Libby Prison Question

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Virginia Dave

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I have attached a document that I am trying to understand. Was Libby prison also used for detaining prisoners for other crimes not related to the war? This document was written in 1867. Below is the transcription. He was captured in 1864 if memory serves me correctly.



HEAD QUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT. State of Virginia. Richmond, Va., December 12th. 1867 Dr. R. F. Waltz Hillsville, Carroll County, Virginia.
Sir: Referring to your communication of the 25th ulto. requesting the release on bail of Messrs Manoah Shockley and Andrew J. Cack, now in confinement at Libby Prison, in this City. I am directed by the Commanding General to inform you that he has ordered their release from confinement on their giving bail in the sum of five thousand dollars ($5.000) each, for their appearance, when called for by the proper authority. Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant S. F. Chalfin. Assistant Adjutant General. [at lower left] W.555. (1st Mil. Dist.) Vol. 6.1867.

Libby Prison.png
 
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Virginia Dave

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He was originally held in Newport News.

NOTES FROM HIS WAR DIARY
Manoah Shockley's Civil War Diary written in his Artillery Handbook written here with corrected spellings M. Shockley was assigned to Barr's Battery on the 16th of October 1863 (4). Arrived at his company on the 21st of October 1863 (4) at Saltville, VA and remained with the battery till the 6th of April then was captured at Harper's farm then taken to prison.

April 14 I am on the coast at Newport News. I am at Newport News. I was in prison on the 14th. The 15th not well. On a flat piece of land with a high plank fence building around. It is guarded by Negroes commanded by white officers 15th 16th) In prison at Newport News 17th) ditto I am mending I was searched on the 17th 18th) I am tolerably well ? 19th) I am not well had bacon and beef for the ? 20th) to soap and quilt [page 2] April 3, 1865 Barr's Battery left on their way to Farmville they were captured on the 6th of the same instant. After hard fight on the sixth instant. Then we were marched to Burke's station and camped. Thence from there to city passed by the way of Petersburg. We were put on the boat on the 13th of this instant. I was captured at Harper's farm 12 miles west of Burkeville junction. I stayed near Black and White station [Blackstone, Va.] on the night of the 8th instant. I stayed on James River in the boat on my way to Newport News on the night of the 13th. This transcription is complete!
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Yes, Libby could hold prisoners charged with crimes of thief, desertion, etc.

The prison took up most of a city block. The top two floors were divided into three large rooms and these were for Union officers.

The building's ground floor was also divided into three large rooms - an office, a sick bay and a kitchen. There was also a dungeon below the kitchen where Confederates locked captives deemed unworthy to live with military officers on the top floors. These could be common criminals, deserters, and black prisoners.

The people in the dungeon were fed by the cook sometimes dropping food down through the hole.

Edited to add: I meant to put this in - Enlisted Union men were transported to Belle Island in the James River and they were incarcerated outdoors.
 

Virginia Dave

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I found the document below where he was charge with a possible murder, but then he was later released. Either he was acquitted or pardoned. I cannot find out anything other than he was released. Looks like he may have been the Black Sheep of the family. I am trying to find out for sure.

Murder charge.jpg
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Libby somehow escaped the flames after fires set to destroy supplies during the evacuation reduced a large chunk of Richmond to rubble. You can see it some of the photographs almost sitting alone on Cary Street- crowd on the street seems to be looking at prisoners inside. Well, you can see men pressed against Libby's windows. They weren't just Confederate solders, prison was put into use for civilian prisoners and anyone ' breaking the peace '.

I didn't know Libby still housed prisoners in 1867 or that non-military prisoners were also there during the war- brand new information, thank you @Virginia Dave , @NH Civil War Gal !
 
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