Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War
Department of New York
Colonel Augustus van Horne Ellis Camp 124

Remembering Those Who Perished in
The Shohola Railroad Disaster of 1864
Barryville, NY and Shohola, PA

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The Approximate Site of the Shohola Railroad Disaster
Showing the Blind Curve on Which the Trains Collided

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Possible Location of the Burial Trench Between the
Wreck Site and the Delaware River

On July 15, 1864, one and a half miles west of the small Delaware River village of Shohola, Pennsylvania, an eastbound coal train collided with a westbound train carrying Confederate soldiers to the prison camp located at Elmira, NY. The prisoners had come from the Point Lookout prison, many of them having been captured at the battle of Cold Harbor, VA.

In total, nearly 50 Confederate prisoners and 17 of their Union guards, men from both armies who had lived through and survived the great horrors of war, lost their lives. Many more were wounded and cared for by the good citizens of Shohola and nearby Barryville, NY across the river.

While originally buried together in a mass trench between the tracks and the river, the bodies which could be located were disinterred and moved to the National Cemetery in Elmira in the early 1900s. A large monument stands above their combined grave - one side listing the names of the Union guards of the 11th Veteran Reserves killed in the wreck, the other side naming the Confederate prisoners who lost their lives. There are errors and omissions on the plaques, but men from both armies, enemies in life, now rest together in eternal peace.

Two Confederate prisoners from North Carolina units were not disinterred and taken to Elmira. After the accident, they had been taken across the river for care in Barryville, NY. Upon their deaths soon thereafter, they were buried in the local Congregational Church cemetery - where they remain today, and where the men of Col. Ellis Camp 124, hold regular observances to remember what was, at that time, the worst railroad disaster in American history.  Treks out to the wreck site and the presumed location of the mass burial trench are also conducted by the Ellis Camp, with assistance from the Shohola Railroad and Historical Society.


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Union Side of the Shohola Monument
Elmira, NY


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Confederate Side of the Shohola Monument
Elmira, NY

 

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