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Rock Island Prison


Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 2/11/2015 at 08:30:16

Dubuque Daily News, March 18, 1864


The total number of deaths of rebel prisoners at the Rock Island prison barracks up to March 15th was 790. We learn from a physician who has just returned from Rock Island, that when the prisoners arrived at that place they were the most filthy set of beings that were ever seen north of Mason & Dixon's line. Their hair was long, hanging down on their shoulders, being completely filled with vermin and their bodies were fairly encrusted with a coating of filth. Dr. Watson, formerly of Dubuque, recently took charge of the prison and at once set to work to improve the conditions of the prisoners. Squads were detailed from among them to act as barbers, and soon these sons of chivalry were shorn of their hair and handed over to yet other squads, who after diligently applying soap and water to their filthy casing with a liberal dose of scrub brush, turned them over to Dr. Watson for inspection, really looking as though they had been raised somewhere in the neighborhood of white men, since which operation and others equally efficient, the health of the prisoners is rapidly improving.


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