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Alton Military Post and Prison

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser






During the Civil War, as the number of captured Confederate prisoners of war increased, it was decided to use former State Penitentiary at Alton (which closed in 1860) for a military post and prison. Beginning in 1861, captured Confederate prisoners, deserters, and war criminals were housed in the prison, including a small number of women. In 1863, a smallpox epidemic spread throughout the prison. Some were housed in the prison hospital, while others were taken to a makeshift hospital located on Sunflower Island, directly across from Alton. The island was later called “Smallpox Island.” In May 1862, the prison hospital was moved into a three-story building at the corner of Broadway and Alby Streets. This was used until a new hospital within the prison walls was constructed in July 1864.

Those who died at the military prison in Alton were buried at the cemetery on Rozier Street in North Alton. Those prisoners confined to the hospital on Smallpox Island were buried there on the island. This island no longer exists, as it was flooded when the Alton dam was constructed in 1926.

At the end of the Civil War (1865) the prison was closed permanently. Those remaining prisoners were sent to St. Louis or released. The prison was then dismantled, except for a small portion of a wall, which was relocated in 1970 near William Street in downtown Alton. This wall still stands, and is now a historical site. Some of the stones from the prison were ground up and used in paving projects in East St. Louis.

[Source: Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1976]
Colonel Cook, 7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (April 25, 1861 – July 3, 1861)
Colonel Sidney Burbank, 13th U. S. Infantry (Feb. 9, 1862 - June 25, 1862)
Major F. F. Flint, 16th U.S. Infantry (to Sept. 5, 1862)
Colonel Jesse Hildebrand, 77th Ohio Volunteers, (to Apr. 18, 1863) (died from pneumonia at the prison)
Colonel William B. Mason, 77th Ohio Volunteers, (to July 30, 1863)
Colonel George Kincaid, 37th Iowa Volunteers (to Jan. 14, 1864)
Colonel William Wier, 10th Kansas Volunteers (to Apr. 26, 1864)
Brigadier General J. T. Copeland, U.S. Volunteers, (to Dec. 28, 1864)
Colonel Ray Stone, 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers (to March 1865)
Colonel John H. Kahn, 144th Ill. Volunteers (to July 1865)




Source: Historical Genealogy of the Woodsons and Their Connections, by Henry Morton Woodson, 1915
Thomas Hart Benton Woodson, born February 19, 1840 in Ralls county, Missouri. During the early part of the Civil War (abt. 1861) he served for six months as nurse in the hospital at Alton, Illinois, caring for the sick and wounded soldiers. In 1862 to went to Dubuque County, Iowa.


Source: History of the 7th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, April 25, 1861 to July 9, 1865, by D. Leib Ambrose, 1868
At this time the firm steps of Illinois patriot men were heard keeping step to the music of the Union. In every direction her stalwart sons were seen marching towards the Capital. The loyal pulse never beat so central and quickening as at this period. After the organization of the regiment on the twenty seventh, they are marched from Camp Yates to the armory, where they receive their arms - the Harper's Ferry altered musket - after which the regiment marches to the depot and embarks for Alton, Illinois where the regiment arrives at 4 p.m. [abt. April 25, 1861] and are quartered in the old State Penitentiary. With men who were eager for war, whose hopes of martial glory ran so high, to be quartered in the old criminal home grated harshly, and they did not enter those dark recesses with much gusto. During our stay here, the regiment was every day marched out on the city commons by Colonel Cook, and there exercised in the manual of arms and the battalion evolutions until they attained a proficiency surpassed by none in the service. On the nineteenth of May, private Harvey of Company A died the first death in the regiment. The first soldier in the first regiment to offer his life for the flag and freedom. On the second of June private Dunsmore of the same company falls into a soldier's grave. May the loyal people ever remember these first sacrifices so willingly offered in the morning of the rebellion. On the third of July [1861] the regiment embarked on board the steamer "City of Alton" for Cairo, Illinois. Passing down the river the steamer is hailed and brought to at the St Louis Arsenal and after the necessary inspection proceeds on her way.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 10 & 17, 1861
The Regiment [7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry] quartered in Alton appear to be contended and happy. They come out daily as Companies, and drill amid the green grass and leaf-covered forests in the vicinity of the city, and decorate themselves with wild flowers with which the woods abound. To see them in their innocent recreations and their love for the romantic and beautiful, one would never be led to think they were preparing to shed blood. They have conducted themselves with great propriety since they have been here, and have the good wishes and kindly sympathies of the entire community. Last Friday morning they hoisted a large and beautiful flag over their camp, amid the shouts and hurrahs of thousands. Afterward Colonel Cook and others made some patriotic and pertinent remarks, which were received with deafening applause. Then the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic airs were sung by the Volunteers, with a will and emphasis which showed that their song came from the depths of their hearts.

Friends from abroad having relatives here may rest assured that the people of Alton will spare no pains to make the soldiers comfortable and happy during their sojourn among us. Some of our ladies’ hearts are so large and full of patriotism that they are talking of getting up a great picnic for the entire Regiment so that the Volunteers can have a chance to meet our citizens and receive evidences of their kindness. We cannot say now whether they will be able to succeed in their contemplated enterprise. But simply speak of it is an evidence of the esteem and respect they entertain for the brave soldiers sojourning for the time being among us.

The men in this encampment are diligently engaged in drilling preparatory to active service, whenever they may be ordered. They are a fine-looking lot of men, and we have not yet heard of a single case of disorderly conduct among them since they have been in our city. Some of them complain of their quarters, but we think that it is caused more from the fact that they are inside the Penitentiary walls than from any inconveniences which they suffer. It is not supposed at this time, however, that they will be permitted to remain much long with us, especially if their service should be needed in Missouri, but at present we do not think that will be the case.

Many of our citizens have enough milk to spare, and we learn that it is in great demand at Camp Dubois. Would it not be convenient and agreeable to those who are so abundantly supplied with milk to send it into the Camp for the benefit of the brave Volunteers who stand in so much need of it? We have also been told that some milk shylocks have been taking it there and selling it at 10 cents per quart, while they supply their regular customers at 6 cents. It is shameful thus to extort upon men who have left their all to protect our Government and perhaps our lives and property from destruction, simply because they are in a situation that they cannot help themselves.

The 7th Illinois Infantry was mustered at Cairo, Illinois, on April 25, 1861, under Colonel John Cook. On April 27, they marched from Camp Yates to the armory, where they received their arms – the Harper’s Ferry altered musket. The regiment then marched to the depot and took the train to Alton, arriving at 4 p.m. They quartered in the former State Penitentiary. The men were eager for war, with hopes of glory, and to be quartered in the old criminal home grated harshly. Every day the regiment was marched out onto the city commons by Colonel Cook, and exercised in the manual of arms and the battalion evolutions, until they attained a proficiency surpassed by none in the service. On May 19, Private Harvey of Company A died – the first death in the regiment. On June 2, Private Dunsmore of the same Company died. On June 3, the regiment left Alton on board the steamer “City of Alton,” for Cairo, Illinois. They were inspected at the St. Louis Arsenal, and then proceeded on their way. They saw service at the Battle of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Allatoona, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. The regiment mustered out of service on July 9, 1865.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1861
A volunteer in Camp Dubois, writing to the Illinois State Democrat, of the 14th instant, speaks as follows:
“The ladies of Alton, and bless them, have shown the same sympathy toward us here as the true women of the North are everywhere showing, and in a substantial manner yesterday afternoon the monotony of our camp life was cheered by the presence of a bevy of bright faces, and we afterwards ascertained that the owners of them had come laden with delicacies for the sick and good substantial eatables for the well. It is no uncommon assurance either, during our marches through the city, for us to have bouquets thrown to us by ladies, all lending to show their sympathy with our cause and their devotion to the principles for which we, like our Revolutionary fathers, are prepared and determined to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honors.”

Last Saturday evening a delegation of ladies and gentlemen came to Camp Dubois from Logan County, loaded down with cakes, pies, and a great variety of good things donated by the ladies, principally of Lincoln to the volunteers from that county now in this city. On Sabbath at one o’clock, Captain Holden’s and Captain Estabrook’s Companies, both in that county, surrounded the table, spread in the quarters of the former, and laden with every imaginable luxury calculated to tempt the appetite and gratify the taste of the veriest epicure in the land, from the county thus supplied. Previous to making an attack on these good things by the soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel Wyatt made a few brief and pertinent remarks, acknowledging the goodness of God in preserving and prospering our national for so many years, and in granting as such a bountiful supply of the necessities and even the luxuries of life. He then alluded in most touching terms to the kindness and sympathy which prompted the good ladies of Logan County to furnish such an ample repast for those then present. After which the order was given to step forward and help themselves, which was responded to with great enthusiasm. It does not often fall on the lot of the fair sex to be so universally thanked and blessed as those good ladies were by the volunteers during the time they were partaking of this feast. Many of the soldiers spoke of their kindness with heartfelt emotion. While they gave evidence that they were soldiers by the strict order and decorum by which they were governed during this performance, and by the determined and loyal feeling manifested during Colonel Wyatt’s patriotic address, yet in their heartfelt gratitude and strong affection for those who had thus remembered them, they showed that they were also citizens, husbands, fathers, and sons. We have no doubt but this act of kindness will be cherished and remembered gratefully as long as these noble and brave men are permitted to live. Nay, it will not perish with time. Kind deeds, prompted by right motives, never die. Everything passed off at the dinner table very pleasantly, and the soldiers retired with perfect order, blessing the good ladies of Logan County for their kind attentions and sympathy. We return our thanks to Captains Holden and Estabrook for their kind invitation to be present on this pleasant occasion, and also to the good ladies for making such a glorious feast as we were permitted to enjoy with the patriotic men of that long to be remembered county. We hope that the unholy rebellion against law and right, which caused these men to leave their social circles and cherished homes, may soon be subdued, and that they may be permitted to return to the embrace of the ladies, who so kindly remembered them in their seclusion from society.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 1, 1861
Our citizens were somewhat astonished this morning to find our levee in possession of a detachment of troops from Camp Butler, who had come down during the night. They had planted a cannon on the levee, and thus established a blockade. Their purpose was to intercept and stop some troops who, becoming dissatisfied with matters in their camp somewhere in the northern part of the state, had started off for Missouri, via the Illinois River. One or two boats were stopped in the morning, but no runaways being found, they were allowed to proceed. At about half past ten, however, the looked-for boat appeared having in tow a barge loaded with soldiers. She was greeted with two blank cartridges, to which no attention was paid. A ball was then fired, which struck the bow of the barge, damaging it somewhat. This being rather too close work, she routed to and the entire party of military passengers were taken prisoners. The officers in command were required to deliver up their swords and after some delay, both officers and men were marched under guard into the old Penitentiary, where at the time of writing this, they remain.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1861
Our neighbor of the Alton Democrat is of opinion that the 1,303 Missouri rebel prisoners, or any of them, should not be brought to Alton; that they would be a nuisance to our people, &c. If a nuisance to us, they are so elsewhere, and our people will not expect, not do they desire to escape, all the responsibilities or trials of this war. Their subsistence would certainly be a help to the city. Guarding men, etc., would give employment to some of our citizens, no doubt. Their being here, incidentally, would add somewhat to the trade of the city, necessarily. We can see no objection, whatever, to the Alton Penitentiary being used in this manner, provided the army officers deem such a course most conductive to the interests of the Union cause.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1862
We were informed this morning that it was noticed that the prisoners now confined in McDowell’s College in St. Louis are to be brought to Alton, and enclosed in the old Penitentiary. The great many of our citizens appear to apprehend the most fearful consequences to result from this act. They contend that the people of Missouri will be so enraged that they will close the river and fire the town, and commit other depredations upon the property of the citizens. There is much talk of calling a public meeting to protest against their being brought. One thing is evident, that they either ought not to be moved here, or, if they are, the government should garrison the place with a sufficient number of soldiers to protect the city against outrages from the other side of the river.


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, January 31, 1862
The old Illinois Penitentiary buildings at Alton will be converted into a military prison, General Halleck having notified parties at Alton to have the buildings prepared for the reception of the 1,200 prisoners lately captured by Gen. Pope's command.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1862
We learn that the workmen employed in fitting up the prison for the reception of our Missouri neighbors from McDowell’s College have not yet completed their work. When finished, the buildings and yard will furnish them very comfortable quarters. In fact, they will be much better provided for than the great mass of our own soldiers. We do not complain of this, however, for there is nothing to be gained by treating prisoners of war with inhumanity, but on the contrary, there is much to be gained by assuring those of the rebels who fall into our hands that the government is not motivated by revenge, but aims solely at reestablishing the legitimate authority of the laws over the entire country, and thus convince them that they have labored under a delusion in supposing that the North wished to oppose or injure them beyond accomplishing this end. Accommodations are being made for 1,640.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 7, 1862
We learn that Mr. J. C. Mauill, who received the contract for furnishing rations for the Secesh prisoners, is in town, and has orders to furnish 100,000 rations on his contract until April first. Sufficient for 1,500 men for 66 days. Mauill has rented the store formerly occupied by Messrs. Nelson and Hayner on Short Street, and is there collecting stores, which we understand are to be purchased in this city, as far as practicable. We also learn that the physician was here yesterday to inspect the quarters in the prison, and that the prisoners are expected here tomorrow.


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, February 14, 1862
The prisoners of war, who have been confined in McDowell's College [St. Louis] for some time past, were yesterday removed to the Penitentiary buildings at Alton. The prisoners numbered about six hundred and fifty, and they were escorted to Alton by two companies of the Second Iowa Regiment. The boat was at the landing foot of Chestnut Street, at an early hour yesterday morning, but it was half past 12 o'clock, p.m., before the prisoners made their appearance on the wharf. They came down Chestnut Street well-guarded, and passed aboard the boat in good order. The "City of Alton" [steamer] started for Alton with the prisoners, at about 2 1/2 o'clock. The removal of the prisoners caused a great deal of excitement in the neighborhood of their former prison, and also on the wharf large numbers of our citizens flocked around them during their march from the college to the boat, but there was no disorder in the proceeding. They were doubtless safely landed at Alton, and are now in their new quarters.


Source: Watertown, New York Daily Times, February 20, 1862
Gen. Halleck has issued an order that in consideration of the recent victories won by the Federal forces, and the rapidly increasing loyalty of the citizens of Missouri, the sentence of the eight bridge burners condemned to death are provisionally mitigated to close confinement in the military prison at Alton. If, however, rebel spies again destroy the railroads and telegraph lines, and thus render it necessary to make severe examples, the original sentences against these men will be carried into execution. No further assessments will be levied or collected from anyone who will now take the prescribed oath of allegiance. Boards of commissioners will be appointed to examine the cases of prisoners of war who apply to take the oath of allegiance. On their recommendation, orders will be issued for their release.


Written by A Soldier During an Expedition to Fort Donelson; at Mound City, Illinois
Source: Indianapolis Daily Journal, February 25, 1862
The incidents connected with our trip thus far are few. When we arrived here yesterday, two large boatloads of prisoners had just landed. And such a sight! Poor, pitiful, penniless, miserable, wretched beings! There was no uniform. Their bodies were protected by light covering - their shoulders by white and carpet blanket - with all kinds of hats. They were the poor whites of the South, of whom not one in twenty-five could write his name nor spell a syllable. They acknowledged their delusion and regret their step. This is universal. The number of prisoners amount to some 15,000. Those above mentioned were en route for Alton prison. Two more boats full were landed just as we were returning from Mound City. I conversed with many of them. They say that the 6th Alabama was completely cut to pieces, and that the 25th Indiana, who made their charge, mounted the redoubt and gave three cheers for 25th Indiana, fighting like tigers. They were at first repulsed, but rallied and fought with fury. The 52d Indiana - I speak only of regiments I have heard of thus far - at first quailed under the fire, but were rallied and fought like veterans. The 11th Indiana Zouaves we know nothing of as yet, only that one is killed and two wounded.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1862
Last evening, we noticed a young and gentlemanly Private, belonging to one of the companies now stationed in the penitentiary, strolling along Third Street, looking as happy as a king, having a few hours freedom from duty, and trying to make the most of it by enjoying himself “all over.” As he passed the bookstore, he was assaulted by a crowd of young ragamuffins, who, finding that he took no notice of their insulting language, commenced pelting him with dirt and stones. The young soldier came to “about face,” and we expected to see him give some of them a good, sound thrashing, which they certainly, richly deserved. He did not, however, use any violence, but merely past on them a look of benevolent compassion, as much as to say, “Poor children, it is a pity you have no parents to teach you manners, and learn you to have respect for those who are older than yourselves,” and hurried on to get beyond the reach of their insults. This was surely a commendable spirit by the young gentleman, but in supposing they had no parents, he was mistaken, for they were the sons of some of our wealthiest and must respectable of citizens.

Such an act is a disgrace to our city, much more to the parents of these children. It always wounds our feelings to see anyone abused and insulted in this city to one who does battle, and if need be, die for us, that we may hand down to our children, in all its purity, the government which our fathers bought with their blood, and dying, gave to us, coupled with the mandate to love, cherish and protect it.


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, February 28, 1862
Two of the prisoners confined in the military prison died on Sunday. Their names are T. J. Stevens, of Knox county, Missouri, and Joseph Paschall, of Palmyra, Missouri. There two are the only ones that have died since the prisoners have been here, we believe. The health of the prisoners is very good - only forty-three being in hospital. The physician in charge of the hospital, this morning, gave orders for a general wash and cleansing of the prison, and after this is done, he hopes the sick list will be greatly diminished.


[Son of Major General Sterling Price]
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1862
Brigadier General Edwin Price, a son of Major General Sterling Price, with Cols. Dorsey and Cross, and Captain Ingo, all of Major General Price’s staff, arrived in this city this morning, as prisoners of war. We understand that Price is out on parole, and we suppose that is the case with the rest of his company, for these secesh [Rebel] gentlemen seem to have but very little sympathy with, or for, their deluded supporters, but just so soon as they can, gain their own liberty, they avail themselves of it, without any reference to the feelings or condition of their men. There is, however, some noble exceptions to the general practice in this respect. Some of the officers stay by their men, and refuse parole, and all other advantages which their position affords them, and remain with their men and share with them in all their humiliation and hardships. These men are deserving of respect, and show that they have some humanity and feeling left, notwithstanding the great crime of which they are guilty.

Steamboats filled with prisoners taken at Fort Donelson arrived at our wharf yesterday afternoon and evening, bringing in all about 4,100 of these poor creatures. Two trains left last evening with as many as they could carry, for Chicago, but there is still a large number of them here awaiting transports. They will probable leave this afternoon or evening. We have not been among them much, but have been informed that they are generally cheerful and in good spirits.

We had a chance yesterday of getting a sight of Brig. General Edwin Price – a celebrity – not, however, on account of anything that he had accomplished himself, but simply from the fact of his being the son of that arch-hypocrite and dangerous disturber of the peace, General Sterling Price, who has caused this Union more trouble and annoyance than all the other commanders in the Rebel army. The young man is a fine-looking specimen of southern chivalry, well uniformed. He puts us very much in mind of the young slave-holding, fox-hunting, cardplaying and brandy-drinking aristocracy that we used to see in the South in our early days. He is evidently of that class of southerners who would not know what to do if slavery was abolished. Too proud to dig, afraid to steal, and ashamed to beg, and not sufficiently well informed to make a living in any other way.

Brigadier General Edwin Williamson Price was the eldest son of General Sterling Price, of the Confederate Army. Edwin was captured by Union forces in 1862, and with the help of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, he was exchanged for a Union General. Edwin rejoined his father, who was then in Mississippi, but soon returned to Missouri. He later obtained a pardon from President Lincoln. Edwin Price publicly renounced the confederacy with conviction. Father and son reconciled at the war’s end, with the elder Price passing his land holdings to Edwin to avoid confiscation by the Federal authorities.


[Note: Magoffin was the brother of the governor of Kentucky.]
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1862
Magoffin, Wood, and several other prisoners, which had been confined in the military prison in St. Louis, and who were suspected of ____ that building on Monday last, were brought, as we understand, to this city onboard the Alton packet, ironed, and were placed in the prison in this city for safe keeping. They will not be likely to find their new rooms very comfortable.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 28, 1862
Quite a number of the poor, deluded prisoners who have been confined here for some time were released yesterday, and were wandering through the city, apparently without means of getting away. Some of them were inquiring for houses, and manifested a disposition to stay in the place. To this we urge no objection, provided their officers are removed where they cannot incite them to mischief again. But we fear it would not be safe, to have both classes of these men at large in our city at one time.


From the St. Louis Democrat
Source: Alton Telegraph, March 7, 1862
We find the following interesting particulars in reference to the release of prisoners in Alton, in the St. Louis Democrat of this morning. The remarks of the editor about the feelings of these poor men, corresponds substantially with what we have frequently heard since they have been confined here:

“It has been ascertained that of the persons confined in the Alton Penitentiary, no less a number than 618 were desirous of taking the oath. It has been ascertained also, that the …. [unreadable] conviction of the wrongfulness of the cause in which the men had been engaged, although no doubt some of the cases are attributable solely to a longing for liberty, that of which they would have deprived others.

The entire number of 618 were recently examined by a board of commissioners, consisting of Assistant Provost Marshal General Fletcher, Captain C. Ewing, and Lieut. John Ford, of the Thirteenth Regiment, U. S. Regulars, who on maters deliberation, decided to release four hundred and ninety-nine. Two hundred and eighty-three have been liberated, and either today or tomorrow two hundred and sixteen will be released. Many others are petitioning to be released on oath and bond. The Fort Henry prisoners are eager to take the oath, and declare seriously, and doubtlessly, truthfully, that they were forced to take a part in the war on the side of the Rebels. It was interesting to observe the eagerness manifested by the prisoners to be released, there being quite a contest among them as to who should be first to leave the prison walls. Our attention has been directed to the fact that the prisoners on being discharged have no means, and it is remarked that ‘it is hard to turn the poor fellows out without a cent to pay their way, not even enough to pay for their ferriage across the river.’ We acquiesce in the remark, but no remedy occurs to us. We are further informed, on irrefutable authority, that they are unanimous in denouncing the men by whom they were induced to join in the Rebellion. This applies to those made prisoners in this state, as well as the others.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 14, 1862
Another battalion of Colonel Barrett’s Cavalry came down on the train last night, and will be conveyed by boat today, to join their companions, who left here yesterday.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 25, 1862
On yesterday morning, D. W. Keown, formerly a sheriff in one of the counties in Missouri, and lately a prisoner in the penitentiary, rose as well as usual, but afterwards threw himself on his bed beside his comrade. The attention of his bedfellow was soon arrested by his unnatural breathing. When he got up, he heard Mr. Keown breathing his last breath. The cause of this sudden death is unknown.

A son of Dr. Roberts of Rockport, Montgomery County, Missouri also died in the prison yesterday. His disease was erysipelas.


Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, March 26, 1862
Ebenezer Magoffin, of Missouri, a brother of Gov. Magoffin, of Kentucky, and formerly an officer in the Rebel army, taken prisoner some months ago, released on parole, which he violated, and subsequently recaptured, has been tried by court martial for "violation of parole," and for "killing in violation of the ethics of war," found guilty and sentenced to be shot. Gen. Halleck has approved the sentence, and it will be carried into effect at a time and place hereafter to be designated. In the meantime, the prisoner will be confined in a cell of the Military Prison at Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 9, 1862
Justice Middleton was called upon yesterday to hold an inquest for a body found in the river below Alton. The jury decided that the deceased came to his death by drowning in the Mississippi. There was found on the body a military overcoat, blue pants and undercoat. There was found on his person a small silver watch and four dollars and fourteen cents in money; also, a note of hand drawn to favor of A. M. Beese, but the name of the _____ had been torn off. His haversack was marked Company I, Michigan Regiment. It will be remembered that some two weeks since, we noticed the fact that one of the soldiers of the 14th Regiment of Michigan Volunteers, when they were just on the point of leaving this port, onboard the steamer David Tatum, one of the men fell overboard and was drowned. The individual upon whom the inquest was held yesterday is evidently the one who was drowned at that time.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1862
Captain Emil Adam, of the Alton J___ Company, left this morning to join his company in Tennessee. He was wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and has been home since that event. He is now entirely recovered, and ready to give Secesh another taste of the valor of his company, when occasion may require.


Source: The Daily Standard, Syracuse, New York, March 31, 1862
Mr. Alfred Wilkinson, who has recently returned from a southwestern tour, as far as St. Louis, has in his possession a pipe made by one of the rebel prisoners at Alton, Illinois, which is a rare specimen of ingenuity and skill, as well as persevering industry. The material of the pipe is cotton stone, a soft stone found in the south, easily worked, and susceptible of a fine polish. The bowl of the pipe is square, and is beautifully carved. One of the sides presents the new rebel flag, and the other the Palmetto tree, with the cotton plant and rattle, snake, appropriate emblems of the rebellion. The front bears the coat-of-arms of Missouri, with the usual scrolls and mottoes. It is understood that the work was executed with a pen-knife, by a young man who had no experience in carving, and regarding it in that light the work Is a marvel of taste and skill.


Source: The Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, April 21, 1862
Col. Jennison, late of the 7th Kansas regiment, has been arrested by the military authorities and sent to Alton, Illinois. The cause of his arrest is said to be insubordination and exciting mutiny. Lieut, Hoyt, of the same regiment, is also under arrest.


Source: William Greenleaf Eliot, Minister, Educator, Philanthropist, by Charlotte Chauncy, 1904
In May 1862, by order of Major General Schofield, the military prisons were placed under the supervision of the Western Sanitary Commission, and Dr. Eliot and Mr. Yeatman acted as a committee on the Gratiot Street prison. Dr. Pollak and Rev. Dr. Schuyler, associate members of the Commission, were appointed a committee to visit the Alton prison, and found that it answered all requirements of sanitation and comfort. It was large, airy, situated in a healthy location, and the buildings were isolated, with considerable ground around them. It was filled to only half its capacity. The food was good in quality and abundant in quantity, and the prisoners were well provided for in every respect. A Catholic priest acted as chaplain, and the Confederate dead were buried with exactly the same care as the Union soldiers.

Source: Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1908-1909
"The Western Sanitary Commission also turned its attention to the conditions of the military hospitals and prisons in St. Louis, and after experiencing a good deal of opposition on the part of the authorities succeeded in introducing into the prison wards substantially their own regulations. They also spent much care and time in alleviating the distress of the Confederates imprisoned at Alton Illinois. Mr. Yeatman always insisted that the Confederate soldiers and wounded should always be treated exactly as were the Union troops."

Source: The Western Sanitary Commission, A Sketch of its Origin, History, Labors for the Sick and Wounded of the Western Armies, and Aid Given to Freedmen and Union Refugees, With Incidents of Hospital Life, Published for the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair; R. P. Studley & Co., 1864; page 88; (Not in Copyright)

"In November, 1862, the hospital of Gratiot Street Prison, in McDowell's College, used exclusively for prisoners of war, was found to be much crowded, .... and the crowded condition both of the prison and the hospital was obviated by sending a considerable number to the large military prison at Alton, Illinois. The Commission has extended its inspections to the military prison at Alton, Illinois, and furnished supplies, to most urgent cases of need, on the requisition of the surgeon in charge. This prison is the same formerly occupied as the Illinois State Penitentiary, which was removed to Joliet, just before the breaking out of the war. It has a large area of ground, 420 by 323 feet, enclosed by a high stone wall, with the prison buildings inside, is in a healthy location, within a few rods of the Mississippi river, on the east side, has good water, excellent drainage, a free circulation of pure air, and could not be better adapted to the purposes for which it is used. A committee from the Western Sanitary Commission visited it in December 1862, and in a published report of the visit, said, 'We found the hospital to be a good, brick structure, 104 by 35 feet, well ventilated, but insufficiently warmed. It contains sixty-three patients. Many of the sick were needing proper under-clothing. Most of the buildings in the enclosure stand isolated, with considerable ground between them, so that in a moral and sanitary point of view, they are very favorably situated. The prisoners are furnished abundantly with good, wholesome food, and they appear to be entirely satisfied with the kind treatment of officers and attendants. The clothes of the prisoners are washed outside the walls, by laundresses, paid out of the prison funds. There is also a washing apparatus on the ground, with a plentiful supply of hot water, and soap, which is freely resorted to by the inmates.'

There were then 700 prisoners confined in this prison, with accommodations for 1,300. Since then, it has frequently contained over one thousand. During a recent visit of the Secretary of the Commission, he found the hospital in an excellent condition, in charge of Surgeon T. A. Worrell, U.S.V., Dr. Hez. Williams, A. A. Surgeon, with beds for three hundred patients; the floors clean, and the arrangements similar to the military hospitals for our own troops. There were 120 sick prisoners out of 1,000, then in prison. The four female nurses in attendance were Sisters of Charity. A chaplain is also allowed the prison, Rev. Father Vehay, of the Catholic church. A supply of sanitary stores has been recently sent to the Surgeon in charge, on his requisition. The smallpox patients are treated in tents, on the island, just opposite Alton. There were recently but few cases of this disease.

Those who die in this prison are buried in a ground about two miles out of the city, set apart especially for that purpose. They are furnished with a coffin, the same as the Union soldier, and are in all respects decently interred. Head boards, with the initials of their names, are placed at each grave, so that there can be no difficulty identifying the spot.

