I had long read about the atrocities committed on the Union prisoners in the Confederate Andersonville Prison during the Civil War, but the impact of the words I’d read had less impact until I discovered that some of my family suffered and died there.
Almost 13,000 prisoner died in Andersonville prison due to starvation, malnutrition, diarrhea, disease, alleged abuse and blunt weapon executions from guards.
We don’t have the details of all of their deaths but in the case of Robert William Bennett, some of his story is known. Robert saved the life of a fellow prisoner, Henry Nobes., His relative, Robert Nobes reported the actions of their son, Robert to his parents, Henry Innes and Sarah Whitam Bennett..
He reported that “Robert dug a hole in the sandy floor for Henry Nobes of Frankfort, Indiana. He had learned that Henry’s leg was untreated in any way and took off his underwear. Robert tore his underwear to bind the man’s leg, packed it in the dirt, and fed him his own handful of corn. Henry Nobes grew demanding of the two handfuls of corn and Robert let him have them while he starved to death.
Robert Nobes visited with Henry and Sarah every May 26th after that on the anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
War is always hell. It also brings out the worst in some of the soldiers who fight in them. The death and destruction caused by both sides in the war was terrible.
Read about escapes, lists of the dead and events in the Andersonville Prison in John L. Ransom’s book, “Andersonville Diary, Escape, and List of Dead” thanks to Google Books.