Narrative of Captain John F. Porter, Jr., Fourteenth New York cavalry-particulars of his escape.
Captain John F. Porter
, of the Fourteenth New York Cavalry, arrived in New York on Monday night, February 15th, 1864, from Washington
, having escaped from Richmond
, where he was a prisoner of war. Captain Porter
was taken prisoner on the 15th of June, 1863, in the attack on Port Hudson
He was carried to Jackson
, and thence conducted to the rebel capital, which he reached on the 29th of June.
, he was incarcerated in the now famous Libby prison.
some two months previous to his escape, Captain Porter
determined upon making such an attempt.
He then tried to purchase a rebel uniform, but could not get it. At a later date, however, he succeeded in procuring rebel clothing, several brother officers in prison providing him with each article suitable for his purpose, which they possessed.
was so emaciated from want of food and the sufferings while in prison, as well as a severe wound which he received at the second Bull Run
, that he found much difficulty in walking; but after taking a little exercise daily, and gradually increasing the same, he soon found his strength increasing, and nerved himself to the task of an effort to escape.
On the morning of the 29th of last January, accompanied by Major E. L. Bates
of the Eighteenth Illinois Volunteers, Captain Porter
made his first attempt.
He went down to the main entry of the prison and entered the surgeon's room.
Here he informed the surgeon that
he was attacked with chills, and so deceived this excellent medical gentleman that he gave him medicine for the disease.
He next passed down into the room occupied by the commissary, shaved his beard and darkened his eyebrows and hair, thus disguising himself perfectly.
did not then endeavor to pass out of the gate, but waited until three o'clock in the afternoon, which was the hour designated for roll-call.
At this time he went into the middle room of the prison, and, roll-call being over, went down with the guard.
then waited until the guard went into the building, and while a new one was being placed on duty, passed Post No. 1
, down Carey street, in which Libby Prison is situated.
Having got outside of the city limits, he suddenly stumbled against a battery, and, seeing a negro in the vicinity, asked the name of the battery, and was told it was No. 4.
Passed out along the Nine Mile road, and, coming to a wood, stayed there over night, and returned to Richmond
next morning, in order to await a more favorable opportunity for reaching the Union
, Captain Porter
now remained nine days without suspicion, during which time he passed around the entire fortifications of the city.
At the end of that time he procured a passport from a rebel officer, and, in company with a family of Irish refugees, started for the Army of the Potomac.
Arriving at Cat Tail Church, in Hanover county
, the party were suddenly surrounded by rebel cavalry.
's passport was rigorously examined, and his person robbed of one hundred dollars Confederate money, the rebels leaving him fifty in his possession.
Two days after, having reached the Rappahannock
, the river was crossed
into Richmond county
, and the party reached the banks of the Potomac
They were secreted in the house of a Union gentleman until Friday night, who, for twenty dollars in gold, chartered a boat to carry them to Maryland
They were then landed at Clement
's bay, St. Mary's county, Maryland
. Captain Porter
here fell in with a detachment of the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Regular Cavalry, and was by them escorted to Leonardtown
Here the escaped officer was provided with transportation to Point Lookout
, where, on reporting to General Manton
, he was sent on to Washington
, who escaped a few hours previous to Captain Porter
, was subsequently recaptured.
says that the tunnel by which the last batch of officers made their escape from Libby Prison, was commenced on last New Year's Night. It extended from one of the lower rooms of the prison some two hundred yards into the street, opening on a vacant lot.
The youngest soldier in the Army of the Cumberland.
At the Caledonian supper in Cincinnati, Ohio
, during December, 1863, General Rosecrans
exhibited the photograph of a boy who he said was the youngest soldier in the Army of the Cumberland.
His name is Johnny Clem
, twelve years of age, a member of Company C, 22d Michigan Infantry.
His home was at Newark, Ohio
He first attracted the attention of General Rosecrans
during a review at Nashville
, where he was acting as marker for his regiment.
His extreme youth
(he is quite small for his age) and intelligent appearance interested the general, and calling him to him he questioned him as to his name, age, regiment, etc. General Rosecrans
spoke encouragingly to the young soldier, and told him to come and see him whenever he came where he was. He saw no more of the boy until the end of 1863, when he went to his place of residence — the Burnet House
-and found Johnny Clem
sitting on his sofa, waiting to see him. Johnny had experienced some of the vicissitudes of war since last they met. He had been captured by Wheeler
's cavalry near Bridgeport
His captors took him to Wheeler
, who saluted him with-
“ What are you doing here, you d d little Yankee scoundrel?”
Said Johnny Clem
, stoutly: “General Wheeler
, I an no more a d d scoundrel than you are, sir.”
Johnny said that the rebels stole about all that he had, including his pocket-book, which contained only twenty-five cents.
“ But I wouldn't have cared for the rest,” he added, “if they hadn't stolen my hat, which had three bullet holes it received at Chickamauga
He was finally paroled and sent north.
On Saturday lie was on his way from Camp Chase to his regiment, having been exchanged.
observed that the young soldier had chevrons on his arm, and asked the meaning of it. He said he was promoted to a corporal for shooting a rebel colonel at Chickamauga
The colonel was mounted, and stopped Johnny at some point on the field, crying, “Stop, you little Yankee devil.”
Johnny halted, bringing his Australian rifle to
an “order,” thus throwing the colonel off his guard, cocked his piece (which he could easily do, being so short), and suddenly bringing his piece to his shoulder, fired, the colonel falling dead with a bullet through his breast.
The little fellow told his story simply and modestly, and the general determined to honor his bravery.
He gave him the badge of the “Roll of honor,” which Mrs. Saunders
, wife of the host of the Burnet House
, sewed upon Johnny's coat.
His eyes glistened with pride as he looked upon the badge, and little Johnny seemed suddenly to have grown an inch or two taller, he stood so erect.
He left his photograph with General Rosecrans
, who exhibits it with pride.
We may hear again of Johnny Clem
, the youngest soldier in the Army of the Cumberland.
“God's flag :” --As one of the brigades of the reserve corps which came up to the rescue of General Thomas
was marching through the town of Athens
, a bright-eyed girl of four summers was looking intently at the sturdy fellows as they tramped by. When she saw the sun glancing through the stripes of dazzling red and on the golden stars of the flag, she exclaimed, clapping her hands: “Oh, pa!
pa! God made that flag! --see the stars!-it's God's flag!”
A shout, deep arid loud, went up from that column, and many a bronzed veteran lifted his hat as he passed the sunny-haired, child of bright and happy thoughts, resolving, if his good right arm availed any thing, God's flag should conquer.
What a sweet and happy christening the glorious ensign received from those artless lips-“God's flag!”
and so it is,