From the Richmond Whig, 2/15/1864

THE ESCAPED YANKEE OFFICERS – INTERESTING INCIDENTS – Two of the Yankee officers who escaped last week from the Libby Prison, were recaptured in Hanover county, about twelve miles from Richmond, by two lads – Simon Cullen, employed at Gray’s drug store, in this city, and Walter Sydnor, son of Mr. ___ Sydnor, on or near whose farm the capture was effected. The two boys were riding through the woods upon an old horse – Sydnor mounted behind Cullen – when the latter discovered two men on the edge of a swamp near by. Suspecting they were stray Yankees, he proposed to his companion that they should ride over to the place there the men where the men were and arrest them, if they should prove to be escaped prisoners. Sydnor assented, and in a few minutes the boys were face to face with the suspicious strangers. Cullen was convinced from their dress and appearance that they were escaped Yankees, and demanded a surrender. “Who are you?” asked one of the Yankees. “I am a member of Jones’ cavalry,” replied C., “and want you to move along at once.” – “Don’t be too ‘sassy,’” rejoined the Yankee. C. remarked that it was not his purpose to be uncivil, but he had no time to remain there, and they must at once proceed, or take the consequences. The Yankee, after a brief consultation, told him to go on and they would follow. “Not exactly,” said Cullen, resolutely; you go on, and I’ll bring up the rear.” The Yankees reluctantly complied with this mandate, and were conducted by the two unarmed youths to Mr. Sydnor’s house, where they were turned over to a member of the Hanover Troop, who happened to be present. When the Yankees were told that the boys were unarmed, and that young Cullen was not attached to the cavalry, they professed to be very much chagrined, and one of them remarked that had he known ____, he would have dispatched Cullen. It was then too late to “strike for freedom.” The prisoners were brought back to the city and delivered to the officers of the Libby.

Another Yankee officer, who escaped from the Libby, made his way up the tow path of the Canal, and, by some means, obtained possession of a musket. He was met by an unarmed citizen, who innocently inquired the news from Richmond. Instead of giving a civil reply, the Yankee cocked and aimed his musket at the citizen. The latter was taken aback by this demonstration, and asked what it meant. No reply was vouchsafed, and the citizen walked on. The Yankee then shouldered his piece and resumed his walk. His conduct had been observed by two Confederate soldiers, who followed him, but kept themselves concealed among the bushes, hoping to capture him without unnecessarily risking their lives. Presently, the Yankee turned off from the tow path, and laid down. The soldiers then called to their aid a farmer living in the vicinity, and the three repaired to the spot where the Yankee was dozing, and captured him. The fellow made a desperate struggle, but was finally overpowered and brought back to this city.

Another Yankee officer was captured in a field below the city by a negro. Sambo saw the fellow crossing the field, and, running up to him, hoe in hand, ordered him to stop. The Yankee sullenly obeyed, and was then commanded by the faithful negro to march to the farm house. He remonstrated a little, but finding the negro inexorable, and not caring to provoke a blow from the uplifted hoe, walked before him to the house, and was there secured.

We have heard of another officer who was arrested by a picket on the road in New Kent county. The prisoner, still hoping to effect his escape, engaged in a scuffle with his captor, but after having his “smeller” mashed and his eye well “bunged” by the valorous picket, he surrendered at discretion.

Up to 5 o’clock last evening, forty three of the escaped officers had been returned to the Libby. Among them are two Colonels and two Majors. The notorious Col. Streight has not been recaptured.

Page last updated on 07/24/2009