Was The Devil’s Punchbowl A U.S. Concentration Camp for Black Slaves?

14 Posted by - February 16, 2018 - BLACK MEN, BLACK WOMEN, LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY


In an investigative story reported by WJTV News Channel 12 out of Jackson, Mississippi, “Mass Graves Remain in The Devil’s Punchbowl of Natchez.”

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a place located in Natchez, Mississippi where during the Civil War; authorities forced tens of thousands of freed slaves to live into concentration camps.  Westbrook adds that, “The union army did not allow them to remove the bodies from the camp. They just gave ’em shovels and said bury ’em where they drop.”

According to researcher Paula Westbrook, she researched through Adams County Sheriff’s reports from the time.

“When the slaves were released from the plantations during the occupation they overran Natchez. And the population went from about 10,000 to 120,000 overnight,” Westbrook said.

“So they decided to build an encampment for ’em at Devil’s Punchbowl which they walled off and wouldn’t let ’em out,” Don Estes, former director of the Natchez City Cemetery, said.

Estes said that history research is his life. During his studies he said he learned that Union troops ordered re-captured black men to perform hard labor. Women and children were all but left to die in the three “punchbowls”.

“Disease broke out among ’em, smallpox being the main one. And thousands and thousands died. They were begging to get out. ‘Turn me loose and I’ll go home back to the plantation! Anywhere but there’,” Estes said.


source http://www.chocolatecity.cc/2014/07/06/the-devils-punchbowl-a-u-s-concentration-camp-for-black-slaves/


  • Levian January 31, 2016 - 6:06 pm Reply

    Wow…learn something new everyday.

  • Dorothy Goldsmith September 10, 2016 - 8:52 pm Reply

    This is the place where I lost my ancestors, my great grandmothers fathers, were killed and died here, my Grandmother being a child only had stories of the horror in Natchez Mississippi, It was were told to be of Gullah or Gechee decent but my grandmother i believe was of African and American Indian Decent traveling from Florida Clarksdale Mississippi. I wish I had more information, I would love to be able to trace my ancestral roots.

    • Bill March 24, 2018 - 4:21 pm Reply

      Dorothy I live in Oakton , Virginia but have owned property on the Natchez bluffs since 1990. I did not know about the punchbowl until recently. I talked with a friend of mine who lives on Cemetery Road near the Punchbowl. He told me that when he was growing up, older black people told him that he Punchbowl was in fact a death camp. My friend was born in 1953 so the people who told him must have heard it from their parents or grandparents. The men were kept in a separate camp and were marched up the bluffs every day to perform hard labor and then taken back to the camps at night. The women and children were kept in three separate camps and never got out. My friend said they were “packed in like cattle.” In 1860 the population of Natchez was 6,612 which consisted of 4,272 whites, 2,132 slaves and 208 free blacks. By 1870 the population of Natchez was 9,057 which consisted of 3,728 whites and 5,329 blacks. If 110,000 blacks poured into Natchez around 1863 where did they all go by 1870? Maybe more than 20,000 died there.

  • Joel Samuels September 13, 2016 - 6:24 pm Reply

    This really accentuate’s.my long held point that blacks in this country should be duly compensated through educational reparations for starters.

    • Betty Soto March 3, 2018 - 4:41 am Reply

      Joel Samuels, I hope you read this message. Contact us via blackisbackcoalition.org

    • Mary September 21, 2018 - 3:01 pm Reply

      How about receiving compensation from the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware and Rhode Is. These states received a fortune thru the slave trade business. If you go online, you can google a list of slave owners. Also, sue the countries in Africa who were responsible for trading their own into slave trade.

