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Full Version: POW Camps "Tragedy and Triumph"
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I am NOT a Civil War scholar. I knew little of the POW camps. A new book came out by Kathrin Rudland that told a fictional story -- but all of the POW infromation from the Union's Elmira camp was the result of four years of research. A story to tell the terrible conditions the boys from the South endured. Here is my Amazon review:

I lack literary training and knowledge to "review" BUT I learned so much and was drawn to read Tragedy and Triumph through easily. The research is reflected by the detail and descriptive narrative.

My knowledge of the Civil War has never been where it should be. My travels to battlefields have stretched my ability to conceive such slaughter. I cannot imagine the numbers, deaths and injuries--just cannot.

I am also woefully weak in the Underground Railroad experience. Rudland's story of Elizabeth and the passing of information was a delight.

I learned so much from the way the author related the efforts, dedication and fears of those who cared so much to risk their safety--truly remarkable people.

I had just finished Grisham's "Calico Joe" which was a fiction/non-fiction account. This book was an easy transition and the character development was excellent.

I even peaked at Wikipedia's account of "Hellmira" along the way as I was clueless on what went on at such POW camps.

I must admit that the graphic battle descriptions and the smallpox detail caused me to move a little quicker to get those pages behind me. Way TMI for my gentle mind.

I surmise that some of the letters home were drafted upon actual letters as well as some of the events--these sidebars were a great way to get more into the personalization of history.

The book weaved the Truman and Elizabeth story and Simon and Frederick story very well and the reader expected to see these tie ups and was not disappointed.

Time well invested.
Mr. Brakeman,

One of my favorite teachers in college was Louis F. Brakeman. Sadly he passed away this past summer. I know he would be pleased if he could somehow know of your very articulate and heartfelt initial post on the forum. Thank you.
Maybe this one book will inspire you to dig deeper into the tragedies of POW camps during the Civil War??? Each one has a tale to tell.

I recommend learning about Point Lookout Prison Camp here in Maryland (since I'm a native Marylander). It was a Union camp for Confederate prisoners plopped down in the heart of St. Mary's County - the southernmost point of Maryland and an area which was almost entirely sympathetic to the Confederacy (as was much of the state).
Neither North (Elmira, Camp Delaware) nor South (Andersonville) could claim the high ground when it came to POW camps. I would recommend Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War by Lonnie Speer while William B. Hesseltine has an older, but still valuable, book called Civil War Prisons.

There is an excellent POW museum in Andersonville, GA. It is not limited to just Civil War. It's been several years since I've been there, but I will never forget it. It's about 20 miles west of I-75 in south-central GA. It is well worth the detour off the interstate.
And there's a small museum in Andersonville which has the bonnet that was removed from Mrs. Surratt before her execution.
I have a Confederate ancestor-Allen D. Nash-who was captured just after the Battle of Murfreesboro. He was sent to the prison camp at Rock Island. The conditions there, like at other POW camps were beyond deplorable. He became a "galvanized yankee"- and got himself out of there after surviving more than a year in "hell." Fortunately, for him, he lived a long life afterward. He raised a family and became a success in life. His story ended well. He was very lucky to have survived. Thousands of his comrades did not. One is amazed to see the graves of the Confederate dead there at Rock Island- there are so many. War is cruel, indeed.
The Cahaba POW camp is an interesting study of a very humane Confederate camp. The survivors were released and marched to Vicksburg to board the Sultana.
And, we all know what happened to the Sultana...

I had a great-uncle who survived imprisonment at the above-mentioned Point Lookout. During his incarceration, he was assigned the duty of digging graves. One day, the pick-axe hit his ankle and left a nasty wound. The filth that went into the raw flesh was so foul that the sore never healed. Uncle Mitch survived the camp and lived until the 1880s with a running sore on his leg 'til the end.

To make matters worse, like many Marylanders, our family was divided during the Civil War. Uncle Mitch fought for the Confederacy, and his brother George for the Union. Both survived the war, but never spoke to each other again.
It's fascinating hearing these stories-what they went through. I think it helps us appreciate them and the era they lived in. Laurie, as you mentioned the divided loyalties in your family during the war, my family was no different. In my family line, I also had brothers who chose opposite sides. As far as I know, they never faced each other in a battle. I can only imagine what it was like for them when the war was over and they returned home. By the way, some of those killed on the Sultana are buried in a cemetery here in Michigan.
I wrote a short story about my Great Grandfather being a POW in a Confederate prison in Texas.Just-Google-"A Yankee Prisoner in Texas".The name of the prison was-Camp Ford-Tyler,Texas.
(01-14-2013 03:00 PM)HerbS Wrote: [ -> ]I wrote a short story about my Great Grandfather being a POW in a Confederate prison in Texas.Just-Google-"A Yankee Prisoner in Texas".The name of the prison was-Camp Ford-Tyler,Texas.

I just read your story about your ancestor. Good stuff. What he must have went through! You mentioned how the prisoners would escape sometimes by tunneling under the wall. I can't even imagine how much work that must have entailed-at the risk of their very lives!
Bill,The amazing thing is that he lived and died as a farmer in the Finger Lakes Region!
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