View Full Version : Where can I find Camp Douglas?
11-05-2007, 06:53 PM
Hi all, I just moved to Chicago, and want to visit where Camp Douglas was located. Does anyone know Where it is? I can't find the location anywhere. If this is in the wrong category, I apologize in advance.
11-05-2007, 10:30 PM
It's was near the present-day Illinois Institute of Technology.
Many of the Confederate dead are buried in Oak Woods Cemetary - a few miles to the South.
11-06-2007, 12:42 AM
[QUOTE=paulcalloway;80473]It's was near the present-day Illinois Institute of Technology.
Exit on 31st Street, go EAST (past IIT).....31st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue (Hospital to the north, Lake Meadows Park which is where the camp was is to the South...Fort Dearborn land on the lake on the other side of the Illinois Central tracks).
Here's a map of the camp superimposed on the streets:
Senator Douglas sold the land to the government that became the camp....and the camp was named after him.
The winds off of Lake Michigan during the Winter were absolutely brutal to the Southern prisoners. (Chicago didn't go this far south in 1862....this was Prairie/open land).
The Illinois Central was one of the sponsors of the 89th Illinois....they provided a monthly stipend to the wives and children left behind....and the 89th was known as the Railroad Regiment (Clear the tracks!).
11-06-2007, 12:02 PM
After the war when Chicago expanded, Camp Douglas disapeared. The land was sold off and what was the prison is now underneath a neighborhood. The only real marker to the Confederates that died there is the Confederate monument (known as Condeferate Mound) in Oak Woods Cemetary about 5 miles south of the former Camp Douglas site. The confederate dead were originally burried elsewhere and moved to Oak Woods after the war. There are around 6000 burried here. This may be your best bet to seeing any "sites" having to do with what was Camp Douglas.
Oak Woods is a great place to visit and offers a lot of Chicago and national history.
11-06-2007, 05:37 PM
If you locate Griffin Funeral Home at 3232 Martin Luther King Drive, I believe that you'll find an interpretive panel on the property that describes Camp Douglas and its history. The late Ernest Griffin was an avid Civil War historian and funeral director who was extremely proud of his family's CW service (I think), connection of the site to Confederate War dead, and the historical connection of his property to the famed Camp Douglas. Good luck with your search. Jim O'Neal is one of the business proprietors (a son-in-law of the late Mr. griffin), and as I understand it, the property will be offered at public sale in january after the funeral home closes its doors on December 31.
11-06-2007, 08:50 PM
The only time I visited Oaklawn was with my wife and I thought I was lost.This made the Wife mad! I stopped at this old store in the middle of very bad looking neighborhood .They said it was around the corner and I was able to find it . There was a older black gentleman working there who was very very polite and gave me directions to the monument.I saw over 50 names of men who came from my home area. It was vey scary to this country boy driving around that part of town.
11-07-2007, 09:26 AM
The Oakwoods Cemetary is certainly located in what until just recently was a very dangerous crime area , now being subject to urban renewal . Of course being a modern city , Chicago has not even one memorial to Camp Douglas . Perhaps this isn't as strrange as it seems since Southern cities also are ashamed of and bury or hide their heritage.The Confederate portion of the cemetary ( which also contains the remains of Enrico Fermi and Jesse Owens ) , is well maintained , has cannon and stacks of cannonball decorations and is the site of Confederate Memorial Day ceremonies held every year, in Chicago ! Among the interred are many soldiers form Morgan's Kentucky raiders and the 33rd Alabama among 6,000 plus others. Oakwoods Cemetary is the largest Confederate burial ground not in the South. In spite of the crime visitors have sought it out for years and it is a place for sober thought and reflection of the sorrow and shame of Americans fighting Americans .
all for the old flag,
11-07-2007, 01:34 PM
Thanks to all who respomded to my query. I'm saddened to learn that the tragic history of this prison is not being recognized. I have an ancestor who, I believe, was sent to Camp Douglas after being captured at Murfreesboro. Has anyone ever tried to place a large memorial here, and why isn't it considered an historic site I wonder. Anyway, thanks again, and I'm going to get out and see what I can see.
11-08-2007, 10:46 PM
Thanks to all who respomded to my query. I'm saddened to learn that the tragic history of this prison is not being recognized. I have an ancestor who, I believe, was sent to Camp Douglas after being captured at Murfreesboro. Has anyone ever tried to place a large memorial here, and why isn't it considered an historic site I wonder. Anyway, thanks again, and I'm going to get out and see what I can see. Cody Langston
If you can take another day drive another 2 hours West to Rock Island on the Mississippi, still a heritage U.S. arsenal but also a large Confederate cemetery there - many prisoners who shipped out from Camp Douglas in an attempt to isolate them from the disease at Camp Douglas. The arms collection at the museum - small arms and artillery - is a must see as well.
You'll have to pass barriers and a checkpoint, but there is no charge because the island is still operated on our tax dollars.
11-08-2007, 11:03 PM
Has anyone ever tried to place a large memorial here, and why isn't it considered an historic site I wonder.
The camp was dimsantled immediately following the war. It was also on the very edge of an extremely fast growing city. No one wanted to keep a dirty camp with a bad reputation sitting around, especially when land was needed for growth. Camp Douglas, like many urban historical sites often get swollowed up. Sites like Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, or a Prison like Andersonville have the benifit of being in rural and relatively remote areas.
Speaking of long lost sites in Chicago, former Ft. Dearborn which is right under some of the highest valued property in the city is marked in the sidewalks and the streets with plaques. You can see the border of the fort right on the street on Michigan Ave. on the south side of the bridge of the Chicago river. Pretty neat.
11-09-2007, 09:46 AM
Dear Sir ,
Regarding the Fort Dearborn Massacre: a statue of the massacre used to be on display in the Chicago Historical Society ( now the Chicago History Museum ) , but was removed because of protests by A.I.M. ( American Indian Movement ) . It was then moved to 19th and Prairie Street the actual site of the massacre where a tree known as the "Massacre Tree ," once stood. One can view Soldiers Field from here quite clearly. The statue was again considered too controversial and currrently resides under a blue plastic tarp in a City of Chicago warehouse. Chicago buries its history.
all for the old flag,
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