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Camp Ford, Tyler

3.2
#20 of 21 in Things to do in Tyler
Camp Ford was a prisoner of war camp near Tyler, Texas, during the American Civil War. It was the largest Confederate-run prison west of the Mississippi River.Established in the spring of 1862 as a training camp for new Confederate recruits, the camp was named for Col. John Salmon Ford, a Texas Ranger and the Superintendent of Conscripts for the State of Texas. The first Union prisoners to arrive at camp Ford in August 1863 included officers captured in Brashear City Louisiana in June, and included naval personnel captured when the 'Queen Of The West' and the 'Diana' were seized by the Union Navy. The captives were initially held in the open, but a panic ensued in November 1863 when 800 new prisoners threatened a mass breakout. A military stockade enclosing 4acre was soon erected.With over 2,000 new prisoners taken in Louisiana on April 8 and 9 1864, at the battles of Mansfield, and Pleasant Hill, the stockade was quadrupled in size. With more prisoners captured in Arkansas, the prison's population peaked at about 5,000 in July 1864. The population was reduced by exchanges in July and October 1864, and again in February 1865. The last 1,761 prisoners were exchanged on May 22, 1865. Summary Executions of Local Citizens, Recounted by 49th Ohio prisoners at Camp Ford: From "Twenty Months in the Dept of the Gulf", A.G.H. DuGanne "Among the last-mentioned local events, however, was the "Match Plot," which deserves a paragraph".
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Camp Ford Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.0
48 reviews
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4.1
TripAdvisor
  • I’ve always been a history buff, and have read quite a bit about the Civil War, and frankly I was disappointed with Camp Ford. It appears that no one is maintaining this site. There were a few plaques...  more »
  • Camp Ford flies under the radar but is a very important site in American history, serving as the largest civil war camp west of the Mississippi. The information out here is excellent, and you really g...  more »
  • We passed this on our way out of town. I saw the sign and turned around and went back. How often does one get the opportunity to visit a Civil War Prisoner of War camp? We walked most of the trail and...  more »
Google
  • This place has obviously had some work put into it by a local civic group. There is a well-marked trail with informative signage detailing camp history, quality of life, escape attempts, and anecdotes. Several prisoner huts are reconstructed. Historical and modern photos help you interpret the landscape.
  • Beautiful place to stop and spend some time. Historical site of the largest Civil War POW camp west of Mississippi River.
  • Absolute reverence. It feels like an oasis without being creepy. It surrounds you with a story in history without douchey bells and whistles. It very much makes you feel like it was back when(sans the shooting and war). Love this place. Go and respect and pray. Q
  • The pathways have degraded and the cabin torn down. No restrooms available. The woods are nice and there are random historical signs with nothing to see. Go for a nice walk but sad that Tyler doesn't take care of what could be a really nice site.
  • Awesome park to take the family and enjoy nature.

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