​Escaping the Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison

 Tuesday, July 13, 2021 
3:00pm-4:30pm  
Orchestra Hall

Escaping the Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison

Choosing to escape from imprisonment at Johnson’s Island brought with it an excitement of outsmarting the Yankee guard with the realization of the threat of death. Once prisoners grasped there was little chance of exchange, many gave serious thought to finding a means to flee the prison. There was no dishonor in waiting out their imprisonment, but some choose to risk everything to get back to family and fellow comrades in the Confederacy. Escape was the most dangerous option for a prisoner. If caught beyond the deadline of the prison, the guard could shoot them without any further provocation. This well illustrated presentation combines both historical and archaeological evidence to recount the humorous and not so humorous means devised to escape and their chances of success.


Dr. David Bush

From 1988 through 2017, Dr. Bush was immersed in the archaeological and historical investigation of the Johnson's Island Prisoner of War Depot-a Union prison confining Confederate Officers-located in Lake Erie. His early efforts to legitimize its significance led to its recognition as a National Historic Landmark in 1990. Over the years, Bush brought thousands of students and volunteers of all ages to explore this Civil War prison site. Dr. Bush is an emphatic advocate for diligent awareness and constant evaluation of the overall context of material culture. Since 2017, Dr. Bush continues gathering and reviewing documents from museums, historical societies, and living descendants of the prisoners and guard to help in the understanding of this complex site. Combining the archaeological and historical records has allowed Dr. Bush to publish extensively on Johnson’s Island. His first book on Johnson’s Island, I Fear I Shall Never Leave This Island, was published in 2011.

September 2021
S M T W T F S
·
·
·
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
·
·