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Imagine life in a prison but much worse. No food for days, dirty water you had to drink to survive. Many people had to experience this while in Andersonville. Andersonville was considered the worst prisoners of war prisons. Prisoners were treated terribly and for the first five months of Andersonville’s existence four-hindered prisoners arrived daily. Being there was considered to be “the end”.
The prisoners usually traded their belongings with guards for food, but once Captain Wirz ordered a deadline to be raised. Rows of three foot high and set up nineteen feet high inside the Stockdale wall. This wall was intended to keep prisoners from escape it and anyone who crossed it was ordered by guards to be shot. This also caused summers to be for scorching because during the time before the deadline people used the shade form the Stockdale Wall but after the deadline the could have no shade whatsoever.
Contaminated substances were another problem those in the prison had to deal with. A stream called the Stockdale Branch ran through the prison and prisoners used it to get fresh water. The prison ruined that for them too.
The stream was located near the cookhouse which was above the stockade. The cooks tossed sewage, grease, and garbage into the stream and as more and more prisoners arrived more and more of their waste found its way into the stream. As time passed by and the water got worse people two miles away would complain about the stench.
Due to the massive amount of people entering Andersonville everyday a lot of them were bound to have a disease. Disease started to spread, quickly. Smallpox, dropsy, and scurvy all were spreading. Three months after Andersonville had opened, 2, 6979 had been treated for diseases along with other things such as diarrhea, 718 died.
Food filled with insects, meat spoiled, ground corn husks mixed with the corn meal. Why would anyone want to eat that? No one does but to survive you might be pushed to the limits to do anything.
Could imagine hoping for death or a situation were death maybe the best thing that could happen to you at that moment? Some men through themselves across the deadline in ordered to be shot just so they didn’t have to stay within the walls of Andersonville. Some turned to thievery to make it by. The Raiders, a group of thieves and outcast made the already terrible lives of those in Andersonville worse. They would torment and kill others, sometimes in plain view. They were eventually caught and had to wear balls and chains, some were put in stocks, and others were strung up by their thumbs. Six were found guilty of murdered and were sentenced to be hung. Long hot days, heat strokes, temperatures of over one-hundred degrees, flies everywhere, with mosquitoes bite them. The worst of it all was when the sun would burn their abused bodies. During the summer months they death rate and the amount of prisoners that came in went up. The largest number of deaths in one day was 127 occurring on August 23 (see chart below).

Prison Population
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To make matters worse Andersonville was meant to hold 10,000 men, but it held almost three times that number in August. All those men were crammed in 26½ acres.

As summer turned to autumn, the days became cooler, which brought relief to the prisoners. During this time prisoners were being relocated to other prisons. Some of the 6,000 troops that had guarded Andersonville during the hot summers were sent to the battlefront, those who remained were young men and very old men. There were numerous complaints from Wirz about people escaping every night. Although Wirz recommended the prison be closed it remained open. By the end of November 1, of that year 359 men were the only ones still trapped within Andersonville’s walls. In March even more prisoner exchanges were made and by the time the war ended- Andersonville was nothing more than a haunting nightmare.

1. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USACWandersonv.jpg (picture)
2. http://www.wildwestweb.net/cwp/cwp85.jpg (picture)
3. Andersonville: A Civil War Tragedy by Linda R. Wade(infromation)