From the Richmond Dispatch, 10/25/1861, p. 2, c. 2
Arrival of Federal Prisoners. – The announcement in
the newspapers yesterday morning that a large number of Federal prisoners,
captured in the battle of Leesburg, would arrive some time during the day,
excited the curiosity of our inhabitants, and by nine o’clock a considerable
crowd assembled at the Central depot with a determination to wait for the cars,
no matter what time they came in. A guard of soldiers, under Lieut. Bradford,
was stationed along the track of the railroad from Broad street to the engine
house, and no one, save a few privileged characters, was suffered to pass the
line. The number of spectators was constantly increased, until a dense mass of
human beings, of all ages, sexes, and conditions in life, filled the adjacent
streets and crowded the outside platforms, the freight cars, and every other
eligible spot in the vicinity. – Shortly before half
past 10 o’ clock the distant whistle announced the approach of the train, which
soon made its appearance, and it was with the greatest difficulty that the
sentinels were enabled to keep the impatient throng from trespassing upon the
reserved territory. Files of soldiers extended down Broad street for some
distance, leaving an avenue between for the prisoners too pass through. The
train consisted of several burden cars, at the doors of which armed Confederate
soldiers were stationed, as custodians to the “foreign element” within. The
escort from Manassas, consisting of 84 men, was under command of Lieut. Col. T.
C. Johnson, of the 19th Georgia regiment, and Capt. J. B. Andrews, of
the 4th North Carolina State troops.
Some time elapsed before the
public generally was permitted to see the “show,” and the prisoners meanwhile
were treated to a few buckets of water, which seemed to be quite acceptable. In
one of the cars the privilege of getting a drop of the fluid became a subject of
controversy, and while one fellow got a kick in the stomach from a comrade,
which somewhat deranged his powers of suction, another was interrupted in the
process of drinking by a gruff order - “Don’t slabber in der bucket!” The guard
interfered, and stopped the row before it became general. – The arrangements for
the march being at length completed, the first detachment of prisoners, composed
of the following twenty two commissioned officers, passed through the lines:
W. R. Lee, Colonel, 20th
Col. Cogswell, 12th New York.
E. J. Revere, Major, 20th Mass.
Chas. L. Pearson, Adjutant, 20th Mass.
E. H. R. Revere, Ass’t Surgeon, 20th Mass.
Francis J. Keffer, Captain, 1st California
John M. Studley, Captain, 15th Mass.
Henry Bowman, do., do.
Chas. S. Simmons, do., do.
John Makall, Captain, 1st Cal.
Timothy O’Mears, Captain, 42d N. Y.
Geo. B. Perry, Lieut., 20th Mass.
J. E. Green, Lieut., 15th Mass.
Sam’l Giverson, Lieut., 42d N. Y.
Wm. C. Harris, Lieut., 1st Cal.
Frank A. Parker, Lieut., 1st Cal.
Henry Vanvoast, Lieut., 42d N. Y.
W. H. Kearns, Lieut., 1st Cal.
G. W. Kearney, do., do.
B. B. Vassal, Lieut., 15th Mass.
These officers are generally men
of fine personal appearance, and as they passed along in the presence of the
crowd they seemed to regard their situation as anything but agreeable. The
remaining prisoners, non-commissioned officers and privates, were then marched
out in detachments, and formed on Broad street between files of soldiers. The
whole number of captured Yankees in the procession was 525, viz: 22 commissioned
officers; 140 men from the 15th Massachusetts regiment; 93 from the
42d New York; 184 from the 1st California; 72 and one negro from the
20th Massachusetts; 1 from the 1st New Jersey; 1 from the
40th New York; 1 from the Pennsylvania Cavalry; and 1 from the 3d
Rhode Island battalion. They were very well dressed, and many of them wore
comfortable overcoats. – Some few had lost their hats, and some were barefooted,
having pulled off their shoes to swim the Potomac during the panic, and were
rescued from watery graves by our advanced forces. The juveniles among the crowd
indulged in some derisive remarks, and a portion of the prisoners displayed
considerable impudence. One fellow said that their turn would come by-and-by,
and that Lincoln and Scott would both be in Richmond before a great while.
Another remarked to a bystander that they had to hunt for the Southern soldiers
to make them fight, and the bystander reckoned that they fought pretty well when
they were found. The negro prisoner was an object of no little curiosity, and he
seemed quite uneasy. He says his name is Lewis A. Bell, and that he was free in
the District of Columbia; but some of our citizens thought they had seen him
before, and it is very probable that he is what the Yankees term a “contraband.”
The guard, commanded by Capt.
O’Neil, of Georgia, formed a square, and, with the captives in the centre,
marched down Broad to 19th, thence to Main, and down Main to 25th street, followed by an
immense multitude of persons. After some little delay, the prisoners were
marched into Mayo’s factory, corner of 25th and Cary streets, where they will have ample opportunity to reflect upon the
uncertainties of war. The occupants of another prison in the neighborhood
crowded the windows to get a view of this large reinforcement, but the spectacle
did not seem to afford them much gratification.
The special train in the morning
brought information that another lot of the Leesburg prisoners were behind, and
preparations were accordingly made to receive them. A guard commanded by Lieut.
Laws, of the 18th Georgia regiment, repaired to the Central depot in
the afternoon. The mail train arrived at quarter past 4 o’clock, with three
cars full of Yankees, numbering 132, two of whom are commissioned officers –
Capt. G. W. Rockwood, of the 15th Massachusetts, and Lieut. Charles
McPherson, of the Tammany regiment, New York. They were attended by a guard of
24 men, under Captain Neal, of the 19th Georgia regiment. The crowd
about the depot conversed freely with the prisoners; but no rudeness was
exhibited towards them. They were very soon marched off to the factory, to join
their comrades in captivity.
Four prisoners were
brought up from the Peninsula yesterday, by the York river train. They claim to
be deserters from the Federal army, and as we regard this a very sensible
proceeding on their part, we give them the benefit of a publication of their
names: Augustus Blaney, 1st Massachusetts battalion; Dennis Gleason,
New York Vols.; A. L. Hartwell, 16th Massachusetts, and John Telyear,
1st New York. There are now nearly 2,000 prisoners in Richmond, and
the sooner some hundreds are sent South, the better. We are in a situation not
unlike the man who got the elephant as a prize in a lottery – he didn’t know
what to do with it.