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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
July 12, 1864


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 15, 1864

Escape of Prisoners From The Anthenum. – Four sentenced prisoners made their escape from the Atheneum prison on Tuesday morning about two o’clock. The men were confined in the basement room, the floor of which is several feet from the ground. When a prisoner is put into this room he is always searched and anything in the shape of a knife or other instrument likely to assist in his escape is taken away from him. However, one of the men managed to get hold of a knife with which a working party of four cut a hole in the floor large enough to admit of the passage of their bodies. They dropped through this hole to the ground and commenced work upon the newly erected brick wall, which alone stood between the convicts and liberty. They soon made a break in the wall also and away they sped, one of the party carrying a ball and chain attached to his leg. One of the soldiers saw the last of the convicts as he was emerging through the hole in the wall and shot at him, but the shot did not take effect. The men were all Federal soldiers and were sentenced to imprisonment and hard labor for desertion. Captain Over has a pretty heavy scout out upon the trail and it is not likely that some of the party may be captured.

The following are the names and descriptions of the men:

Robert Colligan private, Company f, 34th Massachusetts infantry; complexion dart, 7 feet in height, blue eyes, 26 years old.

John Moody private, Company H, 34th Ohio Infantry; dark complexion, dark hair, 6 feet ˝ inches high, dark eyes, 25 years old.

Hezekia Oris private, Company I, 54th Pennsylvania infantry; fair complexion, dark hair, 5 feet 3 inches high, blue eyes, 20 years old.

Edgar Rogers private, Battery B, 5th U.S. Artillery; fair complexion , light hair, 5 feet 7 inches high, brown eyes, 33 years old.

Want of a large force of troops to guard the prisoners, and carelessness on the part of some of the men on duty, are the causes leading to this successful attempt to escape.

P.S. – One of the scouts sent out by Captain Over, arrived last night, with Edgar Rogers. He was caught at Lawson’s tavern in Tridelphia. He had the band around his leg yet, but no ball attached. He was completely worn out, and had imbibed pretty freely of bad whisky. He is too drunk yet to answer intelligently to any questions propounded to him, except that he had no hand in making the preparations to escape, but concluded to try it on, when the secret was disclosed to him. He was the last one to go out, was halted by the guard, and started to run, was fired at and came near being hit, the ball passing close over his shoulders. He was tired of running around, and glad to return.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1864

West Virginia Archives and History