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    Chapter 42

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    Chapter 43
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    Speaking of the manner in which the Plymouth Pilgrims were now dying,
    I am reminded of my theory that the ordinary man's endurance of this
    prison life did not average over three months. The Plymouth boys arrived
    in May; the bulk of those who died passed away in July and August.
    The great increase of prisoners from all sources was in May, June and
    July. The greatest mortality among these was in August, September and

    Many came in who had been in good health during their service in the
    field, but who seemed utterly overwhelmed by the appalling misery they
    saw on every hand, and giving way to despondency, died in a few days or
    weeks. I do not mean to include them in the above class, as their
    sickness was more mental than physical. My idea is that, taking one
    hundred ordinarily healthful young soldiers from a regiment in active
    service, and putting them into Andersonville, by the end of the third
    month at least thirty-three of those weakest and most vulnerable to
    disease would have succumbed to the exposure, the pollution of ground and
    air, and the insufficiency of the ration of coarse corn meal. After this
    the mortality would be somewhat less, say at the end of six months fifty
    of them would be dead. The remainder would hang on still more
    tenaciously, and at the end of a year there would be fifteen or twenty
    still alive. There were sixty-three of my company taken; thirteen lived
    through. I believe this was about the usual proportion for those who
    were in as long as we. In all there were forty-five thousand six hundred
    and thirteen prisoners brought into Andersonville. Of these twelve
    thousand nine hundred and twelve died there, to say nothing of thousands
    that died in other prisons in Georgia and the Carolinas, immediately
    after their removal from Andersonville. One of every three and a-half
    men upon whom the gates of the Stockade closed never repassed them alive.
    Twenty-nine per cent. of the boys who so much as set foot in
    Andersonville died there. Let it be kept in mind all the time, that the
    average stay of a prisoner there was not four months. The great majority
    came in after the 1st of May, and left before the middle of September.
    May 1, 1864, there were ten thousand four hundred and twenty-seven in the
    Stockade. August 8 there were thirty-three thousand one hundred and
    fourteen; September 30 all these were dead or gone, except eight thousand
    two hundred and eighteen, of whom four thousand five hundred and ninety
    died inside of the next thirty days. The records of the world can shove
    no parallel to this astounding mortality.

    Since the above matter was first published in the BLADE, a friend has
    sent me a transcript of the evidence at the Wirz trial, of Professor
    Joseph Jones, a Surgeon of high rank in the Rebel Army, and who stood at
    the head of the medical profession in Georgia. He visited Andersonville
    at the instance of the Surgeon-General of the Confederate States' Army,
    to make a study, for the benefit of science, of the phenomena of disease
    occurring there. His capacity and opportunities for observation, and for
    clearly estimating the value of the facts coming under his notice were,
    of course, vastly superior to mine, and as he states the case stronger
    than I dare to, for fear of being accused of exaggeration and downright
    untruth, I reproduce the major part of his testimony--embodying also his
    official report to medical headquarters at Richmond--that my readers may
    know how the prison appeared to the eyes of one who, though a bitter
    Rebel, was still a humane man and a conscientious observer, striving to
    learn the truth:


    [Transcript from the printed testimony at the Wirz Trial, pages 618 to
    639, inclusive.]

    OCTOBER 7, 1885.

    Dr. Joseph Jones, for the prosecution:

    By the Judge Advocate:

    Question. Where do you reside

    Answer. In Augusta, Georgia.

    Q. Are you a graduate of any medical college?

    A. Of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Q. How long have you been engaged in the practice of medicine?

    A. Eight years.

    Q. Has your experience been as a practitioner, or rather as an
    investigator of medicine as a science?

    A. Both.

    Q. What position do you hold now?

    A. That of Medical Chemist in the Medical College of Georgia, at

    Q. How long have you held your position in that college?

    A. Since 1858.

    Q. How were you employed during the Rebellion?

    A. I served six months in the early part of it as a private in the
    ranks, and the rest of the time in the medical department.

    Q. Under the direction of whom?

    A. Under the direction of Dr. Moore, Surgeon General.

    Q. Did you, while acting under his direction, visit Andersonville,

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. For the purpose of making investigations there?

    A. For the purpose of prosecuting investigations ordered by the Surgeon

    Q. You went there in obedience to a letter of instructions?

    A. In obedience to orders which I received.

    Q. Did you reduce the results of your investigations to the shape of a

    A. I was engaged at that work when General Johnston surrendered his

    (A document being handed to witness.)

    Q. Have you examined this extract from your report and compared it with
    the original?

    A. Yes, Sir; I have.

    Q. Is it accurate?

    A. So far as my examination extended, it is accurate.'

    The document just examined by witness was offered in evidence, and is as

    Observations upon the diseases of the Federal prisoners, confined to Camp
    Sumter, Andersonville, in Sumter County, Georgia, instituted with a view
    to illustrate chiefly the origin and causes of hospital gangrene, the
    relations of continued and malarial fevers, and the pathology of camp
    diarrhea and dysentery, by Joseph Jones; Surgeon P. A. C. S., Professor
    of Medical Chemistry in the Medical College of Georgia, at Augusta,

    Hearing of the unusual mortality among the Federal prisoners confined at
    Andersonville; Georgia, in the month of August, 1864, during a visit to
    Richmond, Va., I expressed to the Surgeon General, S. P. Moore,
    Confederate States of America, a desire to visit Camp Sumter, with the
    design of instituting a series of inquiries upon the nature and causes of
    the prevailing diseases. Smallpox had appeared among the prisoners, and
    I believed that this would prove an admirable field for the establishment
    of its characteristic lesions. The condition of Peyer's glands in this
    disease was considered as worthy of minute investigation. It was
    believed that a large body of men from the Northern portion of the United
    States, suddenly transported to a warm Southern climate, and confined
    upon a small portion of land, would furnish an excellent field for the
    investigation of the relations of typhus, typhoid, and malarial fevers.

