10. Confederate officials knew of the conditions of Camp Sumter in the summer of 1864
Apologists for the Confederacy later claimed the government in Richmond remained unaware of conditions in Camp Sumter. Official documents and personal records captured after the war proved otherwise. Officials responsible for the care of prisoners of war were informed of the dire situation at the camp and failed to respond. General Howell Cobb, one of the founders of the Confederacy in 1861, knew of conditions there. He received reports from Fathers Hamilton and Whelan, Bishop Verot, Confederate Army officers, and Protestant ministers who visited the camp. Yet efforts to ease conditions there were virtually non-existent. Cobb had been instrumental in locating Camp Sumter at Andersonville. During the summer of 1864 he continued to advocate relocating prisoners from other facilities to the camp. The population of the overcrowded prison expanded throughout the summer.
During the summer Dr. Joseph Jones arrived at Camp Sumter to inspect the facilities and report to the Surgeon General of the Confederate States of America. Reportedly, during his somewhat hasty visit, he vomited twice at what he saw in the camp. His official report included a description of a “defective system of police”, as well as “bad air, bad food, and neglect of personal cleanliness”. In his conclusions, Dr. Jones wrote, “Finally, this gigantic mass of human misery calls loudly for reliefâ¦for the sake of suffering humanityâ¦”. Yet Confederate authorities continued to increase the overcrowding of Camp Sumter throughout the summer. Dr. Jones also decried the lack of medical supplies and professionals, indicating in his report that most of the attendants and nurses were paroled Union troops, better fed and clothed than the rest of the prisoners.