We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
On November 10, 1865, Henry Wirz, a Swiss immigrant and the commander of Andersonville prison in Georgia, is hanged for the murder of soldiers incarcerated there during the Civil War.
Wirz was born in Switzerland in 1823 and moved to the United States in 1849. He lived in the South, primarily in Louisiana, and became a physician. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the Fourth Louisiana Battalion. After the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, in July 1861, Wirz guarded prisoners in Richmond, Virginia, and was noticed by Inspector General John Winder. Winder had Wirz transferred to his department, and Wirz spent the rest of the conflict working with prisoners of war. He commanded a prison in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; escorted prisoners around the Confederacy; handled exchanges with the Union; and was wounded in a stagecoach accident. After returning to duty, he traveled to Europe and likely delivered messages to Confederate envoys. When Wirz arrived back in the Confederacy in early 1864, he was assigned the responsibility for Andersonville prison, officially known as Camp Sumter.
While both sides incarcerated prisoners under horrible conditions, Andersonville deserves special mention for the inhumane circumstances under which its inmates were kept. A stockade held thousands of men on a barren, polluted patch of ground. Barracks were planned but never built; the men slept in makeshift housing, called “shebangs,” constructed from scrap wood and blankets that offered little protection from the elements. A small stream flowed through the compound and provided water for the Union soldiers, but this became a cesspool of disease and human waste. Erosion caused by the prisoners turned the stream into a huge swamp. The prison was designed to hold 10,000 men but the Confederates had packed it with more than 31,000 inmates by August 1864.
READ MORE: Andersonville
Wirz oversaw an operation in which thousands of inmates died. Partly a victim of circumstance, he was given few resources with which to work, and the Union ceased prisoner exchanges in 1864. As the Confederacy began to dissolve, food and medicine for prisoners were difficult to obtain. When word about Andersonville leaked out, Northerners were horrified. Poet Walt Whitman saw some of the camp survivors and wrote, “There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven, but this is not among them.”
Wirz was charged with conspiracy to injure the health and lives of Union soldiers and murder. His trial began in August 1865, and ran for two months. During the trial, some 160 witnesses were called to testify. Though Wirz did demonstrate indifference towards Andersonville’s prisoners, he was, in part, a scapegoat and some evidence against him was fabricated entirely. He was found guilty and sentenced to die on November 10 in Washington, D.C. On the scaffold, Wirz reportedly said to the officer in charge, “I know what orders are, Major. I am being hanged for obeying them.” The 41-year-old Wirz was one of the few people convicted and executed for crimes committed during the Civil War.
Harrowing PICTURES show BRUTAL reality of executions before death penalty abolitionLink copied
Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com
The execution of Captain Henry Wirz in Washington in November 1865
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they'll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The pictures show Captain Henry Wirz being hanged in Washington DC with the Capitol dome in the background as well as other men being hanged around the United States.
Other gruesome photographs show the practice of execution extended around the world as Cuban prisoners line up against a wall to be shot, severed heads of Chinese criminals are left on stakes in a town centre and Italian soldiers wait to shoot two Arab spies in Tripoli in 1911.
The grim images act as a reminder of how brutal life used to be when the death penalty was still in force in nearly all countries of the world - yet in the 21st Century state the numbers of sanctioned killings are currently at their peak over the past three decades.
Capital punishment ended in the UK when the The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 came into law, although the death penalty for murder survived in Northern Ireland until 1973.
The Act replaced the penalty of death with a mandatory sentence of imprisonment for life.
The Act overlooked four other capital offences: high treason, "piracy with violence" (piracy with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm), arson in Her Majesty&rsquos dockyards and espionage, as well as other capital offences under military law.
The death penalty was not finally abolished in the United Kingdom until 1998 by the Human Rights Act and the Crime and Disorder Act.
Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com
Cuban prisoners line up against a wall to be shot in Santiago
Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com
Heads of beheaded criminals are tied by queues to stakes near West Gate, China in 1901
However, the last executions in the United Kingdom were in August 1964, for murder.
The death penalty is still commonplace in many countries including China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the USA, which is the only G7 country to still execute people.
In the latest figures provided by Amnesty International, at least 1,634 people were executed in 25 countries in 2015.
This is the highest number of executions recorded since 1989. Most executions took place in China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the USA in that order.
Public Domain / mediadrumworld.com
Italian soldiers execute Arabs on a beach during the Turco-Italian War
China remained the world's top executioner but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a state secret the figure of 1,634 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.
Excluding China, almost 90% of all executions took place in just three countries &ndash Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Union and Confederate troops who fell prisoner to the opposing side faced grim conditions and after the suspension of prisoner exchange, lengthy stays in the camps established to house them. Neither side distinguished themselves in the treatment of its prisoners, another reflection of the deep set antagonism each side felt for the other. Of all the prisons, in which sickness, poor food, and despair claimed the lives of thousands of captive men, one was so bad that its Commandant was tried &ndash and hanged &ndash for war crimes following the conflict.
Today known generally as Andersonville, it was officially designated Camp Sumter, and was opened in February 1864. It was poorly designed and built in regards to fresh water and sanitation facilities, and like the rest of the South by that time of the war, there was little food and what food was available was of poor quality. Scurvy, caused by the lack of vitamin C, was rife within the camp, many prisoners reported that they were able to pull their own teeth with their bare hands as a result of gums and jaws weakened by the disease.
In 1864 Dr. James Jones toured the camp, and found conditions so appalling that he wrote a letter detailing the conditions there to the Confederate Surgeon General. Some apologists have since postulated that the Commandant, Henry Wirz, was not liable for the starving conditions in the camp as there was no food to be had, but Dr. Jones noted in his letter that Wirz himself was in fine health, well-fed, with access to plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and apparently indifferent to the plight of the prisoners.
Wirz was also accused of torturing prisoners. Punishments for violations of rules such as theft of food or blankets included hanging by thumbs, whipping, and branding. It should be noted that all of these punishments were also present in the contending armies of the day, and theft was often punished in the Union army by hanging or shooting the miscreant.
