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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The Sylvania Spy escapes capture

Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The Sylvania Spy escapes capture

Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The Sylvania Spy escapes capture

Roger Allen

Second 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."
     On the Lexington Court House Road Glazier and his group ran into some people coming their way. It turned out that the group was three slaves who were returning from Columbia back to their master, a Mr. Steadman."
      The exchange between the escaped Yankees and the slaves went as follows: (Q) "Do we look like Yankees?" (A) Can't very well tell in the night-time; but I suspect you talk like 'em." (Q) "We are. Can't you do something for us?" (A) "Of course, I'se no (black man) if I wouldn't assist the Yankees."
      On a branch leading to the Savannah River, Glazier, Lt. M.W. Lemon of the Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, and one of the slaves crossed the river in a leaky cypress canoe that had been hidden under some brush.
      Reaching a group of slave huts in the woods not far from Millen, they quickly devoured a meal of hot griddle-cakes that was prepared for them by the huts residents.
      On the 21st day of their freedom, after passing Little Ebenezer Creek, their worst nightmare came true: they stumbled onto a Confederate guard and were taken captive again.
      After being taken to the officer in charge, Glazier was threatened with hanging from the nearest tree for being a Yankee spy, at which point he admitted he was an escaped prisoner of war.
      They were quickly transported to General Wheeler's headquarters in Springfield. Wheeler ordered them confined to the Springfield jail.
      On December 18, 1864 Glazier and Lemon were brought before a hurriedly convened "Military Commission" that declared they were indeed escaped prisoners of war. They were ordered to be taken to Waynesboro.
      When they stopped in Sylvania, a small town located on Middle Ground Road, for the night, Glazier decided to escape again. They simply jumped over the side porch railing of the house where they were being staying, and fled into the woods.
      A man was sent to borrow some hound dogs from a nearby plantation, and once he returned, the chase was on to find the "Sylvania Spy.". Staggering through the swampy marsh, Glazier and his accomplice criss-crossed creek beds until they knew they must have thrown off the hounds.
     Three days passed, and then on Friday, Dec. 23, the escapees ran into another slave, a man named March Dasher. He informed them the Union forces were now only eight miles away at Cherokee Hill on the Savannah River Road.
      Dasher agreed to guide the two men later that night to the Yankee encampment. The first Union pickets they ran into were members of the 101st Illinois Volunteers, part of the rear-guard of General Sherman's Army.
     Glazier, once again a free man, arrived in Savannah on Christmas Eve 1864. He was treated with the greatest of courtesies by the Union forces and many of the local citizenry.
     Once he reached General Kilpatrick's headquarters, he was recognized by his friends. Here he acquired the necessary papers to travel to New York.
      Glazier traveled to Hilton Head, where he boarded the ocean steamer "Ashland" bound for New York. It wasn't until midnight on Jan. 4, 1865 that he disembarked at New York harbor.
     Then and only then, he later wrote, could he truly believe that his many trials and tribulations were finally over, and he could begin to get on with the rest of his life.
      In writing his story, Glazier wrote that his experiences as a prisoner of war being hauled about throughout the south had convinced him that "Georgia troops seemed to be by far the most civil and gentlemanly of the southern army."

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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