    The Surgeon General of the Confederate States of America furnished me
    with the following letter of introduction to the Surgeon in charge of the
    Confederate States Military Prison at Andersonville, Ga.:

    August 6, 1864.

    SIR:--The field of pathological investigations afforded by the large
    collection of Federal prisoners in Georgia, is of great extant and
    importance, and it is believed that results of value to the profession
    may be obtained by careful investigation of the effects of disease upon
    the large body of men subjected to a decided change of climate and those
    circumstances peculiar to prison life. The Surgeon in charge of the
    hospital for Federal prisoners, together with his assistants, will afford
    every facility to Surgeon Joseph Jones, in the prosecution of the labors
    ordered by the Surgeon General. Efficient assistance must be rendered
    Surgeon Jones by the medical officers, not only in his examinations into
    the causes and symptoms of the various diseases, but especially in the
    arduous labors of post mortem examinations.

    The medical officers will assist in the performance of such post-mortems
    as Surgeon Jones may indicate, in order that this great field for
    pathological investigation may be explored for the benefit of the Medical
    Department of the Confederate Army.
    S. P. MOORE, Surgeon General.
    Surgeon ISAIAH H. WHITE,

    In charge of Hospital for Federal prisoners, Andersonville, Ga.

    In compliance with this letter of the Surgeon General, Isaiah H. White,
    Chief Surgeon of the post, and R. R. Stevenson, Surgeon in charge of the
    Prison Hospital, afforded the necessary facilities for the prosecution of
    my investigations among the sick outside of the Stockade. After the
    completion of my labors in the military prison hospital, the following
    communication was addressed to Brigadier General John H. Winder, in
    consequence of the refusal on the part of the commandant of the interior
    of the Confederate States Military Prison to admit me within the Stockade
    upon the order of the Surgeon General:

    September 16, 1864.

    GENERAL:--I respectfully request the commandant of the post of
    Andersonville to grant me permission and to furnish the necessary pass
    to visit the sick and medical officers within the Stockade of the
    Confederate States Prison. I desire to institute certain inquiries
    ordered by the Surgeon General. Surgeon Isaiah H. White, Chief Surgeon
    of the post, and Surgeon R. R. Stevenson, in charge of the Prison
    Hospital, have afforded me every facility for the prosecution of my
    labors among the sick outside of the Stockade.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    JOSEPH JONES, Surgeon P. A. C. S.

    Brigadier General JOHN H. WINDER,
    Commandant, Post Andersonville.

    In the absence of General Winder from the post, Captain Winder furnished
    the following order:

    September 17, 1864.

    CAPTAIN:--You will permit Surgeon Joseph Jones, who has orders from the
    Surgeon General, to visit the sick within the Stockade that are under
    medical treatment. Surgeon Jones is ordered to make certain
    investigations which may prove useful to his profession. By direction of
    General Winder.
    Very respectfully,
    W. S. WINDER, A. A. G.

    Captain H. WIRZ, Commanding Prison.

    Description of the Confederate States Military Prison Hospital at
    Andersonville. Number of prisoners, physical condition, food,
    clothing, habits, moral condition, diseases.

    The Confederate Military Prison at Andersonville, Ga., consists of a
    strong Stockade, twenty feet in height, enclosing twenty-seven acres.
    The Stockade is formed of strong pine logs, firmly planted in the ground.
    The main Stockade is surrounded by two other similar rows of pine logs,
    the middle Stockade being sixteen feet high, and the outer twelve feet.
    These are intended for offense and defense. If the inner Stockade should
    at any time be forced by the prisoners, the second forms another line of
    defense; while in case of an attempt to deliver the prisoners by a force
    operating upon the exterior, the outer line forms an admirable protection
    to the Confederate troops, and a most formidable obstacle to cavalry or
    infantry. The four angles of the outer line are strengthened by
    earthworks upon commanding eminences, from which the cannon, in case of
    an outbreak among the prisoners, may sweep the entire enclosure; and it
    was designed to connect these works by a line of rifle pits, running
    zig-zag, around the outer Stockade; those rifle pits have never been
    completed. The ground enclosed by the innermost Stockade lies in the
    form of a parallelogram, the larger diameter running almost due north and
    south. This space includes the northern and southern opposing sides of
    two hills, between which a stream of water runs from west to east.
    The surface soil of these hills is composed chiefly of sand with varying
    admixtures of clay and oxide of iron. The clay is sufficiently tenacious
    to give a considerable degree of consistency to the soil. The internal
    structure of the hills, as revealed by the deep wells, is similar to that
    already described. The alternate layers of clay and sand, as well as the
    oxide of iron, which forms in its various combinations a cement to the
    sand, allow of extensive tunneling. The prisoners not only constructed
    numerous dirt huts with balls of clay and sand, taken from the wells
    which they have excavated all over those hills, but they have also, in
    some cases, tunneled extensively from these wells. The lower portions of
    these hills, bordering on the stream, are wet and boggy from the constant
    oozing of water. The Stockade was built originally to accommodate only
    ten thousand prisoners, and included at first seventeen acres. Near the
    close of the month of June the area was enlarged by the addition of ten
    acres. The ground added was situated on the northern slope of the
    largest hill.

