Luke Blackburn and the Civil War Yellow Fever Plot

From Wikipedia:

Luke Pryor Blackburn (June 16, 1816 – September 14, 1887) was a doctor and philanthropist who, despite only meager previous political experience, served as Governor of Kentucky from 1879 to 1883. He spent much of his life combating yellow fever in the southern states and is credited with establishing the first successful quarantine against the spread of the disease in the Mississippi River valley.

Blackburn was the first doctor elected governor of the Commonwealth and was the only one until the election of Ernie Fletcher in 2003.[4] His major issue as governor was prison reform. He was called the “father of prison reforms in Kentucky” for his efforts in improving conditions in the state’s penal system.[4]

One incident stands in dark contrast to the rest of Blackburn’s life. During the Civil War, he deliberately shipped trunks of clothing and linens contaminated with yellow fever to Northern cities in order to begin a pandemic of the disease and cripple the Union economy. Though it was later discovered that mosquitos are responsible for the spread of yellow fever, the plot is believed to be one of the earliest attempts at biological warfare in the United States.