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´╗┐Title: Reminiscences of a Prisoner of War and His Escape
Author: Langworthy, Daniel Avery
Language: English
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Late Captain 85th N. Y. Vol. Infantry

With Illustrations

Byron Printing Company
Minneapolis, Minn.

Copyright 1915
Daniel Avery Langworthy






                                            FACING PAGE
   Captain 85th N. Y. Vol. Infantry      _Frontispiece_

   COMPASS, KNIFE, FORK AND SPOON                    18
   Used in Capt. Langworthy's escape

   CAMP OGLETHROPE, MACON, GEORGIA                   20

   SHOES AND HICKORY STICK                           26
   Used in Capt. Langworthy's Escape

   JAIL YARD, CHARLESTON, S. C.                      28

   ROPER HOSPITAL, CHARLESTON, S. C.                 32

   FIVE ESCAPED OFFICERS                             56
   Who joined Capt. Langworthy's party

   As they appeared after reaching the Union lines


Soon after my escape from captivity and my arrival at the home of my
father-in-law, at Elmira, New York, where my good wife was, my sister
Sarah, who was older than myself, and her husband, came to see me. She
sat down by my side and said: "Now Daniel, tell me all about it. How you
were captured, how treated while a prisoner of war, how you made your
escape and worked your way from Columbia, South Carolina, to Elmira."
She held me to a strict account until she had the full story. I then
told her that if after that I should be asked about it I would refer
them to her (she would have given a good narrative), but unfortunately
she is not living now.

I have never been much inclined to talk about my prison life, nor had
thought of writing about it until recently when some of my comrades, who
had been talking with me about it, suggested and +strongly urged+ that I
write it out. The result of which is these reminiscences. Doubtless I
could have told this story better fifty years ago, for, as I did not
keep a diary or any memorandum, it is entirely from memory, yet the
events made a fixed impression on my mind and I believe that what I have
herein narrated is correct. I was born January 3rd, 1832.


Minneapolis, Minn.
April 3rd, 1915.


Before the Civil War I was a young physician in New York city, had been
brought up a strong Whig and fully believed that slavery was entirely
wrong. After the beginning of the war I felt it my duty to go and help
and thought that the privates, the men who carried and used rifles were
what was wanted; hence I went to Elmira, New York, and enlisted on
September 10th, 1861, in the Eighty-fifth New York Regiment, which
regiment was being recruited in Allegany County in the locality where my
father lived, so that I might be with my former associates. Late in the
fall of 1861 the regiment was moved to Washington, D. C., remaining
there during the winter. Early in the following spring we went on the
Peninsula campaign under General McClellan, our regiment being in
General Wessel's brigade. On April 9th, 1862, I was commissioned first
lieutenant. On October 17th, 1862, captain.

At the close of the campaign as we came off the Peninsula, General
Wessell's brigade was left at Fortress Monroe, where it remained for a
time, and was then ordered to Newburn, North Carolina, and from there to
Plymouth, North Carolina. In July, 1863, two other officers, some
enlisted men and myself were detailed and sent to Elmira, New York, on
conscript duty. While in Elmira I was married. In March, 1864, we were
ordered to return to our command. We did so, arriving at Plymouth, North
Carolina, about April 1st. On April 20th the entire post was captured
after a siege of four days.

After our capture we were started toward Richmond and marched in that
direction for two days; then laid over for one day. Although nothing had
been said, we inferred that there must be something wrong at Richmond,
indeed we afterward learned that General Grant had started on his
wilderness campaign, and orders had been issued from Richmond not to
bring any more prisoners there.

The next morning we started south and tramped in that direction until we
came to a railroad, where we were loaded into cattle or box cars (I
being on the first train). We continued our southern journey, passing
through Wilmington and Charleston to Savannah, then going west through
Macon, we arrived at Andersonville, Georgia, in the afternoon. We were
then taken out of the cars and sat down on the ground.

Andersonville contained only a few scattered houses. We could plainly
see where our men were encamped, some distance away, with nothing to
protect them from the heat of the sun and apparently with only a scant
supply of water. Soon after our arrival a well-mounted and
soldierly-looking officer came riding toward us. He was met by the
officer in command of our guard, who saluted and inquired: "Is this
Captain Wirtz?" "Yes," was the reply. "Captain Wirtz, I have some
prisoners here for you," said the officer in charge of us. "About how
many?" inquired Captain Wirtz, "and what are they?" "About eight
hundred. Seventy-five officers and about seven hundred and twenty-five
men," was the answer. "Well," said Captain Wirtz, "I suppose I must take
the men, but I +cannot+ take the officers."

The captain of our guard was an imperious man; he straightened himself
up and said: "Captain Wirtz, I am ordered to turn these prisoners over
to you." "I +cannot+ take the officers," repeated Captain Wirtz. "I have
no place for them. God knows my place is bad enough for the men!"
"Captain Wirtz," insisted the captain of our guard, "I shall turn all
these prisoners over to you." "Do what you d----n please," said Wirtz.
"Turn them loose if you want to, but I tell you I will not take the
officers." He then turned his horse and rode away.

We all realized that we had witnessed an important scene--and it was. It
established a precedent. So far as I know, no officers were confined at
Andersonville. Had they been, the majority of them, like our men, would
have died there. Of my company forty-eight good, healthy, robust young
men went into Andersonville that day and the remains of thirty of them
are there now; while of the officers of our regiment who were captured,
all lived to return North. While that was the only time I ever saw
Captain Wirtz, that event, and what I learned afterward, gave me a
strong impression that the authorities at Richmond, and especially
Winder, were responsible for the treatment of the prisoners at Libby,
Belle Island, Andersonville, etc. Apparently Captain Wirtz was a
well-drilled European soldier, who of course was trained to obey orders;
but in this case he had so much respect for the rank of the officers
that he rebelled and established a precedent which most certainly was a
God-send to the officers.

Soon after he left we were ordered into line and the officers were
commanded to step out (to the left). We understood well what that meant.
It was a trying time for the officers, for we realized full well where
our men were going. I think we had about the same idea of Andersonville
then that we have now. The men were marched away.

After the men were gone we were marched across the railroad onto a knoll
with a beautiful grove, in which was a vacant church, and told to make
ourselves comfortable there for the night. Of course there was a guard
around us, but we were allowed to go out into the grove. Going down the
knoll we found a very large and most excellent spring of fine water,
which came bubbling up out of the white sand. We said: "What a lovely
and perfect place for a camp. Why wasn't our boys' camp here instead of
over there on that hill? Here is water, shade and everything." The
answer was: "It is too good a place for the Yankees."

The next morning we entered the cars and started back east. As Captain
Wirtz would not take us, something must be done with us. The first town
of importance we came to was Macon. We stopped there and were turned
over to the general officer in command at that point. As there had not
been any prisoners kept there, no arrangements for us had been made. We
were taken out into a nice park, furnished with plenty of tents and were
told to make ourselves comfortable; very fair rations were issued to us
each day and plenty of them. We were allowed to go to the guard line and
buy anything we wished if we had the wherewith to pay for it. In fact,
we were treated kindly and had no complaint to make. By talking over the
guard line at this camp, I purchased of a colored woman, a good table
knife, fork and spoon, which I kept and found to be very useful; getting
hold of a three-cornered file, I made a saw of the back of the knife,
thinking it might be of use in an emergency. After a few days, when we
were getting rested, I would hear: "What is it we hear about Libby,
Belle Island and Andersonville? _We_ certainly have no reason to


During my prison life I met comrades who had been, I think, in most of
the places where our men were confined and they all practically told the
same story; that when they were turned over to the local authorities
they were well treated, but that when they came under the Richmond or
Winder care it was as different as it well could be.

