Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dirty Union Laundry

Though the North conveniently blames the tragedy of Andersonville on the Confederates, the terrible conditions of the POW camp were largely self inflicted by the Union. As the Union Navy blockade, Anaconda, was becoming more and more succesful in squeezing the life and existence out of the Confederacy, there was an extreme shortage of everything in the Southern states. The Confederate government did all in their power to reroieve the suffering of the Union prisoners and did everything possible to exchange the prisoners as soon as possible. The Southern gaurds ofAndersonville received the same rations as the Nothern prisoners and died at the same rate as the prisoners due to malnutrition and disease. Camp Commander, Capt. Henry Wirz, gave up half his salary to to relief efforts to help the prisoners and he even released 3,000 of them, who were then turned back by their own Union commanders. Secretary of War, Stanton, repeatedly refused to ship medical supplies and assistance for the prisoners, despite the Southern guarantees thbat they would be used for the Union prisoners only. Stanton, completely unmoved by the terrible sufferings of his own sodiers, was more interested that they be a burden for the already struggling Confederacy. After the war, the noble camp commander was convicted, on the basis of bribed witnesses, of conspiring in the death of Union prisoners and as a result Capt. Henry Wirz was hung and the blame conveniently shifted from Stanton to Capt. Wirz.
The great Northern political tragedy involving Stanton was the hanging of several alleged conspirators in the assasination of Lincoln. Mary Suratt, a middle aged boarding house owner, was convicted on circumstantial evidence as several of the conspirators frequented her boarding house. During the trial the important evidence from John Wilkes Booth's diary, which would have cleared Mrs. surrat, was withheld and so she was hung with the Lincoln assasination conspirators.
Even Lincoln's Emancipation Proclomation anticipated atrocities. Lincoln hoped it would encourage slave revolts in the South so that Confederate forces wiuld have to leave the field to protect their families. However, Lincoln under estimated the slave's loyalty to their masters, there were no bloody slave revolts or atrocities. Nonetheless the injustices, crimes and atrocities commited by the Union forces against the South are innumerable.