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Personal Accounts

Salisbury Confederate Prison

Bibliography - Personal Accounts

*Designates materials NOT owned by Rowan Public LibraryFor items owned by Rowan Public Library, the History Room call number appears at the end of the entry in bold. 

Abbot, Allen O. Prison Life in the South: At Richmond, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, Goldsboro, and Andersonville During the Years of 1864-1865. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1865.  
    A heated account of conditions in the prisons.  AH USA.46 ABB

Bates, William Carnes, ed. Stars and Stripes in Rebeldom: A series of Papers Written by Federal Prisoners (Privates) in Richmond, Tuscaloosa, New Orleans and Salisbury, N.C., Boston: T.O.H.P. Burnham, 1862.
    Early in the war, Union prisoners housed in a floating prison in New Orleans founded a literary society and this society “published” a journal, Stars and Stripes, which was passed from soldier to soldier. The president of the literary society, W. C. Bates, published this series of journals while the war was still going on. Salisbury is treated in the appendix. Particularly interesting is the description of the theatrical performances that the POWs produced at the prison at that time.  AH USA.46 STA

*Bixby, H. O. Being Ten Month's Experience of a Union Soldier in the Military Prisons of Richmond, New Orleans, and Salisbury. Baltimore: Printed by James Young, 1864.  

Booth, Benjamin F. Dark Days of the Rebellion: Life in Southern Military Prisons. Edited by Steve Meyer. Garrison, IA: Meyer Publishing Company, 1995.  
    A revised personal account of a soldier, who was incarcerated in the prison, and, who for a time, maintained the prison’s dead book. Originally self-published in 1897, the author found little audience for his blistering attack on the Confederates who held him in Salisbury.  Based upon a diary that was concealed on scraps of paper in his shoe, this work contains highly descriptive accounts of some of the activities in the prison.  NC ROW.46 BOO

Browne, Junius Henri. Four Years in Secessia: Adventures Within and Beyond the Union Lines . . . Hartford: O. D. Case and Company, 1865.  
    The story of a New York Tribune journalist who was captured, this work describes Libby Prison, Castle Thunder Prison, as well as Salisbury where Browne describes the tunnels and tunneling in more detail than any of the other first-person accounts. He escaped from the prison.  AH USA.46 BRO

Brown, Louis A., ed. "The Correspondence of David Olando McRaven and Amanda Nance McRaven.” North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 26 (January 1949), pp. 41-98  
    David McRaven, a member of the senior reserves, wrote letters home to his wife in Iredell County.  It is one of the few first-hand accounts of the prison from a guard.  NC AAA.9 NOR

Bush, Watson W. “Experiences at Salisbury Prison, South [sic] Carolina and Danville, Virginia During the Civil War.” Conrad Bush, ed. Historical Wyoming. Vol. 44  (July 1997) pp. 9-14.  
    An account apparently based upon a war-time diary, which treats the former POWs’ circumstances in general terms.  WY AAA.9 HIS

Chase, Heber (Oct. 5, 1835—Nov. 27, 1864): A Prisoner in Salisbury, A Compilation of His Letters, etc.  Compiled by Judith Anderson. Tahlequah, OK: The compiler, February 1999.  
    Chase, a soldier from Maine, wrote several letters to his wrote during the war. One f these letters was written eight days before his death in the Salisbury Prison. A fellow prisoner promised to carry a photograph and a few other items to Chase’s wife, but he too perished in Salisbury. An acquaintance of his, however, did manage to find Mrs. Chase and return the items. While Chase’s short letter from the prison is not all that noteworthy, the story revealed in the correspondence following his death is especially poignant.   AB CHASE CHA

Cook, Washington Irvin. My Biography.  
    Originally published in the Greenville Progress in March through May of 1944, this is a photocopy of a booklet created from the newspaper articles. Cook was a Pennsylvania volunteer who was captured in the Spring of 1864. He describes the dead wagon and tunneling, as well as his arrangement with guards by which he sold bread within the prison walls. He later escaped from the prison while out on a work train.   AB COOK COO

Cooper, A.  In and Out of Rebel Prisons. Oswego, NY: R. J. Oliphant, 1888.  
    An attack on the South’s treatment of Union POWs by one of the escapees of the prison, covering Andersonville, Columbia, SC [Camp Sorghum], and other prisons. Cooper, a lieutenant, is recaptured and returned to prison. He describes various events in his escape attempts, many having occurred in North Carolina.  AH USA.46 COO

*Corcoran, Michael. The Captivity of General Corcoran: The Only Authentic and Reliable Narrative of the Trials and Sufferings Endured, During His Twelve Months’ Imprisonment in Richmond, and Other Southern Cities by Brigadier General Michael Corcoran, the Hero of Bull Run.  Philadelphia: Barkley and Co., 1862.  
    Corcoran was the "hostage" of the Confederate government, which promised to give him the same punishment as the North would dole out to Southern privateers, which the U.S. deemed to be  pirates. Corcoran was held in Salisbury.

