Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 1863 (Tuesday): Plot Against Johnson's Island

Johnson's Island

Washington, D. C., November 11, 1863.
Major-General COX,
Commanding in Ohio, Columbus or Cincinnati:
    The British minister, Lord Lyons, has to-night officially notified the Government that, from telegraphic information received from the Governor-General of Canada, there is reason to believe that a plot is on foot by persons hostile to the United States, who have found an asylum in Canada, to invade the United States and destroy the city of Buffalo; that they propose to take possession of some of the steam-boats on Lake erie, to surprise Johnson's Island, and set free the prisoners of war confined there, and to proceed with them to attack Buffalo. You will proceed immediately to Sandusky and take such measures for the security of the prisoners and the protection of the northern frontier of Ohio against invasion by rebels and their aiders and abettors from Canada as circumstances may require, reporting fully to this Department any information which you may have upon the subject. You are authorized to call upon the Governor of Ohio for any volunteer force that may be required, and to make requisition upon this Department for any ordnance, arms, or other supplies that may be necessary.

     Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 1015.

Canada was not actively involved in the Civil War, but its citizens generally sympathized with the Union.  However, there was sympathy for the South in eastern Canada and Confederate agents were active.  After this plot was broken up, two fortifications were constructed at Johnson's Island and there were no more serious threats to security there.

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