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Civil War Prisons

During the Civil War, captured soldiers were originally being held in barns and warehouses.  As the war progressed, camps were converted into prisons, some were constructed, and some previously existing federal prisons were converted.  According to the National Park Service, there was over 150 military prisons, the largest of which was Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia where 45,000 Union soldiers were held. Throughout the course of the war, there were 194,732 Union soldiers held in Confederate prisons, and 220,000 Confederate soldiers held in Union prisons.  Approximately 56,000 died while in prison from starvation, injuries and rampant diseases.  

Learning more about Civil War prisons can help lead you to more information about your ancestors.  Some northern prisons holding Confederate soldiers were even guarded by former slaves.  

A collection of images, lists, and registers in 429 volumes of Confederate Prisoners of War records can be searched for FREE through FamilySearch at

U.S. Civil War Prisoners of War Records can be searched, for a fee, through at

Following is a list of some Civil War prison locations and websites where you can find more information.  Most of the following websites do not offer prison rosters.  But you can contact the site directors by phone or e-mail to request information.

Alabama, Cahaba (Union prisoners) – Cahaba/Cahawba Prison,

Delaware, Pea Patch Island (Confederate and Union prisoners) – Fort Delaware,

Florida, Gulf Breeze, Santa Rosa Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Pickens,

Florida, Key West, Garden Key (Confederate and Union prisoners) – Fort Jefferson/”Devil’s Island”,

Georgia, Andersonville (Union prisoners) – Camp Sumter/Andersonville Prison Camp,

Georgia, Atlanta (Union prisoners) – Fulton County Jail,

Georgia, Blackshear (Union prisoners) – Blackshear Prison,

Georgia, Cockspur Island (Union prisoners) – Fort Pulaski,

Georgia, Macon (Union prisoners) – Fort Oglethorpe Prison,

Georgia, Millen (Union prisoners) – Camp Lawton,

Georgia, Thomasville (Union prisoners) – Thomasville Prison,

Illinois, Alton (Confederate prisoners) – Alton Military Prison,

Illinois, Chicago (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Douglas,

Illinois, island between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa (Confederate prisoners) – Rock Island Prison/Arsenal Island,

Illinois, Springfield (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Butler,

Indiana, Indianapolis (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Morton,

Kentucky, Lexington (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Nelson,

Maryland, Baltimore (Confederate prisoners) – Fort McHenry,

Maryland, St. Mary’s County (Confederate prisoners) – Point Lookout Prison/Camp Hoffman,

Massachusetts, Boston, Georges Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Warren,

Mississippi, Ship Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Massachusetts,

Missouri, St. Louis (Confederate prisoners) – Gratiot Street Prison,

New York, Bedloe’s Island/Liberty Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Wood,

New York, David’s Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Slocum,

New York, Elmira (Confederate prisoners) – Elmira Prison,

New York, Governor’s Island (Confederate prisoners) – Fort Jay/Fort Columbus/Castle Williams,

North Carolina, Salisbury (Confederate prisoners) – Salisbury Prison,

Ohio, Columbus (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Chase,

Ohio, Columbus (Confederate prisoners) – Ohio Penitentiary,

Ohio, Sandusky (Confederate prisoners) – Johnson’s Island,

South Carolina, Charleston Harbor (Union prisoners) – Castle Pinckney,

South Carolina, Columbia (Union prisoners) – Castle Sorghum,

South Carolina, Florence County (Union prisoners) – Florence Stockade Camp,

Texas, Tyler (Union prisoners) – Camp Ford,

Virginia, Belle Isle (Union prisoners) – Belle Isle,

Virginia, Danville (Union prisoners) – Danville Prison,

Virginia, Hampton (Confederate prisoners) – Fortress Monroe,

Virginia, Richmond (Confederate prisoners) – Castle Thunder,

Virginia, Richmond (Union prisoners) – Libby Prison,

Washington, D.C. (Confederate prisoners) – Old Capitol Prison,

Wisconsin, Madison (Confederate prisoners) – Camp Randall,



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