It is time to consider the crimes committed against Southern prisoners of war by their federal captors. In 1903, Adj. Gen. F. C. Ainsworth estimated that more than 30,000 Union and 26,000 Confederates died in captivity (that is 12% died in the North and 15.5% in the South). However, the numbers and the death rate of Confederate prisoners were vastly understated first, because many captives died without their deaths being recorded and secondly, the winners did not wish to admit to the hideous rate with which those at their mercy perished. Indeed, Rhodes admitted that there should have been a much greater disparity—even using his own numbers—in favor of survival for those imprisoned in the North, given the superior conditions existing such as physicians, hospitals, medicines, food, supplies and housing. But the simple fact is this: from the beginning of the War, the federal government intended to “make treason odious” by treating captured Confederate soldiers as traitors and rebels rather than legitimate prisoners of war.
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