The Civil War: Grandfather Loses Sight While a Prisoner at Andersonville

Drafted into the Union Army, man is captured and kept a year in infamous Andersonville Prison.

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My grandfather was drafted from Indiana early in 1864 into the Union Army. Needless to say, his wife and five tiny girls were heartbroken to see him taken off to war.

He was rushed into battle and within four months was a prisoner in Andersonville Prison. There he languished almost a year, contracting measles, which resulted in losing sight in one of his eyes.

My mother had the Bible he carried through the war and in Andersonville. There were many faded brown spots scattered throughout its pages. Mother explained they were where he smashed the lice he picked from his body. However, he survived the terrible ordeal and was an exchange prisoner. Then he served until the war was over.

Mother spoke so vividly of his return. On a chilly, moonlit April night, the mother and five little girls waited from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. half a mile down the rocky, muddy road for his return home. Mother said the joy of that reunion was almost worth the hardships they had gone through while he was gone.

Etta Wolter
Fonda, Iowa


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.