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Prison near Tyler, Texas.

The prison near Tyler, Texas, known as Camp Ford, was always an interesting place, even when food and clothing were most scanty. The prisoners here were an ingenious lot, who apparently spent their time in unmilitary but natural fraternizing with their guards, with whom their relations were nearly always pleasant. In spite of all the efforts of the officers, the guards could not be prevented from trading with the prisoners. The latter slaughtered the cattle for their own food; and from the hoofs and horns they made effective combs, and carved beautiful sets of checkers and chessmen. Conditions in this prison were not hard until 1864, when the concurrent increase in numbers and exhaustion of supplies and wood in the neighborhood brought much suffering. It is reported that when the guards learned of the capture of Richmond, they went to their homes, leaving the prisoners almost without supervision to make their way to New Orleans. With continued confinement, clothes wore out, as is evident in the photographs, which represent officers and enlisted men of the Nineteenth Iowa. With their bare feet they were evidently not in a condition to be presented in ‘society.’

Dilapidated Union prisoners after eighteen months at Tyler, Texas

Enlisted men of the nineteenth Iowa after their captivity


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