from the Richmond Dispatch, Oct 2x, 1861
| Arrival of Federal Prisoners
The announcement in the newspapers yesterday morning that a large number of Federal prisoners, captured in the battle of Leesburg, would arrive some time during the day excited the curiosity of our inhabitants, and by nine o’clock a considerable crowd assembled at the Central depot with a determination to wait for the cars, no matter what time they came in. A guard of soldiers, under Lieut. Dradford, was stationed along the track of the railroad from Broad street to the engine house, and no one, save a few privileged characters, was suffered to pass the line. The number of spectators was constantly increased, until a dense mass of human beings, of all ages, sexes, and conditions in life, filled the adjacent streets and crowded the outside platforms, the freight cars, and every other eligible spot in the vicinity. - Shortly before half past 10 o’ clock the distant whistle announced the approach of the train, which soon made its appearance, and it was with the greatest difficulty that the sentinels were enabled to keep the impatient throng from trespassing upon the reserved territory. Files of soldiers extended down Broad street for some distance, leaving an avenue between for the prisoners too pass through. The train consisted of several burden cars, at the doors of which armed Confederate soldiers were stationed, as custodians to the “foreign element” within. The escort from Manassas, consisting of 84 men, was under command of Lieut. Col. T. C. Johnson, of the 19th Georgia regiment, and Capt. J. B. Andrews, of the 4th North Carolina State troops.
Some time elapsed before the public generally was permitted to see the “show,” and the prisoners meanwhile were treated to a few buckets of water, which seemed to be quite acceptable. In one of the cars the privilege of getting a drop of the fluid became a subject of controversy, and while one fellow got a kick in the stomach from a comrade, which somewhat deranged his powers of suction, another was interrupted in the process of drinking by a gruff order - “Don’t slabber in der bucket!” The guard interfered, and stopped the row before it became general. - The arrangements for the march being at length completed, the first detachment of prisoners, composed of the following twenty two commissioned officers, passed through the lines:
W. R. Lee, Colonel, 20th Massachusetts Regiment.
Col.. Cogswell, 12th New York.
These officers are generally men of fine personal appearance, and as they passed along in the presence of the crowd they seemed to regard their situation as anything but agreeable. The remaining prisoners, non-commissioned officers and privates, were then marched out in detachments, and formed on Broad street between files of soldiers. The whole number of captured Yankees in the procession was 525, viz: 22 commissioned officers; 149 men from the 15th Massachusetts regiment; 93 from the 42d New York; 184 from the 1st California; 72 and one negro from the 20th Massachusetts; 1 from the 1st New Jersey; 1 from the 40th New York; 1 from the Pennsylvania Cavalry; an 1 from the 3d Rhode Island battalion. They were very well dressed, and many of them wore comfortable overcoats. - Some few had lost their hats, and some were barefooted, having pulled off their shoes to swim the Potomac during the panic, and were rescued from watery graves by our advanced forces. The juveniles among the crowd indulged in some derisive remarks, and a portion of the prisoners displayed considerable impudence. One fellow said that their turn would come by-and-by, and that Lincoln and Scott would both be in Richmond before a great while. Another remarked to a bystander that they had to hunt for the Southern soldiers to make them fight, and the bystander reckoned that they fought pretty well when they were found. The negro prisoner was an object of no little curiosity, and he seemed quite uneasy. He says his name is Lewis A. Bell, and that he was free in the District of Columbia; but some of our citizens thought they had seen him before, and it is very probable that he is what the Yankees term a “contraband.”
The guard, commanded by Capt. O’Neil, of Georgia, formed a square, and, with the captives in the centre, marched down Broad to 19th, thence to Main, and down Main to 25th street, followed by an immense multitude of persons. After some little delay, the prisoners were marched into Mayo’s factory, corner of 25th and Cay streets, where they will have ample opportunity to reflect upon the uncertainties of war. The occupants of another prison in the neighborhood crowded the windows to get a view of this large reinforcement, but the spectacle did not seem to afford them much gratification.
The special train in the morning brought information that another lot of the Leesburg prisoners were behind, and preparations were accordingly made to receive them. A guard, commanded by Lieut. Laws, of the 18th Georgia regiment, repaired to the Central depot in the afternoon. The mail train arrived at quarter past 4 o’clock, with three cars full of Yankees, numbering 132, two of whom are commissioned officers - Capt. G. W. Rockwood, of the 15th Massachusetts Lieut. Charles McPherson, of the Tammany regiment, New York. They were attended by a guard of 24 men, under Captain Neal, of the 19th Georgia regiment. The crowd about the depot conversed freely with the prisoners; but no rudeness was exhibited towards them. They were very soon marched off to the factory, to join their comrades in captivity.
Four prisoners were brought up from the Peninsula yesterday, by the York river train. They claim to be deserters from the Federal army, and as we regard this a very sensible proceeding on their part, we give them the benefit of a publication of their names: Augustus Blaney, 1st Massachusetts battalion; Dennis Gleason, New York Vols.; A. L. Hartwell, 16th Massachusetts, and John Telyear, 1st New York. There are now nearly 2,000 prisoners in Richmond, and the sooner some hundreds are sent South, the better. We are in a situation not unlike the man who got the elephant as a prize in a lottery - he didn’t know what to do with it.