Image of John L. Ransom


Lifetime: 1843 - 1919 Passed: ≈ 104 years ago




United States

John L. Ransom

John L. Ransom was born in 1843. He joined the Union Army during the American Civil War in November 1862 and served as Quartermaster of Company A, 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry.

In 1863 Ransom was captured in Tennessee and taken to Andersonville, Georgia. During his imprisonment he kept a diary of his experiences. On the 6th July, 1864 he wrote: "Boiling hot, camp reeking with filth, and no sanitary privileges; men dying off over 140 per day. Stockade enlarged, taking in eight or ten more acres, giving us more room, and stumps to dig up for wood to cook with. Jimmy Devers has been a prisoner over a year and, poor boy, will probably die soon. Have more mementos than I can carry, from those who have died, to be given to their friends at home. At least a dozen have given me letters, pictures, etc., to take North."

The Confederate authorities did not provide enough food for the prison and men began to die of starvation. The water became polluted and disease was a constant problem. Of the 49,485 prisoners who entered the camp, nearly 13,000 died from disease and malnutrition.

In August, 1865 President Andrew Johnson give his approval for Henry Wirz, the commandant of Andersonville, to be charged with "wanton cruelty". Wirz appeared before a military commission headed by Major General Lew Wallace on 21st August, 1865.

Wirz was found guilty on 6th November and sentenced to death. He was taken to Washington to be executed in the same yard where those involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln had died. Alexander Gardner, the famous photographer, was invited to record the event. The execution took place on the 10th November. The gallows were surrounded by Union Army soldiers who throughout the procedure chanted "Wirz, remember, Andersonville."

John L. Ransom's book, Andersonville Diary, was published in 1881. He died at the age 76 years on 23rd September 1919 in Los Angeles County.

Books by John L. Ransom

Andersonville Diary, Escape And List Of The Dead Cover image

Andersonville Diary, Escape And List Of The Dead

Non-Fiction Biography
War Military Escape Death

John L. Ransom was the quartermaster of Company A, 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry during the American Civil War and a Union prisoner in the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. This is his diary which he published some few years aft...