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Federal Bridge-Burning Expedition

From the British periodical The Monthly Packet, reprinted in Littell's Living Age, April 29, 1865

            Accounts of several very dashing exploits by small parties of soldiers of the Confederate States have reached us, but comparatively few, if any, by those of the Northern armies. Perhaps in the natural feeling for those who appear to be the weaker party fighting against superior numbers with indomitable perseverance, we have overlooked some of those deeds of daring which such a war is sure to call forth. Where war is being waged on such a large scale, in a country intersected by railroads, the old days of marching are comparatively at an end, for all supplies of men and stores are forwarded by the more speedy and ready method ; and at the same time that great ease of communication is thus obtained, a risk is encountered in the liability of a railroad to be injured and the traffic stopped for precious days by flying parties of the enemy destroying bridges; during the repair of which irreparable disasters may befall troops thus as completely isolated for the time as if their communications were cut off by the enemy occupying the ground in force. An account of an expedition undertaken with such a purpose, written in a singularly modest, unassuming tone by Lieutenant William Pittenger, of the second Ohio volunteers, has lately come into our hands, and we hope that the interest of the detailed narrative may not be lost in the condensed sketch we propose to attempt.

            Mr. Pittenger was one of the last persons likely, it would be supposed, to be most anxious for a desperate expedition of this kind, and, as he is stated in the introduction by a friend, to be one of the most enthusiastically brave during his conduct. He was the son of a farmer, and so much distinguished during his youth by his bent for the study of history and science, that his proposed profession was tuition. He appears to have been a small stout man, and very short-sighted; at the time of starting on the expedition, about twenty-two years old.

 In the spring of 1862, some reverses in the South West — the loss of Fort Donelson, and the success of Grant against Johnston in Tennessee-— determined the  Confederates to adopt an inner line of defence. In the West this line may be roughly taken to be the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, extending from Memphis through Corinth, Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, to Charleston. The Federal fleet ruled the Mississippi; Grant, with his army and gunboats, occupied the Tennessee river ; Buell, with 40,000 men, was marching through the State of Tennessee towards the same point; Mitchel, in whose division were the second Ohio, was also in Tennessee; and Morgan, with another strong force, before the Gap in the Cumberland mountains, ready to strike at Knoxville.

            To meet these forces, Beauregard concentrated his main army at Corinth, with detachments along the railroad to Chattanooga. The railroads on which he relied, being an irregular parallelogram, of which the northern side extended from Memphis to Chattanooga, the eastern from Chattanooga to Atlanta, the southern from Atlanta to Jackson in Mississippi, and the western, from Jackson to Memphis. The great East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad intersected this parallelogram at Chattanooga. Thus, if the northern and eastern railroads could be destroyed for a time, Beauregard would be isolated and East Tennessee left open to Morgan. These communications were considered so important, that it had been proposed to reach them with, armies and destroy them by force; but the distance precluded this. At this time J. J. Andrews, a “secret agent of the United States," or, as we should call it, a spy, "who had repeatedly visited every part of the South," proposed to accomplish the same object by a small party in disguise, who should burn the bridges, and thus give time for a great blow to be struck. He first made the proposition to General Buell, who did not approve it, and afterwards to Mitchel, who received it with favour. The division was at Murfinsboro’, when eight men were detailed on secret service. Many were the conjectures as to their destination ; but Pittenger was soon let into the secret by an officer who was an intimate friend. His imagination was so taken by an idea so audacious as penetrating many miles into the enemy’s country to burn their bridges, that he instantly went to the Colonel to beg that he might be included if any similar expedition should start. The party soon returned, having made their way on foot to Chattanooga, and thence by railway to Atlanta, in civilian dresses. Here they expected to meet an engineer, and with his assistance to seize the passenger train at breakfast and run through to their own lines, burning all the bridges. They waited several days, but the man did not come, having been pressed to run troops to Beauregard; and thus defeated, they stole quietly back.

