Camp Hoffman (1)
Camp Hoffman (1) (1863-1865) - A Union U.S. Civil War prison camp established in 1863 on Point Lookout, Saint Mary's County, Maryland. Named Camp Hoffman probably after William A. Hoffman, commissioner-general of prisoners. Closed in 1865. Also known as Point Lookout Camp and Lookout Point Camp.
Established after the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, to house some of the thousands of Confederate soldiers taken prisoner there. The camp was located in an isolated area at the juncture of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay on Point Lookout, Saint Mary's County, Maryland. It was built as a 40-acre prison compound north of a previously established Hammond Hospital. A 15-foot tall wooden plank fence surrounded the compound and guards kept watch over the compound from a gallery that ran along the top of the fence.
Camp Hoffman had a listed maximum capacity of 10,000 prisoners but the prison population grew to 15,500 by the summer of 1864 and reached a high of 22,000 in the summer of 1865. As the prison population grew, conditions in the camp got increasingly desperate. No barracks or other permanent structures were provided and the prisoners lived in tents through the sweltering summers and brutal winters. Adding to the misery were contaminated water, inadequate rations, malaria, typhoid fever, and exposure. These all contributed to a high death rate in the camp. Some 3,584 prisoner deaths are listed for Camp Hoffman and only 50 escapes.
Two cemeteries on the peninsula were established for the Confederate dead.
The prison closed soon after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
In 1870, the state of Maryland transferred more than 3,000 Confederate remains to a new site near Tanner Creek. That site is now known as the Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery. Identification of individual remains was impossible and they were all buried in a single mass grave. The site was marked by a 25-foot white marble obelisk erected by the state of Maryland in 1876.
In 1910, the state of Maryland transferred ownership of the cemetery to the Federal Government who then erected an 80-foot-tall granite obelisk with bronze tablets listing the 3,382 known Confederate soldiers and sailors. The Maryland obelisk was moved to the site of one of the original prison cemeteries. The State Monument returned to the Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery in 1938 when the Federal Government sold the other properties.
Part of Point Lookout Maryland state park. The Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery is located on Maryland Route 5 (Point Lookout Rd.), roughly two miles south of Scotland, MD. Both the Federal and the State monuments are at this location. The cemetery is open for visitation daily from sunrise to sunset.