Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROSE, Thomas Ellwood, soldier, born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, 12 March, 1830. He was educated in the common schools, entered the National army as a private in the 12th Pennsylvania regiment in April, 1861, became captain in the 77th Pennsylvania in October of the same year, was engaged at Shiloh, the siege and battles of Corinth and Murfreesboro', became colonel in January, 1863, and fought at Liberty Gap and Chickamauga, where he was taken prisoner. He escaped at Weldon, North Carolina, was retaken the next day, and sent to Libby prison, Richmond, Virginia, on 1 October, 1863. He almost immediately began preparations to escape. With the aid of Major Archibald G. Hamilton, of the 12th Kentucky cavalry, he cut a hole in the solid masonry of the kitchen fire-place large enough to admit a man's body into the cellar below, their only implements being a broken jack-knife and an old chisel found in the prison, and their time of working between the hours of 10 e. M, and 4 A. M. This having been completed, a working-party of fifteen men was organized, under the command of Colonel Rose, who undertook the most dangerous and arduous part of the task. They cut through the stone wall of the cellar, and dug a tunnel fifty feet long through an earthen embankment, emerging at a point where the sentry could not see them, whence they found easy access to the street. This work occupied nearly three months, and during much of the time Colonel Rose and Major Hamilton worked alone. On the night of 9 February, 1864, the -tunnel was completed, and 109 soldiers escaped, of whom 48 were retaken, including Colonel Rose. Rose was suffering from a broken ankle, and was in sight of the National lines when he was recaptured. He was again confined in Libby prison, but left there on 30 April, 1864, and was ordered to Columbus, Ohio, where he was formally exchanged on 20 May, 1864, rejoined his regiment, and served with it from 6 June, 1864, until the close of the war, participating in the engagements around Atlanta and in the battles of Columbia, Franklin, and Nashville. He was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers "for gallant and meritorious service during the civil war" on 22 July, 1865, and major and lieutenant-colonel in the regular army on 2 March, 1867, for Liberty Gap and Chickamauga. He became captain in the 11th infantry in 1866, and in 1870 was transferred to the 16th infantry.
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