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Confederate Symposium April 11-13

Staff report
The 11th Annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium will be held April 11-13.
Events will be held at several locations during the weekend: Landmark Church, Catawba College, the Old Lutheran Cemetery and Salisbury National Cemetery.
The event is sponsored by the local Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78, United Daughters of the Confederacy, which yearly hosts at least seven speakers to help expand the knowledge about the military prison that held both Union and Confederate soldiers and civilians.
The keynote speaker at this year’s Friday evening (April 11) Friendship Banquet will be Dr. Dane Hartgrove, who will review the history of the 1908 dedication of the Maine Monument at the Salisbury National Cemetery.
Hartgrove, an historian, retired after a 30-year career with the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Scheduled lecturers on Saturday (April 12) include Dr. Gary Freeze of Catawba College’s History Department who will provide an introduction to the history of the prison, and author Darl Stephenson of Virginia, a Salisbury prisoner-of-war descendant, who will relate stories of some individual prisoners.
Postal cover expert and author Galen Harrison of North Carolina will talk about mail into and out of Salisbury, and Dr. Charles Cooke, medical historian and retired physician from Virginia, will discuss gangrene and frostbite problems encountered by soldiers and prisoners.
Historian Bill Weidner of Pennsylvania will share his research on the Battle of Weldon Railroad and the prisoners taken during that action who were sent to Salisbury.
Author Annette Ford of Florida will lead a presentation on the 1866 court martial of her ancestor, Commandant John Henry Gee, M.D.
Memorial services open to the public will be conducted at 10 a.m. Sunday (April 13) for the Confederate soldiers buried at the Old Lutheran Cemetery and at 11 a.m. for the Union prisoners of war interred at the Salisbury National Cemetery.
The service at the National Cemetery will recognize the 100th anniversary of the Maine Monument dedication at which dignitaries from Maine and North Carolina attended.
An afternoon tour of the prison site will be available for symposium registrants.
The public is invited to register for the symposium.
Registrations prior to March 20 are $65; afterwards, $75.
Checks should be made payable to the Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78, UDC, and mailed to P.O. Box 5093, Salisbury, NC 28147-0088.
For additional information contact Symposium Chairman Sue Curtis at 704-637-6411 or southpaws@salisbury.net.
The military prison camp was located for four years in Salisbury just blocks from South Main Street. Louis Brown of Statesville wrote his book, “The Salisbury Prison,” in 1980 and then included additional information in two more printings.
The prison, owned by the Confederate government, was located off today’s East Bank Street in the vicinity east of the bridge and railroad tracks.
Thousands of men died at the prison, though researchers have not always been confident in their estimates. One federal government report put the number of deaths at about 5,000; a second, at more than 10,000.
Brown’s study backs the lower figure.
Union soldiers were not the only prisoners. The prison also held sailors, civilians from both the North and South and Confederate soldiers who had been arrested.
New lists of the names of prisoners who were in Salisbury are being developed. As for guards, the prison had guard units from North Carolina and Alabama, and soldiers were sent here to serve as guards while recovering from illnesses or injuries.
There also were several N.C. regiments in Salisbury who served as guards until being transferred.
Dr. David Livingstone’s son was a prisoner of war here. Television personality Gary Moore’s ancestor Mason Morfit was a prison quartermaster. The brother of writer Walt Whitman was a prisoner in Salisbury, and Brodie Duke of the Durham tobacco family served as a guard at the prison.

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