The statistics of the prison and hospital were recently requested, for the purpose of giving a more complete statement for this work, but were refused by Brig. Gen. Copeland, commanding the post. It is believed that the facts would show that this prison and its hospital have been conducted in a manner creditable to the humanity of the United States Government, and would convey, by contrast, a terrible rebuke to the inhumanity with which our soldiers have been starved and treated in the prisons of the South.


Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, 1910
Letter from Fort Pillow, Tenn., May 20, 1862
Captain: On yesterday evening, while temporarily absent from my headquarters, the second in command, Colonel A. Jackson, Jr., through inadvertence or carelessness, received at this post 202 Confederate prisoners of war, just from an infected prison at Alton, Illinois, with two cases of smallpox among them, in exchange for the same number of United States prisoners, turned over to your authorities some time ago, free from infection. While I do not presume that you are in any way responsible for so barbarous an act as sending released prisoners to communicate to my command the loathsome and infectious disease of smallpox, I demand that your Government disown the act by receiving these prisoners back into its lines and caring for them until every symptom of the infection has disappeared from their midst. I am, Captain, with high respect, your obedient servant, John B. Villepigue, Brigadier-General, Commanding

Off Fort Pillow, May 21, 1862
General: Your letter of the 20th instant has been received. I have not a sufficient knowledge of the circumstances of the case, as, for example, the condition of the building at Alton, Illinois, in which the prisoners referred to have been confined, the health of the prisoners at the period of their release, or the possible change of health they may have undergone on their way to this place, to render it worthwhile for me to enter into the details of the subject. In order, however, to remove any grounds of complaint, and to make a suitable provision for an unexpected emergency, I propose that a temporary neutral hospital be established for the benefit of the prisoners suffering from smallpox. The place for this hospital may be determined by Captain Dove, the bearer of this letter, acting for me, and such officer as you may designate on your part. I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer, Comdg. U. S. Naval Forces.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1862
The hospital of the 12th Regular Infantry was, yesterday, removed to the building lately occupied by the remnant of the 2nd Missouri, corner of Second [Broadway] and Alby Streets. Dr. Hardy informs us that there are only sixteen patients in the hospital, and no cases of a serious nature among them. [Note: this building was three stories, as seen in the May 30, 1862 article below.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 23, 1862
We learn that Caption Jones of Company F, 32d Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, from Upper Alton, who was seriously wounded at the battle of Shiloh, is so far recovered as to be able to be out again. He has taken a visit north to recruit his health, and will soon rejoin his company which is now before Corinth.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
We understand that on yesterday, a sick soldier in the military hospital in this city, in a state of mental derangement, jumped out of the third story of the building, and was so seriously injured that he died during the night. We have not learned his name or former place of residence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
The body of Patrick Conway, member of Company F, 12th Regular U. S. Army, who was drowned last week while bathing in the river, was yesterday discovered floating in the slough below Shield’s Branch. Esquire Middletown, being notified of the find, summoned a jury, and held an inquest on the body. Verdict as above. The deceased was a native of Ireland, aged twenty-one years.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
By order of the Provost Marshal General, the following named prisoners of war have been released from the military prison at Alton, upon their parole of honor to report promptly to that official in Alton, in order to take the oath of allegiance, give bond for future loyal deportment, and receive their final discharge: Abram Wilson, Joseph Diggs, Calvin R. Miller, and Robert E. Miller, of Clinton County, Missouri; T. T. Moody of Howell County, Missouri; Isaac T. Head of Hay County, Missouri; A. R. Tayinall, Lowy W. Davis, and John T. Jo___ of Clay County, Missouri; and William H. Thomas of Barry County, Missouri.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
We have been furnished by Dr. I. E. Hardy, Post Surgeon, with the following complete list of prisoners who have died since the opening of the military prison in Alton:

1.  T. J. Stephens, private, Knox County, Missouri, February 16th, 1862; pneumonia.
2.  Joseph Pascal, citizen, Marion County, Missouri, February 16th; pneumonia.
3.  S. Chambers, private, Cooper County, Missouri, February 25th; anemia.
4.  C. C. Jones, private, Stewart County, Tennessee, February 27th; pneumonia.
5. C. C. Brooks, private, Landerdale County Alabama, February 27th, pneumonia.
6.  H. T. Stone, private, 13th Arkansas Infantry, February 25th, pneumonia.
7.  S. H. Jenkins, teamster, Cooper County, Missouri, February 28th, pneumonia.
8.  O. Hoath, unknown, Marsh 1st, ?.
9.  Robert Irwin, unknown, March 1st, pneumonia.
10.  Jonathan Haynes, private, Hamp___ County, Arkansas, March 7th.
11.  Samuel G. Casey, private, 27th Alabama Volunteers, March 7th, pneumonia.
12.  Jesse M. Boris, private, 27th Alabama Volunteers, March 7th, pneumonia.
13.  James Richmond, private, Texas County, Missouri, March ?, pneumonia.
14.  Isaac Goral, private, Carroll County, Missouri, March 8th, pneumonia.
15.  Giles Reiser, private, Saline County, Missouri, March 9th, pneumonia.
16.  A. J. Campbell, Captain, Pulaski County, Missouri, March ?, pneumonia.
17.  Charles Hawkins, private, Marion County, Missouri, March 13th, rubecia.
18.  James Campbell, private, 1st Tennessee Artillery, March 13th, pneumonia.
19.  W. H. Horton, private, 19th Regular Tennessee Volunteers, March 14th, pneumonia.
20.  James Flannigan, March 16, pneumonia.
21.  Robert M. Flemming, private, 3d Battalion Alabama Volunteers, March 24th, pneumonia.
22.  John P. Radman, private, Polk County, Missouri, March 25th, ?
23.  James Pided, Chief, 1st Regiment, Cherokee mounted Rifles, March 30th, Intermittent fever.
24.  William D. Carter, private, 27th Regular Alabama Volunteers, March 31st, pneumonia.
25.  Temple D. Richardson, private, Ray County, Missouri, April 3d, chronic diarrhea.
26.  John G. Olaney, private, Texas County, Missouri, April 3d, Rubella.
27.  Berg. F. SLmith, citizen, Dent County, Missouri, April 7th, typhoid fever.
28.  William B. Powell, private, McNair’s Arkansas Regiment, April 7th, typhoid fever.
29.  ____ Henry, private, Dent County, Missouri, April 10th, diarrhea.
30.  Joshua A. Garner, citizen, Wright County, Missouri, April 10th, pneumonia.
31.  Elijah D. Shanklin, citizen, Morgan County, Missouri, April 12th, ?
32.  James M. Bohannan, private, 14th Regular Arkansas Volunteers, April 13th, remittent fever.
33.  George W. Goil, citizen, Henry County, Missouri, April 13th, meningitis.
34.  Martin V. Cornell, citizen, Henry County, Missouri, April 13th, meningitis.
35.  William H. Gunter, private, 5th Regular Arkansas Volunteers, April 14th, ?
36.  _____ McK___, unknown, April 15th, pneumonia.
37.  Robert P. Russell, private, Tennessee, April 15th, remittent fever.
38.  John C. Watson, citizen, Johnson County, Arkansas, April 15th, erysipelas.
39.  R. P. Sinoras(?), private, Green County, Missouri, April 16th, ?
40.  John Towberry, private, Washington County, Missouri, April 16th, pneumonia.
41.  Jasper Carter, private, Crawford County, Arkansas, April 17th, remittent fever.
42.  James McDaniel, private, Phelps County, Missouri, April 18th, typhoid fever.
43.  William J. Padgott, private, Howard County, Missouri, April 18th, rubella.
44.  Thomas A. Brown, private, Cass County, Missouri, April 18th, remittent fever.
45.  William Reckman, citizen, Lawrence County, Missouri, April 18th, erysipelas.
46.  C. D. Jorden, private, Prairie County, Arkansas, April 19th, pneumonia.
47.  B. W. Keown, citizen, Bouion County, Missouri, April 20th, unknown in quarter died.
48.  William C. Daily, private, Davis County, Texas, April 20th, remittent fever.
49.  J. W. Roberts, citizen, Boone County, Missouri, April 20th, debility.
50.  James M. Brown, Captain, Dent County, Missouri, April 22d, remittent fever.
51.  Levi Wallace, private, Tennessee Regulars, April 22d, ?
52.  James Frazior, citizen, Washington County, Arkansas, April 23d, typhoid fever.
53.  Robert Midour, private, Washington County, Arkansas, April 26th, erysipelas.
54.  L. W. Doochiffon(?), private, Clark County, Arkansas, April 26th, erysipelas.
55.  James Dawson, private, Benton County, Missouri, April 26th, pneumonia.
56.  John Thompson, citizen, Boone County, Missouri, April 28th, rheumatism.
57.  James K. P. Jones, private, Dent County, Missouri, April 28th, v____.
58.  John H. Story, private, Pope County, Arkansas, April 28th, pneumonia.
59.  Franklin Woody, private, Morgan County, Missouri, April 28th, erysipelas.
60.  ______ Harrison, private, Washington County, Arkansas, April 20th, typhoid fever.
61.  Benjamin Macon, citizen, Washington County, Arkansas, April 20th, typhoid fever.
62.  Mayberry Hendricks, private, Green County, Missouri, April 29th, diarrhea.
63.  William Duster, private, Red River County, Texas, April 30th, deb____.
64.  Anselter Haynir, private, Saline County, Missouri, May 1st, typhoid fever.
65.  Joel Cardin, private, Denton County, Arkansas, May 2d, pneumonia.
66.  Henry G. L. Capp, citizen, Miss County, Missouri, May 2d, pneumonia.
67.  _____ McAllister, private, Montgomery County, Arkansas, May 3d, pneumonia.
68.  George W. Sloakim, citizen, Berry County, Missouri, May 2d, varicia.
69.  S. M. Logan, private, Green County, Missouri, May 4th, pneumonia.
70.  George W. Carter, private, Arkansas, May 5th, typhoid pneumonia.
71.  W. J. Gregory, private, 3d Regular La. Volunteers, May 5th, typhoid pneumonia.
72.  Elant Vincent, private, Newton County, Missouri, May 6th, verjoin(?).
73.  Samuel Watson, citizen, Bates County, Missouri, May 6th, erysipelas.
74.  Sylvester Brown, private, Marion County, Arkansas, May 8th, astrolgin(?)
75.   John W. Holdman, citizen, Caldwell County, Kentucky, May 8th, varipia.
76.  Robert L. DeMoss, citizen, Saline County, Missouri, May 8th, pneumonia.
77.  William W. Dodson, private, Searey County, Arkansas, May 9th, pneumonia.
78.  B. L. _____, private, Tipton County, Tennessee, May 12th, typhoid fever.
79.  J. R. Harris, private, Benton County, Arkansas, May 12th, ?
80.  John Barker, citizen, St. Clair County, Missouri, May 13th, ?
81.  Louis Tritely(?), private, St. Charles County, Missouri, May 15th, ?
82.  Thomas Serogham, citizen, Bates County, Missouri, May 16th, diarrhea.
83.  Edward Way, citizen, Benton County, Arkansas, May 16th, erysipelas.
84.  W. R. C Smith, private, Shannon County, Missouri, May 22d, remittent fever.
85.  Thomas L. Jones, private, 1st Tennessee Artillery, March 29th, ?


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
Among the prisoners taken at Pea Ridge was Thomas H. Brown, a youth only 21 years of age. He was brought to the prison at Alton and put in confinement. On Friday, April 18th, he died. He was attended by his father, who took his remains to his home in Missouri, where they were interred in the family burial ground.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 30, 1862
The following named prisoners, upon taking the oath and giving funds, were released from the military prison in Alton: Elijah Phears, Amos B. Ayros, Marion P. Aldren, Lewis M. Price, William B. Bridgwater, John R. Ringbell, Francis M. Brocky, Benjamin F. Bomiorent.


Held at the Military Prison in Alton from June 1862 – August 1863
Source: History & Digest of the International Arbitration to which the U. S. Has Been a Party, by John Bassett Moore, 1898, page 3302
Joseph M. P. Nolan, No. 272, was arrested by the military provost-marshal at Saint Louis, Missouri, in October 1861, on the charge of disloyalty to the United States, and of having written a letter to an alleged enemy of the United States in Canada, giving information as to military movements. He was detained in prison at Saint Louis till June 1862, then transferred to the military prison at Alton, Illinois, and there detained till August 1863, when he was finally discharged. His release was offered him in December 1861, and on one or two other occasions, on his giving his parole to do no act unfriendly to the United States. This parole he refused to give. Great and unnecessary hardships in connection with his confinement were alleged on the part of the claimant, and the proof conclusively showed that the prison in which he was confined at Alton was wholly unfit in its appointments and sanitary condition for the confinement of prisoners, especially for the large number there confined; and that at times the treatment of the prisoners, including the claimant, was harsh and cruel. An award was made in favor of the claimant for $8,600; all the commission joining. I am advised that the majority of the commission, at least, held the original arrest of the claimant and his reasonable detention justified; but that his long confinement and improper treatment during it were not justified.

In the case of Mary Nolan, No. 273, the claimant alleged that she was arrested at Saint Louis by a detective in the employ of the United States authorities in September 1864; taken before the provost-marshal at Saint Louis, and committed by him to the Chestnut street prison, where she was detained for an entire day; and that she was there subjected to improper treatment. She claimed damages $10,000. The evidence in her case showed that she was brought before the provost-marshal, apparently upon a subpoena, to testify in a case before him; that she refused to testify, and defied and insulted the officer, who committed her to the city prison, where she was detained for nine or ten hours. Her allegations of improper treatment were not sustained. The commission unanimously disallowed her claim.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1862
To the Editor of the Telegraph:
As some apprehension of danger of infection from smallpox seems to exist in the neighborhood of the military hospital in Alton, please publish the enclosed, in order to allay the same.      Your Obedient Servant, W. C. Quigley, Chal’s Committee on Health

Dr. W. C. Quigley, Sir – In reply to your note relative to retaining smallpox in the city military hospital, I have the pleasure of transmitting the assurance of it. Colonel Burbanks, commanding this post, that if there should be any more cases of Vaviola or Varioloid, that it will be secured within the walls of the military prison of this post. I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, I. E. Hardy, Acting Surgeon, U.S.A.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1862
Yesterday afternoon two soldiers, belonging to the 13th Regiment, got into a dispute in a shoemaker shop on Piasa Street, about the price that should be paid for repairing a pair of boots, which ended in one of them seizing a shoemaker’s knife and stabbing the other in the back very severely. It is thought it is not fatal. We learn that there was an old grudge between the parties, which perhaps tied to the quarrel and nearly fatal result above stated.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1862
We learn that J. H. Robertson of Howard County, James M. Morley of Montgomery County, Fulton H. Bradford of Posna County, Walter Ashley, B. F. Vaugh, John Biedane, J. Cox, and Edwin P. Clapper of Monroe County, prisoners of war at Alton, have been released by order of the Provost Marshal General of St. Louis, on their parole to report in person at his office, to take the oath of allegiance and give bonds for a final discharge.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
Several Companies of the 13th Regiment Regulars have camped out in the suburbs of Alton. Their teams were busy all day yesterday conveying the baggage from the old Penitentiary warehouse in the new quarters. One Company is in camp in the street running east from Mr. Barry’s, and one or two other Companies are camped on the ridge above the sawmill. Both camps are well located and healthy, and we think the soldiers should be well pleased with the change.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
Prisoners are being released from the military prison in Alton almost every day, upon oath and bonds. A number of ladies and friends of prisoners confined in the prison have visited our city during some weeks past, some successful in obtaining the release of their friends and relatives, while others, unable to furnish sufficient evidence or security, have been compelled to return to their homes, only to make another effort to obtain testimony and security in favor of husbands, brothers, and friends. The report of successful ones on arriving at their home induces others to visit our city for the same purpose, and thus, almost daily arrivals and departures of these anxious persons take place. We hope the kind care and attention, which has characterized the treatment of prisoners of war in our prison, will induce both released persons and their friends to think better of Northern people than they have been in the habit of doing.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
Some of the families living near the military prison complain of an offensive odor arising from the prison yard, and wish to know if there is no way of abating it. We refer the matter to the Board of Health of the Common Council, and hope they will give it their attention.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 13, 1862
WE are indebted to Dr. Hardy for the following list of prisoners who have died in the military prison since the last report, published May 23.
1. Henry Carter, private, Shannon County, Missouri, died May 22d, of variola.
2. W. M. McHenry, private, ____ County, Missouri, died May 23d, of gastritis.
3. John Wend___, Lawrence County, Missouri, died May 26th, typhoid fever.
4. Jeremiah Phelall, citizen, Washington County, Missouri, died May 26th, of variola.
5. B. W. Reynolds, private, 1st Kentucky Battalion, died May 28th, typhoid fever.
6. James McKinney, citizen, Madison County, Arkansas, died May 29th, of ?.
7. James T. Hill, private, ? ? ?
8. Abraham Caraun, private, Cole County, Missouri, died June 4th, pneumonia.
9. Joseph Sublatto, citizen, Montgomery County, Missouri, June 6th, erysipelas.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1862
John Harker of the 1st Indiana Battery, has been sentenced to imprisonment in the Military Prison in Alton during the war.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862
W. J. Sisk, who was tried by a military commission and sentenced to imprisonment to the military prison in Alton during the war, has been released by Capt. Salleck, the charges having been disproved.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862
The Tatum brought up about 180 Rebel prisoners on Saturday night. They were taken mostly near Corinth, but a number were persons resident in St. Louis, river men, etc., who have been arrested for disloyalty. On the trip up from St. Louis, the Lieutenant in charge of the guard allowed some of the Rebel officers to have the liberty of the boat, which they improved by getting gloriously right and kicking up a fight among themselves. They were put under guard, however, without any serious disturbance, although at one time the passengers on the Tatum feared a general riot among them. On landing, and while passing through our streets to the prison, they were quite noisy, hurrahing for Jeff Davis, etc., but were lodged within the walls without any of the number making their escape. We understand that some of them were rebellious, and had to be placed in the cells for the night.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1862
The funeral of a soldier, a member of the 13th Regiment, U. S. Regulars, took place yesterday afternoon with military honors.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1862
We met a well-informed and fine lady yesterday from Nashville, Tennessee, who was so unfortunate to have a son in the Rebel army, but he has been fortunate enough, however, to be captured and placed in the Penitentiary in Alton. This lady informed us that she had heard the most exaggerated accounts of the cruelty and hardships to which the prisoners were subjected. And that when she traveled, she expected to find her son half-naked and starved, closely confined in the cells of the prison. She found him enjoying free exercise in the open and spacious yard, and supplied with everything necessary to his health, and looking better than she had ever seen him before. She is very glad that she made the visit, and says her feelings towards the northern people have undergone a great change since she has had an opportunity to see and interact with them, and she is well satisfied with the treatment her son receives in the prison, and would much prefer to have him remain there than to have him out again in the Rebel army.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1862
The following named prisoners have arrived at the prison in Alton, during a day or two past: Washington Wondish, Samuel Aken, B. F. West, J. O. Jackson, B. F. Car, Augustus Hoap, C. Lombus, and J. B. Wainford.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1862
The following letter was published a week or two since in the Jerseyville Union, a thorough-going secesh Democratic paper of the Dick Richardson and Vallandighams camp. The author of it was arrested and confined in the Alton penitentiary for harboring escaped Rebel prisoners. It is not strange that the Rebellion is not subdued while we have so many men running at large, whose loyalty is as doubtful as that of the writer of this treasonable epistle.

Alton Military Prison, June 18, 1862
Mr. Editor – Fearing the unterrified of Jersey County might think it strange that this old wheelhorse (that’s me) of Democracy, was absent from an important an election as that of the 17th inst., I deem an explanation called for, so here goes. I’m here! Might be enough, but there were three good reasons why I was not there. First, the weather (it did not snow thirty feet deep with a good crust on it so that I could get over the stone piled up all around me. Second, the elements looked strange near the door, and I am afraid to go through. Third, and last, I think they would not give me a “pass,” so I did not ask for one. You want to know how I got here, well, I will tell you all about it. I got off the wagon (last as soon as they told me to), and then one man and one male attended my right. Ditto my left, and a third brought up my rear. Thus, I skedaddled (the only verb allowed in grammar now) to this place. I am in a better place for “going ahead” than the Yorker with a constable behind and good dinner ahead, for I have the smallpox behind, Dixie ahead, and incentive to motion too numerous to mention or catch. “More anon.” From your friend and obedient servant in Limbo. N. Barnard.

We are not surprised to see N. Barnard in limbo, if he is a subscriber and constant reader of the Union. The only wonder is that the editor, and all his patrons and sympathizers are not in the same position. No other government on the earth, except our own, would tolerate such treasonable utterances as this sheet is continually publishing. But the power for evil such sheets have heretofore had will not last much longer, as they will very soon be forced to either take sides with the government or remove their quarters to Dixie.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1862
One of our well-known business men on Third Street was accidentally forced into bad company on Saturday evening. Upon the arrival of the secesh prisoners, he, with many others, was there to see, and during the march from the landing to the prison, by some unaccountable mistake, found himself in the midst of the prisoners, and guarded by U. S. soldiers. With great coolness, having the perspective of a night’s lodging in the penitentiary before him, he marched along, but upon reaching the prison, he was recognized by one of the officers on duty and promptly released.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1862
One of the prisoners who arrived in Alton Saturday, named Mabes, attempted on Sunday to pass the limits assigned to them. He was challenged by the guard and informed that he could not pass. He immediately began abusing and cursing the guard, who brought his musket to a charge, when the prisoner seized and attempted to take the bayonet from the gun. The guard fired, putting the charge through the head of the prisoner.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, August 22, 1862
W. P. Isham, editor and correspondent of the Chicago Times, was arrested in Memphis on the 14th inst., and sent to the Penitentiary at Alton, by order of Gen. Grant. Isham is charged with sending to his paper false and pernicious statements, intended to benefit the rebel cause. Near Memphis, recently, he fell into the hands of a party of rebel guerillas, who upon learning the name of his paper, immediately let him go. Isham was the author of the gunboat and Cumberland-Gap canards, first published in the Times and then telegraphed to the Associated Press. A short lease of imprisonment at Alton may have the effect to moderate his zeal on behalf of the rebels.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
During last night, thirty-five prisoners who were confined in the Military Prison at Alton made their escape. It is supposed that for some days past, some of the numbers have been working at a tunnel, some fifty feet in length, through which they gained their liberty. They commenced digging in a shed containing a bake oven, and the wash house. The oven, not being used, they made a hole from the top of the oven through to the earth beneath, and going some seven feet below the surface, dug a trench or tunnel under the wall, making the place of exit some six feet from the end of the sentinel’s beat. It is supposed that the most of the dirt was carried in buckets and thrown into the sinks during the night, although a large quantity of the earth is filled upon and around the oven. The prisoners have been in the habit of hanging their clothes all around the wash house, and they were thus enabled to work with comparative security from observation.

Charles H. Fulcher, one of the numbers who escaped, returned this morning and gave himself up. He states that after reaching the outside of the prison, they scattered like sheep throughout the vicinity. He, with two others, went about two miles below the city, when he determined to come back and give himself up.

Among those who escaped is Colonel Magoffin, who has been confined in a cell, having been sentenced to death for breaking his parole. It is supposed that with outside assistance, the lock on the door of his room was picked, and thus he gained access to a flight of steps leading to the yard. He had to pass a sentinel in going toward the sinks, but the prisoners always pass without hindrance, and the sentinel, not knowing but what Magoffin was safely locked in his cell, doubtless supposed he was one of the privileged ones, and for that reason did not stop him.

How thirty-five men could pass out of a hole in the ground, only six or seven feet from a sentinel, and not be discovered by him, is certainly a mystery. Captain Washington, we understand, has sent out squads to make search for the runaways, and we hope they may be all safely locked up again in a few days.

The following is a list of names of those escaping, for which we are indebted to Lieutenant Irwin, the obliging Adjutant of the prison:

Richard J. Martin
Oscar J. Jones
John O. McClusky (planner of the tunnel)
James R. Robinson
Joseph Watson
Charles Thomas
Charles E. Woodward
Errendis Navo
John Peabody
Francis M. Page
Andrew J. Prewitt
William S. Dyer
Cave Dyer
Avery Dyer
James E. Dogler
Captain H. W. Sweeney
Colonel Ebenezer Magoffin
Beriah Magoffin
Elijah H. Magoffin
Colonel Richard K. Murrell
Charles H. Fulcher
James O’Grady
Amos H. Hood
George W. Berryhill
George C. Miller
Francis J. Zaber
Smith Stevenson
William Stores
John T. Tipton
Adolphus Andrews
Ralph J. Smith
William J. Jackson
William Kelly
William T. Blevins
James T. Newcomb
Edward M. Mubic

Since the above was in type, we have learned that a party of soldiers discovered one of the escaped seceshers in the top of a tall tree, just above the distillery. The soldiers invited him down from his lofty eminence, and lodged him again in the prison.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
We had heard from several different sources this morning that five or six of the escaped secesh prisoners had been recaptured, and that the notorious Sweeney was one of the number, but on inquiring at headquarters, we were informed that but one had been recaptured. His name is James O’Grady.

Fugitive Prisoners Recaptured – Escaped with Col. Magoffin
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
Miller and Woodward, with some thirty-six others recently escaped from the military prison at Alton, have been re-arrested by Lieutenant Krekel at St. Charles, Missouri, and yesterday arrived again in St. Louis as prisoners.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1862
The following named military prisoners, under the jurisdiction of Provost Marshal Leighton, have been sent to Alton from the Gatriot Street prison, in addition to the list reported yesterday:

W. S. Straiton, John M. Wimer, E. M. Frazer, Robert J. Whitehead, Thomas Beard, W. Watson, William W. Whayin, Clay Taylor, General Taylor, John McCullom, Alva Jackson, James Lewis, James A. North, Joseph Coleman, Jabez Mutholland, John Moppin, Cornelius Mulligan, John L. Long, James Gunn, Jusour Self, and L. B. Walton.

John M. Wimer, named in the above list, has been Mayor of our sister city two or three times, and aside from his rebel proclivities, is a very worthy man. In our younger days, we were very intimate with and esteemed him very highly. Little did we then think, that such issues would be presented in our time as would place thick stone walls between us. But so it is. He has run wild after Jeff. Davis, while we, according to the statement of the secesh Democratic papers, have become deranged on the subject of the Union. Be this as it may, we hope that Mr. Wimer will be retained where he is until he can heartily take the oath of allegiance to the Government to which he is indebted for several lucrative offices.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 15, 1862
This well-known citizen of Alton was arrested on Saturday last by military authority, and placed within the walls of the old penitentiary. He has long been considered a rabid disunionist, but until lately he has been very quiet. On the 5th last, one of our recruiting officers, wishing to procure a hall suitable for drilling squads, applied to the doctor for a hall owned by him. The doctor very unceremoniously informed him that “no federal officer could have it for any such purpose.” He “wanted nothing to do with those whose hands are dripping with the blood of his friends in the South.” He expressed the utmost hatred of the federal army and officers. The officer reported the case to Governor Yates, but nothing being done, he, under the recent order of law, reported the case to Major Flint on Saturday morning last.

The arrest was made by Captain Smith of the 13th Regulars, at the doctor’s farm, about two miles north of the city. He made no resistance, but took the matter very coolly, and was taken to quarters in the prison. This is the commencement of a much-needed policy in this neighborhood, and other are looked upon with suspicion, and if there is not a change in some respects, they will be treated in a similar manner. If we march south, we must not have enemies at liberty in the rear.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 29, 1862
We learn from the Missouri Republican of Tuesday morning last, that the above-named individual was released on parole by the Provost Marshal of St. Louis for one week, to report semi-weekly to Major F. F. Flint, commanding at Alton.

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
Yesterday afternoon the Provost Marshal General of St. Louis disposed of Dr. T. M. Hope’s case for a while. The Dr. was released in bond of $5,000, and on parole to remain in the county until his case is investigated.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1862
Two hundred and fifty prisoners arrived in Alton last evening from St. Louis, and were safely lodged within the walls of the penitentiary. The guard is now very strict in Alton, and we do not think any more of the traitors confined here will be able hereafter to escape their vigilance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
On Saturday evening, a train of cars arrived from Springfield, having onboard 900 secesh prisoners that have been confined in Camp Butler for several months, and yesterday, about the same number were brought to Alton to take the boat to go to Vicksburg, Mississippi to exchange for our own soldiers, who have been in captivity in the South. We can say that they were as fine and hearty looking fellows as we have ever seen any place during the war, and from all appearances, we should judge that they would show fight until their last breath had left their bodies, and anyone to say that the South will not fight, and see such men as came down yesterday, must indeed have their eyes blinded.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1862
James S. Dowlings was released from the Military Prison today by order of the Provost Marshal General of St. Louis. The prisoner taking the oath and giving bonds.

It is expected that five hundred secesh prisoners will arrive in Alton this evening from St. Louis. They have been confined in the McDowell’s College prison in St. Louis for some time past.

