Common Misconceptions About Camp Morton

Common Misconceptions About Camp Morton 
Special thanks to Wayne Sharp who submitted the information for this page

1.  The majority of  Indianapolis residents are not even aware that there was a Civil War prison camp located in their own city, much less that 1,616 prisoners died while confined there.

2.  Many people still think that the current Indiana State Fairgrounds was the location of Camp Morton.  It was not.  In 1890 the OLD State Fairground property was sold off and divided into residential lots.  This area of Indianapolis is now known as Herron-Morton Place.  The Fairgrounds moved to its current location of East 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway at that time.

3.  Most of the residents that live in the Garfield Park area think the park was the location of Camp Morton.  It is not.  The Park is on the south side of Indianapolis and is six miles away from where Camp Morton was once located.  The large monument that resides there today was moved from Greenlawn cemetery in 1928.  Visitors who read the large inscription on the shaft of the monument, Erected by the United States to mark the burial place of 1616 Confederate Soldiers and Sailors who died while prisoners of war and whose graves cannot now be identified, incorrectly assume that Camp Morton was located in Garfield Park.  What some might miss is a smaller bronze plaque near the base of the monument which is inscribed with the following: This memorial was moved from Greenlawn Cemetery by the United States and relocated here, A.D. 1928 under grant of Board of Park Commissioners on petition of Southern Club of Indianapolis.

4.  Stories still exist in reference to the fact that some of the 115 prisoners who escaped via various tunnels, raped and pillaged in the countryside.  There is no record of any such activity, except for maybe an occasional stolen chicken or pig.  All escaped prisoners made their way south as quickly and quietly as possible.

5.  Stories were spread in the south that the "southern boys" were treated like cattle and were confined in cattle barns while at Camp Morton.  It is true that former cattle barns were used to house some of the Confederates, but this was because they were already built and available for use in the camp.  This was, after all, the former Fairgrounds and not an attempt to humiliate the prisoners.


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