Belle Isle Prison

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 :: Belle Isle Prison ::
Information about Belle Isle Prison in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.

This was a small island at the west end of the City in the James River. Used as an incarceratory for enlisted men, it had a few shacks and some Sibley tents. A hospital for prisoners and an iron factory also occupied the island. The men were allowed to swim in the river and some escaped in this manner. Cannon and rifle pits effectively discouraged many attempts of this nature. By 1863, almost 10,000 men were imprisoned here. The old Richmond & Petersburg Railroad bridge to the island was called by the prisoners "Bridge of Sighs". It has long been a center of dispute. The South claimed a low death-rate; the North, a very high one.

RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 151, p. 66 3/1864 - 9/1864; Statistics of Belle Isle Prison Hospital


Belle Isle During the Civil War (Photo by Rees)
Belle Isle During the Civil War (Photo by Rees-different)
Belle Isle from the North Bank
Belle Isle seen from North Bank - Tredegar Iron Works in the foreground.
[View of Belle Isle from south bank.] Alexander Gardner, No. 871
[Belle Isle Railroad Bridge from the south.] Alexander Gardner, No. 876
Graves of Union Soldiers, on Belle Isle, Richmond, April 8, 1865. Alexander Gardner, No. 890
Belle Isle, Richmond, April 8, 1865. Alexander Gardner, No. 891
View of the Factories on Belle Island. Published by E. & H. T. Anthony, No. 3273
Belle Island, from Petersburgh R. R. Published by E. & H. T. Anthony, No. 3275
Detail of an 1867 Corps of Engineers Map by Nathaniel Micheler showing Belle Isle.

Written Accounts

List of known soldiers originally buried on Belle Isle, and re-interred in Richmond National Cemetery

Rules and Regulations of the C. S. Military Prisons, 1863(?). Signed by Thomas P. Turner. National Archives, RG249.

