Monday, August 04, 2008

Cartes de Visite from Johnson's Island

While the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the Hoffman Battalion, was the main unit stationed at the Johnson’s Island Prison Camp during the Civil War, in 1864 other units were also brought in. Mrs. Charles Livingston Hubbard donated three carte-de-visites of Civil War soldiers to the Sandusky Library historical museum in 1920. Mrs. Hubbard was the daughter of William T. West, who built the West House hotel with his brother Abel West in 1858. William T. West and Philander Gregg received the government contract to build the initial buildings at Johnson’s Island Prison. William West appears in the image below in the late 1800’s.
The carte de visite was a small photograph, designed to be used in place of a calling card or as a pocket-sized memento of a loved one.

Captain George A. Bernard’s picture was taken by Sandusky photographer R. E. Weeks. A search in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database located a General George A. Bernard in the 65th New York Infantry. R. E. Weeks featured an advertisement in the 1858 Sandusky City Directory for his “Ambrotype & Daguerreotype Gallery,” located over Olds Book Store on Columbus Avenue. By 1869, Weeks was listed as a photographer.

Dr. Roller’s photograph was taken by C.V. Olds. Charles V. Olds had a bookselling business on Columbus Avenue, but during the Civil War, he also ran a “Union Photograph Gallery” at his bookstore. Dr. Charles W. Roller is listed as a surgeon with the Pennsylvania 23rd Infantry in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database. A third Civil War soldier is Major A. E. King, whose photograph was taken by C. V. Olds. To date, his Civil War unit has not been identified. If anyone knows more details about Major King, please leave a comment on the blog. Mrs. Hubbard was only nine years of age when these photographs were taken, so they were most likely passed on to her from her parents. William T. West was a well-connected Sandusky businessman, and perhaps he encouraged local photographers to get to know the visiting soldiers, and promote the local economy as well.

Many resources pertaining to the Johnson’s Island Prison are available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. Charles Frohman’s book Rebels on Lake Erie discusses prison life as well as the conspiracy of prisoners to escape. James E. Duffy’s Victim of Honor is a historical novel based on the plot engineered by Confederate officer John Yates Beall to free prisoners from the Johnson's Island Civil War Prison Camp.

The Follett House Museum has many artifacts from Johnson’s Island, including a barber chair that was built by the prisoners.


Jon-Erik said...

A.E. King = Adam Eckfeldt King of the 31st New York Infantry. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to some papers of Adam Eckfeldt King:

Craig Hubbard said...

Charles Livingston Hubbard is a direct descendant of George Hubbard (1601-1685) of Middletown CT.
See the line at this URL: