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Grapes of Wrath

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Camp Sumter

Andersonville (1996) was directed by John Frankenheimer and written by David W. Rintels. This movie tells of the conditions the prisoners'-of-war (POW's) endured during their stay at Andersonville, originally named Camp Sumter, staring Jarrod Emick, as Josiah Day, Frederic Forrest, as Sgt. McSpadden, Ted Marcoux as Martin Blackburn and Cliff De Young as Sgt. John Gleason.

Andersonville tells of the conditions Union soldiers endured, during the civil war, while being held prisioners at one of the Confederate's prison camps, Camp Sumter. The movie starts out with the Union soldiers being ambushed and forced to surrender. Once they are captured they are instructed by the Confederates', to do as they are told or they will be shot. The next day they are taken by train to Andersonville, located in Georgia. The unit, headed by Sgt. McSpadden, discovers an old friend Dick Potter at Andersonville, who saves them from the "Raiders". The "Raiders" are a group of men even more dangerous than the Confederates. They convince the new soldiers or "Fresh Fish" as they called them, to come with them to the other side of the camp where the conditions are "better". But what the new soldiers don't know is that the Raiders will jump them, beat them, and steal their clothes and any other personal belonging they may have with them.

Dick Potter explains to the new unit that they are not to drink from the lake, because it is contaminated, if they are thirsty they must save the rain water to drink. He takes the men around the camp, which is overcrowded, muddy and smelly. He explains to them that men are dying by the 100's everyday from diarrhea, malnutrition, scurvy (a disease caused by the lack of vitamin C) and the "Raiders" violent attacks. He explains that they have not eaten in days because someone stole the commander of Andersonville, Wirtz bridle. As they walk around the new men see a group of soldiers chained together with a ball and chain, Potter tells them that those men tried to escape and have been punished that was since, he also tells them not to cross the fence around the camp, also known as the dead line, because they would be shot if they did. Potter explains to them how a group of men from Pennsylvania are digging a tunnel out of the camp. Sgt. McSpadden talks his subordinates into banning with the guys from Pennsylvania to help dig the "tunnel to freedom". After months of digging, and capturing a guy who was going to rat out where the tunnel was, the tunnel is done and the men are ready to escape. Their plan is to memorize a map that was given to them and head to the river so that the dogs could no longer trail them. All seems to go well until the last man moves too slowly and is spotted by the guards. All are brought back to be punished in the stockade but are soon released back into the prison.

The "Raiders" are getting rougher and the other men in the camp are getting tired of it. They want to acquire some of their freedom back and decide to go after the "Raiders"; the "Raiders" are eventually defeated and instead of killing them on the spot, the rest of the camp decide that they deserved a fair trial. Having no trial would make them no better than the "Raiders" so they have a new set of prisoners' serve as the jurors and as the judge and lawyers. At first it seems as though the "judge" may let them go. Stating that inside of these walls laws don't matter, only surviving does. He says that the "Raiders" where only doing what was necessary to live, therefore punishing them would be unnecessary. But after a few men swore to tell the truth on the crimes they had witnessed these men commit, the jury allowed for the hanging of the six ring leaders of the group.

Life in Andersonville became more peaceful but sickness began to overtake the place. More men starting dying and the men found out the government outlawed the prisoner exchange. They no longer had hope that they would go home until they found out that one of men who escaped from the tunnel, John Gleason, made it home to describe the horrible conditions they were forced to live in. A few weeks had passed when the commander of Andersonville came in with an offer that would allow them full benefits of the Confederate soldiers if they would fight for them. All of the Union soldiers denied the offer.

It seemed they would never



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