From the Richmond Dispatch, 4/7/1863, p. 1, c. 4
Attempted Escape From Prison – Man Shot Through the Head and Killed – An attempt was made yesterday morning, at an early hour, by the men confined in Castle Thunder to effect their escape, which resulted in the instantaneous death of one of them. The parties were Charles Carroll, alias John Byser, of Company A, 53rd Virginia Regiment, and William Campbell, a member of the New Orleans Washington Artillery. Carroll, alias Byser, is said to have been a native of Maryland. He was put in prison a few days since on the charge of deserting from the company into which he had sold himself as a substitute for a good round sum. Campbell, whose successful efforts to liberate himself from custody at Castle Thunder render any further mention of him unnecessary, was awaiting trial for desertion, and was placed in the same room with Carroll, in the second story of the building, and in view of the sentinel guarding the “citizens’ room.”
About 3 o’clock yesterday morning Campbell liberated himself from the ball attached by a chain to his leg and, muffling the chain, he, together with Carroll, out cut with a knife four or five of the planks fronting towards Cary street, and forming part of the wall of their cell. This done, their egress into the area fronting the prison officers’ mess room (overlooking Cary street,) was easy. – They next unlocked the mess room door, and, closing that, proceeded to hoist the window just over the sentry. This operation seems to have been accomplished without the knowledge of the sentinel on duty; but on getting on the porch in front of the building they made noise enough to attract his attention, and were accordingly hailed and ordered to halt. Both of the fugitives kept quiet, and Campbell crept within the shadow of the wall. The sentry gave the alarm, raised his piece and fired. Being but a few feet from Carroll, alias Byser, the ball sped rapidly through the plank flooring of the porch, entered his nose, which it destroyed, and going through his head removed the larger portion of the rear of his skull, and made its way through the lower part of the window sash and upward into the bottom of the 3d story floor, where it lodged. Carroll expired without a groan, and Campbell, finding it useless to try and get out by the route he had chosen, hoisted the window and came inside the building. At the time the report of the musket alarmed the guard Detectives Wm. W. New and George W. Thomas were “sitting up” with Capt. A. Webster, in an upper room in pursuance of an order of General Windsor that he should not be left unattended at night. – Detective Thomas leaving his comrade specially in charge of Webster, repaired to the lower part of the building to ascertain the cause of the alarm. In doing so he had to pass down near where Campbell was ensconced, and the latter briskly stepping out of his place of concealment, proceeded along in the rear of the officer, and passed the interior guard as an attache of the prison. When he got to the front door he fled with great precipitation up Cary street, and officer Thomas gave chase. Campbell turned into 18th street, and was making good time, when the officer discharged the barrel of a revolver at him. The report alarmed several of the city watch, and, finally, on the discharge of another barrel a number made their appearance. Campbell was disappearing in the distance, when, unfortunately for himself, when beyond Franklin street, he fell over the burly form of one of the guardians of the night, and the detectives soon making his appearance, he was conducted back to prison and again attached to his ball. The body of Carroll was removed from the porch and conveyed to the dead house, on top of the building. The remains were interred yesterday. The sentinel on duty at the time he was shot was a North Carolina soldier.