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 Elias Durfee

Elias Durfee

Birth
New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, USA
Death Jul 1864 (aged 32)
Virginia, USA
Burial Non-Cemetery Burial
Memorial ID 161002024 · View Source
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Elias Durfee died in a CSA POW camp at Bell Isle,VA in July 1864. Thank you. Mark Durfee


The island served as a prison for Union soldiers during the American Civil War. Between 1862 and 1865, the island was home to about 30,000 POW's and as many as 1,000 died, though accounts vary with the South claiming the death rate was low, while the North claimed it was very high. The Battle of Walkerton was the result of a failed Union attempt to free them.

In April 1864, Peter DeWitt, Assistant Surgeon at Jarvis Hospital, Baltimore, received a number of prisoners recently released from the Prisoner of War camp at Belle Isle. He described the "great majority" of the patients as being:

"in a semi-state of nudity...laboring under such diseases as chronic diarrhoea, phthisis pulmonalis, scurvy, frost bites, general debility, caused by starvation, neglect and exposure. Many of them had partially lost their reason, forgetting even the date of their capture, and everything connected with their antecedent history. They resemble, in many respect, patients laboring under cretinism. They were filthy in the extreme, covered in vermin...nearly all were extremely emaciated; so much so that they had to be cared for even like infants."
In May 1864 Lucius Eugene Chittenden, Asst Sec of the Treasury under President Lincoln was sent by the president to investigate freed prisoners from Belle Isle and gives his eyewitness account in, "Recollections of President Lincoln and His Administration," published in the late 1890s. He relates the shock Lincoln shared at learning that Union prisoners had been left by the CSA to freeze and starve to death in the shadow of the Confederate Capital.


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  • Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 13 Apr 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 161002024
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elias Durfee (4 May 1832–Jul 1864), Find A Grave Memorial no. 161002024, ; Maintained by Anonymous (contributor 46865272) Non-Cemetery Burial.