|Death: ||Apr. 10, 1865|
New York, USA
PVT; CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY;
Co. I, 50th Reg., Virginia
John died while being held as a POW at the Elmira Prison Camp in Chemung County, New York.
Where he was before coming to Elmira is unknown; however, the population at the prison camp was composed of men who had been transferred from other overcrowded prison camps. The first POWs at Elmira came from Point Lookout, Maryland.
The Elmira Prison Camp has been called "the death camp of the north." The camp was used for only one year (July 1864 to July 1865), and the death rate was 25%. It was a 40-acre camp with enough barracks for only half of the men who were held there as POWs. Men with no inside sleeping space slept in A-tents even in the winter, with temperatures that dropped below zero degrees F. The POWs were not provided vegetables, and there were many cases of scurvy.
One camp survivor described the daily rations thusly: "four ounces of sour light bread and three ounces of salt beef or pork for breakfast; for dinner, the same amount of bread was allowed, and, in lieu of the meat, a compound called soup, but in reality nothing more than hot salty water, in which bags of peas or beans had been boiled, but which were carefully removed and kept for other uses."
Another at the camp was quoted as saying that not even half of the POWs had so much as a single blanket and that many were nearly naked. Most of the POWs had been captured during the hot summer months when they were wearing nothing but thin cotton clothes.
The camp has been described as "worse than Andersonville," and it was said that the prisoners were starved and compelled to drink water from a sewage-filled pond.
John's birth place and family connections are not known. However, the principal home counties of the men of 50th Virginia were Nelson, Amherst, Patrick, Carrol, Pulaski, Grayson, Smyth, Tazwell, Washington, Wise, and Lee. The regiment was organized in July 1861 and saw combat at Fort Donelson, Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, and others battles.
According to a plaque near John's burial site,
"Between July 1864 and August 1865, 2973 Confederate soldiers were buried here with kindness and respect, by John W. Jones, a runaway slave. They have remained in these hallowed grounds of Woodlawn National Cemetery by family choice because of the honorable way in which they were laid to rest by a caring man."
John W. Jones was the sexton for Woodlawn Cemetery from 1859 onward.
Near the burial sites of all of those many Confederate soldiers who died in New York in a POW prison is a statue erected by Daughters of the Confederacy. It says this:
"In memory of the Confederate soldiers in the War Between the States who died in Elmira Prison and lie buried here. Erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. November 6, 1937."
50 VA REG.
Woodlawn National Cemetery
New York, USA
Plot: SECTION CSA; SITE 2664
Maintained by: Bob Hufford
Originally Created by: AMB
Record added: Feb 26, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48851778