Libby Prison Letter & Cover

 William E. Endicott

 10th Mass. Light Artillery

Captured at Ream's Station, VA - 8/29/64

 

*We have included a folded re-printed copy of the cover letter, to help make the writing more legible.

*This historic document will come in a frame.

 

~ Ream's Station ~

The Second Battle of Ream's Station was fought during the siege of Petersburg in the American Civil War on August 25, 1864, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. A Union force under Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock began destroying part of the Petersburg Railroad, which was a vital supply line for Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in Petersburg, Virginia. Lee sent a force under Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill to challenge Hancock and the Confederates were able to rout the Union troops from their fortifications at Reams Station. However, they lost a key portion of the railroad, causing further logistical difficulties for the remainder of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign.

 

~ Libby Prison ~

Libby Prison was a Confederate prison at Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. It gained an infamous reputation for the overcrowded and harsh conditions under which officer prisoners from the Union Army were kept. Prisoners suffered from disease, malnutrition and a high mortality rate. By 1863, one thousand prisoners were crowded into large open rooms on two floors, with open, barred windows leaving them exposed to weather and temperature extremes.

 

The building was built before the war as a food warehouse. In 1889, Charles F. Gunther moved the structure to Chicago and renovated it into a war museum. A decade later, the Coliseum Company dismantled the building and sold its pieces as souvenirs.

 

The prison was located in a three-story brick warehouse on two levels on Tobacco Row at the waterfront of the James River. Prior to use as a jail, the warehouse had been leased by Capt. Luther Libby and his son George W. Libby. They operated a ship'