The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Camp Ford

the prisoners. One early commandant tried to procure lumber to
construct barracks, but failed. The absence of formal housing
within the enclosure places Camp Ford in the class of "open
stockade" prisons, a type often found in the Confederacy.9
Prisoners were permitted to build their own shelters. In the
early months of Ford, when prisoners were few and mostly of-
ficers, and the supply of axes for cutting timber in the vicinity
was sufficient, log cabins of considerable substance were sometimes
built. The officers of the 42nd Massachusetts, who reached Ford
on December 22, 1863, thought their predecessors "were com-
fortable under the circumstances." In a few days "the so-called
42d mansion was built ... with the help and aid from two
officers of the 19th Iowa who understood the way to construct
log cabins.""
Many of the new prisoners of 1864 were forced to accept more
precarious shelters which included small, half-buried shanties of
sticks, and caves burrowed into the ground. "Others, with no en-
terprise, made no attempts to shelter themselves, and, conse-
quently, soon became sick from exposure."" In time, certainly
before the winter of 1864-1865, most of the new arrivals were
able either to construct better housing or to acquire it from prison-
ers departing for exchange. Soon after its arrival in April, 1864,
the mess group which included Chaplain John S. McCulloch.
77th Illinois, seems to have put up "a shanty sixteen feet square,
with a clapboard roof and a wooden chimney, plastered inside
with mud." One of the best structures in the stockade, it housed
as many as thirty-five men on rainy nights.12 In October, 1864,
9Special House Committee on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Union Cit-
izens, "Report," and testimony of Burch, House Committee Report No. 45, 40th
Cong., 3d Sess. (Serial No. 1391), 199, 1051-1052; Major Thomas F. Tucker to
Captain E. P. Turner, November 7, 1863, Oficial Records, Series II, Vol. VI, 484;
Francis T. Miller (ed.), The Photographic History of the Civil War (1o vols.; New
York, 1912), VII, 72.
xoBosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 427-428. See also Duganne, Twenty Months
in the Department of the Gulf, 329, concerning his "palatial mansion." Colonel
Nott, Sketches in Prison Camps, 148, did not think the prisoners were well housed,
and preferred to call the cabins "log shanties."
11Bringhurst and Swigart, Forty-sixth Indiana, 12o.
12John S. McCulloch, Reminiscences of Life in the Army and as a Prisoner of War,
typescript copy in Baker, Camp Ford, 88. McCulloch's "Reminiscences" were evi-
dently read before an assembled group in New York City on April 16, 1877.

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 July 13, 2014.