Andersonville (the Movie) Essay, Research Paper
?Five hundred men moved silently toward the gates that would shut out life and hope for most of them forever. Quarter of a mile from the railroad we came into a massive palisade with great squared logs standing upright in the ground. Fires blazed up and showed us a section of these and two massive wooden gates with heavy iron hinges and bolts. They swung open as we stood there and we passed through into the space beyond. We were at Andersonville.? ? Private John McElroy.
A ?camp? where laws were left standing at the vast wooden gate, a ?camp? where the instinct to survive was the only proposal in the minds of the P.O.W?s; Georgia?s very own Andersonville was the most horrible Confederate Prisoner containment camp built during the Civil War. A total of 14,005 Union Soldiers entered Camp Sumter and of these, 12,912 died from disease, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure.
The camp was lead by a Swedish man named Captain Hennery Wirz. They said he had a screw loose and maybe that is why Sumter was what it was. Wirz was later arrested and charged with conspiring to “impair and injure the health and destroy the lives of federal prisoners” and with “murder in violation of the laws of war.” At his trial in Washington D.C., scores of past prisoners testified against him, colorfully describing conditions at the prison. Such as, the absents of floodgates to help contain the filth from the confederate horse?s and men which as ran down into the camp via river. The way the camp was built to hold 10,000 prisoners, the prison was soon overcrowded, holding 22,000 by June. Although the prison was enlarged, the number of prisoners continued to swell. By August 1864, more than 32,000 prisoners were confined at Andersonville. Also, the lack of shelter from the searing heat and the bitter cold. Historical documents, however, attest to the fact that prison officials attempted to acquire supplies for the prisoners but were severely hampered by the need to use supplies for the military and war effort. The question of whether or not Wirz could have done more to make life more bearable for the prisoners is still debated today. Because of public outrage and indignation in the North over conditions at Andersonville, Captain Henry Wirz was found guilty of war crimes and was hanged on November 10, 1865. It has been said that Wirz was the last casualty of Andersonville.
A man known only by his first name, Josie was a blonde man who was captured by the south and brought to Sumter. He was the main character in the movie and lead the ?tunnel diggers through the camp with hope and aspirations.
Dick Potter was a man who was at the camp for a while when Josie?s crew arrived. He was shot in both legs and was on crutches. When the diggers decided to stand up against the Raiders (the first time) he was stabbed many times by one of the head raiders and was killed.
Sergeant was an old man whose leadership skills helped the diggers move along. Even though he was shot in the arm he still managed to take on the raiders with his head held high. He had a heart of gold and pure integrity He offered to go last in the great escape because of his age would slow down the break out. When Wirz offered to pay Union men to fight for the south he was the first one to pull up his line and walk away.
Colonel was a prisoner camp inspector who came to inspect Andersonville. When he came to confront Wirz about the floodgates, the overcrowding and how he could use the prisoners as workers, and how a little bit of canvas is not enough shelter for the union prisoners. Wirz just retaliated and said that to make those changes he must be granted the rank of Major.
Gleason was one of the tunnel diggers who ended up escaping to the river and informing the union on what was happening at the camp. The tunnel started in the middle of the camp and ran 75 yards away from the walls. He was the first one out and the only one to escape. The ones who didn?t escape were put in the stocks for a week if not killed on sight.
Lumber Jim was a giant of a man, whose anger was taken out on the raiders. He was the one who got together the rest of the camp to take down the raiders. Even though his anger was out of control it did end up stopping the thieves.
The raiders were a group of savages whose only way of living was to rob fellow soldiers, they would get new soldiers (prisoners/fresh fish) and would leave them out in the open where they would kill and rob them. After Lumber Jim?s rebellion the raiders were captured and even had a trial to convict them, which is what happened. The six ringleaders were hung but one the sixth?s rope broke and they had to re-hang them. In the Prison camps cemetery, the six ringleaders graves stand alone from the rest.