| Several Confederate military facilities were positioned near Hempsted (2.5 mi. w), an important railroad junction, during the Civil War. Camp Groce (then about 6 mi. e) was a prisoner-of-war stockade established on the plantation of Leonard Waller Groce (1806-1873). Union Army prisoners who died at various camps were buried hear this site on the McDade Plantation, adjacent to the McDade family cemetery (about 25 yds. ne). The cemeteries were near a narrow gauge spur off the Austin Branch of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, built from Houston in 1858. A yellow fever epidemic in 1864 resulted in many deaths at Camp Groce and other camps, chronicled by Aaron T. Sutton (1841-1927). a Union prisoner in Company B, 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Sutton noted in his journal the presence of more than 100 fresh graves here soon after his arrival at Camp Groce in 1864. Sutton later escaped from the stockade and made his way to Beaumont (115 mi. e) on foot. Crude crosses made of cedar limbs marked the prisoners' graves through the early 1900s, according to local residents. But the stream-fed woodland was cleared in the 1940s for pasture land, and all surface evidence of the cemetery was lost. |
This page last updated: 7/15/2008
Union Army P.O.W. Cemetery Historical Marker Location Map, Hempsted, Texas
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