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POWs, prisons, and the exchange of POWs

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  • josepharose
    For those interested in POWs, prisons, and the exchange of POWs, there is a seemingly good book on the subject published last year (although I ve only had the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2006
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      For those interested in POWs, prisons, and the exchange of POWs, there
      is a seemingly good book on the subject published last year (although
      I've only had the chance to read small sections of it) by Charles W.
      Sanders, Jr. titled "While In The Hands Of The Enemy: Military Prisons
      Of The Civil War."

      The Publishers Weekly description on Amazon.com stated:
      "Four hundred thousand soldiers were taken prisoner during the Civil
      War. Over 50,000 of them died while in custody. Conventional
      scholarship nevertheless accepts the position that neither the Union
      nor the Confederacy mistreated captives as a matter of policy. In this
      volume, however, Sanders, a professor of history at Kansas State
      University, argues that incompetence, inexperience and lack of
      resources affected prisoners' fates far less than did deliberate
      decisions made by both the Union and Confederate governments. In the
      war's early stages, both sides followed a system of parole and
      exchange. But the Union, in particular, came to regard this process as
      self-defeating since it provided a stream of replacements for the
      armies in the field;and the Confederacy responded in kind. By the fall
      of 1863, not only were prisoners being retained by both sides, their
      treatment grew steadily worse as a matter of high-level policy that
      violated both official regulations and common humanity. Even Jefferson
      Davis and Abraham Lincoln were well aware of what was happening;and
      refused to intervene. By documenting these conditions, Sanders offers
      fresh understanding of an important aspect of the war, even if he
      fails to contextualize the transformation as only one part of the hard
      war mentality that developed as the national conflict endured and
      expanded. (Oct.)"
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