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Aaron FRENCH

Male 1815 - 1864  (49 years)


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  • Name Aaron FRENCH 
    Born 1815 
    Gender Male 
    Died 19 Jul 1864  Andersonville Prison, Sumter County, GA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 

    • (1) Note by Compiler: It appears that either some of the following records relate to different soldiers, or some of the following records are erroneous. The record listed in paragraph 6 below indicates that Aaron FRENCH died in Andersonville Prison in 1862; however, the record listed in paragraph 2 below indicates that Aaron FRENCH did not enlist in his military unit until 1864, and the records listed in paragraphs 2 and 4 below indicate that Aaron FRENCH died in Andersonville Prison in 1864.

      (2) Civil War Research Database [database online], Orem, UT: Ancestry.com:

      Aaron French
      Residence:
      Occupation:
      Service Record:
      POW
      Enlisted as a Private on 29 March 1864
      Enlisted in Company A, 2nd Heavy Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania on 29 March 1864.
      Transferred Company A, 2nd Heavy Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania on 20 April 1864
      Transfered in 2nd Pro Light Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania on 20 April 1864.
      Died as a prisoner 2nd Pro Light Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania on 19 July 1864 in Andersonville, GA

      (3) Civil War Compiled Military Service Records [database online], Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 1999-:

      Surname: French
      Given Name: Aaron
      Middle Initial:
      Company: A
      Unit: 2 Pennsylvania H. Art'y.
      Rank - Induction: Private
      Rank - Discharge: Private
      Notes:
      Allegiance: Union

      Surname: French
      Given Name: Aaron
      Middle Initial:
      Company: G
      Unit: 2 Pennsylvania Prov'l H. Art'y.
      Rank - Induction: Private
      Rank - Discharge: Private
      Notes: 2 Pa. Hy. Art'y.
      Allegiance: Union

      (4) Andersonville Prisoners of War [database online], Orem, UT: MyFamily.com, Inc., 1999:

      Surname: FRENCH
      Given Name: AARON
      Rank: PRIVATE
      Company: A
      Regiment: 2
      State: PA
      Arm of Service: ARTILLERY
      Death Date: JULY 19, 1864
      Cause of Death: DYSENTERY
      Remarks: G 2 PA HEAVY ARTILLERY [1]; A. FRENCH, G 2 PA ARTILLERY [3]; UNIT [9]
      Reference: p 53 [3]; p 1066 [9]
      Location of Capture:
      Date of Capture:
      Page: 109
      Notes:
      More Information: NO
      Code: 13582
      Grave: 3582

      (5) Civil War Pension Index [database online], Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2000:

      Name of Soldier: French, Aaron
      Name of Dependent: French, Emiline
      Service: G 2 Pa H.A.
      Date of Filing: 1866 May 28
      Class: Widow
      Application No.: 127,491
      Certificate No.: 91536
      State from Which Filed:
      Attorney:
      Remarks: [Illegible]

      (6) http://www.rootsweb.com/~pabradfo/veterans/vets058.htm:

      Surname: FRENCH
      First: Aaron
      Middle:
      Title:
      Date/Place of Birth: 1815
      Date/Place of Death: 1862 Andersonville
      War: Civil
      Branch: USA
      Rank: Pvt
      Unit:
      Serial Nr:
      Cemetery: Mountain Lake
      Township: Burlington Twp
      County: Bradford
      State: PA

      (6) "Andersonville," Encyclopædia Brittanica, 2010, © 2010 Encyclopædia Brittanica, Inc.:

      Andersonville, village in Sumter county, southwest-central Georgia, U.S., that was the site of a Confederate military prison from February 1864 until May 1865 during the American Civil War. Andersonville - formally, Camp Sumter - was the South's largest prison for captured Union soldiers and was notorious for its unhealthy conditions and high death rate. The site of the camp has been preserved as Andersonville National Historic Site. The village, which is approximately one-quarter mile (0.4 km) from the camp, includes the railroad depot at which the prisoners arrived and the prison warden's office. Other attractions include a 7-acre (2.8-hectare) farm dating from the mid-19th century.