Wirz was accused of war crimes including personally murdering several prisoners, physically abusing others, and for depriving all prisoners of sufficient food, water, and medical supplies and attention. Despite overwhelming testimony that he had not personally committed the crimes for which he was accused and further testimony that the shortages were not of his making he was convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out on November 10 1865.
On this date in 1865, Henry Wirz, the Confederate commandant of the infamous Andersonville prisoner of war camp in Georgia, was hanged after the war crimes trial that became the precedent for the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
I know the story of Captain Wirz and the circumstances of his trial well, having directed Saul Levitt’s great ethics play “The Andersonville Trial” twice. Not that Levitt’s play was an accurate portrayal of the trial—for one thing, Wirz’s dramatic stage testimony defending himself never happened. However, Levitt brilliantly brought to the fore the deep hypocrisy of Wirz’s scapegoating after the Union victory. Not only were the atrocities at Andersonville no worse than those at some Northern prison camps, Lincoln and Grant deliberately provoked the crisis in managing such camps by the South when they made the tactical decision not to engage in prisoner exchanges.
I’m not sure Leavitt’s 1960 drama was or is usually performed as he intended it to be: on Broadway, Wirz was portrayed as monster, and the military prosecutor, Judge Advocate Chipman, was played to the hilt by George C. Scott as an avenging crusader. As was my practice as a director, I looked to the text and the historical record, and discovered “The Andersonville Trial” script makes the same argument that Wirz did in his lawyer’s defense brief: he was being executed for the exact conduct that his executioners would have been guilty of had they been in his impossible position.
Wirz was charged with murder and conspiracy to injure the health and lives of Union soldiers and murder. The charge was nonsense, but the public outrage over horrifying photographs of the skeletal Union soldiers after the prisoners were released was such that some symbolic retribution seemed unavoidable. Wirz was the perfect patsy: he was a Swiss immigrant with a thick accent, and stoic and arrogant by nature. Some demonstration of remorse or pity for the prisoners under his care might have saved his life, but he could muster none. He made it clear in his demeanor that he believed himself to be a victim of moral luck, which indeed he was.
Wirz’s two month trial began in August 1865, and like the kangaroo court trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, the result was never in doubt: it was a show trial. 160 witnesses testified, and some of the evidence against the defendant was fabricated. That the military tribunal would find Wirz guilty was never in doubt some might say that a panel of Union officers might not be the fairest judges of an enemy officer charged with killing and abusing their comrades. He was hanged on November 10, on the spot where the U.S. Supreme Court now stands.
Standing n the scaffold as he prepared to die, Captain Wirz exonerated the officer in charge who displayed some distaste for the task he had to oversee. “I know what orders are, Major,” the prisoner said. ” I am being hanged for obeying them.”
JOHN BANKS' CIVIL WAR BLOG
The crowd also included famed Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner, who recorded at least five glass plate images that, upon closer inspection, reveal remarkable detail of the hanging of the former commander of Andersonville prison.
Four days earlier, on Nov. 6, 1865, Wirz had been found guilty after a lengthy trial of "wanton cruelty" and murder of Union soldiers at the notorious POW camp in Georgia. Among the 13,000 men who died at Andersonville were 290 soldiers from Connecticut, including nearly 100 from the 16th Connecticut, who were captured at Plymouth, N.C., on April 20, 1864. Survivors Austin Fuller and Wallace Woodford of the 16th Connecticut were in such wretched condition that the privates died in their hometowns of Farmington and Avon shortly after they were released.
Whether Wirz was indeed guilty of the crimes he was charged with remains controversial even today, but there's no doubt that the Swiss-born soldier was viewed with particular enmity in the North in 1865. "Every paper he looked at (during his trial) cried for his execution," the Courant correspondent wrote.
|The scene at Old Capitol Prison shortly before Henry Wirz was hanged on Nov. 10, 1865. This is one |
of at least five images of the hanging taken by Alexander Gardner. (Library of Congress Civil War collection)
|Northern newspapers such as the Hartford Courant covered |
Wirz's trial and hanging extensively.
"What his thoughts were during these brief moments there was nothing in his expression to betray," the Courant reported, "but the spectator into whose imagination the story of this man's brutalities had been indelibly burned, as with a branding iron, could vividly recall the crowded prison pen, with its scurvy-eaten, starving, vermin-infested victims the yelling of the dogs through the woods and swamps, where poor, escaping fugitives had sough refuge from the unspeakable horrors of their confinement."
|Exterior of Old Capitol Prison. (Library of Congress Civil War Collection)|
Shortly before the hangman's noose was placed around his neck, Wirz was asked by Russell if he had any final words. "I have nothing to say to the public," he said. "and to you, major, I will say I die innocent I have but once to die, and my hope is in the future." Wirz had a look of "insolent indifference" and a smile on his face as a black hood was placed over his head, the Connecticut newspaper's correspondent noted.
At 10:32 a.m., the trap door was sprung, sending Wirz to his death.
"There were a few spasmodic convulsions of the chest, a slight movement of the extremities," the New York Times reported, "and all was over." Left hanging for 14 minutes, Wirz was cut down and taken to a hospital for an autopsy. Gardner also shot an image of the autopsy, but it was ordered to be kept from the public by the War Department.
"What a day of judgment is coming when all these devils in human form shall be brought up to the final answer for their crimes," the Courant concluded in its coverage of Wirz's hanging. "Every maimed and wounded soldier will be there, every weeping widow, helpless orphan, and every sorrowing sister will be a witness, and every starved and poisoned prisoner will raise his bony hand in judgment."
(For a terrific analysis of the Wirz hanging photos, check out this post on Andy Hall's Dead Confederates blog.)
Andersonville warden Wirz tried, hanged for war crimes
Vilified by the North and declared a martyr by the South, Henry Wirz, former commandant of Andersonville prison in Georgia, was the only Confederate soldier to be executed by the United States for war crimes.
Dozens of books have been written about the Swiss-born Wirz, who married a Kentucky woman and lived in western Kentucky, where he practiced medicine for several years before the war began.
All stories revolve around the horrors of Andersonville prison, although its death rate (27 percent) was very close to that of Elmira prison in New York (24.4 percent). Both facilities were overcrowded and understaffed, and the local people of both areas were prevented by red tape from assisting the prisoners.