    The average number of square feet of ground to each prisoner in August
    1864: 35.7

    Within the circumscribed area of the Stockade the Federal prisoners were
    compelled to perform all the offices of life--cooking, washing, the calls
    of nature, exercise, and sleeping. During the month of March the prison
    was less crowded than at any subsequent time, and then the average space
    of ground to each prisoner was only 98.7 feet, or less than seven square
    yards. The Federal prisoners were gathered from all parts of the
    Confederate States east of the Mississippi, and crowded into the confined
    space, until in the month of June the average number of square feet of
    ground to each prisoner was only 33.2 or less than four square yards.
    These figures represent the condition of the Stockade in a better light
    even than it really was; for a considerable breadth of land along the
    stream, flowing from west to east between the hills, was low and boggy,
    and was covered with the excrement of the men, and thus rendered wholly
    uninhabitable, and in fact useless for every purpose except that of
    defecation. The pines and other small trees and shrubs, which originally
    were scattered sparsely over these hills, were in a short time cut down
    and consumed by the prisoners for firewood, and no shade tree was left in
    the entire enclosure of the stockade. With their characteristic industry
    and ingenuity, the Federals constructed for themselves small huts and
    caves, and attempted to shield themselves from the rain and sun and night
    damps and dew. But few tents were distributed to the prisoners,
    and those were in most cases torn and rotten. In the location and
    arrangement of these tents and huts no order appears to have been
    followed; in fact, regular streets appear to be out of the question in so
    crowded an area; especially too, as large bodies of prisoners were from
    time to time added suddenly without any previous preparations.
    The irregular arrangement of the huts and imperfect shelters was very
    unfavorable for the maintenance of a proper system of police.

    The police and internal economy of the prison was left almost entirely in
    the hands of the prisoners themselves; the duties of the Confederate
    soldiers acting as guards being limited to the occupation of the boxes
    or lookouts ranged around the stockade at regular intervals, and to the
    manning of the batteries at the angles of the prison. Even judicial
    matters pertaining to themselves, as the detection and punishment of such
    crimes as theft and murder appear to have been in a great measure
    abandoned to the prisoners. A striking instance of this occurred in the
    month of July, when the Federal prisoners within the Stockade tried,
    condemned, and hanged six (6) of their own number, who had been convicted
    of stealing and of robbing and murdering their fellow-prisoners. They
    were all hung upon the same day, and thousands of the prisoners gathered
    around to witness the execution. The Confederate authorities are said
    not to have interfered with these proceedings. In this collection of men
    from all parts of the 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, both sick and well,
    who were murdered at night, strangled to death by their comrades for
    scant supplies of clothing or money. I heard a sick and wounded Federal
    prisoner accuse his nurse, a fellow-prisoner of the United States Army,
    of having stealthily, during his sleep inoculated his wounded arm with
    gangrene, that he might destroy his life and fall heir to his clothing.


    The large number of men confined within the Stockade soon, under a
    defective system of police, and with imperfect arrangements, covered the
    surface of the low grounds with excrements. The sinks over the lower
    portions of the stream were imperfect in their plan and structure, and
    the excrements were in large measure deposited so near the borders of the
    stream as not to be washed away, or else accumulated upon the low boggy
    ground. The volume of water was not sufficient to wash away the feces,
    and they accumulated in such quantities in the lower portion of the
    stream as to form a mass of liquid excrement heavy rains caused the water
    of the stream to rise, and as the arrangements for the passage of the
    increased amounts of water out of the Stockade were insufficient, the
    liquid feces overflowed the low grounds and covered them several inches,
    after the subsidence of the waters. The action of the sun upon this
    putrefying mass of excrements and fragments of bread and meat and bones
    excited most rapid fermentation and developed a horrible stench.
    Improvements were projected for the removal of the filth and for the
    prevention of its accumulation, but they were only partially and
    imperfectly carried out. As the forces of the prisoners were reduced by
    confinement, want of exercise, improper diet, and by scurvy, diarrhea,
    and dysentery, they were unable to evacuate their bowels within the
    stream or along its banks, and the excrements were deposited at the very
    doors of their tents. The vast majority appeared to lose all repulsion
    to filth, and both sick and well disregarded all the laws of hygiene and
    personal cleanliness. The accommodations for the sick were imperfect and
    insufficient. From the organization of the prison, February 24, 1864, to
    May 22, the sick were treated within the Stockade. In the crowded
    condition of the Stockade, and with the tents and huts clustered thickly
    around the hospital, it was impossible to secure proper ventilation or to
    maintain the necessary police. The Federal prisoners also made frequent
    forays upon the hospital stores and carried off the food and clothing of
    the sick. The hospital was, on the 22d of May, removed to its present
    site without the Stockade, and five acres of ground covered with oaks and
    pines appropriated to the use of the sick.

    The supply of medical officers has been insufficient from the foundation
    of the prison.

    The nurses and attendants upon the sick have been most generally Federal
    prisoners, who in too many cases appear to have been devoid of moral
    principle, and who not only neglected their duties, but were also engaged
    in extensive robbing of the sick.