      In the summer of 1863 the U.S. federal authorities ended an agreement under which Union and Confederate captives were exchanged; the resultant increased number of Union prisoners of war confined in the capital city of Richmond, Va., constituted a danger to the Confederacy and put serious pressure on that city's food supply. In November 1863, Confederate authorities selected Andersonville, through which ran a stream, as the site for a stockade encompassing 16.5 acres (6.7 hectares). Prisoners began to arrive in February 1864, before the prison was completed and before adequate supplies had been received, and by May their number amounted to about 12,000. In June the stockade was enlarged to 26 acres (10.5 hectares), but the congestion was only temporarily relieved, and by August the number of prisoners exceeded 32,000.

      No shelter had been provided for the inmates: the first arrivals made rude sheds from the debris of the stockade; the others made tents of blankets and other available pieces of cloth or dug pits in the ground. By that time the resources of the Confederacy were stretched thin, and the prison was frequently short of food. Even when food was sufficient in quantity, it was of poor quality and was poorly prepared because of the lack of cooking utensils. The water supply, deemed ample when the prison was planned, became polluted under the congested conditions, and the medical staff was inadequate and poorly provisioned. During the summer of 1864 the prisoners suffered greatly from hunger, exposure, and disease, and in seven months about one-third of them died. In the autumn of 1864, after William Tecumseh Sherman's Union forces had captured Atlanta, all the prisoners who could be moved were sent to Millen, Ga., and Florence, S.C. Arrangements at Millen were better, and, when Sherman began his March to the Sea, some 5,000 prisoners were returned to Andersonville, where the conditions also were somewhat improved. In all, nearly 13,000 Union prisoners died at Andersonville from disease, malnutrition, and other causes.

      Conditions in Andersonville were utilized as propaganda material in the North, where Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered retaliation on Confederates held in Union prisons. After the war, Capt. Henry Wirz, commander of the prison, was tried and convicted of war crimes by a military commission. Wirz rejected an offer of parole in exchange for his incrimination of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and he was hanged on Nov. 10, 1865. He is the only person in the United States ever to have been executed for war crimes. Pop. (2000) 331; (2007 est.) 338.

      (7) "Andersonville National Historic Site," from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, accessed January 24, 2011:

      The Andersonville prison, officially known as Camp Sumter, served as a Confederate Prisoner-of-war camp during the American Civil War. The site of the prison is now Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville, Georgia. Most of the site actually lies in extreme southwestern Macon County, adjacent to the east side of Andersonville. It includes the site of the Civil War prison, the Andersonville National Cemetery and the National Prisoner of War Museum. In all, 12,913 of the approximately 45,000 Union prisoners died there because of starvation, malnutrition, diarrhea, and disease.

      Conditions

      The prison, which opened in February 1864, originally covered about 23 acres (93,000 sq m) of land enclosed by a 15-foot (4.6 m) high stockade. In June 1864 it was enlarged to 26.5 acres (107,000 sq m). The stockade was in the shape of a rectangle 1,620 feet (490 m) by 779 feet (237 m). There were two entrances on the west side of the stockade, known as "north entrance" and "south entrance".

      A Union soldier described his entry into the prison camp:

      "As we entered the place, a spectacle met our eyes that almost froze our blood with horror, and made our hearts fail within us. Before us were forms that had once been active and erect; - stalwart men, now nothing but mere walking skeletons, covered with filth and vermin. Many of our men, in the heat and intensity of their feeling, exclaimed with earnestness. "Can this be hell?" "God protect us!" and all thought that He alone could bring them out alive from so terrible a place. In the center of the whole was a swamp, occupying about three or four acres of the narrowed limits, and a part of this marshy place had been used by the prisoners as a sink, and excrement covered the ground, the scent arising from which was suffocating. The ground allotted to our ninety was near the edge of this plague-spot, and how we were to live through the warm summer weather in the midst of such fearful surroundings, was more than we cared to think of just then."

      At Andersonville, a light fence known as "the dead line" was erected approximately 19 feet (5.8 m) inside the stockade wall. It demarcated a no-man's land that kept prisoners away from the stockade wall, which was made of rough-hewn logs about 16 feet (4.9 m) high. Anyone crossing this line was shot by sentries located in the pigeon roosts.

