Smallpox at Alton prison

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Smallpox at Alton prison - PAGE EtonfEEN ALTON EVENING John Allen Writes:...
PAGE EtonfEEN ALTON EVENING John Allen Writes: 4> ** Smallpox Epidemic Killed Civil War Prisoners Here wrtrds above the pointing arrow tell MS that it is a "Confederate Cometpry." A visitor to this burying ground is impressed with its simplicity. The usual array of monuments and gravestones is absent. In fact, only one marker is evident on oners of war and whose graves cannot now be ictehtified. 1-384 Names Mated Four large bronze tablets, one on each side of the base,beneath the shaft, carry the names of the 1,354 known dead. These names are arranged alphabetical- ittonal flap noun each day and the five-acre ptet Inclosed by a j ly and 'there are no Indications of fkmfhm, tlllnol* University one cannon like those they know sWrdy iron fence. Neither is the |military rank After all. why et the Civil'>h™. their graves are in ordered well-kept, hilly ground crowded should it matter now? O f j row?, marked by'familiar appear i with shrubbery or trees. There is convincing evidence to i ins stonrs. lettering on the stone- The lone marker, a square stone Ithnt this listing does not Include entrance says, jshf«rt about 60 feet tall, stands a nearly all who died in the prison ; short distance within the north j or on the adjacent island, the ,i entrance gate. On the east side of am are take note of the role that this section had in the conflict. For," v -*- National Cemetery. this purpose there are two inter-i Tlir second cemetery is esting cemeteries in Alton. One occupies a small portion of the old city cemetery, the one having the Lovejoy monument. North Alton. A thin black arrow j < hf > shaf| . at i{ s bottom here is on a white marker at the inter-!«" inscripion telling visitors that section of Stnte and Roxier streets at flip 2.300 block on State points the marker was: "Erected by the United States Union soldiers, members of the i west to the field where 1.354; to mark the burial place of 1,354 Alton garrison Who died at that jknown war dead are buried. They ^Confederate soldiers who died post during the war, res! in flic;are a part, hut only a part, of ] here and at the smallpox hospital plot. Watched over by the na-1 (lit- prisoners who died there. Two on the adjacent island while pris- SENSATIONAL VALUES CHILDREN'S SLIPPERS WARM and COZY FUR TRIM ANIMAL PETS BELGIAN SLIPPER CRAFTSSE 315 BELLE ST. OPEN EVERY NITE 'TIL 9 P.M. same one toward which Abraham Lincoln and James Shellds are said to have journeyed to fight a duel that happily did not take place. Skeletons unearthed in 1936 indicate that many, some say thousands, were buried on the island during the smallpox epidem- is that raged at the prison in late and early, 1864, reaching Its pcnk in March of the latter year. It might be of interest to know First of Businessmen Views of fty DARDRV CHAMBM99 AP Bttftinem News Writer NEW YORK (AP)-The phrase •It's A Wonderful World" is printed on the ties an Atlanta bank president wears. And the banker, Mills B. Lane tions improved somewhat, but still remained grim. Shortly after war's end, the prison became only a cluster of buildings wrapped in horrid memories, along with many rows of crudely marked graves. For something of the Alton pcniten-j^ ,,', miRhts ' of the tirnp he was tinry before it became prominent (a jsoner of war thpre as a military prison. Competed) Why doesn t someone write the full story of the Confederate prison at Alton? many years it was not unusual I to sec some man wandering pen-j sively about, evidently and occupied in 1833, it was the first institution built by the state. It began with 24 prison cells. By 1857 this number had grown to 286. In 1847 Dorothy Dix, one of America's able advocates of prison re- foi-m, cited it as about all that was bad in prison management. By 1860 her efforts, joined by others, had influenced the building of a new penitentiary at Joliet. The one at Alton accordingly .vas abandoned. For some years! i he Alton prison had been leased to individuals who operated it. The lease still had several years to run. This was the prison's status when war comes. The army took over the abandoned penitentiary for a military prison and garrisoned it on Feb. 1, 1862. The first consignment of prisoners arrived on Feb. 9. By April 1 the number had reached 791. At its peak the number totaled 5,000; 4,000 of whom were prisoners of war, the balance federal prisoners. Among the recorded admissions are the names of three women. One of these was paroled. The other two died in prison. Late in 1863 smallpox appeared among the prisoners. For a time its presence was kept secret. When it became known, something like panic resulted; 'frantic attempts to escape were made, but few succeeded. 60 In One Grave An isolation camp was established on the adjacent island. Records indicate that many hundreds were sent to the island, with no record of their return. Guards, prisoners and surgeons being sent to the island looked upon the assignment much like one of death. When one knows that massed burials of 60 guards and prisoners together were made in a common grave, they could hardly be blamed. The peak of the scourge was reached in March, 1864. 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Clipped from
  1. Alton Evening Telegraph,
  2. 13 Dec 1962, Thu,
  3. Page 18

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