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Title: Famous Adventures And Prison Escapes of the Civil War
Author: Cable, George Washington, 1844-1925 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Famous Adventures And Prison Escapes of the Civil War" ***

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Copyright 1885, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1893, by





THE LOCOMOTIVE CHASE IN GEORGIA                      83



A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL OUT OF DIXIE                  243

ESCAPE OF GENERAL BRECKINRIDGE                      298



QUESTIONING A PRISONER                       Frontispiece

THE LOCOMOTIVE CHASE                                  85

GENERAL JOHN H. MORGAN                               117

MAP OF THE MORGAN RAID                               118

THE FARMER FROM CALFKILLER CREEK                     123

GENERAL DUKE TESTS THE PIES                          125

HOSPITALITIES OF THE FARM                            131


HINES'S CELL                                         161


WITHIN THE WOODEN GATE                               167

OVER THE PRISON WALL                                 171

"HURRY UP, MAJOR!"                                   175

CAPTAIN HINES OBJECTS                                178

COLONEL THOMAS E. ROSE                               185

A CORNER OF LIBBY PRISON                             187

LIBBY PRISON IN 1865                                 189

MAJOR A.G. HAMILTON                                  191

LIBBY PRISON IN 1884                                 197

LIBERTY!                                             223

FIGHTING THE RATS                                    230



LIEUTENANTS E.E. SILL AND A.T. LAMSON                255

WE ARRIVE AT HEADEN'S                                263

THE ESCAPE OF HEADEN                                 271

GREENVILLE JAIL                                      277

PINK BISHOP AT THE STILL                             283


SURPRISED AT MRS. KITCHEN'S                          291



SEARCHING FOR TURTLES' EGGS                          310

THROUGH A SHALLOW LAGOON                             313

EXCHANGING THE BOAT FOR THE SLOOP                    315

OVER A CORAL-REEF                                    325

A ROUGH NIGHT IN THE GULF STREAM                     331




The following diary was originally written in lead-pencil and in a book
the leaves of which were too soft to take ink legibly. I have it direct
from the hands of its writer, a lady whom I have had the honor to know
for nearly thirty years. For good reasons the author's name is omitted,
and the initials of people and the names of places are sometimes
fictitiously given. Many of the persons mentioned were my own
acquaintances and friends. When, some twenty years afterward, she first
resolved to publish it, she brought me a clear, complete copy in ink. It
had cost much trouble, she said; for much of the pencil writing had been
made under such disadvantages and was so faint that at times she could
decipher it only under direct sunlight. She had succeeded, however, in
making a copy, _verbatim_ except for occasional improvement in the
grammatical form of a sentence, or now and then the omission, for
brevity's sake, of something unessential. The narrative has since been
severely abridged to bring it within magazine limits.

In reading this diary one is much charmed with its constant
understatement of romantic and perilous incidents and conditions. But
the original penciled pages show that, even in copying, the strong bent
of the writer to be brief has often led to the exclusion of facts that
enhance the interest of exciting situations, and sometimes the omission
robs her own heroism of due emphasis. I have restored one example of
this in a foot-note following the perilous voyage down the Mississippi.




_New Orleans, Dec. 1, 1860._--I understand it now. Keeping journals is
for those who cannot, or dare not, speak out. So I shall set up a
journal, being only a rather lonely young girl in a very small and hated
minority. On my return here in November, after a foreign voyage and
absence of many months, I found myself behind in knowledge of the
political conflict, but heard the dread sounds of disunion and war
muttered in threatening tones. Surely no native-born woman loves her
country better than I love America. The blood of one of its
Revolutionary patriots flows in my veins, and it is the Union for which
he pledged his "life, fortune, and sacred honor" that I love, not any
divided or special section of it. So I have been reading attentively
and seeking light from foreigners and natives on all questions at issue.
Living from birth in slave countries, both foreign and American, and
passing through one slave insurrection in early childhood, the saddest
and also the pleasantest features of slavery have been familiar. If the
South goes to war for slavery, slavery is doomed in this country. To say
so is like opposing one drop to a roaring torrent.

_Sunday, Dec. ----, 1860._--In this season for peace I had hoped for a lull
in the excitement, yet this day has been full of bitterness. "Come, G.,"
said Mrs. ---- at breakfast, "leave _your_ church for to-day and come
with us to hear Dr. ---- on the situation. He will convince you." "It is
good to be convinced," I said; "I will go." The church was crowded to
suffocation with the élite of New Orleans. The preacher's text was,
"Shall we have fellowship with the stool of iniquity which frameth
mischief as a law?" ... The sermon was over at last, and then followed a
prayer.... Forever blessed be the fathers of the Episcopal Church for
giving us a fixed liturgy! When we met at dinner Mrs. F. exclaimed,
"Now, G., you heard him prove from the Bible that slavery is right and
that therefore secession is. Were you not convinced?" I said, "I was so
busy thinking how completely it proved too that Brigham Young is right
about polygamy that it quite weakened the force of the argument for me."
This raised a laugh, and covered my retreat.

_Jan. 26, 1861._--The solemn boom of cannon to-day announced that the
convention have passed the ordinance of secession. We must take a reef
in our patriotism and narrow it down to State limits. Mine still sticks
out all around the borders of the State. It will be bad if New Orleans
should secede from Louisiana and set up for herself. Then indeed I would
be "cabined, cribbed, confined." The faces in the house are jubilant
to-day. Why is it so easy for them and not for me to "ring out the old,
ring in the new"? I am out of place.

_Jan. 28, Monday._--Sunday has now got to be a day of special
excitement. The gentlemen save all the sensational papers to regale us
with at the late Sunday breakfast. Rob opened the battle yesterday
morning by saying to me in his most aggressive manner, "G., I believe
these are your sentiments"; and then he read aloud an article from the
"Journal des Debats" expressing in rather contemptuous terms the fact
that France will follow the policy of non-intervention. When I answered,
"Well, what do you expect? This is not their quarrel," he raved at me,
ending by a declaration that he would willingly pay my passage to
foreign parts if I would like to go. "Rob," said his father, "keep cool;
don't let that threat excite you. Cotton is king. Just wait till they
feel the pinch a little; their tone will change." I went to Trinity
Church. Some Union people who are not Episcopalians go there now because
the pastor has not so much chance to rail at the Lord when things are
not going to suit. But yesterday was a marked Sunday. The usual prayer
for the President and Congress was changed to the "governor and people
of this commonwealth and their representatives in convention assembled."

The city was very lively and noisy this evening with rockets and lights
in honor of secession. Mrs. F., in common with the neighbors,
illuminated. We walked out to see the houses of others gleaming amid the
dark shrubbery like a fairy scene. The perfect stillness added to the
effect, while the moon rose slowly with calm splendor. We hastened home
to dress for a soirée but on the stairs Edith said, "G., first come and
help me dress Phoebe and Chloe [the negro servants]. There is a ball
to-night in aristocratic colored society. This is Chloe's first
introduction to New Orleans circles, and Henry Judson, Phoebe's husband,
gave five dollars for a ticket for her." Chloe is a recent purchase from
Georgia. We superintended their very stylish toilets, and Edith said,
"G., run into your room, please, and write a pass for Henry. Put Mr.
D.'s name to it." "Why, Henry is free," I said. "That makes no
difference; all colored people must have a pass if out late. They choose
a master for protection, and always carry his pass. Henry chose Mr. D.,
but he's lost the pass he had."



_Feb. 24, 1861._--The toil of the week is ended. Nearly a month has
passed since I wrote here. Events have crowded upon one another. On the
4th the cannon boomed in honor of Jefferson Davis's election, and day
before yesterday Washington's birthday was made the occasion of another
grand display and illumination, in honor of the birth of a new nation
and the breaking of that Union which he labored to cement. We drove to
the race-course to see the review of troops. A flag was presented to the
Washington Artillery by ladies. Senator Judah Benjamin made an
impassioned speech. The banner was orange satin on one side, crimson
silk on the other, the pelican and brood embroidered in pale green and
gold. Silver crossed cannon surmounted it, orange-colored fringe
surrounded it, and crimson tassels drooped from it. It was a brilliant,
unreal scene; with military bands clashing triumphant music, elegant
vehicles, high-stepping horses, and lovely women richly appareled.

Wedding-cards have been pouring in till the contagion has reached us;
Edith will be married next Thursday. The wedding-dress is being
fashioned, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen have arrived. Edith has
requested me to be special mistress of ceremonies on Thursday evening,
and I have told this terrible little rebel, who talks nothing but blood
and thunder, yet faints at the sight of a worm, that if I fill that
office no one shall mention war or politics during the whole evening, on
pain of expulsion.

_March 10, 1861._--The excitement in this house has risen to fever-heat
during the past week. The four gentlemen have each a different plan for
saving the country, and now that the bridal bouquets have faded, the
three ladies have again turned to public affairs; Lincoln's inauguration
and the story of the disguise in which he traveled to Washington is a
never-ending source of gossip. The family board being the common forum,
each gentleman as he appears first unloads his pockets of papers from
all the Southern States, and then his overflowing heart to his eager
female listeners, who in turn relate, inquire, sympathize, or cheer. If
I dare express a doubt that the path to victory will be a flowery one,
eyes flash, cheeks burn, and tongues clatter, till all are checked up
suddenly by a warning for "Order, order!" from the amiable lady
presiding. Thus we swallow politics with every meal. We take a mouthful
and read a telegram, one eye on table, the other on the paper. One must
be made of cool stuff to keep calm and collected, but I say but little.
This war fever has banished small talk. Through all the black servants
move about quietly, never seeming to notice that this is all about them.

"How can you speak so plainly before them?" I say.

"Why, what matter? They know that we shall keep the whip-handle."

_April 13, 1861._--More than a month has passed since the last date
here. This afternoon I was seated on the floor covered with loveliest
flowers, arranging a floral offering for the fair, when the gentlemen
arrived and with papers bearing news of the fall of Fort Sumter, which,
at her request, I read to Mrs. F.

_April 20._--The last few days have glided away in a halo of beauty. But
nobody has time or will to enjoy it. War, war! is the one idea. The
children play only with toy cannons and soldiers; the oldest inhabitant
goes by every day with his rifle to practice; the public squares are
full of companies drilling, and are now the fashionable resorts. We have
been told that it is best for women to learn how to shoot too, so as to
protect themselves when the men have all gone to battle. Every evening
after dinner we adjourn to the back lot and fire at a target with
pistols. Yesterday I dined at Uncle Ralph's. Some members of the bar
were present, and were jubilant about their brand-new Confederacy. It
would soon be the grandest government ever known. Uncle Ralph said
solemnly, "No, gentlemen; the day we seceded the star of our glory set."
The words sunk into my mind like a knell, and made me wonder at the mind
that could recognize that and yet adhere to the doctrine of secession.

In the evening I attended a farewell gathering at a friend's whose
brothers are to leave this week for Richmond. There was music. No minor
chord was permitted.



_April 25._--Yesterday I went with Cousin E. to have her picture taken.
The picture-galleries are doing a thriving business. Many companies are
ordered off to take possession of Fort Pickens (Florida), and all seem
to be leaving sweethearts behind them. The crowd was in high spirits;
they don't dream that any destinies will be spoiled. When I got home
Edith was reading from the daily paper of the dismissal of Miss G. from
her place as teacher for expressing abolition sentiments, and that she
would be ordered to leave the city. Soon a lady came with a paper
setting forth that she has established a "company"--we are nothing if
not military--for making lint and getting stores of linen to supply the

My name went down. If it hadn't, my spirit would have been wounded as
with sharp spears before night. Next came a little girl with a
subscription paper to get a flag for a certain company. The little
girls, especially the pretty ones, are kept busy trotting around with
subscription lists. Latest of all came little Guy, Mr. F.'s youngest
clerk, the pet of the firm as well as of his home, a mere boy of
sixteen. Such senseless sacrifices seem a sin. He chattered brightly,
but lingered about, saying good-by. He got through it bravely until
Edith's husband incautiously said, "You didn't kiss your little
sweetheart," as he always called Ellie, who had been allowed to sit up.
He turned and suddenly broke into agonizing sobs and then ran down the

_May 10._--I am tired and ashamed of myself. Last week I attended a
meeting of the lint society to hand in the small contribution of linen I
had been able to gather. We scraped lint till it was dark. A paper was
shown, entitled the "Volunteer's Friend," started by the girls of the
high school, and I was asked to help the girls with it. I positively
declined. To-day I was pressed into service to make red flannel
cartridge-bags for ten-inch columbiads. I basted while Mrs. S. sewed,
and I felt ashamed to think that I had not the moral courage to say, "I
don't approve of your war and won't help you, particularly in the
murderous part of it."

_May 27._--This has been a scenic Sabbath. Various companies about to
depart for Virginia occupied the prominent churches to have their flags
consecrated. The streets were resonant with the clangor of drums and
trumpets. E. and myself went to Christ Church because the Washington
Artillery were to be there.

_June 13._--To-day has been appointed a Fast Day. I spent the morning
writing a letter on which I put my first Confederate postage-stamp. It
is of a brown color and has a large 5 in the center. To-morrow must be
devoted to all my foreign correspondents before the expected blockade
cuts us off.

_June 29._--I attended a fine luncheon yesterday at one of the public
schools. A lady remarked to a school official that the cost of
provisions in the Confederacy was getting very high, butter, especially,
being scarce and costly. "Never fear, my dear madam," he replied. "Texas
alone can furnish butter enough to supply the whole Confederacy; we'll
soon be getting it from there." It's just as well to have this sublime

_July 15._--The quiet of midsummer reigns, but ripples of excitement
break around us as the papers tell of skirmishes and attacks here and
there in Virginia. "Rich Mountain" and "Carrick's Ford" were the last.
"You see," said Mrs. D. at breakfast to-day, "my prophecy is coming true
that Virginia will be the seat of war." "Indeed," I burst out,
forgetting my resolution not to argue, "you may think yourselves lucky
if this war turns out to have any seat in particular."

So far, no one especially connected with me has gone to fight. How glad
I am for his mother's sake that Rob's lameness will keep him at home.
Mr. F., Mr. S., and Uncle Ralph are beyond the age for active service,
and Edith says Mr. D. can't go now. She is very enthusiastic about other
people's husbands being enrolled, and regrets that her Alex is not
strong enough to defend his country and his rights.

_July 22._--What a day! I feel like one who has been out in a high wind,
and cannot get my breath. The newsboys are still shouting with their
extras, "Battle of Bull's Run! List of the killed! Battle of Manassas!
List of the wounded!" Tender-hearted Mrs. F. was sobbing so she could
not serve the tea; but nobody cared for tea. "O G.!" she said, "three
thousand of our own, dear Southern boys are lying out there." "My dear
Fannie," spoke Mr. F., "they are heroes now. They died in a glorious
cause, and it is not in vain. This will end it. The sacrifice had to be
made, but those killed have gained immortal names." Then Rob rushed in
with a new extra, reading of the spoils captured, and grief was
forgotten. Words cannot paint the excitement. Rob capered about and
cheered; Edith danced around ringing the dinner-bell and shouting,
"Victory!" Mrs. F. waved a small Confederate flag, while she wiped her
eyes, and Mr. D. hastened to the piano and in his most brilliant style
struck up "Dixie," followed by "My Maryland" and the "Bonnie Blue Flag."

"Do not look so gloomy, G.," whispered Mr. S. "You should be happy
to-night; for, as Mr. F. says, now we shall have peace."

"And is that the way you think of the men of your own blood and race?" I
replied. But an utter scorn came over me and choked me, and I walked out
of the room. What proof is there in this dark hour that they are not
right? Only the emphatic answer of my own soul. To-morrow I will pack my
trunk and accept the invitation to visit at Uncle Ralph's country house.

_Sept. 25._--When I opened the door of Mrs. F.'s room on my return, the
rattle of two sewing-machines and a blaze of color met me.

"Ah, G., you are just in time to help us; these are coats for Jeff
Thompson's men. All the cloth in the city is exhausted; these
flannel-lined oil-cloth table-covers are all we could obtain to make
overcoats for Thompson's poor boys. They will be very warm and

"Serviceable--yes! The Federal army will fly when they see those coats!
I only wish I could be with the regiment when these are shared around."
Yet I helped make them.

Seriously, I wonder if any soldiers will ever wear these remarkable
coats--the most bewildering combination of brilliant, intense reds,
greens, yellows, and blues in big flowers meandering over as vivid
grounds; and as no table-cover was large enough to make a coat, the
sleeves of each were of a different color and pattern. However, the
coats were duly finished. Then we set to work on gray pantaloons, and I
have just carried a bundle to an ardent young lady who wishes to assist.
A slight gloom is settling down, and the inmates here are not quite so
cheerfully confident as in July.



_Oct. 22._--When I came to breakfast this morning Rob was capering over
another victory--Ball's Bluff. He would read me, "We pitched the Yankees
over the bluff," and ask me in the next breath to go to the theater
this evening. I turned on the poor fellow. "Don't tell me about your
victories. You vowed by all your idols that the blockade would be raised
by October 1, and I notice the ships are still serenely anchored below
the city."

"G., you are just as pertinacious yourself in championing your opinions.
What sustains you when nobody agrees with you?"

_Oct. 28._--When I dropped in at Uncle Ralph's last evening to welcome
them back, the whole family were busy at a great center-table copying
sequestration acts for the Confederate Government. The property of all
Northerners and Unionists is to be sequestrated, and Uncle Ralph can
hardly get the work done fast enough. My aunt apologized for the rooms
looking chilly; she feared to put the carpets down, as the city might be
taken and burned by the Federals. "We are living as much packed up as
possible. A signal has been agreed upon, and the instant the army
approaches we shall be off to the country again."

Great preparations are being made for defense. At several other places
where I called the women were almost hysterical. They seemed to look
forward to being blown up with shot and shell, finished with cold steel,
or whisked off to some Northern prison. When I got home Edith and Mr. D.
had just returned also.

"Alex," said Edith, "I was up at your orange-lots to-day, and the sour
oranges are dropping to the ground, while they cannot get lemons for our
sick soldiers."

"That's my kind, considerate wife," replied Mr. D.

"Why didn't I think of that before? Jim shall fill some barrels
to-morrow and take them to the hospitals as a present from you."

_Nov. 10._--Surely this year will ever be memorable to me for its
perfection of natural beauty. Never was sunshine such pure gold, or
moonlight such transparent silver. The beautiful custom prevalent here
of decking the graves with flowers on All Saints' day was well
fulfilled, so profuse and rich were the blossoms. On All-hallow eve Mrs.
S. and myself visited a large cemetery. The chrysanthemums lay like
great masses of snow and flame and gold in every garden we passed, and
were piled on every costly tomb and lowly grave. The battle of Manassas
robed many of our women in mourning, and some of those who had no graves
to deck were weeping silently as they walked through the scented

A few days ago Mrs. E. arrived here. She is a widow, of Natchez, a
friend of Mrs. F.'s, and is traveling home with the dead body of her
eldest son, killed at Manassas. She stopped two days waiting for a boat,
and begged me to share her room and read her to sleep, saying she
couldn't be alone since he was killed; she feared her mind would give
way. So I read all the comforting chapters to be found till she dropped
into forgetfulness, but the recollection of those weeping mothers in the
cemetery banished sleep for me.

_Nov. 26._--The lingering summer is passing into those misty autumn days
I love so well, when there is gold and fire above and around us. But the
glory of the natural and the gloom of the moral world agree not well
together. This morning Mrs. F. came to my room in dire distress. "You
see," she said, "cold weather is coming on fast, and our poor fellows
are lying out at night with nothing to cover them. There is a wail for
blankets, but there is not a blanket in town. I have gathered up all the
spare bed-clothing, and now want every available rug or table-cover in
the house. Can't I have yours, G.? We must make these small sacrifices
of comfort and elegance, you know, to secure independence and freedom."

"Very well," I said, denuding the table. "This may do for a drummer

_Dec. 26, 1861._--The foul weather cleared off bright and cool in time
for Christmas. There is a midwinter lull in the movement of troops. In
the evening we went to the grand bazaar in the St. Louis Hotel, got up
to clothe the soldiers. This bazaar has furnished the gayest, most
fashionable war-work yet, and has kept social circles in a flutter of
pleasant, heroic excitement all through December. Everything beautiful
or rare garnered in the homes of the rich was given for exhibition, and
in some cases for raffle and sale. There were many fine paintings,
statues, bronzes, engravings, gems, laces--in fact, heirlooms and
bric-à-brac of all sorts. There were many lovely creole girls present,
in exquisite toilets, passing to and fro through the decorated rooms,
listening to the band clash out the Anvil Chorus.

_Jan. 2, 1862._--I am glad enough to bid '61 good-by. Most miserable
year of my life! What ages of thought and experience have I not lived in

The city authorities have been searching houses for firearms. It is a
good way to get more guns, and the homes of those men suspected of
being Unionists were searched first. Of course they went to Dr. B.'s. He
met them with his own delightful courtesy. "Wish to search for arms?
Certainly, gentlemen." He conducted them all through the house with
smiling readiness, and after what seemed a very thorough search bowed
them politely out. His gun was all the time safely reposing between the
canvas folds of a cot-bed which leaned folded up together against the
wall, in the very room where they had ransacked the closets. Queerly,
the rebel families have been the ones most anxious to conceal all
weapons. They have dug graves quietly at night in the back yards, and
carefully wrapping the weapons, buried them out of sight. Every man
seems to think he will have some private fighting to do to protect his



_Friday, Jan. 24, 1862._ (_On Steamboat W., Mississippi River._)--With a
changed name I open you once more, my journal. It was a sad time to wed,
when one knew not how long the expected conscription would spare the
bridegroom. The women-folk knew how to sympathize with a girl expected
to prepare for her wedding in three days, in a blockaded city, and about
to go far from any base of supplies. They all rallied round me with
tokens of love and consideration, and sewed, shopped, mended, and
packed, as if sewing soldier clothes. And they decked the whole house
and the church with flowers. Music breathed, wine sparkled, friends came
and went. It seemed a dream, and comes up now again out of the afternoon
sunshine where I sit on deck. The steamboat slowly plows its way through
lumps of floating ice,--a novel sight to me,--and I look forward
wondering whether the new people I shall meet will be as fierce about
the war as those in New Orleans. That past is to be all forgotten and
forgiven; I understood thus the kindly acts that sought to brighten the
threshold of a new life.

_Feb. 15._ (_Village of X._)--We reached Arkansas Landing at nightfall.
Mr. Y., the planter who owns the landing, took us right up to his
residence. He ushered me into a large room where a couple of candles
gave a dim light, and close to them, and sewing as if on a race with
Time, sat Mrs. Y. and a little negro girl, who was so black and sat so
stiff and straight she looked like an ebony image. This was a large
plantation; the Y.'s knew H. very well, and were very kind and cordial
in their welcome and congratulations. Mrs. Y. apologized for continuing
her work; the war had pushed them this year in getting the negroes
clothed, and she had to sew by dim candles, as they could obtain no more
oil. She asked if there were any new fashions in New Orleans.

Next morning we drove over to our home in this village. It is the
county-seat, and was, till now, a good place for the practice of H.'s
profession. It lies on the edge of a lovely lake. The adjacent planters
count their slaves by the hundreds. Some of them live with a good deal
of magnificence, using service of plate, having smoking-rooms for the
gentlemen built off the house, and entertaining with great hospitality.
The Baptists, Episcopalians, and Methodists hold services on alternate
Sundays in the court-house. All the planters and many others near the
lake shore keep a boat at their landing, and a raft for crossing
vehicles and horses. It seemed very piquant at first, this taking our
boat to go visiting, and on moonlight nights it was charming. The woods
around are lovelier than those in Louisiana, though one misses the
moaning of the pines. There is fine fishing and hunting, but these
cotton estates are not so pleasant to visit as sugar plantations.

But nothing else has been so delightful as, one morning, my first sight
of snow and a wonderful new, white world.

_Feb. 27._--The people here have hardly felt the war yet. There are but
two classes. The planters and the professional men form one; the very
poor villagers the other. There is no middle class. Ducks and
partridges, squirrels and fish, are to be had. H. has bought me a nice
pony, and cantering along the shore of the lake in the sunset is a
panacea for mental worry.



_March 11, 1862._--The serpent has entered our Eden. The rancor and
excitement of New Orleans have invaded this place. If an incautious word
betrays any want of sympathy with popular plans, one is "traitorous,"
"ungrateful," "crazy." If one remains silent and controlled, then one is
"phlegmatic," "cool-blooded," "unpatriotic." Cool-blooded! Heavens! if
they only knew. It is very painful to see lovable and intelligent women
rave till the blood mounts to face and brain. The immediate cause of
this access of war fever has been the battle of Pea Ridge. They scout
the idea that Price and Van Dorn have been completely worsted. Those who
brought the news were speedily told what they ought to say. "No, it is
only a serious check; they must have more men sent forward at once. This
country must do its duty." So the women say another company _must_ be

We were guests at a dinner-party yesterday. Mrs. A. was very talkative.
"Now, ladies, you must all join in with a vim and help equip another

"Mrs. L.," she said, turning to me, "are you not going to send your
husband? Now use a young bride's influence and persuade him; he would be
elected one of the officers." "Mrs. A.," I replied, longing to spring up
and throttle her, "the Bible says, 'When a man hath married a new wife,
he shall not go to war for one year, but remain at home and cheer up his

"Well, H.," I questioned, as we walked home after crossing the lake,
"can you stand the pressure, or shall you be forced into volunteering?"
"Indeed," he replied, "I will not be bullied into enlisting by women, or
by men. I will sooner take my chance of conscription and feel honest
about it. You know my attachments, my interests are here; these are my
people. I could never fight against them; but my judgment disapproves
their course, and the result will inevitably be against us."

This morning the only Irishman left in the village presented himself to
H. He has been our wood-sawyer, gardener, and factotum, but having
joined the new company, his time recently has been taken up with
drilling. H. and Mr. R. feel that an extensive vegetable garden must be
prepared while he is here to assist, or we shall be short of food, and
they sent for him yesterday.

"So, Mike, you are really going to be a soldier?"

"Yes, sor; but faith, Mr. L., I don't see the use of me going to shtop a
bullet when sure an' I'm willin' for it to go where it plazes."

_March 18, 1862._--There has been unusual gaiety in this little village
the past few days. The ladies from the surrounding plantations went to
work to get up a festival to equip the new company. As Annie and myself
are both brides recently from the city, requisition was made upon us for
engravings, costumes, music, garlands, and so forth. Annie's heart was
in the work; not so with me. Nevertheless, my pretty things were
captured, and shone with just as good a grace last evening as if
willingly lent. The ball was a merry one. One of the songs sung was
"Nellie Gray," in which the most distressing feature of slavery is
bewailed so pitifully. To sing this at a festival for raising money to
clothe soldiers fighting to perpetuate that very thing was strange.

