Confederate Prisoners at Alton, Illinois

Alton Prison (Illinois)

(Copied from the Internet)

The Alton prison opened in 1833 as the first Illinois State Penitentiary and was closed in1860, when the last prisoners were moved to a new facility at Joliet. By late in 1861 an urgent need arose to relieve the overcrowding at two St. Louis prisons. On December 31, 1861, Major General Henry Halleck, Commander of the Department of the Missouri, ordered Lieutenant-Colonel James B. McPherson to Alton for an inspection of the closed penitentiary. Colonel McPherson reported that the prison could be made into military a prison and house up to 1,750 prisoners with improvements estimated to cost $2,415.

The first prisoners arrived at the Alton Federal Military Prison on February 9, 1862 and members of the 13th U.S. Infantry were assigned as guards, with Colonel Sidney Burbank commanding.

During the next three years over 11,764 Confederate prisoners would pass through the gates of the Alton Prison. Of the four different classes of prisoners housed at Alton Confederate soldiers made up most of the population. Citizens, including several women were imprisoned here for treasonable actions, making anti-Union statements, aiding an escaped Confederate, etc. Others, classified as bushwhackers or guerillas, were imprisoned for acts against the government such as bridge burning and railroad vandalism.

Conditions in the prison were harsh and the mortality rate was above average for a Union prison. Hot, humid summers and cold Midwestern winters took a heavy toll on prisoners already weakened by poor nourishment and inadequate clothing. The prison was overcrowded much the time and sanitary facilities were inadequate. Pneumonia and dysentery were common killers but contagious diseases such as smallpox and rubella were the most feared. When smallpox infection became alarmingly high in the winter of 1862 and spring of 1863, a quarantine hospital was located on an island across the Mississippi River from the prison.

Up to 300 prisoners and soldiers died and are buried on the island, now under water. A cemetery in North Alton that belonged to the State of Illinois was used for most that died. A monument there lists 1,534 names of Confederate soldiers that are known to have died. An additional number of civilians and Union soldiers were victims of disease and illness.

During the war several different units were assigned to serve as guards at Alton. The Thirteenth U.S. Infantry was followed by the Seventy-seventh Ohio Infantry, the Thirty-seventh Iowa Infantry, the Tenth Kansas Infantry and the One Hundred Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry. Formed at Alton specifically to serve as prison guards, the Illinois 144th was almost completely made up of Alton area residents.

The prison closed July 7, 1865 when the last prisoners were released or sent to St. Louis. The buildings were torn down over the next decades and the land was eventually used by the city as a park named after the Joel Chandler Harris character, "Uncle Remus," from Song of the South. Stone from the prison buildings is found in walls and other structures all over the Alton area.


Our Prison Records contain the following information;

Information on Confederate Soldiers who died at the Alton Prison.

Name, rank, company , state, date of capture, place of capture, date of death, cause of death, place of burial.

Some records are incomplete and are subject to revision.


Confederate Soldiers in Alton, Illnois prison

These are only the soldiers that mentioned any areas pertaining to Old Tishomingo County, Mississippi.

Name Rank Company State Date & Place of Capture Date of Death

Cause of Death

Place of Burial

Adams Jas. S. PVT B 15th Johnson Arkansas

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 8/23/1862

Adams William C. PVT Newsom’s Alabama

captured near Corinth, Mississippi 1/29/1864

died of pneumonia -buried in state ground

Asbill James PVT B 4th Alabama Infantry

captured 8/27/1863 in Corinth Mississippi

died 1/5/1864 small pox, buried Smallpox Island

Ayers W.F. PVT Newsom’s Alabama Cav.

captured 10/1/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 3/27/1864 of erysipelas-buried in state ground

Banland H.E. PVT D 1st MS Cav.

captured 6/1/1863 Blackland, Mississippi, died 11/1/1863

Billingsley W. PVT G 25th Alabama

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 8/5/1862

Boshiers Jno. H. PVT A 2nd Mississippi

captured 11/27/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 4/7/1864 of erisipelas-buried in state ground

Bullock Jno. W. PVT 52nd TN

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth Mississippi, died 7/12/1862

Cathey John A. PVT D Moody’s Mississippi

captured 10/23/1863 in Iuka Mississippi

died 1/10/1864 of erysihilas-buried in state ground

Cheaves John F. PVT D 1st Mississippi

6/25/1863 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi

4/4/1864 of pleuritis-buried in state ground

Cooper Henry M. PVT A 5th Mississippi

captured 10/21/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 12/31/1863 of typhus malaria-buried in state ground

Duke Ziba PVT I 40th Mississippi

captured in Iuka, Mississippi, died 11/8/1862 of chronic diarrhea

Fagan Archibald H. PVT Hawes Kentucky

captured 10/7/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 3/5/1864 of chronic diarrhea-buried in state ground

Graham Alexander PVT C 2nd Tennessee

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 8/8/1862

Hartin Robert PVT D Moreland’s Alabama

captured 10/4/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 12/22/1863 of typhus fever-buried in state ground

Hollister Henry M. PVT 2nd Tennessee

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 7/21/1862

Joslyn George PVT C Roddy’s Alabama

captured 10/30/1863 in Iuka, Mississippi

died 12/14/1863 of pneumonia-buried state ground

Joslyn R.B. PVT C Roddy’s Alabama

captured 10/20/1863 in Iuka, Mississippi

died 10/20/1863 of typhus malaria-buried in state ground

Joslyn William PVT K 2nd Mississippi

captured 11/2/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 12/25/1863 of smallpox-buried in Smallpox Island

Kellum Abel 26th Mississippi Inf. PVT F

captured 6/4/1863 Tippah County, Mississippi, died 9/7/1863 of small pox

Lawson W.T. Sgt. Harbank’s, Mississippi

captured 11/6/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 1/17/1864 of small pox-buried on Smallpox Island

Province B.R. PVT 2nd TN Cav.

captured 2/1/1863 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, died 6/13/1863 of small pox

Rodger’s Chas PVT 50th Tennessee

captured 12/10/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 2/12/1863 Variola

Shambler Henry S. PVT Thurlorus Mississippi Cav.

captured 2/14/1862 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, died 3/27/1863 of pneumonia

Standford Jeremi E. Sgt. 15th Northwest Arkansas

captured 1/29/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 3/5/1863 of typhoid

Stockstill Josh E. PVT 2nd Mississippi

captured 6/1/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 8/9/1862

Storment Jno. S. PVT H 32nd Mississippi

captured 9/1/1863 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi

died 1/5/1864 of small pox-buried on Smallpox Island

Utley E.O. PVT E Faulkner’s Kentucky

captured 10/1/1863 in Corinth, Mississippi

died 2/3/1864 of pneumonia-buried burying ground

Vaden W. PVT F 11th Alabama (Forrest’s)

captured 10/21/1863 in Iuka, Mississippi

died 4/7/1864 of pneumonia-buried state ground

Wasson James A. PVT H 2nd Missouri

captured 10/4/1862 in Corinth, Mississippi, died 2/5/1863 Variola

Wheatley James PVT A 5th Missouri

captured in Corinth, Mississippi, died 2/9/1863 of apoplexy

White William J. PVT A 13th Mississippi

captured 9/10/1863 in Blackland, Mississippi

died 1/19/1864 of pneumonia-buried in state ground

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