The Corner of Libby Where Federal Officers Tunneled Under the Street
About a hundred Union officers escaped from Libby
Prison, chiefly by crawling through a tunnel bored under the street shown in
this photograph. Libby was used exclusively for officers after the first
year of the war. A few of them banded together, kept the secret from even
their fellow-prisoners, and dug a tunnel from a storeroom in the basement
under the wall and the adjoining street. The tendency of the human mole is
to bore upward; the tunnel came to the top too soon on the near side of the
fence. It was finally completed into the lot. But on the very night that the
prisoners planned to escape, the news became known to their fellows. Men
fought like demons in the close, dark cellar to be the next to crawl into
the narrow hole. About a hundred of them got away before the noise attracted
the attention of the guards. The fence was immediately destroyed, as appears
by this photograph of April, 1865.
page 143 in 1911 book
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Page last revised05/24/2006
War Anecdotes, Incidents and Articles.
This online edition of The Photographic
History of the Civil War includes improved images using digital images
from the Library of Congress, when available. It also includes additional
images that are either cropped from the Library of Congress digital images
or are related to the specific topic being discussed in the article or page.
Volume 7 of the History is the first
volume I'm publishing online simply because it was the one I was interested
in when I decided to publish.
More to come, I hope.