*Crossley, William J. “Extracts From My Diary . . . From July 1861 to June 1862.” Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society of Rhode Island, Personal Narratives. IV series, #4. Providence, RI: 1903.

*Darby, George W. Incidents and Adventures in Rebeldom, Libby, Belles Isle, Salisbury, Pittsburgh, PA: Press of Rawsthorne Engraving and Printing Co., 1899.

Decker, Doug, ed.  Diary & Letters from Samuel McLain Drummer with Co. I, 144th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Portland, OR: The Editor, 1992.  
    A diary and letters of a drummer, heavily annotated by the soldier’s great grandson with only the last several entries describing the prison in Salisbury. These diary notations primarily concern rations and lack of shelter

Dhalle, Kathy, compiler. Remembering Salisbury: Stories from the Prisoners of War… 1882-1934. Edited by Asa K. Gage. Marietta, GA: The Editor, 1996.  
   The National Tribune
, a Union Veterans’ newspaper, printed letters written by Salisbury Prison veterans who recounted their experiences in the prison. This work brings together a remarkable number of first-hand accounts.

Duel, James F. “Horrors of Rebel Prisons.” History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. Allen D. Albert, ed. Williamsport, PA : Grit Publishing Company, 1912. Pp. 324-332.  
    A very embittered account concerning nutrition, the burial detail, with descriptions of hospital and tent interiors and a liberation day. 

Duncan, Alexander. “My Experiences in Libby and Salisbury Prisons.” History of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. Allen D. Albert, ed. Williamsport, PA: Grit Publishing Company, 1912. Pp. 332-335.  
    This account describes the prison, i.e. “Twenty trees, seven water wells,” as well as life below ground. It also tells about liberation day. 

Durkin, Joseph T., ed., John Dooley, Confederate Soldier: His War Journal. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1945.
    Dooley was a Confederate soldier who traveled through Salisbury. He recorded his impression of the town in April of 1865. 

Ellis, Daniel. Thrilling Adventures, the Great Guide of East Tennessee For a Period of Nearly Four Years During the Great Southern Rebellion, Written by Himself.  
Ellis was the guide for the Northern journalists who escaped from the prison. 

Felci, Thomas, ed. Patrick Henry Campbell’s Civil War Diary and the History of the107th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Staten Island, NY: The Editor, 199?  
A photocopy of a typescript of a POW’s diary, containing only that portion which relates to his time spent at the Salisbury Confederate Prison. He depicts rations, lice, and confrontations between guards and prisoners.  NC ROW.46 CAM

Fosdick, Charles.  Five Hundred Days in Rebel Prisons. Chicago: G.F. Goskreutz, 1887.                                                         The writer, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Chattanooga, narrates his experiences at Belle Isle, Andersonville, and Florence.  AH USA.46 FOS

Freeman, M. O. and Elizabeth Fisk Freeman Grosh, eds.  "The Civil War Diaries of Henry Oliver Spencer."      A typescript of a journal maintained by a New York soldier who was captured and held in the Salisbury Prison, along with photocopies of some of the original entries, photographs, and compiled service material from the National Archives. Spencer died in the prison and a civilian sent his diary home to his family.  AG USA.46 CIV 

Galloway, Richard P. One Battle Too Many: An American Civil War Chronicle: The Writings of Simon Bolivar Hulbert, Private, Company E., 100th Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1861-1864. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, 1987.  
    This set of diaries and letters tells a story of a soldier who was captured early and exchanged from Salisbury (before subsequently being captured a second time to die at Andersonville). A prolific letter writer and diary keeper, Hulbert’s account is enhanced further by the annotations of the editor. It stresses the friendly interactions between the Northern and Southern soldiers in Salisbury. 

Glazier, Willard W. The Capture, Prison Pen, and Escape, Giving an Account of Prison Life in the South.  Albany: J. Munsell, 1866.  
    Written by a Lieutenant in the Harris Light Infantry and based upon his diary, which he slipped out of the prison during an escape, this work contains extensive coverage of Libby prison and Columbia, SC’s Camp Sorghum. Glazier never was incarcerated in Salisbury, but bases his treatment of Salisbury on quotes from Albert D. Richardson and Junius Henri Browne. 

