Small Pox Monument


In February 1862, the prison was reopened as a Federal Military Prison. Overcrowding quickly became a problem and the population often exceeded the supposed capacity of 1,200 prisoners. The cramped quarters fostered the spread of disease and death by pneumonia, dysentery and measles. In November 1862, the first smallpox case was reported and the disease spread quickly despite efforts to immunize the prisoners. Alton Mayor Edward Drummond promptly closed all city hospitals and the North Alton Cemetery to prisoners to prevent the spread of the disease. In August 1863, a quarantine hospital was opened on Sunflower Island, located near the Missouri shore. The island became known as Smallpox Island. More than 260 prisoners died and were buried on the island.


Lincoln-Shields Recreation Area
West Alton, MO 63386


38.88228000, -90.18868000
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(800) 258-6645

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