Specifications of the Charges
There were multiple Specifications in the indictment brought against Henry Wirz. Wirz was convicted under all Specifications in spite of the fact that some listed that events occurred on specific dates when Wirz was not at the Andersonville Prison. For example:
Specification #6: On February 1, 1864, Henry Wirz did confine and bind a U. S. soldier (unknown name) and from such torture he died on the 6th day.
The prison at Andersonville did not accept its first prisoners until February 24, 1864. It is not possible that a prisoner could have been killed there on the date in question. Even if it were possible, the killing could not have been accomplished by Wirz as he had not yet arrived from his assignment in Europe.
Specification #10: On August 20, 1864, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (unknown name) to fire upon a U. S. soldier (unknown name) inflicting a mortal wound from which he died.
Specification #13: On August 3rd, 1864, Henry Wirz with a pistol called a revolver did beat and bruise the head, shoulders and breast of a soldier, a prisoner of war (unknown name) inflicting mortal wounds from which he died August 4th, 1864.
Regarding the above specified events of August 1864, Henry Wirz was in poor health and, according to camp records, spent the entire month of August convalescing at his home which was five miles from the prison. He could not have participated in these events.
Wirz could not have committed at least three of the offenses as charged in these specifications.
The remaining specifications did list events as having occurred when Wirz was likely to have been present at the prison. It is possible that these occurred. It is also possible the others could have occurred and simply been incorrectly dated. But the Confederates meticulously maintained death records which were turned over to the Union after surrender and none of the records would have indicated any Union prisoners died there prior to February 24, 1864.
The following are the additional specifications of charges against Henry Wirz:
Specification #1: Henry Wirz on the eight day of July, 1864, while acting as commander did make an assault upon a prisoner (unknown name) inflicting upon the body a mortal wound with a pistol - the said soldier died the ninth day of July, 1864.
Specification #2: On September 20th, 1864, Henry Wirz did with malice aforethought jump upon, stamp, kick, bruise, and otherwise injure with the heels of his boots a soldier (unknown name) belonging to the United States Army - the said soldier died.
Specification #3: On the 13th day of June, 1864, Henry Wirz, commander of the camp at Andersonville of the so-called Confederate States of America did shoot and discharge a pistol inflicting upon the body of a soldier (unknown name) a mortal wound from which the soldier died.
Specification #4: On May 30th, Henry Wirz with a certain pistol did feloniously and with malice aforethought, inflict upon a soldier (unknown name) a mortal wound from which the soldier died.
Specification #5: On August 20th, 1864, Henry Wirz, an officer of the so-called Confederate States, did confine and bind with instruments of torture a soldier belonging to the Army of the United States (unknown name) and in consequence of such cruel treatment the said soldier died on the 30th day of August.
Specification #7: On July 20, Henry Wirz did fasten and chain together several persons, soldiers of the U. S. (unknown names) binding the necks and feet of said soldiers closely together and compelling them to carry heavy burdens, large iron balls chained to their feet and in consequence of such treatment one of them died.
Specification #8: May 15, 1864, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (unknown name) to fire upon a soldier of the U. S. Army (unknown name) inflicting upon him a mortal wound from which he died.
Specification #9: On the 21st day of July, Henry Wirz did order a rebel soldier (unknown name) to fire upon a soldier, a prisoner of war (unknown name) inflicting a mortal wound from which the prisoner died.
#11: July 1, 1864, Henry Wirz did incite, and urge ferocious bloodhounds
to pursue, attack, wound, and tear in pieces soldiers belonging to the
U. S. Army, and a prisoner (unknown name) was so mortally wounded that
on the sixth day he died.
Text by Jon Rice.