Salisbury Confederate Prison exhibit open to public Friday at library
The public is being invited to view a free exhibit on the Salisbury Confederate Prison from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday in Rowan Public Library’s Stanback Auditorium.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc.
The main part of the library, which is located at 201 W. Fisher St., will be closed Friday except for the auditorium area, so visitors should enter by the black double doors on Fisher Street.
Association members will be available to provide information about the prison, which was active between early December 1861 and late February 1865, and to distribute the pamphlet, “North Carolina’s Salisbury Confederate Prison.”
On display will be the model prison buildings made by the late Don Weinhold Sr. based on the 1886 lithograph by Charles A. Kraus.
These models were constructed from card stock about 20 years ago by the Weinhold and on his death donated to the SCPA Inc. A copy of the Kraus lithograph depicting the prison in 1864 will be a part of the exhibit.
This year a spindle from the front porch of Prison Commandant Swift Galloway’s home in Snow Hill before it was demolished in 2005 will be displayed. Galloway was born in Brunswick County in 1840 and was a teacher prior to enlisting in 1862 in the 3rd North Carolina Regiment.
Due to wounds he received at the battle of Malvern Hill, Va., Galloway was unable to return to active duty with his regiment. He arrived in Salisbury as the fifth prison commandant in September 1863 and served until May 1864.
While at the prison he raised a company for local defense. After the war, he served as commissioner of navigation and pilotage of the Cape Fear River and Bars before turning to law. He later was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Veterans Pension Committee.
Galloway died in 1908, and in 2006, the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association held a memorial for him at his gravesite in the Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church Cemetery in Snow Hill.
Also on display Friday will be bricks found during the March 2012 archaeological dig that may have been part of a prison building. Surrounding the prison model will be images of some of the individuals associated with the prison.
Descriptions of the prison from letters and editorials written during or after the war period and a transcription of the deed will be shown.
Flags representing the prison personnel and prisoners from 32 states and Washington, D.C., will be displayed. No photograph of the prison is known to exist but sketches and prints will be shown including one of baseball being played in 1862.
There will be photographs of the two cemeteries where Confederate and Union soldiers from the prison were buried — the Old Lutheran Cemetery and the Salisbury National Cemetery.
Each April wreaths are placed at these cemeteries during the Annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium held by the R.F. Hoke No. 78, United Daughters of the Confederacy. There will also be a photograph of Prison Commandant Kent’s gravesite at the Old English Cemetery.
North Carolina seceded on May 20, 1861, shortly after Gov. John W. Ellis informed President Lincoln’s Secretary of War that “you can get no troops from North Carolina.”
By June 8 the Confederate government was seeking a location in the state for a prison.
Salisbury was not the first location considered by Gov. Henry T. Clark, who assumed office upon Ellis’ death but it was one that provided acreage, buildings and proximity to the railroad lines.
The property consisted of 16 acres with a 3-story brick building, once used as a cotton factory, and additional cottages that had been willed to Davidson College prior to the purchase by the Confederate government for $15,000 Nov. 2, 1861.
The first prison commandant at Salisbury was Capt. Braxton Craven, who as president of Trinity College brought the Trinity Guards with him to serve as prison guards.
Nine others held the position of commandant in Salisbury until the prison was closed in February 1865. The guards changed over the years with some small units from North Carolina and Alabama staying for most of the prison’s existence.
Some regiments stationed in the area provided guards for much shorter periods, and other military personnel were detailed to Salisbury only while recovering from illness or injury.
Individuals interested in reading more about the Prison may visit the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc. website at www.salisburyprison.org. Questions may be directed to Sue Curtis, president, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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