The Prison Times, volume 1, no. 1, Fort Delaware, April 1865,
consists of 4
unnumbered folio pages, handwritten in ink.
This first, and only, edition of the Prison Times was
produced by Confederate prisoners at the Fort Delaware
Federal prison camp on Pea Patch Island, Delaware.
Each page is divided into three columns, with a serious (if
tongue-in-cheek) attempt made to follow the standard newspaper format of
the time. For example, "advertisements" appear on the first page, right
column, and similarly on the second page. These are apparently for genuine
services, such as "tailoring," and "washing and ironing," offered by named
members of particular divisions in the prison camp.
The other columns on the first page are titled "Our Paper"
and "Miscellaneous." The second page has a masthead, "Salutatory," and "Our
Prison World." On the third page are "Local," "A Good Work," "Christian
Association Directory," and "Debating Clubs. The last page includes
"Original Poetry" and "Barracks Directory."
|The Prison Times. (pp. 1 and 2)
The motto of the newspaper, under an image of a clock showing
five minutes past six, is En temps et lieu (literally, "in time and
place"), positioned with the paper's title on the first page.
Edward R. Rich, who had been a prisoner at Fort Delaware, wrote
about this newspaper in his Civil War memoir, Comrades! :
"One of the most remarkable productions of Fort Delaware was the
Prison Times, a newspaper published in April, 1865, by Capt. Geo. S.
Thomas, 64th Georgia Regiment, and Lieut. A. Harris, 32d Florida. It was
written in a small but very clear handwriting by Capt. J. W. Hibbs, of the
13th Virginia Cavalry [sic], who proved himself a most expert
The editorial staff made it plain (on page
2 in the section headed
"Salutatory" in the left-hand column) that they hoped the paper would be a
|The Prison Times. (pp. 3 and 4)
"Trusting that the difficulties of conducting an enterprise of
this kind under the circumstances are duly appreciated by an intelligent
public, we send forth this our first number hoping that ere we can have
time to issue many numbers our prison times will be discontinued forever
and our patrons and ourselves be far away in our
loved Sunny South."
Indeed, Rich confirms that:
"Prison Times, Vol. 1, No. 1 died almost as soon
as it was born, for the ink was scarcely dry on its pages ere the news of
Lee's surrender, reached Fort Delaware, and with the hopes of a speedy
parole, the publication of the paper was suspended. It had, indeed, a
short life; but it was full of interest to its readers, and should anyone
whose eye glances over these pages have a copy of it, they will surely
prize it as a treasured memento of their Prison life in Fort
Prison Times was accessioned late in the second half of the
nineteenth century by the New-York Historical Society's Manuscripts
Department. This copy is one of four known to be extant.
1. Edward R. Rich, Comrades!
(Easton, Md.: S.E. Whitman, 1898) p. 120.
2. Rich, p. 124