The inmates were caught near an Interstate 40 exit about 50 miles west of Nashville and about 165 miles from the prison.
Captured were Billy Gamble, 24; Steve Murphy, 45; O.C. Borden, 33; Jack Allred, 43; James McClain, 35; and Gary Scott, 31, said Dana Keeton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Safety.
Their breakout occurred a week after the recapture of seven inmates who escaped from a Texas prison in December. One of those fugitives committed suicide.
Scott, Murphy and Borden were serving life sentences for murder.
Dana Kaye of CBS News Affiliate WTVF-TV managed to talk to one of the inmates, identified as James McClain, as he was led into the patrol car in Tennessee.
McClain told Kaye that when police moved in, he and the other escapees had been getting a little rest but were headed for Memphis and hoped to eventually cross the border into Canada.
McClain also said he wasn't scared while on the run.
The inmates escaped Tuesday by slipping beneath an electric fence and two razor-wire fences at Alabama's St. Clair Correctional Facility before guards noticed they were gone.
Authorities said they were found as a result of a stroke of luck.
Just after midnight, two sheriff's deputies, looking for someone who had stolen a street sign, came upon a car parked off a country road near a creek the convicts apparently were using to wash up.
The inmates "scattered like a bunch of deer" into the woods, said Darrell Groves, one of the deputies.
The deputies learned the car had been stolen from Alabama and was possibly being used by the fugitives. Inside, authorities found shotguns, an empty pistol holder and several makeshift knives.
The deputies called for additional help and caught the first three inmates.
"We ordered them to give up and they came out unarmed," police officer Bryan Johnson said. "We said, 'Who are you?' And, they said, 'You know who we are.' "
Allred and McClain were found within another hour. Scott eluded authorities for another five hours before two residents spotted him crouched under a bridge.
Extradition hearings for the inmates were pending.
Alabama prison commissioner Mike Haley has blamed the escape on a manpower shortage and faulty security, including an electric fence that was breached using a broom handle and an alarm system that didn't go off.
The 1,300-man prison has 188 guards, about 65 fewer than are needed, so officials rely on technology for security.
"Our technology failed," Haley said.
Officials realized the men were missing during an evening head count, the commissioner said.
"They spend all this money and can send a man to the moon but they can't build a fence to keep these guys in prison?" asked Dick Haverland, who lives in nearby Springville, about 0 miles northeast of Birmingham.
The escape prompted residents across the region to lock their doors. Authorities have linked Gamble and Scott to an attack on an RV park Wednesday afternoon in Floyd County, Georgia.
Floyd County Police Chief Jim Free said the park's manager, John Wallace, was struck with a .45-caliber pistol, "beaten pretty bad and was probably left for dead." About $900 in cash and checks was taken.
Wallace was treated and released, and he identified Scott and Gamble from a photo lineup, the FBI said.
Later Wednesday, the six stopped at a gas station not far from where they were found. Three went inside and bought six bologna sandwiches, toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo, authorities said.
"I heard somebody say six bologna sandwiches," clerk Betty Wallace said. "I thought it was Joe Stampley's (country music) band. They come here regularly."
In 1984, Murphy, and another man made the only other successful escape from the prison.
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