The Century; a popular quarterly. / Volume 39, Issue 3; Jan 1890; p.
“Shooting into Libby Prison.”
I WAS surprised at the denial of shooting into Libby
Prison, on page 153 of the November CENTURY, because I was so unfortunate as to
be compelled to stay a short time at that notorious place and had a personal
experience with the shooting. Our squad reached the prison one April night in
1863. Early next morning we new arrivals, anxious to become better acquainted
with the rebel capital, filled the windows and with outstretched necks sniffed
the fresh air. Three of my comrades were kneeling with elbows resting on the
window-sill, quietly looking out. I stood with my hand on the top of a
window-frame, looking out over their heads, when bang went a gun, and a bullet
came whizzing close to my head and sunk deep into the casing within six inches
of my hand. Nothing saved one of our number from death but the poor aim of the
guard, who was nearly under us, and to whom we were paying no attention. We were
told by those who had been there some time that it was the habit of the guard to
shoot in that way to keep prisoners from leaning out of the windows.
Albert H. Hollister,
Company F, 22d Wisconsin; 1st Lieutenant, Co. K, 30th
United Stoles Colored Troops.
I ENTERED Libby a prisoner of war, October 50, 1863, much
weakened by our long trip in box cars from Chattanooga, and having been
forty-eight hours with- out rations. To escape the stifling air inside I seated
myself in an open window on the second floor. One of my comrades, having more
experience, made a grab for me and “yanked” me out, exclaiming, “My God,
man, do you want to die?” “What’s up now?” I said. “Look there!”
Peeping over the window-sill, I saw the guard just removing his gun from his
shoulder. “What does this mean?” I said. “We had no orders about the
windows.” “That is the kind of orders we get here,” he answered. I went
through Richmond, Danville, “Camp Sumpter” (Andersonville), Charleston, and
Florence, and during this experience, covering a period of fourteen months and
thirteen days, I never heard instructions that we might do this or might not do
that. Our first intimation of the violation of, a rule was to see the guard
raising his gun to his shoulder. They did not always fire, but often they did.
J. T. King,
115th Illinois Volunteers.
UPPER ALTON, ILL.
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