Former Washington Post reporter Peter Carlson’s terrific book Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey follows two colorful pals as they try to escape the South. That may sound like the plot of a certain classic American novel, but this isn’t fiction. Junius Browne and Albert Richardson were covering the Civil War for the New York Tribune when they hitched a ride aboard a tugboat ferrying supplies to Grant’s army at Vicksburg. Confederates bombarded the tug, and the two were captured and imprisoned. They escaped and walked more than 300 miles to safety. Here’s a conversation with Carlson.