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[41]

A closer view of the Confederate prisoners at Belle Plain The photographer had worked up the valley nearer to the Camp of Confederate prisoners at Belle Plain when this view was taken. The bed of the little stream is now visible, with the group of soldiers lounging by its banks. It was on May 23-26, 1864, that Lee had checkmated Grant at the North Anna River in the latter's advance toward Richmond. While the army was at Spotsylvania, its water base had been at Belle Plain, on Potomac Creek, but when Grant moved to the North Anna the base was transferred to Port Royal, on the Rappahannock, and the Confederates at Belle Plain were sent on to Northern prisons. The burden placed upon the South in feeding and guarding its prisoners was overwhelming, and Colonel Robert Ould, agent of exchange, offered, later in the year, to deliver the sick and wounded at Savannah without equivalent. Transportation was sent late in November, and here and at Charleston, when the delivery was completed after the railroad leading to Savannah was cut, about thirteen thousand men were delivered. More than three thousand Confederates were delivered at the same time. After January 24, 1865, exchanges were recommenced and continued with little interruption to the end of hostilities in April.

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