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While in the hands of the enemy : military prisons of the Civil War / Charles W. Sanders, Jr.

By: Sanders, Charles W, 1947-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Conflicting worlds: Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c2005Description: x, 390 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0807130613 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780807130612 (cloth : alk. paper).Subject(s): United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Prisoners and prisons | Military prisons -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Military prisons -- Confederate States of America -- History | Prisoners of war -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Prisoners of war -- Confederate States of America -- HistoryDDC classification: 973.7/71
Contents:
A people unprepared -- "The crisis is fast approaching": the initial prisoners -- "They had not been expected in such numbers": the Confederate prisoner-of-war system, July-December 1861 -- "A state of perpetual twilight": the Union prisoner-of-war system, June-December 1861 -- "Our government must change its policy": the move to the exchange cartel of 1862 -- The period of exchange under the cartel: July 1862-December 1863 -- Prelude to catastrophe: Union and Confederate prisons, July-December 1863 -- "Disgraceful to all concerned": the Union and Confederate prisoner-of-war systems, 1864 -- "Too sad to be patiently considered": the end and afterlife of the prison systems -- "The real cause of the suffering": testimony, evidence, and verdict.
Review: "During the four years of the American Civil War, over 400,000 soldiers - one in every seven who served in the Union and Confederate armies - became prisoners of war. In northern and southern prisons alike, inmates suffered horrific treatment. Even healthy young soldiers often sickened and died within weeks of entering the stockades. In all, nearly 56,000 prisoners succumbed to overcrowding, exposure, poor sanitation, inadequate medical care, and starvation. Historians have generally blamed prison conditions and mortality rates on factors beyond the control of Union and Confederate command, but Charles W. Sanders, Jr., challenges the conventional view and demonstrates that leaders on both sides deliberately and systematically ordered the mistreatment of captives." "Sanders shows how policies developed during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War shaped the management of Civil War prisons. He examines the establishment of the major camps as well as the political motivations and rationale behind the operation of the prisons, focusing especially on Camp Douglas, Elmira, Camp Chase, and Rock Island in the North and Andersonville, Cahaba, Florence, and Danville in the South. Beyond a doubt, he proves that the administrations of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis purposely formulated and carried out retaliatory practices designed to harm prisoners of war, with each assuming harsher attitudes as the conflict wore on." "Sanders cites official and personal correspondence from high-level civilian and military leaders who knew about the intolerable conditions but often refused to respond or even issued orders that made matters far worse. From such documents emerges a chilling chronicle of how prisoners came to be regarded not as men but as pawns to be used and then callously discarded in pursuit of national objectives. Yet even before the guns fell silent, Sanders reveals, both North and South were hard at work constructing elaborate justifications for their actions."--BOOK JACKET.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E615 .S218 2005 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001951953

Includes bibliographical references (p. 353-376) and index.

A people unprepared -- "The crisis is fast approaching": the initial prisoners -- "They had not been expected in such numbers": the Confederate prisoner-of-war system, July-December 1861 -- "A state of perpetual twilight": the Union prisoner-of-war system, June-December 1861 -- "Our government must change its policy": the move to the exchange cartel of 1862 -- The period of exchange under the cartel: July 1862-December 1863 -- Prelude to catastrophe: Union and Confederate prisons, July-December 1863 -- "Disgraceful to all concerned": the Union and Confederate prisoner-of-war systems, 1864 -- "Too sad to be patiently considered": the end and afterlife of the prison systems -- "The real cause of the suffering": testimony, evidence, and verdict.

"During the four years of the American Civil War, over 400,000 soldiers - one in every seven who served in the Union and Confederate armies - became prisoners of war. In northern and southern prisons alike, inmates suffered horrific treatment. Even healthy young soldiers often sickened and died within weeks of entering the stockades. In all, nearly 56,000 prisoners succumbed to overcrowding, exposure, poor sanitation, inadequate medical care, and starvation. Historians have generally blamed prison conditions and mortality rates on factors beyond the control of Union and Confederate command, but Charles W. Sanders, Jr., challenges the conventional view and demonstrates that leaders on both sides deliberately and systematically ordered the mistreatment of captives." "Sanders shows how policies developed during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War shaped the management of Civil War prisons. He examines the establishment of the major camps as well as the political motivations and rationale behind the operation of the prisons, focusing especially on Camp Douglas, Elmira, Camp Chase, and Rock Island in the North and Andersonville, Cahaba, Florence, and Danville in the South. Beyond a doubt, he proves that the administrations of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis purposely formulated and carried out retaliatory practices designed to harm prisoners of war, with each assuming harsher attitudes as the conflict wore on." "Sanders cites official and personal correspondence from high-level civilian and military leaders who knew about the intolerable conditions but often refused to respond or even issued orders that made matters far worse. From such documents emerges a chilling chronicle of how prisoners came to be regarded not as men but as pawns to be used and then callously discarded in pursuit of national objectives. Yet even before the guns fell silent, Sanders reveals, both North and South were hard at work constructing elaborate justifications for their actions."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

During the Civil War, one out of every seven soldiers (nearly 410,000) became prisoners of the other side. One-seventh of those (over 56,000) died in custody. Worse, as Sanders (Kansas State Univ.) amply documents, leadership on both sides, from Lincoln and Davis down the chain of command, made calculated decisions that enabled the catastrophic death rates. Using the copious correspondence and official reports generated in both the North and South, the author reveals the extent of those systematic and deliberate policies. As the war unfolded, neither side was prepared for either the enormity of the casualties or the number of prisoners that would require at least minimal sustenance and medical care. Prisoner exchanges occurred for the first several years, but by war's end, neither side (especially the North) wanted to concede any advantage. The more horrific were the Southern prisons, where starvation and rampant death became the norm, although Northern institutions were only marginally better. With revelations about conditions in current US prisoner of war facilities at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, this book is timely and insightful. Americans, it appears, have a lengthy tradition of abusing their prisoners of war. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. K. Edgerton Montana State University at Billings

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p>Charles W. Sanders, Jr., is a professor of history at Kansas State University.</p>

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