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Jacob L. Mardis

Jacob L. Mardis of Belsano, Blacklick Township, Cambria County, PA was the son of Joseph Mardis (February 14, 1816 - October 19, 1898) and Mary Mardis (July 13, 1819 - July 6, 1893). In the 1860 federal census of Blacklick Township, Jacob was 19 years old and enumerated as the son of Joseph S. Mardis (age 44) and Anna Marie (or Mary) Mardis (age 41). The occupation of both Jacob and his father was listed as farmer. Jacob's siblings included Cyrus J. (age 14), George (age 11), and Elizabeth (age 10)

Jacob enlisted in Company A 40th PA Infantry (previously known as the 11th PA Reserves) on August 29, 1862. He was taken as a prisoner of war twice. First, he was wounded and captured at Fredricksburg, Virginia, on December 13, 1862.  Jacob was later released at City Point, Virginia, on January 12, 1863.  On May 30, 1864, he was transferred into Company A, PA 190th Infantry and was captured, at Mechanicsville, Virginia, on the same date as his transfer.  Private Mardis was subsequently transferred to the Andersonville Prison, near the towns of Americus and Plains, Georgia.

Andersonville Prison was built to encase a small swamp that had a small creek running in under the northern wall of the stockade and out under the southern wall of the stockade.  This creek provided the only water available except for the frequent bone-chilling rains. It was unsheltered and the ground was just bare dirt. This left the Union soldiers exposed to the 100+ degree heat of summer, along with sun stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration.  During the 15 months during which Andersonville was operated, almost 13,000 Union prisoners there died of malnutrition, exposure, and disease and it became synonymous with the atrocities, which both North and South soldiers experienced as prisoners of war.  Built to accommodate 10,000 prisoners, by August 1864, over 33,000 Union prisoners were held in the 26.5 acre prison.

Private Jacob L. Mardis died from dysentery as a POW at Andersonville Prison, Georgia, on August 9, 1864, aged 23. He was buried in a nearby plot, now designated with Andersonville Marker #5130. Jacob’s parents and brother Cyrus J. are buried in the Belsano United Methodist cemetery.

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