The Civil War was our great American tragedy - the bloodiest war in American history. Many of the
issues over which it was fought still reverberate throughout today's politics and society, issues such
as race relations and states' rights. Over four million men, North and South, served in the war, and as
many as 650,000 died, most from disease rather on the battlefield. This number is greater than in all of
our other wars combined.
Exact numbers will never be known, but it is estimated that as many as 674,000 men were taken
prisoner during the years 1861-1865. In the early days of the war captives were paroled or exchanged,
but exchanges essentially ceased in early 1864. General Grant and Union officials felt that released
Confederate prisoners would return to the battlefield, thus prolonging the war. Over 400,000 men were
held in prisons in the north and south until the end of the war in April 1865. An estimated 56,000 died in
prison - 30,000 in Confederate prisons and 26,000 in Union prisons.
Andersonville was certainly the most notorious of all Civil War Prisons, but there were as many as 150
prisons, small and large, through the north and the south. Southern prisons were established in Cahaba,
Salisbury, Florence, and Richmond. In the North prisons were established at Rock Island, Elmira, and
Camp Douglas. Death rates ranged from 20 to 30 percent, North and South, with the highest death rate
occurring at Camp Douglas in Chicago.
This website contains searchable databases of Union prisoners interned at Andersonville Prison and Cahaba Prison,
as well as the Union prisoners on the Sultana. The databases contain the following information:
- Regiment and company
- Date and location of capture
- Age and cause of death
- Andersonville grave number