Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7, 1864: Establishing Andersonville

General Samuel Cooper, C.S. Army, Adjutant and Inspector General

On this day 150 years ago, plans for a prisoner of war camp near Andersonville, Georgia moved forward.
RICHMOND, VA., February 7, 1864.

Major General H. COBB, Atlanta, Ga.:

GENERAL: I am about to establish a cantonment at Andersonville in your State, for the safe-keeping of the Federal prisoners now in this city, numbering from 10,000 to 12,000, and I am greatly in want of an efficient commander for so important and responsible a command.

It is due to Georgia that this commander should be a citizen of the State in which the cantonment is situated, in order, as far as possible, to allay any sectional prejudices which might be anticipated.

The officer for the command should be one holding the rank of either brigadier-general or colonel, unassigned by reason of wounds or other disability. Can you recommend such a one? I ask this of you from your known acquaintance with the citizens of your State. Colonel Magill, of First Georgia Regulars, has applied to me for the situation, but I fear he will not answer, and I understand further that his record is not altogether such as would entitle him to so responsible a command.

I would have desired that the entire guard for that cantonment should be composed of Georgia troops, but this appears to be impossible in account of the threatening aspect of affairs in Georgia in the approaching campaign, which will require every able bodied man from the State for the field.

I propose, therefore, making arrangements for drawing a sufficient force for the purpose from your late command in Florida, believing that a large portion of that force will be composed of former residents of Georgia, who have emigrated to Florida.

Please let me hear from you soon, either by mail or telegraph, the latter preferable if you can in that way answer my question definitely.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

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