by undulations of the soil,
embraces more than six hundred thousand square miles--an extent greater
than that of France and the States of the Germanic Confederation combined.
Eight millions of human souls inhabit the one, whilst one hundred millions
people the other. Ignorance and brutality darken the one, intelligence and
humanity illuminate the other.


The proximity of the sea, the configuration of the soil, the presence or
absence of mountains, affect the growth and character of nations, and
leave their impress upon their institutions. Climate and purity of blood
complete the determination in the problem of life, the progress and degree
of development. Upon these external causes also depend, in a great
measure, the vigor of the imagination, the sentiment of the grand and the
beautiful, the vivacity and purity of the soul.

The cold breezes of the temperate zones conduce men to wisdom, reason, and
philosophy. The enervating atmospheres of hot climes incline the mind and
body to repose, and often pervert the notions of natural justice. In the
one, the mind is ever delighted and refreshed by the varying scenes of
nature; in the other, the forms of the mournful and the terrible alone
excite the imagination.


We have seen these lands occupied for more than two centuries by the
emigrants from European countries; we have seen the reckless adventurer,
the noble exile, the fugitive from justice, the outcast of society,
blended together here in the experiment of colonization.

The form is still the same, for form is always more persistent than
material in organic life, but the sterling and generous qualities of the
primitive stock have greatly changed.

We have seen in these lands Slavery--that relic of barbarism, that
leprosy, the foulest that ever preyed upon the vitals of any
state--transplanted by that accursed Dutch ship, under the guise of
Humanity, flourish, increase, and assume, during this brief period, the
proportions of a despotism so powerful, so tenacious, as to defy and
resist, almost successfully, the entire strength and resources of the
Republic, enriching the slave faction with enormous wealth, but debasing
and deteriorating the morals, the blood of the poor and non-slaveholding

This increase of three millions of black men were held in bondage as human
cattle by a few thousand white men. To these unfortunate creatures society
extended no generosity, no consideration, but what reduced them still
lower in the scale of organized beings, and chained them more closely in
the sordid and selfish interests of their remorseless masters. To teach
the black man to read, even the light of the divine Gospel, was a matter
of fine, and imprisonment, and sometimes death.


Seeking to perpetuate this atrocious system, this right of brute force
over the helpless black, and establish a despotism with Slavery as its
basis, the arrogant faction boldly took up arms against the Republic.
"When Fortune," says the Latin historian, "is determined upon the ruin of
a people, she can so blind them as to render them insensible to danger,
even of the greatest magnitude."

Their appeals to arms were in the name of justice and glory, but they were
without the echo of liberty and humanity. They summoned the masses of poor
whites, whom they had degraded below the level of the slave, to rise and
fight for their liberties, which were as empty as the winds of the desert.
There were no liberties, no privileges for the poor whites, but to curse
poverty and question God's providence.

The individual desires of the few had usurped and swallowed up the rights
of society. There was no society but the relation between the black man
and his master. The law, order, and force were all within the control of
the rich slaveholder.

The masses were either their tools, or too abject to be considered as
dangerous; too ignorant to be feared as seditious, too poor to be regarded
as anything more than trash, below the level and the value of the negro.
This condition of the poor whites was the result of physical, political,
and moral causes, long and silently at work.


The pretence for strife was resistance to oppression, and the extension
and perfection of liberty to the masses; yet they impelled the people to
passion, without mingling a single truth with the illusions with which
they decorated their standards. Whilst they talked of the independent
spirit of the new government, and the glory of resisting the oppressive
policy of the invaders, every act and edict gathered closer and stronger
the bonds which degraded and burdened the poor white.

The owner of seven slaves was exempt from the hazard of battle, but
poverty and starvation of family were no causes of exemption for the

The real design, concealed by the strife, was the foundation of an empire
of gigantic and seductive form, radiant and glittering with the splendid
architecture of aristocratic sovereignty, but without reason or

The resolve was to control the production of the principal staples of
industry and trade, and subject the commercial world to their caprices.

Thus they preferred the intoxications of conquest, the gratifications of
lust, to the triumphs of true civilization, to the congratulations of a
redeemed race. They cared not for reputation among the nations of the
earth, nor immortality, nor renown; and they neglected or despised those
happy stars which, now and then, conduct men and races to glory. "Glory
belongs to the God in heaven; upon the earth it is the lot of virtue, and
not of genius--of that virtue which is useful, grand, beneficent,
brilliant, heroic."


Revolutions almost always spring from the noble and generous enthusiasm of
youth; but seditions arise from the vulgar and ignoble crowd, or from the
outcast few, who would, for wealth, sacrifice all that honor and nature
hold dear; or for the meaner gratifications of self-aggrandizement, would
crumble into dust, and scatter to the winds of the earth, the noblest
institutions and laws of mankind. Who will say that this resort to arms
was an insurrection of justice in favor of the weak, or that it was a
revolt of nature against tyranny?

The agitations of revolutions stir up the innermost natures of men, and
from the revelations out of the depths appear the extreme qualities of the
soul, elevated or debased, according to the inspirations from Heaven or
the influence of a vile cause.

What rays of intellectual light, what flashes of genuine eloquence, burst
forth during the tempestuous times of this period to illumine their
progress or define the glory of their future? When the minds and
imaginations of men are moved in civil war, they betray, in spite of
themselves, the nobility or meanness of their cause. Even the ignorant,
says Quintilian, when moved by the violent passions, do not seek for what
they are to say. It is the soul alone that renders them eloquent. Only the
hoarse clamors for revenge, or the hollow laugh against the remonstrance
of humanity, do we hear from their tribunals and halls of legislation.
Fatuity possessed their minds, and rather than not succeed in their
designs, the leaders would have preferred a dreary solitude to the best
interests of humanity, or, like Erostratus, they would have rather burned
down the temple of liberty itself.

  "Pejus deteriusque tyrannide sive injusto imperio, bellum civile."


Civil liberty is again triumphant, but at what a sacrifice of human life!
What a deluge of blood has been poured over nature's fields, where the
contending armies have struggled together! A half a million of lives have
been yielded up in this the nation's sacrifice.

"The tree of Liberty," said Barere, "is best watered with the blood of
tyrants;" but how few among this immense host of victims were the
originators of the sedition! The merciless schemers of bloody and cruel
wars rarely expose their precious lives to the chances of combat.

During the existence of the slave system, and the long period of its
progress, what has it produced to enrich the heritage of the human mind?
Where are the holy and pure traditions, the bright recollections?

Neither wisdom nor philosophy has appeared, nor those arts which serve to
form the "happy genius of nations." There are countries where the march of
ideas is accelerated only by the force of selfish passions; and
philanthropy, that true index of civilization, only appears when it is
required by mercantilism or political ambition. The aims and influences of
commercial and political life can debase and destroy the noblest impulses.
"It is a grand and beautiful spectacle," exclaims the eloquent Rousseau,
"to see man issue forth out of nothingness, as it were, by his own proper
efforts, to dissipate, by the light of his reason, the shadows in which
nature had enveloped him, to elevate himself even above himself, to glance
with his spirit even into the celestial regions, to pass, with the stride
of a giant, even as the sun, through the vast expanse of the universe, and
what is still greater and more difficult, to enter one's self, and study
there man, and to understand his nature, his duties, and his end."


Civilization claims to introduce the elements of peace, happiness, and
prosperity into the structure of society, and to transform the sword and
the spear into the harmless implements of husbandry; yet with a swifter
pace the engines of war increase, man thirsts as fiercely for the blood of
his fellow-man, and the dormant spirit of destruction is as ready to
illume the torch, as in the reckless times of past history. Even in this
enlightened age we are constantly reminded of the truth and force of the
remark of Hannibal: "No great state can long remain at rest. If it has no
enemies abroad, it finds them at home; as overgrown bodies seem safe from
external injuries, but suffer grievous inconveniences from their own

The motives of self-aggrandizement by force of arms appear to be innate in
human nature. We see men maintaining monstrous ideas. We see great armies
singularly swayed by single minds, in defiance of truth and reason. The
soldiers of Catiline fought to the last gasp, and perished to a man,
embracing the eagle of Marius--"Marius, who sprang from the dust the
expiring Gracchi flung towards heaven," and who first dared attack the
aristocratic nobility, and defend the down-trodden rights of the oppressed
plebeian. There are mysterious laws, which seem to regulate the expansion
and the decay of the human families. There are unseen forces which now and
then impel vicious men to their own destruction.


ANDERSONVILLE--a name which has been stamped so deeply by cruelty into the
pages of American history--is one of those miserable little hamlets, of a
score of scattered and dilapidated farm-houses, which relieve the monotony
of the wide and dreary level of sand plains, which, covered with immense
forests, interspersed with fens, marshes, corn and cotton fields, stretch
away, in unbroken surface, from Macon down to the Florida shores. The
plantations, which were tilled by slave labor, are almost concealed in the
recesses of the forests, so thickly wooded is the country. Here and there
only, where the savannas are of unusual fertility, do the cleared lands
give a wide and extended view of the landscape, but the primeval pines
everywhere hide the distant horizon.

[Illustration: J. H. Bufford's lith. Boston, Mass.]

The song of the laborer rarely disturbs the silence, which is oppressive.
Song is the impulsive outburst of a heart filled with joy and hope. The
slave has neither. His voice is the cry of anguish, of a soul burdened and
crushed, and is more like the moan of the winds than the accents of
civilized man.

The physical aspect of the white inhabitant indicates the local
impressions and inspirations--listless and apathetic in look, lank and
haggard in form. There are countries, there are even limited localities,
where the moral and mental faculties expand in accordance with external
impressions. The laws of beauty and deformity are regulated by the
condition and circumstances of the outward world to a remarkable degree.

The landscape, the sunshine, and the luxuriance at Corinth and Athens gave
rise to the most beautiful flowers of art and love, and to that wonderful
type of human beauty, which the world has since lost; but the rugged and
stern defiles of the mountains of Calabria, of Albania, and the dreary
marsh fens of the Campagna, or of the Netherlands, still produce
characters that rival in ferocity the hyenas of the desert.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nature appears to have selected for man the sites where are performed the
noble acts which charm and enlighten the mind, or the dark deeds which
cause men to ponder and regret the frailty of their organization. "It
seems that the instincts of war conduct from age to age the armies of
successive empires to the same rendezvous of contest, and that geography
has laid off in advance certain fields of battle, as a sort of arena for
these great immolations of humanity." "Hungary," said Sobieski, "is a
clump of earth, which, if squeezed, would give out but human blood." The
name and look of Andersonville will always be synonymous with and
suggestive of cruelty.


At the distance of eight hundred paces from the railway which connects the
town with Central Georgia on the north and the Gulf of Mexico on the
south, appears the Prison Stockade, which was located by the Winders of
the Rebel army, at the suggestion of Howell Cobb, in 1863, and occupied
for its specific purpose in February, 1864.

It is situated about fifty miles south of Macon, and its position on the
geographical map is defined by longitude 7° 30' west from Washington,
latitude 32° 10' north of the equator, corresponding in the western
hemisphere to the central region of Algiers.

A dense forest of primeval trees covered the spot which was selected by
the engineers when they marked out the line of the prison. The massive
pines were levelled by the strong arms of several hundred negro slaves,
and when their branches were cut away, they were placed side by side,
standing upright in the deep ditches, which were excavated with
regularity, and in parallel lines, north and south, east and west. Thus
were formed the boundaries of the palisade, wherein nearly forty thousand
human beings were to be herded at one time. The surface of the earth
was cleared completely away, so as to give full play to the elements of

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE STOCKADE as the rebels left it.--Page 19.]

Neither shade nor shelter was there to protect from the storm, or from the
merciless rays of an almost tropical sun. Not a tree nor a shrub was left
there to cast a shadow over the arid and calcined earth. There was simply
a rampart of logs, rising from fifteen to eighteen feet in height above
the surface of the ground. This rampart measured at first ten hundred and
ten feet in length by seven hundred and seventy-nine feet in width, and
was surrounded, at a distance of sixty paces, by another palisade of rough
logs more than twelve feet in height. It was afterwards lengthened, in the
autumn of 1864, to sixteen hundred and twenty feet.

This enormous structure still stands there, with its giant walls of trees,

  *    *    *     "May none those marks efface,
  For they appeal from tyranny to God."


A small stream of water, which arose in two branches scarcely a thousand
paces distant, in bogs and fens whose bitterness and impurities continued
with the current, passed through the central portion of the enclosed space
with sufficient volume to supply the wants of many thousand men, if it had
been properly received, protected, and economized.

During the summer many springs burst forth from the soil on either bank of
the stream within the prison; but the water, neglected by the military
guards, soon became defiled by the feet and grime of the prisoners, and
then this portion of the enclosure, embracing several acres, was
transformed into a deep and horrible mire, quivering with those disgusting
forms of organic life which are produced by putrid and decaying matter.
The stench would have corroded the surface of adamant.

Within the two lines of palisades, and on the western side, was erected
the single bakery which was to furnish the munition bread for the
prisoners. Upon the hill to the northward, at the distance of two hundred
paces from the outer line, was strangely placed the building which was
known as the _kitchen_. The reason why this cookery was placed so far from
water, and the direct line of communication with the main gate, the
projectors alone can tell. Consider the enormous weight of provisions and
water which full rations to even ten thousand men would require daily.
Consider, then, the distance from the railway depot, the circuitous route
to the entrance of the prison, the mode, and inefficient transportation,
and you will have an idea of the ignorance, the carelessness, the
perversity or wilfulness, or call it what you will, which prevailed here
in the prison system, if system it can be termed.


To the south, on the high land which overlooked the prison and its
appendages, was erected the two-story building which served as quarters
and offices for the officers and clerks. Along the same elevated ridge
were located the well-built huts of the guards, who were selected
from the Confederate Reserves of Georgia, under the command of Howell
Cobb, and numbered from three to five thousand men. Farther to the west,
along the same airy and commanding ridge, and close to the track of the
railway, appears the large two-story wooden buildings, which were built
and arranged, carefully and comfortably, for the sick of the rebel guards.


_Measured by Dr. Hamlin Copy right secured_]


To the south-east, and at the distance of a stone's throw from the prison,
were placed the few miserable and decayed tents which were to serve as
hospitals, in mockery of science and humanity.

To-day the traces of this useless philanthropy have passed away, but the
results are fearfully shown in the field to the northward, where thirteen
thousand soldiers sleep in death,--the harvest of one short year! "Here,"
said one of the surgeons to the inquirer, "death might be predicted with
almost absolute certainty."

Here came a medical officer of the highest rank in the Rebel army, and one
of the most eminent _savans_ of the South, to study the physiology and
philosophy of starvation. The notes of that fearful clinic are preserved,
and may some future day startle the scientific world with their clearness,
their candor, their positive evidence of the cause of death. Thus the
scalpel silences the argument, the reasoning of sophistry.

That there was scarcity of medicines, and all of those delicacies known to
the cultivated or luxurious taste, there can be no doubt. Neither the
country, nor the desires of the people, produced or favored their
production; but let us thank Heaven there is proof that there were some
among the medical officers in whom the virtues of the heart were not
entirely reversed, who did protest against the needless deficiencies and
the system of treatment.

The sufferings here were less poignant than in the pen; for nature always
comes to the relief of dying mortals, and tempers the pangs of

Food was demanded, but it was wanting. Shelter and the pure air of heaven
were prayed for by gasping men; even these, too, were wanting. Yet close
by rose the gigantic pines, of the growth of centuries, standing in all
the grandeur of the primeval forests, and offering to the disordered
vision and senses of the dying wretches grateful shades, cool bowers, or
the images of home, and the forms of the well-loved, as the faint and
sinking traveller beholds them in the far-off mirage of the desert.


The dense pine forests on either side still attest the luxuriant growth,
which was regarded at the time of its selection as the finest timbered
land of all Georgia. These immense pines are even yet so near as to cast
their lengthened shadows, at morning and evening, over the accursed area
where so many noble men perished for want of shelter from the heat of the
noonday sun, the chilling dews of evening, and the frequent rain. The
shade temperature of this place sometimes rose to the height of 105°, even
110° Fahrenheit. The sun temperature within the stockade must have
risen to 120° and upwards, for the height of the walls prevented the free
circulation of the air. The heat of this region during the days of summer
is unusually great.

[Illustration: VIEW OF OFFICERS' STOCKADE, with rebel camps and hospitals
in the distance.--Page 21.]

Its elevation above the tide level is only about three hundred feet; and
the hot blasts from the burning surface of the Gulf of Mexico, which is
only about one hundred and fifty miles distant, sweep up over it
northward, without being deviated or modified by ranges of mountains. The
intervening country is unbroken, from distance to distance, by the
undulation of the soil, and resembles more the level of a wide, green sea
than the usual configurations of the solid earth. It bears the reputation
of being unhealthy, and it is not strange; for there are certain isolated
local climates which are absolutely pestilential, as we observe in the
detached mountain groups and table lands of India and Southern Europe. Its
isothermal line passes through Tunis and Algiers, and the hyetal charts
show it to be one of the most humid regions in America.

Fifty-five inches of rain fall here annually, whilst Maine, with her
constant fogs, receives but forty-two and England but thirty-two.

Was it possible for human life to endure these extremes of heat, rendered
still more positive by exposure to the damp and chilly dews of the nights
of southern latitude? It is a well-known fact, that neither men nor
animals can labor or expose themselves with impunity to the rays of the
noonday sun of tropical climes. Man, of all terrestrial animals, is the
least supplied with natural protectives.


Around this ill-fated spot were stretched a cordon of connected
earthworks, which completely enveloped the palisades, and commanded, with
seventeen guns, every nook and corner of the enclosure. The forts were
well constructed, and provided against the chances of sudden and desperate
assaults. The cannon were well mounted, and placed in barbette and
embrasure. Lunettes and redoubts covered all the approaches to the two
great gates.

Several regiments of the rebel reserves constantly occupied the forts and
trenches, and guarded closely every avenue. Escape was impossible.


To preside over this assemblage, with its arranged, premeditated, and
atrocious system, were selected men well known for their energy of purpose
and their ferocity of soul, and who hoped, like the Parthian, that cruelty
might seem to the eye of man a warlike spirit. Winder has already been
summoned to his God, without affording to the tribunals of men the
opportunity to judge of his justification or his shame. The wretched Wirz,
arraigned and convicted by the most overwhelming evidence, has since paid
the severest penalty which the majesty of violated law can exact on earth.

The instincts of nature always demand a certain respect for the memory of
the dead, no matter how the death may take place. But shall this shield
for the executioner obstruct justice, or reverence and admiration for the
remembrance of the virtues of the nobler victims? Let us bring to light,
and praise the heroism of noble men, even if we violate and break to
pieces the sacred mausoleums where a thousand criminals lie buried.


The dispositions of man depend greatly upon the associations of his early
life. The youthful and pliant organization is easily impressed by the
natural scenes of birthplace and childhood, and the effect of the views of
the savage mountain gorges, the dark and gloomy forests, or the distant
landscape, smiling in the rays of the sun, and decorated with the most
beautiful works of human industry, are felt hereafter in the labors and
conceptions of manhood. Men sometimes are but the living reflections of
the savage scenes among which they have been reared, and seldom do we see
them arise from that immense and world-wide mass of fallen humanity to
cherish anew, to maintain the noble principles of this earthly life, and
lead the willing world to the true worship of the Creator.

Wirz was born among the glorious mountains of Switzerland, where the lofty
and dazzling peaks of eternal snow, pointing upwards into the clear vault
of heaven, impress the human mind with sublimity, or where the deeper
glens sadden the heart and blast the aspiring imagination.

It seems that the natural impressions made upon this man in this beautiful
country were of an earthly and sordid character, for he has always
exhibited, in his wanderings in pursuit of fortune, the reckless and
degraded soul of a mercenary.

Seeking gain in the New World, he turned up in the Slave States when the
revolt was determined upon, and without reluctance, offered his services
to the frantic and savage horde. Although a Swiss and republican by birth
and inheritance, he does not hesitate between liberty and despotism. The
principles of political dogmas do not agitate him; it is the desire for
money, and an insatiate thirst for blood, blasting the natural heart with
cruel and remorseless passions, that led him blindly and swiftly to ruin.
The fatal plunge taken, and there was no return. The compunctions of
humanity passed over his seared and unfeeling conscience, with no more
effect than when the waves surge over the huge rocks which form the bed of
the deepest ocean.

He was selected for the fatal position by the brutal Winder, who first
observed him among the unfortunate prisoners of the first disastrous
battle of the republic. What should recommend him, then, to the notice of
this inhuman officer, can be easily conjectured by the survivors of the
prisons of that period. Cruelty then was pastime, it afterwards became a
law. It was then that some of the chivalry, after the manner of the tribes
of Abyssinia and Eastern Africa, made glorious trophies of the skulls and
the bones of their antagonists who had fallen in battle.

This man appeared at times kind and humane, and his voice had the accents
of benevolence; but when excited, natural sentiments recoiled with horror
at the depth and extent of his imprecations. This assumed gentleness of
disposition is of but little weight among the examples of history.

"I have often said," writes Montaigne, "that cowardice is the mother of
cruelty, and by experience have observed that the spite and asperity of
malicious and inhuman courage are accompanied with the mantle of feminine
softness." The ensanguined Sylla wept over the recital of the miseries he
himself had caused.

That daily murderer, the tyrant of Pheres, forbade the play of tragedy,
lest the citizens should weep over the misfortunes of Hecuba and

The beautiful eyes of the Roman maidens glistened with tears at the
imaginary sufferings of the inanimate marbles of Niobe and Laocoon, yet
how remorselessly they gave the signal of death to the defeated gladiator
on the arena of the Colosseum!

The warm, generous, natural impulses of the heart soon become affected,
impaired, and even reversed by brutal associations.

Circumstances develop greatly the characters of men, and they sometimes
rise to true greatness, or sink into baseness, according to the law of
effect, of contact, and example.



  "Plus in carcere spiritus acquirit, quam caro amittit."--_Tertullian._

  "Eternal spirit of the chainless mind!
  Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
  For there thy habitation is the heart--
  The heart which love of thee alone can bind:
  And when thy sons to fetters are consigned--
  To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
  Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
  And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind."
                                        _Prisoner of Chillon._

Within the deadly shadows of this enormous palisade were assembled and
confined together at one time during the hot months of 1864, more than
thirty-five thousand soldiers, of the various armies of the United
States--more men than Alexander led across the Hellespont to the conquest
of Asia; more men than followed Napoleon in those glorious campaigns over
the bright fields of Northern Italy, where every helmet caught some beam
of glory.

Here were men of all conditions, birth, and fortune--some of the best
blood and sap of the republic.

The strong-limbed lumbermen from the forests of Maine, the tall, gigantic
men from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the hunters of the great
prairies of the West,--those men of wonderful courage and endurance,--the
artisan from the workshop, the student from his books, the lawyer from the
forum, the minister from the pulpit, the child of wealth, and the poor
widow's only son, were collected here in this field of torture.

[Illustration: VIEW OF INTERIOR OF THE PRISON, with the quagmire and
crowds of huts and men beyond. From rebel photographs.--Page 29.]

They were men in the prime of life--young, vigorous, and active--when they
surrendered themselves as prisoners of war. And as prisoners, they were
entitled to the care and treatment acknowledged by the general laws and
usages of civilized nations, and expected even more from those who boasted
of having revived the generosity and chivalric tone of the feudal ages.
Besides justice to all men, we owe special grace and benignity to those
who come into our power from the hazard of battle. However degraded the
suppliant may be, there is always some commerce between them and us, some
bond of mutual relation.

Why these men did not receive that respect which true courage always
accords to the vanquished brave, why they did not receive even that atom
of compassion which belongs to the nature of man, and which is seen even
among the lower animals, history, which loves to avenge the weak and
oppressed, and which affords to all men, to all nations, the opportunity
for their justification, their vengeance, their glory, will surely exhibit
in burning characters of horror and shame. There are men even now who
would sanctify the acts of cruelty of the rebellion over the very ashes of
this the nation's sepulchre. There are men even now who would outrage
virtue, and deify the crime. There are men living, like those of the
past, but not forgotten iron age, possessed of that remorseless fury,
that implacable hatred, which nothing could arrest, nothing could disarm,
and which could no more receive a sentiment of compassion than that
sophistry which allowed outrage and death to the tender and guiltless
child of Sejanus.

  "Ut homo hominem, non iratus, non timens, tantum spectaturus occidat."


The intention which directed the formation of this vast camp was Cruelty.
The system which governed, or rather the want of system which neglected,
each department, whether hospital or commissariat, meant Death. The
evidence against the leaders of the Confederacy is not wanting, neither is
it obscure. It is true that most of the witnesses have perished, or are
fast passing prematurely away; but the chain of circumstantial evidence is
so connected, so apparent, that, unless the faith of humanity changes,
that voice, which Tacitus calls "the conscience of the human race," will,
until the end of time, overwhelm with withering scorn the memory of these
men as the assassins of sedition, rather than the heroes and saints of a
just revolution.

We may search history in vain for a parallel in modern times.
Civilization, in its known vicissitudes, cannot point out a spectacle so

The massacre, in hot blood, of the Tartars of the Crimea by Potemkin, will
not compare with this slow, merciless, implacable process of murder by
starvation, and violation of those hygienic laws upon which the principle
of life depends. The fusilades of that saturnalia of blood, the French
Revolution, which swept away whole generations, had the pomp of military
executions, which threw a gleam of brilliancy over the scene, and gave
momentary enthusiasm to the victims. Those great immolations of the
Saracens and Persians by the Tartars were as rapid as the cimeters could
flash. "The fury of ideas," says Lamartine, "is more implacable than the
fury of men; for men have heart, and opinion none. Systems are brutal
forces, which bewail not even that which they crush."

"See," said Timour to the learned men of Aleppo, "I am but half a man, and
yet I have conquered Irak, Persia, and the Indies." "Render glory,
therefore, to God," replied the Mufti of Aleppo, "and slay no one." "God
is my witness," said, with apparent sincerity, the destroyer of so many
millions of men, "that I put no one to death by a premeditated will; no, I
swear to you I kill no one from cruelty, but it is you who assassinate
your own souls."


The world has never seen such a display of courage and devotion as was
exhibited by the intelligent masses of the freemen of the North, when the
liberties of the great republic were menaced by the fierce gestures of the
slave faction and their misguided supporters.

Men of all classes, forsaking home, kindred, and property, rushed to
present a living barrier to the impetuous march of the enraged and
misguided horde that pressed on with almost resistless fury, and
threatened to overwhelm and destroy the noblest fabric of the enlightened
mind. At last the carnage of battle has ceased. Nature smiles again, and
rapidly obliterates the marks of the ravages left upon her green fields,
where the huge and desperate armies have swayed and struggled in deadly
conflict. The emblems of civil liberty are again restored, the fasces
replaced; and it now becomes the country to arouse itself from the depths
of apathy, and revive those sentiments of tenderness and gratitude which
nature everywhere bestows upon the memory of those who upheld the cause of
liberty, and fell in its defence.


To understand fully the determined character, the steadfast loyalty, of
these brave and unfortunate men, we must consider at length the details of
this enclosure, with its hungry, emaciate, filthy mass of humanity, whence
arose a stench of death so powerful as to be perceived at the distance of
a league--the burning sky, the array of instruments of torture, the
manifest design of cruelty.

The suffering wretch had only to pronounce the magic words, "Allegiance to
the Rebel cause," and his sufferings and misery were at an end. The huge
gates flew open, and with grim smiles, the enfeebled and tottering
apostate was welcomed as an accession to the southern ranks.

But the republic was safe here, and the sacred fire of its altars burned
steadily through all the horrors and noxious vapors of this hell on

Strange to relate, that out of the seventeen thousand registered sick,
there is record of only about _twenty-five_ who accepted the offers to
save their lives, and took the oath of the rebels. Is it not wonderful
that this great number of men should thus, in silence, brave the horrors
by which they were surrounded, and remain firm in their convictions of
right and wrong? An entire army perished, rather than deny the country
which gave them birth! They would no more surrender their principles, than
their homes and altars, as ransoms for their lives.

Has the world's history a parallel to this devotion?

  "But these are deeds which should not pass away,
  And names that must not wither, though the earth
  Forgets her empires with a just decay."


Heroism in the damp and noxious prisons, where the noble qualities of the
mind are shaken and swayed by the sufferings of the body, is far different
from that which is displayed upon the battle-field, amid the glittering
and inspiring pomp of war.

The men at Thermopylæ fought in the shadows of the soul-inspiring
mountains, and beheld, through the charm of distance, their homes and the
beautiful valleys they had sworn to defend. The Decii saw the shining
swords of their enemies when they rushed into battle, and the dying nobly
and the glory made all fear of death but of little weight.

Here, instead of bright and glorious banners and the flash of arms, the
long array of men eager for the contest, and the songs, the shouts of
defiance, there was a vast ditch, crowded with living beings of scarce the
human form, haggard and unnatural in appearance--a sea of red and fetid
mud, trampled and defiled by the immense throng. Instead of the white
tents and canopies of military encampments, there were the ragged blankets
vainly stretched over upright sticks; there were the holes in the earth,
the burrows in the sand, like the villages of the rats of the great
prairies of the West. They were more like the dens of the beasts of the
desert than habitations for human beings.

No Christian hand ever penetrated to their depths to aid the sick and
suffering inmates, to nourish the hungry and console the dying, save one
Romish priest; and in spite of the horrors and dangers of the place, he
was faithful to his trust. Noble man! you have proved by these acts that
humanity is not a mendacious idol, and that devotion to humanity is not a
mere matter of gain and self-aggrandizement.

More than four thousand human beings perished in these excavations!

It seemed as though vengeance was prolonged beyond death itself.

  "Where was thine Ægis, Pallas, that appalled
  Stern Alaric and Havoc on their way?"


Life here was brief. The victims, as they entered the gate, were appalled
at the horrors that were presented to them in this living sepulchre.
Nature seemed to have abandoned the struggle early, and the young men
passed, with rapid pace, from youth--that youth so rich in its future--to
manhood, from manhood to old age. Neither prudence nor philosophy could
protect them from the grievous influences of the morbid conditions to
which they were exposed. The delicate and noble faculties were blunted and
destroyed. Some perished at once, almost as quickly as though struck by
the lightning of heaven, whilst others lingered, according to the strength
of the hidden resources, the reserved and superabundant powers of youth.

Among the few survivors of the present day we can learn of the fearful
struggle between life and death, by the gray hairs, the impassive
features, from which the smile of youth has fled forever, the feeble and
tottering steps of the man who has prematurely arrived at his limit of
earthly existence.

The integrity and character exhibited by these men, in the midst of these
tortures, is unsurpassed.

It was the same morale that immortalized the armies of Italy and Moreau,
that covered with splendor the heroes of Sparta and Rome, and proved
incontestably the superiority of the volunteer over the mercenary regular.
The wretched men died in silence, or with the name of home or the loved
ones on their lips, and adjuring their comrades to stand firm in defence
of their faith, their country, their God. "My treatment here is killing
me, mother; but I die cheerfully for my country." They died as the wounded
French died at Jemappes, with the delirium and exaltation of patriotism,
uttering at the last moment some of the strains of the songs of freedom,
and the names of country and liberty. "Thus the enthusiasm of the combat
prolonged or reproduced itself, and survived even in their agony."

The sufferings of these men, wasting, putrefying, dying daily by scores,
by hundreds, without touching the remorseless hearts of the
prison-keepers, recall to mind those monsters which history points out as
rising now and then from out the wreck of social order. It was one of the
results of Slavery, for Slavery weakens the natural horror of blood.

Cruelty is naturally progressive, for it engenders the fear of a just
revenge. New cruelties succeed, until extermination becomes the rule and
ends the scene.

"To hate whom we have injured is a propensity of the human mind," says


At the distance of about five hundred paces northwestward from the
stockade, in a little field which is almost overshadowed by the
surrounding pines, appear a multitude of stakes standing upright in the
earth, in long and regular lines.

Upon every one of these fragments of boards figures have been carelessly
scratched by an iron instrument; and they run up to the appalling number
of almost thirteen thousand! Each stick represents a dead man,--a
hero,--and this multitude of branchless and leafless trunks reminds us
rather of a blasted vineyard than of a cemetery arranged for the human

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE GRAVEYARD, with its thirteen thousand victims,
as the rebels left it. Taken from rebel photographs in possession of the
author.--Page 37.]

I have seen many of the rarest sculptures in civilized lands, where art
has lavished and exhausted its powers to awaken sympathy for the dead, but
have met with none that moved my heart more impressively than the brief,
vague inscriptions, the rude memorials of this silent and neglected field,
where sleep an entire army of freemen, who preferred lingering death
rather than allegiance to a rebel and wicked faction.

Beneath the red clods of this field, thickly as the leaves of autumn, are
stretched side by side a number of men more numerous than all of the
American soldiers who perished by disease and casualty of battle during
the Mexican war--more than all of the British soldiers who were killed, or
perished from their wounds, on the bloody fields of the Crimea, the
desperate struggles at Waterloo, the four great battles in
Spain,--Talavera, Salamanca, Albuera, Vittoria,--and also the sanguinary
contest at New Orleans. All these losses of the sons of the British empire
do not build up a hecatomb of the human dead so high, so vast, so red, as
this one single link of the great chain of wrong that stretched from
Virginia to Texas.

There is no battle-field on the face of the globe, known to the antiquary,
where so many soldiers are interred in one group as are gathered together
in the broad trenches of this neglected field among the pine forests of
Georgia. What a gathering is this! What a monument of the incarnation of
political lust, of the reckless desperation, the implacability of the
depraved human heart, when resolved upon cruelty! The world does not
offer, among all of her extant memorials, a more terrible, a more
impressive comment upon the ambition, the power, the glory of mankind.


Respect to the dead is an instinct of nature; and to leave the remains of
a fallen comrade upon the field, unhonored, is repugnant even to the red
men of the forest. How much more, then, does a civilized nation, of high
degree, owe to the memory of its brave defenders! Will it now forget the
noble sacrifice of its sons amid the debasing influences of commerce and
manufacture? Shall these sticks, which mark the nation's sacrifice,
moulder into dust, and with their brief inscriptions be swept away by the
winds of the world, and all traces of this heroism, this martyrdom, lost?

Here is something required more than brief, hollow, human gratitude, and a
sonorous, perishable epitaph.

Whatever rises above the level of this plain to commemorate for future
ages the devotion of the men who sleep beneath, should be of lasting
material, and as colossal as the gigantic proportions of the republic
itself: or the field should be levelled and swept, and every
distinguishing sign blended and effaced, and the true altar of memorial
erected in the hearts of all men who believe and revere those eternal
principles of love, justice, truth.

Liberty has but one inscription to offer, and that is the noble lines
which were traced on the dungeon wall in the blood of the noblest and
purest of the Girondins: "_Potius mori quam foedari_"--Death rather than


Impartial history will give to the memory of these men a place among the
records of useless murder.

The law of parole was all-sufficient to prevent their return to service,
and their absence from the fields of campaign would have been of no
material weight with the prolific North.

But the intent of their captors was cruelty; and they strove to reduce the
numbers, and to intimidate the courage, of the Federal soldiers, by acts
of savage barbarity, as the relentless Tartar hoped to terrify the Hindoos
into the profession of Mohammedanism by sacrificing multitudes, and
deluging whole countries in blood.

To deny the criminality is, as Lamartine says of the massacres of
September, "to belie the right of feeling of the human race. It is to deny
nature, which is the morality of instinct. There is nothing in mankind
greater than humanity. It is not more permissible for a government than
for a man to commit murder. If a drop of blood stains the hand of a
murderer, oceans of gore do not make innocent the Dantons. The magnitude
of the crime does not transform it into virtue. Pyramids of dead bodies
rise high, it is true, but not so high as the execration of mankind."



Let us now examine and consider, with impartial eye, the Stockade in
detail--the locality, the hospital, the dietary, and, in fact, all that
relates to the condition of life in this region; reviewing at length the
laws which regulate the animal economy, and judging of cause and effect
with that spirit which Bacon calls the "_prudens quæstio_."

In selecting new grounds for the habitations of human families, whether in
large or limited numbers, particular care must always be observed,
especially in warm climes, or where malarial influences are known to
prevail. In the selection of places for the encampment of troops, the
problem is still more difficult to treat, on account of the general
dyscrasial condition of the soldier; and oftentimes far more skill and
prudence are required than in the choosing of a field for battle.

How many a noble regiment have we seen impaired in its effective strength,
and robbed of its glorious future, by the injudicious encampment, where
vain and ignorant officers have sacrificed the health and morale of their
men to please their fanciful ideas as to military etiquette--the form of
shelter, the position, and the regularity of the prescribed lines of

In one of the last campaigns of Europe, when all the resources which
modern wealth could afford were lavished with unsparing hand, there was a
useless and preventible loss of life, that recalled the most disastrous
epidemics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

War is one of the natural laws for the demolition of the human race, and
we see the spirit of destruction silently at work among friends as well as
foes. The supreme commands seem mysteriously to be placed in the hands of
men who can cause the greatest devastation and sacrifice of life; who
march their columns steadily to the deadly and murderous assault when
there is no occasion for it; who encamp their troops in pestilential
lowlands, when the healthy heights offer safer and better accommodations.

  "Nobilitas cum plebe perit, lateque vagatur ensis."


It is a melancholy fact, attested by the distinguished Marshal Saxe, that
the military men of modern times are far less informed than the great
generals of antiquity in the profound knowledge of public hygiene, and
especially of that which relates to the economy of armies. We can admire,
but hardly improve, the physical education imposed upon the volunteers of
Sparta and the legionaries of Rome; and we have not surpassed their
scientific, yet rude alimentation, by which they marched over immense
distances with rapidity, and preserved their vigor and morale. From the
extant documents of the ancients, from Xenophon or Vegetius, it is shown
that their acquaintance with whatever related to clothing, encampment,
food, the graduation of exercises, and the employ of forces, was of the
highest character.

The effects of high and low lands, of good and bad water, on the diseases,
energy, character, and intellect of man, have been sketched in a masterly
manner by Hippocrates.

The exposure of a few hours to malignant influences may impair the
strength of an army to such a degree as to thwart the most skilful plans,
the wisest combinations for vigorous campaigns, as, for instance, the
Walcheren expedition of the English, the Neapolitan campaign of France,
when her army was reduced from twenty-eight thousand to four thousand
effective men, in one hundred hours, from an injudicious encampment at
Baie, or when Orloff lost his army in Paros, or, still later, the disaster
to the splendid division of the French army under Espinasse, in the fatal

Armies have been lost, the fate of empires decided, by the violation or
neglect of the simple rules of hygiene; and all through the blood-stained
pages of military history do we observe examples, from the time when
Scipio lost the battle of Trebbia, or when Bajazet threw away his vast
empire on the plains of Angora, down to Kunersdorf, when the impetuosity
of Frederick the Great would not allow rest to his men or horses.


In 1863 the depots near Richmond became so crowded by the Federal
prisoners that it became a matter of serious consideration to the rebel
authorities how to guard them, and attempt to feed them and the regiments
guarding them. Then the idea was conceived of forming a Great camp in the
Gulf States, in a locality fruitful in grain, and in a position secure
from raids from the Federal cavalry. Several locations were examined, but
none pleased the selecting officer, until he had examined the site at
Andersonville, to which he conceived a particular fancy. There were places
in this section of the country where pure water could be obtained in
abundance, but these spots were not so readily accessible, and wood was
not so plenty and handy as at this. There was another consideration in the
public view of its selection, that it was in the heart of the best
corn-producing region at that time in Georgia, and easy access could be
had with the everglades of Florida, where herds of half wild cattle roamed
at will.

It is not the belief of the writer, although there are many facts to
warrant such an inference, that the selection was made with the view of
deliberately destroying the prisoners openly, and without reserve, for
there were other localities far more pestilential than this; and yet, on
the other hand, there were also many situations infinitely more salubrious
and easy of access. There was in reality not much reflection in the
matter. The selectors thought only of the geographical and strategical
position; they cared not for its topography or its meteorology.

They consulted only their convenience. The idea of the preservation of the
lives of their unfortunate prisoners never troubled their minds, never
disturbed their conscience. They would build a safe and secure pen, and if
God, in his infinite and mysterious mercy, chose to summon from earth any
of the hapless wretches, they would not consider themselves as accountable
for the premature deaths. Such was their reasoning. Such was their
philosophy. Such was their conscience. The exult of Winder, when asserting
that he was doing more for the Confederacy than a dozen regiments at the
front, and the exclamation of Howell Cobb, when pointing to the ten
thousand graves, "That is the way I would do for them," were perhaps the
bravado of the southern slaveholder. Even at this late date we can find
men, of some tenderness, in this vicinity, who have reasoned their weak
minds into the idea and belief that no harm was ever done or intended; and
even if it can be proved, then the Federals only received what they
deserved, and no more than their own sons in the prisons of the North

Such was the conscience of the Pharisee.

Such was the remark made to the writer by a southern gentleman over the
graves of the victims.


The topographical features of the site are not particularly objectionable
for an encampment of a few hundred men.

The northern and southern banks incline sufficiently towards the stream in
the centre to allow of proper drainage. The stream itself furnished water
in sufficient volume to provide for the wants of ten thousand men, if it
had been turned from its channel above the stockade, and introduced into
the prison by simple sluices. But to this important item there was not the
least attention paid.

To preface the analysis of this stockade, &c., we may wisely review the
remarks of the late Dr. Jackson, the chief medical officer of the British


"A necessity occurs in war, on many occasions, which leaves no option of
choice in occupying posts of an unhealthy character: but there is,
unfortunately, an authority, derived from example and the sanction of
great names, which directs the military officer, when under no military
necessity, to fix his encampment on grounds which are unhealthy in
themselves, or which are exposed by position to the influence of noxious
causes, which are carried from a distance.

"Such advice proceeds from the desire to act on a presumption of
knowledge, which cannot be ascertained, rather than to act by the
experience of facts, which man is qualified to observe and verify.

"It is consonant with the experience of military people, in all ages and
in all countries, that camp diseases most abound near the muddy banks of
large rivers, near swamps, and ponds, and on grounds which have been
recently stripped of their woods. The fact is precise: but it has been set
aside to make way for an opinion.

"It was assumed, about half a century since, by a celebrated army
physician, that camp diseases originate from causes of putrefaction, and
that putrefaction is connected radically with a stagnant condition of the
air. As streams of air usually proceed along rivers, with more certainty
and force than in other places, and as there is evidently a more certain
movement of air, that is, more winds, on open grounds than among woods and
thickets, this sole consideration, without any regard to experience,
influenced opinion, and gave currency to the destructive maxim, that the
banks of rivers, open grounds, and exposed heights, are the most eligible
situations for the encampment of troops. They are the best ventilated:
they must, if the theory be true, be the most healthy. The fact is the
reverse. But demonstrative as the fact may be, fashion has more influence
than multiplied examples of fact, experimentally proved.

"Encampments are still formed in the vicinity of swamps, or on grounds
which are newly cleared of their woods, in obedience to theory, and
contrary to fact. The savage, who acts by instinct, or who acts directly
from the impressions of experience, has in this instance the advantage
over the philosopher, who, reasoning concerning causes he cannot know, and
acting according to the result of his reasonings, errs and leads others
astray by the authority of his name.

"The savage feels, and acting by the impression of what he feels, instead
of fixing his habitation on the exposed bank of large rivers, unsheltered
heights, or grounds newly cleared of their woods, seeks the cover of the
forests, even avoids the streams of air which proceed from rivers, from
the surface of ponds, or from lands newly opened to the sun. The rule of
the savage is a rule of experience, founded in truth, and applicable to
the encampment of troops, even of civilized Europeans.

"In accordance with this principle, it is almost uniformly true, _cæteris
paribus_, that diseases are more common, at least more violent, in broken,
irregular, and hilly countries, where the temperature is liable to sudden
changes, and where blasts descend with fury from the mountains, than in
large and extensive inclined plains, under the action of equal and gentle
breezes only. From this fact, it becomes an object of the first
consideration, in choosing ground for encampments, to guard against the
impression of strong winds, on their own account, independently of their
proceeding from swamps, rivers, and noxious soils.

"In countries covered with woods, abundantly supplied with straw, and
other materials applicable to the purpose of forming shelter, it is, upon
the whole, better to raise huts and construct bowers than to carry canvas.
The individual is exercised by labor, and as his mind is employed in
contriving and executing something for self-accommodation, he is furnished
with a daily opportunity of renewing the pleasure. The mode of hutting,
here recommended, effectually precludes the evils arising from those
contaminations of air in which contagion is generated--an evil which often
arises in tents, and is carried about with an army in all its movements in
the field."

       *       *       *       *       *

The view of the ancients in regard to the encampment of troops may be
understood from the counsel of Vegetius: "Ne aridis et sine opacitate
arborum campis, aut collibus ne sine tentoriis æstate milites


As we have remarked before, the site of the prison was covered with trees
when its outlines were traced and surveyed by the rebel engineers. These
trees, felled to the ground, were hewn, and matched so well on the inner
line of the palisades as to give no glimpse of the outer world across the
space of the dead line, which averaged nineteen feet in width, and which
was defined by a frail wooden railing about three feet in height, from
fifteen to twenty-five feet distant from the palisades.


This line of stockade rose from fifteen to eighteen feet above the surface
of the ground, while the outer line of logs, which was erected about sixty
paces distant from the inner line, was formed of the rough trunks of
pines, and projected twelve feet above the earth. The original stockade
measured but ten hundred and ten feet in length, and seven hundred and
eighty-three feet in width; and within this space were jammed together,
for several months, from twenty-two thousand to thirty-five thousand men,
thus giving a superficial area to each man, when the prison contained
thirty thousand prisoners, but seventeen square feet, after deducting the
nineteen feet average for the dead line, and the quagmire, three hundred
feet in width. This measurement would allow for thirty-five thousand men
but fifteen square feet of area, or less than two square yards to each
person, or more than twenty times the density of Liverpool. This was all
the space that was afforded before the enlargement, and this reckoning
does not include roads or by-paths for communication among the prisoners.

Seventeen and a half square feet of earth are allowed for the coffin's
length in the field of sepulchres. There were here to be seen twelve acres
of living men, packed together like the immense shoals of fish in the
ocean, but like nothing that has life on the earth, not even the
ant-fields. The ratio of density was equivalent to more than sixteen
hundred thousand people to the square mile. The densest portion of East
London has the great number of one hundred and sixty thousand to the
square mile.


In the month of August the stockade was lengthened six hundred and ten
feet, by what influence or from what cause it is unknown; but nevertheless
it was enlarged to the length of sixteen hundred and twenty feet,--thus
making the entire area sixteen hundred and twenty by seven hundred and
eighty-three feet. This enlargement was a salutary movement on a small
scale, but it only prolonged the sufferings of the victims. The thirty
thousand men had now twenty-two acres, minus the dead line and marsh, or
thirty square feet per man, or three and a half square yards. There were
actually, during this month, thirty-five thousand men within the prison,
and some authorities give me as high as thirty-six thousand. This density
is enormous, and cannot be tolerated by animal life in any climate, in any
latitude, of the world. There must be space for organic life to develop
and maintain itself, otherwise it perishes. To give a correct idea of the
crowded condition of this pen, we do not know where to turn for example.
The great cities of civilized lands do not even approximate in their ratio
of populations.

The relation of density, in the three great divisions of London, give
thirty-five, one hundred and nineteen, and one hundred and eighty square
yards to each inhabitant. The densest portion of Liverpool, with its lofty
and immense brick ranges of buildings, swarming with industrial life,
gives more than eighty square feet to each person. The early Roman camps,
which are a marvel to military men, and the closest known to military
science, gave to the ordinary legion three hundred and sixty-seven
square feet of area to each man. The plans of Polybius give two hundred
and thirty square feet to each soldier of the consular army of two
legions, numbering nearly eighteen thousand men, and the descriptions of
Hyginus give similar ratios.


_Measured by Dr. Hamlin Copy right secured_


The encampments of the United States infantry afford, in the most
restricted portion (between stacks of arms and kitchens), two hundred and
forty-four square feet per man, or seventeen hundred and thirty-one square
feet per man for the whole camp.

The space allowed by law for barracks alone is fifty-four square feet for
each soldier, reckoned on the basis of a full complement of men. The rules
of the rebel army concerning camps are the same as those of the
regulations of the United States army.

The United States prison at Elmira contained six thousand men, and
extended over forty acres. The other prisons, at Chicago, Johnson's
Island, Point Lookout, and Fort Delaware, were provided with spacious
exercise grounds, and furnished with covered barracks, built of proper
form, and fitted up with the required conveniences of life. Belle Isle,
which held ten thousand prisoners, had but six acres, and no shelter, no
conveniences whatever.

Andersonville, which contained over thirty thousand prisoners, had in the
stockade, before enlargement, but eighteen acres in all, and but twelve
acres for the use of the prisoners, minus the dead line and the marsh.

The prison at Dartmoor, in England (which was a paradise in comparison
with Andersonville), where our prisoners were held in captivity by the
English during the last war, furnished two hundred to three hundred
square feet to every prisoner in the barracks, besides allowing spacious
yards, where the prisoners were permitted to exercise daily. There were
there seven large two-story stone buildings, each one hundred and eighty
feet in length. Five thousand prisoners enclosed within twenty acres of
land at Dartmoor, thirty thousand in twelve acres, or thirty-five thousand
in twenty-two acres, at Andersonville.


The timbers composing the stockade were of entire trunks of pines, massive
and solid, and measuring from one to three feet in diameter. They were
sunk into the earth for about five or six feet, and held in position at
the top by long, slender pines, nailed on the outer side by large iron
spikes. There were but two gates for this vast prison, and but two
corresponding apertures in the outer palisade. These gates were
constructed of massive timbers, and protected by a strong porch, occupying
a base of about thirty feet square. These were always strongly guarded, to
prevent the sudden rush of masses of men. At intervals of about one
hundred feet, were erected detached and covered platforms, upon the outer
side of the palisades, which, overlooking the summit of the wall, and the
enclosure beyond, served as sentry boxes. The sentries, perched
buzzard-like on the wall, could observe, from their high positions, at all
times, the actions, the motions of the uncovered prisoners, and with their
rifles shoot down the offending prisoner, whether he stood talking with
his comrades, in the centre of the space, or whether he approached the
sacred precincts of the dead line.


Sometimes they threw down their unconsumed fragments of bread to the
hungry men. Sometimes they were hurled with curses; rarely were they
thrown from feelings of compassion. Yet there were some kind-hearted men
here, in the degrading position of the sentry box, who viewed the scene
with affright, and who wept bitterly over the awful torture and sacrifice
of life.

The author, travelling on foot among the mountains and forests of Northern
Georgia, after peace was declared, found these evidences of humane feeling
among the letters preserved in the humble cabins of the poor whites. That
unoffending men were shot down without warning, there is no doubt
whatever; that men, weary of torture, staggered to the dead line, and
calmly, joyfully received the fatal shot, there is positive evidence.


The trees were all removed from the enclosure, and with the specific
intent of cruelty, as was openly stated by the brutal builders. They
should have no shade, it was said, and no shade had the wretched men but
what was cast by the few ragged and rotten blankets and shelter tents that
the prison examiners passed by as utterly worthless in their examination
and search for articles of value, whether watches, bank notes, hats,
shirts, and even shoes. There were men who, robbed at the outer gates,
entered the prison almost naked. This system of robbery was open and
audacious, and it is said that the only prisoners who escaped spoliation
were those who were taken from Sherman when Atlanta fell, and when
consternation prevailed at the prison in consequence. It is positively
stated that it was sanctioned by Wirz and Winder. At all events, two men,
by the names of Hume and Duncan, robbed the prisoners systematically, and
appropriated the packages sent to the prisoners, from the United States,
to such an extent that few if any articles ever reached the poor men to
whom the boxes of food and clothing were sent.

These blankets and rags were vainly stretched over sticks, to form the
semblance of a habitation, wherever the earth gave firm foothold, even
along the borders of the pestilential marsh. Those who were destitute of
even these shreds of cloth, dug with their hands holes in the earth,
after the example of wild beasts, or with the slimy water from the brook
they built up, with handfuls of mud, little cabins over hollows scooped
out from below the surface of the ground, and as rude as the clumps of
earth, which that lowest degree of the human form--the Digger


These may be seen at the present day, looking like the lodges of the
beaver, or the mounds of the marmots of the prairies, and half concealed
by those wild, useless, and noxious weeds which linger in, and cling to
the footsteps of man, as he wanders in his migrations over the
uncultivated lands of the globe.

Sometimes the heavy rains washed away the roofs of mud, inundating the
occupants beneath. Some of the poor wretches had not the strength to lift
up the incumbent mass of earth, and perished miserably in their dens.
There are now in these demolished excavations the bones of some of our
fellow-citizens, unknown and unhonored. The cry of distress was so
constant that few heeded the smothered moan. The stumps of the fallen
trees were grubbed up by the knives and fingers of the prisoners for
firewood to warm themselves with, or to cook their scanty food; even the
roots were followed down deep into the earth, for the purpose of obtaining
the means of warmth which were almost entirely denied them by the prison


There is no excuse for this wanton exposure to the vicissitudes of the
climate, for the forests adjoining were immense in their extent, and
thousands of the suffering men offered, begged to go and obtain material
to build sheds or huts to protect them from the inclemency of the weather.
Neither parole was allowed for this purpose, nor real attempts made to
obtain the building tools. To show the force of the argument that the
rebels had not sufficient aid, and that it would have been dangerous to
have paroled any of these prisoners, there is the fact that there were
several large steam saw-mills in the vicinity, and they could have easily
afforded, in few weeks, all the lumber required for the purpose of

Was it recklessness, was it perversity, or was it malice aforethought,
that withheld from the prisoners the means of shelter? The few sheds that
were erected were not commenced until late in the term of its
occupation, too late to render much service. They were merely roofs of
boards, placed upon posts, at the distance of seven feet from the ground.
There were neither sides nor partitions to these sheds, and they were not
required during the hot months.


The bodies were laid in rows of one hundred to three hundred, and after
the earth was thrown over them a stake was thrust down to mark the place
of burial. This view is taken from a rebel photograph.--Page 57.]

Pity was not a virtue that was recognized here: the noble impulses of the
heart were reversed, and the natural instincts perverted.

The dead bodies of the thousands who perished within the stockade, without
medical attendance, were dragged forth, without care, and thrown
promiscuously into the common field-carts, which, with their carelessly
heaped-up burdens, proceeded to the trenches, where the dead heroes were
laid in long lines, side by side, two or three hundred in a trench, and
then a stick was thrust into the ground, at the head of each man, to
indicate the place of burial. For the care observed in the burial of the
dead after the carts arrived at the cemetery, and the preserving of the
records of the victims, and the place, we are indebted to our own men, who
were paroled especially for the purpose.

The only solicitude observed by the rebels during or after interment of
their victims, was shown by the civil engineer or surveyor of the town. He
thought that so much animal matter should not go entirely to waste, and so
commenced to plant grape vines over the mounds of the decomposing dead.

To show the utter want of decency which ruled all things connected with
the prison, it is stated by positive eye-witnesses that the same carts
that transported the dead, went forth (without being cleansed of their
reeking and disgusting filth), to the shambles and the depots for the
meat and corn for the living prisoners.


An eminent statistician has stated that mortality is in direct ratio to
the density of population, and that superficial area is as essential to
health as cubic space. To the writer's mind, the overcrowding of the men,
and their exposure to the variations of heat and cold, the influence of
moisture, and the foul emanations of the infected soil, were sufficient to
cause great destruction of human life; and when combined with the
deficient dietary, the imagination can hardly conceive of a better field
for disease and death than the condition of this swarming pen. All the
elements and combinations of physical destructiveness were here in full
play. "Losses by battle," says Sir Charles Napier, "sink to nothing,
compared with those inflicted by improperly constructed barracks, and the
jamming of soldiers--no other word is sufficiently expressive."
"Diseases," states the French Inspector Baudens, "slay more men than steel
or powder, and it is often easy to prevent them by a few simple hygienic

In all campaigns where the care of the soldier is left to the military
man,--who is educated for destruction, and has not been taught in the
economy of life,--we see in the mortuary and non-efficient lists a
disgraceful and culpable array of thoughtless routine, vulgar prejudices,
and systems. In our Military Academies the elements and the means of
destruction are taught, but not a law unfolded that relates to the
principles of health, strength, and life. To alleviate the burden of the
military list by sanitary measures is an idea unheard of, or at least
unnoticed. "For these works," writes Chadwick, in his papers on "Economy,"
"a special training is needed for our military engineers, whose present
peculiar training is only for old works for war, and for those
imperfectly,--works for the maintenance of the health of an army being
necessary means to the maintenance of its military strength.

"The one-sided character of the common training of our military engineers
was displayed in the Crimea, in the proved need of a sanitary commission
to give instruction for the selection and the practical drainage of proper
sites for healthy encampments, for the choice collection and the proper
distribution of wholesome water, for the construction of wholesome huts,
and the proper shelter and treatment of horses as well as men."


In this enclosure, during a period of twelve months, from five thousand to
thirty-six thousand human beings ate, slept, and drank, whilst the piles
of filth were constantly accumulating, and the germs of infection silently
at work. There was no regularity in the arrangement of the interior. Men
collected in groups in the day time, and they lay in rows, like swine, at

The stream, which with little ingenuity could have been turned to a
blessing for the prison, was allowed to be obstructed by the heaps of
grime; and enlarging its area, it assisted in forming the extensive
quagmires, which were several acres in extent. So little care was
observed for the comfort or the health of the prisoners, that all the
washings of the bakery, all the filth of the out-houses of the workmen,
were allowed to pass down and mingle with the current of the stream only
thirty feet above the point of entrance into the stockade. The traveller
can observe to-day that this malicious act of refined cruelty, or fatal
error in hygiene, was really perpetrated.

Besides this, the drains of the camp and the town above emptied themselves
into this stream which supplied the prison with water.


The bakery was located on the west side of the stockade, about equidistant
from either line of palisade. It was of rough boards, and but one story in
height. Its interior disclosed two rooms, one of which communicated with
the two ovens, which were built of common brick. These two ovens--fourteen
feet in length by seven feet in width, and with one kneading-trough
fifteen feet long, and less than three feet in width--supplied the
prisoners with all the bread they obtained; and so far the writer has not
learned that there was any other source of supply.

These same ovens, kept red hot, and worked night and day, to the fullest
capacity, by the commissary bakers of the United States service, could not
have produced but eight thousand rations of white bread, and but nine
thousand six hundred rations of corn bread. This is the extreme limit; and
regarded by the workmen, who have made the calculations, as almost an
impossibility. The ordinary capacity of this establishment was probably
about four or five thousand rations of corn bread. This quantity, divided
daily among thirty thousand men, would give but a small morsel to each
one; and this gives the appearance of truth to the statement, that from
two to six ounces of corn bread were furnished as rations to the


Ask a survivor of this prison treatment, if perchance you can find one,
how he preserved his life, and he will tell you, "By eating the rations of
the dying." Ten thousand men were sick or dying in this enclosure at one

After the carts, with their scanty burdens of food, had passed into the
prison, and distributed their contents, ten or fifteen thousand of the
haggard and starving men might be seen collected together in the central
portion of the prison trading with each other. Some of the poor
wretches would be offering a handful of peas for a knot of wood no
larger than the human fist, in order that they might cook their allowance;
others offering, in barter, their remnants of clothing--a cap, or a shoe,
or anything they possessed--for a morsel of food.


The little knots of wood above mentioned had a standard value of fifty
cents; yet there were immense forests all around, and within sight on
every side.


There appears to have been but one kitchen for this vast assemblage, and
that strangely situated--far in rear of the outer palisade, away from
water-course or spring. The soil to-day does not present traces of a
much-travelled road from its doorway to the main gate, distant about one
third of a mile by the route taken. Consider the enormous weight of
provisions which should have passed over this road when the prison
contained more than twenty thousand men. This kitchen was a plain
one-story shed, built of rough boards, one hundred feet in length, and
less than fifty feet in width. It contained in the interior two
medium-sized ranges, and four boilers of fifty gallons' capacity each. The
capacity indicated does not by far equal the cooking apparatus which is
required and furnished to the Lincoln and Harewood Hospitals, of
Washington, for twelve hundred men.

It is the opinion of the writer, who is familiar with the amount of
cooking apparatus required by large hospitals and camps, that this
kitchen, with its implements, could not, in the course of twenty-four
hours, by constant relays of industrious workmen, have furnished cooked
rations to more than five thousand men. There may have been other
arrangements for cooking in the open air; but there are no longer any
traces of such operations, nor has the writer any evidence that such was
the case.



Upon the banks of the same stream, and near the railroad station, was
erected the stockade which was intended for the confinement of the
officers; but it was abandoned, after few weeks' occupation, partly from
motives of prudence and in fear of revolt in keeping officers near so
great a number of the rank and file of the army, and partly from the
unfortunate selection of the locality. The officers were removed to Macon,
and were confined there in the cotton sheds during a long period. This
pen, known as the officers' stockade, was built of pine-tree palisades,
fifteen feet high, and measured one hundred and ninety-five feet in length
by one hundred and eight feet in width, and was provided with a shed in
the interior forty-five feet long by twenty-seven feet wide, and also with
a walk, suspended on the outside of the palisade, for the use of the
sentries. The location and the provisions of this stockade were worse and
more dangerous than even the main prison.



On the pathway to the graveyard, not far from the prison, and in open
sight, was built the hut where the bloodhounds were kept, always ready to
track and pursue the fugitives, who were so fortunate as to escape by
evading the vigilance of the guards, or by the slow and dangerous process
of tunnelling beneath the palisades. The system of pursuit was so perfect,
the dogs so numerous and well trained, that it was very rarely that any
one escaped, and then it was only by the kind intervention of the black

There were but nine bloodhounds kept here, but there were more than fifty
dogs, kept in relays, along the route of escape, extending from the town
to the city of Macon, fifty miles distant. The names of these inhuman
wretches, who kept and hunted with these hounds, are known to the writer,
the places of their residence, the number of their animals, and the price
they received for each hapless victim overpowered by their dogs. These
packs of hounds were generally accompanied by dogs of fierce and
determined courage, to seize and hold the object pursued until the hunters
arrived. The ordinary bloodhound of these regions is cowardly from
degeneration, and dare not face the look, nor disregard the voice of man,
and until the catch-dogs arrive and dash in, and lead the way, they bay
and show their teeth from safe distances; but the victim once disabled,
they tear and rend the living limbs without reluctance. The bloodhound is
said, when in a state of tranquillity, to be the most affectionate of all
the canine race, but when once excited, he no longer recognizes the blood
of his master from that of the stranger. That many men were pursued, and
caught, and paid for by the rebel authorities, at the price of thirty
dollars a head, there is abundant proof; that men were disabled, and torn
wantonly by the hounds, and afterwards died of their wounds, the writer
has positive proof. That Federal soldiers were overpowered and destroyed
in the forests by the dogs, and their brutal owners, there is evidence.

It did not shock the civil communities of the South to hear of the use of
the bloodhounds to pursue and maim men of their own race and nation, for
in every locality, for a long period past, it had been the custom to rear
and train dogs to catch the hapless slave who had incurred the rage of his
master, and vainly sought to escape from his fury in the obscure recesses
of the tangled forests.

Usage, by long repetition, had blunted the natural sympathies, so that
hate readily excused the difference in class and color.


The bloodhounds here used appear to have been of a degenerate breed, and
to have lacked the great strength, the invincible determination, which the
true race possesses. The bloodhounds introduced into Cuba, to exterminate
the Indians, were ferocious and powerful animals. From these the present
stock in Southern Georgia were probably descended, and during three
centuries of change, have gradually lost their nobler qualities, but have
preserved the form. The true bloodhound is taller than the fox-hound, and
stronger in his make. His color is of a reddish brown, shaded here and
there with darker tints. His muzzle and jaws wide and strong, and the
frame firmly knit. His scenting power is extraordinary, and from time
immemorial his services have been made use of in tracking wounded animals
or fugitives from justice.

  "Soon the sagacious brute, his curling tail
  Flourished in air, low bending, plies around
  His busy nose, the steaming vapor snuffs
  Inquisitive, nor leaves one turf untried,
  Till, conscious of the recent stains, his heart
  Beats quick; his snuffing nose, his active tail
  Attest his joy: then with deep, opening mouth,
  That makes the welkin tremble, he proclaims
  Th' audacious felon: foot by foot he marks
  His winding way, while all the listening crowd
  Applaud his reasonings, o'er the watery ford,
  Dry sandy heaths, and stony, barren hills;
  O'er beaten paths, with men and beasts disdained,
  Unerring he pursues, till at the cot
  Arrived, and seizing by his guilty throat
  The caitiff vile, redeems the captive prey."



Animals eat that they may live. Man eats, not only that he may live, but
that he may gather strength, and fulfil his high destiny on earth.

When God gave form and animation to the dust of the earth, and man
appeared, he did not intend that the sustenance of life should be left to
chance or to careless selection. This intent of the Creator is revealed in
the study of the organic world, where wonderful varieties and productions
are offered to the appetite of man, in order that the "force of the
universe may glow within his veins," and that the faculties of his mind
may so expand that he may behold and comprehend the works and designs of
his Maker.

Food, next to the purity of the air, determines the degree of the physical
well-being; it gives the beauty of contour to the form; it builds up the
marvellous structure of the brain; the ravishing smile of the features,
the sublimity of thought, depend alike in great measure upon the benign
influence of food.

It not only gives to nations their characteristics of strength and
solidity, but it bestows upon society more of grace and refinement than
philosophy is willing to allow.


The question of alimentation with the civil laborer, exposed to healthy
influences of properly distributed air and sunlight, and to the regular
motions of a well-conducted life, is easy of solution to the inquiring

But when it relates to the soldier, subjected to strange and unhealthy
influences, the explanations involve much study, care, and research.

In the natural condition of man it is easy to determine how much food will
support life and sustain physical exertion. The dietaries of the public
institutions of different countries, the experiments of physiologists, and
the records of history give the data with sufficient clearness. As to the
amount of food required daily to repair the waste and wants of the human
organism, much depends upon the degree of muscular exertion and nervous
excitation, as well as the temperature of the season. In the alimentation
of armies scientific principles must not be disregarded. Food must be
considered as force; it must contain, not only material, but power. The
strength of men, says Baron Liebig, is in direct ratio to the plastic
matter in their food.

In determining the absolute quantities of nutrient substances required by
the system, Lehman observes that there are three magnitudes especially to
be considered.

The first is the quantity requisite to prevent the animal from sinking by
starvation. The second is that which affords the right supply of
nourishment for the perfect accomplishment of the functions, and the last
is that which indicates the amount of nutrient matter which may, under
the most favorable circumstances, be subjected to metamorphosis in the
blood. No one of the four classes, the carbohydrates, the fats, the
albuminous matters, and the salts, will answer the purpose alone, but all
must be employed together, and this invariable proportion according to the
local, and, therefore, variable waste of the system. These considerations
indicate how complicated the problem is.


Life is an action; the principle of life, whatever may be its nature, is
eminently and visibly a principle of excitation, of impulsion, a motive

"It is taking a false idea of life," says Cuvier, "to consider it as a
simple link which binds the elements of the living body together, since,
on the contrary, it is a power which moves and sustains them unceasingly."

These elements do not for an instant preserve the same relation and
connection; or, in other words, the living body does not for an instant
keep the same state and composition. "This law," adds Flourens, "does not
affect alone the muscles, viscera, and tissues, but there is a continual
mutation of all the parts composing the bone." These views have been
substantiated by the extended experiments of Chossat, of Von Bibra, and a
host of experimentalists, showing how positive and decided are the changes
in the material composition of the body, and especially the constitution
of even the bone from the influence of food.


"It is from the blood that life derives the principles which maintain and
repair it. The more vigorous, plastic, and rich in nutritive material, so
much the more life increases and manifests itself, so much the quicker the
reparatory processes restore a lesion to its natural condition.

"The blood owes its vivifying properties to the presence of oxygen, which
it receives by the respiratory organs; but that nourishing fluid, to
complete its physiological _rôle_, needs to receive combustible and
organizable material."

These Protean principles of the healthy blood form one fifth of its

Oxygen unites with the carbon of the food in the blood of animals;
carbonic acid is formed and heat evolved. When the atmosphere is vitiated,
the oxygenating processes are diminished in ratio to the vitiation.

The experiments of Seguin, Crawford, and De la Roche show that in a
vitiated and highly heated atmosphere the blood is not thoroughly
decarbonized, thereby deranging the nervous system, and affecting the
animal functions as well as the mental faculties. The blood is subject to
incessant variations. The more feeble the respiration the less rich it is.
Man absorbs twenty to thirty quarts of oxygen every hour. The pure air is
a real food, and is as necessary for the development and repair of the
physical force as the more solid forms of matter. Nine ounces of carbon
are consumed every day, and the phenomenon of the expired carbonic acid
has its maxima and minima during the day, like the regular variations of
the barometer or the tides of the ocean.


The great nervous prostration and the lack of energy which were observed
among the prisoners, were not due entirely to climate. The activity of the
nervous mechanism depends greatly upon the supply and purity of the
arterial blood. It is the same with the nerve fibres as with the nerve
centres, but in less degree. We observe that the exaltation and depression
of the nervous power are within the control of man by the administration
of certain drugs, or respiration of appropriate gases. The accumulation of
bile or urea in the blood diminishes the nerve energy. Many physiologists
enumerate moral depressions among the principal causes of epidemics; and
this opinion is not strange when we consider how completely the system is
under control of the nervous influence, and how much the supply of oxygen
and blood to the organs and tissues depend upon the nervous power; and how
much, moreover, the integrity of the nervous system depends upon the
purity of the blood.

In the process of starvation, during the struggle for life, the hidden
forces in reserve--the superabundant muscle, fat, tissues, even the
brain-substance--are gradually absorbed. The volume of blood may remain
the same, but the vivifying particles which circulate in the vital stream
are rapidly consumed by the wants of the wasting economy, and disappear.
And when these hematic globules are lessened to a certain limit below the
normal proportion death ensues. Vierodt has discovered that the limit of
this singular law is 52 per 1000 for the dog, and about 60 per 1000 for
some other species of the mammalia. The physiologists have shown how the
vivifying principles acquire vigor through the blood discs, and how these,
when absorbing pure oxygen through the pulmonary circulation, contribute
to the development of muscular fibre and the nervous material. Mammals and
birds, when deprived of food, die in ten to twenty days, losing from one
third to one half of their weight.


In determining the nutritive value of aliments by the study of their
chemical composition, we cannot adhere strictly to the results furnished
by analysis. For, says Baron Liebig, we cannot reckon upon results in the
human stomach with the same regularity as we would in the alembics of our

Physiologists divide alimentary substances into two classes: the
nitrogenous, which, according to Dumas, supply the demands of
assimilation, and the non-nitrogenous, which are called by Liebig
respiratories, from furnishing the products consumed by respiration.
Neither the one nor the other will alone support life indefinitely, and
when one or the other decreases below well-defined limits, health
declines, and finally life becomes extinct from inanition.

Milne Edwards gives, as the mean amount of these two classes, required for
all climates, not less than three hundred and fifteen grains of nitrogen
and thirty-three hundred and fifty grains of carbon in the twenty-four
hours. These views are adopted by most physiologists; yet the analyses of
Schlossberger and Kemp indicate that the idea of estimating the value of
food by the quantity of nitrogen it contains is a fallacious one.

The beautiful experiments of Bernard and the modern physiologists have
unfolded many of the laws that regulate digestion and assimilation. Yet
the human researches in the great arcana of nature are extremely limited,
in comparison with the vast range of physical phenomena, and every day we
are reminded of the remarks of Boerhaave to his students: "Let all these
heroes of science meet together; let them take bread and wine, the food
which forms the blood of man, and by assimilation contributes to the
growth of the body; let them try by all their art, and assuredly they will
not be able from these materials to produce a single drop of blood,--so
much is the most common act of nature beyond the utmost efforts of the
most extended science."

The composition of the typical food of nature is revealed to us in the
analysis of human milk.


The need of varied food is apparent to the casual observer, and it is well
proven in the immortal work of Cabanis. "The experience of civilized life
has shown," says Professor Horsford, in his admirable pamphlet on the
marching ration of armies, "that the human organism requires, to maintain
it in health, both organic and inorganic food.

"Of the organic, it needs nitrogenous food for the support of the vital
tissues for work; and saccharine, or oleaginous food, for warmth. Of the
inorganic, it needs phosphates for the bones, brain, muscles, and blood;
and salt for its influence on the circulation and the secretions, and for
various purposes where soda is required for a base; and doubtless both
phosphates and salt for many offices as yet imperfectly understood. 'A man
may be starved by depriving him of phosphates and salt, just as
effectively as by depriving him of albumen or oil.' (Dalton's Physiology.)

"The salts of potassa, magnesia, and iron, of manganese, silica, and
fluorine, are always present, and perform services of greater or less
obvious moment in the animal economy. These organic and inorganic
substances are essential, but they are not all that are needed. Man,
especially when compelled to exhausting labor, requires beverages and
condiments. He wants coffee, or tea, or cocoa; or, in the absence of
these, he may feel a craving for wine or spirits. He wants salt, pepper,
and vinegar. To preserve a sound body, then, there are required organic
and inorganic food, beverages, and condiments."

