Discussion Smallpox island?


Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Feb 18, 2013
Hoover, Alabama
It (they) is/are located in West Alton, Missouri (in the Mississippi River on Sunflower Island) across from the site of the Alton Military Prison in Alton, Illinois. In 1936 the island was dredged for the construction of locks and a dam and that the island (including skeletons from the cemetery) was used as fill in the construction.
Last edited:


Jun 19, 2010
From my book on the 126th Ill. Inf.

"Alton prison had been in operation prior to the war, was closed by the state of Illinois and later was needed for housing Confederate prisoners. As with many prisons, it was over crowded and disease was prevalent among the prisoners. Many deaths occurred in the prison. A small island nearby became known as Smallpox Island due to the prevalence of that disease among the prisoners. The 126th was assigned, as part of their duties, to guard the prisoners."

The 126th remained at Alton as guards until November of 1862.

[1] Bowman, Frank O., III, Michael Spillane, and Eoghan Miller. "War & Reconciliation: The Mid-Missouri Civil War Project." Alton Prison. N.p., n.d.
Web. 01 Jan. 2014. <http://law.missouri.edu/bowman/images/alton_prison.jpg.>.


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