October 27, 1863
The Atheneum – Within the past two or three weeks, the Atheneum prison has undergone many extensive improvements. The seats which were intended to be occupied by eager admirers of the legitimate drama, have been removed and the space is to be devoted exclusively to unfortunate rebels. Upon the stage immediately in the rear of the footlights, there are being erected about a dozen cells, which will be occupied by convicted deserters and copperheads of the more venomous stripe. The dressing rooms where the rouge used to be applied and the lordly and queenly costumes donned are being converted into bath rooms, old clo’ rooms and apartments for citizen rebels who may be held as hostages or upon light charges. The north-side of the building underneath the dress circle is to be converted into a prison for females and the south side is to be converted into a hospital.
A high fence has been erected around the vacant lot in the rear of the building heretofore used as a ball alley. Seventeen Federal soldiers convicted by Court Martials upon various charges are now at hard labor in this yard under guard. They are at present engaged in wheeling dirt from one portion of the lot and dumping into a large hole in another portion. They seemed to be a very happy and contented in the performance of this duty notwithstanding the most of them are under sentence to hard labor, without pay, during their whole term of enlistment.
Some eight or ten prisoners were sent away to Camp Chase yesterday. Only about sixty five or seventy remain.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: October 1863