Though the Yankee prisoners suffered from the same lack of food as the Southern soldiers, plenty of food was available to Elmira but not provided. Confederate prisoners suffered from the freezing cold in Elmira, while Yankee prisoners baked in the stifling heat of Georgia.
A trial was held for Wirz in September 1865. He had succeeded Brig. Gen. John Henry Winder, provost marshal general of the Confederate army. Wirz was condemned to death, but numerous writers have attested to a lack of evidence as well as the questionable veracity of some of the witnesses.
The trial lasted three months and was postponed periodically on the slimmest technicalities. It was said that reports favorable to Wirz were prohibited from being entered as evidence, while all of those against him were admitted.
Wirz was tried on 13 charges, but in each one, the prisoner involved is listed as “name unknown.” At least two incidents occurred while Wirz was on sick leave and away from the facility. Regardless, the formalities had been carried out, and Wirz was executed by hanging.
Shortly before his execution, Wirz wrote a letter from Old Capitol Prison in Washington to his attorney, Louis Schade.
“It is no doubt the last time that I address myself to you,” Wirz said. “What I have said to you often … I repeat. Accept my thanks, my sincere heartfelt thanks, for all you have done for me. May God reward you, I cannot. I still have something more to ask of you, and I am confident you will not refuse to receive my dying request. Please help my poor family — my dear wife and children.
“War, cruelest, has swept everything from me, and today my wife and children are beggars. My life is demanded as an atonement. I am willing to give it, and hope that after a while, I will be judged differently from what I am now. If any one ought to come to the relief of my family, it is the people of the South, for whose sake I have sacrificed all. I know you will excuse me for troubling you again. Farewell, dear sir. May God bless you.”
Though Wirz has been dead for more than 140 years, many continue to proclaim his innocence. A collateral descendant of the original Wirz family in Switzerland, Col. Heinrich Wirz, makes frequent trips here to continue to fight for what he sees as ultimate justice for his ancestor. Though Capt. (he once held the rank of major) Wirz’s life and death have long intrigued historians, it is the story of his wife, Elizabeth Savells Wirz, that finally will be concluded next Saturday, with a marker dedicated to the long-forgotten widow.
Heinrich Wirz came to the aid of Mrs. Nancy Hitt of Louisville, who had been searching for Mrs. Wirz’s burial site, working with other local genealogists. The search ultimately was narrowed to Trigg County, Ky., and then to the Fuller family cemetery at the Boyd Hill Church in the small town of Linton. Although the church burned in 1983, the well-tended little cemetery is still there, just off Highway 164.
Research indicated that Elizabeth Wirz probably was the daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Rhodes Savells and that she likely was born in 1824. When her father died two years later, her mother was left with four youngsters in her care.
When Elizabeth was 22, she married Alfred C. Wolfe, who died a few years later, leaving her with two small children, Susan Jane Wolfe and Cornelia A. Wolfe. While living in Trigg County, Elizabeth met and fell in love with young Dr. Henry Wirz, who was practicing medicine in the area, and they were married on May 27, 1854.
Wirz moved the family to Millikens Bend, La., where he was hired to care for sick and injured slaves on the Marshall plantation. His family had grown with the addition of Cora Lee Wirz, born before they left Kentucky. Another child apparently died young. Wirz practiced successfully in Louisiana, but when the call went out for Confederate soldiers, he joined Company A, 4th Battalion of Louisiana Volunteers.
His right arm was shattered at the Battle of Seven Pines in Virginia. Undaunted, he learned to write with his left hand. He was promoted for bravery on the battlefield and breveted to captain. Because his military service was limited by his injuries, he was detailed to take charge of the military prison in Richmond and later was sent to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to head a prison there.
He went to Paris and Berlin in 1862 as special minister plenipotentiary by appointment of President Jefferson Davis, and upon his return, he was assigned to run Camp Sumter prison at Andersonville, Ga.
His service there began on April 12, 1864. The date is interesting because one of his supposed crimes was said to have occurred on Feb. 6, 1864, two months before he arrived. His tenure at Andersonville was a little less than a year. It was enough to get him hanged.
Elizabeth Wirz stood by her husband during the trying days of his incarceration, trial and sentencing. She had lived with him during his tenure as Andersonville’s warden and was well aware of the lack of food suffered by the prisoners because her family also had had little food. Her daughter Cora was 10 years old at the time of the execution, and she retained vivid memories of the events.
Elizabeth was allowed little visiting time with her husband during those months of imprisonment, and her request that his body be returned to the family after his death also was refused. There was no formal burial the remains simply were dumped into a hole in the ground, supposedly near the Army War College near Hains Point in the District.
It is widely believed that the night before his execution, Wirz was approached by a secret War Department representative who offered a full reprieve if he would swear that Confederate President Davis had headed a conspiracy to murder Union prisoners. Even facing death, Wirz adamantly refused.
This incident was mentioned in a letter from Davis at Beauvoir, Miss., written Oct. 15, 1888, to attorney Schade:
“My dear Sir: I have often felt with poignant regret that the southern public have never done justice to the martyr, Major Wirz. With a wish to do something to awake due consideration for his memory, I write to ask you to give the circumstances, as fully as may be agreeable to you, of the visit made to him the night before his execution, when he was tempted by the offer of a pardon if he would criminate me, and thus exonerate himself of charges of which he was innocent, and with which I had no connection.”
Perhaps the strongest defense of the former warden and the greatest testimony to his persecution at trial was given by James Madison Page, who wrote and published “The True Story of Andersonville Prison — A Defense of Major Henry Wirz” in 1908.
What bolsters Page’s recitation of the facts and errors of the trial is the identification below his name — “Late 2nd Lieutenant, Company A, Sixth Michigan Cavalry.” A former Union officer defends the actions of “the monster” as he was portrayed, and the questionable military tribunal that sealed his fate.
In Chapter Four, titled “Wirz’s Attorney’s Final Word,” Page quotes at length from a letter addressed “To the American Public,” dated April 4, 1867, as Schade prepared to leave the United States:
“Seldom has a mortal man suffered more than that friendless and forsaken man. But who is responsible for the many lives that were lost at Andersonville and in the Southern prisons? That question has not fully been settled, but history will yet tell on whose heads the guilt for those sacrificed hecatombs of human beings is to be placed. It was certainly not the fault of poor Wirz, when in consequence of medicines being declared contraband of war by the North, the Union prisoners died for the want of same.
