Discussion Point Lookout

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Barrycdog

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Soldier: Allen, Henry A.
Allegiance: Confederate
Unit/Service Branch: 9th Infantry
Home State: Virginia
Date Written: Saturday, May 21st, 1864
Location: Officers camp Point lookout Md.

Of the 50,000 soldiers held in the army prison camp, who were housed in tents at Lookout Point between 1863 and 1865, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, nearly 4,000 died, although this death rate of 8 percent was less than half the death rate among soldiers who were in the field with their own armies, The camp, originally built to hold 10,000 men, swelled to between 12,000 and 20,000 prisoners after the exchange of prisoners between armies was placed on hold. The result was crowded conditions with up to sixteen men to a tent in poor sanitary conditions. It was the largest Union-run prison camp, its reputation being one of the worst.

http://www.plpow.com/

http://www.censusdiggins.com/prison_ptlookout.html

Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Prisoner, Prisoner Camp


Dear Sallie,
The last from you was dated 9th which was answered and as I have not received one later I thought it best to pen you a few lines. I cannot imagine why it is that I have not heard from you lately. I received a letter from Geo Smith a few days ago I think I told you of having written to him to send a suit of clothes he says he has the article ready to send but having heard that I had been removed thought it best to write one first saying I must answer immediately which I did. Mary Griffith sent me a pr shoes, two shirts, two prs drawers, and several other little articles, which I received yesterday. I am sorry to say the shirts & drawers were too small but they will come in for some of my smaller comrades. she sends much love to you and all friends I wrote to her today. the box you sent to the Island has been distributed among my comrades there by my order as I might have lost it if they had sent it to me. one of the boys wore my coat here form the Island, and it reminded me of home. brother has been transferred to another Battery, and I am sorry to say has been badly wounded and had to have his leg taken off. I was told by one of the officers who has been taken prisoner lately he was doing well and is in Richmond. he is among the many who if he lives will be crippled for life. it will be sad news for his Ma, let her know it yourself. strange I do not hear from Gus. I wrote to him on the 22nd April. give my love to your Ma, and the children, also to all relatives & friends kiss my dear little girls for me and accept the sincere love of your affectionate Husband

Henry A Allen.
 
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unionblue

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Check out the following websites for more information on the Point Lookout Prison Camp.

Prison History of Point Lookout.

http://www.plpow.com/PrisonHistory.htm

Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp Maryland Historical Marker.

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9WHA_Point_Lookout_Prisoner_of_War_Camp

And what looks like a very interesting book about Point Lookout.

Lee's Bold Plan For Point Lookout: The Rescue of Confederate Prisoners That Never Happened, by Jack E. Schairer.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0786435550/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

Unionblue
 
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KeyserSoze

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There is no doubt that the mistreatment of POWs on both sides was deliberate and deplorable. Both sides could have fed their POWs better but didn't. Both sides could have provided better living conditions but didn't. Both sides deserve condemnation in equal measures.
 
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Caswell Ranger

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Andersonh1

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My GGG Grandfather Andrew Williams was a POW at Point Lookout for about seven months. Looks like he endured some pretty hellish conditions.

http://www.plpow.com/PrisonHistory.htm

Prison conditions were deplorable. Rations were below minimal, causing scurvy and malnutrition. Prisoners ate rats and raw fish. It's recorded that one hungry Rebel devoured a raw seagull that had been washed ashore. Soap skim and trash peelings were often eaten when found. Lice, disease, and chronic diarrhea often resulted in an infectious death. Prisoners were deprived of adequate clothing, and often had no shoes in winter or, only one blanket among sixteen or more housed in old, worn, torn, discarded Union sibley tents. In the winter of 1863, 9,000 prisoners were crowded into 980 tents. Even the Point's weather played havoc with the prisoners. Because of it's location, it's extremely cold with icy wind in the winter and a smoldering sun reflecting off the blinding, barren sand in summer. High water often flooded the tents in the camp area, resulting in knee deep mud. The undrained marshes bred mosquitoes. Malaria, typhoid fever and smallpox was common. The brackish water supply was contaminated by unsanitary camp conditions. There was a deadline about 10' from the approx. 14' wooden parapet wall. Anyone caught crossing this line, even to peek through the fence, was shot. Prisoners were also randomly shot by the guards during the night as they slept, or if they called out from pain.
 