Apparently it was well understood that no soldier was to be in a
condition, when exchanged or when he got North, to re-enter the service.

After we had been in Macon for perhaps a couple of weeks, I noticed one
day two officers riding around in another part of the park. I recognized
one of them, and asked our captain of the guard: "Who is that officer
with Colonel So-and-So?" He replied: "That is Colonel So-and-So of
Richmond of President Davis' staff." I asked no more questions, but
thought it significant that he was there.

Two or three days later a hundred or so of colored men were at work in
that part of the park building a stockade enclosing about three acres.
The stockade was a tight board fence twelve feet high, with a walk on
the outside near the top and a railing outside of it for the guard,
where they could see everything. On the inside, about forty feet from
the stockade, was a picket fence called "the dead line." That is, if
anyone approached it, he was to be shot.

After the enclosure was completed, one morning we noticed a crowd of men
being marched inside the stockade. They were prisoners from Libby. Soon
after we followed them. With these prisoners came Lieutenant Davis of
Baltimore, who had charge of the prison. He apparently had his orders
from Richmond and obeyed them strictly. It was a very great change for
us. Our rations, treatment and everything else were so radically
different. A small brook ran through one end of the enclosure,
fortunately inside the dead line. We dug a spring there and from it got
all the water we had.


One day one of our comrades was walking down the path to the spring with
his canteen to get some water, when one of the guards who was on the
stockade shot him dead. So far as we knew, there was nothing done about
it except that his remains were taken outside. The guard remained on his
post until time to be relieved.

There was one of our number who had been a prisoner so long and had
become so reduced in health that he feared he could not endure much
longer. While talking about it with his associates he was asked if he
had anything he could sell to get some money to buy some food. He said
he had nothing but his watch. He was advised to sell that. Lieutenant
Davis came in every morning with a guard to count us. The next morning
when they came in, this prisoner approached the lieutenant and said:
"Lieutenant Davis, can I presume to ask a favor of you?" "What is it?"
was the curt question. "I have been in prison for a long time and have
become so reduced in health that I fear I cannot hold out much longer.
The only thing I have left to dispose of is my watch. Could I ask you to
take it out and sell it for me that I might buy something with the money
to help me?" "All right," said the lieutenant, and put the watch in his
pocket. The comrade further said: "Lieutenant, please remember to sell
that watch for $200. If you cannot get that much or more, bring it back
to me," and he gave his name. "All right," said the lieutenant.

Each morning after that when they came in this prisoner would stand
around near the lieutenant, but nothing was said until one morning he
said: "Lieutenant, were you able to sell my watch?" "No, I was not,"
replied the lieutenant. "Then, will you kindly bring it in to me when
you come in tomorrow morning?" he requested. "What's your name?" asked
Lieutenant Davis. The prisoner gave his name. "Oh, yes, I have done sold
your watch already for $5," said the lieutenant. "You must be mistaken,
lieutenant," exclaimed the prisoner, "for you must remember that I told
you if you could not sell it for $200 or more, to kindly bring it back
to me." "You tell me I lie, do you?" exclaimed the lieutenant--and
turning to his guard, said: "Bring him along; I will show him." The
prisoner was taken just outside the gate, where we could see him, and
bucked and gagged and sat there on the ground in the hot Georgia sun
the most of that summer day.

After we were in the stockade the main topic of conversation was: "Was
it possible to get out of there?" The first thing tried was tunnelling,
which required great effort and caution. We had nothing to dig with
except our hands and pocket knives. Then, the fresh dirt must not be
seen, nor the openings of the tunnels. While we worked entirely in the
night, our work must not be discovered by the guards, and several
tunnels were under way. One or two of them were nearly to the stockade
when, one morning, they came in as usual to count us. We were lined up
at one end with the guard around us, and were ready to march through
between two guards and be counted, when Lieutenant Davis pulled the
ramrod out of the rifle of one of the guards and went around and pushed
it into all of the tunnels, showing us that he knew of them. He then
gave us a strong talk, saying we would hereafter be watched carefully,
and if there was any further attempt made toward tunnelling it would be
met with severe punishment. That was the end of the tunnelling. But the
question was: "How did he get onto it?" After a little we learned that
the day before when the guard went out they took with them one of our
prisoners who had enlisted from Kentucky or Tennessee--I have forgotten
which. Fortunately for him he did not come back.

Then the question was: "What next?" In talking things over with those
who had been in prison the longest and had the most varied experiences,
they all said it was not so difficult to get out of prison or away from
those who had charge of you, as it was to care for yourself after you
were at liberty; that the entire South was thoroughly organized, not
only to prevent the escape of Yankee prisoners, but also to arrest
deserters from their own service, and all others, both white and
colored, who wished to evade the service or to get to the North. An
officer was detailed for each locality who must have a pack of good dogs
and a posse of men always ready and every person was under strict orders
to report to said officer any strangers, stragglers, suspicious persons
or any unusual circumstances they might know of. Fresh tracks were
looked after and these officers and men were returned to the front if
their work was not satisfactory. They were wide-awake.

Several of our number had been recaptured. They all said the dogs were
the worst part of the outfit, that you might possibly evade the others,
but that when the dogs got on your trail they were sure to find you.

The next question was: "What to do with the dogs?" The only remedy
suggested was to have something to put on our feet which would be so
offensive to their sensitive noses that it would upset them. After
thinking it over I decided that if the opportunity presented itself, I
would try turpentine. There was an officer there at Macon whose duties
frequently called him inside our prison. I was pretty well acquainted
with him, and sold him my watch. One day I asked him if I could presume
to ask a favor of him. "What is it?" he said. "Would you kindly get me a
half pint of good spirits of turpentine?" I asked. "What do you want of
turpentine?" he asked. "You know the Libby prisoners are here," I
replied, "and you may know they brought many bugs with them; turpentine
is said to be good to fight those bugs with." "I will see," he said.

The next time I saw him he handed me a bottle of turpentine. I thanked
him and paid him for it. He then said: "Captain, I want to say
something which may be entirely unnecessary, but I feel that I must."
"What is it?" I asked. "It is that what I have done shall be known to no
one but you and me, for if it should be known that I had brought
something in to you it would mean----" and he drew his hand across his
throat. I replied: "You may be assured no one shall know anything about
it. Some of my comrades may know that I have the turpentine, but where
or how or through whom I got it they will have no idea." He then said:
"Captain, I do not wish to be inquisitive or to ask any questions about
your affairs, but if at any time you have an idea you can get out of
this place, if you will tell me what night, I will tell you where on the
river you can find a boat with oars, blankets and food." I thanked him
most heartily and told him I was fully confirmed in my previous
impression that he was a noble, generous, first-class gentleman. He then
said: "Captain, you do not have much to read do you?" "Nothing," I said.
"Perhaps you would enjoy looking this over." He handed me a pamphlet and
left. On opening it I saw it was about Macon, its location and maps
showing the river and roads and where they went, etc.