"A mixed food," says another writer, "which varies from time to time,
seems to be essential; and there can be no doubt that the changes which
physicians have recognized in the nature of the predominating diseases,
from century to century, are connected with changes which have taken place
in the nature of the diet. Excess of oil, albumen, and starch produce
liability to arthritic, bilious, and rheumatic affections; a deficiency of
oleaginous materials, scrofula, &c."


In attempting to form a proper estimate of the alleged ration furnished by
the rebels to their prisoners at Andersonville, we will endeavor to arrive
at just conclusions by comparing the known quantities with the dietaries
of long-established hospitals, prisons, and the ration of armies of
different periods of history.

The effects of food upon the civil prisoners, both of the long and short
term, have been carefully studied by Christison, Liebig, Barral, and
Edwards; and it is conclusively shown by their statistics of the prisons
of Europe how much food will keep the prisoners in athletic condition when
exposed to healthy influences. The quantity of food required depends upon
the wants of the system and the quality of food consumed. Some articles
are far more nutritious than others, and are far less bulky; for instance,
the rice eaters of China, the potato and milk consumers of Ireland, eat
enormously, compared with the beef-eating people.

But rarely will a less quantity than seventeen ounces suffice for the
animal economy, and not then, even, unless it is the concentrated essences
and principles of carefully selected grains, and healthy meat from cattle
killed in their native pastures, like the scientific ration correctly
proposed by Professor Horsford. This ration is intended to enable armies
to change their base with intervals of more than a month, and to assist
raiding parties to perform long journeys without relying for subsistence
on the doubtful and difficult forage along the route, or on the distant
depots at the point of departure.

A handful of the ripe, golden grains, roasted and mixed with a little
sugar, with a few ounces of beef dried from the meat of healthy cattle
killed instantly, will sustain the power of life wonderfully. This is
shown by the mountaineers of the Cordilleras, of the Andes, and the Rocky

It was substantially the same ration that enabled the Romans to traverse
countries far remote from their main depots of supplies, and the Greeks to
advance across, with safety, the immense arid deserts of Asia. Any of our
splendidly equipped and fed armies of modern times would perish in a few
days along the route where Xenophon and his immortal ten thousand passed
with safety, and without much loss.


The mode of rationing the Roman armies, and the manner in which the
supplies were obtained and preserved, is well shown in the extant writings
of those times. Besides the allowance of wheat daily,--one to two
pounds,--the Roman soldiers often received a ration of pork, mutton,
legumes, cheese, oil, salt, wine, and vinegar. With the grain, a
porridge-pot, a spit, the casque for a cup, and with vinegar to mix with
their water,--which formed the regulation drink posea, or acetum,--they
marched rapidly, and retained their extraordinary vigor in the midst of
pestilential regions. Every soldier carried his own food for a given
length of time, which was from eight to twenty-eight days. "_Cibo cum
suo._" Hence Josephus wrote, the Roman soldier is laden like a mule. This
food was always of the best quality; and the wheat was always carefully
selected by a commission appointed for the purpose, as we may learn from
the inscription on the column of Trajan. This wheat was not always eaten
raw; but was oftener roasted, and crushed upon a stone.

                    "Frugesque receptas
  Et torrere parant flammis et frugere saxo."

With all of these arrangements and movements, there was method even as to
the time of taking food. The soldier ate twice a day, and at appointed
hours--at the sixth hour, "Prandium;" and at the tenth hour, "Vesperna."


The requirements of the system differ greatly, according to the degree of
heat, the purity of the air, and the degree of physical exercise. What
suffices at the equator would be but a morsel at the pole. What sustains
the quiet student would starve the active athlete.

When Volney spoke in surprise of the few ounces required to sustain the
Bedouin, he forgot the purity of the air of the desert, as well as the
indolent life of the Arab.

When we offer as example the frugal diet of Cornaro, which was twelve
ounces of solid food, with fourteen ounces of wine, daily, we must
remember that the celebrated man lived a life of moderation, avoided bad
air, and guarded against the extremes of heat and cold.

The data of Frerichs, the observations of Sir John Sinclair, and the
determinations of Professor Horsford, show that eighteen ounces of
properly selected food may sustain life; and they also show that the
nutrient substances must be of known value.


In forming our ideas as to the required amount of food necessary to
healthy vigor, we will not attempt to analyze the magnitudes of Lehman,
nor accept the statement of Chossat, that the animal body loses daily
about one twenty-fourth of its weight by the metamorphosis of tissue; but
will again examine the diet tables of the prisons, hospitals, and armies
of Europe, leaving the reader to form his own conclusions.

The distinguished physiologist, Milne Edwards, maintains that the food
must contain three hundred and fifteen grains of nitrogen and three
thousand three hundred and fifty grains of carbon, otherwise the animal
economy loses force, and gradually deteriorates. The data of Frerichs give
the same views, and they accord with the observations of the ten years'
study of the regimens of the prisons of Scotland. Dumas, in his
calculations of the ration of the French army, gives as its equivalent
three hundred and thirty-five grains of nitrogen and four thousand nine
hundred and fifty grains of carbon.

In the prisons and hospitals of England, Scotland, France, and Germany,
the dietaries furnish from seventeen to twenty-eight ounces of nitrogenous
and carbonaceous food.

For a time, the solid ration of the prisons of Scotland was reduced to
seventeen ounces, but the prisoners lost weight. In the public
institutions of England we find the total quantity of solid food to be as
follows: The British soldier receives in home service 45 ounces; the
seaman of the Royal navy 44 ounces; convicts 54 ounces; male pauper 29
ounces; male lunatic 31 ounces. The full diet of the hospitals of London
furnish from 25 to 31 ounces of solid food, besides from one to five pints
of beer daily. The Russian soldier has about 50 ounces; the Turkish more
than 40 ounces; the French nearly 50 ounces; the Hessian 33 ounces; the
Yorkshire laborer 50 ounces; United States navy 50 ounces; and the soldier
of the United States army about 50 ounces, of solid food.


The food allowed to the prisoners at Andersonville, according to the
statements of the prisoners and other witnesses, was from two to four
ounces of bacon, and from four to twelve ounces of corn bread daily;
sometimes a half pint to a pint of bean, pea, or sweet potato soup, of
doubtful value. Vegetables were unknown. Thus giving a total weight of
solid food, per diem, of six to sixteen ounces of solid food. The amount
was not constant: some days the prisoners were entirely without food, as
was the case at Belle Isle and Salisbury. Neither was the deficiency
afterwards made good. The amount given was oftener less than ten ounces
than more.

The contrast furnished by the dietaries of our own military prisons, of
those of the British hulks (so much cursed during the last war), or by the
food given by the Algerine pirates to their prisoners and slaves, gives
rise to terrible convictions as to the regard the rebel authorities placed
upon the lives of their prisoners. The United States allowed to the rebel
prisoners held by them thirty-eight ounces of solid food at first; but
afterwards, in June, 1864, they reduced the ration to thirty-four and a
half ounces per day. The range of articles composing the ration was the
same as with our own troops, the exception being in the weight in bread.
In the Dartmoor prison in England, where our men were confined by the
English, when taken prisoners during the last war, and of which so much
cruelty has been alleged, the authorities allowed to the prisoners for the
first five days in the week 24 ounces of coarse brown bread, 8 ounces of
beef, 4 ounces of barley, 1/3 ounce of salt, 1/3 ounce of onions, and 16
ounces of turnips daily (or more than 50 ounces of solid food); and for
the remaining two days the usual allowance of bread was given with 16
ounces of pickled fish. The daily allowance to our men, at the Melville
Island prison, at Halifax, during the last war, was 16 ounces of bread, 16
ounces of beef, and one gill of peas; the American agent furnishing
coffee, sugar, potatoes, and tobacco. The allowance on the noted Medway
hulks was 8 ounces of beef, 24 ounces of bread, and one gill of barley,
daily, for five days; and 16 ounces of codfish, 16 ounces potatoes, or 16
ounces of smoked herring, the remaining two days of the week. Furthermore,
in addition to these generous allowances of the British people, it can be
said that the quality of the food was almost always excellent.

The writer, with one exception, knows of no dietary to compare with that
adopted, or made use of without the formality of adoption, by the rebel
authorities in the treatment of their prisoners.

This exception is found in ancient history, which Plutarch has handed down
to us. The Athenians, captured at the siege of Syracuse, were placed in
the stone quarries of Ortygia, and fed upon one pint of barley and half a
pint of water daily. Most of them perished from this treatment.


The corn bread furnished was made, according to the evidence, from corn
and the cob, ground up together, and sometimes mixed with what is called
in the south cow peas. It varied from four to twelve ounces in weight
daily, generally from four to eight ounces. A pound (of sixteen ounces) of
corn bread contains, according to chemical analysis, two thousand eight
hundred grains of carbon and one hundred and twenty-one grains of
nitrogen, and therefore the highest quantity of corn bread furnished, say
twelve ounces, afforded but two thousand one hundred grains of carbon and
ninety grains of nitrogen, leaving a deficiency, according to the
physiologists, of more than twelve hundred grains of carbon and two
hundred grains of nitrogen, to be supplied by the two or four ounces of
doubtful bacon.

That the bacon could not furnish this deficiency must be apparent to the
scientific observer. The quantity of bread alone, required to furnish the
desired amount of carbon and nitrogen, would have been over three pounds
daily, which quantity the prisoners did not have.

Milne Edwards, after treating at length the subject of alimentation, and
offering many examples, arrives at the conclusion that the mean quantity
of bread and meat required to sustain the life of man, consists of sixteen
ounces of bread and thirteen ounces of beef daily. This conclusion is
sustained by most of the experimentalists, and if lesser quantities are
used, they must be of choice selections. A small loaf of bread made of
flour, ground from ripe, healthy wheat, will accomplish more for nutrition
than two or three larger loaves, baked of damaged and unripe grain; and
likewise it is with meat: half a pound of beef from cattle killed
instantly in their native pastures, when the flesh retains all its natural
juices and sweetness, is worth more for the support of the system than two
or three pounds of beef from animals that have been fasted and terrified,
and have thereby lost, in a very great measure, their nutritious

The flesh of mammalia undergoes a great change in its nutritive qualities
by reason of fasting, disturbance of sleep, and long-continued suffering,
resulting in its becoming not only worthless, but deleterious.


Vegetable substances alone will not sustain life for a great length of
time in every climate, but there is a vast difference between the wants of
man at the equator and his necessities at the pole.

Nature requires for the working of her plans materials of diverse natures:
neither the oil, nor starch, nor sugar, will sustain life alone. Chemical
analysis and physiological history point out to us how positive is the
law which fixes the component parts of grains and plants, and how
imperative the necessity of adjusting in alimentation these forms of
nutritive matter, which spring up on every side in profusion, and offer
endless variety to the wants of man.

There must be harmony of certain principles; there must be union of
starch, of gluten, and fat, to complete the process of digestion and
assimilation. To feed a patient upon arrow-root, tapioca, or sago, and the
like, is to consign him to certain death. Instinct impels us sometimes to
make use of articles which our habits have thrown aside.


It appears from the reasoning of Baron Liebig, that when we replace the
flesh and bread of ordinary diet by juicy vegetables and fruits, the blood
is beyond all doubt altered in its chemical character, the alkaline
carbonates being substituted for the phosphoric acid and alkaline
phosphates, which are supposed to exert a disturbing influence in so many
diseases, especially typhoid and inflammatory affections. The gluten of
grain, and the albumen of vegetable juices, are identical in composition
with the albumen of blood, but there are varieties of wheat, the ashes of
which are in quantity and in relative proportion of the salts the same as
those of boiled and lixiviated meats, and it cannot be maintained that
bread made of such flour would, if it were the only food taken, support
life permanently.

The experiments of the French academicians, show that dogs fed
exclusively on white bread, made from the sifted flour, died in forty
days; but when fed on black bread (flour with the bran), they lived
without disturbance of health. Bread should always be made of grains grown
in healthy places, and should contain the entire seed, with the exception
of the husk; then it will realize the idea of Paracelsus: "When a man eats
a bit of bread, does he not therein consume heaven and earth, and all of
the heavenly bodies, inasmuch as heaven by its fertilizing rain, the earth
by its soil, and the sun by its luminous and heat-giving rays, have all
contributed to its production, and are all present in the one substance?"

Desiccated vegetables, which have lost the water of vegetation and other
gaseous elements, which chemistry thus far has been unable to discover,
cannot adequately replace the fresh articles; the particular principle,
the water of vegetation, can no more be restored to them than the dust of
the crushed quartz can be recrystallized by the simple addition of water.


In the alimentation of armies bread is the basal element. If it be poor,
the whole system of the commissariat is deranged. History shows that it is
the most important item in the feeding of soldiers, and that many a
campaign, since the disaster to the army of Belisarius at Methon, has been
lost in consequence of the quality of its munition bread.

France allows to her soldiers 26 ounces of bread, England 24, Belgium 28,
Sardinia 26, Spain 23, Prussia 32, Austria 32, Turkey 33, United States
22, _Rebel Prisons_ 4 _to_ 12 _ounces_!

The quantity of corn meal allowed to the rebel soldiers by the rebel
government was about one and one-third pounds daily: this would give about
28 ounces of bread, allowing 30 per cent. of water, which is the rule
among bakers; at least it is the average quantity established by the civil
tax commission of Paris. Besides the corn meal they had six ounces of
bacon, and peas, and rice. This ration was sufficient to preserve life, as
it has been shown by the condition of the rebel armies; the bread alone
contained 4900 grains of carbon, and 210 grains of nitrogen, without the
aid of bacon or the peas. The bread alone has an excess of 1600 grains of
carbon, and a deficiency only of about 100 grains of nitrogen, which was
readily supplied by the bacon and other articles. Corn bread is one of the
chief articles of diet in the Southern States, and it is likewise used
extensively in the South of Europe. It makes heavy bread unless carefully
prepared and mixed with flour, and when mixed with the cob it often
produces a laxative effect, the degree of which depends greatly upon the
quantity the meal contains. When properly prepared with milk and the usual
ingredients, it becomes an agreeable and nutritious article of diet, but
carelessly handled, it is disagreeable to the palate and difficult to

The bread furnished to the prisoners was simply mixed with salt and the
dirty water from the brook, or the foul spring in the rear of the bakery,
and then dried in the heat of the oven. That bad effects arose from such a
quality of bread cannot be doubted; the injurious influences of impure
water in panification have been pointed out by Boussingault, in a paper
presented to the French Academy in 1857.

It is the common saying in the Southern States, where the use of wheaten
bread is comparatively rare, that a bushel of corn contains more nutriment
than a bushel of wheat. Yet the southern wheat is superior to the northern
varieties, and is richer in the azotized, glutinous principles so
essential to the formation of blood and muscle. Vermicelli and macaroni
can be made only from the best southern wheat.

Of the varieties of Indian corn in America, the yellow flinty corn is
reckoned the sweetest and most nutritive; the white corn of the South
makes the fairest, but considerably the weakest flour. We do not find
special fault with the coarsely ground meal, provided the cob is not
included, for Mayer has pointed out, in discarding the commercial bran we
throw away fourteen times as much phosphoric acid as there is in superfine
flour. In this bran are contained most of the layers of gluten, in which
are lodged the phosphates and the companion nitrogenous compounds--the
sources of living tissues. The nutritious Graham bread is an example; also
the pumpernickel of Westphalia, the black bread of Russia, the coarse
oatmeal of Scotland, contain all the gluten, all the phosphates and
nitrogenous compounds, as well as the starch of the grains. Such was the
bread that Celsus considered as equal to flesh in its capacity of


Fresh meat was rarely furnished to the prison, according to the reports
and statements of witnesses, and we should doubt that it was furnished at
all, if it were not for the number of sections of the horns of cattle
which are strewn about the enclosure, and which the prisoners had used for
drinking dishes; still, many of these horns may have been taken from the
cattle killed for the guards.

That the issue of fresh beef would have been beneficial to the men, there
is no doubt; in fact, the experiment at Jamaica, which continued twenty
years, proves it; for the troops who were fed with a larger allowance of
fresh meat suffered far less from dysentery than any of the troops of the
West India islands. There is always great difficulty in preserving the
good qualities of fresh meat in hot climes, and, on the other hand, the
use of salt meat in the same regions is apt to engender scorbutic
disorders. Whenever putrefactive fermentation begins with any kind of
meat, or any recently living nitrogenized substance, catalytic action
takes place, ammonia is evolved, and the product is no longer pleasant to
the taste or nutritious to the system. Food, when even exposed to vitiated
air, becomes deteriorated in quality, just as good flour is rendered
worthless by mixture with the damaged fungoid grain. Butchers' meat on the
average affords but thirty-five per cent. of real nutritive matter, at
least such was the opinion presented to the French Minister of the
Interior by Vauquelin and Percy. Accepting this determination, we may form
some idea of the relative value of the scanty allowance of the doubtful
beef furnished to the prisoners, if it was furnished at all.

That bacon was furnished, there is no doubt; neither has the quantity been
underrated by the sufferers themselves, as we shall presently see. And
there is no reason why the quality should not have been most excellent,
unless it had been selected for the purposes of cruelty. There is evidence
that it was sometimes of very bad quality; but that it was generally and
systematically selected to disgust the prisoners, we are unwilling to
believe, although we have evidence that rotten bacon was furnished by
contractors, and the fact boasted of by them. The influence and effect of
this decomposed food may be surmised by the following remark of Donovan:
"Flesh contains the elements of some of the most deadly poisons that are
found even in the vegetable kingdom; a slight change in their mode of
combination, or of the ratio of their quantities, may convert nutriment
into a source of death."


There is another very important item to be considered in the dietary of
this prison, and that is the quality and quantity of the water furnished
for potable purposes. "Water," says Milne Edwards, "is an aliment, as well
as sugar and fibrine; for it is indispensable for the nutrition of the
body, and, by whatever means it arrives in the economy, its _rôle_ is
always the same."

The water consumed in the prison was obtained from the brook, and from the
few wells or springs within the stockade. The volume of water in the brook
was quite sufficient to furnish all the drinking water desired, if it had
been introduced into the stockade by means of sluices. As it was, the
course of the stream was left to nature, and no effort made to prevent its
defilement by the camps situated farther up, or by the bake-house located
close by. All the camps on the declivities about Andersonville were
drained into this stream. Some few wells were sunk in the prison which
yielded scanty supplies, and there were also a few springs undefiled; but
the quality of water everywhere was surface water, tinged and tainted with
the impurities of the soil and the infections of the collected filth. The
thirst, which was excessive among the prisoners, could only be slaked by
drinking the impure waters. Yet a very little care on the part of the
rebel authorities would have increased the comfort of the prisoners in
this respect, and prevented the loss of life to a very considerable

"The preservation of potable water," writes Felix Jacquot, "is certainly
one of the capital points of hygiene."

"I am sometimes disposed to think," states Dr. Letheby, the health officer
of London, "that impure water is before impure air as one of the most
powerful causes of disease." In cold climates slight impurities in the
drinking water are not of vital importance; but in the tropics, and the
adjacent regions, the least decayed vegetable or animal matter renders it
injurious and unpalatable, and often is the determining cause of disease,
especially enteric, to a fearful degree.


During the months of June, July, August, and September, 1864, there was an
aggregate number of prisoners of about twenty-eight thousand for each
month. To supply this vast number of men with bread would have been
ordinarily no easy task, requiring, as it would have done, twenty-eight
thousand rations of bread daily, or eight hundred and forty thousand
rations monthly. We have shown that the bakery could not have furnished
more than ninety-six hundred rations of corn bread, of the United States
weight of twenty ounces, or ninety-six hundred rations daily, or two
hundred and eighty-eight thousand rations monthly, and probably furnished
but five thousand rations daily, or one hundred and fifty thousand rations
monthly. If this deficiency of a half a million of rations existed, how
can it be explained?

Was munition bread brought from a distance to supply the deficiency? When
and whence, we will ask?

During the period embracing the months of July, August, and September,
1864, the rebel commissary furnished, according to his statements, two
hundred and twenty-three thousand bushels of corn meal, and thirty-seven
hundred bushels of flour for the prison.

There was, during this time (ninety-two days), a monthly aggregate of
twenty-nine thousand prisoners, who required twenty-nine thousand rations
of corn meal daily; or, multiplied by ninety-two days, two million six
hundred and sixty-eight thousand rations for the period of three months;
or, allowing the same weight as the rebel ration, we have 2,668,000 ×
1-1/3 = 3,567,333 pounds of corn meal, or seventy-one thousand one
hundred and forty-six bushels, allowing fifty pounds to the bushel. If we
now estimate the rebel garrison to have been four thousand in the
aggregate, we will have for the requirements, 4000 × 92 × 1-1/2 = 552,000
pounds of meal, or ten thousand one hundred and ninety bushels, which
gives, as total for the prison and garrison, eighty-one thousand two
hundred and eighty-six bushels of corn meal.

Yet the commissary states that he sent two hundred and twenty-three
thousand bushels, or almost three times as much as the quantity required.
This is a strange statement to make, as we shall endeavor to show.

The rebel ration allowed by their law gave thirty-seven and a half pounds
of corn meal, three pounds of rice, or five pounds of peas, ten pounds of
bacon, salt, &c., monthly, of twenty-eight days, or about twenty ounces of
meal daily, and about six ounces of bacon. We have, as an aggregate number
of men for the above period (prisoners and guards), 29,000 + 4000 × 92 =
3,036,000 men, requiring, according to law, three million seven hundred
and ninety-five thousand pounds of corn meal. Now the commissary states
that he furnished 226,700 bushels of corn meal and flour; or, multiplied
by 50 pounds = 11,335,000 pounds, thus giving to each man more than three
and one-fifth pounds of meal and flour; or, allowing the usual per cent.
of water, more than four pounds of bread. That these men had sixty-eight
ounces of corn bread apiece, or that they could have eaten it if they had
been furnished that quantity, is not for a moment to be considered. This
analysis betrays the falsity of the commissary's statement, and
invalidates the remainder of his accounts.

It cannot be said that this meal was to be stored for future use, for it
is well known that corn meal will not keep in this climate but for a few
days without fermentation taking place. There is, again, another serious
item to be considered in connection with this statement. Why should this
overplus, of more than seven millions of pounds of meal, be sent to this
prison, when the army of Virginia was calling loudly for grain? The
statement and the figures indicate simply a foolish desire to cover up
deficiencies, and that too in a very hasty manner.


The same commissary states that he sent, during the same period of time,
three hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds of bacon, or five million
four hundred and twenty-four thousand ounces. This will give thirty-six
hundred and eighty-four pounds of bacon each day of the ninety-two days;
and, after allowing six ounces per man to the rebel garrison, we shall
have remaining but two thousand pounds to be divided among the twenty-nine
thousand prisoners, or about one and one seventh ounces of bacon to each
man. Thus the account of the commissary, if true, proves that the
statement of the prisoners, that they received but two to four ounces of
bacon daily, was correct.

If the full amount of bacon had been allowed, there would have been
required, at the rate of six ounces per man, ten thousand eight hundred
and seventy-five pounds daily, whereas there was in reality but two
thousand pounds, leaving a deficiency of more than eight thousand pounds
daily. If fresh beef had been allowed at the same rate as the bacon, there
would have been required ten thousand eight hundred and seventy-five
pounds daily, or a herd of thirty of the native cattle, allowing three
hundred and sixty pounds net weight to each carcass. If the full ration of
one pound of fresh beef had been furnished, there would have been required
more than one hundred and twenty of the same class of cattle daily.


That the dietary of the prisoners was far from being adequate to their
wants there is no doubt, and it only remains to be determined whether this
deficiency arose from design, from ignorance, or from real scarcity of

We have very serious doubts as to the truth of the statements that there
was a scarcity of food in this vicinity during the time of the occupation
of the prison.

At the time of its selection the region was considered to be the richest
in cereals of all the Southern States.

In times previous it had proved to be fertile, and during the progress of
the war the slave labor was undisturbed by the Federal troops. It is shown
by their own statistics that in 1860 the four counties near the prison,
and along the line of railroad, produced nearly fourteen hundred thousand
bushels of corn, thirty-three thousand bushels of wheat, three hundred
thousand bushels of potatoes, and more than one hundred thousand bushels
of beans and peas, besides forty-eight thousand bales of cotton. It is
highly probable that these quantities were doubled, if not trebled and
quadrupled during the succeeding years of the war, when the planting of
cotton was forbidden by rebel ukase, and all energy and labor were turned
to the production of food. There were in these four counties alone more
than twenty thousand slaves.

In the south of Georgia, in the wire-grass region, were great numbers of
cattle roaming at will, and the numbers in the everglades of Florida were
so vast, that two old steamboat captains offered to furnish the rebel
government, at this very period, with half a million pounds of salt beef,
along the railroads in Florida. Governor Watts wrote from Alabama in
April, 1864, that there were ten million pounds of bacon accessible in
that State. In September of the same year, Mr. Hudson, of the adjoining
State of Alabama, offered to deliver to the rebel government half a
million pounds of bacon in exchange for the same quantity of cotton.

The rebel war clerk, in his diary at Richmond, wrote, March 17, 1864, "It
appears that there is abundance of grain and meat in the country;" and
again, July 3, 1864, he notes down, "Our crop of wheat is abundant, and
the harvest is over."

According to the census of 1860, there were in Florida more than six
hundred thousand cattle and swine, and more than five millions in Georgia
and Alabama. These two States produced during the same year more than
sixty million bushels of corn and thirteen million bushels of potatoes.
(Vide Appendix.)



As to the arrangement for the distribution of the food, there was but
little attention paid to system. The prisoners were ordered to arrange
themselves into squads of two hundred and ninety men, and these squads
were then subdivided into three messes. None of these messes appear to
have been properly supplied with utensils to receive and distribute their
food. Every prisoner was obliged to take care of himself, and all around
the area of the stockade may be seen at the present day remains of bent
pieces of tinned iron, the rudely-fashioned little tub, and sections of
the horns of cattle which the poor prisoners had worked up with their
knives, and utilized for their necessities. Civilized men would never have
resorted to these primitive, rough, and slovenly means, if they had been
supplied with the ordinary utensils. At certain hours carts, laden with
the corn bread and bacon, were driven into the enclosure, and the rations
were distributed right and left. When soup was made, it was brought in
pails, and the prisoners received it in their horn cups, wooden tubs, or
as best they could. No drink was allowed but the water from the brook,
whose ripples were like the river Lethe, for they contained the elements
of oblivion and death.


It is evident to the writer that the quantity of food furnished to the
prisoners was far from being adequate to support animal life, and from
this deficiency alone he can explain to his satisfaction the enormous loss
of life. The admirable experiments of Boussingault and the French
academicians show how the increase of weight in the feeding of animals is
in direct proportion to the amount of plastic constituents in the daily
supply of food, and how positive is the law which regulates the animal
economy. Again, we can form some idea of the positive effects of the
horrible condition of the prison, and of the extremes of heat and moisture
upon the feeble digestion and assimilation, by the experiments of Claude
Bernard, who shows how these functions may be disturbed by external
influences, and how agony even causes the disappearance of sugar in the
hepatic organ, and how fear disturbs the glucogenic process. There is
connected with inanition a singular tendency to decomposition and
putridity, alike in the blood and viscera. The system left unnourished
rapidly wastes, and its vitality soon lessens to a degree beyond recovery.
This degree depends upon the forces in reserve, which belongs especially
to youth; middle age is less liable to impressions, but when once
affected, has less support from the system. The rapidity with which the
dead decomposed immediately after death, astonished the observing surgeon.

The prevailing diarrhoea and scorbutic condition were the results of the
want of food and the combined influences of the bad air and water, and not
the primary causes of the feebleness and death.

The effect of the want of food first appears in loss of color--wasting
away of the form, diminution of strength, vertigo, relaxation of the
system of the viscera as well as of the muscles, diarrhoea appears, and
rapidly closes the struggle of the natural forces for life.

A few days, or a few weeks, according to the initial condition, is
sufficient to test the tenacity of the powers of life. Death always takes
place whenever the diminution of the total weight of the body reaches
certain limits, which is from 40/100 to 50/100 of the usual weight. We
observe this law to be quite positive and regular with the lower animals,
with whom the effect of starvation has been well studied, and the limit of
loss, compatible with life, found to be 40/100 for mammals and 50/100 for


    "Les Hôpitaux. C'est ici que l'humanité en pleurs accuse les forfaits
    de l'ambition."


The Hospital is the recognized type of mercy, in its broadest range of
benevolence, tenderness, and compassion, all over the countries of the
earth, wherever the noble sentiments of nature have force. It is one of
the emblems of the great religion of civilization. It is coeval with
Christ, for it appeared among the institutions of men in definite shape
only after the establishment of Christianity; and to its true exalting
effects upon the dispositions of men, the Christian religion owes in great
measure its rapid progress among the barbarous and pagan nations of the

In earlier times public charity was rare or impulsive among the civil
communities. It was only the suffering and disabled defenders of the
general service who were cared for at the expense of the state, as at the
Prytaneum among the Athenians, or the numerous asylums which munificent
Rome erected to the brave men who carved out with their strong arms and
their blades of steel the colossal forms of her glory and grandeur. The
magnificent ruins of Italica, which sheltered the disabled veterans and
heroes of Africanus, look down at the present day over the vast and
fertile plains of the Guadalquivir, to reproach later and higher
civilizations with neglect and ingratitude.


But it is to the beneficent and sublime influences of Christianity that
are to be attributed the noble institutions of the present day, where the
suffering and infirm receive the attentions of science and the
consolations of humanity.

Never among civilized nations are they profaned for the purposes of
cruelty, never defiled by murder under the mask of philanthropy.

Enlightened communities vie with each other in self-sacrifice in the great
and heroic labor of devotion to suffering mortality. It is the
distinguishing degree of difference in their excellence, their refinement,
their religion.

It is the last thought and reflection of the dying man, who, in dividing
his worldly material with charity and benevolence, hopes to be kindly
remembered on earth. It is the first dawning idea of childhood, with its
infant hands filled with roses and garlands of flowers to relieve the
pains of human suffering, or adorn the pale features of the departed.

To delight in human misery is the last degree of earthly degradation and
perversity. The mockery of the agony of death belongs only to the fiends
of hell and their baser imitators.


Not until some time after the occupation of the prison did the care and
condition of the sick attract the attention and excite the solicitude of
the prison-keepers. Then a space was selected to the eastward, and almost
adjoining the stockade, and here were pitched the decayed and dilapidated
tents which were to form the hospital.

The exact size of the space is not known, the boundaries having
disappeared since the evacuation; but the tents were arranged, it is said,
with some degree of regularity, and the collection was surrounded by a
fence, which served only to obstruct the circulation of free air, which
was of vital importance; and besides, the fence was of no service whatever
as protection against the escape of the inmates, as they were before
admission generally far too feeble to make even an effort.

The actual amount of accommodation furnished is not known. By some it is
stated that there were nothing whatever but a few rotten tent flies; by
others, and among them one of the surgeons, it is narrated that there were
tents to cover one thousand men, and three large kettles to provide for
their cooking, and nothing more. Yet the records show that there were
nearly four thousand men at one time in this hospital. This distribution
of the means for the protection and sustenance of life is too terrible to
be believed. Let us overlook it, for there is sufficient for execration
elsewhere, without turning to the more revolting violation and desecration
of one of the sanctuaries of civilization.

Beneath these tent covers there was neither straw, nor mattresses, nor
bunks: there was simply the bare earth, with no protection but what was
afforded by the rotten canvas, the scanty clothing, the ragged blanket,
which the hapless sufferer might possess. Many of the unfortunate men who
perished here had neither shelter nor clothing. The rapacity of the
captors had taken the remnants of the rags left by the fury of battle. For
this want of shelter, and couches to protect and rest the weary limbs,
there is no excuse, and there can be none; for in the adjoining forests
there were immense quantities of timber accessible, and easy of conversion
into manufacture, and the extremities of the boughs of the long-leaved or
Southern pine afforded the means of making comfortable and healthy beds.

There were then within the stockade many thousands of men accustomed to
the use of the axe, the adze, the saw, and the plane, who would have in
few days fashioned implements of steel out of the useless scraps of
railway iron lying at the depot, and transformed the forest into vast,
even magnificent buildings, replete with the comforts, the conveniences of
advanced art. There were artisans here, of education and ingenuity, who
could have formed out of the very dust of the place edifices as beautiful
and wonderful to the imagination and understanding as the reality was
repulsive and strange.


The guards furnished themselves with comfortable huts, arranged with the
common conveniences, and their bunks were suspended above the contact of
the treacherous ground. Their invalids were well cared for also in the
large hospital which was erected expressly for the garrison, and which
consisted of two large two-story wooden buildings, admirably arranged,
with the conveniences proper to the service. The kitchen, the dispensary,
the ventilation, and the general arrangement, showed that scientific care
and forethought had been observed there.

The hospital system of the rebels was quite complete, and most of their
hospitals throughout the country were well constructed and equipped; and
some of them were models of neatness, comfort, and scientific arrangement.

The garrison hospital at Andersonville offers a terrible contrast to the
open space, the wretched agglomeration, which the rebel authorities called
a hospital for the prisoners.

It is true that the commanding officers were compelled, from some unknown
pressure,--whether the sense of shame, or dictate from Richmond,--to order
and commence the erection, at a late date, of a new hospital stockade.
This was to consist of a high palisade, about one thousand feet in length,
with twenty-two open sheds erected in the interior; but it was never
finished, nor occupied, and it remains to-day as it was left by the rude,
black artisans, one of the evidences of either remorse or reluctant
obedience to the lingering sense of natural compassion of its senseless
and heartless rulers.


In the organization of a hospital the most important parts are the system
of nursing and the supply and cooking of food; when these are observed,
much exposure to the elements can be endured.

Pestilences are retarded, and sometimes completely checked, in their
destructive career when opposed by generous alimentation and sympathetic
care; and the vital powers,--the _vis medicatrix naturæ_,--rally their
mighty strength for renewed effort. We have for instance the great and
marked change in the healthy condition and the mortality of the British
army before Sebastopol in the spring of 1856, when England poured out
lavishly her treasures, and sent men of scientific ability to correct the
well-nigh fatal errors of hygiene which were committed by her military

We have also another instance in the check of a devastating pestilence at
New Orleans, as observed and mentioned by Dr. Cartwright. "As soon as a
generous public diffused the comforts of life among the seventy thousand
destitute emigrant population of New Orleans, last summer, the pestilence,
which was sweeping into eternity three hundred a day, immediately began to
disappear, before frost or any other change in the weather, its artificial
fabric being broken down by the beneficent hand of the American people."


Here there appears to have been neither system, nor order, nor humanity.
The chances of recovery were far less than the certainty of death. In
reality, it was almost certain death; for only twenty-four out of the
hundred who entered ever returned to the prison again. Those patients who
possessed sufficient strength helped themselves to what was at hand, and
what was afforded by the meagre dietary; those who had not, folded their
arms and died.

Medical men went through the formality of prescribing for the dying men,
but with formulæ whose ingredients were unknown to them.

Some of these surgeons gloated over the distresses of their fellow-men,
and delighted in the awful destruction of life which was branding with
eternal infamy the manhood of their nation.

Others turned and wept, for humanity was not extinct. Those tears have in
part blotted out and redeemed the fearful inscriptions in that record of
the events of life which form the history of the human race.

It is not known that woman ever visited these precincts from feelings of
compassion, and offered to console the last moments of the dying. We do
know that they gazed upon the scene from a distance, but with what emotion
history wisely makes no note.

In Catholic countries we observe the hospitals attended by nuns, sisters
of mercy and charity, all eager to labor in behalf of humanity. Besides
these, the deaconesses of the Rhine and the beguines of Flanders have
acquired an imperishable record in history for their philanthropic
efforts. "There is nothing," says Voltaire, "nobler than the sight of
delicate females sacrificing beauty, youth, often wealth and rank, to
devote themselves to the relief of human miseries under the most revolting
forms." We have seen in our own time, in the hospitals of the Federal
armies, a devoted band of self-sacrificing women striving to perform
their part in the great work of philanthropy. Here woman never appeared.
There were, in reality, only the vivid impressions of horror, complaints,
groans, delirium, and the agony of death.

More than eight thousand of our men perished miserably in this neglected
and iniquitous spot.

Men were seen here in all stages of idiocy and imbecility from the effects
of starvation. They were seen asking for bones to gnaw to relieve the
pangs of hunger. Compassion never will believe that this request was made
by dying mortals, and that too in a hospital, which is regarded among men
as the holy institution of society, and even by infuriated combatants as
the only sacred precinct on the brutal fields of war.

