For those with an interest in the Haunted Places of the Civil War, most are familiar with tales of former prison sites that have become known as haunted over the years. The most famous of these prisons are located in the southern regions of America, but there is one particularly infamous one that lies just off the shores of Haunted Ohio. In the frigid waters of Lake Erie lies a 300 acre dot of land called Johnson's Island. Designed as a prison camp for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, the place was especially brutal in the winter months to men who hailed from a much more temperate climate. The compound here was designed to hold 1000 men... but actually confined up to 15,000 at one time.
Here, these prisoners lived and died in barracks with only single pine walls to hold back the chilling winds. There was no escape from this place and during its years of operation only twelve men ever made it to freedom and their fate is unknown. They vanished across the winter ice towards the Ohio shoreline and were never seen again. Today, the island is a lonely place with worn stones marking the graves of the soldiers who died in captivity here. It is here, and among the trees, that apparitions of Confederates have been seen for many years.
Strangely, their voices have been heard also. Many years ago, Italian workers who were hired to dig at the stone quarry, began singing a song that many of them had never heard before. In fact, according to the superintendent, many of the men did not even speak English.
It was not a song that reminded them of home... but it may have reminded previous occupants of the island. The song was "Dixie".
For a more complete story of Johnson's Island, see Troy Taylor's book, "Spirits of the Civil War: A Guide to Haunted Places" Available October 1998
Johnson's Island is located on Lake Erie, about three miles north of Sandusky, Ohio
and a half-mile south of the Marblehead Peninsula.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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