Dr. Bates' testimony for the defense
I may say that we had no medicines. We were not permitted to prescribe regularly, only by numbers, and they were decoctions of indigenous herbs and bark. They were numbered. For a scorbuta case we would order Specific No. 14 or 24, as the case might be. I do not know of sick or wounded prisoners being brought to the hospital from other places than the stockade. I have seen some few prisoners arrive at Andersonville who were sick or wounded. Some of the men had been reduced, some ragged, some sick, and in fact some dead or dying, when they came there. I did not see many, however, in that condition, as I was not much about the depot or headquarters.
I saw some few instances of neglect on the part of the nurses. I stated before, when I was on the stand, that in making out my morning reports I would make my calculation for the amount of commissary supplies; that there was a sufficiency. Nevertheless, I negatived that by saying that I was not sure they got it. On one occasion I detected fourteen loaves of bread that were being kept from the prisoners. It was what was known as Father Whelan's bread, which he had placed under my direction.....
Q. You speak of the country from Andersonville to Macon as being poor; do you mean the whole of that route?
A. I speak directly of the poverty-stricken locality of Andersonville.
Q. Did you not speak of the whole route as far as Macon?
A. If I was so understood I did not mean it.
Q. Would not that be considered a very rich country?
A. I do not know very much about this; I never took any particular notice. I have understood that southwestern Georgia was considered the garden-spot of the South. But I am not well acquainted with it except by stage and railroad travel, to limited extent. I cannot give an intelligent opinion on that point.
The prime cause of the poisonous atmosphere
in the hospital was the crowded condition of the patients, and their filthy
condition in consequence, and the vermin offal and filthiness generally
which would accumulate where men are confined., not able to help or do
for themselves, without the means at hand for cleanliness. The boxes used
by men all through the hospital were not very well attended to unless there
was an officer of the day there to see to it. Everything was calculated
to produce a disease-creating agency. I mean to say that this poisonous
atmosphere was produced by condition of the prison and the hospital, in
regard to the numbers and the treatment which the prisoners received there;
I think also the deficiency of medicines - they had no medicines.
This excerpt obtained by Troy Drew from the trial record as quoted in The Andersonville Prison Trial: The Trial of Captain Henry Wirz, by General N.P. Chipman, 1911.