how about this

A blog of Nineteenth Century history, focusing, but not exclusively, on the American Civil War seen through the prism of personal accounts, newspaper stories, administrative records and global history.
A thousand tales. A miscellany. A maze of historical tangents.

A Capitol View

A Capitol View
Images of 1861 juxtaposed- Union Square, New York vs. Capitol Square, Richmond

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Killing in Swampoodle- Conclusion

Criminal Court- Murder Case- Yesterday, in the case of Daniel Roberts, on trial for the murder of John Wolfe, after the close of Mr. Carrington's opening argument, Mr. Norris, the counsel for the prisoner, addressed the Jury for more then hour, urging the plea of self-defence, after which the District Attorney replied, and the case was given to the jury, who, after a short absence from the court-room, returned a verdict of "Not Guilty."

-Evening Star (Washington, D.C.)January 23, 1862

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Killing in Swampoodle IV

Unprovoked Assault upon a Juror.- Tuesday night, while the jury empannelled(sic) to try the case of Daniel Roberts, charged with the murder of John Wolfe, were about retiring from the National Hotel, where they had taken their meals, being in charge of bailiffs Simonds and Fayman. One of them, Mr S. Sylvester, was assaulted and beaten by a lieutenant, said to be an officer of Gen. Butler's Staff. Mr. S. was wholly unprepared for any each such attack, and was roughly handled before he could be rescued. The assault was wholly unprovoked, and it was a matter of wonder among the jurors what imaginary offence had caused it. Last night a warrant was issued bv Justice Donn for the arrest of the lieutenant, but the officer failed to find him. The affair will be reported to headquarters.

-Evening Star (Washington, D.C.)January 23, 1862

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Killing in Swampoodle III

Criminal Court- Murder Case.-Yesterday, In the case of Daniel Roberts, tried for the murder of John Wolfe, on the 9th day of August last, after District Attorney Carrington had closed his opening argument, Mr. Norris, counsel for the prisoner, briefly replied.
The following witnesses were called, all belonging to the same regiment (26th Pennsylvania, Col Small's.) as the accused:
Hays Williams, private in Co E. sworn.- The shooting occurred between the railroad and tollgate, (road to Bladensburg ) Witness was in the first platoon of the wagon guard in front of the wagons. The prisoner was also on the wagon guard; on the rear (left) side of the third wagon. The teamster (Wolfe) was on the off (right) side. Roberts (the accused) leveled his piece and fired, and the teamster fell, wounded in the right side. The wound was six or seven inches long, and the entrails protruded. The wagons had stopped at the time of the shooting, and the platoons had stacked arms. Witness heard no conversation between the parties previous to the shooting. The corpse when witness approached it had a wagon whip in its hand. Witness saw the flash of the musket, and saw the teamster fall. Witness was some distance ahead of the wagons, far enough to see on both sides of the train. The prisoner and the teamster were about five yards apart. The prisoner was going away from accused about a minute before he was shot. Wolf, when the shot was fired, was about four yards from his team- on the off (right) side. Saw Roberts last on the near (left) side, where he was while the train was moving. Wolf was a little ahead of his team when he was shot Roberts had not "stacked" his musket. The wagon guard had been on guard on Twenty-first street, and was yet relieved. The prisoner was examined as to the position. In which Roberts held the gun, from which it appeared that he held it horizontally about the level of his hip.
Private Hoffman, of company C, sworn- Was guarding the wagon just ahead of that guarded by Roberts. Heard Roberts ask the teamster to let him get in. The teamster answered that he (Roberts) couldn't get in, he (the teamster) had too heavy a load on. They had words together, and the teamster called Roberts a son of a b--h. The teamster got off and came to the head of his horses, and Roberts levelled his gun and fired at him. The teamster was on the right side and Roberts on the left the teamster got down on the opposite aide to Roberts, and walked to the head of his horses. They (accused and deceased) were about five yards apart, and witness was about five yards from Roberts.
Private Norris, of company sworn.- Was guarding the first wagon. Roberts and the teamster were both on the right side of the wagon. Roberts told the driver to stand back-if he didn't stand back, he (R.) would shoot him. Roberts, as he said so, cocked his gun. He then raised his gun and shot the driver. The teamster was four or five yards off from Roberts, going towards him.
Private Wm. C Geiger, sworn.- Saw Roberts fire, and the teamster drop. Both were on the right aide, and Roberts was near the horses' heads. Witness was guarding tbe first wagon behind that guarded by Roberts, and was standing on the sidewalk at the time of the shooting.
Lieut Hadley, sworn.- Did not see the homicide. Roberts was stationed to guard the third wagon, on the right side. Witness was standing about forty yards off when he heard the report of the musket, and hastened to the spot, and found the teamster lying on his face, and Roberts standing by his side at an "order arms." Witness asked who shot this man. Roberts answered, "I done it, sir, because the teamster attacked me with his whip, and I shot him in order to save my life." The teamster had a whip in his hand, an ordinary wagon whip.
The four witnesses first sworn were then recalled by the District Attorney, and testified that they saw no violence on the part of deceased towards Roberts. This closed the evidence for the prosecution.
For the defence, Mr. Norris called the witnesses already sworn to testify to the quiet and orderly character of Roberts previous to this affair, and Mr Middleton (Clerk of the Court) and Patrick Crowley (one of the jurors in the case) to testify as to the dangerous character of the ordinary wagon whip as a weapon using the butt to strike with.
This closed the evidence is the case, and the Court adjourned, the Jury going in charge of sworn bailiffs to their usual quarters in such cases the National Hotel.