    • Mrs Nakajima November 16, 2018 - 1:21 am Reply

      If people of slave ancestry should be duly compensated, then why not those of our indigenous forebears? Seems to me … . But, what I’d like to know is, if the Union soldiers were fighting to retain the USA, and against slavery, why would the Union soldiers initiate a concentration camp which resulted in many deaths of ‘recaptured’ slaves? Are we talking about Holocaust survivor concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Austria, Rwanda slaughterers or the American concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in the USA? In any way you look at innocent people died. Did they die from hardships, starvation, tuberculosis and physical traumas or were they systematically killed?

  • Albert Champion September 13, 2016 - 8:24 pm Reply

    So much that was hidden from US.

  • Yeshayah Ben Yisrael October 2, 2016 - 12:27 pm Reply

    Revelation 17:5-6, 12 (KJV)
    6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
    So the “Devils Punch Bowl” as a name is no accident.
    As far as reparations and such, don’t ask for, look for, nor expect it; It’s warm milk and a pacifier, the both of which will lul you back to sleep. The Bible says….
    Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)
    19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
    20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
    Be patient and be content with what you have (sometimes easier said than done,) endure to the end, keep the faith, follow his Laws statutes and commandments and your reward will be eternal. In Yahwashi Mashiac’s holy name (whom some may call Jesus the Messiah,) Ahmen.

    • James Wright July 4, 2018 - 1:46 pm Reply

      Son of Israel please define the name Yeshayah.
      This is taken directly from the Dead Sea Scroll. Take keen notice how it mentions Salvation (Yesha). Do not be deceived by the modern law-keepers and sacred-name Hebrew-roots movements that are full of heresy and who deny YASHAYA the Messiah.
      The following “guess” names by scholars and other name pundits are all FALSE:

      Yahushawah, Yeshua, Yashua, Yahusha, Yahwsha, Yahusha, Yahawashi, Joshua, Jesus, God (to list only a sample of the false names being claimed to be the sacred name).

  • Matthew Lieff October 7, 2016 - 7:25 pm Reply

    There should be an archeological dig to find out what happened. The Federal government should buy the land and pay archeologists needed to do the job. With modern technology, we should be able to find out now.

    • Bill March 25, 2018 - 7:48 am Reply

      Matthew, the land is now privately owned. I don’t think we will ever know how many died there. To find out we would have to 1) get the owners permission to dig 2) clear the brush away 3) start digging and you might have to go deep since the bluffs have shed a lot of soil over 150 years. Don’t expect the Feds to pay. They are not anxious to reveal what the US Army did down there!!

  • Jesse November 29, 2016 - 9:54 am Reply

    It’s no wonder our DNA was altered. This is trauma!

    • David Perrin February 16, 2018 - 10:36 am Reply

      The evil that occurred then is still in our presence. the saying:, “A leopard does not change its spots”.
      Just saying. We are no different, neither are “they”. They still have all of the power, we do not.

      • Robert July 17, 2018 - 3:35 pm Reply

        No different are so many today with the same mentality, who shall lift up their eyes with their ancestors in Hell for all eternity.


  • […] One tiny town’s population mushroomed twelvefold from the influx, as researcher Paula Westbrook, who has extensively studied Devil’s Punchbowl, noted, […]

  • JAMES H HAYES June 1, 2017 - 7:05 pm Reply

    This story is a MYTH made up by Confederate sympathizers.

    • Indian Andy July 21, 2017 - 7:43 pm Reply

      You wish! Every bit of it is true.

    • Charles M Lamb March 5, 2018 - 4:38 pm Reply

      Hey man, don’t just say it is fake news. PROVE it is fake news, and then you mite not come across as bigoted an ignorant.

    • Bill March 25, 2018 - 3:48 pm Reply

      No it is not a myth. A friend of mine from Natchez was told by older black people that it is true. They heard it from their parents and grandparents who were there.

    • Robert July 17, 2018 - 3:41 pm Reply

      I guess slavery was fake, you sound like Trump, fake news, lol, no I know of other similar stories handed down through black families , that will make your skin crawl, don’t worry God will handle it all in the end or is that also fake?

