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

Camp Ford

serves mention,) were brought in every morning in bulk, and divided
at the "Public Square," Capt. Joe Stevison, of the 77th Ills., superin-
tending the thankless task very satisfactorily."
Prisoners who escaped from Ford and reached their lines in
November, 1864, reported the ration as "corn meal and fresh
beef, with half ration of salt."18 In April, 1865, a prisoner re-
ported a "breakfast of baked beans, bacon and corn bread.""
There is no doubt that the Confederates tried to supply provi-
sions for the prisoners,20 but to thrust over 4,000 persons into any
Texas community in 1864, in a period of less than two months,
and expect them to be perfectly supplied was asking a lot.
One fundamental difficulty was the inadequacy of transpor-
tation facilities in the Tyler region. As early as May 2, 1864,
Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel H. Hill, in command of ordnance
works near Tyler, complained of a shortage of wagons which he
blamed on Camp Ford. On May 20 he had over 3oo,ooo rounds
of ammunition ready for shipment to Shreveport, but had failed
to get a wagon train together because the subsistence and quar-
termaster departments had "every thing in the shape of wagons,
Mules, etc. hauling Corn & provisions to supply the Yankee pris-
oners."21 Evidently food for Yankee prisoners took precedence
over Confederate ammunition.
Many prisoners thought it a hardship that they were forced to
prepare their own food. In addition firewood had to be brought
in from outside the prison by hand, and at times there was a
severe shortage of cooking and eating utensils. There were
17Bering and Montgomery, Forty-eighth Ohio, 167. Apparently, steers were butch-
ered near the prison by selected prisoners. Duganne, Twenty Months in the Depart-
ment of the Gulf, 377.
1sOfficial Records, Series I, Vol. XLI, Pt. 4, 655-
19Gilligan Diary, April 25, 1865.
20In March, 1864, the commissary officer at Tyler even sought to purchase hard
soap and a supply of apple or wine vinegar. Tyler Reporter, March 31, 1864, p. 4.
21Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel H. Hill, Tyler, Texas, to Major Thomas G. Rhett,
Shreveport, Louisiana, May 2, 2o, 1864, in Records of the U. S. War Department,
Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group log. Letter Book of Lieutenant
Colonel G. H. Hill, The National Archives, Washington, D. C. (microfilm copy in
Archives, University of Texas Library).

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 31, 2014.