American Civil War Prisoner of War Camps: Union and Confederate Prison Camps

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American Civil War Prison Camps
"The Prisoner of War Camps"

Statistics indicate that the U.S. Government exchanged and paroled 329,963 Rebels and that the Confederacy exchanged and paroled 152,015 Federals during the Civil War.

americancivilwarprisonerofwarcamps.gif
Courtesy Andersonville National Historic Site (NPS)

Union and Confederate Civil War prison camps: Detailed List of POW Camps
1. Bell Isle—Richmond, Virginia
2. Cahaba Prison—Cahaba, Alabama
3. Camp Chase—Columbus, Ohio
4. Camp Douglas—Chicago, Illinois
5. Camp Florence—Florence, South Carolina
6. Camp Lawton—Millen, Georgia
7. Camp Morton—Indianapolis, Indiana
8. Camp Sumter—Andersonville, Georgia
9. Castle Pickney—Charleston, S.C.
10. Elmira Prison—Elmira, New York
11. Johnson's Island—Sandusky, Ohio
12. Libby Prison—Richmond, Virginia
13. Old Capitol Prison—Washington, D.C.
14. Point Lookout—Point Lookout, MD.
15. Rock Island—Rock Island, Illinois
16. Salisbury—Salisbury, North Carolina

Recommended Reading: To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65 (Hardcover: 446 pages). Description: The author’s research is exacting, methodical, and painstaking. He brought zero bias to the enterprise and the result is a stunning achievement that is both scholarly and readable. Douglas, the "accidental" prison camp, began as a training camp for Illinois volunteers. Donalson and Island #10 changed that. The long war that no one expected… combined with inclement weather – freezing temperatures - primitive medical care and the barbarity of the captors created in the author’s own words "a death camp." Stanton's and Grant's policy of halting the prisoner exchange behind the pretense of Fort Pillow accelerated the suffering. Continued below.

In the latest edition, Levy found the long lost hospital records at the National Archives which prove conclusively that casualties were deliberately “under reported.” Prisoners were tortured, brutality was tolerated and corruption was widespread. The handling of the dead rivals stories of Nazi Germany. The largest mass grave in the Western Hemisphere is filled with....the bodies of Camp Douglas dead, 4200 known and 1800 unknown. No one should be allowed to speak of Andersonville until they have absorbed the horror of Douglas, also known as “To Die in Chicago.”

Related Reading: The American Civil War Prison Camps: A History. A Study of Confederate and Union Prisoner-of-War Camps.
 

Recommended Reading: The True Story of Andersonville Prison: A Defense of Major Henry Wirz. Description: During the Civil War, James Madison Page was a prisoner in different places in the South. Seven months of that time was spent at Andersonville. While at that prison, he became well acquainted with Major Wirz – who had previously held the rank of captain. Page takes the stand and states that "Captain Wirz was unjustly held responsible for the hardship and mortality of Andersonville." It was his belief that both Federal and Confederate authorities must share culpability. Why? Because the Union knew the inability of the Confederacy to meet the reasonable wants of its prisoners of war, as it lacked supplies for its own needs – particularly for its Confederate soldiers - and since the Federal authorities failed to exercise a humane policy in the exchange of those captured in battle... that policy was commonly referred to as prisoner exchange. Continued below.

The writer, "with malice toward none and charity for all", denies conscious prejudice, and makes the sincere endeavor to put himself in the other fellow's place and make such a statement of the matter in hand as will satisfy all lovers of truth and justice.

 

Recommended Reading: So Far from Dixie: Confederates in Yankee Prisons (Hardcover: 312 pages). Description: This book is the gripping history of five men who were sent to Elmira, New York's infamous POW camp, and survived to document their stories. You will hear and even envision the most stirring and gripping true stories of each soldier / prisoner that lived and survived the most horrible nightmares of the conflict while tortured and even starved as "THE PRISONER OF WAR."

 
Recommended Reading: Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War. Description: The military prisons of the Civil War, which held more than four hundred thousand soldiers and caused the deaths of fifty-six thousand men, have been nearly forgotten. Lonnie R. Speer has now brought to life the least-known men in the great struggle between the Union and the Confederacy, using their own words and observations as they endured a true “hell on earth.” Continued below.
Drawing on scores of previously unpublished firsthand accounts, Portals to Hell presents the prisoners’ experiences in great detail and from an impartial perspective. The first comprehensive study of all major prisons of both the North and the South, this chronicle analyzes the many complexities of the relationships among prisoners, guards, commandants, and government leaders. It is available in paperback and hardcover.
 
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every student."

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