National Tribune, 9/19/1901

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From the National Tribune, 9/19/1901

A Prisoner in Libby.

EDITOR NATIONAL TRIBUNE: [author describes in three paragraphs his capture on 8/17/1863 and subsequent journey to Richmond - not transcribed]

...We were up early in the morning and on the road again. About noon we struck a railroad and without further mishap or adventure we reached Richmond that evening. We left the cars and started on the road just a lamplight. We passed Castle Thunder and soon saw Libby looming up in the gloaming. At the entrance we were searched and all our valuables were taken from us. We were then sent upstairs with a guard. As soon as we were in sight of the prisoners on the upper floor they began to shout “Fresh fish! fresh fish!” I thought they had fish for supper, but was sadly disappointed. I had nothing to eat for 24 hours; then I got a “loaf” of bread - about as large as the biscuit my mother used to bake when I was a boy. That night I lay upon the hard floor of that prison, tired and hungry, thinking I would soon be paroled and permitted to return North; but my hopes were not realized. It was 19 long, weary months before I saw the old flag again. While in Libby an assault was made upon me from which I have suffered ever since. We were called downstairs to look at some boxes which had arrived in Richmond, directed to Libby and intended for some of the prisoners. One box was for me.. It was said to contain a suit of clothes sent by loving hands from the North. The boxes had been broken open and all marks destroyed that would tell who they were for. While viewing the wreck of our crushed hopes, Turner (the man in command at Libby) gave the command to “Get back to your room.” As I was looking very attentively at the almost empty boxes I did not hear him, and he ordered the guard to “Bayonet - kill him!” The guard came at me on a dead run, and before I could gather myself he struck me, making an ugly wound on my hip. I, being stouter than he, wrenched the bayonet from his hand, and I got away from him without further hurt. I have written this in hopes that it will meet the eye of some of my comrades in Libby, who will remember the incident of the bayonet attack by the rebel soldier. - WM. NYCE, first Lieutenant, 2d N.Y. Cav., Caldwell, Kan.


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