The same wail of distress was heard on the plains of Texas, and along the
military lines of Virginia.

Thus the black flag, threatened by the rebel cabinet, was hoisted. Without
the courage to proclaim their intentions openly and boldly upon the
battle-field, they exhibited them in as sure, but different form, in the
management of their prisons.


The stories relating to vaccination with poisonous matter are doubtless
untrue. That there were disastrous effects from vaccination is probably
correct, but they must have been the results of accident. Similar
consequences have been observed in civil communities, in armies, and in
hospitals. Serious results have been noticed by the writer in our own
armies and hospitals.

Vaccine matter is extremely liable to decomposition; and when heated, even
by the warmth of the body, fermentation arises, and by catalytic action
putrefaction results, forming a positive poison. That the directors of
this hospital should resort to such means for the destruction of human
life is not at all probable, for the process required labor: and besides,
the wretched invalids died with sufficient rapidity without the
intervention of this new art of malice.


In all military hospitals, food is to be regarded as the principal
medicament. With good food, the results of surgery may be foretold with
tolerable certainty, and the obstructions to the medical treatment lessen
greatly or disappear. Without the aid of pure, healthful, life-giving
aliment, the duration of animal life is always brief when exposed to
vicious and hostile influences.

The ration used here, or the system of dietary, was not constant; neither
do we know sufficiently well the quantity, or quality, or variety, to form
a true and candid estimate of its value in sustaining the physical
strength, or repairing the waste and metamorphose of the organs and
tissues of the system.

We know, however, that it was supposed to be bacon, flour, and corn
bread--rarely fresh meat; and vegetables were almost unknown. The only
vegetables and delicacies were either obtained in exchange, at exorbitant
rates, for the little currency which the prisoners had managed to secrete
among their rags, or they were now and then introduced stealthily by a
few of the humane surgeons at the peril of their lives. Persons whose
systems are weakened by want of proper food, by exhaustion from excessive
labor, or exposure, or disease, require a great variety of articles from
which to select the substances which a depraved but instinctive palate
often craves. Food which would disgust the healthy appetite, will not
quicken into action the debilitated and flickering sensation of taste.
During an enfeebled condition, loathsome morsels become injurious; for
digestion is clearly at the command of the mind, and is often checked by
its caprices.


The effect of gentle care and kindly sympathy is more felt, more marked in
the military hospitals, than in the civil. Home is farther away, and the
sense of loneliness which all invalids experience is far more oppressive.
Here it is that woman's influence is the strongest, and her sweet
disposition, her friendly, compassionate smile, seems to prolong life, and
put to flight the advancing shadows of death. "It is not medicine," says
Charles Lamb; "it is not broth and coarse meats served up at stated hours
with all the hard formality of a prison; it is not the scanty dole of a
bed to lie on which a dying man requires from his species. Looks,
attentions, consolations, in a word, sympathies, are what a man most needs
in this awful close of human sufferings. A kind look, a smile, a drop of
cold water to a parched lip--for these things a man shall bless you in

With soldiers, these little attentions have great effect; partly from the
law of contrast with the roughness of their every-day occupations and
life, and partly from the rarity of such influences. And finally, when
grim Death appears, there is with them a singular philosophy, calmness,
and resignation. The writer has observed this upon many battle-fields, and
in the hospitals far removed. Rarely do we hear lamentations, regrets, and
shrieks for help: the conscious man folds his arms, and resigns himself to
his inward thoughts, thinking, perhaps, of

  "His native hills that rise in happier climes,
  The grot that heard his song of other times,
  His cottage home, his bark of slender sail,
  His glassy lake, and broomwood blossomed vale."


The forms of disease observed here were simple, and they seldom exhibited
positive indications, or, rather, the immediate effects and influences of
malaria. Neither of the four great pestilential diseases
appeared--cholera, yellow fever, plague, or remittent fever.

The diseases treated, or noted down rather upon the hospital register,
were generally the different forms of inanition, or of exhaustion of the
powers of life by the absorption of noxious vapors, or by the exposure
when in feeble condition to the extremes of heat and moisture.

The mortality among the patients removed to this place was perfectly
appalling. Nearly eight hundred men out of every thousand perished. Yet
this might have been foretold from the horrible condition, the
pre-arranged destitution of the hospital. Besides carefully selected
food, pure and dry air is indispensable for the recovery of a diseased
condition, and damp and vitiated air is sure to retard improvement, or to
induce complications.

Neither food nor healthy atmosphere were afforded.

The symptoms of the patients indicated the want of food, and were not in
reality the signs of actual disease. And the post-mortems made at this
hospital revealed the absence of lesion, save those consequent upon
starvation or prolonged suffering.

The minutes of this clinic are very extensive and particular, and they
exhibit in overwhelming proof the cause of death.

Life was prolonged to the last degree of the natural vitality, and among
the phenomena observed, the law of muscular irritability, as discovered
and explained by Brown-Sequard, was well illustrated. There was no
cadaveric rigidity; for the want of nutrition, the vitiated atmosphere,
the exposure to the vicissitudes of climate, had weakened and utterly
destroyed all nervous power. Immediately after the cessations of the
functions of life, putrefaction appeared and progressed with great


In discussing the rate of mortality of this hospital, we cannot with
propriety assume a standard for comparison, for nowhere can we turn to
analyze results from similar causes. We may, perhaps, take the data and
statistics of our own military prisons, but the contrasts are too fearful
for credulity. We will consider these at length, with other comparisons,
in the next Book.

"The truth is in the facts, and not in the spirit that judges them."


The want of system cannot be charged to the fault of the organization of
the rebel Bureau of Medicine, for that was well arranged and strictly

It may partly be ascribed to the general carelessness of the officers in
charge, and partly to the desire of the rulers that the numbers of
prisoners should decrease, and consequently their labors should diminish,
no matter how, nor how quickly.

That there were men in charge of the patients who were destitute of all
moral scruples, of all refined and humane sentiments, there can be no
doubt, but there were a few men who did not partake of the general madness
of the spirit of destruction, and who exhibited a tender regard for the
sufferings of their fellow-men. The names of Thornberg and Head will
always be preserved as among the only few redeeming acts in the story of
the great wrong. The sympathy of these men was undisguised, and when
protest failed to produce kindly impressions, or to bring alleviation to
misery, they secretly sought to succor the dying men from their own scanty
store at the peril of their lives.

Dr. Head was not only threatened with death by the brutal Wirz, but he was
actually imprisoned for a short time for giving to the dying some
vegetables which he had gathered from his little garden. "Sire," said the
noble Surgeon Larry to Napoleon, "it is my avocation to prolong life, and
not to destroy it."

Let no man attempt to recall the scenes that took place in this wretched
enclosure, which was falsely called a hospital; let no man attempt to lift
the veil of darkness which now obscures the acts or the animus which
governed and directed this mockery of philanthropy, for the human mind
already staggers under the load of horror which is imposed by the events
of every-day life, and advanced civilization has no desire to renew the
recollection of the atrocities of the dark ages.


    "To die, is the common lot of humanity. In the grave, the only
    distinction lies between those who leave no trace behind and the
    heroic spirits who transmit their names to posterity."--_Tacitus._


It is always difficult to determine the natural duration of life, or the
death-rate for any locality or any class of people, since the range of
circumstances that affect the health of men and animals is so vast, that
it requires great research, powers of analysis and comparison; so
extensive a knowledge of the phenomena and the laws of life, that few men
have the courage to attack, or the ability to comprehend and solve the
complex problem.

In our estimations we must consider what is due to the agencies of the
natural world, such as geology, meteorology, and the like, as well as to
age, constitution, temperament, anterior professions, and morbid
predispositions, also the exaltation and demoralization of moral action.

"We see," says Buffon, "that man perishes at all ages, while animals
appear to pass through the period of life with firm and steady pace." The
great naturalist shows how the passions, with their attendant evils,
exercise great influence upon the health, and derange the principles
which sustain us; how often men lead a nervous and contentious life, and
that most of them die of disappointment. Buffon is right, and the English
statistics show us that the duration of life is generally in proportion to
its happiness and regularity, and that miserable lives are soon

Hope sometimes forsakes the stoutest hearts, and with hope disappears the
mainspring of earthly life.


In deciding upon the causes of the excessive mortality at Andersonville,
there is not much obscurity to contend with. But we must admit that there
must have been some mortality, for there is a determined duration of life
for every species of animal; and we must also allow that under the most
favorable circumstances, the death-rate of soldiers encamped in this
unhealthy locality would have been far beyond the normal limit.

From calculations based upon the most accurate and extensive observations
made in England for a long series of years, it was determined that a
mortality of less than two per cent. per annum for all ages might be
assumed as a fair average rate of deaths in a population where sanitary
measures were properly attended to.

It is noticed by eminent observers, that the mean rate for Europe is about
three per cent.; which is regarded as excessive, being about double of
what is estimated as the natural ratio.

Our distinguished statistician, Dr. Edward Jarvis, remarks that the
mortality of two per cent. in England includes all ages--infancy as well
as the last decades of life; and he states that the proper rates for
comparison are those of the males in England of the military age, which is
observed to be less than one per cent.

He shows that the death-rate of the soldier in England is less than one
per cent., and also considers the stated mortality of three per cent. for
the continent of Europe as much too high. The mortality on the continent
is greater than in England, and greater in England than in Scotland.

In times of peace, the mortality of soldiers is not much greater than that
of the civil laborers; but during campaigns no limit can properly be
given, for the vicissitudes are so rapid, and the exposures so varied,
that the chances of life and death cannot be estimated with fairness, or
with any degree of certainty. But when encampments are arranged, and
occupied for any considerable length of time, the possibilities and
probabilities of health may then be considered with propriety.


These chances and these causes of general mortality depend upon the
atmospheric influences, the mephitism of the soil, the density of the
population, and the excellence of the food and shelter, as well as upon
the natural vigor and strength of the individual.

Some classes of human beings have greater tenacity of life than others,
but all are affected by vicious influences, and yield sooner or later to
the elements of destruction. "Everything in the animal economy is
regulated by fixed and positive laws."

"We live on our forces," says Galen: "as long as our forces are sound, we
can resist everything; when they become weak, a trifle injures us." The
truth of this remark is well illustrated in the life of the soldier, whose
health is in exact ratio to the condition in which he is placed. And his
mode of existence, the combined influence of food, exposure, and the
training of mind and body, give a peculiar character, which requires, when
disabled, special modification of treatment, and a particular kind of
experience. The ancient physiologists distinguished two kinds, or rather
two provisions of strength--the forces in reserve and the forces in use;
or, as they said, "Vires in posse et vires in actu;" or, as Barthez
describes it, the radical forces and the acting forces.

The young soldier, supported by this buoyancy of the unknown force of
life, recovers from terrible shocks and disasters to his system, while the
old man, fatigued and exhausted by the great and protracted labors of
active campaigns, feels that he has the hidden resources--the reserved and
superabundant powers of youth--no longer.


"The atmospheric influences, the mephitism of the soil, and the inhabited
locality, are the three principal conditions of the causes of general
mortality," says Pringle.

He should have added food; for diet, of all external causes, affects the
condition of the human race more than any other. Those who have observed
the mortality curve follow the harvests in Ireland and Germany, and
noticed how strangely the number of the dead corresponded to the
scantiness of food, and those who have experimented with the feeding of
domesticated animals, will agree with me on this point.

Let us review these three great principles of destruction, as laid down by
the distinguished European authority, and apply them in the explanations
of the mortality at Andersonville.


It has been observed by medical men, from the time of Hippocrates down to
the present day, that the effects of a heated atmosphere, saturated with
moisture, are very injurious, and exceedingly prolific of disease.

Air at 32° of Fahrenheit, according to Leslie, contains, when saturated
with moisture, 1/160 of its weight of water; at 59°, 1/80; at 86°, 1/40;
at 113°, 1/20; its capacity for moisture being doubled by each increase of
27° of Fahrenheit.

The degree of heat within the stockade sometimes rose to beyond 110°
Fahrenheit, and the degree of humidity was correspondingly as great. That
moisture exerts more influence in the production of disease than any other
meteorological condition, is well observed in every-day life. M. Bossi
found, in his investigations, that the extreme and constant humidity of
the atmosphere affected the barometer of health very markedly, and he
established the following ratio of mortality for the different regions:
The ratio for mountains and elevated regions he observed to be one in
thirty-eight; on the banks of rivers, one in twenty-six; on the level
plains, sown with grain, one in twenty-four, and in parts interspersed
with pools and marshes, one in twenty.


The influence and value of pure and healthy air may be seen in the
simplest physiological observations.

Animal life is fed and sustained by respiration, as well as vegetable
life. It is from the blood that animal life derives the materials and
forces which maintain it, and we have seen how this owes its vivifying
properties, in a great measure, to the oxygen which it receives from the
respiratory organs, and how its power is in direct ratio to the purity of
the air breathed. A vitiated atmosphere manifests itself at once in the
nutritive powers of the vital stream; and the more feeble the respiration,
the less rich the blood. This "oxygen enters by the lungs into the blood,
and with the blood flows on and circulates through the body; it also
enters partly into the composition of the tissues, so that it is a real
food, and it is as necessary to the construction of the human body as the
other forms of food which are usually introduced into the stomach."

The weight of oxygen, says Professor Johnston, taken up by the lungs,
exceeds considerably that of all the dry, solid food which is introduced
into the stomach of a healthy man.

Man consumes one hundred gallons of air every hour, ordinarily with
eighteen respirations per minute, and two hundred and six cubic feet of
air is the minimum for the preservation of health. The minimum allowed to
the English hospitals by artificial ventilation is twenty-two hundred
cubic feet the hour. The patients of St. Guy's receive four thousand cubic
feet of fresh air every hour. The quantity required by the sick is
enormous, to compensate the products of respiration, and all the
deleterious evaporations of the locality where they are placed, and all
other effluvia of diverse natures. In the Hospital Lariboissaire, at
Paris, where about fifteen hundred cubic feet of air are furnished by
machinery every hour, a taint is perceptible in the atmosphere: and Morin,
in his experiments at Hospital Beaujon, thought that two thousand cubic
feet were hardly sufficient. Dr. Sutherland believes four thousand feet to
be necessary. The quantity, however, is nothing compared to quality. The
quality is of the highest importance. The air must contain the vivifying
properties of its normal constitution, or it loses force, and death must
ensue. The source of animal heat is in the mutual chemical action of the
oxygen and the constituents of the blood conveyed by the circulation. When
the atmosphere is impure the oxidating processes are much diminished. We
receive into our lungs about one hundred gallons of air per hour, and from
this we absorb about five gallons of oxygen, or about one twentieth of the
volume of air inspired.

"The essential and fundamental condition of all respiration is the
reciprocal action of the nourishing fluid, and a medium containing
oxygen." Dumas believes that oxygen is necessary to the conservation of
the vitality and proper structure of the globules of the blood; also that
the integrity of these organisms is one of the essential conditions to the
arterialization of the nourishing stream.

Milne Edwards, also, maintains that the great absorbing powers of the
blood exist in the globules. The normal number of these globules is one
hundred and twenty-seven out of the thousand component parts of the blood;
but they vary according to the barometer of health; sometimes they are
observed in disease to descend to sixty-five. Vierodt has shown how a
certain limit in the number of blood globules in the mammalia cannot be
passed in the descending scale without death taking place. Simon and
others have also shown how a careful and nutritious regimen may increase
these globules in the blood of the consumptive, bringing them up from
sixty-four to even one hundred and forty-four.

The blood of man is the richest of all the mammalia, and it contains,
according to Berzelius, three times as many hydrochlorates as the blood of
the ox.

Its richness depends upon the species and individual, and also upon the
degree of health, it varying according to the condition of the person.

"A diseased pathological condition causes a diminution in the proportion
of active principles of the nourishing fluid, and especially in fibrine,
of which the abundance is allied to the most important activity of the
vital work in some parts of the organism." "The blood," says Dr. Jones,
"is not only distributed by innumerable channels through every recess of
the body; the blood is not only the source of all the elements of
structure; the blood not only furnishes the materials for all the
secretions and excretions, and for all the chemical changes,--but the
blood is in turn affected by the physical and chemical changes of every
vessel, of every nerve, of every organ and texture of the body. It is
evident then that the constitution of the blood will depend upon the food,
upon the vigor and perfection of the organs of digestion, respiration,
circulation, secretion, and excretion; upon the vigor and perfection of
the nervous system, and of all the organs and apparatus; and upon the
correlation of the physical, vital, and nervous forces. The character of
the blood will then vary with the animal; with the organ and tissue
through which it is circulating; with the age, sex, temperament, race,
diet, previous habits, occupation, and previous diseases; with the soil
and climate; and with the relative states of the activity of the forces."


Thus it appears how important is the function of respiration, and how
vital the necessity for pure air.

Pure dry air contains about 21 gallons of oxygen, and 79 gallons of
nitrogen out of 100, and about one gallon of carbonic acid out of 2500.
Man will consume, on the average of 20 respirations a minute, or 1200
respirations the hour, about 20 pounds of air, and give off 2-1/2 pounds
or more of carbonic acid, besides half a pound of watery vapor, per diem,
or, according to Andral and Gavaret, 22 quarts of carbonic acid per hour.
We have shown in the chapter on Alimentation how this process of
respiration affects the nutrition, and how serious the results of its
disturbance. The purer the air, the more perfect the type of men and
animals. This was understood by the ancients, and they established their
most famous schools for gladiatorial training at Capua and Ravenna.

The same law is observed at the present day by the admirers of the
race-horse. The purity of the air gives purity to the blood, and the blood
builds up the system in like proportion of excellence.


Fifteen hundred cubic inches, or twenty-two quarts, of carbonic acid are
expired from the lungs every hour, and thrown off into the surrounding
atmosphere. Besides this, Sequin found that 18 grains of organized matter
were thrown off per minute from the body in the form of insensible
perspiration,--7 grains by the lungs, and 11 grains by the skin. Hence we
may form some idea of the rapid corruption of the air in this stockade,
where 30,000 men were breathing at one time. The foul and heavy vapors
could not rise above the palisades unless a strong breeze prevailed; and
even then they became so offensive as almost to extinguish life, like the
deadly air of the Grotta del Cane. The exhalations from putrescent animal
surfaces are always specifically heavier than the upper warm strata in the
confined spaces where men are crowded together, such as the wards of
hospitals. We find, according to Professor Graham, the vitiated air to be
composed somewhat as follows: Phosphoretted hydrogen, sulphuretted
hydrogen, carbonic acid, carburetted hydrogen, cyanogen with its
compounds. The first gas is always recognized where the diseases of the
internal organs are present, especially affections of the liver, stomach,
bowels, and in fever and dysentery; and we observe the blackening of the
lead plaster, &c., when the second is present. Stupor, headache, and
sleepiness betray the presence of the other three gases. The diffusion of
each gas is always inversely as the square root of the density of such

The density is thus, air being regarded as 1000:--

  Phosphuretted hydrogen,              1240
  Sulphuretted     "                   1170
  Carburetted      "                    559
  Carbonic acid,                       1524
  Cyanogen,                            1806


The report of the British Parliament Commission gives the following data
in this important question: "The amount of carbonic acid in the air is
about 1/2000 or .0005; the amount expired is about 1/12, or .083. Respired
air contains 1/10 or 1 of carbonic acid, and this must be diluted ten
times to make the air safe. Thus, 1/10 ÷ 10/1 = 1/100, or .01; and this
again divided by 10, or 1/100 ÷ 10/1 = 1/1000 or .001, gives the amount of
ventilation needed to reduce the air to that state of purity that only
1/1000 more of carbonic acid should be added to the air, when it would be
represented by .0015 instead of .0005."

Observing this rule, and taking 300 cubic feet as the air respired for the
24 hours, to dilute it ten times it must be mixed with ten times the bulk,
or 3000 cubic feet--the space to be allowed for each individual; but if it
is wished to keep up a pure air, it must be mixed with ten times this bulk
again, or 30,000 cubic feet, which shows the ventilation needed to
maintain an atmosphere nearly pure; or there must be admitted into the
space of 3000 cubic feet nearly 21 cubic feet per minute of fresh air by
ventilation, if the man in it is to breathe an atmosphere which shall
contain only three times more of carbonic acid than the air he breathes
originally contained; or again, 300 cubic feet, 3000, and 30,000, mark the
requirements of one individual, in 24 hours, for respiration, space, and
ventilation. On a calm day, when there were no strong breezes to change
the air of the stockade, the entire quantity of air in the old stockade,
allowing the palisades to be on the average 20 feet high, could be
exhausted in 20 minutes by the 30,000 men respiring 300 cubic inches per
minute. This is not a proper estimate to offer; but it will give a just
idea of the rapid and fearful vitiation of the air that took place within
the enclosure.

Vierodt shows how rapidly carbonic acid increases when foul air is
breathed, and Lehman proves the rapid disengagement of the gas in moist

Symptoms of uneasiness manifest themselves when the air contains from
6/1000 to 7/1000 carbonic acid, and when the proportion amounts to ten
parts to 100 of air, death ensues. "This effect is visible upon vegetables
also, and many of them are extremely susceptible of impurities in the air,
and very slight modifications in the proportion of its constituents are
more or less prejudicial to their growth." But plants, like animals, vary
in regard to the delicacy of their constitutions, some being much more
susceptible than others.

In warm climes the respiration becomes slower, and in consequence there
is less of carbon burned and less oxygen absorbed; but on the other hand
the functions of the skin become vastly increased, the bilious secretions
become more active, and the excess of carbon is eliminated by this

That we expire more carbonic acid in a warm, moist atmosphere, and less in
a cold, dry climate, is shown by the exhilaration of our spirits on a fine
frosty morning.

No wonder that men lost their reason in this prison, for the blood no
longer reddened from the imperfect arterialization, and burdened the brain
with its effete matter, paralyzing and clogging up the delicate filaments
and the narrow channels of thought and life.

We have seen that the blood is subject to incessant variations in its
precise chemical constitution; a free atmosphere, well supplied,
oxygenates and destroys the numerous impurities that tend to lurk in the
system and develop disease.

Bichat shows, in his researches on life and death, how the black and
carbonized blood disturbs the functions of the brain and acts like a
narcotic poison, causing the heart finally to cease its throbbings.

These miasms and poisons floated about the enclosure where there was not
the least sign of vegetable organism to absorb and convert them. As they
passed into the systems of the prisoners they became the cause of disease,
decrepitude, and death.


Vitiated air is one of the most subtile and powerful of poisons, and it
seems to affect soldiers more than any other class of persons, and its
consequences have been commented upon by most of the military
writers,--from Xenophon among the Greeks, Vegetius among the Romans, down
to those of the present time. Cavalry horses have been observed to suffer
deterioration and death from the same cause.

Ague and fever, states Dr. Johnson, "two of the most prominent features of
the malarious influences, are as a drop of water in the ocean when
compared with the other, but less obtrusive, but more dangerous maladies
that silently disorganize the vital structure of the human fabric under
the influence of this deleterious and invisible poison."

One fourth of the sailors of the English navy are sent home invalided
every year, and one tenth of them die from the effects of foul air of
their cabins. "Two thirds of the pulmonary diseases which desolate England
are induced by this cause." Baudelocque long ago pointed out its
influences in the etiology of scrofula.

It is really the same influence observed by Magendie, and not contradicted
to the present day, that putrid blood, brain, bile, or pus, when laid on
flesh wounds, produce in animals, after a longer or shorter interval,
vomiting, languor, and death. The same results and phenomena are observed
in the inspiration of bad air; the most terrible forms of fever arise from
the overcrowding of people in confined and limited spaces. Most of the
zymotic diseases enter by the lungs, which are the principal absorbing

The breathing in of foul air, loaded with perceptible and putrid animal
and vegetable emanations, gives rise to those zymotici, the ideas of which
originated with Hippocrates, and to which the distinguished Liebig has
since given form and prominence.

Not only is animal life disturbed and destroyed, but we observe that
vegetables even are affected by the same or similar causes; that they are
extremely susceptible of impurities in the air, and that the rapidity and
vigorous appearance of their growth are affected whenever there is very
slight modification in the healthy proportions of the atmosphere. Again,
we see how seeds, when placed in elementary oxygen, germinate with extreme
rapidity, and soon decay, thus indicating how the presence of nitrogen in
the natural air restrains the force of the other element.


There was another serious defect in the management of the prison, and that
was, the neglect to provide the means for entire ablution, which, in warm
climes, becomes an imperative necessity. "Animals perspire, that they may
live;" and this function is as necessary to a healthy life as either
breathing or digestion: the skin, like the lungs, gives off carbonic acid
and absorbs oxygen. But it differs from the lungs in giving off a much
larger bulk of the former gas than it absorbs of the latter. The quantity
of carbonic acid which escapes varies with circumstances. It is sometimes
equal to one thirtieth, and sometimes amounts to only a ninetieth part of
that which is thrown off from the lungs, but generally it amounts to 100
grains daily. But exercise and hard labor increase the evolution of carbon
from the skin, as it does from the lungs. A large quantity of nitrogen
also escapes by the skin.

Hence we may infer the effect upon the prisoners, from the want of
ablution, and the means of removing the accumulating filth of their
bodies. The functions of the skin, and their influence in the practical
feeding of animals, have been carefully studied by the experimentalists,
and they have observed that the difference in washed and unwashed animals,
during the process of fattening, amounts to one fifth.

Pure air and the enforcement of daily ablutions having been introduced
into some of the English schools, the sick rate was reduced two thirds. A
general of a beleaguered city in Spain was obliged to put his soldiers on
short allowance, and compelled them to bathe daily in order to amuse them,
when he found, to his surprise, that they became in better condition than
when on full rations.

Chadwick states, in his papers on Economy, that "amongst soldiers of the
line who have only hands and face washing provided for, the death-rate is
upwards of 17 per 1000."

When sent into prisons where there is a far lower diet, sometimes
exclusively vegetable, and without beer or spirits, but where regular head
to foot ablutions and cleanliness of clothes, as well as of persons, are
enforced, their health is vastly increased, and the death-rate is reduced
to 2-1/2 per 1000.


It appears from the mortuary records of the prison that 13,000 men were
registered and buried during the year of its occupation. It also appears
from the same hospital lists that 17,873 men received medical treatment,
or were known to be sick, and their names entered in the books. Of these,
825 men were exchanged, leaving 17,048 to be accounted for; thus giving a
mortality of more than 76 per cent., or 760 men out of every thousand.

It is said, and stated with confidence, that the names of the 4000
soldiers who died in their mud-holes within the pen, and who did not
generally receive any medical treatment whatever, were placed upon the
hospital register, and their diseases diagnosed after death and removal
from the stockade. But of this the writer is not positive, although he has
seen tables of statistics of certain periods of the prison, where it is
shown that every patient who was treated for disease perished.


To form an idea of the awful mortality which reigned here, let us review
the records of the hospital prisons, and the casualties of armies of
foreign as well as our own country. These comparisons must, however, be
received with much allowance, for the circumstances which led to death are
very different.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the prisons of Switzerland, before they were improved, the mortality
was 25 to 35 per 1000. In the county jails of England it is reckoned at 10
per 1000; in the terrible hulks (Les Bagnes) of France it is 39 to 55 per
1000, including epidemics of cholera.

The average mortality of the London hospitals, where only the severer
cases of disease and accident are received and treated, is nine per cent.

In the hospitals of Dublin it is less than 5 per cent.; in the civil
hospitals of France it is from 5 to 9 per cent.; in the military hospitals
of the same country it is much less; at Val de Grace it was 4 per cent.
for a period of forty years; at Vincennes it was 2 per cent. for a long
period; at the Gros Caillou, for a term of eleven years, it was less than
3 per cent. out of 55,000 patients.

The mortality at Moyamensing Prison for many years was 1 per cent., and in
the New York Penitentiary less than that for seven years. The average
deaths in the prisons of Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Maryland,
was about 2 per cent. The death-rate of the rebels confined in our
military prisons was small, comparatively: at Fort Delaware it was 2 per
cent, for eleven months; at Johnson's Island it was 2 per cent., or 134
deaths out of 6000 prisoners, for the period of twenty-one months.

The loss at the rebel prison at Elmira is not known for the entire term;
but it was much less than the rebel "Vinculis" desires to make it.

His own statements make but 4 per cent. during the worst month for
instance: "Now out of less than nine thousand five hundred prisoners on
the first of September, 386 died that month."

"At Andersonville the mortality averaged 1000 per month out of 36,000
prisoners, 1/36. At Elmira it was 386 per month, out of 9500, or 1/25 of
the whole. At Elmira it was 4 per cent.; at Andersonville less than 3 per

"If the mortality at Andersonville had been as great as at Elmira, the
deaths should have been fourteen hundred and forty per month, or fifty per
cent. more than they were."

The official records of Andersonville show that Vinculis is greatly in
error; for, instead of fourteen hundred and forty, the great number he
imagines, they were even more; for the figures show two thousand six
hundred and seventy-eight for September, or more than fifteen per cent.,
and in October fifteen hundred and ninety-five, or more than twenty-seven
per cent., and in the month of August three thousand men died, and on the
twenty-third of that month one hundred and twenty-seven perished, or one
every eleven minutes out of the number present.


In the hospitals of the allied forces, during the campaign of the Crimea,
which were established along the banks of the Bosphorus and at
Constantinople, there were admitted, during the twenty-two months of the
war, one hundred and thirty-nine thousand patients, and of these nineteen
per cent. were lost during the entire period, or at the rate of ten per
cent. per annum.

One hundred and ninety-three thousand patients were admitted into the
French hospitals during the same period, and but fourteen per cent. were
lost, or less than eight per cent. per annum.

The mortality of the military hospitals of the army of occupation of Spain
in 1824 was less than five per cent.

The extemporized and regular hospitals of Milan, says Baron Larrey,
received during the Italian campaign thirty-four thousand sick and
wounded; of whom fourteen hundred died, or four per cent., or forty men
out of every one thousand. The temporary hospitals of Nashville received
during the year 1864 sixty-five thousand sick and wounded, of whom
twenty-six hundred died, or four per cent. The numerous hospitals of
Washington treated in 1863 sixty-eight thousand patients, and lost
twenty-six hundred, or less than four per cent.; and, in 1864, the same
hospitals treated ninety-six thousand patients (forty-nine thousand sick
and forty-seven thousand wounded), and lost six thousand, or six per cent.
The department of Pennsylvania received fifty-six thousand patients in its
various hospitals, and lost but two per cent. Twenty-nine thousand nine
hundred patients were cared for in the medical and surgical wards of the
fourteen great civil hospitals of London in 1861, and but twenty-seven
hundred of these died, or nine per cent. The diary of the rebel War Clerk
says, that in the hospitals of the rebel service sixteen hundred thousand
patients were treated, with a loss of four per cent.; yet it appears from
a surreptitious copy of the quarterly report ending 1864, relating to the
prisoners in hospital at Richmond, that twenty-seven hundred patients were
treated, and thirteen hundred and ninety-six died, or fifty per cent.;
more than half of these cases were those of diarrhoea and dysentery, and
only seventy deaths from fever. It appears from the official data of the
Surgeon-General's office, published in November, 1865, that eight hundred
and seventy thousand cases of wounds and disease were treated by the
medical staff of the United States army in 1862, and but two per cent.
were lost; also, that in 1863, seventeen hundred thousand cases were cared
for, with a loss of three per cent. only.


The statistics of the great armies of Austria, Sardinia, and France during
the Italian war, when half a million of men met in conflict at Magenta and
Solferino, show, according to Boudin, that but six thousand four hundred
and ten men lost their lives--of the French, three thousand five hundred
and five; of the Sardinians, one thousand and forty-five; of the
Austrians, one thousand eight hundred and sixty. It is shown by the
records of the British army, that, out of the aggregate number of four
hundred and thirty-eight thousand British soldiers who were engaged in the
twenty-two great battles of the British empire from 1801 to 1854, but
fourteen thousand men were killed, or died of their wounds, or three per
cent. These battles embrace those of Egypt, Spain, France, Waterloo, and
the Crimea.

Contrast these blood-stained records with this one instance of rebel
cruelty at Andersonville. Of the number of the Federal soldiers who have
been held in captivity during the rebellion by the rebels, more than
thirty thousand of them are now dead. We know from official records that
twenty-three thousand are buried at Andersonville and Salisbury alone.


Up to the month of September, 1864, forty-two thousand four hundred
prisoners had been received, and out of this number seven thousand five
hundred and eighty-seven, or eighteen per cent., had died since the
occupation of the prison--a period of about six months. During August the
manoeuvres of Sherman alarmed them so much that they thought best to
remove many of the prisoners to other stockades in Alabama and in North
and South Carolina; but yet the mortality for the remainder of the year
was for the month of September seventeen per cent. out of the number
present; October, twenty-seven per cent.; November, twenty-four per cent.;
and seven per cent. in December, when there were but five thousand
inmates. This gives nineteen per cent. average for each of those four
months, and indicates that out of the thirty-two thousand present on the
first of August, but few thousand would have been living at the close of
the year, had not Sherman compelled a reduction in the number of inmates.
Out of this number present in August, and distributed afterwards, I
believe that but few thousand survived the system of treatment at the
other prisons, and ever lived to reach home. Of these few thousand men who
were finally exchanged, a great many have since perished; which statement
will be admitted by all who have watched the phases of disease since the
termination of the war.


The records state that eight thousand died from diarrhoea and scurvy, and
that three thousand more died from dysentery and unknown causes. Two
hundred and fifteen thousand cases of diarrhoea were treated in the United
States army in 1862, and but one thousand one hundred died; and of
thirty-seven thousand cases of dysentery, but three hundred and
forty-seven died; and but one death from scurvy per thirty-five thousand
of mean strength. In 1863, according to the official records by Surgeon
Woodward, five hundred thousand cases of diarrhoea and dysentery were
treated, and but two per cent. died. According to the same authority there
were but eight thousand six hundred cases of scurvy during the first two
years of the war, and but one per cent. of these died. Fever was almost
unknown, although the foul atmospheres and malarial miasms are generally
so eager in their attacks, and so rapid in their effects; the autopsies of
the dead men revealed to the astonished pathologist the utter absence of
all the usual lesions of these diseases.

Boudin, of the French army, in 1843, in his "Essai de Geographie
Medicale," observes that phthisis and typhoid fever are very rare in the
marshy districts where intermittent fevers of a certain gravity prevail.
It does not appear that either of these diseases declared itself to any
perceptible degree.

The effect of starvation was so strong that miasmatic disease could not
gain a lodgment in the system, although every other condition was
favorable to its production. Scurvy seems to be prominent in the alleged
diseases. The combined influence of all the vicious conditions could
readily have produced this form of malady in its worst shape; but it is
one of those diseases which are clearly within the control of man, and for
the existence of which, in this case, there is no excuse whatever. They
required the treatment, practised with success in India, for those fluxes
which are marked by a scorbutic state of the system--potatoes and lime

The neighboring plantations produced the potatoes in great quantities. In
the everglades of Florida the lime tree, which furnishes a positive
antidote, grows in wild luxuriance; and the woods everywhere, the corn and
potatoes of their fields, furnish vinegar by distillation. If the
plantations failed in their supplies of vegetables, the forests furnished,
with trifling labor, an excellent substitute.

Vinegar, in the early history of war, was the chief and the sure reliance
against the attacks of scurvy and malaria. To this drink chiefly, Marshal
Saxe ascribes the amazing success of the Roman campaigns in the varied
climates of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Scientific men, from Dioscorides to
Orfila, have extolled its virtues in this respect. It is idle to say that
they did not know how to make it, for the merest tyro in chemistry
understands the method of fermentation and distillation.


It has been stated that the mortality was caused by epidemics; by
dysentery or camp distempers; but the testimony of nature, as revealed by
the scalpel of the dissector, does not admit of such statement. There was
neither epidemic nor pestilence. There was starvation instead.

That a vast amount of this mortality was caused by the unfavorable, the
needless, the cruel circumstances in which the prisoners were placed, no
one acquainted with the phenomena of life and death will deny.

But as to how much more than the normal rate, no man has sufficient
generosity and impartiality to determine.

This we know, however, that it is an axiom with all hygienists and
military men, that the health of the soldier is always in direct ratio of
the care taken of him. To give a just estimate of the normal degree of the
mortality that was caused by diarrhoea, will indeed form a complex
problem, since it is not only the last stage of starvation, but it is
often produced by the decomposition of the blood by the dyscrasia peculiar
to camp life. We observe it in all armies during the summer months, and
that it seems to result from manifold causes. Although the predisposing
cause is the dyscrasiac condition of the soldier, the determining cause is
most always the quality of the food consumed, and the purity of the water
used for potable purposes. Surface water mixed with confervoids and
decomposed vegetable matter, and the deeper currents of water which pass
through the rotten limestones, are, during the summer, the fruitful
sources of intestinal disorders.

