View Full Version : Was henry Wirz given a fair trial or was he lynched?
23rd November 2010, 06:53 AM
Some writers have said that Wirz was unfairly tried and convicted because the South had low food rations, which was out of Wirz's control. The controversial trial, one of the nation's first war crimes tribunals, created enduring moral and legal notions and established the precedent that certain wartime behavior is unacceptable, regardless if committed under the orders of superiors or on one's own. aka wikipedia
I have mixed feelings about this. The situation may have been out of his control. The confederates were treated worse at Fort Lincoln.
24th November 2010, 06:46 PM
Many Andersonville inmates specifically fingered Wirz for acts of cruelty. Further, the trial used evidence garnered from Confederate archives, which implicated the maltreatment of the imprisoned. Wirz tried to present evidence that he claimed showed he pushed for reform, but it was not enough to outweigh that of his apparent actions.
I personally think that it probably was an unfair trial to some extent, given the immediacy of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination, but the evidence was probably sufficient to merit some form of conviction. Whether a death sentence would be wise I cannot say as my exposure to Andersonville is cursory at best; perhaps this bumping will engender someone better versed on the subject.
25th November 2010, 02:07 PM
From what I've read conditions were far worse at Andersonville than at similar prisons that had to operate under the same constraints.
26th November 2010, 07:06 AM
I don't buy the "lynching" angle for a fairly simple reason - only he and one other person (Champ Ferguson) were executed after the war. If there was truly a mob mentality to punish the ex-Confederates, surely Davis, Stephens, Lee, or any of the other myriad leaders would've gone to the gallows long before either Wirz or Ferguson did.
26th November 2010, 01:36 PM
Exactly. IIRC, Davis was eventually released from prison after his bond was paid by Northerners and Southerners alike.
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