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[civilwarwest] Should Wirz have been executed?

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  • Mike Meno
    Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp s commander was rightfully punished
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 14, 2000
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      Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison
      camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was rightfully
      punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
      following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied. Then
      again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought a quick
      way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat group.

      Your Obedient Servant:

      Mike Meno

      ______________________________________________________
    • Mike Meno
      Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp s commander was rightfully punished
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 14, 2000
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        Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison
        camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was rightfully
        punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
        following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied. Then
        again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought a quick
        way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat group.

        Your Obedient Servant:

        Mike Meno

        ______________________________________________________
      • Hugh Martyr
        ... From: Mike Meno To: civilwarwest@egroups.com Date: 15 February 2000 09:28 Subject: [civilwarwest] Should
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 18, 2000
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
          To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
          Date: 15 February 2000 09:28
          Subject: [civilwarwest] Should Wirz have been executed?


          >Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison
          >camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was rightfully
          >punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
          >following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied. Then
          >again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought a
          quick
          >way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat group.
          >
          >Your Obedient Servant:
          >
          >Mike Meno
          >
          MIKE
          I have just this day finished reading 'Andersonville, the last depot.'
          by William Marvel. A very good account and I recommend it. He does not think
          that Wirz should have been executed. I'm still out on that as I would like
          to read further. From the transcripts of the trial that I have managed to
          read it seems that the verdict was a forgone conclusion and not a fair one
          at all. He was an ill man and not really up to the task that was thrust upon
          him. The thing I would like to discuss is how much the breakdown of the
          exchange system was to blame.
          Hugh
          >______________________________________________________
          >
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        • Hugh Martyr
          ... From: Mike Meno To: civilwarwest@egroups.com Date: 15 February 2000 09:28 Subject: [civilwarwest] Should
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 18, 2000
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
            To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
            Date: 15 February 2000 09:28
            Subject: [civilwarwest] Should Wirz have been executed?


            >Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville prison
            >camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was rightfully
            >punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
            >following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied. Then
            >again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought a
            quick
            >way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat group.
            >
            >Your Obedient Servant:
            >
            >Mike Meno
            >
            MIKE
            I have just this day finished reading 'Andersonville, the last depot.'
            by William Marvel. A very good account and I recommend it. He does not think
            that Wirz should have been executed. I'm still out on that as I would like
            to read further. From the transcripts of the trial that I have managed to
            read it seems that the verdict was a forgone conclusion and not a fair one
            at all. He was an ill man and not really up to the task that was thrust upon
            him. The thing I would like to discuss is how much the breakdown of the
            exchange system was to blame.
            Hugh
            >______________________________________________________
            >
            >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >For the fastest and easiest way to backup your files and, access them from
            >anywhere. Try @backup Free for 30 days. Click here for a chance to win a
            >digital camera.
            >http://click.egroups.com/1/337/1/_/14182/_/950570926/
            >
            >-- Check out your group's private Chat room
            >-- http://www.egroups.com/ChatPage?listName=civilwarwest&m=1
            >
            >
            >
          • Andy Berstel
            hugh martyr wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=633 ... prison ... rightfully ... Then
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 19, 2000
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              "hugh martyr" <hug-@...> wrote:
              original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=633
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
              > To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
              > Date: 15 February 2000 09:28
              > Subject: [civilwarwest] Should Wirz have been executed?
              >
              >
              > >Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville
              prison
              > >camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was
              rightfully
              > >punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
              > >following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied.
              Then
              > >again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought
              a
              > quick
              > >way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat
              group.
              > >
              > >Your Obedient Servant:
              > >
              > >Mike Meno
              > >
              > MIKE
              > I have just this day finished reading 'Andersonville, the last
              depot.'
              > by William Marvel. A very good account and I recommend it. He does
              not think
              > that Wirz should have been executed. I'm still out on that as I would
              like
              > to read further. From the transcripts of the trial that I have
              managed to
              > read it seems that the verdict was a forgone conclusion and not a
              fair one
              > at all. He was an ill man and not really up to the task that was
              thrust upon
              > him. The thing I would like to discuss is how much the breakdown of
              the
              > exchange system was to blame.
              > Hugh
              > >______________________________________________________
              > >

