The Barry Report
Andersonville National Cemetery


(Vol. III)









No. 70  Washington, DC, November 25, 1865

The following report of Captain James M. Moore, assistant quartermaster United States army, upon the cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia, with the names of the martyrs there interred, is published by authority of the Secretary of War for the information of their comrades and friends.

Quartermaster General, Brevet Major General




During the Months of


Washington, DC September 20, 1865.

GENERAL: In accordance with Special Orders No. 19, Quartermaster General’s office, dated June 30, 1865, directing me to proceed to Andersonville, Georgia for the purpose of marking the graves of Union soldiers for future identification, and enclosing the cemetery, I have the honor to report as follows:

I left Washington, District of Columbia, on the 8thof July last for Andersonville, Georgia, via Savannah, with mechanics and material for the purpose above mentioned.

On my arrival at Savannah, I ascertained there was no railroad connection whatever to Andersonville – the direct road to Macon being broken, and that from Augusta, via Atlanta also in the same condition. I endeavored to procure wagon transportation, but was informed by the general commanding the department of Georgia that a sufficient number of teams could not be had in the State to haul one-half of my stores; and, as the roads were bad, and the distance more than four hundred miles, I abandoned all idea of attempting a route through a country difficult and tedious under more propitious circumstances.

The prospect of reaching Andersonville at this time was by no means favorable, and nearly one week had elapsed since my arrival at Savannah. I had telegraphed to Augusta, Atlanta, and Macon almost daily, and received replies that the railroads were not yet completed.

At length, on the morning of the 18thof July, the gratifying telegram was received, announcing the completion of the Augusta and Macon road to Atlanta, when I at once determined to procure a boat and proceed to Augusta by the Savannah river.

The desired boat was secured, and in twenty-four hours after the receipt of the telegram alluded to, I was on my way with men and material for Augusta. On my arrival there, I found the railroad completed to Macon, and that from Macon to Andersonville never having been broken, experienced little difficulty in reaching my destination, where I arrived July 25, after a tiresome trip, occupying six days and nights.

At Macon, Major General Wilson detailed one company of the 4thUnited States cavalry and one from the 137thregiment United States colored troops to assist me. A member of the former company was killed on the 5thof August at Augusta, at a station named Montezuma on the Southwestern railroad.

The rolling stock on all the railroads over which I travelled is in a miserable condition, and very seldom a greater rate of speed was attained than twelve miles an hour.   At the different stations along the route the object of the expedition was well known, and not infrequently, men wearing the garb of rebel soldiers would enter the cars and discuss the treatment of our prisoners at Andersonville; all of whom candidly admitted it was shameful, and a blot on the escutcheon of the South that years would not efface.

While encamped at Andersonville, I was daily visited by men from the surrounding country, and had an opportunity of gleaning their feelings towards the government; and, with hardly an exception, found those who had been in the rebel army more kindly disposed than those who had never taken part, and anxious to become citizens of the government they had fought so hard to destroy.

On the morning of the 26thof July, the work of identifying the graves, painting and lettering of the headboards, laying out walks and enclosing the cemetery was commenced, and on the evening of August 16, was completed with the exceptions hereafter mentioned.

The dead were found buried in trenches on a site selected by the rebels, about three hundred yards from the stockade. The trenches varied in length from fifty to one hundred and fifty yards. The bodies in the trenches were from two to three feet below the surface, and in several instances, where the rains had washed away the earth, but a few inches.   Additional earth however, was thrown upon the graves making them of a still greater depth. So close were they buried, without coffins or the ordinary clothing to cover their nakedness, that not more than twelve inches were allowed to each man; indeed, the little tablets marking their resting places, measuring hardly ten inches in width, almost touch each other.

United States soldiers, while prisoners at Andersonville, had been detailed to inter their companions, and , by a simple stake at the head of each grave, which bore a number corresponding with a   similar numbered name upon the Andersonville hospital record, I was able to identify and mark with a neat tablet, similar to those in the cemeteries at Washington, the number, name , rank, regiment, company, and date of death of twelve thousand four hundred and sixty one graves, there being but four hundred that bore the sad inscription “Unknown U. S. soldiers. ”

One hundred and twenty thousand feet of pine lumber were used in these tablets alone.

