The Civil War: Prisoners Dug Tunnel and Escaped

Prisoners use broken knife to dig tunnel out of cellar prison; all but one escaped.

| Good Old Days

I remember hearing my father tell about his uncle being in prison in a cellar basement during the Civil War, with other prisoners. Somehow they got hold of an old butcher's knife with the handle off, and they dug a tunnel under a brick wall and a long way with that old knife. They tamped the loose dirt down in the floor as they dug the tunnel so the guards wouldn't see it. And the night before they were to be killed, they escaped through that tunnel, all but one. He was a large man, and he waited to be the last one to go, and he got hung up in the tunnel and couldn't get all the way through.

Both my grandfathers lost their lives in the Civil War.

Mrs. Adis Ancell
Higbee, Missouri

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

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