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Private Robert Buffum, Company H, 21st Regiment Ohio Volunteers

Robert Buffum was duly sworn and examined as follows:
            By the Judge Advocate. Question. What is your position in the service?
            Answer. I am a private in Company A, 21st Ohio Regiment.
            Question. Were you a member of the expedition sent out by Gen. Mitchell, of which Mr. Pittenger and Mr. Parrot have testified?
            Answer. Yes, Sir.
            Question. Have you heard the testimony of these two witnesses?
            Answer. Yes, Sir.
            Question. Have you, or not, a personal knowledge of the matters spoken of by them?
            Answer. Yes, Sir, I have.
            Question. Will you state whether, according to the best of your knowledge and belief, the statements which they have made are true?
            Answer. Yes, Sir, they are.
            Question. Is there anything in addition, which you recollect, that you can state?
            Answer. I would say, that when the boys were taken out for execution, Mr. Robinson, the one who was taken with Mr. Parrot, and was with him when he was whipped, was taken from a sick bed to be executed. He was unable to walk.
            Question. Was he tied like the rest?
            Answer. Yes, Sir; his arms were tied behind him, and he was carried out in that condition. Mr. Ross, one of those who were executed, was a Freemason; he made himself known to three or four officers who were Masons, and they obtained for him the privilege of writing home to his friends. He was the only one in that party who had that privilege.
            Question. Have you any knowledge of money being taken from members of your party?
            Answer. We were captured in different parties. Money was taken from us by the officers from some at the time we were taken, and from others when they were confined in prison. I was with Mr. Wilson, one of those who were executed, and Mr. Dorsey, one of those who escaped, and Mr. Bensinger, who is here. They took all our money away from us. Mr. Wilson and I had ninety-six dollars between us; I had fifty-two dollars myself. They took away all our money, and our revolvers, pocket-knives, and every thing that could be of any use. The money was never returned to us. It was a Major who took the money. We four were taken to Ringgold, and when we were taken into the jail we were stripped, our clothes turned inside out, and everything examined. Mr. Bensinger, who was with me when we were captured, was taken before a colonel, who took him into a room and questioned him. That night they took us to Marietta, where we were confined in a dungeon under ground, similar to the one at Chattanooga. The rats were running over us in every direction; there were balls of wool all over the floor that the rats had rolled up. We could hardly get our breath. There were 150 guards around the jail to keep the mob from taking us out, as they would have done but for the guard. The next day we were taken to Chattanooga, where we met the rest of the party.
            Question. Will you state the circumstances under which you joined the expedition?
            Answer. My captain came to me and called me from the tent, and asked me if I was willing to go on a secret expedition, and said that if I was I should report to him in twenty minutes, or as soon as I could. I asked him the nature of the business, and he said he could not tell me anything; but if I did not wish to go there would be nothing more said about it. I told him I would go. He then told me to report to the Colonel, which I did, and he gave me a pass to Shelbyville, where I was to meet Mr. Andrews at a tavern. Shortly after I arrived there Mr. Andrews appeared. There was a man with me by the name of Wilson, and another by the name of Wood, belonging to the 21st. Mr. Andrews gave me forty dollars to purchase citizen's clothes with. It being all in gold I got our three suits for the forty dollars. That night, the 7th of April, we commenced our march. About a mile from town Mr. Andrews gathered us together, as we came along in twos and threes, and told us that our object was to destroy the bridges, cut off communications, etc., and he would meet us at Chattanooga. He gave me five men to take through. We met at Chattanooga, where we procured tickets for Marietta. When we got in Marietta we stopped over night, and at four o'clock in the morning took the down train, arrived at Big Shanty, from seven to nine miles from Marietta, where we seized the engine with three box cars, which we detached from the rest of the train, and started off. There were four or five regiments encamped within forty or fifty rods of the train as we started. We proceeded about a hundred miles before we left the train and took to the woods. We had no time to destroy the bridges, because we were followed so closely by the other trains that happened to be there that day; and we were delayed also by having to stop to allow other trains to pass us. That delayed us about an hour. We were at a station oiling our engine when the pursuing engine came in sight, and we started off again. We ran at the rate of about sixty miles an hour, and when we thought we had got far enough ahead of them we would stop, get off and cut the wires, so that they could not send information ahead of us, and take up the track so as to delay them, and then start again. Finally our wood and water gave out, and Mr. Andrews told us to shift for ourselves. Mr. Andrews retained his presence of mind until the last moment.
            Question. Who acted as the engineer?
            Answer. A man by the name of Brown, of the 21st Ohio Regiment. He was one of those who escaped after breaking out of the jail at Atlanta.
            ROBERT BUFFUM.
            Co. H, 21st Ohio Volunteers.

Ohio boys in Dixie: the adventures of twenty-two scouts sent by Gen. O. M. Mitchell to destroy a railroad; with a narrative of their barbarous treatment by the Rebels and Judge Holt's report, New York: Miller & Mathews,1863

 
 

 

 

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July 17, 2007 -  Added A Federal Railroad Adventure - "Andrews Raiders"
May 10 - Added new page Civil War Era Definitions with definitions to be added as I come across them
May 9 - Added article: Our Captured Correspndent
May 9 - Added page for Prisons and Prisoners and a page for Libby Prison
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