The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 21
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Camp Groce: Confederate Military Prison
Little has been discovered about Confederate efforts to feed
and clothe the prisoners at Groce. A clothing issue of unknown
amount and type took place on October 17, 1863, but apparently
there were none in 1864.23 As previously noted, rations issued in
1863 seem to have been largely augmented by outside purchases.
According to the testimony of an embittered prisoner, the ration
of 1864 "consisted of one-half pound of tough and tasteless meat,
one-half ounce coarse salt," and one pound of corn meal coarsely
ground which included pieces of husk. In one out of ten rations
bacon replaced beef but was "always so rotten as to be useless."
Allegedly the rations could not be supplemented as had been
done the previous year because Colonel Gillespie refused to let
the local inhabitants sell their goods to the prisoners.'2
In December, 1864, all the prisoners at Camp Groce were
paroled and it was permanently abandoned as a military prison.
On December 12, 342 army prisoners were turned over to Union
officials off the port of Galveston, Texas, and a week later o8
army and naval prisoners were delivered in the same fashion.25
During most of the life of Camp Groce, the Confederates prob-
ably provided for the prisoners as well as circumstances per-
mitted. For what it is worth, the official report of the special
house committee on the treatment of prisoners of war states that
"the general condition of prisoners" at Camp Groce "was favor-
able when compared with many places east of the Mississippi."2
28Bosson, Forty-second Massachusetts, 435; testimony of John Read, House Com-
mittee Report No. 45, 40th Cong., 3d Sess. (Serial No. 1391), 927.
25Bringhurst and Swigart, Forty-sixth Indiana, 136-137; Union prisoners legally
paroled or exchanged at Galveston, Texas, House Committee Report No. 45, 4oth
Cong., 3d Sess. (Serial No. 1391), 746-747; Oficial Records, Series II, Vol. VII, 1248;
Vol. VIII, 460o. Evidently the plight of the naval prisoners at Groce caused sympa-
thetic Confederate and Union authorities to set aside a temporary dispute and
agree to their release. By comparison, naval prisoners then at Camp Ford, some
of whom had been captured in January, 1863, were not returned to the Federal
lines until February 26, 1865. Leon Mitchell, Jr., Prisoners of War in the Con-
federate Trans-Mississippi (Master's thesis, University of Texas, 1961), 168-170.
"Special House Committee on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Union
Citizens, "Report," House Committee Report No. 45, 40th Cong., 3d Sess. (Serial
No. 1391), 199.
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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/m1/39/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.