Sunday, April 20, 2014

February 15, 1864 (Monday): The Great Escape

FEBRUARY 15, 1864.
Brigadier-General WISTAR,
    Richmond papers of 12th, received, say 109 prisoners escaped, and that 25 were captured, 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 15, 1864.
Colonel J. W. SHAFFER,
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 organized and long-prepared plan to prevent it. Fifteen have already come.

    I. J. WISTAR,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 566.

Libby Prison was, after Andersonville, the most notorious southern prison.  Holding only officers, on February 5, 1864 it was the site of a massive prison break with 109 men escaping through a tunnel they dug through the prison walls.  Although Colonel Thomas E. Rose, the leader of the escape, was captured 59 of the escapees did make it back through the lines.  It was a blow to Confederate morale and the rebels were so afraid of Rose's influence they quickly exchanged him and he returned to service in the 77th Pennsylvania.

No comments:

Post a Comment