    From the want of proper police and hygienic regulations alone it is not
    wonderful that from February 24 to September 21, 1864, nine thousand four
    hundred and seventy-nine deaths, nearly one-third the entire number of
    prisoners, should have been recorded. I found the Stockade and hospital
    in the following condition during my pathological investigations,
    instituted in the month of September, 1864:


    At the time of my visit to Andersonville a large number of Federal
    prisoners had been removed to Millen, Savannah; Charleston, and other
    parts of, the Confederacy, in anticipation of an advance of General
    Sherman's forces from Atlanta, with the design of liberating their
    captive brethren; however, about fifteen thousand prisoners remained
    confined within the limits of the Stockade and Confederate States
    Military Prison Hospital.

    In the Stockade, with the exception of the damp lowlands bordering the
    small stream, the surface was covered with huts, and small ragged tents
    and parts of blankets and fragments of oil-cloth, coats, and blankets
    stretched upon stacks. The tents and huts were not arranged according to
    any order, and there was in most parts of the enclosure scarcely room for
    two men to walk abreast between the tents and huts.

    If one might judge from the large pieces of corn-bread scattered about in
    every direction on the ground the prisoners were either very lavishly
    supplied with this article of diet, or else this kind of food was not
    relished by them.

    Each day the dead from the Stockade were carried out by their
    fellow-prisoners and deposited upon the ground under a bush arbor, just
    outside of the Southwestern Gate. From thence they were carried in
    carts to the burying ground, one-quarter of a mile northwest, of the
    Prison. The dead were buried without coffins, side by side, in trenches
    four feet deep.

    The low grounds bordering the stream were covered with human excrements
    and filth of all kinds, which in many places appeared to be alive with
    working maggots. An indescribable sickening stench arose from these
    fermenting masses of human filth.

    There were near five thousand seriously ill Federals in the Stockade and
    Confederate States Military Prison Hospital, and the deaths exceeded one
    hundred per day, and large numbers of the prisoners who were walking
    about, and who had not been entered upon the sick reports, were suffering
    from severe and incurable diarrhea, dysentery, and scurvy. The sick were
    attended almost entirely by their fellow-prisoners, appointed as nurses,
    and as they received but little attention, they were compelled to exert
    themselves at all times to attend to the calls of nature, and hence they
    retained the power of moving about to within a comparatively short period
    of the close of life. Owing to the slow progress of the diseases most
    prevalent, diarrhea, and chronic dysentery, the corpses were as a general
    rule emaciated.

    I visited two thousand sick within the Stockade, lying under some long
    sheds which had been built at the northern portion for themselves. At
    this time only one medical officer was in attendance, whereas at least
    twenty medical officers should have been employed.

    Died in the Stockade from its organization, February 24, 186l to
    September 2l ....................................................3,254
    Died in Hospital during same time ...............................6,225

    Total deaths in Hospital and Stockade ...........................9,479

    Scurvy, diarrhea, dysentery, and hospital gangrene were the prevailing
    diseases. I was surprised to find but few cases of malarial fever, and
    no well-marked cases either of typhus or typhoid fever. The absence of
    the different forms of malarial fever may be accounted for in the
    supposition that the artificial atmosphere of the Stockade, crowded
    densely with human beings and loaded with animal exhalations,
    was unfavorable to the existence and action of the malarial poison.
    The absence of typhoid and typhus fevers amongst all the causes which are
    supposed to generate these diseases, appeared to be due to the fact that
    the great majority of these prisoners had been in captivity in Virginia,
    at Belle Island, and in other parts of the Confederacy for months, and
    even as long as two years, and during this time they had been subjected
    to the same bad influences, and those who had not had these fevers before
    either had them during their confinement in Confederate prisons or else
    their systems, from long exposure, were proof against their action.

    The effects of scurvy were manifested on every hand, and in all its
    various stages, from the muddy, pale complexion, pale gums, feeble,
    languid muscular motions, lowness of spirits, and fetid breath, to the
    dusky, dirty, leaden complexion, swollen features, spongy, purple, livid,
    fungoid, bleeding gums, loose teeth, oedematous limbs, covered with livid
    vibices, and petechiae spasmodically flexed, painful and hardened
    extremities, spontaneous hemorrhages from mucous canals, and large,
    ill-conditioned, spreading ulcers covered with a dark purplish fungus
    growth. I observed that in some of the cases of scurvy the parotid
    glands were greatly swollen, and in some instances to such an extent as
    to preclude entirely the power to articulate. In several cases of
    dropsy of the abdomen and lower extremities supervening upon scurvy, the
    patients affirmed that previously to the appearance of the dropsy they
    had suffered with profuse and obstinate diarrhea, and that when this was
    checked by a change of diet, from Indian corn-bread baked with the husk,
    to boiled rice, the dropsy appeared. The severe pains and livid patches
    were frequently associated with swellings in various parts, and
    especially in the lower extremities, accompanied with stiffness and
    contractions of the knee joints and ankles, and often with a brawny feel
    of the parts, as if lymph had been effused between the integuments and
    apeneuroses, preventing the motion of the skin over the swollen parts.
    Many of the prisoners believed that the scurvy was contagious, and I saw
    men guarding their wells and springs, fearing lest some man suffering
    with the scurvy might use the water and thus poison them.

