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Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his spirits during his long imprisonment: ‘It is not adversity that kills, but the impatience with which we bear adversity.’

 

Unlikely allies : Fort Delaware’s prison community in the Civil War Mechanicsburg, PA : Stackpole Books, c 2000 Dale Fetzer and Bruce Mowday ; foreword by Leland C. Jennings Prisoners of war Delaware Fort Delaware History 19th century Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xv, 176 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 167-170) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

During the Civil War, more than 30,000 Southern prisoners passed through the gates of Fort Delaware over the course of three years. As with all Civil War prison camps, Fort Delaware gained a reputation for wretched living conditions and is still called the “Andersonville of the North”.

There were suffering and death at the prison, but a thorough examination reveals a another picture: that of a group of men and women determined not only to survive, but to thrive as well, despite inhuman circumstances. What some have referred to as Southern invincibility was by no means limited to the battlefield.
During the war of northern aggression the union operated numerous prisons from abandoned forts in Boston harbor to rotting hulks floating in the Mississippi River. They were not only used to torment soldiers captured on the field of battle but politicians who dared defy Lincoln and newspaper editors who did not adequately support his war – and often their entire families with them – found their way into these chambers of horror. No medical care, little sanitation, less food and no fuel in the winter were the order of the day and NO ONE from the union side was ever called to account for these atrocities.

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