From the Wheeling (WV) Register, 8/28/1879, p. 1, c. 4
Something About the Historic Structure.
RICHMOND, VA., August 27. – Turpine’s tobacco factory, known as “Castle Thunder,” which was destroyed by fire yesterday morning, was used during the war by the Confederate Government as a military prison for deserters from that army, spies and suspicious persons arrested within their lines. Mrs. Dr. Mary Walker, who was arrested during the latter part of the struggle habituated in a full bloomer suit, was confined for several months in the female apartment of the Castle. The building had become a historic structure, and no landmark of the late struggle was better known by the soldiers in the South and by the prisoners taken around Richmond from the Federal army than this. Many a deserter and bushwhacker who was confined within its gloomy walls will read of its destruction with infinite pleasure.
The Federal Captain who was convicted of being a spy and hanged near this city during the last years of the conflict, was kept in a close cell in this prison for months before his death. The Castle was the scene of a hanging in the last year of the war, the victim being a man convicted of deserting the Confederate army, and the commission of other crimes. The gallows was arranged in the prison, and the dangling man was dropped through the hatchway. Several attempts were made before the job was completed. After the war Major Turnerr, commandant of the prison, was arrested and imprisoned.