_March 20, 1862._--A man professing to act by General Hindman's orders
is going through the country impressing horses and mules. The overseer
of a certain estate came to inquire of H. if he had not a legal right
to protect the property from seizure. Mr. L. said yes, unless the agent
could show some better credentials than his bare word. This answer soon
spread about, and the overseer returned to report that it excited great
indignation, especially among the company of new volunteers. H. was
pronounced a traitor, and they declared that no one so untrue to the
Confederacy should live there. When H. related the circumstance at
dinner, his partner, Mr. R., became very angry, being ignorant of H.'s
real opinions. He jumped up in a rage and marched away to the village
thoroughfare. There he met a batch of the volunteers, and said, "We know
what you have said of us, and I have come to tell you that you are
liars, and you know where to find us."

Of course I expected a difficulty; but the evening passed, and we
retired undisturbed. Not long afterward a series of indescribable sounds
broke the stillness of the night, and the tramp of feet was heard
outside the house. Mr. R. called out, "It's a serenade, H. Get up and
bring out all the wine you have." Annie and I peeped through the parlor
window, and lo! it was the company of volunteers and a diabolical band
composed of bones and broken-winded brass instruments. They piped and
clattered and whined for some time, and then swarmed in, while we ladies
retreated and listened to the clink of glasses.

_March 22._--H., Mr. R., and Mike have been very busy the last few days
getting the acre of kitchen-garden plowed and planted. The stay-law has
stopped all legal business, and they have welcomed this work. But to-day
a thunderbolt fell in our household. Mr. R. came in and announced that
he had agreed to join the company of volunteers. Annie's Confederate
principles would not permit her to make much resistance, and she has
been sewing and mending as fast as possible to get his clothes ready,
stopping now and then to wipe her eyes. Poor Annie! She and Max have
been married only a few months longer than we have; but a noble sense of
duty animates and sustains her.



_April 1._--The last ten days have brought changes in the house. Max R.
left with the company to be mustered in, leaving with us his weeping
Annie. Hardly were her spirits somewhat composed when her brother
arrived from Natchez to take her home. This morning he, Annie, and
Reeney, the black handmaiden, posted off. Out of seven of us only H.,
myself, and Aunt Judy are left. The absence of Reeney will be not the
least noted. She was as precious an imp as any Topsy ever was. Her
tricks were endless and her innocence of them amazing. When sent out to
bring in eggs she would take them from nests where hens were hatching,
and embryo chickens would be served up at breakfast, while Reeney stood
by grinning to see them opened; but when accused she was imperturbable.
"Laws, Mis' L., I nebber done bin nigh dem hens. Mis' Annie, you can go
count dem dere eggs." That when counted they were found minus the
number she had brought had no effect on her stolid denial. H. has
plenty to do finishing the garden all by himself, but the time rather
drags for me.

_April 13, 1862._--This morning I was sewing up a rent in H.'s garden
coat, when Aunt Judy rushed in.

"Laws! Mis' L., here's Mr. Max and Mis' Annie done come back!" A buggy
was coming up with Max, Annie, and Reeney.

"Well, is the war over?" I asked.

"Oh, I got sick!" replied our returned soldier, getting slowly out of
the buggy.

He was very thin and pale, and explained that he took a severe cold
almost at once, had a mild attack of pneumonia, and the surgeon got him
his discharge as unfit for service. He succeeded in reaching Annie, and
a few days of good care made him strong enough to travel back home.

"I suppose, H., you've heard that Island No. 10 is gone?"

Yes, we had heard that much, but Max had the particulars, and an
exciting talk followed. At night H. said to me, "G., New Orleans will be
the next to go, you'll see, and I want to get there first; this
stagnation here will kill me."

_April 28._--This evening has been very lovely, but full of a sad
disappointment. H. invited me to drive. As we turned homeward he said:

"Well, my arrangements are completed. You can begin to pack your trunks
to-morrow, and I shall have a talk with Max."

Mr. R. and Annie were sitting on the gallery as I ran up the steps.

"Heard the news?" they cried.

"No. What news?"

"New Orleans is taken! All the boats have been run up the river to save
them. No more mails."

How little they knew what plans of ours this dashed away. But our
disappointment is truly an infinitesimal drop in the great waves of
triumph and despair surging to-night in thousands of hearts.

_April 30._--The last two weeks have glided quietly away without
incident except the arrival of new neighbors--Dr. Y., his wife, two
children, and servants. That a professional man prospering in Vicksburg
should come now to settle in this retired place looks queer. Max said:

"H., that man has come here to hide from the conscript officers. He has
brought no end of provisions, and is here for the war. He has chosen
well, for this county is so cleaned of men it won't pay to send the
conscript officers here."

Our stores are diminishing and cannot be replenished from without;
ingenuity and labor must evoke them. We have a fine garden in growth,
plenty of chickens, and hives of bees to furnish honey in lieu of sugar.
A good deal of salt meat has been stored in the smoke-house, and, with
fish from the lake, we expect to keep the wolf from the door. The season
for game is about over, but an occasional squirrel or duck comes to the
larder, though the question of ammunition has to be considered. What we
have may be all we can have, if the war lasts five years longer; and
they say they are prepared to hold out till the crack of doom. Food,
however, is not the only want. I never realized before the varied needs
of civilization. Every day something is _out_. Last week but two bars
of soap remained, so we began to save bones and ashes. Annie said: "Now
if we only had some china-berry trees here, we shouldn't need any other
grease. They are making splendid soap at Vicksburg with china-balls.
They just put the berries into the lye and it eats them right up and
makes a fine soap." I did long for some china-berries to make this
experiment. H. had laid in what seemed a good supply of kerosene, but it
is nearly gone, and we are down to two candles kept for an emergency.
Annie brought a receipt from Natchez for making candles of rosin and
wax, and with great forethought brought also the wick and rosin. So
yesterday we tried making candles. We had no molds, but Annie said the
latest style in Natchez was to make a waxen rope by dipping, then wrap
it round a corn-cob. But H. cut smooth blocks of wood about four inches
square, into which he set a polished cylinder about four inches high.
The waxen ropes were coiled round the cylinder like a serpent, with the
head raised about two inches; as the light burned down to the cylinder,
more of the rope was unwound. To-day the vinegar was found to be all
gone, and we have started to make some. For tyros we succeed pretty



_May 9._--A great misfortune has come upon us all. For several days
every one has been uneasy about the unusual rise of the Mississippi and
about a rumor that the Federal forces had cut levees above to swamp the
country. There is a slight levee back of the village, and H. went
yesterday to examine it. It looked strong, and we hoped for the best.
About dawn this morning a strange gurgle woke me. It had a pleasing,
lulling effect. I could not fully rouse at first, but curiosity
conquered at last, and I called H.

"Listen to that running water. What is it?"

He sprung up, listened a second, and shouted: "Max, get up! The water is
on us!" They both rushed off to the lake for the skiff. The levee had
not broken. The water was running clean over it and through the garden
fence so rapidly that by the time I dressed and got outside Max was
paddling the pirogue they had brought in among the pea-vines, gathering
all the ripe peas left above the water. We had enjoyed one mess, and he
vowed we should have another.

H. was busy nailing a raft together while he had a dry place to stand
on. Annie and I, with Reeney, had to secure the chickens, and the back
piazza was given up to them. By the time a hasty breakfast was eaten the
water was in the kitchen. The stove and everything there had to be put
up in the dining-room. Aunt Judy and Reeney had likewise to move into
the house, their floor also being covered with water. The raft had to be
floated to the storehouse and a platform built, on which everything was
elevated. At evening we looked around and counted the cost. The garden
was utterly gone. Last evening we had walked round the strawberry-beds
that fringed the whole acre and tasted a few just ripe. The hives were
swamped. Many of the chickens were drowned. Sancho had been sent to
high ground, where he could get grass. In the village everything green
was swept away. Yet we were better off than many others; for this house,
being raised, we have escaped the water indoors. It just laves the edge
of the galleries.

_May 26._--During the past week we have lived somewhat like Venetians,
with a boat at the front steps and a raft at the back. Sunday H. and I
took skiff to church. The clergyman, who is also tutor at a planter's
across the lake, preached to the few who had arrived in skiffs. We shall
not try it again, it is so troublesome getting in and out at the
court-house steps. The imprisonment is hard to endure. It threatened to
make me really ill, so every evening H. lays a thick wrap in the
pirogue, I sit on it, and we row off to the ridge of dry land running
along the lake-shore and branching off to a strip of wood also out of
water. Here we disembark and march up and down till dusk. A great deal
of the wood got wet and had to be laid out to dry on the galleries, with
clothing, and everything that must be dried. One's own trials are
intensified by the worse suffering around that we can do nothing to

Max has a puppy named after General Price. The gentlemen had both gone
up-town yesterday in the skiff when Annie and I heard little Price's
despairing cries from under the house, and we got on the raft to find
and save him. We wore light morning dresses and slippers, for shoes are
becoming precious. Annie donned a Shaker and I a broad hat. We got the
raft pushed out to the center of the grounds opposite the house, and
could see Price clinging to a post; the next move must be to navigate
the raft up to the side of the house and reach for Price. It sounds
easy; but poke around with our poles as wildly or as scientifically as
we might, the raft would not budge. The noonday sun was blazing right
overhead, and the muddy water running all over slippered feet and dainty
dresses. How long we stayed praying for rescue, yet wincing already at
the laugh that would come with it, I shall never know. It seemed like a
day before the welcome boat and the "Ha, ha!" of H. and Max were heard.
The confinement tells severely on all the animal life about us. Half the
chickens are dead and the other half sick.

The days drag slowly. We have to depend mainly on books to relieve the
tedium, for we have no piano; none of us like cards; we are very poor
chess-players, and the chess-set is incomplete. When we gather round the
one lamp--we dare not light any more--each one exchanges the gems of
thought or mirthful ideas he finds. Frequently the gnats and the
mosquitos are so bad we cannot read at all. This evening, till a strong
breeze blew them away, they were intolerable. Aunt Judy goes about in a
dignified silence, too full for words, only asking two or three times,
"W'at I done tole you fum de fust?" The food is a trial. This evening
the snaky candles lighted the glass and silver on the supper-table with
a pale gleam, and disclosed a frugal supper indeed--tea without milk
(for all the cows are gone), honey, and bread. A faint ray twinkled on
the water swishing against the house and stretching away into the dark
woods. It looked like civilization and barbarism met together. Just as
we sat down to it, some one passing in a boat shouted that Confederates
and Federals were fighting at Vicksburg.

_Monday, June 2._--On last Friday morning, just three weeks from the day
the water rose, signs of its falling began. Yesterday the ground
appeared, and a hard rain coming down at the same time washed off much
of the unwholesome debris. To-day is fine, and we went out without a
boat for a long walk.

_June 13._--Since the water ran off, we have, of course, been attacked
by swamp fever. H. succumbed first, then Annie, Max next, and then I.
Luckily, the new Dr. Y. had brought quinine with him, and we took heroic
doses. Such fever never burned in my veins before or sapped strength so
rapidly, though probably the want of good food was a factor. The two or
three other professional men have left. Dr. Y. alone remains. The roads
now being dry enough, H. and Max started on horseback, in different
directions, to make an exhaustive search for food supplies. H. got back
this evening with no supplies.

_June 15._--Max got back to-day. He started right off again to cross the
lake and interview the planters on that side, for they had not suffered
from overflow.

_June 16._--Max got back this morning. H. and he were in the parlor
talking and examining maps together till dinner-time. When that was over
they laid the matter before us. To buy provisions had proved impossible.
The planters across the lake had decided to issue rations of corn-meal
and pease to the villagers whose men had all gone to war, but they
utterly refused to sell anything. "They told me," said Max, "'We will
not see your family starve, Mr. R.; but with such numbers of slaves and
the village poor to feed, we can spare nothing for sale.'" "Well, of
course," said H., "we do not purpose to stay here and live on charity
rations. We must leave the place at all hazards. We have studied out
every route and made inquiries everywhere we went. We shall have to go
down the Mississippi in an open boat as far as Fetler's Landing (on the
eastern bank). There we can cross by land and put the boat into Steele's
Bayou, pass thence to the Yazoo River, from there to Chickasaw Bayou,
into McNutt's Lake, and land near my uncle's in Warren County."

_June 20._--As soon as our intended departure was announced, we were
besieged by requests for all sorts of things wanted in every
family--pins, matches, gunpowder, and ink. One of the last cases H. and
Max had before the stay-law stopped legal business was the settlement of
an estate that included a country store. The heirs had paid in chattels
of the store. These had remained packed in the office. The main contents
of the cases were hardware; but we found treasure indeed--a keg of
powder, a case of matches, a paper of pins, a bottle of ink. Red ink is
now made out of pokeberries. Pins are made by capping thorns with
sealing-wax, or using them as nature made them. These were articles
money could not get for us. We would give our friends a few matches to
save for the hour of tribulation. The paper of pins we divided evenly,
and filled a bank-box each with the matches. H. filled a tight tin case
apiece with powder for Max and himself and sold the rest, as we could
not carry any more on such a trip. Those who did not hear of this in
time offered fabulous prices afterward for a single pound. But money
has not its old attractions. Our preparations were delayed by Aunt Judy
falling sick of swamp fever.

_Friday, June 27._--As soon as the cook was up again, we resumed
preparations. We put all the clothing in order, and had it nicely done
up with the last of the soap and starch. "I wonder," said Annie, "when I
shall ever have nicely starched clothes after these? They had no starch
in Natchez or Vicksburg when I was there." We are now furbishing up
dresses suitable for such rough summer travel. While we sat at work
yesterday, the quiet of the clear, calm noon was broken by a low,
continuous roar like distant thunder. To-day we are told it was probably
cannon at Vicksburg. This is a great distance, I think, to have heard
it--over a hundred miles.

H. and Max have bought a large yawl and are busy on the lake-bank
repairing it and fitting it with lockers. Aunt Judy's master has been
notified when to send for her; a home for the cat Jeff has been engaged;
Price is dead, and Sancho sold. Nearly all the furniture is disposed of,
except things valued from association, which will be packed in H.'s
office and left with some one likely to stay through the war. It is
hardest to leave the books.

_Tuesday, July 8._--We start to-morrow. Packing the trunks was a
problem. Annie and I are allowed one large trunk apiece, the gentlemen a
smaller one each, and we a light carpet-sack apiece for toilet articles.
I arrived with six trunks and leave with one! We went over everything
carefully twice, rejecting, trying to off the bonds of custom and get
down to primitive needs. At last we made a judicious selection.
Everything old or worn was left; everything merely ornamental, except
good lace, which was light. Gossamer evening dresses were all left. I
calculated on taking two or three books that would bear the most reading
if we were again shut up where none could be had, and so, of course,
took Shakspere first. Here I was interrupted to go and pay a farewell
visit, and when we returned Max had packed and nailed the cases of books
to be left. Chance thus limited my choice to those that happened to be
in my room--"Paradise Lost," the "Arabian Nights," a volume of
Macaulay's History I was reading, and my prayer-book. To-day the
provisions for the trip were cooked: the last of the flour was made into
large loaves of bread; a ham and several dozen eggs were boiled; the few
chickens that have survived the overflow were fried; the last of the
coffee was parched and ground; and the modicum of the tea was well
corked up. Our friends across the lake added a jar of butter and two of
preserves. H. rode off to X. after dinner to conclude some business
there, and I sat down before a table to tie bundles of things to be
left. The sunset glowed and faded, and the quiet evening came on calm
and starry. I sat by the window till evening deepened into night, and as
the moon rose I still looked a reluctant farewell to the lovely lake and
the grand woods, till the sound of H.'s horse at the gate broke the



_Thursday, July 10._ (---- _Plantation._)--Yesterday about four o'clock
we walked to the lake and embarked. Provisions and utensils were packed
in the lockers, and a large trunk was stowed at each end. The blankets
and cushions were placed against one of them, and Annie and I sat on
them Turkish fashion. Near the center the two smaller trunks made a
place for Reeney. Max and H. were to take turns at the rudder and oars.
The last word was a fervent God-speed from Mr. E., who is left in charge
of all our affairs. We believe him to be a Union man, but have never
spoken of it to him. We were gloomy enough crossing the lake, for it was
evident the heavily laden boat would be difficult to manage. Last night
we stayed at this plantation, and from the window of my room I see the
men unloading the boat to place it on the cart, which a team of oxen
will haul to the river. These hospitable people are kindness itself,
till you mention the war.

_Saturday, July 12._ (_Under a cotton-shed on the bank of the
Mississippi River._)--Thursday was a lovely day, and the sight of the
broad river exhilarating. The negroes launched and reloaded the boat,
and when we had paid them and spoken good-by to them we felt we were
really off. Every one had said that if we kept in the current the boat
would almost go of itself, but in fact the current seemed to throw it
about, and hard pulling was necessary. The heat of the sun was very
severe, and it proved impossible to use an umbrella or any kind of
shade, as it made steering more difficult. Snags and floating timbers
were very troublesome. Twice we hurried up to the bank out of the way of
passing gunboats, but they took no notice of us. When we got thirsty, it
was found that Max had set the jug of water in the shade of a tree and
left it there. We must dip up the river water or go without. When it got
too dark to travel safely we disembarked. Reeney gathered wood, made a
fire and some tea, and we had a good supper. We then divided, H. and I
remaining to watch the boat, Max and Annie on shore. She hung up a
mosquito-bar to the trees and went to bed comfortably. In the boat the
mosquitos were horrible, but I fell asleep and slept till voices on the
bank woke me. Annie was wandering disconsolate round her bed, and when I
asked the trouble, said, "Oh, I can't sleep there! I found a toad and a
lizard in the bed." When dropping off again, H. woke me to say he was
very sick; he thought it was from drinking the river water. With
difficulty I got a trunk opened to find some medicine. While doing so a
gunboat loomed up vast and gloomy, and we gave each other a good fright.
Our voices doubtless reached her, for instantly every one of her lights
disappeared and she ran for a few minutes along the opposite bank. We
momently expected a shell as a feeler.

At dawn next morning we made coffee and a hasty breakfast, fixed up as
well as we could in our sylvan dressing-rooms, and pushed on; for it is
settled that traveling between eleven and two will have to be given up
unless we want to be roasted alive. H. grew worse. He suffered terribly,
and the rest of us as much to see him pulling in such a state of
exhaustion. Max would not trust either of us to steer. About eleven we
reached the landing of a plantation. Max walked up to the house and
returned with the owner, an old gentleman living alone with his slaves.
The housekeeper, a young colored girl, could not be surpassed in her
graceful efforts to make us comfortable and anticipate every want. I was
so anxious about H. that I remember nothing except that the cold
drinking-water taken from a cistern beneath the building, into which
only the winter rains were allowed to fall, was like an elixir. They
offered luscious peaches that, with such water, were nectar and ambrosia
to our parched lips. At night the housekeeper said she was sorry they
had no mosquito-bars ready, and hoped the mosquitos would not be thick,
but they came out in legions. I knew that on sleep that night depended
recovery or illness for H., and all possibility of proceeding next day.
So I sat up fanning away mosquitos that he might sleep, toppling over
now and then on the pillows till roused by his stirring. I contrived to
keep this up till, as the chill before dawn came, they abated and I got
a short sleep. Then, with the aid of cold water, a fresh toilet, and a
good breakfast, I braced up for another day's baking in the boat.

If I had been well and strong as usual, the discomforts of such a
journey would not have seemed so much to me; but I was still weak from
the effects of the fever, and annoyed by a worrying toothache which
there had been no dentist to rid me of in our village.

Having paid and dismissed the boat's watchman, we started and traveled
till eleven to-day, when we stopped at this cotton-shed. When our dais
was spread and lunch laid out in the cool breeze, it seemed a blessed
spot. A good many negroes came offering chickens and milk in exchange
for tobacco, which we had not. We bought some milk with money.

A United States transport just now steamed by, and the men on the guards
cheered and waved to us. We all replied but Annie. Even Max was
surprised into an answering cheer, and I waved my handkerchief with a
very full heart as the dear old flag we had not seen for so long floated
by; but Annie turned her back.

_Sunday, July 13._ (_Under a tree on the east bank of the
Mississippi_)--Late on Saturday evening we reached a plantation whose
owner invited us to spend the night at his house. What a delightful
thing is courtesy! The first tone of our host's welcome indicated the
true gentleman. We never leave the oars with the watchman; Max takes
these, Annie and I each take a band-box, H. takes my carpet-sack, and
Reeney brings up the rear with Annie's. It is a funny procession. Mr.
B.'s family were absent, and as we sat on the gallery talking, it needed
only a few minutes to show this was a "Union man." His home was elegant
and tasteful, but even here there was neither tea nor coffee.

About eleven we stopped here in this shady place. While eating lunch the
negroes again came imploring for tobacco. Soon an invitation came from
the house for us to come and rest. We gratefully accepted, but found
their idea of rest for warm, tired travelers was to sit in the parlor on
stiff chairs while the whole family trooped in, cool and clean in fresh
toilets, to stare and question. We soon returned to the trees; however,
they kindly offered corn-meal pound-cake and beer, which were excellent.

Eight gunboats and one transport have passed us. Getting out of their
way has been troublesome. Our gentlemen's hands are badly blistered.

_Tuesday, July 15._--Sunday night about ten we reached the place where,
according to our map, Steele's Bayou comes nearest to the Mississippi,
and where the landing should be; but when we climbed the steep bank
there was no sign of habitation. Max walked off into the woods on a
search, and was gone so long we feared he had lost his way. He could
find no road. H. suggested shouting, and both began. At last a distant
halloo replied, and by cries the answerer was guided to us. A negro came
forward and said that was the right place, his master kept the landing,
and he would watch the boat for five dollars. He showed the road, and
said his master's house was one mile off and another house two miles. We
mistook, and went to the one two miles off. At one o'clock we reached
Mr. Fetler's, who was pleasant, and said we should have the best he had.
The bed into whose grateful softness I sank was piled with mattresses to
within two or three feet of the ceiling; and, with no step-ladder,
getting in and out was a problem. This morning we noticed the high-water
mark, four feet above the lower floor. Mrs. Fetler said they had lived
up-stairs several weeks.



_Wednesday, July 16._ (_Under a tree on the bank of Steele's
Bayou._)--Early this morning our boat was taken out of the Mississippi
and put on Mr. Fetler's ox-cart. After breakfast we followed on foot.
The walk in the woods was so delightful that all were disappointed when
a silvery gleam through the trees showed the bayou sweeping along, full
to the banks, with dense forest trees almost meeting over it. The boat
was launched, calked, and reloaded, and we were off again. Toward noon
the sound of distant cannon began to echo around, probably from
Vicksburg again. About the same time we began to encounter rafts. To get
around them required us to push through brush so thick that we had to
lie down in the boat. The banks were steep and the land on each side a
bog. About one o'clock we reached this clear space with dry shelving
banks, and disembarked to eat lunch. To our surprise a neatly dressed
woman came tripping down the declivity, bringing a basket. She said she
lived above and had seen our boat. Her husband was in the army, and we
were the first white people she had talked to for a long while. She
offered some corn-meal pound-cake and beer, and as she climbed back told
us to "look out for the rapids." H. is putting the boat in order for our
start, and says she is waving good-by from the bluff above.

_Thursday, July 17._ (_On a raft in Steele's Bayou._)--Yesterday we went
on nicely awhile, and at afternoon came to a strange region of rafts,
extending about three miles, on which persons were living. Many saluted
us, saying they had run away from Vicksburg at the first attempt of the
fleet to shell it. On one of these rafts, about twelve feet square,[1]
bagging had been hung up to form three sides of a tent. A bed was in one
corner, and on a low chair, with her provisions in jars and boxes
grouped round her, sat an old woman feeding a lot of chickens.

[Footnote 1: More likely twelve yards.--G.W.C.]

Having moonlight, we had intended to travel till late. But about ten
o'clock, the boat beginning to go with great speed, H., who was
steering, called to Max:

"Don't row so fast; we may run against something."

"I'm hardly pulling at all."

"Then we're in what she called the rapids!"

The stream seemed indeed to slope downward, and in a minute a dark line
was visible ahead. Max tried to turn, but could not, and in a second
more we dashed against this immense raft, only saved from breaking up by
the men's quickness. We got out upon it and ate supper. Then, as the
boat was leaking and the current swinging it against the raft, H. and
Max thought it safer to watch all night, but told us to go to sleep. It
was a strange spot to sleep in--a raft in the middle of a boiling
stream, with a wilderness stretching on either side. The moon made
ghostly shadows, and showed H., sitting still as a ghost, in the stern
of the boat, while mingled with the gurgle of the water round the raft
beneath was the boom of cannon in the air, solemnly breaking the silence
of night. It drizzled now and then, and the mosquitos swarmed over us.
My fan and umbrella had been knocked overboard, so I had no weapon
against them. Fatigue, however, overcomes everything, and I contrived to

H. roused us at dawn. Reeney found lightwood enough on the raft to make
a good fire for coffee, which never tasted better. Then all hands
assisted in unloading; a rope was fastened to the boat, Max got in, H.
held the rope on the raft, and, by much pulling and pushing, it was
forced through a narrow passage to the farther side. Here it had to be
calked, and while that was being done we improvised a dressing-room in
the shadow of our big trunks. During the trip I had to keep the time,
therefore properly to secure belt and watch was always an anxious part
of my toilet. The boat is now repacked, and while Annie and Reeney are
washing cups I have scribbled, wishing much that mine were the hand of
an artist.

_Friday morn, July 18._ (_House of Colonel K., on Yazoo River._)--After
leaving the raft yesterday all went well till noon, when we came to a
narrow place where an immense tree lay clear across the stream. It
seemed the insurmountable obstacle at last. We sat despairing what to
do, when a man appeared beside us in a pirogue. So sudden, so silent was
his arrival that we were thrilled with surprise. He said if we had a
hatchet he could help us. His fairy bark floated in among the branches
like a bubble, and he soon chopped a path for us, and was delighted to
get some matches in return. He said the cannon we heard yesterday were
in an engagement with the ram _Arkansas_, which ran out of the Yazoo
that morning. We did not stop for dinner to-day, but ate a hasty lunch
in the boat, after which nothing but a small piece of bread was left.
About two we reached the forks, one of which ran to the Yazoo, the
other to the Old River. Max said the right fork was our road; H. said
the left, that there was an error in Max's map; but Max steered into the
right fork. After pulling about three miles he admitted his mistake and
turned back; but I shall never forget Old River. It was the vision of a
drowned world, an illimitable waste of dead waters, stretching into a
great, silent, desolate forest.

Just as we turned into the right way, down came the rain so hard and
fast we had to stop on the bank. It defied trees or umbrellas, and
nearly took away the breath. The boat began to fill, and all five of us
had to bail as fast as possible for the half-hour the sheet of water was
pouring down. As it abated a cold breeze sprang up that, striking our
clothes, chilled us to the bone. All were shivering and blue--no, I was
green. Before leaving Mr. Fetler's Wednesday morning I had donned a
dark-green calico. I wiped my face with a handkerchief out of my pocket,
and face and hands were all dyed a deep green. When Annie turned round
and looked at me she screamed, and I realized how I looked; but she was
not much better, for of all dejected things wet feathers are the worst,
and the plumes in her hat were painful.