            On the 7th of April Andrews returned to the camp, now at Shelbyville, having spent some time on the railroads, and reported that the plan was still feasible, but desired a larger number of men. Twenty-four were therefore detailed from the 3d Ohio regiment in Sill’s brigade, of whom Pittenger was one. They procured plain clothes, and, according to their orders, passed quietly through Shelbyville by twos and threes, and made their first meeting in a thicket two or three miles farther on. There, in the dark, in this small thicket, where they were sure of no listeners, Andrews revealed his plans, the first orders being to make their way to Chattanooga in small parties, the distance being a hundred and three miles. The party to which Pittenger belonged, consisting of four, started to walk along the railway; but rain had begun to fall, and they became so wet and weary as to be compelled to seek shelter. .A house was at last found, and the inmates roused; they told the master that they were Kentuckians disgusted with the tyranny of Lincoln, and discovered by his dissentient remarks that he was a Unionist, but did not dare to reveal themselves to him. Next day they were stopped by some of their own guards at Wartrace, and were obliged to inform the commanding-officer of their real character to procure their release. At Manchester they managed to obtain the names of some of the most prominent secessionists on the way, who would be likely to help them on towards the free South: and knowing these names proved of great advantage; for, having influential men to inquire for, it was taken for granted that they were trustworthy.

            Footsore from the constant rain making their feet sodden, the Cumberland mountains were a hard and toilsome journey; the descent, over steep rocks, yawning chasms, and great gullies, by an eastern Tennessee road, led down to Battle Creek — a beautiful valley hemmed in by lofty projecting ridges. The legend of the origin of the name is that an Indian tribe retreating hither with booty were traced by their pursuers, who, to make the capture sure, divided their forces, each band taking one side of the valley. Though the morning mist came down in thick fog, they marched on, determined that their prey should not escape; and meeting at the head of the valley, each supposed the other party to be the enemy; and not till nearly all had fallen in a desperate contest, did they find out their error; while the plunderers higher up the mountains listened to the noise of the conflict in safety.

            They spent the night at the house of a man whom they termed a rabid Secessionist, and whom they so thoroughly deceived, that when they were apprehended they heard he could not believe that those whom he entertained could be anything but loyal Southerners.

            At Jasper, on the Tennessee, they met Andrews, who gave them some directions as to how to make their way best so as to avoid posts where they would be questioned, not having satisfactory credentials such as Andrews himself possessed. In the morning they were getting into the ferry-boat, when an order arrived to allow no one to pass for three days; so they turned over the spurs of the mountains again, and at last got ferried over unquestioned at Chattanooga. Thence they went by train to Marietta, arriving about midnight; and here the whole party were warned by Andrews to be ready by four next morning for their great attempt.

            Eight miles from Marietta is a station called Big Shanty, where the train stops for breakfast. Round it were encamped at that time ten thousand men, and a guard was placed watching the train. Now came the moment of excitement; the engineer, conductor, and most of the passengers, were gone to the eating-house. Andrews takes a look up the line, and says quietly, “Let us go, boys;” just as quietly they rise and stroll after him without exciting any suspicion. So they reach the head of the train; Andrews and two engineers leap on the engine, one takes the brake, and the others climb the first baggage-car, which had been, with two others, uncoupled from the rest of the train. One moment — and suspense and concealment was over; and away they go, those twenty daring men, far within the bounds of the Confederacy. Four as willing hearts had missed the rest of the party. Away they go, rejoicing in the idea of running back to their own lines at Huntsville in triumph. But the telegraph! There was no telegraph station at Big Shanty; but the danger must be guarded against. They stop; a man climbs the telegraph-post, detaches the wire, and swings down on it, and it is cut with a saw found on the engine.

            While this was being done, another party took up a rail and laid it on the car to carry off. Andrews clasped their hands in ecstacy —“Only one more train to pass, and we will run at full speed, burn the bridges behind us, and off to Mitchel at Huntsville.” It would have been accomplished if only one train had been on the road to meet them.

            Being before the regular time, they were obliged to run slowly to meet the down train at the regular time on a siding; the railroad being, as most are in America, a single line. At the next station Andrews procured a time-table from the tank-tender, telling him that he was running an express powder train for Beauregard. On they went till they came to the station where the down train passed; finding the switch not right, Andrews walked into the station, took down the keys, and without saying a word to any one, adjusted the switch. The station men made some objection, but the powder-train story quieted them. After waiting a short time, the down train passed; but what was their disappointment to see a red flag on it, the signal that an extra train was following it. Thus they still had to run at the regular time, which was very slow, not more than twelve miles an hour. At last they stopped on a siding to let the expected train pass, and had to wait twenty-five minutes for it. It came; but it also carried a red flag. Thus, notwithstanding their now extreme anxiety, there was nothing for it but to run on in the regular slow time. No retreat. Nothing but to obstruct the track as much as possible by laying on cross-ties, and to cut the telegraph-wire between each station so that no message could get ahead of them.

