Between April and December 1862, a Confederate prison holding 700 prisoners—most of whom were captured at the Battle of Shiloh—was located near this historical marker, in between the Alabama River and Tallapoosa Street. The building was a cotton depot and only 40 feet wide and 200 feet long. Living conditions were very poor; the men did not have blankets and only the ground or wooden planks to sleep on. Rodents and disease compounded these problems. As a result, almost 200 men died before the prisoners were moved to Tuscaloosa.
Prisons during the Civil War were terrible on both sides. There were roughly 674,000 prisoners during the war; 56,000 of them would die of disease, lack of food, and poor living conditions.