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Brainstorming: Alton Military Prison for Confederate POWs.

The red box is around John Storment's name.
As a fan of movies and history I have decided it's time to start the research about a Illinois Prison that was used as a POW Prison during the Civil War.

My 4th Great Grandfather was imprisoned at Alton, Il where he caught Smallpox and died, his name is listed on a memorial today as Private Jno S. Storment.

In reality his name is John S. Storment.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 31, 1940
Samuel A. Harrison, last know survivor of the Confederate prisoners in the old penitentiary at Alton, died Friday night at his home near Rolla, Mo. The Telegraph was informed of the death of the 98 year old war veteran in a telegram from his grandson, S. Claude Null.  Funeral services for Mr. Harrison will be at Anutt, Mo.  Samuel Harrison was in Alton on June 7, 1938, and visited the site of the old penitentiary where he had been a prisoner of war 73 years before. At that time, though in his ninety-sixth year, the little old man who once scoured Missouri plains with the daring Confederate raider, General Price, appeared in excellent health and talked with vivid memory of the dark daysSamuel Harrison at Prison Wall in Alton which he spent in a military prison while the tragic fratricidal conflict between the North and the South was coming to an end. Harrison, who enlisted in the Confederate army at the age of 20 in 1862, was captured in the closing months of the war while trying to return to his Rolla, Mo., home after his detachment, one of two commanded by Price, was split into scattered groups and faced surrender or death.  He was kept prisoner at Rolla for four or five weeks, then was taken to St. Louis where he remained a month while exchanges were being carried on by the North and South of Confederate prisoners at St. Louis and Union prisoners at Richmond, Va. Harrison was among those kept in a confinement because of the lack of a sufficient number of Union prisoners in the exchange and was taken to the Alton penitentiary. That was in December 1864. He was not released until June 3, 1865, more than a month after the Confederacy's last shred of resistance was broken at Appomattox and General Robert E. Lee surrendered in an honorable peace to General Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the Union armies. During his stay in Alton's now non-existent prison, Harrison survived a fearful smallpox epidemic that killed off his comrades in confinement as fast as they could be buried. He told how an old man came each day and night with a horse and hack to transport coffins bearing the bodies of the dead to a cemetery and how a number of his fellow prisoners executed a daring escape once by substituting themselves in the coffin for the dead men and then making their get away en route to the burial ground. He told also of other breaks and attempted breaks - how one of the most carefully planned was frustrated just inches short of success when a prison guard, walking over the soft ground outside the penitentiary after a heavy rain, fell through into a tunnel which the prisoners had been digging for weeks. While here in 1938, Harrison visited the Confederate cemetery in North Alton, where many of his comrades lie buried and also view the crumbled walls of the penitentiary in which he lived through some of the most poignant moments of his life. A week-choked patch of ground marked the spot where his cell had once been.


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The Above screen capture has been verified.
Download the PDF form at this link:


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