I kept the turpentine very carefully hoping that some time I might be
able to escape and might possibly need it.

While in Macon my boots gave out and I purchased a pair of plain rough
darkey shoes, paying $60 in Confederate money for them, and kept them in
reserve for use in case I should be so fortunate as to get outside. One
of our number, who was a major in the regular army, started a secret
society, which I joined, and which soon grew to hundreds. The object of
the organization was for mutual help. It was organized as a regiment,
with companies, etc. The major was the colonel.

One day in July a detail was ordered to be ready to move at a certain
hour the next morning. They were ready, but waited for an hour or more.
The major and many of our new order were in the detail, including
myself. While waiting, several of our organization exchanged places and
thereby got in so that when we marched out our society was well
represented. We were put on board a train of box cars and started east,
arriving at Savannah about nightfall. We were unloaded and were there in
the yards an hour or two. While waiting, the major said to us: "I have
learned that we are going North, I think to Charleston. When we get
about so far from here we will be only about twelve miles from our men
at such a place on the coast. I will be sure to get in the front car and
will detail officers to be in command of each of the other cars. They
will detail men to look after the guard in their cars. At the proper
time I will swing a lantern out of the side door of the front car and
swing it around as a signal for you to overcome the guards in your cars.
Take their guns and care for them and when the train stops jump out and
overcome the guards on the top of the cars, and we will then go back and
overcome those in the rear car and then march for the little station on
the coast."

[Illustration: JAIL YARD, CHARLESTON, S. C.]

There were four or five guards in each car and about the same number on
the top and one group commanding the rear car. We all sat on the floor,
including the guards. I was in command of one of the cars and watched
very sharply for the light, but it did not show up. The major had
learned that there was suspicion of something being done and did not
think it best to take the risk. We all knew apparently when we
approached where we should see the light, and as it did not show up the
men soon began to tumble out of the side doors. Upwards of one hundred
of them got out of the cars in a comparatively short time. The guards on
top fired at them. I do not know whether any of our boys were hit or
not, but within a few days after our arrival at Charleston all of them,
except four or five, were with us, showing the efficiency of the
organization for the recapture of escaped prisoners.

After the men began to tumble off, we stopped at the first telegraph
station and a message was sent. The officers in that locality turned out
promptly with their men and dogs, came up the railroad until they found
a fresh trail, which one crew took, the rest going on until they were
after them all.

We arrived at Charleston the next morning, being the first prisoners who
had been brought there. We were brought there in the hope that we might
help to protect the city from the continuous cannonading of our troops
on Morris Island, which had driven the people from the lower part of the
city. We, of course, were put in that part, first in the jail yard and
from there to the workhouse, a large building in the same block used as
a jail for the colored people. From there we went to Roper's Hospital in
the same block, where we were given comfortable quarters. Those three
buildings and the medical college occupied the block. The back yard of
the hospital joined the back yard of the jail.

We put in our time evenings watching the shells from Morris Island;
would see a bright light as they started at the horizon and as they went
up and up until apparently nearly over our heads and would then come
seemingly straight down and usually explode before they struck.
Apparently the men on the island knew when we came and where we were,
for while the cannonading was regular each night, never a shell or a
piece of one came to our quarters, but plenty of harm was done in the
city all the time.

After we had been there for quite a while, one day one of our comrades
coming in, said to me: "I have a letter for you. I was in the back yard
sitting on the ground when something dropped down by my side, apparently
coming from the jail yard. I looked and there was a small stone with
this tied to it." It was a small scrap of paper addressed to me, from
one of my sergeants, saying that he, his brother and others of Company
"E" were in the jail yard. That aroused me some. I went to the gate and
asked the officer in charge of the guard if he would kindly send me,
under guard, to go around to the jail yard. He said: "Why do you wish to
go to the jail yard?" I told him some men of my company who had been in
Andersonville since last April were there and that I wished very much to
see them. After a little he told me to come again in a half hour. I did
so, and accompanied by the guard, was sent to the jail yard, and of the
first prisoners I met I inquired where the Eighty-fifth New York boys
were and was told they had been removed that morning to the race course
outside of the city. "Had they all gone?" I inquired. They thought they
had. I told them I was very sorry as men of my company were with them.
While we were talking, one of them said: "Why, there are two of the
Eighty-fifth boys over there sitting on the ground." I went to them.
Each had a raw Irish potato in his hand scraping it and eating it raw
for the scurvy. I looked them over carefully, but could not recognize
them. I said: "Boys, are you from the Eighty-fifth New York?" They
looked up and said: "How are you, captain?" and jumped up, embraced me
and said: "Captain, didn't you know us?" "I am sorry to say I did not,"
I replied. "Why, we are So-and-So of Company 'F,'" they said, which was
by the side of my company. They were men whom I had known for nearly
three years, yet were so changed that I could not recognize them.

I left much disappointed at not finding my men, and thought about it
continually. The general in command of the Confederate forces at
Charleston was a Roman Catholic, hence his church people, and especially
the Sisters of Charity, had free access to the hospitals, prisons, etc.,
and did much good work.


A few days later I noticed some sisters in our building. I went to one
of them and said: "Sister, have you been out to the race course?" "Yes,"
she said, "We have just come from there." "How are they?" I asked.
"Very, very bad," she replied. "Sister, can't you tell me something more
about them?" I continued. "That is about all," she said. "You poor men
have suffered enough, but not what they have; they are very bad."
"Sister," I continued, "there are some of my men there whom I have not
seen since they went to Andersonville prison last April. I would like to
learn all I can about them." "They are very bad," she said, "that is
about all. We tried to minister to one poor fellow this morning. In
giving him a bath we scraped quantities of maggots from under his arms
and other parts of his body. They are very, very bad." "Sister," I
persisted, "if they had some money would it be of any help to them?"
"Yes, it would. They could not get with it what you would think they
should, but they could get something and that would be a help to them."
"Will you be going there again soon?" I asked. "Yes, we will go there
every few days," she replied. "Could I ask you to take some money to one
of my men?" "I would be pleased to do so," she said. "Is he a
non-commissioned officer?" "Yes, a sergeant," I replied. "I will be here
awhile longer," she said. "Write him a letter, tell him how much you
send and what he is to do with it, put the money in the letter and seal
it. On the envelope write his name in full, rank, company, regiment,
brigade, corps, etc., your name, your lieutenant's name, your colonel's
name and the commander of the brigade and corps--in fact write the
envelope all over and I will try to find him." I did not ask any more
questions, but thought her directions strange. I went and did as she
told me to do and gave her the letter. A few days later I saw some
sisters in the building, and going to them saw her to whom I had given
my letter a few days before, and spoke to her. "Yes, captain," she said,
"I was going to look you up. We just came from the race course. I feel
quite sure I found your man and gave him your letter. While you did as I
told you, wrote the envelope all over, you did not put too much on it."
"How was that, sister?" I asked. "Well, when we got there inside the
race course, they all came around us, hoping we would do something for
them," she said. "I asked for Mr. Jones. Nearly all the men there were
named Jones. I did not tell them any more, but began asking questions. A
few less were George Jones, a few less George Washington Jones, a few
less were sergeants and in Company 'E,' and in the Eighty-fifth New
York, etc., until I got down to one man and am quite sure he was the
right one." I thanked her and told her how greatly I was obliged to her,
and said: "Sister, I certainly have no reason to doubt what you say, but
cannot understand it." "How so?" she asked. "I know those men
thoroughly," I said, "and know them not only to be good soldiers, but
truly honest, truthful, upright, manly men." "That's all right,
captain," she said, "but as I told you before, you have not suffered and
passed through what they have. I believe that if you or I had been
through with what they have we would not be one whit different from what
they are and in my heart I cannot blame them." I said: "All right,
sister, I am fully assured that you are a noble, genuine, upright
Christian lady."

