The Andersonville Trial
is a dramatic representation of the only occurrence of an American citizen being tried for war crimes against his own countrymen. Henry Wirz was a Swiss born, naturalized citizen of the United States who was living in Kentucky at the time of the Civil War. Trained as a soldier in Europe, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and was seriously wounded at the Battle of 7 Pines. No longer able to serve in action, Wirz was assigned as Superintendent of Camp Sumter, known more widely as the Andersonville stockade, one of the largest of the South’s prisoner of war camps. Near the end of the war, the camp, which was designed for 10,000 men, held over 40,000 prisoners with little food, water or medical supplies.
Over 14,000 Union soldiers died in an 11 month period under Wirz’s command.
Was it caused by a shortage of supplies? Or was it a Confederate conspiracy to destroy Union lives? And if it was a conspiracy, did Wirz have a moral obligation to disobey his orders and commandeer supplies from civilians? Or, as a soldier, was Wirz obligated to simply obey his superior officers?
These questions and many others are addressed in this gripping account of one of the darkest times in American history, presented for the first time in the setting of an actual, true to the period, courtroom.