Local History Collections

Collection ID: 285
Location: LH 368

(Description ID: 595693)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

JohnsonÕs Island Confederate Prison

Printed Materials




Historical Sketch

Scope and Content



The material was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in 2011 by Charles B. Schultz, the creator of the collection.  Further information about JohnsonÕs Island can be found in the CenterÕs Local History file, the Charles E. Frohman Collection, and Local History Collection 250.

Historical Sketch:

JohnsonÕs Island is located in Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie.  Although privately owned by Leonard B. Johnson, the United States Government leased half of the island during the Civil War, owing to its strategic location.  In April of 1862 the JohnsonÕs Island Prison opened and served primarily as a prison for Confederate officers until it was closed in September of 1865.  The island prison was the site for a major prison escape attempt, led by Charles Cole and John Yates Beall in the summer and fall of 1864.  The scheme involved capturing the USS Michigan, which was stationed on Lake Erie.   The plot, however, was discovered, leading to the imprisonment of Cole and the execution of Beall.  Following the foiling of the plot, Forts Johnson and Hill were built during the winter of 1864-65 to provide further protection of the area.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of photocopies of documents and published works regarding the prison on JohnsonÕs Island.  Copies of a wide range of correspondence, periodicals etc. are present from the years the prison was in operation from 1862 to1865.  Likewise, copies of a number of scholarly articles, focusing on events involving the prison on JohnsonÕs Island and related subjects, make up a large part of the collection.  Also, present are typed bibliographies of other existing sources on such topics. The collection addresses various topics and events of the Civil War in the Lake Erie area; however, the main focus of the collection is the plot by Cole and Beall to liberate the Confederate prisoners of war.


Ac. 5784

1 ½ linear ft.

#1     Accessible Archives: Bibliography

#2     Accounts of Capture of Philo Parsons & Island Queens

#3     Anderson, Captain George N. Š POW

#4     Attack on USS Michigan & Prison

#5     Beall, John Y.-correspondence

#6     Beall, John Y.-Diary & Correspondence

#7     Beall, John Y.-Execution

#8     Beall, John Y.-HarperÕs New Monthly

#9     Beall, John Y.-Memoir

#10   Beall, John Y.-President Lincoln Case

#11   Bennett G. Burley Articles

#12   Bennett G. Extradition Report

#13   Bibliography, JohnsonÕs Island

#14   Bush, David-Archeology

#15   Case John C. Carter, Comm. USS Michigan

#16   Canada & Civil War

#17   Center for Archival Collections-Article Citation

#18   Confederate Conspirators in  Lake Erie

#19   Correspondence & Misc.

#20   Court Cases

#21   Diplomatic Correspondence:  Bennett G. Burley

#22   Diplomatic Correspondence of JohnsonÕs Island Affair

#23   Douglas, Henry Kyd:  POW

#24   Dooley, John:  POW

#25   End of War-Article About Jacob Thompson

#26   Escape Attempt of Pierce, Lt.Charlie-POW

#27   Escapes, List of Burials

#28   Escape Plots

#29   Execution of Kennedy, Robert Cobb

#30   Firelands Pioneer: Burr, T.S.

#31   General M. Jeff Thompson Š Soldier Š Rhetorician

#32   Hall, Lucien, Prison Sketch Book

#33   Headly, John W. Š Operations on Canada

#34   Hildebrand, Craig W. Š Piracy on Lake Erie

#35   Holt, James C. Š Confederate POW

#36   How confederates Plotted to Capture the USS Michigan

#37   Journal of Taylor. Capt. Thomas J. Š POW

#38   Maps & Plates

#39   Memoirs of  A Great Dectective: John Wilson Murry

#40   Mount Hope Oil Co.

#41   Official Records of Union & Confederate Navies

#42   Pelzer, John & Linda Š Confederates on Lake Erie

#43   Plot to Liberate JohnsonÕs Island POW

#44   Out of Frozen Hell

#45   Prison Bibliography

#46   Prison History

#47   Prison History of L.H. Douthat

#48   Shepard, Frederick Job Š The JohnsonÕs Island Plot

#49   Bradley, Rogers A. Š The Northern Theater in Civil War

#50   F.A. Poe Š US Steamer Michigan & Lake Frontier War of the Rebellion

#51   Soldiers View of  JohnsonÕs Island

#52   Stevenson, Frederick Boyd Š The Johnson/s Island Conspiracy

#53   Stranding, James Š The Lottery of Death

#54   ŅThompson ConspiracyÓ Š Southern Historical Papers 

#55   Trial of Bennett G. Burley

#56   Trimble, Tony Š A Quiet Sabbath: Reflections From JohnsonÕs Island

#57   Union & Confederate Navies

#58   USS Michigan

#59   Valedictory Address to the YMCA

#60   Weieks, Robin W. Š civil War Canada & United States

#61   White, Raymond D. Š Colonel John A. FiteÕs Letters from Prison

#62   Wright, Richard J. Š Stars & Bars over Lake Erie

#63   Yankee Rebel Š By John C. Barrett

#64   Zarrnow, William Frank Š Confederate Raiders on Lake Erie