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In November, 1863, Northern deserter Joseph K. Davisson discovered a plot to free the federal prisoners at Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas. The plot was headed by former Texas state representative George W. Whitmore and his family, to be assisted by a loosely organized network of East Texas Unionists. Prison commander Col. R. T. P. Allen sent two undercover operatives to the Whitmore home in southeast Smith County where they confirmed the plan and then tricked the men into falling into a Confederate trap where they were captured.

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