From the Richmond Enquirer,
11/19/1862, p. 2, c. 4

A DELIVERY FROM CASTLE THUNDER. - An ingenious escape was effected from this somewhat noted public institution, a few nights ago. The excellent system to which the guarding of the Castle is reduced, renders it impossible for any one to succeed in getting out without being seen by two or more sentinels, and such a difficulty, it would naturally be supposed, would be sufficient to deter the most daring.

Several desperate cases having come to the conclusion that there is a chance of bribing certain sentinels, but having no money with which to cajole them into a criminal connivance with their design, hit upon the expedient of pretending to have more money than they knew what to do with, represent their wishes to their victim, and make up an imaginary purse for his benefit, in case he should have his back turned when they were getting out of the window. The window selected is at the North-East corner of the building, in the second-story, over looking a platform upon which a sentinel walks, from which platform a stairway descends to the street, where a second sentinel is placed.

In due time, one of the “soft” sentinels appeared upon the platform beat, and was called to the window, where, his integrity being satisfactorily sounded, and discovered to be very shallow, the proposition was made: “If you will help us get out to night, we four will give you fifty dollars a piece – that’ll be two hundred dollars!” The sentinel returned a thievish wink and replied “I’ll see” – which meant that he must ascertain whether his partner below would like to go into the speculation with him or not. In the course of the day, during relief, the two sentinels met and the proposition was agreed to between them. When they had returned to their posts, and the appointed hour had arrived, the prisoners were apprised of the agreement, and preparations were immediately made for a grand exit. The window was opened, and out stepped the ring-leader. “Where’s the money?” whispered the sentinel. “The last man has got it,” replied the prisoner, and he disappeared. Another followed, a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, a seventh, and more would have followed, but the sentinel began to “smell a rat,” and becoming suddenly inspired with a patriotic desire to perform his duty, rushed to the window, put a stop to the further egress of the refugees, and gave the alarm. In the meantime, the sentinel below believing it would be all right with the sentinel above, let the prisoners pass without molestation, and before the alarm could avail, they were safely away.

On Saturday night, Capt. Alexander, with a strong force of detectives, set out in search of the escaped prisoners, and succeeded, after an industrious scouring of the jungles of Screamersville, in arresting two, from whom and other prisoners who refused to take advantage of the opportunity to escape, he learned the particulars of the affair. The two sentinels, who are members of a corps on duty at a prison opposite the “Libby,” from which they were detailed to duty at the “Castle,” were placed in irons to await trial for their offence, the penalty of which is death.

 

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