Those who have observed the influence of atmospheric changes upon disease,
will comprehend why the diarrhoea curve followed the line of high
temperature, and how it progressed in consequence of heat, even when
unassisted by inanition.


It has been maintained by the rebels that many of the deaths were caused
by nostalgia, or home-sickness. The truth of this remark we do not
consider of sufficient importance to discuss in the extenuation of the
crime, although we will admit that this disorder, which impairs the
intellectual faculties and enfeebles the digestive functions, is often the
cause of death among the French armies in Algeria, and the English in
India, and that it can even become epidemic and lead to suicide. But the
disease is clearly within the control of man.

We can find a more ready reason for the explanation of the derangement of
the mind and nervous system in the dietary. The statistics of insanity
show how sad or ferocious delirium may arise from starvation; and
according to Combe, "a species of insanity, arising from defective
nourishment, is very prevalent among the Milanese, and is easily cured by
the nourishing diet provided in the hospitals to which the patients are

The survivors have explained the causes of death of their comrades. The
faces of these men told the story better than the tongue could describe.
The peculiar look of these men was common to them all: the shrunken and
pallid features--the rough and blighted skin--the vacant, wild, and
unearthly stare of the hollow and lustreless eye,--all told of the results
of starvation. This look can no more be described than forgotten, when
once seen. Wherever the returned sufferers landed, the bystanders were
struck with horror by this fearful appearance.


The impure air, the marked and rapid changes of temperature, and the foul
water, rendered the tenacity of animal life a simple problem, and when
joined to the deprivation of food, it became a matter of surprise that any
of the hapless wretches escaped with life.

The intense heat served to accelerate the destruction of the organism,
already weakened and sapped by the want of food and the putridity of the

Life is always best supported at a moderate temperature, which, however,
is restricted to a certain degree, depending upon the forces of reserve in
the animal; and it is observed by experimentalists that all the vital
properties of the nervous centres, the nerves and muscles in adult as well
as in young warm-blooded animals, may be much increased by a diminution of

This is shown by Brown-Sequard, in his illustrations of the influences of
prolonged muscular exertion on cadaveric rigidity and putrefaction.

Some few of the soldiers arriving from the army, with their systems
already saturated with paludal and animal poisons, and who were profoundly
cachectic, could rally very slowly if at all, under the combined
influences of the mephitic miasms and heat of the locality, even had there
been no fault in the alimentation. But there was a very great number of
the prisoners who were free from disease and debility, as they were direct
from their homes in the North, or from the healthy camps of instruction.

Scurvy and the vicious forms of zymotic disease, which depend upon
starvation and vitiated atmosphere, raged unchecked. The medical care
does not seem to have made any impression upon them, because of the
limitations of their materia medica, and the want of attention and
accommodations for the patients.

There does not seem to have been any sanitary regulations, nor the
simplest hygienic precautions adopted by the prison authorities. No proper
military arrangements to enforce order among the turbulent or insane, to
protect the weak from the strong in the struggle for a morsel of bread, a
bone, or a rag of clothing; no proper system of nurses to assist the
feeble within the stockade or the hospital, and administer to their wants.
Filth was deposited everywhere, because the enfeebled and dying wretches
had not sufficient strength to crawl down to the quagmire by the banks of
the stream. In the midst of these horrible circumstances, men met their
fate with singular calmness and stoicism. Nature strangely appears to
conform and temper the asperities of fate to men and animals alike.


It is often asked why the prisoners did not revolt, and with the mighty
energy of despair wrench down the gates, and strangle with their hands the
few thousand of rebel guards. To burst through the massive timbers of the
gates and the outer lines of palisades, and then force the encircling row
of ramparts, which were bristling with troops and cannon, required
something more than courage. This gigantic strength, this desperation of
vigor, was not possible for the prisoners; for the food, and the external
impressions--whether of the heat, cold, or horror--had too much
impoverished the blood,--the blood, which imparts force to human volition.


In the summing up of the condition to which life was exposed in this
stockade, and reviewing the vicious influences at work, we may come to
some definite conclusion as to the true causes of the results. It is
evident from the comparisons and estimates of the dietary that the want of
food alone was sufficient to cause a great number of deaths. It is also
evident from the statements relative to ratio of density, to exposure, to
deadly miasms, and exhalations from decomposing animal matter, that these
conditions were alone sufficient to cause excessive mortality, even if the
alimentation had been generous and proper.

This terrible mortality, without the influence of epidemics, is without
parallel, and is without excuse, save on the principle that war is for
mutual destruction, that the captor has the right of disposal, and that
the captives must be put to death. The philanthropist may console himself
with the idea that climate, with its unseen but powerful agencies, has
been the author of the destruction of this army of men; but the surgeon
and man of science will recognize the true causes, and express their
opinion in but one word, and that word is MURDER: that it was deliberate
destruction; but whether with the conscience of the Tartar, or with
premeditated free-will, it matters little,--the result is the same.


    "Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto."--_Terence._

    "Since no man has a natural right over his fellow-creature, and since
    force produces no right, conventions then remain as the base for all
    legitimate authority among men."--_Rousseau._


"War," exclaims the author of the "Social Contract," "is not exactly a
relation of man to man, but a relation of state to state, in which the
individuals are enemies only by accident, and not as men, neither even as
citizens, but as soldiers,--not exactly as members of the country, but as
its defenders. In fine, every state can have as enemies only other states,
and not men, on account of the interference of things of diverse natures,
which cannot fix any true relation.

"This principle is even conformed to maxims established in all times, and
to the constant practice of all civilized people. The declarations of war
are more as warnings to the powers than to their subjects. The
stranger--either king, or individual, or people--who seizes, kills, or
detains the subjects, without declaring the war to the ruler, is not an
enemy, he is a brigand.

"Even in open war, a just ruler seizes property in an enemy's country,
all that which belongs to the public; but he respects the person and the
property of the individual; he respects the rights upon which his own are

"The intent of the war being the destruction of the hostile state, we have
the right to kill the defenders so often as they have arms in their hands;
but as soon as they lay them down, and surrender, ceasing to be enemies,
or instruments of the enemy, they become again simply men, and we have no
longer a right to their lives. Sometimes we may destroy a state without
killing a single one of its members; but war does not confer any right
which is not necessary to its end.

"These principles are not those of Grotius: they are not founded upon the
authorities of poets: but they are derived from the nature of things, and
are founded upon reason. With regard to the right of conquest, it has no
other foundation than the law of the most force. If war does not give to
the conqueror the right to massacre the vanquished people, that right,
which he has not, does not establish that to enslave. We have no more
right to kill an enemy than to make him a slave. The right to enslave does
not then come from the right to kill. This is then an unjust exchange, to
compel him to purchase life at the price of liberty, upon which we have no

"In establishing the right of life and death upon the right of slavery,
and the right to enslave upon the right of life and death, is it not clear
that we fall into a wicked circle?"


Says Mirabeau, in his beautiful essay on "Despotism," "We can destroy the
life of a man for a frightful crime; but that is not to appropriate my
existence when it is forced from me. Consider, upon this subject, how
absurd is the opinion of the pretended philosophers who have established
force as title; who have set up a right of conquest, and recognized to the
conquerors the legitimate power to grant life or put to death.

"It is not true that the right of life and death, exercised by a man upon
another man, has ever been anything else than an act of frenzy; for your
enemy reduced to slavery can be yet useful to you, provided you preserve
his life,--and this is less than the right that he has upon you, and the
relation which binds you together; but the massacre of a man is nothing
more than to dishonor and disgust humanity, * * * the right of life and
death, * * * and what other has the Creator to exercise over our

"From man to man the rights then are always respective. Personal propriety
cannot surrender itself, liberty cannot alienate itself. This first gift
of nature is imprescriptible; and men, even in their delirium, cannot
renounce it."


"Opinion makes the law." If human laws are uncertain and contradictory, it
is not the fault of nature, since man has invented or discovered rules in
the science of physics which are constant and invariable, like those of
geometry and chemistry.

Whatever renders the laws of society invariable, inoperative, is due to
the inherent weakness of their basis, and not to the eternal principles of
truth and justice. All human laws must be founded on that fundamental and
immutable law of nature, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them." This precept of divine origin is the great balance
of the human mind; and it is the secret spring of the progress of nations,
as well as the social development of individuals: for without this
principle the world would be nothing but a vast arena, in which all
classes of people would be arrayed against each other in deadly conflict;
impelled by the force of passion and appetite, error and prejudice would
soon banish the influence of truth and reason. The weaker families would
soon be consumed by the stronger in the wars of avarice and religion.

"The laws of nature," writes M. Regis, "are the dictates of right reason,
which teach every man how he is to use his natural right; and the laws of
nations are the dictates, in like manner, of right reason, which teach
every state how to act and behave themselves toward others."

"As God," says Blackstone, "when he created matter, and endowed it with a
principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual
direction of that motion, so when he created man, and endued him with free
will to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain
immutable laws of human nature whereby that free will is in some degree
regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to
discover the purport of those laws."

This law of nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God
himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding
all over the globe, in all countries and at all times: no human laws are
of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid, derive
all their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from
this original.

Human laws originate in the wisdom of man, and are designed to regulate
their behavior to one another, and are enforced by human authority and
worldly sanctions.

The fear of punishment and revenge are not strong enough to control the
lusts and passions of men.

The true idea and comprehension of the majesty and mercy of the law is
infused by the spirit of philosophy.


"The existence of states," says Montesquieu, "is like that of man, and the
first have the right to make war for their proper preservation; the latter
have the right to kill in the case of natural defence. In the case of
natural defence I have the right to kill, since my life is my own, as the
life of him who attacks me belongs to himself. * * * From the right of war
follows that of conquest, which is the consequence: it ought then to
follow the spirit. * * * It is clear when the conquest is made, the
conqueror has no longer the right to kill, since he is no longer in the
position of natural defence, or for his proper preservation.

"That which has made them think thus (right to kill), is that they have
believed that the conqueror had the right to destroy society, whence they
have concluded that they had that to destroy the men who composed it,
which is a false consequence extracted from a false principle. Because the
society should perish, it does not follow that the men who form it ought
also to perish. Society is a union of men, and not men: the citizen can
perish and the man remain. From the right to kill in conquest, politics
have derived the right to enslave; but the consequence is as badly founded
as the principle."

There are certain rules that arise from the principle of
self-preservation, and form what Wolff calls "the voluntary law of
nations." "Hence it follows that all nations have a right to repel by
force what openly violates the law of the society which nature has
established among them, or that directly attacks the welfare and safety of
that society. At the same time care must be taken not to extend this law
to the prejudice of the liberty of nations."


The right of jurisdiction belongs only to those societies which have
united for the purpose of maintaining the natural rights of each

The ablest writers have maintained that society has not the right of life
and death, and whoever arrogates that power commits a "divine _lèse
majesté_." "The object, the interest, and the function of all government
are, then, to maintain the harmony of society established upon the moral
relations of justice, and upon the physical order that no human power can
change, and to protect all those who compose that society." Louis XI.,
that Tiberius of France, caused to be put to death more than four
thousand persons, and nearly all without process of law.

We see passionate men defending palpable errors with fanaticism and
metaphysical temerity, as though they were divine dogmas. Thus Slavery
would legalize frightful tyranny, and declare permanent proscriptions,
with the same ease that it consigned thousands to starvation. "If
liberty," says the author of the "Essai sur le Despotisme," "is the first
of resorts for man, Slavery must alter all the sentiments, blunt all the
sensations, and denaturalize them; stifle all talent, blend all shades,
corrupt all the orders of state, and scatter discord, the germ of anarchy
and revolutions. Man is only wicked when a superstitious institution or a
tyrannical government gives the example of ferocity, and supplies him with
fear for motive and cupidity for passion. But it is necessary to
distinguish with men the character acquired from natural inclination: we
are, of all beings, the most susceptible of modifications, and above all,
of extreme passions. An enslaved people are always vile: they can be
wicked and cruel, because they are irritable, gloomy, and ignorant; and
when, although instruction will not be the only rampart of liberty against
tyranny, it will always be the first safeguard of man against man; but the
slave is a mutilated man."

Every writer will admit this whose pen is not enslaved by fear, or
rendered venal by interest.


The right of making prisoners of war, and depriving them of their liberty,
and of the power and opportunity of farther resistance, is undoubted, for
it is founded on the principles of security and self-defence. But when the
soldier has laid down his arms, and submitted to the will of the
conqueror, the right of taking his life ceases, unless he should forfeit
the right himself by some new crime; and the savage errors of antiquity,
in putting prisoners to death, have long been renounced by civilized

Among the European states prisoners of war are seldom ill-treated; and
when the number of prisoners is so great as not to be fed, or kept with
safety, it has been the custom to parole them, either for a certain length
of time, or for the war. All authorities agree that they cannot be made
slaves, although under certain circumstances they may be set at labor on
the public fortifications and works.

Prisoners of war are retained to prevent their returning to the field of
conflict, and there are times when they may be detained and refused all
ransom, when, for instance, it is obvious that the parole will not be
regarded by the opposing commanders, and when their exchange would throw a
preponderance of weight into the ranks of the antagonist. It would have
been very dangerous for the Czar Peter the Great to have exchanged his
Swedish prisoners for an equal number of unequal Russians; but whilst
retained they were treated with kindness.


The rebel policy and system towards the Federal prisoners, along the
entire line, without exception, from Virginia to Texas, was one of
stupendous atrocity. It was one of the most inhuman and monstrous that
hate and tyranny ever invented. It was no less derogatory to human
character than defiant to the principles of Christianity; but Christianity
was unknown there. The gods of worship were the deities of the dark ages,
and the fancied garlands of flowers that decorated their statues were
nothing more than wreaths of cyprus leaves. This stockade was the epitome
and concentration of all earthly misery, to which the Bastile and the
Inquisition offer but feeble comparisons, as prototypes, as models, as
ideas, for the destruction of human life.

In this we recognize the perversion of the natural sentiments after two
centuries of crime, the defiance of all honorable law, "the barbarism of

What can we, in extenuation, ascribe to recklessness, what to ignorance?
"There is," says the eloquent Rousseau, "a brutal and ferocious ignorance,
which springs from a bad heart and a false spirit. A criminal ignorance,
which extends itself even to the duties of humanity; which multiplies
vices, which degrades reason, debases the soul, and renders man like the

These men destroyed the strength, the lives of thousands, by stealthy
means, and excused their consciences by the reflections of perverted
nature: as Timour said to his victims, "It is you who assassinate your own


It has been the custom, among European nations, to treat prisoners of war
liberally, and the expenses of maintaining them are paid by both sides at
the close of the war.

The British Parliament voted, in 1780, to pay forty thousand pounds
sterling to disinfect and improve the prison where the Spanish prisoners
were confined, and where a fatal fever had declared itself. And there are
many instances where European powers have acted kindly and humanely
towards those who had fallen into their power from hazard of battle. War
was declared against states, and not against the individual subjects of
those states.

At all times, kindness to the unfortunate, and hospitality to strangers,
has always been considered as a virtue of the first rank among people
whose manners are simple, and who, uncontaminated by vices of a false and
frivolous civilization, exhibit the natural qualities of the human race.
Even among the darkness of the middle ages kindness was compulsory, and
hospitality enforced by statute, and whoever denied succor to misery was
liable to punishment. "Quicunque hospiti venienti lectum aut focum
negaverit trium solidorum in latione mulctetur." (Leg. Burgund., tit. 38,
§ I.)

The laws of the Slavi ordained that the movables of an inhospitable person
should be confiscated, and his house burned.


In comparison with these humane provisions, how terribly contrasted are
the modes of treatment as practised by the rebel authorities upon the
Federal soldiers! "Let us hoist the black flag, and kill every prisoner,"
said one of the cabinet officers. "I will sell my wheat," said another
cabinet officer, "to my fellow-citizens, at exorbitant prices." "My God,"
said a poor woman, "how can I pay such prices! I have seven children? What
shall I do?" "I do not know, madam," was the brutal answer, "unless you
eat them."

When such sentiments prevailed at Richmond, what could be expected in
kindness by those who were looked upon with hatred and as worthy of death?

       *       *       *       *       *

In the revolutionary times of 1776 there was no brutal treatment of
prisoners of war by Americans. Washington was extremely solicitous that no
act of barbarity should stain the sanctity of the cause. In a letter of
May 11, 1776, Washington wrote to the President of Congress, recommending
that measures be adopted to secure for prisoners of war the most humane
treatment; and again to the Massachusetts Committee, February 6, 1776, he
wrote, recommending that captives should be treated with humanity and
kindness. The Continental Congress passed a resolution in 1776 that all
taken with arms be treated as prisoners of war, but with humanity, and
allowed the same rations as the troops in the service of the United


The United States Government adopted the following rules in 1863 for the
guidance of our armies, and published them in General Order, No. 100,
April 24:--

       *       *       *       *       *

11. The law of war not only disclaims all cruelty and bad faith concerning
engagements concluded with the enemy during the war, but also the breaking
of stipulations solemnly contracted by the belligerents in time of peace,
and avowedly intended to remain in force in case of war between the
contracting powers.

It disclaims all extortions and other transactions for individual gain;
all acts of private revenge, or connivance at such acts.

Offences to the contrary shall be severely punished, and especially so if
committed by officers.

14. Military necessity, as understood by modern civilized nations,
consists in the necessity of those measures which are indispensable for
securing the ends of war, and which are lawful according to the modern law
and usages of war.

15. Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of
armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally
unavoidable in the armed contests of the war; it allows of the capturing
of every armed enemy, and every enemy of importance to the hostile
government, or of peculiar danger to the captor; it allows of all
destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and channels of
traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance
or means of life from the enemy; of the appropriation of whatever an
enemy's country affords necessary for the safety and subsistence of the
army, and of such deception as does not involve the breaking of good
faith, either positively pledged regarding agreements entered into during
the war, or supposed by the modern law of war to exist. Men who take up
arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be
moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.

16. Military necessity does not admit of cruelty,--that is, the infliction
of suffering for the sake of suffering or revenge,--nor of maiming or
wounding, except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does
not admit of the use of poison in any way, nor of the wanton devastation
of a district. It admits of deception, but disdains acts of perfidy; and,
in general, military necessity does not include any act of hostility which
renders the return to peace unnecessarily difficult.

27. The law of war can no more wholly dispense with retaliation than can
the law of nations, of which it is a branch; yet civilized nations
acknowledge retaliation as the sternest feature of war. A reckless enemy
often leaves to his opponents no other means of securing himself against
the repetition of barbarous outrage.

28. Retaliation will, therefore, never be resorted to as a measure of mere
revenge, but only as a means of protective retribution, and cautiously and
unavoidably; that is to say, retaliation shall only be resorted to after
careful inquiry into the real occurrence and the character of the misdeeds
that may demand retribution.

33. It is no longer considered lawful--on the contrary it is held to be a
serious breach of the law of war--to force the subjects of the enemy into
the service of the victorious government, except the latter should
proclaim, after a fair and complete conquest of the hostile country or
district, that it is resolved to keep the country, district, or place
permanently as its own, and make it a portion of its own country.

49. A prisoner of war is a public enemy, armed or attached to the hostile
army for active aid, who has fallen into the hands of the captor, either
fighting or wounded, on the field or in the hospital, by individual
surrender or by capitulation.

52. No belligerent has the right to declare that he will treat every
captured man in arms, of a levy en masse, as a brigand or bandit. * * *

56. A prisoner of war is subject to no punishment for being a public
enemy, nor is any revenge wreaked upon him by the intentional infliction
of any suffering, or disgrace by cruel imprisonment, want of food, by
mutilation, death, or any other barbarity.

57. So soon as a man is armed by a sovereign government, and takes the
soldier's oath of fidelity, he is a belligerent; his killing, wounding, or
other warlike acts are no individual crime or offence. * * *

67. The law of nations allows every sovereign government to make war upon
another sovereign state, and therefore admits of no rules or laws
different from those of regular warfare regarding the treatment of
prisoners of war, although they may belong to the army of a government
which the captor may consider as a wanton and unjust assailant.

The use of poison in any manner, be it to poison wells, or food, or arms,
is wholly excluded from modern warfare. He that uses it puts himself out
of the pale of the laws and usages of war.

71. Whoever intentionally inflicts additional wounds on an enemy already
wholly disabled, or kills such an enemy, or who orders or encourages
soldiers to do so, shall suffer death if duly convicted, whether he
belongs to the army of the United States, or is an enemy captured after
having committed his misdeed.

72. Money and other valuables on the person of a prisoner, such as watches
or jewelry, as well as extra clothing, are regarded by the American army
as the private property of the prisoners, and the appropriation of such
valuables or money is considered dishonorable, and is prohibited.

74. A prisoner of war, being a public enemy, is the prisoner of the
government and not of the captor. No ransom can be paid by a prisoner of
war to his individual captor or to any officer in command. The government
alone releases captives, according to rules prescribed by itself.

75. Prisoners of war are subject to confinement or imprisonment, such as
may be deemed necessary on account of safety, but they are to be subjected
to no other intentional suffering or indignity. The confinement and mode
of treating a prisoner may be varied during his captivity, according to
the demands of safety.

76. Prisoners of war shall be fed upon plain and wholesome food whenever
practicable, and treated with humanity. They may be required to work for
the benefit of the captor's government, according to their rank and

77. A prisoner of war who escapes, may be shot or otherwise killed in his
flight, but neither death nor any other punishment shall be inflicted upon
him, simply for his attempt to escape, which the law of war does not
consider a crime. Stricter means of security shall be used after an
unsuccessful attempt at escape. * * *

109. The exchange of prisoners of war is an act of convenience to both
belligerents. If no general cartel has been concluded it cannot be
demanded by either of them. No belligerent is obliged to exchange
prisoners of war. A cartel is voidable as soon as either party has
violated it.

119. Prisoners of war may be released from captivity by exchange and under
certain circumstances, also by parole.

120. The term parole designates the pledge of individual good faith and
honor to do, or to omit doing, certain acts after he who gives his parole
shall have been dismissed wholly or partially from the power of the

121. The pledge of the parole is always an individual but not a private

133. No prisoner of war can be forced by the hostile government to parole
himself, and no government is obliged to parole prisoners of war, or to
parole all captured officers, if it paroles any. As the pledging of the
parole is an individual act, so is paroling, on the other hand, an act of
choice on the part of the belligerent.


From the evidence obtained from different sources, and from the results,
it may be properly reasoned that there was a secret and fixed intent on
the part of the cabal at Richmond to weaken the Federal armies by
destroying the prisoners by starvation and exposure.

The open robbery of all the captives, the neglect of the commissariat when
there was no excuse, the refusal to remedy atrocious evils, all betray
malice and design. That intrepid and humane officer, Colonel Chandler,
made complaint of this prison, in his Inspection Report, as early as July
5, 1864, when he uses the following language: "No shelter whatever, nor
materials for constructing any, had been provided by the prison
authorities, and the ground being entirely bare of trees, none is within
reach of the prisoners; nor has it been possible, from the overcrowded
state of the enclosure, to arrange the camp with any system. Each man has
been permitted to protect himself as best he can, by stretching his
blanket, or whatever he may have about him, on such sticks as he can
procure. Of other shelter there has been none. There is no medical
attendance within the stockade. Many (twenty yesterday) are carted out
daily who have died from unknown causes, and whom the medical officers
have never seen. The dead are hauled out by the wagon-load, and buried
without coffins, their hands, in many instances, being first mutilated
with an axe in the removal of any finger-rings they may have. Raw rations
have to be issued to a very large portion, who are entirely unprovided
with proper utensils, and furnished so limited a supply of fuel they are
compelled to dig with their hands in the filthy marsh before mentioned for
roots, &c. No soap or clothing have ever been issued. After inquiry, the
writer is confident that, with slight exertions, green corn and other
anti-scorbutics could readily be obtained. The present hospital
arrangements were only intended for the accommodation of ten thousand men,
and are totally insufficient, both in character and extent, for the
present need,--the number of prisoners being now more than three times as
great. The number of cases requiring medical treatment is in an increased
ratio. It is impossible to state the number of sick, many dying within the
stockade whom the medical officers have never seen or heard of till their
remains are brought out for interment."

Later reports were made by this inspector, and they were forwarded to the
rebel executive, indorsed by the assistant-secretary of war, Campbell,
that this condition was a reproach to the Confederates as a nation. But
not the least notice was taken of these startling and heart-rending
revelations, in which Winder was denounced as a murderer from the
statements made by Winder himself. The wretch and the system of treatment
were denounced by Stephens of South Carolina, by Foote of Tennessee; yet
no response was obtained from the secretary of war, or from the executive,
Davis. When Breckenridge became secretary of war, shortly before the
downfall of the rebellion, the brave Chandler demanded that some notice,
some action, should be taken on the reports he had submitted months
before, or he would resign his commission; for his honor and humanity were

What action was taken, if any there was, is not known to the writer. The
thanks of the South, the kind wishes of all who honor the warm and
generous impulses of our better nature, are due to the noble Chandler, who
had the courage, the temerity, to expose the suffering condition at
Andersonville, and to denounce the authors again and again at the peril of
his life.

It is known to the writer that Surgeons Bemis and Fluellen, of the rebel
army medical staff, inspected the condition of the prison, and protested
against the cruel management.

One of the chief medical officers of the rebel army of the South informed
the author that the medical men at this prison were without any influence
whatever; and although the prison was within his department for a time, he
had no more voice or influence in its management than the man in the moon;
and that everything relating to the prison was _controlled and devised by
the authorities at Richmond_.

The refusal or the neglect of the rebel authorities, to whom these reports
were submitted, to take notice of or remedy the exposed evils, is a tacit
acknowledgment and approval of the system at work.


Northrop, the rebel commissary-general, whom Foote denounced in the rebel
Congress as a monster, and incompetent, urged the secretary of war,
Seddon, to reduce the rations to gruel and bread, in retaliation for
alleged abuses to the rebel prisoners in our hands. Seddon declined to do
it openly, on account of the technicalities of the law; but Northrop took
the measure quietly into his own hands, and withheld meat so often and so
long from the prisoners near Richmond as to call forth a yell of
remonstrance from even the inhuman Winder.

When the prisoners at Belle Isle--numbering from eight to thirteen
thousand--were deprived of meat,--from the incompetency or the wilfulness
of the commissary-general,--for a fortnight at a time, the secretary of
war refused to allow compassionate parties to buy cattle in the
neighborhood of the city, and bring them to the prison, stating that
Northrop had informed him that the prisoners fared as well as the

And in pursuance of this diabolical plan of starvation, orders were given,
in December, by the rebel war department, that no more supplies should be
received from the United States for the prisoners, for which no apology or
reason was ever given.

Winder was denounced by members of Congress; but Davis tools no notice,
because he was his personal friend. Seddon took sides with Northrop, and
would not allow Captain Warner to buy cattle for the prisoners around
Richmond, as he offered to do, and relieve their sufferings.

The postmaster-general wanted to kill the prisoners taken in raiding; and
Seddon, the secretary of war, stated that he was always in favor of
fighting under the black flag.

When Chandler made his report, Cobb was writing that all was going on well
at the prison. Colonel Persons, who was the first commander, and relieved
by Winder, applied for an injunction against the prison as a nuisance. No
compassion, humanity, or decency was observed in the demand for the
process: it was simply a nuisance, and dangerous to the health of the
surrounding region. No plea was made that thousands were being murdered


It is known, and proved beyond "cavil of a doubt," that the prisoners were
robbed of all articles of value, even hats, coats, blankets, and shoes,
and that no attempt was made to restore them, or to supply any deficiency
that arose from this rapacious dishonesty.

In striking contrast with this "barbarism of slavery," notice the
treatment in our own prisons, where all needful clothing and blankets were
issued to the rebel prisoners, whenever their circumstances required it;
and during the period of rebellion, a vast quantity of coats, blankets,
stockings, shirts, and drawers were supplied by the quartermaster's
department. Thirty-five thousand articles of clothing were issued in eight
months to the rebel prisoners at Fort Delaware alone. Of the many thousand
rebel wounded and sick prisoners in our hands, who have been under the
observation of the writer during the war, all, without exception, were
treated with kindness, and the wants of all supplied in the same manner as
with our men.

In the Dartmoor prison, the British allowed to each of our men a hammock,
a blanket, a horse rug, and a bed containing four pounds of flocks; and
every eighteen months one woollen cap, one yellow jacket, one pair of
pantaloons, and one waistcoat of the same material as allowed to the
British army; and also, every nine months, one pair of shoes, and one
shirt. The prison was inspected by the chief surgeon of England, and
whenever complaint was made by the prisoners, the admiralty sent officers
of high rank to investigate the causes of complaint. The officers of the
prison hulks in England behaved generally with kindness and humanity to
our men, as is shown by the records of the captivity.

But even this treatment, humane as it appears when compared with the rebel
system, was less generous than that bestowed by the Algerine pirates upon
our sailors captured by them. The captives in Algiers received good and
abundant vegetable food, and were lodged in airy places.


This system of barbarity of the rebels towards their prisoners having
become known to the United States government, efforts were made to
ameliorate the condition of the suffering men, but without avail.

Measures of retaliation were entertained by Congress, in hopes of
effecting a change by the clamors from the rebel prisoners themselves, and
the following resolutions were introduced by Mr. Wade, of Ohio, but they
were not adopted:--

    JOINT RESOLUTION, advising Retaliation for the Cruel Treatment of
    Prisoners by the Insurgents.

    _Whereas_, It has come to the knowledge of Congress that great numbers
    of our soldiers, who have fallen as prisoners of war into the hands
    of the insurgents, have been subjected to treatment unexampled for
    cruelty in the history of civilized war, and finding its parallels
    only in the conduct of savage tribes; a treatment resulting in the
    death of multitudes by the slow but designed process of starvation,
    and by mortal diseases occasioned by insufficient and unhealthy food,
    by wanton exposure of their persons to the inclemency of the weather,
    and by deliberate assassination of unoffending men; and the murder, in
    cold blood, of prisoners after surrender; and, whereas a continuance
    of these barbarities, in contempt of the laws of war, and in disregard
    of the remonstrances of the national authorities, has presented to us
    the alternative of suffering our brave soldiers thus to be destroyed,
    or to apply the principle of retaliation for their protection:

    _Resolved_, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States of America, in Congress assembled, That, in the judgment of
    Congress, it has become justifiable and necessary that the President
    should, in order to prevent the continuance and recurrence of such
    barbarities, and to insure the observance by the insurgents of the
    laws of civilized war, resort at once to measures of retaliation.
    That, in our opinion, such retaliation ought to be inflicted upon the
    insurgent officers now in our hands, or hereafter to fall into our
    hands, as prisoners; that such officers ought to be subjected to like
    treatment practised towards our officers or soldiers in the hands of
    the insurgents, in respect to quantity and quality of food, clothing,
    fuel, medicine, medical attendance, personal exposure, or other mode
    of dealing with them; that, with a view to the same ends, the
    insurgent prisoners in our hands ought to be placed under the control
    and in the keeping of officers and men who have themselves been
    prisoners in the hands of the insurgents, and have thus acquired a
    knowledge of their mode of treating Union prisoners; that explicit
    instructions ought to be given to the forces having the charge of such
    insurgent prisoners, requiring them to carry out strictly and promptly
    the principles of this resolution in every case, until the President,
    having received satisfactory information of the abandonment by the
    insurgents of such barbarous practices, shall revoke or modify said
    instructions. Congress do not, however, intend by this resolution to
    limit or restrict the power of the President to the modes or
    principles of retaliation herein mentioned, but only to advise a
    resort to them as demanded by the occasion.

Mr. Sumner offered the following Resolutions as a substitute for the
Resolution of the Committee:--

    _Resolved_, That retaliation is harsh always, even in the simplest
    cases, and is permissible only where, in the first place, it may
    reasonably be expected to effect its object, and where, in the second
    place, it is consistent with the usages of civilized society; and
    that, in the absence of these essential conditions, it is a useless
    barbarism, having no other end than vengeance, which is forbidden
    alike to nations and to men.

    _Resolved_, That the treatment of our officers and soldiers in rebel
    prisons is cruel, savage, and heart-rending beyond all precedent; that
    it is shocking to morals; that it is an offence against human nature
    itself; that it adds new guilt to the great crime of the rebellion,
    and constitutes an example from which history will turn with sorrow
    and disgust.

    _Resolved_, That any attempted imitation of rebel barbarism in the
    treatment of prisoners would be plainly impracticable, on account of
    its inconsistency with the prevailing sentiments of humanity among us;
    that it would be injurious at home, for it would barbarize the whole
    community; that it would be utterly useless, for it could not affect
    the cruel authors of the revolting conduct which we seek to overcome;
    that it would be immoral, inasmuch as it proceeded from vengeance
    alone; that it could have no other result than to degrade the national
    character and the national name, and to bring down upon our country
    the reprobation of history; and that, being thus impracticable,
    useless, immoral, and degrading, it must be rejected as a measure of
    retaliation, precisely as the barbarism of roasting or eating
    prisoners is always rejected by civilized powers.

    _Resolved_, That the United States, filled with grief and sympathy for
    cherished citizens, who, as officers and soldiers, have become the
    victims of Heaven-defying outrage, hereby declare their solemn
    determination to put an end to this great iniquity by putting an end
    to the rebellion of which it is the natural fruit; that to secure this
    humane and righteous consummation, they pledge anew their best
    energies and all the resources of the whole people, and they call upon
    all to bear witness that, in this necessary warfare with barbarism,
    they renounce all vengeance and every evil example, and plant
    themselves firmly on the sacred landmarks of Christian civilization,
    under the protection of that God who is present with every prisoner,
    and enables heroic souls to suffer for their country.


The pathetic letter, which was composed by the suffering and dying men at
Andersonville, and addressed to the President in August, 1864, and
forwarded by the prisoners who were sent to Charleston, led to renewed
efforts on the part of the United States government; but no notice was
taken by the rebel authorities of the plea in behalf of humanity. The
following letter is said to be the one sent to the President:--

    _The Memorial of the Union Prisoners confined at Andersonville,
    Georgia, to the President of the United States._

    CHARLESTON, S. C., Aug., 1864.


    The condition of the enlisted men belonging to the Union armies, now
    prisoners to the Confederate rebel forces, is such that it becomes our
    duty, and the duty of every commissioned officer, to make known the
    facts in the case to the government of the United States, and to use
    every honorable effort to secure a general exchange of prisoners,
    thereby relieving thousands of our comrades from the horror now
    surrounding them.

    For some time past there has been a concentration of prisoners from
    all parts of the rebel territory to the State of Georgia--the
    commissioned officers being confined at Macon, and the enlisted men at

    Recent movements of the Union armies under General Sherman have
    compelled the removal of prisoners to other points, and it is now
    understood that they will be removed to Savannah, Georgia, and
    Columbus and Charleston, South Carolina. But no change of this kind
    holds out any prospect of relief to our poor men. Indeed, as the
    localities selected are far more unhealthy, there must be an increase
    rather than a diminution of suffering.

    Colonel Hill, provost-marshal general Confederate States army, at
    Atlanta, stated to one of the undersigned that there were thirty-five
    thousand prisoners at Andersonville, and by all accounts from the
    United States soldiers who have been confined there, the number is not
    overstated by him. These thirty-five thousand are confined in a field
    of some thirty acres, enclosed by a board fence, heavily guarded.
    About one third have various kinds of indifferent shelter, but upwards
    of thirty thousand are wholly without shelter, or even shade of any
    kind, and are exposed to the storms and rains which are of almost
    daily occurrence, the cold dews of the night, and the more terrible
    effects of the sun striking with almost tropical fierceness upon their
    unprotected heads. This mass of men jostle and crowd each other up and
    down the limits of their enclosure in storms or sun, and others lie
    down upon the pitiless earth at night with no other covering than the
    clothing upon their backs, few of them having even a blanket.

    Upon entering the prison every man is deliberately stripped of money
    and other property, and as no clothing or blankets are ever supplied
    to their prisoners by the rebel authorities, the condition of the
    apparel of the soldiers, just from an active campaign, can be easily
    imagined. Thousands are without pants or coats, and hundreds without
    even a pair of drawers to cover their nakedness.

    To these men, as indeed to all prisoners, there are issued three
    quarters of a pound of bread or meal, and one eighth of a pound of
    meat, per day. This is the entire ration, and upon it the prisoner
    must live or die. The meal is often unsifted and sour, and the meat
    such as in the North is consigned to the soap-maker. Such are the
    rations upon which Union soldiers are fed by the rebel authorities,
    and by which they are barely holding on to life. But to starvation,
    and exposure to sun and storm, add the sickness which prevails to a
    most alarming and terrible extent. On an average, one hundred die
    daily. It is impossible that any Union soldiers should know all the
    facts pertaining to this terrible mortality, as they are not paraded
    by the rebel authorities. Such statement as the following, made by
    ---- ----, speaks eloquent testimony. Said he, "Of twelve of us who
    were captured, six died, four are in the hospital, and I never expect
    to see them again. There are but two of us left."

