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Henry W. Sawyer to John T. Nixon, November 1, 1863

Henry Washington Sawyer, detail
Captain Henry W. Sawyer of Cape May, New Jersey and the the First New Jersey Cavalry was one of two officer prisoners selected by lot for hanging as retribution for the mid-May 1863 executions of two Confederate officers convicted of spying in Kentucky. This threat was not carried out but Sawyer spent some anxious months in solitary confinement before being restored to the main body of Union prisoners at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. In this letter to his former Republican Congressman John Thompson Nixon, he complained about the current policy concerning prisoners and pleaded for aid in securing his exchange. Nixon had declined re-election in 1862 and his influence is unclear but Sawyer was indeed exchanged but not until March 1864. He returned to the First New Jersey Cavalry and finished the war as a lieutenant-colonel. (By John Osborne)


How to Cite This Page: "Henry W. Sawyer to John T. Nixon, November 1, 1863," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,