Doc. 32. exploit of Capt. Strong.
Praise of Capt. Strong, of the Belle City Rifles, Second Wisconsin regiment, for his brilliant exploit in escaping, as he did, from the rebels, is in almost everybody's mouth. We understand that when he enlisted, he was a student in Racine College, and was formerly a student in Beloit College. He is only about twenty-one or twenty-two years of age, well built, and very agile and active. He was regarded in college as the best jumper, runner, &c., and withal an excellent shot. He was popular with the students. His parents reside in Shopiere, Rock County. From his account of his escape we take the following:--
--Daily Wisconsin.As I was passing through a thicket, I was surrounded by six rebel soldiers--four infantry and two cavalry. The footmen were poorly dressed, and badly armed, having old rusty altered muskets. The cavalry were well mounted and well armed. Seeing I was caught, I thought it best to surrender at once. So I said, “Gentlemen, you have me.” I was asked various questions as to who I was, where I was going, what regiment I belonged to, &c., all of which I refused to answer. One of the footmen said, “Let's hang the d---d Yankee scoundrel,” and pointed to a convenient limb. Another said, “No, let's take him to camp and hang him there.” One of the cavalry, who seemed to be the leader, said, “We will take him to camp.” They then marched me through an open place--two footmen in front, two in the rear, and a cavalry man on each side of me. I was armed with two revolvers and my sword. After going some twenty rods, the sergeant, who was on my right, noticing my pistols, commanded me to halt and give them up, together with my sword. I said, “Certainly, gentlemen,” and immediately halted. As I stopped, they all filed past me, and, of course were in front. We were at this time in an open part of the woods, but about sixty yards to the rear was a thicket of undergrowth. Thus every thing was in my favor. I was quick of foot and a passable shot. Yet the design of escape was not formed until I brought my pistol pouches to the front part of my body, and my hands touched the stocks. The grasping of the pistols suggested my cocking them as I drew them out. This I did, and the moment I got command of them I shot down the two footmen nearest me — about six feet off--one with each hand. I immediately turned and ran toward the thicket in the rear. The confusion of my captors was apparently so great that I had nearly reached cover before shots were fired at me. One ball passed through my left cheek, passing out of my mouth. Another one--a musket ball — went through my canteen. Immediately upon this volley, the two cavalry separated, one to my right and the other to my left, to cut off my retreat — the remaining two footmen charging directly toward me. I turned when the horsemen got up, and fired three or four shots; but the balls flew wild. I still ran on — got over a small knoll, and had nearly regained one of our pickets, when I was headed off by both of the mounted men.  The sergeant called to me to halt and surrender. I gave no reply, but fired at him and ran in the opposite direction. He pursued and overtook me, and just as his horse's head was abreast of me, I turned, took good aim and pulled the trigger, but the cap snapped. At this time his carbine was unslung, and he was holding it both hands on the left side of his horse. He fired at my breast without raising the piece to his shoulder, and the shot passed from the right side of my coat, through it and my shirt to the left, just grazing the skin. The piece was so near as to burn the cloth about the size of one's hand. I was, however, uninjured at this time, save the shot through my cheek. I then fired at him again and brought him to the ground — hanging by his foot in the left stirrup and his horse galloping toward his camp. I saw no more of the horseman on my left, nor of the two footmen — but running on soon came to our own pickets — uninjured save the shot through my cheek, but otherwise much exhausted from my exertions.Wm. E. strong, Capt. Co. F, Second R. W. V.