|Today as in the past, the question of Treatment of
Prisoners has always been an northern issue. The names of "Andersonville,
Belle Isle, are "issues " that arise again and again.As the majority
of history was compiled by northern writers after the war,( whose agenda
seemed to be one- sided), certain facts always seem to be overlooked, or
if not overlooked, not emphasized.
Medicine, which was produced in the north, was made
contraband after First Manassas by Lincoln. As we are well aware,
each battle left thousands of federal wounded behind to be cared for by
southern doctors, but the medicine necessary to care for them was "contraband"
and unavailable though the normal means. Hence fore, making the same
medicines unavailable to hospital and prison doctors throughout the war.
Later when southern officials made the offer to have union doctors come
through the lines to take care of the federal prisoners, this offer was
rejected even though federal officials were well aware of the problems
that the prisons were encountering--knowingly signing the "death certificates
"of their own troops through the lack of foods and medicines. They felt
that the more "problems" that the south had to handle and the more mouths
to feed would shorten the war. They also used the issue of
the treatment of prisoners to enflame the northern peoples to continue
with the war, which had become very unpopular in the
north. . Union generals were instructed to devastate everything
in their paths, therefore destroying the food source of the southern peoples
. But they also knew that this was the same food source for
the federal prisoners. There was no "box lunches" sent, only ships to blockade
Mutually agreed upon prisoner exchanges were halted
by northern officials in order to deplete the resources of southern people
further.They knew that additional "mouths to feed" would cause greater
devastation to the southern people and that the federal troops in these
prisons wouldn't be "battle ready" for some time after their release.
By 1864, these same officials even though they
were well aware of these horrors, ( which are not disputed, that the entire
southern people were encountering) refused to accept delivery
of these same prisoners, forcing the south to return them to the
prison that this poor souls thought they were being released from causing
the mortality rate escalate many times the normal. . Later that same
year, due to the constant lack of food, supplies. and medicines the
southern officials tried to institute the return of all prisoners but this
was refused as well by the northern officials.
The northern officials were well aware of the horrors
the entire people of the south were living through but somehow these same
people were supposed to supply their prisoners with different foods then
they themselves were eating?
Or is this the ravings of the writers and historians
who hadn't lived through the devastation of having two warring armies
live off lands that are being maintained by woman, children, old
man, and boys. ----