We are following Jens Dahle and his Civil War experiences in Salisbury Prison in North Carolina at the time of the 150th anniversary of those events.
Early in the war, prisoner exchanges between the two armies were informal agreements between military leaders but frequent enough that prisons were basically holding pens of a short duration. In April 1864, General Grant determined that the exchanges benefited the South more than the North and stopped the practice. The South also disagreed with the concept of equal value for an African American soldier. As a result, both the North and the South experienced a sharp increase in the number of prisoners in prisons which were sized to handle many fewer individuals. On 24 January 1865, the Confederacy agreed to resume prisoner exchanges.1
Jens was released from Salisbury Prison on 22 February 1865. He was too sick to walk the 50 miles to Greensboro and so he traveled by train.
He arrived in Richmond two days later, on the 24th.2
On 10 March, Jens was paroled at Cox’s Landing in Virginia (see image on left3) but what he experienced those intervening 16 days in Richmond or how he traveled to Cox’s Landing is unknown. If he mirrored the experiences of James Eberhart, our diarist, he boarded a steamer at Cox’s Landing, due east of Richmond on the Rappahannock River. On 13 March he arrived at the Union Line but again we are not sure where that event occurred.3
1 January 14, 1865: Confederate Congress Agrees to Resume Prisoner Exchanges, History.com (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/confederate-congress-to-resume-prisoner-exchanges : accessed 1 January 2015).
2 Jens Dahle, Compiled Military Service Record.
3 “Cox’s Landing, Virginia. Waiting for Flag-of-Truce boat,” image from stereograph, Library of Congress (digital file from original neg. of left half) cwpb 02167, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpb.02167.
4 Jens Dahle, Compiled Military Service Record.