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Avoiding The Grave At Andersonville: Three Young Men From Leopold, Indiana, Survive The Civil War Prison

1970 words - 8 pages

Statues and shrines of Our Lady of Consolation can be found in thousands of cities around the world. Constructed of marble, wood, or other stone, these replicas hold a special aura about them. One such sculpture of Our Lady of Consolation, located in Leopold, Indiana, has a fascinating history entirely its own. July 4, 2002 marked the 135th year since the statue had reached the shores of America (Hackmann 1). As the result of a promise, the replica of Our Lady found its new home in southern Indiana. Following their capture and shipment to the horrid Civil War prison at Andersonville, four young men—Isidore Naviaux, Henry Devillez, Lambert Rogier, and Xavier Rogier—endured appalling conditions and made an oath to pay tribute to Our Lady of Consolation if one survived.
Naviaux, along with the others, did not know what he signed himself up for. Mustered into the 93rd Indiana Regiment, Company G on August 28, 1862, in Cannelton, Indiana, at the age of twenty-two, Isidore began to serve his country (Naviaux 3). For two years, the four men fought alongside each other safely. On June 10, 1864, the small Confederate army of General Nathan Bedford Forrest overtook the larger Union army of General Samuel D. Sturgis at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads in Guntown, Mississippi. In addition to a total of 2,610 casualties, many Union soldiers became prisoners of war. (“Brice’s 1) Naviaux, Devillez, and both Rogier brothers—all from Perry County—were among those captured (Strahl 17). Their journey to Andersonville began here. Henry Devillez, prisoner at Andersonville, remembers their travels. “. . . we were taken to Mobile, Alabama, about three hundred of us. We stayed there in prison about three days. From there we were taken up the Alabama river to Montgomery, Alabama. From Montgomery we were taken by rail to Andersonville.” (Devillez 1)
Carefully located away from the front lines and conveniently close to a railroad, Camp Sumter, better known as Andersonville, found its home in the Georgia woods. Constructed in early 1864, this prison held sixteen acres. Lack of time and the inflation of lumber prices caused the stockade to have open skies and unclosed walls which led to the first of several troubles. (1 “Andersonville” 2) The only source of water for the prisoners came from Sweetwater Creek which flowed through the prison and later became a den for disease and filth. During the fourteen months that Andersonville stood, it held the estimated number of 45,000 Yankee soldiers—13,000 of which perished. (2 “Andersonville” 1) Many of those who escaped death did not like to speak of their time spent in those wretched conditions.
The first shipment of prisoners to reach Andersonville came from Libby Prison in Virginia on February 24, 1864 (Hackmann 1). From that day on, 400 men showed up each day. At the end of June, 26,000 men were held captive, and by August, the total had risen to 33,000, making that the largest population of men held...

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