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Libby Prison, Richmond, VA
[Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Incidents of the War, pl. 89]
7 x 9 in
Courtesy of Lee Gallery (Z1403)
"Alex. Gardner, Photographer. April, 1865. Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1865, by A. Gardner, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia. Incidents of the War. Libby Prison, Richmond, VA. Published by Philp & Solomon, Washington. 511 7th Street, Washington" printed in the margin recto.
The Old Tobacco Warehouse is too well known to need much description. This view was taken after the time was passed when Union soldiers and men looked wearily through the bars at the monotonous flow of the James, and wondered how much longer they could endure without going mad; or peeping out into the street at the risk of being fired at by some sentry, watched the relief on its rounds, or the arrival of more prisoners to swell the already overcrowded numbers in durance. The Union flag floats upon the building, and the tables are turned. Rebel prisoners occupy the floors, so lately filled by Northern soliders, with permission to kick up their heels to their hearts' content. There is a little crowd around the door at the corner, formed of destitute persons seeking relief. It was in this office the Union prisoners were received by the prison-keepers, and coolly despoiled of any little trifles left about their persons, by their captors. The lower windows on the end of the building, light some of the small cells in the foundation, where officers were placed for punishment. It was here that Captains Flynn and Sawyer were confined, pending the retaliatory execution, to which they were condemned by the revel authorities, and fortunately prevented by the prompt measures adopted by our Government. When Turner brother of the notorious Dick gave himself up, to escape vengeance at the hands of the soldiers, he was deposited in one of these places, that he might have a chance to appreciate the misery of some of those he had so ruthlessly confined here. This view of the Libby is taken from Castle Thunder, a warehouse of the same order of architecture.