The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 16
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
in height was constructed to surround the prison barracks.
Within the one and one-half acre enclosure were two deep wells
supplying "bad water."' The barracks, each "divided into three
compartments," were in rather dilapidated condition and did not
provide complete comfort during rainy periods and Texas north-
ers. In size they were reported sufficient in 1864 to accommodate
six hundred and fifty prisoners."
Throughout 1863, the number of prisoners remained rela-
tively small. With the arrival of a group of Federal officers from
the state penitentiary at Huntsville on the last day of June, the
population of Camp Groce reached approximately twenty-nine
officers, seventeen soldiers, and eighty-six seamen. During the
summer and early fall, the population slowly increased. On Au-
gust 1, Colonel Charles C. Nott and Lieutenant Colonel A. J. H.
Duganne of the 176th New York, accompanied by other officers
captured in western Louisiana, arrived at the camp. Two hundred
and twenty of the prisoners, taken at Sabine Pass were brought in
on September 14, 1863.-
The company of infantry serving as guard at Camp Groce was
relieved on September 18, 1863, by a battalion of Texas militia
under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Sayles and
Major James S. Barnes. One Federal officer, to his admitted sur-
prise, thought "the militia very far surpassed the volunteers
[Buster's company], and did their business in a very soldierly
way." He described Sayles as "a man of few words, very quiet, very
kind, and [one who] rarely gave an order that did not effect an
improvement."" Before long Major Barnes assumed actual com-
mand of the prison camp. This Southerner was "in every thought
and word and deed a perfect Christian gentleman . . and so en-
'Bosson, Forty-second Messachusetts, 423, 425; Thomas H. Bringhurst and Frank
Swigart, History of the Forty-sixth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Septem-
ber, s86x-September, 1865 (Logansport, 1888), 131. Evidently the stream served
as the chief source of water for the prisoners.
'Ibid.; Bosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 423; A. J. H. Duganne, Camps and
Prisons: Twenty Months in the Department of the Gulf (New York, 1865), 279-280.
eBosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 421, 426; Lieutenant John Roberts to
Lieutenant Colonel Richard B. Irwin, June 26, 1863, The War of the Rebellion:
A Compilation of the Oficial Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (70
vols. in 128; Washington, 1880-1o901), Series II, Vol. VI, 53-54-
7Nott, Sketches in Prison Camps, 112-113, 115; Bosson, Forty-second Massachu-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/34/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.