Knife, Fork, and Plate from Libby Prison

Physical Description
Metal-and-bone knife and fork and a metal plate.
Specific History
This knife, fork, and plate was issued to prisoner of war Colonel John S. Crocker, 93rd Infantry Regiment, New York Volunteers, by the commandant of Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia, and used by him at Libby and Salisbury prisons, 1862.
General History
Libby Prison's three buildings were designed and built as a warehouse by John Enders, who died before putting them to use. Following his death, the warehouse sold to Luther Libby from Maine, who erected a sign "L. Libby & Son, Chip Chandlers". At the beginning of the war, Libby was given 48 hours to vacate the building so it could be used as a prison. The only thing Libby left behind was his sign; the building became Libby Prison. During the war, Libby held over 125,000 men, mostly Union officers. On February 9, 1864, the most bold and daring of prison escapes happened at Libby. One hundred nine Union army officers managed to escape by crawling through a fireplace, sliding down a chimney, and slithering through a 53-foot-long tunnel. The escape came after months of digging with tools smuggled into the prison by a Northern sympathizer, Elizabeth Van Wert, a.k.a. Crazybet. Libby was vacated just before the Union army captured Richmond, and spent the rest of the war empty.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
associated date
1861 - 1865
Crocker, John S.
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
overall: 21.844 cm x 21.844 cm x 1.905 cm; 8 5/8 in x 8 5/8 in x 3/4 in
used at
United States: Virginia, Libby Prison
United States: Virginia, Richmond
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, General
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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