There were far fewer prisoners in the early stages of its fourteen month existence than later. By June of 1864 the population swelled to over 26,000 prisoners in Andersonville. It was difficult enough for the south to feed their own armies, much less worry about prisoners of war.Andersonville was a prisoner of war camp for the south during the Civil War. It was located in Georgia. It was a living Hell for the men who were kept there. The walls of the camp formed a rectangle of rough hewn pine standing 15-20 feet in height and built on a sixteen and one-half acre tract intended to house no more than ten thousand prisoners.
Rations began running short and there were inadequate barracks facilities to house the prisoners
The daily ration for the prisoners and guards was scant, being merely one and one-fourth pound of corn meal and one pound of beef or one-third pound of bacon occasionally supplemented with beans, peas, rice or molasses. The lack of vegetables led to numerous cases of scurvy from which many died.
The prison population continued to grow to over 33,000 in August of 1864. Hundreds of soldiers were dying each day. The "deadhouse" outside the prison was filled beyond capacity and bodies were being stacked outside prior to burial.
Prisoners were relying on shelter from a few crude huts, pieces of tents and holes they had dug in the ground. There was no clothing given to prisoners, so most wore only ragged remnants of their uniforms or in some cases nothing at all. The Confederate forces
surrendered in April of 1865 and the prison camp in Andersonville was included in that surrender. The total number of dead was nearly 13,000 during the fourteen months that Andersonville prison had been operating. There had been slightly over 45,000 prisoners held at Andersonville during that fourteen month period. Although death rates were high in other civil war prisons as well, none approached that of Andersonville. The condition of the prisoners at Andersonville on its liberation led Walt Whitman to write, "the dead there are not to be pitied as much as some of the living that have come from there--if they can be called living." The picture to the right is of a prisoner after his release.
Alex Coleman was a Union Soldier from East Liverpool and is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery. He was also a survivor of Andersonville Prison. His is only one of the stories we uncovered in our research for the tour we are putting on Wednesday October 20 at 6 pm. Please come to this fundraising event and help out by making a donation to Spring Grove Cemetery!