Saturday, October 24, 2015
Sandusky Men in Libby Prison During the Civil War
This print of Libby Prison, as it appeared on August 23, 1863, was donated to the Sandusky Library by Mrs. I.F. Mack. Sandusky’s well known newspaper editor, Isaac F. Mack, was imprisoned in Libby Prison and two other Southern prison camps during the Civil War. Fortunately he survived the war and had a very successful newspaper career with the Sandusky Register.
Many other area men spent time at Libby Prison, including Fred Frey, Jr., Delos Ransom, Foster Neill, Frank Colver, William B. Rice, Wilbur F. Cowles, and John M. Butler, the son in law of Jay Cooke. In December of 1863, the Ladies Aid Society from Sandusky sent packages of food which were distributed to local men who were imprisoned at the prison in Richmond, Virginia. Captains C.H. Riggs and O.H. Rosenbaum, with the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, sent a letter of thanks to the Ladies Aid Society, to the attention of Mrs. T.D. West, the Society’s secretary-treasurer. The men were thrilled to have such a package from their hometown in the midst of a dismal prison setting. The letter appeared in the January 30, 1864 issue of the Sandusky Register, and read in part:
“To the ladies, first, (God bless them) we tender our most grateful thanks; secondly, to all others who in any way contributed thereto. Such form the bright spots in our life in Libby. Though irksome our stay in prison, we are of good cheer. Having been blessed with good health, we have no fault to find; full of confidence in the integrity of our Government, well assured that our interest are not forgotten there, and that, as soon as an exchange can be effected compatible with best interest of all, we will be released, we cheerfully submit. In conclusion, allow us to again thank the ladies and them our best wishes for their perfect success in the human work in which they are engaged, alleviating the sufferings of the sick, the sorrowful, &c. Colonel Wilson wishes to be especially remembered, and, with the other members of “Mess 32” will ever cherish in his heart of hearts the memory of the Ladies of Sandusky.”
To learn more about area men who served during the Civil War, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Many sources, both online and in print, can aid in searching for information about Civil War soldiers.