            Near to the station where they expected to meet the last train, they stopped to take up a rail. This was a tedious business, from want of proper tools, and was hardly effected when the whistle of an engine in pursuit was heard. The other train was passed in safety; but the pursuers, abandoning their own engine, ran on foot to meet the coming train, and turned it back in pursuit. Every expedient that could be thought of to delay the coming train was now adopted; but as they were cutting the wire near Calhoun, it came in sight. Then ensued probably the most wonderful chase on record — the flying engine at full speed, the cars rocking furiously. The smoke of the pursuer could be seen in every long reach, and the scream of the whistle heard on every curve. It was still necessary to cut the wire, and to gain time for that two cars were successively dropped on the line. A new expedient was now tried: the end of the remaining car was knocked out, so that rails, cross-ties, and any other obstacle, might be dropped out on the railway without stopping. Most of these bounded off the line; but some few remained, and caused delay to the pursuers. During one necessary stop for cutting the telegraph, a rail was placed with one end projecting upwards towards the advancing train. The engineer, who afterwards visited them, told them that this was very nearly successful; and if it had been but one inch higher the train would have been upset, for the rail was so small and dark that it could not be seen till too late to stop. The pursuers were very energetic and determined; one man rode on the cow-catcher, and would jump down to throw off obstructions, and re-mount with the train only checked, not stopped entirely.

            The fliers gained time nevertheless, but not enough to take up a rail; for each time they tried, the pursuers were again visible before the rail could be torn up. A plan was now proposed to Andrews to let the engine be taken on out of sight, on a curve, while the party, placing an obstruction on the line, should conceal themselves, in readiness, when the train came up, to shoot every man on the engine, reverse it, and let it drive back. Andrews did not consent; but afterwards said, in prison, he regretted that the attempt had not been made.

            All this time they were running through towns and villages at a terrific rate; intending passengers came down as they heard the train approach, but shrank in horror at the rate they were going, and were still more astonished when they saw three trains full of soldiers in pursuit. Wood and water now began to run short. They had obtained supplies at first, but later the close pursuit had prevented this. Now they attempted to kindle a fire in the one car left, in order to leave it burning on a bridge; but the rapid motion put the matches out. Now at last they were compelled to feel that they had failed, and nothing remained but to save themselves. The telegraph was not cut, and the first message sent a-head of them. At Chattanooga great preparations were made, and the military received orders to shoot every one. Now, fifteen miles from Chattanooga, it was determined to abandon the train; Andrews unfortunately giving orders to disperse and each man to shift for himself. Had they kept together, they would have had a good chance of reaching the Tennessee river, fifteen miles, and crossing it before the country was roused. Once over the river and in the forests, the chances would have been much in their favour of reaching their own forces.

            Now we may return to the pursuers, and give an account of how the chase was so speedily organized. An extract from a Southern newspaper is given by Mr. Pittenger. It commences with an account of the blank astonishment felt at seeing the engine with three cars move off while all were at breakfast at Big Shanty. Fuller, the conductor, or, as we should call him, guard, Cain, the engineer, and Murphy, foreman of the wood department, started off on foot at a run, amid shouts of laughter of the crowd; yet that very run on foot saved the Confederacy from a great disaster. Three miles on they met a party of plate-layers with a small truck such as they use to carry their tools. They took this and some men, running behind to push it up inclines, and letting it drive at full speed on the descents. In this way they ran on to Etowah station, twenty miles, where stood an old coal-engine with steam up; this they took on to Kingston at full speed, and found that the fugitives were only twenty minutes a-head. There is a junction, and the engines waiting ready fired up for the down train; this they took, and a large party of gentlemen joined them with arms procured as they could. Near Adairsvllle they found rails taken up —perceiving it in time to stop, but they had to leave the train. Fuller and Murphy now started again on foot, and in two miles met the down goods train, and reversed the engine, driving the trucks before it one mile from Adairsville. Then they left the trucks on a siding, and on to Calhoun, a short distance above which they caught sight of their chase halted on a curve. Of course they were up and off at once; and now was indeed hot pursuit. Now were needed sharp eyes to catch sight of the cross-ties and other obstructions left on the line. The cars left behind were coupled to the front of the engine, and so driven to the first siding and here left. Thus they were within four hundred yards when the adventurers left their engine and took to the woods.

