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[272] was one of the appurtenances of the dungeon), and the tunneling with pocket-knives, spoons and forks. One man worked at a time, by turns. When the officer of the guard visited the dungeon, morning and evening, a blanket was spread over the hole, the prisoners engaging in a game of cards seated on the edge of the blanket.

For three days and nights they worked like beavers. Foremost in the labor was Busy Bill, the renegade; he did yeoman's work. On the evening of the third day, realizing that but a few hours' more work would enable them to breathe the air of freedom, it was proposed to suspend work at 6 o'clock, and to resume at 9 o'clock, which would bring the hour of escape at about the dead of night. At about 8 o'clock, however, Busy Bill was apparently taken with violent paroxysms, and so intense seemed his suffering, that the Sergeant of the Guard was asked to take him up out of the dungeon and do something for him.

A few minutes after he was taken up the Sergeant of the Guard came down into the dungeon, and remarking, ‘Boys, your game is up—Busy Bill gave it away,’ walked up to where the hole was covered and kicked the blanket away. Busy Bill had actually betrayed his companions in the hope, doubtless, of some reward, which he received in the shape of a merciless castigation when he was returned to the dungeon. So badly was he beaten by his fellow-prisoners that he had to be sent to the hospital.

A few days afterward Blanchard was taken from the dungeon and ordered to clean the quarters of the Federal officers with bucket and swab. This he peremptorily declined to do, notwithstanding the Provost Marshal drew his pistol the second time he gave the order. He was then marched to the quarters of the commanding officer, who, after hearing the statement of the Provost Marshal, exclaimed: ‘Is it “that New Orleans boy?” Take him to the Black Hole, and starve him until he will work.’

The Black Hole was an iron-clad cell, three feet by six. Thus confined, Blanchard remained two days and nights, without a morsel to eat, being visited morning and evening by the Provost Marshal, who would merely remark, ‘Are you going to work?’ On the morning of the third day Blanchard was taken out of the Black Hole and marched to the Colonel's quarters, and being told that he was brought out at the request of several citizens merely to be given a chance to save his own life, the question was put to him sternly by the Colonel, ‘Will you or will you not work?’ His answer was simply, ‘Never!’ He was ordered to be taken back to the Black

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J. G. Blanchard (3)
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