Isolated from the thousands of prisoners’ graves stand six headstones. These headstones identify the resting places of the Raiders. Who were these men and why were these six, out of the thirteen thousand who perished at Andersonville, buried separately?
Crime and Regulation
By the middle of June 1864, Camp Sumter Military Prison at Andersonville held almost double its intended capacity: over 21,000 United States soldiers. Stealing and random acts of violence within the prison population began increasing as more men arrived. As within any city population, crime ranged from petty theft to assault. These criminals had many nicknames, including “camp-robbers,” “marauders,” and “desperadoes.” Soon, they were commonly identified as “raiders.” They operated both as individuals and in groups. By the end of June, stories emerged that the Raiders committed crimes boldly, in daylight. Rumors included stories of raiders outright murdering other prisoners. The criminal activity fueled fear within the camp and authorities failed to set up any form of regulations or law enforcement inside the stockade.
During the final weeks of June, an organized group identified as “The Regulators,” approached Confederate authorities about dealing with these criminals. Both the Confederate authorities and the camp population supported a creation of a “police force” with intentions of punishing crime within camp. The Regulators had permission from the Confederate authorities to enforce laws within the camp. On June 29th and July 1st, with the permission of Gen. John Winder, the Regulators hunted and arrested accused Raiders. At least 75 men were arrested and held outside the stockade wall as a means of protection from other prisoners while they awaited trial. Some prisoners claimed as many as 150 soldiers were originally arrested. Other prisoners, many identified as members of the Regulators, assumed the roles of judge and jury. The proceeding court-martial took place over the first several days of July.