Prisoners' Memories of Andersonville Prison
First-Hand Accounts of a Civil War Prison
Two years ago I visited Andersonville, Georgia. Standing on that ground where thousands died, I looked up at the stockade walls and the guard tower. Trying to visualize how my great-great grandfather might have felt being in that Civil War prison was beyond my imagination.
I've searched for first-hand accounts by Union prisoners to see more what the experience was like. I've gathered what I've found here. If you are looking for primary source material on Andersonville Prison then you just hit the jackpot. Brace yourself, as reading the memories of that horrible experience may linger unpleasantly in your mind for a long time to come.
Andersonville Diary of Lawson "Lot" Hannibal Carley - Read the diary online
He arrived at Andersonville Prison August 5, 1864. This would have been a few months after my great-great grandfather got there. Lot was transferred to another prison on September 7, 1864.
You can read his diary online.
- Lot Carley Diary - Andersonville (click here to read the diary)
The original diary is in the Iowa State Historical Society.
Aug. 20, 1864 - blazing hot sun comes down on the thousands that have no shelter
The Horrors of Andersonville Exposed in a Civil War Newspaper
Comment About the Climate at Andersonville And Illness
Michael Stephen Bryant said I could share his personal experience which is a modern day one. He wrote, "I was in the TNT Mini-Series Andersonville. It was easy to see why so many soldiers died there. During the days in October, it was 70 degrees but very hot. Every night about 4 am a cloud of mist settled on the ground and we woke up with our clothes and blankets soaking wet and cold. Nights were 40 degrees. Even though we hung our blankets up to dry in the sun all day, when we went to bed they were still damp. Our morning call time was 5: 30 AM. But we were awoken by the cold and soaking wet clothes and blankets at 4 AM. Within 2 weeks everyone had a cough so bad, I imagine it to be what whooping cough sounds like. In less than two weeks everyone was sick."
David S. Whitenack's Memories of Andersonville - Read it online
Reminiscences of the Civil War: Andersonville published in the Indiana Magazine of History
- Indiana Magazine of History - Document View
Account by two men in my great-great grandfather's company/regiment.
We were ragged and dirty and scarcely able to walk
Diary of Charles Lepley Who Died in Andersonville - Read the whole diary online
The diary begins on Jan. 1, 1864. Charles Lepley belonged to a Pennsylvania regiment. His diary is available to read on an Ancestry. com message board.
Sunday, May 22, 1864
Three or four hundred more prisoners were brought in today
Videos to Give You a Quick Overview of Andersonville Prison's History
Around 45,000 Union soldiers (prisoners of war) passed through the gates of this prison. Of those, 14,000 died during their time there.
John Bott - Andersonville
Life and death in Rebel prisons by Robert H. Kellogg - Read the whole book online at Google Books
YouTube Slide Show about Andersonville and the Suffering of the Men There
Prison Diary of Michael Dougherty - Read it online
He arrived at Andersonville on February 14, 1864. Michael Dougherty, was in company B, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry and ended up a prisoner in several Confederate prisons, including Andersonville.
- Prison diary, of Michael Dougherty, late Co. B, 13th., Pa., cavalry.
Internet Archive BookReader - Prison diary, of Michael Dougherty, late Co. B, 13th., Pa., cavalry. While confined in Pemberton, Barrett's, Libby, Andersonville and other southern prisons. Sole survivor of 127 of his regiment captured the same time.
July 6 - Rations, one pint of meal and 2 or 3 spoonfuls of beans and 2 ounces of bacon
An Andersonville Diary by Thomas Asbury Gossett - Read excerpts from the diary online
- Wabash College Magazine - Excerpts from Thomas Gossett's Andersonville Diary
Gossett tells some horror stories but also tells of some kindnesses experienced.
Some men crossed the dead line on purpose to be killed and thus put an end to their sufferings
Civil War Memories of John S. Baisden - Preview 15 pages online
HEART OF A PATRIOT
Transcribed by Robert Nord and Linda Baisden |
Ways That Andersonville Resembled WWII Concentration Camps
Andersonville is such a sad part of this time period. The photos, diaries and videos remind us of the Nazi concentration camps. How horrible that Americans did these things to each other.
Similarities between Andersonville and WWII Concentration Camps
- They arrived after days of travel, crammed into boxcars on a train.
- The starvation of the prisoners
- Lining up daily for roll call and standing long periods of time in the heat or cold.
- The deadline around the interior of the camp.
- The use of dogs to intimidate the prisoners and track down any who tried to escape.
- Attempts to demoralize the prisoners by telling them their government had abandoned them.
- Some prisoners lost all hope, became listless and died.
- Some prisoners committed suicide rather than endure the horrible conditions any longer.
- Diseases spread quickly in the overcrowded conditions.
Ways that it wasn't similar
- At Andersonville, there was no gas chamber.
- At WWII concentration camps, overcrowded barracks housed the prisoners. At Andersonville, no shelter was provided.
- Concentration camps held civilians in WWII including women and children, mostly Jewish. At Andersonville, the prisoners were soldiers.
Read any of the diaries listed here to get first-hand details of life in Andersonville Prison in 1864 and 1865.
Read Online George W. Murray's Account of Andersonville
- A history of George W. Murray, and his long confinement at Andersonville, Georgia. Also the starvati
Background Information on Andersonville
- Rules and Regulations of Confederate Military Prisons
Transcription of Rules and Regulations for Confederate Military Prisons along with data about many civil war prisons.
Learn More about Andersonville with These Pages by Virginia Allain
- Andersonville Prison Photos
It was 150 years ago that the Civil War ravaged the United States. One particularly dark memory is the thousands that died at Andersonville Prison. These photos show it as it is today.
- Starvation at Andersonville Prison
Andersonville Prison in Georgia was notorious for the starvation suffered by Union soldiers there during the Civil War. Why did it happen and how did the prisoners survive the brutal conditions there?
- Andersonville Timeline 1864
In reading many diaries and books on Andersonville, I've created this timeline. It will help me and others trying to understand their ancestor's experience in this Civil War prison.
More to Come...
As I research further and find more first-hand accounts of Andersonville, I'll add them here. Check back or bookmark this page.
© 2011 Virginia Allain