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Castle Thunder: 1865

Castle Thunder: 1865

Richmond, 1865. "Castle Thunder, Cary Street. Converted tobacco warehouse for political prisoners." Main Eastern theater of war, fallen Richmond, April-June 1865. Wet plate glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.


The hidden hand

Yes, the hidden hand of Jahbuhlun. A masonic gang hand signal.

The Right Hand

Freemasons used that pose in the 19th century. A lot of non masons copied it also.

Great History

I found some interesting info on Castle Thunder...

this site has many Richmond newspaper stories from the era on Castle Thunder...

For example...

From the Richmond Dispatch, 10/27/1862, p. 1, c. 4

Abducted Negroes. – A countryman, past middle age, was sent to Castle Thunder yesterday from Fredericksburg, by the Provost Marshal of that place, charged with abducting negroes and carrying them to the Yankees.

From the Richmond Dispatch, 10/17/1862, p. 1, c. 5

Attempt to Escape from Prison. – A conspiracy on the part of a number of the prisoners to escape from Castle Thunder was discovered on Wednesday night. The parties had made a long rope of cotton sheets and had gotten everything ready to let Rogers (who is condemned to be shot on Saturday) out of a window, when they were discovered, and put in the dungeon. One fellow, who proved very obstreperous, was undergoing the bucking process yesterday evening. It is not certainly known that Rogers initiated the movement, but it is believed that his friends in the prison did so to help him. – We learn that efforts are constantly being made to escape from this prison, and that it is only by unceasing vigilance that they are prevented. The next party discovered trying to get out are to be shot.

also here.

One of those articles is below from the Richmond Whig (March 2, 1864)

DETECTIVE SHOT AT CASTLE THUNDER. – J. L. Wooters, of Maryland, detective on duty at Castle Thunder, was shot, at 11 o’clock yesterday morning, by one of the guard, under the following circumstances: Some of the prisoners confined in the building opposite Castle Thunder had been for some time throwing stones and bits of plaster at the sentry on guard on Cary street, under the windows of the building; and they continuing to throw at him after he had repeatedly requested them to desist, he fired up at the window. Mr. Wooters and several other officials about the Castle then went up into the building to see whether any one had been hurt. On getting up to the room into which the shot had been fired, Wooters very unwisely approached the window and looked out, and thereupon the sentry fired at him, the musket ball entering his left eye. – Wooters fell at the crack of the gun, and was borne out of the building. The surgeon who examined the wound pronounced his recovery impossible. Last night he was reported dead. The sentinel said he fired at Wooters because he thought he was a Yankee.

Castle Thunder

I would like to hear more about what made a political prisoner. Or was this an archaic term for POW?

Mainly used for civilian prisoners, Castle Thunder was generally packed with murderers, cutthroats, thieves and other desperadoes. Males suspected of disloyalty, spies and Union sympathizers were incarcerated here. A large number of its inmates were under sentence of death. A few women were held here, including the famous Dr. Mary E. Walker. Used by the Federals for Confederate civilian "war criminals" after the surrender. Formerly the (William) Greanor's, Palmer's, & Whitlock's Tobacco factories.


What are they hiding?

I’m so glad you posted this photo, Dave, because it presents the opportunity to ask you and your learned Shorpy readers a question that’s been bugging me for years; for what reason did some men find it necessary to put their right hand inside their jacket or vest when being photographed in the mid to late 19th century?

[I'd guess that Napoleon Bonaparte had something to do with it. - Dave]

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