Weeks after taking Baton Rouge, the Union forces opened the gates of the state penitentiary in that city. The inmates were told to leave and report to headquarters to enlist.
One such inmate from South Carolina turned up at Eliza’s door seeking food. He said he had to return home and see his wife and children. The McHattons loaned him a horse, and gave him money. They rifled the trunks left at their house by departing Confederates. They found for him civilian clothes. The inmates were clothed in striped garb by the prison. The McHattons wrote him careful instruction and directions, so as to avoid the Federal patrols.
With moistened eyes, the man left for his distant home.
Eliza McHatton-Ripley, From Flag to Flag (United Kingdom: Dodo Press 2009) (reprint), pp. 13