“How often have we read during the war that ladies going South had been arrested and placed in the Old Capitol Prison by the Union authorities, because genuine and other medicine had been found in their clothing! Our Navy prevented the ingress of medical stores from the seaside and our troops repeatedly destroyed drug stores and even the supplies of private physicians in the South. Thus the scarcity of medicine became general all over the South.
“That provisions in the South were scarce will astonish nobody, when it is remembered how the war was carried on. General Sheridan boasted in his report that in the Shenandoah Valley alone he burned more than two thousand barns filled with wheat and corn and all the mills in the whole tract of country that he destroyed all factories and killed or drove off every animal, even poultry, that could contribute to human sustenance.”
Schade added, “The Confederate authorities, aware of their inability to maintain the prisoners, informed the Northern agents of the great mortality, and urgently requested that the prisoners should be exchanged, even without regard to the surplus, which the Confederates had on the exchange roll from former exchanges — that is, man for man. But our War Department did not consent to such an exchange. They did not want to ‘exchange skeletons for healthy men.’ ”
Elizabeth Wirz returned to Trigg County, Ky., with her children, and lived there until her death.
Finally, in 1869, Schade was successful in forcing the government to return Wirz’s remains, and it seems that portions of his body were placed in a mahogany coffin interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in the District the head, right hand and spine were missing, even though Schade personally wrote to President Andrew Johnson asking that the entire remains be provided to the family for burial. Wirz’s remains rest near those of another collateral victim of the era, Mary Surratt, executed in connection with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The site is only a few miles from the place where the execution was carried out. Ironically, the hanging of Henry Wirz, after his parody of a trial, took place where the U.S. Supreme Court now stands.
Interestingly enough, even after the interment at Mount Olivet, there still was no funeral. It would be years before the Episcopal Church Office of Burial finally was read over the grave of Henry Wirz. The Rev. Alistair Anderson of Frederick, Md., ultimately was responsible for working through the Jefferson Davis Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp No. 305 in Maryland to have a large marker placed there, and subsequently a Southern Cross of Honor. All of these formalities somehow escaped his wife, Elizabeth her body remained in Trigg County.
The Georgia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected a marker to Wirz at the Andersonville prison site in May 1908, but until recently, the burial site of Elizabeth Wirz was unknown and unmarked. With the diligence of Mrs. Hitt and the unswerving dedication of the Mollie Morehead Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a fundraising effort was undertaken to erect a large granite marker that bears her name.
Wirz has four great-great grandsons living in Louisiana: Perrin, Robert, William and John Watkins some are expected to attend the grave-marking of Elizabeth Wirz, along with Heinrich Wirz, his great-grandnephew, who will make the trip from his home in Bremgarten, Switzerland.
Future generations will be able to find the final resting place of the brave wife of the beleaguered warden, her grave now marked in the small cemetery in Linton, Ky.
Martha M. Boltz is a frequent contributor to the Civil War page. She is a member of the Montgomery County Civil War Round Table.
On this date in 1865, Henry Wirz was hanged in Washington, D.C. for running a notorious Confederate prison camp.
A Swiss-born doctor (“Henrich” was the real handle) whom time and tide found practicing in Louisiana at the onset of the Civil War, Wirz apparently got into the prison-guarding ranks when a war injury left him unfit for the front lines.
But it was front-line fitness in the northern army that would set the scene for his controversial hanging.
The North’s advantage in men and materiel shaped Union strategy as the war progressed, and it eventually caused the Union to halt prisoner exchanges. Exchanging casualty for casualty was a winning strategy on the battlefield, so why return to your enemy a man for a man? Besides,
[Grant] said that I would agree with him that by the exchange of prisoners we get no men fit to go into our army, and every soldier we gave the Confederates went immediately into theirs, so that the exchange was virtually so much aid to them and none to us.
–Benjamin Butler (we’ve met him before)
As designed, then, the South began piling up more and more POWs to maintain with its ever-straitened resources late in the war. And if exchange was out, that really only left one form of “release”.
Andersonville — officially, Camp Sumter, located near the tiny Georgia town of Andersonville — was only established in 1864, but acquired considerable notoriety in northern propaganda for the year and change that Wirz ran it. The prisoners didn’t enjoy it much, either.
Wuld that I was an artist & had the material to paint this camp & all its horors or the tounge of some eloquent Statesman and had the privleage of expresing my mind to our hon. rulers at Washington, I should gloery to describe this hell on earth where it takes 7 of its ocupiants to make a shadow.
–Union prisoner diary, July 1864. Note the prisoner’s anger at Washington — whose refusal to exchange naturally infuriated its stranded POWs
Out of some 45,000 prisoners held at Andersonville during its existence (not all at one time), nearly 13,000 succumbed to disease and malnutrition.* After the war, photos of wasted survivors inflamed (northern) public opinion, already tetchy over Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Walt Whitman wrote of Andersonville,
There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven but this is not among them. It steeps its perpetrators in blackest, escapeless, endless damnation.
Damnation is up to higher powers, of course, but the North wanted somebody to answer for Andersonville on this mortal coil. Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson overruled mooted charges against Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Secretary of War James Seddon, leaving — in that great American tradition — Heinrich Wirz holding the bag.**
The trial had an undeniable aspect of victor’s justice.&dagger Even at the gallows, the Union guards chanted, “Wirz, remember Andersonville!” as the condemned man was readied for the noose, and then dropped. The hanging failed to break the man’s neck, and he strangled as the chant continued.
Southern efforts to reshape the story of Andersonville began in the lifetimes of Wirz’s contemporaries this fulsome volume supporting the charges answered Jefferson Davis in terms that sound strikingly contemporary:
So long as Southern leaders continue to distort history (and rekindle embers in order to make the opportunity for distorting it), so long will there rise up defenders of the truth of history … To deny the horrors of Andersonville is to deny there was a rebellion. Both are historic facts placed beyond the realm of doubt.