- Evening Star (Washington, D.C)January 22, 1862

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Killing in Swampoodle II

Washington matters,
The Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Sun has the following items in relation to affairs transpiring in that city:
Private Daniel Roberts, of company F. 26th regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, now confined in this city by the civil authorities under a charge of murder, has been dishonorably discharged the service of the United States by order of Gen. Mansfield.

-The Richmond Daily Dispatch: August 26, 1861.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Killing in Swampoodle

Yesterday afternoon Coroner Woodward held an Inquest in view of the body of the teamster Wolfe, who was shot yesterday near the railroad, in Swampoodle. The testimony differed in no respect from the statement published in the Star yesterday. The verdict was that he came to his death by a shot fired from a gun in the hands of one Daniel Roberts, of Company F, 26th Pennsylvania Regiment. Wolfe was comparatively a stranger to his companions, they only knew that he was called Wolfe, and believed that had come from Baltimore. He had a small amount of money (about ten dollars) in his pocket. The coroner was required to give orders for the burial of the body

-Evening Star (Washington, D.C.)August 10, 1861

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Up the Irawaddy Part V


Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

September 14th. — External air 103 degs., shade 85 degs. by the glass. The process of serving out the morning ration of "bark," as a preventative against intermittent fever, affords an excellent opportunity to the "wits" in the boats to launch their jests at one another, as each by name is mustered to take his dose; the rum part of the ration by all being said to be most rational; they think "one good thing spoils the other," and would, to a man, prefer the alcohol by itself alone. No more formidable enemy, however, as yet, has attacked us than our old friends the mosquitoes, which, though of a smaller breed than those in the "Panalan creek," made up the deficiency in the vigour of their attacks, and prevented us all night enjoying the favours of much-courted "Somnus."

September 15th. — We turned out early this morning, and gazed at one another with a feeling much akin to wonder at seeing our mutual safety, and being able tolerably to recognise each other's features, which afterwards became impossible in many cases, so blurred and blotched, and openly ulcerated were several, both in limb and face, that even their "long-billed tailors" would have scarcely sworn to their identity, if in their debt, unless by coats alone. We got under; way with the "grey" of the morning, and sailing on for a mile or so in a narrow creek, made the main river again, when we fell in with one of our consort boats, she having "come to" during the night, at the opposite side of an island, which we, in ignorance of the river's course, unsurveyed, and new to all of us, poking our way without an interpreter of any kind, had simply circumnavigated. Previous to our dropping on her, we had landed at a small village, where the work of desolation had been completed about a month previously. Our inducement to land here was a suspicious-looking boat lying alongside the bank, which we rightly supposed belonged to the Dandas or Dacoits; but we found ourselves too late, as these gentry had stripped the villagers, our allies, of every moveable, even the clothes of their scanty wardrobe, and burned the houses. However, we succeeded in securing a few stray fowls, and a savage looking wild water buffalo (which, by the way, had to be knocked over by a musket ball), for the boats' crews; for which the Head-man of the village received an "Indent" on the Indian Government for payment. The herds of wide-horned buffalo are here quite wild and unmanageable,"feroces natura"* and on being driven up out of the muddy river, to be honoured, by one being selected from amongst them, for that morning breakfast, be it said, and our dinner subsequently, the chosen one appreciated not the honour; but charging with down-pressed head, and butting into the midst of us, upset in a trice a tiny midshipman, who, naturally, most terrified by the fierce brute's sudden angry foray, was flung right over its body without annihilating him, as all (himself included), thought must be the case, or even bruising him severely.

