Prison Times, DE, 1865; Image Source: Library of Congress; images of four pages at the New York Historical Society website

Place of Publication:  Fort Delaware, a Union prison camp holding Confederate officer prisoners, located on Pea Patch Island where the Delaware River merges into Delaware Bay, just south of New Castle, DE

Frequency:  Four extant copies (according to the NY Historical Society [with thanks to Joseph Ditta; see comments below; updated 9-24-12)

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol.  1, No. 1, April  8, 1865

Size and Format:  See image below

Editor/Publisher:  J.W. Hibbs, Capt. 13th Va. Inf.was the publisher.  Proprietors and editors were George S. Thomas, Capt. 6thGa., Div. 24; W.H. Bennett, Capt. & A.C.S., Div. 24; and A. Harris, Lt. 3rdFla., Div. 28.

Title Changes and Continuation:  See The Stonewall Register

General Description and Notes:

Evidently there are three extant copies of the same issue, one in Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, and the other in Buffalo, NY.  The paper contains editorials, announcements, advertisements, poetry, barracks directory, Christian Association Directory, notices of clubs, and prison news notes.  The NY letter says, “As General Lee surrendered to General Grant on the 9th, this [April 8] issue may well have been the sole issue.”

In a letter from William H. Loos, Curator, Rare Book Room, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, NY, dated July 14, 1993, Loos states that he found an extant copy of The Prison Times in “an old portfolio of loose single issues of early American newspapers that we have had for many years and which I had not had occasion to consult in nearly twenty years.” Two representatives from the New York State Library, who were working on the state’s portion of the national newspaper project, came to the Buffalo library to research their collection. “When I reviewed this portfolio before one of the researchers recorded its contents,” Loos wrote, “I was surprised to find a handwritten newspaper.”

According to Loos,

“The newspaper is vol. 1, no. 1 of the Prison Times issued at Fort Delaware in 1865. On page two, the date April 8th appears. As General Lee surrendered to General Grant on the 9th, this may well have been the sole issue. Fort Delaware was a prison camp for Confederate officers. The fort was located on Pea Patch Island where the Delaware River merges into Delaware Bay, just south of New Castle, Delaware.”

According to the South Carolina Historical Society records, P.A. McMichael raised a Confederate volunteer company that became Company G of the Twentieth South Carolina Infantry. He served in the Charleston, South Carolina area (1861-1863) mainly around Sullivan’s Island, and in Virginia, where he participated in the battle of Cold Harbor and was promoted to Lt. Col of the 20th Regiment. He was captured at Cedar Creek and taken to Fort Delaware.  His collection includes the handwritten newspaper, Prison Times (vol. 1, no. 1) for prisoners at Fort Delaware, Del. The South Carolina Historical Society catalog says the paper contains “advertisements for tailoring, barbering, music, religious assistance, debate and chess clubs with poetry, barracks directory, and descriptions and comments on prison life.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:

Links: New York Historical SocetyGeorgia Historical Society catalog entry for The Prison Times;  South Carolina Historical Society, Paul A. McMichael holdings; see also  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn93063825/

Locations:  Prison Times, Misc. Fort Delaware: NYUGB12021269-A, New York Historical Society, with images of four pages; Prison Times, MS 638, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia; and Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, NY; and Prison Times in Paul Agalus McMichael (1820-1869),  correspondence and diary, 1861-1865 (1073.00),  South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, SC.

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