The Photographic History of the Civil War
                  Volume 7 -
Prisons and Hospitals

  The Only Photograph Showing the Whole of Elmira Prison Camp


The Only Photograph Showing the Whole of Elmira Prison Camp

This photograph, reproduced one-half above and one-half below, is the only one showing the whole prison, which takes in an area of forty acres. Early in the war a rendezvous camp had been established at Elmira, New York. After exchange of prisoners ceased in 1863, though battles continued to be fought, the number of Confederate prisoners increased very rapidly and further accommodation was necessary. These barracks were chosen to serve as a prison in May, 1864. The first detachment of Confederate prisoners arrived there July 6th, 649 in number. During the mouth of July, 1864, 4,424 more were brought; during August, 5,195; and from September 1, 1864, to May 12, 1865, 2,503 additional, making a total of 12,122 prisoners of war. For a considerable time a large proportion of these were accommodated in tents, though barracks were completed in the early part of the winter. The site of the prison was badly chosen; it was below the level of the Chemung River, and a lagoon of stagnant water caused much sickness. The severity of the winter also brought much suffering to the prisoners, may of whom came from the warm Gulf States. The number of deaths to July 1, 1865, was 2,917; the number of escapes 17; those in the hospital, July 1, 1865, 218; and the number released, 8,970; total, 12,122. These figures were taken from the books of the officer in charge. The high fence was built when prisoners were ordered to this point.


entire panorama assembled

page 80 and 81  in 1911 book

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This online edition of The Photographic History of the Civil War includes improved images using digital images from the Library of Congress, when available. It also includes additional images that are either cropped from the Library of Congress digital images or are related to the specific topic being discussed in the article or page.

Volume 7 of the History is the first volume I'm publishing online simply because it was the one I was interested in when I decided to publish.

More to come, I hope.


Copyright 2004 Michael P. Goad  All rights reserved.