Thank you to Jessica, who sent along this information about the Ship Island Civil War prison:
Did you know that the Union forces put their black soldiers on ship island and left them during the war? Two troops of 63, I think . . . it’s been awhile since I read the history. I think I was looking up information on the lighthouse and found it.
The white union soldiers couldn’t tolerate the black soldiers so their commander left them and went on to New Orleans .
“Only seven regiments from Banks’s expedition disembarked on Ship Island because most of the ships carrying Banks’s men continued on to New Orleans. Furthermore, that portion of Banks’s expedition that landed on Ship Island stayed for only a few days, leaving the two companies of the 13th Maine on their own. Finally, on January 12, 1863, seven companies from a new regiment of African Americans, the 2nd Louisiana Native Guards, arrived for garrison duty.
The mixture of black and white troops created an explosive atmosphere, and a racial dispute between the men from Maine and the black soldiers from Louisiana broke out within a week. Banks quickly decided to withdraw the two companies of white soldiers, and the 2nd Louisiana Native Guards remained as the primary garrison for Ship Island.”