Libby Prison was located in Richmond, Virginia, in a building, which was incorrectly called a tobacco warehouse. It was originally the establishment of William Libby & Son, Ship Chandlers, 20th & Clay Streets. It was a four-story building containing eight rooms. The men slept on the floor. Where was a water closet on each floor that became a privy, which rendered foul air and polluted the entire building. The prison was opened in April 1861 and was closed in April 1865. The total number of prisoners held during its existence was approximately 25,000. This was primarily an officer’s prison.
The prisoners cooked their own rations with inadequate fuel, the rations furnished were inadequate, and there was a shortage of clothing and blankets. Rations consisted of beef, bacon, flour, beans, rice and vinegar. Of those who died at Libby, 6,276 are buried in a cemetery in Henrico County southeast of Richmond, two miles from the city and one and a half miles from the James River. There are 817 known graves and 5,459 unknown. Some of the bodies came from Belle Isle, Hollywood, Oakwood and the poorhouse cemeteries in Richmond.