In February of 1865 the north began to exchange prisoners with the Confederacy and on March 20 the authorities began to move a group of prisoners to Vicksburg, the point to which all prisoners east of the Mississippi would be delivered. Some by train, some by steamer, and some by walking. Many died on the way and were left by the side of the road for strangers to bury.
Lt. Taylor Elliott of the 124th Indiana Infantry describes the scene as follows:
Coming like cattle across an open field were scores of men who were nothing but skin and bones; some hobbling along as best they could, and others being helped by stronger comrades. Every gaunt face with staring eyes told the story of the suffering and privation they had gone through, and protruding bones showed through their scanty tattered garments. One might have thought that the grave and the sea had given up their dead.