Later: The R. M. Runyan brought to Alton last evening 401 secesh prisoners from McDowell’s College, St. Louis, who were placed in the military prison here. Eight guerrillas were brought here from Jackson, Mississippi yesterday afternoon, and consigned to the prison.

Saturday, W. P. Isham, correspondent of the Chicago Times, and now held as prisoner in Alton by order of General Grant on charge of publishing unlawful news, was paroled the limits of the city of Alton, to report at the military prison here whenever directed. This was the only case disposed of during the morning.

Phillip Rush was released from the military prison today on $2,000 bond, and taking the oath. James Rush also was released by promise of giving bond when he gets home, and taking the oath now. H. C. McCune arrival this morning as a prisoner of war from Fort Columbus, Kentucky.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1862
Colonel Neaby, I. R. Fentriss, Captain Handcock, confined in the military prison, were released by order of General Grant, as the charges against them were not sustained. Jasper Self was released on parole. Ed W. Keiser, on parole and $1,000 bond. S. Pilkington, paroled and $1,000 bond. John O’Neal was released on parole and ordered to report to the Provost Marshal General at St. Louis. Two prisoners, Edmundson and Tompkinson, were sent under guard to St. Louis to report to Provost Marshal General, who will parole them.

On last evening the secesh in the military prison, almost succeeded in making their escape by an underground passage again. But through hints previously thrown out, the officers in charge detailed a special guard to watch for them, but as they didn’t make their appearance, all was this morning found to be right. The secesh had dug through by the cooper shop inside, on the east side of the wall, and had made an opening large enough on the outside for one man to get through at a time, but they also “smelt a mice,” and thought “discretion the better part of valor,” in that case, and kept dark, finding that their plans had been found out.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1862
The military prison at Alton had an accession of 75 inmates yesterday, who were from the neighborhood of Corinth, Mississippi, all of whom are guerrillas. Twenty-five of the number are to be sent forward to Springfield, Illinois, today, by order of General Grant.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1862
Below we give the names of those having died during the month of September at the military prison, and the disease of which they died:

Augustus Boudreax, pneumonia, 18th Louisiana Regiment.
George W. Brown, inflammation of the brain.
Hiram Dennis, pneumonia.
John Ferscy, Boone County, Missouri, erysipelas.
Robert Hawkins, Calloway County, Missouri, pneumonia.
Hill Green, Girard County, Missouri, pneumonia.
Thomas Wolf, pneumonia.
Thomas Hancock, Bolivar, Tennessee, pneumonia.

Rufus Adams, one of the prisoners that refused to take the prescribed oath day before yesterday, repented, and yesterday came up to “maw” and was released.

Hugh V. Hughes was this morning unconditionally released from the military prison by order of the Provost Marshal General of St. Louis. The person held as prisoner is a thorough Union man, which is substantiated by several prominent citizens from Licking County, Ohio, of which he is a resident. He was on his way home from Pike’s Peak, when he was captured by some of Price’s men, and held prisoner for some time. Afterwards, he was taken from them by a squad of German soldiers, who sent him to St. Louis, and from there to the prison in Alton. After lying in prison for some months, he got the authorities of the prison interested in his case, who after finding that his story was a true one, had him released from “durance vile.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1862
Two prisoners that have been confined for some time in the military prison in Alton, through the influence of friends, obtained from General Grant a special order for their release, which was shown to them this morning, and they were privileged to go, on condition that they would take the usual oath. This they refused to do, and they were remanded back to prison where they now will have to remain until the close of the war. One was a guerrilla, and the other was ____ for the war, and if they had taken the oath, all would have been right, but now their day of grace is over for some time to come, and we sincerely hope such obdurate rebels will have but little mercy shown to them while they remain in prison. They don’t deserve executive clemency any more.

Also, a young lad named Isam Hastings was paroled the limits of Alton, this morning. He, like poor dog “Tray” being caught in bad company, was sent along with the rest in the prison here. According to his story, he was on his way to visit a brother and sister in Arkansas, when he fell in with some of Price’s men who were going his way, and who afterwards were taken prisoners. His place of residence is St. Genevieve, Missouri. Being in poor health and out of money, he was paroled by orders from headquarters here, until orders for his release shall come. Anyone giving him employment, so that he can but earn his board, will heartily confer a favor upon him.

Thirteen prisoners of war from Bolivar, Tennessee arrived at the prison yesterday. Their names are as follows: Dr. H. W. Gill, S. F. Saunders, John Shepard, Thomas Woodward, W. H. Henry, Ob. Taylor, Charles Colyer, S. Mills, Willis Parker, M. Poltinger, H. W. Sibley, and John H. Umphreys.

Gustavus Husfaus and Herman, his brother, were released on parole and bond, to report to the Provost Marshal General at St. Louis, and have the liberty of the limits of St. Louis. Also, R. Bailer, released on oath and bond of $1,000, and to report to Provost Marshal General at St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
We are greatly indebted to the gentlemanly adjutant of the military prison for the following account of prisoners, received and otherwise disposed of, since the 77th Ohio has been here. Prisoners received during the month of September at the military prison - 531. Prisoners discharged - 87. Prisoners died - 8(?). Prisoners paroled to limits of the City of Alton - 2. Prisoners paroled to the limits of St. Louis - ?. Prisoners confined in cells and sentenced to hard labor - 12. Under sentence during the war - 18. Under sentence of hard labor during the war - 1. Escaped - 1. Sent to Vicksburg – 81(?). Balance remaining in prison to 1st of October - 850. Forty prisoners arrived here by the Terre Haute Road this morning in charge of Lieut. Lewis, of General Rosecranz's staff, from Corinth, Miss. They were captured at the battle of Iuka. Robert Randolph Jefferson, a grandson of Thomas Jefferson's brother, is confined here in the military prison as a rebel. "Shades of departed heroes," who would have over thought, that a descendent of that noble family would ever be found recreant to the constitution which was formed by the immortal Thomas Jefferson.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
We are greatly indebted to the gentlemanly adjutant of the military prison for the following account of prisoners received and otherwise disposed of since the 77th Ohio has been here.

Prisoners received during the month of September at the military prison - 581.
Prisoners discharged – 87.
Prisoners died – 9.
Prisoners paroled to limits of the city of Alton – 2.
Prisoners paroled to the limits of St. Louis – 10.
Prisoners confined in cells and sentenced to hard labor – 12.
Prisoners under sentence during the war – 18.
Prisoners under sentence of hard labor during the war – 1.
Prisoners escaped – 1.
Prisoners sent to Vicksburg – 812.
Balance remaining in prison to 1st of October – 850.

Forty prisoners arrived here by the Terre Haute Railroad this morning in charge of Lieutenant Lewis of General Rosecrans’s staff, from Corinth, Mississippi. They were captured at the battle of Iuka.

Robert Randolph Jefferson, a grandson of Thomas Jefferson’s brother, is confined here in the military prison as a rebel. “Shades of departed heroes,” who would have ever thought that a descendent of that noble family would ever be found recreant to the constitution which was formed by the immortal Thomas Jefferson.

Sixty-one prisoners from the military prison went down this morning to St. Louis on the B. M. Runyan [steamboat]. They were mostly charged with small offenses.

Fourteen more prisoners were received at the prison this morning from Mississippi. They were all guerrillas, but one, and he is a prisoner of war.

We find the following items of news in the St. Louis papers of this morning, which doubtless may interest some of our readers:

The following persons were received yesterday from Cairo and sent immediately to Alton:
T. W. Hutchin, Callaway County, Kentucky; W. Prescott, Trigg County, Kentucky; Thomas Futrell, Trigg County, Kentucky; J. B. Dalton, Callaway County, Kentucky; J. L. Methenig, Benion County, Kentucky; Mathew Thompson, Henry County, Tennessee; J. J. Buchanan, Henry County, Tennessee; J. M. Todd, Callaway County, Kentucky; J. J. Waters, Callaway County, Kentucky; Alex Holsville, Callaway County, Kentucky; Allen Barnes, Stewart County, Tennessee; J. A. Melton, Steward County, Tennessee.

Today about one hundred prisoners from McDowell’s College will be sent there for confinement. The college is crowded to excess, there being over nine hundred inmates, and others daily arriving. Many lots, as soon as getting to St. Louis on steamers from below, are sent immediately on to Alton.

Seventy-nine prisoners were received at the Alton military prison on last evening from the St. Louis Gratriot Prison. Louis L. Chaney was released yesterday by taking the oath and giving bond for $2,000, and to report to the Provost Marshal General at St. Louis.

The military authorities who have charge of the prison authorizes us to state that they want it distinctly understood in the city that no firing of guns must be made after nine o’clock at night, under penalty, if caught, of staying a night or two in the prison cells. Such firing as was heard on Sunday evening rouses the soldiers and causes them to believe that they are called to arms. There is an ordinance upon the statute books of the city, forbidding the firing of guns in the city limits. It is the business of the city authorities to see that the laws are enforced, and we hope that if they do not stop the nuisance, that the military authorities will interfere, as we are assured they will do on the next provocation.

Thomas Harris and Calvin Boles, prisoners of war, were released form the military prison this morning on taking the oath and giving bond of $1,000 each.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
We learn that considerable attention is being given by our citizens, and also of the soldiers quartered here, to the fact that new parties have undertaken the contract to furnish bread for this military post, without proposals being advertised in the usual public way. Our city bakers have not had the usual and proper opportunity to put in their bids. The bread is now being furnished by an army sutler, we are informed. How can this be? What becomes of the army regulations in the promises?


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 24, 1862
William A. Perry, Norson Patterson, George Yankerly were released yesterday from the military prison by their taking the oath, they being prisoners of war.

We understand that John M. Wimer, Esq., who was offered the limits of Alton wherein to perambulate, refused to accept it, saying that he would rather stay inside the walls in durance villa, than to be obliged to remain cooped up in the city of Alton. We leave our readers to say whether they like the compliment paid to our town or not.

The above articles does me injustice, and is calculated to prejudice the citizens of Alton against me. I have to request the publication of the following reply addressed by me to Colonel J. J. Gautt, Provost Marshal General, upon receipt of his letter tendering a parole to the city of Alton, from which it will appear that I made no illusion whatever to the limits proposed. In fact, I had applied for a parole for this city, in order only to attend to important business. Beyond that I ask nothing. Signed John M. Wimer

To Colonel Thomas J. Gautt, St. Louis:
Yours of the 14th inst. Enclosing form of a parole is this day received. My object in asking the favor at your hands, as stated in my former letter, was simply to attend to some business of an important character, and not for pleasure, or to avoid imprisonment. I did not then, nor do I now, if paroled, design holding communication with anyone on the subject of the existing difficulties in the country, or to aid either the one side or the other during the time for which I may be paroled. This much I deem necessary to say, and which I will faithfully observe. For reasons not necessary to state, I feel disinclined to sign the parole enclosed by you. Trusting that it may be consistent for you to comply with my request. I remain yours respectfully, John M. Wimer.

John J. Weiley, D. E. Brown, B. F. Wells, Robert Clariday, Matthew Franklin, Henry Stukey, were released from the military prison yesterday by taking the oath and giving bonds for $1,000 each.

Fifty-three prisoners are ordered to report to the Gratiot Street prison by order of the Provost Marshal General, and they will go down tomorrow under guard. John Townsend, W. Pirkins, A. Morgan, John Scott, Jesse Hale, Henry Goom, were released on oath and bond of $1,000 yesterday. They are Inks prisoners, and will go directly to their homes.

John Hood and Jesse J. Hale were released from the military prison yesterday, on taking the oath, they being Confederate soldiers.

The 53 prisoners that were to go down to St. Louis this morning had made all their preparations and the boat was waiting for them, and the order came that they would have to remain over until tomorrow, because some of the necessary blanks had not been made out, which was a great disappointment to them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
Colonel Faulkner of Kentucky, with his Adjutant and twenty other prisoners, arrived from Cairo last night at the military prison. They were captured opposite Island No. 10.

One hundred and twenty-one prisoners from Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, were received last night at the military prison. They came up in charge of Lieutenant Cassiday of the 30th Missouri Volunteers.

Logan Baswill and Jesse Cox were released from the prison last night, on taking the oath. They are Iuka prisoners.


Headquarters, 77th Regiment Ohio Volunteers Infantry
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
All persons engaged in selling, or who keep spiritous or malt liquors in the city or vicinity of Alton, Illinois, are hereby strictly forbidden the selling or giving to any soldier, or suffering any soldier to drink any spiritous or malt liquors about his premises, under the ponsity of having his house closed, all his liquors confiscated, and he himself be imprisoned or otherwise punished if the circumstances may require.

Any officer or soldier attached to or belonging to the Military Post at Alton, Illinois, or remaining temporarily in the city, being found intoxicated, will immediately be arrested and punished by the penalty of confinement in the cells, or placed under arrest to be punished as a military court may determine; and shall be deprived of his or their liberty until he or they shall have given information where they received said intoxicating drinks.

And any non-commissioned officer, musician, or private, who may be found guilty of trading, selling, or spawning any military clothing, equipment or Government property of any kind, shall be punished to the extreme penalty of the law; and I do hereby warn and forbid all persons from buying, trading, or bartering with soldiers for such articles, and all citizens are strictly forbid wearing the whole, or any part of, a soldier’s uniform. Signed by J. Hildebrand, Colonel commanding Post.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
Twenty-nine prisoners from Bolivar, Tennessee were received at the military prison last evening, in charge of Lieutenant Mally, 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They are prisoners of war. William P. Haywood, James Steward, and J. A. Victor were released yesterday. Orders were received this morning to parole Captain A. D. Ray of the 25th Alabama, so that he can return home and there be exchanged for a Federal Captain. Also, John W. Southard of Iron County, Missouri and Henderson Richmond of Lauderdale County, Alabama, were paroled and will be sent home. J. M. Flipping, W. C. Spence, T. E. Pearson, H. H. White, B. S. Jordon, J. Herat, and J. W. Noll were released from the military prison yesterday, on taking the oath, they being Confederate soldiers. We would call attention to the order from the military commandant at this post, regarding the selling of liquor to soldiers. B. Mundy, G. W. Moody, J. B. Westly, B. Havior, were released on parole yesterday, and will report to the Provost Marshal General at St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
Colonel Hildebrand, Commander of this Post, came here an entire stranger to all of our citizens, and directly from the field of battle, but he is gaining golden opinions for himself by his course since he has been in command. He is kind and courteous to our citizens, and confines himself strictly to the faithful discharge of his legitimate duties. He maintains most excellent discipline among his men, not, however, by a domineering, oppressive spirit, but by firmness and decision of character, and a rigid and consistent government of himself. He is very faithful and watchful over the prisoners committed to his safe-keeping. We hear nothing, since he has taken charge of them, of wholesale escapes or of insubordination inside the walls. But, notwithstanding his rigid discipline over them, he still remembers that they are human beings, and everything he can consistently do to make them comfortable is done. His duties are very arduous and perplexing, but they are all cheerfully discharged, with the most perfect coutaimity [sic] of temper. It is the earnest wish of all our loyal citizens that the Colonel may hold his present position just so long as it is necessary for us to have prisoners at this point.

Colonel Jesse Hildebrand was born May 29, 1l800, and was in charge of the 77th Ohio Regiment. He led the 77th in the Battle of Shiloh. General Sherman later remarked that Colonel Hildebrand was “as cool as any man I ever saw.” In the Battle of Shiloh, the 77th suffered severe losses. The regiment was then assigned to the military post at the Alton prison. There, Hildebrand died at his post in Alton from pneumonia on April 18, 1863. He is buried in Marietta, Ohio.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
Seventeen prisoners were released on oath this morning, they being Confederate soldiers. Twenty-four more were received from Columbus, Kentucky, and five from Boliyar, Tennessee, all being prisoners of war. An order has been received from Colonel Gaatt of St. Louis, to make out a list of all political prisoners confined in the military prison here, so that their cases may be tried by a military board at St. Louis.

A. J. Kinkead was released from the military prison yesterday, on taking the oath, and is to report to General Grant. A number of political prisoners will probably be released today.

About eighty political prisoners will be released today from the military prison by order of General Grant. They all having taken the oath. There were no arrivals nor departures during yesterday, and of course items are scarce.


Source: November 7, 1862
Robert F. Leicher was released on parole yesterday, and George Owens, Leven Harwell, and Patrick Coffee were released on oath, they being Confederate soldiers. Colonel Hildebrand mustered the 77th Ohio and 126th Illinois regiments this morning, preparatory to receiving ________.

Below we give a list of those having died during the month of October at the Military Prison:

H. D. Colter, dysentery, October 3, 1862
William Wilson, dysentery, October 3, 1862
James Nations, typhoid fever, October 5, 1862
M. Morgan, dysentery, October 7, 1862
Parker Wilson, pneumonia, October 9, 1862
Philip Bigford, pneumonia, October 13, 1862
Thomas Buklow, pneumonia October 15, 1862
Wilson Marshall, dysentery, October 16, 1862
Edward Enfort, dysentery, October 14, 1862
Jonathan Hathow, pneumonia, October 15, 1862
James Cox. Dysentery, October 19, 1862
Hugh Charles, dysentery, October 19, 1862
James Roberts, diarrhea, October 20, 1862
Richard Rundsant, erysipelas, October 23, 1862
Sabina Y. Briggs, pneumonia, October 24, 1862
P. M. Byson, paralysis, October 24, 1862
Vincent Owings, diarrhea, October 25, 1862
Stephen Taylor, pneumonia, October 25, 1862
Lafayette Lewis, pneumonia, October 26, 1862
Jesse S. Thomas, pneumonia, October 27, 1862
Major Bruce, pneumonia, October 29, 1862

There are now lying sick in the hospital - 204.
Prisoners discharged during the month on oath - 67.
Prisoners died during the month – 22
Prisoners transferred during the month - 110
Prisoners paroled during the month – 11
Prisoners received during the month – 231.
Total number now confined in prison – 981.

Dr. Fosiar, who has been very sick in prison for two weeks, went down on parole to Saint Louis this morning. Seventeen prisoners were released on oath this morning, they being Confederate soldiers. Twenty-four more were received from Columbus, Kentucky, and five from Boliver, Tennessee, all being prisoners of war. An order has been received from Colonel Gaatt of St. Louis to make out a list of all political prisoners confined in the military prison here, as that their cases may be tried by a military board at St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 14, 1862
The following will partly explain itself, but the main facts in the case are as follows: One day last week a soldier, belonging to the 126th Regiment stationed here in Alton, was found in a certain saloon, drunk. He was taken and put in the cells, as per the Military Order No. 1, until he sobered down, when he was questioned closely as to where he got his liquor. He made affidavit before Colonel Hildebrand that the whisky which he drank was procured by someone on the street, and given to him, and when he was found in the saloon, he had been there but a short time. No one of our dealers is implicated in the above matter, but Colonel Hildebrand wishes it distinctly understood that the order will be enforced, and no one will be privileged to procure liquor to give to soldiers.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 14, 1862
There was considerable business on hand at the prison this morning, but all were busy in getting rid of the eighty secesh [Confederates] that we spoke of yesterday.

William Prescott, A. Walker, H. H. Yates, R. D. Ellis, W. F. Matthews, and W. E Mallo were released on oath this morning and took their departure from the frowning wall of the old military prison.

Five new arrivals can be stated at the military prison. They were from Jackson, Tennessee. No other important news can be quoted from headquarters. But they have not yet got rid of all the political prisoners.

Stephen Ramsey was released from the military prison yesterday on taking the oath, after which he desired to join the 77th Ohio, which he was permitted to do, and was placed in Company B.

We may state to our readers something that we have known for a considerable time, but have withheld from our readers for various reasons. It is that the Hon. John M. Wimer escaped from the military prison some day since, and has not been heard from as yet. It is supposed that he bribed the teamster who goes through the large gate.

John M. Wimer, named in the above list, has been Mayor of our sister city two or three times, and aside from his rebel proclivities, is a very worthy man. In our younger days, we were very intimate with and esteemed him very highly. Little did we then think, that such issues would be presented in our time as would place thick stone walls between us. But so it is. He has run wild after Jefferson Davis, while we, according to the statement of the secesh Democratic papers, have become deranged on the subject of the Union. Be this as it may, we hope that Mr. Wimer will be retained where he is until he can heartily take the oath of allegiance to the Government to which he is indebted for several lucrative offices.

Lt. Colonel John M. WimerNOTES:
Lt. Colonel John M. Wimer had served two terms as Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, and also served as Postmaster. He was an intellectual man, and while he opposed slavery, he was a Southern sympathizer. He was arrested for speaking out for the Confederacy, and placed in the Alton prison. While in prison, he was a favorite among the other prisoners. Wimer would entertain the prisoners with anecdotes and recitations.

Alton citizen Thomas Callahan drove his wagon to the prison three times a week to haul away stale bread, along with other trash from the prison. The prisoners were supplied with fresh bread every day, and would not eat day-old bread. The bread amounted to several hundred loaves in a week. Callahan would take the stale bread to his home on Prospect Street, where the poor children and women would come with their baskets, and carry the stale bread to their homes to eat. In November 1862, Colonel John M. Wimer made his escape from the prison by crouching down in the barrel, which was placed in Callahan’s wagon. He covered himself with loaves of stale bread and kept quiet. When Callahan arrived at his home, Lt. Colonel Wimer rose from under the bread and asked for some place to hide until dark. Mrs. Callahan told him to hid in a cask, which had been placed by her husband as a refuse receptacle in the Dolbee pond in the Callahan pasture, located between the old Dolbee house (later the Old Ladies’ Home – now Riverview Park) and David Ryan’s residence. The water in the cask was about half-knee deep at the time. Wimer took an old nail keg and placed it in the cask to sit on. At night, made his escape to southeast Missouri, where he joined the Confederate army under Colonel Emmett Macdonald and Brigadier-General John S. Marmaduke. Wimer was killed January 11, 1863, in the Battle of Hartville, in Hartville, Missouri, while leading a detachment of Colonel Burbridge’s regiment. It was reported that he was shot through the eye, and that after he died, the Union Provost Marshal managed to steal his body and bury him in an unknown potters’ field as a final act of desecration. After the war, his body was moved to Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 28, 1862
Two hundred prisoners left here this morning enroute for Cairo, and from there to Vicksburg, to be exchanged for Federal prisoners.


Alton Telegraph, December 5, 1862
James Galbraith was released on oath and bond from the military prison this morning, to report at St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 5, 1862
A second enforcement of the order of the Colonel commanding at this post in relation to selling liquor to soldiers, took place this morning on Second Street [Broadway]. It appears that four soldiers were found drunk yesterday on the streets, and after they got sobered off, they were forced to tell where they had procured their liquor, or go to the cells for an indefinite period. They chose the former. A squad of men under Lieutenant Moore proceeded to a saloon, which had been pointed out as the place on the above-named street, kept by one Daniel McGrath, and then and there proceeded to empty into the street the liquors that were found in the bar. After which they quietly marched back again to their quarters. We think that after a few more occurrences of this kind take place, that our people will learn wisdom by experience.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 5, 1862
List of those having died during the month of November in the Military Prison at this post:

William K. Brown, November 9; pneumonia.
W. S. Gromfield, November 21; Rheumatism.
Marcus Baker, November 23; pneumonia.
Wilson Calo, Sr., November 9; general disability.
Zeba Duko, November 8; chronic diarrhea.
James S. Douglas, November 16, erysipelas.
Henry Dennis, November 16; diarrhea.
George W. Dema__tue, November 23; plurdis.
Jesse Garland, November 8; pneumonia.
S. P. Gray, November 21; pneumonia.
Robert Hodges, November 1; pneumonia.
Henry J. Hudson, November 13; pneumonia.
S. J. Heron, November 13; chronic diarrhea.
Casper Hunter, November 13; pneumonia.
John Hood, November 23; erysipelas.
John W. Jones, November 26; pneumonia.
William Kirkpatrick, November 13; pneumonia.
Leroy Kesso, November 26, pneumonia.
James Lamin, November 8; diarrhea.
Joseph Lawhorn, November 20; pneumonia.
Andrew J. Murray, November 9; pneumonia.
J. W. Meeks, November 22; pneumonia.
Gillison Perkins, November 8; pneumonia.
David Prodit, November 8; pneumonia.
William A. Purdam, November 17; pneumonia.
Lucas Roy, November 27; pneumonia.
Caleb Shackleford, November 13; pneumonia.
Sterling Smith, November 13; erysipelas.
W. S. Samuels, November 13; chronic diarrhea.
Valentine Smith, November 23; erysipelas.
Elijah Seward, November 20; pneumonia.
Jacob Teeples, November 9; general disability.
W. H. Baden, November 15; erysipelas.
Benjamin Woodward, November 1; pneumonia.
Nathan Woodsmall, November 7; apoplexy.
W. B. Wright, November 7; chronic diarrhea.
J. H. Woodsmall, November 7; pneumonia.
Daniel Warren, November 22; anasarca.
Samuel W. Burch, November 22; erysipelas.
Reuben Tidner, November 22; pneumonia.

Whole number having died during the month of November – 40.
Number sick in hospital – 61.
Whole number received during the month – 311.
Whole number transferred – 109.
Number discharged on oath – 103.
Number remaining in prison to date – 683.

Dr. Foster was released from the Military Prison this morning by order of the Secretary of War, and ordered to report at St. Louis. James M. P. Nolan was released today, he being a British subject, and orders from General Curtis being received to let him go. As also was F. A. Rolph, and both will now have to stay in this city, or make their way to Canada to be free from further interruption.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 12, 1862
We understand that there was quite a stir yesterday in Jerseyville, growing out of an attempt made by the Commander of this post, to arrest the editor of the Jerseyville Democratic Union for disloyalty. This editor has for some months past been filling his paper with the vilest and most abusive epithets against the government, and denouncing the President as a worse traitor than Jeff Davis. Colonel Hildebrand – who by the way is a sound Democrat of the Douglas stamp – has had his eye upon him for some time, and yesterday he dispatched a small posse of soldiers to arrest and bring him to Alton. But we have been informed that the valiant editor, considered in this instance that discretion was the better part of valor, gave them the slip, and the soldiers returned without being able to arrest him. We are not fully advised as to the cause which will now be pursued in reference to the matter by the military, but we are satisfied that the authority of the government will be vindicated by Colonel Hildebrand – let the consequences be what it may. He has helped take care of rebels in Tennessee, and will therefore know how to deal with them in Illinois. We have been convinced for some time that this editor, should either be confined in the Penitentiary or the insane asylum at Jacksonville, but it has not been so clear to our mind which of the two places he should grace with his presence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 12, 1862
Yesterday afternoon, Lieutenant Moore, with a squad of men, took a trip down Second Street [Broadway] to the grocery of Mr. Huber, and proceeded to empty out what liquor could be found upon the premises, which was but very little. The reason for so doing was the finding of soldiers drunk around his store, and who said they had procured the liquor of Huber. It seems that he keeps but a small amount at a time in his store, so that if he should be taken up by the military authorities, he would not lose much. A warning was given to him, that upon the next violation, he would be incarcerated in a cell of the old prison.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 12, 1862
Gideon C. Mizer was released from the Military Prison this morning on taking the oath and giving bond for $1,000, and is to remain in Jacksonville, Illinois and report to the Provost Marshal General at St. Louis every week. Two hundred and thirty-four prisoners came up on the H. M. Runyan from St. Louis on Saturday evening, from McDowell’s College. Sixty new recruits arrived from Marietta, Ohio on Saturday to join the regiment here. Thirteen prisoners were received last night at the Military Prison from Jackson, Tennessee, in charge of Lieut. Magowen. John S. Drake was released on oath and bond of $1,000 from the military prison this morning, and will report to the Provost General at St. Louis once a week.

Dr. S. Pollek and Rev. M. Schuylelr, members of the Western Sanitary Commission, are here in Alton to examine into the condition of the military hospitals located here, both outside and inside of the prison walls.

Fitz Otthorf of the Second Missouri Artillery was received as a prisoner at the military prison on yesterday, he being sentenced for some misdemeanor during the war. Powhattan Spencer was released on oath and bond of two thousand dollars, and to report at St. Louis. Reuben S. Boals, O. B. Young, G. G. Zeutzehes arrived at the military prison last night, and were committed as prisoners. C. G. Cautt was released on oath and bond of $1,000. Also, Robert Oliver was released on parole, to report to Brigadier General Vaugn, in northern Missouri.

Charles Wortsay, an insane man, a federal soldier now confined in the military prison, is ordered to report at Washington City, and he will be sent under guard in a short time.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1862
One day last week we had the pleasure of being introduced to S. Pollak, Esq., and the Rev. M. Schuyler, who were on a visit to Alton to examine the sanitary condition of the Alton Military Prison. They were appointed to perform this duty by the Western Sanitary Commission. We find their report in the St. Louis papers, in which they speak in the highest terms of the courtesy of Colonel Hildebrand, and of his uniform kindness to the prisoners. They also speak of the location and general arrangement of the prison as being well calculated to promote health and comfort among its inmates. They say some of the prisoners are not as yet sufficiently supplied with comfortable under clothing. They represent them as being abundantly supplied with good wholesome food, and appearing entirely satisfied with the kind treatment of the officers. ……. [missing text] ….prison are buried in a ground about two miles out of the city, set apart especially for that purpose. They are furnished with a coffin, the same as the Federal soldiers, and are in all respects decently interred. Headboards, with the initials of their names, are placed at each grave, so that there can be no difficulty in identifying the spot where friends are buried.

