Thursday, January 6, 2011
A British Soldier of Fortune in the American Civil War
Grenfell was eventually captured (along with another 150 men) after an aborted attempt to take over Chicago. He was initially sentenced to hang but the war ended, and President Johnson had his sentence reduced to imprisonment. Grenfell was sent to the Dry Tortugas to Fort Johnson, where he was jailed with Dr. Samuel Mudd (the physician who tended John Wilkes Booth's broken leg following Lincoln's assassination). In March of 1868, Grenfell and three other prisoners attempted to escape the fort. According to reports, their destination was Cuba, however a storm at sea capsized their boat. All four men were reported lost.
An article later appeared in the New York Times stating that Grenfell had reached his destination, but most historians believe this story was fabricated. The only certainty was that Grenfell was never heard from again.
I was certainly intrigued by this larger than life mercenary turned spy. It has set my creative juices into percolation, and I am now contemplating some serious revisions to The Enemy Within. After all, Alex doesn't have to be a detective...
We shall see what becomes of these machinations.