Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia, Confederate States of America

Frequency:  Weekly; irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, August 21, 1863; Nos. 8-12, Vol. 2 (1863)

Size and Format: Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  Editor-in-chief, Louis N. Beaudry, Chaplain, Fifth N.Y. Vol. Cavalry;  “J.L. Ransom” (A chaplain of a New York regiment)

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

Several numbers of The Libby Prison Chronicle were written weekly in manuscript in 1863 at the Libby Prison and printed in 1889.  One Libby prisoner, Capt. Frank Moran, of the 73rd New York Volunteers, recalled the Chronicle in a personal letter:

“The spirit of Yankee enterprise was well illustrated by the publication of a newspaper by the energetic chaplain of aNew York regiment.  It was entitled The Libby Prison Chronicle.  True, there were no printing facilities at hand, but, undaunted by this difficulty, the editor obtained and distributed quantities of manuscript paper among the prisoners who were leaders in their several professions, so that there was soon organized an extensive corps of able correspondents, local reporters, poets, punsters, and witty paragraphers, that gave the chronicle a pronounced success.  Pursuant to previous announcement, the “editor” on a stated day each week, would take up his position in the center of the upper east room, and, surrounded by an audience limited only by the available space, would read the articles contributed during the week.”

According to Starr, some prisoners regretted leaving Libby camp because,

“Classes are organized in Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Mathematics, & Phonography, while there are plenty of surgeons and chaplains to encourage amateurs in Physiology and zealots in Dialectics.  The ‘Libby Lyceum’ meets twice a week, with spirited debates, & there is a MS newspaper styled The Libby Chronicle.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Louis N. Beaudry, The Libby Chronicle (Albany, N.Y., 1889), J.L. Ransom, Libby Prison Chronicle (Chicago:  J.L. Ransom, 1894); Frank E. Moran, “Libby’s Bright Side:  A Silver Lining in the Dark Cloud of Prison Life,” in W.C. King and W.P. Derby, eds., Camp-fire Sketches and Battle-field Echoes (Springfield, Ill: 1887), pp. 183-185; Louis M. Starr, Bohemian Brigade:  Civil War Newsmen in Action (Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press, 1954, 1987), pp. 188-189; Frank S. Stone, The Treatment and Conditions of the War Prisoners Held in the South During the Civil War, unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Idaho, 1954, pp. 31-33.

Links: Transcription of Vol. 1, No. 1, August 21,  1863:  http://www.mdgorman.com/Prisons/Libby/libby_chronicle_8211863.htm

Locations:  None, but text and illustrations printed in Ransom (1894)

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