Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hellmira A Northern Prison Camp

Elmira Prison, a Union prisoner of war camp was opened in July 6th 1864, and became known as Hellmira.

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


Tim Kent said...

Great post. Most people believe there was only one horrible prison camp and that's Andersonville. Rock Island and Camp Douglas are just a couple more. I had an uncle die at Rock Island with no reason given for his death. I often wonder if it was a random shooting into the barracks by the guards, because that was one chief complaint of the prisoners there. Henry Wirz was hanged for such treatment. How many Federal commandants at these camps were hanged?

LivingInVermont said...

I agree with Tim, the north did no better then the south with their prison camps. It would seem that the northern camp would have been worse in the winter. But as to the hanging, as we all know the victors in a war don't receive punishments.