Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War

Civil War Prisons and Prisoners

       No matter which reference you use, there were over 400,000 prisoners during the Civil War.  This number does not include the surrendering armies at the end of the war nor those men captured and immediately paroled.   At the very beginning of the war, because there were no places to detain prisoners, both sides released them on parole, on oath not to take up arms until they had been formally exchanged for an enemy captive of equal rank. This practice evolved into a more formal exchange, and then was virtually discontinued altogether.  This resulted in the development of prison camps on both sides. The articles provided in this section of the Home of the American Civil War website provides information on both the prisoners and the prisons they were confined in.

Civil War Prisons It should not surprise you to know that prisons did not start operating at the beginning of the war. 
Civil War Prisons Overview An article from the Photographic History of the Civil War describing the various types of prisons.  This article greatly expands on the introduction provided on the "Civil War Prisons" link provided above.
Prisoner Exchange A detailed article explaining the prisoner exchange system used in the war.  This article greatly expands on the "Parole of Prisoners" link provided below.
Prisoners in the Civil War "...The discussion of practices concerning prisoners in the Civil War has become so largely the theme of vituperation and recrimination on both sides that it may well give pause to the historian..."
Parole of Prisoners A practice used before the "Prisons" came into the picture.
Treatment of Prisoners A very interesting and detailed article written from the Southern perspective.

        This Page last updated 02/16/02

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