But of course, it does not require denying the horrors of Andersonville to notice the circumstances — the privation of the entire South late in the war — and to wonder that Wirz and Wirz alone was held to account. Plenty of people think he got a bum rap.
Pro-Wirz marker in Andersonville, Ga. (Click for easier-on-the-eyes version, reading in part, “Had he been an angel from heaven, he could not have changed the pitiful tale of privation and hunger unless he had possessed the power to repeat the miracle of the loaves and fishes”). (cc) image from Mark D L.
Recommended for general reading: the UMKC Famous Trials page on this case, several of whose pages have been linked in this entry. A number of nineteenth-century texts by (or citing) Andersonville survivors are available from Google books, including:
Since this is a controversy of the Civil War — and one that can be engaged without having to get into that whole slavery thing — there have been thousands of published pages written about it, with many more sure to come in future years.
False Witness: The Trial of Henry Wirz
Allegations are not facts, and they frequently prove to be false. Politics, corruption, bribery, greed, revenge, and blind ideology are often the seeds of false witness that produce character assassination and murder. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 resulted in the judicial murder of twenty people based on the testimony of false and hysterical witnesses. This is the history of the judicial murder of Henry Wirz in 1865, using a false witness and a military commission that was really a “hanging jury.”
Henry Wirz was a Swiss immigrant, who settled in Louisiana before the Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate Army and by 1864 held the rank of Captain. Captain (later Major) Henry Wirz was appointed Commandant of the Confederate Prisoner of War (POW) camp at Andersonville, Georgia, a few months after it was established early in 1864. During its existence in 1864 and 1865, it was the largest Confederate prison, holding at one time nearly 33,000 Union POWs. Of the 45,000 Union soldiers there during its existence nearly 13,000 died. Most of these died of diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, small pox, scurvy, and hospital gangrene. Dysentery and diarrhea alone accounted for 4,500 deaths from March to August 1864.
Wirz’s conviction and execution as a war criminal ranks as one of the most shameful miscarriages of legal justice in American history. After failing to link Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the Lincoln assassination, the Judge Advocate General of the Army sought to link Davis with the alleged war crimes at Andersonville along with Robert E. Lee, Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon, and Wirz. Lee’s name was dropped form the final indictment. Wirz was pressured to save his own life by implicating Davis, but he adamantly denied the accusation against Davis, and refused to save his own life with a lie.
At the insistence of Radical Republicans in Congress, eager to punish the South and considerably more influential after the assassination of the more moderate Lincoln, Wirz was refused a jury trial. He would be tried by a military commission.
Wirz’s civilian defense lawyers argued that the charges against Wirz were unconstitutionally vague and indefinite. From thirteen specific allegations of murder, not a single murder victim was named in the charges. These murders were supposed to have taken place in the presence of many witnesses. Yet although there were carefully recorded lists of those who died at Andersonville, no names of alleged murder victims were given. The defense motion was denied without comment. After all defense motions were denied, three of the five defense counsels withdrew from the case.
The prosecution strategy was to create a parade of horrors on the terrible conditions at Andersonville. The disease, malnutrition, overcrowding, misery, and death were described in moving detail. The Prosecuting Attorney, Col. Chipman, introduced as evidence Wirz’s letters to the Confederate Department of Prisons to show Wirz’s knowledge of conditions. But instead of showing a conspiracy to mistreat Union soldiers, these letters showed that the Confederate Government, despite all its problems late in the war, continued to regulate and inspect its prisons with the purpose of improving their conditions. Wirz’s own letters to Richmond were filled with pleas for more food, tents, clothing, medicine, and supplies.
Over 160 witnesses were called for the prosecution. Of these, 145 testified that they had no knowledge of Wirz ever killing or mistreating a prisoner. One prisoner gave the name of a prisoner Wirz had allegedly killed, but the date of the alleged murder did not correspond to any of the dates alleged in the indictment, so the indictment was changed to match to testimony.
The star prosecution witness was a man called Felix de la Baume. He testified that he personally saw Wirz shoot men. After the testimony, but before the trial was completed, he was given a commendation for a “zealous testimony” signed by all the Commission members and was given a job in the Department of the Interior. After the trial ended, he was identified by veterans of the 7th New York as a deserter. They got de la Baume fired, at which time he admitted that he had committed perjury in the Wirz trial.
Prosecutor Chipman exercised extraordinary control over the entire proceedings. He required that all defense witnesses be interviewed by him before testifying, and determined whether they would testify. Several key defense witnesses were not allowed to testify, and one was arrested and jailed on presenting himself. When the defense attorneys objected to this, the Commission upheld Chipman without comment.
The defense attorneys showed that the Confederate Government did everything possible to exchange prisoners, but Secretary of War Stanton refused because prisoner exchange might be a military advantage to the numerically smaller Confederate Army. Despite Confederate pleas that they were unable to sustain the prisoners, Stanton refused the exchanges. He also refused requested humanitarian shipments of medical supplies to the prisoners on the ground that these supplies might fall into the hands of the Confederate Army and help sustain their war efforts. Wirz paroled a party of four prisoners to go to Washington, but Stanton would not listen to their pleas.
The Commission refused to hear any evidence by the defense on Southern offers to exchange prisoners and ruled such evidence irrelevant. The U. S. War Department’s statistics showed more Southern prisoners died in prison camps than Northern prisoners, and that the death rate of Confederate soldiers in Northern camps was 12% versus 9% for Union solders in Confederate camps. This evidence was also kept out as irrelevant.
The defense was allowed to show, however, that Confederate guards at Andersonville had the same quantity and quality of rations as the prisoners, and the death rate of the guards was approximately the same as the prisoners. The 68 defense witnesses were former prisoners and their relatives. The consensus was that Wirz was a kind hearted man, anguished by the terrible conditions in the prison, who did all he could to alleviate the prisoners’ suffering. A Catholic priest also gave testimony favorable to Wirz.
In November 1864, the South unilaterally released 13,000 prisoners who were seriously ill to the United States. The majority of these were from Andersonville. In February 1865, Wirz released 3,000 prisoners who were well enough to travel on their own to the Federal Commander at Jacksonville, Florida. They were refused and returned to Andersonville.
