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Prison Bill of Fare Poem Broadside

Identifier: MSS-4319

Scope and Contents

One broadside of a poem written by a Union soldier held at the Confederate Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, on 8 November 1861. The poem describes the food provided and the ways it was prepared at the prison in satirical verse.


  • 1861-11-08

Physical Description

Broadsheet is in protective laminated covering.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Libby Prison was a Confederate prison located in Richmond, Virginia, utilized during the U.S. Civil War. The prison was a three-story brick building, formerly a tobacco warehouse, that the Confederate government initially used as a hospital and prison beginning in late 1861. However, as prisoner numbers greatly increased, Libby became a prison exclusively for Union officers. The conditions at Libby Prison were notoriously overcrowded and harsh.

Prisoners held at Libby were housed on the second and third floors of the building. Windows had bars but were otherwise open to the elements. There was no sanitation system, and overcrowding jumped from 700 prisoners in late 1862 to more than 1000 prisoners at the beginning of 1863. Lack of food, everyday supplies, and medical attention caused a high prisoner mortality rate. Libby Prison closed at the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War. The building was purchased by a Chicago syndicate and much of the building was sold for scrap materials.


.01 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

A. S. Williams III Americana Collection's Small Civil War Manuscript Collections (W-0150)
United Daughters of the Confederacy, Confederate Centennial Chapter, papers (MSS-2401)
Correspondence on Boston Relief Mission to Savannah, Georgia (MSS-4269)
Nineteenth-century Political Cartoon Collection (MSS-4270)

Physical Description

Broadsheet is in protective laminated covering.
Guide to Prison Bill of Fare Poem Broadside
October 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266