In conclusion, it gives us great pleasure to state that we found the condition of the Alton prison as comfortably as could reasonably be expected. It is but justice to Colonel Hildebrand, to the officers under his command, to the surgeon in charge, Dr. L. E. Hardy, to say that by their efficiency and kindness, they have made the prison creditable alike to the country and to the claims of humanity.
Signed by S. Pollak and M. Schuyler, Sanitary Commission.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1862
A.G. Ronse had been released on taking the oath and giving bonds. Henry Utterbach was released on parole. Both, however, are required to remain in some free state north of Alton. James Ford was released this morning from the military prison on taking the prescribed oath of allegiance.
A part of the wall at the southeast corner of the prison last evening gave way, and quite a large hole was made. Preparations are being made to have it immediately rebuilt, as it is considered unsafe to leave it in its present condition.

We mentioned last week that Colonel Hildebrand, Command of the Alton post, had attempted to arrest the editor of the Jerseyville Democratic Union for disloyalty, but had failed to do so. The attempt was made a week ago last Friday. On Monday, some of the Editor’s friends visited the prison, and through their influence, the Colonel consented, on certain conditions, not to suppress its publication. The Union of the 18th has come to us titled with certificates from some of the prisoners, contradicting certain statements which had heretofore been published in that sheet, derogatory to Colonel Hildebrand and censuring his treatment of the prisoners. The following certificate, signed by 58 of the prisoners, is a fair sample of all the others:

“Alton Military Prison, December 3, 1862
We, the undersigned Confederate prisoners, take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the uniform kindness and attention of Colonel Hildebrand and officers under his command. Our wants have been carefully attended to, we have had as a general thing abundance of wholesome food, and when any failure has occurred or any wrong in our treatment, the neglect has been promptly corrected by Colonel Hildebrand. In short, our condition has been rendered as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Colonel Hildebrand’s whole treatment of prisoners, while firm, has been tempered with _______ and kindness.”

With such testimonials to the humanity of Colonel Hildebrand before us, with the positive assertion from the Alton Telegraph that he is a “sound Democrat of the Douglas stamp, who has helped take care of Rebels in Tennessee, and will therefore know how to deal with them in Illinois,” with the representations of our friends to both his humanity and his politics, we are much pleased and gladly assert to what is so clearly proved! We hope, indeed, that the time may come when the ultra-Abolitionists, such as “Old Abe,” Owen Lovejoy, and Editor Parks, may join the gallant army of Union soldiers, and help the “sound Douglas Democrats” to save our suffering country, its Constitution, and the Union.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1862
John C. Able, Thomas Able, Sabioc Edwards, Richard A. Haydon, and Joseph Prince, all of Monroe County, Missouri, were released on parole and bond of one thousand dollars each, this morning, all to remain in some free state north of Springfield, and east of the center of the state during the war.


Source: General Orders of the War Department, Embracing the Years 1861, 1862, and 1863 by U.S. War Dept., Oliver Diefendorf, Thomas M. O'Brien
General Orders, 1863:
The proceedings of the Military Commission in the case of Alfred Yates, private in the rebel army, have been approved by the proper commanders and forwarded for the action of the President of the United States. Upon the recommendation of the Major General commanding the Department of the Missouri, the President directs that the sentence "to be hanged by the neck until he is dead," be commuted "to imprisonment during the war." The prisoner will be sent, under proper guard, to the military prison at Alton, Illinois.

The proceedings of the Military Commission in the case of George W. Casey, of the so-called Confederate States Army, have been approved by the proper commanders and forwarded for the action of the President of the United States. Upon the recommendation of the Major General commanding the Department of the Missouri, the President directs that the sentence "to be hanged by the neck until dead," be commuted to "imprisonment during the war." The prisoner will be sent, under proper guard, to the military prison at Alton, Illinois.

The proceedings of the Military Commission in the case of John F. Cook, citizen, have been approved by the proper commanders and forwarded for the action of the President of the United States. Upon the recommendation of the Major General commanding the Department of the Missouri, the President directs that the sentence "to be shot to death," be commuted "to imprisonment during the war." The prisoner will be sent, under proper guard, to the military prison at Alton, Illinois.

The proceedings of the Court in the case of Private William Polson, Company "D," 8th Regiment Kansas Volunteers, have been approved by the proper commanders and forwarded for the action of the President of the United States, who directs that the sentence "to be shot to death," be commuted to "imprisonment during the war." The prisoner will be sent, under proper guard, to the military prison at Alton, Illinois.


Source: The Diary of an Old Lawyer, Or, Scenes Behind the Curtain, 1895, by Attorney John Hallum
The affianced of a young Confederate officer, living near Collierville (whose name now escapes me, because my record in which it was kept was long since lost) came to Memphis and purchased from a large dry goods firm, cloth and trimmings to make the dashing young officer a uniform. To obtain this favor, she pledged her honor, that in case of detection she would not disclose the name of the merchants. It was in the winter of 1863-4. She wrapped the cloth around her person and proceeded out on the Germantown road to the exit through the lines. On that day for the first time, tents had been erected, and ladies put in charge, to search the wearing apparel and persons of all their sex passing out of the line. Our little heroine, who belonged to the middle classes, was the first caught at that station. She was handed over to the guards and conveyed to the "Irving Block," that Bastille of the revolution, situated on Second Street opposite the northeast corner of Court Square. Ladies confined there were always placed in the upper story, without fire in the most inclement weather, and no bedding whatever, except a mass of straw thrown loosely on the bare floor, and without a chair, table, box, or anything on which to sit. For a cultured and refined lady, this was hard, as was the prison fare of coffee, cold potatoes, salt pork, and hard crackers. To a gentleman, who loved to honor and preserve untarnished the uniform and arms of the country he bore, it was simply revolting, especially so because in the heart of a city overflowing with all the luxuries the arts and commerce of the age commanded.

This young lady, whose innocent and pure, yet exalted love was her death, sent for me [Attorney John Hallum]. I found her in that cold and cheerless room alone, sitting in the corner on a bed of loose straw, cold and shivering in the pitiless air; her large blue eyes swimming in tears, which stirred up the fountains of my own. She told me the details already stated, the merchant from whom she purchased the cloth, after my assurance that I would not betray them. The merchants who trusted her had a stock of goods worth two hundred thousand dollars, which would have been confiscated had that suffering girl told them where she obtained the goods. This girl was in the incipient stages of consumption, aggravated greatly by exposure in that cold, damp, fireless and bedless room. Already the arrows and seeds of death gave voice to their presence. After a confinement of three weeks in that Bastille, she was sent to the Alton prison, where she died keeping her faith.

I don’t have any further information on this young woman who died in the Alton prisoner, or what her name was. This story was told by Attorney John Hallum in 1895, who visited her in the prison. There was another woman who died in the Alton prison during the Civil War – Barbara Ann Dunavan. Barbara was a poor and illiterate Tennessee woman, who was court-martialed for smuggling revolvers to the Confederate army. Convicted, she was sent to Alton, where she died of smallpox. She is buried in the North Alton Confederate Cemetery on Rozier Street. Are these women one of the same? I don’t know. I have been researching the Civil War era - reading each and every Alton newspaper during that time period. I started researching in 1860, and I am now reading 1865 newspapers. There has been no mention of either women. Were their deaths hidden and kept from the public? Possibly. Whatever the case, it is sad to think that this poor, young woman died – all for her love of her fiancé, and wanting to make him a new uniform.

The author of this story, Attorney John Hallum, was born January 16, 1833, in Tennessee. He was considered a prodigy in his youth, and by the age of six he could read and spell every word in Webster’s Spelling Book. He studied at home and read classical literature, qualifying himself to enter college. At the age of fifteen, he was offered a scholarship, but rejected it to become a lawyer. He worked on his father’s farm while educating himself, and after passing the bar, he opened a law office in Memphis. Among his clients, was Sam Houston, who hired him to investigate land titles for his brother’s widow. Although strongly opposed to secession, he believed in the patriotism of the South, and entered the Confederate Army as a Lieutenant, and was assigned to the staff of General Pillow. He was discharged after two years because of illness. In 1864, he wrote a severe criticism of the corrupt Union army, and without any charge, trial, or hearing, he was ordered to be confined sixty days in a blockhouse at Fort Pickering, and to pay a thousand dollar fine. In the prison, he wrote of the conditions of prison life, where vermin and smallpox were common. Coffee was made in the same vessel that served for washing. After the close of the war, Hallum was attorney for the Knights of the Golden Circle. In 1870 Hallum moved to St. Louis to practice law. He later moved to Colorado and then Arkansas. He died in 1907.


Source: Camp, Field and Prison Life by W. A. Wash, 1870
"During the day about sixty officers came in from the prison at Alton, Illinois. They, with a number of privates, had been started for exchange, but were stopped at Pittsburg and sent here, as we all supposed, on account of retaliatory measures. The bad faith with which both parties have kept the cartel agreed upon for exchange has caused many a gallant man to languish and die in prison. Thousands of soldiers are now suffering in prisons, who, at a word from those in power, could be honorably exchanged and serving their cause.

This, the 8th day August, the officers of Price's army taken at Helena, Arkansas, on the 4th day of July, arrived from Alton prison, several of them, Col. Johnson, of Arkansas, among the number, wearing, as ornamental appendages, a ball and chain for the offense of trying to escape from prison. They had made a hole through the ceiling and roof of their quarters, but some traitor or spy informed against them, and a detachment of Yankee boys was paraded to greet them as soon as they made their exit through the hole Several cases of smallpox came in with them, and were quartered in a tent in one corner of the prison yard. They did not give the Alton House a very good name, and promise never to patronize the institution again if they can consistently avoid it, for they don't admire the situation of the concern, nor the compactness and height of the yard fence, and last, but not least, the landlord and his sub-officials did not distinguish themselves for hospitality and generosity."


[“Copperhead” = Confederate sympathizer]
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1863
It will be recollected that we published, a few days since, a letter understood to have been written by Westbrook, who had been spending his time drilling Copperhead military companies in Greene, Macoupin, and Jersey Counties, and otherwise behaving himself very suspicious manner. The publication of that letter, with other circumstances which proved the fact that he was a Rebel sympathizer, directed the attention of that faithful and fearless officer, Provost Marshal Billings [of the Alton Military Post (prison)] to his case, and on last Saturday he came across him north of Kane in Greene County, and immediately placed him under arrest and brought him into Jerseyville about night.

We were informed that as soon as he found he was in the power of the government, that he took a large dose of strychnine, swearing at the time that the Abolitionists should not have the satisfaction of gloating over his punishment. From the effects of this dose, he came very near passing out of the hands of the vigilant Provost, in a manner which no loyal man would regret. Medical aid, however, was called in, and he soon partially recovered.

The fact of this leading man among the Knights of the Golden Circle’s [see more information in the notes below on the K. G. C.'s] was confined in the Jerseyville jail soon spread abroad, and created a general stir among the Copperheads of that place. Mr. Billings, apprehending danger of an effort being made to rescue him, silently and privately took him from the prison and brought him to this city [Alton], where he was made secure in the military prison. He was detained here until Tuesday evening, when he was sent under a strong guard to General Ammen at Springfield.

Our informant remarked that there was considerable excitement in Jerseyville on Saturday night, and that on Sabbath morning a body of men, numbering some forty or fifty, made their appearance from the country, who were armed, and prowled about the streets all day, but made no outward demonstration. After dark, the party fired off their pieces, and left for their homes.

Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Provost Marshal Billings for his faithful and fearless discharge of is duties, in one of the most disloyal districts within the bounds of the state.

Some "Copperheads," as Confederate sympathizers were nicknamed, were members of a secret society called the Knights of the Golden Circle. This group advocated a "golden circle" of territories in Mexico, Central America, Confederate States of American, and the Caribbean, as slave states, to be led by Maximilian I of Mexico. As abolitionism in the U. S. increased, members of the group proposed a separate confederation of slave states, south of the Mason-Dixon line, to secede and align with other slave states. During the Civil War, Southern sympathizers in States such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa were accused of belong to the K. G. C., and in some cases were imprisoned for their activities, such as Mr. Westbrook in the above article. In late 1863, the K. G. C. reorganized as the Order of American Knights, and in 1864 it became the Order of the Sons of Liberty, with Ohio politician Clement L. Vallandigham as its supreme commander. I have no further information on Westbrook, and whatever happened to him. After the Civil War, some believe that the K. G. C.'s went underground to support a second uprising against the Federal government.


September 21, 1862
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1863
The following deaths took place yesterday: Dellenger and Joseph Harper.
John J. Newton died this morning.


September 19, 1862
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1863
For the week ending September 19, 1862. The following died during the week of smallpox: William Cobble, James Daniels, Martin V. Daniels, Henry More, Levi H. Harrison, Henry O. Bryant, James Reed(?), William G. S. Logan, Manliff Maison, Henry C. Bray, William H. Miller, William D. Edmondson.

Died of other diseases: Lewis C. Suhich, Andrew J. Daniels, Josh P. Sommers.
David Burns, supposed to have been drowned in attempting to escape.
John C. Jacobs, paroled to the limits of the city of Alton.
Jenac S. Lanson, paroled to remain within the limits of Maries County, Missouri.
John W. Curry of Monroe County, Missouri, paroled to any point north of Ohio, and east of Mississippi river, during the war, and to report monthly by letter to the Provost Marshal General’s Department of the Missouri, St. Louis.


Source: Albany, New York Evening Journal, March 26, 1863
The St. Louis Union is publishing a number of intercepted letters, written by certain parties here, to friends and relatives in the Rebel army. The following, addressed to a Mr. W. F. Luckett, is a
"Specimen brick:"- St. Louis, Feb. 3,1868. Dear Darling Frank - I suppose by this time you have received my other letter, and I am going to try this carrier. Enclosed you will find your ma's letter, and this carrier is so closely watched that I fear he will be captured, but we all hope for the beet. Miss Lucy, our "Intelligent contraband," watches everything so closely that we do nothing but lie. You Just ought to see how the Union people are shaking. They have very little faith in their glorious Union Government, and I do assure you we Rebels never felt as sure of a Southern Confederacy as we do now, and we do so pray for the time to come, when our brave soldiers and bushwhackers will be released from their prisons and be free men once more. There are now 800 men in Gratiot Street Prison, or McDowell's College, and so many of them have the small pox. There is over one thousand in the Alton prison, and they are almost destitute of clothing. Ma and I have been permitted to visit the Alton prison next Thursday. I have been sewing and mending old clothes for them all this week. Dick Beauford, United States Express messenger, promised to write a letter to you, but I have not seen it as yet. I received a long letter from your Ma, and Miss Loutie said I might love you if I was a real good rebel, and if that is all she asks of me I think you are my property. I will admit that I have talked to Feds, but after Pa shot that soldier we could not do as we pleased. He lived six days after he was shot, and the night he died, four black-hearted villains came bolting into Ma's room, and damned us to everything they could, and not a soul in the house but her and I, nor was there a person in town, or a friend anywhere that would come near us. We moved everything over to Mrs. Johnston's, and slept on the floor in our clothes and shawls, for six weeks, and every night was warned to leave the house, that it was going to be burnt. We could not live so, and all we could do was to lake some of the highest officers in our house to board, but Ma never got me to set with the contemptible hounds, if I was compelled to speak to them. No one knows what we have to contend with. May God speed Gen. Price and his noble army into Missouri, so that we poor persecuted "she devils" as that elegant paper the Republican chooses to term us, may have the satisfaction of trampling a few ...... ladies under our feet. ........Dr. came down last night. - He is living at College Mound, and he says there was a prisoner shot at that place on the 2d of February, for hurrahing for Jeff. Davis. We dare not breathe Jeff. Davis' name aloud here; but I wish you could see the picture Ma has of him. Mr. C. Y. J. gave it to her, and it cost $15. It is splendid. I have such a dreadful cold that I can scarcely speak above a whisper; but I will not die, because there is too many Southern girls down there. You must soon come home, for such I still call our house, and Ma says she does want to see her son Frank so much. Now I know you will come. Give my love to all the Rebels, Edward Barton, William Halleck, Shad, and more to yourself, and write, by the first carrier, a long letter. We all send much love to you, and Mr. Flanagan, and hope you will give the Feds your best Minnie ball, and shoot a few extra balls in revenge for us. You may look for several kisses in this letter, and you will find them. Write soon to Your true and devoted Rebel, Zaide L. Bagwill


Source: The Syracuse, New York Daily Standard, May 13, 1863
Dr. W. A. Cheatham and family has been ordered to Alton, Illinois, to be confined during the war. Mrs. Cheatham is the sister of Mrs. John Morgan.


Source: Skaneateles, New York Democrat, September 24, 1863
Brigadier General Jeff Thompson, the notorious rebel swamp ranger and bushwhacker, with his adjutant, Capt. Reuben Kay, are now in the Alton, Illinois, military prison. They will soon be transferred to Johnson's Island.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 25, 1863
September 23d: Whole number in hospital – 116, of whom 3 are Federals. Number on Tow Head – 14.

September 22: Died on Tow Head (Smallpox Island) 22d, of smallpox, Alfred Cash and Thomas Well. Died in prison hospital 22d, of smallpox: Richard Webb; of typhoid fever, William L. Parish; of chronic dysentery, Levi Henshaw and Willis Clark.

Seven Rebel citizen prisoners, under sentence, received from Columbus, Kentucky. One (John Aicher), a citizen guerrilla, sentenced to two years imprisonment. Charles are larceny and kidnapping a free negro to sell into slavery.

September 24: Since our report yesterday, Jacob Rhodes and Mordecai Wells died of smallpox. Jacob Bloomstien sent to Nashville, Tennessee, by order of the Commanding General of prisoners.


For Week Ending October 10, 1863
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1863
Deaths – Perry M. Dolton, James Hargrove, Benjamin Crabb, Enoch A. Hensley, and Andrew P. McCarty, of typhoid fever; and William Childers, Zac Brockman, and Hozey C. Brown, of smallpox; and William Sounds, Richard B. Evetts, and Alfred Slewellyn, of other diseases.

Prisoners Received – D. C. Boon and William M. Gorden (Rebels).
Prisoners Released – Samuel Rice released on oath, and Andrew J. Sill (citizen) released by order of the Secretary of War.
Sickness has slightly increased since the change of weather set in.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1863
Sealed Proposals for furnishing soft bread to troops and prisoners of war at this Post, for three months, commencing November 1st, 1863, and ending January 31st, 1864, will be received at this office till 3 o’clock p.m. of 26th inst. Proposals must be accompanied with the names of two responsible persons as sureties for the fulfillment of the contract, and bidders be present at the opening of bids, at the time above designated.

Signed by R. C. Rutherford
Captain & Com. Subs.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1863
As an illustration of the influence of the system of slavery, we will remark that out of one hundred and fifty-four Rebel prisoners lately received at this post, only eighteen of them could read or write. This is the state of society which the Copperhead of the North wish to perpetuate in the South, and have extended into the Northern states.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1863
Charles Hauftman, George W. Craddock, and William H. Frazier were on Tuesday sent from Gratiot Street to Alton prison, under sentence as follows: Hauftman, six months imprisonment at hard labor; Craddock, four months same; Frazier, ten months, same.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1863
The following have been sent from Alton prison to Schofield Barracks, St. Louis, for transfer to their regiments: George Weishart, 5th Indiana Cavalry; Jacob Treester, 15th Illinois Cavalry; James Smith, 21st Illinois. They were arrested at various points in Illinois.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1863
One hundred and sixty-two prisoners arrived here this morning on the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad, in charge of Lieut. David Culver of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, and were safely lodged in the military prison. They were a promiscuous lot, from the military prison of Memphis, Tennessee. One hundred and fifty-five of them were prisoners of war, five Federal soldiers and two citizens.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 20, 1863
There was a man by the name of Thomas Lunbah who fell from the bluffs opposite the military prison last evening, a distance of some twenty or twenty-five feet, onto the solid rocks below. He was terribly stunned and is still unconscious, and it is thought very doubtful whether he will recover. This gentleman was here from Monroe County, Missouri, for the purpose of visiting a son-in-law, confined in the prison, and after tea he walked up to the headquarters in company with some of the officers, and on his return, as it was very dark, he walked over the precipice as related above. It is a great wonder that there are not more persons killed by these man-traps which are scattered all over the city than there are; and there is perhaps no one of them more dangerous than the one from which this gentleman fell. Our city authorities ought not to give themselves no rest until something is done to prevent persons from being injured by fall from these clevations into the deep chasms below.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1863
Died – Jackson A. Carroll, George H. Hughs, William Ellis, Willis Taylor, Daniel C. Robinson, Massey Anderson, George W. Miller, and J. H. Turner.

Released – Thomas J. Harris on oath and bond of $5,000. John H. Maupin on oath and bond of $5,000. Jordon O’Bryan on oath and bond of $2,000. William F. Robinson on oath and bond of $2,000.

Released on Oath – William J. Brown, James E. Goodet, Martin H. Bogarty, Rufus W. Kitterell, Amzy Moss, Charles B. Newell, Joseph Rymarkiewiz, and John W. Robinson, all citizens, released by order of Major General Thomas.

Added – B. M. Mitchell, Joseph Bridges, John B. Day, Isaac Herrington, Larkin Story, John Smittle, William O. White (citizens), and Thomas J. Gibbs (Captain), all under sentence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1863
At the time appointed, we repaired to the quarters of the 37th Iowa Volunteers (Grey Beards) to note the preparations made by the ladies of Alton and vicinity for the comfort of this efficient and patriotic regiment. The dinner was prepared in the building known as the Buckmaster warehouse, and we found in the six large rooms of that spacious building, long rows of tables fairly groaning beneath the weight of good things prepared by the hands of the ladies. At three o’clock, everything being in readiness, the regiment was formed in line, marched to the different tables by Companies, and after the blessing of the Giver of all good had been invoked, they proceeded to show the good ladies that their efforts were appreciated by doing full justice to the repast.

The different divisions of the barracks were neatly and tastefully arranged, and everything bore an air of neatness and comfort. In the room occupied by Company E were the following mottos: “The Ladies of Alton, God Bless Them.” “Our Union, it shall be preserved!” “Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue.” “Our Army and Navy forever,” &c.

After the soldiers had satisfied their appetites, they were again formed in line, and proceeded by their fine martial band, marched to the front of the City Hall, where short, but pertinent speeches were made by several gentlemen, to their evident satisfaction. Three cheers were then given for the Star-Spangled Banner, and three times three for the Ladies of Alton, and the regiment were dismissed.

The display of national flags yesterday in our city was really magnificent. The day was perfectly clear, and the sun shone beautifully, while the breeze was just sufficiently strong to keep the Stars and Stripes distinctly unfurled to the view of the patriotic masses. Look in what direction you might, and “Old Glory” would be sure to strike your eye. We have never before witnessed such a numerous exhibition of bunting as was displayed on this occasion. Even our neighbor, of the Democrat, about eleven o’clock in the morning, was constrained to hang out a small flag from his office window, but at the time it came under our observation, it appeared to be engaged in a struggle, whether it would show itself on the outside or retire within and hide where it has generally been concealed whenever there has been a decisive victory in our armies. But they have it hoisted today on the top of their building, and are giving it a glorious airing all by itself. We suppose they do this for the same reason that the Missouri Republican, a year or two since, gave for not having Thanksgiving in that State on the same day with the New England States. That was, that the people of Missouri could not thank God on the same day which the abolitionists did.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1863
At a meeting of the officers of the 37th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, convened by order of Colonel G. W. Kincaid, Commanding Post, Alton, Illinois, for the purpose of giving a testimonial of their appreciation of the superbly excellent Thanksgiving Dinner, spread before the entire regiment by the Loyal Ladies of Alton. The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That in behalf of the officers and soldiers of the 37th Iowa, the Colonel tenders his most grateful thanks to the Loyal Ladies of Alton for their care, sympathy, and friendship, manifested in their full, free and willing efforts to rejoice the hearts of the garrison Grey Beards, by a rich and most sumptuous feast given by them at the soldiers’ barracks on Thursday last; rendered doubly valuable by their own presence, smiles and good cheer.

Resolved, That in this spontaneous manifestation of loyal sympathy, by these refined and Christian ladies, we recognize the true spirit of enlightened patriotism. For we do not flatter ourselves as having called forth by our worthiness such an expression. Such kind acts as these are alone prompted by a settled, abiding and cherished love of country – our country – the freest and the best on the face of the earth.

Resolved, That in the discharge of the duties of our high trust, we will try and so demean ourselves as to merit the approbation of not only the loyal ladies of Alton, but the purest and most patriotic hearts in all the land. Ever doing; ever true is our motto. And although the hills, rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun; the vales that stretch in pensive quietness between the venerable woods, the fields in meadows green, and old ocean’s gray and melancholy waste, has become the extended tomb of our patriotic sons. Yet with hearts undaunted, but ever true to God and our country, we will rally around the tree of Liberty, planted in the sacred soil where sleeps our fathers’ dust, and then beneath the brave old flag, afloat from its topmost branch, we join our hands, and pledge anew our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to defend it.

Resolved, That we have unshaken and abiding confidence in the administration of Abraham Lincoln and in his noble generals in the field, who now bid fair with the blessing of a benign Providence, to achieve a glorious triumph over the enemies of human liberty and justice, and bring back again to us the halcyon days of peace and national prosperity.

Resolved, That our Colonel be requested to furnish a copy of these resolutions, together with the lines “In behalf of the Ladies of Alton,” for publication in the Alton Telegraph. Signed, Committee


For the 37th Iowa Infantry
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1863
In addition to the religious exercises in the different churches, the shops and places of business were mostly closed. Only here and there a grog shop was found openly carrying on their diabolical traffic. Even the “Devil’s Teapot” (as the boys call the old distillery) was for the day suspended in its work of transforming God’s good gift into the Demon’s beverage. But the most interesting part of the exercises was (to us Gray Beards, at least) the sumptuous dinner furnished us by the ladies of your city. It having been previously announced that a repast would be furnished us in our barracks, the previous day was spent in scrubbing and scouring our barracks, dishes, tables and persons; combing our hair and blacking our boots with a determination to convince our fair visitors and patrons, that if we were not in the market, we at least had been well trained by our “Good wives” at home. If “Mason’s challenge” “gets on a high,” you can by this guess “What’s the matter.”

Well, the day at last dawned as bright as June. At an early hour, wagon load after wagon load, and basket after basket, full of the good things of life, began to appear, and before noon it was evident that there was to be no fasting this day, unless a brigade should be added to our number. The number of turkeys and chickens under which the tables groaned reminded us of the shower of quails that fell on a former occasion, when, as now, a nation of slaves were on a stampede for freedom. Then the cakes, pies, barrels of apples, cans and jars of preserved fruits and jellies, pickled peaches and oysters, the boiled hams and puddings, &c. &c., all looked as if we were laying in our winter supplies instead of simply getting a dinner.

At the proper time, the ladies in propria persona made their appearance. And here let me say in your ear, so as not to get to the ears of certain ladies in Iowa, that a better looking, more genial, whole-souled and social group of ladies is hard to find. Taking the work in their own hands, the various dishes were arranged in double-quick time, so as to be accessible to all. And never was dinner partaken of with better feelings towards the provider than this was. Whatever position the Copperheads North or South may occupy, one thing is certain, the Alton ladies are for the Union to a man. And I forbid your taking advantage of the bad grammar in the above sentence and put a wrong construction upon it.

After dinner, the regiment fell in and marched to the City Hall, where we gave three rousing cheers for the flag that floated above it, being the first we have seen there since our arrival here. It has been said that those who have control of the building have not been for the time past above suspicion, but during the last two months they have been converted.

We had the pleasure of listening to Captain Rutherford in a few well-timed remarks. He was followed by the editor of the Telegraph, who was listened to with marked attention. He was announced as the editor of the Democrat. From his remarks, we all concluded that the day of miracles was not past if the Democrat man was to be found among the Prophets. But when informed that we were misinformed as to the man, we saw at a glance “what was the matter.”

After giving six cheers for the Alton ladies, we retreated to the quarters of Company E, and listened to a good speech from Mr. Todd. He was followed by a Sergeant of Company I, who spoke from a sentiment offered by him. The sentiment was “The present wicked war: The legitimate fruit of the tree of compromise. Withered be the hand that attempts again to water it from the well of expediency.”

It was indeed a good day to all. And we felt that the donation was as freely bestowed as it was thankfully received.

Yours truly,
VOX, of the Gray Beards


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 11, 1863
Deaths – Joseph Lamb, Thomas Lanfield, John A. Cox, Isaac Benton, Daniel Cogsdale, Alfred Ralph, B. McCrawan.

Released – William Losie.
Transferred to St. Louis – Nathan Barnard, sentence expired and he refused to take the oah and was sent to St. Louis.
Received – Brady Anderson, alias Absalom Carlisle Grimes, sent from Memphis to be confined during the war.
Twenty-two prisoners, including nine officers, were received from Columbus, Kentucky on the 4th, and were transferred to Alton military prison for safe keeping, in consequence of the prison being burnt at Columbus.

