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Facts and figures vs. myths and misrepresentations

Henry Wirz and the Andersonville prison / Mildred Lewis Rutherford

United Daughters of the Confederacy. Georgia division


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Facts and Figures
Myths and Misrepresentations
and the
Andersonville Prison
Athens, Georgia
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Historical Essay Contest
Georgia Division, U.D.C.
The Truth About Captain Wirz

To the Children of Georgia:
Realizing that information in an available form has not been gathered sufficiently for the writing of these essays, I have prepared this sketch as a labor of love.
Mildred Lewis Rutherford
State Historian, U. D. C.
Athens, Ga., January, 1921.



Facts and figures vs. myths and misrepresentations

Henry Wirz and the Andersonville prison / Mildred Lewis Rutherford

United Daughters of the Confederacy. Georgia division

Chapter 1


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Henry Wirz and the Andersonville Prison

Many Northern and Foreign newspapers and magazines of recent years have given such unjust representations of the Andersonville Prison and the part Henry Wirz, the superintendent, played in it, that Southern historians must right as soon as possible this grievous wrong of history.

Without giving any testimony from the South, not only Major Wirz but Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Government can be absolutely vindicated upon Northern testimony alone. (See pp. 19-26) (Louis Schade's testimony, pp. 27-33).



Henry Wirz was born at Zurich, Switzerland in 1822. His father was Abraham Wirz, a highly esteemed citizen of Zurich, and "well-to-do" so far as this world's goods are concerned.

He attended school at Zurich, graduating from the University there, then he attended the medical colleges at Paris and Berlin, receiving from both colleges the degree of M.D.

He was quite young when he began to practice medicine, and married early. Two children, Paul and Louisa Emily, were left when his wife died. So heart-broken was he over his wife's death that he decided to leave his children with their grandparents and try his fortune in America.

He went to Kentucky and began to practice medicine at Cadiz. In 1854 he married a widow, Mrs. Wolfe, with two children, Susie and Cornelia.

He made an affectionate husband and a loving stepfather. There was only one child from this marriage, Cora, who afterwards became Mrs. J. S. Perrin, of Natchez, Miss. She was ten years old when her father was executed, and she distinctly remembers how her mother pleaded with the Federal authorities for her father's body in order to give to it Christian burial and how this request was cruelly denied. Mrs. Perrin is now (1921) living in Natchez, Miss.

After this marriage Henry Wirz moved to Milliken's Bend,


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La. He was a very successful physician and was in fine financial circumstances in 1861 when the call was made for Southern men to resist President Lincoln's unconstitutional coercion act. 2.


He joined Co. A. Fourth Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers, to defend his adopted country. He was wounded in the Battle of Seven Pines, his right arm being badly shattered. After this he was forced to learn to write with his left hand. He was soon promoted for bravery on battlefield, and was made captain. After he was wounded, he was unable to enter active service, so was detailed to take charge of the Military Prison at Richmond and later sent to Montgomery, Ala., to secure some missing records. Then he was sent to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take charge of a prison there.

He was highly educated, speaking fluently English, French, and German. He was a man of prepossessing appearance--tall, slim, with aquiline nose and regular features, bright eyes, black hair, black beard and mustache well trimmed. He was always neatly dressed. His photograph is in one of the U. D. C. volumes prepared by the Historian-General and placed in Confederate Museum at Richmond, Va. This shows him in his grey Confederate uniform with red sash a totally different person from the "coarse, low, squatty Dutchman with brutal features," as described by his enemies.

President Davis sent him in 1862 to Paris and Berlin as Special Minister Plenipotentiary. While in Paris he had the shattered bones taken from his arm. He thought the operation successful, but there must still have remained some piece of bone in his arm, for he suffered from that wound until the day of his death.

He remained in Europe two years, and when he returned he was commanded to report to Col. Persons at Andersonville, April 12, 1864, to take charge of the interior of the prison. (Note the date, because Specification No. 6, which was one to convict him of cruelty, was said to have happened Feb. 6, 1864, two months before he arrived at Andersonville).

After the surrender, Captain Noyes was sent to collect the official records of the prison, and found Major Wirz ready to deliver them to him. Gen. Wilson directed Captain Noyes to bring Captain Wirz to Macon. He went, fearing nothing, for


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he had accepted Gen. Wilson's parole in good faith, and he was conscious of having done all for the prisoners that was possible under the conditions.


The instincts of the gentleman were in Captain Wirz, and he invited Captain Noyes to have something to eat before returning to Macon. "We have little to eat, Captain," said Wirz, "but to that little you are welcome. Coffee and tea are luxuries of the past."

The captain accepted the invitation and shared with the family their frugal meal of bacon and corn bread. With a woman's instinct, Mrs. Wirz did not like the ominous silence of Captain Noyes, and became greatly agitated when her husband bade her goodbye. Wirz tried to comfort his weeping wife and children, assuring then that all would be well. After an affectionate goodbye, he left for Macon.

Gen. Wilson examined the records, and finding them all right, said Wirz could return to his family. He was at the depot waiting for the delayed train, when an officer came up and arrested him, saying he was needed in Washington City. When he arrived, May 10, 1865, he was taken to the Old Capitol Prison to await his trial, so the officer told him.

The trial began in September and lasted three months. It was postponed upon the slightest technicality. In the meantime the War Department was using all means to collect witnesses with evidence that would convict.

The Commission allowed suborned witnesses and mutilated official reports to be accepted, taking extracts from the reports that would condemn, and rejecting all reports that were favorable to the prisoner.

There was never a trial more unjust in profane history, unless it was that of Thomas Cromwell, in English history, or of Mrs. Surratt, accused of complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The man most prominent in collecting this evidence against Wirz was Col. E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General, and yet in his Memoirs, written afterward, not one word is found about Wirz or his trial.

Dr. W. J. W. Kerr delivered an address in New Orleans to the Confederate Veterans. He had been one of the surgeons at Andersonville, and knew Wirz personally, and had an opportunity


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to judge his work. Dr. Kerr stated that many of the acts of cruelty which convicted Wirz were, to his certain knowledge, committed in August, when Henry Wirz was not in charge at Andersonville. He said he had a letter from Dr. E. A. Flewellen, who had been sent by the Federal authorities to inspect the prison. Dr. Flewellen said he had been most pleasantly impressed by Captain Wirz as an officer, and had so reported to the Federal authorities, but he had never heard from his report, so he supposed it had suffered the same fate as other reports sent to the Surgeon-General's office in regard to this case.


Furthermore, Dr. Flewellen said he was present at Wirz's trial and could confirm every statement Dr. Kerr had made in New Orleans as to the unfairness of the proceeding, and that he would never cease to have a contempt for that Commission, and for the Judge Advocate of that Court Martial (N. P. Chipman) for their efforts to intimidate the witnesses and to pervert the truth. There was also open disrespect shown to Wirz's only attorney, Louis Schade.

For many months Wirz was kept in prison. Finally he wrote a letter to President Johnson. If this letter ever reached President Johnson, he ignored it. No reply was ever received to it.

All the accumulated passion of war seemed to be concentrated upon this one man. He was hanged by the neck until he was dead. The North realized soon that an innocent man had been hanged.

Had Wirz been really guilty, all officials connected with the prison would have been hanged also for permitting the atrocities of which he was accused--but not one was ever called to trial.

When Mrs. Davis insisted that her husband, Jefferson Davis, should be brought speedily to trial, the North made every effort to find something against him which would convict him. When no proof could be found of complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and Chief Justice Chase said he could not be tried as a traitor, for secession was a constitutional right,3. then they turned to the Andersonville Prison for proof to convict him of cruel treatment to the prisoners; but when the secret


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records 4.of the Confederate Congress were examined Judge Shea reported that neither Jefferson Davis nor the Confederate Government could be proven guilty, and the whole fault was with the Federal Government and the commanding officers of the Army. 5.


Dr. Kerr testified to the tender heart of Wirz. He says that he has seen the tears rolling down his cheeks when he saw the suffering of the prisoners and was powerless to relieve them. He was called a brute, but brutes never weep. For the first time in civilized times had medicine been made contraband of war. 6.

He also testified that Captain Wirz could not have been hated by the prisoners, as he always went unarmed among them.

He could not have been hated by the prisoners, or they would not have presented him with a gold watch and given him other testimonials of their appreciation of his kindness.

They also gave a gold watch to Lieut. Mayes, whom Captain Wirz had placed in command at the gate of the prison. Lieut. Mayes treasured very highly this token of appreciation. He was in Co. D, 7th Georgia Regiment, and was wounded in Second Battle of Manassas, which incapacitated him for active service. This is a copy of that letter:


Camp Sumter, Ga.,
September 20th, 1864
To Lieut. S. F. Mayes
2nd Ga. Infantry

We, the undersigned, prisoners of war, now confined in the Confederate prison for upwards of eleven months, now deem it our duty to present you with a small and trifling testimonial to show you that we appreciate your noble and charitable conduct toward our poor sick brothers as well as the well ones.

This watch that we present you with, is not as noble as our hearts would be willing to present you with, but it is the best we are able to find, hoping you may always be able to wear it in remembrance of those Federal prisoners, who present you with it. Hoping we may be able to enjoy blessings of a peaceful and happy home, and meet as brothers and not as enemies


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in a very short time.


Believe us, Lieutenant, to be your humble donors, (Signed)
Francis Fogaritie, 19th U. S. I

John Foy, 16th U. S. I.

William Hogan, 14th Conn. Vol.

T. H. Murphy, 1st. N. Y. Cav.

H. Rigley, 8th Ill. Vols.

J. H. Friend, 16th Cav. Vols.

J. McLain, 16th Cav. Vols.

This is a copy of a letter from Henry Wirz's daughter, Mrs. Cora Wirz Perrin (J. S.), Natchez, Miss., when asked what became of the watch given to her father:"


Natchez, Miss. April 13, 1920
My dear Miss Rutherford:

Yes, I did tell you that my father received numerous tokens of the kind feelings and appreciation of all he tried to do for those prisoners at Andersonville, among them a gold watch. Often he came out of the stockade with different trinkets the prisoners had made for him with only their pocket knives. These trinkets were made of bone -- crosses, books, rings, thimbles, etc.

I distinctly remember a bone Bible, a tiny thing that father brought to me and said, a prisoner told him to give this to his 'baby.' It was carved out of bone and looked like a closed book. The word 'Bible' was carved on one side, and on the other a small diamond shape had been cut in deep and filled with red sealing wax. It had a hole drilled in one end and I put a cord through the hole and wore it around my neck with intense and sincere childish pride. Many rings were given him not expensive ones--but the watch was a gold one and sent to him by a number of the prisoners. When he was arrested and taken to Washington and put in the old Capitol Prison, it was stolen from him.

Some of the best friends we had were some of the patrolled prisoners that father had given work around the house, and fed from our kitchen. He used to say to us when he had to leave home: 'These, (calling them by name) will protect and care for you while I am away,' and they did.

I have no more testimonials because our old Kentucky home burned down ten years after the war, and we lost everything, as all of the family were away from home, and only negroes were on the place. We lost all the things father had brought mother that belonged to his family when he went to Europe, the second year of the war besides his passport, his picture and all the letters from him and all the history of his trial and murder for,


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Miss Rutherford, he was murdered by the United States Government. What I have written you is as true as God's own word. I could tell you so much to prove to you that my father was loved and trusted by so many, many, very many prisoners, but it would take a long time.


During a short illness some other officer had to go to the stockade--father's custom was to go every day -- so the prison key had to be sent to this officer. There was a drummer boy about 16 or 17 years old who stayed in our home. He was perfectly devoted to us, especially to father. We had no use for his services, but father had him paroled because he was so sorry for him. Father asked him if he could trust him to take the prison key to the Confederate officer. He said, 'Yes, I will deliver the key to him or bring it back to you.' Now, he could just as easily have given that key to some patrolled Yankee who could have managed to let out all of those thousands of prisoners on that handful of people at Andersonville. We lived four or five miles from Andersonville, and that drummer boy rode the 'old grey mare' that father always rode, and he delivered that key to the proper one. Was not that devotion?

Another time he risked his life to save my life when we were caught out in a storm, and I was riding my pony.

I must close. I could not exhaust memory were I to write all day about these things.

With a heart full of love for you, and your glorious work.
Cordially yours,




Certainly no better informant of the true history of Andersonville can be found than Colonel James H. Fannin, commander of the First Regiment, Georgia Reserves, C. S. A., formerly a resident of LaGrange, but later of Savannah. He was at one time the commandant of the post, and from 1863 to the end of the war, was daily in contact with all that occurred.

