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:
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.
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?”