Posted tagged ‘Charles Dwinnell’

Portals to Hell

July 14, 2009

I recently purchased a wonderful book entitled Portals to Hell:  Military Prisons of the Civil War by Lonnie R. Speer.  At first, I had borrowed the book from the Monroe County, New York library system.  Since it was such a comprehensive look at life as a Civil War POW, I decided I had to have it and proceeded to order it through Amazon.com.

As I have conducted my research on the Civil War soldiers of Monroe County, it has amazed me how many of these men spent time in military prisons as prisoners of war.  Besides Edward, Richard and Frederick Ambrose, other prison survivors include Charles Dwinnell, Alpheus Hodges and Kingsley Brownell.  We also remember George B. Wiltsie who became so weak at Salisbury Prison and ultimately died after his release from typhoid brought on by starvation.  Sadly, I’m sure the number of POWs I find will grow as I continue my Pittsford soldier research and begin the soldiers of Fairport and Perinton project.

Mr. Speer’s 410 page book gives so much detail about the various prisons.  Prior to reading this, I had slight knowledge of the Salisbury, Belle Isle and Libby Prisons.  This volume goes far beyond those, and discusses conditions at Point Lookout, Camp Morton and Alton Prison among many others.  Additional interesting topics such as prisoner exchanges and escapes are mentioned in detail.  The back of the book lists a handy reference guide to Union and Confederate prisons.

Having used Portals to Hell for much of my research into Richard Ambrose’s stint in the Dry Tortugas, as well as for information about prison conditions in general, I would highly recommend this title.  Additional information about this book is listed on my Great Resources page.

Civil War Cemetery Tour on May 16th at 10:00 a.m.

March 1, 2009
Frank D. Tibbitts

Frank D. Tibbitts

Today has been a learning day.  I’ve spent several hours trying to decipher the rules for inter-library loans on microfilm and reading the information on the National Archives and NYS Archives websites pertaining to military service records.  It is confusing, to say the least.  If you have any info on these subjects, please feel free to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

The Pittsford Recreation Department Spring flyer arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  I was excited to see my Cemetery Tour listed on page 17.  However, I was extremely irked that BOTH my first and last names were misspelled (for the record, the correct spelling is Vicki Profitt).  The tour will take place rain or shine.  The proceeds from the $3 fee will be donated to the Friends of Pittsford Cemetery fund for use in Civil War headstone restorations.  Currently, two of my Civil War “boys” have headstones that have toppled over.  It will cost several hundred dollars to fix each stone.  Frank D. Tibbitts died of typhoid at the young age of 21.  He had served in the Union army for less than a year.  Charles Dwinnell spent time in the infantry, was a POW, and then was mustered out in 1863.  A mere 7 months later, Charles had the fortitude to enlist again, this time in the Engineers corps.  He served an additional one and a half years before ending his army career.  We’ll talk more about Frank during the tour.  I’ll share the letter his parents received telling them of their son’s tragic end.  My goal is to honor the sacrifices these men made for their country during their lives and in their deaths.  Their stories may not be known to thousands like the tales we’ve heard about U.S. Grant or Robert E. Lee, but the history is no less important.  I only hope I can do them justice.


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