Among other statements made by Colonel Fannin are the following:

"Wirz was a brave, conscientious officer -- gave prisoners every comfort at his command  was the real martyr of Andersonville.

I suppose I should know, said Colonel Fannin, something about Andersonville, because I was stationed there for some


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time and was commandant of the post. In July, 1863, the First Georgia Reserves were organized and mustered into service in Atlanta. Immediately upon assuming the command of the regiment I was ordered to Andersonville. Upon our arrival there I found the post in command of Lieutenant Colonel Aleck Persons, and as my rank was the senior of his the command naturally fell to me.


Captain Henry Wirz was then in command of the interior of the prison, which position was entirely a separate command from that of the post. Within the prison or stockade as it was called, were twelve to fifteen thousand prisoners of war, and over these Captain Wirz had full control.

The arrangement that Wirz had made for the care of the prisoners was an excellent one. He first of all selected 200 of the men from the total number who were to serve thereafter as cooks for all of them and these cooks were quartered in a place separate from the remainder. This prevented any suspicion on the part of the men as to any improper preparation of their food, and to me was a kindly act, though at the same time a necessary one.

The prisoners were made into details of 100 each and one cook looked out for this number. What food there was to serve the men was, of course, all that the fortunes of war would allow. The Confederate Government had so little to give that sometimes the men were compelled to suffer greatly. Wirz, however, had nothing to do with that. He made his requisitions upon the commissary department, which was a separate command over which he had no control, and when the rations were there and were given out they went to the 200 Yankee cooks, who served them to the prisoners.

Sometimes provisions would be sent down to Andersonville from the North and the handling of such shipments received the most unselfish direction from Wirz. They were always shipped to him personally and not one cracker or even the smallest bit of cheese went to any save the prisoners. A Confederate had no more expectancy of getting any of these provisions than he did that Wirz should be executed for cruelty. The strict regard of the man for what was right and just was one of his characteristics.

The matter of fuel was at times a most troublesome thing and enough wood could not be procured to build fires to warm the prisoners. The Confederacy did not have wagons or men and the prisoner themselves could not be allowed to go upon parol to collect fagots. So as many of our men as could be spared were placed as guards over some of the prisoners and in this way these gathered the wood from the neighborhood. The post at that time covered ten or eleven acres, and to alleviate


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the suffering it was increased to 17 acres or more upon the suggestion and recommendation of Wirz. Even then the trouble was not ended, because at one time there were as many as 40,000 men in that stockade.


Wirz was continually making an effort for an exchange of prisoners in order to help the unfortunate state of affairs, but the United States turned a deaf ear to all overtures and no exchanges were made. The blame for the hardships which followed the confinement of the men was traceable to their own government and not to any one man. Wirz did not oppress. He had to maintain the strict rules applicable to prisoners of war, because with 15,000 men to handle and the large number of desperate men within their ranks it was far too dangerous to adopt any other course. What liberties he could grant he did and what infractions were made had to be punished.

There was no cruelty nor any exercise of authority merely because he had authority. In fact, Wirz was called upon on many occasions to protect the prisoners themselves and received their warm thanks for his decided stand in their aid. I remember distinctly one event which I have never forgotten, and now that so much has been said, think of the eminent justice of it all. Wirz was informed by the prisoners that there were many within their ranks who would upon the slightest pretext commit murder or robbery or any other despicable deed, and from these men they sought his protection.

My own personal observation of the man leaves no doubt in my mind that he was sacrificed to meet the insistent demands of a people at the North who demanded his life to satisfy their revengeful spirit. I was summoned and appeared as a witness at the trial of Wirz and in Washington can be found today the testimony I gave in his defense. I saw at a glance the feeling underlying the prosecution, and although I did not dream that his life would be taken, I felt that something dreadful would be his fate. Everyone admired the sublime courage of the man, his fine dignity and refusal to shift any blame upon others, and I have often wondered that his persecutors could not have the magnanimity to grant him at least some degree of consideration for these qualities.

In conversation with General O. H. LaGrange, of the Federal Army, the following passed between us:

'I know there was no cruelty at Andersonville, and if one man shall be paroled in Macon with all of his property restored to him you shall be the one.'

' But,' said I, 'what do you know about Andersonville?'

' I was a prisoner there.'

'Were you one of the batch of officers who came in?'

' I was, and I know that there was no cruelty at Andersonville. You may depend upon me to give my honor to that fact.'


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Only two years ago I received a letter from General LaGrange, who was then in San Francisco. He was at the government mint and wrote me a warm letter of friendship. I remember him--now dead, I believe--the Catholic priest and bishop, and the martyred Wirz, as though it were yesterday. Time passes away quickly, but I trust before I go will see some things righted that ought to be. "


Colonel Fannin expressed the opinion that it would be the proper thing to erect the monument to Wirz at Andersonville rather than Richmond. If Andersonville were not chosen, then he thinks the capitol grounds in Atlanta should be the spot. The idea that the monument which was to be reared to the man whose work in Georgia had been the cause of his death and whose vindication had been started by Georgians to be erected in any other state save Georgia seemed to be inconsistent. He hoped that the action to send the memorial to Richmond would not be final and that the tribute to Wirz would rest upon Georgia soil, as Wirz himself would have wished it.


(Page's " True History of Andersonville. )

The Military Commission was appointed to meet August 23, 1865, for the trial of Henry Wirz.

The Military Commission consisted of:
  • Major-Gen. Lew Wallace, U. S. Volunteers.
  • Brev't Major-Gen. L. Thomas, Adjutant General U. S. A.
  • Brev't, Major-Gen. G. Mott, U. S. Volunteers,
  • Brig.-Gen. Francis Fessenden, U. S. Volunteers.
  • Brig.-Gen. A. S. Bragg, U. S. Volunteers.
  • Brev't. Brig.-Gen. John F. Ballior, U. S. Volunteers.
  • Brev't. Col. T. Allcock, 4th N. Y. Artillery.
  • Lieut.-Colonel J. H. Stibbs, 12th Iowa Volunteers.
  • The Judge Advocate was Col. N. P. Chipman.
The Commission was to sit without regard to hours.
By order of the President of the United States.
E. D. TOWNSEND, Adjutant General.


The specifications were as follows: 8.


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No. 1. Said Henry Wirz on the eighth day of July, 1864, while acting as commander did make an assault upon a prisoner; (name unknown) inflicting upon the body a mortal wound with a pistol the said soldier died the ninth day of July, 1864.9.

No. 2. On September 20th, 1864, Henry Wirz did with malice aforethought jump upon, stamp, kick, bruise, and otherwise injure with the heels of his boots a soldier (name unknown) belonging to the United States Army -- the said soldier died.

No. 3. On the 13th day of June, 1864, Henry Wirz, commandant of the camp at Andersonville of the so-called Confederate States of America did shoot and discharge a pistol inflicting upon the body of a soldier (name unknown) a mortal wound from which the soldier died.10.

No. 4. On May 30th, Henry Wirz with a certain pistol did feloniously and with malice aforethought, inflict upon a soldier (name unknown) a mortal wound from which the soldier died.

No. 5. On August 20th, 1864, Henry Wirz, an officer of the so-called Confederate States, did confine and bind with instruments of torture a soldier belonging to the Army of the United States (name unknown) and in consequence of such cruel treatment the said soldier died on the 30th day of August.

No. 6. On February 1, 1864, Henry Wirz did confine and bind a U. S. soldier (name unknown) and from such torture he died on the 6th day. 11.

No. 7. On July 20, Henry Wirz did fasten and chain together several persons, soldiers of the U. S. (names unknown) binding the necks and feet of said soldiers closely together and compelling them to carry heavy burdens, large iron balls chained to their feet and in consequence of such treatment one of them died.

No. 8. May 15, 1864, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (name unknown) to fire upon a soldier of the U. S. Army (name unknown) inflicting upon him a mortal wound from which he died.12.

No. 9. On the 21st of July, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (name unknown) to fire upon a soldier, a prisoner of


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war (name unknown) inflicting a mortal wound from which the prisoner died.


No. 10. On August 20, 1864, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (name unknown) to fire upon a U. S. soldier (name unknown) inflicting a mortal wound from which he died.13.

No. 11. July 1, 1864, Henry Wirz did incite, and urge ferocious bloodhounds to pursue, attack, wound, and tear in pieces soldiers belonging to the U. S. Army, and a prisoner (name unknown) was so mortally wounded that on the sixth day he died.14.

No. 13. On Aug. 3, 1864, Henry Wirz with a pistol called a revolver did beat and bruise the head, shoulders and breast of a soldier, prisoner of war (name unknown) inflicting mortal wounds from which he died August 4, 1864.15.

These were the 13 charges upon which Henry Wirz, C. S. A. was tried, condemned and hanged.

His counsel filed pleas in bar to the charges and Wirz pleaded not guilty.

His pleas were:

He was a paroled prisoner of war by Gen. Wilson.

No court could try a paroled person. Civil law had been restored and no trial could be held by military law.

The vagueness of time, place and manner of offenses made charges valueless.

He had been honorably discharged from the Confederate Army and he was entitled to the terms of surrender agreed upon by Generals Sherman and Johnston.

Louis Schade was his attorney. Col. Chipman, the Judge Advocate, from the start had everything his own way. There were 160 witnesses, nearly every one prisoners at Andersonvilie.

The banner witness was a prisoner named Felix de la Baume, who gave his birthplace in France, on the French side of the Rhine. He was the one who testified to most of the killing. His omnipresence at Andersonville was supernatural.

He had a good address, he had a pleasant voice and he was intelligent. He swayed the crowd by his oratory. He glibly rehearsed the manifold atrocities of Henry Wirz. He held the crowd spellbound. He made the statement that he was related to Marquis de La'fayette, Washington's friend, the hero of


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Brandywine was his grand uncle. So great was the impression he made that after the trial he was given a position in the Department of the Interior at Washington.


Eleven days after Wirz was hanged some German soldiers recognized in Lafayette's grand nephew a deserter from the Seventh New York Volunteers and his name was not de la Baume at all but Felix de la Baume Oesser, born in Saxony, on the German side of the Rhine. After this discovery he disappeared and was known no more.

The trial lasted three months and was postponed for the most insignificant excuses. This was the time that Wirz wrote to President Johnson urging that the trial should be held.

Out of 160 witnesses called, twelve only testified to any cruelty, and these testified to cruelties and atrocities many of which happened before Wirz came to Andersonville, or while he was on sick leave.

Page said:""I was notified to be a witness but was never called. I was sorely disappointed."

"The pre-judged condemnation of Henry Wirz has only one parallel in history."

Dr. A. W. Barrows was called for a witness, but when he would say nothing derogatory of Wirz he was quickly dismissed from the witness stand.

Not a surgeon or hospital attendant testified to any cruelty on the part of Henry Wirz.

The Surgeon General sent Surgeon Jos. Jones to visit the sick and to make investigations and to report. His report was sent to Dr. J. H. White, Surgeon of the Hospital for Federal Prisoners at Andersonville.

Col. Chipman selected only the portion of the report relating to atrocities at the prison, the remainder of the report was mutilated. It never reached the authorities at Washington.16.

Col. Ould was called to be a witness, but when he stated that he would testify in favor of Wirz he was never called, and his subpoena was taken from him. 17.

Father Whelan went to Washington to testify. When his views were learned he was never called.

Gen. Howell Cobb was summoned as a witness, but when it


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was learned he would testify in favor of Wirz, Sec. Stanton telegraphed he was not needed as a witness.

" I do not produce these statements to reflect upon Judge Advocate Chipman, but to show the temper of the times and that no statement from Wirz's enemies could be credited.

All the accumulated passions of war were concentrated upon that one man. He was the magnet that drew Northern wrath to satiety.

A prisoner, after leaving the stand as a witness, was overheard to say on leaving the stand: 'Every word I swore was a lie, and if allowed to return I would swear it all away.' 18.

Wirz was doomed before he was heard, and the permission to be heard according to law was denied him. "

His attorney said that 145 witnesses out of the 160 that testified on both sides, declared that Captain Wirz never with his own hand or otherwise murdered or killed a Union prisoner-- and that there was abundant proof in existence to show that the twelve or fifteen witnesses who swore they saw him do it swore falsely. Not a name of the murdered men reported could ever be found.

Who, then, was responsible for the many lives lost at Andersonville? It certainly was not poor Wirz.

