Tyler in Smith County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Camp Ford Confederate Guards
With the massive influx of prisoners in April and May, the existing guards were no longer sufficient. In late May, a large
Many of the men of this regiment were not happy at being assigned to prison duty, and in late July, a mass desertion occurred with more than a hundred men of the regiment leaving. Even some of the troops dispatched to bring them back deserted. This created a panic and new troops were rushed to Tyler to guard the prisoners. Anderson was relieved by Col. J.P. Borders, who was in turn relieved by Col. George Sweet, 15th Texas Cavalry. In October Col. J.P. Bradfute arrived to take command of the post of Tyler which placed him in control of the Camp commandant.
Bradfute would remain in this position until war's end. The guard consisted of Sweet's regiment, Col. Reuben R. Brown's 35th Texas Cavalry, and various battalions of the Reserve Corps, generally men over 45. During this period the guards erected rather substantial quarters on the east side of the stockade, with soldiers selling
Even though Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, events continued in the west, with some thought being given to continuing the war in Texas. By mid May it was apparent that further resistance was futile and by May 19, most of the guards at the Camp had simply gone home.
Guarding prisoners was an extremely boring task that was not liked by the rank and file. Men had to stand 12 hour shifts no matter what the weather. There were some unprovoked shootings. The first occur in November 1863 when militiaman Frank Smith shot private Thomas Moorehead of the 19th Iowa. Col. Allen convened a court of inquiry and placed Federal officers on the panel.
At least five other fatal shootings occurred, all of which were deemed unjustified. The prisoners thought that a guard recieved furlough if they shot a prisoner, but such was not the case.
Hounds were used to track escapees, and this was universally resented by the inmates as violating "the rules of war." Some officers like Borders were harsh and meted out punishments of "bucking and gagging, " or hanging men by their thumbs. However, this was the exception, and as one prisoner wrote "the Rebels... did for the prisoners all that was possible with the means in their power, and treated them as well as prisoners could expect to be treated."
Erected by Smith County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1863.
Location. 32° 23.78′ N, 95° 16.102′ 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. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tyler TX 75702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Early Days as a Prison Camp (here, next to this marker); African Americans at Camp Ford (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Prisoners from Louisiana (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Naval Prisoners (here, next to this marker); Cabin of Lt. Col. J.B. Leake (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tyler.
Regarding Camp Ford Confederate Guards. 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)
At least two American Civil War battles were fought in and around Fordoche, in Louisiana . The Battle of Fordoche Bridge was fought in September 1863. Union troops were sent to prevent the Confederacy from operating in the upper Atchafalaya but the Confederates were successful in driving back the Union forces.
— Submitted October 10, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 611 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 4, 5. submitted on November 5, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.