Daniel Burton, Frank E. Hanaford, Andrew Lascell, Marvin (Harmon S.) Sheldon, and Benjamin F. Gardner

Company E, 14/15th Illinois Volunteer Veteran Battalion

Standing: Private Daniel Burton, Sgt. Frank E. Hanaford, Private Andrew Lascell. Sitting: Cpl. Marvin (Harmon S.) Sheldon, Captain Benjamin F. Gardner. All were from Co. E. 14/15th Ill. Infantry Veteran Battalion. They all escaped as prisoners from the Confederates.

Frank E. Hanaford, one of the retired citizens of Woodstock was formerly actively engaged in teaming work in Mc Henry Co. He was born at Newhampton, NH December 8, 1842, a son of Aaron and Sarah (Curtis) Hanaford, natives of New Hampshire, and Vermont respectively, who were married in the latter state. The Hanaford family originated in England, representatives of it coming to New Hampshire at an early date. A Captain Hanaford commanded a company of New Hampshire men during the American Revolution.

A brother of Aaron Hanaford, Milton, came to Illinois about 1850, settling at Huntley, Illinois where he was later joined by the former. Aaron Hanaford and his wife had the following children: Mary Elizabeth, who married Morris Parks, died in the state of Washington, in 1918; aged eighty-two years; Frank E.; and Isadora, who is Mrs. Kimbally of Woodstock, IL.

Frank E. Hanaford was fifteen years of age when the family located in McHenry County and he lived with his father until he enlisted in 1861, in Company A, Fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in response to the first call of President Lincoln, and served during the Civil War as a brave soldier. He has long belonged to the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic and has attended several national encampments, enjoying meeting his old comrades in this way.

In 1865, Frank E Hanaford was married to Melissa Sears of Seneca Township, born in New York , who was brought to McHenry County when a child by her parents, Clark and Abigail Sears. They settled in Seneca Township, where both died at an advanced age, Mrs. Hanaford being the only survivor of her family. Mr. And Mrs. Hanaford became the parents of the following children: Edward, who lives at Woodstock, is a dealer in oil and gas; Mabel, who married W. H. Monroe, lives at Humbolt, IA; Frank C., who conducted the leading teaming and draying business at Woodstock, retired some years ago; and Ida M., who is actively engaged in church work. One daughter, Maud, died in young womanhood. The surviving daughters have always taken an active part in church work and social life. This is one of the best-known families in the County. The pleasant home at No. 442 South Street, was built by Mr. Hanaford in 1868, and it has long been a favorite gathering place for the friends of the family. Mr. Hanaford himself is a well known thoroughly reliable and highly respected citizen, and a man who commands confidence wherever he is known.

In connection with his experiences as a soldier during the Civil War Mr. Hanaford relates an account of the escape of himself and Ben Gardner from Wauconda, IL; Marvin Sheldon, from Crystal Lake, IL ; Daniel Burton, from Woodstock, IL.; Andrew Lascell, from Woodstock, IL, who were prisoners of the Confederacy. On October 4, 1864, he was captured near Ackworth, GA., and taken across the Chattahoochee River, and after several changes was confined at Andersonville. At that time there were from 8,000 to 10,000 prisoners in the cramped quarters. Even at this day he recalls with distinction the horrors of that prison with its inadequate and miserable food and unsanitary conditions. The prisoners were insufficiently clad, their wounds were neglected and deaths were many and frequent. Mr. Hanaford was one of those detailed to assist in removing each morning those who had died during the previous night. He was there for one month, and from all that he observed he states it as his firm belief that no one ever really escaped from that stronghold.

Fearing the advance of General Sherman, the Confederates took detachments of prisoners to Savannah, GA., and from there Mr. Hanaford and his companions after three or four days were run into the pine woods ninety to ninety-five miles southwest of Savannah, and placed under guard. Once more the prisoners were moved, and finally while in camp near Thomasville, GA., nearly 100 miles away from the Union forces, the five men above referred to, made their escape on December 11, 1864. All were members of the Fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. These five men had only a pint of beans, one pint of corn meal, a little salt, and one tin cup by way of equipment and supplies. They had planned to travel by night, which they did, excepting about two miles and lay in the swamps by day. Chickens and sweet potatoes were the principal living which they foraged during the night, usually finding plenty, but never getting very hungry, never asking for help, and their hardships were pitiful. Finally on January 2, 1865, twenty-two days after their escape the five reach the flag fort on the Island of Fernandina, and they reported to the provost marshal who provided for their needs. From there they finally took a steamboat to Hilton Head, S.C. and from there went to Beaufort, S.C. There through some misunderstanding these brave soldiers were held for examination by a subordinate, but when the adjuvant-general of the Seventeenth Army Corps had the matter called to his attention, he relieved the subordinate from duty, and gave the escaped prisoners a thirty-day furlough. From there they went north to New York City, and the Soldiers Home. They were sent to Chicago by way of Cleveland, and then on home. In June, he went to Springfield to be mustered out of service, but as his papers had not arrived, after two weeks of waiting, returned home. Finally he was mustered out July 20.

It is impossible to give in so restricted a space the many intensely interesting incidents told by Mr. Hanaford with reference to this thrilling escape. He has related all of this in a most interesting narrative called " War, Prison, Escape," which ought to be given to the public in some permanent form by him on account of its truthfulness and general interest. He states that his comrades Lascell and Sheldon are dead and that the formers daughter Eva married his son Frank.

Transcribed from History of McHenry Co. By Dr. William L. Baran, 12/26/00

Submitted by William Baran

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