to Pt. Lookout
Lookout is located on the east coast of the United
States of America in the southern tip of Maryland in St.
Mary's County. Click on the colored U.S. map to the right
to see a more detailed
locating Point Lookout. Click
here to see a state map with Pt. Lookout Highlighted.
Here for MapQuest directions to Confederate Memorial
Point Lookout POW Camp (Camp Hoffman) was established
after the Battle of Gettysburg to incarcerate Confederate prisoners.
It was in operation from August 1863 through June 1865. Being only
5' above sea level, it was located on approx. 30 acres of leveled
was the largest Union prison camp for Confederates. Point Lookout
was one of the most secure POW camps, being surrounded on three
sides by water from the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, with
Union cannons pointed toward the prisoners from Ft. Lincoln and
guns of Union ships anchored in nearby waters.
Only an estimated 50 escapes were successful.
Before the war, Point Lookout
was a fashionable resort hotel and a summer bathing place with
over a hundred cottages where the elite
spent their leisure time.
Point Lookout Hotel
Point Lookout, Maryland
Photos Courtesy of Cora Lunsford
In 1862, with erection of additional buildings,
it became a military hospital for the care of Union soldiers,
an imprisonment for Maryland citizens who were Southern sympathizers,
as well as a supply depot for the Army of the Potomac. In August
1863, the large building with outbuildings arranged in spoke fashion
(Hammond Hospital), became the care center for wounded/sick Confederate
prisoners as well as for Union men.
During the two year span of operation,
Point Lookout saw approx. 52,000 POWs pass through her gates. These
were military and civilian,
men, women, and children. It's also interesting to note that
the youngest POW at Point Lookout was Baby Perkins. He was
His mother, Jane Perkins, was captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania
with her artillery unit.
Prison conditions were deplorable.
Rations were below minimal, causing scurvy and malnutrition. Prisoners
ate rats and raw fish.
It's recorded that one hungry Rebel devoured a raw seagull that
had been washed ashore. Soap skim and trash peelings were often
eaten when found. Lice, disease, and chronic diarrhea often resulted
in an infectious death. Prisoners were deprived of adequate clothing,
and often had no shoes in winter or, only one blanket among sixteen
or more housed in old, worn, torn, discarded Union sibley tents.
In the winter of 1863, 9,000 prisoners were crowded into 980
tents. Even the Point's weather played havoc with the prisoners.
of it's location, it's extremely cold with icy wind in the winter
and a smoldering sun reflecting off the blinding, barren sand
in summer. High water often flooded the tents in the camp area,
in knee deep mud. The undrained marshes bred mosquitoes. Malaria,
typhoid fever and smallpox was common. The brackish water supply
was contaminated by unsanitary camp conditions. There was a deadline
about 10' from the approx. 14' wooden parapet wall. Anyone caught
crossing this line, even to peek through the fence, was shot.
Prisoners were also randomly shot by the guards during
the night as they slept, or if they
called out from pain.
Major Brady was the Provost Marshall and Major
General Benjamin (Beast) Butler would review the prison camp.
Many times Major General
Butler on his horse would gallop through the crowd of men, hitting
them as he sped by. The sixty gun Minnesota was within a short
distance from the shore to guard the prisoners.
Photo Courtesy of Alvin Slaughter
Among the sites at this prison were: 1830 Lighthouse,
Hammond Hospital, the Nuns housing, 3 forts, guard quarters, officers'
quarters, stables, contraband quarters, Union quarters/tenting
area, burying grounds, smallpox hospital, stockade, etc.
Photo Courtesy of Alvin Slaughter
Although it is estimated that over 14,000 prisoners
died at Pt. Lookout, at present only a near 3,384 are accounted
for as buried in the Point Lookout cemetery. Their graves have
been moved twice since the original burial. They now rest in a
mass grave under an 85' towering obelisk monument erected by the
federal government. This was the first monument to Confederate
soldiers! Huge bronze tablets circling this monument depict names
of those so far recorded. Also in this cemetery is a smaller 25'
monument erected by the state of Maryland to the memory of the
Today, this prison site is a beautiful, well
maintained campground that offers among other things, boating,
fishing, and picnicking.
is run by the Maryland state park service.
When the Lord turned again the captivity of
Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled
and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen,
the Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great
things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, 0
Lord, as the streams in the South. They that sow in tears shall
reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious
seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves
with him. ..........Psalm 126
Above is a picture of my precious
seed, following in the foot steps of his Point Lookout forefathers
as we turned again the captivity
of Zion last summer. Behind him, a mighty Stream of the South;
beneath bare feet, Holy Ground. Perhaps the seeds he sows shall
some day reap a "Mighty Harvest of Truth!" ..........Wayne
Wayne and his son Timmy and are members of our
descendants organization and re-enactors with our Lee's Miserables.