Elmira in Chemung County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Elmira Prison Camp 1864 - 1865
This was the site of Elmira Prison Camp, established in 1864 to hold Confederate prisoners of the Civil War. When the war started in 1861, it was Barracks No. 3 of the Upstate Draft Rendezvous where Union soldiers were housed and trained. It was converted into a prison camp in 1864.
The 30-acre compound had a 12-foot stockade fence, with each about 100 feet long. The camp extended along the south side of West Water Street from Hoffman Creek to beyond Foster Avenue and ran south past Foster's Pond.
The camp opened July 6, 1864, when 399 Confederate prisoners arrived in Elmira on the Erie Railroad. In all, 12,123 prisoners were assigned to the camp. Death claimed 2,963 of these soldiers. The poor physical condition of the prisoners, plus an unusually severe winter and sanitary problems of overcrowding, caused the unusually high death rate. The Confederate dead are buried in Woodlawn National Cemetery a mile north of this site.
Seventeen men escaped from this camp, 10 of whom made the "great tunnel escape" October 7.
The camp officially closed July 10, 1865.
Two marble markers on West
Sergeant Benny Benson of Company A, Sharpshooters, 1st South Carolina volunteers, was among the ten Confederates who made the famous Tunnel Escape from Elmira Prison Camp October 7, 1864. He made his way through Canton, Williamsport, Harrisburg, and Baltimore, and on to his old regiment at Richmond, Virginia.
John W. Jones (1817-1900), sexton of Woodlawn Cemetery, was in charge of the burial of Confederate soldiers who died at Elmira Prison Camp. Born in slavery on a plantation near Leesburg, Va., he fled north via the Underground Railroad, reaching Elmira in 1844. Jones Court housing project is named in honor of Jones, who kept a record of name, rank, regiment, date of death of every Confederate.
Elmira Military Rendezvous
Elmira was the main artery of upstate New York in the flow of Union soldiers to Civil War battlefronts. Owing to its railroad network, Elmira was designated as one of the state's three military depots on June 30, 1861, by Gov. Morgan. Two years after the war began, conscription was decreed and Elmira became the draft rendezvous for upstate New York.
The first call for troops came on April 15, 1861. Company K of the 23rd Regiment, N.Y.V. was raised. Other "home" regiments were the 107th and 141st.
(Right Side photo captions):
Barracks No. 1 of the Elmira Military Rendezvous was between Lake Street and Oak Street, south of East Washington Avenue. This photo was taken from below Harper Street, looking northeast. In foreground are long cordwood piles. Barracks No. 1 was surrounded by a 12-foot stockade. This site, called Arnot Field, was just north of old Parker Athletic Field.
Guard house at the main entrance to Elmira Prison Camp.
Government hospital of 1861-65 at northwest corner of Clinton and Davis Streets.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 42° 4.945′ N, 76° 49.3′ W. Marker is in Elmira, New York, in Chemung County. Marker is at the intersection of Winsor Avenue and Hoffman Street, on the right when traveling east on Winsor Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elmira NY 14905, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Monument (a few steps from this marker); Upon This Spot Stood The Original Flagstaff (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elmira Prison Camp 1864-65 (approx. Ό mile away); 378 West Church Street (approx. 0.6 miles away); Old Second Street Cemetery (approx. 0.8 miles away); Crystal Eastman (approx. Spanish War Veterans (approx. 0.8 miles away); Medal of Honor Monument (approx. 0.9 miles away); Chemung County World War II Monument (approx. 0.9 miles away); Chemung County Korea and Vietnam Monument (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elmira.
Also see . . .
1. Elmira Prison Camp. Civil War Album photo tour (Submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Elmira Prison Camp. Chemung County History website entry (Submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,910 times since then and 98 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on June 23, 2014, by Scott J. Payne of Deposit, New York. 3. submitted on June 24, 2014, by Scott J. Payne of Deposit, New York. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 9. submitted on June 23, 2014, by Scott J. Payne of Deposit, New York. 10. submitted on November 4, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 11. submitted on June 26, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on June 24, 2014, by Scott J. Payne of Deposit, New York. 16. submitted on November 4, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.