350 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 32 illus., notes, bibl., index
Civil War America
The Last Depot
1995 Lincoln Prize, Second Place Winner, Lincoln and Soldiers Institute, Gettysburg College
1995 Malcolm and Muriel Barrow Bell Award, Georgia Historical Society
1995 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award, Military Order of the Stars and Bars
Between February 1864 and April 1865, 41,000 Union prisoners of war were taken to the stockade at Anderson Station, Georgia, where nearly 13,000 of them died. Most contemporary accounts placed the blame for the tragedy squarely on the shoulders of the Confederates who administered the prison or on a conspiracy of higher-ranking officials. According to William Marvel, virulent disease and severe shortages of vegetables, medical supplies, and other necessities combined to create a crisis beyond the captors' control. He also argues that the tragedy was aggravated by the Union decision to suspend prisoner exchanges, which meant that many men who might have returned home were instead left to sicken and die in captivity.
"This well-written and readable monograph is more than a recitation of the facts. It is an analysis of the evolution and events of Andersonville, the most notorious prison of the war. Marvel's book is a valuable contribution to the historiography of Civil War prisons."
"Fine style: footnoted enough for the scholar, thoroughly readable for everyone else, and studded with lots of contemporary photos."
"William Marvel's Andersonville: The Last Depot appears to be the first history of the prison to take a genuinely objective approach to the question of how and to what ends Confederate authorities established and operated the prison. . . . He presents it in a fluid narrative. The pity is that . . . passions still run so high that in some quarters he will have no chance of a fair hearing."
--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Readers will welcome this well-written, provocative narrative."
"An authoritative history of the camp. . . . A masterful job of historical detective work."
--History: Reviews of New Books
"Succeeds in addressing significant questions in Civil War historiography and interpretation through vivid presentation of the lives and experiences of ordinary soldiers--prisoners and their captors. . . . A remarkable scholarly and literary achievement, a genuinely pathbreaking book that provides definitive answers to more than a century's worth of questions and controversy."
--Lincoln Prize Citation
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