Celebrations Today – November 10
Holidays and observances
- Christian feast day:
- Cry of Independence Day (Panama)
- Day of Remembrance of Ataturk (Turkey)
- Day of Russian Militsiya (Russia)
- Day of Tradition or Día de la Tradición, celebrated on the birthday of José Hernández (Argentina, especially San Antonio de Areco)
- Heroes Day (Indonesia) or Hari Pahlawan
- Martinisingen (Germany)
- United States Marine Corps birthday ball (United States)
Celebrations Today – USA: November 10
Marine Corps Birthday
National Forget-Me-Not Day
National Vanilla Cupcake Day
National Area Code Day
International Accounting Day
National Sesame Street Day
National USMC Day
World Science Day for Peace and Development
Today in US History: November 10
Henry Wirz — Andersonville Prison
Henry Wirz, commander of the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia, was hanged on November 10, 1865, in Washington, D.C., the only Confederate officer executed as a war criminal.
In November 1863, Confederate officials selected Andersonville as the site of a new prison which was needed to contain the growing number of prisoners. Prisoners began arriving at the hastily constructed Andersonville in late February 1864. On March 27, 1864, the Swiss-born Hartmann Heinrich Wirz was assigned to command the prison at Andersonville, which was given the name Camp Sumter. Planned for 10,000 prisoners, by August 1864, Andersonville, an open stockade, held more than 33,000 Union prisoners. Adequate shelter, edible food, potable water, and medical supplies were lacking, and the population was decimated by starvation and infectious disease. Nearly 13,000 of the more than 45,000 prisoners sent to Andersonville from its opening in 1864 until its capture in April 1865, died there.
Arrested in May 1865 shortly after the war’s end, Wirz was tried by a military tribunal in August on charges of conspiring with Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and others, to “injure the health and destroy the lives of soldiers in the military service of the United States…” He also was charged with “murder, in violation of the laws and customs of war.” Wirz was caught in the unfortunate position of answering for all of the misery that was Andersonville, though he tried to impose order and security as well as to provide adequate shelter, food, and medical supplies. His defense attorneys despaired of his chances of receiving a fair trial as Northern propaganda and fallout from Lincoln’s assassination worked against him. After two months of testimony rife with inconsistencies, Wirz was found guilty on all counts, court-martialed, and sentenced to death by hanging.
On the morning of November 10, 1865, Henry Wirz
…rose in his cell at the Old Capitol and wrote a last letter to his wife…Later that forenoon, after giving a few final strokes to a stray cat that had wandered in to share his confinement, he emerged from his cell with a black cambric robe draped over his shoulders…followed the guards into an enclosed courtyard, where chanting soldiers and other spectators hung like vultures in the treetops. There was his life offered up to appease the public hysteria…William Marvel, Andersonville: The Last Depot
Approximately 150 places were used as military prisons by Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. These structures were fortifications, former jails, altered buildings, open stockades, enclosures around barracks, and so on. On August 31, 1864, Confederate prisoner of war James W. Duke wrote a letter from a Rock Island, Illinois, Union prison (an enclosure around barracks), to a cousin in Kentucky. The letter includes an account, probably censored, of conditions at the prison and a drawing of the facility.
During the late winter of 1862, some 800 Confederate prisoners were temporarily incarcerated in Lafayette, Indiana. Writing about this “Forgotten Chapter in Lafayette’s Civil War,” Works Progress Administration writer Cecil Miller noted, “Most of the prisoners were young men, pale, beardless boys, some under seventeen, members of the 32nd and 41st Tennessee regiments. They had served but four and one-half months.” Although prison life was grim on both sides, the misery of war occasionally was lightened by a game of baseball as shown in Otto Boetticher’s 1863 lithograph Union Prisoners at Salisbury, N.C.
Learn more about the Civil War:
- Visit the National Park Service site Andersonville Civil War Prison to learn more the prison’s history. Now designated Andersonville National Historic Site, the former prison serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.
- Find additional American Memory material on the war. Search on Civil War in the following collections:
- African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
- American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940
- “California as I Saw It”: First Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849-1900
- California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell, 1938-1940
- Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991
- Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921
- Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division’s First 100 Years
- Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910
- Browse the collection Selected Civil War Photographs to view images from the period. Search the collection on Wirz to view more photographs of the execution.
- Search the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog on Andersonville Prison to see more images of the prison.
- Search the Today in History Archive on Civil War to locate features highlighting:
Today in History – November 10-External Links
Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia