Cover image for Rebels at Rock Island : the story of a Civil War prison
Rebels at Rock Island : the story of a Civil War prison
McAdams, Benton.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
DeKalb, Ill. : Northern Illinois University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 260 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E616.R6 M38 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Ashley Wilkes of Gone with the Wind helped to seal Rock Island's reputation as the "Andersonville of the North." McAdams separates truth from fiction about the Rock Island Barracks, the prison that held tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers. Revealing that Rock Island was not without its problems--ignominious punishments, inadequate facilities, malnutrition, and lack of basic supplies--McAdams shows how Union officers sought to maintain humane conditions in the face of a war that raged on longer than anyone anticipated. Two dozen rare photographs round out the unflinching descriptions of prison life.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell greatly exaggerated the suffering and mortality at the Rock Island, IL, prisoner-of-war camp. McAdams tells the real story. Established in the fall of 1863, the camp was just in time for both the collapse of the prisoner exchange cartel and the large haul of Confederate prisoners taken by Ulysses S. Grant at the November 1863 battle of Chattanooga, most of whom wound up at the new camp in Illinois. Smallpox had already broken out among the prisoners before they reached Rock Island, and that disease, coupled with a record cold winter, made the camp's first months some of its worst, accounting for about a quarter of the prison's total fatalities. McAdams tells the story of those hard times and the less-deadly months that followed with flare and wit, making for excellent reading. Prisoners, guards, and local citizens all figure in an account that is both Civil War history and fine local history. McAdams is too hard on the camp's commandant and too easy on the local Copperhead editor, but overall the book is enjoyable and informative. All collections and levels. S. E. Woodworth Texas Christian University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 "That Is the Way You Do Here, Is It?"p. 3
2 "They Are Dying Off Very Fast"p. 34
3 "A Disagreeable Place to Be"p. 74
4 "Such Reckless Conduct"p. 100
5 "The Glare of Wolfish Hunger"p. 135
6 "Had I the Power"p. 161
7 "All of the Prisoners Have Left This Island"p. 183
Appendixp. 214
Notesp. 217
Bibliographyp. 241
Indexp. 253