Devil’s Punchbowl – An American concentration camp so horrific it was erased from history

RAEL’S COMMENT:
Another shame in the most criminal nation on Earth: the USA. The only country that used the atomic bomb on a civilian population.

 

Say the words concentration camps, and most will surmise the topic surrounds World War II and the Nazis; but the hard labor, constant threat of death, and barbarism these microcosmic hells presented weren’t unique to Adolf Hitler — in just one year, around 20,000 freed slaves perished in the Devil’s Punchbowl — in Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.A.

After the Civil War, a massive exodus of former slaves from Southern plantations trekked northward in hopes of reaching a location of true freedom; but embittered soldiers, resentful the people considered property were now free, had other plans.

One tiny town’s population mushroomed twelvefold from the influx, as researcher Paula Westbrook, who has extensively studied Devil’s Punchbowl,noted,

“When the slaves were released from the plantations during the occupation they overran Natchez. And the population went from about 10,000 to 120,000 overnight.”

Unable to grapple with an instant population swell, the city turned to Union troops still lingering after the war to devise a merciless, impenitent solution.

“So they decided to build an encampment for ’em at Devil’s Punchbowl which they walled off and wouldn’t let ’em out,” former director of the Natchez City Cemetery, Don Estes, explained.

Devil’s Punchbowl is so named for a cavernous, bowl-shaped gulch walled off by tree-topped cliffs — an area unintentionally made perfect for a hellacious prison by nature, herself.

A tangle of lush green now tops bluffs near the Mississippi River in Natchez, hiding past atrocities that took place when Union Army soldiers corralled and captured those freed slaves — in worse conditions than they’d endured previously as slaves on sprawling plantations.

In the unrelenting heat and humidity of the deep South, African American men toiled at hard labor clearing thickets of brush, while women and children — not seen as a viable workforce for the task — languished without food or water behind the locked concrete walls of the camp to die of starvation.

Barbarous treatment didn’t even end when someone died.

“The Union Army did not allow them to remove the bodies from the camp,” Westbrook explained. “They just gave ’em shovels and said bury ’em where they drop.”

https://steemit.com/news/@tftproject/devil-s-punchbowl-an-american-concentration-camp-so-horrific-it-was-erased-from-history

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