War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0666 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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being thicker than the partition wall of the cell, the opening being close to the latter, cause a bend in the opening which is now at the surface about thirteen by fifteen inches in diameter. The selection of this spot had reference to the comparative danger of discovery. I saw no indication of the use of any other passage than this in going in and out of the chamber previous to the night of escape, and, though now the most difficult among the seven, was I believe, the only used.

The stone foundation of which the arch of the chamber rests presents a vertical face of thirty inches at the point selected for digging the passage to the outside of the cell house. That is, the wall between the floor and the bottom of the arch is thirty inches high. The lower stone seems to have been loosened and removal by scraping the dirt beneath it; others in the same way; until an irregular arched hole was made through the wall, at one place five feet wide, and ascending to the brick-work of the arch, none of which was disturbed. When the dirt was reached, a right-angled hole eighteen inches wide and thirty high was commenced. This was carried forward and downward, widening as it went, for about five feet. At this point it is thirty inches wide, and from it continues of the same width and horizontally to the wall of the cell house. The wall being reached, it seems to have been necessary to scrape out more of the bottom of the passage in order to reach and lessen the lowest stone of the wall. The depression thus formed has filled with water. The stones taken from the hole made through the wall of the cell house were passed back into the air chamber. The hole when furnished was smaller than that made through the foundation of the cell block.

I saw no evidence that the ascending hole made on the outside of the wall of the cell house had been fully opened to the surface of the ground. Previous to the night on which it was used to escape, I think it had not been so opened. The openings from six of the cells into the air chamber had been formed form below, and in the same manner, that is, from the center of the arch, the brick-work with the mortar above it had been taken down without disturbing the cement flooring of the cells, a sufficiently of which had been removed to permit the easy passage of a large man. The rubbish remains where if fell. The appearance indicate that the noiseless push of a foot broke down the cement flooring at the proper time and opened a free passage. I saw no appearance of any work having been done to any of the cells with a view to open a passage from them, except to the seven mentioned, and do not think any such was done. The air chamber is dry and absolutely dark. The stones and the dirt removed from the passage were piled in the chamber east of the opening and from an irregular heap 24 feet long, of the average depth of 16 inches.

Some of the implements used in the work, the most efficient of which seems to have been the common table knives used by the convicts, had been removed by persons visiting the chamber before me. I found three fixtures used as candlesticks, a small wooden box, two table knives as above described, some pieces of candles, and two wooden washers, same as used by convicts.

Respectfully,

J. N. DESELLEM.

The hole on the outside of the cell house from which the prisoners escaped had been filled when we reached it. It would seem easy for the prisoners to each the top of the high wall surrounding the prison grounds by climbing the inner gate at the southeast corner. On reaching the top of the wall the prisoners seem to have let themselves down near the guard-house at the southeast corner by means of a rope, found hanging there on the morning of the 28th and which was the first intimation give of an escape. Their rope was constructed of bedticking and towels torn into strips and braided in links, or loops about two feet in length and tied together, making a rude but efficient rope ladder.

We could gain no information as to the time of the escape. Each of the prisoners, it was said, were locked in their cells as usual about 4. 30 p. m. on the day previous, and their cells found vacated about 6 a. m. of the 28th. We learned from Colonel Dick Morgan, a brother of the general, and one or two other prisoners, that previous to the hour for locking up on the 27th, General Morgan took the cell occupied by his brother on the lower tier, and Colonel Dick Morgan, disguised in a portion of the general's garments, was standing in the general's cell above with his back to the door as the turnkey came to lock the cell door. The turnkey, Milo H. Scott, says that as he closed the door and locked it he spoke to the general, who said, "Yes, sir". No suspicion or though of this charge entered the mind of the guard or turnkey.