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Fifth, medical care at Andersonville was basically non-existent, with the small medical staff completely overwhelmed.

Sixth, the Union soldiers were in theory to get the same daily ration as a Confederate soldier.

Realizing that the Confederates needed their prisoners back in their ranks, and that the Union had an endless supply of manpower, he thought that it was a benefit for the Union that the system had broken down and adamantly refused Confederate attempts in 1864 to revive prisoner exchanges.

A good article on the exchange of prisoners is here.

Tried and executed after the war, the only Confederate to be executed following the war, Wirz has been called both an innocent scapegoat and a demon of cruelty incarnate. I will note that in the face of the humanitarian disaster that developed at Andersonville, Wirz did little and seemed to spend most of his time trying to get promoted, eventually getting his wish and attaining the rank of Major shortly before the end of the War.

All of these factors led to the deaths of almost 13,000 of the approximately 45,000 Union soldiers who passed through Andersonville.

The Union troops, with appropriate black humor, labeled the creek “Sweet Water Branch’.The first Union prisoners were shipped to it in February 1864.With heavy fighting that began in May as Grant battled his way towards Richmond, the number of prisoners swelled to well beyond the capacity of the prison.The system worked reasonably well until the issue of the treatment of Black troops came up.The Confederates refused to recognize Black soldiers as Union troops under the system and reduced many of them to slavery.

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The Union, as a result, refused to abide by the system.

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