Augustus Moesner testifying for the defense on the charge of violating the rules of war
Q. What do you know about little boys being taken out of the stockade and what was done with them?
A. There were about forty or fifty boys inside the stockade, who had been taken prisoners, and Captain Wirz requested Dr. White to take some of them to the hospital as helps to the nurses or cooks there, because it was no use to keep those boys as prisoners of war; they would only get sick and die inside the stockade or they would get spoilt there, and if it was his power he would send them to our lines, because it was no use to take boys as prisoners of war.
Captain Wirz took them out of the stockade and sent them to the hospital. One of them, a small little boy, who seemed to be ill, he took in our office and told us clerks to nurse him, and we had him there. When the boys were taken out they were sent to the hospital to assist the nurses and cooks, and some of them were sent to get blackberries for the sick.
Q. What was the rule in regard to men under punishment that got sick?
A. Well, sir, when a man who had been ordered to wear a ball and chain complained that he was sick, a doctor was sent for, and if he found that it was so, the ball and chain would be taken off and the man would be sent to the hospital if necessary; also, when new squads of prisoners came in, and there were men among them who claimed to be sick, the doctor who was officer of the day was sent for, and he had to see if the men were really sick or not; the they were they were sent to the hospital. I recollect also that once there was a man amongst them who told me he was a hospital steward in our army; I spoke to Captain Wirz about it, and the man was immediately sent to the hospital as a steward; he was paroled and was not sent into the stockade at all. Some of the hospital attendants serenaded Captain Wirz and Dr. Stevenson, and I understood Dr. White too.
Q. Did you at your headquarters or did Captain Wirz have anything to do with vaccination? If so, state what.
A. When I was first sent in the stockade there was a sergeant near my tent whose arm was very sore; he told me that it was caused by vaccination; but I was only a short time inside the stockade. When I was outside Dr. White gave an order, as the small-pox was increasing among the prisoners, that all men who came as new prisoners to Andersonville, who had not been vaccinated, should be vaccinated. One day a prisoner was brought out to Captain Wirz by one of the doctors, and the doctor reported to Captain Wirz that the prisoner refused to be vaccinated; but the order had been given by Dr. White and not by Captain Wirz, and Wirz told him that he had nothing to do with it; that it was by the order of Dr. White that men who came there, and had not been vaccinated, were to be vaccinated, and that he (Wirz) would not care a damn whether they died of small-pox or not.
Q. Do you know anything about Frado or "Frenchy," who was brought in by the dogs? If you do, state what you know about it.
A. Frado was a Frenchman; he was a man who escaped seven times; he escaped once when I was inside the stockade; he went out by tunneling; there were four of them together; I saw him brought back with a ball and chain on him; a short time afterwards he escaped again; I do not know in which way, but he had taken off his ball and chain; and so he escaped several times.
Q. What do you know about his being brought back by Captain Wirz?
A. He was brought back once when he had made his escape.
Q. What condition was he in?
A. Those men who should make the chain-gang were sent to the blacksmith's shop, and he went there.
Q. If you saw him come back, what condition was he in and what did they do with him?
A. He was brought back and sent to the stockade; his pants were torn up; Captain Wirz was very muddy; he had white pants on but they were muddy away up to his knees; they brought Frenchy inside the stockade, and the next day he was brought out again by one of the Confederate sergeants to our office, and he said that it was because he had said to the sergeant inside the stockade that he wanted to try the dogs once more; Captain Wirz told him that he saw it was of no use to put him in irons, because he had slipped off the irons, and he sent him to the guard-house and kept him there; I saw only that his pants were torn up; I did not see that the dogs had hurt him; I did not hear him say anything himself on that subject; I saw him afterwards at Millen, and also at Annapolis, when we were exchanged; they kept him at the guard-house after he was taken out of the stockade until he was sent to Savannah; I think about a month - over a month.
I never saw, knew, or heard of anybody dying at Captain Wirz's headquarters who had been bitten by dogs.
I never saw, knew, or head about Captain Wirz shooting, beating, or killing men in any way while I was there; I never saw, knew, or heard in any way of Captain Wirz carrying a whip while I was there. He never did.
Thirty or forty boxes were in that first lot which I saw, while I was in the stockade. I don't know whether that was the same lot Guscetti told about; I don't recollect what he said. The first boxes we got were sent from the North by friends of the prisoners in the month of May. They came inside. The boxes were of different size. Some were so long [about a yard], and others were smaller.
Q. Then they were from a foot square to two or three square? Those are the only boxes you know to have gone into the prison with provisions?
A. Yes sir. I saw them when they came inside the stockade. I saw them all distributed. The boxes had been opened before and examined. The second time that I saw boxes arrive was in August. Then we got clothing sent by our government - blue pants, shoes, caps and blouses. They were distributed to those on duty outside. In addition to double rations, we also got the clothing that came. That clothing was not distributed to those inside the prison, and the reason stated was that the quantity was so small that there would be too much fighting about it. There were many men in there who needed clothing. That was the only reason assigned for not sending that clothing into the stockade, and the clothing was distributed to those who needed it outside. I got some of that clothing. I got blue pants, and I sold them and bought a blanket, because I had none, and I had been lying on the ground with nothing to cover me. I sold that pair of pants for five dollars. I sold them to a rebel sergeant. I have seen rebel sergeants wearing those Federal clothes; I saw them wearing blue pants and overcoats. I don't know there they always got them. I don't know anything about it.
