Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation


Military prisons, both North and South, provided a grim environment for captured soldiers. In many cases, prisoners who otherwise survived the war, died in confinement of disease, starvation or by being shot. The background photo is of Libby Prison in Richmond.

Prison Conditions

The painful photograph below is of a prisoner of war. It is unknown whether he is a Union or Confederate soldier. However, it is obvious that this man was mistreated either by design or happenstance.

Release - Federal Prison

Oath & Declaration

Once prison officials received an order to release a prisoner, he was subject to swearing allegiance to the United States. The document above is dated March 1865. The actual oath and declaration reads:

"I, ______ do solemnly swear, in the presences of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not yet repealed, modified or held void by Congress or by decision of the Supreme Court, and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all Proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion, having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court, so help me God."

The Oath is taken, and Pass accepted, with the full understanding that if the party receiving it be found hereafter in arms against the Government of the United States, or aiding or abetting its enemies, the penalty will be death.