  • M June 6, 2017 - 4:08 pm Reply

    I had no clue! ZERO!!! I grew up in Concordia parish and heard tales of the Devil’s Punch bowl having an airplane in the bottom, but never anything as horrible as this! No one was to ever go into it because you never came out! My condolences to the families that lost ancestors.

  • Jamie Swanson July 8, 2017 - 2:07 am Reply

    And you’re basing your facts on what? Was you actually there or were you the only survivor of this horrific incident? I just don’t see how you can be so biased about what is and/or can be factual history!!! Do you have a degree in African American studies? Probably not… so how dare you fix your fingers to type ludicrous, indignant crap. Fake News…. you sound like punk ass Donald Trump.

    • Felicia August 4, 2017 - 7:37 am Reply

      The intelligent thing to do Jamie is to do your own research and then determine if it is fake news. Be of a better quality of an individual.

  • Indian Andy July 21, 2017 - 7:42 pm Reply

    The Union Army did this. Democrats!

    • Bill Finzel September 19, 2017 - 12:21 am Reply

      Indian Andy: If the Union Army did this, then it was the Republicans of that time.

    • Charles M Lamb March 5, 2018 - 4:39 pm Reply

      NO, the union army was run by Republicans, as was the post war country.

  • Kris August 15, 2017 - 9:30 pm Reply

    You really think the Feds are going to acknowledge this even exist..much less excavate it?

  • Lisa Lazarus August 19, 2017 - 8:27 am Reply

    It happened just like Black Wall Street, Rosewood, Emmet Till, and Trayvon Martin. You will never stop and you never will. Your hate will dry you up and you will die off on your own. You hate is so strong it makes the people who you hate hate themselves. Only you can stop it, all the marching and protesting won’t do anything.

    • Jonathan Boyd June 19, 2018 - 8:34 am Reply

      You should go to jail for grouping Trayvon Martin and black wall street. You are scum and you are absolutely the problem

  • Linda Fulgium August 23, 2017 - 2:04 pm Reply

    This should point to the civil war wasn’t about freeing slaves untill Lincoln made it about slavery in 1863 w/imancipation proclamation

    • Bill Finzel September 19, 2017 - 12:33 am Reply

      Linda Fulgium: True: the Civil War wasn’t about freeing the slaves. The Civil War was about the South (Confederacy) starting the war, in order to secede, in order to continue the institution of slavery. The North (Union) fought back, to preserve the union. So you’re mostly right, and just a smidgen wrong. There were of course, many in the North wanting to end slavery, but the war started by the South wanting to keep doing it. Also: the Emancipation Proclamation was what made the North’s position against slavery formally official, rather than just a part of their reasons, so you’re 99% correct there too. NOTE: I am mostly splitting hairs in detail, rather than arguing against your points, which are basically correct.

  • JR September 15, 2017 - 6:44 am Reply

    Sounds like modern day FEMA.

    • Bill Finzel September 19, 2017 - 12:35 am Reply

      JR: Are you talking about the FEMA internment camp myth? The story line about those FEMA camps IS a myth.

    • Les Green December 27, 2017 - 5:46 pm Reply

      The emancipation Proclamation didn’t really free the southern slaves. What it actually did was make the freed southern slaves wards of whatever state they were enslaved to. How did it occur? Well, when the southern slaves were supposedly freed; they actually had nowhere to go, so whatever southern state that freed them, in actuality started charging them with the crime of vagrancy/loitering and started giving the accused ex slave very severe sentences. Some of the sentences given were 10-20 years of hard labor. So, by giving thousands of freed slaves these convictions they (the Confederate States) were still able to rebuild the south after the Civil War.

  • […] One tiny town’s population mushroomed twelvefold from the influx, as researcher Paula Westbrook, who has extensively studied Devil’s Punchbowl, noted, […]

  • Shonda Conerly October 2, 2017 - 7:49 am Reply

    Yeah if its so fake what about the slaughtered in the camp area in centreville,ms of union soldiers camp van dorm I think that’s the correct spelling look it up cause the united states government covered that up and I met the author personally that wrote the book and researched it.

  • Patti McClendon October 11, 2017 - 7:16 pm Reply

    This is a fictional book written by Greg Isles!!!!!

  • Jessica Johnson February 6, 2018 - 10:24 pm Reply

    Fuck You!

  • Sfh1 February 9, 2018 - 8:29 am Reply

    It’s a shame that we have to guess about our past history and such a horrific story COULD BE TRUE!
    Some of our history has been verified and some a myth. I hope it’s not true, but it’s possible. Very sad.

  • […] post Was The Devil’s Punchbowl A U.S. Concentration Camp for Black Slaves? appeared first on Black […]

  • Kathleen Condrick February 20, 2018 - 11:15 pm Reply

    Wow I didn’t know this thank you for sharing

  • Kathleen Condrick February 20, 2018 - 11:21 pm Reply

    Les Thank you for sharing this piece of history which IMO happened too. If someone doesn’t think it happened that’s there opinion and we all have a right to express our opinions and share our grief and learn about history especially now it’s black history month and I’m Caucasian and understand feels to be rejected shamed And God only know how anyone could just let someone die in a pit of hard labor and starvation and not care is beyond my comprehension and I can see some people reject it could of happened too but sadly I really think it did.

  • Kathleen Condrick February 20, 2018 - 11:38 pm Reply

    Patti McClendoN I looked up the book and it is a story about casinos and gambling on boats with the title of the book being the devils punch bowl.

  • Kathleen Condrick February 20, 2018 - 11:42 pm Reply

    With the title of the book being the same name described here I can see why you would think this. Slavery is real and we all are in some kind of way slaves to to something someone etc.
    My condolences to everyone whom lost there connection to the ancestors throughout lifetimes from tragedies such as this and the current ones we face today with mass shootings murders etc

  • Kris Carmichael February 21, 2018 - 12:42 am Reply

    Slavery had earlier been practiced in England, but they had stopped it some years prior to the War Between the States. Some Northern states were also slave states, but when Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Address, it was designed to free only the slaves in the South, not the North..go figure. But there was an incident with respect to the “Trent Affair” which almost brought Britain into war on the side of the South, so in part, Lincoln may have issued his famous Emancipation address to extend a hand to London. You see the Trent was a British ship and on it were Southern diplomats enroute to England to lobby for the war effort and achieve closer ties per the textile (cotton) industry in Britain. However this ship while enroute to London, was stopped and boarded by a Yankee warship. It was summarily towed into Boston Harbor with much fanfare and celebration. The Southern diplomats were detained/arrested as were the British crew. Well, Lincoln received a communication from London basically stating that unless the British Ship was released, along with its crew and Southern Diplomats, a state of war would exist between Britain and Washington. Well, Lincoln complied with London’s demand, even as redcoats were gathering on the Canadian border for a possible invasion. Of course they don’t tell you this, but yeah, in a effort to smooth over things with London, Lincoln (2 years into the war) decided to figuratively release the slaves in Southern States only. Of Course it didn’t have much weight due to the state of war. But it did seem to keep the Brits from joining up with the South, but given the English London establishment and the Scottish/Irish South, I seriously doubt in the South had a chance of British help, I mean gee, the Scot/Irish has been the enemy of the English for over a thousand years, the war between the states was only a continuation of that hostility. But yes the Devil’s Punchbowl was a Union run encampment, and there were others set up around the south. The south was not permitted to have such camps, because they were of a martial/military order. These existed at the end of the war to basically provide forts for yankee encampments but the one in Natchez was nothing short of an “Extermination Camp”. Newly freed slaves, would make their way to these camps as a stop over to travel further up river in hopes of building lives for themselves. The old southern plantations were broke, they could not sustain their own families, much less a huge population of freed slaves, so the newly freed slaves, sought out the yankee camps, since they were from all accounts, the ones by whose hand they were made free..right? But these camps became “Extermination” camps, hard labor and sickness ram rampant in the Devils Punchbowl. Wasn’t just a few hundred that died, it was in the hundreds of thousands. There is a legend spoke of in Natchez, that the citizens of Natchez learned of the plight of the black people, and tried to sneak food into the camps for them, bribing the Yanks I suppose. But regardless, the only fatality of the fall of Natchez was a little Jewish girl, that for some reason the yankee gunboats took aim at. How odd I thought, a little Jewish girl in which Hitler would consign her people to the gas chambers of the holocaust, and there was a Holocaust going on in the Devils punchbowl, but nobody speaks of it. But I think on that day, many will be the slaves who will rise in testimony of the truth, and speak against those who today embrace a far greater slavery of mind and heart, where the chains of ignorance and political expediency are just as strong as the metal they broke, a long, long time ago. For no war can remove such chains, for only the heart and mind can do that..