            Thus this most skilful and energetic pursuit, so pressed that not one bridge could be burnt, saved the Confederacy from dangers thus summed up by their own paper:—"Had they succeeded in burning the bridges, the enemy at Huntsville would have occupied Chattanooga by Sunday night. Yesterday they would have been to Knoxville, and thus had possession of all East Tennessee. Our forces at Knoxville, Greenville, and Cumberland Gap, would, ere this, have been in the hands of the enemy. Lynchburg, Virginia, would have been moved on at once. This would have given them possession of the Valley of Virginia, and Stonewall Jackson could have been attacked in the rear. They would have possession of the railroad leading to Charlottesville and Orange Court House, as well as the South Side Railroad leading to Petersburg and Richmond. They might have been able to unite with McClellan's forces and attack Jo. Johnston's army front and flank. It is not by any means improbable that our army in Virginia would have been defeated, captured, or driven out of the State, this week. Reinforcements from all the eastern and south-east portion of the country would have been cut off from Beauregard. The enemy | have Huntsville now, and with all these designs accomplished, his army would have been effectually cut off."

            Thus ended this most daring scheme; hardly practicable in a war between two nations of different tongues, for how rare would it be to find a sufficient number of foreigners speaking the language so well, and acquainted with the habits and localities of a strange country, as to penetrate some two hundred miles or more without exciting some suspicion? Sufficient interest has, we trust, been excited in our bold adventurers to cause a wish to know their ultimate fate.

            The narrative now turns to Mr. Pittenger's own adventures. It was Saturday, the 12th of April, when he thus found himself adrift in a strange country, without compass, and only a vague knowledge that proceeding in the north-west direction would bring him to friends. It happened to be a general muster-day for conscripts; and as soon as the news of the expedition was received, drill was suspended and all turned out in chase. The country was rough and uneven; pines in the bottoms, but the timber on the spurs mostly oak, and other deciduous trees, not then in leaf, and affording no concealment. After crossing a stream in flood with great difficulty, and scaling a precipitous bank, he lay exhausted, when the distant bay of a bloodhound reached his ears. The sound roused his energies, and he proceeded as well as he could, for that time escaping. Towards evening he came on a hut, and venturing to inquire the road to Chattanooga, found he was but eight miles from it. Taking the best direction he could when out of sight, he walked for more than an hour very fast, when what was his horror to find, that, as often occurs to persons lost in the bush, he had made a circle and returned to the place he started from. Another start and another hour’s toil only produced the same disappointment; and a few steps more brought him to the same river he had before crossed, and within hearing of the bloodhounds. In desperation he took the road, and following it a long time, met a negro, from whom he learnt he was only four miles from Chattanooga. He now resolved to endeavor to reach the Tennessee river, some ten miles off; for some time going well enough, but a large field of dead timber set him astray again. He reached a large road which seemed to lead right, and walked along it for several miles: no moon, no stars, to guide; only the leaden clouds overhead. At last he met three horsemen in the dark.

            “How far is it to Chattanooga?”

            “Three miles.”

            “Is this the road?”

            “ Yes sah! right a-head.”

            These continua1 errors exhausted his strength, and at last he lay down and slept; waking with a start, fancying he heard a voice saying, “Let us shoot him before he wakes,” to find himself in solitude. Thus he blundered on, seeing illusions of angels and other shadowy forms, no doubt produced by fatigue and hunger. Once he nearly walked in on a picket, no doubt sent out to apprehend the “engine thieves.” Night was passed in pouring rain, and Sunday morning came; weary and foot-sore, he walked on, scarcely heeding any one, till about twelve o’clock. Near Lafayette, in Georgia, a party of about twenty men apprehended him. Questioned by the leader of the party, he repeated the story that he was a citizen of Kentucky, disgusted with the North, and going to join the Confederate army; giving such a plausible account of his proceedings that the leader said,—

            “We may as well let this fellow go; he seems all right.” But another said they had better take him to town, and then if he was all right, they could help him on his way to Corinth.

