Welcome to Prison Camps of the Civil War

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     The prison struck me as being at best but a miserable makeshift.  The day I saw
them they were a sweltering mass of humanity, each unit of which was confined to a
space of not more than twenty feet.  This of itself-was sufficient to make the prison
unsanitary.  But that was not all. I saw whole carcasses of slaughtered animals being
cut up and ready for distribution.  The refuse which fell into the creek, together 
with the filth that washed into it from the hillside during heavy rains, necessarily
contamintated the water...I venture to say that on the day i was at Andersonville 
fully a thousand were in the hospital,  and that nearly as many more were sick inside
the stockade...I don't know exactly how many died that day, but in all probability a 
hundred at least; for according to the hospital records, the average death rate for
the month of August, 1864 was fully that number.  That was what a Confederate boy saw
when he went to Andersonville.
  
     Andersonville was one of many prison camps that housed Union Soldiers. Some of 
the others are Libby Prison, Castle Pickney, and Camp Ford. There were also camps that
held Confederate Soldiers.  Some of those are Camp Morton, Camp Douglas, Rock Island,
and Elmira. Many places were used for prison camps. The most common place for a prison
camp was a old run down building or warehouse.  They also used wide open fields and 
built a stockade around it.  But if the state had enough money they would actually
build a prison for the captured soldiers.
     The prison camps were overcrowded immensely.  Most of it caused be the small 
confined areas that were used as prison camps.  Also the fact that the state just 
kept shipping them more soldiers everyday.  Most of the prisons were overcrowded by
at least 2,000 men.  Andersonville which was built only to hold 10,000 soldeirs would
end up holding as much as 33,000 prisoners.  Elmira which was built for 5,000 would 
end up holding 9,600 prisoners.  The overcrowding contributed to the bad conditions 
and small rations.
     The rations which were very small were hardly enough to keep anyone alive.  A 
ration at Andersonville consisted of 1 tsp of salt, 3 tsp of beans and 1/2 cup sifted 
cornmeal.  A ration at the prison camp Elmira consisted of one course meal cracker 
and a small bit of bacon.  Due to the fact that these rations were so small most of 
the men took a more direct approach to getting more food.  They would kill the rats
that lived in the camp and eat them.
     Rats are found to be very good for food, and every night many are captured
and slain.  So pressing is the want of food that nearly all who could have gone into
the rat business, either selling these horrid animals or killing them and eating them.
There are numbers in the drains and under the house and they are so tame that they 
hardly think it worth while to get out of our way when we meet them.
    The Conditions at the prison camps were wretched.  There was always a awful smell
The rations were very small. There was difficult to move due to overcrowding. There 
were sick man lying all over the place because the hospitals were always full.  There
was never any drinking water, accept for when it would rain.
     Many of the prisoners who had the strength would do a variety of things.  They 
would look for food and water.  When not looking for food or water they would sing 
songs and tell stories.  During the day time when they were not doing anything else 
they would engaged in a game called baseball.  The weaker prisoners would make things
out of gutta purcha (the dried sap for trees) and old bones and then sell them or 
trade them for food.
    Now that the war is over most of the camps have been torn down, but some of them
have been rebuilt for the public to see.  There are many groups out who are trying 
to preserve the prison camp sites for historical matters.  They have already rebuilt
andersonville and use it to show the public what it was like to live there and be in
captivity.  They hold Reenactments there all the time.
Confederate Prisons

Salisbury Prison
Florence Stockade
Camp Ford
Andersonville (Camp Sumter)
Belle Isle
Cahaba
Blackshear Prison
Camp Sorghum
Camp Lunacy
Camp Asylum

Parish Prison New Orleans
Castle Pinckney
Libby Prison
Macon
Millen
Union Prisons

Alton Prison
Camp Butler
Camp Douglas
Rock Island Prison
Point Lookout Prison Camp
Camp Chase
Fort McHenry
Fort Warren
Johnson's Island
Elmira Prison
Fort Delaware
Camp Randall
Camp Chase
Camp Parole
Fort Lafayette
Fort Columbus
Fort Warren
Gratiot Street Prison
Hart's Island
Old Capitol Prison
Camp Morton


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