|View single post by amhistoryguy|
|Posted: Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 05:33 pm||
|I certainly agree that Wirz was a scapegoat, and that the treatment of POW's during the CW on both sides was inhumane and a low point in this country's history. But, I should like to also point out that Wirz was not the only Confederate tried for war crimes, as is so often stated.
Another camp commandant, Major John H. Gee, commandant of Salisbury Prison, was arrested and brought before a military commission at Raleigh, North Carolina and unanimously aquitted of all charges. Major Gee's commission fills 4000 pages which can be found in the National Archives, and yet, the fact he was also tried and found not guilty of the charges, is all but overlooked, or ignored.
James W. Duncan, also a Confederate at Andersonville, was arrested, charged and tried for "violations of the laws of war" at Andersonville. He was also found guilty, but instead of death, he was sentenced to 15 years. (He served one before escaping.)
Commissions also tired men like G. St. Leger Grenfeldt for "conspiring to release rebel prisoners of was at Camp Douglas. near Chicago." Robert C. Kennedy was tried for "irregular and unlawful warfare" for his attempt to burn New York City.
Captain John Yates Beall was tried by a military commission, found gulity of being a spy and using irregular warfare, and was executed. Beall's case was brought before Lincoln, and a petition signed by 91 members of congress called for at least a temporary stay in order to re-examine the case. Lincoln turned down any and all attempts to save Beall's life. Beall's case is of particular interest because of the involvement of Lincoln, and his steadfast determination to have the sentence of death carried out.
Then of course there is the case of Captain Champ Ferguson, tried, found guilty, and executed for the many murders he committed.
So, dispite the often made claim that Henry Wirz was the only Confederate tried and executed for war crimes, this is not the case. Others were tried, others were executed, Wirz is the one we seem to choose to remember.
Regards, Dave Gorski