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I never knew any man to make a correct calculation of the time of a tunnel's completion. But you can always conclude, when its engineers declare positively that it will be done in two days, that it will still require some finishing strokes at the close of a week. . . . The truth is, that the operators are so anxious to finish a tunnel that they calculate their capacity for performance, even with their wretched implements, by the intensity of their desire. Junius Henri Browne, in Four years in Secessia.

Next to the hope of being exchanged, which became almost an obsession with all prisoners confined for any length of time, the idea of escape was perhaps uppermost. Few prisoners would ever acknowledge that they had ever seen a ‘beautiful jail,’ and no sooner had they been confined than they began to lay plans for escape.

Some of these plans were exceedingly ingenious. Occasionally, citizens' clothes were smuggled into the prison, sometimes by the connivance of the guards. On both sides it was found almost impossible to prevent prisoners from trading with the guards, and in many cases patriotism could not withstand an offer to purchase a blue or gray coat, as the case might be. During the latter part of the war, many Confederates had no uniforms. A bribe might cause a guard to turn his back, or a pass might be forged. Prisoners were known to climb out through the chimneys of their temporary quarters, and to use the time-honored expedient of letting themselves down from the roof or from windows by means of ropes made from their bedding.

Occasionally, prisoners made a rush and attempted to

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Junius Henri Browne (1)
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