    I observed also numerous cases of hospital gangrene, and of spreading
    scorbutic ulcers, which had supervened upon slight injuries. The
    scorbutic ulcers presented a dark, purple fungoid, elevated surface, with
    livid swollen edges, and exuded a thin; fetid, sanious fluid, instead of
    pus. Many ulcers which originated from the scorbutic condition of the
    system appeared to become truly gangrenous, assuming all the
    characteristics of hospital gangrene. From the crowded condition, filthy
    habits, bad diet, and dejected, depressed condition of the prisoners,
    their systems had become so disordered that the smallest abrasion of the
    skin, from the rubbing of a shoe, or from the effects of the sun, or from
    the prick of a splinter, or from scratching, or a musketo bite, in some
    cases, took on rapid and frightful ulceration and gangrene. The long use
    of salt meat, ofttimes imperfectly cured, as well as the most total
    deprivation of vegetables and fruit, appeared to be the chief causes of
    the scurvy. I carefully examined the bakery and the bread furnished the
    prisoners, and found that they were supplied almost entirely with
    corn-bread from which the husk had not been separated. This husk acted
    as an irritant to the alimentary canal, without adding any nutriment to
    the bread. As far as my examination extended no fault could be found
    with the mode in which the bread was baked; the difficulty lay in the
    failure to separate the husk from the corn-meal. I strongly urged the
    preparation of large quantities of soup made from the cow and calves'
    heads with the brains and tongues, to which a liberal supply of sweet
    potatos and vegetables might have been advantageously added. The
    material existed in abundance for the preparation of such soup in large
    quantities with but little additional expense. Such aliment would have
    been not only highly nutritious, but it would also have acted as an
    efficient remedial agent for the removal of the scorbutic condition. The
    sick within the Stockade lay under several long sheds which were
    originally built for barracks. These sheds covered two floors which
    were open on all sides. The sick lay upon the bare boards, or upon such
    ragged blankets as they possessed, without, as far as I observed, any
    bedding or even straw.


    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
    the flies swarming down their open and grinning mouths, and over their
    ragged clothes, infested with numerous lice, as they lay amongst the sick
    and dying, formed a picture of helpless, hopeless misery which it would
    be impossible to portray bywords or by the brush. A feeling of
    disappointment and even resentment on account of the United States
    Government upon the subject of the exchange of prisoners, appeared to be
    widespread, and the apparent hopeless nature of the negotiations for some
    general exchange of prisoners appeared to be a cause of universal regret
    and deep and injurious despondency. I heard some of the prisoners go so
    far as to exonerate the Confederate Government from any charge of
    intentionally subjecting them to a protracted confinement, with its
    necessary and unavoidable sufferings, in a country cut off from all
    intercourse with foreign nations, and sorely pressed on all sides, whilst
    on the other hand they charged their prolonged captivity upon their own
    Government, which was attempting to make the negro equal to the white
    man. Some hundred or more of the prisoners had been released from
    confinement in the Stockade on parole, and filled various offices as
    clerks, druggists, and carpenters, etc., in the various departments.
    These men were well clothed, and presented a stout and healthy
    appearance, and as a general rule they presented a much more robust and
    healthy appearance than the Confederate troops guarding the prisoners.

    The entire grounds are surrounded by a frail board fence, and are
    strictly guarded by Confederate soldiers, and no prisoner except the
    paroled attendants is allowed to leave the grounds except by a special
    permit from the Commandant of the Interior of the Prison.

    The patients and attendants, near two thousand in number, are crowded
    into this confined space and are but poorly supplied with old and ragged
    tents. Large numbers of them were without any bunks in the tents, and
    lay upon the ground, oft-times without even a blanket. No beds or straw
    appeared to have been furnished. The tents extend to within a few yards
    of the small stream, the eastern portion of which, as we have before
    said, is used as a privy and is loaded with excrements; and I observed a
    large pile of corn-bread, bones, and filth of all kinds, thirty feet in
    diameter and several feet in hight, swarming with myriads of flies, in a
    vacant space near the pots used for cooking. Millions of flies swarmed
    over everything, and covered the faces of the sleeping patients, and
    crawled down their open mouths, and deposited their maggots in the
    gangrenous wounds of the living, and in the mouths of the dead. Musketos
    in great numbers also infested the tents, and many of the patients were
    so stung by these pestiferous insects, that they resembled those
    suffering from a slight attack of the measles.

