Program to outline Civil War initiative

Author Steven D. Harris is to discuss people, places and events contained in his new book, “Faded Lines of Gray,” at 1 p.m. Saturday with a book signing following the presentation. He is to speak at the American Civil War Museum of Ohio, 217 S. Washington St.

Although described as a work of historical fiction, “Faded Lines of Gray” is the true story of one of the most daring exploits of the Civil War: to free rebel prisoners held captive on Johnson’s Island and simultaneously capture the only U.S. warship on the Great Lakes, the U.S.S. Michigan.

“The Union prison camp at Johnson’s Island held thousands of captured Confederate officers, including as many as six generals, in the summer of 1864,” according to Harris. “That made it an inviting target for rebel planners operating out of Canada. The fact that the Michigan was there at the

same time made it irresistible.”

The Johnson’s Island expedition in September 1864 was one of several behind-the-lines efforts by Confederates to create havoc just prior to the presidential election in the North.

Because President Lincoln refused to negotiate with the South, the Confederates were anxious to affect the election outcome in the North. They saw it as a chance to achieve their goal of maintaining an independent country.

“Three thousand Confederates on the loose in Ohio and a captured battleship shelling cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo could help accomplish that objective,” Harris said.

For this event, admission is reduced to $4 for adults and $2 for children.

For more information, visit or call (419) 455-9551.