Monument to Captain Henry Wirz. 227
When Captain Wirz was being tried, I was at that time not far from Washington. Everybody in that part of Virginia re- garded the trial of Captain Wirz as a political crime. We were satisfied that the United States government was using suborned witnesses, and we knew positively that they refused to allow persons, some having been guards at Andersonville, to testify in the Wirz case. The whole aim of the trial seemed to be to connect President Davis with the ill-treatment of the Federal prisoners.
Corporal Tanner denies that his government offered immun- ity to Wirz if he would implicate President Davis in the ill- treatment of prisoners at Andersonville. He simply makes a statement, and produces no evidence to the contrary. I wish instead of this bitter diatribe Corporal Tanner had undertaken to give a fair, square and honest history of the question of treatment of prisoners by the two governments during the war.
We are one people and one country, all desiring the upbuild- ing of our country. Then why is it that the people of the North are not willing for the truth to become history where the South is concerned, but, on the contrary, will continually try to poison the minds of people at home and abroad against us? I can see but one reason for it, and that is that the conduct of the North- ern people and the Abolition party and administration was so heinous that they do not want the truth known, and they will not have it if they can prevent it. All the Southern people ask is that the whole truth be made history, for our children and their children's children, to know. We did nothing during that period that we are ashamed of.
But, as to Captain Wirz ; Henry Wirz, an educated gentle- man and physician, came to this country from Switzerland. While serving in the Confederate Army he was so badly wounded in the right shoulder as to permanently disable him for field service ; that — and likely due to his being a physician — he was detailed for service at Andersonville.
There is much testimony extant of his very kind and humane treatment of the prisoners under his charge. As to the accusa- tion of Wirz "beating prisoners," the fact of his having a broken right shoulder brands that as false.