Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. W. Harrison Daniel

Second Advisor

Dr. Ernest C. Bolt, Jr.

Third Advisor

Dr. William Henry Thorn, III


The Civil War is, in many respects, one of the most tragic, yet fascinating periods of this nation's history. During the last one hundred years scholars have stud ied numerous aspects of this conflict in great detail. The subject of this thesis, however, has received meager attention. The focus of this study is the Provost Marshal's prison in Richmond, Virginia, called Eastern District Military Prison or, as it is more commonly known, Castle Thunder. Castle Thunder was the only prison of its kind in the South as most of its inmates were political prisoners, deserters, and criminals, rather than captured enemy soldiers. During the war Castle Thunder became a cause célèbre for the Confederate Government. So notorious did it become that an investigation into reports of inhumane treatment occurred in April, 1863.