25 NOV 1863
Grand Escapade from Castle Thunder. from The Richmond On Saturday tho wardens of Castle Thunder, while engaged in calling the morning roll of the prisoners, were considerably taken aback at finding thirty-three names on the roll of Yankee deserters for which no owners in propia persona: could be found. At the same time, it was apparent to the eye, from the greatly reduced number of prisoners of this class, that there had been a grand leak in operation during the night. The room in which the Yankee deserters, between eighty and one hundred in number, were confined, is on the first floor of the castle, which is about ten or twelve feet below the level of the alley way, which runs along the rear of the 'castle, from Eighteenth to Nineteenth streets. The prisoners removed the masonry from the rear wall, facing the alley, mined directly across it, in a line about "six feet below the surface, directly under the tread of the sentinel, nnd emerged in the yard of McCormick's restaurant, on Main street. The aperture made was about eight feet in diameter, and was made to rise as its terminus approached. No tools were found about the tunnel, and if the prisoners employed nriy save their fingers and nails, they carried them off with them in their flight. A ||uage ^ no si™? the ex act distance froinjthe prison wall to the mouth of the excavation was found, which shows that everything was worked on scientific principles. Thirty-three prisoners arc all that are known to have escaped,andbut for the too sudden coming of daylight, there was nothing to prevent the escape of every prisoner in the room from which ran this extraordinary tunnel. Three of the escaped prisoners were recaptured on Saturday night, lurking about the city. It is probable that the whole party are broken up single, or in squads of twos, and are making their way to the Yanke lines. Up to last night 18 of the escaped prisoners had been caught, nnd five more were on their way to the city, having been taken near the Old Church in Hanover. All were captured by our cavalry pickets.