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Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison

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Thousands of Confederate soldiers died in Chicago during the Civil War, not from battle wounds, but from disease, starvation, and torture as POWs in a military prison three miles from the Chicago Loop. Initially treated as a curiosity, attitudes changed when newspapers reported the deaths of Union soldiers on southern battlefields. As the prison population swelled, deadly Thousands of Confederate soldiers died in Chicago during the Civil War, not from battle wounds, but from disease, starvation, and torture as POWs in a military prison three miles from the Chicago Loop. Initially treated as a curiosity, attitudes changed when newspapers reported the deaths of Union soldiers on southern battlefields. As the prison population swelled, deadly diseases--smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia--quickly spread through Camp Douglas. Starving prisoners caught stealing from garbage dumps were tortured or shot. Fearing a prisoner revolt, a military official declared martial law in Chicago, and civilians, including a Chicago mayor and his family, were arrested, tried, and sentenced by a military court. At the end of the Civil War, Camp Douglas closed, its buildings were demolished, and records were lost or destroyed. The exact number of dead is unknown; however, 6,000 Confederate soldiers incarcerated at Camp Douglas are buried among mayors and gangsters in a South Side cemetery. Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison explores a long-forgotten chapter of American history, clouded in mystery and largely forgotten.


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Thousands of Confederate soldiers died in Chicago during the Civil War, not from battle wounds, but from disease, starvation, and torture as POWs in a military prison three miles from the Chicago Loop. Initially treated as a curiosity, attitudes changed when newspapers reported the deaths of Union soldiers on southern battlefields. As the prison population swelled, deadly Thousands of Confederate soldiers died in Chicago during the Civil War, not from battle wounds, but from disease, starvation, and torture as POWs in a military prison three miles from the Chicago Loop. Initially treated as a curiosity, attitudes changed when newspapers reported the deaths of Union soldiers on southern battlefields. As the prison population swelled, deadly diseases--smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia--quickly spread through Camp Douglas. Starving prisoners caught stealing from garbage dumps were tortured or shot. Fearing a prisoner revolt, a military official declared martial law in Chicago, and civilians, including a Chicago mayor and his family, were arrested, tried, and sentenced by a military court. At the end of the Civil War, Camp Douglas closed, its buildings were demolished, and records were lost or destroyed. The exact number of dead is unknown; however, 6,000 Confederate soldiers incarcerated at Camp Douglas are buried among mayors and gangsters in a South Side cemetery. Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison explores a long-forgotten chapter of American history, clouded in mystery and largely forgotten.

32 review for Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    A good photo introduction to "Camp Douglas", which was a notorious prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. It was next door to the original location of the University of Chicago and had a very high death and disease rate, there were also many instances of abuse and torture of prisoners and even executions. However, though I did learn some of the back story to Camp Douglas and a good deal about what happened to the building and the bodies after closer of the camp, ther A good photo introduction to "Camp Douglas", which was a notorious prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. It was next door to the original location of the University of Chicago and had a very high death and disease rate, there were also many instances of abuse and torture of prisoners and even executions. However, though I did learn some of the back story to Camp Douglas and a good deal about what happened to the building and the bodies after closer of the camp, there was a good deal of information not included. I refuse to believe that only a handful of photos of the camp exist. But, as introductions to a subject goes, which is really what this series of books gives to its readers, it is a good read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Bloody awesome...it's to note that we had a concentration camp of Confederate prisoners on the Southside by the Museum by the lake...the Commandant put the Mayor of Chicago under arrest for complaining about conditions....and put the city under martial law in 1864 almost provoking a street battle between Chicago's gangs and the Police on side and the Union Army on the other...intervention from Washington saved the day.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Lagier

    Been reading books about the federal prison camp, Camp Douglas, in Chicago, Illinois, because my Confederate ancestor was imprisoned there for some 18 months and managed to survive--and then walk home to Mississippi after he was paroled in July 1865. This little book had a lot of historical pictures.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debi

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    Shari Smid

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    Michael

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    Stephanie Fitzgerald

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    Kristee Walker

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    Clifford Lee

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    Jillian Avery

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diane

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    Ashley

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    Christina

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    Adam

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    Rachael

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    Kip

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    Scott

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    Kaitlyn

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    Christal

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    Sam

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    James

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    Michael Ryzy

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    Linda

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    The Celtic Rebel (Richard)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

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    April

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    Clare

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    Mary

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    Sarah Higgins

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Tinkham-Graves

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Sturr

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