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During the Civil War, James Madison Page was a prisoner in different places in the South. Seven months of that time was spent at Andersonville. While there he became well acquainted with Major Wirz, or Captain Wirz, as he then ranked.
Page takes the stand that Captain Wirz was unjustly held responsible for the hardship and mortality of Andersonville. It was his belief that the Federal authorities must share the blame for these things with the Confederate, since they well knew the inability of the Confederates to meet the reasonable wants of their prisoners of war, as they lacked a supply for their own needs, and since the Federal authorities failed to exercise a humane policy in the exchange of those captured in battle.
The writer, "with malice toward none and charity for all", denies conscious prejudice, and makes the sincere endeavor to put himself in the other fellow's place and make such a statement of the matter in hand as will satisfy all lovers of truth and justice.About the Author:
James Madison Page was born on July 22, 1839 in Crawfordville, Pennsylvania. He served in the Union army as 2d Lieutenant of Company A, Sixth Michigan Cavalry. After participating in many skirmishes and battles, including Gettysburg, Page was captured on September 21, 1863 along the Rapidan in Virginia and spent the next thirteen months in Southern military prisons, seven of which were at Camp Sumter near Andersonville, Georgia. After the war, Page was supoenaed for the war crimes trial of Major Henry Wirz, the former commandant of the prison, but after being interviewed, the prosecution decided not to call him as a witness because his testimony undermined the predetermined guilt of the accused. Having been present at the prison in the summer of 1864, when the atrocities were said to have occurred, Page denied that any of the four murders charged to Wirz had happened, which denial was supported by the fact that the alleged deceased were never named. After being dissuaded by his sister from joining the ill-fated Indian foray in the West under the command of General George Custer, Page instead moved to the Montana Territory in 1866, where he worked as a Government surveyor. The town of Pageville in Madison County was named in his honor. Page spent his final years in Long Beach, California, where he died in 1924.
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