Wartime Jail

Wartime Jail (HM146P)

Location: Asheville, NC 28801 Buncombe County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 35.82', W 82° 33.663'

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Asheville's Prisons

During the war, many large buildings such as schools, warehouses, and churches became temporary prisons in Southern cities. After Asheville's jail on Pack Square overflowed with Confederate draft evaders, deserters, Union prisoners of war, and runaway slaves, the adjacent school, formerly the Asheville Military Academy, became a prison.

Lt. Alonzo cooper, 12th New York Cavalry, was confined here in 1864 with 56 Confederate deserters and a slave. "The room was so full," he wrote, "that it was impossible for all of us to lie down at once, and we were obliged to take turns standing up." Cooper planned an escape: "It was all arranged that the powerful negro should seize the Sergeant from behind and hold him while [we] secured his pistol and the keys." The escape failed, however, and the Confederates gave the slave 100 lashes. "The shrieks and groans of this poor fellow," Cooper wrote, "was enough to send a chill of horror through the most hardened. He begged for mercy in the most piteous terms, and as the cruel strap laid open the quivering flesh, and the blood trickled down his body, I shouted ... that the poor fellow was not to blame, half so much as the white men. ... [B]y holding my hands to my ears [I] tried to shut out the sound of his pitiful cries for mercy. While reason remains to me I can never forget the scenes of that terrible night."

Confederates imprisoned Hendersonville newspaper editor Alexander Jones, a Unionist, in Asheville. He was conscripted into the Virginia infantry but deserted to Cincinnati. After the war, Lt. Col. James A. Keith, who led the infamous Shelton Laurel Massacre of Unionist civilians in Madison County in 1863, was jailed in Asheville for two years awaiting trial. Fearing "Judge Lynch" (hanging by a mob), he escaped on the night of February 21, 1869, and never returned.
HM NumberHM146P
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 1:30am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 358588 N 3940372
Decimal Degrees35.59700000, -82.56105000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 35.82', W 82° 33.663'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 35' 49.20" N, 82° 33' 39.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)704, 828
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 19 Hillside St, Asheville NC 28801, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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