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Three commandants of Federal prisons

Above are the officers in charge of three Federal prisons, the first two of which were a terror to the captured Confederates. Students of physiognomy will be interested in comparing the faces of the three men. B. F. Tracy entered the war as colonel of the 109th New York Infantry, August 28, 1862. He was honorably discharged May 10, 1864, and on September 10th of that year he was made colonel of the 127th United States Colored Infantry, and placed in charge of Elmira Prison, where the mortality was very high. He was appointed brevet brigadier-general of volunteers March 13, 1865. Brigadier-General Albin Schoepf, a Hungarian refugee, held the command of Fort Delaware until he was mustered out, January 15, 1866. No prison was so dreaded in the South as this, where the poorly constructed barracks, several feet below the level of high water, were always damp and cold. Fort Warren, for the greater part of the war, was under charge of Colonel (later Brigadier-General) Justin Dimick, an officer who graduated from the Military Academy October 18, 1814, served in the war against the Florida Indians and in the Mexican War, and received promotions for gallant and meritorious conduct in both. This kind-hearted veteran was able to preserve discipline by kindness, and Fort Warren bears the unique distinction of being the only one which all inmates praised. The Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, shown below, was commanded during the last year of the war by an able officer, Captain R. C. Allen.

Brevet Brigadier-General B. F. Tracy

Brigadier-General Albin Schoepf

Brevet Brigadier-General Justin Dimick

Gratiot street prison, St. Louis, Missouri


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