She found the right man. While the sergeant did not live to get to his
home, his brother and some of the others did, and told me that he got
the letter and the money and that it was a great help.

We remained in Charleston until the yellow fever was so bad that it was
difficult to keep a guard to guard us, as they were on duty most of the
time and were more exposed to the hot sunshine and yellow fever than we
were. In the latter part of September we were moved to Columbia, South
Carolina, to higher ground and supposed to be exempt from the fever.
Arriving there in the afternoon we remained one night in the city near
the station. The next day we were moved across the Saluda river and
camped on an open field. The second day we were there we noticed the
assembling of quite a force of colored men at a house not far away and
we suspected that it might mean the building of a stockade around us.
Some one said: "If we are going to try to get away from here it would be
well to do so before we are fenced in." I said: "We have a large moon
now, which makes it very light at night. This morning it set at about
2:30, tomorrow morning it will be an hour later, hence we must plan to
get away tomorrow morning after the moon has gone down."

After talking it over, two of my friends, Captain Aldrich and Lieutenant
Tewilliger, both of the Eighty-fifth, and myself, decided we would make
an effort to escape. We each got a blanket and a little food and waited.
In the afternoon one of my lieutenants said to me: "Are you going to
make a break tonight?" "I am thinking of trying," I replied. "Don't you
think you are taking a great risk?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "but is
it not a greater one to remain here?" "That may be true," he answered. I
concluded that he thought so too, for later he made his escape but was

We, of course, looked the ground over carefully. Three sides of our camp
were clear fields, the other was near the woods, but at the edge of the
woods was a high tree fence, which we could not get through without
making a noise which would attract the attention of the guards. Near one
corner was a vacant schoolhouse, which was used by the reserve guard. A
little distance from this schoolhouse and near the guard line was quite
a knoll. We decided that would do, that if we could get over the knoll
we would be out of sight. In the latter part of the night we went in
that direction and as near the guard line as we thought it prudent and
sat down under a small tree. While there two other comrades, Captain
Starr and Lieutenant Hastings, both from New York state, came along,
looked us over and inquired what we were waiting for. They also sat

It was much cooler than at Charleston, so much so that the guards built
fires on the guard line. The guards were changed at 3 o'clock. The man
whose place was on the beat which we wished to cross did his duty
faithfully. There had been a fire at one end of his beat, but it did not
entice him. He was walking his beat steadily.

As the moon was nearing the horizon, one of the comrades said: "If you
start when that man is near this end of the beat as you are crossing the
guard line he will be at the other end of his beat, he will have turned
around and will see you for there is a fire on both sides." We said:
"Yes, but we think we will try it. We will go abreast so if he shoots he
must fire through one before he hits the next." When the moon was well
down and the guard neared our end of his beat, we started, going
carefully. We were crossing his beat when he arrived at the other end,
he did what he had not done before, he stopped with his back towards us,
took his gun from his shoulder, stooped over and began to look after the
fire. We thought then, as we did several other times, that we were
favored by our Heavenly Father.

We went over the knoll and stopped to get our bearings. Soon I saw two
men coming over the knoll, and said: "Boys, they are coming for us; we
will not run." But as they got near us we saw that it was Captain Starr
and Lieutenant Hastings. When they saw the guard stop with his back
toward us they of course came, so we were five instead of three. We
worked our way through to the woods, got a quiet place and stayed there
through the day where we could hear the calls at the camp. That morning
I cut a hickory walking stick, which I used on the trip, and have it

It was fortunate for us that Lieutenant Hastings joined us. He had
escaped once and had been captured by a posse with dogs, had changed his
clothing and now wore a Confederate uniform, which we thought would
permit him to pass for a Confederate. He was a bright young attorney and
after the close of the war was attorney general for the state of New

After dark we started. We took a northwesterly course, being guided by
the north star, and kept in the woods. About 10 o'clock we heard dogs,
and said: "Hastings, what is that?" He replied: "A pack of hounds, and
they are on our trail." I said: "Turn up your soles," took out the
bottle of turpentine which I had kept so carefully for months, put some
on the bottoms of all of our shoes, turned a square corner and we all
ran as fast as we could in another direction. After a little we saw we
were coming to the edge of the woods, where there was a road and beyond
an open field. Just then Hastings said: "The dogs have struck the
turpentine--hear them--they are not barking, but whining; they are
whipping them to make them follow the trail, hear them howl, but they
won't do it--the turpentine is too strong for them."

We rushed ahead and as we were crossing the road we heard a horse coming
down the road on a good gallop. Soon a man on a horse came up. He
evidently was one of the party who came around on a venture to see if he
could head off whoever it was that they were after. He, of course, had
his rifle and could have followed us, and shot or captured us, but there
were five of us and he did not know that we were unarmed, so he began to
call loudly and whistle for the dogs. Had they responded and come with
the other men while we were in sight with the bright moonlight, they
certainly would have caught us. We ran as fast as we could. In the
field we came to a fair-sized stream, rushed into it, waded down it for
awhile, then crossed over, sat down on the bank and rubbed garlic, a
strong wild onion, on our feet to change the scent, changed our course
again and pushed on. We were now out of sight and got away this time, it
being our first night out.

We had many exciting and varied experiences. We traveled only in the
night and if possible kept in the woods, and went in a northwesterly
course, guided by the north star. If we could not see that star and were
uncertain as to our course I had a pocket compass which I carried
through the war; we would form a ring that the light might not be seen,
strike a light, look at the compass, get our bearings and proceed.

We kept aloof, if possible, from all human beings, preferring to suffer
material privations to taking chances. Our food was what we might pick
up in the woods, which was very little. We could easily approach a corn
field every night. The corn was ripe, hence hard to eat raw, but much
better than nothing. Before daylight in the morning we would look for a
quiet place in the woods and lie down, but seemingly nearly every
morning before we had slept long something would occur to seriously
disturb us. Some one out shooting or chopping wood, or doing various
other things. One night about midnight we came to the edge of the woods,
and as the woods did not run in the right direction, and there were no
houses in sight and a road which ran in the direction we were going we
decided that we would follow it, being careful to keep on the sides and
not leave any tracks, until we could reach another stretch of woods. We
did so and as we were going quietly along we noticed a light in a house
which, like all the houses in the South, stood well back from the road.
On looking around we found one or two other lights and discovered that
we were in a small town, but apparently half way or more through it, so
went on and got to the woods once more.

