Camp Douglas was a prison camp on the south side of Chicago that housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War. I have always called Camp Douglas the Andersonville of the north. Andersonville was a deplorable prison that held Union prisoners of war in the south.To see the sources used in this article check at the bottom of the page.
The Union had considerable more resources than the south did so the conditions in Camp Douglas were deplorable and unnecessary. It is unknown how many prisoners died there but there is an estimated 6,000 men buried in mass grave on one acre of land at Camp Douglas. One in five of prisoners there did not survive their stay in the prison giving it a higher mortality rate than Andersonville.
The camp was infested with lice and the prisoners were denied clothes. Men died of disease and starvation and were tortured by guards for the pure pleasure of it. Two well know prisoners at the camp were Sam Houston Jr. and Henry M Stanley an African explorer.
The place started out as a military camp and was used to train Union troops and was one of eight camps to train Negro Troops. It was named for Stephen A Douglas who lost to Abraham Lincoln in a bid to be President in 1860.
Former History Instructor Shawn Gaddis had this to say to me about Camp Douglas. that hellhole was here was an example of deliberate and horrid torture. Inmates at Andersonville were treated badly, indeed, but they were generally issued soldier’s rations which should tell people of the condition of the Confederate army by 1864. Camp Douglas, on the other hand, that was very different. Food, clothing, medicine, all of those things were in great abundance in the North and those basic necessities were deliberately denied the inmates there. Camp Douglas is one of the great tragedies–deliberately overlooked, I believe–of that war
My family has some morbid ties to Camp Douglas as two of my ancestors were among the men who died there. W.P. Inman who the book/movie Cold Mountain is based on lost two brothers at the camp. W.P. and his brothers were sons of my direct ancestor Joshua Inman. All three brothers are buried in unmarked graves two at Camp Douglas and W.P. in Canton North Carolina. Though remains were found with ground penetrating radar where family lore says W.P. Inman is buried.
The cruelties at Camp Douglas were covered up and allowed to be forgotten. Andersonville was well known because it was ran by Confederates who of course lost the war.