Guarding Point Lookout Prison Camp
Original Author: John Jacob Omenhausser
Created: June 1864 to June 1865
Medium: Watercolor

Guarding Point Lookout Prison Camp

An African American Union soldier stands guards at a prisoner-of-war camp in Point Lookout, Maryland. The artist included supposed dialogue that took place during the scene, making use of black dialect:

Git away from dat dar fence white man, or I'll make old Abe's gun smoke at you[.] I can hardly hold de ball back now. De bottom rails on top now.

The final sentence was an expression that grew out of encounters between Union soldiers, once enslaved, who faced their former owners, who were then prisoners. John Jacob Omenhausser, a Confederate prisoner housed at the camp from June 1864 until June 1865, created this watercolor as part of large sketchbook that contained sixty-two paintings documenting prison life. Omenhausser made a handful of sketchbooks with similar drawings. This particular scrapbook is part of the collections at the University of Maryland Libraries.