Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/54

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48 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the prisoner was still harder. This is the history of all wars in all countries, and ours was no exception. The treatment of prisoners by both North and South during our war was characterized either by indifference or neglect on the part of those responsible for the wel- fare of the helpless beings placed under their care, amounting in many instances to criminality. A careful study of the subject by any reasonable and fair-minded being can lead but to this conclusion.

It so happens that the Southern side of the prison question has never been made known to the Northern people. Though a good deal has been written, it appeared in Southern magazines or other periodicals of limited circulation, never finding its way to the masses of the North. On the other hand, the narratives of Union prisoners have been widely diffused through the daily papers, made the texts of passionate oratory by the statesmen of a day, elaborated by the illustrated journals, and emphasized by the immense circulation and influence of the Northern magazines. Until the article on "John- son's Island." by Lieutenant Carpenter, and "Camp Morton," ap- peared in the Century, only one side of the sufferings of prisoners was known north of the Mason and Dixon line. Little wonder, then, that these articles attracted attention, created surprise, aroused in- dignation ; and still less wonder that those to whom this indignation would direct itself rushed into the daily papers and the magazines with columns of denials of the accuracy of my statements, with explanations of this and that; long lists of rations, attested by the commissary, supplies furnished by the quartermaster, all certified to as correct; comfortable quarters, warm fires, plenty of blankets and bedding, &c. ; and yet the men died in large numbers.

Facts are cold and unanswerable, and dead men do tell tales. The death rate at Camp Morton was within seventh-tenths of one per cent, of that among all Union prisoners confined in the Confederacy; and Camp Morton was by no means the worst prison. At Elmira, N. Y., out of a total of twelve thousand one hundred and forty-seven prisoners, two thousand nine hundred and eighty died ; that is two hundred and forty-five in every one thousand. These figures are from the United States War Records Office. I have the report of the chief surgeon of the prison hospital at Andersonville, Ga., show- ing officially the number of prisoners that died at Andersonville, the causes of death, and a classified list of all that died in stockade and hospital. The total number of prisoners received during its occu- pation was forty-five thousand six hundred and thirteen; deaths, twelve thousand nine hundred and eleven ; ratio of mortality, two