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Salisbury Confederate Prison

Salisbury Confederate Prison

 Last Updated 10/2001

    The Salisbury Confederate prison came into being in 1861, and following the first battle of Bull Run at Manassas, Union prisoners of war streamed into Salisbury. Joining the POWs were Southern political prisoners and conscientious objectors, as well as Confederate and Federal deserters. Originally a cotton mill and, for a short time, a boys academy, the prison grounds had held a meat packing plant for the Confederate Army. It was also the site of the general muster ground, where local boys joined the Southern Army.

    Life early on in the prison was harsh, but prisoners had the benefit of a large yard in which they could move about. Supplies and rations were tight but manageable. Parole and exchanges of prisoners made the Salisbury Prison little more than a way station for those individual soldiers returning home. When exchanges and paroles all but ceased late in the war, the prison soon became greatly overcrowded, and supplies fell to almost nothing.  Locals who had scant rations themselves could do little to help those behind the stockade. Many prisoners died and were buried outside the walls. This was the beginning of Salisbury’s National Cemetery.

    Salisbury Prison gained added notoriety due to the fact that two noted journalists of the major newspaper of the day, the New York Tribune, were held there. Also there, was Col. Michael Corcoran, a popular New York Irishman, who had been chosen at random to receive the same fate as Southern privateers that the North had declared to be pirates. David Livingstone, the famous abolitionist, had a son who died in the prison under an assumed name, Rupert Vincent. The prison also held the very first POW of the war.

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Today, the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, Inc. external-link.png researches the prisons history and works to gather information about the men who where at the prison.  The Association provides lectures and tours about the prison and publishes a quarterly newsletter, "The Prison Exchange".  Membership is $10 per individual.  

The Annual Association Meeting is held in April during the 3-day Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium.  

Salisbury Confederate Prison Materials

    This collection contains information on the prison, its prisoners, monument dedications and various articles from newspapers.  Documents include baseball in the prison and prisoner diary excerpts, genealogical information and finding aids to collections of papers.

Oscar D. Morhous Diary

The Civil War diary of Oscar D. Morhous covers January 1 - December 11, 1864.  It was used by Morhous while he was a prisoner at the Salisbury Confederate Prison.  Morhouse, a single man, enlisted the 11th of August 1862 for three years. On January 29, 1864 he was promoted to Second Sgt. in the 118th New York Infantry Volunteers. He held this rank when taken prisoner on October 27, 1864.   He died in the prison on December 24, 1864.  

Bibliography

   What follows is a bibliography of materials about the Salisbury Confederate Prison.  Rowan Public Library welcomes any suggestions about additions to this bibliography. Materials in the bibliography are not necessarily held at Rowan Public Library.

Contents:
General Treatments
Personal Accounts
The National Cemetery
Archival and Manuscript Materials
Other Primary Sources
Biographies and Family Histories
Newspaper and Magazine Articles
                 Primary Sources Published
                Contemporary News Accounts
                Infrared Imaging of the Prison Site/Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium
                Archeological Investigation of the Prison Site
                Reenactment of Journalist's Escape
                Return of the Prison Flag
                Prison Images
                A Historic Site?
                The Tunnel
                Louis Brown's History
                Prison's Postage Stamps
                General/Miscellaneous Articles
Other Secondary Sources
Historical Fiction
 

This bibliography made be viewed in its entirety at
Salisbury Confederate Prison  Bibliography

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