Escapees from Libby Prison
Captain John D. Hatfield (left), 53rd Illinois Infantry, Company H, and Mark Mitchell Bassett (center), also of the 53rd, were both taken prisoner at the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi on July 12, 1863. Sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia (right) they endured almost 7 months of hardship at the hands of their captors. They escaped on February 9, 1864, digging their way out through tunnels. Unfortunately, Bassett was captured four days later. He was thrown into an underground dungeon, subsisting on a diet of bread and water. Fearing Grant's taking of Richmond, prisoners were moved several times, lastly to Columbia, South Carolina to "Camp Sorghum." On November 10, 1864, Bassett and several others successfully escaped and survived 52 days in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bassett, originally from West Point, Fulton County, Illinois, later served in the Illinois General Assembly as both a state representative and senator.