Prisoner's letter reveals Augusta's Civil War past

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A faded envelope recently discovered after 148 years is shedding new light on Augusta's role in holding prisoners from the American Civil War.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that its author, Sgt. William S. Marshall, was a young Indiana soldier captured near Rowe Gap, Tenn., on May 3, 1863.

An envelope he addressed to his family in Green Castle, Ind., on Nov. 26, 1864, places him in Augusta, where a county jail at Fourth and Watkins streets was anecdotally known to have housed Union prisoners.

The envelope, signed "W.S. Marshall, Adjt 51st Ind. Vols, Prisoner of War Augusta Ga," was part of a collection sold earlier this month by Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, where it fetched $1,900 as a possibly one-of-a-kind postal artifact.

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