Concentration Camps in the U.S.

In middle of the XIX century in the United States was the Civil War (1861-1865 years), which fought the North (Federated) states, against the South (Confederate). The southern states have attempted to secede in 1860 in a separate state. Won the war, as you know, the Federals (Northerners). And since history is written by the winners, all the facts about the southern states were taught in history as far as possible negative light, and the facts which concerned the northern states were diligently whitewash. So, studying the American concentration camp for prisoners of war during the Civil War, the North and the South, the United States, we can easily see examples of this.

Among the southern camps for prisoners of war is considered the most famous Andersonville. The suffering that was transferred to him prisoners, soldiers federation, immortalized in literature, songs, films, and many monuments. Conditions in the camp Andersonville were terrible, and the fact there were objective reasons that historians and not hidden. During the war, southern states quickly exhausted their resources, and they had nothing to feed even its soldiers, not that war. And in Andersonville many prisoners, soldiers, the feds were suffering from hunger and disease. But along with them just as well have suffered their jailers, who ate with inmates of the same pot and hurt the same diseases.

Northern states, in contrast to the South, well-financed their army and had good financial support, including food. But the heads of the northern camps, where prisoners were kept Confederates, also felt the need to accurately zamarivat hunger the prisoners. Not because I did not have enough to eat, as in the South, and follow its principles to make the conditions of detention "of Confederate rebels" were possible worse.

Here are the evidence of the witnesses left of one of the 11 northern camps to hold Confederate prisoners — "Camp Douglas." About this place and that it was happening, it was customary to keep silence, and silence lasted 130 years. Only in the late XX century began the investigation, historians raised the old files and documents released related to this concentration camp.

At the site of the northern camp "Douglas", located near Chicago, was installed only one monument: a mass grave where buried more than 6,000 Confederates who died in the "Douglas". This monument was erected in 1895, 30 years after the war, Confederate forces and their friends from Chicago.

A few words about this camp:

Federal concentration camp "Douglas" was located near Chicago, off the coast of Lake Michigan. He was known as the northern camp with a very high mortality rate among all northern prisons and camps of the Civil War. It contained a number of Confederate prisoners of war and civilians from the occupied territories.

The first prisoners arrived in the camp in February 1862. The conditions were horrible, one of the five prisoners died in these walls. In the camp of "Douglas" used extremely harsh penalties for any violations of the prisoners. Food rations were very small and often held for various offenses and violations, resulting in almost all prisoners are starving Confederate soldiers.

I will give just a few of the facts, talking about how the northerners of Confederate prisoners kept in his concentration camp.

Beginning with the 1862 death in "Douglas" was 10% (compared with the "Andersonvilem", where she was still 9%, and this — the number of the most difficult in 1864, when the Confederacy was being defeated, where the supply is practically absent, and jailers died along with their prisoners of starvation and disease).

The causes of high mortality in the camp of "Douglas":

— overpopulation;

— difficult living conditions (pollution, hunger, illness);

— lack of medical care;

— ill-treatment of prisoners.

In wooden barracks contained only a small proportion of prisoners (several hundred), and the rest lived in tents at any time of the year. Wooden floors in the barracks were taken to was not possible under the cover to dig tunnels to escape. As the toilets used large open pits, the entire contents of which seeped into drinking water sources.

Rat, mouse, and the insects were another source diseases. Rats and mice inmates also used for food, because it is constantly hungry.

Food parcels, which were trying to send the prisoners home, were not accepted. Motivation: to thereby "retaliation" for the "revolt of the South."

Medicines were not supplied to the camp. Rampant diseases: cholera, smallpox, dysentery. Even if one of the doctors inspecting the camp, trying to write the staff reports of poor conditions, superiors ignored these staff reports.

Civilian doctors who inspected the camp "Douglas" 5 April 1863, called it "an extermination camp."

In order to deal with an escape of prisoners are often deprived of clothing, and they were forced to carry bags with holes for arms and head. I mostly did not even underwear. Blankets were removed, so during the cold winter weather and weaker wounded died from the cold.

Winter 1864 in Chicago was particularly cold. In just four months, died a prisoner in 1091. From June to December 1864 death in the camp was 35%.

The penalties have been applied in the camp "Douglas" to the prisoners the Confederates, for various violations (not for running away — for it either shot on the spot or bayoneted)

In the cold guards forced the guilty take off his pants and sit on the snow or frozen ground, holding this position for many hours.

Spanking straps with metal buckles. According to eyewitnesses, often flogged for as long as the metal edges do not buckle prosekayut skin and muscle to the bone.

