This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 was to be dug from the rear of Company A, first division, to the fence, a distance of about twenty feet, and was commenced in a small tent. This work was extremely dangerous, and had to be carried on with great caution. It was large enough for a man to crawl through. It was worked by detail, and as the dirt was dug out of it, it was drawn to the mouth of the tunnel in an old haversack, and distributed over the bottom of the tent. At last it was completed, and the party was divided into squads of ten each. The squads were to make their exit on separate nights. After getting beyond the inclosure, each party was to choose its own mode of proceeding. The first party made the attempt. They were betrayed by a sentinal, whom some of them had most foolishly bribed, as there was no necessity for it. The alarm was given, and the prisoners who had succeeded in getting out had taken refuge behind the protecting banks of sand on the beach. As soon as the officers reached the spot, they called upon the prisoners to surrender, saying they would not be harmed. Major Patterson (the Provost-Marshal) stood at the gate, and as each prisoner came up, he deliberately shot at him. One was shot in the head, from which he never recovered, and the last account we had of him he was in a lunatic asylum. Another was shot in the shoulder, and another in the abdomen, from the effects of which he died. The remaining seven managed to get into the camp again, without being hurt, for which they could thank the darkness of the night. The tunnel was fired into several times, but no one was in it. The next day it was filled up, and the men in whose tent the opening had been made were confined in the guard house, on bread and water, for ten days. The shooting of these men was without any excuse whatever, as they had expressed a willingness to surrender, and were proceeding to do so; besides, it is a recognized principle that a prisoner of war has a right to escape if he can, and the capturing party has no right to punish, but simply to remand to proper custody. This event stopped all idea of escape for awhile, and we became resigned to our fate. The intense cold weather at this season induced the authorities to give us some wood, and for this purpose a detail of four men from each one hundred was allowed to go, under a guard, to a point about a quarter of a mile above the camp for it. An idea can thus be obtained of the quantity of wood each company obtained — as much as four men could carry a quarter of a mile. This, too, was for three rations.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.