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[Source: Atlas Editions; Civil War Cards]



Castle Pinckney was a small masonry fortification built by the federal government in the 1790's in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Built to protect the city of Charleston, it was located about a mile off shore from Charleston on a shoal off Shutes Folly Island, and was named for the Revolutionary War hero Charles C. Pinckney. By 1860 Castle Pinckney had become obsolete, superseded by larger, more strategically placed forts.

Castle Pinckney became one of the war's first prisoner-of-war camps and one of the few that was not a death camp. Its casemates were bricked up and converted to sleeping quarters for prisoners, and it was garrisoned by the Charleston Zouave Cadets, a group of elite young Charlestonians who operated their facility most effectively. The first prisoners, captured at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, were an intelligent group of New Yorkers and Michiganers, and both guards and prisoners treated one another with civility and respect. The Confederate soldiers maintained strict discipline and ensured the prisoners maintained clean and sanitary conditions. The prison was peaceful, and there is no record of a prisoner having escaped from Castle Pinckney.



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