    In 1862, at Montgomery, Alabama, under far more favorable
    circumstances, the prisoners being protected by sheds, from one
    hundred and fifty to two hundred were sick from diarrhoea and chills
    out of seven hundred. The same percentage would give seven thousand
    sick at Andersonville.

    It needs no comment, no efforts at word-painting, to make such a
    picture stand out boldly in most horrible colors.

    Nor is this all. Among the ill-fated of the many who have suffered
    amputation in consequence of injuries received before capture, sent
    from rebel hospitals before their wounds were healed, there are
    eloquent witnesses of the barbarities of which they are victims. If to
    these facts is added this, that nothing more demoralizes soldiers and
    develops the evil passions of man than starvation, the terrible
    condition of Union prisoners at Andersonville can be readily imagined.
    They are fast losing hope and becoming utterly reckless of life.

    Numbers, crazed by their sufferings, wander about in a state of
    idiocy; others deliberately cross the "dead line," and are
    remorselessly shot down.

    In behalf of these men we most earnestly appeal to the President of
    the United States. Few of them have been captured, except in the front
    of battle, in the deadly encounter, and only when overpowered by
    numbers. They constitute as gallant a portion of our armies as carry
    our banners anywhere. If released, they would soon return to again do
    vigorous battle for our cause. We are told that the only obstacle in
    the way of exchange is the status of enlisted negroes captured from
    our armies, the United States claiming that the cartel covers all who
    serve under its flag, and the Confederate States refusing to consider
    the colored soldiers, heretofore slaves, as prisoners of war.

    We beg leave to suggest some facts bearing upon the question of
    exchange, which we would urge upon this consideration. Is it not
    consistent with the national honor, without waiving the claim that the
    negro soldiers shall be treated as prisoners of war, to effect an
    exchange of the white soldiers? The two classes are treated
    differently by the enemy. The whites are confined in such prisons as
    Libby and Andersonville, starved and treated with a barbarism unknown
    to civilized nations. The blacks, on the contrary, are seldom
    imprisoned. They are distributed among the citizens, or employed on
    government works. Under these circumstances they receive enough to
    eat, and are worked no harder than they have been accustomed to be.
    They are neither starved nor killed off by the pestilence in the
    dungeons of Richmond and Charleston. It is true they are again made
    slaves; but their slavery is freedom and happiness compared with the
    cruel existence imposed upon our gallant men. They are not bereft of
    hope, as are the white soldiers, dying by piecemeal. Their chances of
    escape are tenfold greater than those of the white soldiers, and their
    condition, in all its lights, is tolerable in comparison with that of
    the prisoners of war now languishing in the dens and pens of

    While, therefore, believing the claims of our government, in matters
    of exchange, to be just, we are profoundly impressed with the
    conviction that the circumstances of the two classes of soldiers are
    so widely different that the government can honorably consent to an
    exchange, waiving for a time the established principle justly claimed
    to be applicable in the case. Let thirty-five thousand suffering,
    starving, and enlisted men aid this appeal. By prompt and decided
    action in their behalf, thirty-five thousand heroes will be made
    happy. For the eighteen hundred commissioned officers now prisoners we
    urge nothing. Although desirous of returning to our duty, we can bear
    imprisonment with more fortitude if the enlisted men, whose sufferings
    we know to be intolerable, were restored to liberty and life.


The threatening manoeuvres of Sherman alone caused the rebel authorities
to diminish the number of inmates of this stockade, and thereby lessen the
dangers of recapture, and remove the temptation to the United States
authorities to make an effort for their rescue. It has been stated that
the rebels were anxious to exchange prisoners, man for man, and that the
obstructions were caused by the Federal authorities, and that Mr. Stanton,
in particular, was responsible for the stoppage of exchange and the
consequent death of so many thousands of our fellow-citizens detained in
the rebel prisons.

General Hitchcock, the United States commissioner of exchange, however,
denies most emphatically that Mr. Stanton was any way responsible for the
refusal to make exchanges, man for man, officer for officer, according to
grade, and he makes the following statement: "At no instance within my
knowledge did Mr. Stanton refuse to acquiesce in any proposition looking
to that result. There is not in my office, nor have I ever seen such a
proposition from a rebel commissioner or the rebel authorities. Nor have I
any reason to believe that any such proposition was ever made by Judge
Ould, or any of his superiors, except in a letter from Judge Ould
addressed to Major Mulford, which fell into the hands of Major-General
Butler. This is true, emphatically, as a protection against the
accusations levelled at Mr. Stanton. * * * * * Mr. Stanton has not only
been willing, but anxious to make exchanges referred to, as I have
abundant means of showing by indisputable documents, the aim and purpose
of Judge Ould was to draw from us all of the rebel prisoners held in
exchange for white troops of the United States held as prisoners in the
South, persistently refusing to exchange colored troops to a very late
date; when, to carry a special purpose, he receded so far as to agree to
exchange free colored men, leaving the general principle where it was on
his side against the just claims of a large body of colored prisoners held
in the South."


The following letter from General Butler to the rebel commissioner of
exchange will throw some light upon the subject, and give an idea as to
whom the blame of non-exchange and non-intercourse belongs:--

    _Letter of Major-General Butler, United States Commissioner of
    Exchange, to Colonel Ould, the Confederate Commissioner._

    CAROLINA, IN THE FIELD, AUGUST, 1864.        }

    HON. ROBERT OULD, _Commissioner of Exchange_.

    SIR: Your note to Major Mulford, assistant agent of exchange, under
    date of 10th August, has been referred to me.

    You therein state that Major Mulford has several times proposed "to
    exchange prisoners respectively held by the two belligerents--officer
    for officer, and man for man," and that "the offer has also been made
    by other officials having charge of matters connected with the
    exchange of prisoners," and that "this proposal has been heretofore
    declined by the Confederate authorities." That you now "consent to the
    above proposition, and agree to deliver to you (Major Mulford) the
    prisoners held in captivity by the Confederate authorities, provided
    you agree to deliver an equal number of officers and men. As equal
    numbers are delivered from time to time they will be declared
    exchanged. This proposal is made with the understanding that the
    officers and men on both sides who have been longest in captivity will
    be first delivered, where it is practicable."

    From a slight ambiguity in your phraseology, but more perhaps from the
    antecedent action of your authorities, and because of your acceptance
    of it, I am in doubt whether you have stated the proposition with
    entire accuracy.

    It is true, a proposition was made both by Major Mulford and myself,
    as agent of exchange, to exchange all prisoners of war taken by either
    belligerent party, man for man, officer for officer, of equal rank, or
    their equivalents. It was made by me as early as the first of the
    winter of 1863-4, and has not been accepted. In May last I forwarded
    to you a note, desiring to know whether the Confederate authorities
    intended to treat colored soldiers of the United States army as
    prisoners of war. To that inquiry no answer has yet been made. To
    avoid all possible misapprehension or mistake hereafter as to your
    offer now, will you now say whether you mean by "prisoners held in
    captivity" colored men, duly enrolled, and mustered into the service
    of the United States, who have been captured by the Confederate
    forces; and if your authorities are willing to exchange all soldiers
    so mustered into the United States army, whether colored or otherwise,
    and the officers commanding them, man for man, officer for officer?

    At the interview which was held between yourself and the agent of
    exchange on the part of the United States at Fortress Monroe, in March
    last, you will do me the favor to remember the principal discussion
    turned upon this very point; you, on behalf of the Confederate
    government, claiming the right to hold all negroes who had heretofore
    been slaves, and not emancipated by their masters, enrolled and
    mustered into the service of the United States, when captured by your
    forces, not as prisoners of war, but upon capture to be turned over to
    their supposed masters or claimants, whoever they might be, to be held
    by them as slaves.

    By the advertisements in your newspapers, calling upon masters to come
    forward and claim these men so captured, I suppose that your
    authorities still adhere to that claim--that is to say, that whenever
    a colored soldier of the United States is captured by you, upon whom
    any claim can be made by any person residing within the States now in
    insurrection, such soldier is not to be treated as a prisoner of war,
    but is to be turned over to his supposed owner or claimant, and put at
    such labor or service as that owner or claimant may choose, and the
    officers in command of such soldiers, in the language of a supposed
    act of the Confederate States, are to be turned over to the governors
    of States, upon requisitions, for the purpose of being punished by the
    laws of such States for acts done in war in the armies of the United

    You must be aware that there is still a proclamation by Jefferson
    Davis, claiming to be chief executive of the Confederate States,
    declaring in substance that all officers of colored troops mustered
    into the service of the United States were not to be treated as
    prisoners of war, but were to be turned over for punishment to the
    governors of States.

    I am reciting these public acts from memory, and will be pardoned for
    not giving the exact words, although I believe I do not vary the
    substance and effect.

    These declarations on the part of those whom you represent yet remain
    unrepealed, unannulled, unrevoked, and must therefore be still
    supposed to be authoritative.

    By your acceptance of our proposition, is the government of the United
    States to understand that these several claims, enactments, and
    proclaimed declarations are to be given up, set aside, revoked, and
    held for nought by the Confederate authorities, and that you are ready
    and willing to exchange, man for man, those colored soldiers of the
    United States, duly mustered and enrolled as such, who have heretofore
    been claimed as slaves by the Confederate States, as well as white

    If this be so, and you are so willing to exchange these colored men
    claimed as slaves, and you will so officially inform the government of
    the United States, then, as I am instructed, a principal difficulty in
    effecting exchanges will be removed.

    As I informed you personally, in my judgment it is neither consistent
    with the policy, dignity, or honor of the United States, upon any
    consideration, to allow those who, by our laws solemnly enacted, are
    made soldiers of the Union, and who have been duly enlisted, enrolled,
    and mustered as such soldiers, who have borne arms in behalf of this
    country, and who have been captured while fighting in vindication of
    the rights of that country, not to be treated as prisoners of war, and
    remain unchanged and in the service of those who claim them as
    masters; and I cannot believe that the government of the United States
    will ever be found to consent to so gross a wrong.

    Pardon me if I misunderstand you in supposing that your acceptance of
    our proposition does not in good faith mean to include all the
    soldiers of the Union, and that you still intend, if your acceptance
    is agreed to, to hold the colored soldiers of the Union unexchanged,
    and at labor or service, because I am informed that very lately,
    almost contemporaneously with this offer on your part to exchange
    prisoners, and which seems to include _all_ prisoners of war, the
    Confederate authorities have made a declaration that the negroes
    heretofore held to service by owners in the States of Delaware,
    Maryland, and Missouri are to be treated as prisoners of war, when
    captured in arms in the service of the United States.

    Such declaration that a part of the colored soldiers of the United
    States were to be prisoners of war, would seem most strongly to imply
    that others were not to be so treated, or, in other words, that the
    colored men from the insurrectionary States are to be held to labor
    and returned to their masters, if captured by the Confederate forces
    while duly enrolled and mustered into and actually in the armies of
    the United States.

    In the view which the government of the United States takes of the
    claim made by you to the persons and services of these negroes, it is
    not to be supported upon any principle of national and municipal law.

    Looking upon these men only as property upon your theory of property
    in them, we do not see how this claim can be made, certainly not how
    it can be yielded. It is believed to be a well-settled rule of public
    international law, and a custom and part of the laws of war, that the
    capture of movable property vests the title to that property in the
    captor, and therefore where one belligerent gets into full possession
    property belonging to the subjects or citizens of the other
    belligerent, the owner of that property is at once divested of his
    title, which rests in the belligerent government capturing and holding
    such possessions. Upon this rule of international law all civilized
    nations have acted, and by it both belligerents have dealt with all
    property, save slaves, taken from each other during the present war.

    If the Confederate forces capture a number of horses from the United
    States, the animals are claimed to be, and, as we understand it,
    become the property of the Confederate authorities.

    If the United States capture any movable property in the rebellion, by
    our regulations and laws, in conformity with international law and the
    laws of war, such property is turned over to our government as its
    property. Therefore, if we obtain possession of that species of
    property known to the laws of the insurrectionary States as slaves,
    why should there be any doubt that that property, like any other,
    vests in the United States?

    If the property in the slave does so vest, then the _jus disponendi_,
    the right of disposing of that property, vests in the United States.

    Now, the United States have disposed of the property which they have
    acquired by capture in slaves taken by them, i.e., by emancipating
    them, and declaring them free forever; so that, if we have not
    mistaken the principles of international law and the laws of war, we
    have no slaves in the armies of the United States. All are free men,
    being made so in such manner as we have chosen to dispose of our
    property in them which we acquired by capture.

    Slaves being captured by us, and the right of property in them thereby
    vested in us, that right of property has been disposed of by us by
    manumitting them, as has already been the acknowledged right of the
    owner to do to his slave. The manner in which we dispose of our
    property while it is in our possession certainly cannot be questioned
    by you. Nor is the case altered if the property is not actually
    captured in battle, but comes either voluntarily or involuntarily from
    the belligerent owner into the possession of the other belligerent.

    I take it no one would doubt the right of the United States to a drove
    of Confederate mules or a herd of Confederate cattle which should
    wander or rush across the Confederate lines into the lines of the
    United States army. So it seems to me, treating the negro as property
    merely, if that piece of property passes the Confederate lines, and
    comes into the lines of the United States, that property is as much
    lost to its owner in the Confederate States as would be the mule or
    ox, the property of the resident of the Confederate States, which
    should fall into our hands.

    If, therefore, the privilege of international law and the laws of war
    used in this discussion are correctly stated, then it would seem that
    the deduction logically flows therefrom in natural sequence, that the
    Confederate States can have no claim upon the negro soldiers captured
    by them from the armies of the United States because of the former
    ownership of them by their citizens or subjects, and only claim such
    as result, under the laws of war, from their captor merely.

    Do the Confederate authorities claim the right to reduce to a state of
    slavery free men, prisoners of war captured by them? This claim our
    fathers fought against under Bainbridge and Decatur, when set up by
    the Barbary Powers on the northern shore of Africa, about the year
    1800,--and in 1864 their children will hardly yield it upon their own

    This point I will not pursue further, because I understand you to
    repudiate the idea that you will reduce free men to slaves because of
    capture in war, and that you base the claim of the Confederate
    authorities to re-enslave our negro soldiers, when captured by you,
    upon the _jus postliminii_, or that principle of the law of nations
    which inhabilitates the former owner with his property taken by an
    enemy when such property is recovered by the forces of his own
    country. Or, in other words, you claim that, by the laws of nations
    and of war, when property of the subjects of one belligerent power,
    captured by the forces of the other belligerent, is recaptured by the
    armies of the former owner, then such property is to be restored to
    its prior possessor, as if it had never been captured; and, therefore,
    under this principle, your authorities propose to restore to their
    masters the slaves which heretofore belonged to them which you may
    capture from us.

    But this postliminary right under which you claim to act, as
    understood and defined by all writers on national law, is applicable
    simply to _immovable property_, and that, too, only after complete
    resubjugation of that portion of the country in which the property is
    situated, upon which this right fastens itself. By the laws and
    customs of war, this right has never been applied to _movable_
    property. True it is, I believe, that the Romans attempted to apply it
    to the case of slaves; but for two thousand years no other nation has
    attempted to set up this right as ground for treating slaves
    differently from other property.

    But the Romans even refused to re-enslave men captured from opposing
    belligerents in a civil war, such as ours unhappily is.

    Consistently, then, with any principle of the law of nations, treating
    slaves as property merely, it would seem to be impossible for the
    government of the United States to permit the negroes in their ranks
    to be re-enslaved when captured, or treated otherwise than as
    prisoners of war.

    I have forborne, sir, in this discussion, to argue the question upon
    any other or different ground of right than those adopted by your
    authorities in claiming the negro as property, because I understand
    that your fabric of opposition to the government of the United States
    has the right of property in man as its corner-stone. Of course, it
    would not be profitable in settling a question of exchange of
    prisoners of war to attempt to argue the question of abandonment of
    the very corner-stone of their attempted political edifice. Therefore
    I have admitted all the considerations which should apply to the negro
    soldier as a man, and dealt with him upon the Confederate theory of
    property only.

    I unite with you most cordially, sir, in desiring a speedy settlement
    of all these questions, in view of the great suffering endured by our
    prisoners in the hands of your authorities, of which you so feelingly
    speak. Let me ask, in view of that suffering, why you have delayed
    eight months to answer a proposition which by now accepting you admit
    to be right, just, and humane, allowing that suffering to continue so
    long? One cannot help thinking, even at the risk of being deemed
    uncharitable, that the benevolent sympathies of the Confederate
    authorities have been lately stirred by the depleted condition of
    their armies, and a desire to get into the field, to affect the
    present campaign, the hale, hearty, and well-fed prisoners held by the
    United States in exchange for the half-starved, sick, emaciated, and
    unserviceable soldiers of the United States now languishing in your
    prisons. The events of this war, if we did not know it before, have
    taught us that it is not the northern people alone who know how to
    drive sharp bargains.

    The wrongs, indignities, and privations suffered by our soldiers would
    move me to consent to anything to procure their exchange, except to
    barter away the honor and faith of the government of the United
    States, which has been so solemnly pledged to the colored soldiers in
    its ranks.

    Consistently with national faith and justice we cannot relinquish this
    position. With your authorities it is a question of property merely.
    It seems to address itself to you in this form: Will you suffer your
    soldier, captured in fighting your battles, to be in confinement for
    months rather than release him by giving for him that which you call a
    piece of property, and which we are willing to accept as a man?

    You certainly appear to place less value upon your soldier than you do
    upon your negro. I assure you, much as we of the North are accused of
    loving property, our citizens would have no difficulty in yielding up
    any piece of property they have in exchange for one of their brothers
    or sons languishing in your prisons. Certainly there could be no doubt
    that they would do so, were that piece of property less in value than
    five thousand dollars in Confederate money, which is believed to be
    the price of an able-bodied negro in the insurrectionary States.

    Trusting that I may receive such a reply to the questions propounded
    in this note as will tend to a speedy resumption of the negotiations
    in a full exchange of all prisoners, and a delivery of them to their
    respective authorities,

      I have the honor to be,
          Very respectfully,
              Your obedient servant,
                  BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,

    _Major-General and Commissioner of Exchange_.


The wretched "material" exchanged for healthy rebel soldiers called forth
a note of joy from the rebel commissioner, Ould. The exchanged Federal
soldiers were half-naked, "living skeletons," covered with filth and
vermin; and nearly all of them were unfit for service or labor, and most
of them physically ruined for the remainder of their lives. The
flag-of-truce boats of the different parties presented terrible contrasts.
On the one were to be seen feeble, emaciated, ragged, filthy, and dying
men from the rebel prisons; whilst on the other were the rebels returning
from our prisons, well clad in our uniforms, strong and healthy from the
abundance of food. We returned men who had been well treated, and who were
then ready to take the field again; whilst we received in turn abused and
decrepit soldiers, who were so much reduced and weakened that few,
comparatively, ever again returned to service. Along the entire line of
prison stockades, from Belle Isle in Virginia to Prison Tyler in Texas,
the same story is told of fiendish cruelty.

More than thirty thousand of our soldiers have undoubtedly perished
during, or in consequence of the barbarities of their prison life in the
South. To ascertain the precise number will be a difficult task, for many
of the returned prisoners have died since they have left the service; but
when we consider the number of prisons, and the long period of occupation,
we think that the estimate of thirty thousand is not too high.


When General Stoneman made his attempt to rescue the prisoners, Winder
issued the order No. 13, which stamps the brute with infamy beyond
redemption. In this order, which has been preserved, Winder commanded the
officers in charge of the artillery to open their batteries, loaded with
grape-shot, as soon as the Federals approached within seven miles, and to
continue the slaughter until every prisoner was exterminated. Similar
threats were made all along the line of the prison stockades in North
Carolina and in Virginia. "Was the prison mined," said Colonel Farnsworth
to Turner, the jailer of Libby Prison, "when General Kilpatrick approached
Richmond to attempt to rescue the prisoners?" "Yes," was the brutal reply;
"and I would have blown you all to Hades before I would have suffered you
to be rescued." Twelve hundred men blown into atoms at one explosion!
Thirty thousand men to be torn into shreds by the iron bullets of the
cannon! Contrast the orders of these chivalric men with that of Aboukere,
the chief of a reputed barbarous horde of Bedouins of the desert:--

"Warriors of Islam! attend a moment, and listen well to the precepts which
I am about to promulge to you for observation in times of war. Fight with
bravery and loyalty. Never use artifice or perfidy towards your enemies.
Do not mutilate the fallen. Do not slay the aged, nor the children, nor
the women. You will find upon your route men living in solitude, in
meditation, in the adoration of God: do them no injury, give them no

In which are the evidences the most positive of a fraternal religion and
an advanced civilization?


Even women and young girls came from distances to view the spectacle. They
climbed the parapets of the earthworks, and gloated and made merry over
the scene of suffering. They threw crusts of bread over the palisades to
see the starving wretches struggle for the morsel of life.

They even reviled the condition of the dying. This surpasses the ferocity,
the depravity, the wickedness of gladiatorial times. "The fury of women
when once excited," says the French historian, "soon rises to profanation
and excess." When the love of humanity vanishes from our breasts, it is
the death of nature.

There were, however, a few noble exceptions to those strange acts of
delight in cruelty; and the deeds of kindness of a few women in other
parts of the South shine with increased brilliancy from the terrible


Several of the papers of the South openly and unhesitatingly approved of
the methods of their prison depletion, and gloated over the fearful
destitution and mortality.

The Macon "Telegraph and Confederate," only the day before the surrender
of the city to the Federal forces, justified the atrocities at
Andersonville; and the Richmond "Examiner" exclaimed, "Let the Yankee
prisoners be put where the cold weather and scant fare will thin them out
in accordance with the laws of nature." There were, however, noble
exceptions to the general exhibition of ferocity; and several officers of
the rebel army did declare that the condition of affairs at Andersonville
was a "reproach to them as a nation."

The author, who served for five years in the Federal armies of Virginia,
of the South, and the South-west, and whose opportunities for observation
and inquiry were extensive, does not believe General Lee to be implicated
in these outrages. It is true that Lee might have openly and boldly
protested against the barbarities, and gained thereby the admiration and
the blessing of mankind; but he knew full well that the remonstrance would
have fallen upon the cold ear of the implacable executive with no more
effect and weight than when the snow-flake falls upon the Alps.

The Virginian struggled to hold his own against the selfish and jealous
ambition of the remorseless Mississippian.

To have participated in the revolting cabal of cruelty, there was required
the baseness of political intrigue, and to this depth the soldier never


To charge an entire people with barbarity, because its rulers sanction
crime, and a vile and venal press applaud the motives and the deeds,
should not be maintained without long deliberation. "History has the right
of suspecting without evidence, but never of accusing without proof." The
rank and file of the rebel army were drawn from the classes of poor
whites, who were essentially rural in their populations, and who possessed
some trace of the morals and the natural sentiments of generosity that
belong to people who cultivate the earth. Although their instincts were
modified by the contact of slave labor, they never sank so low in the
social scale--to that level of the vile populace of the Roman or medieval
times, when the crimes of the emperors were applauded. These men on the
battle-field exhibited feelings of humanity; and it was only under the
direction of their leaders that they became unkind and ferocious.

It was the leaders who were responsible for the crimes of the sedition;
and what of humanity could be expected from men degenerated in blood? What
of noble intelligence could be looked for from mental faculties long since
degraded? What evidence of a Christian spirit could be hoped for from men
who had openly perverted or denied all the divine precepts, upon which
revolve the well-being of the human race? "If we had triumphed," says one
of its apostles, at this late day of forgiveness and repentance--"if we
had triumphed, I should have favored stripping them naked. Pardon! They
might have appealed for pardon, but I would have seen them damned before I
would have granted it!"

When Suwarrow forced his way by the sword into the heart of Poland,
dividing the realm, devastating the land, and destroying multitudes of
people, he offered blasphemous thanks to Heaven for victories obtained
over men fighting in the sacred cause of liberty, and for all the human
heart holds dear.


To judge correctly of the magnitudes of these immolations, these crimes,
history must wait for a calmer period, when prejudice shall have relaxed
its hold upon the understanding, and when time shall have rolled up its
accumulated materials of accusation and denial, of proof and exoneration.
At present we can form some idea of their designs, and the degree of the
implacability of their souls, from the evidence already placed before us,
as we measure inaccessible heights by the awful shadows which they

Pity appears to have been with them only a vain, fleeting emotion, if the
soul was disturbed at all; and whenever an act of humanity was displayed,
there seems to have been the secret motive of gain at work. In defining
the natural sentiments of pity, they would have declared them the
illusions of the imagination.

The brutalizing scenes of Slavery had modified and affected their natural
feelings, as the gladiatorial combats and exposures of the Christians to
the attacks of infuriated wild beasts had inspired the vile populace of
Rome with the love of blood and cruelty.

When these men, with sonorous rhetoric, proclaimed themselves as the
guiding minds of the republic, the patrons, the judges of the correct
ideas and principles of civilization,--when they arrogated to themselves
the appearance of the wisdom of Lacedæmon with the politeness of
Athens,--they forgot or despised those cardinal virtues of society,
"justice and truth--these are the first duties of man; humanity,
country--these his first affections."


"I fear," writes the rebel War Clerk, observing from his secure position
in the war office, "I fear this government in future times will be
denounced as a cabal of bandits and outlaws, making and executing the most
despotic decrees."

Whether this system of the reduction of prisoners was devised by the
executive, or his immediate advisers, time may reveal. But of this we may
remain positive, that the crime belongs to that little faction of
Breckinridge Democrats who ruled the Confederacy as they pleased, and of
which Davis was the recognized leader. Wirz was only the De Vargas and
Winder the Alva of the arranged system. Neither is there any doubt that
the power of affording relief was clearly within the control of the
executive. This power was not withheld from want of audacity, for the man
who dared place in power, in spite of remonstrance, men who jeopardized
the existence of the Confederacy, and who openly disgraced its honor,
certainly had sufficient courage to perform a common act of humanity, and
relieve the sufferings of tortured prisoners, if such had been his

No; there was a system, and "systems are brutal forces." "What are your
laws and theories," said Danton, brutally, to Gensonné, "when the only law
is to triumph, and the sole theory for the nation is the theory of
existence."--"Give a man power of doing what he pleases with impunity, you
extinguish his fear, and consequently overturn in him one of the great
pillars of morality. This, too, we find confirmed by matter of fact. How
many hopeful heirs-apparent to grand empires, when in possession of them,
have become such monsters of lust and cruelty as are a reproach to human
nature!"--"Ambition brings to men dissimulation, perfidy, the art of
feigning the language and sentiments which lay at the bottom of the heart;
of measuring their hate and their friendship only by their interests and
circumstances; and above all, the perfidious science of composing their
features, rather than correct and govern their principles."

The wills of bad men are their laws, and brute strength their logic.


It is only distance in time that separates and distinguishes the Caligulas
of history, the early, medieval, and present periods. History exhibits the
first as the undisguised monster of atrocity. The last, overshadowed by
the mantle of the law, stands but partially revealed.

To the perverted imaginations of the first the senate presented no force
of resistance. To the petulant asperity, the abuse of power of the last,
the doubtful liberties of the people imposed certain restrictions, which
led to the resort of narrow and malignant minds--secrecy and concealment.

Nature had not cast him in the mould of those statesmen who sacrifice all
personal feelings for the public good, and who willingly yield up their
lives to advance the noble work of true civilization. Obstinacy with him
was firmness; cunning, depth; resistance to humane feelings, resolution.
Envy, hatred, murmurs, were braved with inflexible determination when
pursuing his plans of favoritism, or defending his tools of oppression
and cruelty against the voice of nature and outraged liberty.

There are some men who appear to be destined for the instruction of the
world, as the abettors and satellites of despotism, who cannot or who do
not recognize the difference between interest or conscience; who desire to
debase mankind, that they may appear above the common level of humanity,
conscious of their incapability of lifting themselves up by virtue and by
nobility of action.

This man was the incarnation of the spirit of Slavery; he could have
exclaimed, with Barnave, "Perish the colonies rather than a principle."
This man was, for the time being, the entire incorporation of the
sedition--its principles, its passions, its impulses, its cruelties.

"There are abysses which we dare not sound, and characters we desire not
to fathom, for fear of finding in them too great darkness, too much

This man, so calm, so dignified, so wise in his exterior, could not find
sufficient generosity in his soul, although the representative of five
millions of men, to say to these armies of suffering prisoners, * * *
_indignus Cæsaris iræ_--unworthy of the anger of Cæsar.


What have the wretches to offer in atonement for these outrages upon
nature, these violations of the spirit and majesty of the law, from which
they now claim protection?

Will the blood of these living monsters expiate the martyrdom of the host
of dead heroes? No!

Will it give ease or bring congratulation to the broken and aching hearts
who yet revere the memory of the thirty thousand victims? Never!

The divine spirit of liberty would protest against the defilement of her
sacred altars with the foul blood of such filthy and depraved sacrifices.

Let the gates of the prison open, and these men stand forth to the full
gaze of offended mankind, assassins and murderers as they are.

Vengeance does not belong to the human race.

There are times in the history of men when human invectives are without
force. "There are deeds of which no men are judges, and which mount,
without appeal, direct to the tribunal of God."



Certain branches of the human family present physical peculiarities and
aptitudes for certain climates which others do not. The one thrives and
arrives at perfection, whilst the other languishes and dies.

Floras and Faunas have well-defined limits of latitude, beyond which they
decline and become extinct, and in some countries we observe certain
limitations as to longitudes. "There are tropical trees that become shrubs
in our zone, and the flowers of our meadows have their types in the
tapering trunks of other climes."

How rapidly the beautiful varieties of domestic animals deteriorate and
disappear when removed from the localities and conditions in which they
attained their excellence. The handsome Swiss cattle when carried to the
plains of Lombardy, and the remarkable varieties of the English herds when
removed to Central France, quickly lose their characteristics of form and
superiority. Under the tropics the sheep loses its silken fleece, and the
noble qualities of the dog greatly change.

Even the insect world changes greatly in every twelve degrees of latitude,
and an alteration, almost total, appears in double the space.

The influence of climate and locality, which exercises so positive a power
in the vegetable kingdom and animal reign, affects man likewise, and would
be as distinctly marked were it not resisted by the forces of the
intelligence. We find under certain parallels of latitude more energy of
mind and greater activity of body than at others; we observe this more
distinctly with particular races or varieties than with others, thus
indicating that all have not the same aptitudes: again, through a
combination of organic and social laws, types adapted to certain pursuits
spring up in every civilized country, these types distinct from either
varieties or species. We also see the sharp characteristics of races, when
migrating, become less distinct, and mixtures increase, and the inferior
races disappear, like "the elementary language or the primitive forms of
the social state."

The observed limit of range of the Hindoo and the African, in the Old
World, is not beyond 30° of the equator, and in a lower latitude than 36°
the European colonies have never prospered, never succeeded, in their
attempts for empire. Where now are the countless hosts of Romans, Gauls,
and Vandals that have occupied Northern Africa in past times? The
ethnologist of to-day cannot discover a feature, hardly a trace even, of
the language of the conquerors remaining among the present tribes of
occupation. Even the Roman has vanished, and the only vestige of the
Carthaginian and Numidian is shown by the scattered and diminished
Bergers. These varieties contended with the climate, and were gradually
absorbed by the stronger native tribes.

The Mongols once held Central Europe, the Goths ruled Italy. Where are
they? There is no longer Vandalic blood in Africa or Gothic blood in

In later times the strong, the fierce and dauntless Northmen held the
Sicilies, and as the incorruptible Varingar guarded and upheld with their
fearless swords the waning empire of the effeminate Greeks at the
Dardanelles. Where are they and their descendants? The only traces are
seen among the tombstones at Palermo, or in the Runic inscriptions which
they sacrilegiously sculptured with their long blades of steel upon the
flanks of the marble lion of the Piræus.


In the year 1600 hardly a European family could be found along the
headlands and indentations of the coast which form the southern limit of
the Slave States of America.

Since that time the countless multitudes of the red men who inhabited the
forests of these lands have disappeared, and other races from an older
world and other climes have taken their places, increasing in numbers with
as great rapidity as the other declined.

We have seen here the swarthy sons of Nubia, under the fostering care of
Slavery, or under the mysterious and unexplained influences of climate,
increase with such rapidity, that the ratio for the last decade (previous
to the war), if continued for a century, would give a black population of
more than forty millions. Strange spectacle in the movement of races!

Here we see, almost during the memory of living men, a distinct race
disappear, and a new nation of totally opposite character rise up, as if
by magic, in their vanishing footsteps. How prophetic was the speech of
the Indian chief to his tribe, when he beheld with dismay the steady
progress of the white men who lived upon the cereals! "I say, then,"
exclaimed the red man, "to every one who hears me, before the trees above
our heads shall have died of age, before the maples of the valley cease to
yield us sugar, the race of the sowers of corn will have extirpated the
race of flesh-eaters."


This rate of increase observed among the blacks of our Slave States is not
seen among the population of the West India Islands, where singular
oscillations are exhibited, and the statistics of the past two centuries
have inclined two of the most eminent European statisticians to assert
that in a century the negro will nearly have disappeared from these

Observations at Martinique and Guadaloupe certainly warrant the inference.
In Cuba the blacks decreased four or five thousand during the period of
1804 to 1817.

This decrease or stand-still in the progress of the race in these regions
may have been caused by conditions, moral or physical, wholly within the
control of man.

There are animals who will not propagate and continue their species whilst
in a state of servitude, and it is reasonable to believe that the same
moral causes affect the condition of enslaved mankind. Naturalists have
shown how the evils of Slavery degrade animals, and Buffon has pointed
out the deep and conspicuous impressions it has made upon the camel.


Since the discovery and forcible entrance of the golden Empire of Mexico,
and the display of her marvellous mineral treasures by the bold Cortez and
his companions, we have seen a constant stream of the Spaniards and the
affiliated nations of the Latin race pouring across the Atlantic to the
new worlds which were given to the house of Castile and Leon by the
sublime genius of the Genoese, following the stars and the traditions of
the Northmen.

Wealth and the baseless fabrics of martial glory were the alluring objects
of this migrating column of men.

"Hast thou gold?" exclaimed they to the Mexican princes. "I and my
companions have a malady which is only cured by gold."

After these four centuries of occupation of the elevated plains and
table-lands of Mexico, where the mean temperature does not exceed 77°
Fahrenheit, and where the mildness of climate, the wealth of a wonderful,
prolific nature, excite the ambition and the cupidity of men; and after
the long efforts at colonization, in which the parent country was almost
exhausted by the drain of her best blood,--Spain finds that the
predictions of Dr. Knox are rapidly being realized, and that only 600,000
Europeans and their hybrid descendants, and but 8000 Spaniards of pure
blood, can be found of all the numberless hosts that have embarked for
these lands. Spain halts, and reflects upon this report of her scientific
commission, which shows a decrease of one half since the estimate of
Humboldt, in 1793; whilst France, always blind to reason whenever the
eagles of glory desire to expand their wings, persists in her useless
occupation of Algeria, where Gaul has again and again vainly endeavored to
rear her colonies in times past; and she now attempts to unfurl her
standards and establish her institutions on those Mexican shores where the
blood and energy of a stronger and better adapted people have been
expended in vain. Idle effort! The elements of nature are stronger than
the will of men; neither do they give way to the desires or attacks of
human ambition.

There are geographical boundaries which races cannot pass in pursuit of
wealth or the dreams of ambition. A single generation will not determine
the law of expansion and decay.


In this connection it will be proper to glance over the past, among those
phenomena which men have observed, and those laws which the Creator has
thus far revealed to us for guidance in the procession of races or the
march of intellect.

In the mysteries of the material world everything is governed by fixed and
positive laws. Not a flower appears in the field to gladden the hearts of
men but what rises up with invariable structure, and blooms at definite
periods. Not a sparrow falls to the earth but in accordance with Nature's
law. Not a star shines in the firmament but in unison with the great and
illimitable designs of God. Everywhere do we observe harmony in space, in
movement; everywhere visible signs of a beneficent, protecting Creator. It
is the same with the enormous forms of living animals as with the
insignificant shapes of the insect world: all play their part in the
problem of Nature. Size is nothing with the Creator; form is nothing.

        "the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
  In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
  As when a giant dies."


