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Tyler in Smith County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp

 
 
Camp Ford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
1. Camp Ford Marker
Inscription.    In March 1862, the movement of the Confederate army in Northern Arkansas to the Mississippi River left the northern frontier of the Trans-Mississippi virtually defenseless. Immediate efforts in Texas were made to raise new regiments for service in Arkansas. In April 1862 the "Eastern Camp of Instruction", was established at this site to train recruits. The facility was renamed Camp Ford after Col. John S. "RIP" Ford, superintendent of Conscripts for Texas, and former Texas Ranger and Indian Fighter. In the early summer of 1862, the camp was in full gear, and as quickly as the men were trained they were rushed toward Little Rock. By the summer of 1863, the pace of recruiting had slowed and the camp was staffed only by Captain S.M. Warner and a handful of militia.

Prisoner Of War Exchange System
   In June 1862 the North and South formally executed a "cartel" creating a system for the orderly exchange of prisoners of war. By December 1862 the system began to break down because CS President Jefferson Davis ordered no further exchange of officers because of alleged atrocities of Union General Benjamin Butler. Also by late 1862 the North began experimenting with recruiting African-Americans into military service. The political issues associated with this, especially the problem of the use of white officers for black
Camp Ford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
2. Camp Ford Marker
troops, coupled with alleged violations of the cartel by both sides, collapsed the system entirely in July 1863. The only exception was that commanding generals in the field could arrange for the exchange of prisoners taken by their forces with their opposing counterpart.
   In late 1863 and early 1864 CS General Richard Taylor and US General Nathaniel Banks entered into an agreement for the exchange of prisoners captured west of the Mississippi. Banks made the stipulation that there could be "no distinction made as to corps" [no discrimination based upon race.] Taylor agreed, stating that he did not believe that he had in his possession any white officers of black troops.
   Banks commanded the US Department of the Gulf, and Taylor the CS Department of West Louisiana. Taylor had taken a few prisoners by the summer of 1863, and there were only a handful of prisoners in Texas. The US regulars captured west San Antonio in 1861 had been exchanged in early 1863. US prisoners captured at Galveston on January 1, 1863 and at Sabine Pass on September 8, 1863 were held at Camp Groce, near Hampstead. The Department of Texas was commanded by CS General J.B. Magruder, and Groce was the POW camp for this department.
 
Erected by Smith County Historical Society.
 
Location. 32° 23.78′ 
Establishment of the Camp Marker, left image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
3. Establishment of the Camp Marker, left
N, 95° 16.101′ 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.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camp Ford Confederate Guards (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Early Days as a Prison Camp (here, next to this marker); Camp Ford - Prisoners from Louisiana (here, next to this marker); African Americans at Camp Ford (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 - Establishment of the Camp. 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
 
Battles where prisoners were captured image. Click for full size.
Smith County Historical Society, `
4. Battles where prisoners were captured
The Camp drew from vast area in hundreds of engagements. This map shows the largest and most distant battles that resulted in prisoners
Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp Marker, List of Union Regiments at Camp Ford image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
5. Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp Marker, List of Union Regiments at Camp Ford
Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp Marker, List Of Union Regiments at Camp Ford - continued image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, September 17, 2012
6. Camp Ford - Establishment of the Camp Marker, List Of Union Regiments at Camp Ford - continued
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 359 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 9, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   4. submitted on October 28, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   5, 6. submitted on November 5, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
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