Camp Douglas P.O.W. baptisms by Chicago's St. James Church

Camp Douglas P.O.W. baptisms by Chicago's St. James Church
The gravesite and memorial of Confederate soldiers from Camp Douglas at Oakwoods Cemetery, Chicago, IL

Many times writers need inspiration for stories and yesterday I received some from David Keller who is the managing director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation.  I have had the honor of meeting many from the Hyde Park Historical Society and also from the Jackson Park Advisory Council in my research exploits concerning the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  I was invited to a lecture/presentation that Mr. Keller was giving on Chicago’s Civil War recruit processing and prisoner of war camp that existed in the Bronzeville neighborhood roughly between Giles and Cottage Grove to the west and east and 31st and 33rd to the north and south. 

I am always amazed at where historic records turn up and in places you wouldn’t expect to find them. (Hey I didn’t and found them by complete accident!  Many times it is better to be lucky than good!)

 I was doing research for a client concerning their family history and was reviewing records of one of Chicago’s oldest Catholic Churches, St. James.  Many of you, if you are not parishioners, became aware of St. James in July of 2013 when the Church that has stood on the corner of 29th St. and Wabash Avenue for 133 years was torn down.  While that was a tragedy, in my opinion, the Church’s history actually predates the building by about 25 years.  The Church was the ninth Catholic Church in Chicago and had its first baptism in 1855 and its first wood frame church built in 1858 on the east side of Prairie Avenue between 26th and 27th Street.  That was about one half mile from where the Confederate prisoners of war were held at Camp Douglas.  It was during the wood frame era that I wanted to write about.

 As I was looking through old Baptismal records of the Church I came across entries in the register between November 1, 1864 and June 1, 1865.  There, mixed in with other baptisms, were the baptisms of Confederate Prisoners of War from Camp Douglas!  Who would have thought of looking there for Camp Douglas information!  Not me.  The register contained the names, ages and Confederate Units that the prisoners belonged to. 

 Now I know that many records exist from Camp Douglas in many different repositories but I thought I would compile a list of those names (as best as I can transcribe) of those Confederate Veterans who were baptized here in Chicago and whose bodies may have never left Chicago.   (NOTE: Yes they were veterans. For those of you against recognizing Confederate soldiers, I have always been a Yankee but I know that it was important for President Lincoln to welcome back those to the Union who fought sometimes brother against brother and if it was good enough for him than it is good enough for me!) There were close to 2,000 deaths at Camp Douglas and many are buried in the largest Confederate burial site and monument north of the Mason-Dixon Line at Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago.  It took me a couple of hours on Veterans Day to compile the list but I thought it was a fitting thing to do given the holiday.

Confederate prisoners of war Baptized by Rev. P.J. Murphy of St. James Parish, Chicago, IL

 Bartholemeu Sarver, aged 22 years, 54th Virginia Reg.

George F. Reynolds, aged 44 years, 3rd Mississippi Reg. 

John L. Chadwick, aged 19 years, 39th Alabama Reg.

Morgan M. Thomas, aged 30 years, 35th Mississippi Reg.

Richard Alfred Collins, aged 35 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

Samuel Beauchamp, aged 30 years, 6th Kentucky Cavalry

Robert McKee, aged 27 years, 1st South Carolina Battery

Abner G. Green, aged 33 years, 43rd Mississippi Reg.

Thomas J. Gibbon, aged 25 years, 63rd Georgia Reg.

Milton T. Rogers, aged 20 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

John S. Houston, aged 19 years, 37th Mississippi Reg.

Bernard Herring, aged 35 years, 51st Tennessee Reg.

Austin Miner, aged 19 years, 1st Georgia Reg.

John Hill, aged 26 years, 64th Virginia Reg.

Wesley W. Hastings, 17 years, 3rd Mississippi Reg.

William H. Jackson, 20 years, 63rd Georgia Reg.

Thomas J. Silvers, 20 years, 6th Kentucky Cavalry

William N. Hemphill, 30 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

Jacob H. Stanley, 32 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

John H. Calaghan, 20 years, 55th Georgia Reg.