Several days after our escape, early in the morning, as usual, we got a
place in the woods, lay down and after a short sleep were eating our
corn, when one said: "This is pretty tough grub for all the time. We are
in the woods apparently out of sight of every one, we have matches, why
can't we make a hole in the ground, start a little fire, put our corn
around it, over it, all about it, let it toast, roast or burn? It will
be much better than it is now." We did so, and were watching the fire
when we saw a woman with a plain gray cotton dress, hanging from the
shoulders like a night dress, coming toward us. Presuming that she was a
colored woman, we said: "Hastings, go and make friends with that Auntie
or we will be in trouble." He started. As he approached her, he said:
"Good morning, Auntie," then saw that she was white. "I know who you uns
is. They cotched two of you uns here yesterday and took them back to
Columbia," she said. "Yes, my good lady, I am an escaped prisoner of
war," said Hastings. He then went on talking with her to the best of his
ability. They were soon joined by her three daughters, who were about
twelve, fourteen and sixteen years old, and dressed like their mother.
He learned that she was a widow, owned a large plantation, which we were
on, that she and her daughters were out looking about the place and saw
the smoke and were coming to see what it was. We, of course, put out the
fire. She had two sons, young men, who had been in the army since the
beginning of the war. Before the war she was in good financial
condition, had plenty of slaves, but they had run away long before, so
that she and her daughters were left alone, and were obliged to work the
plantation enough to give them something to live on. Hastings asked if
her sons were both living. "Yes, fortunately they are and neither of
them has been wounded," she replied. "Have they ever been made
prisoners?" Hastings inquired. "Yes, they were both captured last
spring," she said. "Where in the North were they confined?" he asked.
She told him. "How were they treated?" "Finely," they said. "Have they
been exchanged?" he questioned. "Yes," was the reply. "I suppose,"
continued Hastings, "that after their exchange they were allowed to come
home." "Yes," said the woman, "and I was glad that they were captured
for it was the first time I have seen them since the beginning of the
war. They looked fine and said they were well-treated while prisoners
and had no reason to complain." "My good lady," said Hastings, "I am
very glad to know that they were well-treated and that you had a good
visit with them. We have been prisoners of war from six months to one
and a half years each. We have nothing to say about how your government
has treated us, perhaps it did as well by us as it could. A few days ago
we made our escape when the guards did not see us and they probably do
not know it now. We are making every effort to get home to our mothers,
wives, sisters and daughters. If you will recall how you felt about your
sons you will understand how they feel. I know that you are required to
report to the officer in charge in this locality that you have seen
strangers here, but if you have, as I believe you have, a true mother's
heart and any regard for us, for God's sake don't do it until tomorrow,
for as you can readily see, we must stay here until after dark tonight.
To do otherwise would be the greatest folly; so we are in your hands. If
you wish to send us back to Columbia all that is necessary is to report
us today. We shall be here all day," and so he continued to the best of
his ability, and he was a good pleader. After a little, the youngest
daughter began to rub her eyes and shed tears, and said: "Mister, we
won't tell on you uns, will we mar?" and soon was joined by the other
two, all weeping and saying: "Mister, we won't tell on you uns, will we
mar?" but the good lady said nothing, and the plea continued, helped by
the appeal of the daughters, until the woman said: "Mister, we will not
tell on you uns today." He replied: "My good lady, I am very glad that
you took time to deliberate before you decided what to do, for I feel
assured that you mean and will do just what you say, but if you have no
objections will you and your daughters hold up your right hands." They
did so and he administered to them, I presume, as strong an oath as he
ever did that they would not in any way let it be known that they had
seen us until the next day. He then said: "Am I the first Yankee you
have met?" "Yes, the first," she said. "I am the poorest looking of our
number," said Hastings. "Come and let me introduce you to the others."
He brought them and we were formally introduced and they soon left. We
soon heard some dogs barking. We said: "Hastings, how about that?" He
said: "There are several of them, but I do not think they are on a
trail." But the barking continued until one of our number went up a
tree. After he got well up in the tree he saw in an open field adjoining
the woods, over toward the river, a man with a bunch of dogs.
Apparently he was out to give them exercise, and as they did not get
scent of us or cross our trail they did not trouble us; but the two
incidents gave us plenty of anxiety for that day. After dark we were

One night as we were traveling in the woods, Captain Aldrich said to me:
"I have kept a correct diary since we started, giving our names, telling
when and how we got out and each day since, but I have lost it tonight."
I replied: "I am sorry for your loss, but we will not go back to look
for it. It may be found, but if it is we will hope we will be far enough
away so that they will not find us." The diary probably was found and
returned to Columbia, for one morning when they came in to count the
prisoners, the officer in charge said: "Men, I suppose you all know that
five of your number"--giving our names--"got out from here on the
morning of October 3rd. They did nicely for a while, got to such a
place, were discovered and a posse sent after them. They were ordered to
surrender, but did not and all were shot dead." That, of course, was a
warning to all the others not to take similar risks.

Not long after I reached my home in New York City, one of the
lieutenants of the Eighty-fifth was exchanged. As he was passing through
the city, he thought he would come to the house and see if he could
learn anything about me. He did so, and was much surprised to find me
there, and told me what had been told them about our escape and

