Commander, My experience as a prisoner of war was more of a nature of a picnic when compared with the experiences of quite all of my comrades. Its duration was brief and the only interesting feature, out of the ordinary connected with it, was the manner in which was made, the greater part of the journey from near the place of capture to Richmond, VA. On the retreat from the second battle of Bull Run, Saturday August 30th, 1862, I was disabled and captured and arrived under guard near the field during the night. At day break the following day, passed over the portions of the ground in which we had been engaged. This being my only view of the field of battle directly after our engagement, I was deeply impressed with the grim horror of war, a lasting impression. Was taken to Gainesville, about six miles from place of capture, into the front yard of a farmhouse 6th of September. As the yard in which we were confined was on the main highway and the Confederate troops constantly passing during the day, we saw the greater part of their army. The guards would point out and name the general officers. The rations furnished us during this time consisted of fresh meat, corn meal and flour. We had the use of camp kettles and prepared the food by boiling the meat and making dumplings of the flour. The enlisted men captured were paroled. We were informed that we would not be so favored, that they were awaiting a home guard sent for, to escort us to Richmond. I have always thought that the home guard part of it was a misstatement as they did not want to weaken their force by a sufficient guard, they being on their way to the invasion of Maryland. Knowing our fate was Richmond and growing tired of waiting, it was decided by a majority to adopt a proposition which had been made that we would give up parole to report to Richmond as prisoners of war which we gave to an officer of the staff of Gen'l A. P. Hill detailed for the purpose. I have never heard of a like occurrence as this during the war. Undoubtedly it was the only one in which a body of officers or men gave a like paroling to report at a stated place as prisoners of war. On the morning of the 7th we started on our journey with Capt. Randolph Qtr. Mstr. C.S.A. as guide. (The captain was a perfect gentleman and in every way treated us as such.) An army wagon was furnished to convey those that were disabled and those that may fall by the wayside. We were not compelled to march as a body. The stopping place for the night was decided on and as we arrived we reported to Capt. Randolph who went in advance, mounted, and such undoubtedly notified the detachments of their troops going to the front of our coming as we meet a number of such and were no way molested. They were loud in their claims of marching through Maryland and Pennsylvania, capturing Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia and ending the war and taking in consideration the disastrous campaign of Gen McClellan in the Peninsula and Gen Popes utter failure, ending in the disgraceful route [sic] of his Army at 2nd Bull Run, its [sic] no wonder that they were so elated and we consequently depressed. Its amusing at this date to recall the curses made against officers in high command by a number of our body of prisoners, especially against Genl McDowell, who in the campaign wore a light colored coat and hat. He was charged with being a traitor and wearing this hat as a mark by which he would be known by the enemy. Gen Pope by his braggardness orders [sic], and failure to sustain them, was very unpopular. Our stopping place for the first night was Warrenton, the second, Culpepper Courthouse. We entered the hotels in each of these cities, registered, giving name, rank, regiment and state as if we were doing the like in any hotel at the north, and were accommodated with food and lodging as far as their capacity would go. At Culpepper I called upon Adjutant Vance of my regiment who had been left in hospital at this place in Gen Popes retreat after the battle of Cedar Mountain. He had been paroled and removed to a private house and was very kindly cared for. Orange Court House was given out as the meeting place for the evening of the 9th. It had been the custom for a number of us to make the days journey in the early morning and late afternoon to avoid the heat of mid-day, and this morning of the 9th three of us started quite early. We followed the railroad track. The bridges over the runs being burned, we crossed at fords. The water in the streams being very low we had no difficulty. Nearing Cedar Run, we saw the hand cars filled with people approaching in the opposite side. They descended and reached the ford at the same time was we. We waited until they crossed their cars being carried over. One of this party was the President of the so called Confederate States, Jefferson Davis. His Secretary of War and other officers were of the number. We learned by the Richmond papers that they were enroute to the Headquarters of Gen Lee, but on his arrival at Culpepper finding that the communications with the army was not open, he did not venture beyond that point for fear of capture. On the arrival of entire party at Orange Court House, instead of remaining over night, we were ordered to load flat cars in waiting, taken to Gordonsville where we were placed under guard by the Provost Marshall [sic] of that place and confined in an old carriage house. Orders having been received and no doubt given by Mr. Davis, not to recognize our parole. On the next morning, the 10th, we then proceeded under guard to Richmond and marched to Libby Prison. Except for the vermin that infested this famous place, we had nothing in particular to complain of during our stay of fourteen days. There was the usual daily rumors about us that those who had served under Gen Pope would be retained in prison and tried for horse stealing and other depredations. What seemed to confirm this was that a number who had served under Gen. McClellan, and were in Libby on our arrival, were paroled a few days after. The rations furnished us daily was a loaf of bread and soup at mid-day. We could purchase things through the sutler of the prison, vegetables and other eatables. The colored porters who sweep out, would smuggle in the daily papers. We all had a supply of money. There were one hundred and twenty of us, eighty in our party and forty who had been captured at Cedar Mountain and minor engagements prior to Bull Run. Among those captured at Cedar Mountain was Maj. G. B. Halstead of our insurrection [?]. We received the news of the battle of Antietam fought on Wednesday the 17th. On the following Sunday the 21st, and on the following Wednesday the 24th, we were all paroled. Left Richmond early on the morning of the 25th by carriage and wagons, each of us paying five dollars for the ride to City Point ten miles distant, where the flag of a truce boat was in waiting. Boarded the boat, steamed down the James River to Fortress Monroe. Remained several hours at this place. Again took boat, our destination being Annapolis, MD. Had a fine ride down the Chesapeake Bay arriving at Annapolis early the next morning. We reported to the Provost Marshall of Annapolis and on the next day each of us received a leave of absence for thirty days with permission to visit Washington. At the expiration of my leave I reported to the Commanding Officer of the Parole Camp at Annapolis and was placed in charge of a company of one hundred men. The duty required in this capacity was to inspect the company each morning at ten o'clock and to sign requisitions for rations and clothing for them. A duty which required about two hours each day, the balance of which was spent in the city. Received notice of my exchange on Dec 13th and immediately rejoined my regiment in camp near Belle Plain, VA. I was wounded at Gettysburgh [sic] on Wednesday July 1st, 1863. The division hospital of the 2nd Div 1st A.C. [Army Corps] to which my regiment was attached, was in the Lutheran church in the city of Gettysburgh, and as the enemy had position of the city until the morning of their retreat on the 4th, I again lost a second and was again in their hands. But fortunately for me not able to be taken south, as were my 1st Lieut. John Daily and 2nd Lieut. James Cain and a number of other officers of my regiment.
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Last updated 20 April 2000