Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 21, 1990):
Johnson's Island, the site of an important Confederate prisoners-of-war camp during much of the Civil War, is located 2.5 miles northwest of Sandusky, Ohio, in Sandusky Bay. Johnson's Island was chosen because of its size (large enough to house the facility and yet small enough to be easily manageable), wood resources (mostly for fuel), and its proximity to Sandusky which would make provisioning possible. Because of its mission as the major depot for the confinement of Confederate general, field, and company grade officers, Johnson's Island assumes particular significance as a critical element in the war of attrition that brought victory to the Union. Although plots and conspiracies by Confederate agents operating from Canadian sanctuaries and Northern Copperheads to foment mass escapes came to naught, they compelled the Lincoln Administration to divert needed resources of men and materiel from more important theaters of the war.