The Raiders were a group of men (estimated in number to be anywhere from 200 to 400) who preyed on other prisoners, beating them with clubs and stealing anything of value they might have. The Raiders particularly liked the new arrivals, or "fresh fish," who frequently still had most or all of the goods in their possession when captured. Eventually the other prisoners rose up against them and managed to take many of them, including six of the worst, into custody. A delegation was sent to Captain Wirz asking him to allow the prisoners to hold a court martial for these men. The trial was held and some of the Raiders were sentenced to the stocks, and still others suffered other punishments. The six leaders were sentenced to hang. A gallows was built and the sentenced carried out on 11 July 1864.
The six hanged were Willie Collins, John Sarsfield, Charles Curtis, W.R. Riekson, Patrick Delaney, and A. Munn. It is doubtful that these were their actual names, since many had a pattern of accepting bounty for enlisting and then deserting. The six hanged Raiders are buried apart from the graves of the other prisoners who died in honor.
On Memorial Day, when the other graves are decorated with flags, the Raiders graves are left undecorated in dishonor.
Did You Know?
The largest artifact in the National Prisoner of War Museum is the “Sack of Cement Cross” from Camp O’Donnell in the Philippines. The total height of the cross is 8 ft. The cross was built as a memorial to American prisoners who perished in the camp.