Son of Reuben Cloud and Elizabeth Stout.
Married Mary E. Dalton 5/26/1867
Civil War Confederate Soldier POW held at the infamous Camp Douglas in Chicago.
The Union victories at Shiloh and Island No. 10 in April brought almost 1,500 more Confederate prisoners into Prison Square. By late summer of 1862, the camp held nearly 9,000 prisoners, and the prison conditions deteriorated. The camp was built on low ground, and it flooded with every rain. During most of the winter months, when it wasn't frozen, the compound was a sea of mud. Steadily, illness and death began to increase.
In January and February 1863 an average of 18 prisoners died every day, for a death rate of 10% a month, more than any other Civil War prison in any 1-month period. The Sanitary Commission pointed out that at this rate, all the prisoners would be dead in 320 days. The majority of prison deaths was from typhoid fever and pneumonia, the result of filth, the bad weather, and a lack of heat and clothing. Other prevalent diseases included measles, mumps, "epidemic" catarrh, and chronic diarrhea.
The president of the U.S. Sanitary Commission inspected the prison and gave a dismal report of an "amount of standing water, of unpoliced grounds, of foul sinks, of general disorder, of soil reeking with miasmic accretions, of rotten bones and emptying of camp kettles.....enough to drive a sanitarian mad." The barracks were so filthy and infested, he said, that "nothing but fire can cleanse them." He proposed that a proper sewage system was needed immediately. Quartermaster General Meigs responded that such an undertaking would be much too "extravagant". After continued pressure by the Sanitary Commission, he finally relented and authorized the construction of a sewer system for the camp in June 1863. More than 7,000 prisoners were in the camp by September, many of them ill-clad and sick, with only one surgeon to care for them. Conditions at Camp Douglas were horrendous. Disease, hunger, poor sanitation, lack of adequate clothing, and miserably cold weather were endured by the men incarcerated there. By the end of 1863, epidemics of smallpox were emrging at the camp. The commandant and his subordinates worked in collusion with contractors to reduce the quality/quanity of prisoner rations for personal profits. About the time that Sweet took command of the prison, a reduction in prisoner rations took place by orders from Washington, D.C. The ration was typically 1/2 loaf of baker's bread daily, with about 4 oz. of meat and a gill of beans or potatoes. After the retalitory measures were adopted, the stoves were taken away and all vegetables were cut off from the rations. With the elimination of the vegetables, scurvy occured in epidemic numbers, followed by another smallpox epidemic. Because of the drastic prison conditions, local residents offered refief and assistance to the prisoners, not as a matter of politics but purely out of compassion. This went on for a little while until the Federal Government put a stop to it.
The people of Chicago were curios about the camp and its prisoners. An observatory tower was built just outside the prison gate for onlookers to look at the prisoners, for 10 cents per person. The spectators would go to the top of the tower where, with the aid of spy or field glasses, they could look down upon the camp. Prisoners and nearby residents helping the camp accumulated enough books to set up a prison library system. Worst of all was the lack of stoves in the prisoners barracks. All the barracks were greatly in need of repair. Only 3 water hydrants were provided to supply fresh water for the entire camp. The camp was having escape problems just like any other major prison. When the camp was first opened, many escapes occured when a prisoner darkened his hands and face with charcoal or some other substance and walked out the front gate with other black prison laborers. The use of black loborers was soon ended after this was found out. Tunneling out of prison was the most popular way of escaping. Camp Douglas was one of many camps to to be involved in major Confederate plots to release all of the prisoners. Captured escapees were put in a place of close confinement, called the lockup cell. The lockup was a room 18 sq. feet large. It was lit by one closely barred 18x8 inch window about 6 feet above the floor. The only entry into the room was by a hatch about 20 sq. inches in the ceiling. The floor was constantly damp, and an intolorable stench radiated from the sink in the corner of the room.
In late 1864, many political prisoners from the surrounding counties were added to the camp upon the discovery of several plots to release prisoners. By then, the camp had a prisoner population of 12,082. During the next 2 months, the camp continued to hold ovewr 11,000 prisoners. During the war, over 18,000 prisoners were held at the camp.