Ole Miss

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My GGGrandfather, Joseph Piner of the 3rd NC Infantry, was captured at Payne's Farm on November 27, 1863. He was initially held at Old Capitol Prison from December 5, 1863 to February 3, 1864 when he was transfered to Point Lookout and stayed there till exchanged on September 16, 1864.
Regards
David
 
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mobile_96

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Lee's Bold Plan For Point Lookout: The Rescue of Confederate Prisoners That Never Happened, by Jack E. Schairer.
Have this book and thought it very good.
Big interest in the prison camp, as I had a relative (4th cousin, twice removed) that died there
A. R. Tinder 13th Virg. Inf. Co.C, captured by General Sheridan's forces at the battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley on October 19, 1864. He was sent to the Prisoner Of War Camp at Point Lookout Maryland, were he died of pneumonia May 14, 1865. He is buried there in a common grave with his fellow soldiers. His name can be found on the monument erected on the site.
Found a few of his records, including his death record on Fold3. Those papers say he was captured at Strasburg, which is just south of Cedar Creek.
In December I will give a presentation on the prison for my Round Table.
 

UncleBourbon

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It's hard for me to read about Point Lookout without the verse of "Good Old Rebel" where it's mentioned coming to mind.

"I rode with Robert E. Lee
For three years there about
Got wounded in four places
And I starved at Point Lookout
I caught the rheumatism
Campin' in the snow
But I killed a chance of Yankees
And I'd like to kill some more"
 
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CSA Today

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It's hard for me to read about Point Lookout without the verse of "Good Old Rebel" where it's mentioned coming to mind.

"I rode with Robert E. Lee
For three years there about
Got wounded in four places
And I starved at Point Lookout
I caught the rheumatism
Campin' in the snow
But I killed a chance of Yankees
And I'd like to kill some more"
Has to be one of my all-time favorites.
 
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Robin Lesjovitch

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Point Lockout played a passive, but significant role in the war.
As Lt. General Jubal Early moved down the Valley in late June of '64 a plan was hatched at Richmond to free the CSA prisoners at Point Lookout. Early had used the discretion given him by Gen. Lee to move on Maryland, placing him on position to assist in the Point Lookout operation.
About the first of July, the operation had commander John Taylor Wood,CSN, in charge, with a force of CSA sailors and marines. Wood was to sail from Wilmington,NC to Maryland and catch the garrison at Point Lookout by surprise. Early was ordered to assist.
What that meant was that Early could not move east (north) of the Potomac very far without compromising the operation for the first few days of July. The operation was set for about the 13th. Wood called off the operation before it sailed when it was discovered that the raid was all the talk of Richmond society, but...it was too late for Early to have moved on DC earlier.
Quite possibly Early could have hit Washington on the 6th or 7th, when it was quite defenseless. As it was, Early's troops arrived before the outskirts of DC late on the 10th, worn out from the fight on the Monocacy and a long march in extreme heat. Union forces began arriving at DC, and Early's chance was gone.
Had the temptation to free the CSA prisoners at Point Lookout not been in play, Early might have changed the war significantly.
 
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Civilwarnerd

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There is no doubt that the mistreatment of POWs on both sides was deliberate and deplorable. Both sides could have fed their POWs better but didn't. Both sides could have provided better living conditions but didn't. Both sides deserve condemnation in equal measures.
This is very sad, but true. Even though we did this to OUR OWN PEOPLE, we condemn the Japanese for doing that to our soldiers in WWII, and we did it to the Japanese at the same time they were doing it to us, and the Japanese in our country hadn't even done anything yet. Sorry, that's not exactly about the Civil War, but it connects with it. It's hard to believe what our country has done in different situations throughout history.
 

Hoseman

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My GGGrandfather, Andrew Jackson Corell, 45th VA Inf, was captured at 3rd Winchester and spent the remainder of the war at Camp Lookout. He was a farmer in Tazewell county, VA in the mountains of the southwestern part of the state. Upon his release, he and a group of his friends walked home. I was told by my grandfather that when his grandfather (AJ) finally made it home and before he entered the house he stripped off his filthy, ragged uniform and made a fire and burned it as it was full of vermin. It was also told that all of them would have frozen to death had it not been for the catholic nuns who came and gave the prisoners blankets. Conditions at Point Lookout were despicable.
 
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