6. Rikers Island Was Once a Civil War Base

In its early days, Rikers Island was used as Union Army training ground during the Civil War –by the 9th New York Infantry, known as “Hawkins Zouaves,” and the 20th Colored Regiment, who had to be separated to different parts of the island. Rikers Island was later used by a number of other regiments, including the Anderson Zouaves and the 36th New York State Volunteers. Towards the end of the war, the Island was also served as a prisoner-of-war camp for captured Confederate Army soldiers.