September 16th, 17th.Thermometer in external air 102 degs.shade 86 degs. Having breakfasted and dined off this beef yesterday which, though very tough, furnished a welcome change for the crews from the continued salt meat, we find a small portion remaining this morning to be quite tainted, and unfit for use! The bullock that was nigh routing our assembled forces yesterday morning is this morning unfit for human food! We consequently are breakfastless, contrary to fond anticipation. So much for the decomposing effects of a few hours of this weather, which has been most close and rainy. At the next village "Sooloon" I went with a companion, to inspect a handsome little Pagoda, with an alabaster joss in the doorway, and, as usual, gilt tinkling bells surmounting the summit of the minaret. This was evidently a modern one, of a white composite material, smaller and plainer than any I saw before. The masons' marks of workmanship were still fresh seen upon it— the votive offering, I suppose, of some entroubled family of modern times to one of their protecting deities — standing in a large, rich paddy plain, park-like, dotted here and there with noble oaks and chesnuts, and leaning palms, and graceful cocoas, studding the river's banks in the distance. Here it began to rain tremendously, and, on looking to our boats, we found it impossible to stem the current, when, finding an open pasture, clear of bush along the river's edge, we jumped ashore, and tackled on the tracking line — canal-boat fashion. Thus tramped along, in cadence, our hardy blue jackets, keeping time, the while, to the burthen of their merry song, when, rounding a point, we came suddenly upon another village, and a number of native boats moored off the bank. In slacking off the towing-line, to pass outside them, it got foul of one of their outriggers projecting from a Chinese "Sanpan," and an active seaman jumped down from off the bank upon the Bamboo cabin's roof to cast it free; when, lo! a most unearthly howl uprose, rending the outward air, and "Jack" was to be seen sinking, leg foremost, right through the flimsy wicker root, plump on a little round tea-table in the boat's cabin, where a Chinaman and Mrs. Chinaman, with all the junior branches of this Celestial family, were very harmoniously seated at their "Bohea," most unsuspectingly, as if in Central China, whence they had travelled during the last few weeks on their journey to Bengal; a frequent route, and with these nomade people (that is, such of them as are at all nomade) much in vogue, travelling westward up the Chinese rivers, and building fresh "Sanpans" on the sources of the Irrawaddi, which thus transport most swiftly themselves and "household gods" straight from Inmost China to the free waters of the Bengal Bay via Rangoon. However, the tiny China pot and thimble cups (not, mark you, quart measures like our tea-cups), and saucer of rice with fowl and fishy curry (as one meets it in China) were forthwith ground most accidentally to powder by ponderous Jack's descent, "Jack boots," and all. At this mishap— enough, forsooth, to savage any people— the China party (a lesson to our Western constitutional irritability) after the due explosion of a few impetuous "Hi yawes!" "How can?" "What for you do dat ting?" "Dat no plopau pigeon," laughed at the contretemps themselves most heartily of the lot, showing the true philosophy of these followers of "Confucius," When they came to find it was no design nor wicked frowardness, thus abruptlj and most unceremoniously, as a "dropper-in," to intrude unasked upon their tete-a-tete, with rocket-like, most damaging celerity. This Mr. Chinaman forthwith attached himself, as acting or occasional interpreter, in tolerable Hong-Kong English, hence-forward to our varying fortunes, as long as we stopped at this station. Bowel complaints increasing! River water for drinking, very thick and bad, despite of filtering, or alum. Here clouds of very large locusts, in fitful clusters, fill the air, the mouth, the nostrils, even the bowl of tea or cocoa as it goes up to your lips, converting the contents into a thick soup of locusts, or call them prawns for nicety. At first, in one of these conjunctures, you shut your mouth, your eyes, your ears, your nostrils; you take a spoon and fish the drowning, scalding hoppers out, each not at all unlike a large shrimp. You fish one out at one side of the bowl, and six come hopping in at t'other, repeated trebly, nay, a dozen times with like result, a tyro, you throw away the mess in deep disgust, and go without it. Next time, taught wisdom by a hungry stomach, you shut your eyes and gulp away most heartily and unscrupulously, unless, as I have seen, a centipede, attracted by the steaming savour, drops in, to sip your cup, then be advised and leave it to him, it's not with every stomach he'll agree! We are now, pro tem., at Hausedah. It is a large, straggling village, having one long principal street on the river's bank and two or three in rear, with several large pagodas, with their attendant prominent poonge-houses, also a large palace in a compound, belonging to the Rajah, an ally of ours, who came forthwith on board to tender the homage of his friendship and esteem. I may here observe, en passant, as a specimen oi the intricate navigation of this passage, that for half last Thursday we passed through a devious and an unknown creek, so narrow that our oar-blades touched the tall dense hedge of bamboos on either side, straight and even like a wall, impenetrably fringing in the water's edge; save it, nought but the muddy sky and muddier water met the view; yet, strange to say, so deep was it, that even under the very bamboos we found not bottom, poling our oars! At length we all breathed more freely when we gained and recognised the open river, all being total strangers to this navigation. Just as one feels with a load relieved from chest and brain, when first, after days of pent-up travel, he emerges from the dubious, half blazed Indian track tnrough an American primeval forest to the lightof sun-lit day and the familiar objects of the settler's clearing— most welcome sight to him I The water seems to be the highway; in fact, no other thoroughfare, as in many parts of China, is known here. No roads, no paths, except along the river's banks, or edges of the "paddy fields," as also holds in the Celestial Empire. No beasts of burthen, if we except the elephants, which are to be seen along the river, pushing and hauling logs and other suchlike things, almost immovable otherwise, at least so far as any other mode of draught is concerned. Mighty masses fixed are to them trifles light as air. Many of these docile monsters, obedient to the "Mahout's'' stake and order, you see at work upon the beach near Rangoon, and at other places that, if they knew their strength, bungalows, natives, bamboo huts. et cetera, nay, most things in this fragile country, would crumble underneath their crush.

* Lt: ferocious nature

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- Colonel A.G. Hamilton

From Famous Adventures and Prison Escapes of the Civil War

Colonel Rose's compatriot who became separated from him early in the escape, Major Andrew G Hamilton tells us how. . . .

. . . I trudged on alone. The first night I made eight miles in the half-frozen swamps, and traveled seven nights before reaching the Union lines at Williamsburg. While traveling I was in ice and water to my knees the greater part of the time, and often it was up to my waist. I was about the fifth man to reach our lines — two had come in the day before and two the night previous to that.
- History of the famous tunnel Escape From Libby Prison As Told by Maj. A. G. Hamilton, One of the Projectors

Major Hamilton recently received his own historical marker in Kentucky.

His later tragic fate here.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- Colonel Thomas E. Rose

 A little biographical information on Colonel Thomas E. Rose from the website of Arlington National Cemetery . . .

