Elmira Prison Camp OnLine Library: Gallery

Shown below is a collection of pictures, maps and drawings that represent life in the prison camp at Elmira, NY. These pictures were submitted by readers or found by myself. New pictures are welcome. If you have a picture that you would like to submit, please send me an e-mail.

You may also view a slideshow of all the pictures in the gallery. It runs about 8 minutes in length. Click this link to begin:

Elmira Prison Camp Slideshow

by Brian Scott

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Camp Photos

Prisoner lineup at mealtime at the Elmira Prison Camp. West Water Street in right foreground.

Main entrance gate is seen at the right. Building was occupied by guards when off duty, and also was the office of the officer on duty.

Officers' mess-rooms were located in the field back of officers' quarters west of the camp.

Rear view of officers' quarters were in last house in the row. (Brady Collection)

Officers' quarters west of camp. (Brady Collection)

Another view of officers' quarters. (Brady Collection)

Officer’s houses after removal to West Grey Street.

Looking west on west Water Street from Hoffman Street. Elmira Prison Camp of 1864-65 is on the left and a long wooden walk borders the unpaved street. The Foster house is in distance at right. Nearer camera are officers' quarters and the observation tower. (National Historic Archives)

Map of Elmira drawn by David J. Coffman, Pvt. 7th Virginia Calvary.

Only known picture showing the entire prison camp.

A day sentry on guard after Benson's escape. Talking over the possibilities of escape or exchange was one of the diversions of the prisoners, both North and South. Sergeant Berry Benson, who escaped with nine other Confederates from Elmira Prison, writes in regard to this photograph: "The sentry on the ground outside the stockade, near the sentry box, makes me think that this was taken after October 7, 1864, when we ten escaped by the tunnel, for we felt sure that there were no day sentries outside near the fence."

Artillery on guard over the prisoners at Elmira. This is part of the military guard in the face of which 10 prisoners escaped by tunneling from Elmira Prison. The incentive to get free from the conditions inside the stockade was so compelling that a battery of artillery was deemed necessary to forestall any sudden rush of the prisoners, who numbered at times as many as 10,000.

A breast plate of a guard stationed at Elmira, dated Co. F, 1864.

Woodlawn Cemetery

Current view of Woodlawn National Cemetery.

Monument to Sexton John James.

Monument placed in memory of the Confederate dead by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Monument placed in memory of the soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who died in the Shohola train wreck.

Woodlawn Cemetery.

Prisoners and Others

Rev. Thomas K. Beecher and Rev. Martin Kavanaugh: Elmira clergymen who conducted services at the Elmira Prison Camp.

Bag used in the tunnel digging was made from the extra shirt of J.P. Putegnat. Putegnat picked up the two stones on the box in the tunnel just as he was going out. Oval photo shows Putegnat just after he reached home. Upper photo shows him some years later.

Group of survivors of the tunnel escape: Hickory Jackson on left, sitting beside Washington B. Traweek. On right, standing, Barry Benson; on the left, William H. Templin. Between them in center oval is Cecrops Malone. In oval in left, John Purifoy, later state treasurer of Alabama.

Confederate Sergeant Barry Benson, who tunneled out of Elmira Prison. Benson, of Company H, 1st South Carolina Infantry, was a prisoner of Elmira from July 25 to October 7, 1864. A 4:00 am on the later date, he and nine companions entered a tunnel sixty-five feet long, which they had been digging for about two months.

A sketch by William Newman, a Confederate prisoner, on September 10, 1864.

Searching a prisoner.

The dying prisoner.

Pictures from The Privations of a Private by Marcus B. Toney of Nashville, Tennessee. "Barrel shirt" was frequently used in punishment.

Only known picture of a group of released prisoners. It was taken near the Erie depot in front of Grover and Baker sewing Machine Company. (From The Privations of a Private.

John W. Jones

John W. Jones, sexton of Woodlawn National Cemetery.

John W. Jones, sexton of Woodlawn National Cemetery.

A portion of the 1876 membership roll of First Baptist Church of Elmira with John W. Jones' name included.

Inscription on John W. Jones Memorial in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira.

John W. Jones purchased a Woodlawn Cemetery burial plot for his immediate family as these cemetery records indicate.

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