From the Exchange Bureau
we have received Northern dates of the 20th, from which we compile the following summer.
The escape of the Yankees from the Libby prison.
The Washington Star
, of the 19th, contains a long account of the escape of the Yankee
officers from Libby prison, furnished by some of the officers who have arrived safely in Washington
— Yankeeism characterizes this account from beginning to ending, and the falsehoods which constitute a distinguishing trait in the Yankee
character are conspicuous in every line of the "exciting narrative." First we have an account of the.
Preparations for escape.
Over two months ago the officers confined to Libby prison conceived the idea of effecting their own exchange, and after the matter had been seriously discussed by some seven or eight of them, they undertook to dig for a distance towards a sewer running into the basin.
This they proposed to do by commencing at a point in the cellar, near a chimney.
This cellar was immediately under the hospital, and was the receptacle for refuse straw, thrown from the beds when they were changed, and for other refuse matter.
Above this hospital was a room for officers, and above that yet another room.
The chimney ran through all these rooms, and the prisoners who were in the secret improvised a rope, and night after night let working parties down, who successfully prosecuted their excavating operations.
After hard work and digging with finger nails, knives and chisels, a number of feet, the working party found themselves stopped by piles driven to the ground.
These were at least a foot in diameter.
But they were not discouraged.
Penknives, or any other articles that would cut, were called for, and after chipping, chipping, chipping for a long time, the piles were severed, and the tunnelers commenced again, and in a few moments reached the sewer.
But here an unexpected obstacle met their further progress.
The stench from the sewers and the flow of filthy water was so great that one of the party fainted, and was dragged out more dead than alive, and the project in that direction had to be abandoned.
The project of tunneling under Cary street was then conceived, and then commenced to dig at the other side of the chimney, and after a few hands full of dirt had been removed they found themselves stopped by a stone wall, which proved afterwards to be three feet thick.
The party were by no means undaunted, and with penknives and pocket-knives
they commenced operations upon the stone and mortar.
After nineteen days and nights' hard work they again struck the earth beyond the wall, and pushed their work forward.
On the 6th or 7th of February the working party supposed they had gone a sufficient distance, and commenced to dig upwards.
When near the surface they heard the rebel guards talking above them, and discovered they were some two or three feet yet outside the fence.
The displacing of a stone made considerable noise, and one of the sentinels called to his comrade and asked him what the noise meant.
The guards, after listening a few minutes, concluded that nothing was wrong and returned to their beats.
This hole was stopped up by inserting into the crevice a pair of old pantaloons filled with straw, and bolstering the whole up with boards, which they secured from the floors, &c., of the prison.--The tunnel was then continued only six or seven feet more and when the working party supposed they were about ready to emerge to daylight others in the prisons were informed that there was a way now open for escape.
After these fatiguing preparations had been completed, and the matter canvassed among the prisoners, one hundred and nine of them determined to make the effort to escape. "Virtuous" Neal Dow
declined to make the attempt, on the ground that he did not wish to have his Government back down from its enunciated policy of exchange.--His brother officers appealed to him and reasoned with him; but Neal
would not leave.
The account says:
About 8½ o'clock on the evening of the 9th the prisoners started out, Col. Rose
, of New York, leading the van. Before starting, the prisoners had divided themselves into squads of two, three and four and each squad was to take a different route, and after they were out were to push for the Union
lines as fast as possible.
It was the understanding that the working party was to have an hour's start of the other prisoners, and, consequently, the rope ladder in the cellar was drawn out.--Before the expiration of the hour, however, the other prisoners became impatient, and were let down through the chimney successfully into the cellar.
Col. W. P. Kendrick
, of West Tennessee
; Capt. D. J. Jones
, of the 1st Kentucky cavalry and Lt. R. Y. Bradford
, of the 2d West Tennessee, were detailed as a rear guard, or rather to go out last; and from a window Col. Kendrick
and his companions could see the fugitives walk out of a gate at the other end of the enclosure of the carriage-house, and fearlessly move off. The aperture was so narrow that but one man could get through at a time and each squad carried with them provisions in a haversack.
At midnight a false alarm was created, and the prisoners made a considerable noise in getting to their respective quarters.--Providentially, however, the guard suspected nothing wrong, and in a few moments the exodus was again commenced.
and his companions looked with some trepidation upon the movements of the fugitives, as some of them, exercising but little discretion, moved boldly out of the enclosure into the glare of the gas-light
Many of them were, however, in citizens' dress, and as all the rebel guards wear the United States
uniform, but little suspicion could be excited, even if the fugitives had been accosted by a guard.
Between one and two o'clock the lamps were extinguished in the streets, and then the exit was more safely accomplished.
There were many officers who desired to leave who were so weak and feeble that they were dragged through the tunnel by main force and carried to places of safety, until such time as they would be able to move on their journey.
