I’m Masud Olufani for the Atlanta History Center.
For over a year, the Union refuses to exchange prisoners of war until Confederate forces agree to treat black and white prisoners equally.
Yet, Jefferson Davis declares neither black soldiers nor their white officers will be exchanged.
Now, both Union and Confederate prisons are dangerously overcrowded.
Prisoners—North and South--face poor treatment.
But conditions in the stockade at Andersonville, Georgia, are horrifying. Designed to hold 10,000 men, it contains as many as 32,000 Union prisoners at a time.
When Atlanta falls in September, the prisoners are transferred further from Union lines.
But for men like Private William Crouse, it is too late.
Captured in May, 1864, Crouse arrives at Andersonville in July.
His diet consists of cornbread, rice soup, and what is called - “old bacon.”
In August, he writes in his diary, “I don’t know that I ever felt so bad in my life as I do today."
Three weeks later he is dead.
A fellow prisoner writes to Crouse’s widow, “we done all in our power for him. But we could not get any medicine for him, as the cruel wretches would give us nothing.”
In the fourteen months the prison exists, nearly 13,000 men die.
I’m Masud Olufani and this is week twenty-seven.