              .. Hugh,

              Yes.. I think the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system had
              eveything to do with the prison camp numbers rising way beyond what
              Wirtz and his staff could adequetly provide for. Was Grant aware of
              this consequence and should he shoulder the blame? He claimed the
              breakdown was due to the south not recognizing black prisoners but I
              don't believe he was that much of a freedom fighter, plus there were
              very few black POWs, most being killed or returned to slavery. He also
              claimed the south was not exchanging fairly, but I never found any
              evidence of this and I think he just said this to hide his real reason,
              that being not wanting to face the same soldiers over and over again.
              While this sounds like an effective means to an end, the incredible
              suffering it caused more than cancels out any benefit obtained from
              shortening the war. He regreetted the butchery of Cold harbor so I cant
              see how he couldn't regret this decision.

              Andy
            • Andy Berstel
              hugh martyr wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=633 ... prison ... rightfully ... Then
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 19, 2000
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                "hugh martyr" <hug-@...> wrote:
                original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=633
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
                > To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
                > Date: 15 February 2000 09:28
                > Subject: [civilwarwest] Should Wirz have been executed?
                >
                >
                > >Recently I have become particulary interested in the Andersonville
                prison
                > >camp. I began to think if Henry Wirz, the camp's commander was
                rightfully
                > >punished when he was hung. After all, he was of what i have read only
                > >following orders and the camp was overcrowded and under supplied.
                Then
                > >again, I am not too educated on this particular topic, and I thought
                a
                > quick
                > >way to great some accurate facts and opinions would be in our chat
                group.
                > >
                > >Your Obedient Servant:
                > >
                > >Mike Meno
                > >
                > MIKE
                > I have just this day finished reading 'Andersonville, the last
                depot.'
                > by William Marvel. A very good account and I recommend it. He does
                not think
                > that Wirz should have been executed. I'm still out on that as I would
                like
                > to read further. From the transcripts of the trial that I have
                managed to
                > read it seems that the verdict was a forgone conclusion and not a
                fair one
                > at all. He was an ill man and not really up to the task that was
                thrust upon
                > him. The thing I would like to discuss is how much the breakdown of
                the
                > exchange system was to blame.
                > Hugh
                > >______________________________________________________
                > >

                .. Hugh,

                Yes.. I think the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system had
                eveything to do with the prison camp numbers rising way beyond what
                Wirtz and his staff could adequetly provide for. Was Grant aware of
                this consequence and should he shoulder the blame? He claimed the
                breakdown was due to the south not recognizing black prisoners but I
                don't believe he was that much of a freedom fighter, plus there were
                very few black POWs, most being killed or returned to slavery. He also
                claimed the south was not exchanging fairly, but I never found any
                evidence of this and I think he just said this to hide his real reason,
                that being not wanting to face the same soldiers over and over again.
                While this sounds like an effective means to an end, the incredible
                suffering it caused more than cancels out any benefit obtained from
                shortening the war. He regreetted the butchery of Cold harbor so I cant
                see how he couldn't regret this decision.

                Andy
              • David Woodbury
                ... There were few black POWS *because* most were being killed or returned to slavery. That is the point. Grant and Lincoln were insisting that USCT be treated
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 19, 2000
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                  At 2:12 PM -0800 2/19/00, Andy Berstel wrote:
                  >He claimed the
                  >breakdown was due to the south not recognizing black prisoners but I
                  >don't believe he was that much of a freedom fighter, plus there were
                  >very few black POWs, most being killed or returned to slavery.

                  There were few black POWS *because* most were being killed or
                  returned to slavery. That is the point. Grant and Lincoln were
                  insisting that USCT be treated like other POWs.

                  >He also
                  >claimed the south was not exchanging fairly, but I never found any
                  >evidence of this and I think he just said this to hide his real reason,
                  >that being not wanting to face the same soldiers over and over again.

