did, coming down on the pavement with a crash within six feet of the sentinel with his loaded musket.
Probably no sweeter sound ever fell on the ear of that colonel than the dull, unmeaning click of the gun, which (doubtless owing to the rain) missed fire when leveled at his breast, the muzzle scarce a yard away; and ere aid could come, he bounded off into the darkness and disappeared.
The attempt was gallant enough to have proved a permanent success, but he was returned to me by General Lew Wallace
, within a month, having been retaken in Baltimore
Attempted escapes were more numerous, however, some of them of such a nature as, I think, to much interest the reader.
One, especially, borders on the marvelous, and yet I vouch for its entire accuracy, and can substantiate it fully from documents now in my possession.
It is as follows: A citizen of Maryland
, whom, for the purpose of this narrative we will name Brown
, was arrested and sent to the Old Capitol, charged with having killed a Union soldier in an affray during a drinking spree; and, as he was well known to be an ardent sympathizer with the Southern
cause, it was inferred that he was influenced by that motive in the killing-but with this our story has nothing to do. He was an uneducated, ignorant, superstitious man-probably a sample of “poor white trash” of the South-and, as the result shows, easily imposed upon.
He was assigned to a room on the fourth floor, in which there was already an occupant, who seemed ill-pleased to share his bed and board with a new comer, whose appearance he evidently did not admire.
However, nolens volens
was and must be his room-mate, as the crowded condition of the building made other disposition impossible, and thus was developed a plan to be rid of him, purely devilish, as follows: For a few days he manifested a friendly disposition toward Brown
until he succeeded in winning his confidence.
Then, one day, upon returning to the room after a visit to the prison yard, he informed Brown
that he had overheard the colonel commanding the prisons giving orders preparatory to his (Brown
's) execution by shooting, to take place the next morning.
Believing this absurd tale, the effect on Brown
was terrible, and so thoroughly was he frightened that he dashed about the room with wild cries of anguish and despair, and it was with much difficulty his companion could quiet him sufficiently to reveal a plan which he pretended he had safely arranged for his escape from the impending doom.
Escape! it was heaven, and Brown
listened with an eager ear to anything that promised half a chance, and with credulity marvelous, as the doom to him was frightful.
was then told that his room-mate had long followed the