Whole number in prison – 1,558
Whole number in hospital – 139

Brady Anderson, whose true name is Absalom Carlisle Grimes, the Rebel mail carrier who was arrested at St. Louis on the ferry boat last winter, was brought to the military prison in this city night before last, in charge of Captain Clark, of General Veatch’s staff. We were informed by the Captain that he made his escape from McDowell’s College after his arrest as before stated, and passed through Memphis to Greneda in company with his aunt, Mrs. Aiken of St. Louis, and Miss Perdew of Memphis. Afterward, he was arrested at Fort Pillow, but escaped by jumping into the Mississippi River. His present arrest was made by order of General Veatch, supposing him to be a man by the name of Brady. But after he was taken, his conduct excited suspicion, and he was chained to the floor in Irving Block, but during the night he cut the half-inch iron rivets and ran upon the bayonet of a sentinel and was thus stopped and confined again. He was ordered to the Alton military prison for safe keeping, General Veatch, not knowing at the time, however, that he was the notorious individual he has turned out to be. Captain Clark gained the information from Grimes on their way up, which we have given above. He told Captain Clark that he went to Memphis to marry a young lady from near Hannibal in Missouri, but that he gave the bewitching creature timely notice, which enabled her to escape. Grimes was formerly a pilot on the upriver boats, and is well known in St. Louis and also in all the river towns between here and Galena. He will not stand much of a chance of getting out of the clutches of the Grey Beards.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 18, 1863
Died – Ezekial Holton, Calvin Edwards, Robert Duncan, George W. Casey, James Tatum, Robert B. Johnson, Joshua Payne, and Frank Wadsworth.

Lysander S. Dunn was released on oath by order Provost Marshal General of the Department of the Missouri.

Whole number in prison – 1,647. Number in hospital – 138.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 18, 1863
We have understood that some seventy-five or a hundred Rebel prisoners attempted to escape from the military prison in Alton last night, but were foiled by the guards before they succeeded in getting away. It appears that there were about that number who occupied an old building in the north corner of the prison, who had combined together to effect their escape, and by means of an old butcher knife, had dug a hole from the floor of their building below the foundation of the prison wall, and then directly up on the other side. Piling the earth which they thus removed under their bunks. But as we before remarked, they were discovered before any of them got away. The Grey Beards are always wide awake.


Source: The United States During the War, by Auguste Laugel, 1866
Onboard the steamer 'Sucker State' from Quincy to St. Louis, written by Auguste Laugel, on a visit to the United States in 1864
"The morning after, we arrived in sight of Alton. Above the rocky promontory on which the town is built stands the immense penitentiary which was used as the prison for the rebel soldiers. The bayonets of the sentinels flashed brightly in the rays of the morning sun, and idle soldiers lounged upon the quay. A few moments before our arrival at Alton, a young man who had seen me drawing on deck came to me, and timidly begged me to make for him a sketch of the prison at Alton. In spite of his rough uncombed hair and beard, and sparkling eyes, the expression of his face was so candid and simple that I acceded to his wish. I could not refrain, however, from enquiring why he preferred that point to any other: he blushed, and told me that many of his friends and townsmen knew the place well, and would be glad to have a sketch of it. A few days after, I learned at St. Louis that there had been, on the part of the guerilla bands, a plan to surprise Alton, and deliver the prisoners; it was not carried out, however; so my sketch was useless, even if it left the hands of my young unknown, whom I have since suspected of having served in the armies of the rebellion."


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
To the Editor of the Telegraph –
Thousands both in civil and military life, even in the western country, have but an imperfect knowledge of the above regiment. We only purpose to present to give a brief, but authentic account of it. In the month of July 1862, when the whole nation was moved with the spirit of war, there sat a man in deep and silent reflection on the sad and calamitous event of the country. Shall the Stars and Stripes, whose hallowed folds I have nestled in safety for half a century, now be insulted and defied by foes at home and abroad? I prefer death rather than see conquest by the enemies of my country. But what can I do to help in the subjugation of invading enemies? The patriot’s heart was moved to its depths with anxiety, and while in that state, a thought momentous, in its consequence, flashed upon his mind, that thought was sustained, it increased in intensity until it electrified every part of the man, and he stood in fancy in the midst of a regiment of self-sacrificing men, who had battled with the common vicissitudes of life for three score years. In less than ninety days after the conception of the idea of an old man’s regiment, George W. Kincaid stood – not in fancy’s vision, but in joyful reality, in the midst of the 37th Iowa Regiment, honored as its chief commander. To get up a regiment of men over forty-five years of age in the young State of Iowa seemed to many a matter next to impossible, but Mr. Kincaid thought differently. He corresponded with the proper authorities upon the subject of some man in the State being appointed to raise a regiment of men exempt from military duty on account of their age. Mr. Kincaid was solicited to accept said commission, which he finally consented to do. And went to work with a will, resolved that if energy and perseverance could accomplish the work, the formation of such a regiment would be a success.

Men of ability and experience came to his aid, and as fast as the intelligence spread through the country, that the father as well as their sons should have the privilege of bearing arms in a distinct regiment, in the defense of their country, hundreds seemed to renew their age at the call of their country. The embers of patriotism were fanned to a mighty flame, while the impassioned eloquence of the heart was heard thundering from every tongue, long wave the Stars and Stripes. Home and kindred were felt cheerfully to endure the toils and perils of a soldier’s life. The companies were formed in different parts of the State, and so rapid were the enlistments that the various companies were ordered into quarters at Camp Strong, Muscatine, Iowa, in the month of October 1862. In the month of December following, the regiment was mustered into the United States service by Captain H. B. Hendershott. The regiment was ordered to St. Louis, where it arrived January 1, 1863, passing through the city to Benton Barracks. Being ordered into the city to Schofield Barracks, the regiment took possession of the same, January 4, 1863.

After enjoying city life for about five months, the regiment was ordered to do guard duty on the Pacific and Rolla railroad, where they spent some two months very pleasantly among the citizens, no trouble occurring whatever. The regiment receiving orders to move, it left for Alton, Illinois, where it arrived July 30, 1863.

This regiment is a military curiosity, the age of the men ranging from 45 to 80, the average age being about 55. Never in the history of civilization was a regiment of men gotten up for the purpose of war of the above ages. The 37th Iowa was not made up of the scum and washings of society, as a few uninformed persons have supposed, neither of that class of persons dependent on the army of the poor house for subsistence. Just the reverse of this are the facts in the case. A great majority left comfortable and happy homes – many their farms, shops and merchandise businesses that amounted to thousands per annum. There are a number of privates worth from five to forty thousand dollars, cheerful and happy to serve their country in that honorable capacity; men of good minds and respectable information. It must be expected that in a body of men numbering so many hundreds, gathered promiscuously from the State, born and educated in different nations, each one having his own belief, politics, and religion, and the rules by which society should be governed; with the fixed habits of more than a half century unaccustomed to the rules and laws that regulate military life; that in the government and necessary discipline of such a body of men a little friction would occasionally take place. It is a matter of surprise to every reflecting mind conversant with the regiment, that so much harmony and promptness to obey orders, and general good conduct has prevailed among the men. This in a great measure is the result of the mental and moral qualities of those in command. To the honor and credit of the Commander in Chief of the regiment, be it said, that a large proportion of the family of commissioned officers are men that teach morality and virtue, both by precept and example. The Colonel’s staff is composed of men possessing clear heads and sound bodies; men from the active business walks of life, thoroughly competent to discharge the duties devolving upon them in their respective positions. The raising, equipping, and placing the above regiment in the service of the United States was considered a military experiment. It is very gratifying to those who labored day and night for its existence that the project has proved a glorious success. No body of young men in the same capacity have done more efficient work than the Grey Beards. Every officer, whether high or low in command charged with any important trust, has in every instance given entire satisfaction.

The health of the regiment taken through all the seasons of the year will tally with any other in the service. In regard to the number of deaths, they have been less than in most other regiments. And considering the ages of the men, their exposure to all kinds of weather, the amount of labor performed, the preservation of life and health is truly wonderful. Hundreds who taste nothing stronger than tea or coffee enjoy the envied prize of sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks, with a youthful and happy flow of spirits. Should an occasion ever offer itself for these silver-haired patriots to exhibit their pluck and fortitude on the field of blood and carnage, they will be found equal to any heroes that ever drew a sword or cocked a musket. At present, the regiment numbers about seven hundred men, and taking them as a whole, are enjoying fine health and spirits. The men have received their bounty, and all other claims and demands the government has promptly met. Any government whose laws and institutions are so sacred and highly prized as to cause men voluntarily of three score years and ten to leave all the endearments and luxuries of home, giving health and life, if need be, to save that country from desolation and ruin; any nation possessing such elements of power can safely calculate on its strength and perpetuity. Well may the youthful State of Iowa be proud of the honor of sending one of the most extraordinary regiments into the service of the United States government the sun ever shone upon. Historic page will faithfully record their doings, and when they shall have gone to sleep with their fathers, then their posterity will chant in poetic song, the patriotism of their noble and worthy ancestors.

Signed, Justice
Alton, December 25, 1863


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
Died – Benedict Fowler, Solomon K. Hunt, James McGintry, Joseph McAlester, James Watson, D. Warmask, Reuben B. Joshyer, John Gray, James Giles, Andrew J. Walter, Henry Oglesby, William M. Loggins, James B. Smith, William Meek, Robert Hardin, John M. D. Baver, David ______, McIntosh, John Dodson, John M. West, William Joshyn, Isaac F. Jackson.

Whole number in prison – 1617. Number in Hospital – 138.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 8, 1864
First Lieutenant J. W. Granger of the 27th Iowa Regiment, direct from Memphis, arrived in Alton on Sunday night, in charge of 57 Rebel prisoners. He was between Cairo and Centralia on last Thursday night, and says that just below the latter place, the train got out of wood, and the lights all went out, and it was feared for a while that there would be much suffering, if not many deaths from the intense cold, but the train backed down to the nearest station, and another engine was ordered from Centralia to their assistance, and they all arrived safely in the latter city about daylight on Friday morning. The Lieutenant informs us that General Ganit, from Little Rock, Arkansas – the leading Union man of that State – came up the river at the same time that he did, on his way to Washington City with a view of getting Arkansas back into the Old Union.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 8, 1864
Died – William H. Bower, John H. Davis, Aaron Moore, Frank Jannegan, Charles Tohrer, John Burgess, W. A. Wilkerson, Samuel Kite, W. H. Cobb, Francis M. Carpenter, Jesse O. Davidson, Henry M. Cooper, James Lane.

Joseph Hughs escaped from prison on the 26th ult., and Henry Atkinson and W. A. Robinson escaped from the towhead [Smallpox Island] on the 27th.

Whole number of Rebel prisoners – 1,596.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
The St. Louis morning papers say there were twenty-five or thirty Federal prisoners sentenced in that city yesterday for various offences, and were ordered to “Bluff Castle” in this city [Alton] to serve out their respective sentences.


From the 37th Iowa Volunteers (Grey Beards)
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
Our regiment, the 37th Iowa Volunteers Infantry, is under “marching orders,” and a becoming respect to the amenities of society, not less than the dictates of unfeigned gratitude, require we should make some suitable acknowledgment of the many acts of kindness and liberality manifested toward us during our sojourn of nearly six months in your city.

To particularize or speak of individuals by name would be to make invidious distinction alike undersired, if not disagreeable to all. And while, therefore, we speak in general terms only, we trust at the same time we shall not fail to embalm in grateful recollections your every act of kindly sympathy, from the “two mites” of the widow to the costly and sumptuous repast which celebrated, and made so pleasant the day of our National Thanksgiving.

A writer of judgment and wit has somewhere said, “There are good persons with whom it will be soon enough to be acquainted in heaven.” This may be so, but these are also individuals, with whom it is no common privilege to have been acquainted on earth. And such it is no fulsome eulogy to say we esteem the good people of Alton.

We are old men. Scarcely one of our number but has passed the age of forty-five. While the heads of a large majority have been whitened by the snows of fifty, sixty, and seventy winters. It is not strange, then, that we do not belong to the church of “latter day saints” of pseudo-patriotism. Our earliest and most cherish recollections are the lessons and love of country, taught us by our Revolutionary Fathers. Lessons taught us as only such fathers can teach, while they impressed, and illustrated every precept by the exhibition of unsightly scars, received in defense of our common country on many a varied and well fought field.

About one hundred of our number have “fallen at their post” by the hand of insidious disease, and today the steps of several more of our comrades “halt feebly to the tomb,” dying literally as martyrs to their work; while their sons and grandsons have either “fallen in the harness,” or are today fighting the battles of their country; thus, more than repaying us for all our toil by showing that the “marrow in their bones is true.” And yet, can it be believed that there are those even in Alton, Heaven favored Alton, “So lost to virtue, lost to manly thought, And all the noble sallies of the soul.” As to seek by sneering muendo of licentious tongue, and to asperse our character as men and soldiers, and to make our pathway rough and thorny.

But we have no quarrel with such men – they follow their natural and cherished instincts, and ‘tis not in our hearts to spoil their “occupation,” or mar their joy, for like other buzzing creatures that have just the power to sting, they seem to take an evident delight in the gratification of their feeble natures. All such we leave gladly, and them in the worst of company – we leave them with themselves.

But with the good and the true, the loyal and patriotic, we part with regret, and shall ever cherish the memory of our stay in Alton, and especially the courtesy, kindness, and liberality of her citizens, as among the most pleasant recollections of our campaign life. And now, with our best wishes and most earnest prayers for your temporal and eternal happiness, and hoping to meet again, we reluctantly say goodbye; and ‘may the wings of friendship never lose a feather.’”

G. W. Kincaid, Colonel, 37th Iowa
In behalf of the Regiment


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
It is now understood that this regiment, which has been here so long and given such general satisfaction, is to leave for Rock Island tomorrow afternoon. We cannot refrain from saying that the removal of these old men, at this inclement season, and from a position which they filled with so much satisfaction, both to the government and the citizens of Alton, is a great mistake. It is worse than a mistake. It is a gross blunder. There can be no kind of an apology for it unless it be that it is the intention of the government to disband the regiment and send the men home. And even then, it might have been postponed until the severity of the winter had somewhat broken.

We publish in another part of our issue today a farewell address from the commander of the regiment to the citizens of Alton, and we think we can safely assure both the officers and men that our citizens part with them with regret. For during their stay among us, they have greatly endeared themselves to our citizens by their gentlemanly demeanor and general good behavior, and the excellent order they always maintained in our streets and wherever they have had control. It is true, we did not find all of them perfect, nor neither did we expect that of them. But as a whole, we very much fear we shall not soon find their like again.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
The 10th Kansas Regiment arrived here yesterday about noon, and the 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers took their departure about dark last evening. Nearly all of our citizens regret this change, not so much because they know anything against the troops which have just arrived, but because those leaving had won their favor and confidence, and all felt perfectly secure and safe while they were here. A security which they cannot feel with any other regiment, until after they have been tried and found equally faithful. We hope this will prove to be the case with those which have just come amongst us.


10th Kansas Regiment has Dress Parade
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 5, 1864
We, with a large number of others, had the good fortune last evening, at the dress parade of the 10th Kansas Regiment, of witnessing the impromptu ceremony of conferring honor upon a deserving and faithful soldier. It seems the night before, Private Willey of Company C, when on guard, had discovered the attempt and prevented the escape of 19 prisoners, for which the Colonel, after calling him out in front of the regiment, thanked and complimented him in a very handsome manner, and recommended him to his Captain for promotion. Our citizens have an opportunity every afternoon, about 4 o’clock, of seeing the best-drilled regiment we have had here. Their manual of arms is superior to the Regulars that were stationed here, and what shall we say of the band? All who wish to enjoy a concord of sweet sounds must go and hear it.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 5, 1864
Received – one field officer, five company officers, and fifty-seven enlisted men.
Transferred twelve company officers to Camp Chase, Ohio, January 20, 1864.
Died, three company officers, seventy-five enlisted men, and seven citizens.
Released, one staff officer, one enlisted man, and fifteen citizens.
Escaped, three enlisted men.
Sick, at present (Jan. 31), 300.
Aggregate, 1,567.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 5, 1864
The Saint Louis Democrat of this morning says the city of Alton, with the extensive military prison located there, has heretofore been part of the Department of the Missouri. It has been a grand depot for prisoners captured in this Department. By a recent order, Alton has been transferred to the Department of the North, consisting of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and of which Major General Heintzelman is Commander.


Week Ending January 30, 1864
Source: Alton Telegraph, February 5, 1864
Died, January 24, Cannon Harris and S. S. Sawyer
Died, January 25, Stanley J. Davis, Francis Wise, and Bailey Moore
Died, January 26, Henderson Wells, ______ Patrick, George Dozier, and James C. Beard
Died, January 27, W. C. Shirley and Charles Mannard

Discharged on Oath – Charles Brezon, George W. Carter, John W. M. Hastings, and W. O. Wilkinson, on oath and bone of $1,000. W. S. Painter, I. S. M. Thomas, bond $1,00. Thomas Satterfield on oath.

Escaped, January 28, Isaac McCaffey, from Smallpox Island.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 19, 1864
Died – Feb. 6 – George W. Slack, John W. Frantz, James Haltum, William Daughty, T. J. Holman, and George T. Smith.

Died – Feb. 7 – Alfred Hammond and J. W. Dixon.
Died – Feb. 8 – William Timms
Died – Feb. 9 – Wiley Grishem
Died – Feb. 10 – Thomas Fryey, Pat Smith, J. W. Coleman, and John Robertson
Died – Feb. 11 – Riley Still and Noel Mussolwhite.
Died – Feb. 12 – D. W. Jefferson and Campbell Wallace.

February 6 – Transferred to St. Louis – J. W. H. Given.

Discharged – Morris Ulman, W. H. Greer, M. W. Hudspeth, George W. Tripp, S. V. Walker, and James Coggill, on oath.

Francis Fowler, Perry Mercer, Carroll Gilbert, and Jesse Melton discharged on oath and bond of $1,000 each.

Received from Memphis – 76 prisoners of war.

For the information of those having friends or relatives among the dead prisoners, we will state that Messrs. Platt & Hart are the Government undertakes, and will give all the information desired as to the location of the graves of the prisoners, &c., &c.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 4, 1864
Died, February 25, G. W. Bradwell, smallpox (on Smallpox Island)
Died, February 26, John Hamilton, pneumonia
Robert W. Rankin, typho malaria fever
Jacob W. McCord, rubiola

Sick on Smallpox Island – 26
Sick in prison hospital – 70

Number of prisoners in prison – Citizens, 65; prisoners of war, 1536.
Number die during the week – 24
Number discharged during the week – 13
Number received during the week – 23, from Helena, Arkansas.
Colonel Weer had the prison yard cleaned and limed, which has improved the health of the prison greatly.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 4, 1864
We understand that there has another order arrived here to have 500 more prisoners transferred to Fort Delaware, just so soon as arrangements can be made for that purpose.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 11, 1864
Died, March 4 – J. C. Moore, chronic diarrhea; Moses Johnston, smallpox, on Smallpox Island

Number died during the week – 7
Number discharged during the week – 4
Number of citizens confined in prison – 60
Number of prisoners of war confined – 1,015


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 18, 1864
Died, March 16, John W. Cannon, smallpox (Smallpox Island); Elbert F. Sunderland, pneumonia; William Armstrong, pneumonia; Thomas J. George, rubiola.
Discharged, March 16, Meleville C. Davie of Lafayette County, Missouri, on bond of $1,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 18, 1864
There were five hundred prisoners brought out of the Military Prison yesterday afternoon and placed on the cars with a view of being transferred to Fortress Delaware. But this morning they were still here, and about 9 o’clock were taken back and placed within the walls of the prison again. We understand that the cause of this was that there were orders received here from Washington, to retain them here for the present.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 25, 1864
Died, March 18 – Hardy A. Foster, prisoner of war, erysipelas. John M. Carter, Prisoner of War, chronic diarrhea.
Died during the week on Smallpox Island – 4
Died during the week in prison hospital – 9.
Discharged during the week – 1 citizen on oath and bond of $1,000.
Received during the week – 2 political prisoners.
Sick in hospital on Smallpox Island – 24.
Sick in hospital in prison – 52.
Sick in quarters – 50
Total sick – 126
Prisoners of War confined in prison – 1,003
Citizen prisoners – 52
Total – 1,065


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 1, 1864
Died, March 30, Charles A. Logan, prisoner of war, intermittent fever; Samuel Holes, citizen of Stoddard County, Missouri, pneumonia.
Sick in Smallpox Hospital – 5
Sick in prison hospital – 70


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 1, 1864
Died during the week at Smallpox Hospital – 4
Died in the prison hospital – 9
Total died – 13
Released during the week – Silas H. Highley, Private, Co. H, 8th Missouri, on oath of allegiance; H. W. Plattenburg, citizen, Lafayette County, Missouri, on oath and bond of $1,000.
Sick in Smallpox Hospital – 8
Sick in prison hospital – 68
Sick in quarters – 63
Confined in prison, citizens – 97
Confined in prison, prisoners of war – 943


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 1, 1864
Strange as it may seem, prisoners are not always content with the reward of their crimes, and now and then there are those who seek to take “French leave” of their quarters and commit themselves to the world’s cold charities. Such an effort was made last night by several of the prisoners in the military prison here. It seems that soon after dark, the guard on the north end of the prison had his fears excited, or rather vigilance increased, by hearing certain ominous sounds in the earth beneath him. About midnight, he could distinctly hear the voices of the would-be fugitives. He supposed they were coming out in the second ditch from the wall, and was on the lookout for them there, but on turning, discovered a man’s head – with body attached of course – rising from the first ditch. The sentinel immediately fired, the ball just grazing the top of said head, causing it to disappear on double quick.

The hole was found full of Jersey County horse thieves – seven in number. Had they succeeded, many of their boon companions from the Sunny South would doubtless have followed. But the plan failed, and all still remain in “durance vile.” The tunnel is about forty feet long, and well suited to the purpose, the only fault with it being that it opened near the best of one of the watchful boys of the 10th Kansas.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
It will be seen by the Military Prison Report published in another column that four prisoners made their escape last night from Bluff Castle. We understand that they filed the iron grating out of one of the cells on the west side of the building, and made their escape in that way. There was a number of others all ready to make their exit in the same manner, when they were discovered. Henderson and Needham, who are mentioned in the report as having escaped, are old offenders. The former escaped from the prison once before and was afterwards retaken with the Jersey County horse thieves a few weeks since. Needham was sent here as a sentenced prisoner from Memphis, and claims to be a British subject. Both of these desperadoes were engaged in the attempt to escape by digging a tunnel, as published by us a week ago last Saturday. It is very much to be desired that they may be retaken and confined again, as it is unsafe to have them running at large.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
The 500 prisoners alluded to by us on Saturday last, as about being transferred from here to Fort Delaware, left today on the Terre Haute & Alton Railroad.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
Died on Smallpox Island, 12
Died in the prison hospital, 39
Released during the month on Oath and bonds, 4
Sick in smallpox hospital, 5
Sick in prison hospital, 72
Sick in quarters, 48
Prisoners received during the month, 8
Transferred, none
Escaped for Smallpox Island, March 30, 1864 – Albert W. Cushman, Captain of guerillas; and Hiram F. Weathers, citizen of Rolla, Missouri.
Confined in prison, citizens, 128
Confined in prison, prisoners of war, 900


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
Some days since, one Hiram Miller, a prisoner in the Military Prison in Alton, attempted to escape through the roof of the building and was shot at by the guard. He afterwards threatened to kill the guard, Private Rice of Company H, and last night made an attack on him with stones when Rice snapped his gun, which refused to go off. Miller then came at him with a bar of iron, when he ran his bayonet into him, and called for help. The guard outside placed his gun through the grating and shot Miller through the heart.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
Died, April 6, Oordiah Neuman, prisoner of war, of typho malarial; Hiram Miller, prisoner of war, killed by one of the guards last night.
Released, April 6, William S. Mount, prisoner of war, on oath of allegiance, by order of the President of the United States.
Received, April 6, from Clarksville, Tennessee, Alexander Black (alias Cheek), colored.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 8, 1864
We have been informed that Mahlon Bright, a citizen of Jersey County, Illinois, tried to bribe one of the guards to let him escape from the military prison last night. But the noble soldier reported the matter to his officers, who gave orders for the place to be closely watched. Very soon the prisoner made his appearance at the same grating from which the others escaped the other night, and commenced letting himself out, but when he heard the guard cock his gun, he made an attempt to get back, but too late to escape the effects of the discharge of the piece. He was wounded in several places, but not dangerously, but sufficiently so to keep him quiet for some time.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 15, 1864
Died, April 8, John B. Andrews, prisoner of war, erysipelas.
Released, April 8, W. L. Fisher, citizen of Fulton County, Missouri, on oath and bond of $1,000.
Received from Clarksville, Tennessee, one citizen prisoner.
Escaped during the week, two prisoners of war and two citizens.
Transferred during the week, five hundred prisoners of war.
Sick in smallpox hospital – 2
Sick in prison hospital – 38
Sick in quarters – 26
Prisoners of war confined in Alton Prison – 400
Citizen prisoners in Alton Prison – 115


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 15, 1864
We have been informed that Mrs. Mort. Scott and her sister, Mrs. Davis, have been arrested and brought to Alton from near Jerseyville. They are charged, we understand, with conveying tools to the prison in Alton for the purpose of assisting Mort. Scott and others to escape. Miss Annie Fletcher was also brought to this city last week by Colonel Weer, under arrest. She is charged …….. [unreadable], Mort. Scott being her uncle. It is understood that they will be taken to St. Louis for trial.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 22, 1864
Died, April 15, Josiah R. Hamilton, prisoner of war, pneumonia; Martin N. Young, prisoner of war, intermittent fever.
Died during the week in prison hospital – 5
Sick in smallpox hospital – 3
Sick in prison hospital – 33
Sick in quarters – 34
Escaped during the week, two citizens and two soldiers
Released during the week, two prisoners of war.
Received during the week, 112 prisoners of war
Remaining in prison – citizens – 118; prisoners of war – 500


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 29, 1864
The 13th Illinois Cavalry arrived here last night on the Tatum, and are to assist the 10th Kansas guarding the prison in Alton. The regiment was originally raised by Colonel Bell, and has seen service in the field, but has been in camp of Instruction for some months, and the number in the rank have been much increased by recruiting. They have been at Benton Barracks for some time past, awaiting horses and equipment, which has not yet been provided. Major Erskine is in command.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
Died during the week – 2
Died during the month – 15
Released during the week – 6
Released during the month – 17
Escaped during the month – 5
Received during the month, citizens – 4
Received during the month – prisoners of war – 171
Transferred during the month – 500
Sick in smallpox hospital – 3
Sick in prison hospital – 44
Sick in hospital – 85
Citizens confined in prison – 108
Prisoners confined in prison – 558


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
We regret to state that one of the 13th Illinois Cavalry Regiment was shot yesterday by a member of the same company. The circumstances, as we learned them from the Surgeon of the regiment, are as follows:

John T. Smith, the man who was shot, was formerly connected with the Rebel army, and is spoken of as being a perfect desperado; having been in the guardhouse half the time since he enlisted. He had a difficulty some days since with Mr. Fluty, the man who shot him, and then swore that he would kill him at the first opportunity. He had also threatened on several occasions to stir up a revolt among the men against the officers.

On yesterday morning, he again sent word to Mr. Fluty, if he had a will to make that he had better execute it, as he was determined to kill him before 9 o’clock. He was then in the guardhouse, but feigned sickness, and at his urgent request was permitted to repair to barracks to procure some medicine, which he said he had there. On reaching the barracks, he made right for the bed where Mr. Fluty was lying at the time, and was close up to him, before he was discovered by the latter. As soon, however, as Fluty discovered his approach, he took out his revolvers and shot him, the ball entering his chest, which brought Smith down. Fluty again fired, the ball entering near the mouth and glancing through the head. From the effects of these wounds, Smith soon afterwards died.