                  He very likely was motivated by the "numbers game" -- the fact that
                  the South had limited manpower to draw upon, despite voicing these
                  other reasons. Nevertheless, the claims about the South not following
                  the exchange rules fairly has merit, the instance most often cited
                  being the parolees from Vicksburg showing up again at Chattanooga
                  before formally exchanged. Also, whatever Grant's motives,
                  there is absolutely no reason to believe that had the South conceded
                  the point about black prisoners, the exchange would have resumed
                  immediately [Grant's boss, Lincoln, had a very strong opinion on this
                  matter, and was adamant about not forsaking those black men who
                  volunteered to fight].

                  In the fall of 1864, Lee proposed an exchange of newly-captured
                  troops at Petersburg, to which Grant agreed, contingent on US black
                  troops being exchanged along with white troops. Lee declined to
                  accept that contingency. We must assume Grant would have resumed the
                  exchange on this one point if Lee had conceded.

                  >While this sounds like an effective means to an end, the incredible
                  >suffering it caused more than cancels out any benefit obtained from
                  >shortening the war.

                  Two points in response: 1) the CSA did not have to wait for an
                  exchange to begin releasing POWs, if they were unable to care for
                  them (granted, the Union has no excuse for its poor treatment), and
                  2) the Union soldiers who survived the war, and who were not taken
                  prisoner, might have a different perspective about POWs returning en
                  masse to CSA armies.

                  >He regreetted the butchery of Cold harbor so I cant
                  >see how he couldn't regret this decision.

                  He said that it was hard on the prisoners, but unfair to the soldiers
                  in the ranks.

                  David
                • David Woodbury
                  ... There were few black POWS *because* most were being killed or returned to slavery. That is the point. Grant and Lincoln were insisting that USCT be treated
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 19, 2000
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                    At 2:12 PM -0800 2/19/00, Andy Berstel wrote:
                    >He claimed the
                    >breakdown was due to the south not recognizing black prisoners but I
                    >don't believe he was that much of a freedom fighter, plus there were
                    >very few black POWs, most being killed or returned to slavery.

                    There were few black POWS *because* most were being killed or
                    returned to slavery. That is the point. Grant and Lincoln were
                    insisting that USCT be treated like other POWs.

                    >He also
                    >claimed the south was not exchanging fairly, but I never found any
                    >evidence of this and I think he just said this to hide his real reason,
                    >that being not wanting to face the same soldiers over and over again.

                    He very likely was motivated by the "numbers game" -- the fact that
                    the South had limited manpower to draw upon, despite voicing these
                    other reasons. Nevertheless, the claims about the South not following
                    the exchange rules fairly has merit, the instance most often cited
                    being the parolees from Vicksburg showing up again at Chattanooga
                    before formally exchanged. Also, whatever Grant's motives,
                    there is absolutely no reason to believe that had the South conceded
                    the point about black prisoners, the exchange would have resumed
                    immediately [Grant's boss, Lincoln, had a very strong opinion on this
                    matter, and was adamant about not forsaking those black men who
                    volunteered to fight].

                    In the fall of 1864, Lee proposed an exchange of newly-captured
                    troops at Petersburg, to which Grant agreed, contingent on US black
                    troops being exchanged along with white troops. Lee declined to
                    accept that contingency. We must assume Grant would have resumed the
                    exchange on this one point if Lee had conceded.

                    >While this sounds like an effective means to an end, the incredible
                    >suffering it caused more than cancels out any benefit obtained from
                    >shortening the war.

                    Two points in response: 1) the CSA did not have to wait for an
                    exchange to begin releasing POWs, if they were unable to care for
                    them (granted, the Union has no excuse for its poor treatment), and
                    2) the Union soldiers who survived the war, and who were not taken
                    prisoner, might have a different perspective about POWs returning en
                    masse to CSA armies.

                    >He regreetted the butchery of Cold harbor so I cant
                    >see how he couldn't regret this decision.

                    He said that it was hard on the prisoners, but unfair to the soldiers
                    in the ranks.

