about this image

The Escape from Andersonville Prison

author: Capt. H. R. Hubbard
published by: Mendon Dispatch, circa 1904
synopses: Personal accounts of Andersonville Prison by Capt. Hubbard
personal subject: Capt. Hubbard and other officers escape from Andersonville

Early in October, about fourteen hundred of us were removed from Charleston to Columbia, S. C. We were located in an old field, about 3 miles northwest of the city, across the river and just below the junction. There was no protection from the weather here except a line guard stationed thirty feet apart in day time [sic] and double at night.

In the course of time a few old tents were supplied but most of us had to do without shelter until we evalude [sic] it out of our inner consciousness as the tortois [sic] does his shell. With the help of a dozen comrades to bend them over, I cut down trees twenty to thirty fee in height and six to eight inches in diameter with a pocket knife, but it required some engineering and more patience. The few old axes furnished for our use were entirely inadequate. I joined a mess with four others, whose names I do not now recall except Adjt. E. Kendrick, 19th N.J., Cav., my chum. After everybody else had breakfased [sic] we would borrow a camp kettle, but a soup bone for $5, a peck of sweet potatoes for $5 and have a square meal. This addition to our rations would make us two meals a day.

In spite of the heavy guard, a great many prisoners escaped. Of course many were killed, wounded or recaptured but that did not deter others from making the attempt. November 4th I followed a squad going outside the camp lines for wood and building material. Gathering a bundle of moss I returned to the guard line near my quarters, and called Adjt. Kendrick, tossed my bundle of moss across the line to him, and told him I wanted my blanket. This he brought with all the rations of the mess and handed over to me, with good bye in his eyes. I have never heard of him since.

I soon fell in with Lieuts. Bradley Pitts and McHeney [ed., note: could be McHaney] , 85th N.Y., and Capt. Smith, 2d N.Y. Cav. We secreted ourselves in the top of a fallen tree to wait for night fall and plan our campaign. I proposed to strike west towards Atlanta and avoid the mountains—the others assented and appointed me guide. Capt. Smith wanted to insist that we have no intercourse with the negroes, but later on overcame his prejudice sufficient to help eat provisions they furnished and finally became an enthusiastic emancipationist.

Inaccustomed [sic] as we were to marching, we made but poor progress and nearly gave out in the first half of the night. Then we met some neighbors who offered to set us across the Saluda river [ed., note: South Carolina River] and kept us in safety over the next day. We finally went with them and they treated us as well as if we were relatives. They supplied us with more well cooked food than we could eat—sent an old teamster who described the country and all the roads and towns, stores and cross roads between Colombia and Augusta, Ga., so that I could map them, and afterwards found their correctness in many a nights' tramp. Then we had another big meal and received an invitation to attend a mass meeting that afternoon. We were assured that there were only two white persons, besides ourselves, within ten miles and that they were very old. Also that there would be no triffeling on account of colored people in attendance—only respectable colored men, who understood the serious condition of affairs affecting the black man of the south at that time—so we accepted the invitation.

About the H. R. Writings

harmon hubard photo 1

#1 photo of H. R. Hubbard (shown)

#2 photo of H. R. Hubbard