Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: April 26, 1864

Ten days since I wrote in my diary, and in those ten days was too much occupied in trying to dig a tunnel to escape out of, to write any. On the 21st the tunnel was opened and two fellows belonging to a Massachusetts regiment escaped to the outside. Hendryx and myself next went out. The night was very dark. Came up out of the ground away on the outside of the guard. We crawled along to gain the woods, and get by some pickets, and when forty or fifty rods from the stockade, a shot was fired at some one coming out of the hole. We immediately jumped up and ran for dear life, seemingly making more noise than a troop of cavalry. It was almost daylight and away we went. Found I could not run far and we slowed up, knowing we would be caught, but hoping to get to some house and get something to eat first. Found I was all broke up for any exertion. In an hour we had traveled perhaps three miles, were all covered with mud, and scratched up. I had fell, too, in getting over some logs, and it seemed to me broken all the ribs in my body. Just as it was coming light in the east we heard dogs after us We expected it. and so armed ourselves with clubs and sat down on a log. In a few moments the hounds came up with us and began smelling of us. Pretty soon five mounted rebels arrived on the scene of action. They laughed to think we expected to get away. Started us back towards our charnel pen. Dogs did not offer to bite us, but guards told us that if we had offered resistance or started to run they would have torn us. Arrived at the prison and after waiting an hour Capt. Wirtz interviewed us. After cussing us a few minutes we were put in the chain gang, where we remained two days. This was not very fine, but contrary to expectation not so bad after all. We had more to eat than when inside, and we had shade to lay in, and although my ancles were made very sore, do not regret my escapade. Am not permanently hurt any We had quite an allowance of bacon while out, and some spring water to drink. Also from the surgeon I got some elder berries to steep into a tea to drink for scurvy, which is beginning to take hold of me. Lewis is sick and can hardly walk around. His days are few. Have taken another into our mess, named Swan, from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Is a fresh looking boy for this place and looks like a girl.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 52-3

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