At the conclusion of the trial, the defense was denied a request for time to prepare their closing argument. Upon this denial, the remaining two defense attorneys quit the case in frustration and protest. The prosecution presented both their case and that of the defense.
On October, 24, 1865, the Commission gave a verdict of guilty of murder and conspiracy to harm Union prisoners, and Wirz was sentenced to be hanged. Union Judge Advocate General Holt, who had gathered evidence against Wirz, in his review, described Wirz as a “demon” whose work of death caused him “savage orgies” of enjoyment. After this show trial and hanging the rest of the indictments were dropped.
The highly acclaimed Ken Burns 1990 PBS documentary on the Civil War took the position of the Commission. But here is what Henry Wirz said on November 10, 1865, as he stood on the gallows:
“I go before my God, the Almighty God. He will judge between us. I am innocent, and I will die like a man.”
Unfortunately, false witness is still rampant in the American media and politics today.
Principal trial details for this article were extracted from papers at the University of Missouri Law School.
Often our readers have comments they wish to make in response to commentaries in The Tribune Papers.
We welcome such response.
Please e-mail them to
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Mike Scruggs, Author and Columnist
Mike Scruggs is the author of two books: The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths and Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.
He holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.
By April 1864 African American troops had distinguished themselves in multiple operations of the Union army, and Confederate rage over their use was mounting. The Confederate Congress had passed a law declaring that captured black soldiers were insurrectionists and liable to an automatic death sentence. The law required a trial to establish guilt, many Southern commanders considered legal procedures to be inconvenient under the circumstances.
Fort Pillow stood north of Memphis on a bluff, originally built by the Confederate Army and by 1864 occupied by Union troops. In the spring of 1864 a cavalry force of 7,000 Confederates under the command of Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest raided the area of western Tennessee and southern Kentucky, intent on taking as many prisoners as possible for potential exchange, as well as capturing supplies and horses. Fort Pillow was then garrisoned by about 600 Union troops, almost half of them black troops.
Forrest demanded that the garrison surrender or it would be taken by assault, and after the Union commander refused to yield the Confederate&rsquos attacked. A federal gunboat anchored nearby was likewise attacked it had been stationed to help cover a Union retreat from the fort, instead it closed its gun ports in protection from Confederate sharpshooters. As Union troops retreated from the ferocity of the Confederate assault they were pinned against the river or along the bluff on which Fort Pillow stood.
According to the reports of multiple survivors, many of the Union troops, black and white, surrendered as they were exposed along the river, only to be shot down or bayoneted by Forrest&rsquos troops, who repeatedly shouted &ldquono quarter.&rdquo Civilian workers who had been present in the fort at the time of the assault were likewise killed in the massacre. One Confederate sergeant wrote in a letter home that the black troops fell to their knees begging for mercy before being summarily shot down.
The Massacre at Fort Pillow was disputed by African American Officers who insisted that there was no surrender of either the Fort or retreating black troops. After the war US Grant wrote of the battle that, &ldquoThese troops fought bravely, but were overpowered.&rdquo Today the action at Fort Pillow is widely regarded as a massacre, but whether Forrest bears responsibility for a premeditated war crime is still debated.
Henry Wirz hanged for murder - HISTORY
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Wirz enlisted in the Confederate States Army as a private in the 4th Louisiana Infantry. He served on detached duty as a prison guard in Alabama before being transferred to help guard Federal prisoners incarcerated at Richmond, Virginia .
In February 1864, the Confederate government established a large military prison, Camp Sumter , near the small railroad depot of Andersonville, Georgia , to house Union prisoners of war . Though wooden barracks were originally planned, the Confederates incarcerated the prisoners in a vast, rectangular, open-air stockade originally encompassing sixteen and a half acres . Wirz commanded the stockade's interior. The prison was characterized by a lack of trained and adequately equipped prison guards a gross lack of food, tools and medical supplies severe overcrowding poor sanitary conditions and a lack of potable water. When it was most overcrowded, in August 1864, the camp held approximately thirty-two thousand Union prisoners, making it the fifth largest city in the confederacy and the monthly mortality rate from disease and malnutrition reached three thousand. Wirz did not try to alleviate the situation, unlike many men in similar situations both North and South on the contrary, abuses by guards ordered by Wirz, purposeful denying of parts of the already slim food supply abounded. [ citation needed ] Around forty-five thousand prisoners were incarcerated during the camp's fourteen-month existence, of whom thirteen thousand — twenty-eight percent — died .
After the end of hostilities, Wirz was arrested by a contingent of federal cavalry and taken by rail to Washington, D.C. , where the federal government intended to place him on trial for conspiring to impair the lives of Union prisoners of war.
In July 1865, the trial convened in the Capitol building and lasted two months, dominating the front pages of newspapers across the United States. The court heard the testimony of former inmates, ex-Confederate officers and even nearby residents of Andersonville . Finally, in early November, the commission announced that it had found Wirz guilty of conspiracy as charged and of eleven of thirteen counts of murder. He was sentenced to death.
In a letter to President Andrew Johnson , Wirz asked for mercy, but the letter went unanswered. Mounting the scaffold on the morning of November 10 , 1865 , Wirz asserted that he was being hanged for following orders. His execution was at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary - the same spot where the Lincoln conspirators met their own fate just a few months before - within clear sight of the newly-built dome of the U.S. Capitol. Wirz was eventually buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He was survived by his wife and one daughter.
Wirz's trial was legally significant for two reasons. Firstly, Wirz was one of only two men tried and executed for war crimes during the Civil War.  More significantly, however, Wirz's trial was the first war crimes trial in modern history and served as a direct historical precedent for the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal after World War II . [ citation needed ]
What would you have done, if you had spent your youth fighting for freedom as you saw it, settled in a new country with promise, built a career, and then found your adopted country embroiled in a fight for its life? Fought alongside it, no doubt. What would you have done then, if, wounded, useless in battle, you had been assigned the most thankless, impossible task of the war - overseeing 45,000 prisoners with a skeleton crew, a few cannon, and minimal supplies? The best you could, within your orders?
What if, the war lost, you had been put on trial by the victors? Would you have said, 'I made this situation, I am responsible', or would you have said, 'I did the best I could'? Who was responsible for this horror, anyway?
