War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0121 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

demanding the muskets taken from the guard. I then got down from my bunk and went to another part of the prison on which the cannon was not bearing. I thought the plot to get out a very foolish one. I could not myself have escaped, as I was wounded.

Doctor Whitfield, surgeon of the prison, was here called in to examine the prisoners, to see if he was physically disabled to make a march, and testified that he is capable of making a march any distance and "not at all incapacitated from his wound."

Prisoners recalled:

I did not know a single man engaged in the plot, but said that I would remain in prison 122 days before I would inform on the mutineers, if I knew.

Arrest - Patrick Ponsonby, G, Thirteenth Illinois Infantry:

About 8 o'clock the night of the riot I was sitting on my bunk when one of the men came to me and asked if I knew anything about the break they intended to make that night. I told him that I did not, and that it would be very foolish as I once broke out of prison at Meridian and afterward gave myself up, knowing I could not make our lines. Miller was the name of the man who asked me if I knew anything about the plot. The next morning I was awakened by men crying out "He will not steal another blanket." Shortly after I heard some one calling for 100 men. So far as I could see there was no responses to the call, but many of the prisoners cried out, "Lay down." About ten minutes afterward a Confederate officer came to the door of the prison with a cannon and demanded of the prisoners the guns. Was told that Captain Hanchett came into the prison as a citizens, but heard that after the riot he changed his citizens' clothes said that he was a captain in the U. S. Army. It was the prevailing opinion of the prisoners that Captain Hanchett was a captain in the U. S. Army and that he was the instigator of the mutiny.

Witness - George Stoneman, recalled:

I know Martin A. Becker; saw him running about the prison and calling for 100 men; attention drawn to him by his cries for men. This was after it had been announced that the guards had been captured. Becker said, "The guards have all been mugged - and my God, boys, ain't you going to stand by me?" (Identified Becker under arrest as the man.) Prisoner said, "Lay down; did you never see a crazy man?" and did not manifest a disposition to join him. Becker went to the back part of the prison and I saw no more of him. Thompson Hanson told me that Becker was one of the instigators of the mutiny. I was informed that only twenty men attacked the guards and that they depended on other joining the. I know James Morrison; I saw him before the men were ordered back by Confederate officers, running from the front entrance with a gun. This was before 100 men were called for. Shortly after leaving the entrance two men turned off to the right and went down the dead-line, and Morrison moved in the direction of the privy. This the last I saw of him. I know Osmond F. Foster; did not see him the night of the disturbance; I saw him after and he told me that "we got up a plan before in which a large number were engaged, and before the time occurred some one turned traitor and the scheme was abandoned. This time we thought it best to have only twenty." Foster admitted to me that he was a participator. I know George H. Hoff. Did not see him on the night of the riot; he told me the next morning that there was a major - general in there who got up the mutiny. Said he knew who the mutineers were, but that he would stay in prison 122 days and fast before he would give any information. Did not say that he had anything to do with it. I know Patrick Ponsonby; was sitting on a bunk with Thompson Hanson and Posnonby passed; Hanson pointed to him and remarked, "There is a man who was engaged in the mutiny."


Captain, Commanding Prison.



Respectfully forwarded for information of and instructions from Honorable Secretary of War.

I have approved the course of Captain Henderson in ironing and confining these mutineers, but under order of the Adjutant and Inspector