George and Jamie,
I must be dense, because it didn't occur to me that the pile'o sand could have been placed under that window on the street and coordinated with the prisoner just for his escape. There were plenty of southern sympathizers in St. Louis willing to pull such a stunt. No proof that this was a conspiracy. October was too soon in the cold season for the St. Louis Street Dept. to deploy sand to aid traction, if they even did that back then.
I finally dug out my research references from all the packing boxes used in our recent move, and discovered more on Robert A. Paxton on some notes. See below.
"Private Robert A. Paxton of Henry County, MO, became a member of Company F, 5th Missouri Cavalry Regiment (Confederate) as of 27 June 1862 under Captain George S. Rathbun.":
" Recruited by Colonel Cockrell 31 December 1862." (Note doesn't say which of brothers Colonel Francis Marion Cockrell or Colonel Jeremiah Vard Cockrell actually recruited Paxton. Francis was promoted to colonel 27 June 1862, but his personal recruiting was probably restricted to 1861 and early 1862, since Francis was too busy the rest of 1862 leading his troops in the field. I would personally guess that Jeremiah actually recruited Paxton, since Jeremiah recruited extensively in west-central Missouri between 1861 and 1864, using his prewar experience and contacts as a Methodist preacher to bring in scores and perhaps hundreds of southern recruits, and his stealthy recruiting style enabled him to evade capture.)
"Private Paxton was counted as "present" on a roster of his company for January and February 1863." However, " He was counted as "absent with leave at Hartville (Wright County, MO) starting on 11 January 1863 "to wait upon wounded" (after the battle there on that day)".
The next entry on Paxton's record with Co. F, 5th MO Cav Regt reads: "On 19 February 1863 Paxton was received at the Gratiot Street Military Prison Hospital in St. Louis implying that he was captured some time in January or February 1863 possibly in western MO and was shipped under guard to St. Louis where he was hospitalized.
Paxton evidently remained in the Gratiot Street Prison Hospital for some time, but was freed or escaped, because his record states he was captured by Union troops in his native Henry County on 3 August 1863. His Union capture record states Paxton was 23 years old, six foot tall, and "believed to have been operating as a guerrilla."(Such a comment could have resulted in Paxton appearing before a Union military tribunal where he could have been sentenced to death as a guerrilla, since guerrillas were not recognized by Union forces as a legitimate combatants as were "regular" soldiers." Such death sentences were not acted on immediately allowing time for the condemned to mount an appeal, so condemned prisoners of war remained in strict confinement in a military prison for some months after the verdict until execution. This also signaled an all-put effort by the condemned and sometimes also his cellmates to push a concerted effort to help the convicted escape.
"Not surprisingly, Paxton escaped from Gratiot Street Military Prison "...sometime during Thursday night, 9 October 1863." This is all that was placed in Paxton's military record that I viewed.