Captain Wirz was not even allowed Christian burial. 19.

"Thus ended, " says Page (216)" the greatest judicial farce enacted since Oliver Cromwell tried and condemned Charles I."

Page then continues:

"I would like to ask my comrades who differ with me and still insist that Captain Wirz was guilty. Do you know of your own knowledge that he ever maimed or killed a Union soldier? Isn't it prejudice pure and simple, caused by the privation and suffering at Andersonville? I judge Henry Wirz by my personal knowledge of the man.

I have written this book to vindicate an unfortunate and much-wronged man. "


In the New York Times, November 10th, 1918, Matthew Page Andrewhad an article about The Captain Wirz Case. The Judge Advocate, Chipman, was then living at Sacramento, Cal.

In December, 1918, in the same paper, he answered Mr. Andrews, but his answer was very weak, for he made no mention of the mutilated reports of Dr. Jos. Jones, and of Dr. E. A. Flewellen, Dr. Barrows and other reports that never reached


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their destination nor of witnesses being summoned to testify and never called to the stand, nor of the testimony of Dr. Barrows as to the impure vaccine matter that was used upon the soldiers being the same that had been used upon the women and children of Andersonville, not knowing its poisonous nature-- he was the witness sent there to testify to this and his report was not allowed to be made, although Dr. Barrows told Judge Chipman of his mission before the trial began. Nor did Judge Chipman allude to the subpoena being withdrawn from Col. Ould, nor the attempt to bribe Wirz to implicate President Davis, nor could he name a man who had been killed.


Why did he not give the reason that President Johnson did not answer Wirz's letter? Why was Louis Schade's testimony not given publicity? Why was it that Father Whelan's and Father Boyle's testimony were not given? Why was not Page and other prisoners allowed to testify ? Why did Secretary Stanton telegraph Gen. Cobb not to come?

Judge Chipman said the trial was a fair one, but he did not prove it. It was a most unjust trial and he knew it. Judge Chipman said that all witnesses were allowed to testify. Judge Chipman knew that this was false.

Judge Chipman did say many things that were true, however, but he was not great enough or just enough to tell why they were true.

Judge Chipman says""the prisoners were starved while food was abundant in Georgia, until Sherman destroyed all food possible and then cut off the railroad communications."

Yes, President Davis ordered the Stockade to be placed in the richest belt of Georgia, where food was abundant. The cause was lack of vessels in which to serve food. 20. The South was not a manufacturing section and the North refused to supply the vessels. 21.

Judge Chipman said that the sanitary conditions were unbearable and all sorts of diseases engendered by this.

Judge Chipman was right, but why was he not honest enough to say that the stockade was built for 10,000 men in "a healthy location near running water?" Why did he not say that because


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the cartel that agreed upon an exchange of prisoners was not kept, that 30,000, or by some estimated 45,000, men were crowded in? Why did he not tell of Captain Wirz's letter begging for tools, axes, wheelbarrows, carts and other things necessary to look after the sanitary conditions, when the Confederate Government was powerless to supply them, and the Federal Government would not ? 22. Why did he not tell, at Wirz's request, that the stockade was enlarged by many acres?


Judge Chipman said the soldiers were dying from diseases incident to this congestion, and that the situation was horrible.

Judge Chipman was right. No words can describe the horrible situation, and none knew it better or agonized over it more than Captain Wirz, President Davis and the military officials in charge but their hands were tied by the Federal Government.

For the first time In the history of the world medicine had been made contraband of war.

The Confederate Government pleaded for medicine and supplies, promising they should only be used upon the Federal prisoners, and only by Federal surgeons appointed by them, but the North refused to grant this request. 23.

Northern wives and mothers tried to carry hidden medicine to relieve their loved ones, and Federal authorities, not Confederate authorities, had them searched and the medicine taken from them.

Confederate authorities never refused to let the prisoners have food, clothes, money, or medicine sent by their loved ones.

Captain Wirz had every prisoner's grave marked so that their loved ones could find that spot when the war was over.

He said that the men were not properly clothed and suffered from extremes of cold and heat, and impure water. Judge Chipman was right.

While the stockade was in the richest lumber section of the State, no timber could be cut without axes, and while the purest water ran through the camps at first, the crowded condition soon made it filthy and impure. That " Providence Spring " story was a myth. There are people now living who before the war drank water from this free flowing spring. It had become


  page 19  
clogged from the washing rains, and was opened later by a freshet.


It was Henry Wirz who thought to manufacture a beer to quench the thirst so that the impure water need not be drunk.

The Federal Government had made clothing contraband of war, then sent their armies to burn the few factories that were in the South.

General Sherman, September 22, 1864, in a letter to James E. Yeatman, said: "" These Confederates are as proud as Lucifer, and hate to confess poverty, but I know positively they are really unable to supply the things our soldiers need as socks, drawers, undershirts, scissors, combs, soap and the things our men sorely need more than anything else to preserve cleanliness and health. " "24.

Ambrose Spencer in A Narrative of Andersonville, pp. 16, 17, says: "Andersonville is in the richest portion of the cotton and corn growing region of Georgia. The wells and springs and clear streams in its neighborhood are remarkable for the coolness, pleasant taste and crystal transparency of their contents as well as for their abundant supply."

This was the place selected by President Davis for a stockade for Union prisoners. Had it not been overcrowded by a failure to keep the agreement regarding exchange on the part of the Federal Government, all would have been well.


Albert D. Richardson, in his Field, Dungeon, and Escape written in 1865, says on page 417: "The Government held a large excess of prisoners, and the rebels were anxious to exchange man for man, but our authorities acted upon the cold-blooded theory of Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, that we could not afford to give well-fed, rugged men for invalids and skeletons. "

Again, on page 457, he says: "Those 5,000 loyal graves at Salisbury are fitting monuments to the atrocious inhumanity of Edwin M. Stanton who steadfastly refused to exchange our prisoners."

Page said:"When we heard Stanton's reply in regard to exchange, we felt that we were forsaken by our Government. The War Office


  page 20  
at Washington preferred to let us die rather than exchange us. "25.


Melvin Grisby, in his History of Andersonville Prison page 138, says:

"The prison authorities at Andersonville permitted the prisoners to send to Washington a committee of three to petition the President for an immediate exchange of prisoners on the terms agreed upon by the rebels, setting out fully and plainly the suffering that was being endured, and the loss of life daily occurring. This petition was signed by thousands in the prison, and is probably now on file in the War Department. There are many thousand gravestones at Andersonville which would not be there and many thousand widows and orphans caused by the mistaken zeal and cold-blooded principles of those in authority at Washington at that time.

When the war ended and Harper's Weekly brought out illustrations of 'the starved heroes,' then a storm of indignation burst over the heads of their own misguided statesmen, who had refused to exchange.

These returned prisoners told how the Confederate authorities urged exchange under any circumstances and even asked to send back the soldiers without exchange and the War Secretary refused.

The storm had to be averted, something had to be done to avenge Andersonville, so Wirz was made the victim and was hanged. "


John W. Urban, in his Battlefield and Pen on page 381, says: "We sometimes felt embittered against the Government for not making a greater effort to release us, and among ourselves we often were tempted to say bitter things, but in the presence of our enemy any insinuation of this kind against our own Government would excite ire and indignation. It was a sad fact, however, that hundreds died with a feeling in their hearts that the Government they loved so well, and fought so hard to save was indifferent to their sad fate.'"

James Madison Page, in his True History of Andersonville Prison page 106, says:

"Many of the prisoners, being but human, raised their clenched trembling hands towards heaven and with fearful oaths cursed the authorities at Washington, and the day they were born. Oh, what hatred was engendered for our Secretary of War.

It is true, after we were released we, for policy sake, either kept silent or joined in the clamor against Wirz.


  page 21  

The Northern papers published it broadcast that the exchange of negro prisoners for white was the cause that the exchange was not allowed. This was not true, for as Grigsby says, "The Washington authorities had concluded to stop the exchange of prisoners before there were any negro prisoners at Andersonville."

At the close of the war the feeling was so intense in the North on account of the mortality among the prisoners of war at Andersonville that something had to be done to satisfy the demand for-the punishment of those supposed to be responsible for that suffering, and Major Wirz because the victim. He was doomed before he was tried. "


An article appeared in the New York Daily News August 9, 1865, written by a prisoner who signed himself M. S. H.:

"Is Wirz to be held up to the world as a murderer of hitherto unknown magnitude ? I trust not. In our national heraldry I see an olive branch for the conquered, not a hangman's noose. Believe me I have no personal interest or object in making this statement or appeal. I never spoke a word to Captain Wirz or he to me.

The mortality at Andersonville, resulting mainly from want of food, want of shelter, want of medical attention, want of hospital diet, came from a purely local cause, coupled with the moral degradation exhibited by some of the prisoners themselves.

Captain Wirz granted favors to our men and those favors had to be withdrawn because no reliance could be put upon the promises of our men.

The cooks were our own men, on parole, the quality of food, until Generals Sherman and Kilpatrick destroyed all railroad communication, was the same as was given to our guards.

I resent a man's being convicted on pictures in our magazines-- pictures of suffering and starvation, showing vindictiveness of spirit, instead of a spirit of magnanimity and truth on the part of the prisoners themselves." "


James Madison Page, in The True History of Andersonville page 135, says:" If you want the truth regarding Andersonville, go to the official records for the facts. Ask for 'The War of the Rebellion Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies published by the United States Government. Examine Series 2, Vols. IV., V., and VIII and Series 3, Vol. V., which will show that as soon as Captain Wirz went on duty at Andersonville his very first act was to try and better the conditions of the prisoners as to rations and the sanitary surroundings of


  page 22  
the hospital. See extracts from Wirz's letters to Capt. R. D. Chapman, acting adjutant of the post:"


The bread which is issued to the prisoners is of such inferior quality, consisting of fully one-sixth husks, that it is almost unfit for use, and is causing dysentery and bowel trouble. I wish the commissary of the post to be notified of this so as to have the meal bolted or some other contrivance arranged to sift the meal before using it.

Then there is a great deficiency of buckets. Rations of rice, beans, vinegar, and molasses cannot be issued to the prisoners without buckets and about 8,000 men in the stockade have nothing of the sort. I understand these buckets can be secured in Columbus, Ga.

Hoping you will give this your earliest attention, I remain,
Most respectfully your obedient servant,



Then another extract from a letter to Colonel Chandler: "Allow me to point out some items which if possible ought to be attended to. We have an inadequate supply of tools to put the interior of the prison in proper condition. We need axes, wheelbarrows and other supplies. We need lumber, lime, iron, and sheet iron for baking pans. The prison has been lately added to but badly overcrowded. Almost daily new prisoners arrive and these internal improvements are of the utmost importance and will soon come to a halt for want of room. As long as 30,000 men are confined in one enclosure proper policing is altogether impossible. "

Again, on page 147, Page says:

" Scurvy is now fearfully prevalent. Hundreds are dying daily. It is caused by not having proper food - a change of food is absolutely necessary to relieve scurvy.

Captain Wirz was absent on sick leave for the month of August. Lieutenant Davis was in command and he did all that he could to alleviate the suffering. From all sides could be heard from men who had said derogatory things of Wirz " I wish the Captain was back again." "


Dr. T. H. Mann, a prisoner, in his book called A Yankee in Andersonville, which appeared in Century Magazine, July, 1890, said: "Our guard used us well, and I would say here that during our whole captivity we always experienced good usage from this old soldier."


  page 23  

Mr. Page says: "Dr. Mann, in his book, praised the corn beer made at Andersonville, but failed to tell that Captain Wirz was responsible for manufacturing it, and he made it to quench the thirst of the prisoners. I know this to be a fact."

In General Grant's Memoirs it is stated: "The exchange of prisoners would mean a reinforcement of the rebel army. An exchanged rebel soldier behind barricades and fortifications fighting on the defensive was equivalent to three Union soldiers attacking him."

" The refusal to exchange was Stanton's policy and if this atrocious and inhuman doctrine is any way meritorious, the War Secretary is entitled to the credit. "26.

Hear what Chas. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, has to say in the New York Sun: "It was not Jefferson Davis or any subordinate or associate of his who should now be condemned for the horrors of Andersonville. We were responsible ourselves for the continued detention of our captives in misery, starvation and sickness in the South."

Again he says: "Of the charge of cruelty to our prisoners so often brought against Mr. Davis, and reiterated by Mr. Blaine in his speech in the United States Senate, we think Mr. Davis must be held altogether acquitted. "27.

