Immortal Six Hundred

Immortal Six Hundred

The Immortal Six Hundred were a group of 520 captured Confederate Army officers during the American Civil War that were taken by the Union Army in 1864 to Morris Island, South Carolina and used as human shields for 45 days in an attempt to silence the Confederate gunners manning Fort Sumter, by order of United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, upon word that 600 Union officer prisoners of war were being similarly used by the Confederate Army as shields against federal artillery in the city of Charleston in an attempt to stop Union artillery from firing upon civilians in the city.

Three died from subsistence on starvation rations issued as retaliation for the conditions found by the Union at Andersonville, Georgia and Salisbury, North Carolina prisons. [] ]

Upon an outbreak of yellow fever in Charleston, the Union officers were removed from the city limits, and the Union army then transferred the Immortal Six Hundred to Fort Pulaski. [ cite web | url = | title = The Immortal Six Hundred | publisher = National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior | accessdate=2008-07-16 ]

There they were crowded into the fort’s cold, damp casemates. For 42 days, a "retaliation ration" of 10 ounces of moldy cornmeal and half a pint of soured onion pickles was the only food issued to the prisoners. Thirteen men died there.

At Fort Pulaski, the prisoners organized "The Relief Association of Fort Pulaski for Aid and Relief of the Sick and Less Fortunate Prisoners" on December 13, 1864. Col. Abram Fulkerson of the 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment was elected president. Out of their sparse funds, the prisoners collected and expended eleven dollars, according to a report filed by Fulkerson on December 28, 1864.

Five later died at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The remaining prisoners were returned to Fort Delaware on March 12, 1865, where an additional twenty-five died. [] ]

The prisoners became known throughout the South for their adherence to principle for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance under adverse circumstances. [] ]


External references

* Confederate Veteran Magazine, July 1909, Page 68

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