    The police and hygiene of the hospital were defective in the extreme;
    the attendants, who appeared in almost every instance to have been
    selected from the prisoners, seemed to have in many cases but little
    interest in the welfare of their fellow-captives. The accusation was
    made that the nurses in many cases robbed the sick of their clothing,
    money, and rations, and carried on a clandestine trade with the paroled
    prisoners and Confederate guards without the hospital enclosure, in the
    clothing, effects of the sick, dying, and dead Federals. They certainly
    appeared to neglect the comfort and cleanliness of the sick intrusted to
    their care in a most shameful manner, even after making due allowances
    for the difficulties of the situation. Many of the sick were literally
    encrusted with dirt and filth and covered with vermin. When a gangrenous
    wound needed washing, the limb was thrust out a little from the blanket,
    or board, or rags upon which the patient was lying, and water poured over
    it, and all the putrescent matter allowed to soak into the ground floor
    of the tent. The supply of rags for dressing wounds was said to be very
    scant, and I saw the most filthy rags which had been applied several
    times, and imperfectly washed, used in dressing wounds. Where hospital
    gangrene was prevailing, it was impossible for any wound to escape
    contagion under these circumstances. The results of the treatment of
    wounds in the hospital were of the most unsatisfactory character, from
    this neglect of cleanliness, in the dressings and wounds themselves, as
    well as from various other causes which will be more fully considered.
    I saw several gangrenous wounds filled with maggots. I have frequently
    seen neglected wounds amongst the Confederate soldiers similarly
    affected; and as far as my experience extends, these worms destroy only
    the dead tissues and do not injure specially the well parts. I have even
    heard surgeons affirm that a gangrenous wound which had been thoroughly
    cleansed by maggots, healed more rapidly than if it had been left to
    itself. This want of cleanliness on the part of the nurses appeared to
    be the result of carelessness and inattention, rather than of malignant
    design, and the whole trouble can be traced to the want of the proper
    police and sanitary regulations, and to the absence of intelligent
    organization and division of labor. The abuses were in a large measure
    due to the almost total absence of system, government, and rigid, but
    wholesome sanitary regulations. In extenuation of these abuses it was
    alleged by the medical officers that the Confederate troops were barely
    sufficient to guard the prisoners, and that it was impossible to obtain
    any number of experienced nurses from the Confederate forces. In fact
    the guard appeared to be too small, even for the regulation of the
    internal hygiene and police of the hospital.

    The manner of disposing of the dead was also calculated to depress the
    already desponding spirits of these men, many of whom have been confined
    for months, and even for nearly two years in Richmond and other places,
    and whose strength had been wasted by bad air, bad food, and neglect of
    personal cleanliness. The dead-house is merely a frame covered with old
    tent cloth and a few bushes, situated in the southwestern corner of the
    hospital grounds. When a patient dies, he is simply laid in the narrow
    street in front of his tent, until he is removed by Federal negros
    detailed to carry off the dead; if a patient dies during the night, he
    lies there until the morning, and during the day even the dead were
    frequently allowed to remain for hours in these walks. In the dead-house
    the corpses lie upon the bare ground, and were in most cases covered with
    filth and vermin.


    The cooking arrangements are of the most defective character. Five large
    iron pots similar to those used for boiling sugar cane, appeared to be
    the only cooking utensils furnished by the hospital for the cooking of
    nearly two thousand men; and the patients were dependent in great measure
    upon their own miserable utensils. They were allowed to cook in the tent
    doors and in the lanes, and this was another source of filth, and another
    favorable condition for the generation and multiplication of flies and
    other vermin.

    The air of the tents was foul and disagreeable in the extreme, and in
    fact the entire grounds emitted a most nauseous and disgusting smell.
    I entered nearly all the tents and carefully examined the cases of
    interest, and especially the cases of gangrene, upon numerous occasions,
    during the prosecution of my pathological inquiries at Andersonville, and
    therefore enjoyed every opportunity to judge correctly of the hygiene and
    police of the hospital.

    There appeared to be almost absolute indifference and neglect on the part
    of the patients of personal cleanliness; their persons and clothing
    inmost instances, and especially of those suffering with gangrene and
    scorbutic ulcers, were filthy in the extreme and covered with vermin.
    It was too often the case that patients were received from the Stockade
    in a most deplorable condition. I have seen men brought in from the
    Stockade in a dying condition, begrimed from head to foot with their own
    excrements, and so black from smoke and filth that they, resembled negros
    rather than white men. That this description of the Stockade and
    hospital has not been overdrawn, will appear from the reports of the
    surgeons in charge, appended to this report.


    We will examine first the consolidated report of the sick and wounded
    Federal prisoners. During six months, from the 1st of March to the 31st
    of August, forty-two thousand six hundred and eighty-six cases of
    diseases and wounds were reported. No classified record of the sick in
    the Stockade was kept after the establishment of the hospital without the
    Prison. This fact, in conjunction with those already presented relating
    to the insufficiency of medical officers and the extreme illness and even
    death of many prisoners in the tents in the Stockade, without any medical
    attention or record beyond the bare number of the dead, demonstrate that
    these figures, large as they, appear to be, are far below the truth.

    As the number of prisoners varied greatly at different periods, the
    relations between those reported sick and well, as far as those
    statistics extend, can best be determined by a comparison of the
    statistics of each month.

    During this period of six months no less than five hundred and sixty-five
    deaths are recorded under the head of 'morbi vanie.' In other words,
    those men died without having received sufficient medical attention for
    the determination of even the name of the disease causing death.

    During the month of August fifty-three cases and fifty-three deaths are
    recorded as due to marasmus. Surely this large number of deaths must
    have been due to some other morbid state than slow wasting. If they were
    due to improper and insufficient food, they should have been classed
    accordingly, and if to diarrhea or dysentery or scurvy, the
    classification should in like manner have been explicit.

    We observe a progressive increase of the rate of mortality, from 3.11 per
    cent. in March to 9.09 per cent. of mean strength, sick and well, in
    August. The ratio of mortality continued to increase during September,
    for notwithstanding the removal of one-half of the entire number of
    prisoners during the early portion of the month, one thousand seven
    hundred and sixty-seven (1,767) deaths are registered from September 1 to
    21, and the largest number of deaths upon any one day occurred during
    this month, on the 16th, viz. one hundred and nineteen.

