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 containing barracks, belong entirely to the North. All of them were overcrowded at times; the drainage was frequently bad, and the water supply was generally insufficient. Though several had been previously used as recruiting and instruction camps, such use had been only for a few months at a time, and the soldiers had had, of course, large liberty. On the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel William Hoffman, as commissary-general of prisoners, October 7, 1861, he was immediately ordered to select a prison site in the North, but was limited to no higher latitude ‘ than the west end of Lake Erie, in order to avoid too rigorous a climate.’ Colonel Hoffman reported in favor of Johnson's Island, lying in Sandusky Bay, about two and a half miles from the city of Sandusky. The island was about a mile and a half long and from one-quarter to one-third of a mile wide, and was covered with trees. The prison fence, enclosing about seventeen acres, had sentry posts on the outside, while inside were rude barracks two stories high. In the beginning, it was thought that this prison, together with the forts already mentioned, would be sufficient to house all prisoners, as no one then dreamed that as many as sixty thousand would be in durance at one time. Colonel Hoffman was expected to take charge of this prison. The first commandant was W. S. Pierson, a business man of Sandusky, entirely without military training, who was commissioned major to command a battalion of prison guards raised for the purpose. He was later succeeded by Colonel Charles W. Hill, who commanded to the end. The number of Confederate prisoners soon became so large that other prisons were necessary, and during 1862 it was determined to restrict this prison to officers. The number so confined after August, 1863, ranged from about seventeen hundred to about three thousand two hundred and fifty, with an average of about two thousand five hundred. On the whole, conditions here were good, except that sanitation was neglected. Camp Morton, at Indianapolis, was originally the State
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