In the latter part of one night, when we were well up on the Blue Ridge
mountains, we had trouble in making our way in the direction which we
wished to keep, and came to a mountain road which led the right way. We
decided to try it for a while and, as we always did when on or near a
highway, one of us went ahead. This time I was ahead. As I came to a
small gully and was about to step onto the bridge which was across it, I
heard a call from the other side: "Corporal of the Guard, Post No. 3,"
which gave me a shock. I threw up my hands and hurried back, and
reported what I had heard. We went up into the mountains and looked for
a suitable place to hide. After a reasonable time in the morning, we
said: "Hastings, we are in a tight place. You must go and investigate
for we cannot move from here without some knowledge of our
surroundings." He started, but did not go far before he saw a small
clearing and a shack. He watched it, and saw a colored woman and some
colored children. He watched until he felt sure there was no one else
there, then went toward the house. As he came up the woman, speaking
first, said: "Mister, this a very bad place for you uns; there is a
company of guerrillas here. I am expecting one of them up here for his
washing." Turning to a boy she said: "Tom, you go to that knoll and keep
a sharp watch. If you see anyone coming you tell me quick." Then she
turned to Hastings and was ready to talk with him. He told her who he
was and about us. She gave him something to eat and other food she had
for him to bring to us, and said we were in a tight place, that she was
not well posted, but that her husband was a free man, hence could go
about the country and was pretty well posted, that he would be home by
and by, and she would have him see what he could do for us. She said for
us all to come to the house after dark when her husband would be there
and she would have something more for us to eat. Hastings returned and
reported. We waited until after dark, then went to the house. The
husband was there--quite a bright-looking man. We were fed. He said we
were in a tight place, but that he would take us past the guerrillas and
start us on beyond. We started out, he and I going ahead. Soon we came
to a few houses, went around and past them, went through a gate into a
back yard. Passing through that we went near the back of a large log
stable in which were lights. We could see between the logs. It was full
of horses and men caring for them. Captain Aldrich came up, took hold of
my right arm and said: "Are not those the guerrillas?" I said: "Be
quiet." As he held onto my arm I could feel his heart beat. But our
guide took us through all right to the other side and away from the
guerrillas. We came to a road leading up into the mountains. Our guide
said: "You want to go the way this road runs. You had better stay in the
woods until morning, then go up the mountain the way this road goes.
When you come to four corners, a signboard and a schoolhouse there is
the line between North and South Carolina. Keep straight ahead, but
about two miles beyond the schoolhouse are some soldiers beside the
road. Do not let them see you, but go well around them. They stop
everybody that comes along. Get back to the road and go ahead until you
come to a house and a blacksmith shop. Stop and see that man. He will
take care of you." "Who is he?" we asked. "He is a first-class Union
man," he replied. "I was over there this summer. He is all right." We
thanked him most heartily and he left us and we went into the woods for
the night. The next day we worked our way up the mountain, arriving at
the schoolhouse about dark. It was raining. We decided to go a piece by
the road, so started on. I went ahead. None of us thought about the
guards who were by the side of the road. As I was nearing a narrow pass
I saw a light shining across the road. Like a flash it came to me. I
threw up my hands and hurried back. We went well around them, which was
quite a job in the dark and the rain and the thick brush; but we got
back to the road, kept on until we came to the blacksmith shop. It was
about 10 o'clock and there was no light in the house. We had a talk and
decided that we were in a tight place and that Hastings might go to the
house as a Confederate soldier and see what he could learn. He went and
rapped on the door. A man came to the door. Hastings told him he was a
soldier with a leave of absence who had lost his way and asked if he
could come in for a short time. While talking he asked the man how he
was getting on. He said not at all well. "Why not?" asked Hastings, "you
have a nice place here." "Yes," was the answer, "but they do not treat
me well." "How is that?" Hastings inquired. "Colonel So-and-So was here
the other day," said the man, "and took all of my horses, cattle and
grain he could find." "Did he do the same by your neighbors?" asked
Hastings. "No one else," said the man. "How so?" asked Hastings. "He
said I was too much of a Union man," was the reply. Hastings then said:
"We have talked long enough. I am not a Confederate soldier, but a Union
officer, an escaped prisoner of war." "Why didn't you tell me that
before?" asked the man. "Come, wife, get up and give this poor fellow
something to eat." There was a bed in the room, an open fireplace with a
fire in it. "I am not alone," said Hastings. "I have four comrades
outside." "Outside in this hard rain? Go bring them in, quick," said
the man. When we came in he was pulling a jug out from under the bed.
Pouring something out of it, he said: "You are all wet, cold and hungry;
here is some good apple jack which I made. Drink some of it, it will do
you good. Have any of you got a bottle?" I had a small one which I had
carried through the service, usually having it filled with brandy to use
when some of my men gave out. He filled it. We were fed and he told us
what to do; to go down the road and avoid all the houses which we would
have to pass, some we must go well around, not leaving a track, others
to go right past. At the last house near the bridge there would be a
light, but to go right ahead. A poor man was dying there. When we
crossed the river he told us to turn to the left, go about two miles,
take the first road to the right, go to the first house, which was a
blacksmith shop, and wait until morning. He said we need not be afraid,
as there were no white people there; they had all left. "In the
morning," he said, "when you see the first darkey, whistle and he will
come to you. Tell him who you are and to take care of you through the
day, and at night to take you to the high sheriff." "What do we want of
the sheriff?" we asked. "He is just the man you want," was the reply.
"He will take care of you, and if necessary will ride all day to find
out something for you. He is allowed to be at home because he is a
sheriff, but there isn't a better Union man." We went on, got through to
the other shop all right, were cared for, put into the woods for the
day. At night we started on with two colored men, who would take us to
the sheriff. Neither of the men had been there, but the older one, who
acted as our guide, thought he could find the way. We had not gone far
when he stopped at a servant's house back of a plantation house, saying
he wanted to go in there. He soon returned, saying they wanted us to
come in. We hesitated, and he said it was all right; all were colored
people except one minister and he was all right. We finally went in. The
minister was a young-looking man who was allowed to remain at home
because he was a clergyman. We endeavored to be respectful to him. He
asked us: "What is the news?" Captain Starr replied: "We can't tell you.
I have been a prisoner for a year and a half and we are not allowed to
see the papers. You tell us the news." "I don't read the papers," was
the reply. "I suppose you confine yourself to clerical reading," said
Starr. "No, I never look at it," replied the man. "What do you read?"
asked Starr. "Books," said the minister. The good man evidently did not
know what "clerical" meant; but so far as we knew he was true to us and
did not give us away.

After our guide had procured some information as to his route, we left.
When outside he said to his comrade: "You go ahead and carefully look
around a certain place two miles ahead; it is a bad place." He did so,
met us and reported. We came to some woods and the guide said: "There is
a path going through these woods leading to the road which goes to the
sheriff. If we can find it, it will save us several miles." They hunted
up and down the edge of the woods until they found the path. We then
went through the woods, struck the road and went on until we came in
sight of the sheriff's house, rather late in the evening. The dogs
around the house were barking. The guide said: "You stop here while I go
call him out and have the dogs taken in." He went forward and called
out. A man appeared on the front porch and asked who was there. "A
friend," was the reply. "Will you take the dogs in so that I can come
in?" The dogs were called in. He went to the porch and soon came for us.


We were received most kindly. The sheriff asked many questions and said:
"I will be very glad to care for you as well as I can until I can find a
way for you to go on," but added that it would not be safe for us to
remain at the house; that we should eat then and he would take us to a
place in the woods for the night; that we should come in before daylight
in the morning, eat and return and the same at night. He said: "There is
a terrible state of affairs here so near the border, so much worse than
it is in the North. My neighbors, some of them, are Confederates and
others good Union men. They do not mind going out and shooting each
other. Some of the Union men who do not wish to abandon everything and
go north, but will not enter the Southern army, stay in the woods in the
mountains. Some of them have been there for two years. You see my boy
there," pointing to a boy six or eight years old. "We have endeavored
to bring him up to be a good religious, strictly honest and truthful
boy, yet if anyone should come here tomorrow and ask him if there had
been any strangers here, no matter what they did to him they could not
get a word out of him. Isn't that a terrible way to bring up children?"
We were taken to the woods. After two or three days one afternoon we saw
some men coming toward us through the woods. We supposed they were after
us, but as they came nearer we saw that one of them was the sheriff. He
had five other prisoners who had escaped from Columbia. All officers, of
course. Three of them were from the 101st and 103rd Pennsylvania
regiments, which were in our brigade. So our force was doubled.

After three or four days the sheriff told us: "I have arranged for you
to go ahead in the morning. A good guide, who has been several times to
the Union lines, will go with you and a few who wish to go north. Which
of you officers is in command?" he asked. "No one," we answered. "Is
that the way you do? What is your military rule when you meet in this
way? Who is in command?" "The ranking officer," we told him. "Who is
your ranking officer?" he inquired. "Captain Langworthy," they replied.
"Then Captain Langworthy is in command," he said, "and all of you, of
course, will obey orders. I sincerely hope you will not have any
trouble, but you all know there is no telling what you may run into and
you cannot be too well prepared. You leave here in the morning, go to
such a place in the mountains, which you will reach about night, where
some other parties will join you."