History indicates mysterious laws in the progress of the typical stocks of
the human families; and it shows, in the colonization of the past, how
frail are human calculations in migration and settlement unless based upon
science. "It is not unknown to me," said the Roman soldier, two thousand
years ago, when about to attack the remnant of the army of Brennus, that
had passed over into Asia Minor, and conquered the land by the fierceness
of their attack, and the terror of their name,--"it is not unknown to me,"
said Manlius, "that of all the nations inhabiting Asia, the Gauls have the
highest reputation as soldiers.

"A fierce nation, after overrunning the face of the earth with its arms,
has fixed its abode in the midst of a race of men the gentlest in the
world. Their tall persons; their long, red hair; their vast shields, and
swords of enormous length; their songs also when they are advancing to
action; their yells and dances, and the horrid clashing of their arrows
while they brandish their shields in a peculiar manner practised in their
original country,--all these are circumstances calculated to strike
terror. But let Greeks, and Phrygians, and Carians, who are unaccustomed
to and unacquainted with these things, be frightened by such. The Romans,
long acquainted with Gallic tumults, have learned the emptiness of their
parade. Our forefathers had to deal with genuine native Gauls; but they
are now a degenerate, a mongrel race, and in reality what they are named,
Gallogrecians. Just so is the case of vegetables, the seeds not being so
efficacious for preserving their original constitution as the properties
of the soil and climate in which they may be reared, when changed, are
towards altering it. The Macedonians who settled at Alexandria, in Egypt,
or in Seleucia, or Babylonia, or in any other of their colonies scattered
over the world, have sunk into Syrians, Parthians, or Egyptians.

"What trace do the Tarentines retain of the hardy, rugged discipline of
Sparta? Everything that grows in its own natural soil attains the greater
perfection: whatever is planted in a foreign land, by a gradual change in
its nature degenerates into a similitude to that which affords it nurture.
Brutes retain for a time, when taken, their natural ferocity; but after
being long fed by the hands of men, they grow tame. Think ye then that
Nature does not act in the same manner in softening the savage tempers of
men? Do you believe these to be of the same kind that their fathers and
grandfathers were?

* * * "By the very great fertility of the soil, the very great mildness
of the climate, and the gentle dispositions of the neighboring nations,
all that barbarous fierceness which they brought with them has been quite

And finally the Romans themselves, in spite of their sanitary measures,
became from year to year more alien in blood from the genuine stock of
Romulus and Remus, until the distinctive characters of the conquerors of
the earth finally disappeared.

The Latins, Sabines, and primitive Etruscans pressed constantly upon them
with the irresistible force of destiny. When Scipio Æmilianus was
interrupted in the forum by this mongrel populace, he exclaimed, "Silence,
false sons of Italy! Think ye to scare me with your brandished hands, ye
whom I led myself in bonds to Rome?"

When the fierce and hardy Northmen descended into Southern Europe, they
carried along with their laws a chastity and a reserve that excited
universal surprise. But these virtues were not of long continuance there;
the climate and the customs of the new society soon warmed their frozen
imaginations, and their laws by degrees relaxed, and their manners even
more than their laws.

The giants of the North many times swept down over the plains of Italy,
and regenerated with fresh and pure blood the puny breeds of degenerate
Rome, but they have since disappeared, and their descendants are no longer
to be found in these countries.


In relation to the futile efforts of Spain in Mexico, the ethnologist Knox
exclaims, "Neither climate, nor government, nor external influences ever
alter race. They may and they do affect them, and in time destroy them,
but they never give rise to a new race. In half a century the dreams of
Humboldt, of Canning, of Guizot, and other profound statesmen, have come
to a close, and Nature once more, as I long ago predicted, asserts her

Naturalists, from Hippocrates to Buffon, have believed that climate, heat
and cold, dryness and humidity, the qualities and abundance of
nourishment, have power to modify men and animals, but "neither climate,
nor government, nor external circumstances ever give rise to a new race."
The generous qualities once gone, are departed forever, and their loss can
rarely be retrieved. Where is the instance of a fallen man, class, or

"The history of nations," writes the Registrar-General of England,--"the
history of nations on the Mediterranean or the plains of the Euphrates and
Tigris, the deltas of the Indies and Ganges, and the rivers of China,
exhibits the great fact: the gradual descent of race from the highlands,
their establishment on the coasts, in cities sustained and refreshed for a
season by emigration from the interior--their degradation in successive
generations under the influence of the unhealthy earth, and their final
ruin, effacement, or subjugation by new races of conquerors. The causes
that destroy individual men lay cities waste, which, in their nature, are
immortal, and silently undermine eternal empires.

  "A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
  An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
  Can man its shattered splendors renovate,
  Recall its virtues back, and vanquish time and fate?"


During this period of two centuries of colonization the European races
have attempted to perpetuate their families upon these lands in question.
They brought with them strong physical forces, and a high degree of mental
cultivation. Mental strength will endure extremes of climate to a singular
degree, but even this gradually yields to cosmic influences. It is a
well-observed law of Nature that man must be organized in harmony with the
condition of climate, otherwise he perishes. This scale of the strength of
resisting opposing forces depends greatly upon the purity of the blood and
the cultivation of the mind, whose remarkable powers of resisting disease
have been observed and pointed out by Malte-Brun, Goethe, Kant, and other

Europeans may visit and remain for limited periods in almost every portion
of the globe. The deadly miasms of Central America, the pestilential
atmospheres of Central Africa, and the frozen mists of either pole, are
braved by the inquiring travellers of the civilized races, but not with

Intelligent and educated men may live for a while as gentlemen of leisure,
in the midst of malarial climates, almost without perceptible effect, but
the moment they apply their forces to the cultivation of the earth, Nature
asserts her rights.

Yet during the period of the rich man, whilst he lives without physical
labor, in ease, contemplation, and contentment, degeneration is slowly but
surely taking place. The law of fecundity proves it, as with the Mamelukes
in Egypt, as observed by Volney.

The English race loses its energy, according to Farr, in two or three
generations in the lowlands of the West India Islands and in Southern
Asia. The Duke of Wellington believed that every English family in Lower
Bengal would die out in the third generation.


The laws of nature as regards influences of climate, food, and society,
have operated less upon the condition of the rich slaveholder than the
poorer white, who has struggled for existence, contending with the poverty
of sterile or abandoned soils, and the hostile influences of climate, and
the sneer of the slave and his master. The rich man has resisted the
opposing forces of the elements with less apparent changes, whilst the
poor man has succumbed to the influences and sadly degenerated, but the
poor white still possesses the rough nobility and majesty of natural man,
whilst the rich slaveholder, with his perverted ideas of honor, virtue,
and justice, has gained the merited contempt of mankind. For the one,
civilization has the sympathetic feeling of compassion; from the other,
Nature herself recoils in horror.

This degeneration of the poor white is no mystery. Their poverty of blood
and weakness of mind were not engendered by the insalubrity of climate,
nor even by the sterility of the soil alone. Deny to any race, class, or
community free social condition, freedom of thought, the expansion of the
mind, the liberty of political and religious ideas, and it is sure to
degenerate, and in time to perish.

The doctrine of Adam Smith and the theory of Malthus as to the fatal
necessity of starvation, are in some measure correct, but they are
mistaken in the view that human fecundity tends to get the start of the
means of subsistence, for on the contrary it keeps pace with it.

We find that the fishes in the lakes, and the wolves in the forests,
increase in exact ratio to the amount of food furnished. Nature regulates
the fecundity of animals and human beings when society neglects it.


The influences of climate, of food, of temperature, of domesticity upon
the variation of species is well known. These mediate and external causes
act with more vigor when the immediate and internal causes favor the
effect. "All the mechanism of the formation of varieties," says Flourens,
"turns upon these two internal causes--the tendency of the species to
vary, and the transmission of the acquired variations." Cultivated plants
and domesticated animals, when deprived of the modifying influence of man,
return to the state of nature, and undergo new modifications, alterations,
degenerations, even so far as to disguise and conceal the primitive type.

A few generations suffice to restore a variety to the primitive stock
without retaining any of the organic elements which would debase it.

The more the influence of civilized man makes itself felt, the more the
superior species overpower, absorb, or modify the inferior species.

The more rude the people and the less polished their societies, the more
powerful and rapid will be the influences of climate. Civilized men are
continually exercising their talents to conform their conditions to the
necessities of the time and place, and by their ingenuity remedy the
defects, and by the resisting powers of a cultivated and occupied mind
resist many of the morbid influences of climate. But plants and animals
succumb at once if not protected by man.


During the more than two centuries of occupation of these southern lands
there appear sufficient data to form, perhaps, some definite ideas of the
success or failure of colonization, and the vague and doubtful process of
acclimation. These evidences, thus far, are decidedly in favor of the
black man. For he has multiplied with astonishing rapidity, and preserved
his physical forces, and during this long and brutalizing term of his
servitude he has not exhibited the ferocity of his master, save when
hunted down like the beasts of prey, as in Hayti; neither has he sunk so
low in the scale of true humanity as those who have held him in bondage.

The hungry and maimed soldier of the republic, escaping from the murderous
prison-dens of the rebels, always found a crust of bread, a protecting
shelter, and a kind word from the humblest and most oppressed of these

Never were they betrayed by the black man, although the reward was large.
Never were they denied assistance, although the penalty was death.

Although history seems to forbid, we are not of that class of men who
maintain that there are inferior races, intended by nature for servitude;
for we believe that every race contains the elements of greatness, and
that there is a common destiny to all. And we cherish the idea that there
is a better future even for the black man among the civilized nations of
the earth. The singular aptitude of the black man for music, which is the
language of the soul; his deep, sincere, immovable veneration for the
precepts, the faith, the hope of Christianity, do not indicate a race lost
to the nobler impulses, or to the benign influences of civilization, nor a
people abandoned and accursed by Providence. God has gifted every living
creature with the instinct of self-preservation; he has endowed all
animated creatures of the human form with the love of the beautiful, with
the desire of developing and perfecting their innate powers, and of
leaving on earth some act, some memorial worthy of imitation or
remembrance. He who declines to help his fellow-creature in the struggle
for social existence, in the effort for happiness, knowledge, and
immortality, is less than a man.

The problem of civilization is left mostly to the free will of men, and
God blasts and crumbles into dust only those nations who have abused the
gifts and privileges of nature, and who, when arriving at the height of
prosperity and power, have disregarded and despised those principles of
morality and religion which form the true base of all society. How all the
noble aspirations may be crushed and the instincts perverted; how from a
species of voluntary insanity, by our own fierce passions, and by a
strange desire of mutual destruction, men rush on to contest and to ruin,
is well illustrated by the past of the slave faction.


It is evident that the black man has not deteriorated during his sojourn
in these countries; on the contrary, he has improved in physique: the
repulsive Congo type has changed, and the Circassian features appear. It
is the result of the law of contact and example; it is the effect of

Has the white man gained in similar ratio? Go to the cotton fields and
rice lands, and learn a lesson from the instructive contrast of the gaunt
and apathetic white laborer, with the sturdy, well-developed, lively
black. You will then observe that these vast alluvial lands, which rank in
richness and fertility with the best on the globe, must be consigned to
waste by reason of insalubrity, if not cultivated by races of men who are
congenial to the soil and climate. There is no white race who can
cultivate these lands, and enjoy life and establish society with any
duration. Malaria would forbid, if other conditions were favorable.

The littoral lands of the lower tier of Slave States, which are composed
of post tertiary and alluvial soils, tertiary sands and secondary chalk
marls, can be tilled in safety and with economy and with gain only by the
black man. Below the upper terraces and the slopes of the mountain ranges
of the northern limits of these States, where we find the primary and
metamorphic rocks and their debris, the white laborer cannot descend
without contending with the full force of his nature, with disease,
degeneration, and premature death.

There are now in the States of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and
Louisiana thirty millions of acres of arable land yet belonging to the
United States, unsold and unoccupied. In all England there are but seven
million acres of uncultivated land.


Malaria, that curse of the Circassian race, which is the chief source of
the inefficiency and mortality of their efforts of colonizations in
semi-tropical climes, exerts but little influence upon the negroes, and
hence they are admirably qualified for the occupation of pestilential

It appears from the statistics of the English that remittent and
intermittent fevers, which prove the great source of inefficiency and
mortality among the white troops in tropical climes, exert comparatively
but little influence upon the blacks.

The writer has observed the fatal effects of the pernicious fevers upon
the white inhabitants of the low coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, and
has seen men perish in a single night from the deadly action of the
miasms, whilst the negroes were unaffected.

During the English expedition up the Nile nearly all the whites were
prostrated by fevers, and none of the native blacks were affected. After
the French landed at Vera Cruz the yellow fever found great numbers of
victims among the Europeans; but according to the report of the
inspector-general, Regnaud, not one of the 600 negro soldiers and sailors
from the West Indies, though hard at work there, were attacked, or rather
not one of them died. There are hundreds of similar examples to illustrate
the theory.

We cannot escape the mephitism of the soil. So long as we respire the air,
so long shall we receive into the system the deleterious vapors by the
respiratory apparatus, which is the most perfect of the absorbing agents:
the time of effect is determined only by the health, the strength, and
vigor of our forces. The destroying elements may take effect at once, or
they may be resisted for a long, though definite period of time. Malaria
alone has a wide range among the causes of human misery, and it is
believed to cause more than half of the mortality of the human families on
the globe.

Its deadly action, in depopulating cities and provinces, is well attested
in history, and its effect upon the intellectual expansion is still more
marked; sadness, languor, paludal cachexia, scrofulous, deformed, and
short-lived offspring, are among its train of evils. In the Roman states
alone, sixty thousand perish every year from this paludal influence. These
deltas of the Southern States are among the greater miasmatic foyers of
the world, and are as deadly in their miasms as the Campagna of Italy or
the Sunderbunds of Hindostan.


There are many reasons to induce the belief, that if properly directed,
the blacks may attain distinction in social life and progress, and a
higher degree of perfection in physical development. The skeleton of the
negro is firmer and heavier, the bones being larger and thicker than that
of any other race; but physiologists observe that the muscular development
does not correspond to the strong dimensions of the frame. This deficiency
of nature may be explained by the want of proper nutrition, or to physical
causes within human control, for all proportions in nature are harmonious.
Two of the most admirable boxers that have appeared in the British arena
were blacks, and the dark, swarthy hue of the famous wrestler, Marseilles,
reminds how common is the tinge of African blood in South France, Spain,
and Italy.

While statistics appear to exhibit the physical superiority of the blacks
in the low countries, they also prove how prone to pulmonary disease are
they when migrating to the uplands, or higher latitudes, and how fearful
the mortality. Thus Nature, it seems, offers serious barriers to their
progress, and boundaries within which they must confine themselves or


It has been urged that the intermingling of the freed blacks with the
whites in these States will produce a variety of people more vicious, and
less willing to be controlled by the social laws, than either pure race.

Of this there is but little danger, as ethnology will show. There will not
be, under any ordinary circumstances, any intermingling of the two races,
for the law of ethnic repugnance is too great. The strong ethnic
antipathies will keep them apart. The possibility of the intermixture of
families and races so widely remote is as rigidly limited as the law of
chemical proportions, and the absorption of the minor quantity is
inevitable. Give both races the same field for expansion in these States,
and the white race will soon find itself in the minority, both of numbers
and in physical strength; for, according to natural laws, the stronger
blood always absorbs the weaker when there is unobstructed action, and
especially when climate favors vastly one of the contending types.

There are to-day four or five times as many centenarians among the blacks
as there are among the whites of the cotton regions.

In consideration of this subject of miscegenation, let us review the
phenomena that have been brought to light by the naturalists who have
studied hybridity among animals, and recall a few facts from history to
support the experimentalists.


In the animal world, in the wild state, hybrids are rarely if ever
produced, and it is only from the experiments of the naturalists that the
law of hybridity has been explained.

We see the bipartites appear, when two kindred species mix together under
the influence of man, these animals partaking of the qualities of both.
The horse and the ass; the ass, zebra, and hermione; the wolf and the dog;
the dog and the jackal; the goat and the ram; the deer and the axis, &c.,
unite and breed; but these artificial species are not durable, and they
have only limited fecundity. "The mongrels of the dog and the wolf are
sterile from the third generation. The mongrels of the jackal and the dog
are so from the fourth. Moreover, if we unite these mongrels to one of the
two primitive species, they soon revert completely and totally to that

"The mongrel of the dog and jackal contains more of the jackal than the
dog. It has the straight ears, the pendent tail; it does not bark; it is
wild. It is more jackal than dog. This is the first product of the crossed
union of the dog with the jackal. I continue to unite the successive
produce, from generation to generation, with one of the two primitive
roots,--with that of the dog, for example.

"The mongrel of the second generation does not bark yet, but it has the
ears pendent at the tip: it is less wild.

"The mongrel of the third generation barks: it has pendent ears, raised
tail: it is no longer wild. The mongrel of the fourth generation is
entirely dog. Four generations, then, have sufficed to restore one of the
two primitive types--the dog type; and four generations suffice also to
restore the other type--the jackal type. Thus, when the mongrels produced
from the union of two distinct species unite together, either become soon
sterile, or they unite with one of the two primitive stocks, and they soon
revert to this stock; in no case do they yield what may be called a new
species, that is, an intermediate, durable species.

"Whether, then, we consider the external causes,--the succession of time,
years, ages, revolutions of the globe, or internal causes,--that is to
say, the crossing of the species, the species do not alter, do not change,
nor pass from one to the other; the species is fixed." Such are the
conclusions of the admirable efforts of Flourens.

"The imprint of each species," says Buffon, "is a type, the principal
features of which are engraved in characters ineffaceable, and permanent
forever; but all the accessory touches vary; no individual perfectly
resembles another."


Among the human families, the law of hybridity, which has been pointed out
so clearly by Flourens, has also its fixed and inflexible rules; these
rules have not been so well studied with men as with animals, but it is
believed to have its limit at the seventh generation. At all events, the
experiments of human hybridism, and acclimation in strange latitudes, have
always in time ended in disaster; and that such will always be the fate of
the attempted union of different races in unfavorable climes, have been
the views of Humboldt, of Canning, of Guizot, and other profound
statesmen. We observe among the races in savage life a natural repugnance
to unite: as for instance, the negroes and the fairer people of the
Philippine and Polynesian Isles show no disposition to unite; and though
living side by side, in the same country, for a long period, they have not
produced an intermediate race. Neither do the Eskimos nor the Red Men,
neither do the Caffres nor the Hottentots mix, for in the state of nature
the law of ethnic repugnance is supreme. It is only in the artificial and
depraved states of society that hybrids appear, and their existence is of
short and fixed duration.

The apparent duration and perfection of the Coulouglis, the bipartates of
the Bergers and Turks, may be an exception to the general rule. But the
results of the mingling of human families, widely separated, is generally
very decided.

The Creoles, produced by the African with the Spaniard, Italian, and the
Southern French, possess considerable durability, but disease and
degeneration soon appear when the black mingles with the blood and humors
of the more northern nations. With all these mixtures there is a profound
characteristic, which constitutes the unity, identity, and reality of the
species, which is, continuous fecundity; and this characteristic never
varies: it is immutable. The mulattoes live less time than the black or
the white race, and their offspring perish readily, and are rarely
prolific, except when united with stronger individuals of either primitive
type, to which they soon return.


The blacks have been too degraded to more than conceive of liberty, too
debased to think of resistance to the forces that crushed them, and they
have neither observed, nor sought for opportunities, to throw off their
chains and sweep over the lands, like a destroying element, with the
accumulated wrongs of centuries. Yet there were black men among them who
were capable of high cultivation. The long contact with the superior white
race had recast the faculties of their mind, and had altered perceptibly
the rugged contour of their forms and features.

The writer observed with wonder in the regiment of black men which formed
part of the column of the desperate assault upon Fort Wagner, beautiful
heads, whose classic and regular outlines recalled the finest of the

We believe with the writer in the "Revue des Deux Mondes," that contact
with the white races has given the negro the lines of the Caucasian form,
and that the Congo type can disappear or become greatly modified.

These changes in the typical form, which we have since observed elsewhere,
appear to have taken place sometimes without the admixture of the blood of
the whites.

That the black men in the United States army fought well, no one will
deny; that they conducted themselves admirably in the murderous assaults
at Fort Wagner, or under the destroying fire at Olustee, and in many other
conflicts, every one possessed of any candor will admit. When we consider
the degradation whence they suddenly rose, and the steadiness and
firmness, and the manly bearing they exhibited after the few lessons of
military training, we are compelled to render thanks to them for their
efforts in the struggle for national existence, and to admit the
probability of their attaining that degree of intelligence, wisdom, and
virtue which distinguish the true citizen. That these men will attain the
standard of intellect of the Caucasian, we neither expect nor believe; but
we do maintain, that in the nature of every race, however debased by
prejudice, and the avarice of superior society, there exists the element
of honesty, virtue, truth, and a horror of wrong, which may be developed
and turned to the good of all society, in repelling and resisting the
force of machination, the intrigue which arises from disappointed
ambition, or the insatiable lust of more favored and less considerate

No one acquainted with the history of the commerce of human beings will
wonder at the present condition of the blacks, or that they have not risen
in the scale of social and intellectual advancement. For, looking back to
the primitive ages we may see how the human species have been depressed in
servitude, and how the very same families, who carried the arts and
sciences to celestial limits, were affected by this influence. Persons of
the same blood and inheritance as the best families of Greece and Rome,
were often reduced to slavery, and they sank rapidly under its debasing
effects. They were tamed like the black man of the South; "like brutes, by
the stings of hunger and the lash; and their education was so conducted as
to render them commodious instruments of labor for their possessors. This
degradation of course depressed their minds, restricted the expansion of
their faculties, stifled almost every effort of genius, and exhibited them
to the world as beings endued with inferior capacities to the rest of
mankind. But for this opinion there appears to have been no foundation in
truth or justice. Equal to their fellow-men in natural talents, and alike
capable of improvement, any apparent or real difference between them and
some others must have been owing to the mode of education, to the rank
they were doomed to occupy, and to the treatment they were appointed to

After all, the world appears to be a vast arena, where the good and the
bad are gathered together, and men are left to their own efforts, whether
to rise up in that scale of intelligence and virtue which conducts to
immortality, or to grovel deeper into the depths of degradation, where
there is nothing but death and annihilation. The vault of heaven grows in
immensity as we gaze into its limitless expanse, whilst the shadows and
attractions of earth fade away from view, or allure only those who have
forsaken nature.


Have the European races advanced in these latitudes in strength of mind
and body with equal ratio as the black man? We think not. Let us consider.

The qualities of plants and vegetables are often affected by external
influences, so as to assume different characters, and the impressions upon
the leaves and the fruits are distinctly marked. These alterations,
degenerations, and modifications may disguise the primitive type so far
that it is no longer recognizable. We observe these properties among all
organic bodies, among those of the animal and as well as of the vegetable
world. The vine and its golden extracts are very much dependent upon these

The exquisite bouquet, the soul-inspiring qualities of the best varieties
of wine, cannot be acquired by the efforts of man at pleasure; without the
generous nature of the soil, the rays of sunlight, and the inspiring
breezes of favored localities and climes, the extract of the pressed grape
is without that flavor and force which warm into life the brilliancy of
the imagination, the nobility of the soul.

There is also a marked effect of soil and climate upon the odor of
plants, and in their narcotic constituents. Does not the same law affect

The Italian violets grow sweeter as we climb the Alpine slopes; the
mignonette blooms with greater perfection and perfume as we approach the
shores of the lowlands of the Mediterranean. We find the finest types of
the human race among the uplands and the mountains; below, on the low
coasts and river margins, where pestilences are generated, the physical
and mental forces do not fully expand, and we find there neither liberty,
virtue, nor science.

Dr. Rusdorf, in his work on the influence of European climate, regards the
temperate zone as the brain-making region, and attempts to prove it by
physiological deductions. The brain of the Caucasian, he says, determines
the superiority over the other races, and it is the standard of the
organism. This, he maintains, is produced by the richness of albumen in
the blood, which is also dependent upon the oxygen of pure air. The
extensive observations of the English Registrar-General show indisputably
that the elevation of the soil exercises as decided an influence on the
English race as it does on the native races of other climes and soils.
They also show that the finest animals are raised in the healthiest
districts. We see that certain heights above the plains are remarkably
exempt from maladies which devastate nations inhabiting lower levels.
Cholera, remittent fever, yellow fever, and plague, disappear at
well-defined degrees of elevation.

At Vera Cruz, and along its latitude, the yellow fever vanishes at the
height of three thousand feet above the Gulf shores.

The Prussian, in his "Medicinische Geographie," appears to indicate with
great degree of certainty the limits and altitudes of the three zones,
into which he classifies the catarrhal, the dysenteric, and the scrofulous
diseases. The scrofulous zone ceases at an altitude of two thousand feet
above the level of the sea, and here, he says, there is no pulmonary
consumption, scrofula, cancer, or typhus fever. "It is," says Babinet,
"the climate of each country which permits or arrests the development of
the human race, which, joined with the industry of populations, imposes
limits to the numerical force of each meteorological district, and which
subsists four million of men in fertile Belgium, which is no more than a
small fraction of the territory of France, whilst Siberia can with
difficulty nourish a part of that number with an extent which is
twenty-six times that of France." "All over the world, physical
circumstances," exclaims Draper, "control the human race."


It is vain to assert that the atmospheres of the maritime or the low
levels do not affect the physical and mental condition of men; and after
all, Fontenelle was right when he maintained, in a curious paradox, that
inspiration is a barometer that varies, which mounts to genius or descends
to absurdity, according to the inconstancy of the weather; that there are
unhealthy countries, full of mists, winds, tempests, that never produce
clear understandings; and, on the contrary, there are lands with beautiful
skies and fields filled with sunlight and roses which give out flashes of
divine light.

Nearly all of the Grecian lyrists were born in the enchanting climates,
and among the beautiful scenes of the Asiatic shore or the isles of the
Ægean Sea. Most of the eminent men of Italy rose from similar
inspirations, which Michael Angelo observed when speaking of Vasari in
terms of admiration. Historians say that the sun was never softer, the
heavens brighter, the roses more prolific, the winds more perfumed, than
in the dawn of the eighteenth century, which produced that "wild garland
of beautiful women who recalled by their graces, their genius, the
courtesans of Greece," which gave birth to those philosophers who gave a
new impetus to liberty and religion.


According to some writers, the unequal distribution of solar heat over the
earth is the cause of marked differences in national character; others
refer the distinctive effects to the quality of the air they breathe.
Arbuthnot maintains that air not only fashions the body, but has also had
great influence in forming language; that the close, serrated method of
speaking of Northern nations was due to coldness of the climate, and
hesitation of opening the mouth; whilst the sweet, sonorous phrases of
temperate climes, like those of the Mediterranean, were due to the
mildness of climate, where the vocal organs could be exposed without
danger. "It is incontestable," also writes Alfred Maury, in his "Earth and
Man," "that climate has upon the mode of government a considerable
influence, because it exercises an immediate effect upon the character of
individuals. In the warm countries, under an enervating atmosphere, where
all inclines to effeminacy and idleness, the soul has not that energy and
that force of will necessary to a people who wish to be free. Under a
severe and cold climate, to the contrary, the character acquires more of
energy, and the body more of activity. The passions are less violent, and
leave to the reason a freer exercise. In the hot climes the instincts are
impetuous, and they pass from an extreme of dejection to a state of
exaltation which produces revolutions, insurrections, but which do not
establish the independence. For, to the contrary, these violent crises
introduce retaliation; and in the sanguinary conflicts, the power of an
individual, although tyrannical, appears as a benefit, or is accepted as a


The anger of the European has always raged with undefinable fury, when
once aroused, in these southern latitudes, and especially in the regions
in question. The spirit is the same, whether we review the cruel and
useless extermination of the Indians in Cuba or Florida; the massacres of
the Mexicans by the merciless Spaniards; the internecine slaughter of the
French, English, and Spaniards along the coasts of South Carolina,
Georgia, and Florida; the extermination of whole tribes, like the
Yemassee, or the forced removal of the red men from the broad lands of
their birthplace and inheritance. All show the implacable depth of his
avarice or his ire. It was not merely the honor of subjugation, of
conquering strange races, that was the object of the politics, and that
excited the emulation of these iron-mailed and iron-hearted men and their
descendants: it seems to have been an irresistible desire to immolate
human races, to glut with blood that thirst for destruction which arises
from depraved and burning hearts.

It was the same spirit, under the mask of avarice, that tore the
well-behaved Creeks and Cherokees from the homes of their ancestors, and
banished them to the prairies of the West; that hunted down the last
Seminole in the everglades of Florida, where there are to-day twenty
millions of acres of land unsold and unoccupied.

It was the same spirit that, in later times, recklessly and ruthlessly
destroyed, at Camp Sumter, an army of freemen, under the pretence of
treating them as prisoners of war.


Yet this depraved fury does not appear to have been natural to the soil,
climate, or the native races, as observed by the early navigators;
although Ponce de Leon received his death-wound from them when he sought
the fountain of youth in the everglades of Florida, and De Soto
encountered fierce opposition from the red men of the forest when he
pursued his way towards the Appalachian mountains in search of the mines
of gold. But nevertheless the Europeans were treated almost always with
kindness whenever they approached the Indian with good intentions.

Contrast the present time and the people with the period and the natives
when the great Navigator discovered the adjacent isles. "Nature is here,"
he exclaims, "so prolific, that property has not produced the feelings of
avarice or cupidity. These people seem to live in a golden age, happy and
quiet, amid open and endless gardens, neither surrounded by ditches,
divided by fences, nor protected by walls. They behave honorably towards
one another, without laws, without books, without judges. They consider
him wicked who takes delight in harming another. This aversion of the good
to the bad seems to be all their legislation."

These people with natural sentiments have passed away, and new races, with
strange and repulsive ideas, have taken their place. "Like the statue of
Glaucus, that time, the sea, the storms have so disfigured that it
resembles less a god than a ferocious beast, the human soul, altered in
the bosom of society by a thousand causes rising without cessation, by the
acquisition of a multitude of creeds and errors, by the changes produced
in the constitution of bodies by the continual shock of passions, has
caused a change in appearance almost unrecognizable; and we sooner find,
instead of the being acting always by certain and invariable principles,
instead of that celestial and majestic simplicity in which the Creator has
left his impress, the deformed contrast of the understanding in delirium,
and of the passion which pretends to reason."


Wherever society forms and sustains itself, there must be adopted certain
rules and laws to maintain it.

These seemingly arbitrary laws represent the interests, the passions, and
opinions of those who establish them, and they differ widely, according
to the nature of the men and the climate which they inhabit.

The inhabitants of hot climes and the cold zones present strange contrasts
in their natural ideas of justice, as well as in instincts and appetites.
The Turk regards intemperance as a crime, and polygamy as a virtue. The
Englishman looks upon the one with complaisance, but regards the other
with horror. Thus reason yields to physical force, or to the differences
of climate; and what men call virtue in one clime, loses its force and
beauty in another. Yet there are natural laws older than the empires of
force or reason; more ancient than society itself; more powerful and
sublime than the passions and interests of men. These laws of kindness, of
mercy, of friendship, like elementary language, come from divination.

Nature has planted certain instincts in the bosoms of all the different
races of the globe alike; and these become developed according to
cultivation, or debased according to degrading influences. The good of
society may define the measure between good and evil, but it cannot
extinguish the principles, or obliterate the sharply defined distinctions.
The will of the Creator has manifested itself clearly in the workings of
the natural world, if it has not been revealed to us in those tablets
which fell from the skies.


The benign influences of society, the exercise of politeness and reason,
inspire polished and agreeable manners; yet, in the midst of these, we
find men who think barbarity to be one of their rights; and they abuse
their fellow-creatures without pretext, and commit murder without
necessity, which is a degree of ferocity below that of the carnivorous
animals; for they destroy life only when impelled by the motives of
hunger. Societies of men are institutions of nature, and they are founded
upon the principles of mutual obligations. Society relapses into barbarism
when the golden rule of "doing as we would be done by" is violated; when
individual liberty is lost; and when man treats his fellow-man as property
under the right of force, and therefore without legal relations.
Constitutions are the indices of the education and the aspiration of
nations, and they keep pace with the onward march of intelligence. These
become altered and modified, as the intellect and hearts of men expand;
and it is nothing but bigotry that believes in the inviolability, the
perfection of the doctrines and tenets of men in the present or the past.
The wise man, says the old proverb, often changes his opinion, the fool


Slavery appears to be coeval with war; and war is as ancient as the human
race. Plutarch believed that there had been a time, a golden age, when
there were neither masters nor slaves. The human mind, at the time when
Plutarch wrote, was almost controlled by the empire of force. The
selfishness and superstition of society fettered the nobility of nature,
and healthy reason could not assume its rightful sway.

The depth of the philosophical reasoning, the degree of humanity of one of
the brightest periods of antiquity, may be comprehended from the
"Politics" of Aristotle, when he says, "To the Greeks belongs dominion
over the barbarians, because the former have the understanding requisite
to rule, the latter, the body only to obey. For the slave, considered
simply as such, no friendship can be entertained, but it may be felt for
him, as he is a man." Some of the ancient nations, the most enthusiastic
in the dreams of liberty, were the most savage and stern in their laws
concerning their slaves; and they adhered to their brutal doctrines in
defiance of nature with singular tenacity. The right of life and death
over the slave was one of the fundamental principles of the society of the
Athenians, Lacedemonians, Romans, and Carthaginians.

Strange condition of society among men who cultivated the arts and
sciences so successfully! Yet it does not appear that any legislator
attempted to abrogate servitude.

Stranger still that the glorious period of the reign of democracy at
Athens should not have brought with it the universal freedom of men, when
liberty was the divine ideal of its aspirations.


Not until the star of Christianity rose above the horizon of the pagan and
superstitious world, softening the hearts of men and revealing to them a
new life, did Slavery vanish from among refined and generous societies,
under the charter, _Pro amore Dei, pro mercede animæ_. And never has it
reappeared, except among those nations who have become debased from
avarice, or depraved by ambition. When cupidity allows fanaticism to blind
the mind with the belief that savages or negroes can be more easily
converted to Christianity whilst in slavery than in freedom, then there is
an end to social progress. Yet such were the ideas of Louis XIII. when he
consigned the negroes of his colonies to Slavery. And such has been the
creed of the slaveholders and breeders of America. The monstrous doctrine
imposed itself upon the understandings of the slave faction, as the
superstitions of the false prophets have fettered and crushed the minds of
the pagan nations. It has debased their natural sentiments, as well as it
has depressed and perverted their natural talents and virtues. "In the
same manner," said Longinus, "as some children always remain pygmies,
whose infant limbs, fettered by the prejudices and habits of servitude,
are unable to expand themselves, or to attain that well-proportioned
greatness which we admire in the ancients, who, living under a popular
government, wrote with the same freedom as they acted."


We may learn from the history of the past, if we will not accept the data
of the present, how climate, food, domesticity, or recognized customs of
society may alter the minds and dispositions of men; how they may
gradually build up governments, founded upon monstrous ideas, and yet in
unison with the compunctions of their conscience. Ascribe the origin to
any cause you will, it does not alter the revolting facts, nor lessen the
repulsiveness of the absurdity, nor the enormity of the crime. Volney
believed "that the social institutions called Government and Religion
were the true sources and regulators of the activity or indolence of
individuals and nations; that they were the efficient causes which, as
they extend or limit the natural or superfluous wants, limit or extend the
activity of all men. A proof that their influence operates in spite of the
difference of climate and soil is, that Tyre, Carthage, and Alexandria
formerly possessed the same industry as London, Paris, and Amsterdam; that
the Buccaneers and the Malayans have displayed equal turbulence and
courage with the Normans, and that the Russians and Polanders have the
apathy and indifference of the Hindoos and the Negroes. But, as civil and
religious institutions are perpetually varied and changed by the passions
of men, their influence changes and varies in very short intervals of
time. Hence it is that the Romans commanded by Scipio resembled so little
those governed by Tiberius, and that the Greeks of the age of Aristides
and Themistocles were so unlike those of the time of Constantine."

Volney observes that "the moral character of nations, taken from that of
individuals, chiefly depends on the social state in which they live; since
it is true that our actions are governed by our civil and religious laws,
and since our habits are no more than a repetition of those actions, and
our character only the disposition to act in such a manner under such
circumstances, it evidently follows that these must essentially depend on
the nature of the government and religion."

Says Addison, "In all despotic governments, though a particular prince may
favor arts and letters, there is a natural degeneracy of mankind, as you
may observe from Augustus's reign, how the Romans lost themselves by
degrees, until they fell to an equality with the most barbarous nations
that surrounded them. Look upon Greece under its free states, and you
would think its inhabitants lived in different climates and under
different heavens from those at present, so different are the geniuses
which are formed under Turkish slavery and Grecian liberty.

