Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Fate of Many a Confederate Quilt


Confederate prisoners under Union guard. Most wear bedding for their outer garments.

When John William Draper published a history of the Civil War in 1868 he quoted from a letter written by a Chicago woman who visited the Union Prison Camp Douglas near Chicago:
"How awfully they were dressed. They had old carpets, new carpets, rag carpets, old bed-quilts, new bed-quilts, and ladies' quilts for blankets....One man had two old hats tied to his feet instead of shoes. They were the most ragged, torn, and worn, and weary-looking set I ever saw."
Confederate prisoners in the yard at Camp Douglas

Women like our anonymous letter writer provided clothing and some comforts for prisoners who look less ragged in photos of the camp. 

Better dressed but no less miserable.

It would be surprising to find any quilts that survived such usage, but one Tennessee family told the documenters at the Quilts of Tennessee project that this stolen applique had a slit in the middle to
go over a Confederate head. Is the story true? Is the quilt that old? Possibly.

You can count the quilts sent to CSA soldiers from
the women of Selma, Alabama in 1862.
We can guess that very little of their work survived the war.

1 comment:

Lois said...

Love this story and the quilt.