      Andersonville Prison was frequently undersupplied with food. Even when sufficient quantities were available, the supplies were of poor quality and poorly prepared. During the summer of 1864 Union prisoners suffered greatly from hunger, exposure and disease. Within seven months, about a third of them died from what was diagnosed as dysentery and scurvy and were buried in mass graves, the standard practice by Confederate prison authorities at Andersonville. In 1864 the Confederate Surgeon General asked Joseph Jones, an expert on infectious disease, to investigate the high mortality rate at the camp. He concluded that it was due to "scorbutic dysentery" (bloody diarrhea caused by vitamin C deficiency), yet in hindsight it is likely that the cause of fatal emaciation and diarrhea was rampant hookworm disease, a condition not recognized or known during the Civil War.

      The water supply from Stockade Creek became polluted when too many Union prisoners were housed by the Confederate authorities within the prison walls. Part of the creek was used as a sink and the men were forced to wash themselves in the creek.

      The guards, disease, starvation and exposure were not all that prisoners had to deal with. A group of prisoners, calling themselves the Andersonville Raiders, attacked their fellow inmates to steal food, jewelry, money and clothing. They were armed mostly with clubs and killed to get what they wanted. Another group rose up to stop the larceny, calling themselves "Regulators". They caught nearly all of the Raiders, who were then tried by a judge (Peter "Big Pete" McCullough) and jury selected from a group of new prisoners. This jury, upon finding the Raiders guilty, set punishment that included running the gauntlet, being sent to the stocks, ball and chain and, in six cases, hanging.

      In the autumn of 1864, after the capture of Atlanta, all the prisoners who were well enough to be moved were sent to Millen, Georgia, and Florence, South Carolina. At Millen, better arrangements prevailed, and after General William Tecumseh Sherman began his march to the sea, the prisoners were returned to Andersonville, where conditions were somewhat improved.

      During the war, 45,000 prisoners were received at Andersonville prison, and of these 12,913 died. The nature of the deaths and the reasons for them are a continuing source of controversy among historians. Some contend that they were a result of deliberate Confederate war crimes toward Union prisoners and others that they were the result of disease promoted by severe overcrowding, the shortage of food in the Confederate States, the incompetence of the prison officials and the refusal of the Confederate authorities to parole black soldiers, which resulted in the imprisonment of soldiers from both sides, thus overfilling the stockade.

      A young Union prisoner, Dorence Atwater, had been chosen to record the names and numbers of the dead at Andersonville for the use of the Confederacy and the federal government after the war ended. He believed the federal government would never see the list, and was right in this assumption, as it turned out. He sat next to Henry Wirz, who was in charge of the prison pen, and secretly kept his own list among other papers. When Atwater was released, he put the list in his bag and took it through the lines without being caught. It was published by the New York Times when Horace Greeley, the owner, learned that the federal government had refused and given Atwater much grief. It was Atwater's opinion that Andersonville was indeed trying to make soldiers unfit to fight.

      Aftermath

      After the war Henry Wirz, commandant at Camp Sumter, was court-martialed on charges of conspiracy and murder. The trial was presided over by Union General Lew Wallace and featured chief JAG (Judge Advocate General)'s prosecutor Norton Parker Chipman.

      A number of former prisoners testified on conditions at Andersonville, many accusing Wirz of specific acts of cruelty. The court also considered official correspondence from captured Confederate records. Perhaps the most damaging was a letter to the Confederate surgeon general by Dr. James Jones, who in 1864 was sent by Richmond to investigate conditions at Camp Sumter. Wirz presented evidence that he pleaded to Confederate authorities to try to get more food and tried to improve the conditions for the prisoners inside.

      Unfortunately for Wirz, President Abraham Lincoln had recently been assassinated, so the political environment was not sympathetic. Wirz was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death. On November 10, 1865, he was hanged. Wirz was the only Confederate official to be tried and convicted of war crimes resulting from the Civil War. . . . The revelation of the sufferings of the prisoners was one of the factors that shaped public opinion in the North regarding the South after the close of the Civil War.

      In 1891 the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Georgia bought the site of Andersonville Prison from membership and subscriptions. The site was purchased by the federal government in 1910.
    Person ID I2511  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 13 Jul 2017 

    Father Aaron FRENCH,   b. 1 Mar 1767, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jan 1851, Sheshequin Township, Bradford County, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Mary MYERS,   b. 28 Apr 1778, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Dec 1863, Sheshequin Township, Bradford County, PA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 28 May 1797  Sussex County, NJ Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1551  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart