The Great Escape
The following is not a tale of a massive escape from the Union prison at Elmira, New York or the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville in Georgia. Rather, it's a tale of an Irishman who got the better of his Confederate captors at Gettysburg. Join us now for the rambling anecdote of one Irishman who defied death, eluded his captors and returned with a captured musket.
"Another incident occured which, under the circumstances, was amusing, and goes far towards displaying the comic side of the Irish character. At a time when the rebel riflemen were annoying the artillerist from their concealed shelter behind the large boulders, etc., Michael Broderick, detailed from the 11th Massachusetts Vounteers, and placed as a driver on the Battery wagon, left his team which was out of danger and came forward to the crest where things were a little lively, and picking up a must which had been dropped by one of the infantry, he was soon engaged with a foe who was evidently behind one of the boulders in the front. Mike was oblivious to the bulets flying carelessly about; he simply had an eye on his man, and to even up the chances, he too sought the friendly protection of a large rock. His strange antics first attracted my notice, and when I took him to task for leaving his team, his reply was, 'Let me stay here, Captain, sure there are plenty back there to look after the horses.' I said no more and Mike again commenced to dance, first on one side of the rock and then on the other, challenging his man to come out and face him; then he would dodge behind the rock to avoid, I presume, the privilege of stopping a bullet, then he would jump again shooting, 'Come on now, if you dare, bad luck to you.' He was thus engaged when I last noticed him. At night Mike was reported missing, but early on the morning of the 4d, he reported, with a rebel musket and cartridge belt, stating that he had been taken prisoner and placed in a belt of timber with other Federal soldiers. Watching his chance, he noticed the guards were few and far between, and when the opportunity offered he quickly found a belt and musket and commenced to march up an down like the Confederate guards (his slouch hat and old blouse together with his general make-up aroused no suspicion, as many rebels were dressed similarly). When night came on he marched into the Federal lines, and reported as stated."
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!