The prisoner put her bare feet in the snow for several hours. The guards saw to it that the prisoner did not move. This can be judged from the tracks in the snow. Many remained after such punishment without fingers, because of their frostbite. If a person or shifted on the spot — in addition to the punishment of his standing in the snow was whipping.

If a person is too slow to react to the command lifting him suspended for a few hours at his feet. As well as punishment of prisoners were forced to stand in a bent position, head down, on straight legs, while the nose did not start to run blood and blood to the cast-eyeballs did not make the prisoner screaming in pain.

Large groups of prisoners (several dozen) were locked in a small room of 10 square feet, with a very small window.

Another punishment — "riding on a mule." Near the gate, high off the ground, was set frame, which put itself on a narrow beam. On top of this timber planting prisoner and held there for as long as he did not lose consciousness and fall. Sometimes punishment diversified, adding "spur": binding the feet of offense buckets of sand.

This is not an exhaustive list, but to create the overall impression is enough.

Accounting for the prisoners in the camp of "Douglas" from the very beginning almost was not conducted and there is a view that many Confederates, who "disappeared" in fact died in the camp and were buried in an unknown place as the grave is also not taken into account. Part of the dead prisoners were buried in the swampy soil, and therefore no trace of the graves can not be found.

According to the history of the camp, "Douglas", about 12,000 prisoners survived the harsh winter of 1862 and 1863, when the temperature dropped below zero. From 1400 to 1700 people were killed in the same period, but only 615 could be counted in a mass grave near the camp. From 700 to 1000 people just disappeared.

By December 1, 1866 can be found only 1,402 graves (of the previously recorded 2,968 graves). Around 2,000 people to this day are still missing. How many Confederate actually passed through the camp "Douglas" — unknown. Studies are under way, the facts are revealed.

According to one statement (the authorship of which I could not install it), a concentration camp "Douglas" "destroyed not only the living but also the dead."

Now, about the Confederate camp:

The word "concentration camp" in our days is strongly associated with the systems of the camps of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but the first concentration camps emerged nearly a century earlier, it happened in North America in the 60th years of XIX century. In the first months of 1864 was created by Southerners Andersonville camp where prisoners were kept the Yankees. The camp has become known more victims: six months of existence on its territory, killing more than 13,000 people, or nearly one in four dying prisoner. Andersonville often called the first classic concentration camp. But this is not the case, a pair of mesyatsevd before the northerners was built Rock Island, and although there was a softer mode, the first concentration camp was him … Yes, and Fort Williams served as a prison for Confederate.

The total number of both parties have adapted to contain the enemy soldiers more than 150 buildings. These buildings were of several types — the military forts and fortifications (like Castle Pinckney in the South and in the North Fort Warren), civil prison, converted for this purpose civic buildings (such as the Old State Capitol building in Washington, built for the temporary accommodation of Congress in Washington after a fire at the time of War of 1812, and before the Civil War served as a hotel), and a specially constructed to whip up camp (for example, the infamous Andersonville in Georgia). In the South, for this purpose was also given more remote from the Railways tobacco farms, and in the north by the prison was converted several vehicles. The number of people who passed through the prison camp more than 55 thousand.


Andersonville was a surrounded by a high fence an area of 10 hectares with dugouts and tents for the prisoners. According to the camp took place two channels, one of which served as a sewer, the other — the source of water. Poor economic conditions did not allow southerners adequately support war — in the camp was extremely meager food and medical care to prisoners almost no effect. An additional source of relief was the attitude of protection, camp commander Henry Wirz was appointed, known as a pathological sadist. In addition, in the struggle for existence, some prisoners organized gang and they started to terrorize fellow sufferers.

During the existence of Andersonville from starvation and ill-treatment in the camp has killed more than 13,000 prisoners northerners. Like the more recent "classic" concentration camps, Andersonville was surrounded by guard towers for the armed guards, who created a perimeter sweep, dubbed «deadline», at least three hundred prisoners were shot to death just for being undertaken crossed the line.

Thus, the word that has received widespread later with a different meaning ("the deadline of the work"), traces its history back to the camp it was Andersonville.

The usual diet consisted of a prisoner of war salted beef, such as pork, corn porridge, rice or bean soup. In many northern prisons hungry inhabitants hunted rats. Lack of fruits and vegetables often led to scurvy. In this case, the South guards often ate from the same pot with protected, and suffered from the same disease.

