A Guide to Civil War Materials
in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Reuben Bartley Papers
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Reminiscence about Libby Prison in Richmond, Va. by Bartley, who was a member of the U.S. Army
Signal Corps during the Civil War. He was in Libby Prison for several months in 1864. In the
reminiscence, Bartley describes the expedition under the direction of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren to
release Union prisoners in Richmond, Va. in 1864. He describes the failure of the raid on Richmond,
which resulted in the death of Dahlgren and Bartley’s imprisonment. He wrote about the conditions
of the several prisons in which he was incarcerated including Libby Prison.
We arrived at the now famous Libby at 7:30 p.m. and was turned over to the tender mercies of Maj.
T. P. Turner. We were marched into the hall of the prison, and our names and rank registered on
the prison rolls, after which we were searched and everything we had taken from us. All that was
left in my possession was an old comb. I asked them if they did not want my clothes when they very
coolly told us we would be hanged in a few days and they would get the clothes then.
By December 22, 1864, Bartley was home in Allegheny City, Pa.
Guide to Civil War Materials
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library - Duke University
Compiled November 2001 by Janie Morris
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