Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/251

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In a F*-</trfil Prison. 235

Harbor, June 3, 1864; residence, Red Sulphur Springs, Va. Major Richard Woodrum, Twenty-sixth Virginia Battalion, Echols' Bri- gade, Breckinridge's Division, captured at Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864; residence, Union, Va. Lieutenant W. H. Kennell, Morgan's command, captured at Cheshire, O. ; residence, near Fort Worth, Tex. Lieutenant D. N. Prewett, Morgan's command, captured at Cheshire, O., and W. W. George, Company H, Twenty-sixth Vir- ginia Battalion, Echols' Brigade, Breckinridge's Division, captured at Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864; residence, Princeton, Va. One other completed the list.


The troops holding the prison occupied the casemates beyond No. 24, and the commissary was also in this end of the fort.

With the scant rations we have described, starvation was looking us in the face, and our mess put their heads together to contrive a plan whereby we might secure something more to eat. We remem- bered the trap-door in one corner of our casemate, raised it, and went into the basement underneath, thinking we could pass to the basement under the commissary beyond casemate No. 24. We found this basement was divided from the next by a wall twenty-two inches thick, made of brick laid in cement, and had to devise some means of breaking through.

Searching the prison for tools with which to work, we found an oyster knife five or six inches long, and an iron belt some ten inches long, in the shape of an old fashioned cleviMpin, Some one had to begin the work, so Lieutenant Prewett and myself made the first attempt at what proved a long and tiresome undertaking.


The plan was to make a hole in the cement between the bricks with the oyster knife, then prize out the bricks with the iron pin. In this way we made an opening in the cement large enough to pass into the next basement, and found the same situation in that basement, the water standing four or four and a half feet.

In the meantime, our friend Prewett, got sick and could not work longer than one day. He was succeeded by Lieutenant W. H. Ken- nell, who worked about the same length of time, and found he was unable to continue. Lieutenant W. W. George then addressed himself to the task, and found his strength sufficient, and continued