Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

27th Iowa Top Banner

THE MARTYRS

WHO,

FOR OUR COUNTRY

GAVE UP THEIR LIVES

IN THE

PRISON PENS IN ANDERSONVILLE, GA.


GENERAL ORDERS NO. 70
QUARTERMASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE
Washington, D. C., November 25, 1865.

The following report of Captain James M. Moore, assistant quartermaster United states Army, upon the cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia, with the names of the martyrs there interred, is published by authority of the Secretary of War for the information of their comrades and friends.

M.C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster General, Brevet Major General

REPORT OF THE EXPEDITION TO ANDERSONVILLE, GA., DURING THE MONTHS OF JULY AND AUGUST, 1865.

Assistant Quartermaster's Office, Depot of Washington
Washington, D. C., September 20, 1865.

GENERAL: In accordance with Special Orders No. 19, Quartermaster General's office, dated June 30, 1865, directing me to proceed to Andersonville, Georgia, for the purpose of marking the graves of Union soldiers for future identification, and enclosing the cemetery, I have the honor to report as follows:

I left Washington, District of Columbia, on the 8th of July last for Andersonville, Georgia, via Savannah, with mechanics and material for the purpose above mentioned.

On my arrival at Savannah, I ascertained there was no railroad communication whatever to Andersonville -- the direct road to Macon being broken, and that from Augusta via Atlanta, also in the same condition. I endeavored to procure wagon transportation, but was informed by the general commanding the department of Georgia that a sufficient number of teams could not be had in the State to haul one-half of my stores; and, as the roads were bad, and the distance more than four hundred miles, I abandoned all idea of attempting a route through a country difficult and tedious under more propitious circumstances.

The prospect of reaching Andersonville at this time was by no means favorable, and nearly one week had elapsed since my arrival at Savannah. I had telegraphed to Augusta, Atlanta, and Macon almost daily, and received replies that the railroads were not yet completed.

At length, on the morning of the 18th of July, the gratifying telegram from Augusta was received, announcing the completion of the Augusta and Macon road to Atlanta, when I at once determined to procure a boat and proceed to Augusta by the Savannah River.

The desired boat was secured, and in twenty-four hours after the receipt of the telegram alluded to, I was on my way with men and material for Augusta. On my arrival there, I found the railroad completed to Macon, and that from Macon to Andersonville having never been broken, experienced little difficulty in reaching my destination, where I arrived July 25, after a tiresome trip, occupying six days and nights.

At Macon, Major General Wilson detailed one company of the 4th United States cavalry and one from the 137th regiment United States colored troops to assist me. A member of the former company was killed on the 5th of August, at a station named Montezuma, on the Southwestern railroad.

The rolling stock on all the roads over which I traveled is in a miserable condition, and very seldom a greater rate of speed was attained than twelve miles an hour. At the different stations long the route the object of the expedition was well known, and not infrequently men wearing the garb of rebel soldiers would enter the cars and discuss the treatment of our prisoners at Andersonville; all of whom candidly admitted it was shameful and a blot on the escutcheon of the South that years would not efface.

While encamped at Andersonville, I was daily visited by men from the surrounding country, and had an opportunity of gleaning their feelings towards the government; and with hardly an exception, found those who had been in the rebel army penitent and more kindly disposed than those who had never taken a part, and anxious again to become citizens of the government they had fought so hard to destroy.

On the morning of the 26th of July, the work of identifying the graves, painting and lettering of head-boards, laying out walks and enclosing the cemetery was commenced, and on the evening of August 16, was completed with the exceptions hereafter mentioned.

The dead were found buried in trenches on a site selected by the rebels, about three hundred yards from the stockade. The trenches varied in length from fifty to one hundred and fifty yards. The bodies in the trenches were from two to three feet below the surface, and in several instances, where the rains had washed away the earth, but a few inches. Additional earth was, however, thrown upon the graves, making them of a still greater depth. So close were they buried, without coffins or the ordinary clothing to cover their nakedness, that not more than twelve inches were allowed to each man; indeed, the little tablets marking their resting places, measuring hardly ten inches in width, almost touch each other.

United States soldiers, while prisoners at Andersonville, had been detailed to inter their companions, and by a simple stake at the head of each grave, which bore a number corresponding with a similar numbered name upon the Andersonville hospital record, I was enabled to identify and mark with a neat tablet, similar to those in the cemeteries at Washington, the number, name, rank, regiment, company, and date of death of twelve thousand four hundred and sixty-one graves, there being but four hundred and fifty-one that bore the sad inscription "Unknown U.S. soldiers." One hundred and twenty thousand feet of pine lumber were used in these tablets alone.

