Johnson’s Island is located in Lake Erie within the bay of Sandusky, Ohio. During the Civil War years, this island was used as a Confederate prison camp.
Using lumber from trees on the island, a stockade and a dozen barracks were hastily built that housed nearly 15,000 Confederate prisoners of war. The camp was originally designed to hold only 2,500 prisoners but quickly became overcrowded and poor drainage in the soil caused privies to overflow with waste. In addition, the freezing winds off Lake Erie made living conditions brutal in winter.
In all, over 200 Confederate prisoners died of disease and war wounds and were buried in the prison’s cemetery. The prison was abandoned at the finish of the war. In 1910 the Daughters of the Confederacy erected a bronze statue in the cemetery called “The Lookout” by Southern sculptor Moses J. Ezekial. The cemetery is said to be haunted and there have been several reports over the years of visitors witnessing Confederate soldiers walking amongst the tombstones. A few have claimed to hear the disembodied voices of the prisoners! Legend has it that a group of Italian immigrants hired to work a nearby quarry at the turn of the century would inexplicably sing “Dixie” even though they did not speak English!