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Ozzy

Wasn't Libby in Richmond?

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Libby Prison, second only to Andersonville in the North for notoriety, was dismantled, brick by brick; and in a program emulated eighty years later at Lake Havasu, Arizona (involving London Bridge), the pieces were hauled halfway across the country by rail, and re-assembled in Chicago, in time for the Columbian Exposition of 1893, where it may have drawn more visitors than the Ferris Wheel. Maybe you already knew that...

 

Unknown to most, is the connection to the Battle of Shiloh. Very few, if any, Federal prisoners taken during April 1862 at Shiloh were interred at Libby. However, in October 1862, the remaining Shiloh prisoners, two hundred officers and eight hundred enlisted men, on their way north 'on parole,' were halted at Libby for a day or two, to compare and confirm their 'descriptions' in the Prisoner Roll against their physical presence. Libby seems to have functioned as a 'clearing house,' the final check before Union men were permitted to complete the final hike: thirteen miles to the 'flag-of-truce' boat, John A. Warner, waiting for its precious cargo at Aiken's Landing. (It is believed tens of thousands of Federal prisoners passed through Libby during its years of operation.)

 

For an informative, engaging four-minute video about Libby in Chicago, see <interactive.wttw.com/timemachine/libby-prison-and-coliseum> (found on the internet at 'Chicago Time Machine Libby')

 

Other information from Wikipedia and A Perfect Picture of Hell (Genoways) 2001.

 

Ozzy

 

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The topic IRT "what became of the prisoners after Shiloh" is too important to allow to languish, so I am making use of this opportunity to update the Chicago Time Machine link, and to include additional information:

http://interactive.wttw.com/timemachine/libby-prison-and-coliseum   Libby Prison moved to Chicago

As mentioned in the earlier post, the Federal soldiers captured at Shiloh were not held at Libby Prison... until their last day confined by the Confederate States Government. Instead, those 2200 men were held first in last-year's corn field just south of the battlefield overnight; marched to Corinth for delivery by rail to Memphis (where the officers were confined in a hotel and the enlisted men confined in a large four-story building on the waterfront, possibly the Bradley Block); after a stay of one-to-four days in Memphis, the men were divided into smaller groups and shipped south and east by rail to Mobile and held at a cotton warehouse there from one-to-seven days. Almost all Shiloh prisoners were sent by steamer up the Alabama River from Mobile: the senior officers (captain and above, including BGen Prentiss) were off-loaded at Selma; junior officers and enlisted men were confined at Cahaba, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Macon. Approximately 600 privates were released by Confederate authorities in May 1862, and most of these men found their own way north to Union-controlled Nashville (and confined by Federal authorities as paroled prisoners.) Meanwhile, the senior officers were moved north to Talladega, back to Selma, brief stop at Montgomery, then on to confinement in Atlanta and Madison, Georgia (with all Federal officers eventually confined at Madison.) Enlisted men who missed out on the May 1862 release were all collected at the sprawling Camp Oglethorpe (Macon, Georgia) until the Hill-Dix Accord of 1862 (usually referred to as Dix-Hill Cartel.) This July 22nd arrangement resulted in Fort Donelson's Rebel prisoners being released on Parole, beginning in August 1862. The Shiloh Federal prisoners were released on Parole in early October (officers on the 7th, enlisted on the 8th), and shipped north by rail to Richmond for overnight accommodation at Libby Prison. 

For the Federal soldiers captured at Shiloh, Libby Prison appears to have functioned as the "clearing house" for out-processing Federal paroled prisoners from Confederate control; and the overnight stay allowed some to have a more lasting involvement with Libby. Beginning in 1862, many Federal soldiers confined as prisoners felt the need to carve "I was here" into a wall, door frame or beam of the old tobacco warehouse. Hundreds of names, initials, regiment details were inscribed. And it appears, during the process of re-locating Libby Prison to Chicago after the War, someone took the opportunity to record all those names and regiment details for posterity:

http://www.mdgorman.com/Prisons/Libby/walls_that_talk.htm   Walls that Talk, from Civil War Richmond

You may not find the initials of your Civil War ancestor, but it's worth having a look...

Ozzy

 

 

Reference:  A Perfect Picture of Hell by Genoways & Genoways, Iowa University Press, 2001.

 

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