American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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PoW & Prisoner of War Camps - American Civil War

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Confederate POW camp items unearthed by archeologists (photos)
Pipes, coins, jewelry, spoon and buttons... just some of the prisoner's items from one of the largest Confederate prison camps. An archeology team led by Kevin Chapman of Georgia Southern University first made the finds from Camp Lawton, in Millen, Ga. The items were likely left behind by POWs hastily moved away as General Sherman advanced on Atlanta in 1864 during the Union march across the Georgia and South Carolina. Camp Lawton only existed for 6 weeks, holding 10,000 prisoners, of whom about 1,300 perished during their stay.

Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison by Joseph Wheelan
Civil War buffs and even the general public know the Andersonville Prison, where the Confederacy housed Union POWs under dreadful conditions. Not so many know about Libby Prison in the heart of the Confederate capital of Richmond. With prisoner exchanges suspended, escape and death were the only ways out. The meticulous planning led to the Feb. 9, 1864 escape of 109 officers - out of the 1,200 in Libby - through a 55-foot tunnel and their flight through the heart of the enemy homeland in one of the coldest winters of the war to safety for some and capture for others.

Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union by Roger Pickenpaugh
Not many writers on Civil War topics can garner an endorsement from a former American president, but Jimmy Carter calls Roger Pickenpaugh's Captives in Gray "a vivid description of conditions and events rarely described." Even though 8 volumes of the Official Records, War of the Rebellion are about Civil War POWs, it was not until 1930 that professor William Hesseltine wrote a scholarly monograph. Over 60 years would then pass before historians began to focus on conditions at individual camps in the North and the South. Pickenpaugh has gathered reminiscences from letters, diaries and memoirs to separate the wheat of truth from the biased argument surrounding this subject.

Book found about Andersonville Civil War camp and Henry Wirz
Camp Sumter, the Civil War camp better known as Andersonville and its commandant, Captain Henry Wirz of the Confederate Army, stand apart as the epitome of cruelty toward POWs. About 13,000 Union soldiers wasted away in inhumane conditions at the Southern camp under his watch. A military commission convicted Wirz of war crimes under charges of conspiracy to "destroy the lives of soldiers." Researchers in Upstate New York have discovered a book handwritten in 1910 by the last living member of the military commission. The 54-page manuscript by John Howard Stibbs offers a rare glimpse into a juror's recollections.

Manuscript details trial of Civil War prison camp director   (Article no longer available from the original source)
It was the first war crimes trial in US annals. Captain Henry Wirz was the commandant of a Confederate PoW camp during the Civil War in which some 13,000 Union soldiers died. He was hanged on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol in 1865. His last words were that he had just been following orders - the same excuse used by many Nazi leaders 80 years later. The author of the 53-page manuscript was General John Howard Stibbs, an Iowa infantry commander. He was the last living member of the military jury that convicted Wirz of murder and inhumane treatment of prisoners when he wrote it longhand in 1910.