Andersonville was a POW camp of the civil war controlled by the confederate captain Wirtz. Extremely overpopulated, Andersonville held 32, 000 Union soldiers in a camp built to hold 8, 000. The treatment that the men of Andersonville did not even live up to the standards of the articles of war. Though in tough times, the soldiers survived the unsanitary conditions while still showing kindness and sympathy.
Though prisoners lost many of their comrades to the raiders and the confederates, it was the living conditions of Andersonville that killed most of the Union prisoners. Parasites (along with many diseases) thrived in the unsanitary environment of the overpopulated Andersonville. Many prisoners also died from starvation and / or dehydration. About one hundred men died each day due to the horrifying and unsanitary conditions of Andersonville. Despite the harsh conditions and the cruelty of the confederate troops, both fellow prisoners and confederate troops showed humanity.
When the troops were first captured the confederate troops let them pay their respects to the dead soldiers. When the Massachusetts troops first arrived in Andersonville, their old comrade (Dick Potter) saved them from getting lured into the raiders' trap. The troops, happy to see their comrade who they had thought to be dead, gladly shared their food with him. After regaining his strength, Dick told them not to drink the water from the "creek", because it would kill them. Though eventually the Raiders killed Dick, the Raiders were given a fair trial. (Which, if nothing else, should show the humanity of the Union troops) The prisoners, though living in a horribly unimaginable POW camp, turned down the offer to join the confederate forces out of faithfulness and loyalty to the Union.
Though few, those who survived the horrors of Andersonville survived by the humanity shown by their fellow soldiers and the hope that they received from being with them. For keeping their wits about them even in the most horrible conditions, the prisoners who survived through Andersonville are the ones who in my opinion, are the ones who deserve the medals the most.