Richmond Dispatch 4/5/1862; Old Dominion Iron and Nail Works needs nail keg hoops
Richmond Dispatch 5/8/1862; John Roberts, living on Belle Isle, looking for missing 7-year old daughter
Richmond Dispatch 5/13/1862; body found - little daughter of John Roberts, Belle Isle foundry
Richmond Enquirer 5/13/1862; daughter of a worker at the Belle Isle works drowns - body recovered near the Danville Bridge
Richmond Dispatch 6/6/1862; Capt. Norris Montgomery adv for 2 negroes
Richmond Dispatch 7/9/1862; movement of captured Yankees to Belle Isle is being debated
Richmond Enquirer 7/11/1862; 5300 prisoners at Libby & Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 7/12/1862; Several hundred wounded POWs arrive & sent to Belle Isle. Officers named. 61 men arrived in ambulances from Brackett’s House, Charles City Road. – Yankee POWs. Also list of accompanying doctors
Richmond Examiner 7/12/1862; cots are being made for Union wounded at Libby Prison; says that many prisoners will soon be sent to Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 7/14/1862; 3000 Yankees moved to Belle Isle, including over 1000 previously housed at Barrett's factory
Richmond Examiner 7/14/1862; prisoners have been sent to Belle Isle, officers are confined in Crenshaw warehouse (within Tredegar Iron Works); account of letters sent from Libby Prison
Richmond Enquirer 7/15/1862; good description of the prison on Belle Isle - notes that the prisoners are "seeing a good time" and spend their hours in leisure and play
Richmond Dispatch 7/17/1862; several hundred Yankees have arrived from Savage's Station and will be put on Belle Isle. Prisoners are anticipating exchange
Richmond Dispatch 7/19/1862; 5,000 prisoners on Belle Isle; Libby Prison mentioned
Richmond Enquirer 7/19/1862; 8000 (probably 9000) prisoners are in Richmond - 3000 at Libby, 5000 at Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 7/22/1862; prisoners at Libby sent to Belle Isle; there are 4,700 there now. Wounded prisoners (1,000) remain at Libby
Philadelphia Press 7/22/1862; lists of Pennsylvania prisoners in Richmond; describes prison of Reynolds and McCall
Richmond Examiner 7/23/1862; Libby Prison has become a hospital for sick prisoners; well prisoners are at Belle Isle. Lt. Turner is in charge
Richmond Dispatch 7/26/1862; good description of Belle Isle; mentions that the Isle is reached by a boat starting from near Tredegar
Richmond Dispatch 8/1/1862; Sick Belle Isle prisoners have been taken to Libby, preparatory to exchange
Charleston Mercury 8/2/1862;  "War Gossip" mentions criticism of the Dix-Hill Prisoner Cartel, the condemnation of Gen. Butler, South Carolinians at Camp Lee, and describes the newly formed Belle Isle Prison - notes that there are 4600 POWs there
Richmond Dispatch 8/2/1862; 600 Yankees have been exchanged, including women from Castle Thunder; the sickest men from Belle Isle and Libby are sent first; 4,100 remain on Belle Isle, and 400 at Libby Prison
Richmond Dispatch 8/6/1862; 3,000 Belle Isle prisoners have been exchanged; no officers this time; says there are 1,700 prisoners left
Charleston Mercury 8/7/1862; reprint of Richmond Examiner story describing Belle Isle.
Richmond Dispatch 8/11/1862; 2500 Yankees have arrived from Lynchburg, and are awaiting exchange on Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 8/14/1862; 125 POWs from Pope’s army arrive – enlisted men put on Belle Isle. Officers not treated as prisoners of war.
Richmond Dispatch 8/14/1862; Salisbury prisoners, including Col. Corcoran and Wilcox are arriving, and the citizen prisoners have been moved to Libby from Belle Isle to accommodate them
Richmond Dispatch 8/15/1862; Cols. Wilcox and Corcoran have arrived from Salisbury and are quartered at Libby preparatory to exchange. Enlisted men are on Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 8/18/1862; the last of the Salisbury prisoners have arrived in Richmond, preparatory to exchange
Shirleysburg (PA) Herald 8/21/1862; letter from soldier on Belle Isle, estimates over 4,000 prisoners there
Richmond Enquirer 8/22/1862; 3000 prisoners on Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 8/25/1862; 4,800 prisoners on Belle Isle
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. IV, p. 865 8/27/1862; Henry Wirz has been appointed to command Richmond Prisons; issues orders to Norris Montgomery, cmdg Belle Isle, to furnish updated lists of prisoners
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 199.5, p. 15 8/29/1862; Wirz calls for 7 extra guards at Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 8/30/1862; Old Dominion Iron and Nail Works want scrap & pig iron
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. IV, p. 868 8/31/1862; 2,000 new prisoners arrive
Richmond Dispatch 9/1/1862; Belle Isle is crowded with 5,000+ prisoners; very nasty at this time; preparations are being made for exchange
Richmond Dispatch 9/5/1862; 2500 Belle Isle POWs to be sent to Varina today
Richmond Dispatch 9/6/1862; Capt. Tucker’s Co., 2nd North Carolina Battalion, stationed at Belle Isle. Remainder of battn stationed “near Drury’s Bluff.” Commander adv for two deserters.
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 199.5, p. 19 9/6/1862; Wirz orders Capt. Montgomery to send in the names of prisoners who die at Belle Isle each morning
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 199.5, p. 19 9/7/1862; Wirz orders Capt. Elliot, of the City Battalion, to send 20 guards to Libby Prison, in order to conduct prisoners to Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 9/8/1862; 500 prisoners paroled (400 from Belle Isle, 100 from Libby), guarded by men from Camp Lee
Richmond Enquirer 9/9/1862; Old Dominion Iron Works appeals for raw materials
Richmond Dispatch 9/10/1862; 200 POWs arrive 9/9 – sent to Belle Isle
Richmond Dispatch 9/15/1862; 3,300 prisoners, including 61 officers, have been exchanged at Aiken's Landing. Some of the prisoners were women and deserters held in Castle Thunder
Richmond Examiner 9/24/1862; Belle Isle, now empty, is being fumigated
Richmond Dispatch 11/13/1862; Wm. S. Triplett, President Old Dominion Iron & Nail Works, adv for hoops for nail kegs. Gives location as 14th St. south of Cary.
Richmond Enquirer 12/16/1862; Col. Norris Montgomery has resigned his commission in the Deas Artillery
Richmond Dispatch 1/17/1863; Belle Isle is ordered to be fitted up for prison use - huts and tents are ordered erected
Richmond Sentinel 3/23/1863; Danville RR cars bring in over 1000 prisoners, some officers named. At present, there are 180 officers in Libby Prison
Richmond Examiner 4/6/1863; the Richmond City Battalion (25th Bn VA Inf) is understood to be leaving the city for active service due to unsavory types infesting its ranks
Richmond Dispatch 5/1/1863; former guard at Belle Isle has been arrested for forgery
Richmond Examiner 5/11/1863; Castle Thunder admittees; 1300 Yankees arrived at Libby yesterday - if this rate keeps up, Belle Isle will be re-opened
Richmond Sentinel 5/13/1863; brief description of Belle Isle, which has the appearance of being "a military camp" with a large number of prisoners now confined there
Richmond Dispatch 5/14/1863; over 7,000 prisoners from Libby Prison and Belle Isle have been exchanged
Richmond Examiner 5/14/1863; prisoners at Libby and Belle Isle are being paroled
Richmond Examiner 5/16/1863; Belle Isle is vacant of prisoners
Richmond Examiner 7/21/1863; negro soldier discovered on Belle Isle while paroling prisoners
Richmond Examiner 7/21/1863; 1,006 prisoners paroled from Belle Isle and sent north
Richmond Examiner 7/28/1863; 4,300 total prisoners in Richmond; 3,309 at Belle Isle; several thousand paroled recently
Bowen, Roland E. (Gregory A Coco, ed.) From Balls Bluff to Gettysburg and Beyond, pp. 173-184 8/8/1863-12/27/1863; Written after his release, Bowen (Pvt., 15th Mass Inf.) gives an excellent account of life on Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 9/1/1863; Belle Isle has 4 - 5,000 prisoners
New York Sunday Mercury 9/13/1863; letter from exchanged soldier in the 9th NY, relating experiences as a prisoner on Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 10/5/1863; 8,550 prisoners at Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 10/5/1863; Guard at Belle Isle put in Castle Thunder for trading with prisoners
Richmond Sentinel 10/6/1863; 850 Belle Isle prisoners to be sent off today
Richmond Sentinel 10/23/1863; 10,500 prisoners at Belle Isle
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 482-483 11/7/1863; Report of U. S. Christian Commissioner regarding poor condition on Belle Isle and Scott's factory prisons. States there are 5,400 prisoners at Belle Isle
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, p. 485 11/8/1863; complaint of conditions on Belle Isle
Richmond Sentinel 11/9/1863; "outbreak" at Belle Isle suppressed
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, p. 852-853 11/10/1863 - 1/18/1864; statement of clothing issued to prisoners in Richmond.
Franklin (PA) Repository 11/18/1863; a paroled chaplain says prisoners on Belle Isle are being intentionally starved
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 544-548 11/18/1863; report of number of prisoners in Richmond as well as provisions issued to prisoners
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 572-574 11/26/1863; Conditions at Libby and Belle Isle described
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 586-588 11/27/1863; Complaint on conditions at Belle Isle and Libby; also report on mortality at Belle Isle from Carrington (to Winder)
