Side A: On this site once stood the Ohio Penitentiary, which was built in 1834 and operated through 1984. Incarcerated here in July 1863 was Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, a cavalry commander known as the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy,” and about 70 of his officers. Morgan’s Raiders brought the Civil War to the North with a spectacular raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio in the summer of 1863. The raid ended with Morgan’s capture in far eastern Ohio. (continued on other side)
Side B: Morgan surrendered the remnant of his command on July 26, 1863, near West Point in Columbiana County, the northernmost point reached by any significant force of armed Confederates during the war. He and his officers were sent to the Ohio Penitentiary rather than to a prisoner of war camp because of reports that captured Union officers had received similar treatment. This proved to be to Morgan’s advantage: in November 1863, he and six of his officers escaped by tunneling from an air shaft beneath their cells into the prison yard and scaling the walls. Only two escapees were recaptured. Morgan returned to Confederate service and was killed in 1864.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Brig. Gen. Roswell S. Ripley Camp 1535, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and The Ohio Historical Society