We have not learned what steps have been taken to investigate this painful and melancholy affair, but hope that the facts in the case will all be elicited and that impartial justice will be done. If Fluty is found to be guilty, we hope that he may be punished. If not, that he may be acquitted from all censure or blame.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
General Rosecrans telegraphed to General Copeland yesterday to send a squad of fifty men to Hillsboro and make some arrests. Lieutenant Webber, of the 13th Cavalry, and fifty men, were detailed, and left on a special train about ten o’clock last night, Lieutenant Yates of General Rosecrans’ staff being in command. They arrived at ten o’clock, and dividing their forces, Lieutenant Webber took ten men and arrested Lieutenant Colonel Carson. Lieutenant Yates took the balance of the force and making the circuit of the town, surrounded the house of Mr. Robert Davis, where lights were burning, and being refused admittance, forced open the door, and on inquiring who was in, learned that Colonel Edwards, the man they were in search of, was upstairs in bed. They went to his room and arrested him, bringing him to the Alton House in Alton, this morning. These were both escaped Rebel prisoners from Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, and were raising a regiment of men in Montgomery County for the Southern Confederacy.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 13, 1864
We have been informed that on yesterday, a man by the name of Henderson, who had formerly been confined in the military prison in Alton on the charge of disloyalty, horse stealing, and some other trivial crime – we look at them in the light in which they are regarded by the copperheads – and who managed to make his escape from the prison some weeks since, made his appearance in Jerseyville. He was seen to step into a barbershop, when a deputy Provost Marshal by the name of Parker, followed in for the purpose of arresting him. Henderson immediately drew a revolver and fired at Mr. Parker several times, and succeeded in inflicting a severe wound on his right arm. A number of the citizens then rushed in, and after handling this cutthroat and outlaw rather roughly, they succeeded in getting him secured. These are about the facts in the case as far as we could learn them. We were informed this morning that a number of soldiers left Alton for Jerseyville last evening, to prevent his rescue by his friends, who are reported to be in considerable numbers not a great distance from that town, and reports say they are from Missouri. The citizens in view of these rumors feel considerably alarmed for the safety of their property. We, however, place but little confidence in these reports.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 3, 1864
We observe a large frame building in process of erection within the prison walls. The large addition to the number of prisoners confined there has made this improvement necessary.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 10, 1864
The saloon attached to the Waverly House was closed by the military authorities last evening, and the liquors confiscated. The proprietors are charged with selling liquor to soldiers.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 10, 1864
About two o’clock this morning, a night watchman discovered several men in Mr. S. B. Davis’ store, and immediately gave the alarm. The villains broke from the store and ran, hotly pursued by the watchman, and he succeeded in catching one of them, and says he put a ball in another one. There were five of the burglars in all, and the one captured is a member of the 17th Illinois Cavalry, and it is almost positively known that the others were soldiers and members of the same regiment. The military patrol also fired at the rascals as they ran, but missed them. They entered the store over the front door, through the transom, and then threw the door wide open. A general onslaught was made upon sardines, pickles, etc. Some $30 to $40 was taken from the drawer in change. The value of goods stolen cannot be arrived at certainly. Part of a box of tobacco was found on the corner of 4th and State Streets, and other articles were strewn promiscuously around.

Great credit is due the watchman for his action in the affair, but it is a pretty large contract for one man to watch the city of Alton and prevent burglaries. It is expected that the officers in command of the 17th will use every means in their power to bring the persons engaged in this raid to proper punishment.

P. S. Since the above was written, we learn that two more of the soldiers have been caught.

The 17th Illinois Cavalry was mustered in under Colonel John L. Beveridge in January and February of 1864. They reported to Major General Rosecrans at St. Louis, Missouri, and then sent to Alton to guard the military prison. Sometime in June they were ordered to St. Louis again, and sent to the North Missouri District. I found no further mention of the incident, so I don’t know who was involved and how, of if, they were punished.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, June 27, 1864
An actor named Joseph M. Hamilton has been convicted of disloyalty In St. Louis. He drank toasts in honor of Jefferson Davis and entertained a rebel soldier, and did other deeds which have brought upon him the penalty of wearing a ball and chain in prison at Alton for a year.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1864
The 17th Illinois Cavalry, now on duty at this post, have been organized about nine months, and have never been out of barracks, have not been supplied with horses, and are lying idle, comparatively, while thousands of horses are accumulating at St. Louis, and are kept there at a heavy expense. Why are not these men sent to the front? We understand the excuse has been the want of horses. Now that there is a surplus of horses, let them be sent to the field. The St. Louis Democrat says of the supply of horses at that place:

“It is gratifying to be able to say that horses fit for service are accumulating faster than transportation has been furnished. There now remains four thousand, six hundred horses in the depot for service. On Monday, six hundred horses were issued, of which four hundred were issued to the 3rd Wisconsin, and the other two hundred were sent to the South. Horses continue to come in, in sufficient quantities to keep the Depot nearly full, and even more than supply the demand at the present. The accumulation of horses here for the service, and the proper care of them, affords employment for between eleven and twelve hundred men at the depot.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1864
Twenty-five prisoners arrived here from St. Louis last evening, under escort of a squad of the 10th Kansas, commanded by Lieutenant May.

Four prisoners escaped from the prison last night. One of them, T. M. Meadow, who was shot in the memorable Smith’s Raid some months since near Delhi. How they escaped, where they escaped, or whether they had help in making their escape is not known. It is certainly the duty of someone to find out how they made their exit from confinement. Others may get out the same way if something is not done.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 22, 1864
The large building lately put up within the prison walls is intended as a hospital. It is not yet finished, but when ready for use, it will accommodate a very large number of patients. It is an improvement that has long been needed, and we are pleased to see it so near completion.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 29, 1864
Three females in Federal uniform were arrested on the streets yesterday. They belonged to the 100 days men on duty at this post.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 29, 1864
It is said that the horse thief, Henderson, escaped from the prison in the water tank, in which water is hauled to the prison.

It will be seen by our prison report that the guards through carelessness or more criminal conduct, have permitted Henderson, the noted guerrilla, bushwhacker and horse thief, to escape again from the prison. We have almost as many troops in this city as we have prisoners, and if it is true that it requires one soldier to guard each prisoner, and even then, they are permitted to escape, it would be economy to turn the prisoners loose, and send the troops to the front. There must be a screw loose somewhere, or we would not hear of these frequent escapes.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 29, 1864
We see it stated that the notorious Rebel, George W. Carter, of Montgomery County, Illinois, who was arrested some months since and taken to St. Louis, charged with being a Rebel, having served as Quartermaster in General Clark’s rebel brigade, has been tried by a military commission there and sentenced to hard labor during the war. The sentence has been confirmed, and Carter will serve his time out in the Alton Prison. This is Carter’s fate, while his equally guilty and a more dangerous associate, Robert W. Davis, has been appointed as a delegate to the Chicago Convention. But we should not complain of this, as there is no reason to doubt but he is a fit representative of the Democracy of his district.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 5, 1864
This gentleman furnished the following graceful effusion to the Alton Democrat yesterday for publication. We suppose he intended to prove by it that he was well qualified to fill the office of Prosecuting Attorney of the 24th Judicial Circuit, for which he announces himself as an independent candidate, therefore we insert it gratis.

Camp Platt, Alton, Illinois (Camp of 100-day Volunteers)
Editor of the Democrat:
That miseral - and I might say contemptable - so-called Union paper, the Alton Telegraph, comes out in an article on yesterday and says that there are more soldiers here guarding prisoners than there are prisoners. Now, Mr. Editor, in the first place this is an infernal falsehood. There are fifteen hundred prisoners here, and but few more than three hundred soldiers to guard them. All men capable of doing duty are on duty every third day, and it takes 107 men per day to guard them. It is true we could guard 5,000 men, as easy as we guard 1,500, but they are not here, and it takes so many men to guard those that are.

And another infernal falsehood of that Union paper is that "three women dressed in Federal uniform, belonging to the 100-day men, were arrested in the streets yesterday." Now friend Democrat, there never was a more infernal slander upon the reputation of any than this. The men belonging to the 100-days volunteers at this post are all respectable men, and have as yet never disgraced themselves so much as to dress women in men's clothes and keep them as "kept women."

Now Mr. Editor, all that the Telegraph man is fit for is to encourage Abolitionists in destroying little one-horse country newspapers, and at the same time, abuse soldiers who they (the T elegraph) believe to be opposed to Mr. Lincoln. Now sir, should that paper attack us again, he will not get off so well as by a simple article through the paper.
Signed, J. M. White, A 100-dayer
July 28, 1864


Source: The Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
General Rosecrans has requested the citizens of Alton to raise a regiment of soldiers to serve one year as guards for the prison at this post. The following is the appeal of the General: "By authority from the War Department and agreement with Governor Yates, I appeal to you to raise a regiment of infantry to serve twelve months. I want them for guards of Alton prison, but I want them to be of high soldierly bearing and to make their qualification and behavior the condition on which they will be kept on the duty. Each non-commissioned officer and private will receive a bounty of one hundred dollars and be exempt from the draft, while he will count on your quota. The officers will be commissioned on my recommendation by the Governor of Illinois. As these troops are wanted immediately, I hope for a prompt response. W. S. Rosecrans, Maj. Gen." The appeal to the citizens of Alton was received by the undersigned this morning, and I deem it an eminently fit opportunity for the citizens to respond cordially and with alacrity, as the occasion seems to require. The advantages to us are manifest, besides securing mild service at home, we shall have filled our quota on the last call and some to spare, and thus maintain the proud pre-eminence of the State of Illinois in responding voluntarily to all the calls of the Government. Every man thus employed will help to swell the ranks in the field with tried veterans, and I confidently appeal to the citizens of Alton to come forward at this time and thus rally to the support of our Government. Edward Hollister, Mayor.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
Martin Van Buren Smith, who escaped from the prison in Alton a few weeks since, was arrested at Mineral Point, Missouri, on Thursday last, and brought to St. Louis and placed in Gratiot Street Prison.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
For some weeks past, a man named Flynn, belonging to the 17th Illinois Cavalry, has been employed in the Alton Democrat office as a compositor. Some days since he made a speech in one of the Copperhead Club meetings in Alton. On Saturday evening, Deputy Provost Marshal McPike became convinced that he was the original of a photograph in the hands of his department, and that he was a person suspected of being a rebel spy, and in conclusion, with the gangs of desperadoes in Jersey County and other places. He, accordingly, approached the individual in the Mercantile Hall, where he was attending the concert, showed him the picture and asked him if that was his photograph. He said it was. He was immediately arrested, and now is in the prison. He has been a member of the 17th Cavalry, we learn, about eight months.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1864
A number of prisoners were received here yesterday from St. Louis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1864
Messrs. Albert Ritter and C. Keck are recruiting a Company for the Alton Guards. They are succeeding well, and already have a respectable squad. Office on the corner of Second and Piasa Streets. Put down your names.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 26, 1864
A squad of some 500 Rebel prisoners left here today for Chicago, via the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Road. They looked somewhat pale from confinement in the prison, but a little exercise will put them on a war footing.


THE 145TH ILLINOIS (or is it the 144th?)
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
The 145th Illinois Regiment of 100-days men troops, arrived here last evening, and are to remain here as guards for the present.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
We have understood that a Federal prisoner, whose term of service had just expired, in coming from the island, in company with two soldiers, the skiff in which they were in upset. He then attempted to swim ashore, and when within a few yards of the landing, he went down and was drowned. We have not been able to learn his name. An inquest was held by Thomas Middleton, Esq., acting coroner of Madison County, on a corpse found floating in the river in the lower part of Alton this morning. It is supposed to have been the body of the soldier, who was drowned on Saturday evening.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
We promised yesterday to give some further particulars in reference to the man who was found floating in the river yesterday. It was ascertained by Squire Middleton, who held an inquest over his body, by letters found on his person, that his name was Charles B. Bennett. There was found in his pockets two letters, one hunting case silver watch, one key, and a comb. He had brown hair, and was about 21 years of age, and was supposed by the jury to be a Lieutenant in the United States army. One of the letters found on his person was written by himself to a Miss Josephine Burghardt, DeKalb County, Illinois, in which he had a photograph of himself. The other letter was one written to him, one part of it being dated Sangamon County, August 17, and signed by Carrie Ella Rogers. The other half of the sheet contained a note written to him from Adams County, dated the 23d instant, and signed by William Bennett.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
The last of the 17th Illinois Cavalry Regiment left Alton this morning, to the gratification of the great mass of our citizens. Since this place has been made a military post, our people have had but very little reason to complain of the conduct of soldiers until this regiment came. Their conduct ever since they have been here has been of the most disreputable character, and we hope they will hereafter be more usefully employed than they were while here, and that they will also be placed where they will enjoy the privileges of a more healthy and rigid discipline than that exercised over them while in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
Colonel William Weer, late in command of the 10th Kansas Infantry, and the unworthy Commander of this post, and the especial pet and associate of the copperheads of this city, has been cashiered by a General Court martial, and retires to private life a disgraced man. The charges it is not worthwhile to enumerate. The following is the finding and sentence:

“After considering the evidence in the case, the Court Martial have sentenced the prisoner, Colonel William Weer, to be cashiered, and to pay over to the commanding officer at Alton, the sum of fifty-five dollars, being the balance due prisoners not yet turned over by the accused to his successor.”

The finding and sentence have been confirmed, and Colonel Weer ceases to be an officer in the United States from August 20, 1864, but is to be retained in arrest by Provost Marshal General until the amount of fifty-five dollars is paid over in accordance with the sentence.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
It was the supposition of all who knew anything about the career of Colonel Weer, while in command here (and everybody here did know about it), that the penalty imposed by the Court Martial would be the severest permissible to that code, for it is hardly possible for any self-abandoned creature to compress into so short a period of time more official remissness, malfeasance in office, and more shameless and disreputable conduct than Colonel Weer was guilty of during his brief mal-administration of affairs in Alton. There was hardly one of all his offenses (and their names was legion) for which he did not deserve all the punishment he has received at the hands of the court. So we confess to some surprise at the mildness of their sentence, but can assure our readers that we have never been vindictive enough to wish for him the additional infamy of being vindicated by the Alton Democrat. We would, “regardless of justice,” have spared him this intolerable affliction. That our readers may see another exemplification of the adage that “misfortunes never come single,” we reprint this “unkindest cut of all” from the Democrat:

“We see it stated in some of the miscegen organs that Colonel William Weer has been cashiered from the army service and sent home in disgrace. Not much. The latter is not in the power of the administration to do. They may attempt to disgrace a gallant officer for strictly adhering to the Constitution and laws of his country, instead of toadying to the behests of King Abraham, but it is beyond their reach to do so. In times past, when honorable men were managing the affairs of our country, to cashier a man from the army was considered a disgrace, but in those days, men were only treated in that manner for bad conduct. Now things have changed, and men who have left home, friends, and everything for their country’s good, and after fighting long and hard, because they choose to differ from the powers that be, and have the manly courage to speak out against the damnable acts of the administration, they are brought before a court martial composed o fools of the administration, who render a verdict in accordance with the wishes of Mr. Lincoln, irregardless of justice or right, and order the prisoner to be cashiered the service and sent home in disgrace. Colonel Weer may have been cashiered the service, but not sent home in disgrace. No man has a better fighting record than he, and no man has given better satisfaction in command of this military post than did Colonel William Weer. As an evidence, when a few certain black-hearted traitors were trying to have him and his gallant command removed from this place, there was a petition asking that the command remain, circulated and signed by almost every prominent citizen of Alton. The action of the abolition dynasty at Washington in Colonel Weer’s case is only in keeping with their past acts, and is to us the strongest possible evidence of the innocence of the man and the correctness of his actions.”

Now this drunken swaggerer and official peculator may be “a gallant officer,” an “innocent man” and a perfect Christian gentleman – and the men who sought to remove the scandal and disgrace from the city, as well as the officers who tried and sentenced him, “black=hearted traitors” – according to the Democratic standard. But we need not inform our readers that our notions of gallantry, innocence, and gentility are of an entirely different character. We yield the glory and benefit of the defense of all such men to those who, like the present champions of Colonel Weer, are really most in need of them. A community of interest makes a unity of defense. They speak one word for the Colonel, and two for themselves.

In handing these fellows over to their mutual admiration, we ask our readers to observe how the Democrat man cuts his own fingers in handling the “evidence” it uses in Weer’s behalf. While “black-hearted traitors were trying to have him and his command removed, a petition was circulated “signed by almost every prominent citizens of Alton, asking that the command remain.” The distinction between “him” and the “command” is very well taken, and plays hob with that little bit of “evidence” as well as with the falsehood that men were trying to have the command removed. Nobody ever sought to have the command removed, but only its despised and worthless Colonel – and that was what hurt. And the Democrat, with all its audacity in lying, don’t dare to say anymore than that the “prominent citizens of Alton” asked that the command might remain – a request in which all citizens prominent or not prominent heartily concurred. We are a little inclined to think that the stupid editor sometimes overrates the stupidity of his stupid partisan readers, and that such drives as the above fools nobody.


Two Prisoners Shot
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 16, 1864
This afternoon, a gang of Rebel prisoners, 46 in number, who were working in a quarry under the bluff, guarded by 10 men, made a sudden rush upon part of the guard and seizing their guns, attempted to shoot them. One of the guards named Ernest Mver, narrowly escaped death, the ball grazing his neck, raising the skin, but doing no further injury. The prisoners started to run up the river, when the guards fired upon them and killed two. The alarm was given immediately, and some 28 of the number were brought back to the prison within an hour, and it is reported two more were killed – one of them in the river. It is thought that all will be recaptured, as guards are out in every direction. This is doubtless the result of a concerted plan on the part of the prisoners.

On September 10, 1864, a gang of Rebel prisoners, 46 in number, who were working in a quarry under the bluff in Alton, made a sudden rush upon part of the guards, shot at Ernest Mver, a guard, but he escaped serious injury. The prisoners ran up the river towards Elsah, when the guards fired upon them, killing two. One of those shot was supposedly in the Mississippi River, trying to get away.

One of the two prisoners killed that day during their attempted escape was Francis Marion Brazier, a Confederate soldier in Company H, 10th Missouri Infantry. Brazier was the great-great-great-grandfather of actress Jessica Biel. Assistant Professor of History at Penn State Behrend reviewed Brazier’s war record, including transcripts of his military commission hearing. The professor stated that he believed Brazier sympathized with the South, but was not “gung-ho” about going to war. Brazier fought just once – at the Battle of Prairie Grove in Arkansas – and then deserted on December 9, 1862, and went home. His community was by then under the control of a pro-Union home guard. Brazier, fearing for his life, was forced into hiding. He was captured by the Union Army on December 24, 1863, and was charged with violating an oath of allegiance to the Union. He was hauled before the military commission, where he argued that he had joined the Confederacy only because his life had been threatened, and that he had quit of his own volition. Brazier was sentenced to one year of hard labor at the Alton, Illinois, military prison.

On September 10, 1864, Francis Brazier, along with 45 other prisoners, decided to make a run for it, while working in a quarry under the bluffs. He and another prisoner were shot and killed during the attempted escape. Sadly, Brazier, who was sentenced for one year of hard labor, didn’t have much time left on his original sentence – possibly a little over three months.

Later, his family stated that Francis had received word that his home was burned, and he asked to leave to help his family. His request was denied. His family further stated that he had tried to swim across the Mississippi, but was shot and killed on the Missouri shoreline. War records state that he was shot on Illinois ground, not in the river.

Francis Marion Brazier was born in 1833 in Christian County, Kentucky, and died September 10, 1864, at the age of 30 or 31 years. He is buried in the Confederate Cemetery on Rozier Street in North Alton. He left behind a wife, Susan West Brazier (who remarried to Robert S. Martin in 1870), and two sons, Abraham Brazier (1857 – 1911) and William M. Brazier (1860 – 1937). Abraham Brazier died in Pittsburg, Kansas, and is buried there. He had two children. William Brazier died in Fowler, Colorado, and is buried there. William was employed as a laborer and miner. He left behind a wife and six children.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 16, 1864
The rebel prisoners in Alton have had a high time today in rejoicing over the victory gained yesterday in this place over the Union men by the copperheads. They regard all who fight under the banner of the Chicago platform, as their particular friends and allies, and look upon every vote cast for the party which adopted it, as good as though it had been deposited for Jeff Davis.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 23, 1864
We learn from the Missouri Democrat of this morning, that William Bamberg, the notorious rebel mail carrier, who was under sentence during the war and escaped from the Alton prison about two months ago, was recaptured in that city yesterday. His father is in prison at Alton.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, October 1864
St. Louis, Oct. 25.-The dead bodies of Major Wilson 3d Missouri Militia and six of his men, captured by the rebels at Pilot Knob, and given up to a guerrilla band for execution, for the alleged reason of the killing of some rebels, last summer, were found this morning. A rebel Major and six privates now in Alton prison in solitary confinement, held as hostages for Major Wilson and men, will doubtless be executed in retaliation.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 14, 1864
A battery of artillery has been planted on the bluff above the Penitentiary, and our Union boys are now ready to give a warm reception to traitors from all directions.


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Courier, October 25, 1864
St. Louis, Oct. 25.-The dead bodies of Major Wilson 3d Missouri Militia and six of his men, captured by the rebels at Pilot Knob, and given up to a guerrilla band for execution, for the alleged reason of the killing of some rebels, last summer, were found this morning. A rebel Major and six privates now in Alton prison in solitary confinement, held as hostages for Major Wilson and men, will doubtless be executed in retaliation.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 4, 1864
The St. Louis Union of this morning says Miss Nannie T. Douthist of Pocahontas, Arkansas, having been tried by a military commission on the charge of corresponding with Rebels, was found guilty, and sentenced to Alton prison during the war.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1864
We learn from St. Louis that a large lot of Rebel prisoners had just arrived there from Pilot Knob, and had been transferred to the Military Prison in Alton. A few of them were quite severely wounded, and their recovery is considered doubtful.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1864
The Alton Penitentiary has been condemned as such for some time because it is worn out, but with temporary repairs, it has been made convenient as a military prison. Its condition is very bad, however, owing to the neglect of the officers in charge to exact a strict hygiene from the prisoners. We are unable to say anything in reference to the charge brought against the management of the military prison in Alton [by the Cincinnati Gazette’s St. Louis correspondent], for of late, everything connected with the prison has been kept from the public. But if he came no nearer the truth in that statement than he did when he said that the “Penitentiary has been condemned because it was worn out,” there cannot be much reliance placed in his assertions. Our penitentiary is just as good now as it was when first erected, and the only reason why it was vacant when the war broke out was that the Legislature had a few years previous removed the prisoners from this point to Joliet.


Source: Wisconsin Janesvillle Daily Gazette, February 27, 1905
Of five hundred persons who were ordered from Alton Prison on Monday for exchange, about one half refused to go, preferring to remain prisoners to going into the rebel army again.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
A private of Company I, 144th Infantry, was buried in a most appropriate and decent military manner yesterday. The body was taken in a hearse to the cemetery, accompanied by a full band, and the entire company and officers. This we are sorry to say, is a rather unusual occurrence, as the bodies of privates are generally taken in a wagon to the cemetery, without military escort or honors, and then placed in the ground, almost without a show of respect. We understand the Captain Moore, of Company I, bore the expenses of the burial himself, feeling that the privates of his command are as much entitled to decent interment as those who wear the insignia of rank on their shoulders.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
The total number received in hospital for week ending January 9, 1865 – 9. Died – 4.


Source: The Daily Courier, Syracuse, New York, January 18, 1865
The steamer, Belle of Memphis, brings 35 rebel prisoners from Little Rock for Alton, Illinois.


[Alton Military Post & Prison]
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 20, 1865
The number of sick for the week ending January 18, 1865:

James Twolock, catarrh, January 12
Thomas Russell, febris intermit
Otto Greeby, febris intermit, January 13
J. Dethamm, debilities
George H. Reeder, debilities
James H. Clark, rubeola
William A. Willis, bronchitis, January 14
Solomon Gray, debilities, January 16

Thomas S. Nichols, typhoid pneumonia
Peter Stamen, feterus, January 11
James Twolock, catarrh, January 16


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1865
Sick received in hospital of the 144th Regiment, during the week ending January 24, 1865:
Daniel M. Elutto, Private, Co. D, pneumonia
Daniel Bayless, Private, Co. K, pneumonia
William G. Brooke, Private, Co. A, syphilis
S. Little, Private, Co. I, pneumonia
E. Turner, Private, Co. D, pneumonia
Lewis D. Wright, Private, Co. D, felis intermit
George L. Briggs, Sergeant, Co. H. felis intermit
Daniel W. Jones, Private, Co. K, felis intermit
Henry Eaton, Private, Co. G, erysipelas
C. Krips, Private, Co. E, ?

Died during the week ending January 24, 1865:
W. T. Miles, Private, Co. D, January 20, 1865
Christian Recker, Co. D, January 21, 1865
James H. Clark, Private, Co. C, January 24, 1865


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1865
We have understood that this old and highly respected citizen of Alton, who has been Quartermaster at this post for some time past, has been removed, for some cause unknown to us, and has been ordered to report for duty at Hilton Head, South Carolina. There may be good military reasons for this change, but it will strike the great mass of our citizens as very strange that while a Quartermaster is needed at this post, so worthy a man, and such an old citizen should be removed from his home and family, and a stranger appointed in his place. We have not yet learned who has been assigned to the vacancy occasioned by Captain Avis’ removal.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 10, 1865
It is announced as one of the results of the late conference of President Lincoln and Secretary Seward, with the Rebel commissioners, that arrangements were made for a general exchange of prisoners on both sides. This will be good tidings to thousands of anxious hearts, who have had dear friends penned up in Rebel prisons, enduring more horrible sufferings than even the pangs of death itself. We have been informed that all the prisoners in Bluff Castle in Alton, who are willing to be exchanged, will soon be removed from here for that purpose. Our informant, however, remarked that a large part of them did not wish to avail themselves of this privilege, preferring their present confinement to further service in the Confederate army.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 17, 1865
Giving the number of sick received in the hospital of 144th Regiment, for the week ending February 11, 1865:

Anthony Minard, dysentery
Julius Mipis(?), febris intermit
Josiah Lohn, dropsy
Levi B. Gleason, debility
William Welch, febris remit
James Gould, febris remit
Silas Koons, febris intermit
James B. Davis, febris typhoid
John Richards, febris remit
Amos Ernest, diarrhea and chronic bronchitis
Christian B. Morgan, rubeola
Thomas Clark, febris intermit

Martin Batekin, February 2, consumption
Daniel D. Williams, February 3, dysentery
James B. David, February 7, febris typhoid


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1865
Quite a number of prisoners have just been transferred from Gratiot Prison to the military prison in Alton for the purpose of being exchanged.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 24, 1865
It was ordered that five hundred prisoners be taken this morning from our military prison [Alton] to Point Lookout, Maryland, for exchange. We learn that only some two hundred and fifty would consent to go home to die in the last ditch.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 10, 1865
Colonel Hall called upon us this morning, and we learn from him that he has been relieved from the command of the 144th Regiment. He leaves this evening to join his old regiment (the 14th), now with General Sherman in North Carolina. The band of the 144th Regiment, with the officers and members of that regiment, will escort him to the train going North this evening. Lieutenant Colonel Kuhn, we presume, will take the command of the regiment located in Alton. He is a veteran officer, and has much military experience, having been in command ever since the breaking out of the war. It is rumored that Brevet Brigadier General Richardson will be assigned to the command of this post. But we are unable to give any information in reference to him.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 10, 1865
We had intended, two or three days since, to have announced the death of this notorious individual, but it slipped our memory at the time. It will be recollected that after serving for some time in the rebel army, he came into Illinois, and acted as both a political and military leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Greene, Jersey, and Macoupin Counties, and after being arrested two or three times and confined in the Alton military prison, and escaping as often, he was supposed to be fatally wounded by soldiers while on a raid with a number of others of like principles, in the northern part of Jersey and the southern part of Greene Counties. He was taken from the woods, where he was wounded, to the jail in Greene County, and confined there until sufficiently recovered to travel, when he was removed to Springfield, and remained in confinement there until last week, when he died. His corpse has been brought to Carrollton, and interred in the cemetery, and there let his deeds, for the last year or two, be buried with him.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 24, 1865
A tall, gaunt individual has been perambulating the streets of St. Louis for weeks past, with a sign board on his back directing everybody to go to Oak Hall for clothing. He was arrested as a spy some days since, and tried by court martial and sentenced to imprisonment in the prison in Alton during the war.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 24, 1865
We observed yesterday that some prisoners were on their way to Alton from Memphis, and among the number was a brother of the notorious John Morgan. The officer, however, who gallanted these “gentlemen” to prison, says that this Morgan is no relation to the General. We do not insist that he is, but even if he is not, we have no doubt from the description the officer himself gives of him, that he is of the same bad breed of dogs.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 31, 1865
The 144th Illinois Infantry was out this afternoon in full uniform and equipment, and were inspected by Captain Moore, Inspector of the post. The men made a very fine appearance, and their equipment evinced a good degree of care and attention on their part.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
Fifty prisoners of war were released from the prison on Tuesday, on taking the amnesty oath. There now remains in that institution three hundred and eighty-one prisoners of war, one hundred and eighty-nine Federal soldiers, and one hundred and ninety-nine citizens under sentence.


Source: Utica, New York Weekly Herald, April 4, 1865
Dick Morgan, brother of John Morgan, is in the Alton Penitentiary, to which institution he has been sentenced for life.


Source: New York Times, April 30, 1865
From Gen. Ortega, Fort Learned, April 10, 1865
Two regiments of United States Infantry, composed of prisoners at the Alton Prison, are on their way to the plains, and will be of some service in relieving the Cavalry from garrison duty. That is about all they are good for, with the exception of fitting up the quota of some favored state.