            In Lafayette he was closely examined by some lawyers, and had to invent all particulars of his journey from Fleming county in Kentucky. They were evidently puzzled; but while they were deliberating , a man arrived on horseback from Kinggold, with the news that some of the bridge-burners had been captured, and had at first pretended to be citizens of Kentucky from Fleming county. Thus by the mischance of the similarity of description, the last hope of release was taken away. Next day, again brought up for examination, he claimed to be taken before the military authorities, and announced that he would before them state his name, regiment, and cause of coming. Accordingly he was sent to Chattanooga, and brought before General Ledbetter; on leaving whom he saw Andrews and two more members of the expedition waiting to be brought in. He was confined, with many other prisoners, in a suffocating underground room of the negro gaol in Chattanooga, where they were so insufficiently fed as to be continually suffering hunger; and others of their number were continually added as they were captured. They remained here three weeks; during which time Andrews was tried; and a former business partner of his, whom he himself had called as a witness, testified that Andrews had repeatedly been in the South, and professed allegiance to the Confederacy; indeed, he had passes in his possession which could hardly have been obtained without having taken the oath of allegiance. The sentence was not then given, and they were soon afterwards removed to Madison. There they were visited by a man whom Andrews recognized as a Federal spy, though dressed in Confederate uniform. They had no opportunity for private communication; and in the evening the captain of the guard told them that it had been ascertained that a spy of Lincoln’s had been among the visitors, and a guard was sent to the station to arrest him just as the train was coming in. He indignantly told them he had plenty of papers in his pocket to prove his character; they released their hold to allow him to produce the papers. He put his hands in his pockets as if to search for them, waited till the train had got into swing, when he wrenched himself from his captors and swung himself into the train. There was no telegraph station at Madison, and he escaped.

            In three days they were sent back to Chattanooga to their old quarters, but now put in the upper room of the prison; the removal having been occasioned by reports that Mitchel was advancing. All this time they were chained; but one of the party having a small knife, managed to make keys of the bones of their meat, so they were able to release themselves, and resume their fetters when necessary.

            Twelve were at last detailed to be sent to Knoxville for trial, being told it was only to establish the fact of their being a military expedition. While there, news reached them that Andrews and another had escaped from Chattanooga. This was the method: One day an officer entered, and carelessly handed to Andrews his death-warrant, as traitor to the Confederacy. He was separated from the others, and put into the lower room. They determined to effect his escape; cut round the bolts of the trap-door, raised it, and drew him up by a rope made of blankets, cut another hole through the ceiling, and just at gray dawn Andrews mounted aloft, and the next instant was swinging to a rope of blankets over the wall. But he had loosened some bricks, and their fall gave the alarm; he dropped to the ground, and was over the fence at once, followed by another. Andrews went only a few hundred yards from the town, and hid in a tree till night, gained the river and crossed it; but at break of day was seen and chased just as he was going to climb another tree for concealment during the day. He regained the river, swam to an island, where he hid, but was discovered by bloodhounds; he threw them off by wading in shallow water, climbed a tree, and baffled his pursuers. Two little boys had remained, and one of them said he saw a curious great bunch in a tree; looked again, and called out that it was a man. Andrews attempted again to cross the river, but was captured by a canoe. He was sent to Atlanta and there hung. The other man was captured by a party of cavalry, on the very brink of safety, and sent to Atlanta, whither the remainder of the prisoners had been removed.

            The twelve at Knoxville were tried separately, on a charge for “lurking in and around Confederate camps as spies, for the purpose of obtaining information.” Not a word of the engine adventure. Their plan of defence was to tell their real intention, and claim that they were soldiers detailed on a military expedition, and therefore entitled to the protection accorded to prisoners of war. They were allowed to employ counsel. The trial appeared to proceed favourably; and their counsel cited in their favour the instance of the Confederate General Morgan having dressed his men in Federal uniform, and by passing them off as Pennsylvania Cavalry, succeeded in reaching a railroad and damaging it. Also that some of these men, being captured, were treated by the Federal Government as prisoners of war. Seven had been tried, when on another advance by Mitchel and Morgan threatening Knoxville, they were removed to Atlanta, when their companions from Chattanooga were in another neighbouring gaol.

            One day, without any warning, seven were removed from the room; and presently one returned saying, “We are to be executed immediately.” Then came the sad farewells; and their cruel doom was speedily carried out and met with the greatest courage.

            Thenceforward was a gloomy time, no one knowing when he might be taken for the same fate, and sorrowing for their comrades. Plans of escape were often talked of; and at last the attempt was precipitated by a report that orders had come from Washington for the execution of the whole party. The plan was to seize the jailor when he came to take out the buckets that supper was brought in, take the keys and release all, while others fell on the guard, taking their arms. The jailor was seized, Pittenger placed his hand on his mouth, and he was quietly secured, not without a vigorous resistance. The guards were as successfully disarmed; but two happened to be lounging at a distance, and gave the alarm. There were troops at hand, and nothing was to be done but to throw down the guns and run for it. Those who were engaged up-stairs, on coming down found the court full of armed men; and making an attempt to dash past them, were most of them captured, to the number of six, of whom Pittenger was one — his short sight not enabling him to take ready advantage of opportunities. This occurred in October.

