This was the site of the Confederacy's largest prison camp. During the 14 months it existed in 1864-65, over 45,000 Union prisoners were confined here. Of these 12,912 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, and exposure. Declining economic conditions, an inadequate transportation system, and the need to concentrate all available resources on its army, kept the Confederate government from providing adequate food, housing, clothing, or medical care for their prisoners. These conditions and the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system created much suffering and a high mortality rate.