From the Richmond Dispatch, 5/8/1863, p. 1, c. 4
An Austrian Among the Confederates – His Confinement in Libby Prison
Baron Rudolph Wardener, formerly an officer in the Austrian service, who was captured with Gen. Stoughton, at Fairfax Court House on the 9th of March last, and taken to the Libby prison, in this city, and shortly afterwards released, has recently arrived North. He gives the following account of his capture and subsequent treatment while in Richmond:
As he was not in the military service of the United States, he, as well as the other citizen prisoners, were, by an arrangement between Commissioners Ould and Ludlow, released from the parole which they at first gave previous to their release.
After their capture they were taken to the headquarters of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, and were treated very kindly both by him and by Capt. Mosby. On their arrival in Richmond, however, they were thrown into the Libby prison and treated very harshly.
Soon after reaching Richmond he wrote to Gen. Winder demanding his release, as he was not a citizen of the United States and not in the service of the United States Government, and asking for an interview with him that he might explain his position more fully. Receiving no answer to this application, he then wrote to the rebel Secretary of War to the same effect; but this was also not noticed.
Finally, he applied to Mr. DeVoss, the Austrian Consul, who called on Gen. Winder in regard to his case. Getting no satisfaction from him, he then called upon the Secretary of War, who said that there was great suspicion against Baron Wardener, as he had been with Col. Wyndham, and was suspected of being a commissioned officer upon Col. Wyndham’s staff. He finally referred his case to Judge Baxter for examination. He was sent to the Judge, with four deserters, under guard. The Judge questioned him very closely as to his business in the camps of their enemies. The Baron explained to him that he was by profession a military man, and was visiting and examining the camps and military organization of the United States cavalry as a matter of professional interest. The Judge expressed regret that he had been so unfortunate as to be captured. He further said to him that if it was his desire to see the military operations as a matter of professional interest, the Confederate Government would invite him to examine their side. To this the Baron replied that he had already been fourteen days in the Libby prison, and that he had seen enough of their side of the contest.
At a second interview with Judge Baxter he informed Baron Wardener that unless he would sign a parole they should not treat him either as a citizen, soldier, or officer, but as an inciter of insurrection among the slaves.
To this he replied that they could treat him as they pleased; but that he thought the Austrian Government would demand satisfaction. At this the Judge became greatly excited, and jumped up from his chair, saying, “What do we say about your Government? What do we know about your Government? We have never acknowledged your Government.”
Finally, after consultation with a number of Union officers who were in prison with him, as to what course he had better take under the circumstances, by their advice he signed the parole under protest, and was released, as before stated, although he had previously repeatedly refused to do so.
Judge Baxter said that Colonel Wyndham, when in the Austrian service, might possibly have been a gentleman, but that he was now a robber, murderer, incendiary, &c, and they would hang him and his staff altogether if they should catch them.
The treatment of the Union officers at the Libby prison is most outrageous. They are confined in the garret of the prison, most of them without even wooden boxes to sleep in, and only filthy blankets for bed clothes. The filth is most disgusting, and the whole place alive with vermin. There are nearly 250 officers confined there. The bread supplied to them is decent, but the meat is decayed and stinking – much of it mule meat. Capt Turner, the Provost Marshal, who has charge of the Libby prison, is a perfect brute in human shape, who delights in heaping abuse upon the unfortunate victims who fall into his hands.