From the Richmond Sentinel, 10/23/1863
Murder at Castle Thunder. – Yesterday morning, between the hours of two and three o’clock, four men succeeded in effecting their escape from Castle Thunder. A previous attempt of the same parties having been discovered and frustrated by the vigilance of the officers, they were confined in the condemned cell. Obtaining by some means, the necessary tools, they cut through the floor into the commissary’s room beneath, descending into which, they secured the arms placed there for safe keeping; then, in a body, rushing out into the room used for the reception of visitors, they overthrew the sentinel on guard inside the door, who being disabled by the fall, could not further arrest their flight.
They next encountered the sentinel in front of the prison on Cary street. He happening to be immediately in their path, one of the number rushed upon him and placing the muzzle of his gun close to the head of the guard, who, in vain attempted to stop their egress, discharged the piece. The whole load entered the lower portion of the head, inflicting a frightful wound, and of course, causing instant death. Three or four shots were fired in rapid succession at the fleeing murderers, but with what effect is not known. – A crowd of soldiers on duty at the prison were soon collected around the scene of this lamentable disaster, but here a singular incident occurred. The large dog, (belonging to Capt. Alexander, the commandant of the prison,) whom doubtless all have seen and admired who have ever visited the Castle, took a position alongside the dead body and would not permit any to approach until the proper officers came up and relieved him of his charge; even then he followed the corpse into the building, seemingly determined to keep watchful guard over the remains until the last. The exhibition of affection for the deceased soldier was truly touching and indeed remarkable. The name of the deceased was Sutton Byrd, a private in Company C, 53d North Carolina. The names of the parties who committed this cold blooded murder are E. D. Boone, Ed. Carney, Tho. Cole and J. A. Chipman. The first is a noted ruffian, having made several escapes from different places, and was closely confined a few days ago for an attempted escape. The others were of a like desperate character, being confined upon serious charges.
The poor boy’s father is here and accompanies the remains to his home in North Carolina. – Gen. Winder very properly and kindly ordered an escort to accompany the remains to the cars.