                    David
                  • Nils Feller
                    Mike, I kinda stumbled over the argument that Wirz just followed orders . I very strongly feel that there are some orders that no man should follow. The
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 20, 2000
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                      Mike,
                      I kinda stumbled over the argument that Wirz "just followed orders". I very
                      strongly feel that there are some orders that no man should follow. The history
                      of my native Germany makes this point quite clearly, I think.
                      This of course does not mean that Wirz had to be made a scapegoat, but I feel
                      that he was most certainly not without blame. I don't think that he was somehow
                      coerced into not resigning this terrible commission.
                      Just a thought that had to be uttered

                      Nils
                    • Nils Feller
                      Mike, I kinda stumbled over the argument that Wirz just followed orders . I very strongly feel that there are some orders that no man should follow. The
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 20, 2000
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                        Mike,
                        I kinda stumbled over the argument that Wirz "just followed orders". I very
                        strongly feel that there are some orders that no man should follow. The history
                        of my native Germany makes this point quite clearly, I think.
                        This of course does not mean that Wirz had to be made a scapegoat, but I feel
                        that he was most certainly not without blame. I don't think that he was somehow
                        coerced into not resigning this terrible commission.
                        Just a thought that had to be uttered

                        Nils
                      • turnierwa@hotmail.com
                        Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other peoepl but yet
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 21, 2000
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                          Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for
                          the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other
                          peoepl but yet he was the only one tried. one perosn should look at a
                          the character of Wirz. he did not resign for his commisstion becuase
                          it was power. he was a little man how felt power and status was every
                          thing. THere is some question on weather or not he received the wound
                          at seven pines that parlized his arm. he was looking to move up the
                          ladder. he would have staied htere becuase he was an officer. he was
                          following orders so that he could receive the powers that the rank held.
                        • turnierwa@hotmail.com
                          Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other peoepl but yet
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 21, 2000
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                            Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for
                            the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other
                            peoepl but yet he was the only one tried. one perosn should look at a
                            the character of Wirz. he did not resign for his commisstion becuase
                            it was power. he was a little man how felt power and status was every
                            thing. THere is some question on weather or not he received the wound
                            at seven pines that parlized his arm. he was looking to move up the
                            ladder. he would have staied htere becuase he was an officer. he was
                            following orders so that he could receive the powers that the rank held.
                          • Jlb4tlb@aol.com
                            In a message dated 2/21/00 11:15:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Greetings All Your post is a very damming argument on why he should have been executed. Lets
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 21, 2000
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                              In a message dated 2/21/00 11:15:46 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                              turnierwa@... writes:

                              > Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for
                              > the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other
                              > peoepl but yet he was the only one tried. one perosn should look at a
                              > the character of Wirz. he did not resign for his commisstion becuase
                              > it was power. he was a little man how felt power and status was every
                              > thing. THere is some question on weather or not he received the wound
                              > at seven pines that parlized his arm. he was looking to move up the
                              > ladder. he would have staied htere becuase he was an officer. he was
                              > following orders so that he could receive the powers that the rank held.


                              Greetings All

                              Your post is a very damming argument on why he should have been executed.
                              Lets look at what you said.

                              He did not resign because of the power, that in it self is damming, he
                              stayed on because he was power hungry! If he thought he was doing something
                              wrong it would not manner because he would gain more power.

                              He was following orders! The Nazi excuse lives! Again the power issue.
                              Wirz played his hand and lost, he had every chance to leave, and did not. He
                              got what he deserved.
                            • Jlb4tlb@aol.com
                              In a message dated 2/21/00 11:15:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Greetings All Your post is a very damming argument on why he should have been executed. Lets
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 21, 2000
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                                In a message dated 2/21/00 11:15:46 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                                turnierwa@... writes:

                                > Wirz was a scape goat becuase he was the only person who was tried for
                                > the crimes. the doctor was charged (stevens i think) and i think other
                                > peoepl but yet he was the only one tried. one perosn should look at a
                                > the character of Wirz. he did not resign for his commisstion becuase
                                > it was power. he was a little man how felt power and status was every
                                > thing. THere is some question on weather or not he received the wound
                                > at seven pines that parlized his arm. he was looking to move up the
                                > ladder. he would have staied htere becuase he was an officer. he was
                                > following orders so that he could receive the powers that the rank held.


                                Greetings All

                                Your post is a very damming argument on why he should have been executed.
                                Lets look at what you said.

                                He did not resign because of the power, that in it self is damming, he
                                stayed on because he was power hungry! If he thought he was doing something
                                wrong it would not manner because he would gain more power.