  • H. Stewart March 2, 2018 - 9:14 am Reply

    Wow, I thought I knew a lot about our history. I never heard of this place until today. I’m definitely gonna research it and learn more

    • Tom April 24, 2018 - 9:43 am Reply

      It was not just former slaves that were sent to concentration camps. A little know fact was that in Sherman’s sacking of Atlanta, women and children working in textile mills and other industries were considered contraband. They were loaded into wagons and sent to camps up north. After the war they were turned loose to find their own way home.

  • Awakened March 2, 2018 - 12:36 pm Reply

    Why do we expect people to admit how evil their lineage is? What does someone have to gain by admitting they are the descendants of beings that have caused chaos and death everywhere they’ve gone on Earth. It boggles my mind to see us beg for their understanding. Let us understand. Fuck them.

  • Betty Soto March 3, 2018 - 4:43 am Reply

    For all of you on this feed who are serious about what you say, let us rally to be the change we so drastically need. Contact us via blackisbackcoalition.org

  • Derrick Smith March 5, 2018 - 3:31 pm Reply

    I would like to look more into this before I pass judgement…

  • Lettie Mitchell-Anderson March 6, 2018 - 7:27 am Reply

    You sir, are more of a fake than this story. Do your research and then comment. Or you might want to look up the words ” human compassion. “

  • Lettie Mitchell-Anderson March 6, 2018 - 7:28 am Reply

    You sir, are more of a fake than this story. Do your research and then comment. Or you might want to look up the words ” human compassion. ”

    May you have a blessed day!

  • Jerimiah Dawson March 19, 2018 - 12:06 am Reply

    Getting nostalgic reading about the good old days

  • JENNIFER OXENDINE March 26, 2018 - 3:29 pm Reply

    awkward, u have to understand my friend that hate is taught. Their is still alot of hate out here but i also see it in your comment. We cant blame the decendents of thoese people who commited this evil. Every white person is not like that. God never allows things to happen without a reason something far beyound we could ever imagine. Know u are kings and queens forever from the begining of time. U are Gods choosen people remember that the next time anger rises within u i know u are mad i am to i know u are hurt i am to but we must be better than this. Remember my friend the last shall be first and the first shall be last until then keep your head up and be strong my brothers and sisters.

  • Athetra Hill May 16, 2018 - 1:16 pm Reply

    I want my subscription cancelled

  • Rainey May 24, 2018 - 6:00 am Reply

    That’s always what they tell blacks. But only blacks to quiet them down. Everyone else gets reparations.

  • Steven May 24, 2018 - 2:51 pm Reply

    This current federal government wants to do more of this right now. So forget about them trying to look into the past. Why would they? More than half of the government officials would rather wish us away than deal with us on any level. If they could bring back slavery they would. As it is they are using the prison system for profit.

