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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The making of the Sylvania Spy

Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The making of the Sylvania Spy

Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The making of the Sylvania Spy

Roger Allen

First of two parts.

      In his book entitled "The Capture, the Prison Pen, and the Escape," Brevet Captain Willard W. Glazier of Company G of the 3rd New York Volunteers told the story of how he became "The Sylvania Spy."
      His tale begins in October 1863 when, after "routing the Rebels," his unit proceeded to the Bull Run Bridge for another engagement with the enemy when "At this juncture my horse was shot from under me."
      He continued, "I was insensible for several moments, and on becoming conscious, found that "My arms had been stripped from me, my, pockets rifled, and watch taken."
      Later that evening they were marched to Warrenton and placed in the county jail. The next morning he began what became a 14-month saga of imprisonments and escapes.
      First sent to the dreaded "Libby Prison" in Richmond, he next passed through the prison at Danville, Virginia before arriving at "Camp Oglethorpe" in Macon.
      When they arrived on May 19, 1864, they discovered to their horror Major Thomas P. Turner, the "fiend incarnate" of Libby Prison, in charge of the camp.
      Conditions inside the camp quickly became toxic. The phrase "being exchanged" no longer being a prisoner was traded for a confederate officer but rather that the prisoner had succumbed to the diseases sweeping the camp.
      Thankfully, Glazier and many of his fellow Union soldiers were shipped out of Camp Oglethorpe for Camp Davidson in Savannah on the evening of July 29, 1864. Camp Davidson was located in the eastern part of Savannah nearby the Marine Hospital.
      Glazier and his comrades-in-arms were next shipped out for the Charleston Jail Yard on the morning of September 12th.
      They were marched down Coming Street to Charleston's Jail Yard, located in the southeastern part of the city, within plain sight of Morris Island where the Union siege batteries stood.
      All during their march they heard the citizenry's insults calling them "northern blue-bellies," baboons, and " Lincoln's monkeys." According to Glazier, this site was the filthiest prison in which he was confined.
      After part of Charleston eventually became known as "the Burnt District" because of the damage done by Union siege batteries, Glazier and his fellow prisoners were transferred to Camp Sorghum" in Columbia, South Carolina.
      They arrived in Columbia in the middle of a driving rainstorm. The 1,500 men were taken to an open field on Bridge Street, where they were confined with no shelter from the elements.
      From this ineffectual imprisonment Glazier was finally able to affect his escape. He and his accomplice, Lieutenant M.W. Lemon of the Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, brazenly walking out of the camp.
      Glazier had chosen to escape in front of "a stupid-looking fellow" who accosted them and said "Where are you going, Yanks?" Glazier wrote that he simply glared at him and said, "Do you halt paroled prisoners here?"
      At this rebuke the guard meekly said "No, sir." Glazier instructed him to "let the gentleman in the rear follow me." Glazier and Lemon quickly put as much distance between them and the camp as they could.

Read part two next week about how Willard Glazier became the "Sylvania Spy."

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger


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