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 October more than two thousand were confined within the stockade surrounding the prison. The prisoners cooked their own food; the commissary seems not to have used proper diligence, and on account of lack of tools the enclosure was badly policed. The water supply was generally good, though at one time subject to pollution. The chief Federal prisons of this class were the Old Capitol at Washington, and the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis. After the burning of the Capitol by the British during the War of 1812, a temporary structure was hastily erected to house Congress while the present Capitol was building. Afterward it was used as a boarding-house, but gradually fell into dilapidation. During the Civil War, it and some adjoining houses were used to confine prisoners of war, deserters, suspects, and persons awaiting trial for political offenses. After the war some Southern state officials were confined there. The Gratiot Street Prison contained at all times during its history as a prison a motley crew of Federal deserters, bounty-jumpers, offenders against the laws of war, spies, bushwhackers, and citizens charged with disloyalty as well as prisoners of war. The building, formerly the McDowell Medical College, was constructed in 1847 by Doctor J. M. McDowell, and its architecture is said to have represented the eccentricities of the builder. An octagonal central building, surmounted by an oddly shaped dome, was flanked by two wings. The central building was not divided, and each of the rooms had a diameter of about sixty feet. The safe capacity of the building was hardly more than five hundred, although at times twice that number were crowded within its walls. It seems that often civilians and prisoners of war were confined together. Twice the inmates set the building on fire. With so many reckless men among the prisoners, attempts to escape were frequent. Sometimes the guard was attacked, and at other times the prisoners tunneled under the walls. The prisons of the next class, that is, enclosures
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