War prisoners to be quartered on an island in Lake Erie – Secretary Cameron has authorized the establishment of a depot for prisoners of war at Johnson’s Island, in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie. An experienced builder in Sandusky has contracted to erect seventeen buildings capable of accommodating 100 prisoners. They are to be finished by December 10th, at a cost not to exceed $25,000. (Published in the Monroe Commercial on October 31, 1861)
The Civil War Prison located on Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie housed over 15,000 men over the three years it was operational. The prison held mainly Confederate officers, including Isaac R. Trimble and James J. Archer, who were captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. The island’s location provided the prisoners (and Confederate authorities) an ample dream for an escape into Canada. Attempts were made to escape and the most famous one came in September of 1864.
Piracy on Lake Erie!
Rebel Skedaddles take two Steamers!!
The town was astonished Tuesday morning with the rumor that two steamers had been taken and destroyed on Monday by men from Canada supposed to be Rebels in disguise – The report at first was most supposed to be a hoax, but it proved to be too true:… (Monroe Commercial, September 22, 1864)
All escaped arrest until …
Arrest of one of the Lake Erie Pirates
One of the foremost of the Lake Erie Piratical crew who captured the Philo Parsons and Island Queen last summer, was arrested at Toronto last week…. (Monroe Commercial, December 1, 1864)
Read more about Johnson’s Island and the famous attempt to free its prisoners in…
|A Northern Confederate at Johnson's Island Prison: The Civil War Diaries of James Parks Caldwell|
|I Fear I Shall Never Leave this Island|
|Rebels on the Great Lakes|