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, May 12, 1865
All those prisoners of war captured from Generan Price, and who were able to prove that they had been conscripted into the rebel service, have been released, as well as those prisoners of war in general, who have consented to take the amnesty oath. There are now remaining in Gratiot, the only military prison in St. Louis, not more than one hundred and fifty prisoners, including citizens, Federal soldiers, and prisoners of war. At Alton, there remains three hundred and ninety-two prisoners of war, one hundred and eighty-seven citizens and seventy-nine Federals - eight hundred and fifty-eight in all. It has not been a very long time since there were more than three thousand prisoners at Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1865
There were 48 prisoners of war arrived here last evening from Vicksburg on the Alton Packet – May Bruner – under guard of Lieutenant Charles Ambrooks, in command of a part of the 5th Colored U. S. Heavy Artillery, to be confined in the military prison in Alton. One of the prisoners on the way up, leaped from the boat into the river, and was fired upon by two of the guard and was either killed or drowned.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1865
To the Alton Telegraph Editors: I see on the streets of Alton daily, a rebel doctor, who I learn is a prisoner, sentenced for a grave crime. I am informed he refuses, scornfully, to take the oath, yet his is quietly enjoying himself at large. I saw the other evening a she-rebel – also sentenced for a grave crime – taking tea at one of our hotels with an officer of the U. S. Army, who is on duty at the Military Prison. Now, Messrs. Editors, I am a poor, ignorant fellow, that had no more sense than to enlist to fight for my country, and do not know whether it is right these things should be allowed or not, and as you seem to be well posted on all such matters, and very vigilant for the honor and interest of the government, I take the liberty to ask you if you know by what authority these miserable secesh and rebels are privileged and caressed in this way. This is only a specimen, I learn, of the manner in which matters are conducted at this post, and as some of my kindred lie among the 17,000 heroes of Andersonville, I think I have a right to ask the question: Will you be so kind as to answer? Signed, Quisquis [Latin for Whoever]

Editors of Alton Telegraph respond: We know nothing about the truth or falsity of the above charges. But, if it is true as he4re represented, it is high time that General Dodge, or someone else authorized to remedy the evil, should examine into the matter.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 26, 1865
Charles B. Newel was arrested by the Provost Guard on yesterday evening (May 19) for committing an assault upon the person of Captain Delange of the 144th Regiment. The same was turned over by Captain Neustadt to the civil authorities.

J. T. Moore, a citizen of Alton, was arrested on the same evening for expressing disloyal sentiments and claiming to be a rebel spy. Captain Neustadt, the Provost Marshal of this Post, after examining several witnesses, released him on taking the oath of allegiance.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 26, 1865
“It is said that four prisoners escaped last night from the Alton Penitentiary. The prison is guarded by a regiment. Must we have a vigilance committee in Alton? Are there no laws in Alton and are all her people traitors?” By the Alton Democrat

This item from our contemporary does great injustice to the soldiers who are on guard at this post, and contains an uncalled-for misstatement. The prison is not guarded by a “regiment.” There has been but five companies doing guard duty here for some month’s past – the other five companies being in Missouri on detached service. This was doubtless known by our contemporary at the time he penned the article, but rather than let slip the opportunity of casting a slur upon the privates of the 144th Regiment, he told what he knew to be false. The privates of the regiment have not been surpassed, for their vigilance in guarding the prison, by any regiment that was ever stationed at this post, and with but few exceptions, have acted in a soldierly and quiet manner since their enlistment. All attempts at escape from the prison have been promptly discovered, and the prisoners recovered. The attempt of the editor to create a prejudice against the members of the 144th is totally uncalled for and unjust.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 16, 1865
We learn from the St. Louis Republican that a list of 112 prisoners, sentenced during the war, and now in Alton prison, has been made out, and the prisoners have been ordered to be released today.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 7, 1865
It will be seen by reference to our daily prison report, that the last of the prisoners left the old Penitentiary this morning. This winds up the duties of the military at this post. But it has not yet been made public what shall be done with the 144th Regiment, which was raised expressly to do guard duty in Alton, but it is generally supposed that the men will be mustered out of service in the course of a few days.

Although we rejoice with all good citizens, that peace has been declared, and that we have no further use for the boys in blue in our midst, still, we have had them among us so long, and their presence has exerted such a healthy influence on the disloyal portion of our community, that we rather regret to have them leave us. During the four years in which we have had them stationed here, there has never been any serious difficulty between them and our citizens. With very few exceptions, their behavior and conduct has been all that could be asked by the most fastidious. Many lifelong friendships have been formed, and although the boys are now, or soon will be, scattered all over the Valley of the Mississippi, still the thoughts and good wishes of our people will attend them, and the friendships formed during their sojourn here will be warmly cherished in many hearts.


Escaped from Alton Prison
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 21, 1865
(From the St. Louis Democrat) - There was an exciting scene on Fourth Street [St. Louis] yesterday morning, caused by an attempt to arrest a man named Thomas Moss, who resisted, fired several shots at his pursuers, and was finally brought down by a bullet in the groin, from the revolver of a policeman. Moss is a Tennessean, had been a Rebel soldier, was captured some time ago, and sent to the Alton military prison. He escaped from the prison, stole a horse, and carried on a sort of bushwhacking business in Illinois. The citizens of Jersey County, Illinois attempted to arrest him, when he drew his revolver and shot two or three of them, and made his escape. A reward of $500 was offered for his apprehension last May, but he could not be found.

Yesterday morning, Mr. William Billings of Jerseyville saw and recognized Moss on Fourth Street, opposite the Planters House, and pointed him but as a murderer. Moss fled on being recognized, and ran up Fourth Street to Pine, up Pine to the alley in the rear of the Berthold mansion, and was pursued by a number of citizens and by officers H. W. Riley and Reed of the police. He broke the door of an outhouse, and fastened the door, then got out, and ran into a house nearby, after firing several times at the men who were chasing him. Officer Reed ran through the alley and headed Moss off. The fugitive leveled his pistol at Reed’s breast, but the weapon would not go off. Reed drew his revolver and blazed away at Moss’s legs, not wishing to kill him, but Riley came up, and with his revolver put a ball into Moss, when he surrendered, and was taken to the calaboose. The wound is a severe one, and last night Moss requested to see a physician, as he was fearful that he would die of lockjaw. He will be sent to Jerseyville, and the probability is that he will be lynched by the populace.

From the Alton Telegraph, July 21, 1865
The notorious desperado, Thomas Moss, who was shot in St. Louis on Wednesday last, was brought up on the railroad car last evening, and taken from Alton in a carriage to Jerseyville. We learn today that he was securely locked in the jail before the citizens of Jerseyville were well aware of it. It is not at all likely that he will escape so easily again, as in his last attempt. We hope an effort will be made by the authorities to find out the facts in regard to his late escape from the jail in Jerseyville. The Sheriff of Jersey County should endeavor to obtain the truth from Moss on this subject.

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 28, 1865
The Jersey County Democrat of yesterday says, “Moss still remains in prison, slowly recovering from the pistol shot he received while being captured. He converses freely, and is fond of company. Judge Woodson has called a special term of the Circuit Court to meet on the 7th of August, to try the case of Moss for murder.”


Source: Liberty Weekly Tribune, January 26, 1866
During the battle of Tishomingo Creek, a young gentleman of this city [Liberty, Missouri] now engaged in the study of law, was captured and brought to this city and shipped together with a number of others to Alton Penitentiary, where he was kept some six weeks, at the end of which time an order was received to transfer a number of officers - himself among the number - to Johnson's Island; and, under a strong guard, they took the train for that delightful summer retreat. Lieutenant H___ had seen enough of prison life during his six weeks' sojourn at Alton to satisfy him that it was not exactly suited to one who had followed the "War Eagle" through all his campaigns, and determined, if possible, to affect his escape. But it seems that several others were possessed of the same idea, and it was soon known that several had taken leave without the countersign, by jumping from the train, which increased the vigilance of the guard and rendered an attempt doubly dangerous; but the Lieutenant determined that the prison gates should never close on him again. About two o'clock in the morning he noticed that the guard had fallen asleep, and, softly raising the window, he peeped out into the darkness and discovered that the train was rushing on with frightful speed, enough to have deterred any other than he from making the attempt; but Alton was behind and Johnson's Island ahead, and committing himself to the fates, he slipped through the window, and, losing his hold, dropped to the ground. For a moment he was stunned and bewildered, and unable to rise, but luckily no bones were broken, and on rising he discovered that he was in the midst of a large prairie, while far away the train was thundering on. Pursuing the line of the railway, he about daylight came within sight of a village, which afterwards proved to be Clinton [Illinois]. What to do he did not know, without a cent and dressed in full uniform and weary and hungry. The first thing to be done was to get rid of his gray jacket, which was taken off and buried in an adjacent cornfield, and resolved to put a bold face on the matter, he set out for the town, and, on reaching the suburbs, he discovered some workmen engaged in building a brick house, and, walking up to one who seemed to be in authority, he asked him if he wanted workmen, to which he received a ready reply in the affirmative, coupled with the remark that he was Colonel of the 154th Illinois, and his furlough had nearly expired, and immediately offered him two dollars a day to "wait on" the brick masons. This was a great trial to the adventurous "reb," but he immediately set to work with a will, and thus things passed along very smoothly until he sat down at the dinner table on the third day, when the Colonel startled him by remarking to the family that several rebels had escaped from the train, and that one of them had been traced to Clinton, looking the Lieutenant full in the face at the same time, but he kept his countenance and returned to work, ill at ease. About 4 o'clock the Colonel made some excuse for going into town, but scarcely had he left, when an Irish servant girl beckoned to him to come into the kitchen, which he did, and learned from her that the Colonel had gone after a guard to arrest him. She begged him to fly, at the same time handing him two dollars in silver. He was not long in taking her advice, and ere night closed in was miles away in the boundless prairie. We will not follow him in all his adventures to Chicago, where he found friends and means, and thence to Detroit, Montreal and Halifax, where he embarked on a blockade-runner, and on his fearful voyage along Hatteras, the passage of the blockading fleet, his safe arrival at Wilmington, from which point he immediately proceeded to join his command, then in NOrth Mississippi. Suffice it to say that he did so, and fought through the remainder of the war, and then was paroled, and now walks the streets with an air decidedly more legal than warlike. A few days since he entered a store where quite a number of gentlemen were collected, when one of them suddenly accosted him with: "Hallo! ain't you the Reb I hired to carry the hod?" "Yes, I am," responded the limb of the law, "and I want the seven dollars you owe me for it." Mid roars of laughter, Colonel S. produced his pocketbook and handed over the amount, stating that he never experienced more pleasure in liquidating a debt in his life. We venture the prediction that this is the first debt of the kind collected since the close of the war. (From the Memphis Appeal)


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 14, 1866
We understand that the proposition of Messrs. Casey and Steele, which was under consideration at the Exchange last evening, is to sell the penitentiary buildings, including the Warden’s house, cells, hospital, and dining hall, with ground 200 feet on Short Street, and 250 feet on Mill Street, for $26,666, and in case of such sale, the remainder will be placed on the market. This place, it is believed, will secure the removal of the hideous wall, and provide a suitable city prison and workhouse at a much less cost than by any other plan that can be proposed. Some provision of that character will be a necessity in a very short time.


Source: Ogdensburg, New York Daily Journal, May 24, 1867
It seems Capt. Hine had been tried, convicted (as he claimed, unjustly), and sentenced to the Alton Penitentiary. Before the sentence was carried into execution, however, he escaped and fled to Canada.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 10, 1868
It is known that quite a number of bodies of Rebel soldiers, victims of the smallpox, are buried on the island opposite the city, known as the Tow Head, near where the smallpox hospital was located. It now appears that the swift current of the river has washed away so large a portion of the head of the island, that in a short time, these graves also will be washed away. The remains of the dead, whether friend or foe, are sacred, and we trust that the proper authorities will attend to the matter in time.


Source: Utica, New York Morning Herald, July 1869
Three prisoners escaped from the Alton jail in Illinois, on the night of the 23d ult. (leaving behind them the following note to the City Marshal: "John Young - Dear Sir: As we do not like your style of board, we have concluded to change our boarding place. We wanted Harry to go, but he likes the board and says he means to stick to it. Catch us if you can.
"Oh, I how dark looks this world,
And how dreary when we part
From the ones that we love.
But there is rest for the faint and weary.
And we will meet with our lost ones above."
H. Teason
G. T. W. Horner
G. Crawford


Source: The New York Times, July 26, 1869
The controversy in relation to the State Penitentiary and its management still goes forward, and is exciting considerable public interest. As is usual - but perhaps a little strange in this case - it is a fight between the ins and the outs. The outs are trying to get in to the Penitentiary! Had they their desserts, perhaps the end would have been accomplished long since without any volition of their own. But as they wish to get in for the purpose of plundering the State, there is some objection. For about thirty years, the institution, while at Alton, was leased to the same parties. It was carried on for the purpose of making money, both out of the labor of the prisoners and the State. A nominal sum was agreed to be paid to the State as rent; but the State was always brought into debt by the lessees, who contrived to make charges under all possible pretenses. The government of the prison was horribly barbarous, and the diet of the prisoners of the poorest and meanest description. At one time, I am informed by the person who was acting as Chaplain, while they were manufacturing corn brooms, the seed of the broom corn was manufactured into meal, and made into bread. Drunken bosses and drunken guards were employed, and the lash and the shower-bath were in constant requisition. And to such an extent were they used that men were known to have died from the effects. In fact, I suppose from what I learn from good authority, that a more barbarous institution scarcely ever existed than the Illinois Penitentiary for a period of over a quarter of a century. After its removal to Joliet, as long as it continued to be managed on the lessee plan, there was little or no change for the better, except in the matter of diet, which was much improved. But the same barbarous, inhuman and brutal system of discipline was continued. Instead of being reformed, the prisoners were brutalized and hardened. The new prison was in process of construction, and the contractors were the lessees of the labor of the prisoners - one of them acting at the same time as Warden, so that the State was not virtually represented at all. At the outset, the Penitentiary was to cost - according to the estimates of the architect - $400,000. It has cost nearer $1,200,000 - a large proportion of which has been taken from the State Treasury fraudulently, and much of it through party favoritism, and through the connivance of the State agents appointed to oversee the work. About two years ago the State assumed control of the institution, and placed its management under the control of three Commissioners, who are elected by the people. A new order of things was inaugurated, and an attempt made to render the prison reformatory as well as a place of punishment. A more humane system of discipline was adopted, and efforts made to improve the minds and morals of the inmates. A good measure of success attended these efforts, and the State was relieved from any financial burden connected with the prison. But the "old Penitentiary Ring" has never been at rest since they were ousted from this means of public plunder. They have entered upon a systematic course of falsehood and misrepresentation in regard to the management of the prison, and hence the excitement which has been created throughout the State in regard to the matter. There are now about 1,200 prisoners confined there, and the Commissioners find more difficulty in these depressed times in keeping them profitably employed. But an investigation has shown that the charges of the "Ring" are unfounded, and got up to affect their own selfish purposes.


Source: The Congressional Globe - Speeches, Reports, and the Laws of the Second Session of the Forty-Second Congress, by F. & J. Rives & George A. Bailey, 1872

The Confederate prisoners of war who died were 30, 152, as shown by the mortuary records of the War Department, gathered from the eighty-nine different places of interment at hospitals, forts, and prisons where they were buried, and are stated thus:
Officers - 455
Enlisted men - 29, 216
Citizens - 481
TOTAL - 30,152

Of these, the names are kept and graves designated of 29, 426, and names not kept of 726. Of this latter number, 662 were at Alton, Illinois, leaving only 64 unknowns at the remaining eighty-eight places. Why this neglect at Alton I do not know; but it is reprehensible, and is the only record in all our responsibilities to be condemned. There were only 1,549 deaths of confederate prisoners at Alton prison, and 662 of these are marked "unknown."

Burials at Alton:
Commissioned officers - 7
Enlisted men - 1,549
Unknown - 662
TOTAL - 2,218


Source: Syracuse, New York Daily Journal, January 20, 1872
Alexander Manning, representing himself to be a Deputy Sheriff of Carroll parish, Louisiana, and another, giving his name as Laddy. arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, Friday, from Lake Providence Louisiana, having in charge Harry Freeman, whom they allege is a burglar and murderer, and was an associate of Quantrill in the Lawrence, Kansas, massacre during the war, for whom they state the Governor of Missouri offered $5,000 reward. They left their prisoner with Chief McDonough during the day, saying they expected the Sheriff of Atchison county to come and take him. Not having any authenticated papers. Chief McDonough suspected something wrong, visited the prisoner and found him barbarously ironed. He ordered the removal of the shackles and heard his story, from which be, McDonough, believed that the man had been kidnapped, and refused to deliver him to his captors until they produced properly authenticated papers.

Today (Saturday), Chester Harding applied for a writ of habeas corpus, and Freeman was brought before Judge Ewing and discharged, his captor failing to show cause why he was arrested. The man, whose real name is William Thurman, states that he was drugged in Lake Providence, some ten days ago, and when he came to his senses found himself on board a steamer, loaded down with irons, and on his way to Missouri. It appears from the man's own statements, and from the statements of others who knew him, that he was a Union scout and spy during the war, and rendered valuable service to the Federal cause. Ho served under General Harding, who was his counsel Friday, also under General Rosecrans, and others in that department. It is further stated by those cognizant of the facts, that in 1865 he was tried by a military court martial at St. Joseph, convicted of seven different murders, and sentenced to be hanged, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment in the Alton penitentiary, from which he was pardoned after nine months imprisonment. He was one of the original *Kansas Red Legs, and is said to have been one of Quantrill’s gang. While acting as a Federal spy he was much in the rebel country, and fought, and was wounded in their ranks. Ho was captured by Union soldiers on one [unreadable], tried as a spy and sentenced to be hanged, but was pardoned by the President, through the intercession of General Harding, to whom he had always been true. After the war he was sent to the Missouri penitentiary for passing counterfeit money, but was pardoned by the Governor after serving two years. Since then he has been living in Louisiana and Mississippi. By his own story and statement, he is, or has been, a most desperate villain, and but for manner in which he was brought to St. Louis, would have been held. He attributes his arrest to some of Quantrill’s men living In Louisiana, who he says, were afraid he would expose them, and took this way of getting rid of him.

*Redlegs were a company of (Missouri-Kansas) border scouts, formed sometime in the year 1862. It was an independent organization, never regularly mustered into the United States service, and no official record of it has been preserved. The men composing the company became known as "Red Legs," from the fact that they wore leggings of red or tan-colored leather. The Redlegs were a secret Union military society, organized in late 1862 by General Thomas Ewing and James Blunt for desperate service along the border, and numbered as many as 100 men. These men were Union spys and infiltrators, and incurred the wrath of Quantrill, Anderson, Todd, etc. Some of the men which comprised the Red Legs were "Wild Bill" Hickok and William S. Tough.


From the Chicago Tribute of October 22, 1873
Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1873
John Cook filed a bill in the Circuit Court yesterday against Lorenzo P. Sanger, John J. McKinnon, and Joseph O. Rutter. Complainant alleges that he signed a note of about $10,000 as surety for Samuel A. Buckmaster in December 1869. To secure this, Buckmaster deeded to complainant a one-third interest in what was called the “Penitentiary property,” in Alton, Illinois. Shortly after, Cook executed to said Buckmaster a defeasance, by which he agreed that if the note was paid, he would reconvey the property, the whole transaction, as it will be seen, amounting to a mortgage. In March 1871, complainant, with Sanger, went surety on a note of Buckmaster’s for $9,101.91, complainant in neither case receiving any consideration, but only doing it for Buckmaster. The last note fell due, but was not paid. Sanger then made a proposition to raise a loan on the Penitentiary property of J. J. McKinnon, a lawyer of Chicago, and take up the note therewith. Cook and wife then made a deed to said Sanger, to carry out this project, stipulating in writing that if the loan should not be procured, the land should be reconveyed. To this Buckmaster consented. Sanger failed to procure the loan. The bank to which the last note was given sued and recovered judgment against complainant, and Sanger and complainant paid one-half the judgment. Sanger, however, did not pay, but in violation of his agreement, recorded the deed from Cook to him in the Register’s office in Alton. Complainant then recorded the agreement to reconvey. Sanger has been repeatedly asked to keep his contract, but has refused, alleging that the land is for the joint security of himself and complainant; whereas Cook maintains that it had nothing to do with securing the second note, but was given to him alone, to make him safe on the first note. The first note also at maturity was not paid, and judgment was recovered against complainant, and he was obliged to pay the whole. Sanger, to defraud complainant, conveyed the property by trust deed to Rutter, to secure the payment of $10,000 and interest, McKinnon being trustee therein. Complainant therefore asks that this trust may be declared no cloud on his title; that Sanger be compelled to reconvey the property to complaint, and that all of the defendants may be restrained by injunction from selling the property under any power in the trust deed. The injunction was granted under bond of $2,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 13, 1874
Dispatch from Springfield to the Chicago Inter-Ocean:
Several members from southern counties supplemented by several other gentlemen who are not members at all, are very busily engaged in agitating the advisability of establishing a penitentiary for the southern half of the State. This movement is made at this junction partly because if not made now, It cannot be made at all, and partly because the gentlemen are somewhat interested – a few of them at least – in a real estate sense, or in a prospective pecuniary sense, in its success.

Upon the establishment of the new Penitentiary at Joliet, Colonel Buckmaster, who was Superintendent of the old prison at Alton, bought that old prison from the State for the sum of $60,000. During the war, Colonel Buckmaster rented the building to the general Government. Since the war, it has fallen sadly into neglect, and is at present in a dilapidated condition. Colonel Buckmaster was obliged through a pressure which visited him about two years ago, to sell it to General John Cook of Springfield, and Colonel Sanger of Chicago. He retained only a reversionary interest. Through some misunderstanding of a sort not uncommon to property transfers, it went the way of Jarndyce – got into chancery, whence it emerged only last week. Almost simultaneously with this release, the project of establishing the Southern Illinois Penitentiary developed. The gentlemen aforesaid, who are agitating the matter, deny that there is any intention of purchasing the old Alton place. When that prison was discontinued in favor of the new, the people of Alton were rather glad of the fact – they did not want a penal institution in their midst. But times have changed, and with it the minds of the people of Alton, who, in a laxity of trade, are not averse to the addition of a large manufacturing concern to their not very industrious industries. Three of the gentlemen who are in the movement would like to lease the labor of a few hundred convicts at Alton, to be employed in cooperage. Alton is very near to St. Louis, and St. Louis would furnish a most convenient market for all the barrels that might be put together in an Alton cooper shop. An unusual margin would accrue to the conductors of such a cooper shop, to which the operatives were leased convicts, costing them about one quarter as much as the labor of free operatives.


Source: The Phelps County New Era, [Rolla, Missouri] December 4, 1875
The crumbling walls of the old State Prison [in Alton] may be seen looking like the remains of some ancient feudal castle. A trip through the cells above and beneath the ground will well repay one's trouble.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 15, 1877
There is no disputing the point that the return of several hundred convicts to the old penitentiary grounds in Alton would be a public nuisance of the gravest description. The buildings are in the heart of the business part of the city, and are overlooked by one of the pleasantest residence portions. To locate a penitentiary in such a public place would be a nuisance and an eye sore. But one of the most potent arguments against the removal is the danger that would result therefrom to the health of the city. Within the last two years, a system of water works has been completed in Alton. The pumping works are located on the river bank, directly opposite the penitentiary buildings. Owing to the topography of the locality, the sewerage from the penitentiary would necessarily be discharged into the river not more than a square below the pumping works. There is, we are credibly informed, an eddy in the river at that point, extending as far up as the works buildings. The constant stream of filth from the penitentiary would thus poison the water, be pumped up and distributed over the city, carrying disease and death into every house or factory using water from the works. Even if the penitentiary sewerage were discharged a quarter of a mile below the works, who would be willing to use the river water? This is a serious question for consideration. It might be urged that the penitentiary would dispense with sewerage. To which we reply that such an institution, without sewerage, would become a hot bed of disease and infection, in the very heart of the city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 19, 1877
Senators Brown, McDowell, Krome, Koderwell, and Hunt of the Senate Penitentiary Committee arrived here from Springfield Saturday, on a tour of inspection of the old penitentiary buildings, walls, and grounds. The committee was received at the depot by Hons. J. H. Yager, George A. Smith, Zephaniah B. Job, Henry G. McPike, and Colonel Burbridge, and Messrs. Weigler and Joesting of the City Council. The committee were immediately escorted to the penitentiary ruins, and introduced to the beautiful scenery enclosed by the walls of that “bone of contention.” The party was there joined by more of our prominent citizens. After a pretty thorough inspection, our distinguished visitors expressed the opinion, so far as we could understand, that the buildings inside the old walls are utterly unfit for a prison without a general renovation and repairing that would be likely to cost more than to build an entire new penitentiary. The walls are crumbling and dilapidated, the roofs of the buildings in ruins; while humanity would forbid the imprisonment of human beings in the cells as at present located. The sewerage was also alluded to, leading to the remark that great risk would be run in admitting the refuse from several hundred prisoners to the river, so near the water works. Several of the gentlemen expressed their opinion as to the value of this property as it now stands, and the amounts stated ranged from $10,000 to $30,000, the latter sum the maximum.

While inspecting the prison proper, the cell was pointed out by Hon. Zephaniah B. Job, in which, according to the best of his recollection, the desperate convict Hall, armed with a knife, kept the guard Crabbe imprisoned for about two days and nights.

Whyen the party started to leave the enclosure, one of the Senators could not be found, when someone exclaimed that he, with two or three of our citizens who were with him, had got imprisoned in a cell or fallen into a rat hole, but they soon made their appearance. The party then made a tour of the Water Works, and were treated to a view of the force and power of the stream thrown by the pressure from the reservoir without the action of the engine.

One of our citizens recommended Murphysboro, Jonesboro, or Grand Tower to our visitors as being far superior to Alton, in almost every respect, as points for the location of a Southern Penitentiary, and his representations seemed to have considerable effect. On the whole, we do not think that the committee were very favorably impressed with the dreary old rockery on the hill, as a place for the confinement of erring human beings.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 3, 1877
The penitentiary battle has been fought out in the State Senate this week, and the Buckmaster project, after a hard fight, has gone under. The defeated motion was made in the interest of the Southern Penitentiary project. The defeat is probably final, though it is possible that they have other strings yet to pull.


Source: AT, November 22, 1884
Mr. George C. Cockrell of Jerseyville, as Master in Chancery, today disposed of, at public sale, at the front door of the City Hall, what is known as the Penitentiary property. It was sold to Mr. Thomas Biggins, consideration $15,500. Four-fifths of lot 15, lots 16, 17, and 19, Godfrey & Gilman’s addition were sold to Mr. J. W. Coppinger for $1,205, making the total for the property, $16,705.


Source: Auburn, New York Daily Bulletin, July 5, 1889
A ghost with the lockstep is one of the rarities of spiritualism, but that is what they say has been heard near the old prison at Alton, Ill. [Note: a lockstep is a way of marching in very close file, in which the leg of each person moves with and closely behind the corresponding leg of the person ahead.]


Source: Source: Confederate Military History by Clement Anselm Evans, 1899, page 598
"Dr. Tebault has held the rank of surgeon-general of the United Confederate veterans during the past four years, and his official reports in this capacity are valuable contributions to the literature of the Confederary. In one of them he recounts his experience in caring for two hundred exchanged Confederate prisoners at Fort Pillow, who had been at the Federal prison camp at Alton, Illinois, and were nearly all sick with smallpox. He had no vaccine matter with which to protect the garrison from contagion, but with the resourcefulness of a true physician he conceived the idea of diluting lymph from the sick with fresh cow's milk, a method which proved entirely successful, and is now recommended by high medical authority for use in emergencies when the resources of modern medical supply are unavailable, as was often the case in the Confederate service."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 7, 1901
Graders who have been grading the lots of J. H. Raible on Summit street have been employed today driving long steel bars into the ground in the lot in a search for three old caverns that were formerly used by the United States government as magazines [a room or place for keeping gunpowder and other explosives] for powder and ball, when the old penitentiary was used for a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. On the brow of the bluffs a cannon was mounted for purposes of defense of the prison in case of an attack from Missouri, and the three caves were made in the ground for use as magazines for ammunition. Many years ago, the caves were walled up by Mr. Raible, as they had become the roosting place for tramps and boys and had become nuisance. It is now desired to locate these caves and fill them up so that they will not endanger the limbs and lives of horses that are working on the lots grading them. Old residents of Alton remember these magazines and their discovery will be full of interest.


Source: New York Times, August 7, 1901
William Cecil Price, Treasurer of the United States under President Buchanan, was with Gen. Price at the battle of Pea Ridge and was captured by the Federal forces and confined in the prison at Alton, Illinois, until September 1862, when he was exchanged.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 14, 1902
W. S. Llewellyn of Seymour, Iowa is said to be the only survivor of the famous Thirty-Seventh Iowa Graybeards regiment that did guard duty at the Alton Military prison in the spring of 1864. The members were all men old enough to have gray beards, therefore their name. They volunteered for guard duty to relieve regiments of younger men.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 12, 1902
Captain Francis Valle of St. Louis, and Captain W. H. Kennan of Mexico, Missouri, ex-Confederate officers who have not seen each other in 40 years, have promised to meet in St. Louis soon. They met last as prisoners of war in Alton, where both were confined in 1862 until released a few months later in exchange for Union soldiers held in the South. Each lost track of the other, after they rejoined the ranks of fighting men, and since the war neither has known whether the other was killed or what had become of him. Several weeks ago, the St. Louis Republic printed a sketch of Captain Valle. Captain Kennan, who is a prominent lawyer in Mexico, read it and wrote to his old comrade as follows:

"Nearly all of those with whom you and I were immediately associated in the Alton prison have long since passed away. Colonels Stone andAlton prison ruins Murray and Major Dougherty have been dead for many years. Colonel Murray was drowned in crossing the Mississippi River between Alton and St. Louis. Where the Magoffin boys, Elijah and Beriah, are I don't know. They served through the war. Elijah was Lieutenant Colonel of the Tenth Missouri, commanded by William M. Moore, Colonel, of Lewis County. There were none braver and more daring than the Magoffins. They tunneled under the prison wall at Alton, and through the tunnel made their escape and took with them their father, Colonel Magoffin of Sedalia, who was, you will remember, closely confined and guarded in prison, awaiting trial before a court martial for the killing of a Federal officer at Sedalia.