He entered the United States Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, serving as Captain, 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from October 28, 1861 to February 1, 1863. He then commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, IV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland; 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, XX Corps, Army of the Cumberland. 
He was captured by Rebel forces at the Battle of Chickamauga and escaped at Weldon, North Carolina, but was re-captured the next day. Was a member of the escaping party at Libby Prison through the 20th Street Tunnel and was one of the 50 re-captured before they could reach Union lines. 
He was Breveted Brigadier General, United States Volunteers in 1865 in recognition of his Civil War Service.
Following the war, he remained in the Army until he retired in 1894 with the Regular Army rank of Major. He died in 1907 and was buried in Section 3, Grave 1818, of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Lydia C. Trumbower Rose (1831-1922) is buried with him.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- "Lieutenant Caustin, of the United States regular army . . ."

ONE MORE RECAPTURED. - Lieutenant Caustin, of the United States regular army, one of the officers who escaped from the Libby prison in the recent wholesale jail delivery from that establishment, was on Friday recaptured in the neighborhood of New Kent Court House. He was brought back to Richmond on Saturday and re-committed to the Libby.

- The Richmond Whig, February 22, 1864

Interestingly, this would be Lieutenant Manuel C. Causten's 3rd capture.

His fascinating story, and how he was captured before even joining the Army, here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- Rose's Tale

From The Photographic History of the Civil War; Vol. VII

Feb. 14, 1864—Col. Thomas E. Rose of the 77th Pennsylvania Infantry, Who, With Maj. A.G. Hamilton of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry, Planned the Tunnel by Which 109 Federal Officers Escaped from Libby Prison on Feb. 9, Was Recaptured Within Sight of a Federal Cavalry Command, Near Williamsburg, Va.

Fifty years ago today Col.Thomas E. Rose, of the 77th Pennsylvania infantry. who, with Maj. A.G. Hamilton of the 12th Kentucky cavalry, planned the tunnel by which 109 Federal officers had escaped from Libby prison, Richmond. on February 9. was recaptured within sight of a Federal cavalry command, near Williamsburg, on the peninsula.
On leaving the tunnel the escaped prisoners bad made their way in groups of two, three and four, out of the sleeping city. Only one was apprehended within the city limits. This was Capt. Junius Gates of Co. K. 33d Ohio regiment.  While the prison authorities, astounded at the escape, were searching the prison to discover how it was accomplished, the others were either hiding in places indicated by friends, in the suburbs of Richmond, or were concealed in the thickets and swamps between the city and the Chickahominy river, the nearest stream to the city on the east, distant from six to 12 miles. Only the 109 Federals who passed through the tunnel on the night of February 9 ever used It. The other prisoners bad no opportunity again to approach its inner end, by way of the passage that had been formed to the cellar through a chimney from the cook room of the prison. The tunnel was not discovered by the prison authorities for several days after February 9. Then the outer end was found, by the removal of a plank with which the last prisoner to leave had covered It. This was under an open shed 57 feet across a vacant lot, in a yard opening upon 19tb street, by means of a gate under an arch In a building facing that street. A negro was forced at the bayonet's point to enter the tunnel and crawl through it. Its course to the abandoned east cellar of the prison was thus discovered
Warned by a Sentinel
Col. Rose and Maj. Hamilton, by virtue of their leadership in planning  the tunnel and directing the work of the company of 15 who dug it, had been the first two to pass out of it, Rose leading. Opening the heavy gate In the arch,which was held by a bar, they stepped out Into the light of a gas street lamp. It was then shortly after 7 P. M. The life, of the city was passing as usual in the down-town streets near the prison. Only a block away was Main street, here rarely quiet.
Between them and that street a sentry paced his beat. His back was toward them as they slipped out of the arch, and when he turned and saw them walking away at an ordinary pace— for he could not have failed to see them—he did not attempt to stop them by a challenge. People were passing every few minutes, and there was nothing about the prisoners to distinguish them as such. They wore civilian clothes— secured from home— and wore Federal blue overcoats. This would excite no comment in Richmond, for the prison guards themselves wore blue overcoats, when they had any, captured from the Federals or a purchase from the prisoners having supplied them. Col. Rose had on a Confederate gray cap, and this helped him.
A few minutes after leaving the arch. Col. Rose and Ma]. Hamilton passed a hospital. In front of which was a sentry. He hailed them, asking them If they didn't know people were not allowed to use the sidewalk in front of the hospital after dark.
The two escaped prisoners made no reply, but started across the street. Hamilton started to run. Rose kept an ordinary pace and passed the hospital. The friends were thus separated and thenceforth Rose kept on alone. Col. Hamilton eventually fell In with other prisoners and succeeded to reaching the Federal lines at Williamburg.
After walking briskly for half an hour Col. Rose found himself outside the lighted section of the city and in the broken country of gullies and ravines lying east of the suburb on the James called Rocketts.
He struck rapidly for the York River Railroad, the line to the southeast, and followed it until, toward morning, he knew himself to be in the vicinity of the Chlckahominy. He was in a section of alternating, fields, thickets, swamps and forests, or one of the old battlefields of Gen. McClellan's campaign of the spring of 1862. Knowing that this region was picketed by Confederate troops, the escaped prisoner crawled into a hollow log at daybreak for real and sleep. He had labored Incessantly at digging In the last two days of the tunneling and wag exhausted. Furthermore, an old break in the bones of one of his feet, sustained In a Tennessee fight, was beginning to trouble him.
Sleeping soundly In the hollow log, in spite of bis cramped position and the cold. Col. Rose woke In the afternoon. Before leaving the log he lay for some time listening to the sounds in the woods about him. They were few until to his surprise he heard the neighing of horses, the talk of soldiers and various other familiar sounds of a camp. He had slept near the camp of a Confederate cavalry picket.
In the late afternoon Colonel Rose emerged from his tree and, carefully creeping past the camp, made for the Chickahominy. He was so fortunate as to reach it at a point where by deep wading, it was fordable. The water was icy cold, but he plunged in, and, though he fell into a few deep holes, he managed to reach the far side. He now found that before him lay a dense swamp, the extent of which, in the dim light, he could not Judge.

