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Guide to the Naval History Society Collection
1721-1995 (bulk 1781-1936)
  MS 439

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 09, 2019
Description is in English

Container List

Series 37. Point Lookout sketches (1864)

Scope and Content

The series consists of an album of 48 color ink drawings by a Confederate prisoner of war at the Union prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland, which was bound in 1880. Also included are a photograph of the camp's commanding officers (including General James Barnes; see Series 2) and the administration of the oath of allegiance to prisoners on June 30, 1865; printed orders to prison guards over Barnes's signature about the treatment of prisoners; a letter from a prisoner to President Lincoln asking to be released; and a map of the camp.

The drawings, which are numbered out of sequence in pencil, show details of prisoners' daily lives: playing cards, bartering with food vendors, and interacting with their African-American prison guards. Also included is a note by Barnes's son, John Sanford Barnes (see Series 3) indicating that the artist's name was not known. Another later note (after 1957) names the artist as Jacob Omenhausser, who was identified in the article "Omenhausser's Confederate Prisoners of War Sketch" by Harold R. Manakee in Maryland Historical Magazine (June, 1958, p. 177-179 and cover) and on the cover of that publication in June, 1959.

Historical Note

The camp for Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout (at the tip of the peninsula where the Potomac River joins Chesapeake Bay) operated from August, 1863, to June, 1865. With an intended capacity of 10,000, it housed as many as 20,000 detainees at one time; an estimated total of 50,000 military and civilian prisoners were held there. Prisoners were housed 16 to a tent in conditions of habitually short rations and an exposed physical setting that subjected them to extremes of temperature and weather.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copy is available in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Digital Library.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 1 Point Lookout sketches

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