Here you see a partial reconstruction of Camp Hoffman, the largest Union prison camp for Confederate soldiers. Built after the Battle of Gettysburg, it was planned to hold 10,000 prisoners. However, more than five times that number—52,000 in all—were imprisoned here at some point between 1863 and 1865 (the largest one-time prisoner population was about 20,000, in August 1864).
Conditions were terrible. In 1865 a prisoner wrote "If it were not for hope, how could we live in a place like this?" If you were lucky, you survived the hunger, the contaminated water, the disease and the weather. But over 3500 Confederate soldiers did not survive. Remember them along with 1000 Union soldiers and an unknown number of contrabands who also perished here during the war as you visit this site, reconstructed by the Friends of Point Lookout.
Soldiers of the United States Colored Troops served as prison guards here. The irony of those who had been enslaved guarding former masters was not lost on the troops. One African-American soldier was quoted saying "the bottom rail's on top, now".