Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War

Overview


The holding of prisoners of war has always been both a political and a military enterprise, yet the military prisons of the Civil War, which held more than four hundred thousand soldiers and caused the deaths of fifty-six thousand men, have been nearly forgotten. Now Lonnie R. Speer has brought to life the least-known men in the great struggle between the Union and the Confederacy, using their own words and observations as they endured a true “hell on earth.” Drawing on scores of previously unpublished firsthand...
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Overview


The holding of prisoners of war has always been both a political and a military enterprise, yet the military prisons of the Civil War, which held more than four hundred thousand soldiers and caused the deaths of fifty-six thousand men, have been nearly forgotten. Now Lonnie R. Speer has brought to life the least-known men in the great struggle between the Union and the Confederacy, using their own words and observations as they endured a true “hell on earth.” Drawing on scores of previously unpublished firsthand accounts, Portals to Hell presents the prisoners’ experiences in great detail and from an impartial perspective. The first comprehensive study of all major prisons of both the North and the South, this chronicle analyzes the many complexities of the relationships among prisoners, guards, commandants, and government leaders.
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Editorial Reviews

Gun Week

"This is an excellent book for any military historian, Civil War Roundtable group, researcher, or anyone interested in learning more about an aspect of the Civil War behind the lines."—Larry S. Sterett, Gun Week

— Larry S. Sterett

Gun Week - Larry S. Sterett

"This is an excellent book for any military historian, Civil War Roundtable group, researcher, or anyone interested in learning more about an aspect of the Civil War behind the lines."—Larry S. Sterett, Gun Week
Gun Week

"This is an excellent book for any military historian, Civil War Roundtable group, researcher, or anyone interested in learning more about an aspect of the Civil War behind the lines."—Larry S. Sterett, Gun Week

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803293427
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 442
  • Sales rank: 1,003,673
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Lonnie R. Speer is a freelance writer with a special interest in the Civil War. His articles have appeared in Civil War Times Illustrated and America’s Civil War.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xiii
Chapter 1 Overview on Tragedy 1
1861
Chapter 2 Makeshift Prisons 19
Chapter 3 Life as a Prisoner of War 53
1862
Chapter 4 Prison Creation 67
Chapter 5 Prisoner Exchange 97
Chapter 6 Black Soldiers and POWs 107
1863
Chapter 7 Prison Expansion 119
Chapter 8 The Overseers 161
1864
Chapter 9 The Growing Prison Crisis 173
Chapter 10 Escape 219
1864-1865
Chapter 11 Prison Compounds 241
Chapter 12 Release and Revenge 283
Epilogue: Past and Present 297
Appendix A The Language of the Prison Camps 313
Appendix B Medical Glossary 321
Appendix C Prison Quick-Reference Guide 323
Notes 341
Bibliography 377
Index 399
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