Best Cemetery

Confederate Prisoner Cemetery

In 1862, the first 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war entered the federal military prison in Alton, Ill., and over the next three years, more than 1,500 of them died of smallpox, dysentery and malnourishment. Although some of the prisoners were shipped to Small Pox Island in the Mississippi River, where they died, most perished in the prison itself. The bodies were then carted along the winding Hop Hollow Road to a backwoods cemetery just north of town. Today, the only visible remains are one tombstone and a towering obelisk engraved with 1,534 names of dead Confederates. There are, however, less visible relics, so it's said, which dart on moonlit nights from tree to tree. Numerous sightings of Confederate phantoms have been reported from the cemetery, and an entire ghost-hunting industry has sprung up in Alton as a result. The cemetery, on Hop Hollow Road, is open all night.
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