Request for prisoner exchange, Litchfield, 1864

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Daniel L. Smith, a teacher at Litchfield Academy, wrote to Benjamin H. Hinds of the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission on behalf of William Cochran, a physician whose son was being held at a prison in Charleston, S.C.. They urged Hinds to help facilitate a prisoner exchange.

Melville A. Cochran (1836-1904) was a member of the Bowdoin College Class of 1862, but left school to enlist. He was commissioned as a captain in the 16th U.S. Infantry in August 1861. He was taken prisoner at Chickamauga, then held at Libby Prison in Richmond and in Macon, Georgia, before being sent to Charleston. He had been held for more than a year when the letter was written.

Cochran spent 17 months in prison and attempted escape twice. One of those attempts is referred to in the letter. He was paroled in March 1865, shortly before Lee's surrender.

Cochran was a career military officer, attaining the rank of colonel.

Smith closes his letter giving Hinds news of people in Litchfield.

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About This Item

  • Title: Request for prisoner exchange, Litchfield, 1864
  • Creator: Daniel L. Smith
  • Creation Date: 1864-10-12
  • Subject Date: 1864-10-12
  • Locations:
    • Litchfield, Litchfield County, CT
    • Hilton Head, SC
    • Charleston, SC
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 24.5 cm x 19.5 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. 1533, Box 2/1
  • Collection: Maine Agency Sanitary Commission records
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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