War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0330 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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submit for your immediate consideration the following special report concerning the military prison on Johnson's Island, Ohio:


Locality and topography. - The military prison for commissioned officers, prisoners of war, is located on Johnson's Island, Sandusky Bay, Ohio. The island is three miles from Sandusky City and about one mile from the mainland on the opposite side. The soil is a mixture of clay and loam, from two to eight feet in depth, resting on hard limestone rock, which in many places crops out upon the surface. Near the center of the island, which is about a mile and a half long by from onequarter to one-third of a mile wide, is an elevated ridge running parallel with the long axis of the island, known as the Hog's Back. On either side of this ridge the ground slopes gradually to the water. The island was formerly covered with forest trees, which have been used for fuel. The Government is now constructing two forts on this island; one, the larger of the two, is situated on the Hog's Back, the other is immediately north of the prison barracks.

Climatology. - As much has been said concerning the climate of this island, and as the Government has been even accused of inhumanity in putting prisoners of war thereon, I place on record the following meteorological statistics of Kelley's Island, which lies near Johnson's Island. They are taken from the annual report of Mr. G. C. Huntington and are copied by me from a Sandusky paper:

Month. 1860. 1861. 1862.

January... 28.60 27.22 27.22

February... 29.17 32.42 26.73

March... 39.96 34.73 32.93

April... 45.25 46.82 44.70

May... 61.44 53.28 56.83

June... 68.38 68.43 64.80

July... 70.69 70.69 73.14

August... 70.72 79.82 73.39

September... 61.26 65.28 67.09

October... 53.40 55.42 54.37

November... 40.07 41.04 40.40

December... 26.95 35.80 34.39

Annual mean... 49.66 50.24 49.70

Month. 1863. 1864. Mean.

January... 26.48 32.36 28.08

February... 29.00 30.02 29.47

March... 32.00 33.98 34.72

April... 43.03 45.02 44.96

May... 59.92 59.95 58.28

June... 66.51 69.71 67.56

July... 71.42 76.17 72.42

August... 72.16 75.00 72.62

September... 62.46 64.41 64.10

October... 50.14 51.23 52.91

November... 43.07 41.00 41.11

December... 34.37 28.67 32.04

Annual mean... 49,70 50.03 32.04

Military prison. - the barracks constituting the military prison are situated in an inclosure of about seventeen acres. The police and drainage of this inclosure are very defective, but in no particular is this so marked as in that of the sinks.

Condition of sinks. - Owing to the geological formation sinks cannot be dug more than eight feet deep, and blasting to a greater depth is extremely difficult, owing to the character of the rock and the position af its strata. It follows that in a few weeks' time the sinks become full and new pits have to be opened. This has been so often repeated that the ground north and south of the prison barracks for a distance of fifty feet on either side may now be considered as one continuous sink, very superficially covered, and saturating the whole ground down to tho rock. At my inspection these sinks were in the filthiest condition imaginable, the excrementitious matter in some of them rising high above the seat and coverning the floor.

Remedies. - To remedy this state of affairs two thigs are necessary: First, the introduction of water and water-closets; second, a more complete system of drainage.