Preserving Peninsula's Past for the Future.

Medical Treatment of Confederate POWs at the Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison

The Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison, located in Lake Erie, affords an opportunity to examine the medical treatment of POWs captured by the Union during the American Civil War. The site’s well defined Compound, consisting of thirteen barracks (Blocks), included Block 6, the Prison Hospital. Archaeological exploration of this Block has included excavation of several of the “sinks” or latrines used by its occupants behind the buildings, as well as very  recent exploration of the block location itself. This well illustrated power point presentation will explore the historical and archaeological evidence for what supplies were provided to the prisoners throughout the war, the diet of sick prisoners, and the ailments they suffered.

While serving as Professor of Anthropology at Heidelberg University, Dr. Bush also directs the Center for Historic and Military Archaeology, and has been a national lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. For over twenty years he has been immersed in the investigation of the Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War Depot—a Union prison confining Confederate Officers—located in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie. His work led to it being recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1990. Dr. Bush has led thousands of students and volunteers of all ages in exploring this Civil War prison site and is an emphatic advocate for diligent awareness and constant evaluation of the overall context in which material culture is found. His research has included many years and a great deal of energy gathering and reviewing documents from museums, historical societies, and living relatives of the prisoners and guards. Combining the archaeological and historical records has allowed Dr. Bush to publish several articles on Johnson’s Island, and he currently has a book in review combining the historical and archaeological records.