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Fort Johnson in Sandusky bay, lake Erie This photograph shows one of the forts used to guard the prisoners at Johnson's Island, Lake Erie. The prison here was expected to be sufficient to accommodate the whole number of prisoners taken during the war, in which, however, Quartermaster-General Meigs was much disappointed. When Lieutenant-Colonel William Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, had been ordered to Lake Erie in the fall of 1861 to select a prison-site, with the limitation that it must be in no higher latitude ‘than the west end of Lake Erie, in order to avoid too rigorous a climate,’ he reported in favor of Johnson's Island, lying in Sandusky Bay, about two and a half miles from the city of Sandusky. The prison fence, enclosing about seventeen acres, had sentry posts upon the outside, while inside were rude barracks about two stories high. This prison was first commanded by Major W. S. Pierson, and was then under charge of Colonel Charles W. Hill. After the first year of its existence it was occupied exclusively as an officers' prison. Sometimes more than three thousand were confined here at the same time. The average was about two thousand five hundred. Conditions in this prison were generally good, although the prisoners from the Gulf States suffered intensely from the cold winds from Lake Erie. Some of them froze on the terrible New Year's Day of 1864.

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W. S. Pierson (1)
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