The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson
February - December 1864
Red River Campaign,
Capture & Exchange
Following his capture at the Battle of Sabine Crossroads (Mansfield, La) during the Red River Campaign, Srofe was taken to the Confederate prison pen at Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas. Col. Job Parker of the 48th OVVI, who had assumed command of the brigade, communicated with William's brother, John, to let him know that William had survived the battle.
Hd. Qrtrs 2nd Brig. 21th Div. Btn. A. C.
May 28th 1864
To John V. Shrofe
I am truly happy to inform you that your brother W. J. Shrofe of my Reg’t is safe. He is a prisoner at Tyler Texas. He is an efficient & brave officer & I hope he may soon be returned to the service. I have heard from him by letter from my Maj: by flag of truce. Respectfully
Your Obt Servant
J. R. Parker
Col. 48th O.V.V.I.
W. J. Srofe and Maj. John Bering spent a total of fourteen months in Camp Ford, being released only after the war had ended in May, 1865. The majority of the regiment had been released in October of 1864, however, because Bering and Srofe had attempted an escape, they were not paroled with the others at that time. Bering quotes from a tongue-in-cheek letter he recieved from Srofe not long after their release below:
"While writing the closing events at Camp Ford, a letter lies before me, from Lieut. W. J. Srofe, written at Galveston, Texas, Dec. 21st, 1865, in which he says:
'I saw Maj. Thos. D. Vredenburg,* of the 10th Ill. Cavalry, a short time ago. He had just arrived from Shreveport with his command, 'via, Camp Ford.' He made a halt at the stockade, and his bump of destructiveness was so great as to prompt him to leave it in ruins. Ah, my good fellow, it almost makes me shed tears to think of that master-piece of architecture, our old home, being thus ruthlessly destroyed by 'vandal hands.' When I think of the 'happy hours' spent beneath its roof, the 'delicious feasts' served up within its walls, and 'refreshing' slumbers upon its 'downy' beds, where we dreamed of pleasures, and the dear ones at home, it is too much to bear, and I think he deserves the censure of all the old residents of Camp Ford ! '
* An old Camp Ford Prisoner. "
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
William J. Srofe 's letters, documents and photographs are published here with
the generous permission of Carolyn Srofe and Dan (EBAY ID CD112.4). They may not be reproduced
in any form without their explicit permission.
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