Mr. Edwin M. Stanton, in his statistics, gives 6,000 more of Southern men in Northern prisons died than did Northern men in Southern prisons.

General Butler, in his book, page 592, says: "The reason for not exchanging prisoners was this, the exchange would strengthen General Lee's army and greatly prolong the war. "

General Grant said: "If we hold these men caught, they are no more than dead men, as the time of enlistment is over. If we liberate them we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. "

Mr. Dana said: "This proves that it was not the Confederate authorities who insisted upon keeping our prisoners in distress, want, and disease, but the commander-in-chief of our armies."

It would seem no greater proof would be needed to vindicate


  page 24  
the Confederate Government, President Davis, the military officers of the Confederate Army who were in charge of Andersonville, and Henry Wirz, the superintendent, and to vindicate them by the testimony of the North.


The truth about the exchange can be found in Page's History page 895, and in Series II, Vol. VII, Official Records of The War of the Rebellion.

General Grant's letter to Secretary Stanton is all-convincing:"


Hon. Edwin M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.

Please inform General Foster that under no circumstances will he be authorized to exchange prisoners of war.

Exchanges simply reinforce the enemy at once, whilst we do not get the benefit for more than two or three months and then lose the majority entirely

I telegraph this from just hearing that 500 or 600 prisoners have been sent to General Foster.

Lieut.-General. City Point, Va., Aug. 21, 1864.



Brigadier-General T. Seymour, U. S. Volunteers, was appointed to visit Andersonville and other Southern prisons. This is what he wrote:

The Southern authorities are exceedingly desirous of an immediate change-of prisoners. Their urgency is unbounded, but it is the poorest policy for our Government to deliver to them 40,000 prisoners better fed and clothed than ever before in their lives, in good condition for the field, while the United States received in return an equal number of men worn out with privations and neglect, barely able to walk and drawing their last breath, and unfit to take the field as soldiers. It is much wiser to leave the prisoners where they are.

Brig.-Gen. U. S. Volunteers.


PAGE 'S History of Andersonville, page 112: "A gang of evil-disposed persons among the prisoners of war at this post, having banded themselves together for the purpose of assaulting, murdering, and robbing their fellow prisoners, and having already committed all of these deeds, it becomes necessary to adopt measures to protect the lives and property of the prisoners against the acts of these men, and in


  page 25  
order that this may be accomplished, the well-disciplined prisoners may, and are thereby authorized to establish a court among themselves for trial and punishment of such offenders."


General Winder, the commander, felt this order necessary. Cases were reported where the prisoners would choke each other to death during the night to get the money and clothing from them.

One hundred and seventy-five were arrested by the court established and six were charged with murder of first degree and they were hanged, July 11, 1864. Their names can be found on pages 113, 114, of Page's History.

On the day of trial Captain Wirz came in riding his grey horse at the head of the six doomed men, heavily guarded. At the foot of the platform he turned these men over to a court of their own men, saying:"Here men, I return these prisoners to you in as good condition as I received them. I have carried out my part of the agreement, and now whatever you may do with these men I must remind you that the Confederate Government is in no way responsible. You will do with them as you please, and may God have mercy on you and them."28.

After this, execution threats were made by the prisoners to the leading men of court and the hangman, so Wirz was asked to parole those whose life was in danger, and he did.

Page says the other histories that have been written of Andersonville by prisoners do not give truthfully or fully this history, nor do they give Wirz the credit for bringing about order and stopping the murders among the prisoners themselves. They do not mention the many kind acts of Wirz to the prisoners-they are not fair histories and should not be believed. These histories say that the money and valuables taken from the marauders were confiscated by the men of the court and used for themselves. Page says this is false for-everything was turned over to Wirz for safe keeping to be given back to the owners, and this was done as far as he knew. 29.

"July brought unusual suffering to the prisoners on account of the hot weather, " Page says on page 126: "I met Wirz while on one of his visits to the hospital. He stopped his horse, and I explained briefly the situation and the condition of my comrades. Said I, " If something is not done for them at once, in a few days death will be the result, " and


  page 26  
this is the substance of his reply:" I am doing all I can. I am handicapped and pressed for rations. I am exceeding my authority now in issuing supplies. I am blamed by the soldiers for all this suffering. They do not realize I am a subordinate, governed by orders of my commanding officer. Why, sir, my own men are on short rations. The best that I can do is to see that your sick comrades are removed to the hospital. God help you, I cannot.," and his eyes were filled with tears. I was crying myself. I saw how deeply he felt. He was pale and emaciated. His wounded arm was troubling him-he said nothing about the fact that gangrene had set in. I said to myself, "Here is a man obliged to endure the odium resulting from the sins of others." "30.


Wirz was obliged to have a sick leave for the mouth of August.

The prisoners called a mass meeting July 20th and drew up a petition to send to the Federal Government. 31. A committee was paroled and allowed to go in person to intercede. The names of these men were:

  • Edward Bates, Co. K, 42nd N. Y.
  • H. C. Higgenson, Co. K, 19th Ill.
  • Prescott Tracey, Co. G, 82nd N. Y.
  • Sylvester Noirot, Co. B, 5th N. J.


They were paroled for this purpose. Three returned to report failure. Some of the false histories say no such resolutions were ever sent. Melvin Grisby tells of it. Page says he was positive about this, although not present himself, and in speeches at the mass meeting, Stanton was painted as black as some of those historians later painted Wirz. 32. One prisoner raised his arm and shouted, "I hold Secretary Stanton personally responsible for my misery !"

As soon as Wirz took command of the camp he paroled all the drummer boys--about fifty in number. He did this to protect these young boys from the hardships of camp life.

Young Powell was detailed as orderly. He was called Little Red Cap and later Wirz's aide-de-camp. He was very faithful and devoted to Wirz.

Some one asked Wirz why he did not wear his sword and sash in camp. He replied, "The poor fellows have enough reminders of war without my parading with sash and sword."

Part 5


  page 27  
Correspondence Regarding Commander of Andersonville Prison, Who Was Tried and Executed in Washington in 1865. Championed by Late Louis Schade

Part 1


A great deal of interest was expressed yesterday among some of the old inhabitants of Washington regarding the protest entered at Minneapolis by the G. A. R. Convention against the erection of a monument in memory of Captain Henry Wirz, commander of Andersonville Prison during the Civil War. The trial and execution of Wirz took place in Washington in 1865, and the intense feeling which characterized this trial is still remembered.

A reporter of The Post called on H. R. Schade, son of the late Louis Schade, defender of Wirz at his trial. Mr. Schade, when asked what he thought of the action of the G. A. R., said he was, in a measure, surprised at the position taken by the old veterans regarding this matter; he called attention to the fact that a monument was about to be erected at Harpers Ferry in memory of John Brown, and no protest had been heard from the South in regard to the erection of such a monument.

Mr. Schade stated that he had for some months been in correspondence with a number of prominent Georgians, and that he was now preparing a magazine article pertaining to the trial of Wirz, and that the proceeds of this article would be contributed to the Wirz monument fund. He added, however, that he did not care to express an opinion regarding the trial and execution of Wirz, but preferred to let the statement issued by his father, made in 1867, and a letter written by Jefferson Davis in 1888, speak for themselves. He thought that the letters addressed to President Johnson and to his father by Wirz were in themselves sufficient defense; he thereupon furnished the reporter copies of these letters. The letters were as follows:


  page 28  



Washington, D.C., April 4, 1867
To the American public:

Intending to leave the United States for some time, I feel it is my duty before I start to fulfill in part a promise which, a few hours before his death, I gave to my unfortunate client, Captain Wirz, who was executed at Washington on the 10th day of November, 1885. Protesting up to the last moment his innocence of those monstrous crimes with which he was charged, he received my word that, having failed to save him from a felon's doom, I would as long as I lived do everything in my power to clear his memory. I did that the more readily as I was then already perfectly convinced that he suffered wrongfully. Since that time his unfortunate children, both here and in Europe, have constantly implored me to wipe out the terrible stains which now cover the name of their father.

Though the times do not seem propitious for obtaining full justice; yet, considering that man is mortal, I will, before entering upon a perilous voyage, perform my duty to those innocent orphans, and also to myself. I will now give a brief statement of the causes which led to the arrest and execution of Captain Wirz. In April, 1865, President Johnson issued a proclamation stating that from evidence in the possession of the Bureau of Military Justice, it appeared that Jefferson Davis was implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and for that reason the President offered a reward of $100,000 for the capture of the then fugitive ex-President of the Southern Confederacy. 34.That testimony has since been found to be entirely false and a mere fabrication, and the suborner, Conover, is now under sentence in the jail in this city, the two perjurers whom he suborned having turned state's evidence against him, whilst the individual by whom Conover was suborned has not yet been brought to justice.


Certain high and influential enemies of Jefferson Davis, either then already aware of the character of the testimony of those witnesses, or not thinking their testimony quite sufficient to hang Mr. Davis, expected to find the wanting material in the terrible mortality of Union prisoners at Andersonville. Orders were issued accordingly to arrest a subaltern officer, Captain Wirz, a poor, friendless, and wounded prisoner of war (he being included in the surrender of General Johnston), and, besides, a foreigner by birth. On the 9th day of May he was placed in the Old Capitol Prison at Washington, and from that time the greater part of the Northern press busily engaged in


  page 29  
transforming the unfortunate man, in the eyes of the Northern people, into such a monster that it became almost impossible for him to obtain counsel. Even his countryman, the Swiss consul general, publicly refused to accept money or defray the expenses of the trial. He was doomed before he was heard, and even the permission to be heard according to law was denied him. To increase the excitement, and give éclat to the proceeding, and to influence still more the public mind, the trial took place under the very dome of the Capitol of the nation.


A military commission, presided over by one of the most arbitrary and despotic generals in the country, was formed, and the paroled prisoner of war, his wounds still open, was so feeble that he had to recline during the trial on a sofa. How that trial was conducted the whole world knows. The enemies of generosity and humanity believed it to be a sure thing to get at Jefferson Davis. Therefore, the first charge was that of conspiracy between Wirz, Jefferson Davis, Seddon, Howell Cobb, R. B. Winder, R. R. Stevenson, and a number of others to kill the Union prisoners.

The trial lasted for three months, but, fortunately for the bloodthirsty instigators, not a particle of evidence was produced showing the existence of such a conspiracy, yet Captain Wirz was found guilty of that charge . Having thus failed, another effort was made. On the night before the execution of the prisoner, a telegram was sent to the Northern press from this city, stating that Wirz had made important disclosures to General L. C. Baker, the well known detective, implicating Jefferson Davis, and that the confession would probably given to the public. On the same evening some parties came to the confessor of Wirz, Rev. Father Boyle, and also to me, one of them informing me that a high Cabinet officer wished to assure Wirz that if he would implicate Jefferson Davis with the atrocities committed at Andersonville his sentence would be commuted. The messenger, or whoever he was, requested me to inform Wirz of this. In the presence of Father Boyle, I told Wirz next morning what had happened.


The captain simply and quietly replied:"Mr. Schade, you know that I have always told you that I do not know anything about Jefferson Davis. He had no connection with me as to what was done at Andersonville. If I knew anything about him, I would not become a traitor against him, or anybody else, even to save my life. " He likewise denied that he had ever made any statement whatever to General Baker. Thus ended the attempt to suborn Captain Wirz against Jefferson Davis. That alone shows you what a man he was. How many of his defamers


  page 30  
would have done the same? With his wounded arm in a sling, the poor paroled prisoner mounted, two hours later, the scaffold. His last words were that he died innocent; and so he did.


The 10th day of November, 1865, will indeed be a black stain upon the pages of American history. To weaken the effect of his declaration of innocence, and of the noble manner in which Wirz died, a telegram was manufactured here and sent North, stating that on the 27th day of October Mrs. Wirz (who actually was 900 miles on that day away from Washington) had been prevented by that Stantonian Deus ex machina, General L. C. Baker, from poisoning her husband. Thus, on the same day when the unfortunate family lost their husband and father, a cowardly and atrocious attempt was made to blacken their character also. On the next day I branded the whole as an infamous lie, and since then I have never heard of it again, though it emanated from a brigadier general of the United States army.

All those who were charged with having conspired with Captain Wirz have since been released, except Jefferson Davis, the prisoner of the American 'Castle Chillon.' Captain Winder was let off without a trial, and if any of the others have been tried, which I do not know, certainly none of them has been hung. As Captain Wirz could not conspire alone, nobody will now, in view of that important fact, consider him guilty of that charge. So much, then for charge No. 1.


