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. ----