Libby Prison

  • American Civil War
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Almost as infamous as the Confederate Prison – Andersonville, Libby Prison was located in the very “heart” of The Confederacy, namely - Richmond, Virginia. Originally built in the late 1850s, Libby Prison was a Food Warehouse (and then a Tobacco storage facility). Located on James River, it was owned by George Libby (hence it's name). Consisting of 3 floors, the upper two were converted into a jail at the start of the war. Libby was to be used for containment of captured Officers of The Union Army (when formal Paroling failed). All windows were removed and replaced with iron bars. No control over poor weather was made. Little or no bedding or supplies were given. By 1862, 700 Officers were cramped into the 2-storied structure. By 1864, over 1,000 were kept within the walls. Poor food, little to no medical attention – quickly produced several hundred dead per week (quickly replaced with more and more prisoners).


The conditions were so horrid, that even Richmond Citizens began to complain on the poor treatment to The Government (with little to no avail). Any food “donated”, was quickly taken by Confederate Guards. A famous escape known as “The Libby Escape”, involved 109 Officers. They had discovered a secret tunnel (possibly used by past Slave Runaways). This group was the only “known” escapee's from Libby (and a source of documented information regarding the treatment of Union soldiers there). After the war, Libby was dismantled and moved to Chicago, Illinois. Re-constructed, it served as a War Museum Memorial until 1895. It was then taken apart and “sold” in pieces (as souvenirs).