I stopped when I got there, and turned around.
Not a man had stirred.
‘Are you not coming?’
said I. Some one answered: ‘No use!
It's been tried before!
You will all get killed.’
There was no time to waste in trying to persuade them.
I turned and ran towards No. 4.
No. 4 was a large barrack on the north side of the prison, about ten feet from the ditch.
The crowd, as if to nerve themselves for their desperate effort, had made a temporary halt behind it. There seemed to be about sixty men. A few in front, with ladders in their hands, were crying out, ‘Come on, boys!’
but holding back, whilst those behind, in most determined tones, yelled, ‘Go ahead, boys!’
It was natural for the front rank to hesitate.
They were to catch the fire, and it seemed certain death to the foremost.
All this I took in before I got there.
I said to myself, ‘They only want some one to lead them, and I will do it.’
That honor, however, was not reserved for me. I was within ten steps of the front, when the whole crowd, as if actuated by one impulse, rushed forward.
Into the ditch we went, regardless of the volley fired at us, and up on the other side.
There, planting our ladders against the fence, we almost flew over.
After firing one volley, which seemed to miss us all, as no one fell, the guard scattered.
When the foremost man reached the top only one sentinel was left, and he appeared to be too frightened to run. The whole prisonful could have gone out at that gap.
Outside we all scattered.
A corn-field was to be traversed, and beyond that was timber.
On reaching it I turned obliquely to the left, ran in that direction a few minutes, then made another left turn, and soon came to a road some distance west from the prison.
Following this, a few minutes's walk carried me into Indianapolis
, and then I felt safe.
I was now south of the prison.
The pursuit would naturally be on the north side.
I had no fear of being arrested.
I wore a nice citizen's suit generously given me by a comrade in Marshall
Moreover, I was small for my age, and could easily have passed for a boy of fifteen.
No one would have suspected me of being an escaped prisoner.
All that night and the next day I walked on the railroad leading to Terre Haute
My destination was Marshall, Ill.
, ninety miles west from Indianapolis
, where I arrived Thursday night. The Confederate boys were all gone.
A traitor had betrayed their councils.
Some had been arrested; the rest were scattered.
A kind family of Southern sympathizers kept me with them two weeks, and then gave me money to carry me to Boone county, Ky.
There I found a