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Johnson's Island Confederate Prison Cemetery

Johnson's Island is located in Lake Erie within the Bay of Sandusky Ohio. During Civil War years this island was a Northern prison camp for mainly Southern Officers. In 1862 the United States Army established this camp on Johnson's Island, which had at that time no causeway, and was in use until 1865. On April 10, 1862 the first prisoners arrived, 200 Confederates transferred by special train from Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Over the next three years more than 15,000 men were to be incarcerated on Johnson's Island, the maximum number at any one time reaching 2,800 in early 1865. The vast majority of the prisoners were Confederate officers, but a number of Confederate enlisted men, political prisoners, spies, and northern deserters were also sent to the Johnson's Island. More than 200 would never leave.The camp cemetery contains the graves of 206 men who died from disease, wounds or execution while incarcerated here.

Locating the road to the causeway over to the island from Marblehead Peninsula is a challenge since the residents of the island do not want a sign directing visitors to Johnson's Island. There is however a U.S. Government National Historic marker along East Bayshore Drive (click on pictures below) where you will access Gaydos Drive to the Johnson's Island Causeway. It will cost you two dollars to have the toll gate allow you access to the causway and on the island a sign directs you to the cemetery site at Confederate Drive. There is no exit fee upon returning on the causeway.
(updated September 12th, 2006)

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Aerial view of Johnson's Island

E Bayshore and Gaydos Drive National Historic Marker Confederate Drive Entrance Plaque (front) Entrance Plaque (rear)
Gate Sign Cemetery Left Cemetery Center Cemetery Right Johnson's Island Preservation Museum Sign
Johnson's Island Preservation Society ~ History & POW's/Visiting/Museum
Friends & Descendents of Johnson's Island ~ Dr. David Bush
Johnson's Island Prision Camp History
Prisoners Confined at Johnson's Island
Confederates Buried at Johnson Island


Entrance gate at Sandusky Bay end of cemetery Nancy and Tom @ Monument Nancy and Tom @ Monument and The Lookout Monument and The Lookout
Side view of Monument and The Lookout Back side of Granite Marker ~ Right of Monument Front side of Granite Marker ~ Left of Monument Back side of Granite Marker ~ Left of Monument Front

The Confederate Soldier Monument Inscription Reads:

SOUTHERN
1910
ERECTED BY THE ROBERT PATTON CHAPTER
UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY
OF CINCINATTI OHIO,
IN MEMORY OF THE SOUTHERN SOLDIERS
WHO DIED IN THE FEDERAL PRISON
ON THIS ISLAND
DURING THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES
_________________

DEAD, BUT SCEPTERED SOVEREIGNS,
WHO RULE US FROM THE DUST.
_________________

THE STONE UPON WHICH THIS IS INSCRIBED
WAS PLACED BY THE GRAND LODGE OF MISSISSIPPI
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE MASONS WHO SLEEP HERE

CSA
1861-1865

Front of Granite Tablet / Right of Monument and
"THE LOOKOUT" is Inscribed:

Layout of iron fence with gravesites identified, most within the fence but some located outside.

THE JOHNSON'S ISLAND COMMITTEE COMPOSED OF OHIO DIVISION UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY AND THE LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES L0NGSTREET CAMP 1658, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS, AND OTHERS LOYAL TO THE CAUSE IN THE COURSE OF ITS MISSION, DISCOVERED ADDITIONAL REMAINS BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE IRON FENCE IN NUMBERS GREATER THAN IS PRESENTED BY THE EXTANT 1890 GRAVE MARKERS. CONCURRENTLY THE COMMITTEE RESEARCHED THE BURIAL RECORDS, STATE ROSTERS AND OTHER PRIMARY DOCUMENTS TO DEVELOP A LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO PERISHED ON THE ISLAND AND IN THE SOLITARY PRISON CAMP.

THESE MONUMENTS (GRANITE TABLETS) WERE HUMBLY DEDICATED ON 21 JUNE 2003, TO THE IMMORTAL SOULS OF THOSE WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR SOUTHERN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM.

Back of Right Granite Tablet is Inscribed:

Names of Southern Officers and Soldiers buried from ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND and STATE UNKNOWN


Front of Granite Tablet / Left of Monument and
"THE LOOKOUT" is Inscribed:

IN THIS HALLOWED GROUND SURROUNDED BY THE IRON FENCE AND GATES THAT DATE TO 1912, ARE TWO HUNDRED SIX MARBLE GRAVE MARKERS. THESE MARKERS WERE PLACED IN 1890, COURTESY OF THE CITIZENS OF GEORGIA, REPLACING THE ORIGINAL HAND CARVED WOODEN MARKERS. IN 1904 THE ROBERT PATTON CHAPTER 449 UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY PURCHASED THE CEMETERY AND CARED FOR IT UNTIL IT WAS PRESENTED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN A FORMAL CEREMONY ON 5 JUNE 1932.

TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN SETS OF REMAINS OF THOSE WHO DIED IN THE PRISON CAMP FROM 1862 TO 1865 HAVE BEEN LOCATED THROUGH THE USE OF NON-INVASIVE GROUND PENETRATING RADAR. THESE EARTHLY REMAINS ARE GUARDED BY "THE LOOKOUT"; THE BEAUTIFUL BRONZE STATUE, CREATED BY CONFEDERATE STATES VETERAN SIR MOSES EZEKIEL, THAT WAS DEDICATED IN 1910. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE CONFEDERATE OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN WHO PERISHED IN THE PRISON HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED, THOUGH SOME SOURCES INDICATE THAT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED DIED WHILE IMPRISONED ON THE ISLAND. THIS WORK WAS ACCOMPLISHED USING THE BEST AVAILABLE SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND PRIMARY RESOURCES AT THE TIME.

THE JOHNSON'S ISLAND COMMITTEE LEAVES TO FUTURE GENERATIONS, PERHAPS YET UNKNOWN, AND TO TECHNOLOGY YET DEVISED, TO FULLY RECONCILE THE INFORMATION.

Back of Left Granite Tablet is Inscribed:

Names of Southern Officers and Soldiers buried from MISSISSIPPI, MISSOURI, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS and VIRGINIA


Photos by JTMcA July 9, 2003 and September 10, 2006



Additional Johnson's Island information:
The Official Johnson's Island Memorial Project
Johnson's Island History ~ National Park Service
Unlocking a Civil War Prison ~ Archaeology Magazine
"Johnson's Island Prison Site" by Roy S. Swartz from Docsnews.com

Our Civil War interests / sites:
Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table
9th Pennsylvania Reserves

Stay @ Wagner's 1884 Inn while in or near Sandusky Ohio:
Wagner's 1884 Inn, Sandusky Ohio


CW Tombstone Photographs CW Tombstone Inscriptions Virtual Home Page Email:tandnmca@westol.com



Copyright 2003 - 2006 by Tom & Nancy McAdams
Posted July 14, 2003 / Updated September 12th, 2006