Abstract: Life as a POW: Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison from the Ground Up


Historical and archaeological evidence from the Johnson's Island Civil War Military Prison (Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio) allows examination of the choices that POWs had during the American Civil War.  Over 10,000 Confederate Officers were imprisoned at Johnson’s Island throughout the war.  Newly confined Confederate officers had to cope with thoughts about survival, escape, or assimilation.  This well illustrated presentation summarizes the results of twenty-two years of research exploring prisoners attempting to cope with these choices through the archaeological and historical records.  The archaeological record provides the untold story of POW existence and the historical accounts make it all very personal. 


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

David Bush,   I Fear I  Shall Never Leave This Island:  Life in a Civil War Prison, Published by the University Press of Florida, Fall, 2011.

David Bush, "Doing Time-How Confederate POWs weathered captivity." in The Archaeology of War, Mark Rose ed. 2005.

David Bush, "Interpreting the Latrines of the Johnson's Island Civil War Military Prison." Historical Archaeology. 34(1):62:78.. 2000.

Charles Frohman, Rebels on Lake Erie. Columbus, Ohio-Ohio Historical Society, 1965.


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