Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Prison Chimney?

There aren't many structures left in the ghost town of Cahawba, but this old chimney is among them. The marker shows an engraving of the former Cahaba Federal Prison, which shows a chimney. Since the prison was located here, experts have wondered if the chimney was part of it. However, some believe it was built at a much later date.

The prison was an unfinished warehouse intended for cotton and housed hundreds of Union prisoners during the War Between the States. Among vermin and other unpleasantries, they also endured a flood.

Finally, in March 1865, many were freed through a prisoner exchange, and they boarded steamboats headed north toward home. But on April 27, almost 700 of these former prisoners perished in the Mississippi River near Memphis when a boiler exploded on the steamship
Sultana. That explosion remains the worst domestic maritime disaster in U.S. history.

7 comments:

Ms. Hays said...

History used to bore me to death - but since I have gotten older, it seems like I just can't get enough of it! I love history now! I'm especially drawn to the mention of ghosts - now, that fascinates me! Thank you for sharing this piece of history!!!

Jana said...

That is a great story. Thank you for sharing!

Jilly said...

Oh dear, what a story. Thanks for that and the photo.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

very interesting! thanks

magiceye said...

that was interesting but your composition is lovely!

Jim said...

However old it is, it certainly looks neat.

Halcyon said...

Very interesting story and a nice photo to boot! History is much more interesting when you can see and touch it. Much better than reading about battles in a book!