"Besides poverty and want, there are other reasons that debase the minds
of men who live under Slavery, though I look on this as the principal. The
natural tendency of despotic powers to ignorance and barbarity, though not
insisted upon by others, is, I think, an unanswerable argument against
that form of government, as it shows how repugnant it is to the good of
mankind and the perfection of human nature, which ought to be the great
end of all civil institutions."

"Liberty should reach every individual of a people, as they all share one
common nature; if it only spreads among particular branches there had
better be none at all, since such a liberty only aggravates the misfortune
of those who are deprived of it, by setting before them a disagreeable
subject of comparison."

"The pride of Athens," writes Mirabeau, "and the jealousy of the Greeks,
banished forever the liberty of those countries, so long fortunate."

Such is and always was our world, covered from time to time with
conquerors and slaves, because the conquering, in forging the irons of the
unhappy, with which they bound them, sharpen those which must bind them in

Such is and always will be man, from time to time despot and slave, for
man, denaturalized by servitude, becomes readily the most ferocious of
animals if he escapes an instant from oppression. There is but one step
from the despot to the slave, from the slave to the despot, and the chain
becomes them alike.


There are strange forces constantly at work: civilizations spring up,
disappear, and sometimes, but rarely, return again after a sleep of ages:
it seems as though genius laid fallow for a period, like the golden

The Greek mind teaches the Arabs under the Caliphs of Bagdad and Cordova,
and in turn the Arabian influence instructs the reviving European mind
after the dark ages. The fall of Constantinople crushed the Greek mind
completely. The genius and the "godlike men" of Rome vanished under the
influence of the strong blood of the Goths, and the flourishing nations of
the African shore have yielded so completely to physical and moral causes,
that we justly doubt the story of their magnificence, their power, their

We see the effete races infused with the fresh blood; the vigorous juices
of the Scandinavians march forward with unparalleled pace to the triumphs
of reason and philosophy. The pure, warm, healthy vitality of the North
recalls to life the exact sciences, the laws of reasoning, and philosophy,
and æsthetics, which, arising from Grecian genius, had slumbered for a
thousand years.


In the slave lands of America a high order of intellect was proclaimed;
but when analysis approached, it sank into mediocrity, or vanished into
dust, like the forms in the ancient tombs when exposed to the light of
heaven. Slavery has produced nothing but horror. The flashes of light that
have burst forth through its mists have been the expiring efforts of
genius. Here the sciences have always languished and declined to take
root, for they are the offspring of genius and reason. The arts never
appeared, for the spirit of imitation never arose. To cultivate the
sciences, there is need of exalted desire, which comes from healthy and
prosperous races or from celestial fire. Here there was the barbarity of
ignorance; the only desires were to increase the enormities of their
crimes, by the spread and general adoption of Slavery, and to conceal its
proportions and influences beneath a cloud of mental darkness, which is
frightful to contemplate, when placed in comparison with intelligent
communities like New England, Belgium, and Prussia.

They thought to perpetuate an aristocratic power, and transmit the
inheritance of Slavery as a blessing, but they forgot that in the
formation of happy nations and states humanity forms the broad base; they
forgot that ambitious and avaricious families quickly degenerate and
disappear completely from the earth. The vicissitudes of political life
hasten that decline which is commenced by riches and rank, when supported
by morbid ideas and sentiments.

The noble families of Athens and Corinth, the patrician body at Rome,
vanished so rapidly as to excite the surprise of the nations they
governed. The names of the descendants of the founders of Venice, written
in the Libro di Oro, are no longer to be found among the living in Italy.

The same law is silently at work in our times.


The inequalities of the earth's surface are like the rugosities of the
human brain: the depths of the one contain the richest and most
inexhaustible treasures of mineral wealth, as the wrinkles of the other
collect the stores of mental lore. As the surface of the brain becomes
less marked and rugged, the strength and scope of the mind vanish, and
approach the standard of the lower animals; and likewise, as the elevated
lands of the earth shrink in form, and sink into the level of the plain,
so the characters of the races who inhabit them lose force and elevation.

Sometimes the minds of men are the reflections of the beauties and
sublimities of nature. Sometimes men become degraded, and nature then does
not inspire.


The lofty and diversified mountain range, or system of ranges, known as
the Appalachian or Alleghany, rises or reappears in the State of New York,
midway between the Atlantic coast and the shores of those fresh-water
seas, Erie and Ontario. It then stretches down south-westward, with its
adjacent spurs, through the great States of Pennsylvania and Virginia;
then, dividing, it forms, with its eastern range, the western and northern
limit of North and South Carolina and Georgia; and with the western it
intersects Tennessee, forming that beautiful basin known among the white
men as East Tennessee, but among the traditions of the red men as the
Garden of the Manitou--their God. In Northern Alabama, the separated
ranges seemingly unite; and passing southward, towards the central portion
of the State, the mountain summits gradually contract, and finally sink
into the level of the great alluvial plains, which stretch away, without
undulation, to the shores of the Gulf. These huge masses of rock,
dislocated and elevated like the Vosges and the Hartz Mountains at the
close of the carboniferous or devonian period of the earth's age, contain,
with the adjacent and connecting bands,--which are composed of the
silurian, primitive, and metamorphic ledges,--most of the accessible
mineral wealth of the republic. And the collective beds of iron, coal,
marble, zinc, copper, and gold are unsurpassed in similar extent and
richness by the mines of any country of the known world, with the
exception of those wonderful deposits of ores and minerals among the
unexplored and almost inaccessible recesses and plateaus of the Sierra
Nevada or the Andes.

With the exception of the northern extremity of this mountain group, these
mines of natural wealth may be said to have been unexplored. Below the
rich and populous State of Pennsylvania, the hum of human industry ceases;
for we then pass into the paralyzing shadow of Slavery. This Slavery
forbade the development of the earth's treasures, as well as the
enlightenment of the minds of the poor and ignorant whites. The forges of
Vulcan would have hammered out and broken into fragments the chains of
that bondage which not only oppressed the fettered blacks, but debased,
with its corroding influence, the competing labor of the white man.

The slaveholders concealed this immense natural wealth from the eyes of
science from motives of policy; and rather than incur the hazard of
revolution, by educating the masses of their own people, they preferred to
neglect their natural advantages, and to send to distant and even foreign
lands the products of their fields and their system, to be worked up into
the marvellous fabrics of human ingenuity and skill. This same State of
Virginia, which is the real gateway to the empires of the West, and which
is not surpassed in natural physical advantages by any equal extent of
territory on the globe, is the most ignorant of all of the States of the
republic. Ninety thousand of its native-born free people, over twenty
years of age, before the war could not read nor write; whilst sterile and
stormy Maine, with her cold lands and colder skies, contained but two
thousand of the same class, out of a population more than half as great.
And New England, with a population of almost three times as great as the
free people of Virginia, is ashamed by the number of seven thousand
illiterate natives past the age of twenty. Who will wonder at the display
of barbarity and audacity when the statistics of education and ignorance
are exhibited? "Education and liberty," says Mirabeau, "are the bases of
all social harmony and all human prosperity."

Which can civilization curse the most, London or Amsterdam? the Dutch who
introduced Slavery, or the English who thought Virginia a good place to
"colonize aristocratic stupidity," and who sent colonists, who were,
according to the historian, "fitter to breed a riot than to found a
colony." The condition of the present day shows how rigidly the first
instructions have been observed and enforced. "Thank God," writes one of
its early governors to the English Privy Council, "thank God there are no
free schools or printing, and I hope we shall not have any these hundred
years! for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the
world, and printing has divulged them and libels against the best
government. God keep us from both!"


And so these mines, and fields, and forests, remain to the present day,
unsurveyed, unexplored and unknown, save to a few wanderers of science.

In Northern Alabama, where the terminating slopes of this upheaval of
rocks disappear beneath the level of the vast cotton fields, which number
their acres by the million, there appear enormous deposits of iron ore, of
extraordinary richness and depth, lying in juxtaposition with
corresponding beds of limestones and coal.

Here is alone sufficient material for the iron fingers and forges and the
steam power to fabricate the vegetable growths, the harvests of the vast
and fertile plains of the entire South, and to build up with enduring form
those great and thriving cities which are seen in the dim vista of the
future of the Mississippi Valley, with its hundred millions of people.
These elevations, when denuded of their immense primeval forests of pine
and oak, will be covered with constant verdure, affording sure sustenance
to numberless flocks and herds of kine, which will require less care than
the cattle of the plains of Texas or the pampas of Peru, since Nature,
with her caverns and narrow valleys, will afford shelter from the
destructive storms of winter and the chilling blasts of spring.

Between the two great spurs of the divided mountain range which encompass
the head-waters and tributaries of the Tennessee, appears the garden spot
of the Republic: the soils, enriched by the decomposition of the blue
limestones, are here of great strength and endurance; the innumerable
streams are of sufficient force and volume to satisfy the wants of
industry and mechanics, whilst the lofty mountains, which rise to the
height of seven thousand feet above the ocean, with their broad and
impressive shadows, temper the atmospheres, so that the body can labor and
the mind expand.

To the natural beauties of the landscape art has yet added nothing: from
the teeming harvests of the valleys, from the massive ledges of minerals,
man has yet detracted nothing.

Nature here is almost inexhaustible.

No wonder that the dying Indian returns to the region of the Hiwassee to
end his days on earth, impelled by an irresistible desire to behold once
more the wonders and beauties of natural scenery, which are preserved
among the fading traditions of the tribes that have been banished to the
far off western frontiers.


From beneath the eastern aspect of the mountains of Alabama, a broad belt
of metamorphic rocks bursts forth, and trends to the north-eastward,
following the mountain ranges in almost parallel lines through the States
of Georgia, South and North Carolina, and disappearing in Virginia beneath
the waters of the Potomac. These lands of decomposed mica and talcose
schists contain throughout their broad extent particles of gold; and some
of the narrow and circumscribed fields are unsurpassed in their
undeveloped richness by any of the known gold fields of similar extent in
the world. These auriferous soils, owned or controlled by the slaveholder,
have yielded, by the superficial scratchings and washings of the slave and
the poor white, during the period since the discovery of the precious
metal, about forty millions of dollars. There are not less than one
hundred millions more within the reach and grasp of skilled and determined

Along beside, and traversing through and through these golden rocks and
sands, occur immense bands of itacolumite, known, from its flexibility, as
the elastic sandstone. They stretch from Alabama to the interior of North
Carolina, bursting forth now as great flexible bands of stone, and then
bulging out as entire mountains. This singular formation is the same that
has been recognized in Brazil, Ural Mountains, and Hindostan, as the
matrix of the diamond; and here, nearly one hundred of the precious gems
of fine water have been picked up from the earth, from time to time, by
the careless observer.


This upheaval of the earth's surface, reminding the geographer of the
Italian peninsula, vaguely perhaps in form, in natural fertility and in
purity of climate, is destined to play an important part in the future
advancement of the Republic. For here is the heart of the eastern portion
of the continent, geographically, climatologically, and mineralogically.
Here Nature is too prolific to be long neglected by the cupidity or the
ambition of men, when the barriers and obstructions of inquiry and
settlement, which have been reared against the advance and design of
civilization by the Slave Faction, shall have been removed. When the tide
of European emigration, which steadily brings to the New World the pure
blood and youth of races, turns its stream of industrial life towards
these valleys, mountain slopes, and terraces; when the laws of
alimentation are understood and properly observed; when the spire of the
school-house rises in the vista of every landscape, or points the way at
every cross-road,--then we may expect to see a new variety of the human
race appear, possessed of remarkable physical strength and beauty, and
whose ideas and efforts, typical of the healthy and developed mind, will,
like the influences of New England and Scandinavia, give fresh impulse and
impress to the civilizations of the earth.


Races of men--nations--even the lesser communities, during the periods of
their social existence, erect monuments, or leave, unwillingly sometimes,
traces of their progress, their advancement, their culture, as memorials
for the admiration, or as the objects of horror for the contempt, of
future generations.

The gigantic pyramids and sphinxes of Egypt tell of the civilization of
their extinct founders; the airy and graceful columns, with the wonderful
sculptures of the Parthenon, disclose the degree of the perfection and the
delicacy of the Greek mind. Rome, though long since vanished from among
the nations of the earth, has left the impress of her force, grandeur, and
wisdom in those laws which now direct the tribunals of men; the lofty and
colossal structures of the temples of the Rhine are the emblems of faith
as well as the masterpieces of the Gothic heart and intellect; even the
mysterious and history-forgotten Druids have left their rude reminiscences
in those weird circles of enormous and cyclopean rocks, beyond which all
is darkness.

Thus men perpetuate their memories among the annals of the earth. But
after their long period of existence and progress, what have the Slave
Faction left for the historian to contemplate with satisfaction? for an
attentive world to study, imitate, and admire? What beyond this appalling
cloud of ignorance have they left as legacy to the poor white? What
besides misery, violence, and crime have they bequeathed to the black man?
With what treasures, in the estimation of mankind, have they enriched
themselves, or left as inheritance to their degenerate offspring?

The history of this remorseless party, its selfish and sordid aims, its
cruel results, will always find place among the annals of civilized man so
long as the noblest acts of men are admired, and so long as the dark deeds
of cruelty appall and overshadow our better nature. Thermopylæ, Marathon,
and the holy sites where Liberty has struggled for existence, and where
men have risen above the trammels of their earthly natures, will be
remembered no longer than this field of blood and torture among the
obscure forests of Georgia.


Who will say that Nature and Liberty were the genii who directed the
labors of the leaders of the Rebellion?

Soil, climate, hereditary traditions, and customs of society, give to a
people the fierceness and gentleness of character, as well as the
perfection of mind and body. This fatal Stockade, with the silent mound of
earth which contains its harvest of death, is a fair and just exponent of
the bigoted and selfish policy that struck down the Flag of the Republic;
of that cruel and unearthly spirit which has despised all the "attachments
with which God has formed the chain of human sympathies," and which,
without a tear of remorse, has strewn the Atlantic Ocean with a broad
pathway of human bones!



Since the close of the war, and since the time when the sketch of the
graveyard was taken, Colonel Moore, of the U. S. Quartermaster's
Department, has been to Andersonville, under orders from the Secretary of
War, and arranged the cemetery in a very acceptable manner. All of the
stakes were removed, and neat head-boards placed instead, with the names
of the dead properly painted in black letters. The ground has been cleared
up by this efficient officer, and the cemetery carefully laid out into
walks, adorned with flowers and trees. Colonel Moore, in his report to the
Quartermaster-General, writes the following account:--

"The dead were found buried in trenches, on a site selected by the rebels,
about three hundred yards from the stockade. The trenches varied in length
from fifty to one hundred and fifty yards. The bodies in the trenches were
from two to three feet below the surface, and in several instances, where
the rain had washed away the earth, but a few inches. Additional earth
was, however, thrown upon the graves, making them of still greater depth.
So close were they buried, without coffins, or the ordinary clothing to
cover their nakedness, that not more than twelve inches were allowed to
each man. Indeed, the little tablets marking their resting-places,
measuring hardly ten inches in width, almost touch each other. United
States soldiers, while prisoners at Andersonville, had been detailed to
inter their companions; and by a simple stake at the head of each grave,
which bore a number corresponding with a similarly numbered name upon the
Andersonville hospital record, I was enabled to identify, and mark with a
neat tablet, similar to those in the cemeteries at Washington, the number,
name, rank, regiment, company, and date of death of twelve thousand four
hundred and sixty-one graves; there being but four hundred and fifty-one
that bore the sad inscription, 'Unknown U. S. Soldier.'"

Extract from letters of the rebel Senator Foote, dated Montreal, June 21,

"Touching the Congressional report referred to, I have this to say: A
month or two anterior to the date of said report, I learned from a
government officer of respectability, that the prisoners of war then
confined in and about Richmond were suffering severely from want of
provisions. He told me, further, that it was manifest to him that a
systematic scheme was on foot for subjecting these unfortunate men to
starvation; that the Commissary-General, Mr. Northrup (a most wicked and
heartless wretch), had addressed a communication to Mr. Seddon, the
Secretary of War, proposing to withhold meat altogether from military
prisoners then in custody, and to give them nothing but bread and
vegetables; and that Mr. Seddon had indorsed the document containing this
communication affirmatively. I learned, further, that by calling upon
Major Ould, the commissioner for exchange of prisoners, I would be able to
obtain further information upon the subject. I went to Major Ould
immediately, and obtained the desired information. Being utterly unwilling
to countenance such barbarity for a moment,--regarding, indeed, the honor
of the whole South as concerned in the affair,--I proceeded without delay
to the hall of the House of Representatives, called the attention of that
strangely constituted body to the subject, and insisted upon an immediate
committee of investigation."

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the capacity of the bakery, any one can make his own estimates from
the plan given. The foreman of the government bakery at Nashville, gives
his views in the following note:--

    "SIR: Our system in wheaten flour bread is, five men bake six ovens
    full in the twelve hours; one oven full, 36 pans; 9 loaves (18
    rations) in each pan; 36 pans × 18 = 648 × 6 ovens full = 3888 × 2
    (for twenty-four hours) = 7776 rations: this is done by two ovens. Say
    six men on each oven (any more would be in the way), two and a half
    hours to knead and bake each oven full (almost impossible), ten ovens
    full in the twelve hours in the day time (two ovens five times full in
    the twelve hours), ten ovens full in the twelve hours in the night
    time, each oven full 40 pans, 12 rations in each (20 oz. of corn
    bread); 40 pans × 12 = 480 × 10 for day's work = 4800 + 4800 for night
    work = 9600 rations in the twenty-four hours.

    Sir, all the above are in the extreme.

      Most respectfully,
        JOHN WITHERSPOON, Foreman U. S. Bakery."

       *       *       *       *       *

The hospital register gives the following data as to the number of
prisoners present during each month, the number treated medically, and the
average number of deaths:--

                      |  Number of   | Number in  |    Average
        Month.        |  Prisoners.  | Hospital.  | Daily Deaths.
  February, 1864      |     1,600    |       33   |     ..
  March,     "        |     4,603    |      909   |      9
  April,     "        |     7,875    |      870   |     19
  May,       "        |    13,486    |    1,190   |     23
  June,      "        |    22,352    |    1,605   |     40
  July,      "        |    28,689    |    2,156   |     56
  August,    "        |    32,193    |    3,709   |     99
  September, "        |    17,733    |    3,026   |     89
  October,   "        |     5,885    |    2,245   |     51
  November,  "        |     2,024    |      242   |     16
  December,  "        |     2,218    |      431   |      5
  January, 1865       |     4,931    |      595   |      6
  February,  "        |     5,195    |      365   |      5
  March,     "        |     4,800    |      140   |      3

The greatest number of deaths, on any single day, was on the 23d of
August, 1864, and was 127, or one death every eleven minutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The fact of the employment of blood-hounds is too notorious to admit of
doubt. Many packs of dogs were kept, and a profitable business was done in
the catching of escaped prisoners. Ben Harris was seen to receive pay for
the capture of sixty prisoners, at thirty dollars apiece. That some of the
pursued were killed in the forests during the pursuit, there is no doubt
in the writer's mind, from the evidence offered.

The following table was collated from the hospital records of the prison,
and is believed, by the writer and clerks who were employed at the rebel
office, to be quite correct:--

                   |  Deaths   |  Deaths   |  Deaths in |
       Month.      |    in     |    in     |  Small Pox | Total.
                   | Hospital. | Stockade. |  Hospital. |
  February, 1864.  |       1   |      ..   |      ..    |      1
  March,     "     |     262   |      15   |       5    |    282
  April,     "     |     471   |      71   |      34    |    576
  May,       "     |     633   |      65   |      10    |    708
  June,      "     |   1,041   |     150   |      10    |  1,201
  July,      "     |   1,119   |     614   |       5    |  1,738
  August,    "     |   1,489   |   1,592   |      ..    |  3,081
  September, "     |   1,255   |   1,423   |      ..    |  2,678
  October,   "     |   1,294   |     301   |      ..    |  1,595
  November,  "     |     494   |      ..   |      ..    |    494
  December,  "     |     166   |       2   |      ..    |    168
  January,  1865.  |     191   |       8   |      ..    |    199
  February,  "     |     147   |      ..   |      ..    |    147
  March,     "     |     100   |      ..   |      ..    |    100
    Total          |   8,663   |   4,241   |      64    | 12,968
  Hung in stockade for crime                            |      6
    Total deaths as registered                          | 12,974

The hospital records show that 17,873 patients were registered, and that
823 of these were exchanged, and about 25 took the oath of allegiance,
leaving 17,048 to be accounted for, giving a mortality of seventy-six per
cent. Besides the registered dead, there were some who perished by the
falling of the excavations in the stockade, and others destroyed by hounds
and hunters in the forests.

       *       *       *       *       *

The meteorological tables and the vegetal charts of Blodgett will give the
rain-fall of this region in comparison with the other districts of the
United States.

The following table, which was compiled by the author from the official
records of the British army, gives the number of soldiers who were killed
in action, or afterwards perished from their wounds, in many of the great
battles of the British empire:--

            |             | Total Strength  | Estimated
    Year.   |  Battles.   |    engaged.     |  Deaths.
    1809.   | Talavera,   |    22,100       |   1,445
    1811.   | Albuera,    |     9,000       |   1,358
    1812.   | Salamanca,  |    30,500       |     770
    1813.   | Vittoria,   |    42,000       |     890
    1815.   | Ligny,      |       ...       |     ...
      ..    | Quatre Bras,|       ...       |     ...
      ..    | Wavre,      |    49,900       |   3,245
      ..    | Waterloo,   |       ...       |     ...
      ..    | New Orleans,|     6,000       |     625
    1854.   | Crimea,     |       ...       |   4,595
    Total number of deaths from wounds      |  12,928



             |  Corn,   |  Wheat, | Cotton,|Potatoes,| Peas and
   Counties. | bushels. | bushels.| bales. | bushels.| Beans, bush.
  Macon.     |  313,906 |  22,312 | 10,248 |  86,000 |  37,836
  Lee.       |  319,653 |   2,250 | 14,445 |  60,000 |  34,599
  Sumter.    |  386,892 |   8,396 | 14,423 |  92,234 |  12,483
  Dougherty. |  356,812 |     553 |  9,580 |  56,310 |  23,061
    Total.   | 1,377,263|  33,511 | 48,696 | 294,544 | 108,019

             |Land improved, | Land unimproved, | Number of
   Counties. |    acres.     |      acres.      |  Slaves.
  Macon.     |    88,353     |     108,176      |   4,865
  Lee.       |    85,840     |     113,172      |   4,947
  Sumter.    |   102,327     |     160,742      |   4,890
  Dougherty. |    91,470     |      99,048      |   6,079
    Total.   |   367,990     |     481,138      |  20,781

There were, in 1860, nearly 600,000 cattle and swine in the State of
Florida alone, whilst Maine had but 200,000 at the same time. Georgia and
Alabama had together, in 1860, 5,000,000 of cattle and swine, and they
produced during the same year more than 60,000,000 bushels of corn,
4,000,000 bushels of wheat, and 13,000,000 bushels of potatoes. All New
England, during the same period, produced but 1,000,000 bushels of wheat
and 9,000,000 bushels of corn, although containing a million more people
than Georgia and Alabama.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is a copy of the order relating to the treatment of the
rebel prisoners in the hands of the United States authorities. Contrast it
with the rebel barbarities.


  WASHINGTON, April 20, 1864.               }


By authority of the War Department, the following Regulations will be
observed at all stations where prisoners of war and political or state
prisoners are held. The Regulations will supersede those issued from this
office July 7, 1861:--

I. The Commanding Officer at each station is held accountable for the
discipline and good order of his command, and for the security of the
prisoners; and will take such measures, with the means placed at his
disposal, as will best secure these results. He will divide the prisoners
into companies, and will cause written reports to be made to him of their
condition every morning, showing the changes made during the preceding
twenty-four hours, giving the names of the "joined," "transferred,"
"deaths," &c. At the end of every month, Commanders will send to the
Commissary General of Prisoners a Return of Prisoners, giving names and
details to explain "alterations." If rolls of "joined" or "transferred"
have been forwarded during the month, it will be sufficient to refer to
them on the return, according to forms furnished.

II. On the arrival of any prisoners at any station, a careful comparison
of them with the rolls which accompany them will be made, and all errors
on the rolls will be corrected. When no roll accompanies the prisoners,
one will immediately be made out, containing all the information required,
as correct as can be, from the statements of prisoners themselves. When
the prisoners are citizens, the town, county, and State from which they
come will be given on the rolls, under the headings Rank, Regiment, and
Company. At stations where prisoners are received frequently, and in small
parties, a list will be furnished every fifth day--the last one in the
month may be for six days--of all prisoners received during the preceding
five days. Immediately on their arrival, prisoners will be required to
give up all arms and weapons of every description, of which the Commanding
Officer will require an accurate list to be made. When prisoners are
forwarded for exchange, duplicate parole rolls, signed by the prisoners,
will be sent with them, and an ordinary roll will be sent to the
Commissary General of Prisoners. When they are transferred from one
station to another, an ordinary roll will be sent with them, and a copy of
it to the Commissary General of Prisoners. In all cases, the officer
charged with conducting prisoners will report to the officer under whose
order he acts the execution of his service, furnishing a receipt for the
prisoners delivered, and accounting by name for those not delivered; which
report will be forwarded, without delay, to the Commissary General of

III. The hospital will be under the immediate charge of the senior Medical
Officer present, who will be held responsible to the Commanding Officer
for its good order and the proper treatment of the sick. A fund for this
hospital will be created, as for other hospitals. It will be kept separate
from the fund of the hospital for the troops, and will be expended for the
objects specified, and in the manner prescribed, in paragraph 1212,
Revised Regulations for the Army of 1863, except that the requisition of
the Medical Officer in charge, and the bill of purchase, before payment,
shall be approved by the Commanding Officer. When this "fund" is
sufficiently large, it may be expended also for shirts and drawers for the
sick, the expense of washing clothes, articles for policing purposes, and
all articles and objects indispensably necessary to promote the sanitary
condition of the hospital.

IV. Surgeons in charge of hospitals where there are prisoners of war will
make to the Commissary General of Prisoners, through the Commanding
Officer, semi-monthly reports of deaths, giving names, rank, regiment, and
company; date and place of capture; date and cause of death; place of
interment, and number of grave. Effects of deceased prisoners will be
taken possession of by the Commanding Officer--the money and valuables to
be reported to this office (see note on blank reports), the clothing of
any value to be given to such prisoners as require it. Money left by
deceased prisoners, or accruing from the sale of their effects, will be
placed in the Prison Fund.

V. A fund, to be called "The Prison Fund," and to be applied in procuring
such articles as may be necessary for the health and convenience of the
prisoners, not expressly provided for by General Army Regulations, 1863,
will be made by withholding from their rations such parts thereof as can
be conveniently dispensed with. The Abstract of Issues to Prisoners, and
Statement of the Prison Fund, shall be made out, commencing with the month
of May, 1864, in the same manner as is prescribed for the Abstract of
Issues to Hospital and Statement of the Hospital Fund (see paragraphs
1209, 1215, and 1246, and Form 5, Subsistence Department, Army
Regulations, 1863), with such modifications in language as may be
necessary. The ration for issue to prisoners will be composed as follows,

  Hard Bread,           { 14 oz. per one ration, or
                        { 18 oz. Soft Bread one ration.

  Corn Meal,              18 oz. per one ration.
  Beef,                   14  "   "   "
  Bacon or Pork,          10  "   "   "
  Beans,                   6 qts. per 100 men.
  Hominy or Rice,          8 lbs.  "   "
  Sugar,                  14  "    "   "
  R. Coffee,               5 lbs. ground, or 7 lbs. raw, per 100 men.
  Tea,                    18 oz. per 100 men.
  Soap,                    4  "   "   "
  Adamantine Candles,      5 Candles per 100 men.
  Tallow Candles,          6   "      "   "
  Salt,                    2 qts.     "   "
  Molasses,                1 qt.      "   "
  Potatoes,               30 lbs.     "   "

When beans are issued, hominy or rice will not be. If at any time it
should seem advisable to make any change in this scale, the circumstances
will be reported to the Commissary General of Prisoners for his

VI. Disbursements to be charged against the Prison Fund will be made by
the Commissary of Subsistence, on the order of the Commanding Officer; and
all such expenditures of funds will be accounted for by the Commissary, in
the manner prescribed for the disbursements of the Hospital Fund. When in
any month the items of expenditures on account of the Prison Fund cannot
be conveniently entered on the Abstract of Issues to Prisoners, a list of
the articles and quantities purchased, prices paid, statement of services
rendered, &c., certified by the Commissary as correct, and approved by the
Commanding Officer, will accompany the Abstract. In such cases it will
only be necessary to enter on the Abstract of Issues the total amount of
funds thus expended.

VII. At the end of each calendar month, the Commanding Officer will
transmit to the Commissary General of Prisoners a copy of the "Statement
of the Prison Fund," as shown in the Abstract of Issues for that month,
with a copy of the list of expenditures specified in preceding paragraph,
accompanied by vouchers, and will indorse thereon, or convey in letter of
transmittal, such remarks as the matter may seem to require.

VIII. The Prison Fund is a credit with the Subsistence Department, and at
the request of the Commissary General of Prisoners may be transferred by
the Commissary General of Subsistence in the manner prescribed by existing
Regulations for the transfer of Hospital Fund.

IX. With the Prison Fund may be purchased such articles, not provided for
by regulations, as may be necessary for the health and proper condition
of the prisoners, such as table furniture, cooking utensils, articles for
policing, straw, the means for improving or enlarging the barracks or
hospitals, &c. It will also be used to pay clerks and other employees
engaged in labors connected with prisoners. No barracks or other
structures will be erected or enlarged, and no alterations made, without
first submitting a plan and estimate of the cost to the Commissary General
of Prisoners, to be laid before the Secretary of War for his approval; and
in no case will the services of clerks or of other employees be paid for
without the sanction of the Commissary General of Prisoners. Soldiers
employed with such sanction will be allowed 40 cents per day when employed
as clerks, stewards, or mechanics; 25 cents a day when employed as

X. It is made the duty of the Quartermaster, or, when there is none, the
Commissary, under the orders of the Commanding Officer, to procure all
articles required, and to hire clerks or other employees. All bills for
service or for articles purchased will be certified by the Quartermaster,
and will be paid by the Commissary on the order of the Commanding Officer,
who is held responsible that all expenditures are for authorized purposes.

XI. The Quartermaster will be held accountable for all property purchased
with the Prison Fund, and he will make a return of it to the Commissary
General of Prisoners at the end of each calendar month, which will show
the articles on hand on the first day of the month; the articles
purchased, issued, and expended during the month; and the articles
remaining on hand. The return will be supported by abstracts of the
articles purchased, issued, and expended, certified by the Quartermaster,
and approved by the Commanding Officer.

XII. The Commanding Officer will cause requisitions to be made by his
Quartermaster for such clothing as may be absolutely necessary for the
prisoners, which requisition will be approved by him, after a careful
inquiry as to the necessity, and submitted for the approval of the
Commissary General of Prisoners.

The clothing will be issued by the Quartermaster to the prisoners, with
the assistance and under the supervision of an officer detailed for the
purpose, whose certificate that the issue has been made in his presence
will be the Quartermaster's voucher for the clothing issued. From the 30th
of April to the 1st of October, neither drawers nor socks will be allowed,
except to the sick. When army clothing is issued, buttons and trimmings
will be taken off the coats, and the skirts will be cut so short that the
prisoners who wear them will not be mistaken for United States soldiers.

XIII. The Sutler for the prisoners is entirely under the control of the
Commanding Officer, who will require him to furnish the prescribed
articles, and at reasonable rates. For this privilege the Sutler will be
taxed a small amount by the Commanding Officer, according to the amount of
his trade, which tax will be placed in the hands of the Commissary to make
part of the Prison Fund.

XIV. All money in possession of prisoners, or received by them, will be
taken charge of by the Commanding Officer, who will give receipts for it
to those to whom it belongs. Sales will be made to prisoners by the Sutler
on orders on the Commanding Officer, which orders will be kept as vouchers
in the settlement of the individual accounts. The Commanding Officer will
procure proper books in which to keep an account of all moneys deposited
in his hands, these accounts to be always subject to inspection by the
Commissary General of Prisoners, or other inspecting officer. When
prisoners are transferred from the post, the moneys belonging to them,
with a statement of the amount due each, will be sent with them, to be
turned over by the officer in charge to the officer to whom the prisoners
are delivered, who will give receipts for the money. When prisoners are
paroled, their money will be returned to them.

XV. All articles sent by friends to prisoners, if proper to be delivered,
will be carefully distributed as the donors may request; such as are
intended for the sick passing through the hands of the Surgeon, who will
be responsible for their proper use. Contributions must be received by an
officer, who will be held responsible that they are delivered to the
person for whom they are intended. All uniform, clothing, boots, or
equipments of any kind for military service, weapons of all kinds, and
intoxicating liquors, including malt liquors, are among the contraband
articles. The material for outer clothing should be gray, or some dark
mixed color, and of inferior quality. Any excess of clothing, over what
is required for immediate use, is contraband.

XVI. When prisoners are seriously ill, their nearest relatives, being
loyal, may be permitted to make them short visits; but under no other
circumstances will visitors be admitted without the authority of the
Commissary General of Prisoners. At those places where the guard is inside
the enclosure, persons having official business to transact with the
Commander or other officer will be admitted for such purposes, but will
not be allowed to have any communication with the prisoners.

XVII. Prisoners will be permitted to write and to receive letters, not to
exceed one page of common letter paper each, provided the matter is
strictly of a private nature. Such letters must be examined by a reliable
non-commissioned officer, appointed for that purpose by the Commanding
Officer, before they are forwarded or delivered to the prisoners.

XVIII. Prisoners who have been reported to the Commissary General of
Prisoners will not be paroled or released except by authority of the
Secretary of War.

  Col. 3d Infantry, Commissary General of Prisoners.


The publishers have the names of all of those soldiers who perished at
Andersonville, the date of death, and the number of their graves; and they
contemplate publishing the list hereafter, if sufficient encouragement is


  149 Washington Street, Boston.


The Illustrations were drawn by the author from sketches upon the spot,
and from photographs which were taken by the rebels during the occupation
of the prison. The figures are by Charles A. Barry, Esq., and the
engraving by Henry Marsh, Esq.

  NUMBER                                                 PAGE

      I. View from Main Gate (from rebel photograph)        2

     II. Vignette                                           7

    III. Bird's-eye View of Stockade                       19

     IV. View of Officers' Stockade                        21

      V. View of Interior of the Prison                    29

     VI. View of Graveyard (from rebel photograph)         37

    VII. View of Dead Line (from rebel photograph)         48

   VIII. View of Gates                                     53

     IX. View of Mud Huts                                  55

      X. View of Burial (from rebel photograph)            57

     XI. View of Bakery                                    61

    XII. View of Kitchen                                   63

   XIII. View of Blood-hound Hut                           64

    XIV. View of Utensils used by the Prisoners            96

     XV. Map of Georgia                                    18

    XVI. Plan of Andersonville                             20

   XVII. Plan of Prison                                    50

  XVIII. Plan of Bakery                                    60




  _Introduction. Description of Andersonville: Locality,
  Arrangement, and Construction of the Camp._                     7-28


  _Descriptive: the Number of Prisoners compared with the
  Armies of Alexander and Napoleon. The Dead compared with
  the Losses of the British Soldiers at Waterloo, Crimea,
  Spain, Mexican War, &c._                                       28-40


  _Describes at length the Stockade, with all the
  Arrangements, with Comparisons, Ratio of Density, &c._         40-68


  _Relates to the Alimentation of the Prisoners, with
  Comparisons with the Dietaries of Foreign Armies,
  Hospitals, Prisons, Scarcity of Food in the Prison,
  Abundance of Food in the Country, &c._                         68-99


  _Review of the Hospital--its Arrangement and Results._        99-113


  _Relates to the Mortality as compared with that of our
  Armies and Prisons, also with Foreign Armies, Prisons,
  and Hospitals, &c._                                          113-142


  _Relates to the Legal Right of Death over the Captive,
  with the Views of the Ablest Writers of Past Times,
  Rousseau, Montesquieu, Mirabeau, &c. The Treatment of
  Prisoners of War by the Rebels contrasted with Usages of
  Civilized Nations. Regulations of the United States. Letter
  of General Butler on the Exchange of Prisoners. Complicity
  of Jeff Davis, &c., &c._                                     142-194


  _Review of the Physical and Moral Causes,--Climatological,
  Ethnological, Social, &c.,--that have led to the Degeneration
  of the White Race in the South, and the consequent Degree
  of Perversity and Barbarity, &c._                            194-242


  _Notes. Statistical Tables. General Orders of the United
  States in Reference to Treatment of their Prisoners._        243-254

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