previous next

[360] fired at him without effect, but coming suddenly upon a formidable ditch, the horse bolted and threw him over his head, without serious injury. The Rebels were upon him in a moment, and knowing that it was useless to resist, he surrendered.

A graphic description of this daring attempt, and of the subsequent demeanor of Captain Barker in prison, can fortunately be given in the words of his companion in the misadventure, General Stoughton.

Early in the month of March, 1863, before the gray dawn of day had replaced the darkness gathered during a stormy, cold, and gusty night of rain and sleet, I found myself riding side by side with a young man through the thick pine woods of Virginia, our horses floundering in the mud caused by the recent rains. We were surrounded by several Rebel soldiers, each carrying his pistol in his hand, cocked and ready for use should we attempt to escape; but in spite of this vigilance he managed to communicate to me his name, and his intention to escape as we neared Centreville, rouse the garrison there, and liberate his fellow-prisoners. I reminded him of the peril of the attempt under the circumstances, to which he paid little heed, seeming only anxious as to the horse's capacity to leap the stream which then separated us from Centreville, running only a few rods to our left, and parallel to our course of march. It was now the gray of the morning, and suddenly he dashed from my side directly toward the stream. Almost instantly the report of several pistols broke the stillness of the morning air, and Barker fell forward on his horse's neck, the horse still plunging toward the stream, on reaching which he raised himself on his hind legs as if to make a spring to clear it, when, suddenly turning short to the left, Barker fell to the ground, as we all supposed at the time mortally wounded, in this most intrepid attempt to release his fellow-prisoners from captivity. Such was my first acquaintance with Augustus Barker, and so much was I pleased with him, that the next day, when I was paroled and permitted to leave the other prisoners, to become the guest of General Fitz-Hugh Lee, I asked that he might accompany me, which request was granted. Afterwards, in Libby Prison, under the most depressing circumstances, he displayed the rarest qualities; his buoyant spirits and good cheer never deserted him. He was, I may say, a great pet with all the prisoners, cheering the downcast and encouraging the anxious and low-spirited. He was a

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Centreville (Virginia, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jacob Barker (3)
E. H. Stoughton (1)
Fitz-Hugh Lee (1)
Augustus Barker (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March, 1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: