What were the greatest dangers faced by wounded and captured soldiers during the Civil War?

1 Answer
Nov 5, 2016

Their wounds would likely be untreated and they could be abused, starved, and unsheltered in the elements.


Many prisoner of war camps on both sides were horror stories.

Originally, the Civil war armies counted on parole to deal with captured soldiers. The soldier signed a paper saying that he would fight no more for the enemy until he was officially exchanged. The Soldier was then released. There was a complex exchange process between the armies. Officers being worth more than enlisted men. Some soldiers went back to fighting immediately. The Parole process worked reasonably well early in the war.

When Blacks started fighting as Union soldiers parole eventually became unworkable as the Confederacy would not recognize the Blacks as soldiers.

Hasty prison camps were set up. The Confederacy could barely feed it own soldiers let alone thousands of prisoners. Living conditions were crowded, there was little food or medicine, disease was common and thousands died. The Confederate camp at Andersonville in Florida was particularly appalling.

On both sides there was no suitable housing, prisoners were put in tents and when they ran out, then nothing at all regardless of the weather. Prison officials were occasionally vindictive but generally conditions were bad enough that may died of neglect.