            Eight escaped; two southward to the coast, where they found means to get on board a Federal cruiser. Two westward, by a most perilous journey, of which one of them furnished an account.

            “We started on the 16th of October, and reached the Federal lines on the 16th of November. During this time we endured all the hardships imaginable. We travelled night and day, sleeping mostly in the woods, and subsisting on wild grapes, chestnuts, hickory nuts, walnuts, and some few sweet potatoes. Occasionally we got a little cornbread from the low class whites and the negroes. It was miserable stuff. Several times we slipped into the fields where negroes were at work, and stole the provisions they had brought for their dinner. Once we were seven days without a bite of bread, and often went without for two or three days. We suffered much with cold, for our clothes were very poor. We slept but twice in houses during the whole journey. One night we travelled till we became chilled and weary; it was very late, and we were nearly frozen, when we fortunately discovered a nest of hogs. Immediately we routed them up, and lying down in the warm retreat they had left, slept till morning. Many streams were in our way, which we were obliged to wade, or float across on logs. After twenty-two days of such privations, we reached the Tennessee river, twenty-seven miles below Bridgeport. There we pressed a canoe into the service, and started down the river. We would run the canoe at night, and hide it and ourselves in the day-time. When we arrived at the head of Muscle Shoals, we were compelled to abandon our canoe on account of low water, and make a circuit of forty miles round. When we reached the foot of the Shoals, we procured a skiff, and continued our voyage until within twelve miles of Pittsburg Landing. Here we left the river, and striking across the country to Corinth, reached there in safety.”

            The re-taken prisoners now expected nothing hut the worst; but happily their fears were not realized, nor was their treatment worse. Wells, the jailor, was unable to write a legible hand, and often employed prisoners to make out requisitions and reports for him. Pittenger was one day so engaged in the office when a man in the uniform of a Confederate officer was brought in for confinement in barracks. He seemed very drunk, but remonstrated against being confined with all the prisoners ; so Wells allowed him to remain in the office while he went to look after some other business. No sooner was the room clear, than he approached Pittenger without a trace of drunkenness.

            “You are a prisoner?”

            “Yes, sir.’

            “One they call engine thieves?”


            “I know you; I was here when your comrades were hung. They do not yet know who I am, but they will to-morrow; and then I shall be hung, for I am a spy from the Federal army. Can’t you help me?”

            After a few questions to test his truth, Pittenger asks, “What can I do for you?”

            “Can’t you write me a pass and sign the commander’s name to it?”

            “That would be discovered; but take that overcoat,” pointing to one belonging to Wells,” put it round you, and walk independently past the guards; chances are you will not be stopped.”

            He tried it, and succeeded in getting safely off. When Wells returned, he asked Pittenger where the officer was; and received for answer, “He picked up his coat, and said he was going to supper.” Wells soon saw how it was, and after sending off in haste to the guard, began to think about the coat. A few questions more as to where he got it, answered, “Off the foot of the bed.” Wells sprang up, “My coat! worth eighty dollars! the villain!” then sat down again, exclaimed, “Well, if that aint a cool joke!” burst into a loud laugh, and so it ended.

            The Confederates often tried to induce their prisoners to enlist in the army, always meeting with a refusal. The heavy weeks rolled on, but at last came the joyful news that they were exchanged. But there was more time to be passed yet before they were released. On the 3d of December they were sent to Richmond, and there confined, with many other Federal prisoners, for a time; afterwards their party of six and nine Tennesseeans together. It was a hard trial to see other parties marched away to the truce-boats, and their own time not yet come. At last, on the 18th of March, they were exchanged, and to their intense delight once more able to revisit their families, who had long since given up all hope of seeing them again. They each received a medal from the secretary at war, and were made lieutenants.

            Thus ended this remarkable expedition. Of the twenty-four who originally started, two were left behind in Marietta and compelled to serve in a battery of artillery, from which, at different times, they both escaped during actions. Eight escaped from prison in October, six were exchanged in March, and eight were executed. Perhaps in the case of Andrews, convicted of being a spy, and of having taken the oath of allegiance, this can cause no surprise; but as regards the other seven, it does appear rather a stretch of the laws of war.

Littell, E. (editor), "The Federal Bridge-Burning Expedition ," Littell's Living Age, Volume 85, Issue 1091, April 29, 1865, pp. 144 - 151, Boston: Littell, Son, & Co.




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