Thursday, April 28, 2016

Finding Jerome VanBilliard in Civil War Prison Camps

Ellen VanBilliard, widow's pension application no. 317526 (rejected), for service of Jerome VanBilliard (Pvt., Co. B, 153 PA Inf., and Co. A, 112 PA H. A.); Civil War Pension Files, accessed 25 Apr 2016, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

After posting about the information I found in Jerome's Civil War service file, I dove into his pension file and found some wonderful information. On the first page of Ellen VanBilliard's Widow's Declaration for Pension I found the answer I had been looking for. She stated that after he was taken prisoner at Chapin Farm, Virginia he was held at Salisbury Prison until June of 1864, which I am sure should be June of 1865 because his capture was in September of 1864. She said that during his confinement he contracted rheumatism and deafness and that he was afflicted until he died 7 April 1877. This was the day before his 40th birthday. He died of Typhoid Fever.

Reading about Salisbury Prison I found that in February of 1865 a new exchange program was approved and the men at the prison and the men were moved after being divided into two groups. The more able-bodied prisoners were taken by train to Wilmington, North Carolina and the group of sickest prisoners were sent to Richmond. According to the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association, the prison was then turned into a supply depot, but it held no prisoners when on April 12,1865, 3 days after Lee's surrender, Union General George Stoneman arrived in Salisbury to free the Federals. The prison was burned. If the men were to be exchanged in February of 1865 who did General Stoneman come to free? If he thought these men were still there, what happened to them in February, where were they taken if not exchanged. Why did Ellen say that her husband had been there until June? Looking further into the pension file I found what happened to Jerome in February 1865.

Ellen VanBilliard, widow's pension application no. 317526 (rejected), for service of Jerome VanBilliard (Pvt., Co. B, 153 PA Inf., and Co. A, 112 PA H. A.); Civil War Pension Files, accessed 25 Apr 2016, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
So this document is a time line os what happened to Jerome from the time he was captured at Chapin Farm. The POW records have him captured 29 Sep 1864 and confined at Richmond, VA then sent to Salisbury N.C., 9 Oct 1864. He was Paroled at N.C. Ferry 28 Feb 1865. This lines up with the Salisbury Confederate Prison Association report. Then Paroled at College Green Barracks, MD 13 Mar 1865. He was sent to Camp Parole, MD 14 Mar 1865. He was furloughed March of 1865 for 30 days. He returned from the furlough 3 May 1865. No medical certificate for the extension of furlough on file so he was sent to his regiment 4 May 1865. I am guessing that the furlough was for him to be in the hospital. Then he was discharged by order of the War Department and Mustered out on Individual Roll 28 Jul 1865.

So I found that there are records for both Collage Green Barracks and Camp Parole, MD at NARA so I guess this is the next place I need to look. The descriptions say they contain registers, rolls and list of paroled prisoners, 1862-1965 including the camp hospital. So I know a lot more than I did last week, but there is more to find out