The Business of Captivity in the Chemung Valley: Elmira and Its Civil War Prison

Overview

"One of the many controversial issues to emerge from the Civil War was the treatment of prisoners of war. At two stockades, the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia, and the Union prison at Elmira, New York, suffering was acute and mortality was high." In the early stages of the Civil War, Elmira was designated as a rendezvous for training Union soldiers. The local economy boomed from supplying troops. Then, in 1864, Union leaders decided that Elmira would be converted into a prison, During its single year of existence, more money was
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The Business of Captivity: Elmira and Its Civil War Prison

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Overview

"One of the many controversial issues to emerge from the Civil War was the treatment of prisoners of war. At two stockades, the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia, and the Union prison at Elmira, New York, suffering was acute and mortality was high." In the early stages of the Civil War, Elmira was designated as a rendezvous for training Union soldiers. The local economy boomed from supplying troops. Then, in 1864, Union leaders decided that Elmira would be converted into a prison, During its single year of existence, more money was expended on the Elmira prison than on any of the other Union stockades. Even with this record spending, a more ignominious figure was attached to Elmira: of the more than 12,000 Confederates imprisoned there, nearly 3,000 died while in captivity - the highest rate of any Northern prison. The author's conclusions are based on new, little-known, or never-used archival materials. The economic and social impact of the 'prison' on the host community offers new insights into the social history of the war. In a similar vein, the author's description of the prison culture is especially illuminating.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873387088
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 1,020,525
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Chemung Valley Prior to Civil War
1 The Elmira Depot 1
2 Preparations, Arrivals, and Disaster: The Inauguration of Elmira Prison 7
3 The August Buildup 18
4 Ingredients for Survival: Food as a Necessity of Prison Life 28
5 The October Exchange 43
6 Winter's Torment 55
7 Economics on the Inside: The Prison Market, Employment, and the Inmate Social Order 74
8 Economics on the Outside: Elmira, a City on a Civil War Contract 89
9 Johnny Reb's Other Occupations 105
10 Billy Yank as Prison Keeper 124
11 March Showers, April Flowers, and the End of the Civil War 141
12 The Aftermath and the Legacy 153
Notes 169
Bibliography 214
Index 219
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    This was a very good book about the Civil War prison at Elmira.

    This was a very good book about the Civil War prison at Elmira. It is well written and interesting. My only fault with the book is one error in his research. President Lincoln's funeral train did not travel through Elmira or the Chemung Valley. His footnote for that passage does not seem to indicate what his source was for that information, but it is incorrect. Otherwise, the book is a good history of the camp, and I found it more enjoyable to read that other books on the same subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2001

    GREAT JOB, MR. DR. GRAY!

    Mr. Dr. Gray is my U.S. AP History teacher at New Egypt High School, and I think that he did a great job on his book. He takes something as boring as a civil war prison camp and makes it more appealing to the American public. I was incredibly impressed with the cover, because it doesn't look like a college thesis, but it actually looks like a real book- and it has some pictures, too. Overall, I think that he should be commended for his hard work and painstaking research. And his wife should be thanked as well, for correcting all of his grammar mistakes. NICE JOB!

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