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Class Year

2015

Abstract

This article details the experiences of survivors of the Andersonville prison camp after the Civil War. Feeling marginalized by the public after returning to the North, prisoners of war worked to demonstrate that their experiences were exceptional enough to merit the same kind of respect and adoration given to other war veterans. In particular survivors utilized the strategy of "waving the bloody shirt," describing purported Confederate atrocities at the camp to a Northern audience looking for figures to blame for the horrors of war. Through prison narratives, veteran organizations, the erection of memorials, and reunions years later, Andersonville survivors worked to establish their role in the Civil War not as forgotten captives, but war heroes.

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