Hunted by Cavalry.
Entering the swamp Colonel Rose waded and splashed through water and mire at times to his waist. Under the trees It was now completely dark. After a long and exhausting tramp in the swamp, the weary fugitive reached firm ground, and almost at the moment found himself near a picket camp. Avoiding this he struck into a deep woods, in the recess of which a little later he built a fire with some precious matches he had kept dry In his cap.  There was danger In the fire, but Its warmth was a great comfort, and beside Its grateful glow the exhausted man slept soundly until morning. Waking stiff and sore, with his foot paining him and his clothes frozen on one side and burned on the other, he set out again southeastward.  Passing Crump's Cross Roads, where he avoided another picket, he reached the neighborhood of New Kent courthouse before dark. Here in crossing a field he was overtaken by a cavalryman, who asked him if he belonged to the local cavalry. Trusting to his gray cap, Rose answered yes. The man rode off and Colonel Rose saw that he soon entered a camp.
Fearing pursuit Colonel Rose plunged Into a laurel thicket. His fears were well grounded, for a troop of cavalry was soon engaged in a man hunt, beating the thicket and some woods beyond, which Rose had reached.
Seeing that his case was desperate Rose left the wood and hid in a drain In a field, through which be crept on his hands and knees for nearly half a mile, throwing his pursuers off the scent.
The drain brought him to the Williamsburg road, near which he lay for some hours resting.
Thenceforth his route was along this road. Pickets were encountered every few miles, but he crept around them and kept on until he had passed Dlascund Bridge and came to a place called Burnt Ordinary, which was but 12 miles from Williamsburg. Negroes who had fed and guided him at intervals had told him Williamsburg was in Federal hands.

Taken In sight of Friends 
To the great Joy of the limping and weary fugitive on coming out of the edge of a wide cleared space he saw a troop of cavalry Tiding up the distant road. They were Federals. Weakened by the long fight for liberty that seemed now won. Rose sat down to wait their arrival.
This moment of indulgence in fancied security was fatal. Before the cavalry had come up Colonel Rose saw coming up behind him threw men who also seemed to he Federals. He approached them and too late discovered that they were Confederates wearing Federal overcoats. They commanded him to surrender and as their carbines covered him he could do nothing.
The Confederates now saw the approaching Federals for the first time, a ridge having cut off their view before.They now ordered Colonel Rose, under guard of one of their number, to the rear.
As he was escorted up the road Colonel Rose, watching a chance. with the strength of desperation wrenched the man's gun from him and firing it off threw it down and began to run Unhappily he ran headlong into a group of Confederates he had not before observed. They ware watching the approaching Federals, soon the officer in command@ them ordered a retreat and so the troopers who might have saved him came in sight over over the ridge Rose caught one fleeting glimpse of and then was hustled off, limping and discouraged, in the direction of Richmond. In less than two days he was back in Libby prison. In solitary confinement, on bread and water diet, sick, worn out and miserable.
In April, 1864, Colonel Rose was exchanged. He served with distinction to the end of the war and afterward in the regular army, being a captain in the 16th Infantry.
Of the 109 who escaped from Libby prison 69 reached the Federal lines, 48 were retaken and two perished by drowning. Of the 48 who escaped 26 were within the lines at Williamsburg on February 16 and the others continued to come in, there and on the upper Rappahannock and the lower Potomac, for the next two weeks.

-Buffalo Evening News, February 14, 1914

Friday, March 7, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- "If one-fourth the escaped prisoners get in it will surprise me"

Escape route- winter 1863-1864

                      FORT MAGRUDER, February 15, 1864.

Brigadier-General WISTAR,
The following are the names:

1. William B. McCreery, colonel Twenty-first Michigan Infantry.
2. H.C. Hobart, lieutenant-colonel Twenty-first Wisconsin Infantry.
3. T.S. West, lieutenant-colonel Twenty-fourth Wisconsin Infantry.
4. Alexander von Mitzel, major Seventy-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry.
5. Samuel Clark, captain, Seventy-ninth Illinois Infantry.
6. Gottlieb C. Rose, captain, Fourth Missouri Cavalry.
7. Albert Wallber, adjutant Twenty-sixth Wisconsin Infantry.
8. N.S. McKeen, first lieutenant, Twenty-first Illinois Infantry.
9. George M. Welles, second lieutenant, Eighth Michigan Cavalry.

                                            ROBT. M. WEST,
                                             Colonel, Commanding.