    The entire number of Federal prisoners confined at Andersonville was
    about forty thousand six hundred and eleven; and during the period of
    near seven months, from February 24 to September 21, nine thousand four
    hundred and seventy-nine (9,479) deaths were recorded; that is, during
    this period near one-fourth, or more, exactly one in 4.2, or 13.3 per
    cent., terminated fatally. This increase of mortality was due in great
    measure to the accumulation of the sources of disease, as the increase of
    excrements and filth of all kinds, and the concentration of noxious
    effluvia, and also to the progressive effects of salt diet, crowding, and
    the hot climate.


    1st. The great mortality among the Federal prisoners confined in the
    military prison at Andersonville was not referable to climatic causes, or
    to the nature of the soil and waters.

    2d. The chief causes of death were scurvy and its results and bowel
    affections-chronic and acute diarrhea and dysentery. The bowel
    affections appear to have been due to the diet, the habits of the
    patients, the depressed, dejected state of the nervous system and moral
    and intellectual powers, and to the effluvia arising from the decomposing
    animal and vegetable filth. The effects of salt meat, and an unvarying
    diet of cornmeal, with but few vegetables, and imperfect supplies of
    vinegar and syrup, were manifested in the great prevalence of scurvy.
    This disease, without doubt, was also influenced to an important extent
    in its origin and course by the foul animal emanations.

    3d. From the sameness of the food and form, the action of the poisonous
    gases in the densely crowded and filthy Stockade and hospital, the blood
    was altered in its constitution, even before the manifestation of actual
    disease. In both the well and the sick the red corpuscles were
    diminished; and in all diseases uncomplicated with inflammation,
    the fibrous element was deficient. In cases of ulceration of the mucous
    membrane of the intestinal canal, the fibrous element of the blood was
    increased; while in simple diarrhea, uncomplicated with ulceration,
    it was either diminished or else remained stationary. Heart clots were
    very common, if not universally present, in cases of ulceration of the
    intestinal mucous membrane, while in the uncomplicated cases of diarrhea
    and scurvy, the blood was fluid and did not coagulate readily, and the
    heart clots and fibrous concretions were almost universally absent.
    From the watery condition of the blood, there resulted various serous
    effusions into the pericardium, ventricles of the brain, and into the
    abdomen. In almost all the cases which I examined after death, even the
    most emaciated, there was more or less serous effusion into the abdominal
    cavity. In cases of hospital gangrene of the extremities, and in cases
    of gangrene of the intestines, heart clots and fibrous coagula were
    universally present. The presence of those clots in the cases of
    hospital gangrene, while they were absent in the cases in which there was
    no inflammatory symptoms, sustains the conclusion that hospital gangrene
    is a species of inflammation, imperfect and irregular though it may be in
    its progress, in which the fibrous element and coagulation of the blood
    are increased, even in those who are suffering from such a condition of
    the blood, and from such diseases as are naturally accompanied with a
    decrease in the fibrous constituent.

    4th. The fact that hospital Gangrene appeared in the Stockade first, and
    originated spontaneously without any previous contagion, and occurred
    sporadically all over the Stockade and prison hospital, was proof
    positive that this disease will arise whenever the conditions of
    crowding, filth, foul air, and bad diet are present. The exhalations
    from the hospital and Stockade appeared to exert their effects to a
    considerable distance outside of these localities. The origin of
    hospital gangrene among these prisoners appeared clearly to depend in
    great measure upon the state of the general system induced by diet, and
    various external noxious influences. The rapidity of the appearance and
    action of the gangrene depended upon the powers and state of the
    constitution, as well as upon the intensity of the poison in the
    atmosphere, or upon the direct application of poisonous matter to the
    wounded surface. This was further illustrated by the important fact that
    hospital gangrene, or a disease resembling it in all essential respects,
    attacked the intestinal canal of patients laboring under ulceration of
    the bowels, although there were no local manifestations of gangrene upon
    the surface of the body. This mode of termination in cases of dysentery
    was quite common in the foul atmosphere of the Confederate States
    Military Hospital, in the depressed, depraved condition of the system of
    these Federal prisoners.

    5th. A scorbutic condition of the system appeared to favor the origin of
    foul ulcers, which frequently took on true hospital gangrene. Scurvy and
    hospital gangrene frequently existed in the same individual. In such
    cases, vegetable diet, with vegetable acids, would remove the scorbutic
    condition without curing the hospital gangrene. From the results of the
    existing war for the establishment of the independence of the Confederate
    States, as well as from the published observations of Dr. Trotter, Sir
    Gilbert Blane, and others of the English navy and army, it is evident
    that the scorbutic condition of the system, especially in crowded ships
    and camps, is most favorable to the origin and spread of foul ulcers and
    hospital gangrene. As in the present case of Andersonville, so also in
    past times when medical hygiene was almost entirely neglected, those two
    diseases were almost universally associated in crowded ships. In many
    cases it was very difficult to decide at first whether the ulcer was a
    simple result of scurvy or of the action of the prison or hospital
    gangrene, for there was great similarity in the appearance of the ulcers
    in the two diseases. So commonly have those two diseases been combined
    in their origin and action, that the description of scorbutic ulcers, by
    many authors, evidently includes also many of the prominent
    characteristics of hospital gangrene. This will be rendered evident by
    an examination of the observations of Dr. Lind and Sir Gilbert Blane upon
    scorbutic ulcers.