Richmond Sentinel 11/28/1863; 16,411 prisoners in Richmond and Belle Isle. 952 of the number are officers.
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 642-643 12/3/1863; rations & supplies at Libby & Belle Isle
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 7, no page 12/4/1863; "Hospitals for prisoners of war are placed on the same footing as other C. S. hospitals in all respects, and will be managed accordingly"
Harper’s Weekly 12/5/1863; article describing Belle Isle, and providing a highly propagandized engraving of the prison camp. Article describes suffering on Belle Isle, and mentions that 43 men are dying in Richmond hospitals each day. Mentions FOUR dogs being captured and eaten by prisoners [maybe the first of the dog-slaying stories]. Also includes an excerpt from the Richmond Examiner, describing the placement of cannon over the prison
Richmond Sentinel 12/30/1863; Belle Isle prisoners will soon be removed to Andersonville; Belle Isle is quite overcrowded. At Andersonville "no difficulty will be encountered in supplying their wants."
Richmond Sentinel 1/2/1864; 500 prisoners from "McCurdy's tobacco factory" have been removed to Belle Isle
OR Supplement 73: 585-587 2/2-27/1864; C. S. Engineers guarding prisoners on Belle Isle in response to rumors of an uprising there
Richmond Whig 2/10/1864; rumor of POW unrest at Belle Isle
Josiah Gorgas Journal 2/18/1864; reports that 400 POWs being sent to Ga. daily
Richmond Enquirer 2/19/1864; "The Feeding of the Prisoners" testimony from the butcher who supplied Chimborazo Hospital and Gen. Winder (for prisoners) with meat - shoots down the idea that the prisoners are inadequately supplied, while noting that they may not have gotten the best beef
Richmond Sentinel 2/24/1864; 400 Yankee prisoners from Belle Isle are taken to Libby Prison to await transfer to Andersonville
Richmond Whig 2/27/1864; list of Castle Thunder (7) and Libby Prison (8) inmates sent off by special exchange, including a woman found in men's clothes on Belle Isle, and a correspondent of the New York Herald
Richmond Whig 3/7/1864; rumor of mutiny at Belle Isle is false
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VI, pp. 1087-1090 3/6/1864; Report on sanitary conditions at Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 3/30/1864; Libby and Belle Isle are nearly empty
Richmond Sentinel 4/12/1864; details on the recent freshet on the James River - all the islands are flooded except Belle Isle
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VII, pp. 116-119 5/5/1864; Union report of sufferings on Belle Isle
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VII, p. 39 5/11/1864; Confederate report on mortality at Belle Isle
Richmond Whig 5/12/1864; Forty-four Yankee officers and 891 Yankee soldiers from the V Corps arrive in the city. Some are recognized as having been on Belle Isle in 1862 by "Lieut. Shihn, Assistant Provost Marshal in this city, who once had charge of them on Belle Isle."
Richmond Sentinel 5/13/1864; described briefly
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VII, pp. 80-81 5/23/1864; Reprint of letter to the New York Times entitled "Prison Life in Richmond - It's Cruelties."
Richmond Sentinel 6/1/1864; "What is Belle Isle Kept Up For?"
Richmond Examiner 6/27/1864; 3000 prisoners arrive in Richmond, Libby is full and Belle Isle has been re-opened
Richmond Examiner 7/1/1864; Belle Isle has been re-opened as a prison
Richmond Examiner 7/5/1864; Richmond prisons, except Castle Thunder and Belle Isle, are nearly empty
OR Supplement, 70: 712 7/6/1864; 2nd Bn. Va. Reserves organized on Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 7/8/1864; Belle Isle is once again uninhabited - all the prisoners have been sent south; hostages and special prisoners are kept at Libby
OR Supplement, 70: 333 8/1864; Alexandria Artillery on duty at Belle Isle
Richmond Examiner 8/4/1864; appeal to move all sick prisoners to Belle Isle
Richmond Sentinel 8/27/1864; four men shot trying to escape Belle Isle
Richmond Whig 8/27/1864; five men shot while trying to escape from Belle Isle on successive nights
Charleston Mercury 9/20/1864; editorial notation describing the utilization of prisoners from Libby and Belle Isle as laborers - questions whether this can be expanded (copied from the Richmond Examiner)
Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VII, pp. 337-353 9/24/1864; Description of the guard on Belle Isle, conditions of the prison and what is being done to improve the prison.
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 151, p. 66 3/1864 - 9/1864; Statistics of Belle Isle Prison Hospital
Richmond Sentinel 10/12/1864; two stewards on Belle Isle were before the Mayor for stealing government grease from the Belle Isle kitchens; they were released
Gen. Wm. M. Gardner CSR, M331

