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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 30, 1864

Richmond Newspaper Reprinted Report on Conditions at Andersonville

The Richmond Times Dispatch reprinted the following report from a Macon newspaper on the conditions at Andersonville prison.

Affairs at Andersonville, Georgia. –A correspondent of the Macon Confederate, who has been at Andersonville, Georgia, speaks thus of what he saw and learned there: ‘Andersonville was an interesting and novel spectacle to me. The Yankee prisoners within the stockade - about 30,000 in number - when closely viewed, resemble more in their motions a hive of bees seen through a glass opening than anything else I can think of. The area of the stockade is being rapidly increased by General Winder, who is evidently desirous of doing all in his power to make them comfortable. They have thousands of little huts and tents, variously constructed, which seem to protect them from the scorching rays of the sun and the inclemency of the weather generally. General Winder informed me that very soon the lumber would be procurable to put up temporary shanties for their comfort. ‘A fine but small stream of water runs through the stockade, supplying them with water for bathing and other purposes. I saw hundreds of them bathing in this stream at once. Others not engaged in bathing were walking about among their fellows, each, in the language of the famous ballad of Young Tamerlane, “A mother naked man.” Hearn that many of them have bartered away nearly all their clothing for tobacco. On the whole, their condition, bad as it is, and had as it deserves to be, seemed better than could have been expected. In spite, however, of every effort to treat them with humanity, their mortality is great, averaging about one hundred per day. About two thousand are in hospitals. Over thirty-six thousand have been received since the establishment of Andersonville as a military prison. The prisoners are said to be very docile, but greatly exasperated at Lincoln for not exchanging them. They were greatly elated at finding a paragraph in one of our newspapers stating that a general exchange of prisoners would soon be resumed. The defences of Andersonville are admirably planned by the skillful veteran, General Winder. Formidable batteries of artillery bear directly on the prisoners in the event of an emente; and strong works, with artillery, defend the place against hostilities from without. A strong force of infantry is there also. Raiders would find themselves woefully deceived if they were to attempt the liberation of the prisoners.

Image of Union Prisoners of War at Andersonville, August 1864
National Archives
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