Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/254

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238 Southern Historical Society Papers.


Sometime previous we had bribed a sentinel to tell us where we might find a yawl. Securing the yawl, we carried it to the wharf at the mouth of the Savannah, and, having no oars, were waiting for the tide to carry us up the river. It was only eight miles to the Confederate picket lines.

Before we were able to get away, one of the prisoners in the fort reported to the authorities that some of the prisoners had escaped. This we found afterward to be a fact. We knew we were pursued, because we could hear the noise of the well-known tramp of the Federal infantry as we lay prone upon the ground, as close as pos- sible to the water's edge. The night was dark and rainy. Two- thirds of the pursuing party had passed us, when one of our number, becoming frightened, cried out: " We surrender ! "


So ended our drama of escape. We could not submit to our fare were recaptured and taken back into the fort, and placed in a dungeon eight feet square (eight of us) in our wet clothes. The next day, while trying to find out how we made our escape, they saw the rope attached to the barrel of pork hanging from the port-hole in the commissary. Entering, the whole situation was taken in at once and our way traced back through the twenty-two walls.

The commissary-sergeant was arrested at once and taken to Gen- eral Mullineaux's headquarters. Men were sent to our cell, and I was taken out.

When I reached the General's office, he asked me if I knew the commissary-sergeant under arrest. I said that I did not. He then asked me what time we made our escape. I replied: " About 10 o'clock."

The general then said that the sergeant told him he had retired at 8 o'clock. I stated further: " If this sergeant is the man that was in the commissary last night, I have seen him before; armed with a piece of scantling three feet long, two inches thick and three inches wide, I stood guard over him while the rest escaped. Fortunately for the sleeper he did not awake, for dead men tell no tales, and I did not raise any disturbance with him."


Upon this evidence the sergeant was released and I was taken back to the dungeon. We remained in the dungeon eight days, then one