Major-General BUTLER:
The above are the 9 officers just arrived at Williamsburg.
                                    I.J. WISTAR,

                                   FEBRUARY 16, 1864.
Brigadier-General WISTAR,
Richmond papers of 12th, received, say 109 prisoners escaped, and that 26 were recaptured, none less than 20 miles from Richmond. All of them must have crossed the Chickahominy. Have you anything further in regard to them? Many of them must still be secreted in the woods.
                                    J. W. SHAFFER,
                                 Colonel and Chief of Staff.

                               YORKTOWN, February 16, 1864.

            Chief of Staff:
Probably none of these prisoners recaptured had crossed the Chickahominy. Robertson's cavalry and Holcombe's Legion cavalry are both the other side of Chickahominy for that purpose, besides the infantry. There is no enemy this side, except Hume's scouts, who keep off the main roads and know every path. My cavalry is out after the prisoners, and has been since the first came in. It must go by detachments, of course, having to come back for forage, of which the country supplies none. If one-fourth the escaped prisoners get in it will surprise me, in the face of the regularly organized and long-prepared plan to prevent it. Fifteen have already come.

                                         I.J. WISTAR,
                                           Brigadier- General.

-- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 Volume 33


More to come on another officer named Rose.

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- . . .and Tales of the Army

                                                   FEBRUARY 15, 1864.
Col. J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff:
Colonel Streight is concealed in Richmond, but at large. His friends desire the papers to state his successful arrival here, for obvious reasons. Please arrange it immediately with the Associated Press agent.
                                       I.J. WISTAR,

- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 Volume 33

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- Tales from the Daily Dispatch . . .

--Eight more of the Yankee prisoners who escaped last Tuesday night from the Libby, were brought back yesterday. The following is a list of their names: Maj. J. Henry, 5th Ohio; Maj. J. N. Walker, 75th Indiana; Lieut. W. F. Clifford, 16th U. S. cavalry; Lieut. D. Garbett, 77th Penn.; Lieut. H. B. Freeman, 18th U. S. cavalry; Lieut. F. A. M. Kreps, 77th Penn; Lieut. J. W. Hare, 5th Ohio cavalry; Lieut. F. C.--, 11th Penn. This number, added to those already received at the Libby, makes thirty who have been captured out of the one hundred and nine that succeeded in effecting their escape. Various rumors were afloat yesterday that the notorious Col. A. D. Streight had been captured somewhere on the line of the James River and Kanawha Canal, and among others that, finding him well armed, a severe struggle ensued between himself and his captors, during which he was fired at and severely wounded. It is believed, however, that these reports were groundless, as no information of his re-arrest was known at the Libby prison up to late last evening, and we were unable to trace it to any authentic source.
Twelve of the seventeen Yankee prisoners who escaped from Castle Thunder on Monday night have been brought back and reimprisoned in that institution.

-The Daily Dispatch: February 13, 1864.

More captures.
--Twelve more of the escaped Yankee officers from the Libby prison have been captured and brought back since our last publication. Their names are--Col. Ely, 18th Conn.; Capts. E. L. Smith, 19th U. S. cavalry, and J. W. Macmack,--Ohio infantry; Lieuts. W. H. H. Wilcox, 10th N. Y. cavalry; Daniel Hansburg, 1st Michigan cavalry; Adam Hauff, 45th N. Y.; T. J. Ray, 49th Ohio; J. H. Gadsby, 19th U. S. infantry; M. M. Bassett, 53d Illinois; M. Bedell, 123d N. Y.; H. P. Crawford, 2d Illinois cavalry, and L. W. Sutherland, 126th Ohio. The last named individual was retaken at City Point.
There is no truth in the rumors which have been fife in the city for several days, that Col. A. D. Streight had been recaptured. On Saturday last Maj. Turner dispatched a courier in the direction which it was said he was found, but he failed to bring back any information which could substantiate the fact

-The Daily Dispatch: February 15, 1864.

The escaped Yankees.
--Two more Yankee Lieutenants, part of the one hundred and nine officers who escaped from the Libby prison on Tuesdaynight last, were captured and brought back yesterday. These, added to the number previously arrested, foots up fifty-two, leaving still at large fifty-seven, a little more than half of those who succeeded in escaping from the prison.

-The Daily Dispatch: February 16, 1864.

Search after Yankees
--A Game of Cards Interrupted.--In consequence of information received at the Libby prison to the effect that sundry of the Yankee officers who recently escaped from prison were concealed in the upper rooms of the building occupied by Mahoney &McGehee, on Main street, a military guard effected an entrance in the domicil yesterday evening, but did not succeed in finding any of the parties of whom they were in search. A large crowd was attracted to the spot by the report that Col. Streight was in the house. The only thing disturbed during the raid was a game of cards, the participants therein (among whom were one or two members of Congress) scattering on the approach of the military, some getting on the roof of the house, lending color for the time being to the report that Streight was about.

-The Daily Dispatch: February 17, 1864.

 Capture of escaped Yankees.
--Since our last publication four more of the Yankee officers who escaped from the Libby prison on Tuesday night of last week, have been captured and brought back. The following is a list of their names: Captain E. M. Driscoll, co. G, 3d Ohio; L. P. Lovett, 5th Ky.; R. H. Day, 56th Pa.; Lieut. H. C. Dunn, 10th Ky.
In another column will be found the announcement of the safe arrival of the notorious Col. A. D. Streight at Fortress Monroe, and it is therefore unnecessary to make any further allusion to the many reports which have been circulated in this city with regard to that individual.

