Union Civil War Prison at Elmira, NY

If your are interested in how I came to develop this web page and links to other prison camp web pages go to the civil war history page.

Elmira is located approximately 217 miles northwest of New York City.
Map Elmira Foster Pond

From an internet browser who has lived in and around present day Elmira, NY all their life I learned that today all that remains of the prison is a memorial which includes one of the original flag staffs.
Elmira Memorial Photo
Elmira Monument
The Memorial Reads:
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT
DEDICATED TO THE SOLDIERS WHO TRAINED AT
CAMP RATHBUN MAY 1861 - 1864
AND
THE CONFEDERATE PRISONERS OF WAR
INCARCERATED AT CAMP CHEMUNG
JULY 1864 - JULY 1865
FLAGSTAFF LOCATED
INSIDE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE CAMP
N.W. CORNER OF PROPERTY AT
722 WINSOR AVE.
DONATED BY PAUL AND NORMA SEARLES
DEDICATED UNDER AUSPICES
CHEMUNG VALLEY LIVING HISTORY CENTER INC.
MAYOR JAMES HARE, CITY OF ELMIRA, N.Y.
MAY 3, 1992



Reference Resources:
  1. "The Elmira Prison Camp", A History of the Military Prison at Elmira, N. Y. July 6, 1864 to July 10, 1865; By: Clay W. Holmes, A.M.; G.P. Putman's Sons New York and London, The Knickerbocker press 1912.
  2. "Civil War Prisons", Kent State University Press, edited by William B. Hesseltine.
  3. "Photographic History of The Civil War", Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, edited by William C. Davis & Dell I. Wiley.
  4. "The Blue and the Gray", published by Cresent Books, distributed by Random House Value Publishing, Inc., edited by Henry Steele Commager
  5. "The Blue and the Gray" the story of the Civil War as told by participants, edited by Henry Steele Commager, 1995 edition is published by Cresent Books, distributed by Random House Value Publishing, Inc., 40 Engelhard Avenue, Avenel, New Jersey 07001. ISBN 0-517-06015-9. Chapter XIX, Prisons, North and South, Section 7, Titled: "The Privations of Life in Elmira Prison." is a narrative by a Tennessee prisoner, Marcus B. Toney, titled: "The privations of a Private", Nashville, Tenn.; Methodist Episcopal Church South, 1905. Pp. 93-104, passim."

The following sites contain some very good documents related to the Elmira Camp experience and history. Make time to visit them when you can to learn more about the Elmira Camp.


Foster's Pond still exists and there is a National Cemetery, "Woodlawn National Cemetery", some distance from the prison site where Mr. John W. Jones, a former slave, recorded every soldier's death and buried them. The prisoners are remembered 2 to 3 times each year, but especially during the Elmira re-enactment the first weekend in May. Elmira's Living History Center Civil War page. Buses take any interested re-enactors to visit the cemetery and the site of the Prison.


Elmira Cemetery
Elmira Cemetery
The Memorial Reads:
IN MEMORY OF
THE CONFEFERATE SOLDIERS
IN THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES
WHO DIED IN ELMIRA PRISON
AND LIE BURIED HERE
ERECTED BY THE
UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY
NOVEMBER 6, 1937.

A word about grave site numbers. The following is from Clay W. Holmes book, published in 1912.
"On the 7th of December, 1877, the United States Government purchased two acres of ground already filled with bodies.....Soon after the purchase an officer came here, recorded carefully all the information on the wooden markers, then removed the markers and burned them up. His records and those of John Jones were taken to Washington, where a large drawing was made showing the plot and every grave therein properly located and its number. This drawing has hung on the wall of the superintendent's office ever since. A large bound register was also prepared, giving the names and all known information. This register is carefully preserved in a fireproof safe in the office, and full information can be given concerning any body buried in the cemetery on a moment's notice. After the slabs were removed the entire plot was leveled off and seeded down.... no body has been removed since 1877...."
The grave site numbers I have listed in my web pages are those used after this change and published in 1912. There have been corrections since 1912 and where I have come across them I have changed the number and tried to provide the old an new information.

The following is a project to collect a listing of Civil War Prisoners that survived and those that did not for internet searching ancestors.

Grave Stone Example

Last Updated and Validated on 02/06/2000.