In our day, we are accustomed to international tribunals which try political and military leaders for war crimes, for what we call crimes against humanity. But Henry Wirz, the only man hanged for a war crime at the end of the US Civil War, was the first such 'war criminal'. Whether this was just - whether Wirz deserved to die for what he did or did not do during the last 14 months of this bitter internecine conflict - is a question that is still controversial.
For Henry Wirz was the commandant of the Confederate prison stockade called Camp Sumter - known to history as Andersonville.
The Problem with Prisoner Exchange
Prisoner exchanges1, the main means of solving prisoner problems in most wars before the 1860s2, did not work very well during the US Civil War. The Confederacy - blockaded, strapped for resources, unable to guard or provide for the masses of prisoners they captured - urgently wanted these exchanges. The Union, with greater resources and manpower coming off the immigrant boats weekly3, did not.
As the Secretary of War, Edwin M Stanton - the primary opponent after Lincoln of prisoner exchanges - put it, there were two objections. One was that exchanging prisoners recognised the existence of the Confederacy as a nation. The other was that Union soldiers, who only served for a year, were sent home, whereas Confederates, fighting on their own turf, simply went back to the army. The Union felt it was getting the lesser bargain. This left tens of thousands of soldiers at any one time sidelined from battle, but fighting for their very existence under horrific conditions.
Prisoner exchanges broke down in 1863 over a disagreement on the disposition of black Union soldiers. When Ulysses S Grant became Union commander-in-chief, he concluded for policy reasons that prisoner exchanges were detrimental to the North, and declined to re-initiate them.
The Facts on the (Bloody) Ground
Union prisons varied in quality - Elmira in New York had a 25% death rate for the year it was open. At Camp Douglas in Michigan, prisoners were deprived of clothing in a Great Lakes winter to discourage escape attempts, and 3-6,000 shivered and died in gunny sacks with holes cut for head and arms4. At Fort McHenry5 the prisoners were treated comparatively leniently, even being able to bribe the guards for a night out in nearby Baltimore, but Fort McHenry began as an internment camp for the prominent.
Conditions in Confederate prisons were bleak, though less cold in winter, a serious consideration in terms of survival. Libby Prison, a converted warehouse and chandlery in Richmond, Virginia, was overcrowded and disease-ridden, though surgeons visited there, and officers were brought food and comforts by Miss Elizabeth van Lew, the local Union spy in residence6. Prisons were often converted tobacco warehouses, or simply wooden stockades thrown up, with the prisoners living in tents, when available, or crude lean-tos constructed of materials at hand.
Estimates made about 40 years after the war indicate that in all, the South imprisoned 194,000 Union soldiers, while the North had captured 220,000 Confederates. Of these, 24,436 Southerners and 22,570 Northerners died in the camps. The total death toll of around 50,000 made the prison camps as deadly as the three days of Gettysburg, the most lethal battle of the war.
Andersonville was a stockade prison, constructed in desperation after prisoner exchanges had fallen through. In all, 45,000 prisoners were housed within the 26-acre enclosure. A creek7 ran through the camp, which quickly became clogged with effluvia. Food and water were scarce and disease was rife.
Conditions in Andersonville were horrendous, different in scale though not in quality from those in other prison camps on both sides in the conflict - of the 45,000 men imprisoned there, 13,000 died. What caused Andersonville in particular to become a byword for atrocity?
The Power of Public Opinion
The end of the war was time of heightened emotion on the part of the victorious North. Within a week of the surrender at Appomattox, President Lincoln was shot, and battle lines were drawn between those in the Administration who wished to continue Lincoln's policy of re-incorporating the rebel states 'with malice toward none, with charity for all', and those, like Edwin M Stanton, who most definitely did not. The new President, Andrew Johnson, was beleaguered from the beginning (he was later impeached, unsuccessfully). Johnson refused to allow the prosecution of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis and General Robert E Lee for war crimes, but acquiesced in the case of Andersonville Commandant Henry Wirz.
When images from Andersonville were published along with an article in Harper's Weekly8, public horror at the excesses of war was focussed on this particular camp. Someone had to pay. General Lew Wallace9, fresh from the panel that had tried the 'Lincoln conspirators'10, was named to head the court martial of the 'Andersonville jailer'.
Who was Henry Wirz, and how much did he have to do with what happened in that Georgia stockade?
From Revolution to War
Heinrich Hartmann (or Hartmann Heinrich) Wirz was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1822. A trained physician, he came to the US in 1849, with a prison record of his own. Henry, as he now called himself, was a '48er - like his contemporary, the Union General Carl Schurz11, Wirz had been involved in the upheavals that rocked Europe in 1848. Many of these young European radicals later went west. When war broke out, Wirz joined the Confederate Army, being seriously wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks. Returning from a diplomatic mission to Europe, Wirz was assigned to General Winder, who had been placed in charge of war prisoners east of the Mississippi. Thus Wirz came in charge of the nightmare that was Andersonville.
Supervision on the part of Confederate guards was non-existent - crime existed within the camp, caused by 'raiders' who stole from fellow-soldiers, even committing murder. The raiders were finally stopped by fellow prisoners, who captured and hanged them. Deaths averaged about 100 a day. Cannon were placed outside the stockade in case of prison uprising. Prisoners were required to stay inside the 'deadline' - a word that first appeared during the war, and which meant exactly what it said.
Wirz himself was far from well. His shattered arm caused him intractable pain, which was treated with morphine. There is some question that this combination caused him to be both irascible and erratic. Accounts of his alleged cruelty - including the case of a mad prisoner who was shot after crossing the deadline - vary and cannot be finally resolved.
In 1865, when Union troops liberated Andersonville, Wirz was arrested and taken to Washington, DC, for the world's first war crimes trial.
The Andersonville Trial
At his trial, it was alleged that Wirz behaved with wanton cruelty. Testimony was brought by former captives. Wirz offered in his defence a letter that he had written to his superiors complaining about the shortage of food for the prisoners. Some witnesses who wished to appear in Wirz's defence were excluded from the trial.
As Wirz continued to be unwell, he was brought into the courtroom on a stretcher and attended the proceedings from a chaise longue. He was convicted and condemed to death.
