Historic Markers Across Alabama

Memorials for Prisoners of War

Marker ID:  
Location: 9098 Cahaba Road, Orrville, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 18.871    W 087° 6.435
  32.31451666    -87.10725
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Memorials for Prisoners of War

These are not graves.
These are markers to memorialize the Federal soldiers who died in the Cahawba Military Prison during the Civil War. The men within the prison called it "Castle Morgan."

No one knows where in Cahawba these men were initially buried. However, we do know that they are no longer here. In 1867, after the war, the Federal government dug them up and moved them to a cemetery in Montgomery Alabama. Later they were moved again to Marietta National Cemetery in Georgia, where they rest today.

With each move, a new list of the dead was made. The numbers of unknowns increased as names got separated from bodies. There are many discrepancies among the lists, but the original Cahawba hospital ledger recorded 142 deaths.

Lest We Forget

Several government employees and citizens of Northern states died in Castle Morgan. The Veteran's Administration graciously supplied these memorial markers but could not supply markers for citizen deaths. Here is a list of those men's names, states, and death dates:

Henry Fairchild, unknown, Sept. 8, 1864
Martin N. Hardy, Illinois, Sept 25, 1864

S. D. Adams, unknown, Sept. 25, 1864
Calvin Erving, Illinois, Oct. 8, 1864
(or Alvin Irving)
N. M. Edwards, unknown, Jan. 8, 1865
G. D. Smith, New York, Jan. 11, 1865
John Lowdon, New York, Jan. 22, 1865
W. G. Watson, Maine, Feb. 14, 1865

Major Hiram Solon Hanchett
16th Illinois Cavalry

On January 20th, 1865, Major Hanchett led a daring but unsuccessful revolt inside the military prison. In March when the other soldiers were sent to parole camp, the post commandant Sam Jones detained Hanchett because he believed him to be a spy. In April, as Union forces were approaching, Confederate soldiers seized Hanchett, took him from town and executed him. His body lies today in an unmarked grave.

2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of Memorials for Prisoners of War