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    Elmira Prison Guard Autograph Letter Signed. From Elmira Prison in New York. Two and one-half pages, 5" x 8", "Elmira," March 6, 1865. The guard, R. G. Dollars, writes to his son George about his duties and the Confederate prisoners. Transcribed in part as written: "I will inform you that I am in very Good helth at present. . . . I would have wrote you before but I have Neglected it till now I have so much Gard duty to do it keeps me busy all the time I have to Stand Gard Every other day and Night so that I have no other time to Sleep and keep my aquipments clean than the day I am of Gard We have had a very Cold winter here and is Cold yet one man frose to Death the third of January I was on post the same Night I had to Run my Beat the whole two hours or I Should have frose myself we dare not leve the post till we ware Relieved if did it would be Sure death for we have a Grate Charge here. . . . We have had from 12 to 14 thousand Reble prisoners here this winter but we are now Sending of 6000 to be Exchanged We Send them to City Point we Shoot one once and awill to keep them in fere or we would have a Greate deal of trouble withe them for they are very impodent fellowes I hope they will Exchang them all then we may have Some Rest." Printed on the same sheet is the ballad, "Union Forever." Above the ballad is a colorful scene of soldiers raising their glasses in a toast. The letter has minor stains. The central vertical fold is held together with minor tape repairs. Other folds also have some separation. Included is a photograph (7.5" x 5") showing the tents of the camp surrounded by a guarded stockade. A transcription of the letter is also included.

    Located near the intersection of two railroads in Elmira, New York, the Elmira Confederate Prison Camp was one of the largest such camps in the North. "Hellmira," as the camp was called by the prisoners, was operational from July 1864 through July 1865. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 Confederate prisoners died of exposure to cold weather, disease, and other physical hardships.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2010
    11th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,223

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