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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Cannon over the Camp

 
 
Cannon over the Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
1. Cannon over the Camp Marker
Inscription. The Belle Isle prisoner-of-war camp that stood before you here was a prison without walls. Federal soldiers were confined by the James River and by the low earthen "dead line," such as the one replicated in front of you, surrounding the camp. About a hundred Confederate guards were assigned here and were authorized to shoot any prisoner crossing the dead line.

On the hill behind you, artillery pieces were positioned above the camp to intimidate the captives further. Gilbert E. Sabre, a prisoner here in 1863-1864, described the guns in his postwar memoir:

A ridge of low hills...overlooked the camp. Here were posted, at different points, four pieces of artillery, charged with shot and canister, and pointed to rake all parts of the camp. Cannoneers were always at the pieces, ready at an instant to open upon any indication of a revolt.
 
Erected by Richmond National Park Service.
 
Location. 37° 31.773′ N, 77° 27.072′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Tredegar Street 0.3 miles west of South 5th Street. Touch for map. Located on Belle Isle which can be reached via a pedestrian bridge from the north bank of the river. Marker is at or near this postal address: 470 Tredegar Street, Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Cannon over the Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 31, 2013
2. Cannon over the Camp Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ironworks Oil House (a few steps from this marker); Canons and Corpses (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Isle Rolling Milling and Slitting Manufactory (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Historic Belle Isle (about 600 feet away); Native American Fishing (about 600 feet away); The Power of Moving Water (about 600 feet away); Belle Isle Prison Camp Monument (about 700 feet away); Civil War POW Camp (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker. (captions)
Prisoner's ca. 1863 sketch of the Belle Isle camp from the hill behind you, showing cannon, the camp, and the city. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Cannon overlooking the empty camp, April 8, 1865, with a dead line to the left, camp buildings at the northeastern tip of Belle Isle, and the Virginia Sate Capitol and Richmond in the background. The cannon was positioned high up on the large hill behind you. Courtesy Library of Congress.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Richmond as seen from Belle Island image. Click for full size.
By A Prisoner, 1863
3. Richmond as seen from Belle Island
Belle Island prison camp in foreground, detailed image of Richmond in background. Library of Congress [LC-DIG-ppmsca-22920]
Richmond, Va. View of city from Belle Isle; gun in foreground image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner, April 8, 1865
4. Richmond, Va. View of city from Belle Isle; gun in foreground
Library of Congress [LC-B811- 891]
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 1, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 334 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 1, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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