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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Antigo Soldier Describes Captivity in a Rebel Prison

During the summer of 1864, Union armies laid siege to Atlanta, Georgia. On September 1, 1864, a day before the siege ended, Commissary Sergeant William Badger of Antigo was captured by retreating Confederates. Over a span of eight months, he was moved from prison to prison. He describes the suffering at a prison in Savannah.

On September 23rd and 24th it rained two days and one night until our camp was completely covered with water. Not a spot of earth could be seen inside the stockade and those who slept that night did so while standing.

On the 25th the weather cleared and by midnight we began to find places to lay. It then turned cold so that ice formed as thick as window glass. This caused much suffering as we had no blankets, only thin summer clothing.

The loyalty of the suffering prisoners to their country and its officers was astonishing. One instance is recalled of Mr. Bailey, a lawyer of New York, who, trying to gain favor with the Rebs, began to make a speech to us in which he berated Grant and Lincoln and our government generally for prolonging the war, etc. As soon as the drift of his talk was discovered, the "Northern mudsills" knocked him down and nearly killed him before he could reach the guard, where he went with all speed.

Source: "Newspaper Clippings, 1861-1930," Vol. 5, page 17 (from the Antigo Daily Journal, December 31, 1934).

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Savannah prison, 1864.
Prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia.

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View of confederate defenses surrounding Atlanta in 1864, which includes earthworks and two cannons.
View of confederate defenses surrounding Atlanta in 1864.

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