As to charge No. 2, to wit, murder, in violation of the laws and customs of war, I do not hesitate to declare that about 145 out 160 witnesses on both sides declared during the trial that Captain Wirz never murdered or killed any Union prisoners with his own hands or otherwise. All those witnesses (about twelve or fifteen) who testified that they saw Captain Wirz kill a prisoner have sworn falsely, abundant proofs of that assertion being in existence. The hands of Captain Wirz are clear of the blood of prisoners of war. He would certainly have at least intimated to me a knowledge of the alleged murders with which he was charged. In almost all cases, no names of the alleged murdered men could be given, and where it was done, no such persons could be identified. The terrible scene in court when he was confronted with one of the witnesses, and the latter insisted that Wirz was the man who killed a certain Union prisoner, which irritated the prisoner so much that he almost fainted, will still be remembered. That man (Grey) swore falsely, and God alone knows what the poor, innocent prisoner must have suffered at that moment. That scene was depicted and illustrated in the Northern newspapers as if Wirz had


  page 31  
broken down on account of his guilt. Seldom has a mortal suffered more than that friendless and forsaken man. Fearing lest this communication should be too long, I will merely speak of the principal and most intelligent of those false witnesses, who testified to individual murder on the part of Captain Wirz.



Upon his testimony the judge advocate, in his final argument, laid particular stress, on account of his intelligence. This witness prepared also pictures of the alleged cruelties of Wirz, which were handed to the commission, and are now on record, copies of which appeared at the time in Northern illustrated papers. He swore that his name was Felix de la Baume, and represented himself as a Frenchman and grandnephew of Marquis Lafayette. After having so well testified and shown so much zeal, he received a recommendation signed by the members of the commission. On the 11th day of October, before the taking of the testimony was concluded, he was appointed to a clerkship in the Department of the Interior. This occurred while one of the witnesses for the defense (Duncan) was arrested in open court and placed in prison before he had testified. After execution of Captain Wirz, some of the Germans of Washington recognized in de la Baume a deserter from the Seventh New York (Steuben's) Regiment, whose name was not de la Baume, but Felix Oeser, a native of Saxony. They went to Secretary Harlan, and he dismissed the impostor, the important witness in the Wirz trial, on the 21st day of November, eleven days after the execution. Nobody who is acquainted with the Conover testimony, in consequence of which the President of the United States was falsely induced to place a reward of $100,000 upon the head of an innocent man, will be astonished at the disclosures of the character of testimony before military commissions. So much for charge 2.


If from twelve to fifteen witnesses could be found who were willing to testify to so many acts of murder on the part of Wirz, there must certainly have been no lack of such who were willing to swear to minor offenses. Such was the unnatural state of the public mind against the prisoner at that time that such men regarded themselves and were regarded as heroes, after having testified in the manner above described; while, on the other hand, the witnesses for the defense were intimidated, particularly after one of them had been arrested.

But who is responsible for the many lives that were lost at Andersonville and in the Southern prisons? That question has not fully been settled, but history will tell on whose heads the guilt for those sacrificed hecatombs of human beings is to be


  page 32  
placed. It was certainly not the fault of poor Captain Wirz, when, in consequence of medicines having been declared contraband of war by the North, the Union prisoners died for the want of the same. How often have we read during the war that ladies going South had been arrested and placed in the old Capitol Prison by the Union authorities because some quinine or other medicine had been found concealed in their clothing? Our navy prevented the ingress of medical stores from the seaside, and our troops repeatedly destroyed drug stores and even the supplies of private physicians in the South. Thus, the scarcity of medicines became general all over the South.



That provisions in the South were scarce will astonish nobody, when it is remembered how the war was carried on, Gen. Sheridan boasted in his report that, in the Shenandoah Valley alone, he burnt over 2,000 barns, filled with wheat and corn, and the mills in the whole tract of country; that he destroyed all factories of cloth, and killed or drove every animal-even the poultry-that could contribute to human sustenance. And these desolations were repeated in different parts of the South, and so thoroughly that last month, two years after the end of the war, Congress had to appropriate $1,000,000 to save the people of those regions from actual starvation. The destruction of railroads and other means of transportation by which food could be supplied by abundant districts to those without it increased the difficulties in giving sufficient food to our prisoners. The Confederate authorities, aware of their inability to maintain their prisoners, informed the Northern agents of the great mortality, and urgently requested that the prisoners should be exchanged, even without regard to the surplus which the Confederates had on the exchange roll from former exchanges- that is, man for man. But our War Department did not consent to an exchange. They did not want to "exchange skeletons for healthy men."

Finally, when all hopes of exchange were gone, Colonel Ould, the Confederate commissioner of exchange, offered early in August, 1864, to deliver up all Federal sick and wounded, without requiring an equivalent in return, and pledged that the number would amount to 10,000 or 15,000; and if it did not, he would make up that number from well men. Although this offer was made in August, the transportation was not sent for them ( to Savannah) until December, although he urged and implored (to use his own words) that haste should be made. During that very period most of the deaths at Andersonville occurred. Congressmen Covode, who lost two sons in Southern prisons, will do well if he inquires who those 'skeletons' were which the honorable Secretary of War (Stanton) did not want


  page 33  
to exchange for healthy men. If he does he will hereafter perhaps be less bitter against the people of the South.



We used justly to proclaim in former times that ours was the" land of the free and the home of the brave. " But when one-half of the country is shrouded in despotism which now only finds a parallel in Russian Poland, and when our generals and soldiers quietly permit that their former adversaries shall be treated worse than the Helots of old, brave soldiers though they may be, who, when the forces and resources of both sections were more equal, have not seldom seen the backs of our best generals, not to speak of such men as Butler and consorts, then we may question whether the Star-Spangled Banner still waves "o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

A noble and brave soldier never permits his antagonist to be calumniated and trampled upon after an honorable surrender. Besides, notwithstanding the decision of the highest legal tribunal in the land, that military commissions are unconstitutional, and earnest and able protestations of President Johnson, and the sad results of military commissions, yet such military commissions are again established by recent legislation of Congress all over the suffering and starving South. History is just, and, as Mr. Lincoln used to say, "We cannot escape history." Puritanical hypocrisy, self-adulation, and self-glorification will not save these enemies of liberty from their just punishment. Not-even a Christian burial of the remains of Captain Wirz has been allowed by Secretary Stanton. They still lie side by side with those of another and acknowledged victim of military commissions, the unfortunate Mrs. Surratt, in the yard of the former jail of this city. If anybody should desire to reply to this, I politely beg that it may be done before the 1st of May next, as I shall leave the country, to return in the fall. After that day, letters will reach me in care of the American legation, or Mr. Benedetto Bolzani, Leipzig street, No. 38, Berlin, Prussia.

Attorney at Law.



It would seem after this overwhelming testimony from the North no other would be needed.

The South made every effort to send the prisoners home to relieve the congested condition at the prison, and to place them where proper care should be taken of them, and medicine administered, but the Federal authorities refused every offer.

(See General Lee's request for exchange).


  page 34  


(See Alexander Stephens' request for exchange).

(See Colonel Ould's offer to fill a vessel with sick or well prisoners without exchange) .

(See petition of the paroled prisoners).

(See effort by Confederate Government to send prisoners home without any exchange ).

(See order to Adj. John C. Rutherford to march a body of these prisoners across the Florida line and to leave them) . Series II., Vol. VIII., The War of Rebellion.

All facts can be found in the Official Records of The War of the Rebellion, Series I., II., IV.




Beauvoir, Miss., October 15, 1888.
Louis Schade, Esq.
My Dear Sir:

I have often felt with poignant regret that the Southern public have never done justice to the martyr, Major Wirz. With a wish to do something to awake due consideration for his memory, I write to ask you to give the circumstances, as fully as may be agreeable to you, of the visit made to him the night before his execution, when he was tempted by the offer of a pardon if he would criminate me, and thus exonerate himself of charges of which he was innocent, and with which I had no connection.

Respectfully and truly yours,



Old Capitol Prison,Washington, D. C., Nov. 10, 1865.
Mr. Louis Schade.
Dear Sir:

It is no doubt the last time that I address myself to you. What I have said to you often as often I repeat. Accept my thanks, my sincere, heartfelt thanks, for all you have done for me. May God reward you, I cannot. I still have something more to ask of you, and I am confident you will not refuse to receive my dying request. Please help any poor family-my dear wife and children. War, cruelest, has swept everything from me, and today my wife and children are beggars. My life is demanded as an atonement. I am willing to give it, and hope that after a while, I will be judged differently from what I am now. If any one ought to come to the relief of my family, it is the people of the South, for whose sake I have sacrificed


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all. I know you will excuse me for troubling you again. Farewell, dear sir. May God bless you.


Yours thankfully,




Old Capitol Prison, November 6, 1865
To the President of the United States.
Mr. President:

With a trembling hand, with a heart filled with the most conflicting emotions, and with a spirit hopeful one moment and despairing the next, I have taken the liberty of addressing you. When I consider your exalted position; when I think for a moment that in your hands rests the weal or woe of millions-yea, the peace of the world-well may I pause to call to my aid courage enough to lay before you my humble petition. I have heard you spoken of as a man willing and ready at all times and under all circumstances to do justice, and that no man, however humble he may be, need fear to approach you; and, therefore, have come to the conclusion that you will allow me the same privilege as extended to hundreds and thousands of others. It is not my desire to enter into an argument as to the merits of my case. In your hands, if I am rightfully informed, are all the records and evidences bearing upon this point, and it would be presumption on my part to say one word about it. There is only one thing that I ask, and it is expressed in few words: Pass your sentence.

For six weary months I have been a prisoner; for six months my name has been in the mouth of every one; by thousands I am considered a monster of cruelty, a wretch that ought not to pollute the earth any longer. Truly, when I pass in my mind over the testimony given, I sometimes almost doubt my own existence. I doubt that I am the Captain Wirz spoken of. I doubt that such a man ever lived, such as he is said to be; and I am inclined to call on the mountains to fall upon and bury me and my shame. But oh, sir, while I wring my hands in mute and hopeless despair, there speaks a small but unmistakable voice within me that says: "'Console thyself, thou knowest thy innocence. Fear not; if men hold thee guilty, God does not, and a new life will pervade your being.' " Such has been the state of my mind for weeks and months, and no punishment that human ingenuity can inflict could increase my distress.


The pangs of death are short, and therefore I humbly pray that you will pass your sentence without delay. Give me death or liberty. The one I do not fear; the other I crave. If you


  page 36  
believe me guilty of the terrible charges that have been heaped upon me, deliver me to the executioner. If not guilty, in your estimation, restore me to liberty and life. A life such as I am now living is no life. I breathe, sleep, eat, but it is only the mechanical functions I perform, and nothing more. Whatever you decide I shall accept. If condemned to death, I shall suffer without a murmur. If restored to liberty, I will thank and bless you for it.


I would not convey the idea to your mind, Mr. President, that I court death. Life is sweet; however lowly or humble man's station may be, he clings to life. His soul is filled with awe when he contemplates the future, the unknown land where the judgment is before which he will have to give an account of his words, thoughts, and deeds. Well may I remember, too, that I have erred like all other human beings. But of those things for which I may perhaps suffer a violent death, I am not guilty; and God judge me. I have said all that I wished to say. Excuse my boldness in addressing you, but I could not help it. I cannot bear this suspense much longer. May God bless you, and be with you; your task is a great and fearful one. In life or death I shall pray for you, and for the prosperity of the country in which I have passed some of my happiest as well as darkest days.




Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, son of President Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law of President Davis, has this to say of Wirz, in his very interesting book, Destruction and Reconstruction: "In this journey through Georgia, (1864) at Andersonville, I passed in sight of a large stockade inclosing prisoners of war. The train stopped for a few minutes, and there entered the carriage, to speak to me, a man who said his name was Wirz, and that he was in charge of the prisoners near by. He complained of the inadequacy of his guard and of the want of supplies, as the adjacent region was sterile and thinly populated. He also said that the prisoners were suffering from cold, were destitute of blankets, and that he had not wagons to supply fuel. He showed me duplicates of requisitions and appeals for relief that he had made to different authorities and these I indorsed in the strongest terms possible, hoping to accomplish some good. I know nothing of this Wirz, whom I then met for the first and only time, but he appeared to be earnest in his desire to mitigate the conditions of his prisoners. There can be but little doubt that his execution was a 'sop' to the passions of the 'many-headed.' "


  page 37  

Part 3

This is the testimony given by Dr. Jos. Jones, a surgeon sent to investigate the conditions existing at Andersonville Prison, and this portion of his report was mutilated and never read at the trial of Wirz. 35."



