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Elmira, New York, Civil War Prison Camp, historic photos

Elmira, New York, Civil War Prison Camp Barracks, historic photo

A historic photo view of the Civil War Prisoner of War Camp at Elmira, New York. This was originally built as a Union Army training center (Camp Rathbun) but was converted in 1864 to a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. Built to accomodate about 5,000 soldiers, the camp was eventually swamped with more than 10,000 prisoners. As a result, many of the prisoners were housed in tents. Operating from July 6, 1864 when the first prisoners arrived until mid 1865 when the last prisoners were released, the facility served as a prison for a total of 12,122 Confederate soldiers. Due to the overcrowding, shortages of food and medical supplies, rampant disease, and harsh weather conditions, death was a daily occurance. During this period of slightly over one year, 2,963 of the soldiers died here and are buried in the Woodlawn National Cemetery at Elmira. The death rate of nearly 25% of the prisoners comes close to equaling the nearly 29% who died in the Confederate operated prison at Andersonville, Georgia. This view is of the barracks area with surrounding perimeter stockade. See the photo below of the tent section at the Elmira Prison Camp.

Elmira, New York, Civil War Prison Camp Tents, historic photo

A photo of the tent section of the Elmira Prison Camp with the barracks in the background. A lack of adequate buildings to house the prisoners forced many to be housed in tents which provided little protection from the harsh winter conditions of the region.

These photos are from 1864-1865. The view of the barracks was published as a stereograph view by J. E. Larkin; the view of the tents was published by Moulton & Larkin.

Elmira is in Chemung County, New York.

View: Confederate Soldiers Graves, Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, New York

View the grave and monuments of John W. Jones, who buried each of the Confederate Soldiers

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