Originally a tobacco factory, this building was transformed into a prison. The factory was built in 1855 by the mayor of the city, William T. Sutherlin. Up to 7000 prisoners of war were held in six prisons in this area from 1863 - 1865.
Disease and starvation were common in these prisons. The Confederate army allocated precious little food for the Union prisoners. Even with some help from the local population, over a thousand perished owing to malnutrition and disease. For the unfortunate soldiers located here, rats were a treasured food. Small Pox and other diseases spread throughout the prisons, causing many to become ill without any medicine or doctors to help. The winter months were the worst, with few blankets and little firewood.
The site of the former prison has been commemorated by a historical marker at the intersection of Loyal Street and Lynn Street.