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

Camp Ford

While this listing is supposedly fifty-four short of the true
figure, the assumption seems justified that deaths never exceeded
seventy in one month. Granting such a figure for September, 1864,
the death rate that month would not have been much over two
per cent, the number of prisoners then at Ford being estimated
at 3,200 to 3,400." Over-all, it appears that more than 5,300 Fed-
erals were billeted at Ford at one time or another during the
twenty-one months the prison existed. Two hundred and eighty-
six deaths would mean a death rate not much over five per cent.46
Before June, 1864, Confederate medical facilities at Ford seem
to have consisted of an occasional visit by one surgeon.47 In that
month, however, F. M. Meagher was assigned as post surgeon, and
a hospital was constructed near the stockade. Volunteers from the
prisoners subsequently erected a second building, giving Camp
Ford two hospitals described as being thirty-five feet by ten and
fifty feet by twenty. Even so, on certain occasions there was room
for "only the worst cases."48
Curiously enough, though the commandants at Ford changed
several times, prisoner accounts usually mention only two of
them, the good and generous Colonel Robert T. P. Allen and,
more often, the less satisfactory Lieutenant Colonel John Pelham
Border, of Colonel T. Scott Anderson's Texas Cavalry Regiment.
Anderson had assumed command at Ford on May 15, 1864, but he
seems actually to have taken charge of the "post" of Tyler and left
the prison to his lieutenant colonel.49
Colonel Allen had commanded from November, 1863, to May
15, 1864. A New York colonel looked upon Allen and his wife as
"kind friends," and most of the prisoners seem to have felt sim-
45About 2,6oo or 2,700 prisoners remained at Camp Ford after the departure
for exchange of some 640 prisoners in early October. New Orleans Times, November
1, 1864, p. i; New York Herald, November 6, 1864, p. 8; Oficial Records, Series I,
Vol. XLI, Pt. 4, 655.
46Leon Mitchell, Jr., Prisoners of War in the Confederate Trans-Mississippi
(Master's thesis, University of Texas, 1961), 86.
47Bosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 432.
4sBering and Montgomery, Forty-eighth Ohio, 158-159; Duganne, Twenty Months
in the Department of the Gulf, 414-415.
49Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-one Days, 20o4; Walter P. Webb and
H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), Handbook of Texas (2 vols.; Austin, 1952), I, 191; Duganne,
Twenty Months in the Department of the Gulf, 20o8-20o9.

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 January 27, 2015.