The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz by James Madison Page

The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz

Book Title: The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz

Publisher: Anvil Press

Release Date: 2017-11-10

Author: James Madison Page


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James Madison Page with The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz

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‘Anyone researching Andersonville should read this very well written book to learn the whole truth about what happened.’ - Saber and Scroll



After the American Civil War, Major Wirz was tried by a military tribunal, found guilty of "war crimes" and hanged.

Forty years later, in 1908, Page wrote this memoir to tell dispel the slanders told about Wirz.

Page explains how the prison Wirz was in charge of was designed to hold, at most, 10,000 prisoners. The population quickly swelled to 30,000 prisoners, overwhelming the South's ability to feed, clothe and house the Andersonville prisoners.

Over 13,000 POWs died out of 45,000 prisoners due to disease and diet, and Page claims that Wirz was made a scapegoat to appease the wrath of the families of those who had died.

‘a good read and very different than what is force fed us’ - Civil War Talk

James Madison Page
was born on July 22, 1839 in Crawfordville, Pennsylvania. He served in the Union army as 2d Lieutenant of Company A, Sixth Michigan Cavalry. After participating in many skirmishes and battles, including Gettysburg, Page was captured on September 21, 1863 along the Rapidan in Virginia and spent the next thirteen months in Southern military prisons, seven of which were at Camp Sumter near Andersonville, Georgia. After the war, Page was supoenaed for the war crimes trial of Major Henry Wirz, the former commandant of the prison, but after being interviewed, the prosecution decided not to call him as a witness because his testimony undermined the predetermined guilt of the accused. Having been present at the prison in the summer of 1864, when the atrocities were said to have occurred, Page denied that any of the four murders charged to Wirz had happened, which denial was supported by the fact that the alleged deceased were never named. After being dissuaded by his sister from joining the ill-fated Indian foray in the West under the command of General George Custer, Page instead moved to the Montana Territory in 1866, where he worked as a Government surveyor. The town of Pageville in Madison County was named in his honor. Page spent his final years in Long Beach, California, where he died in 1924. The True Story of Andersonville Prison was first published in 1908.