Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Fort Fisher Book-- Part 1

From the November 9th Wilmington (NC) Star-News Bookmarks column by Ben Steelman.

Author Richard H. Triebe has a new book out dealing with Confederate prisoners captured at the Battle of Fort Fisher January 15, 1865 titles "Fort Fisher to Elmira: The Fateful Journey of 518 Confederate Soldiers" by Coastal Books, paperback available on Amazon and soon local bookstores for $24.99.

He is also author of the Civil War novel"On a Rising Tide" and the pirate fiction "Port Royal."

The new book is based on what happened to 1,100 Confederate soldiers who, after capture, were shipped to Elmira prison camp in Elmira, New York, a camp that earned the nickname "Hellmira" from the inmates for the horrible conditions and treatment they received.

The town of Elmira was mostly a pastoral community in the 1800s. Mark twain made his home there after the war and wrote many of his best works from the place. His beloved wife Olivia was from there.

Elmira was originally built for Union soldiers in transit and the barracks were inadequate and poorly built. The buildings provided little protection from the winter of '64-'65 which turned out to be one of the coldest on record.

The prison camp opened in the summer of 1864 and soon became severely overcrowded reaching a peak of 12,000. And the prisoners in the barracks had it much better off than the ones housed in tents. To make matters worse, on St. Patrick's Day 1865, the Chemnung River flooded, depositing two feet of water in the tents and barracks.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

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