Wiley L. Joyner, 27 years, 8th Arkansas Reg.

William R. McClure, 28 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

John R.I. McDowal, 19 years, 37th Georgia

Charles Hudson, 24 years, Ward’s Battery Alabama

Benjamin F. Little, 18 years, 20th Alabama Reg.

Henry C. Armstrong, 17 years, 17th Alabama Reg.

Sanford Whitley, 18 years, 42nd Alabama Reg.

Philip Galloway, 18 years, 16th Confed. Mississippi

David A. Land, 26 years, 36th Mississippi Reg.

John W. Fisher, 20 years, 36th Alabama Reg.

William G. Beck, 31 years, 10th Kentucky Reg.

Berdin Johnson, 30 years, 64th Virginia Reg.

James Williams, 20 years, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry

James Y. Langley, 39 years, 56th Georgia Reg.

Nathaniel H. Coon, 41 years, 43rd Tennessee Reg.

James P. Gordon, 30 years, 18th Kentucky Cavalry

Blooming G. Tyson, 36 years, 16th Mississippi Reg.

Robert F. Sail, 23 years, 1st Arkansas Reg.

John R. Lindinman, 19 years, Dobbins Regt. Arkansas

David H. Coon, 19 years, 55th Georgia Reg.

Josiah H. Mercer, 23 years, 6th Florida Reg.

Frederick Walaki, 20 years, Grimes Squadron, Texas

Samuel Followay, 20 years, Sypert’s Regt. Kentucky

Daniel C. Sich, 39 years, 29th Tennessee Reg.

Samuel Parkes, 27 years, 2nd Battalion Georgia

Charles Elijah W. Fowler, 25 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

John C. Altman, 25 years, 5th Tennessee Reg.

Reuben T. Price, 31 years, 5th Tennessee Reg.

Hampton D. Aaron, 25 years, 5th Tennessee Reg.

Felix G. West, 21 years, 23rd Mississippi Reg.

Richard James, 34 years, 8th Tennessee Reg.

Aaron O. Stone, 26 years, 55th Georgia Reg.

William Hawthorn, 18 years, 55th Georgia Reg.

Francis C. Roberts, 33 years, 17th Alabama Reg.

Francis M. Smith, 28 years, 7th Mississippi Battery

Stephen J. Stone, 22 years, 64th Virginia Reg.

John P. Smith, 19 years, 4th Louisiana Reg.

Owen Reid, 26 years, 61st Tennessee Reg.

Thomas M. Huston, 20 years, 17th Alabama Reg.

Richard W. Newman, 33 years, 35th Mississippi Reg.

Townsend Borris, 45 years, 57th Mississippi Reg.

John R. Owens, 45 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

Francis Marion Hausley, 21 years, 57th Alabama Reg.

Franis Rumsay,  28 years, 1st Confederate Georgia

William P. Bass, 17 years, Forrest’s Escort Mississippi

William Riley Myers, 42 years, 48th Tennessee Reg.

Benjamin Franklin Shannon, 18 years, 10th Mississippi Cavalry

Levi Morgan, 35 years, 7th Mississippi Reg.

Thomas T. Gosnell, 46 years, 43rd Georgia Reg.

James M. George, 36 years, 36th Alabama Reg.

William J. Payne, 24 years, 17th Alabama Reg.

Thomas J. Randolph, 19 years, 16th Georgia Cavalry

Madison Coley, 16 years, Tarrant’s Battery Alabama

General H. McMillion, 19 years, 5th Tennessee Cavalry

William W. Edwards, 19 years, 60th Tennessee Reg.

James C. Venable, 37 years, 22nd Alabama Reg.

Rufus Lee Andrew Cobb, 18 years, 43rd Mississippi Reg.

Samuel Griffin, 19 years, 17th Alabama Reg.

Daniel Ferrill, 17 years, 37th Mississippi Reg.

Nathanial P.W. Patterson, 18 years, 55th Georgia Reg.

