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Perhaps the most famous prison in United States military history Andersonville Prison or Camp Sumter as it was officially known was the largest of several military prisons established during the Civil War In November of 1963 a Confederate captain was sent to assess the possibility of building a prison for captured Union soldiers in the small village of Andersonville Georgia Its close proximity to the Southwestern Railroad the abundance of freshwater and its deep-south location made Andersonville an ideal Confederate prison location Andersonville was therefore chosen as the site for a prison that would later become infamous for the thousands of prisoners that would die there before the end of the war Construction of the 164 acre camp began in January of 1864 The first prisoners arrived on February 25 while the stockade was still under construction Designed to hold 10000 prisoners the prison was soon overcrowded holding 22000 by June Although the prison was enlarged in June to 265 acres the number of prisoners continued to swell By August 1864 more than 33000 prisoners were confined in Andersonville Bad sanitary conditions crowding lack of cooking facilities poor food and exposure soon produced respiratory diseases influenza and scurvy Without drugs the inadequate medical staff could not cope with the situation More than 45000 Union soldiers were sent to Andersonville during the 14 months the prison was in operation Of these 12912 died from disease malnutrition andor exposure Former prisoners blamed Capt Henry Wirz commander of the interior of the prison for the suffering As a result Wirz was tried in August of 1865 after the Confederate surrender on charges of murder and conspiring with Jefferson Davis the Confederate leader to murder He was found guilty by a military commission and hanged on November 10th 1865
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