Monday, March 2, 2015

Group Seeks Descendants of Soldiers at Salisbury, NC Civil War Prison Camp

Press release received from Historic Salisbury Foundation:

In conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of Stoneman’s Raid on Salisbury and the end of the Civil War, Historic Salisbury Foundation, Rowan Museum and Salisbury Confederate Prison Association will organize an exhibit which explores the people and emotions connected with this part of America’s history.

Salisbury was the location of the only prisoner of war camp in North Carolina during the Civil War. Constructed on 16 acres surrounding a former cotton mill, it was designed to hold 2,500 prisoners, largely comprised of Union Soldiers. Toward the end of the war, over 10,000 men were detained within its stockade. The prison was closed in February 1865, less than two months before Union General George Stoneman occupied the town and destroyed the structures of Salisbury’s prisoner of war camp and arsenal.

“We want this exhibit to create a dialogue about the views and emotions associated with the Salisbury Prison and foster a greater understanding about the interaction between prisoners, guards and civilians during the Civil War – both Union and Confederate, black and white. This is a way for us to better interpret the role and former site of the prison, which developed into the Brooklyn-South Square Neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

- Brian M. Davis – Historic Salisbury Foundation

“The Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, Inc. has been seeking information about and images of those who were associated with this military prison since the organization chartered in 1999. We set up displays, give lectures and slide presentations, and publish a quarterly newsletter to share our research about the Prison. The SCPA is an outgrowth of the first Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium, sponsored annually by the Robert F. Hoke Chapter 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, Inc. looks forward to working with Historic Salisbury Foundation, Inc. and Rowan Museum on this new project to present images of individuals who guarded or were guarded at this military prison along with one of their descendants.”

- Sue Curtis - Salisbury Confederate Prison Association

The history of some of the final days of the Civil War was experienced here in Salisbury and Rowan County. As the federal troops entered our area fears were evident. General Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House just days before. So no one knew exactly what would happen upon Stoneman's arrival. Stoneman's short stay saw fighting, destruction, burning, federal occupation and an attempt to cross the Yadkin which was repulsed by Confederate troops at Ft. York, one of the last Confederate victories of the war. Therefore, the Rowan Museum, Inc. joins together with HSF and the Salisbury Prison Symposium to remember what happened here 150 years ago. The days were challenging for all of those involved. The role of all of our historical groups is to preserve, share and educate our citizens about events that have shaped our county and city. The Rowan Museum, which is housed in three historical buildings which were all here during the raid, will help host the exhibit that will tell the story of these events.

- Terry Holt – Rowan Museum

The exhibit will feature a photo and brief background about each soldier as well as their descendant and present a personal account of what it means to have an ancestor associated with the former prisoner of war camp. Stories will be displayed at the Rowan Museum, Hall House Museum and at other locations throughout Salisbury, in time for the 150th Anniversary of “Stoneman’s Raid” of Salisbury, on April 12, 2015.

Descendants of soldiers with a connection to the Salisbury Civil War Prison are encouraged to contact Historic Salisbury Foundation at 704.636.0103 or by March 15, 2015. [NOTE: You can download a form to fill in about your veteran here.]

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