At half-past 2 o'clock Captain Jones
, Col. Kendrick
, and Lieut. Bradford
passed out in the order in which they are named, and as Col. Kendrick
emerged from the hole he heard the guard within a few feet of him sing out, "Post No. 7
, half-past 2 in the morning, and all's well." Col. Kendrick
says he could hardly resist the temptation of saying, "Not so well as you think, except for the Yanks." Lieut. Bradford
was intrusted with the provisions for this squad, and in getting through he was obliged to leave his haversack behind him, as he could not get through with it upon him.
Once out, they proceeded up the street, keeping in the shade of the buildings, and passed eastwardly through the city.
Tribulations of Kendrick and his party.
A long narrative here follows of the sore trials and hair-breadth escapes of the "gallant" Kendrick
and his party; the valuable assistance rendered by the friendly negroes; of their meeting with a negro woman working in a field, who told them that the rebel pickets had been about there looking for the fugitives from the Libby; of the indescribable feelings of Col. Kendrick
, when, within ten miles of Williamsburg
, he saw the "old flag," supported by a detachment of Col. Spear
's cavalry; and of their final entrance into Williamsburg
The Union feeling in Richmond.
No inconsiderable portion of this "exciting narrative" is devoted to a description of the Union
feeling in Richmond
, much more prevalent, and decidedly more intense, according to this account, than we had supposed.
As an illustration of this Unionism, the following ridiculous statements are given:
From these officers we learn that there is a widespread Union feeling in Richmond
is held in detestation; but all who do not heartily endorse the rebel Government are spotted and watched.
There are at this time eighteen persons confined in Castle Thunder on charge of attempts to assassinate the rebel President
These prisoners also confirm the report that an attempt was made to burn Jeff
's mansion, and that one morning his servants found a coffin upon his porch.
In their escape the officers were aided by citizens of Richmond
— not foreigners of the poor classes only, but by natives and persons of wealth.
They know their friends there, but very properly withhold any mention of their names.
Of those who got out of the Libby there were a number of sick ones, who were cared for by Union people, and will eventually reach the Union
lines through their aid.
The treatment of prisoners — their fare.
Of course Col. Kendrick
had to furnish some account of the treatment of the Union
prisoners in rebeldom, and as the most gloomy accounts had been furnished heretofore, his statements had to be made to correspond.
The story about the mule meat evinces great extravagance on the part of our authorities, for if there is any animal in demand in the Confederacy
, on account of his working qualities, it is the mule.
Beef would be much cheaper, and our commons are generally covered with grazing cows, which might be slaughtered in lieu of our valuable mules.
As to the eating of dog meat on Belle Isle
by the privates, we would not be surprised if there was some truth in it. Two years ago, when Blenker
's Dutch brigade marched through Clarke
and Warren counties
, dog meat was a speciality with them, and they permitted no innocent cur to pass with impunity.
Some of Blenker
's men may be on Belle Isle
But to the statement of the escaped prisoners:
These prisoners confirm in every particular the statements heretofore made of the treatment of Federal prisoners there.
The rations of the officers were about the same as those of the rebel privates; but our privates on Belle Island
did not fare so well.
As long as the boxes sent from friends at the North
were delivered, they lived as well as could be expected under the circumstances.
Those who had money were allowed to send out and get what they wanted, by paying three times more than Richmond
prices, the profits going into the pockets of the officers of the prisons.
In other respects the treatment was quite harsh.
The sleeping accommodations were very poor, and the only place they had to exercise their limbs in was the dining room.
For awhile the officers were not furnished with meat at all, and at one time they received flesh which was pronounced by those among those officers who knew something of butchering as being mule meat, as they knew of no cattle used for food which had bones like those found in the meat.
The privates on Belle Island
, it is unquestioned, have eaten dogs; in fact were obliged to do it in order to sustain life.
The Yankee Congress.
In the Yankee
House of Representatives, the following resolution, offered by Mr. Arnold
, of Illinois
, was passed by a vote of ayes 78, noes 62:
That the Constitution of the United States
should be so amended as to abolish slavery in the United States
wherever it now exists, and to prohibit its existence in every part thereof forever.
, and Thomas
, of the Maryland
delegation, voted for the resolution, and Mr. Harris
The Committee of Ways and Means have reported adversely on the joint resolution to allow the Secretary of the Treasury
to sell the surplus gold accumulating in the Treasury.
The War news.
In the papers before us very little of interest is possessed.
telegraphs to Halleck
of the capture of twenty-eight of Mosby
's men at Piedmont
, Fauquier county
A dispatch from Chattanooga
says that "information has been received that Gen. Johnston
, thinking that we have weakened this point by reinforcing our army at Knoxville
, is preparing to attack Chattanooga
" Gen. Steadman
has assumed command at Chattanooga
The news with reference to Sherman
's operations is principally from Southern sources, which we have already published.
Information of his retreat had not reached the North
Their accounts from Florida
are to the 9th inst. This was to the first repulse of the enemy at Lake City
by Gen. Finnegan
has a dispatch from New Orleans, from which we extract the following:
On Sunday last Gen. Dick Taylor
attacked our troops stationed opposite Natchez
, and was repulsed with considerable loss and driven six miles. The attack was renewed yesterday morning, when the rebels were unsuccessful, being again repulsed with loss.
The enemy's force numbered three thousand.