McFarland Civil War Book of the Week: A Northern Confederate at Johnson’s Island Prison

A Northern Confederate at Johnson’s Island Prison: The Civil War Diaries of James Parks Caldwell

Editor: George H. Jones

TOCWOC’s Take:
A Northern Confederate at Johnson's Island Prison: The Civil War Diaries of James Parks CaldwellA Northern Confederate at Johnson’s Island Prison is the 18 month diary of prison life at Johnson’s Island, a Union prison near Sandusky, Ohio.  James Parks Caldwell was a Confederate artillery lieutenant who served in the western theater until being captured in 1863.  Anyone interested in prison conditions and prison life in the Civil War will find this book a good read.  However, the book also contains a biography of Caldwell’s fascinating life.  Caldwell was an Ohioan by birth, which made his service in the Confederate army quite unusual.  Ironically, he found himself right back in Ohio, but at a Northern prison camp!  Another unusual touch is an essay describing Caldwell’s interests in literature and classical Greek and Latin writings.  Some of Caldwell’s poems are included at the back of the book.  Taken as a whole, this is a unique (due to the individual) and fascinating (due to the subject matter) look at conditions within a Union Civil War prison.

Book Info from McFarland Web Site:

About the Book

A college graduate at 16 and a founder of the Sigma Chi fraternity, Caldwell entered the Confederate Army as an artillery lieutenant. He fought at Shiloh, Port Hudson and other campaigns before being captured in 1863 and imprisoned on Johnson’s Island, in Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio. He kept a daily diary for 18 months, describing the prison food and conditions, as well as his classical and intellectual interests. The book features letters, a poem, notes, and an index.

About the Author

The late James Parks Caldwell was a lawyer, college instructor, and Confederate soldier. Editor George H. Jones is retired and lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Click here to read more at the McFarland web site…

Buy the Book Online

ISBN: 978-0-7864-4471-7

Publisher: McFarland & Company (

Release Date: May 27, 2010

Price: $45.00

Order Line: 800-253-2187

Other Info: 15 photos, appendix, notes, index 277 pp. softcover 2010


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *