The Photographic History of the Civil War
                  Volume 7 -
Prisons and Hospitals


The Corner of Libby Where Federal Officers Tunneled Under the Street


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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More Civil War Material:
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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.


Copyright 2004 Michael P. Goad  All rights reserved.