Confederate Prison Symposium set for April 8-10 in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 21, 2016

SALISBURY — The 19th Annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium, sponsored by the Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, will be held April 8-10.

The yearly event focuses on the history of the Civil War prison established in Salisbury in late 1861 by the Confederate government. All lectures presented during the symposium relate to the history of the prison and those who were there.

Anyone interested in this period of history is invited to register. Individuals from 10 or more states normally attend.

The keynote speaker at Friday evening’s (April 8) Friendship Banquet at the Landmark Church fellowship hall will be Roger Pickenpaugh of Ohio.

Pickenpaugh, a retired teacher, has authored a number of books, including one each on Northern and Southern prisons during the Civil War. His talk will draw comparisons between Salisbury and other prisons. The banquet will also include music, door prizes, and recognition of veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in attendance.

Saturday’s (April 9) lectures will start at 9:15 a.m. in the Tom Smith Auditorium of Ketner Hall on the Catawba College campus. Dr. Gary Freeze, American history professor at the college, will lead off with an overview of the prison.

Historian and author Mary Gorman of Massachusetts will discuss hostages held in Salisbury. Historian Greg Cheek of North Carolina will talk about the galvanizing of Union prisoners into the Confederate Army.

Guard descendant Jane Fuess of New York will discuss her ancestor’s life, his experiences at the prison and his capture in April 1865. Author and POW descendant Bruce Smith of Indiana will speak on the Dix-Hill Cartel with highlights from his recently published book about his ancestor who was held in the Salisbury stockade.

Representatives from The Central LandTrust for North Carolina will share information about the history of and plans for Fort York on the Yadkin River, where Confederate forces successfully defended the railroad bridge against Stoneman’s Raiders.

Weather permitting, attendees will be take a guided tour of the fort site.

Sunday morning (April 10) memorial services for Union and Confederate soldiers are open to the public. Re-enactors of the 40th North Carolina Regiment, 2nd Company G, Orange Light Artillery, Patterson’s Battery and the 4th Iowa Independent Light Artillery will participate.

The first service will be held at 10 a.m. in the Salisbury National Cemetery for Union prisoners of war who died at the prison.  The second service will start at 11 a.m. in the Old Lutheran Cemetery to remember Confederate soldiers, including some guards, who died in Salisbury during the war.

An afternoon tour of the Salisbury Prison site will be conducted for symposium registrants followed by refreshments.

Registration is $65 per person when postmarked by March 18; $75 afterwards.

There is a $15 charge for refunds after March 25. No refunds will be given after April 1. Send checks to Robert F. Hoke Chapter 78, UDC, P.O. Box 83, Salisbury, NC 28145-0083.

For additional information contact Symposium Chairman Sue Curtis at 704-637-6411, or