Will Madison apologize for its Civil War crimes, Mayor Soglin?

Was Madison’s Camp Randall another Andersonville? Another Civil War horror? Should Madison’s city government apologize to the Confederate prisoners of war we killed through incompetence or neglect so long ago? Are reparations in order? A small mea culpa in the form of a Common Council resolution?

Thanks to Badger Pundit for drawing this to our attention, with all due credit to the diligence of the UW-Madison’s independent Badger Herald, which laid out the sorry history of our treatment of POWs from down south in January 2016:

UW Digital Collections Image S02469

A … letter written by Assistant Quartermaster J.A. Potter described the soldiers of the 19th Wisconsin as undisciplined, inexperienced and poorly-equipped to guard such a volume of prisoners. He expressed disappointment in hospital conditions, noting that of the roughly 1,200 prisoners held at Camp Randall, some 200 were hospitalized with illness.

The condition of these afflicted prisoners worsened. Despite medical care, more prisoners began to succumb to measles, mumps and pneumonia. A Private Paddock of the 19th Wisconsin Regiment wrote to his family regarding these deaths: “They die off like rotten sheep. There was 11 die off yesterday and today, and there ain’t a day but what there is from two to nine dies.”

Barely a month after their arrival at Camp Randall, the Confederate inmates had to relocate. … On May 31, 1862, the majority of the Camp Randall inmates left for Camp Douglas, a larger encampment in Chicago.

By June, the last of the Camp Randall prisoners had left. The only ones who still remain in Madison are 140 Confederate soldiers who died during their stay at Camp Randall, now interred at Confederate Rest.

Dead Confederate prisoners were buried at Forest Hill Cemetery. Initially grouped into a mass grave, the dead were later given their own headstones and a more formally organized plot, now known as Confederate Rest.

The plot is well-shaded and removed from the more populated areas of the cemetery, a quiet and somber reminder of an unsung chapter of Madison history.

Camp Randall jail

Still extant east of the football stadium off Monroe St. and N. Randall Ave. Whether this housed captive Confederates or disciplined Union soldiers is unclear.

UNZ Review comments:

Okay, so the Union managed to kill off in a month, via disorganization, over 10% of its Confederate POWs interned at Camp Randall. That’s likely a war crime, although a minor, unintentional one.

Originally, those who died in Union captivity were dumped in a mass grave, but later were allowed to have their own individual graves, tombstones, and memorials. But that kind of mercy and reconciliation is racist, so it’s gotta go. While Mayor Soglin couldn’t bring himself to let soldiers dead for 150+ years rest unmolested, he is a huge fan of at least one white man.

That being Fidel Castro, whom he met with two of the three times he made the pilgrimage to communist Cuba in the 1970s.

Where are all the white woman at?

The Wall Street Journal, “From Charlottesville to Boston”:

Struggling to find neo-Nazis to condemn in Boston on Saturday, some activists decided to attack the police instead. Or perhaps that was their objective all along. Meanwhile, a new report from Charlottesville offers some support for President Donald Trump’s interpretation of the tragic events of August 12.

Thank goodness that in our nation of 323 million people, neo-Nazis are extremely rare. But this can make the task of confronting them rather challenging. Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Boston Common Saturday in search of white supremacists to condemn at an event called the Boston Free Speech Rally. But it was unclear how many supremacists could be found within the tiny group of free speakers.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby summed up the day’s events with his own tweet:

The rally in a nutshell: “Excuse me,” one man innocently asked a Globe reporter, “where are the white supremacists?”


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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10 Responses to Will Madison apologize for its Civil War crimes, Mayor Soglin?

  1. old baldy says:

    Wow, just wow. Comparing Camp Randall to Andersonville (actually the official name was Camp Sumter) is just ridiculous. Camp Randall housed ~1200 prisoners, of which~140 died in captivity, while Camp Sumter has 45,000+, and ~13,000 perished. I realize you feel the need for hyperbole to get your point across, but sometimes accuracy would do you a better job.

    Historical note: My wife’s gr-gr-grand uncle from rural Mondovi died in captivity at Camp Sumter.


    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      So we’re expected to deplore MAJOR war crimes (Andersonville) but justified in ignoring MINOR ones (Camp Randall). Thanks for the clarification.


  2. Tom Paine says:

    Confederates as TRAITORS?
    After the war, were all Southerners traitors? If so, then why would the Union want them to again be bonded to a larger UNION?
    If traitors, then how does Soglin answer this ———-> If the colonists were justified in leaving the British empire, then on what basis could the North claim Southerners were NOT justified in leaving the US?


    • AnonyBob says:

      Sure, they could be considered traitors. They took up arms against their country.
      I have no idea what you’re talking about in the rest of your comment.


      • Meade says:

        George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry… all took up arms against their country, Great Britain. How were they not traitors?


      • AnonyBob says:

        Had they lost, they would’ve been considered traitors and hung. But the difference, Citizen Meade, is they were trying to start our country, not end it.


      • Gary L. Kriewald says:

        So what’s your policy on statues erected to celebrate the traitor John Brown, who tried to incite a slave rebellion to overthrow the U. S. government? Of course, he was on the right side of the slavery issue, so all his other sins are no doubt automatically forgiven. (Luckily, JB’s act of treason was quashed by a true patriot, Robert E. Lee.)


  3. Meade says:

    To Mayor Paul Soglin:

    “Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries.” (Wikipedia)

    The Democratic-Republican Party was an American political party formed in 1791–93 by two slaveowners — Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson enabled the codifying of human chattel enslavement when he crafted his defense of white racism and of the racial superiority of human beings of European descent vs. African descent, in his Notes On the State of Virginia, 1785, (see “Laws” (Query XIV-14).

    As you know, Mr. Soglin, to our great shame, our city was named in honor of a slaveholder. Not only was James Madison an owner of slaves, Madison crafted what is known in the U.S. constitution as the “3/5 clause” — creating the compromise that appeased Slave States, allowing for ratification while chiseling into law the peculiar notion that human beings, based on the color of their skin, could be counted for the purposes of the census as a mere three-fifths of a person. With that historical understanding, it is simply deplorable and shameful that our city government, in the year 2017, still has not moved to change our city’s name to something less associated with “bigotry, hatred, or violence,” indeed, with racism and slavery.

    The eleven states that threatened to secede, triggering the Civil War, were politically dominated by the Democratic-Republican Party which, in 1848, led by another slaveowner, Andrew Jackson, changed it’s name simply to The Democratic Party.

    Now the legacy of American slavery belongs exclusively to the Democratic Party. Sadly, it always will. That is still your party, Mr. Soglin.

    Following your own rationale for removing the Forest Hill Cemetery monuments in order to eliminate the tainted descriptors “valiant” and “unsung heroes,” please allow me to offer a modest proposal:

    While it will never erase your shared history of association with the political party of American slavery, you must, Mr. Mayor, (perhaps under cover of darkness during predawn hours) valiantly and heroically, remove the words “Democratic Party” from yourself.


  4. Sarah Smith says:

    Meade – you completely misunderstand why the “3/5 clause” was put into place in our Constitution by our founders. Stop soiling yourself and do a little research. Your Progressive sensibilities, faux outrage, and restructuring history to suit your politics is embarrassing.

    Btw, since you deplore slavery so much, have you done anything to combat the ongoing slavery of Islam?


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