Ship Island was used as a French base of operations for Gulf Coast maneuvers and later, during the War of 1812, by the British as a launching point for the disastrous Battle of New Orleans. But most memorably, Ship Island served as a Federal prison under the command of Union Major-General Benjamin F. Butler during the Civil War. This volume traces this fascinating and somewhat sinister history of Ship Island, which lies about 12 miles off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After discussing the impact that early Southern abandonment of the island ultimately had on the course of the war, it describes the unhealthy atmosphere and inhumane treatment of prisoners, which earned Butler the nickname of 'The Beast." The main focus of the book, however, is a series of rosters of the men imprisoned. Organized first by the state in which the soldier enlisted and then by the company in which he served, entries are listed alphabetically by last name and include information such as beginning rank; date and place of enlistment; date and place of capture; physical characteristics; and, where possible, the fate and postwar occupation of the prisoner. A list of Union soldiers who died while serving on garrison duty is also provided.
"a rare compilation of names that will help genealogists, historians and war researches with their own writings. Freed black men from the Louisiana Native Guard served as Union guards, a unique occurrence"