The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Camp Groce, Texas: A Confederate Prison
BRAD CLAMPITT*
W TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR HAVE BEEN AS
neglected by professional historians as the Confederate prison camp on
the Liendo Plantation owned by Leonard Waller Groce near Hempstead,
in southeast Texas. Groce, a member of one of Texas's founding families,
arrived in Texas with his father in 1822. A veteran and notable financier of
the Texas Revolution, the wealthy Texan contributed virtually his entire
fortune to the Confederate cause, declaring bankruptcy in 1868. The small
prisoner-of-war camp established on his land is the subject of a single schol-
arly article published in 1963. Leon Mitchell Jr. provided a brief introduc-
tion to the prison in his seven-page article, though he gave little attention
to the subjects of medical care, administration, and living conditions. The
only secondary work on Camp Groce is a self-published book by Danial
Lisarelli. Although Lisarelli should be commended for his research, the
text consists primarily of reproduced documents.' Other southern prisons,
including Camp Ford, a larger camp near Tyler, Texas, have received more
attention from historians. A converted Confederate recruitment camp, the
small prison fifty miles northwest of Houston received its first prisoners in
June 1863, three months before Camp Ford. Perhaps because of its isolat-
ed location in the trans-Mississippi west, exchanges of Camp Groce prison-
ers were rare, and its inhabitants often considered themselves forgotten or
neglected by Union officials.2
* Brad Clampitt is a graduate student at the University of North Texas. He wishes to thank
Richard G. Lowe for his guidance and Randolph B. Campbell for his helpful comments.
Danial Francis Lisarelh, The Last Prson. The Untold Story of Camp Groce CSA (N.p.: Damal
Francis Lisarelli, 1999). The author follows no discernible pattern in citing material or in con-
structing his bibliography. Lisarelli presents an impartial account, though he tends to accept all
prisoner accounts as fact with little regard for possible exaggerations or fabrications. Further, in
attempting to recount the history of Camp Groce, Lisarelli unnecessarily devotes entire chapters
to reconstructing relevant battles that have already been attended to by professionals in the field,
and cites some of the lesser-known articles. Despite these shortcomings and the lack of meaning-
ful analysis, the collection of documents and the lists compiled by the author make his book an
invaluable source for the study of Camp Groce.
2 Waller County Historical Society, A History of Waller County, Texas (Waco: Texian Press,
1973), 44, 379; Julia Beazley and Eldon S. Branda, "Leonard Waller Groce," Ron Tyler, Douglas
VOL. CIV, No. 3 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JANUARY, 2001

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed September 20, 2014.