Paris DAC attends meeting
Posted: Friday, March 23, 2012 12:08 pm
Members of Paris Chapter 2521, United Daughters of the Confederacy, heard a program about Rock Island Prison Camp, presented by Julie Wilson Saturday at the Paris City Hall meeting room.
By the summer of 1863, both the northern and southern armies knew this would not be a short war. Until that time, the United States had not needed prisoner-of-war camps.
The Dix-Hill Cartel for the mutual exchange of prisoners was signed in July 1862, but both sides either ignored or complied with it in response to the success or failure of their efforts on the field.
Rock Island, Ill., was isolated in the Mississippi River and had been designated a national arsenal in July 1862. A prisoner-of-war barracks to hold 10,000 prisoners was constructed there in 1863.
Due to overcrowding at other prison camps, Rock Island barracks was occupied before it was completed.
Immediately, prison administration had to cope with 30 degrees below zero temperatures and southern prisoners not clothed for winter weather.
However, the worst problem was disease. No hospital had been built and there was not enough medicine available to treat the sick prisoners.
In February 1864, they began to isolate the sick from the healthy, and used 11 of the barracks for a hospital until one could be built.
Then the dead Confederate and Union soldiers, who were previously buried near the barracks, were moved some distance away. All graves have been identified and have markers with their names and the names of their units.
Between December 1863 and the end of the war in 1865, more than 12,000 prisoners-of-war were confined at Rock Island at some time.
The barracks are gone, but the cemeteries are the permanent reminder of their existence.
Sandra Paschall presented a certificate to Virginia Jones for her ancestor, Lewis H. Womack, Co. K, 44th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry during Saturday’s meeting.
Stephanie Tayloe proposed the names of Ina Jennings and Sheila Hopkins for membership.
A letter from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis thanking the chapter for a cash donation for Christmas gifts for hospitalized veterans was read during the meeting.
Virginia Jones donated the CD “The Official Records of the American Civil War,” and Patricia Boals donated the book, “The American Heritage – New History of the Civil War,” by Bruce Catton, to Ms. Tayloe for the genealogy department of W. G. Rhea Library in Paris.
Donna Cooley presented portions of the historian general’s February and March programs.
The West Tennessee District meeting will be held Saturday in Collierville.
The April 21 chapter meeting will be held at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park near Eva at 10:30 a.m. Park ranger Justin Vaughn will speak about Nathan Bedford Forrest. Published in The WCP 3.22.12