The cemetery contains fifty acres, and had been divided by one main avenue running through the centre, and subdivided into blocks and sections in such a manner that, with the aide of the record, which I am now having copied for the superintendent, the visitors will experience no difficulty in finding any grave.

A force of men is now engaged in laying out walks and cleaning the cemetery of stumps and stones, preparatory to planting trees and flowers.

I have already commenced the manufacture of brick, and will have a sufficient number by the 1st of October to pave the numerous gutters throughout the cemetery; the clay in the vicinity of the stockade being well adapted to the purpose of brick-making.

Appropriate inscriptions are placed through the ground, and I have endeavored, as far as my facilities would permit, to transfer this wild, unmarked, and unhonored graveyard into a fit place of internment for the nation's gallant dead. At the entrance gate, the words "National Cemetery, Andersonville, GA.," designate this city of the dead.

On the morning of the 17th of August, at sunrise, the stars and stripes were hoisted in the centre of the cemetery, when a national salute was fired, and several national songs sung by those present.

The men who accompanied me, and to whom I am indebted for the early completion of my mission, worked zealously and faithfully from early in the morning until late at night, although suffering intensely from the effects of the sun. Unacclimated as they were were, one after another was taken sick with the fever incident to this country, and in a brief period my force of mechanics was considerably lessened, obliging me to obtain others from the residents in different parts of the State.

All of my men, however, recovered, with the exception of Mr. Eddy Watts, a letterer, who died on the 16th of July of typhoid fever, after a sickness of three weeks. I brought his body back with me, and delivered it to his family in this city.

Several of the 4th United States cavalry, detailed by general Wilson, died of the same fever shortly after joining their command at Macon.

Andersonville is situated on the Southwestern railroad, sixty miles from Macon. There is but one house in the place, except those erected by the so-called confederate government as hospitals, officers' quarters, and commissary and quartermasters' buildings. It was formerly known as Anderson, but since the war the "ville" has been added.

The country is covered mostly with pines and hemlocks, and the soil is sandy, sterile, and unfit for cultivation, and unlike the section of country a few miles north and south of this place, were the soil is well adapted to agricultural purposes, and cotton as well as corn are extensively raised. It is said to be the most unhealthy part of Georgia, and was probably selected as a depot for prisoners on account of this fact. At midday the thermometer in the shade reaches frequently one hundred and ten degrees, and in the sun the heat is almost unbearable.

The inhabitants of this sparsely-settled locality are, with few exceptions, of the most ignorant class, and from their haggard and sallow faces the effects of chills and fever are distinctly visible.

The noted prison pen is fifteen hundred and forty feet long and seven hundred and fifty feet wide, and contains twenty-seven acres. The dead line is seventeen feet from the stockade, and the sentry boxes are thirty yards apart. The inside stockade is eighteen feet high, the outer one twelve feet, and the distance between the two is one hundred and twenty feet.

Nothing has been destroyed; as our exhausted, emaciated, and enfeebled soldiers left it, so it stands today, as a monument to an inhumanity unparalleled in the annals of war.

How men could survive as well as they did in this pen, exposed to the rays of an almost tropical sun by day and drenching dews by night, without the slightest covering, is wonderful.

The ground is filled with holes where they had burrowed, in their efforts to shield themselves from the weather, and many a poor fellow, in endeavoring to protect himself in this manner was smothered to death by the earth falling in upon him.

A very worthy man has been appointed superintendent of the grounds and cemetery, with instructions to allow no buildings or structures of whatever nature to be destroyed, particularly the stockade surrounding the prison pen.

The stories told of the sufferings of our men while prisoners here have been substantiated by hundreds, and the skeptic, who will visit Andersonville, even now, and examine the stockade, with its black oozey mud, the cramped and wretched burrows, the dead line and the slaughter house must be a callous observer, indeed, if he is not convinced that the miseries depicted of this prison pen are no exaggerations.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servent,

James M. Moore.
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster U.S. Army.

Brevet Major General M. C. Meigs
Quartermaster General U.S. Army, Washington, D. C.

27th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry
Roll of Honor
Andersonville, Georgia

No. Name Rank Co. Died
4582 Cromwell, G. W. Private F Aug. 2, 1864
9370 Putnam, O. Private F Sept. 20, 1864