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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tyler in Smith County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Camp Ford - Naval Prisoners

 
 
Naval Prisoners Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
1. Naval Prisoners Marker
Inscription. Camp Ford had the distinction of having the most naval prisoners of any camp, North or South. There was no coordination between the branches, with each responsible for arranging the exchange of their men. By the fall of 1864, the naval prisoners, some of whom who had been held in January of 1863, were pressing for release, stating that they had been forgotten by their superiors. Negotiations stalled over Confederate demands that any exchange of the Camp Ford prisoners include the exchange of CS Admiral Franklin Buchanan, captured at Mobile Bay in August 1864. In early 1865 negotiation resumed, resulting the exchange of another 1,200 prisoners including most of the naval personnel on February 22.

Final Days
   The last three months of the camp were marked by few deaths but great boredom. Although the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9, there was some thought that the Trans-Mississippi might fight on. By mid May, it was apparent that the end was near. Even so, the final exodus of the prisoners was done with order, and was the last formal exchange of the war, with the notations on the paperwork that the Confederate States had a deficiency and owed the United States more than 300 men in prisoner equivalents. The last 1,800 men marched out of the Camp on May 19, 1865 and the facility was abandoned.
Line drawing of Camp Ford image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
2. Line drawing of Camp Ford
   The nearly 5,500 prisoners were from every northern state with the exception of Delaware and Vermont. As you walk across these grounds remember that the struggle of these men from both North and South forged and defined our nation to the land we know today. Give this site and the memory of these men the honor that is deserved.

Included : Line drawing of Camp Ford, from Story of the 32nd Iowa Infantry, 1896
 
Erected by Smith County Historical Society.
 
Location. 32° 23.779′ N, 95° 16.103′ W. Marker is in Tyler, Texas, in Smith County. Marker is on U.S. 271 near Loop State Highway 323, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tyler TX 75702, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camp Ford - Prisoners from Louisiana (here, next to this marker); African Americans at Camp Ford (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Early Days as a Prison Camp (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford Confederate Guards (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp (here, next to this marker); Cabin of Lt. Col. J.B. Leake
Camp Ford - Naval Prisoners Marker, hidden at far right image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
3. Camp Ford - Naval Prisoners Marker, hidden at far right
(within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Ford (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Camp Ford (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Tyler.
 
Regarding Camp Ford - Naval Prisoners. Camp Ford was the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. Established in August of 1863, the camp was not closed until May 19, 1865. At its peak in July 1864, over 5,300 prisoners were detained there. (Smith County Historical Society)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 222 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 21, 2016.
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