Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Elmira: Death Camp of the North Hardcover – March 1, 2002
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Horigan spent years researching, lecturing about and writing "Elmira: Death Camp of the North" and he makes strong arguments that support the idea that Elmira's abuse of its prisoners was intentional, and the South's abuse of theirs was more a matter of a lack of resources and funds. He reports strong evidence to support his claims, including records that show the Elmira prison camp officers sat on a $239,000 fund without shelling out for food or clothing, and mail between officers showing bureaucracy at its worst.
In fact, much of the book focuses on the decision-makers at the camp, in Albany and in Washington who dragged their feet or ignored problems. It took them nearly half a year to approve a plan to drain Foster's Pond, an open cesspool that likely contributed to illness and disease. The commanding officer, Col. Benjamin F. Tracy, instituted a policy to reject about half the beef intended for Confederate prisoners, which Horigan says essentially helped starve many men to death. By the time the camp closed in July 1865 after just one year in operation, nearly 3,000 men had died there along the banks of the Chemung River.
Horigan's book is engaging, lively and well-researched. Later chapters reiterate earlier points without boring. Even if you're not into the Civil War or prison history, you'll find this book a good, brisk read.
Although the text reads a bit static or flat, Horigan makes his points with emphasis. The last chapter summary is well done, too. I'd have like a map or sketch of the grounds and environs, however.
What I didn't realize is how much Civil War history there was to learn about right here in the Twin Tiers.
Because of my father's ongoing interest in history, and my own interest in books, I knew of MacKinlay Kantor's Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Andersonville", an intricate novel detailing life in and around the infamous prison camp in the South. I learned that the Andersonville Prison was a place of horror, where Union soldiers were taken to die by neglect and appalling conditions. Many of us learn of this, at least in passing, because the North won, and winners get to focus on their perspective of the events, people, and places that make up the stories that become history. And then there are books written - several excellent books have been researched and published on Andersonville - and movies made. Eventually, though, enough time passes and people become interested in their local history without feeling indicted by the shame in it. And so, as Michael Horigan explains in the introduction to his book, "Elmira: Death Camp of the North", in 1974 he was asked to teach a graduate workshop on the history of the Civil War prison camp in our backyard.Read more ›
The North NEVER had a food shortage, Never had an embargo, with-holding food, medicine or clothing. Yet, all this was PURPOSELY with held from the Southern POW's at NOT only Elmira, but other Northern POW camps for pure and simple revenge. This book contains the documents by General Halleck and Col. Hoffman, who ordered the suffering of these poor Southern soldiers.
Using information from this book, has already IN MANY OF MY DISCUSSIONS, quickly halted the accusations of The Terrible Southern POW camps.
The facts are extremely well documented, and the book, while a great read, does a vivid description of the horrors of Elmira. ( Called, "Hell-mira"--by the POW's) ( This book does include photos)
In conclusion, after reading this book, one may wonder how can civilized people, treat their fellow human beings this way. Unfortunatly, this is another chapter of Americas shameful history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well researched book and a welcome addition to the literature. The question of whether or not the treatment of Confederate prisoners of war rose to the level of a war crime at... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Retired CBP
Showed how bad Southern soldiers had it in Northern prison camps and that there should have been a few Union prison commandants on the gallows with Wirtz.Published 3 months ago by jasonowen75
The book was well researched and well written. The information was presented in a very readable way.Published 11 months ago by Harold Stanley
I was born and brought near Elmira, NY and am very familiar with the prison camp. The book was very well written and related the true stories. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Harry Easton
Very well-researched and detailed history of an unfortunate time during the Civil War, when thousands of Confederate prisoners were barricaded in a death camp in what's now a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by David E. Arnold
My great-great-grandfather spent time in the "Andersonville of the North," which explains my interest in reading this history. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Captain K
very good read I live 25 miles from Elmira and never knew about the camp. if you wanted info on the civil war this is a good book to have.Published on July 15, 2013 by dave