                                He was following orders! The Nazi excuse lives! Again the power issue.
                                Wirz played his hand and lost, he had every chance to leave, and did not. He
                                got what he deserved.
                              • JOHN OPAGER
                                Was Wirz deserving of prosecution? Yes. Were other POW Camp commandants, North AND South, equally worthy of judicial action? Yes. Were any of the Federal
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 22, 2000
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                                  Was Wirz deserving of prosecution? Yes.
                                  Were other POW Camp commandants, North AND South, equally worthy of judicial action? Yes.
                                  Were any of the Federal commandants made accountable for the horrors of the camps they oversaw? Not to my knowledge.
                                  Was the Wirz case just another of the many vindictive measures visited upon the defeated South? Definitely.
                                  Should he have been executed? Given the above facts, it is my belief that he should not have been executed.
                                  One further thought on the so-called "Nuremberg Defense" i.e., "...just following orders."; Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust were for the most part the actions of Government agencies against civilians. If we expect individuals in the military to apply moral principles when dealing with enemy personnel, then ANY soldier who kills another human being in battle is guilty of homicide and thus
                                  subject to prosecution and, if found guilty, to execution. To follow a commanders orders in battle becomes consequently an immoral AND illegal act. Makes one think, doesn't it?
                                  Regards to the troops.
                                  JohnO






                                  Luvankizzez, JohnO
                                  Sign up for a free About.com Email account at http://About.com

                                • JOHN OPAGER
                                  Was Wirz deserving of prosecution? Yes. Were other POW Camp commandants, North AND South, equally worthy of judicial action? Yes. Were any of the Federal
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Feb 22, 2000
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                                    Was Wirz deserving of prosecution? Yes.
                                    Were other POW Camp commandants, North AND South, equally worthy of judicial action? Yes.
                                    Were any of the Federal commandants made accountable for the horrors of the camps they oversaw? Not to my knowledge.
                                    Was the Wirz case just another of the many vindictive measures visited upon the defeated South? Definitely.
                                    Should he have been executed? Given the above facts, it is my belief that he should not have been executed.
                                    One further thought on the so-called "Nuremberg Defense" i.e., "...just following orders."; Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust were for the most part the actions of Government agencies against civilians. If we expect individuals in the military to apply moral principles when dealing with enemy personnel, then ANY soldier who kills another human being in battle is guilty of homicide and thus
                                    subject to prosecution and, if found guilty, to execution. To follow a commanders orders in battle becomes consequently an immoral AND illegal act. Makes one think, doesn't it?
                                    Regards to the troops.
                                    JohnO






                                    Luvankizzez, JohnO
                                    Sign up for a free About.com Email account at http://About.com

                                  • turnierwa@hotmail.com
                                    the diffrenc that you have to think of in the punishment of peoepl who treated the POW s. the key idea was depraved indiffrence. Mnay of the peopl who ran the
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Feb 22, 2000
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                                      the diffrenc that you have to think of in the punishment of peoepl who treated the POW's. the key idea was depraved indiffrence. Mnay of the peopl who ran the camp held a deprave indiffrence to the defenceles people. To shot some one in battle is diffrenc than starving. By teh way for the record i do feel that the camps in teh norht were eqayully as bad and William Hoffman ( the head of all prison camps) should have been punished and repremaned becuase unlike the south he treated the southern soilders like they were numbers and he looked at teh soilders as money and not hurt people. there he also showed a depraved iniffrence in that case also
                                    • turnierwa@hotmail.com
                                      the diffrenc that you have to think of in the punishment of peoepl who treated the POW s. the key idea was depraved indiffrence. Mnay of the peopl who ran the
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Feb 22, 2000
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                                        the diffrenc that you have to think of in the punishment of peoepl who treated the POW's. the key idea was depraved indiffrence. Mnay of the peopl who ran the camp held a deprave indiffrence to the defenceles people. To shot some one in battle is diffrenc than starving. By teh way for the record i do feel that the camps in teh norht were eqayully as bad and William Hoffman ( the head of all prison camps) should have been punished and repremaned becuase unlike the south he treated the southern soilders like they were numbers and he looked at teh soilders as money and not hurt people. there he also showed a depraved iniffrence in that case also
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