About five we reached Colonel K.'s house, right where Steele's Bayou
empties into the Yazoo. We had both to be fairly dragged out of the
boat, so cramped and weighted were we by wet skirts. The family were
absent, and the house was headquarters for a squad of Confederate
cavalry, which was also absent. The old colored housekeeper received us
kindly, and lighted fires in our rooms to dry the clothing. My trunk
had got cracked on top, and all the clothing to be got at was wet. H.
had dropped his in the river while lifting it out, and his clothes were
wet. A spoonful of brandy apiece was left in the little flask, and I
felt that mine saved me from being ill. Warm blankets and the brandy
revived us, and by supper-time we got into some dry clothes.

Just then the squad of cavalry returned; they were only a dozen, but
they made much uproar, being in great excitement. Some of them were
known to Max and H., who learned from them that a gunboat was coming to
shell them out of this house. Then ensued a clatter such as twelve men
surely never made before--rattling about the halls and galleries in
heavy boots and spurs, feeding horses, calling for supper, clanking
swords, buckling and unbuckling belts and pistols. At last supper was
despatched, and they mounted and were gone like the wind. We had a quiet
supper and a good night's rest in spite of the expected shells, and did
not wake till ten to-day to realize we were not killed. About eleven
breakfast was furnished. Now we are waiting till the rest of our things
are dried to start on our last day of travel by water.

_Sunday, July 20._--A little way down the Yazoo on Friday we ran into
McNutt's Lake, thence into Chickasaw Bayou, and at dark landed at Mrs.
C.'s farm, the nearest neighbors of H.'s uncle. The house was full of
Confederate sick, friends from Vicksburg, and while we ate supper all
present poured out the story of the shelling and all that was to be done
at Vicksburg. Then our stuff was taken from the boat, and we finally
abandoned the stanch little craft that had carried us for over one
hundred and twenty-five miles in a trip occupying nine days. The luggage
in a wagon, and ourselves packed in a buggy, were driven for four or
five miles, over the roughest road I ever traveled, to the farm of Mr.
B., H.'s uncle, where we arrived at midnight and hastened to hide in bed
the utter exhaustion of mind and body. Yesterday we were too tired to
think, or to do anything but eat peaches.



This morning there was a most painful scene. Annie's father came into
Vicksburg, ten miles from here, and learned of our arrival from Mrs.
C.'s messenger. He sent out a carriage to bring Annie and Max to town
that they might go home with him, and with it came a letter for me from
friends on the Jackson Railroad, written many weeks before. They had
heard that our village home was under water, and invited us to visit
them. The letter had been sent to Annie's people to forward, and thus
had reached us. This decided H., as the place was near New Orleans, to
go there and wait the chance of getting into that city. Max, when he
heard this from H., lost all self-control and cried like a baby. He
stalked about the garden in the most tragic manner, exclaiming:

"Oh! my soul's brother from youth up is a traitor! A traitor to his

Then H. got angry and said, "Max, don't be a fool."

"Who has done this?" bawled Max. "You felt with the South at first; who
has changed you?"

"Of course I feel _for_ the South now, and nobody has changed me but the
logic of events, though the twenty-negro law has intensified my
opinions. I can't see why I, who have no slaves, must go to fight for
them, while every man who has twenty may stay at home."

I also tried to reason with Max and pour oil on his wound. "Max, what
interest has a man like you, without slaves, in a war for slavery? Even
if you had them, they would not be your best property. That lies in your
country and its resources. Nearly all the world has given up slavery;
why can't the South do the same and end the struggle. It has shown you
what the South needs, and if all went to work with united hands the
South would soon be the greatest country on earth. You have no right to
call H. a traitor; it is we who are the true patriots and lovers of the

This had to come, but it has upset us both. H. is deeply attached to
Max, and I can't bear to see a cloud between them. Max, with Annie and
Reeney, drove off an hour ago, Annie so glad at the prospect of again
seeing her mother that nothing could cloud her day. And so the close
companionship of six months, and of dangers, trials, and pleasures
shared together, is over.

_Oak Ridge, July 26, Saturday._--It was not till Wednesday that H. could
get into Vicksburg, ten miles distant, for a passport, without which we
could not go on the cars. We started Thursday morning. I had to ride
seven miles on a hard-trotting horse to the nearest station. The day was
burning at white heat. When the station was reached my hair was down,
my hat on my neck, and my feelings were indescribable.

On the train one seemed to be right in the stream of war, among
officers, soldiers, sick men and cripples, adieus, tears, laughter,
constant chatter, and, strangest of all, sentinels posted at the locked
car doors demanding passports. There was no train south from Jackson
that day, so we put up at the Bowman House. The excitement was
indescribable. All the world appeared to be traveling through Jackson.
People were besieging the two hotels, offering enormous prices for the
privilege of sleeping anywhere under a roof. There were many refugees
from New Orleans, among them some acquaintances of mine. The peculiar
styles of [women's] dress necessitated by the exigencies of war gave the
crowd a very striking appearance. In single suits I saw sleeves of one
color, the waist of another, the skirt of another; scarlet jackets and
gray skirts; black waists and blue skirts; black skirts and gray waists;
the trimming chiefly gold braid and buttons, to give a military air. The
gray and gold uniforms of the officers, glittering between, made up a
carnival of color. Every moment we saw strange meetings and partings of
people from all over the South. Conditions of time, space, locality, and
estate were all loosened; everybody seemed floating he knew not whither,
but determined to be jolly, and keep up an excitement. At supper we had
tough steak, heavy, dirty-looking bread, Confederate coffee. The coffee
was made of either parched rye or corn-meal, or of sweet potatoes cut in
small cubes and roasted. This was the favorite. When flavored with
"coffee essence," sweetened with sorghum, and tinctured with chalky
milk, it made a curious beverage which, after tasting, I preferred not
to drink. Every one else was drinking it, and an acquaintance said, "Oh,
you'll get bravely over that. I used to be a Jewess about pork, but now
we just kill a hog and eat it, and kill another and do the same. It's
all we have."

Friday morning we took the down train for the station near my friend's
house. At every station we had to go through the examination of passes,
as if in a foreign country.

The conscript camp was at Brookhaven, and every man had been ordered to
report there or to be treated as a deserter. At every station I shivered
mentally, expecting H. to be dragged off. Brookhaven was also the
station for dinner. I choked mine down, feeling the sword hanging over
me by a single hair. At sunset we reached our station. The landlady was
pouring tea when we took our seats, and I expected a treat, but when I
tasted it was sassafras tea, the very odor of which sickens me. There
was a general surprise when I asked to exchange it for a glass of water;
every one was drinking it as if it were nectar. This morning we drove
out here.

My friend's little nest is calm in contrast to the tumult not far off.
Yet the trials of war are here too. Having no matches, they keep fire,
carefully covering it at night, for Mr. G. has no powder, and cannot
flash the gun into combustibles as some do. One day they had to go with
the children to the village, and the servant let the fire go out. When
they returned at nightfall, wet and hungry, there was neither fire nor
food. Mr. G. had to saddle the tired mule and ride three miles for a pan
of coals, and blow them, all the way back, to keep them alight. Crockery
has gradually been broken and tin cups rusted out, and a visitor told me
they had made tumblers out of clear glass bottles by cutting them smooth
with a heated wire, and that they had nothing else to drink from.

_Aug. 11._--We cannot get to New Orleans. A special passport must be
shown, and we are told that to apply for it would render H. very likely
to be conscripted. I begged him not to try; and as we hear that active
hostilities have ceased at Vicksburg, he left me this morning to return
to his uncle's and see what the prospects are there. I shall be in
misery about conscription till he returns.

_Sunday, Sept. 7._ (_Vicksburg, Washington Hotel._)--H. did not return
for three weeks. An epidemic disease broke out in his uncle's family and
two children died. He stayed to assist them in their trouble. Tuesday
evening he returned for me, and we reached Vicksburg yesterday. It was
my first sight of the "Gibraltar of the South." Looking at it from a
slight elevation suggests the idea that the fragments left from
world-building had tumbled into a confused mass of hills, hollows,
hillocks, banks, ditches, and ravines, and that the houses had rained
down afterward. Over all there was dust impossible to conceive. The
bombardment has done little injury. People have returned and resumed
business. A gentleman asked H. if he knew of a nice girl for sale. I
asked if he did not think it impolitic to buy slaves now.

"Oh, not young ones. Old ones might run off when the enemy's lines
approach ours, but with young ones there is no danger."

We had not been many hours in town before a position was offered to H.
which seemed providential. The chief of a certain department was in ill
health and wanted a deputy. It secures him from conscription, requires
no oath, and pays a good salary. A mountain seemed lifted off my heart.

_Thursday, Sept. 18._ (_Thanksgiving Day._)--We stayed three days at the
Washington Hotel; then a friend of H.'s called and told him to come to
his house till he could find a home. Boarding-houses have all been
broken up, and the army has occupied the few houses that were for rent.
To-day H. secured a vacant room for two weeks in the only

_Oak Haven, Oct. 3._--To get a house in V. proved impossible, so we
agreed to part for a time till H. could find one. A friend recommended
this quiet farm, six miles from ---- [a station on the Jackson Railroad].
On last Saturday H. came with me as far as Jackson and put me on the
other train for the station.

On my way hither a lady, whom I judged to be a Confederate
"blockade-runner," told me of the tricks resorted to to get things out
of New Orleans, including this: A very large doll was emptied of its
bran, filled with quinine, and elaborately dressed. When the owner's
trunk was opened, she declared with tears that the doll was for a poor
crippled girl, and it was passed.

This farm of Mr. W.'s[2] is kept with about forty negroes. Mr. W.,
nearly sixty, is the only white man on it. He seems to have been wiser
in the beginning than most others, and curtailed his cotton to make room
for rye, rice, and corn. There is a large vegetable-garden and orchard;
he has bought plenty of stock for beef and mutton, and laid in a large
supply of sugar. He must also have plenty of ammunition, for a man is
kept hunting and supplies the table with delicious wild turkeys and
other game. There is abundance of milk and butter, hives for honey, and
no end of pigs. Chickens seem to be kept like game in parks, for I never
see any, but the hunter shoots them, and eggs are plentiful. We have
chicken for breakfast, dinner, and supper, fried, stewed, broiled, and
in soup, and there is a family of ten. Luckily I never tire of it. They
make starch out of corn-meal by washing the meal repeatedly, pouring off
the water, and drying the sediment. Truly the uses of corn in the
Confederacy are varied. It makes coffee, beer, whisky, starch, cake,
bread. The only privations here are the lack of coffee, tea, salt,
matches, and good candles. Mr. W. is now having the dirt floor of his
smoke-house dug up and boiling from it the salt that has dripped into it
for years. To-day Mrs. W. made tea out of dried blackberry leaves, but
no one liked it. The beds, made out of equal parts of cotton and
corn-shucks, are the most elastic I ever slept in. The servants are
dressed in gray homespun. Hester, the chambermaid, has a gray gown so
pretty that I covet one like it. Mrs. W. is now arranging dyes for the
thread to be woven into dresses for herself and the girls. Sometimes her
hands are a curiosity.

[Footnote 2: On this plantation, and in this domestic circle, I myself
afterward sojourned, and from them enlisted in the army. The initials
are fictitious, but the description is perfect.--G.W.C.]

The school at the nearest town is broken up, and Mrs. W. says the
children are growing up heathens. Mr. W. has offered me a liberal price
to give the children lessons in English and French, and I have accepted

_Oct. 28._--It is a month to-day since I came here. I only wish H. could
share these benefits--the nourishing food, the pure aromatic air, the
sound sleep away from the fevered life of Vicksburg. He sends me all the
papers he can get hold of, and we both watch carefully the movements
reported lest an army should get between us. The days are full of useful
work, and in the lovely afternoons I take long walks with a big dog for
company. The girls do not care for walking. In the evening Mr. W. begs
me to read aloud all the war news. He is fond of the "Memphis Appeal,"
which has moved from town to town so much that they call it the "Moving
Appeal." I sit in a low chair by the fire, as we have no other light to
read by. Sometimes traveling soldiers stop here, but that is rare.

_Oct. 31._--Mr. W. said last night the farmers felt uneasy about the
"Emancipation Proclamation" to take effect in December. The slaves have
found it out, though it had been carefully kept from them.

"Do yours know it?" I asked.

"Oh, yes. Finding it to be known elsewhere, I told it to mine with fair
warning what to expect if they tried to run away. The hounds are not far

The need of clothing for their armies is worrying them too. I never saw
Mrs. W. so excited as on last evening. She said the provost-marshal at
the next town had ordered the women to knit so many pairs of socks.

"Just let him try to enforce it and they will cowhide him. He'll get
none from me. I'll take care of my friends without an order from him."

"Well," said Mr. W., "if the South is defeated and the slaves set free,
the Southern people will all become atheists; for the Bible justifies
slavery and says it shall be perpetual."

"You mean, if the Lord does not agree with you, you'll repudiate him."

"Well, we'll feel it's no use to believe in anything."

At night the large sitting-room makes a striking picture. Mr. W., spare,
erect, gray-headed, patriarchal, sits in his big chair by the odorous
fire of pine logs and knots roaring up the vast fireplace. His driver
brings to him the report of the day's picking and a basket of snowy
cotton for the spinning. The hunter brings in the game. I sit on the
other side to read. The great spinning-wheels stand at the other end of
the room, and Mrs. W. and her black satellites, the elderly women with
their heads in bright bandanas, are hard at work. Slender and
auburn-haired, she steps back and forth out of shadow into shine
following the thread with graceful movements. Some card the cotton, some
reel it into hanks. Over all the firelight glances, now touching the
golden curls of little John toddling about, now the brown heads of the
girls stooping over their books, now the shadowy figure of little Jule,
the girl whose duty it is to supply the fire with rich pine to keep up
the vivid light. If they would only let the child sit down! But that is
not allowed, and she gets sleepy and stumbles and knocks her head
against the wall and then straightens up again. When that happens often
it drives me off. Sometimes while I read the bright room fades and a
vision rises of figures clad in gray and blue lying pale and stiff on
the blood-sprinkled ground.

_Nov. 15._--Yesterday a letter was handed me from H. Grant's army was
moving, he wrote, steadily down the Mississippi Central, and might cut
the road at Jackson. He has a house and will meet me in Jackson

_Nov. 20._ (_Vicksburg._)--A fair morning for my journey back to
Vicksburg. On the train was the gentleman who in New Orleans had told us
we should have all the butter we wanted from Texas. On the cars, as
elsewhere, the question of food alternated with news of the war.

When we ran into the Jackson station, H. was on the platform, and I
gladly learned that we could go right on. A runaway negro, an old man,
ashy-colored from fright and exhaustion, with his hands chained, was
being dragged along by a common-looking man. Just as we started out of
Jackson the conductor led in a young woman sobbing in a heartbroken
manner. Her grief seemed so overpowering, and she was so young and
helpless, that every one was interested. Her husband went into the army
in the opening of the war, just after their marriage, and she had never
heard from him since. After months of weary searching she learned he had
been heard of at Jackson, and came full of hope, but found no clue. The
sudden breaking down of her hope was terrible. The conductor placed her
in care of a gentleman going her way and left her sobbing. At the next
station the conductor came to ask her about her baggage. She raised her
head to try and answer. "Don't cry so; you'll find him yet." She gave a
start, jumped from her seat with arms flung out and eyes staring. "There
he is now!" she cried. Her husband stood before her.

The gentleman beside her yielded his seat, and as hand grasped hand a
hysterical gurgle gave place to a look like Heaven's peace. The low
murmur of their talk began and when I looked around at the next station
they had bought pies and were eating them together like happy children.

Midway between Jackson and Vicksburg we reached the station near where
Annie's parents were staying. I looked out, and there stood Annie with a
little sister on each side of her, brightly smiling at us. Max had
written to H., but we had not seen them since our parting. There was
only time for a word and the train flashed away.



We reached Vicksburg that night and went to H.'s room. Next morning the
cook he had engaged arrived, and we moved into this house. Martha's
ignorance keeps me busy, and H. is kept close at his office.

_January 7, 1863._--I have had little to record here recently, for we
have lived to ourselves, not visiting or visited. Every one H. knows is
absent, and I know no one but the family we stayed with at first, and
they are now absent. H. tells me of the added triumph since the repulse
of Sherman in December, and the one paper published here shouts victory
as much as its gradually diminishing size will allow. Paper is a serious
want. There is a great demand for envelops in the office where H. is. He
found and bought a lot of thick and smooth colored paper, cut a tin
pattern, and we have whiled away some long evenings cutting envelops and
making them up. I have put away a package of the best to look at when we
are old. The books I brought from Arkansas have proved a treasure, but
we can get no more. I went to the only book-store open; there were none
but Mrs. Stowe's "Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands." The clerk said I
could have that cheap, because he couldn't sell her books, so I got it
and am reading it now. The monotony has only been broken by letters from
friends here and there in the Confederacy. One of these letters tells of
a Federal raid to their place, and says: "But the worst thing was, they
would take every toothbrush in the house, because we can't buy any more;
and one cavalryman put my sister's new bonnet on his horse, and said,
'Get up, Jack,' and her bonnet was gone."

_February 25._--A long gap in my journal, because H. has been ill unto
death with typhoid fever, and I nearly broke down from loss of sleep,
there being no one to relieve me. I never understood before how terrible
it was to be alone at night with a patient in delirium, and no one
within call. To wake Martha was simply impossible. I got the best doctor
here, but when convalescence began the question of food was a trial. I
got with great difficulty two chickens. The doctor made the drug-store
sell two of their six bottles of port; he said his patient's life
depended on it. An egg is a rare and precious thing. Meanwhile the
Federal fleet has been gathering, has anchored at the bend, and shells
are thrown in at intervals.

_March 20._--The slow shelling of Vicksburg goes on all the time, and we
have grown indifferent. It does not at present interrupt or interfere
with daily avocations, but I suspect they are only getting the range of
different points; and when they have them all complete, showers of shot
will rain on us all at once. Non-combatants have been ordered to leave
or prepare accordingly. Those who are to stay are having caves built.
Cave-digging has become a regular business; prices range from twenty to
fifty dollars, according to size of cave. Two diggers worked at ours a
week and charged thirty dollars. It is well made in the hill that slopes
just in the rear of the house, and well propped with thick posts, as
they all are. It has a shelf also, for holding a light or water. When we
went in this evening and sat down, the earthy, suffocating feeling, as
of a living tomb, was dreadful to me. I fear I shall risk death outside
rather than melt in that dark furnace. The hills are so honeycombed with
caves that the streets look like avenues in a cemetery. The hill called
the Sky-parlor has become quite a fashionable resort for the few
upper-circle families left here. Some officers are quartered there, and
there is a band and a field-glass. Last evening we also climbed the hill
to watch the shelling, but found the view not so good as on a quiet hill
nearer home. Soon a lady began to talk to one of the officers: "It is
such folly for them to waste their ammunition like that. How can they
ever take a town that has such advantages for defense and protection as
this? We'll just burrow into these hills and let them batter away as
hard as they please."

"You are right, madam; and besides, when our women are so willing to
brave death and endure discomfort, how can we ever be conquered?"

Soon she looked over with significant glances to where we stood, and
began to talk at H.

"The only drawback," she said, "are the contemptible men who are staying
at home in comfort, when they ought to be in the army if they had a
spark of honor."

I cannot repeat all, but it was the usual tirade. It is strange I have
met no one yet who seems to comprehend an honest difference of opinion,
and stranger yet that the ordinary rules of good breeding are now so
entirely ignored. As the spring comes one has the craving for fresh,
green food that a monotonous diet produces. There was a bed of radishes
and onions in the garden that were a real blessing. An onion salad,
dressed only with salt, vinegar, and pepper, seemed a dish fit for a
king; but last night the soldiers quartered near made a raid on the
garden and took them all.

_April 2._--We have had to move, and thus lost our cave. The owner of
the house suddenly returned and notified us that he intended to bring
his family back; didn't think there'd be any siege. The cost of the cave
could go for the rent. That means he has got tired of the Confederacy
and means to stay here and thus get out of it. This house was the only
one to be had. It was built by ex-Senator G., and is so large our tiny
household is lost in it. We use only the lower floor. The bell is often
rung by persons who take it for a hotel and come beseeching food at any
price. To-day one came who would not be denied. "We do not keep a hotel,
but would willingly feed hungry soldiers if we had the food." "I have
been traveling all night, and am starving; will pay any price for just
bread." I went to the dining-room and found some biscuits, and set out
two, with a large piece of corn-bread, a small piece of bacon, some nice
syrup, and a pitcher of water. I locked the door of the safe and left
him to enjoy his lunch. After he left I found he had broken open the
safe and taken the remaining biscuits.

_April 28._--I never understood before the full force of those
questions--What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall
we be clothed? We have no prophet of the Lord at whose prayer the meal
and oil will not waste. Such minute attention must be given the wardrobe
to preserve it that I have learned to darn like an artist. Making shoes
is now another accomplishment. Mine were in tatters. H. came across a
moth-eaten pair that he bought me, giving ten dollars, I think, and they
fell into rags when I tried to wear them; but the soles were good, and
that has helped me to shoes. A pair of old coat-sleeves saved--nothing
is thrown away now--was in my trunk. I cut an exact pattern from my old
shoes, laid it on the sleeves, and cut out thus good uppers and sewed
them carefully; then soaked the soles and sewed the cloth to them. I am
so proud of these home-made shoes, think I'll put them in a glass case
when the war is over, as an heirloom. H. says he has come to have an
abiding faith that everything he needs to wear will come out of that
trunk while the war lasts. It is like a fairy casket. I have but a dozen
pins remaining, so many I gave away. Every time these are used they are
straightened and kept from rust. All these curious labors are performed
while the shells are leisurely screaming through the air; but as long as
we are out of range we don't worry. For many nights we have had but
little sleep, because the Federal gunboats have been running past the
batteries. The uproar when this is happening is phenomenal. The first
night the thundering artillery burst the bars of sleep, we thought it an
attack by the river. To get into garments and rush up-stairs was the
work of a moment. From the upper gallery we have a fine view of the
river, and soon a red glare lit up the scene and showed a small boat,
towing two large barges, gliding by. The Confederates had set fire to a
house near the bank. Another night, eight boats ran by, throwing a
shower of shot, and two burning houses made the river clear as day. One
of the batteries has a remarkable gun they call "Whistling Dick,"
because of the screeching, whistling sound it gives, and certainly it
does sound like a tortured thing. Added to all this is the indescribable
Confederate yell, which is a soul-harrowing sound to hear. I have gained
respect for the mechanism of the human ear, which stands it all without
injury. The streets are seldom quiet at night; even the dragging about
of cannon makes a din in these echoing gullies. The other night we were
on the gallery till the last of the eight boats got by. Next day a
friend said to H., "It was a wonder you didn't have your heads taken
off last night. I passed and saw them stretched over the gallery, and
grape-shot were whizzing up the street just on a level with you." The
double roar of batteries and boats was so great, we never noticed the
whizzing. Yesterday the _Cincinnati_ attempted to go by in daylight but
was disabled and sunk. It was a pitiful sight; we could not see the
finale, though we saw her rendered helpless.



_Vicksburg, May 1, 1863._--It is settled at last that we shall spend the
time of siege in Vicksburg. Ever since we were deprived of our cave, I
had been dreading that H. would suggest sending me to the country, where
his relatives lived. As he could not leave his position and go also
without being conscripted, and as I felt certain an army would get
between us, it was no part of my plan to be obedient. A shell from one
of the practising mortars brought the point to an issue yesterday and
settled it. Sitting at work as usual, listening to the distant sound of
bursting shells, apparently aimed at the court-house, there suddenly
came a nearer explosion; the house shook, and a tearing sound was
followed by terrified screams from the kitchen. I rushed thither, but
met in the hall the cook's little girl America, bleeding from a wound in
the forehead, and fairly dancing with fright and pain, while she uttered
fearful yells. I stopped to examine the wound, and her mother bounded
in, her black face ashy from terror. "Oh! Miss V., my child is killed
and the kitchen tore up." Seeing America was too lively to be a killed
subject, I consoled Martha and hastened to the kitchen. Evidently a
shell had exploded just outside, sending three or four pieces through.
When order was restored I endeavored to impress on Martha's mind the
necessity for calmness and the uselessness of such excitement. Looking
round at the close of the lecture, there stood a group of Confederate
soldiers laughing heartily at my sermon and the promising audience I
had. They chimed in with a parting chorus:

"Yes, it's no use hollerin', old lady."

"Oh! H.," I exclaimed, as he entered soon after, "America is wounded."

"That is no news; she has been wounded by traitors long ago."

"Oh, this is real, living, little black America. I am not talking in
symbols. Here are the pieces of shell, the first bolt of the coming

"Now you see," he replied, "that this house will be but paper to
mortar-shells. You must go in the country."

The argument was long, but when a woman is obstinate and eloquent, she
generally conquers. I came off victorious, and we finished preparations
for the siege to-day. Hiring a man to assist, we descended to the
wine-cellar, where the accumulated bottles told of the "banquet-hall
deserted," the spirit and glow of the festive hours whose lights and
garlands were dead, and the last guest long since departed. To empty
this cellar was the work of many hours. Then in the safest corner a
platform was laid for our bed, and in another portion one arranged for
Martha. The dungeon, as I call it, is lighted only by a trap-door, and
is so damp it will be necessary to remove the bedding and mosquito-bars
every day. The next question was of supplies. I had nothing left but a
sack of rice-flour, and no manner of cooking I had heard or invented
contrived to make it eatable. A column of recipes for making delicious
preparations of it had been going the rounds of Confederate papers. I
tried them all; they resulted only in brick-bats or sticky paste. H.
sallied out on a hunt for provisions, and when he returned the
disproportionate quantity of the different articles obtained provoked a
smile. There was a _hogshead_ of sugar, a barrel of syrup, ten pounds of
bacon and peas, four pounds of wheat-flour, and a small sack of
corn-meal, a little vinegar, and actually some spice! The wheat-flour he
purchased for ten dollars as a special favor from the sole remaining
barrel for sale. We decided that must be left for sickness. The sack of
meal, he said, was a case of corruption, through a special providence to
us. There is no more for sale at any price; but, said he, "a soldier who
was hauling some of the Government sacks to the hospital offered me this
for five dollars, if I could keep a secret. When the meal is exhausted,
perhaps we can keep alive on sugar. Here are some wax candles; hoard
them like gold." He handed me a parcel containing about two pounds of
candles, and left me to arrange my treasures. It would be hard for me to
picture the memories those candles called up. The long years melted
away, and I

          Trod again my childhood's track,
          And felt its very gladness.

In those childish days, whenever came dreams Of household splendor or
festal rooms or gay illuminations, the lights in my vision were always
wax candles burning with a soft radiance that enchanted every scene....
And, lo! here on this spring day of '63, with war raging through the
land, I was in a fine house, and had my wax candles sure enough; but,
alas! they were neither cerulean blue nor rose-tinted, but dirty brown;
and when I lighted one, it spluttered and wasted like any vulgar tallow
thing, and lighted only a desolate scene in the vast handsome room. They
were not so good as the waxen rope we had made in Arkansas. So, with a
long sigh for the dreams of youth, I return to the stern present in this
besieged town--my only consolation to remember the old axiom, "A city
besieged is a city taken,"--so if we live through it we shall be out of
the Confederacy. H. is very tired of having to carry a pass around in
his pocket and go every now and then to have it renewed. We have been so
very free in America, these restrictions are irksome.