10/23/1864; 19th VA Militia is guarding prisoners  at Libby Prison and not doing a good job – many desertions, and terrible discipline; recommendation that the “Invalid Corps at Belle Isle” not be broken up to provide an additional guard

Richmond Sentinel

12/24/1864; man brought to trial for stealing nitre from the laboratory; four boys sentenced for stealing iron from the Old Dominion Iron Works on Belle Isle

Official Records, Ser. II, Vol. VIII, pp. 337-353 3/3/1865; Report of the joint select committee appointed to investigate the condition and treatment of prisoners of war.
Richmond Whig 4/14/1865; Belle Isle is to be a refugee camp
Richmond Whig 5/4/1865; "idle colored" women of Manchester have been sent to Belle Isle
The Lost Cause, A New Southern History of the War... 1866; by Edward A. Pollard; this excerpt reprints the southern Congress' response to the prisoner issue, written in 1865. Describes Libby Prison, General Hospital #21, and Belle Isle
Trowbridge, John T., The South... 1866 account of the author's travels to Richmond and the adjoining battlefields. Good material on Belle Isle, Brown's Island, Libby Prison, battlefields near the city
DeForest (81st NY), Random Sketches... 1866 memoir describing conditions in the early Richmond prisons, Libby and Belle Isle
Southern Opinion 8/10/1867; description of Belle Isle as a prison camp – notes on the cemetery, the origins of the prison (says that there was a debate about whether to use Haxall’s Mill or Belle Isle), the current state of the island (notes many gardens in the old camp area, and the Old Dominion Iron and Nail Works is in full blast), and the view from the summit of the isle
Thomas Bean Letter c. 1870; excerpt of reminiscence of Belle Isle prisoner from 1864. Excellent details on intake of prisoners and layout of Belle Isle.
Scribner's Monthly, July 1877 7/1877; "Richmond Since the War" - good material on Tredegar Iron Works, Belle Isle, Libby Prison, Oakwood Cemetery, and Capital Square
National Tribune 9/2/1882; description of harsh conditions on Belle Isle and brief account of the "dog slaying" incident
National Tribune 9/9/1882; brief description of prison life on Belle Isle
National Tribune 1/10/1884; notes on the opening date of Belle Isle
National Tribune 1/24/1884; account of the capture of the 4th New Jersey at Gaines' Mill, and subsequent imprisonment in Libby Prison and Belle Isle is the summer of 1862
National Tribune 2/14/1884; brief account of prisoner's experience in Libby, Pemberton, Belle Isle, and Andersonville; notes that small pox broke out in Pemberton
National Tribune 2/14/1884; description of how Belle Isle was set up as a prison by captured Gaines' Mill prisoners from Libby
National Tribune 1/6/1887; good description of the "dog slaying" episode on Belle Isle
Toledo Blade 6/9/1887; gives description of life on Belle Isle in late 1863 and early 1864; includes account of the dog-slaying incident; mentions that he was also in Pemberton Prison for a brief time
National Tribune 3/11/1888; brief account of a prisoner being shot on Belle Isle for going near the "dead line"
National Tribune 7/11/1889; Details of the dog-killing incident at Belle Isle - notes regarding a female soldier found there
National Tribune 9/5/1889; account of kind treatment on Belle Isle of a drummer-boy imprisoned there
New York Times 3/1/1891; part four of serialized account of life in Libby. Notes that 1864 began poorly - the Confederates cut off supplies from the North in order to compel the US Government to resume exchanges; author went to Belle Isle to help distribute last batch of supplies; mentions Castle Thunder; he was glad to be in Libby rather than Belle Isle - notes on the "dog-slaying incident" and confirms it. Further notes the presence of negroes on Belle Isle and their negative treatment by their fellow prisoners. Describes Gen. J. H. Morgan's visit to Libby and begins description of the Libby tunnel and says he was one of the diggers.
New York Times 4/5/1891; part nine of serialized account of life in Libby. Describes the plan to break out of Libby upon the success of Dahlgren's raid. Says that there were 1,200 prisoners in Libby at the time. Also noted that 20,000 others in Richmond between Belle Isle and Pemberton. Notes that prison authorities found out about the plot and brought in extra guards and artillery across the street. Relates hearsay evidence of Turner's statement that the prison was mined.
National Tribune 11/10/1892; "Belle Isle Revisited," gives account of the author's trip to Belle Isle and notes its changes
National Tribune 12/28/1893; brief account of harsh treatment on Belle Isle - notes that he was almost killed by a train on his way to Belle Isle
National Tribune 1/25/1894; description of how the Confederates "tricked" Yankees into moving from Pemberton Prison to Belle Isle
Van Santvoord, Cornelius,  120th Regiment New York State Volunteers 1894; description of life on Belle Isle in 1864, including offers for employment at the Tredegar Iron Works upon taking the oath of allegiance; apparently, very few would do so
National Tribune 6/13/1895; refutation of the claim that prisoners at Belle Isle were "jolly fellows;" good details of the harsh treatment, and attempts to escape
National Tribune 8/29/1895; brief description of the author's prison experiences at Belle Isle, Pemberton, and Scott's prisons
