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    [Elmira Prison]. Confederate Prisoner Nathan S. Cox Hand-Drawn Map of Elmira Prison, Autograph Letter, and Photograph. 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.

    The physical layout of the complex is illustrated here in a superb, 15.5" x 12", hand-drawn map titled "Plan of the Ground Work of the U.S. Prison at Elmira City New York." The map was drawn from memory sometime after March 1865 by Confederate Sergeant Nathan Sword Cox, a former prisoner at Elmira. The prison itself was surrounded by a fence as noted at the lower corner: "The Double lines on the margin Represents the fence enclosing the Prison for Rebels at Elmira City N.Y. while the Squares & figures attached Represent the centrie [sic] boxes." Entering the prison through the gate, you travel down "Main Street," the prisoner's barracks on the left, hospital on the right. The hospital is composed of two long buildings set at a right angle forming an "L" shape. Continuing down Main Street, you come to a long area containing the dining area, sutler's store, bakery, carpenter's shop, cook's room, the wash room, and sergeant's quarters. Directly behind runs an area known as the "...creek by the Prisoners." Beyond the creek is found groupings of tents used for the small pox/convalescent hospital and the gangrene hospital. There is some damage along the edges with some loss of paper to the margins and several small holes throughout, but not affecting the map. Some minor staining and ink smudging.

    While imprisoned at Elmira, Cox wrote a one page letter, 5" x 8", December 13, 1864, to his aunt, Hanna Davis which reads, in part: "I was much pleased to hear from you & to receive the money you sent...It come in good time & found me in need of it. I am very much in need of some money, & if any of my old Lee [County] friends will assist me some I will see that they are recompensed if I ever get out of Prison where I am shut out from all the comforts of Life...I had heard of Mothers & Cecils death but not Catherins. You know not my feelings to hear such news...P.S. write to me often do all you can to help me here & I will not forget you." Also included is a 3.5" x 5.5" cabinet card of an elderly Cox sporting a long, full beard.

    Nathan Sword Cox (1842-1905) enlisted in the Confederate army on September 1, 1862, and was mustered into Co. "A," 50th Virginia Infantry. It is unclear where he was captured, but records indicate that he was listed as missing on May 5, 1864, during the first day of the Battle of the Wilderness. What is clear is that he served time at Elmira before being transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, where he was paroled on March 2, 1865. According to his descendents, following the war, Cox returned home where he went into business, worked as a surveyor, served as the executor of estates, and as a mediator of disputes.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    8th Saturday
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