From the National Tribune, 1/29/1885

LIBBY TUNNEL
Who is Entitled to the Honor of Planning and Digging It?

            TO THE EDITOR: There seems to be a doubt in the minds of many people throughout the country, and with many “prisoners of war” who were captured during the Summer of 1864, as to whom the credit is due for planning and completing the tunnel in Libby Prison, from which so many officers made their escape on Feb. 9, 1864.

            I am informed that Col. A. D. Streight, of the 51st Ind., a very worthy soldier and gentleman, of Indianapolis, Ind., has made claim to have the honor or originating the plan and superintending and perfecting the arrangements for the tunnel, from which 109 officers made their escape.

            Lieut. W. W. Glazier, 2d New York Cav., of Fowler N. Y., in his book published in 1868, says: “Col. Thomas E. Rose, 77th Pa., conceived the plan, and the work was carried on under his supervision. None was admitted into the secret but the workmen.” The working party was organized by Col. Thomas E. Rose and Capt. A. G. Hamilton, of the 12th Ky. Cav., and associated with them in sworn secrecy were 12 others, as follows:

Maj. Geo. H. Fitzsimmons, 30th Ind.
Maj. D. B. McDonald, 101st Ohio.
Capt. Terrence Clarke, 79th Ill.
Capt. John F. Gallagher, 2d Ohio.
Capt. N. S. Randall, 2d Ohio.
Capt. J. M. Johnson, 6th Ky.
Capt. John Tucer, 5th Ky.
Lieut. J. C. Fisher, 7th Ind. Art.
Lieut. John Mitchel, 79th Ill.
Lieut. J. D. Simpson, 10th Ind.
Lieut. David Garbet, 77th Pa.
Lieut. E. F. Foster, 30th Ind.

            I was captured May 5, 1864, and taken in the latter part of the month to Macon, Ga., where I met the officers who had been removed from Libby Prison, and in my conversation about the tunnel the credit was given to Col. Rose and Capt. Hamilton, and from memory would mention the following officers to verify my statement should they be living:

Maj. Harry White, 67th Pa., Indiana, Pa.
Capt. J. M. Dushane, 142d Pa., Connelsville, Pa.
Lieut. C. P. Heffley, 142d Pa., Berlin, Pa.
Capt. W. A. Robinson, 77th Pa., Pittsburg, Pa.
Capt. W. H. Irwin, 103d Pa., Pittsburg, Pa.
Capt. G. A. Manning, 2d Mass Cav., Oldtown, Mass.
Lieut. F. C. Gay, 11th Pa., Donegal, Pa.
Lieut. L. P. Fortescue, 29th Pa., Philadelphia, Pa.
Capt. B. F. Fischer, Signal Office, Philadelphia, Pa.
Lieut. F. E. Moran, 73d N. Y., U. S. Mint, Philadelphia, Pa.

            Should Col. Streight lay claim to the honor, - which must be a matter of history, - to have the honor placed where it properly belongs, I would be glad to hear him, through your columns, in his own defense, or give the credit to Col. Thomas E. Rose, now Captain 16th U. S. [last 4 lines partly obscured. Author was ex-Capt., 11th Pa. J. T. Chalfant.]

 

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