-The Daily Dispatch: February 19, 1864.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- "His feelings at seeing the old flag are indescribable."

How the Prisoners Escaped from the Richmond Jail
 Incredible Underground Work
 Friendship of Virginia Negroes
We have already published an account of the manner in which the Rebel General Morgan and his companions escaped from their Northern prison in Ohio. We now give some very interesting statements relative to the manner of escape of several officers who succeeded in getting out of Libby Prison. About the beginning of the year 1864 the officers confined in Libby Prison conceived the idea of effecting their own exchange, and after the matter had been seriously discussed by some seven or eight of them, they undertook to dig for a distance toward a sewer running into a basin. This they proposed doing by commencing at a point in the cellar near to the chimney. This cellar was immediately under the hospital and was the receptacle for refuse straw thrown from the beds when they were changed and for other refuse matter Above the hospital was a room for officers and above that yet another room. The chimney ran through all these rooms and prisoners who were in the secret improvised a rope and night after night let working parties down who successfully prosecuted their excavating operations. The dirt was hid under the straw and other refuse matter in the cellar and it was I trampled down to prevent too great a bulk. When the working party had got to a considerable distance underground it was found difficult to haul the dirt back by hand and a spittoon which had been furnished the officers in one of the rooms was made to serve the purpose of a cart. A string was attached to it and it was run in the tunnel and as soon as filled was drawn out and deposited under the straw. But after hard work and digging with finger nails, knives, and chisels a number of feet the working party found themselves stopped by piles driven in the ground. These were at least a foot in diameter. But they were not discouraged. Pen knives or any other articles that would cut were called for and after chipping, chipping, chipping for a long time the piles were severed and the tunnelers commenced again after a time reaching the sewer. But here an unexpected obstacle met their further progress. The stench from the sewer and the flow of filthy water was so great that one of the party fainted and was dragged out more dead than alive and the project in that direction had to be abandoned. The failure was communicated to a few others besides those who had first thought of escape and then a party of seventeen, after viewing the premises and surroundings, concluded to tunnel under Carey street. On the opposite side of this street from the prison was a sort of carriage house or outhouse and the project was to dig under the street and emerge from under or near the house. There was a high fence around it and the guard was outside of this fence. The prisoners then commenced to dig at the other side of the chimney and after a few handfulls(sic) of dirt had been removed they found themselves stopped by a stone wall which proved afterwards to be three feet thick. The party were by no means undaunted and with pocket knives and penknives they commenced operations upon the stone and mortar. After nineteen days and nights at hard work they again struck the earth beyond the wall and pushed their work forward. Here too after they got some distance underground the friendly spittoon was brought into requisition and the dirt was hauled out in small quantities. After digging for some days the question arose whether they had not reached the point aimed at and in order if possible to test the matter Captain Gallagher of the Second Ohio Regiment pretended that he had a box in the carriage house over the way and desired to search it out. This carriage house it is proper to state was used as a receptacle for boxes and goods sent to the prisoners from the North and the recipients were often allowed to go under guard across the street to secure their property. Captain Gallagher was allowed permission to go there and as he walked across under guard he as well as he could paced off the distance and concluded that the street was about fifty feet wide. On the 6th or 7th of February the working party supposed they had gone a sufficient distance and commenced to dig upward. When near the surface they heard the rebel guards talking above them and discovered they were two or three feet yet outside the fence. The displacing of a stone made considerable noise and one of the sentinels called to his comrade and asked him what the noise meant. The guards after listening a few minutes concluded that nothing was wrong and returned to their beats. The hole was stopped up by inserting into the crevice a pair of old pantaloons filled with straw and holstering the whole up with boards which they secured from the floors, etc. of the prison. The tunnel was then continued some six or seven feet more and when the working party supposed they were about ready to emerge to daylight; others in the prison were informed that there was a way now open for escape. One hundred and nine of the prisoners decided to make the attempt to get away. Others refused fearing the consequences if they were recaptured. About half past eight o'clock on the evening of the 9th the prisoners started out. Colonel House of New York leading the van. Before starting the prisoners had divided themselves into squads of two, three and four, and each squad was to take a different route, and after they were out were to push for the Union lines as fast as possible. If was the understanding that the working party were to have an hour's start of the other prisoners and consequently the rope ladder in the cellar was drawn out. Before the expiration of the hour however the other prisoners became impatient and were let down through the chimney successfully into the cellar. The aperture was so narrow that but one man could get through at a time and each squad carried with them provisions in a haversack. At midnight a false alarm was created and the prisoners made considerable noise in their quarters. Providentially however the guard suspected nothing wrong and in a few moments the exodus was again commenced. Colonel Kendrick and his companions looked with some trepidation upon the movements of the fugitives as some of them exercising but little discretion moved boldly out of the enclosure into the glare of the gas light. Many of them were however in citizen's dress and as all the rebel guards wore the United States uniform, but little suspicion could be excited even if the fugitives had been accosted by a guard. Between 1 and 2 o'clock the lamps were extinguished in the streets and then the exit was more safely accomplished. There were many officers who desired to leave who were so weak and feeble that they were dragged through the tunnel by mere force and carried to places of security until such time as they would be able to move on their journey. At half past two