Lining Up For Rations from the Conquerors
Confederate Prisoners at Belle Plain, Captured At Spotsylvania, May 12, 1864
not an unmixed evil for the Confederate soldiers in the Wilderness campaign.
The Army of Northern Virginia had already taken up a hole in its belt on
account of the failure of supplies; but the Union troops were plentifully
supplied with wagon-trains, and the men in gray who were captured near their
base of supplies at Belle Plain were sure at least of a good meal. The
Confederate prisoners here shown were captured at Spotsylvania, May 12,
1864, by the Second Corps under General Hancock. They were taken to Belle
Plain, where they found not only a Union brigade left to guard them but a
brigade commissary and his wagons ready to feed them. Some of the wagons can
be seen in this photograph on the left-hand page, unloading supplies for the
Confederate prisoners. The camp at Belle Plain was only temporary; the
prisoners were taken thence by transports in the direction of Baltimore or
Washington, sometimes even New York, and forwarded to the great Union
prisons at Elmira, Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, or Camp Douglas, Illinois.
On the brow of the hill to the right stands a Union field-piece pointing
directly at the mass of prisoners. Behind it are the tents of the guard
stretching up over the hill.