Prisoners at Andersonville Suffered Shortage of Water

Captured Union soldiers starved, endured other hardships at Andersonville Prison during the Civil War.

| Good Old Days

Mother used to tell how she listened as a child to the soldiers talking about the comrades they had lost and the hardships they experienced during the Civil War, especially while they were prisoners at Andersonville, where they almost starved to death and suffered a shortage of water, too. She said they would sing the old songs, like "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground," while tears streamed down their faces.

One of the local men, while in prison, was in very poor health, and they said he probably would have died had not his cousin, who had the job of feeding the mules, stolen corn from the animals to give to the sick man. I imagine they roasted it in the ashes, or probably "parched" it in a skillet, in a little fat, if they had any, and then salted it. God took pity on them and a spring broke out in the prison area, and at least they had water to drink. I am not casting any aspersions against their captors, for we all know that soldiers on both sides of the battle line often had to go hungry.

Faye Melton
Lawton, Oklahoma

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. 

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