Point Lookout, Maryland

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Point Lookout State Park
Fort Lincoln, MD

December 9, 2001

These pictures and the accompanying text are copyright 2000 and 2001 by Robert B. Yates. Permission is granted to Mr. Bruce Schulze and/or Civilwaralbum.com for the non-commercial use of the pictures and text.

Point Lookout is located in Saint Mary’s County Maryland, at the point where the Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The nearest town is Lexington Park, Maryland, which is also the home of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, commonly referred to as “Pax River”. I was employed at Pax River from July 1997 to September 2000. The accompanying pictures were taken on my last day there, September 9, 2000.

The following is from the Point Lookout State Park history:

“In 1857, William Cost Johnson, a wealthy Marylander, bought much of the land on the Point to develop it as a resort. The Civil War intervened to disrupt Johnson’s plan and in 1862, following General George B. McClellan unsuccessful attempt to capture Richmond, the Federal Government erected Hammond Hospital at the tip of the Point. The ward buildings radiated in spoke fashion from a central bay.  Sick and wounded soldiers began pouring in for treatment.

The following year, after the Battle of Gettysburg, Union authorities started sending confederate prisoners to Point Lookout for incarceration. As the prisoner population swelled to 20,000 or more a wooden walled prisoner pen was constructed on the bay shore. The Rebel captives were given only tents for shelter. Exposure, disease and starvation took their toll.  Of the 50,000 men held at the Point between 1862 and 1865, nearly 4,000 died. Ironically, however this death rate of 8 percent was less than half the death rate among soldiers who were in the field with their own armies.”

There is a lighthouse at Point Lookout, although it is inactive. The buildings are used by Navy test organizations from Pax River.  Most of the prison pen area is now under the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The prisoner’s cemetery is outside the park area. All of the bodies have been re-interred in their respective home states.


(9-00This is a memorial to the almost 4,000 prisoners who died at Point Lookout.  It is located at the old prison cemetery


(9-00) A smaller monument commemorating the ceding of the cemetery to the U. S. Government




(9-00) Detail from the large monument.  On it are the names of all the Confederate prisoners originally buried on the site.  James Culpepper, 51st Georgia, is a distant relative

  (9-00) Enlarge Detail from the smaller monument

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