_May 9._--This morning the door-bell rang a startling peal. Martha being
busy, I answered it. An orderly in gray stood with an official envelop
in his hand.

"Who lives here?"

"Mr. L."

Very imperiously--"Which Mr. L.?"

"Mr. H.L."

"Is he here?"


"Where can he be found?"

"At the office of Deputy ----."

"I'm not going there. This is an order from General Pemberton for you to
move out of this house in two hours. He has selected it for
headquarters. He will furnish you with wagons."

"Will he furnish another house also?"

"Of course not."

"Has the owner been consulted?"

"He has not; that is of no consequence; it has been taken. Take this

"I shall not take it, and I shall not move, as there is no place to move
to but the street."

"Then I'll take it to Mr. L."

"Very well; do so."

As soon as Mr. Impertine walked off, I locked, bolted, and barred every
door and window. In ten minutes H. came home.

"Hold the fort till I've seen the owner and the general," he said, as I
locked him out.

Then Dr. B.'s remark in New Orleans about the effect of Dr. C.'s fine
presence on the Confederate officials there came to mind. They are just
the people to be influenced in that way, I thought. I look rather shabby
now; I will dress. I made an elaborate toilet, put on the best and most
becoming dress I had, the richest lace, the handsomest ornaments, taking
care that all should be appropriate to a morning visit; dressed my hair
in the stateliest braids, and took a seat in the parlor ready for the
fray. H. came to the window and said:

"Landlord says, 'Keep them out. Wouldn't let them have his house at any
price.' He is just riding to the country and can't help us now. Now I'm
to see Major C., who sent the order."

Next came an officer, banged at the door till tired, and walked away.
Then the orderly came again and beat the door--same result. Next, four
officers with bundles and lunch-baskets, followed by a wagon-load of
furniture. They went round the house, tried every door, peeped in the
windows, pounded and rapped, while I watched them through the
blind-slats. Presently the fattest one, a real Falstaffian man, came
back to the front door and rang a thundering peal. I saw the chance for
fun and for putting on their own grandiloquent style. Stealing on tiptoe
to the door, I turned the key and bolt noiselessly, and suddenly threw
wide back the door and appeared behind it. He had been leaning on it,
and nearly pitched forward with an "Oh! what's this!" Then seeing me as
he straightened up, "Ah, madam!" almost stuttering from surprise and
anger, "are you aware I had the right to break down this door if you
hadn't opened it?"

"That would make no difference to me. I'm not the owner. You or the
landlord would pay the bill for the repairs."

"Why didn't you open the door?"

"Have I not done so as soon as you rung? A lady does not open the door
to men who beat on it. Gentlemen usually ring; I thought it might be
stragglers pounding."

"Well," growing much blander, "we are going to send you some wagons to
move; you must get ready."

"With pleasure, if you have selected a house for me. This is too large;
it does not suit me."

"No, I didn't find a house for you."

"You surely don't expect me to run about in the dust and shelling to
look for it, and Mr. L. is too busy."

"Well, madam, then we must share the house. We will take the lower

"I prefer to keep the lower floor myself; you surely don't expect me to
go up and down stairs when you are so light and more able to do it."

He walked through the hall, trying the doors. "What room is that?" "The
parlor." "And this?" "My bedroom." "And this?" "The dining-room."

"Well, madam, we'll find you a house and then come and take this."

"Thank you, colonel; I shall be ready when you find the house.
Good-morning, sir."

I heard him say as he ran down the steps, "We must go back, captain; you
see I didn't know they were this kind of people."

Of course the orderly had lied in the beginning to scare me, for General
P. is too far away from Vicksburg to send an order. He is looking about
for General Grant. We are told he has gone out to meet Johnston; and
together they expect to annihilate Grant's army and free Vicksburg
forever. There is now a general hospital opposite this house, and a
smallpox hospital next door. War, famine, pestilence, and fire surround
us. Every day the band plays in front of the smallpox hospital. I wonder
if it is to keep up their spirits? One would suppose quiet would be more

_May 17._--Hardly was our scanty breakfast over this morning when a
hurried ring drew us both to the door.

Mr. J., one of H.'s assistants, stood there in high excitement.

"Well, Mr. L., they are upon us; the Yankees will be here by this

"What do you mean?"

"That Pemberton has been whipped at Baker's Creek and Big Black, and his
army are running back here as fast as they can come, and the Yanks after
them, in such numbers nothing can stop them. Hasn't Pemberton acted like
a fool?"

"He may not be the only one to blame," replied H.

"They're coming along the Big B. road, and my folks went down there to
be safe, you know; now they're right in it. I hear you can't see the
armies for the dust; never was anything else known like it. But I must
go and try to bring my folks back here."

What struck us both was the absence of that concern to be expected, and
a sort of relief or suppressed pleasure. After twelve some
worn-out-looking men sat down under the window.

"What is the news?" I inquired.

"Ritreat, ritreat!" they said, in broken English--they were Louisiana

About three o'clock the rush began. I shall never forget that woeful
sight of a beaten, demoralized army that came rushing back,--humanity in
the last throes of endurance. Wan, hollow-eyed, ragged, foot-sore,
bloody, the men limped along unarmed, but followed by siege-guns,
ambulances, gun-carriages, and wagons in aimless confusion. At twilight
two or three bands on the court-house hill and other points began
playing "Dixie," "Bonnie Blue Flag," and so on, and drums began to beat
all about; I suppose they were rallying the scattered army.

_May 28._--Since that day the regular siege has continued. We are
utterly cut off from the world, surrounded by a circle of fire. Would it
be wise like the scorpion to sting ourselves to death? The fiery shower
of shells goes on day and night. H.'s occupation, of course, is gone;
his office closed. Every man has to carry a pass in his pocket. People
do nothing but eat what they can get, sleep when they can, and dodge the
shells. There are three intervals when the shelling stops either for the
guns to cool or for the gunners' meals, I suppose,--about eight in the
morning, the same in the evening, and at noon. In that time we have both
to prepare and eat ours. Clothing cannot be washed or anything else
done. On the 19th and 22d, when the assaults were made on the lines, I
watched the soldiers cooking on the green opposite. The half-spent balls
coming all the way from those lines were flying so thick that they were
obliged to dodge at every turn. At all the caves I could see from my
high perch, people were sitting, eating their poor suppers at the cave
doors, ready to plunge in again. As the first shell again flew they
dived, and not a human being was visible. The sharp crackle of the
musketry-firing was a strong contrast to the scream of the bombs. I
think all the dogs and cats must be killed or starved: we don't see any
more pitiful animals prowling around.... The cellar is so damp and musty
the bedding has to be carried out and laid in the sun every day, with
the forecast that it may be demolished at any moment. The confinement is
dreadful. To sit and listen as if waiting for death in a horrible
manner would drive me insane. I don't know what others do, but we read
when I am not scribbling in this. H. borrowed somewhere a lot of
Dickens's novels, and we reread them, by the dim light in the cellar.
When the shelling abates, H. goes to walk about a little or get the
"Daily Citizen," which is still issuing a tiny sheet at twenty-five and
fifty cents a copy. It is, of course, but a rehash of speculations which
amuses a half hour. To-day he heard while out that expert swimmers are
crossing the Mississippi on logs at night to bring and carry news to
Johnston. I am so tired of corn-bread, which I never liked, that I eat
it with tears in my eyes. We are lucky to get a quart of milk daily from
a family near who have a cow they hourly expect to be killed. I send
five dollars to market each morning, and it buys a small piece of
mule-meat. Rice and milk is my main food; I can't eat the mule-meat. We
boil the rice and eat it cold with milk for supper. Martha runs the
gauntlet to buy the meat and milk once a day in a perfect terror. The
shells seem to have many different names: I hear the soldiers say,
"That's a mortar-shell. There goes a Parrott. That's a rifle-shell."
They are all equally terrible. A pair of chimney-swallows have built in
the parlor chimney. The concussion of the house often sends down parts
of their nest, which they patiently pick up and reascend with.

_Friday, June 5. In the cellar._--Wednesday evening H. said he must take
a little walk, and went while the shelling had stopped. He never leaves
me alone for long, and when an hour had passed without his return I
grew anxious; and when two hours, and the shelling had grown terrific, I
momentarily expected to see his mangled body. All sorts of horrors fill
the mind now, and I am so desolate here; not a friend. When he came he
said that, passing a cave where there were no others near, he heard
groans, and found a shell had struck above and caused the cave to fall
in on the man within. He could not extricate him alone, and had to get
help and dig him out. He was badly hurt, but not mortally, and I felt
fairly sick from the suspense.

Yesterday morning a note was brought H. from a bachelor uncle out in the
trenches, saying he had been taken ill with fever, and could we receive
him if he came? H. sent to tell him to come, and I arranged one of the
parlors as a dressing-room for him, and laid a pallet that he could move
back and forth to the cellar. He did not arrive, however. It is our
custom in the evening to sit in the front room a little while in the
dark, with matches and candle held ready in hand, and watch the shells,
whose course at night is shown by the fuse. H. was at the window and
suddenly sprang up, crying, "Run!"--"Where?"--"_Back_!"

I started through the back room, H. after me. I was just within the door
when the crash came that threw me to the floor. It was the most
appalling sensation I'd ever known--worse than an earthquake, which I've
also experienced. Shaken and deafened, I picked myself up; H. had struck
a light to find me. I lighted one, and the smoke guided us to the parlor
I had fixed for Uncle J. The candles were useless in the dense smoke,
and it was many minutes before we could see. Then we found the entire
side of the room torn out. The soldiers who had rushed in said, "This is
an eighty-pound Parrott." It had entered through the front, burst on the
pallet-bed, which was in tatters; the toilet service and everything else
in the room smashed. The soldiers assisted H. to board up the break with
planks to keep out prowlers, and we went to bed in the cellar as usual.
This morning the yard is partially plowed by a couple that fell there in
the night. I think this house, so large and prominent from the river, is
perhaps taken for headquarters and specially shelled. As we descend at
night to the lower regions, I think of the evening hymn that grandmother
taught me when a child:

          Lord, keep us safe this night,
            Secure from all our fears;
          May angels guard us while we sleep,
            Till morning light appears.

Surely, if there are heavenly guardians, we need them now.

_June 7._ (_In the cellar._)--There is one thing I feel especially
grateful for, that amid these horrors we have been spared that of
suffering for water. The weather has been dry a long time, and we hear
of others dipping up the water from ditches and mud-holes. This place
has two large underground cisterns of good cool water, and every night
in my subterranean dressing-room a tub of cold water is the nerve-calmer
that sends me to sleep in spite of the roar. One cistern I had to give
up to the soldiers, who swarm about like hungry animals seeking
something to devour. Poor fellows! my heart bleeds for them. They have
nothing but spoiled, greasy bacon, and bread made of musty pea-flour,
and but little of that. The sick ones can't bolt it. They come into the
kitchen when Martha puts the pan of corn-bread in the stove, and beg for
the bowl she mixed it in. They shake up the scrapings with water, put in
their bacon, and boil the mixture into a kind of soup, which is easier
to swallow than pea-bread. When I happen in, they look so ashamed of
their poor clothes. I know we saved the lives of two by giving a few
meals. To-day one crawled on the gallery to lie in the breeze. He looked
as if shells had lost their terrors for his dumb and famished misery.
I've taught Martha to make first-rate corn-meal gruel, because I can eat
meal easier that way than in hoe-cake, and I fixed him a saucerful, put
milk and sugar and nutmeg--I've actually got a nutmeg! When he ate it
the tears ran from his eyes. "Oh, madam, there was never anything so
good! I shall get better."

_June 9._--The churches are a great resort for those who have no caves.
People fancy they are not shelled so much, and they are substantial and
the pews good to sleep in. We had to leave this house last night, they
were shelling our quarter so heavily. The night before, Martha forsook
the cellar for a church. We went to H.'s office, which was comparatively
quiet last night. H. carried the bank-box; I the case of matches; Martha
the blankets and pillows, keeping an eye on the shells. We slept on
piles of old newspapers. In the streets the roar seems so much more
confusing, I feel sure I shall run right in the way of a shell. They
seem to have five different sounds from the second of throwing them to
the hollow echo wandering among the hills, and that sounds the most
blood-curdling of all.

_June 13._--Shell burst just over the roof this morning. Pieces tore
through both floors down into the dining-room. The entire ceiling of
that room fell in a mass. We had just left it. Every piece of crockery
on the table was smashed up. The "Daily Citizen" to-day is a foot and a
half long and six inches wide. It has a long letter from a Federal
officer, P.P. Hill, who was on the gunboat _Cincinnati_, that was sunk
May 27. Says it was found in his floating trunk. The editorial says,
"The utmost confidence is felt that we can maintain our position until
succor comes from outside. The undaunted Johnston is at hand."

_June 18._--To-day the "Citizen" is printed on wallpaper; therefore has
grown a little in size. It says, "But a few days more and Johnston will
be here"; also that "Kirby Smith has driven Banks from Port Hudson," and
that "the enemy are throwing incendiary shells in."

_June 20._--The gentleman who took our cave came yesterday to invite us
to come to it, because, he said, "it's going to be very bad to-day." I
don't know why he thought so. We went, and found his own and another
family in it; sat outside and watched the shells till we concluded the
cellar was as good a place as that hillside. I fear the want of good
food is breaking down H. I know from my own feelings of weakness, but
mine is not an American constitution and has a recuperative power that
his has not.

_June 21._--I had gone up-stairs to-day during the interregnum to enjoy
a rest on my bed, and read the reliable items in the "Citizen," when a
shell burst right outside the window in front of me. Pieces flew in,
striking all around me, tearing down masses of plaster that came
tumbling over me. When H. rushed in I was crawling out of the plaster,
digging it out of my eyes and hair. When he picked up a piece as large
as a saucer beside my pillow, I realized my narrow escape. The
windowframe began to smoke, and we saw the house was on fire. H. ran for
a hatchet and I for water, and we put it out. Another [shell] came
crashing near, and I snatched up my comb and brush and ran down here. It
has taken all the afternoon to get the plaster out of my hair, for my
hands were rather shaky.

_June 25._--A horrible day. The most horrible yet to me, because I've
lost my nerve. We were all in the cellar, when a shell came tearing
through the roof, burst up-stairs, tore up that room, and the pieces
coming through both floors down into the cellar, one of them tore open
the leg of H.'s pantaloons. This was tangible proof the cellar was no
place of protection from them. On the heels of this came Mr. J. to tell
us that young Mrs. P. had had her thigh-bone crushed. When Martha went
for the milk she came back horror-stricken to tell us the black girl
there had her arm taken off by a shell. For the first time I quailed. I
do not think people who are physically brave deserve much credit for it;
it is a matter of nerves. In this way I am constitutionally brave, and
seldom think of danger till it is over; and death has not the terrors
for me it has for some others. Every night I had lain down expecting
death, and every morning rose to the same prospect, without being
unnerved. It was for H. I trembled. But now I first seemed to realize
that something worse than death might come: I might be crippled, and not
killed. Life, without all one's powers and limbs, was a thought that
broke down my courage. I said to H., "You must get me out of this
horrible place; I cannot stay; I know I shall be crippled." Now the
regret comes that I lost control, because H. is worried, and has lost
his composure, because my coolness has broken down.

_July 1._--Some months ago, thinking it might be useful, I obtained from
the consul of my birthplace, by sending to another town, a passport for
foreign parts. H. said if we went out to the lines we might be permitted
to get through on that. So we packed the trunks, got a carriage, and on
the 30th drove out there. General V. offered us seats in his tent. The
rifle-bullets were whizzing so _zip, zip_ from the sharpshooters on the
Federal lines that involuntarily I moved on my chair. He said, "Don't be
alarmed; you are out of range. They are firing at our mules yonder." His
horse, tied by the tent door, was quivering all over, the most intense
exhibition of fear I'd ever seen in an animal. General V. sent out a
flag of truce to the Federal headquarters, and while we waited wrote on
a piece of silk paper a few words. Then he said, "My wife is in
Tennessee. If you get through the lines, send her this. They will search
you, so I will put it in this toothpick." He crammed the silk paper into
a quill toothpick, and handed it to H. It was completely concealed. The
flag-of-truce officer came back flushed and angry. "General Grant says
no human being shall pass out of Vicksburg; but the lady may feel sure
danger will soon be over. Vicksburg will surrender on the 4th."

"Is that so, general?" inquired H. "Are arrangements for surrender

"We know nothing of the kind. Vicksburg will not surrender."

"Those were General Grant's exact words, sir," said the flag-officer.
"Of course it is nothing but their brag."

We went back sadly enough, but to-day H. says he will cross the river to
General Porter's lines and try there; I shall not be disappointed.

_July 3._--H. was going to headquarters for the requisite pass, and he
saw General Pemberton crawling out of a cave, for the shelling had been
as hot as ever. He got the pass, but did not act with his usual caution,
for the boat he secured was a miserable, leaky one--a mere trough.
Leaving Martha in charge, we went to the river, had our trunks put in
the boat, and embarked; but the boat became utterly unmanageable, and
began to fill with water rapidly. H. saw that we could not cross in it,
and turned to come back; yet in spite of that the pickets at the battery
fired on us. H. raised the white flag he had, yet they fired again, and
I gave a cry of horror that none of these dreadful things had wrung from
me. I thought H. was struck. When we landed H. showed the pass, and said
that the officer had told him the battery would be notified we were to
cross. The officer apologized and said they were not notified. He
furnished a cart to get home, and to-day we are down in the cellar
again, shells flying as thick as ever; provisions so nearly gone,
except the hogshead of sugar, that a few more days will bring us to
starvation indeed. Martha says rats are hanging dressed in the market
for sale with mule-meat: there is nothing else. The officer at the
battery told me he had eaten one yesterday. We have tried to leave this
Tophet and failed, and if the siege continues I must summon that higher
kind of courage--moral bravery--to subdue my fears of possible

_July 4._--It is evening. All is still. Silence and night are once more
united. I can sit at the table in the parlor and write. Two candles are
lighted. I would like a dozen. We have had wheat supper and wheat bread
once more. H. is leaning back in the rocking-chair; he says:

"G., it seems to me I can hear the silence, and feel it, too. It wraps
me like a soft garment; how else can I express this peace?"

But I must write the history of the last twenty-four hours. About five
yesterday afternoon, Mr. J., H.'s assistant, who, having no wife to keep
him in, dodges about at every change and brings us the news, came to H.
and said:

"Mr. L., you must both come to our cave to-night. I hear that to-night
the shelling is to surpass everything yet. An assault will be made in
front and rear. You know we have a double cave; there is room for you in
mine, and mother and sister will make a place for Mrs. L. Come right up;
the ball will open about seven."

We got ready, shut up the house, told Martha to go to the church again
if she preferred it to the cellar, and walked up to Mr. J.'s. When
supper was eaten, all secure, and ladies in their cave night toilet, it
was just six, and we crossed the street to the cave opposite. As I
crossed a mighty shell flew screaming right over my head. It was the
last thrown into Vicksburg. We lay on our pallets waiting for the
expected roar, but no sound came except the chatter from neighboring
caves, and at last we dropped asleep. I woke at dawn stiff. A draft from
the funnel-shaped opening had been blowing on me all night. Every one
was expressing surprise at the quiet. We started for home and met the
editor of the "Daily Citizen." H. said:

"This is strangely quiet, Mr. L."

"Ah, sir," shaking his head gloomily, "I'm afraid (?) the last shell has
been thrown into Vicksburg."

"Why do you fear so?"

"It is surrender. At six last evening a man went down to the river and
blew a truce signal; the shelling stopped at once."

When I entered the kitchen a soldier was there waiting for the bowl of
scrapings (they took turns for it).

"Good morning, madam," he said; "we won't bother you much longer. We
can't thank you enough for letting us come, for getting this soup boiled
has helped some of us to keep alive; but now all this is over."

"Is it true about the surrender?"

"Yes; we have had no official notice, but they are paroling out at the
lines now, and the men in Vicksburg will never forgive Pemberton. An old
granny! A child would have known better than to shut men up in this
cursed trap to starve to death like useless vermin." His eyes flashed
with an insane fire as he spoke, "Haven't I seen my friends carried out
three or four in a box, that had died of starvation! Nothing else,
madam! Starved to death because we had a fool for a general."

"Don't you think you're rather hard on Pemberton? He thought it his duty
to wait for Johnston."

"Some people may excuse him, ma'am; but we'll curse him to our dying
day. Anyhow, you'll see the blue-coats directly."

Breakfast despatched, we went on the upper gallery. What I expected to
see was files of soldiers marching in, but it was very different. The
street was deserted, save by a few people carrying home bedding from
their caves. Among these was a group taking home a little creature born
in a cave a few days previous, and its wan-looking mother. About eleven
o'clock a soldier in blue came sauntering along, who looked about
curiously. Then two more followed him, and then another.

"H., do you think these can be the Federal soldiers?"

"Why, yes; here come more up the street."

Soon a group appeared on the court-house hill, and the flag began slowly
to rise to the top of the staff. As the breeze caught it, and it sprang
out like a live thing exultant, H. drew a long breath of contentment.

"Now I feel once more at home in mine own country."

In an hour more a grand rush of people setting toward the river
began,--foremost among them the gentleman who took our cave; all were
flying as if for life.

"What can this mean, H.? Are the populace turning out to greet the
despised conquerors?"

"Oh," said H., springing up, "look! It is the boats coming around the

Truly it was a fine spectacle to see that fleet of transports sweep
around the curve and anchor in the teeth of the battery so lately
vomiting fire. Presently Mr. J. passed and called:

"Aren't you coming, Mr. L.? There's provisions on those boats: coffee
and flour. 'First come, first served,' you know."

"Yes, I'll be there pretty soon," replied H.

But now the newcomers began to swarm into our yard, asking H. if he had
coin to sell for greenbacks. He had some, and a little bartering went on
with the new greenbacks. H. went out to get provisions. When he returned
a Confederate officer came with him. H. went to the box of Confederate
money and took out four hundred dollars, and the officer took off his
watch, a plain gold one, and laid it on the table, saying, "We have not
been paid, and I must get home to my family." H. added a five-dollar
greenback to the pile, and wished him a happy meeting. The townsfolk
continued to dash through the streets with their arms full, canned goods
predominating. Toward five, Mr. J. passed again. "Keep on the lookout,"
he said; "the army of occupation is coming along," and in a few minutes
the head of the column appeared. What a contrast to the suffering
creatures we had seen so long were these stalwart, well-fed men, so
splendidly set up and accoutred! Sleek horses, polished arms, bright
plumes,--this was the pride and panoply of war! Civilization,
discipline, and order seemed to enter with the measured tramp of those
marching columns; and the heart turned with throbs of added pity to the
worn men in gray, who were being blindly dashed against this embodiment
of modern power. And now this "silence that is golden" indeed is over
all, and my limbs are unhurt, and I suppose if I were a Catholic, in my
fervent gratitude I would hie me with a rich offering to the shrine of
"our Lady of Mercy."

_July 7._--I did not enjoy quiet long. First came Martha, who announced
her intention of going to search for her sons, as she was free now. I
was hardly able to stand since the severe cold taken in the cave that
night; but she would not wait a day. A colored woman came in and said
she had asked her mistress for wages and she had turned her out (wanting
a place). I was in no condition to stand upon ceremony then, and engaged
her at once, but hear to-day that I am thoroughly pulled to pieces in
Vicksburg circles; there is no more salvation for me. Next came two
Federal officers and wanted rooms and board. To have some protection was
a necessity; both armies were still in town, and for the past three days
every Confederate soldier I see has a cracker in his hand. There is
hardly any water in town, no prospect of rain, and the soldiers have
emptied one cistern in the yard already and begun on the other. The
colonel put a guard at the gate to limit the water given. Next came the
owner of the house and said we must move; he wanted the house, but it
was so big he'd just bring his family in; we could stay till we got one.
They brought boarders with them too, and children. Men are at work all
over the house shoveling up the plaster before repairing. Up-stairs they
are pouring it by bucketfuls through the windows. Colonel D. brought
work for H. to help with from headquarters. Making out the paroles and
copying them has taken so long they wanted help. I am surprised and
mortified to find that two thirds of all the men who have signed made
their mark; they cannot write. I never thought there was so much
ignorance in the South. One of the men at headquarters took a fancy to
H., and presented him with a portfolio that he said he had captured when
the Confederates evacuated their headquarters at Jackson. It contained
mostly family letters written in French, and a few official papers.
Among them was the following note, which I will copy here, and file away
the original as a curiosity when the war is over.

                    HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF TENN.
                         TUPELO, Aug. 6, 1862.

     CAPT: The Major-General Commanding directs me to say that he
     submits it altogether to your own discretion whether you make the
     attempt to capture General Grant or not. While the exploit would
     be very brilliant if successful, you must remember that failure
     would be disastrous to you and your men. The General commends
     your activity and energy, and expects you to continue to show
     these qualities.

               I am, very respectfully, yr. obt. svt.
                    THOMAS L. SNEAD, A.A.G.

       Commanding Beauregard Scouts.

I would like to know if he tried it and came to grief or abandoned the
project. As letters can now get through to New Orleans, I wrote there.

_July 14._--Moved yesterday into a house I call "Fair Rosamond's bower"
because it would take a clue of thread to go through it without getting
lost. One room has five doors opening into the house, and no windows.
The stairs are like ladders, and the colonel's contraband valet won't
risk his neck taking down water, but pours it through the windows on
people's heads. We sha'n't stay in it. Men are at work closing up the
caves; they had become hiding-places for trash. Vicksburg is now like
one vast hospital--every one is getting sick or is sick. My cook was
taken to-day with bilious fever, and nothing but will keeps me up.

_July 23._--We moved again two days ago.

_Aug. 20._--Sitting in my easy-chair to-day, looking out upon a grassy
slope of the hill in the rear of this house, I have looked over this
journal as if in a dream; for since the last date sickness and sorrow
have been with me. I feel as if an angry wave had passed over me,
bearing away strength and treasure. For on one day there came to me from
New Orleans the news of Mrs. B.'s death, a friend whom no tie of blood
could have made nearer. The next day my beautiful boy ended his brief
life of ten days, and died in my arms. My own illness caused him to
perish; the fatal cold in the cave was the last straw that broke down
strength. The colonel's sweet wife has come, and I do not lack now for
womanly companionship. She says that with such a prenatal experience
perhaps death was the best for him. I try to think so, and to be glad
that H. has not been ill, though I see the effects. This book is
exhausted, and I wonder whether there will be more adventures by flood
and field to cause me to begin another.



