3. There were no wooden barracks for the prisoners in the camp
The Confederate leadership in Richmond originally envisioned Camp Sumter as a facility to hold prisoners intended for exchange. The suspension of the exchange cartel and the rapidly rising number of prisoners quickly made the camp overcrowded. Captain Henry Wirz arrived at the facility in April, finding over 7,000 prisoners in makeshift tent shelters occupying the camp. He also learned of plans to increase the number of men imprisoned there at a rate approaching 400 per day for several months. Rather than using available wood to erect shelters for the prisoners, he opted to expand the compound. By June, the compound had been expanded to just over 26 acres, the labor performed by prisoners under the watchful eyes of the guards. Additionally, gun-pits were constructed, from which cannon could be fired into the compound should the prisoners become too restive.
Throughout the summer of 1864, the population of the camp expanded, nearly daily. Rations at the same time decreased steadily. A low-lying area near the Stockade Branch became a marsh, trampled by the feet of thousands of men who used the area to relieve themselves. Military discipline among the prisoners all but vanished. Disease rapidly took hold among the prisoners. Among the diseases they encountered was scurvy, since fresh food of any kind was scarce. Dysentery also raged among the men. The exchange cartel had specified prisoners would receive the same rations as those of their captors. By this stage of the war, rations for the Confederate troops were scant, still the prisoners received far less than their guards, and often of little quality. By June, 1864, Camp Sumter was nearly a death camp.