Camp Elmira

An HMS American Cultures collaborative production

Many people only remember Andersonville as the major Civil War prison camp. On the contrary, Elmira was the worst prison camps if viewed in percentage. Located on the Chemung River in New York it was originally meant to house troops for the Union. In May of 1864 Elmira was chosen as the next location for a prison camp. The barracks only held around 5,000 of the 10,000 prisoners, and the living conditions were horrible. Those who could not get into a barrack were forced to sleep outside even during the winter. In their diets they barley had any vegetables and in three months over 790 cases of Scurvy had been reported. The one stat that made Elmira so infamous was it's death per capita. At 24%, 2841 prisoners died at Elmira. Another thing that added to the deaths was the clothing. Only 2500 outfits were provided for the 1000 prisoners. Today not too much remains of the prison, other than the rotted buildings, only 3000 tombstones are left to remind us of what happened there.
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Online Sources:
"Elmira." Civil War History. 15 May 2009 <>
"Elmira Civil War Prison." Civil War Prison Camps. 22 May 2009 <>
Picture Sources:
"Elmira Civil War Prison." Explore History 22 May 2009 <>