The Andersonville Camp: Captain Henry Wirz's Crimes against Humanity

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  • Topic: Henry Wirz, Andersonville National Historic Site, American Civil War
  • Pages : 3 (973 words )
  • Download(s) : 70
  • Published : December 17, 2012
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The Andersonville camp was an awful, murderous place for Union soldiers to be held prisoners in. It was established in Andersonville, Georgia by General John H. Winder and nearly 13,000 men died over the fourteen months the prison had been in operation. These Union prisoners suffered in the nasty condition of the camp and had little to no clothes, food rations and medical care. At the end of the Civil War, Captain Henry Wirz was questioned in court for committing crimes against humanity and was later executed after being labeled guilty by the court. However, Captain Henry Wirz did not commit any crimes against humanity in the Andersonville prison camp and should not have been punished with death due to the fact that he was only following the inhumane orders of General John H. Winder.

In court, Wirz was testified by Dr. John C. Bates who was a surgeon at the Andersonville camp. Bates gave the jury a heavily detailed report of the medical condition of the prisoners in the camp. The majority of the prisoners had died or been permanently injured in the Andersonville stockade due to the lack of medical care and supplies. Since the camp also lacked quality food such as fresh vegetables, bread and meat (the prisoners only got small rations of coarse corn meal and a bit of rotten meat), prisoners fell ill with scurvy. They were also forced to drink from a stream used as the prisoner’s bathwater which gave them awful dysentery. The doctors at the camp were so scarce and many prisoners died because they couldn’t get assisted in time. However, Wirz is not at fault for this. He was not responsible for the medical care of the prisoners. In court, Otis H. Baker was Wirz’s defensive attorney and after Bates finished explaining the camp’s conditions, Baker cross-examination was simply that Wirz had no authority to demand better supplies. “According to Baker: …So far as you know, by whose authority was the amount of food per prisoner decided on? According to Bates: By the...
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