Camp Pratt

The Civil War was just one year old, and volunteers were coming to the end of their enlistments. On April 16, 1862 confederacy legislature passed a conscription act to fill their ranks. White men between 18 and 35 were subject to the draft, and current volunteers had their enlistment extended to three years. The Union passed similar legislation, and it was the first wartime draft in its history.
In Louisiana, just outside of the city of Franklin and New Iberia, the Confederacy established and camp to train the new soldiers. Named Camp Pratt after its commanding officer, it held up to 3,000 draftees and a limited number of prisoners. It was situated on lake Tasse, now called Spanish Lake, so named by French settlers since it resembled a cup. A small compound with the camp held captured Union troops. Living conditions were harsh for both the conscripts and prisoners, and many succumbed to sickness. Nearly as many men died in captivity as did in the entire Vietnam war (58,208) (Civil War Casualties 2021).
Gen. Taylor's retreat from Bislane allowed the camp to fall Into Union's hand. Col Bagley's regiment was surrounded, and about a hundred of them were taken prisoner.



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