From the New York Times, 1/3/1881

Although thousands of Northern men have been inmates of Libby Prison, comparatively few are acquainted with the history of the now memorable building, constantly pointed out to persons visiting Richmond. The former military jail was lately sold at auction, and brought but $6,725, although the auctioneer pronounced its associations so precious in the North that, if it were pulled down, every one of its 240,000 bricks would sell here for a dollar apiece. The purchaser was JAMES T. GRAY, a Richmond capitalist, who has rented it to F. M. BOYKEN, to be used as a tobacco factory, as it has often been before. The building, 140 feet front and 105 deep, was put up 15 or 20 years before the war by JAMES LIBBY, and occupied by him and his sons as a grocery and ship chandlery within a short time before the breaking out of the civil war. Their sign remained on the building up to 1863, and is probably remembered by many of the Union soldiers immured within its dreary walls. The elder LIBBY, who accumulated a large fortune, lived on what was called Church Hill, near the famous St. John’s Church, in which PATRICK HENRY delivered (March 1775) his celebrated “Give me liberty or give me death” harangue. The hill overlooking the James River has been turned into a park since the war, and named Libby Hill Park. Libby was not, as is commonly thought, the first military prison in Richmond. The first was a large frame structure that had been employed to house negroes previous to their sale. It was in Lumpkin’s Alley, and got the high—sounding name of Castle Godwin, but having proved inadequate for its military purpose, the prisoners of war were removed to the larger structure on the dock, which has just been sold. Not one of the Libby Prison officials is now, it is said, in Richmond, though a number of the men who guarded it are still there. Major TURNER, its commandant, was one of the youngest men in the rebel service. When Virginia had seceded, he left West Point, where he was then a Cadet, and went South. Before Richmond had fallen he fled from the city, believing that he would be slain by the soldiers of the victorious army, and afterward to Mexico, where he entered the service of the ill-fated MAXIMILIAN. After the execution of the Austrian Archduke, TURNER fled back to his native land, studied dentistry in New Orleans, and has for some years been practicing his profession in Mississippi. He could not believe for a long while that his life would be safe where he was generally known, and it is said that he still thinks he would be killed by some of his quondam prisoners if he should come North. Libby looks very much as it did during the war, though the bars have been removed from the windows, and some of the inner partitions have been taken down. It is so interesting a relic of history that it should be carefully preserved

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