The railroad raid to Georgia, in the spring of 1862, has always been
considered to rank high among the striking and novel incidents of the
civil war. At that time General O.M. Mitchel, under whose authority it
was organized, commanded Union forces in middle Tennessee, consisting of
a division of Buell's army. The Confederates were concentrating at
Corinth, Mississippi, and Grant and Buell were advancing by different
routes toward that point. Mitchel's orders required him to protect
Nashville and the country around, but allowed him great latitude in the
disposition of his division, which, with detachments and garrisons,
numbered nearly seventeen thousand men. His attention had long been
strongly turned toward the liberation of east Tennessee, which he knew
that President Lincoln also earnestly desired, and which would, if
achieved, strike a most damaging blow at the resources of the rebellion.
A Union army once in possession of east Tennessee would have the
inestimable advantage, found nowhere else in the South, of operating in
the midst of a friendly population, and having at hand abundant supplies
of all kinds. Mitchel had no reason to believe that Corinth would
detain the Union armies much longer than Fort Donelson had done, and was
satisfied that as soon as that position had been captured the next
movement would be eastward toward Chattanooga, thus throwing his own
division in advance. He determined, therefore, to press into the heart
of the enemy's country as far as possible, occupying strategical points
before they were adequately defended and assured of speedy and powerful
reinforcement. To this end his measures were vigorous and well chosen.

On the 8th of April, 1862,--the day after the battle of Pittsburg
Landing, of which, however, Mitchel had received no intelligence,--he
marched swiftly southward from Shelbyville, and seized Huntsville in
Alabama on the 11th of April, and then sent a detachment westward over
the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to open railway communication with
the Union army at Pittsburg Landing. Another detachment, commanded by
Mitchel in person, advanced on the same day seventy miles by rail
directly into the enemy's territory, arriving unchecked with two
thousand men within thirty miles of Chattanooga,--in two hours' time he
could now reach that point,--the most important position in the West.
Why did he not go on? The story of the railroad raid is the answer. The
night before breaking camp at Shelbyville, Mitchel sent an expedition
secretly into the heart of Georgia to cut the railroad communications of
Chattanooga to the south and east. The fortune of this attempt had a
most important bearing upon his movements, and will now be narrated.

In the employ of General Buell was a spy named James J. Andrews, who
had rendered valuable services in the first year of the war, and had
secured the full confidence of the Union commanders. In March, 1862,
Buell had sent him secretly with eight men to burn the bridges west of
Chattanooga; but the failure of expected coöperation defeated the plan,
and Andrews, after visiting Atlanta, and inspecting the whole of the
enemy's lines in that vicinity and northward, had returned, ambitious to
make another attempt. His plans for the second raid were submitted to
Mitchel, and on the eve of the movement from Shelbyville to Huntsville
Mitchel authorized him to take twenty-four men, secretly enter the
enemy's territory, and, by means of capturing a train, burn the bridges
on the northern part of the Georgia State Railroad, and also one on the
East Tennessee Railroad where it approaches the Georgia State line, thus
completely isolating Chattanooga, which was virtually ungarrisoned.


The soldiers for this expedition, of whom the writer was one, were
selected from the three Ohio regiments belonging to General J.W. Sill's
brigade, being simply told that they were wanted for secret and very
dangerous service. So far as known, not a man chosen declined the
perilous honor. Our uniforms were exchanged for ordinary Southern dress,
and all arms except revolvers were left in camp. On the 7th of April, by
the roadside about a mile east of Shelbyville, in the late evening
twilight, we met our leader. Taking us a little way from the road, he
quietly placed before us the outlines of the romantic and adventurous
plan, which was: to break into small detachments of three or four,
journey eastward into the Cumberland Mountains, then work southward,
traveling by rail after we were well within the Confederate lines, and
finally the evening of the third day after the start, meet Andrews at
Marietta, Georgia, more than two hundred miles away. When questioned, we
were to profess ourselves Kentuckians going to join the Southern army.

On the journey we were a good deal annoyed by the swollen streams and
the muddy roads consequent on three days of almost ceaseless rain.
Andrews was led to believe that Mitchel's column would be inevitably
delayed; and as we were expected to destroy the bridges the very day
that Huntsville was entered, he took the responsibility of sending word
to our different groups that our attempt would be postponed one
day--from Friday to Saturday, April 12. This was a natural but a most
lamentable error of judgment.

One of the men detailed was belated, and did not join us at all. Two
others were very soon captured by the enemy; and though their true
character was not detected, they were forced into the Southern army, and
two reached Marietta, but failed to report at the rendezvous. Thus,
when we assembled very early in the morning in Andrews's room at the
Marietta Hotel for final consultation before the blow was struck we were
but twenty, including our leader. All preliminary difficulties had been
easily overcome, and we were in good spirits. But some serious obstacles
had been revealed on our ride from Chattanooga to Marietta the previous
evening.[3] The railroad was found to be crowded with trains, and many
soldiers were among the passengers. Then the station--Big Shanty--at
which the capture was to be effected had recently been made a
Confederate camp. To succeed in our enterprise it would be necessary
first to capture the engine in a guarded camp with soldiers standing
around as spectators, and then to run it from one to two hundred miles
through the enemy's country, and to deceive or overpower all trains that
should be met--a large contract for twenty men. Some of our party
thought the chances of success so slight, under existing circumstances,
that they urged the abandonment of the whole enterprise. But Andrews
declared his purpose to succeed or die, offering to each man, however,
the privilege of withdrawing from the attempt--an offer no one was in
the least disposed to accept. Final instructions were then given, and we
hurried to the ticket-office in time for the northward-bound mail-train,
and purchased tickets for different stations along the line in the
direction of Chattanooga.

[Footnote 3: The different detachments reached the Georgia State
Railroad at Chattanooga, and traveled as ordinary passengers on trains
running southward.--EDITOR.]

Our ride, as passengers, was but eight miles. We swept swiftly around
the base of Kenesaw Mountain, and soon saw the tents of the Confederate
forces camped at Big Shanty gleam white in the morning mist. Here we
were to stop for breakfast, and attempt the seizure of the train. The
morning was raw and gloomy, and a rain, which fell all day, had already
begun. It was a painfully thrilling moment. We were but twenty, with an
army about us, and a long and difficult road before us, crowded with
enemies. In an instant we were to throw off the disguise which had been
our only protection, and trust to our leader's genius and our own
efforts for safety and success. Fortunately we had no time for giving
way to reflections and conjectures which could only unfit us for the
stern task ahead.

When we stopped, the conductor, the engineer, and many of the passengers
hurried to breakfast, leaving the train unguarded. Now was the moment of
action. Ascertaining that there was nothing to prevent a rapid start,
Andrews, our two engineers, Brown and Knight, and the firemen hurried
forward, uncoupling a section of the train consisting of three empty
baggage or box-cars, the locomotive, and the tender. The engineers and
the firemen sprang into the cab of the engine, while Andrews, with hand
on the rail and foot on the step, waited to see that the remainder of
the party had gained entrance into the rear box-car. This seemed
difficult and slow, though it really consumed but a few seconds, for the
car stood on a considerable bank, and the first who came were pitched in
by their comrades, while these in turn dragged in the others, and the
door was instantly closed. A sentinel, with musket in hand, stood not a
dozen feet from the engine, watching the whole proceeding; but before he
or any of the soldiers or guards around could make up their minds to
interfere all was done, and Andrews, with a nod to his engineer, stepped
on board. The valve was pulled wide open, and for a moment the wheels
slipped round in rapid, ineffective revolutions; then, with a bound that
jerked the soldiers in the box-car from their feet, the little train
darted away, leaving the camp and the station in the wildest uproar and
confusion. The first step of the enterprise was triumphantly

According to the time-table, of which Andrews had secured a copy, there
were two trains to be met. These presented no serious hindrance to our
attaining high speed, for we could tell just where to expect them. There
was also a local freight not down on the time-table, but which could not
be far distant. Any danger of collision with it could be avoided by
running according to the schedule of the captured train until it was
passed; then at the highest possible speed we could run to the
Oostenaula and Chickamauga bridges, lay them in ashes, and pass on
through Chattanooga to Mitchel at Huntsville, or wherever eastward of
that point he might be found, arriving long before the close of the day.
It was a brilliant prospect, and so far as human estimates can determine
it would have been realized had the day been Friday instead of Saturday.
Friday every train had been on time, the day dry, the road in perfect
order. Now the road was in disorder, every train far behind time, and
two "extras" were approaching us. But of these unfavorable conditions
we knew nothing, and pressed confidently forward.

We stopped frequently, and at one point tore up the track, cut telegraph
wires, and loaded on cross-ties to be used in bridge-burning. Wood and
water were taken without difficulty, Andrews very coolly telling the
story to which he adhered throughout the run--namely, that he was one of
General Beauregard's officers, running an impressed powder-train through
to that commander at Corinth. We had no good instruments for
track-raising, as we had intended rather to depend upon fire; but the
amount of time spent in taking up a rail was not material at this stage
of our journey, as we easily kept on the time of our captured train.
There was a wonderful exhilaration in passing swiftly by towns and
stations through the heart of an enemy's country in this manner. It
possessed just enough of the spice of danger, in this part of the run,
to render it thoroughly enjoyable. The slightest accident to our engine,
however, or a miscarriage in any part of our program, would have
completely changed the conditions.

At Etowah we found the "Yonah," an old locomotive owned by an iron
company, standing with steam up; but not wishing to alarm the enemy till
the local freight had been safely met, we left it unharmed. Kingston,
thirty miles from the starting-point, was safely reached. A train from
Rome, Georgia, on a branch road, had just arrived and was waiting for
the morning mail--our train. We learned that the local freight would
soon come also, and, taking the side-track, waited for it. When it
arrived, however, Andrews saw, to his surprise and chagrin, that it
bore a red flag, indicating another train not far behind. Stepping over
to the conductor, he boldly asked: "What does it mean that the road is
blocked in this manner when I have orders to take this powder to
Beauregard without a minute's delay?" The answer was interesting, but
not reassuring: "Mitchel has captured Huntsville, and is said to be
coming to Chattanooga, and we are getting everything out of there." He
was asked by Andrews to pull his train a long way down the track out of
the way, and promptly obeyed.

It seemed an exceedingly long time before the expected "extra" arrived,
and when it did come it bore another red flag. The reason given was that
the "local," being too great for one engine, had been made up in two
sections, and the second section would doubtless be along in a short
time. This was terribly vexatious; yet there seemed nothing to do but to
wait. To start out between the sections of an extra train would be to
court destruction. There were already three trains around us, and their
many passengers and others were all growing very curious about the
mysterious train, manned by strangers, which had arrived on the time of
the morning mail. For an hour and five minutes from the time of arrival
at Kingston we remained in this most critical position. The sixteen of
us who were shut up tightly in a box-car,--personating Beauregard's
ammunition,--hearing sounds outside, but unable to distinguish words,
had perhaps the most trying position. Andrews sent us, by one of the
engineers, a cautious warning to be ready to fight in case the
uneasiness of the crowd around led them to make any investigation,
while he himself kept near the station to prevent the sending off of any
alarming telegram. So intolerable was our suspense, that the order for a
deadly conflict would have been felt as a relief. But the assurance of
Andrews quieted the crowd until the whistle of the expected train from
the north was heard; then as it glided up to the depot, past the end of
our side-track, we were off without more words.

But unexpected danger had arisen behind us. Out of the panic at Big
Shanty two men emerged, determined, if possible, to foil the unknown
captors of their train. There was no telegraph station, and no
locomotive at hand with which to follow; but the conductor of the train,
W.A. Fuller, and Anthony Murphy, foreman of the Atlanta railway
machine-shops, who happened to be on board of Fuller's train, started on
foot after us as hard as they could run. Finding a hand-car they mounted
it and pushed forward till they neared Etowah, where they ran on the
break we had made in the road, and were precipitated down the embankment
into the ditch. Continuing with more caution, they reached Etowah and
found the "Yonah," which was at once pressed into service, loaded with
soldiers who were at hand, and hurried with flying wheels toward
Kingston. Fuller prepared to fight at that point, for he knew of the
tangle of extra trains, and of the lateness of the regular trains, and
did not think we should be able to pass. We had been gone only four
minutes when he arrived and found himself stopped by three long, heavy
trains of cars, headed in the wrong direction. To move them out of the
way so as to pass would cause a delay he was little inclined to
afford--would, indeed, have almost certainly given us the victory. So,
abandoning his engine, he with Murphy ran across to the Rome train, and,
uncoupling the engine and one car, pushed forward with about forty armed
men. As the Rome branch connected with the main road above the depot, he
encountered no hindrance, and it was now a fair race. We were not many
minutes ahead.

Four miles from Kingston we again stopped and cut the telegraph. While
trying to take up a rail at this point we were greatly startled. One end
of the rail was loosened, and eight of us were pulling at it, when in
the distance we distinctly heard the whistle of a pursuing engine. With
a frantic effort we broke the rail, and all tumbled over the embankment
with the effort. We moved on, and at Adairsville we found a mixed train
(freight and passenger) waiting, but there was an express on the road
that had not yet arrived. We could afford no more delay, and set out for
the next station, Calhoun, at terrible speed, hoping to reach that point
before the express, which was behind time, should arrive. The nine miles
which we had to travel were left behind in less than the same number of
minutes. The express was just pulling out, but, hearing our whistle,
backed before us until we were able to take the side-track. It stopped,
however, in such a manner as completely to close up the other end of the
switch. The two trains, side by side, almost touched each other, and our
precipitate arrival caused natural suspicion. Many searching questions
were asked, which had to be answered before we could get the
opportunity of proceeding. We in the box-car could hear the altercation,
and were almost sure that a fight would be necessary before the
conductor would consent to "pull up" in order to let us out. Here again
our position was most critical, for the pursuers were rapidly

Fuller and Murphy saw the obstruction of the broken rail in time, by
reversing their engine, to prevent wreck, but the hindrance was for the
present insuperable. Leaving all their men behind, they started for a
second foot-race. Before they had gone far they met the train we had
passed at Adairsville and turned it back after us. At Adairsville they
dropped the cars, and with locomotive and tender loaded with armed men,
they drove forward at the highest speed possible. They knew that we were
not many minutes ahead, and trusted to overhaul us before the express
train could be safely passed.

But Andrews had told the powder story again with all his skill, and
added a direct request in peremptory form to have the way opened before
him, which the Confederate conductor did not see fit to resist; and just
before the pursuers arrived at Calhoun we were again under way. Stopping
once more to cut wires and tear up the track, we felt a thrill of
exhilaration to which we had long been strangers. The track was now
clear before us to Chattanooga; and even west of that city we had good
reason to believe that we should find no other train in the way till we
had reached Mitchel's lines. If one rail could now be lifted we would be
in a few minutes at the Oostenaula bridge; and that burned, the rest of
the task would be little more than simple manual labor, with the enemy
absolutely powerless. We worked with a will.

But in a moment the tables were turned. Not far behind we heard the
scream of a locomotive bearing down upon us at lightning speed. The men
on board were in plain sight and well armed. Two minutes--perhaps
one--would have removed the rail at which we were toiling; then the game
would have been in our own hands, for there was no other locomotive
beyond that could be turned back after us. But the most desperate
efforts were in vain. The rail was simply bent, and we hurried to our
engine and darted away, while remorselessly after us thundered the

Now the contestants were in clear view, and a race followed unparalleled
in the annals of war. Wishing to gain a little time for the burning of
the Oostenaula bridge, we dropped one car, and, shortly after, another;
but they were "picked up" and pushed ahead to Resaca. We were obliged to
run over the high trestles and covered bridge at that point without a
pause. This was the first failure in the work assigned us.

The Confederates could not overtake and stop us on the road; but their
aim was to keep close behind, so that we might not be able to damage the
road or take in wood or water. In the former they succeeded, but not in
the latter. Both engines were put at the highest rate of speed. We were
obliged to cut the wire after every station passed, in order that an
alarm might not be sent ahead; and we constantly strove to throw our
pursuers off the track, or to obstruct the road permanently in some way,
so that we might be able to burn the Chickamauga bridges, still ahead.
The chances seemed good that Fuller and Murphy would be wrecked. We
broke out the end of our last box-car and dropped cross-ties on the
track as we ran, thus checking their progress and getting far enough
ahead to take in wood and water at two separate stations. Several times
we almost lifted a rail, but each time the coming of the Confederates
within rifle-range compelled us to desist and speed on. Our worst
hindrance was the rain. The previous day (Friday) had been clear, with a
high wind, and on such a day fire would have been easily and
tremendously effective. But to-day a bridge could be burned only with
abundance of fuel and careful nursing.

Thus we sped on, mile after mile, in this fearful chase, round curves
and past stations in seemingly endless perspective. Whenever we lost
sight of the enemy beyond a curve, we hoped that some of our
obstructions had been effective in throwing him from the track, and that
we should see him no more; but at each long reach backward the smoke was
again seen, and the shrill whistle was like the scream of a bird of
prey. The time could not have been so very long, for the terrible speed
was rapidly devouring the distance; but with our nerves strained to the
highest tension each minute seemed an hour. On several occasions the
escape of the enemy from wreck was little less than miraculous. At one
point a rail was placed across the track on a curve so skilfully that it
was not seen till the train ran upon it at full speed. Fuller says that
they were terribly jolted, and seemed to bounce altogether from the
track, but lighted on the rails in safety. Some of the Confederates
wished to leave a train which was driven at such a reckless rate, but
their wishes were not gratified.

Before reaching Dalton we urged Andrews to turn and attack the enemy,
laying an ambush so as to get into close quarters, that our revolvers
might be on equal terms with their guns. I have little doubt that if
this had been carried out it would have succeeded. But either because he
thought the chance of wrecking or obstructing the enemy still good, or
feared that the country ahead had been alarmed by a telegram around the
Confederacy by the way of Richmond, Andrews merely gave the plan his
sanction without making any attempt to carry it into execution.

Dalton was passed without difficulty, and beyond we stopped again to cut
wires and to obstruct the track. It happened that a regiment was
encamped not a hundred yards away, but they did not molest us. Fuller
had written a despatch to Chattanooga, and dropped a man with orders to
have it forwarded instantly, while he pushed on to save the bridges.
Part of the message got through and created a wild panic in Chattanooga,
although it did not materially influence our fortunes. Our supply of
fuel was now very short, and without getting rid of our pursuers long
enough to take in more, it was evident that we could not run as far as

While cutting the wire we made an attempt to get up another rail; but
the enemy, as usual, were too quick for us. We had no tool for this
purpose except a wedge-pointed iron bar. Two or three bent iron claws
for pulling out spikes would have given us such incontestable
superiority that, down to almost the last of our run, we should have
been able to escape and even to burn all the Chickamauga bridges. But it
had not been our intention to rely on this mode of obstruction--an
emergency only rendered necessary by our unexpected delay and the
pouring rain.

We made no attempt to damage the long tunnel north of Dalton, as our
enemies had greatly dreaded. The last hope of the raid was now staked
upon an effort of a kind different from any that we had yet made, but
which, if successful, would still enable us to destroy the bridges
nearest Chattanooga. But, on the other hand, its failure would terminate
the chase. Life and success were put upon one throw.

A few more obstructions were dropped on the track, and our own speed
increased so that we soon forged a considerable distance ahead. The side
and end boards of the last car were torn into shreds, all available fuel
was piled upon it, and blazing brands were brought back from the engine.
By the time we approached a long, covered bridge a fire in the car was
fairly started. We uncoupled it in the middle of the bridge, and with
painful suspense waited the issue. Oh for a few minutes till the work of
conflagration was fairly begun! There was still steam pressure enough in
our boiler to carry us to the next wood-yard, where we could have
replenished our fuel by force, if necessary, so as to run as near to
Chattanooga as was deemed prudent. We did not know of the telegraph
message which the pursuers had sent ahead. But, alas! the minutes were
not given. Before the bridge was extensively fired the enemy was upon
us, and we moved slowly onward, looking back to see what they would do
next. We had not long to conjecture. The Confederates pushed right into
the smoke, and drove the burning car before them to the next side-track.

With no car left, and no fuel, the last scrap having thrown into the
engine or upon the burning car, and with no obstruction to drop on the
track, our situation was indeed desperate. A few minutes only remained
until our steed of iron which had so well served us would be powerless.

But it might still be possible to save ourselves. If we left the train
in a body, and, taking a direct course toward the Union lines, hurried
over the mountains at right angles with their course, we could not, from
the nature of the country, be followed by cavalry, and could easily
travel--athletic young men as we were, and fleeing for life--as rapidly
as any pursuers. There was no telegraph in the mountainous districts
west and northwest of us, and the prospect of reaching the Union lines
seemed to me then, and has always since seemed, very fair. Confederate
pursuers with whom I have since conversed freely have agreed on two
points--that we could have escaped in the manner here pointed out, and
that an attack on the pursuing train would likely have been successful.
But Andrews thought otherwise, at least in relation to the former plan,
and ordered us to jump from the locomotive one by one, and, dispersing
in the woods, each endeavor to save himself. Thus ended the Andrews
railroad raid.

It is easy now to understand why Mitchel paused thirty miles west of
Chattanooga. The Andrews raiders had been forced to stop eighteen miles
south of the same town, and no flying train met him with the expected
tidings that all railroad communications of Chattanooga were destroyed,
and that the town was in a panic and undefended. He dared advance no
farther without heavy reinforcements from Pittsburg Landing or the
north; and he probably believed to the day of his death, six months
later, that the whole Andrews party had perished without accomplishing

A few words will give the sequel to this remarkable enterprise. There
was great excitement in Chattanooga and in the whole of the surrounding
Confederate territory for scores of miles. The hunt for the fugitive
raiders was prompt, energetic, and completely successful. Ignorant of
the country, disorganized, and far from the Union lines, they strove in
vain to escape. Several were captured the same day on which they left
the cars, and all but two within a week. Even these two were overtaken
and brought back when they supposed that they were virtually out of
danger. Two of those who had failed to be on the train were identified
and added to the band of prisoners.

Now follows the saddest part of the story. Being in citizens' dress
within an enemy's lines, the whole party were held as spies, and closely
and vigorously guarded. A court-martial was convened, and the leader and
seven others out of the twenty-two were condemned and executed. The
remainder were never brought to trial, probably because of the advance
of Union forces, and the consequent confusion into which the affairs of
the departments of east Tennessee and Georgia were thrown. Of the
remaining fourteen, eight succeeded by a bold effort--attacking their
guard in broad daylight--in making their escape from Atlanta, Georgia,
and ultimately in reaching the North. The other six who shared in this
effort, but were recaptured, remained prisoners until the latter part of
March, 1863, when they were exchanged through a special arrangement made
with Secretary Stanton. All the survivors of this expedition received
medals and promotion.[4] The pursuers also received expressions of
gratitude from their fellow-Confederates, notably from the governor and
the legislature of Georgia.

[Footnote 4: Below is a list of the participants in the raid:

James J. Andrews,[A] leader;
William Campbell,[A] a civilian who volunteered to accompany the raiders;
George D. Wilson,[A] Company B, 2d Ohio Volunteers;
Marion A. Ross,[A] Company A, 2d Ohio Volunteers;
Perry G. Shadrack,[A] Company K, 2d Ohio Volunteers;
Samuel Slavens,[A] 33d Ohio Volunteers;
Samuel Robinson,[A] Company G, 33d Ohio Volunteers;
John Scott,[A] Company K, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
Wilson W. Brown,[B] Company F, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
William Knight,[B] Company E, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
Mark Wood,[B] Company C, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
James A. Wilson,[B] Company C, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
John Wollam,[B] Company C, 33d Ohio Volunteers;
D.A. Dorsey,[B] Company H, 33d Ohio Volunteers;
Jacob Parrott,[C] Company K, 33d Ohio Volunteers;
Robert Buffum,[C] Company H, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
William Benzinger,[C] Company G, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
William Reddick,[C] Company B, 33d Ohio Volunteers;
E.H. Mason,[C] Company K, 21st Ohio Volunteers;
William Pittenger,[C] Company G, 2d Ohio Volunteers.

J.R. Porter, Company C, 21st Ohio, and Martin J. Hawkins, Company A, 33d
Ohio, reached Marietta, but did not get on board of the train. They were
captured and imprisoned with their comrades.

[A] Executed. [B] Escaped. [C] Exchanged.]



During the early stages of the war between the States, the Confederate
Congress enacted a statute known as the Partizan Ranger Act, which
provided for independent bodies of cavalry to be organized as other
government troops. The officers were to be regularly commissioned and
the men to be paid like other soldiers. The distinctive features were,
that the rangers should operate independently of the regular army and be
entitled to the legitimate spoil captured from the enemy.

While John S. Mosby was employed as a scout by General J.E.B. Stuart, he
had concluded that a command organized and operated as contemplated by
this act could do great damage to the enemy guarding that portion of
Northern Virginia abandoned by the Confederate armies. But the partizan
branch of the service having been brought into disrepute by the worse
than futile efforts of others, his superior officers at first refused
him permission to engage in so questionable an enterprise. Finally,
however, General Stuart gave Mosby a detail of nine men from the regular
cavalry with which to experiment.

At that time the two main armies operating in Virginia were confronting
each other near Fredericksburg. To protect their lines of communication
with Washington, the Federals had stationed a considerable force across
the Potomac, with headquarters at Fairfax Court-house. They also
established a complete cordon of pickets from a point on the river above
Washington to a point below, thus encompassing many square miles of
Virginia territory. Upon these outposts Mosby commenced his operations.
The size of his command compelled him to confine his attacks to the
small details made nightly for picket duty. But he was so uniformly
successful that when the time came for him to report back to General
Stuart, that officer was so pleased with the experiment that he allowed
Mosby to select fifteen men from his old regiment and return, for an
indefinite period, to his chosen field of operations.

His first exploits had been so noised abroad that the young men from the
neighboring counties and the soldiers at home on furloughs would request
permission to join in his raids. He could easily muster fifty of these,
known as "Mosby's Conglomerates," for any expedition. The opportunity
for developing his ideas of border warfare was thus presented. With
great vigor he renewed his attacks upon the Federal outposts. As a
recognition of one of his successful exploits, the Confederate
government sent him a captain's commission with authority to raise a
company of partizan rangers. The material for this was already at hand,
and on June 10, 1862, he organized his first company. This was the
nucleus around which he subsequently shaped his ideal command. The fame
of his achievements had already spread throughout Virginia and Maryland,
and attracted to his standard many kindred spirits from both States. No
conscripting was necessary. Those for whom this mode of warfare
possessed a charm would brave hardship and danger for the privilege of
enlisting under his banner. His recruits from Maryland, and many of
those from Virginia, were compelled to pass through the Federal pickets
in order to join his command. Yet great care had to be exercised in the
selection of his men, and not every applicant was received. If an
unworthy soldier procured admission, so soon as the mistake was
discovered he was sent under guard as a conscript to the regular

Mosby reserved the right to select all of his officers, who were
invariably chosen from those who had already demonstrated their fitness
for this particular service. It has been said of a great military hero
that the surest proof of his genius was his skill in finding out genius
in others, and his promptness in calling it into action. Mosby, in his
limited sphere, displayed a similar talent, and to this faculty, almost
as much as any one thing, may be attributed his success with his
enlarged command. When a sufficient number of men had enlisted to form a
new company, he would have them drawn up in line and his adjutant would
read to them the names of those selected for officers, with the
announcement that all who were not in favor of their election could step
out of the ranks and go to the regular service. Of course no one ever
left. In order to comply with the law, the form of an election was then
gone through with, and their commander's choice ratified. In no other
body of troops were all the officers thus _unanimously_ elected.