  • James Wright July 4, 2018 - 4:09 pm Reply

    Son of Israel please define the name Yeshayah. It is not the Name of Yashaya the savior.

    This is taken directly from the Dead Sea Scroll. Take keen notice how it mentions Salvation (Yesha). Do not be deceived by the modern law-keepers and sacred-name Hebrew-roots movements that are full of heresy and who deny YASHAYA the Messiah.
    The following “guess” names by scholars and other name pundits are all FALSE and cannot be proven bt ANY text before Greek:

    Yahushawah, Yeshua, Yashua, Yahusha, Yahwsha, Yahusha, Yahawashi, Joshua, Jesus (Greek, son of Zeus), (to list only a sample of the false names being claimed to be the sacred name).
    Not only is the letter “J” non-existent in the Hebrew alphabet, the first writing of the KJV in 1700’s. The letter “I” was used not the letter “J”. In 1524 the letter “J” was introduced as a sub for the letter “I” but pronounced the same. It was not widely used in any language until the 1600’s that includes Greek which was used in the first translation. In Greek Jesus means “son of Zeus”, a pagan God. In Spanish, Jesus is “Hey’Zeus”.
    The Phoenician alphabet was integrated into the Hebrew alphabet to facilitate trade. The Phoenicians had the largest navy of that time and the largest traders during that time. The Phoenician alphabet was given to the Greeks that had no formal language nor alphabet. The Greeks gave the alphabet to the Romans and the Romans gave the alphabet to the Germans and that’s how a formal language entered the Anglo-Saxon people in Europe. There was a similar process with the use and adoption of general mathematics including raising a number to a power, Astrology, medicine, surgery and other scientific disciplines. They were the old world scholars.

  • Gary Huff July 16, 2018 - 2:31 pm Reply

    The North started the Civil War. Seven southern states had seceded peacefully from the Union before Lincoln was inaugurated in March of 1861. The Charleston harbor was the major export route for southern cotton to Europe. Lincoln and the northern businesses wanted that cotton to be made into clothes in the northern factories. So, Lincoln moved the Union Fort Moultrie on Sullivan Island to Fort Sumter, a small island in Charleston Harbor that could be defended better from attack. Lincoln began preparing to blockade the harbor by adding cannon and enforcement personnel to Fort Sumter. South Caroline demanded several times for the Union to cease fortifying for war. Lincoln denied the requests. Rather than have their harbor blockaded, South Carolina fired on the fort. Remember this…. “It is not the side that fires the first shot who starts the war. It is the side that causes the first shot to be fired.”. The North started the war and did so for economic reasons. The south paid the majority of taxes.

  • Angelisa July 23, 2018 - 10:56 pm Reply

    It is a true event. Their skulls are crying every night. The state can buy the land and dig up the bodies if it wanted to. Why would anyone wanna own 20,000 sets of bones, unless the land owner’s a freak.

  • J August 13, 2018 - 11:17 pm Reply

    I am from concordia as well I heard an airplane flew in it I heard pirates use to hide treasure there my dad told me it was a grave and I never believed him… Very sad…

  • Jacqueline Bass September 9, 2018 - 4:37 am Reply

    So sorry to hear…What they did to your Descendants, it’s despicable to think that, that kind of evil exists…But Black People know it does, what makes this All the more disgusting? Is these were FREE Black People, like We supposedly are!
    To wall off Human Beings n a Concentration Camp & then starve them is a different kind of Evil!!!My Descendants were from the Rosewood, so I feel your pain…The atrocities committed against Our Elders & Us, should still be able to be prosecuted there should be no statue of limitations for these executions!

  • Da November 28, 2018 - 9:07 pm Reply

    This really saddens me!
    My father was born in Natchez, Mississippi.He never wanted anyone to know he was from Mississippi!My father was a great man, and never mentioned this horrific history! I wonder if he ever knew!Strong HATE!Only because the color of one’s skin!SAD!!!!

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