Camp Sumter, Andersonville, September 17, 1864.
Captain H. Wirz.

You will permit Surgeon Joseph Jones, who has orders from the Surgeon-General, to visit the sick within the stockade to make certain investigations.

By direction of
Assistant Adjutant General
War of Rebellion Series II., Vol. VIII., p. 589.


I carefully analyzed the waters; found them all remarkably pure. The well of water upon the summit of the hill upon which the Confederate General Hospital is situated, is of remarkable purity, and in fact it may be considered as equal to the purest water in the world. The waters of the Sweetwater Creek before entering into the stockade where the Federal prisoners are confined, are equally pure.

The bakery is situated near this stream and while one of the Confederate regiments is camped on the hill above, these sources of contamination is too far distant to affect the constant flowing waters.

The water from all sources flowing into the stockade is remarkably pure, but that flowing from the stockade are loaded with filth and emit a sickening odor, disgusting and overpowering.

The vegetation of the highlands and hills indicate poverty of soil. The lowgrounds and swamps bordering the streams are clothed with pines and oaks of stunted growth. From this examination there is no recognizable source of disease in the soil and waters of Andersonville.

After examination I was impressed with the belief that this region of country was as healthy as any region of the world situated in the same latitude and at the same elevation above the sea and that this locality chosen by the Confederates for the confinement of Federal prisoners, was much more salubrious than most of the region in Georgia lying to the south and southeast of it.

The heat caused the rapid decomposition of filthy matter in the stockade area, and this may have been a cause of debility--but the awful mortality must have been due to other causes--


  page 38  
crowded condition and lack of medicine rather than to all the elements of climate combined.


No blame can be attached to the Confederate authorities for this great mortality at Andersonville.

In this collection of men from all parts of the civilized world every phase of human character was represented. The stronger preyed upon the weaker, and even the sick, who were unable to defend themselves were robbed of their scanty supplies of food and clothing. Dark stories were afloat of men murdered at night, strangled to death by their comrades for clothing or money. I heard a wounded Federal prisoner accuse his nurse, a fellow prisoner, of having inoculated his arm with gangrene in order to destroy his life to fall heir to his clothing.

The haggard, distressed countenances of these miserable, complaining, dejected, living skeletons, crying for medical aid and food, and cursing their Government for its refusal to exchange prisoners, and the ghastly corpses, with their glazed eye-balls staring up into vacant space, with flies swarming down open mouths formed a picture of helpless, hopeless misery which it would be impossible to portray by word or brush. As many men as possible were paroled and allowed to follow trades.

The police and hygiene of the hospital was defective in the extreme, but no blame should be attached to the Confederate Government, to the commanding officer or to the Confederate guards.

Scurvy was not confined to the prisoners. I saw a well-defined case of scurvy in a surgeon in care of one of the hospitals. 36.

This report of Dr. Joseph Jones may be found in full in Series II., Vol. VIII., War of Rebellion, pp. 590-632



A letter received by Mrs. L. G. Young, wife of General L. G. Young, recently, throws light on the conduct of Major Wirz at Andersonville from a standpoint entirely different from that of the many Northern histories that have been written, and of the evidence that came out of the trial of Major Wirz at Washington.

The letter is the outcome of an article that a gentleman in Helena, Mont., read in The Confederate Veteran, in which it was stated that Mrs. Young was the originatorof the movement to erect a monument at Andersonville to the memory of Major Wirz. The gentleman is now writing a history of Andersonville


  page 39  
Prison, in conjunction with a friend of his who was there during seven months of the time that Major Wirz was charged with having accomplished all of the foul deeds charged to him. The letter is as follows:"


Dear Madam:

By The Confederate Veteran for October I see that you were the lady who took the initiative in erecting a monument to Major Wirz and I take the liberty of writing you for information.

A friend of mine, an influential and respected citizen of Montana, was for seven months a prisoner at Andersonville. He was orderly sergeant in a Michigan regiment when captured, and some twelve or fifteen years ago he told me that Wirz was a kind-hearted man who did everything in his power to alleviate the condition of the prisoners under him.

This was a revelation to me. My friend had sort of charge over about 100 of the prisoners, and was also one of a committee who frequently waited on Major Wirz. He told me that twice Wirz burst into tears when told of the suffering of the prisoners. Once, late in 1864, Wirz said," God help you, I cannot. What can I do ? I cannot make provisions. My own men have not enough to eat. They are now on short rations."

For years I have been after my friend to write his version of Andersonville. A year ago he consented to do so. He and I are now at the work. He is a prominent member of the G. A. R. I have recently collected excellent data from The Confederate Veteran. 38.


The contradictory accounts in Glazier's, Kellogg's, Spencer's and Urban's (Union Soldiers) histories of Andersonville furnishes good material. Ours will also be from a Northern standpoint. There will, however, be this difference: ours will be a true account. Those other histories were untruthful.

Will you please kindly inform me if Major Wirz's daughter is still living, and if so where does she live?

Do you know the address of Dr. R. Randolph Stevenson who wrote The Southern Side of Andersonville? I have tried, but cannot get the book.

Dear Mrs. Young, any information that you can give me I assure you will be most thankfully received. You might be able to give me the address of parties who were cognizant of the facts, those who were in close touch with Major Wirz.

Our Northern historians claim that Wirz put men to death, but the very fact that prisoners themselves were obliged to execute six of their fellow prisoners is presumptive evidence that death had to be resorted to to maintain order and discipline.

Part 2


  page 40  

During the last dozen years my friend has repeatedly told me that while confined at Andersonville-- and he was there during the latter part of it--he never heard nor never knew that Wirz personally killed a prisoner, and that the 'killing' only came out at the trial. Said he: "The Wirz I knew at Andersonville and the Wirz tried at Washington were two different persons." There's a volume in that.

The title of our book will be Major Wirz Vindicated, or Andersonville As It Was, or perhaps, Fact, Not Fiction of Andersonville. We have not yet determined what the title will be.


The letter was signed by M. L. Haley, No. 819 Fifth Avenue, Helena, Mont., and an answer will be sent by Mrs. Young, giving all the information possible.

This letter, coming as it does from the close friend of a man who went through the enforced horrors of the Confederate prison at Andersonville, telling of the conditions there that were not the fault of Major Wirz, is highly prized here, and has been turned over to the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Strong sentiment against the erection of the proposed monument at Americus instead of at Andersonville has arisen here, and it has been positively decided that it will be erected at Andersonville as near the spot where the old prison stood as possible.

General Young, who is deeply interested in the movement, as well as Mrs. Young, said yesterday that he had received letters from all over the country asking that the monument be erected as originally proposed, at Andersonville.



The proposed change in the location of the monument was for the reason, it was argued, that if erected at Andersonville it would be the cause of friction whenever Northern visitors paid a visit to the cemetery where their dead were buried. It was even stated that if the monument were erected at Andersonville that it would be torn down, and threats were made to this effect, anonymously.

But for all of these letters General Young says the place for the monument is at Andersonville, and there it shall go. He has received letters from a number of Confederate veterans stating that if the monument were erected at Andersonville


  page 41  
they would volunteer their services to protect it so long as they might live.


" Let them tear it down, " said General Young. " We will build it up again, and whenever they lay their fingers of desecration upon it the blood of the entire South will be aroused, and a larger, grander and more appropriate shaft will be constructed to the memory of this much maligned man."

The History of the Monument to Henry Wirz
Erected at Andersonville, May 12, 1908

When the Georgia Division, U. D. C., held its Convention in Macon, 1905, Mrs. A. B. Hull, presiding, a resolution was offered by Mrs. Louis G. Young, of Savannah, that a monument be erected to the memory of Henry Wirz in order to vindicate him from the stain of judicial murder under false charges.

The resolutions read:

" Whereas, Captain Henry Wirz, Commandant of the Stockade Prison at Andersonville, Ga., was judicially murdered under false charges of cruelty to prisoners; and

Whereas, After an interval of forty years these false charges are reiterated on sign boards in public places, from the pulpit and on monuments; Therefore, be it

Resolved, That the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Georgia use their influence to obtain the necessary funds to place a suitable memorial to Captain Wirz in Andersonville, Ga., upon which a statement of facts shall be engraved in enduring brass or marble, showing that the Federal Government was solely responsible for the condition of affairs at Andersonville.

Be it further resolved, That as four Federal prisoners were permitted to go from Andersonville to Washington to plead for an exchange of prisoners, and when refused a hearing returned to prison, thus keeping their parole, a tribute to their honor, be inscribed on said monument. "


This resolution of Mrs. L. G. Young, of Savannah, was read and aroused much interest.

Miss Benning moved that this Convention adopt the resolution of Mrs. Young, and that the Georgia Division at once take the initiative, and erect at Andersonville a monument which


  page 42  
shall stand as the protest of the South against the slanders and falsehoods already displayed at that place. Seconded by Mrs. M. L. Johnson, and carried.


The Convention accepted the invitation of Americus for the following year that they might visit Andersonville and see the possibility of a site for the monument. Through the courtesy of Mr. U. B. Harrold, one of the directors of the Central of Georgia Railway, a special train was placed at the disposal of the Convention.

The visit to Andersonville impressed more and more upon the minds of the delegates the fact that the monument should be raised, not in a spirit of bitterness but simply to vindicate the man who had been so vilely slandered, and to show to the world the truth of Southern history, and that Andersonville was the logical place where a monument to Captain Wirz should be placed.

Many pictures and placards placed in the National Cemetery gave a very false idea of the truth concerning the matter.

The party visited the " Providence Spring, " one of the myths of history. There were some in the party who remembered drinking water from this spring before 1861 and were amused at the inscription put there near a beautiful white marble pavillion erected by the Women's Relief Corps of the G. A. R.:

A thunderbolt fell with Omnipotent ring
And opened up the fountain of Providence Spring.

A call was made by Mrs. Hull and committees appointed to take charge of the work:"


The time has now come for the State to take up the work endorsed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, of Georgia, at their Convention in Macon in October 1905, namely, the building of a monument to Captain Henry Wirz, at Andersonville, thereby in a measure vindicating the Confederate Government from the charges of cruelty and neglect brought against it by Northerners who are either ignorant of, or will not recognize the truth.

I come to you this first week in April asking concerted action on your part towards raising funds for this memorial. For this purpose I would suggest that a collection be taken on Memorial Day, April 26th, in every city, town or village in Georgia, where there is a Chapter of the United Daughters of


  page 43  
the Confederacy, a Camp of Confederate Veterans, Sons of Veterans, or any public observance of Memorial Day. To this end, I am sending this circular to every Chapter and Camp in the State.


Veterans and Sons of Veterans, will you not come to our assistance? Have your Memorial Day Orator make reference to this matter in his address. Take the collection in your halls, at the gates of cemeteries, or wherever in your judgment results will be greatest. Surely our people will gladly give something to such a worthy cause.

The cost of the proposed monument will not exceed $3,500 and I feel certain we will on this occasion almost, if not sooner, realize this sum.

If the object is not clear to you and you desire any information on the subject, I will take pleasure in supplying you with convincing historical data. The cause of the suffering and mortality at Andersonville, however, cannot be better explained than was done by your peerless statesman, Benjamin H. Hill, in his famous speech before the U. S. House of Representatives on January 11th, 1876, in reply to James G. Blaine's unjust arraignment of the South, wherein he placed the responsibility where it properly belongs, i. e., on the United States Government in its refusal to exchange prisoners. 39.

The Daughters of the Confederacy have never failed to respond to a similar call from the Veterans and I feel confident their appeal in this instance wtill not be in vain.

Kindly forward all contributions to the Treasurer, Mrs. C. C. Sanders, Gainesville, Ga., receipt of which will be promptly and gratefully acknowledged.

The following committees have been appointed for this work:

On Selection of Site--Mrs. J. E. Mathis, Americus, Chairman; Mrs. J. W. Wilcox, Macon, Mrs. James Taylor, Americus.

On Inscriptions--Mrs. L. G. Young, Savannah, Chairman; Miss Alice Baxter, Atlanta; Mrs. Geo W.Lamar, , Savannah; Mrs. A. C. Benning Columbus.

On Designs--Mrs. John E. Donalson, Bainbridge, Chairman; Mrs. Walter D. Lamar, Macon; Mrs. T. D. Caswell, Augusta.