Persistent malnutrition and poor sanitation can become a cause of outbreaks of diseases such as smallpox, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and malaria. Wounds left without proper treatment led to blood poisoning can be cured only by amputation. And almost all the prisoners were suffering from depression. Unable to shift their present situation, many committed suicide.

After the defeat of the Confederacy horrors of Andersonville became the property of the press and widely discussed in the United States, the public demanded the trial of the perpetrators, of which gave the names of high-ranking Confederates.

However, the efforts of President Andrew Jackson, the charges against the senior leaders of the South were dropped on the dock got only the former camp commander Wirtz. Held court sentenced Wiertz, as a war criminal to death, which soon took place in Washington prison before large crowds. It is worth noting that in the U.S. South still voiced the opinion that Wirz was the "fall guy", there are admirers of his memory, in his honor, a monument and a memorial plaque.

In the archives of Life magazine and the Library of Congress are more photos Andersonville, illustrating those early events.

Rummaging through the internet, I found the story of how the federal government offered Viersen abolition of the death penalty in exchange for testimony against the President of Confederation of Jefferson Davis, which the captain angrily rejected.

He said that the President had nothing to do with what happened in the camp and went to the gallows in the belief that he was a soldier, carrying out their duty. Captain Viersen was the only person nakzannym for the suffering and death in the camp.

Now Andersonville quiet place. Not far from the field where he once was a camp stretched huge cemetery with the names of the dead on the gravestones.

Everyone also has the land of the living source of clean water, but — encased in a stone fence. Hanging near the fence warning sign: "Do not drink the water may be contaminated."

The photos were taken in August 1864.

Rock Island

In the summer of 1863 a similar camp began to build themselves the Yankees, and he began to operate for two months earlier than in the Confederacy. We are talking about the camp Rock Island. Many a name familiar to the novel "Gone with the Wind" when Scarlett O'Hara's beloved Ashley was captured and was put it there.

Rock Island was located on a small island in the middle of the Mississippi River that separates the states of Iowa and Illinois.

The first prisoners (over 5,000) arrived at the camp Dec. 3, 1863. Many of them were sick with smallpox, as well as in the camp there were no quarantine zones and insulators, the infection spread rapidly. By January of 1864 killed 325 people and another 635 were seriously ill, and in a couple of months, the number of patients has tripled. Soon, though, the Yankees have built several medical facilities.




The whole area was in prison in 1250 feet long and 878 feet wide. The perimeter was surrounded by a wooden fence about 16 feet high. In the camp there were a total of 84 barracks for the prisoners, who were divided into four zones.


By 12 May 1865 remained in the camp prisoners in 2164, and through it all this time has passed 12,215 people died in 1945 of which (according to other sources is not less than 2,131 people), 45 escaped and 3729 were exchanged. The remaining prisoners were also released in June, after the surrender of CSA.

Thus, it appears that in Rock Island died 16%, not 25 as in Andersonville, but it does not change anything. The fact remains — the Confederate camp can not be called the first semblance of a concentration camp.

Now it is occupied by the largest U.S. state military arsenal.

By comparison, only a prisoner of the Confederacy was 194,000 northerners, of which 30,000 died, and from 216,000 southerners captured by northerners, died 26000

At the same time the Northmen had their Andersonville — Federal concentration camp "Douglas" was located near Chicago, off the coast of Lake Michigan. He was known as the northern camp with a very high mortality rate among all northern prisons and camps of the Civil War. It contained a number of Confederate prisoners of war and civilians from the occupied territories. Winter 1864 in Chicago was particularly cold. In just four months, died a prisoner in 1091. From June to December 1864 death in the camp was 35%. At the site of the northern camp, "Douglas", located near Chicago, was installed only one monument: a mass grave where buried more than 6,000 Confederates who died in the "Douglas". This monument was erected in 1895, 30 years after the war. You understand that no one punished for it was not …


Then, like concentration camps appeared in 1895 in Cuba during the war for the preservation of the colony of the Spanish authorities to the idea "concentrate" the local population in one place, so that it was easier to control them. The war ended in Cuba for Spain's defeat, and in 1898 she had to withdraw from the island. In the vacuum immediately jumped into the United States, setting in Cuba is now the U.S. military influence until the Revolution in 1959 the de Castro.

The idea caught the Spanish Kingdom. By the way about the Spanish can be a little slip of the tongue — Though they are "concentrated" population — the conditions were quite humane.

The British used this "venture" during the Anglo-Boer wars — they have made the first camp in the "classical" sense of the expression.

And then the idea went to the masses …

And was brought to practical perfection ..

Read also applied worldwide strategy of total destruction and terror, the U.S. military has worked on his own population 

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