Mosby's command, as finally organized, consisted of eight companies of
cavalry and one of mounted artillery, officered by a colonel, a
lieutenant-colonel, and a major, with the usual complement of company
officers. But the entire force was seldom combined. Instead of this,
they would be divided into two or more detachments operating in
different places. So it was not at all unusual for an attack to be made
the same night upon Sheridan's line of transportation in the valley,
upon the pickets guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, upon the
outposts in Fairfax County, and upon the rear of the army manoeuvering
against Lee. This explains--what at the time seemed to many of the
readers of the Northern newspapers a mystery--how Mosby's men could be
in so many different places at the same time. The safety and success of
the Rangers were enhanced by these subdivisions, the Federals having
become so alert as to make it extremely difficult for a large command
either to evade their pickets or manoeuver within their lines. From
fifty to one hundred men were all that were usually marched together,
and many of their most brilliant successes were achieved with even a
smaller force. Mosby had only twenty men with him when he captured
Brigadier-General Edwin H. Stoughton. With these he penetrated the heart
of the Federal camp, and carried off its commander. General Stoughton
was in charge of an army of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, with
headquarters at Fairfax Court-house. One dark night in March, 1863,
Mosby, with this small detachment, evaded the Federal pickets, passed
through the sleeping army, and with their camp-fires gleaming all
around him, and their sentinels on duty, aroused their general from his
slumbers, and took him captive with thirty-seven of his comrades.

But the novelty of Mosby's mode of warfare consisted chiefly in the
manner of subsisting, quartering and protecting his men. The upper
portion of Loudon and Fauquier counties, embracing a circuit of about
thirty miles in diameter, was then known as "Mosby's Confederacy." By a
glance at the map it will be observed that it bordered upon the Blue
Ridge Mountains on the west, and the Bull Run Mountains on the east. The
valley between is one of the richest, most beautiful, and highly
cultivated in the State of Virginia. It was thickly inhabited with old
Virginia families, who were loyal and true to the Southern cause. These
people received Mosby's men into their houses as their guests, and
neither danger nor want could tempt their betrayal. Robin Hood's band
sought safety in the solitudes of Sherwood Forest, Marion's men secreted
themselves "in the pleasant wilds of Snow's Island" and other South
Carolina swamps, but the Partizan Rangers of Virginia protected
themselves by dispersing in an open country among a sympathizing people.
They never established a camp; to have done so would have invited
capture. Each soldier had his boarding-house, where he lived when off
duty, as a member of the family. From these they would come, singly or
in groups, bringing their rations with them to some designated
rendezvous, march rapidly to and from the point of attack, send their
prisoners under guard to the nearest Confederate post, divide the spoil,
and disperse. If they were pursued by an overwhelming force as was
frequently the case, the evening found them scattered to the four winds,
where each man, mounted upon his own fleet steed, could protect himself
from capture. If the Federals attempted to follow the chase in small
parties, the Rangers, from behind every hill and grove, would
concentrate and dash upon them. If they marched in solid column, the
Rangers would hang upon their flanks, firing upon them from behind
trees, fences, and hilltops. In this way, General Julius Stahel, who had
invaded Mosby's Confederacy with two brigades of cavalry and four pieces
of artillery for the avowed purpose of utterly demolishing the Rangers,
was so annoyed that he retired, thoroughly disgusted with an enemy "who
only fought when they got their foe at a disadvantage."

As there were no civil officers commissioned by either party in all that
section of Virginia, the people naturally turned to Mosby as their only
representative of law and order. It was not unusual for them to submit
their property controversies to him for decision. In this way he
acquired a civil jurisdiction in connection with his military
dictatorship. Being a lawyer by profession, educated at the University
of Virginia, his civil administration became as remarkable for its
prudence and justice as his military leadership was for magnanimity and
dash. I heard an old citizen remark, "For two years Mosby was our ruler,
and the country never was better governed." He protected the people from
stragglers and deserters, who pillaged friend and foe alike. Every
captured horse-thief was promptly executed. He required his own men to
treat the citizens with fairness and courtesy, and any violation of
this rule was punished by sending the offender to the regular service.
Its observance was more easily enforced than would appear possible at
first glance. The men were scarcely ever off duty, except for necessary
rest. The officers were then distributed among them, and by their
example and authority controlled, when necessary, the deportment of
their men. The citizens with whom they lived also exercised a healthy
influence over them. These relations engendered many attachments that
ran like golden threads through the soldier's life and outlived the
rough usages of war.

It thus became no easy matter to drive the Rangers from a territory so
dear to them, and in which they were befriended by all. On two occasions
the entire Federal army operating against General Lee passed through
Mosby's Confederacy, and yet his men did not abandon it. They hid
themselves in the mountains during the day, and descended upon the enemy
at night. They thus observed every movement of the Federal army, and all
valuable information was promptly sent to the Confederate general. On
one of these occasions, June 17, 1863, Mosby found himself at ten
o'clock at night between the infantry and cavalry commands of General
Hooker's army. Observing three horses hitched near a house, with an
orderly standing by, he left his command with the prisoners already
captured, and taking with him three men, rode up to the orderly and was
informed by him that the horses belonged to Major William E. Sterling
and another officer. In a whisper he said to the orderly:

"My name is Mosby. Keep quiet!"

The man understood him to say that he (the orderly) was "Mosby," and
very indignantly replied:

"No sir, I am as good a Union man as ever walked the earth."

"Those are just the sort I am after," said Mosby.

Just then the two officers emerged from the house. As they approached,
one of the Rangers stretched out his hand to disarm the major. Supposing
him to be an acquaintance, Major Sterling offered his hand in return,
but was overwhelmed with surprise when informed that he was a prisoner.
Upon examination he was found to be the bearer of important despatches
from General Hooker to his chief of cavalry, General Pleasonton. These
despatches, which developed the contemplated movements of the army and
directed the coöperation of the cavalry, were placed in General Stuart's
hands by dawn of day. On this and many similar occasions information
furnished by the Rangers proved invaluable to the Confederate generals.

But furnishing information was not the most important service they
rendered. It has been fairly estimated that they detained on guard duty
thirty thousand Federal soldiers, who otherwise might have been employed
at the front. Even then the Federal lines of transportation were
constantly being attacked, with more or less success. It was impossible
to protect them against such reckless activity as the Rangers were
constantly displaying. No matter how vigilant the Federals were, Mosby
was sure to find an opportunity for attacking. Sometimes his success
would lie in the very boldness of the attempt. This was never more
strikingly illustrated than in one of his attacks upon Sheridan's line
of transportation. The Federal arm which had driven General Early up the
valley beyond Winchester was drawing its supplies over the turnpike from
Harper's Ferry. Mosby, taking a command of five companies of cavalry and
two mountain howitzers,--numbering two hundred and fifty men,--passed at
night across the Blue Ridge, and fording the Shenandoah, halted a few
miles below Berryville. Riding out to the turnpike, he discovered in his
immediate front two large trains parked for the night--one going toward
the army loaded, the other returning empty. He determined to capture the
former, composed of one hundred and fifty wagons. At daybreak it
commenced to move, guarded by a brigade of infantry and two hundred and
fifty cavalry. The train and its guard were soon strung along the
turnpike. The cavalry rode on the flank near the center, a company of
infantry marched in front of each tenth wagon, and the remaining force
was distributed between the rear-and advance-guards. It was a bright
summer morning, and just as the sun was rising the Rangers marched
across the open fields and halted about four hundred yards from the
road, and within full view of the moving train. Observing the Federal
cavalry dismounted across the road a quarter of a mile to his left,
Mosby sent two companies of his cavalry and one howitzer, with orders to
take a position immediately opposite them and there await the signal of
attack, which was to be three shots fired from the howitzer left behind.
This detachment did not halt until it was within seventy-five yards of
the moving train. Of course the Federals observed all these manoeuvers,
but were misled by their very boldness; they never imagined but what
this new force was a part of their own army. So when the first shot,
which fell short, was fired from the howitzer, several of their officers
rode to the eminence not more than thirty steps in front of the detached
Confederate squadron, and lifting their glasses to their eyes, prepared
to witness what they supposed to be artillery practice. Just then the
second shell from the howitzer burst in the midst of their cavalry, who,
supposing it had been fired in that direction through mistake, hastily
prepared to move beyond range. Immediately the rebel yell was raised,
and the squadron dashed at the Federals, scattering them in every
direction, and capturing the officers with their glasses still in their
hands. Turning abruptly to the left, the Rangers charged along the road,
riding over company after company of infantry until checked by a volley
from the advance-guard. At the same time another squadron had struck the
turnpike immediately in front of their first position, and turning to
the right, had ridden down everything between them and the rear-guard.
Then, with one howitzer playing upon the advance and the other upon the
rear-guard, the Rangers rapidly collected their prisoners, unhitched the
teams, and burned the wagons. When reinforcements reached the Federals
they deployed their skirmishers and advanced in line of battle, only to
see the Rangers riding over the hills in the distance, taking with them
three hundred prisoners, seven hundred mules and horses, and two hundred
and thirty beef-cattle. But the rejoicing of the Rangers was almost
turned into chagrin when they learned from the Northern papers that one
of the wagons from which they had taken the mules was loaded with an
iron safe containing one million dollars to pay off the army. Upon
reading it, Mosby dropped the paper with a sigh, exclaiming, "There's a
cool million gone after it was fairly earned! What other man could
sustain such losses with so little embarrassment?"

But this failure of the Rangers to secure their "earnings" did not
always attend them. Shortly after that they collected a sufficient
amount of "dues" to enable them to determine upon greenbacks as the
future currency of their Confederacy. It happened in this wise. Taking
with him seventy-five men, Mosby crossed, at an early hour of the night,
in rear of Sheridan's army, and struck the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
above Harper's Ferry, near Duffield Station. Here they prized up one
side of the track to a height of four feet, placing a secure foundation
under it. Soon the night express came rushing along. The engine upset,
and the train came to a stand without serious injury to the passengers.
Immediately the cars were boarded, and every one in Federal uniform
captured. Among the prisoners were two paymasters, Majors Moore and
Ruggles, who had in a satchel and tin box $168,000, in greenbacks, to
pay off the troops stationed along the road. Securing this rich booty,
the Rangers burned the cars and repassed Sheridan's pickets before the
day had dawned. The money was divided upon reaching their Confederacy,
each man receiving something over two thousand dollars, Mosby taking

Only the men who participated in a particular raid were allowed to
share in its spoil. The officer who commanded the expedition always
controlled the distribution. It was seldom there was anything to divide
except horses and their equipments. Those who had distinguished
themselves in the fight were allowed the first choice as a reward for
their gallantry, the shares of the others being divided by lot. This
system, by rewarding individual merit, encouraged a healthy rivalry
among the men, and at the same time removed all inducement to leave the
fight for plunder. Often when a charge was ordered, a genuine horse-race
followed, the swiftest steeds leading the way.

In this manner the men were mounted and equipped without expense to
themselves or the Confederate Government. On the contrary, the army
quartermaster kept an agent in Mosby's Confederacy, to purchase from the
Rangers their surplus stock and arms. His standing price for a horse was
forty dollars in gold. But each Ranger retained two or more of the best
for his own use. In this way they were always splendidly mounted. I once
heard a Federal officer say he was not surprised that Mosby's men rode
such fine horses, as they had both armies to pick from. The cavalry was
armed with pistols alone, of which each man carried at least two. Their
superiority over all other arms for this branch of the service was
frequently demonstrated. It is a weapon that can be used with one hand,
leaving the other to guide the horse. Cavalry is never really efficient
unless trained to rush into close contact with the enemy. To see the
whites of their eyes is not sufficient; they must ride over the foe. In
the rapid charge the carbine is not only useless, but a positive
incumbrance. The saber is comparatively harmless; it serves to frighten
the timid, but rarely ever deals a death-wound. Let two men encounter
each other in the charge, one relying upon his pistol, the other upon
his saber, and the former, though an ordinary marksman, will almost
invariably get the better of his antagonist. The Rangers realized their
advantage in this respect. It encouraged them to rush into close
quarters, where the rapid discharge of their pistols soon told upon the
enemy, no matter how bravely they had withstood the onset. I have seen
the victory decided alone by the superiority of the pistol over the
saber, where the opposing columns had crossed each other in the charge
and, wheeling, had mingled in the fight.

But the Rangers were compelled to discard the carbine and the saber for
other reasons than their inferiority in the hand-to-hand conflict. It
was always their policy to take the enemy by surprise if possible. Their
favorite plan was to wind their way through the Federal pickets during
the night, and make the attack at break of day. The rattling of the
carbine and saber would have made it impossible to execute these
movements with the silence necessary to success. To the uninitiated it
would be surprising to see with what noiseless secrecy these manoeuvers
could be accomplished. Only whispered commands were necessary from the
officers, and the presence of danger insured silence in the ranks. This
silence, which was observed so long as silence was proper, served to
make the charge, with its shout and its cheer, the more terrible to the

But it must not be imagined the Rangers were always successful. They
were themselves sometimes surprised, sometimes repulsed. Nothing else
could be expected from almost daily encounters in a country abandoned to
the enemy. There were occasions when they were saved from total ruin
only by their knowledge of the country and the swiftness of their





In the summer of 1863, when, at Tullahoma, Tennessee, General Bragg's
army was menaced by superior numbers in flank and rear, he determined to
send a body of cavalry into Kentucky, which should operate upon
Rosecrans's communications between Nashville and Louisville, break the
railroads, capture or threaten all the minor depots of supplies,
intercept and defeat all detachments not too strong to be engaged, and
keep the enemy so on the alert in his own rear that he would lose or
neglect his opportunity to embarrass or endanger the march of the army
when its retrograde movement began. He even hoped that a part of the
hostile forces before him might be thus detained long enough to prevent
their participation in the battle which he expected to fight when he
crossed the Tennessee.

The officer whom he selected to accomplish this diversion was General
John H. Morgan, whose division of mounted riflemen was well fitted for
the work in hand. Equal in courage, dash, and discipline to the other
fine cavalry commands which General Bragg had at his disposal, it had
passed a longer apprenticeship in expeditionary service than had any
other. Its rank and file was of that mettle which finds its natural
element in active and audacious enterprise, and was yet thrilled with
the fire of youth; for there were few men in the division over
twenty-five years of age. It was imbued with the spirit of its
commander, and confided in his skill and fortune; no endeavor was deemed
impossible or even hazardous when he led. It was inured to constant,
almost daily, combat with the enemy, of all arms and under every
possible contingency. During its four years of service the 2d Kentucky
Cavalry, of which General Morgan was the first colonel, lost sixty-three
commissioned officers killed and wounded; Company A of that regiment, of
which Morgan was the first captain, losing during the war seventy-five
men killed. It had on its muster-roll, from first to last, nearly two
hundred and fifty men. The history of this company and regiment was
scarcely exceptional in the command.

[Illustration: GENERAL JOHN H. MORGAN.]

Morgan was beyond all men adapted to independent command of this nature.
His energy never flagged, and his invention was always equal to the
emergency. Boldness and caution were united in all that he undertook.
He had a most remarkable aptitude for promptly acquiring a knowledge of
any country in which he was operating; and as he kept it, so to speak,
"in his head," he was enabled easily to extricate himself from
difficulties. The celerity with which he marched, the promptness with
which he attacked or eluded a foe, intensified the confidence of his
followers, and kept his antagonists always in doubt and apprehension.

[Illustration: Map]

In his conference with General Bragg, Morgan differed with his chief
regarding the full effect of a raid that should not be extended beyond
the Ohio. General Bragg desired it to be confined to Kentucky. He gave
Morgan _carte blanche_ to go where he pleased in that State and stay as
long as he pleased; suggesting, among other things, that he capture
Louisville. Morgan urged that while by such a raid he might so divert to
himself the attention of General Henry M. Judah and the cavalry of
Rosecrans that they would not molest General Bragg's retreat, he could
do nothing, in this way, in behalf of the other equally important
feature of the plan--the detention of troops that would otherwise
strengthen Rosecrans in the decisive battle to be fought south of the
Tennessee. He contended, moreover, that a raid into Indiana and Ohio,
the more especially as important political elections were pending there,
would cause troops to be withdrawn from Rosecrans and Burnside for the
protection of those States. But General Bragg refused permission to
cross the Ohio, and instructed Morgan to make the raid as originally

[Illustration: THE MORGAN RAID.

_JULY 1863._]

Some weeks previous to this conference, by Morgan's direction I had sent
competent men to examine the fords of the upper Ohio. He had even then
contemplated such an expedition. It had long been his conviction that
the Confederacy could maintain the struggle only by transferring
hostilities and waging war, whenever opportunity offered, on Northern
soil. Upon his return from this interview he told me what had been
discussed, and what were General Bragg's instructions. He said that he
meant to disobey them; that the emergency, he believed, justified
disobedience. He was resolved to cross the Ohio River and invade Indiana
and Ohio. His command would probably be captured, he said; but in no
other way could he give substantial aid to the army. General Bragg had
directed Morgan to detail two thousand men for the expedition. From the
two brigades commanded respectively by myself and Colonel Adam R.
Johnson, Morgan selected twenty-four hundred and sixty of the
best-mounted and most effective. He took with him four pieces of
artillery--two 3-inch Parrotts, attached to the First Brigade, and two
12-pounder howitzers, attached to the Second.

I should state that Morgan had thoroughly planned the raid before he
marched from Tennessee. He meant to cross the Cumberland in the vicinity
of Burkesville, and to march directly across Kentucky to the nearest
point at which he could reach the Ohio west of Louisville, so closely
approaching Louisville as to compel belief that he meant to attempt its
capture. Turning to the right after entering Indiana, and marching as
nearly due east as possible, he would reduce to a minimum the distance
necessary to be covered, and yet threaten and alarm the population of
the two States as completely as by penetrating deeply into them; more
so, indeed, for pursuing this line he would reach the immediate vicinity
of Cincinnati and excite fears for the safety of that city. While he
intended to prolong the raid to the uttermost, he proposed to be at no
time far from the Ohio, so that he might avail himself of an opportunity
to recross. On reaching the borders of Pennsylvania, he intended, if
General Lee should be in that State, to make every effort to join him;
failing in that, to make his escape through West Virginia. Information
he had gotten about the fords of the upper Ohio had induced him to
indicate Buffington's Island as the point where he would attempt to
recross that stream. He deemed the passage of the Cumberland one of the
four chief difficulties of the expedition that might prove really
dangerous and insuperable; the other three were the passage of the Ohio,
the circuit around Cincinnati, and the recrossing of the Ohio.

Before noon on the 2d of July my brigade began to cross the Cumberland
at Burkesville and at Scott's Ferry, two miles higher up the stream. The
river, swollen by heavy and long-continued rains, was pouring down a
volume of water which overspread its banks and rushed with a velocity
that seemed to defy any attempt to stem it. Two or three canoes lashed
together and two small flats served to transport the men and the
field-pieces, while the horses were made to swim. Many of them were
swept far down by the boiling flood. This process was necessarily slow,
as well as precarious. Colonel Johnson, whose brigade was crossing at
Turkey Neck Bend, several miles below Burkesville, was scarcely so well
provided with the means of ferriage as myself. About 3 P.M. the enemy
began to threaten both brigades. Had these demonstrations been made
earlier, and vigorously, we could have gotten over the river.
Fortunately by this time we had taken over the 6th Kentucky and 9th
Tennessee of my brigade--aggregating nearly six hundred men--and also
the two pieces of artillery. These regiments were moved beyond
Burkesville and placed in a position which served all the purposes of an
ambuscade. When the enemy approached, one or two volleys caused his
column to recoil in confusion. General Morgan instantly charged it with
Quirk's scouts and some companies of the 9th Tennessee, and not only
prevented it from rallying, but drove it all the way back to Marrowbone,
entering the encampment there with the troops he was pursuing in a
pell-mell dash. He was soon driven back, however, by the enemy's
infantry and artillery.

The effect of this blow was to keep the enemy quiet for the rest of the
day and night. The forces threatening Colonel Johnson were also
withdrawn, and we both accomplished the passage of the river without
further molestation. That night the division marched out on the Columbia
road and encamped about two miles from Burkesville. On the next day
Judah concentrated the three brigades of his cavalry command in that
region, while orders were sent to all the other Federal detachments in
Kentucky to close in upon our line of march.

General Bragg had sent with the expedition a large party of commissaries
of subsistence, who were directed to collect cattle north of the
Cumberland and drive them, guarded by one of our regiments, to
Tullahoma. I have never understood how he expected us to be able, under
the circumstances, to collect the cattle, or the foragers to drive them
out. The commissaries did not attempt to carry out their instructions,
but followed us the entire distance and pulled up in prison. They were
gallant fellows and made no complaint of danger or hardship, seeming
rather to enjoy it.


There was one case, however, which excited universal pity. An old farmer
and excellent man, who lived near Sparta, had accompanied us to
Burkesville; that is, he meant to go no farther, and thought we would
not. He wished to procure a barrel of salt, as the supply of that
commodity was exhausted in his part of the country. He readily purchased
the salt, but learned, to his consternation, that the march to
Burkesville was a mere preliminary canter. He was confronted with the
alternative of going on a dangerous raid or of returning alone through a
region swarming with the fierce bushwhackers of "Tinker Dave" Beattie,
who never gave quarter to Confederate soldier or Southern sympathizer.
He knew that if he fell into their hands they would pickle him with his
own salt. So this old man sadly yet wisely resolved to follow the
fortunes of Morgan. He made the grand tour, was hurried along day after
day through battle and ambush, dragged night after night on the
remorseless march, ferried over the broad Ohio under fire of the militia
and gunboats, and lodged at last in a "loathsome dungeon." On one
occasion, in Ohio, when the home guards were peppering us in rather
livelier fashion than usual, he said to Captain C.H. Morgan, with tears
in his voice: "I sw'ar if I wouldn't give all the salt in Kaintucky to
stand once more safe and sound on the banks of Calfkiller Creek."


Pushing on before dawn of the 3d, we reached Columbia in the afternoon.
The place was occupied by a detachment of Colonel Frank Wolford's
brigade, which was quickly driven out. Encamping that evening some eight
miles from Columbia, we could hear all night the ringing of the axes
near Green River bridge, on the road from Columbia to Campbellsville.
Three or four hundred of the 25th Michigan Infantry were stationed at
the bridge to protect it; but the commander, Colonel Orlando H. Moore,
deliberately quitting the elaborate stockade erected near the
bridge,--in which nine officers out of ten would have remained, but
where we could have shelled him into surrender without losing a man
ourselves,--selected one of the strongest natural positions I ever saw,
and fortified it skilfully although simply. The Green River makes here
an immense horseshoe sweep, with the bridge at the toe of the horseshoe;
and more than a mile south of it was the point where Colonel Moore
elected to make his fight. The river there wound back so nearly upon its
previous course that the peninsula, or "neck," was scarcely a hundred
yards wide. This narrow neck was also very short, the river bending
almost immediately to the west again. At that time it was thickly
covered with trees and undergrowth, and Colonel Moore, felling the
heaviest timber, had constructed a formidable abatis across the
narrowest part of it. Just in front of the abatis there was open ground
for perhaps two hundred yards. South of the open was a deep ravine. The
road ran on the east side of the cleared place, and the banks of the
river were high and precipitous. The center of the open space rose into
a swell, sloping gently away both to the north and south. On the crest
of the swell Moore had thrown up a slight earthwork, which was manned
when we approached. An officer was promptly despatched with a flag to
demand his surrender. Colonel Moore responded that an officer of the
United States ought not to surrender on the Fourth of July, and he must
therefore decline. Captain "Ed" Byrne had planted one of the Parrott
guns about six hundred yards from the earthwork, and on the return of
the bearer of the flag opened fire, probing the work with a round shot.
One man in the trench was killed by this shot, and the others ran back
to the abatis.

Colonel Johnson, whose brigade was in advance, immediately dashed
forward with the 3d and 11th Kentucky to attack the main position.
Artillery could not be used, for the guns could bear upon the abatis
only from the crest of which I have spoken, and if posted there the
cannoneers, at the very short range, would not have been able to serve
their pieces. The position could be won only by direct assault. The men
rushed up to the fallen timber, but became entangled in the network of
trunks and branches, and were shot down while trying to climb over or
push through them. I reinforced Johnson with a part of Smith's regiment,
the 5th Kentucky, but the jam and confusion incident to moving in so
circumscribed an area and through the dense undergrowth broke the force
of the charge. The enemy was quite numerous enough to defend a line so
short and strong and perfectly protected on both flanks. We had not more
than six hundred men actually engaged, and the fighting lasted not
longer than fifteen or twenty minutes. Our loss was about ninety, nearly
as many killed as wounded. Afterward we learned that Colonel Moore's
loss was six killed and twenty-three wounded. When General Morgan
ordered the attack he was not aware of the strength of the position; nor
had he anticipated a resistance so spirited and so skilfully planned. He
reluctantly drew off without another assault, convinced that to capture
the abatis and its defenders would cost him half his command. Among the
killed were Colonel D.W. Chenault and Captain Alexander Treble of the
11th Kentucky, Lieutenant Robert Cowan of the 3d, and Major Thomas Y.
Brent, Jr., and Lieutenants Holloway and Ferguson of the 5th. These
officers were all killed literally at the muzzles of the rifles.

Colonel Moore's position might easily have been avoided; indeed, we
passed around it immediately afterward, crossing the river at a ford
about two miles below the bridge. Morgan assailed it merely in
accordance with his habitual policy when advancing of attacking all in
his path except very superior forces.

On the same afternoon Captain William M. Magenis, assistant
adjutant-general of the division, a valuable officer, was murdered by a
Captain Murphy, whom he had placed under arrest for robbing a citizen.
Murphy made his escape from the guard two or three days subsequently,
just as the court-martial which was to have tried him was convening.

On the morning of July 5th the column reached Lebanon, which was
garrisoned by the 20th Kentucky Infantry, commanded by Colonel Charles
S. Hanson. The 8th and 9th Michigan Cavalry and the 11th Michigan
Battery, under command of Colonel James I. David, were approaching by
the Danville road to reinforce the garrison, necessitating a large
detachment to observe them. Morgan's demand for surrender having been
refused, artillery fire was directed upon the railroad depot and other
buildings in which the enemy had established himself; but, as the
Federals endured it with great firmness, it became necessary to carry
the town by assault. Our loss was some forty in killed and wounded,
including several excellent officers. One death universally deplored was
that of the General's brother, Lieutenant Thomas H. Morgan. He was a
bright, handsome, and very gallant lad of nineteen, the favorite of the
division. He was killed in front of the 2d Kentucky in the charge upon
the depot. The Federal loss was three killed and sixteen wounded, and
three hundred and eighty were prisoners.

