Camp Asylum and Salisbury Prison
Leming J. Eckler left Camp Sumter for Columbia, South Carolina on 2 February 1865. His time at Camp Asylum would be short lived. Sherman’s Union forces were blazing their way across the south and rumors had him marching into Columbia soon.
The Confederate forces protecting Camp Asylum evacuated the prisoners, sending them first to Salisbury prison camp at Charlotte and then onto Wilmington, North Carolina as Sherman continued his march across the south. Sherman sacked Columbia on 17 February 1865; three days after the last of the Union prisoners evacuated from the prison camp there.
POW Exchanges Resumed
On the same day that Sherman sacked Columbia, the Union and Confederate governments announced a POW exchange. Over five thousand Union prisoners left Salisbury for Wilmington, North Carolina for the next three weeks. On 2 March 1865, the prisoners from Salisbury were exchanged at Wilmington, North Carolina including Leming J. Eckler. The prisoners left Wilmington and were transported by ship to Annapolis, Maryland for processing and medical treatment.
According to the New York Times article published on Tuesday 7 March 1865 Leming J. Eckler was one of 500 men to arrive on the steamer Gen. Lyon from Wilmington, North Carolina on the previous Sunday. He was one of three thousand Union prisoners exchanged as the war drew to its conclusion.