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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cahaba in Dallas County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Captive Boys in Blue

 
 
Captive Boys in Blue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
1. Captive Boys in Blue Marker
Inscription.   In 1862 the Confederacy used one of Cahawba's brick cotton warehouses to temporarily house men captured at the Battle of Shiloh. In 1863, they officially converted the warehouse into a military prison. The inmates called it "Castle Morgan," reportedly after the daring Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan.

The warehouse only measured 200 by 125 feet, but by the end of the war, 3,000 men were confined in this small space. Over the course of the war thousands more passed through the prison, and yet only 142 to 147 men died here. Such an exceptionally low death rate can be attributed to an artesian well that supplied fresh water for drinking, bathing, and sanitation.

As the war drew to a close, flood waters inundated the prison, making a bad situation worse. After several days of standing in foul water, these captive boys in blue were removed from Cahawba and sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi for parole.

The Sultana Disaster

At the end of the war, many of the Federal soldiers from Cahawba's prison were placed aboard a steamboat called the Sultana. After surviving
Captive Boys in Blue Marker looking east, with the Alabama River just beyond. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
2. Captive Boys in Blue Marker looking east, with the Alabama River just beyond.
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bloody battles and harsh prison life, they were finally headed home. Joy ended in tragedy, when the crowded boat exploded near Memphis on the Mississippi River. Most of the men aboard were killed. The Sultana disaster is still considered the worst maritime disaster in U.S. History. Engraving of the Sultana Disaster
Harper's Weekly, May 20, 1865.

 
Erected 2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable PlacesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is May 20, 1865.
 
Location. 32° 19.016′ N, 87° 5.76′ W. Marker is in Cahaba, Alabama, in Dallas County. Marker can be reached from Capitol Avenue east of Vine Street. Located within the Cahawba Archaeological Park (nominal fee required). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Capitol Avenue, Orrville AL 36767, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Castle Morgan & Jesse Hawes (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Prison (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Hiram Solon Hanchett (within shouting distance of this marker); A Prison Chimney? (within shouting distance of this marker); Railroad Depot and Commissary (within shouting distance of
The steamboat Sultana image. Click for full size.
By Public domain (US-PD), April 26, 1865
3. The steamboat Sultana
Photo of the Sultana taken at Helena, Arkansas, on April 26, 1865, a day before she was destroyed. The view captures a large crowd of paroled Union prisoners packed tightly together on the steamboat's decks.
this marker); The Mound at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Vine Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Cahawba - circa 1500 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cahaba.
 
Also see . . .
1. Cahaba Federal Prison - The Encyclopedia of Alabama . (Submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article that includes the Sultana at Cahaba. (Submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
3. Wikipedia article on the Cahaba Prison. (Submitted on January 13, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
4. Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 13, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 266 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 16, 2021