The Dogs of Andersonville

Between April 15, 1864, and April 6, 1865, 351 Union prisoners escaped from the prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. Of these, 163 were able to reach safety. The other 188 were recaptured—many of them by the aid of a pack of dogs used by the prison’s commandant, Captain Henry Wirz. One of these, a Cuban Bloodhound named Spot, is shown below. The following information, provided by the photographer, J.W. Turner of Boston, Massachusetts, accompanied the postwar image: “Spot. Weight, 159 pounds; height, 3 feet; length from tip to tip, 6 feet, 4 1/2 inches. This dog … was one of a pack of thirteen hounds … used … for the purpose of recapturing Union prisoners who had escaped, and who were frequently killed or badly mutilated by these dogs. Eleven of this pack were killed by Union soldiers who went to Andersonville at about the time the war closed; the remaining two were brought North, and one of them has since died, leaving this dog the only surivivor.” What became of Spot after this photo was taken is unknown.

dogs of Andersonville
Library of Congress

You can read more about Andersonville in our Winter 2019 issue.

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