Hyde, Solon. A Captive of War. New York, 1900.  
    Hyde was held in the prison only one night. Information concerning the prison found in this work came as a result of his interviews with other Salisbury POWs. 

Jordan, Alvia. “Autobiography of Alvia Jordan.”  
    The typescript copy of a personal memoir of a man who escaped from both Andersonville and Salisbury. The original is held by his descendants. Rowan Public Library holds the only copy outside the family’s hands. 

Kellogg, Robert H. Life and Death in Rebel Prisons. Freeport, NY: Books For Libraries Press, 1971.  
    A reprint of the 1865 account of a Connecticut Sergeant-Major and former POW who interviewed other former POWs about their experiences in various southern prisons. Salisbury’s coverage is eleven pages. Rowan Public Library has the original edition, as well. 

*McCowan, Archibald. The Prisoners of War; A Reminiscence of the Rebellion. New York: Abbey Press, 1901.  Considered a fictional account.

McElray, E. W. “My Experience in Prison Life.” History of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. Allen D. Albert, ed. Williamsport, PA: Grit Publishing Company, 1912. Pp. 336-351.  
    Perhaps the most brutal indictment of the conditions and treatment of the prisoners, this is a day-by day diary kept from Oct.7, 1864 to Feb 25, 1865 and contains weather details, guard/POW antagonisms, and information about prison food. It also contains a death roster of the 45th PA infantry as kept by one who was there. 

McLaughlin, Florence, ed. "Diary of Salisbury Prison by James W. Eberhart." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, (July 1973). NC ROW.46 EBE  

Morton, Joseph W. Sparks From the Camp Fire; or Tales of the Old Veterans. Thrilling Stories of Heroic Deeds, Brave Encounters, Desperate Battles, Bold Achievements, Reckless Daring, Lofty Patriotism, Terrible Suffering and Wondrous Fortitude. Washington, DC: The National Tribune, 1899.  
    Purportedly based upon the stories of veterans. The Salisbury Prison section appears to be derived from Richardson and Browne’s accounts. A photocopy of the Salisbury Prison section of this work is in the Salisbury Prison file of the Salisbury Confederate Prison Materials, MSS 9060, Rowan Public Library.

*Parsons, Byron. "Life as a Prisoner of War at Libby Prison in Richmond, VA., and at Salisbury, NC, and Danville, VA, and the Exchange of Prisoners." John R. Selbis, comp. #697 in Civil War Manuscripts: A Guide to Collections in Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Washington: Library of Congress, 1986.  
    A major in the 94th NY volunteers, Parsons kept a two-volume diary covering Jan. 1, 1864-Oct. 14, 1865.

*Prey, G. G. Recollection of Three Rebel Prisons: Libby, Salisbury, Danville. Warsaw, NY: Western New-Yorker Printing House, 1896.

Richardson, Albert D.  The Secret Service, the Field, the Dungeon, and the Escape. Hartford, CT: American Publishing Co., 1865.
The bitter personal account of a popular Northern newspaper correspondent for the New York Tribune who was in the Salisbury Prison and escaped along with Junius Henri Browne. AH USA.46 RIC 

*Sherman, George R. Assault on Fort Gilmer and Reminiscences of Prison Life. Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society, 1897.  
    A very brief statement about the prison from an African American Union soldier.

Small, Harold Adams, ed. The Road to Richmond. Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1939.
The Civil War Memoir of Major Abner R. Small of Maine and the diary, which he kept while in the prison.  AB SMALL SMA

Sprague, Homer B. Lights and Shadows in Confederate Prisons, a Personal Experience 1864-5.  New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915.  
    A brevet Colonel in the 13th Connecticut volunteers gives his account of life in the prison including the story of a failed escape attempt, along with a detailed physical description of the facility. 

Swift, George W.  Experiences of a Falmouth Boy in Rebel Prisons. Falmouth: The Independent Press, 1899. (UMI reprint from microfilm).  
    A corporal with the Massachusetts volunteers, Swift was captured in 1864 and wrote of his day-to-day experiences as a POW some thirty years after the event. This work is similar to Benjamin Booth’s account.

Wood, William Nicol. “Salisbury Recollections.” 1964.  
    A typescript of the recollections of a New Orleans child war refugee who stayed in the Yadkin House Hotel during the last days of the war.  The story is given as told to his granddaughter, and notes conditions of the prison, the tunnels, and an escape attempt. 

*Yerger, William H. “The Battle of the Weldon Railroad, Capture of the Remnants of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, Life in Salisbury Prison.” Grand Army Scout and Soldier’s Mail (May 17, 1884).

*Designates materials NOT owned by Rowan Public Library