Confederate Prison Association holds memorial service for Capt. Braxton Craven

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc., an organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of North Carolina’s Civil War Prison, held a memorial service Nov. 15 for Capt. Braxton Craven in the Trinity Cemetery in Trinity.
Craven was born in Randolph County in 1822 and died there Nov. 7, 1882.
He was the president of Trinity College, which would later become Duke University. In May 1861, he organized a military department at the school, and the company of students and instructors were named the Trinity Guard.
This unit was used as a Home Guard to put down disturbances in Davidson, Randolph and Guilford counties. In early December 1861, Craven and the Trinity Guard were ordered by N.C. Gov. Henry Toole Clark to report for duty at the Confederate Prison in Salisbury.
Craven became the first of the prison’s 10 commandants, and the Trinity Guard became the first to serve as guards at the facility.
Sue Curtis, president of the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, led the Nov. 15 service.
Eric Smith, Trinity Historic Society president, brought greetings. Ed Curtis, newsletter editor, served as chaplain, and treasurer, Eva Millsaps, sang several selections.
The guest speaker was Mrs. Larry Hines of Raleigh, a Craven descendant and SCPA member.
She spoke about her ancestor’s life as an educator, soldier and minister. Re-enactors from the 21st Regiment North Carolina Troops and Alexander’s Battalion Field Hospital fired a three-volley salute in memory of Craven.
Wreaths were placed by the descendants, the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association and the Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Trinity Mayor Fran Andrews greeted the attendees at a reception held at the Trinity Museum following the service. The mayor presented the SCPA with a transcribed letter dated Nov. 14, 1864, from prison guard Andrew J. York, Co. D, 6th Senior Reserves, North Carolina Troops, to his wife.
A copy of Louis Brown’s book, “The Salisbury Prison,” was presented by the SCPA to the Trinity Historic Society.
The Salisbury Confederate Prison Association was chartered in 1999 and has more than 200 members in 28 states and Canada. A project of the group is to conduct memorial services. Previous memorial services have been held at the burial sites of Prison Commandants Col. John A. Gilmer in Greensboro, Capt. Swift Galloway in Snow Hill, and Lt. Col. Frederic M. Kent in Salisbury.
Each April the association participates in memorial services for prisoners and guards during the annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium.
The association would like to identify the members of the Trinity Guard. Anyone with information on the names of the students and faculty is requested to contact the association at P.O. Box 5093, Salisbury, NC 28147-0088 or
Files are being established for each individual who served in Salisbury in order to assist researchers and to expand the history of the military prison.