Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Delware in the Civil War Period

Houston Telegraph new edit
Contributed by Harrison

Description: Escape of Prisoners from Fort Delaware

Date: October 2 1863

Newspaper published in: Texas

Source: newspaper archives/genealogybank

Page/Column: The August 26 1863 Issue of Richmond Dispatch

Richmond, Virginia, August 26, 1863:

Yesterday afternoon five confederate prisoners, A. L. Brooks and C. J. Fuller, company G, 9th Georgia, J. Marian, company D, 9th Georgia, William E. Glassey, company B , 18th Mississippi and John Dorsey, company A, Stuart's Artillery, arrived here from Fort Delaware, having made their escape from that place on the night of the 12th inst.
The narrative of their escape is interesting. Having formed the plan of escape they improvised life preservers by tying four canteens, well corked, around the body of each man and during the late night preceded to leave the island. The night being dark they got off the island and swam off the back of the island for the Delaware shore. Three of them swam about four miles and landed about two miles below Delaware City. The other two, being swept down the river, floated sixteen miles and landed at Christine Creek. Another prisoner, from Philadelphia started with them but drowned a short distance from shore. He said he was not going back to the Confederacy, but was going home to Philadelphia. He had eight canteens for flotation but was not a good swimmer.
The three who landed near Delaware City laid in a corn field the rest of that night and the next day and the next evening after dark started on the way south. They had first made their intentions known to a local farmer who gave them a good supper. That night they traveled 12 mile through Kent county, Delaware, and lay concealed the next day in a friendly gentleman's barn. From here they went to Kent county Maryland where friendly citizens furnished them with clean cloths and money which made detection less probable as they had been in their Confederate uniforms the two days previous. They then took the cars on the Baltimore and Philadelphia railroad to Dover. In the car with them was a Yankee Colonel and Captain and the provost guard passed through frequently but they were not discovered and left the train at Delmar and made their way by Barren Creek Springs and Quantico to the Nanticoke River. Here they met with other escaped prisoners and went by boat to Tangier's Sound and crossing the Chesapeake landed in Northumberland county Virginia below Point Lookout, Maryland, where the Yankees were building a fort for confinement of prisoners. They met with kindness the citizens of Heathsville of the Northern Neck who contributed over $100 to aid them on their route. soon they met or pickets and came to this city on the York river railroad.
These escaped Confederates expressed their gratitude to the people of Delaware and Maryland who did everything they could to aid them. They had no difficulty in finding generous people with Southern sympathies.
These escaped prisoners tell that a large number of our prisoners at Fort Delaware have taken an oath and enlisted in the Yankee services. 270 men have been enlisted in the 3rd Maryland Regiment, some in artillery and some in the infantry. To effect these enlistments the Yanks circulated all sorts of stories among the prisoners, such as, General Lee had resigned, that North Carolina had left the Confederacy and reentered the Union and Virginia is only waiting for Lee to be driven from her borders to resume her connection with the Yankee nation.
They tell the men that if they enlist in the Union Army they will be sent out West to fight Indians so they will not be in danger of being captured by the Southerners. They have said the prisoners at Fort Delaware are dying at the rate of twelve a day and are receiving rations of six crackers a day with spoiled beef.

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