I stated that when men were in the chain-gang they were put under a fly. I saw them under it; I have seen them out from under it; I saw them in the morning going down to the cook-house to get their rations. I don not recollect that I saw them out from under that fly at any other times.
I knew all about the orders issued in regard to the chain-gang; I know that they always issued from General Winder's headquarters, because Captain Wirz told me. All that I know about it is what Captain Wirz told me, and he told me that the orders came from General Winder. I cannot swear that I ever saw a written order on that subject. I cannot swear that I ever heard General Winter give a verbal order to Captain Wirz on that subject. I don't know anything about it except what Captain Wirz told me.
Q. Did Captain Wirz always tell you when he was executing an order of this kind that it came from General Winder?
A. He was nearly always talking about it. He did not report to me when General Winder sent an order of that kind. He did not always tell me from whom the order came.
Q. Then there were men put in the chain-gang when you did not know for what reason, or on whose ordered?
A. I know so far as Captain Wirz told me. But he did not always tell me. I do not know about those cases in which he did not tell me; I do not know anything about those.
Q. Did not Captain Wirz always direct the officer to put the men in the chain-gang?
A. The prisoners were sent to the blacksmith shop. Captain Wirz sent them there.
Q. He sent them there to be ironed?
A. I did not hear him give these orders. He went over to General Winder, and after he came back he said these men were to be put in the chain-gang. He very frequently said that General Winder had given him the order - not always. The men could be put in the stocks by Captain Wirz's order.
Q. Do you know any reason why he could not also order them put in the chain-gang?
A. They were mostly paroled prisoners; at least the first who were put in the chain-gang were paroled prisoners. Captain Wirz had the power to inflict other punishment besides putting men in the stocks. He had the power to put the ball and chain on them. Nothing else. I never saw a man bucked and gagged while I was at Andersonville. I don't know whether he could issue the order on that subject. I don't know how far his power went. My observation in reference to bucking and gagging has been just as good as in reference to anything else. I think my knowledge and opinion on that point are just as good as on anything else. I know of Captain Wirz ordering men to be whipped; I have heard him give the order to whip a man. That is another thing he had power to do; he gave the order. No men were tied up by the thumbs; I say positively that I never knew a man to be tied up by the thumbs while I was there. I am as positive in reference to that as anything else. I think that no man was tied up by the thumb there. Captain Wirz had the power and exercised the power to direct that prisoners be caught by the hounds. He had that power. He put them in the stocks. I don't recollect any other punishments that what I have mentioned. Although Captain Wirz had the power to inflict all these other punishments, he had no power to put men in the chain-gang, so far as I know, and I know about that just as I know about everything else.
The chain-gang commenced about the first of July and ended the latter part of July; of that I am as positive as of anything else. I did not hear of a man's dying in the chain-gang with the chain on them; I never heard of it. I swear positively that I never heard of a man's dying in the stocks.
I say Captain Wirz's right arm was crippled. In a battle in Virginia he was wounded. I do not know that he was hurt by being thrown from a stage-coach. He never told me that. He told me he was wounded. He told me once his whole story, and he said his arm was crippled by a piece of shell somewhere in Virginia; I do not know where, --in 1861 Or 18862. I have seen Captain Wirz on horseback very often. He mounted the horse on the right side. He held the reins in his left hand. I never recollect seeing him hold a pistol; he had a pistol generally a belt around his waist. I do swear positively that I never saw a pistol in his hand, I am as sure of that as of everything else. I have seen Captain Wirz write. He wrote with his right hand. He ate with his right hand. I don't recollect seeing him do anything else with his right hand. It did not attract my attention especially what hand he used.
I never heard of Captain Wirz shooting, kicking, or beating a Federal prisoner while I was at Andersonville. I swear positively to that; I saw him pushing prisoners into the ranks, but not that they could be hurt. He would take them by the arm and push them into the ranks and say " God damn it! Couldn't you stay in the ranks where you were put?" He would not push them in violently - a gentle push. He was violent in these moments, cursing and swearing, as he always was with us, but he seemed harder than he was. I never saw him take any one by the throat, but by the shoulder or arm. Not with both hands; with one hand. I don't know which hand. I have seen him often go up the line of prisoners; I have seen him counting them, and I never saw him with his pistol in his hand on any of these occasions; it was his custom; he had his pistol in his belt. I saw him in the stockade while I was there; I saw him once at the south gate and once on horseback with Lieutenant Colonel Persons, and I saw him once in the stockade while I was outside. I saw him riding among the prisoners only once after I was taken out. On none of those occasions I never saw him carry a pistol except always in his belt. I swear positively that I never heard of Captain Wirz kicking or shooting a prisoner, nor in any way maltreating him except as I have stated.
Q. You swear positively that you never heard of a man's being torn by the hounds.
A. I saw that Frenchy had his pants torn. That is the only instance of hounds tearing the soldiers' clothes or flesh that I ever heard of, and I know as much about these things as about anything else.
During the month of August Captain Wirz was so sick that he did not come to the office. He was sick previously and sick afterwards while he was still in command. In the first days of August he was on duty yet, perhaps up to the 4th or 5th day of August, and about the last day, the 30th or 31st, he came back.
Q. Between the 4th and 30th of August you swear positively that Captain Wirz did not official act?
A. He was not on duty. He was confined to his house
and was partly on furlough. I heard he was on furlough from Lieutenant
Davis; I did not see him going off, nor see him returning. I know he was
confined to his bed by hearing it; I did not see him.
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.