A Day in the Life of Jens Dahle: 23 March 1865

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.

Jens has been released from prison (22 February 1865) and traveled by train (other able bodied prisoners had to walk) to Richmond from Salisbury, North Carolina.  On March 10th a prisoner exchange occurred at Cox’s Landing and Jens probably was loaded onto a steamer.  On 13 March he crossed into Union territory, location unknown but possibly Annapolis.

train Civil WarTwo days after being repatriated with the Union army he probably boarded a train and traveled to Benton Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri where he arrived on 23 March 1865. I found difficulty in obtaining much information on the Benton Barracks.  The area has been cleared for many years now.  Benton Barracks was a combination of a Union tent city–it was described as long rows of tents up to a mile long– and a hospital and large parade grounds.

Nevertheless, Jens stayed only long enough to receive a 30 day furlough (like James Everhart) and within two days of his arrival he boarded another train, this time to Chicago.

It is not known if Jens traveled in a new innovation for moving the sick and injured–the hospital train– shown above in the lithograph, but it is likely.  Given his emaciated condition this seems like the most likely occurrence.  Or, maybe I just want to think that maybe he was transferred in this type of transportation because it seems more humane.

Jens has now been traveling for about a month since his release.

The end of the war now seems inevitable.

Happy Hunting!



5 comments on “A Day in the Life of Jens Dahle: 23 March 1865

  1. a gray says:

    With regard to Cox’s Landing, you might want to check out page 248 of Sabres and Spurs: the First Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry in the Civil War, 1861-1865 which you can access at https://books.google.com/books?id=b9mpQPbR520C&pg=PA250&lpg=PA250&dq=Cox%E2%80%99s+Landing+prisoner+exchange+march+1865&source=bl&ots=kH2WQBgjC4&sig=ahXIeI-eiGED2yOWm82Z40v1MZI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3DgQVbD8GMLvggSrjYCYDA&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Cox%E2%80%99s%20Landing%20prisoner%20exchange%20march%201865&f=false. The “Civil War Prisons Message Board” has some good information regarding prisoner exchanges and the locations: http://www.history-sites.net/cgi-bin/bbs62x/cwpmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=3979

    From my unpublished work: Camp Benton, sometimes called Benton Barracks, was the largest troop deployment encampment in Missouri. It could accommodate 30,000 troops and its hospital, Lawson Hospital, could handle upwards of 3,000 patients. Then located 5 miles north of the City of St. Louis, the area is now the location of Fairgrounds Park.

    For additional information, you might want to check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benton_Barracks and http://www.thecivilwarmuse.com/index.php?page=benton-barracks.

    • Jill Morelli says:

      Thanks, Allen. It was interesting how little there was on the Barracks. You have filled in many holes. Jill

      • a gray says:

        My great, great grandfather was stationed for a while at Benton Barracks. He was on his way, with his unit, the 12th Illinois Cavalry, to Louisiana. Many cities had such large military bases at the time. Now most have been forgotten.

      • Jill Morelli says:

        Allen, thanks! Yes, it did appear that Benten Barracks has disappeared into the fog of history.–I couldn’t even find pictures. I found only a narrative description on a web site. sigh. Jill

      • a gray says:

        When Jens reached Chicago, he may have stayed at Camp Douglas, another site that has probably disappeared.

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