On this day: a prisoner of war

Treatment of prisoners of war in the United States during the Civil War was often harsh, with prisons on both sides overcrowded, and with very few resources available. Food was scarce and thousands of people died.

19 May 1864 This is a cropped version of an image of 20-year-old Pvt. Jackson O. Broshears of the 65th Indiana Infantry taken after his release from the Confederate prison at Belle Isle, Va. He lost nearly 80 pounds


This is Private Jackson O. Broshears of Company D, 65th Indiana Infantry, who fought on the Union side. He was a prisoner for a few months and was starved near to death.

US American Civil War Prisoner of War


The documentation of his case is dated the 19th of May, 1864.

7 thoughts on “On this day: a prisoner of war

  1. michaelkubly says:

    This truly horrific! I wonder how Confederate POWs were treated.

    • Sonya Heaney says:

      I don’t think anybody was treated very well. They weren’t going to give food to prisoners when they had none for their families, I guess…

  2. thesmilingpilgrim says:

    wow he’s so skinny

    • Sonya Heaney says:

      It isn’t even the worst one I’ve seen. I have read that this man died soon afterwards, but I couldn’t confirm it, so didn’t put it into the story…

  3. […] Source: On this day: a prisoner of war | In Times Gone By… […]

  4. One of the best first hand accounts of what prison life was like during the Civil War is Eye of the Storm: https://middlemaybooks.com/2015/02/24/books-ive-known-and-loved-24/

  5. In times of food shortage, prisoners are often last on the list to be fed and because they are incarcerated they have no opportunity to provide for themselves. Such a sad photograph, breaks my heart to look at it. I have two grown sons and can’t begin to imagine how I would feel if it were one of them.

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