Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Hellmira A Northern Prison Camp
The Union prisoner of war camp constructed in Elmira, New York and known as Elmira Prison was built near the Erie and Northern Central Railroads. The thirty acre plot started the war as Camp Rathbun and was used as a place to train Union troops. As the war continued the camp fell into disuse and it was converted into a prisoner of war camp to hold Confederate prisoners in the summer of 1864. The first prisoners arrived at the camp July 6th 1864. It would hold more then 12,100 Confederate prisoners of war before it was closed. During the time of its operations 2,963 men died at the prison, mostly from a mixture of exposure, malnutrition and bad sanitary conditions. Those who died at the camp where buried by an ex-slave, John W Jones in the Woodlawn National Cemetery. Those who survived and where released from the camp had to take a loyalty oath, and then were given a train ticket. The last Confederate prisoner left Elmira September 27th 1865. The camp was closed and the land turned back to farming and today is a residential area.
For more about this subject check Elmira Civil War Prison