The Photographic History of the Civil War
                  Volume 7 -
Prisons and Hospitals

  Huts Built Upon The "Dead–Line" Itself


Andersonville 1864 Huts Built Upon The "Dead–Line" Itself

This view of Andersonville Prison, taken from the northeast angle of the stockade in the summer of 1864, gives some idea of its crowding and discomfort. The photographer had reached a sentry-box on the stockade near the stream, from which the ground sloped in both directions. On the right perches another sentry-box from which a rifle may flash at any instant–for the rail supported by posts in the foreground is the famous "dead-line," across which it was death to pass. So accustomed to all this had the prisoners become, in the filth and squalor and misery engendered by congestion, which finally left but thirty-five square feet of room (a space seven feet by five) to every man, that even the dead-line itself is used as a support for some of the prisoners' tents. Since plenty of room appears farther back in this picture, it would seem that the guards here were reasonably careful not to shoot without provocation–which, as official orders of the time complained, they sometimes were not in Point Lookout, Camp Douglas, and other prisons.  General John H. Winder and Captain Henry Wirz were in constant terror of an uprising in force of maddened prisoners, and the rule was inexorable. Inside the line are huts of every description. Some few are built of boughs of trees, but for the most part they are strips of cloth or canvas, old blankets, even a ragged coat to keep off the fierce rays of the ruthless sun. The shelters in front are partly underground, since the blanket was not large enough to cover the greater space. Some in the middle are simply strips of cloth upon poles.

page 177  in 1911 book

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This online edition of The Photographic History of the Civil War includes improved images using digital images from the Library of Congress, when available. It also includes additional images that are either cropped from the Library of Congress digital images or are related to the specific topic being discussed in the article or page.

Volume 7 of the History is the first volume I'm publishing online simply because it was the one I was interested in when I decided to publish.

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Copyright © 2004 Michael P. Goad  All rights reserved.