May 10, 1864
Adventures of an Escaped Prisoner. – We were yesterday very much interested in a conversation with Mr. P.O. Williams, a member of the 94th Ohio Infantry, who was captured by the rebels at Chickamanga, and who arrived within our lines at Raleigh Court House a few days ago, having made his escape in February last from the prison in Saulsbury, North Carolina. After his capture he was taken to Danville, Virginia, from which place he escaped and was recaptured and taken to Saulsbury. After remaining at the latter place for several weeks, he, with others, again escaped by digging a tunnel under the prison. He lay concealed in the woods for six weeks in Rockingham county, N.C., during which time he had several interviews with a Union man who was perfectly familiar with the whole Southern country, and who instructed him how to strike his course through the mountains by the moss and bark upon the trees. He traveled several weeks in the direction of Raleigh Court House, approaching a human habitation only when the absolute want of food compelled him to do so – When within about a hundred miles of Raleigh Court House, having in the meantime fallen in with a couple of conscripts who were traveling with him, he came suddenly upon three rebel soldiers who were hunting deserters in the woods.
Williams and the conscript were arrested and compelled to march in front of their captors. In the course of a few hours the conscripts broke and started to run away. Two of the soldiers started in pursuit, one remaining with Williams. The two soldiers and the two conscripts were soon lost in the woods and Williams and the remaining soldier were marching along alone. – When about to cross a stream upon a foot log Williams stopped under the pretence of fixing his ragged shoe and the soldier get upon the log first. As he did so Williams raised a heavy hickory stick which he had been carrying and dealing the soldier a blow upon the head felled him, musket and all, in the rapid stream. He then took to his heels and after a long sad weary march of several days reached Raleigh Court House, ragged, worn and destitute, but still the happiest man alive.
Williams resides in Sandusky, Ohio and is now on his way home.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: May 1864