Prison opposite Castle Thunder

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 :: "Prison Opposite Castle Thunder" ::
Information about the "Prison Opposite Castle Thunder" in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.

Often misidentified as Castle Lightning. This building was located across the street from Castle Thunder, on the south side of Cary street, between 18th and 19th. Formerly the tobacco warehouse of Palmer & Allison. Used as a provost prison (deserters, drunks, etc.) as well as a receptacle for Yankee deserters. Seriously threatened by fire which leveled the Confederate Coffee Factory in February 1864.


1865 photograph of a commissary warehouse, prison opposite Castle Thunder, and Libby Prison in the distance.

Written Accounts

Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1860; Palmer & Allisonís tobacco factory, Cary St., "2d door above 19th st.," adv for lost money
Richmond Dispatch 8/12/1861; Ad for Singer's Barrel factory, Cary bw 18th & 19th
Richmond Dispatch 1/17/1863; 1600 prisoners arrive from the western theater; notes the number of prisoners in the following prisons: Mayo's factory, prison opposite Castle Thunder, and Libby Prison
New York Times 1/29/1863; prisoners at Castle Thunder attempt to burn it down. Alexander is successful in putting the fire out. Mentions prison opposite Castle Thunder.
Richmond Examiner 7/21/1863; Yankee prisoner at "the prison opposite Castle Thunder" is shot by the guard for leaning out the window.
Richmond Sentinel 7/22/1863; Yankee prisoner in the building opposite Castle Thunder is shot by a sentinel
Richmond Sentinel 1/20/1864; most of escapees from building across street from Castle Thunder caught
Richmond Whig 1/16/1864; eighteen Yankee deserters escape from the prison opposite Castle Thunder by cutting through the wall into an adjacent commissary warehouse
Richmond Sentinel 2/23/1864; more escapees from prison across street from Castle Thunder
Richmond Whig 2/23/1864; another jailbreak from the prison opposite Castle Thunder - 22 escape, 16 recaptured. Says several hundred deserters are held there, and gives a great physical description
Richmond Whig 2/26/1864; robbery of a hogshead of tobacco at the factory of David C. Mayo, corner 19th and Cary
Richmond Whig 3/2/1864; detective killed by accident at Castle Thunder; mentions "prisoners in the building across the street..."
Richmond Examiner 3/2/1864; detective killed at "deserters' prison" opposite Castle Thunder
Richmond Dispatch 7/6/1864; attempted escape from "Palmer's building, opposite Castle Thunder"

Page last updated on 02/12/2008