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 The prisons of the Civil War, North and South, were for the most part temporary makeshifts, hastily constructed, and seldom suitable for human beings in confinement; or else they were structures intended for other purposes and transformed into prisons. If judged by standards now generally accepted, nearly all, as they actually existed, would have been condemned for the lack of the most elementary sanitary requirements. Prisoners were confined during the course of the war in more than one hundred and fifty places, but of these hardly more than twenty are important. In some of the others the use as a prison was short, or else the number confined was always small; in many, conditions so closely resembled those in other prisons that the description of one fits all of the class. We may classify the important prisons of the war under the following heads: First, fortifications, of which Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, Fort Lafayette at New York, and Castle Pinckney at Charleston are types; second, buildings previously constructed to restrain criminals, of which the old penitentiary at Alton, Illinois, was the most important; third, buildings constructed for various purposes, turned into prisons with more or less alteration, typical of which were the Old Capitol at Washington, the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, and the Libby in Richmond; fourth, enclosures surrounding barracks, sometimes previously constructed for other uses, and sometimes built for prison purposes, which type included several of the Northern prisons as Johnson's Island, Camp Morton, and Rock Island; fifth, enclosures within which
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