Without delay we passed through Springfield and Bardstown, crossing the
Louisville and Nashville Railroad at Lebanon Junction, thirty miles from
Louisville, on the evening of the 6th. At Springfield two companies of
about ninety men were sent toward Harrodsburg and Danville to occupy the
attention of the Federal cavalry in that quarter. From Bardstown,
Captain W.C. Davis, acting assistant adjutant-general of the First
Brigade, was sent with a detachment of one hundred and thirty men to
scout in the vicinity of Louisville, to produce the impression that the
city was about to be attacked, and to divert attention from the passage
of the Ohio by the main body at Brandenburg. He was instructed to cross
the river somewhere east of Louisville and to rejoin the column on its
line of march through Indiana. He executed the first part of the program
perfectly, but was unable to get across the river. Tapping the wires at
Lebanon Junction, we learned from intercepted despatches that the
garrison at Louisville was much alarmed, and in expectation of an
immediate attack.

The detachments I have just mentioned, with some smaller ones previously
sent off on similar service, aggregated not less than two hundred and
sixty men permanently separated from the division; which, with a loss in
killed and wounded, in Kentucky, of about one hundred and fifty, had
reduced our effective strength at the Ohio, by more than four hundred.

The rapid and constant marching already began to tell upon both horses
and men, but we reached the Ohio at Brandenburg at 9 A.M. on the 8th.
Captains Samuel Taylor and H.C. Meriwether of the 10th Kentucky had been
sent forward the day before, with their companies, to capture
steamboats. We found them in possession of two large craft. One had been
surprised at the wharf, and steaming out on her, they had captured the
other. Preparations for crossing were begun; but, just as the first boat
was about to push off, an unexpected musketry fire was opened from the
Indiana side by a party of home-guards collected behind some houses and
haystacks. They were in pursuit of Captain Thomas H. Hines, who had that
morning returned from Indiana to Kentucky, after having undertaken a
brief expedition of his own. This fire did no harm, the river here being
eight hundred or a thousand yards wide. But in a few minutes the bright
gleam of a field-piece spouted through the low-hanging mist on the
farther bank. Its shell pitched into a group near the wharf, severely
wounding Captain W.H. Wilson, acting quartermaster of the First Brigade.
Several shots from this piece followed in quick succession, but it was
silenced by Lieutenant Lawrence with his Parrotts. The 2d Kentucky and
9th Tennessee were speedily ferried over without their horses, and
forming under the bluff they advanced upon the militia, which had
retired to a wooded ridge some six hundred yards from the river-bank,
abandoning the gun. The two regiments were moving across some open
ground, toward the ridge, sustaining no loss from the volleys fired at
them, and the boats had scarcely returned for further service when a
more formidable enemy appeared. A gunboat, the _Elk_, steamed rapidly
round the bend, and began firing alternately upon the troops in the town
and those already across. The situation was now extremely critical. We
could not continue the ferriage while this little vixen remained, for
one well-directed shot would have sent either of the boats to the
bottom. Delay was exceedingly hazardous, affording the enemy opportunity
to cut off the regiments we had already sent over, and giving the
cavalry in pursuit of us time to come up. If forced to give up the
attempt to cross the river, we must also abandon our comrades on the
other side. So every piece of artillery was planted and opened on the
gunboat, and after an hour or two of vigorous cannonading she was driven
off. By midnight all our troops were over.


About noon of the 9th the column reached the little town of Corydon,
Indiana, which proved not nearly so gentle as its name. Our
advance-guard, commanded by Colonel R.C. Morgan, found a body of militia
there, ensconced behind stout barricades of fence rails, stretching for
some distance on each side of the road. Colonel Morgan charged the
barricade, his horses could not leap it, the militia stood resolutely,
and he lost sixteen men. A few dismounted skirmishers thrown upon the
flanks, and a shot or two from one of the pieces which accompanied the
advance-guard, quickly dispersed them, however, and we entered the town
without further resistance.

Our progress, quite rapid in Kentucky, was now accelerated, and we were
habitually twenty-one hours out of the twenty-four in the saddle, very
frequently not halting at night or going into camp at all. For the first
three or four days we saw nothing of the inhabitants save in their
character as militia, when they forced themselves on our attention much
more frequently than we desired. The houses were entirely deserted.
Often we found the kitchen fire blazing, the keys hanging in the
cupboard lock, and the chickens sauntering about the yard with a
confidence which proved that they had never before seen soldiers.

As the first scare wore off, however, we found the women and children
remaining at home, while the men went to the muster. When a thirsty
cavalryman rode up to a house to inquire for buttermilk, he was
generally met by a buxom dame, with a half-dozen or more small children
peeping out from her voluminous skirts, who, in response to a question
about the "old man," would say: "The men hev all gone to the 'rally';
you'll see 'em soon." We experienced little difficulty in procuring food
for man and horse. Usually upon our raids it was much easier to obtain
meat than bread. But in Indiana and Ohio we always found bread ready
baked at every house. In Ohio, on more than one occasion, in deserted
houses we found pies, hot from the oven, displayed upon tables
conveniently spread. The first time that I witnessed this sort of
hospitality was when I rode up to a house where a party of my men were
standing around a table garnished as I have described, eyeing the pies
hungrily, but showing no disposition to touch them. I asked, in
astonishment, why they were so abstinent. One of them replied that they
feared the pies might be poisoned. I was quite sure, on the contrary,
that they were intended as a propitiatory offering. I have always been
fond of pies,--these were of luscious apples,--so I made the spokesman
hand me one of the largest, and proceeded to eat it. The men watched me
vigilantly for two or three minutes, and then, as I seemed much better
after my repast, they took hold ravenously.

The severe marching made an exchange of horses a necessity, though as a
rule the horses we took were very inferior to the Kentucky and Tennessee
stock we had brought with us, and which had generally a large infusion
of thoroughbred blood. The horses we impressed were for the most part
heavy, sluggish beasts, barefooted and grass-fed, and gave out after a
day or two, sometimes in a few hours. A strong provost guard, under
Major Steele of the 3d Kentucky, had been organized to prevent the two
practices most prejudicial to discipline and efficiency--straggling and
pillage. There were very good reasons, independent of the provost guard,
why the men should not straggle far from the line of march; but the
well-filled stores and gaudy shop-windows of the Indiana and Ohio towns
seemed to stimulate, in men accustomed to impoverished and unpretentious
Dixie, the propensity to appropriate beyond limit or restraint. I had
never before seen anything like this disposition to plunder. Our
perilous situation only seemed to render the men more reckless. At the
same time, anything more ludicrous than the manner in which they
indulged their predatory tastes can scarcely be imagined. The weather
was intensely warm,--the hot July sun burned the earth to powder, and we
were breathing superheated dust,--yet one man rode for three days with
seven pairs of skates slung about his neck; another loaded himself with
sleigh-bells. A large chafing-dish, a medium-sized Dutch clock, a green
glass decanter with goblets to match, a bag of horn buttons, a
chandelier, and a bird-cage containing three canaries were some of the
articles I saw borne off and jealously fondled. The officers usually
waited a reasonable period, until the novelty had worn off, and then had
this rubbish thrown away. Baby shoes and calico, however, were the
staple articles of appropriation. A fellow would procure a bolt of
calico, carry it carefully for a day or two, then cast it aside and get

From Corydon our route was _via_ Salem, Vienna, Lexington, Paris,
Vernon, Dupont, and Sumanville to Harrison, near the Ohio State line and
twenty-five miles from Cincinnati. Detachments were sent to Madison,
Versailles, and other points, to burn bridges, bewilder and confuse
those before and behind us, and keep bodies of military stationary that
might otherwise give trouble. All were drawn in before we reached
Harrison. At this point Morgan began demonstrations intended to convey
the impression that he would cross the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton
Railroad at Hamilton. He had always anticipated difficulty in getting
over this road; fearing that the troops from Kentucky would be
concentrated at or near Cincinnati, and that every effort would be made
to intercept him there. If these troops lined the railroad and were
judiciously posted, he knew it would be extremely difficult to elude
them or cut his way through them. He believed that if he could pass this
ordeal safely, the success of the expedition would be assured, unless
the river should be so high that the boats would be able to transport
troops to intercept him at the upper fords.

After remaining at Harrison two or three hours, and sending detachments
in the direction of Hamilton, he moved with the entire column on the
Hamilton road. But as soon as he was clear of the town, he cut the
telegraph-wires--previously left intact with the hope that they might be
used to convey intelligence of his apparent movement toward
Hamilton--and, turning across the country, gained the direct road to
Cincinnati. He hoped that, deceived by his demonstrations at Harrison,
the larger part of the troops at Cincinnati would be sent to Hamilton,
and that it would be too late to recall them when his movement toward
Cincinnati was discovered. He trusted that those remaining would be
drawn into the city, under the impression that he meant to attack,
leaving the way clear for his rapid transit. He has been criticized for
not attempting the capture of Cincinnati, but he had no mind to involve
his handful of wearied men in a labyrinth of streets. We felt very much
more at home amid rural surroundings. But if he had taken Cincinnati,
and had safely crossed the river there, the raid would have been so much
briefer, and its principal object to that extent defeated by the
release of the troops pursuing us.


We reached the environs of Cincinnati about ten o'clock at night, and
were not clear of them until after daybreak. My brigade was marching in
the rear, and the guides were with General Morgan in the front. The
continual straggling of some companies in the rear of Johnson's brigade
caused me to become separated from the remainder of the column by a wide
gap, and I was for some time entirely ignorant of what direction I
should take. The night was pitch-dark, and I was compelled to light
torches and seek the track of the column by the foam dropped from the
mouths of the horses and the dust kicked up by their feet. At every halt
which this groping search necessitated, scores of tired men would fall
asleep and drop out of their saddles. Daylight appeared after we had
crossed all of the principal suburban roads, and were near the Little
Miami Railroad. I never welcomed the fresh, invigorating air of morning
more gratefully. That afternoon we reached Williamsburg, twenty-eight
miles east of Cincinnati.

The Ohio militia were more numerous and aggressive than those of
Indiana. We had frequent skirmishes with them daily, and although
hundreds were captured, they resumed operations as soon as they were
turned loose. What excited in us more astonishment than all else we saw
were the crowds of able-bodied men. The contrast with the South, drained
of adult males to recruit her armies, was striking, and suggestive of
anything but confidence on our part in the result of the struggle.

At Piketon we learned that Vicksburg had fallen, and that General Lee,
having been repulsed at Gettysburg, had retreated across the Potomac.
Under the circumstances this information was peculiarly disheartening.
As we approached Pomeroy the militia began to embarrass our march by
felling trees and erecting barricades across the roads. In passing near
that town we were assailed by regular troops,--as we called the
volunteers, in contradistinction to the militia,--and forced a passage
only by some sharp fighting. At 1 P.M. on the 18th we reached Chester,
eighteen miles from Buffington's Island. A halt here of nearly two hours
proved disastrous, as it caused us to arrive at the river after
nightfall, and delayed any attempt at crossing until the next morning.
Morgan thoroughly appreciated the importance of crossing the river at
once, but it was impossible. The darkness was intense, we were ignorant
of the ford and without guides, and were encumbered with nearly two
hundred wounded, whom we were unwilling to abandon. By instruction I
placed the 5th and 6th Kentucky in position to attack, as soon as day
broke, an earthwork commanding the ford, and which we learned was
mounted with two guns and manned by three hundred infantry. At dawn I
moved upon the work, and found it had been evacuated and the guns thrown
over the bluff. Pressing on a few hundred yards to reconnoiter the
Pomeroy road, we suddenly encountered the enemy. It proved to be General
Judah's advance. The 5th and 6th Kentucky instantly attacked and
dispersed it, taking a piece of artillery and forty or fifty prisoners,
inflicting some loss in killed and wounded.

The position in which we found ourselves, now that we had light enough
to examine the ground, was anything but favorable. The valley we had
entered, about a mile long and perhaps eight hundred yards wide at its
southern extremity,--the river running here nearly due north and
south,--gradually narrows, as the ridge which is its western boundary
closely approaches the river-bank, until it becomes a mere ravine. The
Chester road enters the valley at a point about equidistant from either
end. As the 5th Kentucky fell back that it might be aligned on the 6th
Kentucky, across the southern end of the valley, into which Judah's
whole force was now pouring, it was charged by the 8th and 9th Michigan
and a detachment of the 5th Indiana. A part of the 5th Kentucky was cut
off by this charge, the gun we had taken was recaptured, and our
Parrotts also fell into the hands of the enemy. They were so clogged
with dust, however, as to be almost unserviceable, and their ammunition
was expended. Bringing up a part of the 2d Kentucky, I succeeded in
checking and driving back the regiments that first bore down on us, but
they were quickly reinforced and immediately returned to the attack. In
the mean time Colonel Johnson's videttes on the Chester road had been
driven in, and the cavalry under Hobson, which had followed us
throughout our long march, deployed on the ridge, and attacked on that
side. I sent a courier to General Morgan, advising that he retreat up
the river and out of the valley with all the men he could extricate,
while Colonel Johnson and I, with the troops already engaged, would
endeavor to hold the enemy in check. The action was soon hot from both
directions, and the gunboats, steaming up the river abreast of us,
commenced shelling vigorously. We were now between three assailants. A
sharp artillery fire was opened by each, and the peculiar formation we
were compelled to adopt exposed us to a severe cross-fire of small arms.

We were in no condition to make a successful or energetic resistance.
The men were worn out and demoralized by the tremendous march, and the
fatigue and lack of sleep for the ten days that had elapsed since they
had crossed the Ohio. Having had no opportunity to replenish their
cartridge-boxes, they were almost destitute of ammunition, and after
firing two or three rounds were virtually unarmed. To this fact is
attributable the very small loss our assailants sustained. Broken down
as we were, if we had been supplied with cartridges we could have piled
the ground with Judah's men as they advanced over the open plain into
the valley. As the line, seeking to cover the withdrawal of the troops
taken off by General Morgan, was rolled back by the repeated charges of
the enemy, the stragglers were rushing wildly about the valley, with
bolts of calico streaming from their saddles, and changing direction
with every shrieking shell. When the rear-guard neared the northern end
of the valley,--out of which General Morgan with the greater part of the
command had now passed,--and perceived that the only avenue of escape
was through a narrow gorge, a general rush was made for it. The Michigan
regiments dashed into the mass of fugitives, and the gunboats swept the
narrow pass with grape. All order lost in a wild tide of flight.

About seven hundred were captured here, and perhaps a hundred and twenty
killed and wounded. Probably a thousand men got out with General Morgan.
Of these some three hundred succeeded in swimming the river at a point
twenty miles above Buffington, while many were drowned in the attempt.
The arrival of the gunboats prevented others from crossing. General
Morgan had gotten nearly over, when, seeing that the bulk of his command
must remain on the Ohio side, he returned. For six more days Morgan
taxed energy and ingenuity to the utmost to escape the toils. Absolutely
exhausted, he surrendered near the Pennsylvania line, on the 26th day of
July, with three hundred and sixty-four men.

The expedition was of immediate benefit, since a part of the forces that
would otherwise have harassed Bragg's retreat and swollen Rosecrans's
muster-roll at Chickamauga were carried by the pursuit of Morgan so far
northward that they were kept from participating in that battle.

But Morgan's cavalry was almost destroyed, and his prestige impaired.
Much the larger number of the captured men lingered in the Northern
prisons until the close of the war. That portion of his command which
had remained in Tennessee became disintegrated; the men either were
incorporated in other organizations, or, attracted by the fascinations
of irregular warfare, were virtually lost to the service. Morgan, after
four or five months' imprisonment in the Ohio penitentiary, effected an
escape which has scarcely a parallel for ingenuity and daring. He was
received in the South enthusiastically. The authorities at Richmond
seemed at first to share the popular sympathy and admiration. But it
soon became apparent that his infraction of discipline in crossing the
Ohio was not forgiven. Placed for a short time in practical command of
the Department of Southwestern Virginia, he was given inadequate means
for its defense, and bound with instructions which accorded neither with
his temperament nor with his situation. The troops he commanded were
not, like his old riders, accustomed to his methods, confident in his
genius, and devoted to his fortunes. He attempted aggressive operations
with his former energy and self-reliance, but not with his former
success. He drove out of West Virginia two invading columns, and then
made an incursion into the heart of Kentucky--known as his last Kentucky
raid--in the hope of anticipating and deterring a movement into his own
territory. Very successful at first, this raid ended, too, in disaster.
After capturing and dispersing Federal forces in the aggregate much
larger than his own, he encountered at Cynthiana a vastly superior
force, and was defeated. Two months later, September 4, 1864, he was
killed at Greeneville, Tennessee, while advancing to attack the Federal
detachments stationed in front of Knoxville.[5]

[Footnote 5: E.W. Doran of Greeneville, Tenn., gives the following
particulars of General Morgan's death:

General Morgan came to Greeneville on September 3, and stationed his
troops on a hill overlooking the town from the east, while he and his
staff were entertained at the "Williams Mansion," the finest residence
in town. At this time Captain Robert C. Carter, in command of a company
of Colonel Crawford's regiment, was stationed three or four miles north
of the town. He got accurate information of Morgan's whereabouts, and
sent a messenger at once to General A.C. Gillem, at Bull's Gap, sixteen
miles distant. This message was intrusted to John Davis and two other
young men of his company, who rode through a fearful storm, picking
their way by the lightning-flashes and arriving there some time before
midnight. Other messages were probably sent to Gillem that night from
Greeneville, but this was the first received. The report usually given
in the histories to the effect that Mrs. Joseph Williams carried the
news is not correct, as she was known to be in an opposite direction
several miles, and knew nothing of the affair. In an hour after the
message was delivered Gillem's forces were hurrying on their way to
Greeneville, where they arrived about daylight, and surrounded the house
where Morgan was. He ran out, without waiting to dress, to conceal
himself in the shrubbery and grape arbors, but was seen from the street
and shot by Andrew G. Campbell, a private in the 13th Tennessee.
Campbell was promoted to a lieutenancy. Morgan's body was afterward
secured by his friends and given decent burial. But little firing was
done by either army; and after Morgan was killed his forces marched out
of town while the Union forces marched in, in easy range of each other,
yet not a shot was fired on either side.]

The remnant of his old command served during the gloomy winter of
1864-65 in the region where their leader met death, fighting often on
the same ground. When Richmond fell, and Lee surrendered, they marched
to join Joseph E. Johnston. After his capitulation they were part of the
escort that guarded, Jefferson Davis in his aimless retreat from
Charlotte and laid down their arms at Woodville, Georgia, by order of
John. C. Breckinridge, when the armies of the Confederacy were
disbanded, and its President became a fugitive.



When it was known at Indianapolis that General Morgan, with a large
force, had crossed the Ohio, the city was panic-stricken. The State had
been literally depleted of troops to assist Kentucky, and everybody knew
it. The very worst was apprehended--that railways would be cut up,
passenger and freight trains robbed, bridges and depots burned, our
arsenal pillaged, two thousand Confederate prisoners at Camp Morton
liberated, and Jeffersonville, with all its Government stores, and
possibly Indianapolis itself, destroyed.

Nor was this all. It had been reported, and partly believed, as
afterward indeed proved to be the fact, that the State was literally
undermined with rebel sympathizers banded together in secret
organizations. The coming of Morgan had been looked for, and his
progress through Kentucky watched with considerable anxiety. It was
gloomily predicted that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of "Knights of the
Golden Circle" and of "Sons of Liberty" would flock to his standard and
endeavor to carry the State over to the Confederacy.

Morgan probably had fair reason to believe that his ranks would be at
least largely recruited in the southern counties of Indiana. The
governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, went to work with all his
tremendous energy and indomitable will, in the face of the greatest
opposition that had been encountered in any Northern State, amounting,
just before, almost to open rebellion. He proclaimed martial law, though
not in express terms, and ordered out the "Legion," or militia, and
called upon the loyal citizens of the State to enroll themselves as
minute-men, to organize and report for arms and for martial duty.
Thousands responded to the call within twenty-four hours--many within
two hours.[6] Everything possible was done by telegraph, until the lines
were cut. Some arms were found in the State Arsenal, and more with
accoutrements and ammunition, together with whole batteries of
artillery, were procured from Chicago and St. Louis.

[Footnote 6: According to the report of the adjutant-general of Indiana,
30,000 militia assembled within thirty-six hours, and about the time
Morgan was leaving the State 65,000 men were in the field. In Ohio,
according to a report made to the adjutant-general, 55,000 militia
turned out; many of them refused pay, yet $232,000 were disbursed for
services during the raid. It would appear, therefore, that 120,000
militia took the field against Morgan, in addition to the three brigades
of General Judah's United State cavalry.--EDITOR.]

The disposition of the State levies that came thronging in was left to
me as fast as they were armed. The three great junctions of the Ohio and
Mississippi Railroad in Indiana, over which troops and supplies were
shipped from all points to Rosecrans at Chattanooga--viz., Mitchell,
Seymour, and Vernon,--were first to be made secure; for surely Morgan
must have some military objectives, and these appeared to be the most
likely. The westerly junction was Mitchell. This was quickly occupied
and guarded by General James Hughes, with Legion men, reinforced by the
new organizations rising in that quarter. Seymour was the most central,
and lay directly on the road to Cincinnati and Indianapolis from
Louisville; and at Seymour a brigade was assembled from the center of
the State, with General John Love, a skilful old army officer, to
command it, with instructions to have an eye to Vernon likewise. To this
last point Burnside ordered a battery from Cincinnati; and what few
troops I had in Michigan, though half organized, came down to Vernon and
to General Love. Besides these thus rendezvoused, the people of the
southern counties were called upon to bushwhack the enemy, to obstruct
roads, to guard trains, bridges, etc., and to make themselves generally
useful and pestiferous.

Our militia first came in contact with the enemy opposite Brandenburg,
where he crossed; but it made the stand at Corydon Junction, where the
road runs between two abrupt hills, across which Colonel Lewis Jordan
threw up some light intrenchments. Morgan's advance attempted to ride
over these "rail-piles" rough-shod, but lost some twenty troopers
unhorsed. They brought up their reserve and artillery, flanked, and
finally surrounded Colonel Jordan, who, after an hour's resolute
resistance, surrendered.

This gave the raiders the town, and the citizens the first taste of
Morgan's style, which somewhat disgusted the numerous class of Southern
sympathizers. The shops were given up to plunder, and the ladies levied
on for meals for the whole command.

Throwing out columns in various directions, Morgan pushed for Mitchell,
where no doubt he expected to cut the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, got
as far as Salem in that direction, captured or dispersed a few squads of
badly armed minute-men who were guarding depots and bridges, which he
burned, and doubtless hearing from his scouts, sent out in citizens'
clothes, of Hughes's force collected at Mitchell, he discreetly turned
off northeastward, apparently aiming next for Seymour. This I heard with
great satisfaction.

The panic at Indianapolis began to subside. Still I felt uneasy for
Seymour, as I next heard of Morgan at Vienna, where he tapped the
telegraph-lines and learned what he could of all our plans to catch him.
He came within nine miles of Seymour. General Love sent out a
reconnaissance of sharpshooters under Colonel C.V. De Land, with a
couple of field-pieces. They found that Morgan had turned off eastward.
Love divined his object, and started De Land and two Indiana regiments
of militia for Vernon. Here Morgan next turned up, planted his Parrotts,
and demanded surrender. He was defied until Love's arrival with the rest
of his militia, and then he swept off in a hurry from Vernon, followed
by our men, who captured his pickets and rear-guard, but who, having no
cavalry, were soon outmarched.

Morgan secured a great advantage by seizing all the horses within
reach,[7] leaving none for the militia or for General E.H. Hobson, which
enabled him to gain on his pursuers, and he would then have left Hobson
far out of sight but for the home guard, who obstructed the roads
somewhat, and bushwhacked his men from every hedge, hill, or tree, when
it could be done. But the trouble was that we could not attack him with
sufficient organized numbers.

[Footnote 7: General J.M. Shackelford says in his official report: "Our
pursuit was much retarded by the enemy's burning all the bridges in our
front. He had every advantage. His system of horse-stealing was perfect.
He would despatch men from the head of each regiment, on each side of
the road, to go five miles into the country, seizing every horse, and
then fall in at the rear of the column. In this way he swept the country
for ten miles of all the horses."--EDITOR.]

After he left Vernon we felt safe at Indianapolis. "Defensive sites"
were abandoned, and the banks brought back their deposits which they
had sent off by express to Chicago and the North. Some fears, or hopes,
were entertained as to Madison, toward which Morgan next bent his
way--fears for the safety of that city, and hopes that, with the help of
Judah's troops and the gunboats now on the way up the river, we might
put an end to the raid. From Indianapolis we started General Lew Wallace
with a good brigade of minute-men, and with high hopes that at either
Madison or Lawrenceburg, farther up the river, he might "capture them."
The people ahead were asked by telegraph to coöperate. But after going
down that line as far as Dupont, Morgan turned northeast for Versailles,
where we next heard of him threatening the Cincinnati and Indianapolis
Railway. This was a nice bit of work. He baffled all our calculations,
and did some damage on both the Ohio and Mississippi and Cincinnati
railroads, sending off flying columns in a dozen directions at a time
for the purpose, as well as to throw Hobson off the scent. Some of these
columns looked like traveling circuses adorned with useless plunder and
an excess of clowns. Thus they went through Pierceville and Milan to
Harrison, on White River, and on the Ohio line. Here Hobson's advance
came upon them, but unfortunately it paused to plant artillery, instead
of dashing across the bridge and engaging the raiders until the main
body should arrive. This lost us the bridge, which was burned before our
eyes, and many hours' delay, marching round by the ford. Their next
demonstration was toward Hamilton. Here there was a fine railway bridge
over the Big Miami. Hobson followed in such close pursuit through New
Baltimore, Glendale, and Miamiville that the raiders did little damage.
Their attempt to burn a bridge at Miamiville was repulsed by the home
guard. My last troops were despatched from Indianapolis to head them off
at Hamilton, after five hours' delay caused by the intoxication of their
commander. His successor in command was General Hascall, who swore like
a trooper to find himself "just in time to be too late." He proceeded
through Hamilton, Ohio, as far as Loveland. But Morgan had sent only a
detachment toward Hamilton to divert attention from Cincinnati, toward
which he made a rapid march with his whole united force.

Governor Tod of Ohio had already called out the militia and proclaimed
martial law. He raised men enough, but Burnside had to organize and arm
them. Morgan found the great city guarded, but he passed through the
very suburbs by a night march around it, unmolested. He crossed the
Little Miami Railroad at daylight, and came north in sight of Camp
Dennison, where Colonel Neff half armed his convalescents, threw out
pickets, dug rifle-pits, and threw up intrenchments. His fiery old
veterans saved a railway bridge, and actually captured a lieutenant and
others before they sheered off and went some ten miles northward to
Williamsburg. From that point they seemed to be steering for the great
bend of the Ohio at Pomeroy.

In the vicinity of Cincinnati, Colonel W.P. Sanders, the splendid raider
of East Tennessee, came up from Kentucky with some Michigan cavalry, and
joined Hobson in pursuit, and these were about the only fresh horses in
the chase. Sanders had come by steamer, and, landing at Cincinnati, had
been thrown out from there, it was hoped, ahead of Morgan, who, however,
was too quick for him. They met later on.

