Danville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Prison Number 6
Confederate Prison 1863-1865
Built for use as a tobacco factory and leased to the Confederate government, this building housed many Federal soldiers captured in the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg in July 1864.
It was one of six buildings used in tobacco manufacturing, that housed more than 7,000 Union prisoners from November 1863 to April 1865. A smallpox epidemic was responsible for the deaths of a large number of the prison population early in 1864. A total of 1,323 deaths occurred among prisoners during the 16 months Danville served as a prison compound. Most of the dead were buried on a section of ground on Lee Street that became the Danville National Cemetery in 1867.
The building underwent substantial alteration in 1915. The original three-story structure, built in the Gothic Revival style with twin turrets and a recessed single bay facade, measured 90x40 feet. The interior was radically changed during renovation as well. Floor heights were changed and windows were relocated to accommodate the new floor levels.
The present four-story building is 95x70 feet and functioned as a leaf tobacco factory until 1937. From that time
”The Federal Government has definitely declined any further exchange of prisoners…. I would respectfully suggest that the City of Richmond is not a suitable place for the accommodation and safekeeping of these prisoners.... One [site] on the extension of the Danville Railroad, near the border of North Carolina [Danville] has been named, where wood is cheap and provisions are in abundance, where there is little danger of any enemy raids or attack from the enemy….” — Robert E. Lee in a letter to Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, October 28, 1863.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1865.
Location. 36° 35.166′ N, 79° 23.428′ W. Marker is in Danville, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Loyal Street and Lynn Street, on the right when traveling north on Loyal Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Danville VA 24541, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Prison No. 6 (here, next to this marker); Loyal Baptist Church Tobacco Heritage Mural (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bloody Monday (about 500 feet away); Danville Tobacco Warehouse and Residential District (about 500 feet away); Harry Wooding (about 500 feet away); Danville System (about 500 feet away); The Wreck of Old 97 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danville.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 820 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 2. submitted on April 26, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4. submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.