Advisory Board-- Mr.L. M. Park, Atlanta, Chairman; Col. T. M. Swift, Elberton; Col. J. H. Fannin, LaGrange; Capt. D., G. Purse, Savannah; Capt. W. H. Harnett, Neal, Pike County; Capt. John A. Cobb, Americus; Capt. R. E. Park, Atlanta; Mr. Hugh V. Washington, Macon; Mrs. H. W. Daniel, Savannah;


  page 44  
Mr. Wm. Riley Boyd, Atlanta; Maj. John W. Tench, Gainesville, Fla; Genl. Bennet H. Young, Louisville, Ky.


Wishing you a bright and inspiring celebration of Memorial Day, I am
Fraternally yours,
President Georgia Division U. D. C.



There arose quite a discussion as to where the monument should be erected. Some favored Macon, same favored Americus, and some Andersonville. It was decided to hold a special session of the Georgia Division to decide the matter.

Several designs were presented for the monument but it was left in the committee's hand to present the one thought most suitable at the next Convention in Augusta, 1907. The one chosen was from Clark Monumental Co., Augusta.

The Committee on Inscription suggested the following:



In memory of Captain Henry Wirz, C. S. A. Born Zurich, Switzerland, 1822. Sentenced to death and executed at Washington, D.C., Nov. 10, 1865.

To rescue his name from the stigma attached to it by embittered prejudice, this shaft is erected by the Georgia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy.


Discharging his duty with such humanity as the harsh circumstances of the times, and the policy of the foe permitted, Captain Wirz became at last the victim of a misdirected popular clamor.

He was arrested in time of peace, while under the protection of a parole, tried by a military commission of a service to which he did not belong and condemned to ignominious death on charges of excessive cruelty to Federal prisoners. He indignantly spurned a pardon, proffered on condition that he would incriminate President Davis and thus exonerate himself from charges of which both were innocent.


It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North, would insure Sherman's defeat and would compromise our safety here.

Aug. 18, 1864.

Part 4


  page 45  

When time shall have softened passion and prejudice, when reason shall have stripped the mask of misrepresentation, then justice holding even her scales, will require much of past censure and praise to change places.

December, 1888.



At the Augusta Convention, Miss Alice Baxter, of Atlanta, was elected President of the Georgia Division. The next Convention was held at Savannah. The following is an extract from Miss Baxter's speech regarding the Wirz Monument:

"We Georgia Daughters of the Confederacy have determined upon a monument in memory of Captain Henry H. Wirz, both as vindication of the Confederacy's treatment of her prisoners of war, and as a protest against the unfair trial and unjust execution by the United States Government, of this unfortunate man. The movement was undertaken during the administration of Mrs. A. B. Hull, through resolutions introduced by Mrs. Mary L. Young, of Savannah; Miss Anna C. Benning, of Columbus; and Mrs. C. C Sanders, of Gainesville. From the time our purpose because known we have met with vehement protest on the part of the North, usually taking the form of bitter invective -- sometimes, that of earnest pleading--from such Northerners as can agree to disagree.

We counted this Wirz Monument as belonging to Georgia, but since its building has become a matter of almost national interest, we take broader grounds. As Americans, as well as Georgians, we deplore that dark page in American history on which is recorded the execution of Captain Wirz. This Government is our Government. Our Georgia boys are following the American Flag. We sent more men to the Spanish-American war, in proportion to our population, then any other state in the Union. We were under the American flag on November 10th, 1865, the date of Captain Wirz's execution. We have a right to lament the action of our Government in a matter wherein we believe wrong was done, however long ago.

Alexander Stephens said that TRUTH, being based upon fact, our convictions of truth depend upon our understanding of the facts. We, the peaceful women of a peaceful time, are so convinced of our right understanding of facts concerning Andersonville Prison that we hope for dispassionate historians of the future to come to Georgia's understanding of the facts and to realize how the policy of the United States Government crowded that prison at a time when the Confederate Government confessed inability to care for the prisoners, and to further realize the terrible injustice of having held one man, and he a subordinate officer, responsible for the awful conditions existing there. "


Part 7


  page 46  
How the Wirz Monument Went to Andersonville

The special session of the Georgia Division of the Daughters of the Confederacy held in Atlanta Thursday was one of the largest conventions ever held by the division. A number of the most representative members of the division attended this special session as the question to be brought up was one of the most important and one that the women of the division felt had been before the body long enough and that some decisive action had to be taken at this time.

The convention was presided over by Miss Alice Baxter, president of the Georgia Division. Seated on the rostrum with her was Miss Mattie Sheibley, recording secretary, and Miss Rosa Woodberry as parliamentary referee. Two large vases of handsome red and white carnations stood on the tables and back of the rostrum was artistically decorated with flags.


The session was opened by a most impressive prayer offered by General Clement A. Evans, who invoked the greatest blessing of God on the Daughters of the Confederacy and especially upon those who had gathered there to discuss an important question. He prayed that they might be given the grace from on High to see the right and do it. Mrs. McCabe, president of the Atlanta Chapter, welcomed the convention in a delightful and homelike way and made every visitor feel indeed at home.

Miss Ida Holt, of Macon, who is a most charming speaker, responded in a most delightful manner to the address of welcome.

Mr. L. M. Park, chairman of the Advisory Board of the Daughters of the Confederacy, gave an interesting and pleasant talk which was enjoyed by all of the delegates and visitors.

The session was held in the large assembly hall of the Piedmont Hotel, and this spacious room was crowded with an interested and attentive audience. It was one of the most delightful,


  page 47  
harmonious and pleasant sessions held in some time. Each delegate went up with a firm purpose of carrying her point without any unkindness or unpleasantness or without any hard feelings to the other places which would be offered as a site for the Wirz monument and this spirit of friendliness was manifest throughout the session. Each woman who spoke for the site in which she or her chapter was interested did so with calmness and deliberation, dealing in no personalities or criticisms, giving close attention to the papers of their opponents and at last, when Andersonville was selected by the largest vote ever cast for this site it was moved by an ardent adherent for Macon that the action of the session giving the monument to Andersonville be made unanimous.


The vote on the question was taken by chapters and while Miss Mattie Shiebley, the recording secretary, called the roll the Novembers of the Credentials Committee took down the votes. When they were counted and Mrs. Oswell Eve, of Augusta, who counted for Andersonville, called the report that Andersonville had received one hundred and twenty-five votes, it was several minutes before quiet could be restored, after which there were congratulations for the advocates for Andersonville from both Macon and Americus.

After the preliminaries of opening the convention were over the question of sites for the Wirz monument was taken up. It was decided by vote that all sites be heard from before the discussion of them would be taken. In this way each site was proposed, and then each delegate was given the privilege of the floor for ten minutes to discuss the question. No delegate was allowed to speak more than once on the same subject until every one who desired to speak had been heard. This arrangement was found to work beautifully, no confusion being caused and each one having an opportunity to speak.


Mrs. Robert Grady, the official delegate from the Savannah Chapter, was the first to speak on sites, and in a few well chosen words she put forth Andersonville as the only logical site for the monument. This was, of course, received with applause, as Andersonville seemed to be the favorite place from the beginning.


  page 48  

Miss Ida Holt, of Macon, put forth that the city's claims most forcibly in a well unwritten and well delivered paper.

Mrs. Estes, of Americus, was the advocate for Americas, and told why that city should be selected.

A number of very strong talks were made by delegates for their favorite site. Miss Baxter had arranged extracts from the four conventions on the subject of the Wirz monument, so that new delegates attending the special session would be familiar. This was very thoughtful and was appreciated by the entire convention.


The talks were most interesting and instructive and brought forth much applause. A very strong and well prepared paper was read by Mrs. N. B. Harrison, of Savannah, for Andersonville, and also by Mrs. Oswell Eve, of Augusta, for the same place. These two women have worked late and early for the last three months and have been untiring in their efforts to have the monument put where it was intended from the first, when Mrs. L. G. Young, of Savannah, proposed the monument to Wirz and to be erected at Andersonville. The Savannah Convention, held in November, which sent the monument to Richmond, those voting for that place were the staunch and firm adherents for Andersonville, who, after Andersonville has debarred as a site, decided to send it to the Confederate capital, feeling that after Andersonville this was the only place, but from the moment that it was decided to call an extra session they went back to work harder than ever to put it at Andersonville.

Mrs. Walter D. Lamar, of Macon, who has worked most industriously for the monument for Macon, feeling that it could teach more from an educational point of view if placed in that city, read a splendid paper endorsing Macon. Atlanta voted strong for Macon, Mrs. R. E. Park and Mrs. Otley making earnest appeals for that city.


The talk which was listened to with the utmost attention and interest was that of Mrs. Helen Plane, honorary president of the Georgia Division and first president of the Atlanta Chapter. Mrs. Plane said that she had always felt that she had obedient


  page 49  
and loving daughters and that their mother had had her 80th birthday just the day before and if her children wished her to live 80 years longer they would please her by putting the Wirz monument on the only site that was right, and she begged them to vote for Andersonville.


Another interesting talk was made by Mrs. Meyers, of Fitzgerald. She spoke of the large numbers of Northerners at her home and of the camp of G. A. R. and the Women's Relief Corps, and said that she worked side by side with these people in perfect harmony in the various charities and good works done in Fitzgerald, and that she wanted to tell the folks from Atlanta and Macon who said that few people would see the Wirz monument if placed at Andersonville, that they were much mistaken; that every year and more than once in the year Fitzgerald sent several thousand people to Andersonville on different occasions and that none of the people would go to Macon or Atlanta, and that they did not know where Americus was. That their reason for stopping in Macon was to make connection and they got away from Atlanta as soon as they could get on the train. Every delegate, even those from Macon and Atlanta, enjoyed Mrs. Meyers' talk as it was made in a humorous and unique way and she was heartily applauded.


The entire session was carried on in this good-natured way and each talk was applauded by those in favor of the site being discussed. Each city seemed to be anxious to send its best material as delegates, several chapters sending their full number Savannah was entitled to twelve, but only four were able to attend. Deep regret was expressed on the absence of Mrs. A. B. Hull, president of the Savannah Chapter and ex-president of the Georgia Division, under whose administration the Wirz monument was built, and who is chairman of the unveiling committee. Also on the absence of Mrs. L. H. Raines, custodian of the crosses of honor, who was strongly in favor of Andersonville.

Mrs. Robert Grady, the official delegate from the Savannah Chapter, was most efficient, and although not having attended many division conventions, acted like a veteran and worked hard to carry out the wishes of her chapter, which was done in a most charming manner. Mrs. Grady made many friends among


  page 50  
the older members of the division, who complimented her on the splendid way she-conducted the duties of official delegate.


Mrs. J. A. Rounsaville, of Rome, and Mrs. John A. Donaldson, of Bainbridge; Mrs. Nesbitt, of Marietta, first vice-president of the Division; Miss Mildred Rutherford, state historian, of Athens; Miss Annie Benning, of Columbus; Mrs. Harrison, of Savannah; and Mrs. J. O. Godberg, of Covington, were interesting members of the delegation who spoke charmingly for the sites in which they were interested.

Miss Ramph, of Augusta, read the resolutions of thanks which was well written and which thanked the Atlanta Chapter for their most delightful and charming entertainment during the special session.


The Atlanta Chapter entertained the delegates and visitors with a most enjoyable luncheon at the Piedmont Hotel Thursday from one to two-thirty.

In the evening Miss Baxter entertained with a delightful and charming reception at her home on West Peachtree street, all the officers of the division present and the officers of the Atlanta Chapter receiving with Miss Baxter.

Delicious refreshments were served by the young girls of the Atlanta Chapter, and the decorations were of red and white carnations. In the dining room the handsome old mahogany table was attractive with an exquisite piece of renaissance with an immense bowl of white carnations and fern. Vases of fragrant peach blossoms were placed on the cabinets.

Expressions of pleasure and good will were heard from all the visitors and the special session was considered to be one of the most delightful gathering together of a number of the most intellectual, careful, strong and charming members of the Daughters of the Confederacy in the state, many saying that they were glad that the special session was called and they hoped there would be others.

When all things were ready arrangements were made for the unveiling of the monument May 12, 1909.

Hon. Pleasant A. Stovall, of Savannah, was the orator of the day. He said justice must be done to the memory of the man


  page 51  
who was the victim of blind prejudice. Mr. James Taylor, of the Americus, also spoke along the same line.