    6th. Gangrenous spots followed by rapid destruction of tissue appeared
    in some cases where there had been no known wound. Without such
    well-established facts, it might be assumed that the disease was
    propagated from one patient to another. In such a filthy and crowded
    hospital as that of the Confederate States Military Prison at
    Andersonville, it was impossible to isolate the wounded from the sources
    of actual contact of the gangrenous matter. The flies swarming over the
    wounds and over filth of every kind, the filthy, imperfectly washed and
    scanty supplies of rags, and the limited supply of washing utensils, the
    same wash-bowl serving for scores of patients, were sources of such
    constant circulation of the gangrenous matter that the disease might
    rapidly spread from a single gangrenous wound. The fact already stated,
    that a form of moist gangrene, resembling hospital gangrene, was quite
    common in this foul atmosphere, in cases of dysentery, both with and
    without the existence of the disease upon the entire surface, not only
    demonstrates the dependence of the disease upon the state of the
    constitution, but proves in the clearest manner that neither the contact
    of the poisonous matter of gangrene, nor the direct action of the
    poisonous atmosphere upon the ulcerated surfaces is necessary to the
    development of the disease.

    7th. In this foul atmosphere amputation did not arrest hospital
    gangrene; the disease almost invariably returned. Almost every
    amputation was followed finally by death, either from the effects of
    gangrene or from the prevailing diarrhea and dysentery. Nitric acid and
    escharotics generally in this crowded atmosphere, loaded with noxious
    effluvia, exerted only temporary effects; after their application to the
    diseased surfaces, the gangrene would frequently return with redoubled
    energy; and even after the gangrene had been completely removed by local
    and constitutional treatment, it would frequently return and destroy the
    patient. As far as my observation extended, very few of the cases of
    amputation for gangrene recovered. The progress of these cases was
    frequently very deceptive. I have observed after death the most
    extensive disorganization of the structures of the stump, when during
    life there was but little swelling of the part, and the patient was
    apparently doing well. I endeavored to impress upon the medical officers
    the view that in this disease treatment was almost useless, without an
    abundant supply of pure, fresh air, nutritious food, and tonics and
    stimulants. Such changes, however, as would allow of the isolation of
    the cases of hospital gangrene appeared to be out of the power of the
    medical officers.

    8th. The gangrenous mass was without true pus, and consisted chiefly of
    broken-down, disorganized structures. The reaction of the gangrenous
    matter in certain stages was alkaline.

    9th. The best, and in truth the only means of protecting large armies
    and navies, as well as prisoners, from the ravages of hospital gangrene,
    is to furnish liberal supplies of well-cured meat, together with fresh
    beef and vegetables, and to enforce a rigid system of hygiene.

    10th. Finally, this gigantic mass of human misery calls loudly for
    relief, not only for the sake of suffering humanity, but also on account
    of our own brave soldiers now captives in the hands of the Federal
    Government. Strict justice to the gallant men of the Confederate Armies,
    who have been or who may be, so unfortunate as to be compelled to
    surrender in battle, demands that the Confederate Government should adopt
    that course which will best secure their health and comfort in captivity;
    or at least leave their enemies without a shadow of an excuse for any
    violation of the rules of civilized warfare in the treatment of

    [End of the Witness's Testimony.]

    The variation--from month to month--of the proportion of deaths to the
    whole number living is singular and interesting. It supports the theory
    I have advanced above, as the following facts, taken from the official
    report, will show:
    In April one in every sixteen died.
    In May one in every twenty-six died.
    In June one in every twenty-two died.
    In July one in every eighteen died.
    In August one in every eleven died.
    In September one in every three died.
    In October one in every two died.
    In November one in every three died.

    Does the reader fully understand that in September one-third of those in
    the pen died, that in October one-half of the remainder perished, and in
    November one-third of those who still survived, died? Let him pause for
    a moment and read this over carefully again; because its startling
    magnitude will hardly dawn upon him at first reading. It is true that
    the fearfully disproportionate mortality of those months was largely due
    to the fact that it was mostly the sick that remained behind, but even
    this diminishes but little the frightfulness of the showing. Did any one
    ever hear of an epidemic so fatal that one-third of those attacked by it
    in one month died; one-half of the remnant the next month, and one-third
    of the feeble remainder the next month? If he did, his reading has been
    much more extensive than mine.

    The greatest number of deaths in one day is reported to have occurred on
    the 23d of August, when one hundred and twenty-seven died, or one man
    every eleven minutes.

    The greatest number of prisoners in the Stockade is stated to have been
    August 8, when there were thirty-three thousand one hundred and fourteen.

    I have always imagined both these statements to be short of the truth,
    because my remembrance is that one day in August I counted over two
    hundred dead lying in a row. As for the greatest number of prisoners,
    I remember quite distinctly standing by the ration wagon during the whole
    time of the delivery of rations, to see how many prisoners there really
    were inside. That day the One Hundred and Thirty-Third Detachment was
    called, and its Sergeant came up and drew rations for a full detachment.
    All the other detachments were habitually kept full by replacing those
    who died with new comers. As each detachment consisted of two hundred
    and seventy men, one hundred and thirty-three detachments would make
    thirty-five thousand nine hundred and ten, exclusive of those in the
    hospital, and those detailed outside as cooks, clerks, hospital
    attendants and various other employments--say from one to two thousand

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