There existed an era in American history after the United States had gained independence, but before the west was won, when the country was at war within itself. More U.S. soldiers were lost in the Civil War than in any other American Conflict, both foreign and domestic. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. Roughly 50,000 survivors returned home as amputees. States rights and political territorialism fueled a separation of the colonies, dividing them into the Union and the Confederacy. During this time, many young men were forced into a battle for reasons unknown to them, and those defeated who were not killed were placed in prison camps. Although both the North and the South had these institutions, the Confederate prisons of the South were notorious for their barbaric cruelty and inhumane conditions. The most infamous of the Confederate prisons was Andersonville Prison in Andersonville, Ga. .
In a testimony given by Dr. Isaiah White, a surgeon for the Confederate Army, as stated in the Southern Historical Society Papers, he stated, "According to the report of Secretary of War Stanton, the number of Federal prisoners who died in Confederate prisons is 22,576, and according to the same authority the number of Confederate prisoners who died in Northern prisons is 26,436. According to the report of Surgeon-General Barnes the number of Confederates held in Northern prisons during the war was 220,000, and the number of Federal prisoners held in Confederate prisons was 270,000.It is to be observed that in all of the calculations of mortality made by the writers of these articles the figures relate to Andersonville." .
Andersonville Prison was located in Sumter County, Georgia, in a designated area allotted for 10,000 prisoners, but later became crammed with 33,000 mistreated P.O.W.'s. Disease shook the prison camp, due to the overcrowding, climate differences and dietary changes.