Camp Ford - Prisoners from Louisiana

Camp Ford - Prisoners from Louisiana (HM14VO)

Location: Tyler, TX 75708 Smith County
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Country: United States of America
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N 32° 23.779', W 95° 16.102'

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??In June 1863, CS General Richard Taylor commenced a campaign in South Louisiana that resulted in the capture of a number of Union troops in the Morgan City area. The enlisted men were paroled, but the officers were detained and sent to Shreveport. In late July, these men including three white officers of black regiments, were sent to Tyler.Initially held in the federal Courthouse in town, they were moved in August to Camp Ford. There was no stockade, and the officers were allowed to range several miles from the Camp on their promise not to escape.
???No communications survive that set forth the exact reasons for Taylor selecting Tyler as a depot for POW's. It is probable that Taylor contemplated using the Sabine River as a legalism to avoid the "no distinction as to Corps" requirement.By housing his prisoners in Texas, he could selectively pull prisoners from Tyler to Shreveport and truthfully state that if there were any white officers of black troops, that they were in Texas and not subject to his control. In late September, Taylor bagged an entire brigade of Federals at Bayou Fordoche. The 650 prisoners were marched to Tyler, marking the beginning of the facility as a full scale prison camp.

Fear And Treason

???The arrival of the Fordoche prisoners on October 30, 1863 created a panic in Tyler. There were fewer than 40 guards, and no stockade. A plot was discovered involving local unionists George and John Whitmore and George Rosenbaum. The conspirators were arrested, and the CS authorities called for the planters of Smith County to bring their slaves to Tyler to erect a stockade. In 10 days the wall was completed,enclosing an area of about 3.5 acres with logs 16 feet tall. A prisoner diarist noted that "the people of Tyler were relieved of their fears."
???At about the same time, negotiations were in full swing for a prisoner exchange. Camp Groce was ordered to be closed and prisoners moved to Tyler, with the officers to be detained here, and the enlisted men to be sent on to Shreveport. The Camp Groce prisoners arrived on December 24, 1863, and all of the enlisted men marched on to Shreveport the next day. The exchange did not take place, and these men remained at Shreveport for the winter.
HM NumberHM14VO
Placed BySmith County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 4:36am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 286643 N 3586629
Decimal Degrees32.39631667, -95.26836667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 23.779', W 95° 16.102'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 23' 46.74" N, 95° 16' 6.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)903
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4051 N Northeast 323 Loop, Tyler TX 75708, US
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