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The Adventures of a Prisoner of War, 1863-1864

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by Decimus et Ultimus Barziza
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The Adventures of a Prisoner of War, 1863-1864 by Decimus et Ultimus Barziza

This journal is the exciting personal narrative of a Texan who was a prisoner of the Union Army during the Civil War, escaped to Canada, and finally made his way back into the Confederacy through the blockade. It was written while the war was still in progress.

The journal was issued anonymously in Houston early in 1865. Its author, Decimus et Ultimus Barziza, was a colorful, competent, truly remarkable Texan-well educated, well traveled, and sophisticated as an observer. Barziza came to Texas from Virginia in 1857. He left a growing law practice at Owensville to enter Confederate service as first lieutenant of the "Robertson Five-Shooters," an infantry company which was one of the original units of the Fourth Texas Infantry, Hood's Brigade. After fighting in many battles, he was wounded at Gettysburg and left lying on the field. The Yankees picked him up and imprisoned him at Johnson's Island.

A year later, as Barziza was being shipped to another prison, he escaped by diving through a window of the moving train at midnight. Making his way across Pennsylvania to New York, he took a train for Canada. There he became one of the first beneficiaries of an underground system which eventually returned him to North Carolina. Too ill from his wounds and the hardships of his escape to return to active duty, he spent the next few months writing his memoirs. They cover the period from the drive for Gettysburg to Barziza's return to the Confederacy.

Before the original publication of this book, only two copies of The Adventures of a Prisoner of War were known to exist. R. Henderson Shuffler, then director of the Texana program of the University of Texas, felt that it was intriguing and important enough to merit editing for republication. The journal has the further attraction of describing the then little-known machinery which was set up in Canada to help Rebel soldiers who had escaped Northern prisons make their way back to the Confederacy by way of Nova Scotia and Bermuda.

Shuffler supplements the narrative with limited yet helpful documentation, providing introductory sections explaining Barziza's background and his career as a Texas legislator and lawyer, as well as carrying the war story up to the sequence where Barziza's account begins.

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Ebook Details
Pages: 154
Size: 1.8 MB
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Date published:   2014
ISBN: 9781477304020 (DRM-EPUB)

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