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Civil War historian to speak at library

Named for the man who previously owned the island, the Johnson’s Island Prison was constructed to hold Confederate officers captured during the Civil War.


The Tuscarawas Valley Civil War Round Table will host Civil War historian and author Roger Pickenpaugh on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. Pickenpaugh will discuss his book, “Johnson's Island: A Prison for Confederate Officers.”
Located in Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie, Johnson's Island was created to serve as the Union's sole military prison. Johnson’s Island tells the story of the camp from its planning stages until the end of the war. Because the facility housed only officers, several literate diary keepers were on hand. Pickenpaugh draws on their accounts as well as prison records to provide a depiction of day-to-day life.
Hunger, boredom, harsh conditions and few luxuries were all the prisoners knew until the end of the war when parts of Johnson’s Island were auctioned off. The post was then ordered abandoned, and the island was mustered out of service.
There has not been a book dedicated to Johnson’s Island since 1965. Pickenpaugh presents an eloquent and knowledgeable overview of a prison that played a tremendous role in the lives of countless soldiers. It is a book sure to interest Civil War buffs and scholars alike.
Pickenpaugh recently retired after a 30-year teaching career at Shenandoah Middle School in Sarahsville, Ohio. His books include studies of outstanding weather events in Ohio and the Civil War. His first book in the latter category was “Rescue by Rail: Troop Transfer and the Civil War in the West, 1863.”
In recent years he has studied Civil War prisons. His first book on that topic was “Camp Chase and the Evolution of Union Prison Policy.” This was the study of a major Ohio prison.
Last year the University of Alabama Press published “Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union.” This book was awarded the 2010 James I Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize by the Central New Jersey Civil War Round Table.
Pickenpaugh has completed a companion volume, “Captives in Blue,” and his next project will be a history of the ship, Carpathia, which rescued the survivors of the Titanic tragedy.
Pickenpaugh lives in Noble County Ohio with his wife and co-researcher Marion.  
A book-signing will follow the program, which is free and open to all. For more information about the program or the Tuscarawas Valley Civil War Round Table, call the Dover Public Library at 330-343-6123.

Published: December 7, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171209995