Hiram McDonnell, 37 years, 39th Alabama Reg.

William T. Lindsey, 19 years, 22nd Alabama Reg.

Andrew J. Dowdy, 33 years, 46th Alabama Reg.

Thomas Keaton, 24 years, 1st Arkansas Reg.

James E. Lynn,  32 years, 66th Georgia Reg.

Dale W. Carter, 32 years, 64th Virginia Reg.

James E. Lane, 21 years, 64th Virginia Reg.

James Justice, 30 years, 54th Virginia Reg.

Richard T. M. Jones, 17 years, 13th Kentucky Reg.

James McGearty, 49 years, 13th Tennessee Reg.

Eli Gibson, 20 years, 37th Mississippi Reg.

Joseph Stotley, 23 years, 45th Alabama Reg.

Rufus Marion Hipp, 23 years, 22nd Mississippi Reg.

Albert P. McDonnell, 20 years, 10th Texas Reg.

Green M. Seely, 19 years, 20th Mississippi Reg.

Joseph W. Foster, 21 years, 1st Cavalry Louisiana

Daniel George W. Peak, 21 years, 46th Georgia Reg.

John E. Hornsley, 45 years, 67th Alabama Reg.

Isaiah Breeling, 50 years, 24th South Carolina Reg.

Louis Forsher, 30 years, 2nd Arkansas Reg.

George Castello, 28 years, 37th Mississippi Reg.

Jefferson R. Finley, 18 years, 31st Mississippi Reg.

George W. Pigg, 26 years, 40th Mississippi Reg.

Henry Hoyle, 20 years, 6th Mississippi Reg.

James J. Stevenson, 26 years, 64th North Carolina Reg.

George B. Bohlen, 20 years, 5th Tennessee Reg.

Stephen G. Lee, 29 years, 19th Tennessee Reg.

Richard Jones, 20 years, 16th Tennessee Reg.

George Henry Wood, 17 years, 1st Alabama Reg.

James J. Ferguson, 30 years, 4th Mississippi Reg.

Louis Robert Beck, 25 years, of Fayette County, IL

Louis Jeff Calhoun, 22 years, 32nd Alabama Reg.

Benjamin Brawdy, 28 years, 7th Florida Reg.

Jackson Timms, 24 years, 37th Mississippi Reg.

John Sullivan, 18 years, 14th Tennessee Reg.

George W. Perry, 24 years, 29th Alabama Reg.

Charles B. Duncan, 26 years, 37th Georgia Reg.

James M. C. Lowry, 30 years, 6th Georgia Reg.

Henry Nicholson, 21 years, 62nd North Carolina Reg.

Robert S. Black, 33 years, 33rd Alabama Reg.

M.J. Harwell, 29 years, 22nd Mississippi Reg.

James T. Sawyer, 20 years, 64th North Carolina Reg.

James South, 26 years, 23rd Arkansas Reg.

John H. Edminton, 16 years, 9th Tennessee Reg.

Thomas T.B. Waters, 20 years, 33rd Alabama Reg.

James Ellison, 28 years, 1st Georgia Cavalry

Captain Alvin R. Gray, 38 years, Forrest’s Scouts Mississippi


There were 127 names listed as prisoners of war with Robert Louis Beck, 25 years old possibly not a prisoner due to listed as only being from Fayette County, IL and the youngest being John H. Edminton, 16 years old, from the 9th Tennessee Regiment

 At the end of the baptisms was a note signed from Rev. Murphy which reads:

 “I shall here remark that in the interval that [i]lapsed between the 1st of Nov 1864 and the 1st day of June 1865 I received into the Catholic Church about two hundred and fifty prisoners of war at Camp Douglas. The names of very many of them have been accidentally lost.”

                                                [signature] P.J. Murphy

                                                Pastor of St. James Church

It seemed that only half of the 250 names made it into the St. James Register but for those that did I thought this article would be a fitting tribute given that some of their names may not have seen the light of day in about 150 years!

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