In June of 1861, only a few weeks after the first shots at Fort Sumter ignited the Civil War, Union prisoners of war began to arrive in Southern prisons. One hundred and fifty years later, Civil War prisons and the way prisoners of war were treated remain contentious topics. Partisans of each side continue to vilify the other for POW maltreatment.
"Informative and well presented."
In 1861, Lt. Col. William Hoffman was appointed to the post of commissary general of prisoners and urged to find a suitable site for the construction of what was expected to be the Union's sole military prison. After inspecting four islands in Lake Erie, Hoffman came upon one in Sandusky Bay known as Johnson's Island. With a large amount of fallen timber, 40 acres of cleared land, and its proximity to Sandusky, Ohio, Johnson's Island seemed the ideal location for the Union's purpose.