Barracks to Prison Pen is an endeavor to guide the reader through the tumultuous journey of a community as it prepares, experiences, and sees the cessation of hostilities during the American Civil War. Elmira has a unique Civil War history shared by few others as; one of only three New York State authorized Recruiting Depots (Albany & NYC being the other two opened) opened in April 1861, a military training ground, a way station for regiments from western states traveling to the battle fronts, and a prisoner of war camp that closed in June 1865. Told as much as possible, through the eyes of ordinary citizens whose lives would be dramatically changed by the Civil War, the goal is to provide articles of interest to not only military historians, but the general public at large. Politics of the day, individual & soldier stories, as well as, community activities will be the stars of the story.

Primary source documents, newspapers, and other historical publications provide the inspiration for the articles as they appear. readers are encouraged to provide additional documentation, ideas, and comments, especially those of individual Civil War soldiers that spent time in Elmira, both Union and Confederate.

It is expected that all discourse remain civil, respectable, and based on historical facts. Modern politics, ideology and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Such postings will be deleted. Play nice!

Special thanks go to the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp and Chemung Valley History Museum  for the support necessary to make Barracks to Prisoners successful.

Every good story starts with an introduction to the characters and so Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy the scenery as the Elmira & Williamsport Railroad chugs its way into Elmira– ALL ABOAAARD!