Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Military Prisons Part 1 and 2


In 1864-5 there were more Union Soldiers slain in prison camps by starvation, disease and exposure than killed on the field of battle. In Andersonville alone, 45,613 soldiers were imprisoned and 12,912 never returned home. What started as a few short serial sketches of prison life for the Toledo Blade in 1878 soon became an obsession for the author after he received over 3,000 unsolicited letters from surviving prisoners, expressing gratitude that the true story of their captivity was finally to be told.

The author had worked as a journalist for a few years before his enlistment in the Union Army and eventual capture. As a journalist the author had acquired the habit of noticing and memorizing every striking or thrilling incident. There are many names and sketches of interesting prison personalities, and this book is augmented by the inclusion of a new full-name index to help those interested in locating accounts of some of the men who served time in Andersonville.

In this book you will find accounts of plots to overrun the stockade, tunnels being dug, spies and traitors within the prison walls, great escapes, bands of thieves, organized crime, prize fights, executions, great acts of friendship and mercy, singing (some music is included), and many deaths some heroic but most, senseless. This is the story of a fifteen-month stay in rebel prisons, where, the author freely admits the average life expectancy was not over three months. The author’s survival seems remarkable and so is his first-hand account. This book also contains an eye opening abstract from the notes of Dr. R. Randolph Stevenson, Chief Surgeon of the Confederate States’ Military Prison Hospitals, which describes in hideous detail the state of disease and death at Andersonville Stockade and Hospital as well as a sympathetic account of Captain Wirz’s trial, the only one of the prison-keepers who was punished. Complete with over 150 illustrations, this book is a thrilling and, at the same time, gripping account of daily prison life in the Confederacy; a must for any who are interested in the Civil War in all its gruesome detail.


John McElroy


(1876, 1993), 2016, 5½x8½, paper, index, 662 pp.

 ISBN: 9781556138515