Swimming the ButterMilk : Escape from Castle Williams

From the 1830s to 1965 Castle Williams on Governors Island served as a military prison. Over the years prisoners have attempted to escape by swimming across the Buttermilk Channel to Red Hook.

The New York Times Tuesday, AUGUST 29, 1901

ESCAPED BY SWIMMING Prisoner on Governors Island Makes a Dive for Freedom. Supposed to Have Been Picked Up by Passing Tug—Third Escape of Notorious Deserter.

Ex-Private George Harvey of the Second Cavalry. United States Army, who, up to 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, was a military prisoner on Governors Island, and who is notorious throughout the service as a deserter, escaped yesterday by swimming half way across Buttermilk Channel, where he Is supposed to have been picked up by a passing tug. It was the third time that Harvey has eluded the vigilance of the authorities. All the afternoon and last night a squad of men, under Sergt. Way, the Supervisor of Castle Williams, were searching for the escaped prisoner in Brooklyn, where he is supposed to be in hiding. That he was picked up by a tug was vouched for by several civilians, who averred that they had seen the man when he jumped into the water, and had watched his subsequent movements up to the time he was fished out and carried away. They did not get the name of the tug.

Images

Escape from Castle Williams. The Sun, July 11, 1904

Escape from Castle Williams. The Sun, July 11, 1904

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The Sun <br /><br />
January 29, 1947<br /><br />
<br /><br />
Men Who Were Held for Previous Attempts Saw Cell Bars—Use Boat to Cross Buttermilk Channel to Mainland.

The Sun
January 29, 1947

Men Who Were Held for Previous Attempts Saw Cell Bars—Use Boat to Cross Buttermilk Channel to Mainland.

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Astoria Soldier Wins Medal for Drowning Rescue. Long Island-Star Journal, 1939

Astoria Soldier Wins Medal for Drowning Rescue. Long Island-Star Journal, 1939

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<strong>New York Sun<br /></strong>November 8, 1903<em><em><em><strong><br /><br />School in Castle Williams</strong><br />- Military Jail Now Like a Comunistic Villiage&nbsp;<br />Trades have been taught to Prisoners&nbsp;and all Work for Common Good - There's a Library, and a Night School is Proposed - Life Among the Deserters.</em></em></em><em><br /></em>

New York Sun
November 8, 1903

School in Castle Williams

- Military Jail Now Like a Comunistic Villiage 
Trades have been taught to Prisoners and all Work for Common Good - There's a Library, and a Night School is Proposed - Life Among the Deserters.

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