Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/245

This page has been validated.
Monument to Captain Henriy Wirz.

I do think that the most bald-faced statement to make to an intelligent people that I have ever read. That "half-starved" Confederates died because they were well fed and well sheltered. That argument is about as good as the corporal could produce, that to feed and shelter men well will cause death.

It has been the custom of Southern people to go North and enjoy that delightful climate since the first settlement of the country. The people of the North have always contended that they could not come South in the summer or hot season because of the unhealthiness of the climate. This idea obtained all over the North and South as well.

After the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, I wanted to go to Georgia where my parents were then living, but my relatives in Virginia insisted that I should not do so, because I would certainly die from fevers.

Now, as a matter of fact, nearly all of the great battles were fought in the summer time, and, of course, at that time the most of the prisoners were captured. The prisoners of the North had come from a healthy, salubrious climate and were carried South into a malarial climate where every member of a household was expected to take their dose of quinine every morning before breakfast. At the same time, of course, the majority of the Southerners were captured and carried into the cool, pleasant and exhilarating climate of the North, the very place that they naturally would have gone if there had been no war and they could have done so. But instead of building up from being taken to this Northern climate, 3 per cent, more Southerners died than Federal prisoners that were carried to this unhealthy climate in the South. I beg Corporal Tanner to explain to us why this was. He says that is was because they got "good shelter and plenty to eat." God help the mark. But as a matter of fact they were given neither shelter nor much to eat, and we have stacks of testimony of thousands of them starving to death and many freezing to death from lack of shelter and clothing to protect them.

Let us take Elmira, N. Y., prison and see how well fed and sheltered the Confederate prisoners were. "The official report of that pen shows that during the month of September, 1864, which was the first month that the quota of that prison was