The Monument was unveiled by Gladys Perrin, the little grand-daughter of Henry Wirz. His daughter Mrs. J. B. Perrin, of Natchez Miss. With her little girl were guests of the Georgia Division.

Misrepresentations in Recent Papers and Magazines

In Le Matin, Paris, January 20, 1919, appeared the following:"As a precedent no better can be given for the punishment of Germans of all degrees convicted of violation of the laws of war, than the case of Henry Wirz, who was tried by court martial and executed after the Civil War for cruelties suffered by Northern prisoners in the camp he commanded at Andersonville, Georgia."

In the Grand Rapids Herald, January 24, 1919, a Republican paper, appeared the following:

"The nations at the Peace Conference are planning to extradite William Hohenzollern, former Kaiser, and punish him for his share in the horrors of the World War. In the French legal brief, justifying such action, is cited the case of Henry Wirz.

Captain Henry Wirz was the commandment of the Andersonville Prison, a more inhuman place of confinement than the worst German prison of the late war.

Old prints show the Andersonville commander (Henry Wirz) personally kicking and beating weakened prisoners and ordering his soldiers to kill these wretches who had become weakened by prison life.

German prisons were not as bad as Andersonville Prison, and nowhere in history is there a more vivid example horrors visited upon humankind. "


A similar article appeared in Collier's Weekly and our Mr. James Callaway, of the Macon Telegraph, answered it convincingly. The New York Times, | Frank Leslie, and the Chicago papers had articles just as untrue

Leon Bourgeois, one-time Premier of France said:

"Captain Wirz's cruel treatment of Northern prisoners resulted in death of some 45,000 soldiers of war at Andersonville.



  page 52  
Thirty thousand died from starvation and drinking impure water, which was the only water allowed the prisoners; ten thousand died from cold or heat, the prisoners not being provided with any protection against the elements; one thousand more cried from the effects of polluted air; one hundred were tortured until they succumbed to death, and fifty who tried to make their escape were tracked by bloodhounds and died from the wounds they received; the guards killed three hundred; and others died from the effects of vaccine serum, and Captain Wirz deliberately shot to death several of these Northern soldiers.


The Military Commission appointed to try Wirz found him guilty of conspiring maliciously, traitorously and in violation of the laws of the land to impair and injure the health and destroy the lives of a large number of Federal prisoners.

The ailing were refused proper lodging, nourishment or medical care.

The clothing and blankets were taken away from them by the commandant. The prisoners were forced to drink the offal and drainage of cook house. They were bound together with large chains and left for hours in the burning sun without food or drink. They were forced to set or lie in one position without changing. Wirz established a deadline and in many places it was only an imaginary line, but the prison guards were instructed to fire upon any soldier who might touch or accidentally fall across this line. In all, the guards killed 300 prisoners, following out the instructions given. Then Wirz kept ferocious bloodhounds to run down the prisoners and these animals were incited to mangle and maim these frightened prisoners of war.

There besides this, Wirz would jump upon them, stamp them, kick them and bruise them with his boot heels. Then there were cases of gangrene but nothing but water given for treatment. The prisoners would even beg for bones when their food was distributed. "


Is it any wonder that those boys of the North reading in France such villification of the South should attempt to desecrate that Wirz monument when they returned to America?

The truth must be known or the South will continue to be villified.

Facts and figures vs. myths and misrepresentations : Henry Wirz and the Andersonville prison / Mildred Lewis Rutherford

United Daughters of the Confederacy. Georgia division



  page 53  


Andersonville Prison 19

President Davis 17, 28, 29, 34, 45

Location; size 10, 11, 17

Description of Stockade 10, 11, 18, 51, 52

Number of prisoners 11

Interior of Prison 4, 10, 11

Provision, cooks 10, 21

Rules; discipline 11, 21

Hospital; medicine 15, 18, 32

Court of Prisoners 24, 25

Petition Sent by Prisoners 20, 26

Confederate Government 10, 18, 23, 25, 38

Officers in Command 9, 29

Lieutenant Davis 22

Sherman's Letter to Yeatman 19

Burning Factories and Supplies 19, 32

Graves Marked 18

Southern pride 19

Confederate Congress 7

Medicine Contraband of War 18, 32

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War 19, 20, 23, 24

Negro Prisoners 21, 23, 24, 26

Sketch of Henry Wirz 3

Pronunciation of Name 3

Birthplace; Education 3

Marriage; Children 3

Mrs. J. S. Perrin 3

Characteristics of Wirz 7, 10, 11, 18, 25, 26, 29

Personal Appearance 4

Profession; Degrees 3

Soldier; Wounded 4

Minister Plenipotentiary to Paris and Berlin 4

Prison Appointments 4

Camp Sumter 7

Letters about Andersonville 22, 24

Appreciation of Prisoners 7, 8

Lieutenant Mayes 7

Letter from Daughter 9

Drummer Boys 26

Sick Leave for a Month 14, 15, 26

Manufacture of Beer 19, 23

Sword and Sash 26

Parole, Arrest 4, 5

Capitol Prison 5, 28, 32

Trial of Henry Wirz 12, 13, 14

Pleas in Bar 14

Condemned and Hanged 14

Judicial Farce 16

Wife Accused by Enemy of Poisoning Husband 30

Denied Christian Burial 16

Monument Erected by U. D. C. 41

The Trial of Henry Wirz 12

The Military Commission 12

The Specifications 12, 13, 14

The Charges 14

The Witnesses 14, 15, 16, 30, 31

Suborned Witnesses 5, 16, 28



  page 54  
Col. Ould's Subpoena 15


Witnesses not Called 15

Dr. A. W. Barrows 15

Wirz's Attorney 14

Surgeons' Reports 6

Felix de la Baume 14, 31

Louis Schade's Testimony 27, 33

Dr. Jos. Jones' Report 37, 38

Principal Witness 14, 15

Appeal to President Johnson 34, 35

Conover's Testimony 31

General L. C. Baker 29, 30

Vaccine Matter 17

General Winder 25, 30

Northern Testimony Vindicates Wirz 19

Albert Richardson, Field, Dungeon and Escape 19

James Madison PageandM. J. Haley, The True History of Andersonville l9, 20, 21 etc.

Melvin Grisby, History of Andersonville Prison 20

John W. Urban, Battlefield and Pen 20

Dr. T. H. Mann, A Yankee in Andersonville 22

Ambrose Spencer, A Narrative of Andersonville 19

The War of the Rebellion 21, 24

General Grant's Memoirs 23, 44

General Butler 23

General Sherman 19, 21

Louis Schade 28-- 33

Judge Shea 7

General T. Seymour 24

Dr. Gardiner's Testimony 7

General 0. H. LaGrange 11

Chas. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War 23

M. J. Haley, Helena, Montana 39

Dr. E. A. Flewellen 6

New York Daily News, M. H. S. 21

A Union Solder's Report 38, 40

Misrepresentations 51

Le Matin, (Paris) 51

Grand Rapids Herald 51

Collier's Weekly 61

Frank Leslie 51

Chicago Tribune 51

The New York Times 51

Leon Bourgeois, Ex-Premier of France 51, 62

Judge Chipman 15, 17

Contradictory Accounts 39

Painting Wirz's Monument 52

History of Monument to Henry Wirz 41

Date of Erection 41

By whom Suggested 41

President of Georgia Division 41

Committees Appointed 43

Design Accepted 44

Inscription Selected 44

Why Erected at Andersonville 46

Visit to Andersonville 41

Unveiling of Monument 50

Wirz's Daughter and Grand-daughter 51

General Information--

The Captain Wirz Case. Matthew Page Andrew 16



  page 55
Benjamin H. Hill's Answer to Blaine 23


Chief Justice Chase 6

Confederate Congress 6

Confederate Museum 9

General Howell Cobb 15, 17

Col. Chandler 22

Mrs. Jefferson Davis 6

Destruction and Reconstruction 6

General Clement A. Evans 46

Col. Jas. H. Fannin 9, 12

Father Whelan 15, 17, 29

Father Boyle 17, 29

Providence Spring 18

Women's Relief Corps 18

Harper's Weekly 20

M. J. Haley 8

Dr. W. J. W. Kerr 5

General Kilpatrick 21

Abraham Lincoln 3, 5

General Robert E. Lee 33

E. D. Townsend's Memoirs 5

Captain Noyes 4

Col. Aleck Persons 4

Adjutant John C. Rutherford 34

Official Records 34

Reward Offered for Capture of President Davis 31

Col. Seddon 29

R. R. Stevenson 29

Alexander H. Stephens 33

Mrs. Surratt 6

Dr. R. Randolph Stevenson, The Southern Side of Andersonville 39

Trial of Wirz Unconstitutional 14

General Richard Taylor 34

The Washington Post 27

General R. B. Winder 25, 29

War Department 21

Dr. J H. White 15

Mrs. Louis G. Young 38


  • 1. [Ref.] This name is so often mispronounced that a letter was sent to his daughter, Mrs. Perrin, asking for correct pronunciation. She wrote: "Pronounce it as spelled, Wirz--not Wirt."
  • 2. [Ref.] Truths of History, p. 19.
  • 3. [Ref] Truths of History, p. 57.
  • 4. [Ref] Truths of History, p. 24.
  • 5. [Ref] Truths of History, p. 60.
  • 6. [Ref.] Dr. Gardner's Testimony, Truths of History, p. 22.
  • 7. [Ref] This original letter has been placed by Miss Rutherford in the Confederate Museum, Richmond. Va., in one of the volumes of U. D. C. Records.
  • 8. [Ref] (These specifications are greatly abbreviated in order to save space and time). (See A True History of Andersonville, Page
  • 9. [Ref] Although there were thousands of prisoners at Andersonville at this time, not one could give the name of the man killed, nor the Company nor Regiment nor State from which he came, although he lived one day after being wounded .
  • 10. [Ref] Mr. Page makes this entry:" I was at Andersonville from Feb. 27, 1864 to September 20, 1864, and while there I never knew or ever heard of any prisoner being harmed by Henry Wirz. Had such occurred it would have been a topic of general discussion."
  • 11. [Ref] Six days he lingered and yet no one knew his name. Note also that Henry Wirz did not reach Andersonville until April 12, two months after this incident is said to have occurred. . Page says"I could have borne witness to this malicious indictment, but was not allowed to testify."
  • 12. [Ref] This shooting was done in broad daylight in the presence of thousands, and yet no one could give the name of the man doing the killing or who could name the one who was killed.
  • 13. [Ref] Mr. Page testifies that this was the month that Captain Wirz was at home on sick leave of absence.
  • 14. [Ref] The wounded man, mangled by bloodhounds, lived six days, yet no one knew his name. Besides, bloodhounds do not mangle; they only were used to track.
  • 15. [Ref] Remember, Henry Wirz was on sick leave at this time.
  • 16. [ Ref] See Dr. Jones' Report on pp. 51, .52.
  • 17. [ Ref] (See Page's History, p. 223).
  • 18. [ Ref] (See Page's History of Andersonville.
  • 19. [ Ref] (See Page's History and Louis Schade's report, p. 245 ).
  • 20. [ Ref] (See p. 22, Wirz's plea for buckets and cooking utensils to furnish food to these starving men).
  • 21. [ Ref] (See President Davis' order for quality and quantity of food to be given.) Wrongs of History Righted, p. 31. Acts of Confederate Congress.
  • 22. [ Ref] ( See Wirz 's letter, pp 21, 22 )
  • 23. [ Ref] (See Official Records, p. 592).
  • 24. [ Ref] (See Official Records) .
  • 25. [ Ref] ( The True History of Andersonville ) .
  • 26. [ Ref] Page's Andersonville, page 109.
  • 27. [ Ref] ( The Wrongs of History Righted, p. 31).
  • 28. [ Ref] (Page 115).
  • 29. [ Ref] (Page 122) .
  • 30. [ Ref] (Pages 126, 127).
  • 31. [ Ref] (See page 128 for resolutions).
  • 32. [ Ref] (Page 130).
  • 33. [ Ref] (From The Washington Post)
  • 34. [ Ref] A copy of the paper containing this offer is in Athens, Ga.
  • 35. [ Ref] See testimony given by Page's History, p. 15.
  • 36. [ Ref]
  • 37. [ Ref] ( Macon News, March, 1907).
  • 38. [ Ref] This book was The True History of Andersonville by Page and Haley.
  • 39. [ Ref] (See Life of Benjamin H. Hill by his son, Benjamin H. Hill, Jr.)
  • 40. [ Ref] (By Katherine Latham).



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