THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXVI JULY, 1962 No. 1
Confederate v/ilitary Priso
LEON MITCHELL, JR.
T HE CONFEDERATE MILITARY PRISON KNOWN AS CAMP FORD
was established about August 27, 1863,E when a group of
Federal officers captured the previous June were placed
in a camp about four miles northeast of the town of Tyler at a
spring site on a road leading towards Gladewater, Texas.2 Seven
months later, in April, 1864, Camp Ford was greatly enlarged,
serving thereafter as the chief prison in the Confederate Trans-
Mississippi Department. Camp Ford was probably created on
authority from Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, de-
partmental commander, at Shreveport, Louisiana, but the com-
mandant became responsible to Smith's subordinate, Major Gen-
eral John B. Magruder, commanding the District of Texas."
Any attempt to describe Camp Ford must take into account the
factors of time and size of prison population. The larger the num-
ber of prisoners, the more acute were the difficulties at the camp.
No stockade was built until November, 1863, when the arrival
of about 450 prisoners captured at Stirling's Plantation, Louisiana,
brought the total number of prisoners to over 500. Almost imme-
diately, however, Camp Ford was drastically reduced on Novem-
'A. J. H. Duganne, Camps and Prisons: Twenty Months in the Department of
the Gulf (New York, 1865), 190o.
2Albert Woldert, A History of Tyler and Smith County, Texas (San Antonio,
1948), S9; Mattie Alice Baker, Camp Ford (Master's thesis, East Texas State Col-
lege, 1958), 1.
sMajor Thomas F. Tucker to Captain Edmund P. Turner, November 7, 1863,
War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Oficial Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128; Washington, 1880-1goi), Series II, Vol. VI, 484.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed September 2, 2015.