Extraordinary escape from the hands of the Hessians.--Adjutant Geo. W. Alexander's escape from Fort McHenry--his safe arrival Among his friends.
--We had an interview last night with Adjutant Geo. W. Alexander
at the Powhatan Hotel
, where he arrived yesterday from Gen. Johnston
His escape and subsequent adventures are equal to a Trenck romance.
After Colonel Thomas
had captured the St. Nicholas
, they started upon another secret expedition, and by one of those unaccountable accidents the Colonel
was at this time in charge of a schooner, steering boldly up the Chesapeake
The weather came on equally and very bad; and seeing suspicious movements among some steamers, he concealed his men in the hold of the vessel, placed his brother-in-law at the helm, and he himself on deck disguised as an oysterman, he ran into Annapolis
and anchored under Fort Seveni.
At daylight got under way and stood over to Chester river
Here a terrific gale threw his little craft high upon Eastern Neck Island
He then, in disguise, boarded the steamer Arrow,
got the papers and saw the account of the Colonel
's arrest; then placed the main body of his men under the charge of Lieutenant Blackiston
, with orders to him to make the best of his way to Virginia
, across the Bay
and through Calvert county
; which Blackiston
succeeded nobly in doing.
then, with his brother-in-law and two men, started for Accomac
, down the Eastern Shore of Maryland
Everything went on swimmingly until his arrival at Cumbridge, where, one of the party being recognized by Judge Spence
, and he being a relative, Monteith-like, proved a traitor and informed on them.
In a short time Governor Hicks
ordered out the Dorchester Guards
; the hotel was surrounded, and they were taken in custody, dragged to the common jail, placed in a room, and kept until morning.
Then closely guarded, they were conveyed to the steamer.--On the wharf an immense throng surrounded Governor Hicks
, and shouted loudly for the habeas corpus. Alexander
demanded of Governor Hicks
to be treated as a gentleman.
The Governor replied, "You are in the hands of the military." "I am glad to hear it," said Alexander
, "for I thought I was in your hands."
Here the crowd attempted a rescue; but, overpowered by numbers, Alexander
was borne on board the steamer and conveyed to Fort McHenry
His wife, who was in Virginia
at the time, immediately saw President Davis
, who kindly assured her that everything possible should be done to save him. She then went to Maryland
, procured a pass to visit her husband, and at once commenced the invention of plans for his escape.
She procured a Federal soldier's uniform, a clothes line, and an inflating life-preserving waistcoat.
These she smuggled to his cell beneath her garments.
During the arrangement she purchased plants and made for her husband a little garden at his cell window, thus disarming all suspicion that any escape was meditated.
Sixteen days ago, everything being in readiness, just after dark, Alexander
donned his disguise, and while Col. Zarvona
) engaged the attention of the sentinel, he slipped by, gained the ramparts, passed over the mortar battery, and sprang from the curtain into the ditch.
The fall being great, he discovered, on rising, that he was crippled.--Nothing daunted, he crawled through the abattis, over the glacis, into the river, inflated his waistcoat, and made a bold stroke for freedom.
After being in the water a long time, he landed and crawled three-fourths of a mile to a house.
There he found some friendly-disposed people; two Catholic girls washed him and dressed him, put a "scapula" round his neck for protection, placed him in the bottom of a carriage, and, themselves concealing him with their garments, drove to a friend's house, where he was taken care of.
The next day a man-of-war was hauled into the river, and fired guns for a long time to raise Alexander
's body, supposing he must have been drowned.
After this, friends of the cause in Maryland
conveyed him from place to place by night for concealment, until at last he was carried to the shore of the Potomac
Here, by the merest accident, he fell in with Lieut. Dunott
, who had escaped from Washington
, and George Bear, a young man who was making his way to Portsmouth, Va. Alexander
purchased a boat.
and Bear carried him on their shoulders a mile.
Bear tore off his coat-skirts and muffled the oars, and although the guard vessel was within 150 yards, they quietly pushed off and succeeded in reaching the Virginia
shore in safety.
A man, taking the boat for remuneration, carried them in his conveyance to Gen. Johnston
speaks very feelingly of his friend, Lieut. Dunott
, who, while bearing him on his back, at every alarm turned to face the danger, thus showing the devotion of one soldier to another.