We left in the morning. There was the guide and three or four other men
and one colored man. The guide had a rifle, one of the others a
revolver, which was all the arms we had. I went ahead with the guide. We
got on nicely most of the day. Near night, while in the woods walking by
the side of a small stream a volley of rifle shots from the other side
of the stream startled us. We rushed up the mountainside. When a little
way up we looked ourselves over and found we were all there except one
of the refugees. We never knew whether he was shot or went in some other
direction. I looked across the little valley and saw a small village on
the other side and a company of Confederate soldiers marching down the
street with their rifles on their shoulders. By and by the guide said
to me: "You all get behind that large rock. I think there are but two
men near us. Joe and I will get behind this and see if we cannot bluff
them." They got behind the rock, showing their arms, and as the two men
came in sight, halted them. "What do you want?" they asked. "Who are
you?" was the reply. Our guide told them they could never find out, for
if they came any nearer they would be shot dead; that being only two men
it would be worse than foolish to follow us.

After a little more parleying we started on. It was getting dark and
began to rain hard. We went over a ridge of the mountains, down the
other side and across a small stream, when the guide said to me: "There
is no use in our trying to go ahead now; we cannot see anything to tell
in what direction we are going and are just as apt to go into trouble as
away from it. They will not attempt to follow us tonight; dogs could not
follow our trail through this rain. We had better stay here until we can
see where we go. What do you want me to do?" "Get us out of this muss
and to the Union lines," I replied. "We must have been given away."
"Yes," he said, "we have been given away, but how shall we get out of
this muss?" "By a way they would not expect us to," I said. "They
doubtless know that we have started for the Union lines, hence will have
every pass over the mountains guarded. We want to go where no one would
be expected to go, over the highest, roughest and worst peak of the
Allegheny Mountains." "That is easy," he replied. "That is Mount Pisga.
We can see that when we can see anything." "All right for Pisga then," I

We remained where we were until it began to grow light, then started for
Pisga, climbing up its side, much of the time over and around rocks,
arriving at the peak a little before night. We went down the other side
a short distance and stopped for the night. Down the mountain we could
see a valley, with houses and clearings, etc. It was still raining as it
had been doing all the day. We ten prisoners were bunched by ourselves
and the others in another group, a little way from us. Before lying down
I went over where the others were. They had gotten some dry pieces of
wood and were whittling as if about to start a fire. "What are you
going to do?" I asked. "We are very wet and cold," they said; "it would
be so nice to have a little fire." "Yes," I said, "but what would it do
to you? You can see those lights down there; they can see one here
better than we can see those in the valley. They know no one lives here.
A light here would bring them to investigate, perhaps before morning,
and they would be sure to get us. Would it pay? Now, you must understand
fully that there shall not be any light made here. The first one who
even strikes a match is a dead man." The guide said: "That's all right,
Captain. You may be sure we will not do anything of the kind. We should
have known better."

In the morning we went on and got along fairly well up and down the
ridges of the mountains until one afternoon the guide said: "Now we are
all right; while we are not at the Union lines, we are near enough to be
safe. The people here are all right. Down below here are some friends of
mine, a man and his wife, who will help us." We all felt gay and skipped
along much like school boys, arriving at the friend's house about
nightfall. "You wait out here," said the guide, "and I will go in and
tell them who we are." He soon returned and said there was something
wrong, as there was no one in the house, that they had just left, as
supper was on the table and partially eaten. Near the house was a
slashing. We told him to go there and look for his friends, announcing
who he was. He did so and returned with the wife. She said there was a
bad company of guerrillas there who were making much trouble and had
killed several people. We suggested that the guide and the wife try
again to find the husband, which they did and brought him in. He said we
were in a bad fix, but he would try to help us on the next morning. We
were fed and decided to stay outside. We established a guard and lay
down in the yard. In the morning we started out with this gentleman as a
guide, going carefully through the woods. We had not gone very far
before our guide was called by name by someone in the woods who said:
"Where are you going?" "A piece with some friends," he replied. "You are
taking a very great risk," he was told. At one place the guide said:
"See that large plantation over there and those men digging a grave--the
man who lived there was shot by the guerrillas yesterday."

We kept on till, late in the afternoon, we came to a road. The guide
said: "I will leave you here. You go up this road a little ways and you
will come to a cross road and a store. That is about forty-five miles
from my home. Go straight past the store until you come to the river,
then cross in a row boat. If there is not one there, swing your
handkerchiefs or something and they will come."

The road was lined on both sides with trees and plenty of brush. The
guide and I went ahead. Someone spoke to us. Looking toward the side of
the road we saw two soldiers sitting on the ground holding their horses.
We supposed they belonged to the guerrillas. Our comrades came up, we
talked a little and went on to the river, where we got a boat. I asked
one of the oarsmen where their ferry boat was. He said: "This is it." "I
mean one that will take a team or horses or cattle," I said. "The only
way they can take horses across is to go in the boat themselves, lead
their horses and let them swim. We used to have such a ferry, but they
took it way," he said. "How far up or down the river is there such a
ferry?" I inquired. "I do not think there is one within twenty-five
miles." That information of course relieved our anxiety somewhat. It was
about the middle of November. I inquired if they had heard from the
election in the North. They said they had and I asked who was elected
president. "Abraham Lincoln," was the reply. We hurrahed, although we
were yet in the Confederacy.

When we got across it was dark and we were all very tired. Most of our
company stopped at the first houses. I started up the road with my four
comrades. They said: "How far are you going?" "I don't know," I replied.
"We are all very tired, yet I think we do not want to take any chances
which we can avoid. If the two guerrillas with some of their associates
come over to look after us, either with or without their horses, they
will look in the houses. I do not care to be in the first house they
search." "All right," they said, "go ahead."

After going about a mile we came to a good looking house and decided to
see if we could get something to eat. We rapped at the door and inquired
if we could get something to eat if we would pay for it and were told to
come in. While at the table I asked how far it was to the Union lines.
"Fifteen miles straight up the road which comes from the river," was
the reply. "How will we know when we get there?" I inquired. "Go ahead
until you come to a flour mill with a large water wheel," was the reply.
"That is practically there. The guards are beyond, but so near that no
one will go to the mill who is afraid of the guard. The man who owns the
mill is a bachelor and sleeps there, a good Union man. Call him up, he
will care for you and in the morning will show you the guards."

We started on. The moon was shining brightly. Soon one or two who were
ahead were rolling a small animal around which was lying in the road and
apparently dead. Captain Aldrich came up and said, "He is not dead. If
you think he is feel of him, it is a possum. We came to him suddenly and
he is playing possum. Go on a little ways and then look at him." We did
so and he soon raised his head, looked around and scooted out of sight.

As we went on Aldrich lagged behind. We waited for him and I said,
"Aldrich, you are very tired. I know that you are a strict teetotaler,
take a little medicine, some of this apple jack to brace you up." He
said, "No, go ahead, I will keep in sight." We went on slowly, he well
behind. By and by I heard a call, "Cap-t-a-i-n, Capt-a-i-n." We stopped.
He came up and said, "Captain, where is that bottle?" I took it out,
unscrewed the cover and said, "Now drink enough to brace you up. It will
not hurt you if you drink it all." He took some and it helped him and we
got to the flour mill. We were kindly received and in the morning were
shown where the pickets were.

We went to the pickets and when they were relieved went with them to
their camp at Strawberry Plains in East Tennessee. This was on Sunday.
In the afternoon the rest of our crew came in. After dress parade we ten
were furnished horses and escort and taken to a railroad station, the
Quarter Master giving us transportation. While waiting for the train and
talking with the officers there, we were asked if we had any money. Some
had a little, others none. Those of us who had none were at once given
$50 or $60 each and were told that when we drew our pay we could send
the amounts to the men who had supplied us.

As we were changing cars one day, passing by a station, I saw a man who
looked familiar. I went to him and asked when he came down from God's
country. He said he had been there some time. "What is your business?" I
asked. "An express agent," he told me. "Oh, yes," I said, "you used to
be in Elmira, New York. That is where I used to see you. Who else is
there down here from Elmira?" I inquired. "I do not know of anyone," he
said, "except Major Diven; he is a paymaster at Louisville." "Where does
he stop?" I asked. "At the Galt House," the man told me. "He has been
recently married and he and his bride are at the Galt House."

We went on and were told we would arrive at Louisville at one o'clock
the next morning, where we had planned to take a steamer to Cincinnati.
Major Diven was a son of General Diven, who lived in Elmira, New York,
near where my father-in-law lived. The two families were intimate and
when I was married, the Divens, including the Major, were present.

My comrades asked me where I was going to stop when we got to
Louisville. I said the Galt House. "Aren't you very tony? Do you suppose
they will take us?" they asked. "That is where I am going," I said.

We arrived on time and went to the hotel, where we registered and were
told they were very sorry but there had not been a vacant room in the
house since eight o'clock the night before; the best they could do would
be to give us cots in the parlor where several others were assigned. We
took the cots and were soon asleep. In the morning, after breakfast, I
went to the office and inquired if Major Diven was around yet and was
told the major and his family had left about a week before and had taken
a house. "Where is his office?" I inquired. They told me and I asked at
what time in the morning he would be in his office. They thought at nine
o'clock. I went to look for my comrades and found them in the waiting
room. "Our boat does not leave until four o'clock this afternoon," I
said. "We have the day to put in here. Come and take a little walk with
me." "Where are you going?" they inquired. "To draw my pay," I told
them. "To draw your pay!" they laughed. "There is a United States
paymaster here," I said. "Why should we not draw our pay?" But, while
they had nothing to do, I could not persuade one to go with me. So I
went away alone and found a colored man sweeping out the office. I
inquired if Major Diven was in and was told that he was not, but would
be soon and would I come in. I picked up the morning paper from the
steps and went in. Soon the Major came. I said, "Major, I am an officer
in the United States service, an escaped prisoner of war; I came to draw
some pay." "What is your name, rank, regiment and where and when were
you captured?" he asked. I told him. He said, "I suppose you know there
is an order forbidding us to pay officers or men if they are away from
their command?" "Yes," I said, "but how about prisoners of war and
especially those who have made their escape? What provision is there for
them?" "There certainly should be some," he replied, "but I must first
talk it over with Colonel ----, my superior. Did you tell me your name
was D. A. Langworthy, Captain of Company 'E', 85th New York?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied. "Did you marry Belle Cooke last year?" he continued.
"Yes," I said. "Why, I was at your wedding!" he exclaimed. "I will
certainly pay you if I have to furnish the money myself, but let me go
first and talk with the Colonel." "One minute first, Major," I said.
"There are nine others with me, we are all alike, two of them are in the
85th and three others in our brigade." He left and soon returned saying
he was told he could give us all one month's pay. I told him that would
do nicely and I would go for the others. "Wait a minute," he said, "so
that I can have your papers ready for you to sign. When were you paid
last?" he inquired. "You will please say nothing about it, for I will
take the liberty of paying you for six months." So my check was for
something over $900.00.


(From left to right)


I went for the others, they all got some pay and of course all felt
better. We arrived at Cincinnati at about five o'clock in the morning. I
was somewhat at home there, for in previous years I had been there for
some time each year looking after my father's lumber interests. My chums
were inquiring for the Quarter Master to get their transportation. I
told them I should not trouble about the Quarter Master. "Why not?" they
asked. "His office probably will not be open before nine o'clock," I
said. "If I can get the six o'clock express at the little Miami station
it will make about one day's difference in my getting home and I am
getting in a hurry." "How about your railroad fare?" they inquired. "I
will pay it and take the chance of getting it back," I said.

I got the train and went the rest of the way alone. When, in the latter
part of March, 1864, I was returned to the front from detail duty in the
North, I left my wife at my home in New York City. While in prison I
learned that she had returned to her father in Elmira, New York. So of
course I made for Elmira. Arrived there in the latter part of the night.
I started to walk to father Cooke's. While I was in prison my wife had
an illness which troubled her head and started her hair coming out.
Hoping to save it, she had it cut short and the night before had put it
up in curl papers. It chanced that she and one of her sisters were
sleeping in a front chamber with the front window open and she was awake
and heard someone coming. She recognized my step and shook her sister,
saying, "Nell, Nell, get out of here quick, the Doctor is coming!"
"There is no Doctor coming for you," said Nell. "I tell you he is. I
know his step. Can't you hear it. There--he has opened the gate!" and
she pushed her sister out of bed and told her to go.

I rapped on the door, was admitted and embraced by Father Cooke, who
opened the stair door and said, "Belle." "Yes, father, I know who it
is," she replied. "Send him up." When I entered the room she was sitting
up in bed taking the curl papers out of her hair. That was the 20th of
November. I had been six weeks on the trip.

That day or the next I noticed several wagons going past loaded with
fresh meat, bread, vegetables and other articles of food. I inquired
where all that food was going and was told, "To your old camp." "Have
they got recruits there now?" I asked. "No," was the reply, "Confederate
prisoners." It looked to me as though they were well cared for.

I certainly was well done up. For the first two weeks I did not do much
but eat and sleep. It seemed as though I would never get filled up and
rested. I would eat breakfast and, before I knew it, be asleep. After I
had been there a week or more, one evening my wife's two sisters, young
ladies, said, "Father, are you going to the hall this evening to hear
the lecture?" "No," he said, "I had not intended to and do not know as I
care to." "It will be a fine lecture," they told him, "Doctor so-and-so
of New York City. We would like to go but have no one to escort us." I
said, "Girls, why don't you invite me?" "We would be delighted to have
you go, but fear you would go to sleep," they said. I promised to try to
keep awake and we went.

While waiting for the lecture to begin I felt weary, leaned forward, put
my forehead on the back of the seat in front and the next thing I knew
they shook me up and said it was time to go home.

When I arrived in Elmira I of course reported to Washington that I had
escaped, giving my whereabouts. After two or three weeks I received an
order to proceed to Annapolis, Maryland, where the exchanged prisoners
were received and cared for. After being there a few days I received an
order to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Will W. Clark of the 85th New
York, at Roanoke Island, North Carolina, who was there with a few of the
85th who were not at Plymouth at the time of the capture.

On arriving there on December 23rd, I found awaiting me Special Order
Number 439 by which I was mustered out and discharged by reason of the
expiration of my time of service; but which I suppose meant that I did
not have any command. I then returned to my home in New York City and
the war fortunately was soon over.

So far as I know Captain George H. Starr of Yonkers, New York, and
myself are the only persons living of the ten who reached home together.

After arriving at our homes, and after the war had ended we all
contributed to a financial remembrance to the "high sheriff" and
endeavored to express to him our very great obligation for his
remarkable kindness and efficient help to us when we were all in such a
critical plight, near the boundary which divided the north from the
south during our flight for freedom.

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