Behind ‘the excessive rate of mortality’ at Salisbury prison

On this day in 1865: Confederate inspector T.A. Hall reports to Richmond on conditions at Salisbury prison: “The excessive rate of mortality among the prisoners merits attention. Since the 21st of October 3,479 have been buried. Pneumonia and diseases of the bowels are the prevalent diseases. The prisoners appear to die, however, more from exposure and exhaustion than from actual disease.”


Salisbury report: Flood of prisoners, dearth of clothing

On  this day in 1865: Capt. G.W. Booth responds to Gov. Zeb Vance’s request for a report on conditions at the Confederate prison at Salisbury: “About the 5th of November, 1864, a large number of prisoners of war, some 8,000, were suddenly sent here, the Government having no other place to send them. The grounds were enlarged and such preparation as could be made were arranged for their reception. A short time after their arrival tents were issued, and now they are all under shelter of some sort. The number of prisoners confined here has reached as high a figure as 10,000.

“The matter of food receives the earnest attention of the commanding officers. They [prisoners] regularly receive one pound of good bread, one pint of soup, besides small issues of meat or sorghum. Sometimes small quantities of both. As to clothing, their condition is truly deplorable, most of them having been prisoners some six or nine months. The Confederate Government cannot issue clothing to them, and none has been received at this post from the North.”