o'clock Captain Joyce Colonel Kendrick and Lieutenant Bradford passed out in the order in which they are named and as Colonel Kendrick emerged from the hole he heard the guard within a few feet of him sing out "Post No 7, half past two in the morning and all is well." Lieutenant Bradford was intrusted with the provisions for this squad and in getting through was obliged to leave his haversack behind him as he could not get through with it upon him. Once out they proceeded up the street keeping in the shade of the buildings and passed eastwardly through the city. A description of the route pursued by this party and of the tribulations through which they passed will give some idea of the rough time they all had of it. Colonel Kendrick had before leaving the prison mapped out his course and I concluded that the best route to take was the one toward Norfolk or Fortress Monroe as there were fewer rebel pickets in that direction. They therefore kept the York River Railroad to the left and moved toward the Chickahomimy River. They passed through Boar Swamp* and crossed the road leading to Bottom Bridge. Sometimes they waded through mud and water almost up to their necks and kept the Bottom Bridge road to their left, although at times they could see and hear the cars traveling over the York River road.
While passing through the swamp near the Chickahominy, Colonel Kendrick sprained his ankle and fell. Fortunately too was that fall for him and his party, for while he was laying there one of them chanced to look up and saw in a direct line with them a swamp bridge and in the dim outline they could perceive that parties with muskets were passing over the bridge. They therefore moved some distance to the south and after passing through more of the swamp reached the Chickahominy about four miles below Bottom Bridge. Here now was a difficulty. The river was only twenty feet wide but it was very deep and the refugees were worn out and fatigued. Chancing however to look up Lieutenant Bradford saw that two trees had fallen on either side of the river and that their branches were interlocked. By crawling up one tree and down the other the fugitives reached the east bank of the Chickahominy.  They subsequently learned from a friendly negro that had they crossed the bridge they had seen they would assuredly have been recaptured for Captain Turner the keeper of Libby Prison had been out and posted guards there, and in fact had alarmed the whole country and got the people up as a vigilant committee to capture the escaped prisoners.
 After crossing over this natural bridge they laid down on the ground and slept until sunrise on the morning of the 11th when they continued on their way keeping eastwardly as near as they could. Up to this time they had had nothing to eat and were almost famished. About noon of the 11th they met several negroes who gave them information as to the whereabouts of the rebel pickets and furnished them with food. Acting under the advice of these friendly negroes they remained quietly in the woods until darkness had set in when they were furnished with a comfortable supper by the negroes and after dark proceeded on their way; the negroes who everywhere showed their friendship to the fugitives having first directed them how to avoid the rebel pickets. That night they passed a camp of rebels and could plainly see the smoke and camp fires. But their wearied feet gave out and they were compelled to stop and rest having only marched five miles that day.
 They started again at daylight on the 13th and after moving awhile through the woods they saw a negro woman working in a field and called her to them. From her they received directions and were told that the rebel pickets had been about there looking for the fugitives from Libby. Here they laid down again and reassumed(sic) their journey when darkness set in and marched five miles but halted till the morning of the 14th when the journey was resumed. At one point they met a negress in a field and she told them that her mistress was a Secesh woman and that she had a son in the rebel army. The party however were exceedingly hungry and they determined to secure some food This they did by boldly approaching the house and informing the mistress that they were fugitives from Norfolk who had been driven out by Butler and the Secesh sympathies of the woman were at once aroused and she gave them of her substance and started them on their way with directions how to avoid the Yankee soldiers who occasionally scouted in that vicinity. This information was exceedingly valuable to the refugees for by it they discovered the whereabouts of the Federal forces.
When about 1.5 miles from Williamsburg the party came upon the main road and found the tracks of a large body of cavalry. A piece of paper found by Captain Jones satisfied him that they were Union cavalry but his companions were suspicious and avoided the road and moved forward. At the Burnt Ordinary about 10 miles from Williamsburg awaited the return of the cavalry that had moved up the road and from behind a fence corner where they were secreted the fugitive saw the flag of the Union supported by a squadron of cavalry which proved to be a detachment of Colonel Spear's 11th Pennsylvania Regiment sent out for the purpose of picking up escaped prisoners. Colonel Kendrick says his feelings at seeing the old flag are indescribable. At all points along the route the fugitives describe their reception by the negroes as most enthusiastic and there was no lack of white people who sympathized with them and helped them on their way. In their escape the officers were aided by citizens of Richmond not foreigners or the poor class only, but by natives and persons of wealth. They know their friends there but very properly with hold any mention of their names. Of those got out of Libby Prison there were a number sick ones who were cured for by Union people and will eventually reach the Union lines their aid.

 -The Portrait Monthly, May 1864

The Boar Swamp/Bottom's Bridge area

Monday, March 3, 2014

Escaping Down the Peninsula 1864- Swimming the Chickahominy

                                     FEBRUARY 15, 1864.
Col. J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff:
Cavalry returned to Williamsburg with 9 more escaped officers. A fresh detachment has gone out.
                                      I.J. WISTAR,

                                     FEBRUARY 15, 1864.
Col. J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff:
I should have explained that refugees and escaped prisoners, knowing of the pickets at all the upper fords and bridges, almost invariably come down parallel with Charles City road, in hopes of finding boats on lower Chickahominy. After crossing it they are pretty safe, but boats are purposely removed by the enemy and only to be had at few points. The refugees and negroes generally cross by swimming. Seventeen leave here by boat to-morrow, including 6 field officers.

                                       I.J. WISTAR,

- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 Volume 33