The cemetery contains fifty acres, and has been divided by one main avenue running through the centre and subdivided into blocks and section in such a manner that, with the aid of the record, which I am now having copied for the superintendent, the visitors will experience no difficulty in finding any grave.

A force of men is now engaged in laying out walks and cleaning the cemetery of stumps and stones, preparatory to planting trees and flowers.

I have commenced the manufacture of brick, and will have a sufficient number by the 1stof October to pave the numerous gutters throughout the cemetery; the clay in the vicinity of the stockade being well adapted to the purpose of brick making.

Appropriate instructions are placed throughout the ground, and I have endeavored, as far as my facilities would permit, to transfer this wild, unmarked, and unhonored graveyard into a fit place of interment for the nation’s gallant dead. At the entrance gate, the words “National Cemetery, Andersonville, Ga. ” Designate this city of the dead.

On the morning of the 17thof August, at sunrise, the stars and stripes were hoisted in the centre of the cemetery, when a national salute was fired, and several national songs were sung by those present.

The men who accompanied me, and to whom I am indebted for the early completion of my mission, worked zealously from early in the morning to late at night, although suffering intensely from the sun. Unacclimated as they were, one after another was taken sick with the fever incident to this country, and, in a brief period, my force of mechanics was considerably lessened, obliging me to obtain others from the residents on other parts of the state.

All my men, however, recovered with the exception of Mr. Eddy Watts, a letterer, who died on the 10thof July of typhoid fever, after a sickness of three weeks. I brought his body back with me, and delivered it to his family in this city.

Several of the 4thUnited States cavalry, detailed by General Wilson, died of the same fever shortly after joining their command at Macon.

Andersonville is situated on the Southwestern railroad, sixty miles from Macon. There is but one house in the place, except for those erected by the so-called confederate government as hospitals, officer’s quarters, and commissary and quartermaster buildings.   It was formerly known as Anderson but since the war the ’ville’ has been added.

The country is covered mostly with pine and hemlocks, and the soil is sandy, sterile , and unfit for cultivation. , and unlike the section of the country a few miles north and south of this place, where the soil is well adapted to agricultural purposes, and cotton as well as corn are extensively raised.  It is said to be the most unhealthy part of Georgia, and was probably selected as a depot for prisoners on account of this fact. At midday, the thermometer in the shade reaches frequently one hundred and ten degrees, and in the sun the heat is almost unbearable.

The inhabitants of this sparsely-settled locality are, with few exceptions, of the most ignorant class, and from their haggard and sallow faces the effects of chills and fever are distinctly visible.

The noted prison pen is fifteen hundred and forty feet long, and seven hundred fifty feet wide, and contains twenty-seven acres. The dead line is seventeen feet from the stockade, and the sentry boxes are thirty yards apart. The inside stockade is eighteen feet high, the outer one twelve feet, and the distance between the two is one hundred and twenty feet.

Nothing has been destroyed; as our exhausted, emaciated, and enfeebled soldiers left it , so it stands today, as a monument to an inhumanity unparalleled in the annals of war.

How men could have survived as well as they did in this pen, exposed to the rays of an almost tropical sun by day and drenching dews by night, without the slightest covering, is wonderful.

The ground is filled with holes where they had burrowed, in their efforts to shield themselves from the weather, and many a poor fellow, in endeavoring to protect himself in this manner, was smothered to death by the earth falling in upon him.

A very worthy man has been appointed superintendent of the grounds and cemetery, with instructions to allow no buildings or structures of whatever nature to be destroyed, particularly the stockade surrounding the prison pen.

The stories told of the sufferings of our men while prisoners here have been substantiated by hundreds, and the skeptic who will visit Andersonville, even now, and examine the stockade, with its black oozey mud, the cramped and wretched burrows, the dead line and the slaughter house, must be a callous observer indeed, if he is not convinced that the miseries depicted of this prison pen are no exaggerations.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Captain and Assistant Quartermaster U. S. Army.

Brevet Major General M. C. Meigs.


      General U. S. Army , Washington, D. C. (1)




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