Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/17
Andersonville Prison. 3
Washington, D. C, Nov. 6, 1865.
Before a military commission, which convened at Washington, D. C, Aug-. 23, 1865, pursuant to Paragraph 3, Special Order No. 453, dated Aug. 23, 1865, and Paragraph 13, Special Order •No. 524, Aug. 22, 1865, War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, 13. C, and of which Major General Lewis Wallace, United States Volunteers, is President, was arraigned and tried Henry Wirz.
Finding — The Commission, after having maturely considered the evidence adduced, find the accused guilty, as follows :
Of specification to Charge 1, guilty, after amending said specification as follows: In this, that the said Henry Wirz did combine, confederate and conspire with them, the said Jeffer- son Davis, James A. Seddon, Howell Cobb, John H. Winder, Richard B. Winder, Isaiah H. White, S. Reed, R. R. Stephen- son, S. P. Moore, Keer (late hospital steward at Ander- sonville), James Duncan, Wesley W. Turner, Benjamin Harris, and others whose names are unknown, maliciously and traitor- ously and in violation of the laws of war, to impair and injure the health and to destroy the lives of a large number of Federal prisoners, to-wit, 45,000 soldiers, etc.
The court implicated with Wirz, President Davis and mem- bers of his Cabinet and other high officials of the Confederate service, but the others mentioned were never brought to trial. On Nov. 6, Wirz was sentenced to death, and four days after- ward he was executed by hanging. It will be noted that the trial and execution of Wirz was resorted to as a means of impli- cating the heads of the Confederate Government, and it is known that Wirz was offered life and liberty if he would charge the treatment of the prisoners on President Davis, but he scorned such knavery and went to his death a brave and innocent man.
In this connection a volume of extreme interest and import- ance has appeared in the form of "A defense of Major Henry Wirz," by two Northern soldiers, James Madison Page, late Second Lieutenant, Company A, Sixth Michigan Calvary, and M. J. Haley. Mr. Page was captured by the Confederate troops Sept. 21, 1864, and was sent to Andersonville Confederate prison. Says Mr. Page in his book :