More Strange Escapes
Brown, being pro-Confederate, got into a drunken brawl with a Union soldier whom he killed. Brown was what the Provost called white trash. Arrested, he was thrown into Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. His cellmate took an immediately disliking to him and wanted him out.
The cellmate told Brown that he had overheard the warden instruct the guards that Brown was to be executed and it was to be the next morning. Distressed, Brown bemoaned his fate and desperately wanted to live. The cellmate then assuaged Brown's fear by telling him that prior to the war, he was a circus acrobat. He then told Brown that with a good springboard, he could fly high into the air and that it was quite possible to spring from the cell, over the inner yard and the fence and into the outer yard where escape would be possible.
Seeing a chance to cheat death, Brown filled with enthusiasm and so the two pried up a floorboard in their cell. They pushed the floorboard out of the window and secured it to the window sill. Brown then crawled out on hands and knees until he reached the very end. Then ever so carefully, he began to stand up. Once fully erect, he started to bounce. Slowly at first, as if he were seemingly unsure of himself, and then as he began to gain height, with greater energy. When he thought he was bouncing high enough, he lept!
The drop from the cell window's was a good 40-50 feet. Brown sailed into the air, over the yard the fence. He almost impaled himself on a guard's bayonet when he landed in the outer yard. The wide-eyed guard was shocked by Brown's sudden appearance. With gaping mouth, the guard fled from Brown. Brown ran to the shed and began to climb its roof. Once on top, he could hop over the outer wall and be free! Unfortunately for Brown, one guard who was alert brought him down at gunpoint.
Brown repeated his stunt but on his next try, was shot.
Unfortunately, the cellmate's name was not recorded. I guess he was pretty effective in getting rid of cellmates.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!