James Monroe Sanderson enlisted in Company S of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was commissioned a 1st lieutenant on September 4, 1861, and was the regimental quartermaster. three days later, on September 7, he was promoted to captain and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department.
On July 15, 1862, he was promoted to major and became an officer in the U.S. Volunteers Aide-de-Camp. On January 1, 1863, Sanderson was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Volunteers Commissary of Subsistence Department. He was dismissed on June 6, 1864, and reinstated to the Commissary of Subsistence Department on May 27, 1865. He was honorably mustered out time on August 15, 1865.
Colonel Sanderson was confined in Libby Prison, along with Colonel Streight, and escaped in the famous tunnel. But while there, he was in charge of the food for the men in two of the rooms.
Knowing something about cooking, and being in the Commissary Department, he helped prepare the food and make it as tasty as possible. But some of the officers accused him of hoarding food or not giving them the best food he could. When that accusation did not lead anywhere, he was accused of issuing a statement sustaining the contention of the Confederate authorities regarding the rations issued the prisoners.
He was denounced by a mass-meeting of officers held in the prison who declared that their food was insufficient to sustain life. At some point he and Streight, who by all accounts had opposite personalities, had some sort of altercation. After the escape, and before Sanderson had even made it home, Streight accused him of disclosing the plot of the Union prisoners to escape to the rebel prison’s authorities.
You will notice in his record that he was dismissed from service for nearly a year, and during that time a Military Commission was convened. In 1865, Sanderson had printed all of the evidence he collected, called My Record in Rebeldom, as written by Friend and Foe, Comprising the Official Charges and Evidence before the Military Commission in Washington, Brig. Gen’l J. C. Caldwell, Pres’t,
Together with the Repost and Finding of the Court, printed for private circulation and future reference by James M. Sanderson (New York: W.E. Sibell, 1865).