Union prisoners captured by Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department and lower Mississippi Valley were usually paroled or exchanged, at least during the early months of the war, but several thousand were placed in prison camps in Arkansas and Texas. Many of the camps were temporary and never intended to be permanent prisons, but three in Texas, in operation for only short periods, were established with the intention that they function for the duration. They were located near Camp Verde in Kerr County; at Camp Groce near Hempstead; and at Camp Ford, four miles northeast of Tyler. Camp Ford was the largest, consisting of approximately ten acres enclosed by a log stockade about eighteen feet high. The size of the compound varied because it had to be enlarged at intervals to accommodate the growing number of prisoners. As many as fifty-three hundred men were confined in this camp at one time or another during the war. The population constantly fluctuated because of the rate of exchange, the numerous successful escapes, and the simple system of parole.
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Publication Information: Book Title: Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War. Contributors: B. P. Gallaway - editor. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of Publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication Year: 1994. Page Number: 192.