Life and Death in Civil War Prisons

Life and Death in Civil War Prisons

by J Michael Martinez


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More than anything, Civil War soldiers feared becoming a prisoner of war. Among the deadliest prisons for Confederates was Rock Island Prison in Illinois. One of the most notorious for Northern prisoners was Georgia's Camp Sumter - better known as "Andersonville." Dysentery, starvation, exposure to harsh weather, and brutal mistreatment killed more men in prisons than were killed at Gettysburg, the war's deadliest battle.

The gruesome reality of Civil War prison life is found in the personal stories of those who suffered it. Two such victims were Corporal John Wesley Minnich - a Southern teenager from Louisiana - and Sergeant Warren Lee Goss of Massachusetts. In Life and Death in Civil War Prisons, these two common soldiers become uncommon symbols of the largely untold under-life of the American Civil War. It is a penetrating, unforgettable portrait of the worst of the war - the military prisons of the North and the South. The book strips the war of its romance and pageantry. What is left is the hardship and horror of the war - and the extraordinary courage of American soldiers from both North and South.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401600945
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2004
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

J. Michael Martinez is an attorney working with environmental affairs and a corporate counsel. He also teaches political science at Kennesaw State University. He has written three previous books including Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Fires of Sectional Hatredxv
1.Surrendering Just Then Was Not on My Program1
2.The Black and Reeking Pits14
3.He Is Lost, Indeed, Who Loses Hope26
4.The Exigencies of the Moment43
5.We Were Ushered into What Seemed to Us Hades Itself56
6.Too Much Fuss over a Very Small Matter78
7.The Grave Question of Escape99
8.That Most Terrible of Afflictions--Hunger119
9.Sickness and Death Were Inevitable Accompaniments130
10.Crazy with the Idea of Freedom and Home140
11.It's Twelve O'clock and All Is Well, and Old Jeff Davis Is Gone to Hell!160
12.Loathsome Bones of a Sad and Lamentable Past182
13.The Terribleness of the Sufferings195
14.The Last Bugle Call210
Selected Bibliography245

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