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Charleston Jail, Confederate Civil War Camp

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See: the category for the Charleston Jail for a grouping of persons affiliated with this prison camp.

Charleston Jail

A parody of the song "When the Cruel War is Over" was written by POW Sergeant Johnson of the 55th Massachusetts, Company F about Charleston Jail:

When I enlisted in the army,
Then I thought 't was grand,
Marching through the streets of Boston
Behind a regimental band.
When at Wagner, I was captured
Then my courage failed;
Now I'm dirty, hungry, naked,
Here in Charleston Jail.
Weeping, sad and lonely,
Oh, how bad I feel!
Down in Charleston, South Carolina,
Praying for a good, square meal.
If Jeff Davis will release me,
Oh how glad I'll be!
When I get to Morris Island,
Then I shall be free.
Then I'll tell those conscript soldiers
How they use us here;
Giving us an old corn dodger, -
They call it prisoners' fare.[1]

Of Charleston Jail, Captain Samuel C. Timson of the 95th NY had this to say:

There were twenty-one negro soldiers, most of them belonging to Colonel Shaw's Fifty-fourth Mass. regiment of immortal memory, among the number. They were never to be exchanged, but were to be reduced to slavery. They were all that were left of the colored troops captured at Wagner. The rest were bayoneted and shot after they surrendered. Their rations were bread and water; still they would sing Union songs, pouring their melody through their prison bars for the entertainment of the Union officers in the prison and below.[2]


  1. Emilio p. 417, testimony from W. S. Glazier [sic]
  2. Emilio, p. 415
  • Emilio, Luis Fenollosa. History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1863-1865. Boston, MA, 1894.
  • Glazier, Willard. The Capture, the Prison Pen and the Escape. 1865.

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