Alton National Cemetery
Fought on American soil, the Civil War was the deadliest war in American history. More than three million men fought in this “war between the states” that claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers. An estimated 263 Union soldiers are buried in Alton’s National Cemetery.
The original lot for the Alton National Cemetery existed as far back as 1870 but was not obtained by the American government until being donated by the Alton Cemetery Association in 1938 and dedicated on July 1st, 1940. According to 1870 reports, there were originally 163 Union soldiers and 12 unknowns buried in the plot- most having died in the Alton hospital or onboard Mississippi steamboats travelling the river. Administration was originally paid only $30 a year to maintain the plot.
After the Civil War, there were plans to move the soldiers interred in Alton to the Springfield National Cemetery, but those plans were cancelled after the Alton community protested. Between 1941 and 1942, the remains of 49 Union soldiers were moved from other sections of the Alton City Cemetery and reinterred on the federal plot. The Alton National Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 5th, 2011.