National Tribune 8/16/1900; Part Two of Silas Crocker’s serialized account of life in captivity in Richmond - relates the story of his stay on Belle Isle with good details on the prison’s geography. Very fair account, though bitter, he complains only of the quantity of the food. Says the mental strain was the hardest. Also relates the method used to trick the prisoners into thinking they were to be exchanged, and then putting them in trains and sending them south.
National Tribune 2/28/1901; description of a visit to Richmond, mentions Bird Island, Belle Isle (mentions that many soldiers still buried there), and the White House of the Confederacy
National Tribune 4/11/1901; former prisoner at Belle Isle describes the cold winter of 1863-64 and mentions the rations coming to the island via barge from the north bank
National Tribune 5/2/1901; notes on the Belle Isle singing quartet
National Tribune 10/23/1902; Capt. Beecham's good, but very bitter, account of life on Belle Isle after Gettysburg. Includes a copy of an article from Jackson Warner, Commissary in Richmond denying that prisoners were starved: he says that they were as well fed as Confederate soldiers. Of course the author disagrees with him. Author was on Belle Isle for 15 days.
National Tribune 1/29/1903; takes up account of Belle Isle where Beecham left off (NT 10/23/1902); describes the moving of prisoners to Andersonville and the trick that the Confederates played to get the prisoners to get off the island.
National Tribune 4/16/1903; further information on the "battle of the gate" at Belle Isle - the red-headed Sergeant was named Hite, and a deserter from the Union army. Describes his various acts of cruelty, including his use of a wooden horse for punishment. Mentions not being fed on New Year's Day, 1864, as well as the scarcity of coffins during this period. Asks if anyone remembers the killing of the Lt.'s dog.
National Tribune 4/30/1903; soldier corroborates account of breaking open the doors of Libby upon the evacuation of Richmond; also relates his imprisonment in Libby and Belle Isle; relates the cruelty of the doctor on Belle Isle, and the kindness of another doctor who took him to a hospital in Richmond. Mentions having witnessed the bread riot, but cannot be telling the truth, because he was captured in 1864
National Tribune 6/25/1903; more on the dog-slaying incident at Belle Isle
National Tribune 7/30/1903; letter from a soldier in Libby Prison mentioning the dearth of food for the prisoners
National Tribune 8/13/1903; description of Belle Isle in 1862; described badly, but notes that "that prison had not yet become noted for atrocities that distinguished it later," and there were 3,000 to 4,000 prisoners there at the time
National Tribune 9/3/1903; description of life on Belle Isle after Gettysburg. Describes Bossieux stealing money from the prisoners, and mentions being in charge of a bathing detail in the river - only 40 were supposed to go out at a time, but the author let out many more. Also mentions that he was later put on commissary detail, going by boat to Richmond to get the rations
National Tribune 12/31/1903; author asks some leading questions: Why was the cook house on Belle Isle below the sinks? Where are the Germans [emphasis] who ate the Lieutenant's Dog? Also notes that he took the paw of the dog out of prison.
National Tribune 1/7/1904; former prisoner at Pemberton and Belle Isle says that Belle Isle was worse than Andersonville, and that dead prisoners would be frozen stiff to the ground
National Tribune 5/19/1904; brief letter describing imprisonment in Pemberton Prison and Belle Isle from late 1862 to early 1864. Mentions a one-eyed guard named Sgt. Marks who clubbed prisoners, and Lieut. Bossieux being in charge of Belle Isle.
National Tribune 8/11/1904; letter of a Gettysburg prisoner who spent six weeks in Belle Isle. Mentions a soldier taking the oath of allegiance to the CSA, and that a large party escaped on Aug. 12, along with several guards from the 42nd NC. Also mentions prisoners working for the rebels, who paid them with extra rations.
National Tribune 9/6/1906; a veteran of Richmond prisons asks questions about them. Pemberton, the Belle Isle sutler, and the dog-slaying incident are mentioned.
Richmond Times-Dispatch 4/30/1910; obituary notice of Virginius Bossieux, former commandant of Belle Isle.

In the National Archives

Record Group 109, (ch. VI, vol. 255). 1 in. Morning Reports of Patients (Union), Belle Isle Hospital. 1864. 1 vol. Daily reports of patients admitted, showing patient’s number, name, rank, and organization; date admitted for treatment; date discharged from treatment; date sent to hospital; date died; and disease. Arranged by date of admittance.
Record Group 109, (ch. VI, vol. 712). 2 in. Morning Reports of Patients and Attendants, Louisiana and Camp Lee Hospitals; and of Federals Held Prisoner and Attendants, Belle Isle Barracks. 1862-65. 1 vol. The daily reports of patients and attendants show the number of patients in hospital, in private quarters, received, returned to duty, transferred, furloughed, discharged, deserted, died, and remaining; the number of medical officers, stewards, nurses, cooks, laundresses, matrons, wardmaster, and guards present for duty; and remarks. The daily reports of sick and wounded Federals held prisoner show the number in prison; the number admitted to treatment since the last report; total in prison, transferred, and remaining in prison; and the number of medical officers, stewards, and nurses present for duty. The reports are arranged in two groups, as indicated in the above title, thereunder chronologically, and thereunder by State of patient's organization.

Page last updated on 07/17/2008