On 10 November, 1865, Wirz was executed in the courtyard of what is now the US Supreme Court building. The hanging was botched - it took Wirz two full minutes to die. Union soldiers stood around chanting 'Remember Andersonville'.
Vengeance or Revenge?
The 250 ticket-holding spectators in Washington who joined in the chanting as Henry Wirz, formerly of Zurich, slowly writhed his way to death on the gallows probably shared Mr Whitman's sentiments. But do we?
Much has been said, and will be said, of individual responsibility for acts of atrocity in wartime. Less is said - and this will, perhaps, continue to be the case - of the responsibility of individuals in times of high political passions to fight against the tendency to seek a scapegoat.
The war is over. You have won - therefore your enemy was wrong. Completely, utterly, and definitively wrong. About economics, about social issues. About everything.
Wars do a lot of damage. Someone must pay for this damage. Guilt must be determined, blame assigned. Thus it has ever been, thus it will be.
The wheels of military justice grind swiftly. And sometimes they crush the guilty. Sometimes questions remain - the kind that niggle in the back of the historical conscience.
The transcripts of the Andersonville Trial are public record. They can be read. Where are the transcripts for Elmira, Fort Douglas, Fort Delaware? The graves of 13,000 dead stand in orderly rows in Anderson, Georgia - where are the graves in Michigan?
Afterthoughts and Practical Considerations
Wirz had been ordered to keep more than 30,000 men at a time confined in a filthy, dangerous place in order to prevent their escape - and to use whatever military means he had at hand to do so. This, though terrible, was in keeping with the usages of that war. His qualifications as an administrator were doubtful, but there was a great deal of amateurism in that war.
His supply problems were enormous - he complained about this to his superiors. Shortages of food and equipment were common in the Confederacy - nobody was getting enough to eat as the war wore on. In fact, of the 1,000 guards at Andersonville, 226 died, of the same diseases and privations as those on the other side of the fence12.
Supplies were short in the South because the region was subject to naval blockade. Supplies were also short because almost every able-bodied man was fighting, leaving a serious shortage of agricultural labour. In addition, the war was being fought largely on Southern territory, causing damage to crops and disruption of rail services.
Union policy in refusing prisoner exchange was deliberate and based on a war strategy intended to exploit the advantage of greater available manpower. This policy - along with the policy of rendering Confederate prisoners unfit for further duty - essentially regarded the soldiers themselves as raw materials.
One could argue that such considerations prevail in wartime, particularly when so much is invested in the outcome. But by holding a postwar tribunal, the judges are inviting comparisons - a consideration of whether the victors had not, in fact, been doing exactly what they had accused their opponents of doing - deliberately exacerbating the suffering of prisoners of war.
It is perhaps impossible for any people to look at such questions dispassionately - certainly not in the aftermath of a bloody war which levied such a personal toll on all involved. Nor for a war in which ideology was used to such devastating effect.
The political reasons for holding a show trial of one man are evident. A century and a half later, the questions are there to be raised. Was the Wirz case one of clear-cut responsibility for an atrocity? Was this man guilty of 'wanton cruelty', of carrying out an expressed policy in contravention of the codes of war? Or was he a convenient scapegoat for a nation looking back in horror at what it had become?
Civil wars leave long-lasting scars. Long after the fighting is over, even when the shell craters have been filled in and the fields grow green over the burned-out homesteads, the memory remains of the ugliness of man's inhumanity to his fellow-man. That loss of faith is the deepest wound, and heals last, if at all.
Abraham Lincoln, himself a casualty of that war, had a vision of healing that he expressed in his Second Inaugural Address:
This is, of course, the legacy we want to believe in - the one in which we judge one another fairly, in which we are not drawn by our own fear, suspicion, and doubt to cast the blame on another. A review of the post-Civil War period will reveal many instances in which fear, suspicion, and doubt won out over Lincoln's vision of reconciliation.
For Further Reading
Written in 1959, Saul Levitt's play The Andersonville Trial, based on trial transcripts, ran on Broadway before being taped for a PBS special in 1970. A visit to Youtube will yield scenes from this performance, directed by George C Scott and starring Cameron Mitchell, Richard Basehart and William Shatner.
MacKinlay Kantor's novel Andersonville is rich in period detail, and earned the author the 1955 Pulitzer Prize.
Andersonville itself is open to the public and can be visited.
1 The exchange rate during the US Civil War was as follows: 1 general = 46 privates, 1 major general = 40 privates, 1 brigadier = 20 privates, 1 colonel = 15 privates, 1 lieutenant colonel = 10 privates, 1 major = 8 privates, 1 captain = 6 privates, 1 lieutenant = 4 privates, 1 noncommissioned officer = 2 privates. (Source: 'Prisons, Paroles, and POWs'.)
2 The Napoleonic Wars, which resulted in a major prisoner issue in Great Britain, were an exception. The Thames hulk fleet and the construction of Dartmoor came about as solutions to the problem of French prisoners of war in that long-running conflict.
3 For an international view of the aggressive recruitment of immigrants by the Union, see that excellent Irish source, the popular ballad.
4 The number is impossible to determine there is a mass grave with only an approximate count on the marker.
5 Francis Scott Key wrote the US National Anthem while sitting in a cartel boat outside Fort McHenry. His grandson, a prominent Southern sympathiser from Baltimore, spent the Civil War inside Fort McHenry. To understand why President Lincoln declared martial law in that secessionist city, and interned its local government, please refer to a map of the eastern United States. Baltimore is north of Washington, DC.
6 The prison, from which several successful escapes were made, has the unusual distinction of having been moved in its entirety to Chicago after the war for use as a Civil War museum.
7 A small river.
8 On which the banner reads 'Journal of Civilization'.
9 Author of Ben Hur.
10 The 'Lincoln Conspirators' - those accused of aiding John Wilkes Booth in his assassination of President Lincoln - included Mary Surratt, a widowed tavern owner who was hanged for aiding in Booth's escape, as well as Dr Samuel Mudd, who had treated the assassin and was marooned for a time in the Dry Tortugas.
11 Founder of the US Civil Service.
12 These are buried in nearby Americus, Georgia.