From the Chicago Daily Inter-Ocean, 7/11/1890, p. 7, c. 6
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AFTER.
Major Turner, Commandant of Libby Prison During the War, Revisits the Building.
Yesterday morning a neatly-dressed gentleman, having the appearance of a Southerner, walked up to the ticket office at the Libby Prison Museum and purchased a ticket of admission, after which he leisurely strolled inside the heavy gates and into the old prison. He had no more than closed the door behind him and taken a quick glance about the place when an expression of mingled pain and pleasure came over his face. The man was none other than Major Thomas P. Turner, the commandant of Libby Prison from 1861 to 1865. It was twenty-five years ago that he delivered over the keys of his hostelry to his captors at old Richmond and left its famous doors, as he thought, forever. He did not dream on that day that at some time in the future he would re-enter the same building in a city a thousand miles from Richmond. Naturally the emotions that arose in confusion in his breast were of an unusual character, and their outward expression attracted the attention of H. C. Chappelle, an ex-Confederate veteran who, during the war, was a guard at the prison. But he did not recognize his old commander, who was standing near the door examining a life-size picture of himself. Going up to him, as he does to all visitors, for the purpose of explaining the various objects of interest, he began to give a short history of Major Turner’s life. After talking for some time he was interrupted by his listener, who said:
“I am the man you are telling me about, T. P. Turner.”
“You are? Well, if I am not glad to see you. But I did not know you, you are changed so much,” replied the old guard in amazement.
“I suppose so. But I am surprised to find you here in the North, and in this museum,” rejoined Major Turner.
“Do you not see hundreds of rebel relics here, and am I not a relic?” replied Mr. Chappelle.
The two were standing in the identical spot where the commandant’s office was situated in the days when the building was the dread confinement place of Union soldiers. After further examining the picture, which is a good likeness of Major Turner, the strangely-reunited pair made a tour of the building. The Major noted with interest the addition of modern improvements to his old hotel, in electric lights and bric-a-brac of various kinds. The old landlord was introduced to Major R. C. Knaggs, manager of the museum, who was registered at Libby and Sons’ house for eight months of the year 1863. The acquaintances formed under the peculiar circumstances of that occasion was reviewed, with the exception that there were more kindly feelings between the host and guest.
Major Turner is spending his old age at Memphis, Tenn., and came to Chicago to attend the races. He is accompanied by Colonel Armstrong, a Union veteran. Major Turner intends to visit the museum to-day and sit in his old war chair once more.