One of the most noted men in St. Louis, ex-mayor John M. Wimer, was also in prison. He was a very strong man intellectually. I was a member of a mess, composed of Colonel Stone, Doctor Jackson of Jackson, Tennessee, and father of General W. H. Jackson, now of Nashville, Tennessee, Col. John M. Wimer, and others. Doctor Jackson and Colonel Wimer were two of the most interesting men I ever met. They regaled the prisoners with anecdotes and recitations. Colonel Wimer made his escape from prison crouched down in an empty barrel in a water wagon, which was driven beyond the penitentiary walls to the river early in the morning. He was afterwards killed in the fight at Hartsville, Missouri.

Doctor Thomas Hope of Alton, Illinois, was arrested and placed in prison. He became a member of our mess. He furnished us fine Havana cigars and Mexican red pepper for the table, which he said his brother-in-law, General Pope, had brought with him from Old Mexico. When he heard of Stonewall Jackson whipping his brother-in-law, General Pope, in the valley of Virginia, he rejoiced as loudly as did any rebel in the prison.

Colonel Wimer, spoken of above, made his escape in a big box. He crouched in the bottom of the box and was covered over with loaves of stale bread placed on a dray and hauled out. The dray belonged to Thomas Callahan, who three times a week hauled stale loaves of bread, garbage, etc., away from the prison. The bread amounted to several hundreds of loaves in a week, as the prisoners got fresh bread daily. The unused bread was good, but would not be eaten by the prisoners after it was 24 hours old. Mr. Callahan hauled it to his home on Prospect Street, where three times a week the very poor children and women with baskets came and carried it to their homes. When Colonel Wimer arose from under the bread in the box after arriving at the Callahan home, he asked for some place to hide until dark, and Mrs. Callahan told him to hide in a cask which had been placed by her husband as a refuse receptacle in the Dolbee pond in the Callahan pasture, located between the old Dolbee house - the present Old Ladies' Home - and David Ryan's residence [Today, this is where Riverview Park is]. The water in the cask was only about half-knee deep at the time, and he took an old nail keg along to sit on. At night he made his escape to Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Callahan are both dead, but they have a son in this city, one in Mexico, Missouri, and one in St. Louis."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 17, 1902
Mark Dickson of the Bluff Line freight office clerical force, while delving around and in the walls of the old penitentiary the other day, uncovered a pocket or alcove in the walls, and a further investigation rewarded him with several interesting relics of war times, and several specimens of the expert handiwork of the Confederate prisoners, it is supposed. Among things taken from the "pocket" were seven dangerously genuine looking counterfeit half dollars, a pair of steel pincers, and a couple of toothpicks fashioned out of bone into the shape of a human limb, with a long, slender, overgrown toenail as the tooth excavator. It is supposed merely that these articles were the work of Confederates, but they may possibly have been made by prisoners confined there during the time the "pen" was an Illinois State prison. How prisoners, whether military or civil, could find the apparatus and opportunity necessary to coin counterfeit money is one of the unsolved mysteries of the find. Mr. Dickson will treasure his trophies as most interesting relics of times and men of a period when human blood was held cheaper than beef blood or meat is held now.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 27, 1903
Terrell, Texas, April 8 - I notice the picture of the old Alton prison in the Dallas News. I think I would have known it if you had not told what it was. The river, the boat landing, the corner of the house, all looking familiar to me as I was there the winter of 1863, and the spring of 1864. I left Georgia in the spring of 1862 in Company A, Thirty-Ninth Georgia Regiment; was in Tennessee and Kentucky campaigns, left Tennessee just before the Murfreesboro fight to reinforce Vicksburg; was captured at Baker's Creek, May 16, 1863, sent up the river to Alton, stayed there seven months, then to Fort Delaware, and stayed there until the war ended. But to look at the picture of the old wall makes me feel - well, I can hardly tell you how. It was there I first had a taste of prison life. I remember how high the prison was - forty feet - as well as I remember. There were five rows of cells in the wall - one above the other. I remember one dark night we cut through the top of the house, cut the flag pole ropes and tied them together and then slid down to the ground. We had a good thing, we thought. There were somewhere about thirty or forty on top of the house, and it was snowing like thunder. About the tenth man to start down was a man from Texas by the name of Mosley, and the rope broke and a guard caught him and the rest of us, but we tried it again.

I remember two of our boys removed two men out of their coffins and got in themselves. The undertaker started out with them. A friend stopped the hearse to put some socks on his friend. Well, he ran; so did the driver and the Reb, but Bob Frick, who was in the other box got caught. Well, I never saw so much excitement - a Yankee trick played by a Rebel. Well, they made Bob get back in the box and nailed him in, and swore they would bury him alive, but they let him out in about ten minutes, the whitest looking man I ever saw.

I had some friends in there with me. I would give anything to hear from, if alive. There was K. D. D. Shiflett of Texas, and Jim Kitchens and Zach Hudson of Arkansas, and the redheaded Texan that was recaptured and brought back. But I spent my longest time in Fort Delaware; was there when the war closed. Yes, I remember old Hike Out. Would love to hear from anyone that was in Alton the time I was. I was Sergeant, had 100 men on my list; all of their names commenced with S. Had a time calling the roll it was so cold.

Signed, W. D. Swanson, Abilene, Texas, April 16, 1903.

W. D. Swanson enlisted March 10, 1862, in Company A, 39th Georgia Infantry, and was captured at Edward’s Station, Mississippi, May 16, 1863. He spent time in the Alton military prison, and then was sent to Fort Delaware. He was released at Fort Delaware, June 16, 1865, at the end of the war.


Source: Pennsylvania New Castle News, March 28, 1910
I was born in the vicinity of New Castle, and lived in the city until 16 years old. I went into the west and followed Albert Sidney Johnston to Salt Lake on the Utah expedition in 1858, being then 18 years old. I returned to Missouri in 1860, and enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army. Was promoted to be a captain of Cavalry in 1863. I was twice captured and escaped from Alton prison on the morning of March 6, 1862, concealed in an empty water barrel. I was wounded 7 times, once through the left lung, being left on the field for dead. Where are the boys who so willingly gave their lives in the 1860s in defense of the flag, as they saw it then? Where is the remnant of the men who defended the Little Round Top? Where are the survivors of those who followed Grant from the Wilderness to Appomattox? There must be many degenerate sons of noble sires, or nothing of this kind would be tolerated. I tell you my friends, "Citizens of my own native town," that if a creature of that kind were to come to Texas, and on the corner of any street in any city of Texas call the flag of the United States a "dirty rag," he would not look like anything when he came out of the hospital. I care not where he came from, or what his color is, north or south, east or west, from heaven or hell, the result would be the same, and I feel ashamed to think it would be tolerated in any other state of this union. Respectfully yours, A. B. Barnes, Ex-Captain, 4th Missouri Cavalry, C. S. A.

[Capt. Barnes was referring to Socialist who called the American flag a "dirty rag that floated from the flag staff over the so-called temple of justice at Washington."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 16, 1910
Mrs. Michael Gleason, for fifty years or more a resident of Alton, died yesterday at the home of her daughter, Miss Bridget Gleason, in St. Louis, where she moved from Alton about 11 years ago. She was 90 years old the first day of last February, and up to about nine weeks ago was strong and sound in every way, considering her age. The body will arrive in Alton tomorrow afternoon at 1 o'clock, and will be buried in Greenwood cemetery. Michael Gleason died about ten years ago, or about a year after he and his wife moved to St. Louis. He was in the employ of the late Henry W. Hart during the Civil War, and it was he who buried all of the Confederates who died in the Alton prison. He it was who discovered that one of the soldiers was a woman, and he was the only one who knew the exact spot where she was buried. It is related that annually while he lived in Alton, after the war, he visited that grave and placed flowers on it.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 23, 1911
J. E. Duffield, while on a business trip down in Alabama, went to Milan, a small place twenty-five miles from a railroad. He went to the home of a resident and asked for permission to remain overnight. The person who greeted him was an old southern gentleman whose cordiality was as gracious as his hair was snowy. When asked where he was from, and Duffield replied Alton, Illinois, the old gentleman started from his chair. The old southerner had himself been in Alton. He was a prisoner in the old Alton prison, being captured at Ft. Donaldson and brought here. Mr. Duffield's father had also been injured at Ft. Donaldson, but was on the other side. And the old southern gentleman who was a prisoner in the Alton prison, held by the Northerners, was all the more gracious in entertaining the son of a man who was also injured at the same battle, fighting against this same southern gentleman. The old southerner, whose name is J. B. Reir, remembered the bitterness of the war, but it was hidden by his graciousness. His young visitor remembered nothing of the war, but will always remember how his host did forget the war and treat him cordially.


(clip from a story about Sandford Kirkpatrick, chaser of moonshiners and member of Congress)
Source: Buffalo, New York Morning Express, May 3, 1914
"I sometimes smile in myself," Mr. Kirkpatrick continued, "when I think that as a boy I feared the Civil War would end before I had an opportunity to do any fighting. I was born in Ohio, but my parents migrated to Iowa when I was seven years old. I often say that I came into the world between two rows of corn, but that fact does not make me a pumpkin. I hurried into the Union army at the beginning of the Civil War, enlisting as a private in the Second Iowa Infantry. Everything would be over, I complained, before I had a chance to fire a shot. It was not so, however. The South did not surrender at the end of 90 days as was prophesied, and it was four years and four months before I returned to the West and became a cowboy. It seems to me that I have had a gun on my back or under my arm ever since I left home, more than 60 years ago. My baptism of fire, as I call it, occurred at Fort Donelson. The Second Iowa got into official disfavor in St. Louis. We were detailed to guard a large number of Confederate prisoners confined to a medical college. After the prisoners were transferred to a penitentiary at Alton, some of our boys celebrated the occasion by getting drunk and breaking up the furniture. One of them put a skeleton on his back and paraded in the streets, to the horror of the bystanders. So, we were sent to the steamboat in disgrace. No music sounded at the head of the regiment. We were not permitted to unfurl our flag. Arriving at Fort Donelson, we were in an ugly mood."


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 18, 1914
Robert A. Guerrant, one of the confederate soldiers who was confined in the prison in Alton during the Civil War, died this morning at his home in East Alton at the age of 70, after a three weeks' illness with cerebral hemorrhage. Guerrant was born and reared in Missouri, and when the war broke out enlisted as a Confederate soldier. Towards the end of the war he was captured while with Gen. Price's men in Missouri and was imprisoned in Alton where he was kept until an exchange of prisoners was made. He settled here [Alton] after being liberated. Guerrant leaves his wife, an adopted daughter, Miss Ada Starkey, and three sisters, Mrs. Mary E. Hardesty of Beechville, Ill., Mrs. Jennie Ingle of Beechville, Ill., and Mrs. Olivia Wallendorff of Deer Plain, Ill. The two latter sisters are expected to arrive this afternoon. Robert Hardesty, of Beechville, Ill., Frank Delonay of Alton, James Anderson of Beechville, Ill., nephews, and Mrs. Bertha Wachtel of Upper Alton, were at the Guerrant home at the time of the death. The funeral will be held Sunday morning at 10 o'clock at the East Alton Baptist Church. The burial will be in Milton Cemetery.


Samuel Harrison visits old prisonREBEL WEPT FOR
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph,
May 26, 1916
The Telegraph office force this morning had a visit from an old Confederate soldier. He was in Alton to see the old prison where he served time for two years after being captured by Union troops at the battle of Wilson's Creek, and he wept and would not be comforted because the walls of the old prison were not there. He had visited the site of the old prison and he was too filled with emotion to see even the remnant of the wall that stands on the site of what is now known as Uncle Remus Park. Failing to find anyone around who could serve as a friend and guide, like old Rip Van Winkle, he felt himself a stranger in a strange land. He was directed to the Telegraph office as a newspaper that was here in war times. He expected surely he would find someone on the Telegraph staff who had been working there when the Civil War was going on. He happened to strike the youngest member of the staff, and to him he told his story. Between sobs that told of an emotion that was deep and sincere, he told who he was and what was his errand. His grief became so great that he leaned heavily on the desk, and after being assured that there was still a remnant of the old prison on the site, the old man rose unsteadily and staggered out of the office, still filled with emotion.

His story was that when a lad of 14, he was serving in the Confederate Army and was taken with nine others at Wilson's Creek Battle to Alton. He said he stayed in the prison for two years. He had never been back to see the place since he was released, and he wanted to revive old memories. He revived them all right, so that he wept, and comfort there was none, as the old prison walls he wished to revisit were down and had long since been converted into macadam for streets in the city of East St. Louis.

Samuel Aaron Harrison was born April 10, 1842, in Hazleton, Texas County, Missouri. He enlisted in the Confederate Army under Colonel Coleman, 8th Missouri Volunteers, and was captured at the Battle of Wilson Creek and held at the Alton prison from December 1864 to June 1865. After visiting the prison in 1916, he returned in June 1935, to select a stone from its remaining walls for a tombstone, which was finally granted in 1941, following his death on August 30, 1940, at the age of 98. He was buried in the Anutt Cemetery in Dent County, Missouri, and was the last survivor of the Civil War prison at Alton. Surviving him were three of his children: Minnie Harrison Smith (1872-1943); Cora Belle Harrison Null (1878-1961); and Laura Elizabeth Harrison Mathis (1882-1967). His wife, Margaret Jane Kitchen Harrison, died in 1932, and a son, John Felix Harrison, died in 1936.



Source: Annals of the Army of the Cumberland, by John Fitch, Attorney at Law, Alton, Illinois

Salzkotter (for smuggling), released
C. J. Zeutzschell (spy)
Ogilvie Byron Young (spy)
Mrs. Judd (spy & smuggler)

"Mrs. Judd is the widow of an Episcopal clergyman who resides in Winchester, Tenn. It is respectfully submitted that she is a dangerous person to remain in these lines; that she is probably a spy as well as a smuggler; that cases of this kind being of frequent occurrence by females’ examples should be made, and that as there is at present no proper tribunal for her imprisonment at Nashville, she be committed to the military prison at Alton for trial."

Silas Norris (for kidnapping)
Mrs. Molly Hyde (spy - furnished rebel generals with information)
Joseph M. P. Nolan, arrested in St. Louis October 1861 for disloyalty to the United States, giving information to the enemy; released August 1863


Source: Switzler's Illustrated History of Missouri, from 1541 to 1877 by William Franklin Switzler, Chancy Rufus Barns, Robert Allen Campbell, Alban Jasper Conent, & George Clinton Swallow, 1879

"The sentences of John C. Thompkins, Wm. J. Forshey, John Patton, Thomas M. Smith, Stephen Stott, George H. Cunningham, Richard B. Crowder and George M. Pulliam, heretofore condemned to death, are provisionally mitigated to close confinement in the military prison at Alton. If rebel spies again destroy railroads and telegraph lines, and thus render it necessary for us to make severe examples, the original sentences against these men will be carried into execution." "In March of the same year [1862], James Quiesenberry, James Lane and William F. Petty were tried on the charge of railroad and bridge burning on the North Missouri railroad, on the night of December 20-21, 1861, found them guilty and sentenced them to be shot at such time and place as the General commanding the department shall designate; in the meantime, to be confined in Alton military prison. Nor were these men ever shot; but on recommendation of the commission, the sentence was mitigated.


Source: History of Arizona by Thomas Edwin Farish, page 257
Columbus H. Gray (in prison for nine months; captured in Helena, Arkansas, escaped by jumping out of railroad cards as he was being transferred to Fort Delaware)


Source: Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars 1861-1865
Sylvester Dreger, in prison at Alton, Illinois, on discharge of regiment


Source: History of Henry County, Illinois by Henry L. Kiner, 1910, page 639
John Root, for murder, 1850; court ordered imprisonment in Alton penitentiary, the first five days to be in solitary confinement and the rest at hard labor, the defendant further to pay the cost of prosecution. At the end of a year, Root was pardoned by Governor Joel A. Matteson, after petitions had been made for the purpose. He died not long after his release, a saloon brawl the cause.


Source: History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography by Thomas McAdory Owen & Marie Bankhead Owen, 1921
Robert Hodges, minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Cartersville, Mississippi; died at the prison in Alton, Ill. in 1862 or 1863


Source: The History of Rock County, Wisconsin, by Wesern Historical Company, 1879, page 413
David F. Mayberry; horse stealing in 1847, served 8 yrs and asserted someone would have to recompense him for time served. Later murdered Andrew Alger and was lynched.


Source: History of Boone County, Missouri, Written & compiled from the Most Authentic Official & Private Sources, 1882
James S. Hickam, captured at Rolla, Missouri, sent to Alton prison until the war was nearly over, when he was exchanged at Vicksburg.
Joseph Glenn Jones
Thomas Gilpin Tuttle; arrested on order of Gen. J. B. Douglass and held at Alton; released after swearing allegiance and giving bond of $4,000.
Edwin Ruthvan Westbrook; taken prisoner near Osceola, St. Clair county, Missouri, confined at Alton until March 19, 1865. Released on condition of enlistment in army to serve against Indians on the plains.
Durrett H. Barnes; kept at Alton until 1864, released and allowed to return home.
James Lawrence Henry; captured in 1862, confined in St. Louis, Alton, & Washington City. Exchanged in 1863 & sent to City Point, Virginia.
George Thomas Langston; Captured in 1861 gathering up recruits hiding in the brush in the vicinity of father's farm. Confined for 10 months in St. Louis, tried as a spy and sentenced to be shot.
Granted new trial and sentenced to prison at Alton under hard labor. Released in fall of 1864 after being at Alton over a year.
Zephaniah Spiers; captured & taken to Mexico, Missouri, St. Louis, then Alton. Prisoner at Alton six months.
W. T. Maupin; captured in Cooper county, Missouri by soldiers of Col. Eppstein. Held prisoner for 13 months in St. Louis & Alton. Upon release, he weighed only 87 1/2 lbs. Became a physician.
William I. Roberts; captured and taken to St. Louis, then Alton. Released in 1863.
George Bryant Forbis; taken prisoner at Port Gibson, taken to Alton until released on parole.
Francis Marion Lowrey; captured and taken to St. Louis, then Alton, & remained there until 1865.


Source: Confederate Military History by Clement Anselm Evans, 1899, page 289
Second Lieutenant W. C. Osborne; died in prison at Alton, Illinois


Source: HIstorical Genealogy of the Woodsons and Their Connections, by Henry Morton Woodson, 1915
Horace Woodson Ardinger; captured and sent to Alton for several months. Through the influence of his uncle, Gov. Austin King, he was released.


Source: Centennial History of Missouri by Walter Barlow Stevens
Colonel John Hughes Winston; captured [abt. 1863] and sent to Alton prison until the Civil war ended.


Source: Missouri Historical Review by State Historical Society of Missouri, pg 587
Captain Hanson McNeil and son, Jesse; captured & held in Missouri, then taken to Alton from which young McNeil made his escape by bribing a guard to give him his clothes. Lieut. Jesse McNeil then succeeded in helping his father to escape by climbing a pile of lumber which had been placed against the prison wall. They went down the Mississippi river, up the Ohio and across country until they reached their old home in Virginia.


Source: Hancock's Diary by Richard R. Hancock, pg 567
J. H. McAllister, died in January 1864 in prison at Alton, Illinois.
J. H. Thomas was sent right to Alton, Illinois.
E. D. Thomas, wounded, sent to Alton, Illinois for about two months, then he and his brother, J. H. were sent to Fort Delaware.
J. K. Dodd; while an independent scout he was captured near New Albany, Mississippi abt. August 18, 1863 and sent to Alton for 5-6 months. Exchanged.


Source: History of the First Kentucky Brigade by Edwin Porter Thompson, 1868
John Pendergrast of Louisville, KY was wounded in battle at Donelson and is supposed to have died in prison at Alton, Illinois.


Source: The World's Word, Volume XXI, November, 1910 to April, 1911, 1911, pg 14,165
William Martinson, a private of Company G, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, while in Benton Barracks near St. Louis, in 1863, went out one day (May 17) got drunk, and went up and down the streets insulting, assaulting, and shooting at peaceable citizens. He dragged a man named Dwight Durkee for several squares, with a revolver at his head, and he shot a Negro in the head. Martinson was court-martialed and sent for confinement to the military prison at Alton, Ill. He served two years, and was then sent under guard to join his regiment.


Source: The Captured Scout of the Army of the James: A Sketch of the Life of Sergeant Henry H. Manning by Henry Clay Trumbull, 1869, page 37
Henry H. Manning was deemed a rebel prisoner, and as such was sent to the military prison at Alton, Illinois.


Source: The Confederate Veteran Magazine, 1895, page 24
D. T. Beall; captured in 1862 and imprisoned at Alton. Held for 6 months. Exchanged.


Source: Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, 1895
Henry Cole; captured September 19, 1863 in the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia; confined in prison at Alton; paroled September 26, 1863.


Source: The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise by Perley Orman Ray
William Cecil Price; taken prisoner at Wilson's Creek and confined in the prison at Alton, Ill. for a long time.


Source: Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York, 1898
Edward Stevenson; captured at Egypt Station, Mississippi, December 28, 1864, confined at Alton, Ill., 18 years old
Avery Bullis; captured at Egypt Station, Mississippi, December 28, 1864, confined at Alton, Ill., 20 years old
Lewis Reppersburger; captured at Egypt Station, Mississippi, December 28, 1864, confined at Alton, Ill. and released June 26, 1865 on take the oath of allegiance. 24 years old.


Source: A History of Northeast Missouri by Walter Williams
Major H. C. Caldwell


Source: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois for the years 1861-66, 1886
Jonathan B. Green; Dishonesty, discharged November 26, 1864; loss of all pay &c., and be confined in prison at Alton, Ill., 3 years
John S. Wharton; died at Alton, November 25, 1862


Source: A History of the State of Oklahoma by Luther B. Hill
William Dodson; died at the military prison at Alton, Illinois


Source: History of Ray County, Missouri by Missouri Historical Company
Andrew J. Greenawalt; captured by Union troops and taken to military prison at Alton, Illinois, and kept there until September 8, 1862, when he was exchanged.
Thomas Elder; taken prisoner at Springfield, Missouri and confined at Alton, Illinois about 7 months; exchanged.
Martin Elder; taken prisoner at Baker's Creek and taken to Alton, Illinois; exchanged.


Source: The Life of Lyman Trumbull by Horace White
Charles G. Flournoy; captured by Gen. Grant's forces near Vicksburg and confined at Alton, Illinois.


Source: History of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul
Sylvester Dreger; in prison at Alton, Ill., on dis. of regiment.


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, June 20, 1866
W. L. Reynolds, captured November 1862, died a prisoner at Alton, Illinois.


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, July 4, 1866
J. Clark Meadows, died in prison, Alton, Illinois, 1863


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, August 22, 1866
John Gossit, died 1862 at Alton, Illinois.
Wilson Hewett, died at Alton, Illinois April 10, 1862.


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, September 5, 1866
James Dunn, died at Alton, Illinois in 1862.


Source: St. Louis Christian Advocate, October 10, 1866
Perkins Sims, died at Alton, Illinois May 20, 1862.


Source: General Forrest by James Harvey Mathes
Major G. V. Rambaut was sent to join Major J. P. Strange in prison at Alton, Ill., and was exchanged with him, four or five months later.


Source: First Kentucky Brigade, 1868
John Pendergrast; wounded in battle - supposed to have died in prison at Alton.


Source: The Captured Scout of the Army of the James: A Sketch of the Life of H. H. Manning, 1869
Henry H. Manning; deemed a rebel prison and sent to military prison at Alton, Illinois.


Source: History of Wyandotte County, Kansas, edited by Perl Wilbur Morgan
Paris Davis; taken prisoner and sent to prison at Alton, Illinois, where he sickened and died in 1863.


Source: The History of the Civil War in America, by John Stevens Cabot Abbott, page 362
Ogilvie Byron Young and a bookmaker from Nashville, who made boots for rebel spies with area in heel of boot to conceal papers; rebels, smugglers and spies


Source: The Commonwealth of Missouri by Chancy Rufus Barns, Alban Jasper Conant, William F. Switzler, George Clinton Swallow, Robert Allen Campbell, William Harris, 1877, page 923
William T. Thornton; eight months confined in the Alton prison, captured at Cassville, exchanged on September 24, 1862.
Jacob A. Love; captured at Helena, Arkansas, taken to Alton, then to Johnson's Island.


Source: Our Women in the War, by News and Courier, Charleston, S.C., page 323
The next day they received permission to bury them, and from the grave of Major Lundy [in Memphis], his sister was taken to Alton prison.


Source: Publications of the Arkansas Historical Association, 1906, by John Hugh Reynolds
Livie Bushnell; taken prison at Elk Horn; died in Alton prison.


Source: Crimes of the Civil War, and Curse of the Funding System, 1869, by Henry Clay Dean
J. C. Moore, son of Col. David Moore of the Federal army; taken prisoner at Helena, Arkansas, July 4, 1863, taken to Alton prison, where "men are kept with ball and chain at work in the street, for mere peccadilloes, where the keepers shot their victims and stabbed them, with all of the indignities usual in the prisons everywhere, which seemed under control of no military, but rather governed by the instigation of the devil."
John M. Weiner, formerly Mayor of St. Louis; arrested in St. Louis, transferred to Alton penitentiary, and from there made his escape. Killed near Springfield, Mo.


Source: Missouri the Center State, by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1915
L. F. Wood; captured near Arkansas line, taken to Alton prison for one year, paroled and returned home.


Source: Personal Record of the Thirteenth Regiment, Tennessee Infantry by Alfred J. Vaughan, 1897
M. J. Stegall; captured and died in Alton prison
William Ellis; captured and died in Alton prison.


Source: Southern Silhouettes by Jeannette H. Walworth, 1887
Joel Harvey; sent to Alton Prison, "There were a lot of fellows there that he knew, men who had been captured as scouts on the battlefield, men who had been picked up by the wayside sick and worn. They were hungry and gaunt, and woe-worn and heart sick. Harvey says he hung his head before them for very shame, because he was neither hungry, nor gaunt, nor heart sick, nor woe-worn. But he did the only thing he could do for them, sold his gold watch, and added materially to their comfort."


Source: History of Linn County, Iowa by Luther Albertus Brewer and Barthinius Larson Wick, 1911
? Granger; convicted of passing counterfeit money in Chicago, sentenced to Alton prison for four years.


Source: General Forrest by James Harvey Mathes, 1902
Major J. P. Strange; sent to Alton Prison and not exchanged for four or five months.
Major G. V. Rambaut; captured and sent to Alton Prison, exchanged with Strange four or five months later.


Source: 14 Letters to a Friend, the Story of the Wartime Ordeal of Capt. De Witt Clinton Fort by Laurier B. McDonald
John S. Jones, MO 2nd Cav., Co. G; captured October 29, 1863, died January 3, 1864 at Alton Prison, buried in Confederate Cemetery, Alton, IL
John K. Moore; released from Alton prison October 1862.
Tom Henry Fort; held at Alton prison June 1862 - September 1862


Source: Genealogy and History of the Related Keyes, North and Cruzen Families by Millard Fillmore Stipes, 1914
Nathaniel Greene North Cruzen; captured by Gen. Jefferson C. Davis, transferred to Alton. Many in his company took the oath of allegiance and were released under parole, but Nathaniel declined to do so. After six months he was exchanged at Vicksburg. Nathaniel's letter from the Alton Prison to Thomas J. Winning:
The Saline boys of your acquaintance here are in tolerable health and all anxious to be released on any terms the government may see fit to dictate. I am very much reduced, and think it doubtful, if compelled to remain here much longer, of my being able to keep up. So far I have stood it as well as the most of them.... N. G. Cruzen.
Major Hiram Ferrill; captured December 1861, sent to Alton, exchanged at Vicksburg in 1862.


Source: New York Times, August 7, 1901
William Cecil Price, Treasurer of the United States under President Buchanan, was with Gen. Price at the battle of Pea Ridge and was captured by the Federal forces and confined in the prison at Alton, Ill., until September 1862, when he was exchanged.


Source: A History of Northeast Missouri by Walter Williams, 1908, pg. 58
Eight unknown soldiers, sent to Alton prison in 1861 for burning railroad bridges in Missouri. Sentence was death, but was commuted to imprisonment at Alton.
William W. MacFarlane, taken prison at the battle of Moore's Mill in Missouri. (see quote below)
"As to Macfarlane he was ordered to be taken to the execution ground and an order read to him as follows: In consideration of the noble stand taken for the right by your brother, Captain Macfarlane of the Ninth Missouri State Militia, the commanding general is pleased to order that your life be spared and your sentence commuted to confinement during the war."


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