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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 175953 Find in a Library
Title: Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology
Author(s): W B Hesseltine
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 311
Sponsoring Agency: Ohio State University Press
Columbus, OH 43210
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8142-0768-5
Sale Source: Ohio State University Press
Hitchcock Hall, Room 316
2070 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This historical review of Civil War prisons portrays the rise and fall of the prisoner exchange system that eventually led to the establishment of prison camps and describes the treatment of prisoners by the North and the South.
Abstract: Once established through a cartel in July 1862, the exchange system functioned reasonably well until it collapsed in late 1863. Until this point in the Civil War, the treatment of prisoners featured few of the horrors that proliferated after the cartel was dissolved. The treatment of prisoners remained an inflammatory issue throughout the postwar period. Northerners took the lead in this debate, beginning during the war with a Congressional investigation of released prisoners of war that revealed the suffering in Southern prison camps. Southerners fought these impressions with publications by Confederate veterans and memoirs of key political features such as Jefferson Davis. In exposing several myths about the prison system during the Civil War, the author indicates that the North shared responsibility with the South for the poor treatment of prisoners, and argues that the North conducted a propaganda campaign aimed at impugning the southern character, thus creating a wartime psychosis that it made it easier for Northerners to believe the worst about the Confederacy. References and notes
Main Term(s): History of corrections
Index Term(s): Prison conditions; United States of America
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