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Camp Ford, Tyler

(40+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site Tourist Spot
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The reviews described it as run down but we found a very well marked historical site that captured POW history we did not know about. Well mowed grounds and nice trails. We spent 45 minutes reading th...  more »
  • 1st visit to Texas and 1st visit to a civil war site. Historical sites are always hard to rate. This one has little documented history it appears. Still it has signage to help you learn and has some r...  more »
  • Camp Ford is a real treat. The largest Civil War POW camp west of the Mississippi River. Solemn place of historical importance.  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • Quiet park atmosphere. We have been stopping here for years and the kids loved exploring when they were young.
  • Location is hard to see from a vehicle but it's a nice walk roundabout. Parking at front & quiet place to check out some history in the process.
  • Peaceful part of one of the beauties of Tyler.