Johnson's Island in Ottawa County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Confederate Stockade Cemetery
On November 15, 1861, the War Department leased one half of Johnson’s Island, in Sandusky Bay, Ohio, and began constructing a 15-acre prison camp on the southeast shore. When complete, the prison complex included a 14-foot-tall board stockade that enclosed thirteen barracks, one of which served as a hospital. Each barracks had two external kitchens. Forty structures outside the complex housed prison staff. A redoubt with artillery looked down on the prison to guard against insurrection.
In June 1862, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered that all Confederate officers held at Camp Chase prison in Columbus, Ohio, be moved to Johnson’s Island. It became the official prison for Confederate officers; however, non-officers were held there, and officers were interned elsewhere.
Over the course of the war, about 12,000 prisoners were confined on Johnson’s Island. Compared to other Civil War prison facilities, a remarkably low number – 239 – died, despite the harsh climate and remote location. The first recorded death was David T. J. Wood on May 6, 1862; William Michael, who died in June
Prisoners who died at Johnson’s Island were buried in a cemetery about a half mile from the prison. The soft, loamy island soil made digging easy, but 4-5 feet below ground was solid bedrock, which prevented burials at customary levels of 6 feet. Each grave was marked with a wooden headboard.
After the war, friends or relatives removed more than twenty bodies. Marble headstones – 206 total – were erected in 1890 through the efforts of a group of Georgia journalists who visited the cemetery and reported in state newspapers the lack of permanent markers. Many of these headstones remain in place today.
Mary Patton Hudson
In 1905, the Robert Patton Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), bought the cemetery and adjacent lot from private owners. This purchase linked the cemetery and Mary Patton Hudson, the chapter’s leader, for more than twenty years. Mrs. Hudson, known for her determination, worked diligently on behalf of the cemetery. After the Commission for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead was authorized in 1906, Mrs. Hudson immediately began lobbying for cemetery improvements including a new fence. Commissioner William Elliott declined to pay to enclose a cemetery the federal government did not own. Mrs. Hudson refused to relinquish the property.
Erected by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Cemetery Administration.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1756.
Location. 41° 30.045′ N, 82° 43.812′ W. Marker is on Johnson's Island, Ohio, in Ottawa County. Marker is on Confederate Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lakeside Marblehead OH 43440, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Johnson's Island Civil War Prison and Fort Site (here, next to this marker); Johnson's Island Prison (a few steps from this marker); The Lookout (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Johnson Island Monument (about 300 feet away); The Johnson’s Island Committee (about 300 feet away); Veterans Memorial Bench Johnson's Island Civil War Prison (approx. 0.4 miles away); Johnson's Island (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Johnson's Island.
More about this marker. A photograph of “The redoubt at Johnson’s Island, c. 1863, Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War” appears on the left of the marker. Two photographs of the cemetery are at the center of the marker. They have captions of “Confederate Stockade Cemetery, c. 1901.” and “The cemetery after the headstones were placed, pre-1910.” Both are from the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. A photo at the lower left depicts “Unveiling ‘The Lookout’ statue in 1910.” Finally, a c. 1905 portrait of Mary Patton Hudson appears at the bottom of the marker with a caption of “Mrs. Hudson sent this photograph to Commissioner Elliott, ‘So he would know who he was talking to.’ ”
Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 5, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 34 times this year. Last updated on January 28, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 5, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.