???In March 1862, the movement of the Confederate army in Northern Arkansas to the Mississippi River left the northern frontier of the Trans-Mississippi virtually defenseless. Immediate efforts in Texas were made to raise new regiments for service in Arkansas. In April 1862 the "Eastern Camp of Instruction", was established at this site to train recruits. The facility was renamed Camp Ford after Col. John S. "RIP" Ford, superintendent of Conscripts forTexas, and former Texas Ranger and Indian Fighter. In the early summer of 1862, the camp was in full gear, and as quickly as the men were trained they were rushed toward Little Rock. By the summer of 1863, the pace of recruiting had slowed and the camp was staffed only by Captain S.M. Warner and a handful of militia.
Prisoner Of War Exchange System
???In June 1862 the North and South formally executed a "cartel" creating a system for the orderly exchange of prisoners of war. By December 1862 the system began to break down because CS President Jefferson Davis ordered no further exchange of officers because of alleged atrocities of Union General Benjamin Butler. Also by late 1862 the North began experimenting with recruiting African-Americans into military service. The political issues associated with this, especially the problem of the use of white officers for black troops, coupled with alleged violations of the cartel by both sides, collapsed the system entirely in July 1863. The only exception was that commanding generals in the field could arrange for the exchange of prisonerstaken by their forces with their opposing counterpart.
???In late 1863 and early 1864 CS General Richard Taylor and US General Nathaniel Banks entered into an agreement for the exchange of prisoners captured west of the Mississippi. Banks made the stipulation that there could be "no distinction made as to corps" [no discrimination based upon race.] Taylor agreed, stating that he did not believe that he had in his possession any white officers of black troops.
???Banks commanded the US Department of the Gulf, and Taylor the CS Department of West Louisiana. Taylor had taken a few prisoners by the summer of 1863, and there were only a handful of prisoners in Texas. The US regulars captured west San Antonio in 1861 had been exchanged in early 1863. US prisoners captured at Galveston on January 1, 1863 and at Sabine Pass on September 8, 1863 were held at Camp Groce, near Hampstead. The Department of Texas was commanded by CS General J.B. Magruder, and Groce was the POW camp for this department.