Cofedcrate Miltitary' Prso
LEON MITCHELL JR.
THE FIRST CONFEDERATE MILITARY PRISON OF A PERMANENT
nature west of the Mississippi River was established in
June, 1863, by Confederate military authorities in the
District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The place selected
was Camp Groce, a former Confederate camp of instruction,
located on Leonard W. Groce's Liendo Plantation about two
miles east of Hempstead, Texas. A portion of the camp was first
given over to prisoners on June 13, when a group of about one
hundred and ten arrived by train from Houston. The remainder
of the camp was occupied by the guard, which was then Captain
Claudius Buster's Company C, 2oth Texas Infantry.'
The camp consisted of several long, narrow, wooden barracks
in a clearing surrounded by woodland on three sides. Nearby
was a small, sluggish stream presently known as Clear Creek.
Across the open side, at a distance of about three hundred yards,
lay the sunken bed and track of the Houston and Texas Central
Railroad. Rather closer to the barracks was "a new frame build-
ing" which "served as quarters for Confederate officers."' For
the first four months of use the camp was enclosed by a chain of
"broad-hatted" Texas sentinels, "sitting at irregular intervals on
stumps and logs, and generally engaged in balancing their rifles
on their knees."' In October, 1863, a stockade some twelve feet
1Charles P. Bosson, History of the Forty-second Regiment Infantry, Massachu-
setts Volunteers, 1862, x863, x864 (Boston, 1886), 422-423; Eusiba Lutz, "Liendo:
The Biography of a House," Southwest Review, XVI, 197; Bellville Countryman,
July 26, 1862, p. 1; Frank Edd White, A History of the Territory That Now Con-
stitutes Waller County, Texas, from 1821 to 1884 (Master's thesis, University of
Texas, 1936), 96. That the prison was established by the Confederate command in
Texas is inferred from the circumstances.
'Bosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 423; White, A History of Waller County, 97.
'Charles C. Nott, Sketches in Prison Camps: A Continuation of Sketches of the
War (New York, 1865), 97.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed July 30, 2015.