Under the good management of Colonel A.V. Kautz in advance, with his
brigade, and of Sanders, the men now marched more steadily and gained
ground. Kautz had observed how the other brigade commanders had lost
distance and blown their horses by following false leads, halting and
closing up rapidly at the frequent reports of "enemy in front," and by
stopping to plant artillery. Marching in his own way, at a steady walk,
his brigade forming the rear-guard, he had arrived at Batavia two hours
before the main body, that had been "cavorting round the country" all
day, "misled by two citizen guides"--possibly Morgan's own men.

Not stopping to draw the rations sent out to him from Cincinnati, Hobson
urged his jaded horses through Brown, Adams, and Pike counties, now
under the lead of Kautz, and reached Jasper, on the Scioto, at midnight
of the 16th, Morgan having passed there at sundown. The next day they
raced through Jackson. On the 18th, Hobson, at Rutland, learned that
Morgan had been turned off by the militia at Pomeroy, and had taken the
Chester road for Portland and the fords of the Ohio. The chase became
animated. Our troopers made a march of fifty miles that day and still
had twenty-five miles to reach Chester. They arrived there without a
halt at eleven at night, and had still fifteen miles to reach the ford.
They kept on, and at dawn of the 19th struck the enemy's pickets. Two
miles out from Portland, Morgan was brought to bay--and not by Hobson
alone. First came the militia, then came Judah. His division had pushed
up the river in steamers parallel with Morgan's course. Lieutenant John
O'Neil, afterward of Fenian fame, with a troop of Indiana cavalry, kept
up the touch on Morgan's right flank by a running fight, stinging it at
every vulnerable point, and reporting Morgan's course to Judah in the
neck-and-neck race. Aided by the local militia, O'Neil now dashed ahead
and fearlessly skirmished with the enemy's flankers from every coign of
vantage. He reached the last descent to the river-bottom near Buffington
Bar, and near the historical Blennerhasset's Island, early on the
morning of the 19th.

The Ohio River was up. It had risen unexpectedly. But here Morgan must
cross, if at all. It could not be forded by night, when he got here. He
tried the ford at Blennerhasset. Failing in this, his men collected
flatboats, and set to work calking them, meantime sending a party to
Buffington Bar, where they found a small earthwork and captured its
guard; and these things delayed them until morning. General Judah
attempted a reconnaissance, resulting in a fight, which he describes as
follows in his report:

     Before leaving Pomeroy I despatched a courier to General Hobson,
     apprising him of my direction, and requesting him to press the
     enemy's rear with all the forces he could bring up. Traveling all
     night, I reached the last descent to the river-bottom at
     Buffington Bar at 5.30 A.M. on the 19th. Here, halting my force,
     and placing my artillery in a commanding position, I determined
     to make a reconnaissance in person, for the purpose of
     ascertaining if a report just made to me--that the gunboats had
     left on a previous evening, the home guards had retreated, and
     that the enemy had been crossing all night--was true. A very
     dense fog enveloped everything, confining the view of surrounding
     objects to a radius of about fifty yards. I was accompanied by a
     small advance-guard, my escort, and one piece of Henshaw's
     battery, a section of which, under Captain Henshaw, I had ordered
     to join my force. I advanced slowly and cautiously along a road
     leading toward the river, ... when my little force found itself
     enveloped on three sides--front and both flanks--by three
     regiments, dismounted, and led by Colonel Basil [W.] Duke, just
     discernible through the fog, at a distance of from fifty to a
     hundred yards. This force, as I afterward learned, had been
     disposed for the capture of the home guards, intrenched on the
     bank of the river. To use Colonel Duke's own expression after his
     capture, "He could not have been more surprised at the presence
     of my force if it had been dropped from the clouds." As soon as
     discovered, the enemy opened a heavy fire, advancing so rapidly
     that before the piece of artillery could be brought into battery
     it was captured, as were also Captain R.C. Kise, my assistant
     adjutant-general, Captain Grafton, volunteer aide-de-camp, and
     between twenty and thirty of my men. Two privates were killed.
     Major McCook (since dead), paymaster and volunteer
     aide-de-camp,[8] Lieutenant F.G. Price, aide-de-camp, and ten men
     were wounded. Searching in vain for an opening through which to
     charge and temporarily beat back the enemy, I was compelled to
     fall back upon the main body, which I rapidly brought up into
     position, and opened a rapid and beautifully accurate artillery
     fire from the pieces of the 5th Indiana upon a battery of two
     pieces which the enemy had opened upon me, as well as upon his
     deployed dismounted force in line. Obstructing fences prevented a
     charge by my cavalry. In less than half an hour the enemy's lines
     were broken and in retreat. The advance of my artillery, and a
     charge of cavalry made by Lieutenant O'Neil, 5th Indiana Cavalry,
     with only fifty men, converted his retreat into a rout, and
     drove him upon General Hobson's forces, which had engaged him
     upon the other road. His prisoners, the piece of artillery lost
     by me, all of his own artillery (five pieces), his camp equipage,
     and transportation and plunder of all kinds, were abandoned and
     captured. We also captured large numbers of prisoners, including
     Colonels Basil [W.] Duke, Dick [R.C.] Morgan, and Allen [Ward?],
     and the most of General Morgan's staff.

[Footnote 8: Major Daniel McCook, father of the famous fighting family,
who pushed himself in, against remonstrance, to find the slayer of his
son (General Robert L. McCook), reported to be with Morgan.]

Yet with a considerable force Morgan succeeded in making his escape, and
started into the interior like a fox for cover. Passing around the
advanced column of his enemy, he suddenly came upon the end of
Shackelford's column, under Wolford, whom he at once attacked with his
usual audacity. Shackelford reversed his column, selected his best
horses, and gave pursuit. He overtook the enemy at Backum Church, where
Wolford's Kentucky fellows rushed upon Morgan's men with drawn sabers
and Kentucky yells, and chased them until next afternoon, when they were
found collected on a high bluff, where some hundreds surrendered; but
Morgan again escaped, and with over six hundred horsemen gave our
fellows a long chase yet by the dirt road and by rail. Continuing north
through several counties, he veered northwest toward the Pennsylvania
line, even now burning buildings, car-loads of freight, and bridges by
the way, though hotly hounded by Shackelford, and flanked and headed off
by troops in cars.

Among the latter was Major W.B. Way, of the 9th Michigan, with a
battalion of his regiment. Way had left the cars at Mingo and marched
over near to Steubenville,[9] where he began a skirmish which lasted
over twenty-five miles toward Salineville, away up in Columbiana County.
Here he brought Morgan to bay. The latter still fought desperately,
losing 200 prisoners, and over 70 of his men killed or wounded, and
skipped away. Another Union detachment came up by rail under Major
George W. Rue, of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry, joined Shackelford at
Hammondsville, and took the advance with 300 men.

[Footnote 9: Mr. E.E. Day makes the following statement in regard to
Morgan's brief stay at Wintersville:

     Defeated at Buffington Bar, Morgan abandoned his plan of making a
     watering trough of Lake Erie, and fled north through the tier of
     river counties, keeping within a few miles of the Ohio. The river
     was low, but not fordable except at Coxe's Riffle, a few miles
     below Steubenville. Headed at this point also, he struck across
     the country and passed through Wintersville, a small village five
     miles west of Steubenville. That was a memorable Saturday in
     Wintersville. Morgan's progress across the State had been watched
     with the most feverish anxiety, and the dread that the village
     might lie in his path filled the hearts of many. The wildest
     rumors passed current. Morgan and his "guerrillas," it was said,
     would kill all the men, lay the village in ashes, and carry off
     the women and children. The militia, or "hundred-day men," who
     lived in or near the village, drilled in the village streets, and
     fired rattling volleys of blank cartridges at a board fence, in
     preparation for the coming conflict. On Friday evening word came
     that Morgan would attempt to force a passage at Coxe's Riffle the
     next morning, and the militia marched to Steubenville to help
     intercept him. A bloody battle was expected. About the middle of
     the forenoon a horseman dashed into the village shouting,
     "Morgan's coming! He's just down at John Hanna's!" and galloped
     on to warn others. Mr. Hanna was a farmer living about a mile
     south of the village. He had shouldered his musket and gone with
     the militia, leaving his wife and two children at home. About ten
     o'clock Morgan's men were seen coming up the road. Mrs. Hanna
     with her children attempted to reach a neighbor's house, but they
     were overtaken and ordered to the house, which they found full of
     soldiers. Morgan and his officers were stretched, dusty clothes,
     boots, and all, upon her beds, and a negro was getting dinner.
     While the third table was eating, a squad of militiamen appeared
     on a neighboring hill. Morgan ordered their capture, saying,
     "What will those Yankees do with the thousand men I have?" A
     number of Morgan's men started to carry out their chief's
     command, but the militia made good their escape. Soon after, word
     came that Shackelford's men were near, and Morgan left so
     hurriedly that he neglected to take the quilts and blankets his
     men had selected.

     In the village all was consternation. Many of the women and
     children gathered at the Maxwell Tavern. Their terror upon
     hearing that Morgan was "just down at Hanna's" cannot be
     described. Word had been sent to Steubenville, and Colonel James
     Collier marched out with a force of about eight hundred militia,
     sending a squad under command of Captain Prentiss to reconnoiter.
     They galloped through the village, and as Morgan's advance came
     in sight began firing. The fire was returned, and a private named
     Parks, from Steubenville, was wounded. Morgan's men charged the
     scouting party, sending them through the village back to the main
     body in a very demoralized condition. The frightened women, and
     still worse frightened children, no sooner saw the "dust-brown
     ranks" of the head of Morgan's column than they beat a hasty
     retreat down the alley to the house of Dr. Markle, the village
     physician. This change of base was made under fire, as Morgan's
     men were shooting at the retreating militia, and also at a house
     owned by William Fisher, in which they had heard there were a
     number of militiamen. At the doctor's house all crowded into one
     room, and were led in prayer by the minister's wife. The retreat
     of the scouting party did not have a very cheering effect upon
     the advancing militia. As they passed a field of broom-corn
     several men suddenly disappeared, their swift course through the
     cane being easily followed by the swaying of the tassels. The
     militia were met by rumors that the village was in ashes. Morgan
     did not set fire to the village, but his men found time to
     explore the village store, and to search the Fisher house, in the
     second story of which they found a flag. Morgan's men were hardly
     out of sight on the Richmond road when Colonel Collier and the
     militia appeared. They formed line of battle on a hill east of
     the village just in time to see Shackelford's advance coming
     along the road over which they were expecting Morgan. The colonel
     at once opened fire with his six-pounder loaded with scrap-iron.
     The first shot did little damage. One piece of scrap-iron found
     its way to the right, and struck with a resounding thwack against
     the end of the Maxwell Tavern. The second shot did not hit
     anything. One of Shackelford's officers rode across the field and
     inquired, "What are you fools shooting at?" The colonel then
     learned, to his astonishment, that Morgan was at least two miles
     out on the Richmond road. Many who had been conspicuously absent
     then showed themselves, and the daring deeds and hairbreadth
     escapes which came to light are not to be lightly referred to. At
     least a dozen dead rebels, it was said, would be discovered in
     the fields when the farmers came to cut their oats, but for some
     reason the bodies were never found.]

At Salineville he found Morgan, pursued by Major Way, pushing for
Smith's Ford on the Ohio. Breaking into trot and gallop, he outmarched
and intercepted the fugitives at the cross-roads near Beaver Creek, and
had gained the enemy's front and flank when a flag of truce was raised,
and Morgan coolly demanded his surrender. Rue's threat to open fire
brought Morgan to terms, when another issue was raised. It was now
claimed that Morgan had already surrendered, namely, to a militia
officer, and had been by him paroled. This "officer" turned out to be
"Captain" James Burbick, of the home guard.[10] Rue held Morgan, with
364 officers and men and 400 horses, till General Shackelford came up,
who held them as prisoners of war.

[Footnote 10: General W.T.H. Brooks says in his report:

     Morgan had passed a company of citizens from New Lisbon, and
     agreed not to fire upon them if they would not fire upon him. He
     had taken two or three of their men prisoners, and was using them
     as guides. Among them was a Mr. Burbick, of New Lisbon, who had
     gone out at the head of a small squad of mounted men. When Morgan
     saw that his advance was about to be cut off by Major Rue, he
     said to this Captain Burbick: "I would prefer to surrender to the
     militia rather than to United States troops. I will surrender to
     you if you will agree to respect private property and parole the
     officers and men as soon as we get to Cincinnati." Burbick
     replied that he knew nothing about this business. Morgan said,
     "Give me an answer, yes or no." Burbick, evidently in confusion,
     said, "Yes."

James Burbick sent a statement to Governor Tod, in which he said that he
was not a prisoner with Morgan, but that he was guiding him voluntarily
away from the vicinity of New Lisbon, after Morgan had agreed not to
pass through that town. Burbick reported that he accepted Morgan's
surrender, and started for the rear with a handkerchief tied to a stick
to intercept the advancing troops, while Lieutenant C.D. Maus, a
prisoner with Morgan, was sent with another flag of truce across the

And thus ended the greatest of Morgan's raids. By it Bragg lost a fine
large division of cavalry, that, if added to Buckner's force,--already
equal to Burnside's in East Tennessee,--might have defeated Burnside;
or, if thrown across Rosecrans's flanks or long lines of supply and
communication, or used in reconnaissance on the Tennessee River, might
have baffled Rosecrans's plans altogether. As it was, Rosecrans was able
to deceive Bragg by counterfeit movements that could easily have been
detected by Morgan.



On the 31st of July and the 1st of August, 1863, General John H. Morgan,
General Basil W. Duke, and sixty-eight other officers of Morgan's
command, were, by order of General Burnside, confined in the Ohio State
Penitentiary at Columbus. Before entering the main prison we were
searched and relieved of our pocket-knives, money, and of all other
articles of value, subjected to a bath, the shaving of our faces, and
the cutting of our hair. We were placed each in a separate cell in the
first and second tiers on the south side in the east wing of the prison.
General Morgan and General Duke were on the second range, General Morgan
being confined in the last cell at the east end, those who escaped with
General Morgan having their cells in the first range.

[Footnote 11: Condensed from "The Bivouac" of June, 1885.]

From five o'clock in the evening until seven o'clock in the morning we
were locked into our cells, with no possible means of communication with
one another; but in the day, between these hours, we were permitted to
mingle together in the narrow hall, twelve feet wide and one hundred and
sixty long, which was cut off from the other portion of the building,
occupied by the convicts, by a plank partition, in one end of which was
a wooden door. At each end of the hall, and within the partitions, was
an armed military sentinel, while the civil guards of the prison passed
at irregular intervals among us, and very frequently the warden or his
deputy came through in order to see that we were secure and not
violating the prison rules. We were not permitted to talk with or in any
way to communicate with the convicts, nor were we permitted to see any
of our relatives or friends that might come from a distance to see us,
except upon the written order of General Burnside, and then only in the
presence of a guard. Our correspondence underwent the censorship of the
warden, we receiving and he sending only such as met his approbation; we
were not permitted to have newspapers, or to receive information of what
was going on in the outside busy world.

Many plans for escape, ingenious and desperate, were suggested,
discussed, and rejected because deemed impracticable. Among them was
bribery of the guards. This was thought not feasible because of the
double set of guards, military and civil, who were jealous and watchful
of each other, so that it was never attempted, although we could have
commanded, through our friends in Kentucky and elsewhere, an almost
unlimited amount of money.

On a morning in the last days of October I was rudely treated, without
cause, by the deputy warden. There was no means of redress, and it was
not wise to seek relief by retort, since I knew, from the experience of
my comrades, that it would result in my confinement in a dark dungeon,
with bread and water for diet. I retired to my cell, and closed the door
with the determination that I would neither eat nor sleep until I had
devised some means of escape. I ate nothing and drank nothing during the
day, and by nine o'clock I had matured the plan that we carried into
execution. It may be that I owed something to the fact that I had just
completed the reading of Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables," containing such
vivid delineations of the wonderful escapes of Jean Valjean, and of the
subterranean passages of the city of Paris. This may have led me to the
line of thought that terminated in the plan of escape adopted. It was
this: I had observed that the floor of my cell was upon a level with the
ground upon the outside of the building, which was low and flat, and
also that the floor of the cell was perfectly dry and free from mold. It
occurred to me that, as the rear of the cell was to a great extent
excluded from the light and air, this dryness and freedom from mold
could not exist unless there was underneath something in the nature of
an air-chamber to prevent the dampness from rising up the walls and
through the floor. If this chamber should be found to exist, and could
be reached, a tunnel might be run through the foundations into the yard,
from which we might escape by scaling the outer wall, the air-chamber
furnishing a receptacle for the earth and stone to be taken out in
running the tunnel. The next morning, when our cells were unlocked, and
we were permitted to assemble in the hall, I went to General Morgan's
cell, he having been for several days quite unwell, and laid before him
the plan as I have sketched it. Its feasibility appeared to him
unquestioned, and to it he gave a hearty and unqualified approval. If,
then, our supposition was correct as to the existence of the air-chamber
beneath the lower range of cells, a limited number of those occupying
that range could escape, and only a limited number, because the greater
the number the longer the time required to complete the work, and the
greater the danger of discovery while prosecuting it, in making our way
over the outer wall, and in escaping afterward.


With these considerations in view, General Morgan and myself agreed upon
the following officers, whose cells were nearest the point at which the
tunnel was to begin, to join us in the enterprise: Captain J.C. Bennett,
Captain L.D. Hockersmith, Captain C.S. Magee, Captain Ralph Sheldon, and
Captain Samuel B. Taylor. The plan was then laid before these gentlemen,
and received their approval. It was agreed that work should begin in my
cell, and continue from there until completed. In order, however, to do
this without detection, it was necessary that some means should be found
to prevent the daily inspection of that cell, it being the custom of the
deputy warden, with the guards, to visit and have each cell swept every
morning. This end was accomplished by my obtaining permission from the
warden to furnish a broom and sweep my own cell. For a few mornings
thereafter the deputy warden would pass, glance into my cell, compliment
me on its neatness, and go on to the inspection of the other cells.
After a few days my cell was allowed to go without any inspection
whatever, and then we were ready to begin work, having obtained, through
some of our associates who had been sent to the hospital, some
table-knives made of flat steel files. In my cell, as in the others,
there was a narrow iron cot, which could be folded and propped up to the
cell wall. I thought the work could be completed within a month.

On the 4th of November work was begun in the back part of my cell, under
the rear end of my cot. We cut through six inches of cement, and took
out six layers of brick put in and cemented with the ends up. Here we
came to the air-chamber, as I had calculated, and found it six feet wide
by four feet high, and running the entire length of the range of cells.
The cement and brick taken out in effecting an entrance to the chamber
were placed in my bed-tick, upon which I slept during the progress of
this portion of the work, after which the material was removed to the
chamber. We found the chamber heavily grated at the end, against which a
large quantity of coal had been heaped, cutting off any chance of exit
in that way. We then began a tunnel, running it at right angles from the
side of the chamber, and almost directly beneath my cell. We cut through
the foundation wall, five feet thick, of the cell block; through twelve
feet of grouting, to the outer wall of the east wing of the prison;
through this wall, six feet in thickness; and four feet up near the
surface of the yard, in an unfrequented place between this wing and the
female department of the prison.


During the progress of the work, in which we were greatly assisted by
several of our comrades who were not to go out, notably among them
Captain Thomas W. Bullitt of Louisville, Kentucky, I sat at the entrance
to my cell studiously engaged on Gibbon's Rome and in trying to master
French. By this device I was enabled to be constantly on guard without
being suspected, as I had pursued the same course during the whole
period of my imprisonment. Those who did the work were relieved every
hour. This was accomplished, and the danger of the guards overhearing
the work as they passed obviated, by adopting a system of signals, which
consisted in giving taps on the floor over the chamber. One knock was to
suspend work, two to proceed, and three to come out. On one occasion, by
oversight, we came near being discovered. The prisoners were taken out
to their meals by ranges, and on this day those confined in the first
range were called for dinner while Captain Hockersmith was in the
tunnel. The deputy warden, on calling the roll, missed Hockersmith, and
came back to inquire for him. General Morgan engaged the attention of
the warden by asking his opinion as to the propriety of a remonstrance
that the general had prepared to be sent to General Burnside. Flattered
by the deference shown to his opinion by General Morgan, the warden
unwittingly gave Captain Hockersmith time to get out and fall into line
for dinner. While the tunnel was being run, Colonel R.C. Morgan, a
brother of General Morgan, made a rope, in links, of bed-ticking,
thirty-five feet in length, and from the iron poker of the hall stove we
made a hook, in the nature of a grappling-iron, to attach to the end of
the rope.

The work was now complete with the exception of making an entrance from
each of the cells of those who were to go out. This could be done with
safety only by working from the chamber upward, as the cells were daily
inspected. The difficulty presented in doing this was the fact that we
did not know at what point to begin in order to open the holes in the
cells at the proper place. To accomplish this a measurement was
necessary, but we had nothing to measure with. Fortunately the deputy
warden again ignorantly aided us. I got into a discussion with him as to
the length of the hall, and to convince me of my error he sent for his
measuring-line, and after the hall had been measured, and his statement
verified, General Morgan occupied his attention, while I took the line,
measured the distance from center to center of the cells,--all being of
uniform size,--and marked it upon the stick used in my cell for propping
up my cot. With this stick, measuring from the middle of the hole in my
cell, the proper distance was marked off in the chamber for the holes in
the other cells. The chamber was quite dark, and light being necessary
for the work, we had obtained candles and matches through our sick
comrades in the hospital. The hole in my cell during the progress of the
work was kept covered with a large hand-satchel containing my change of
clothing. We cut from underneath upward until there was only a thin
crust of the cement left in each of the cells. Money was necessary to
pay expenses of transportation and for other contingencies as they might
arise. General Morgan had some money that the search had not discovered,
but it was not enough. Shortly after we began work I wrote to my sister
in Kentucky a letter, which through a trusted convict I sent out and
mailed, requesting her to go to my library and get certain books, and in
the back of a designated one, which she was to open with a thin knife,
place a certain amount of Federal money, repaste the back, write my name
across the inside of the back where the money was concealed, and send
the box by express. In due course of time the books with the money came
to hand. It only remained now to get information as to the time of the
running of the trains and to await a cloudy night, as it was then full
moon. Our trusty convict was again found useful. He was quite an old
man, called Heavy, had been in the penitentiary for many years, and as
he had been so faithful, and his time having almost expired, he was
permitted to go on errands for the officials to the city. I gave him ten
dollars to bring us a daily paper and six ounces of French brandy.
Neither he nor any one within the prison or on the outside had any
intimation of our contemplated escape.

It was our first thought to make our way to the Confederacy by way of
Canada; but, on inspecting the time-table in the paper, it was seen that
a knowledge of the escape would necessarily come to the prison officials
before we could reach the Canadian border. There was nothing left, then,
but to take the train south, which we found, if on time, would reach
Cincinnati, Ohio, before the cells were opened in the morning, at which
time we expected our absence to be discovered. One thing more remained
to be done, and that was to ascertain the easiest and safest place at
which to scale the outside wall of the prison. The windows opening
outward were so high that we could not see the wall. In the hall was a
ladder resting against the wall, fifty feet long, that had been used for
sweeping down the wall. A view from the top of the ladder would give us
a correct idea of the outside, but the difficulty was to get that view
without exciting suspicion.

Fortunately the warden came in while we were discussing the great
strength and activity of Captain Samuel B. Taylor, who was very small of
stature, when it was suggested that Taylor could go hand over hand on
the under side of the ladder to the top, and, with a moment's rest,
return in the same way. To the warden this seemed impossible, and, to
convince him, Taylor was permitted to make the trial, which he did
successfully. At the top of the ladder he rested for a minute and took a
mental photograph of the wall. When the warden had left, Taylor
communicated the fact that directly south of and at almost right angles
from the east end of the block in which we were confined there was a
double gate to the outer wall, the inside one being of wooden uprights
four inches apart, and the outside one as solid as the wall; the wooden
gate being supported by the wing wall of the female department, which
joined to the main outer wall.


On the evening of the 27th of November the cloudy weather so anxiously
waited for came; and prior to being locked in our cells it was agreed to
make the attempt at escape that night. Cell No. 21, next to my cell, No.
20, on the first range, was occupied by Colonel R.C. Morgan, a brother
of General Morgan. That cell had been prepared for General Morgan by
opening a hole to the chamber, and when the hour for locking up came,
General Morgan stepped into Cell 21, and Colonel Morgan into General
Morgan's cell in the second range. The guard did not discover the
exchange, as General Morgan and Colonel Morgan were of about the same
physical proportions, and each stood with his back to the cell door when
it was being locked.

At intervals of two hours every night, beginning at eight, the guards
came around to each cell and passed a light through the grating to see
that all was well with the prisoners. The approach of the guard was
often so stealthily made that a knowledge of his presence was first had
by seeing him at the door of the cell. To avoid a surprise of this kind
we sprinkled fine coal along in front of the cells, walking upon which
would give us warning. By a singular coincidence that might have been a
fatality, on the day we had determined upon for the escape General
Morgan received a letter from Lexington, Kentucky, begging and warning
him not to attempt to escape, and by the same mail I received a letter
from a member of my family saying that it was rumored and generally
believed at home that I had escaped. Fortunately these letters did not
put the officials on their guard. We ascertained from the paper we had
procured that a train left for Cincinnati at 1.15 A.M., and as the
regular time for the guard to make his round of the cells was twelve
o'clock, we arranged to descend to the chamber immediately thereafter.
Captain Taylor was to descend first, and, passing under each cell,
notify the others. General Morgan had been permitted to keep his watch,
and this he gave to Taylor that he might not mistake the time to go.

At the appointed hour Taylor gave the signal, each of us arranged his
cot with the seat in his cell so as to represent a sleeping prisoner,
and, easily breaking the thin layer of cement, descended to the chamber,
passed through the tunnel, breaking through the thin stratum of earth
at the end. We came out near the wall of the female prison,--it was
raining slightly,--crawled by the side of the wall to the wooden gate,
cast our grappling-iron attached to the rope over the gate, made it
fast, ascended the rope to the top of the gate, drew up the rope, and
made our way by the wing wall to the outside wall, where we entered a
sentry-box and divested ourselves of our soiled outer garments. In the
daytime sentinels were placed on this wall, but at night they were on
the inside of the walls and at the main entrance to the prison. On the
top of the wall we found a cord running along the outer edge and
connecting with a bell in the office of the prison. This cord General
Morgan cut with one of the knives we had used in tunneling. Before
leaving my cell I wrote and left, addressed to N. Merion, the warden,
the following:

     CASTLE MERION, CELL NO. 20, November 27, 1863.--Commencement,
     November 4, 1863; conclusion, November 24, 1863; number of hours
     for labor per day, five; tools, two small knives. _La patience
     est amère, mais son fruit est doux._ By order of my six honorable
     Confederates. THOMAS H. HINES, _Captain, C.S.A._

Having removed all trace of soil from our clothes and persons, we
attached the iron hook to the railing on the outer edge of the wall, and
descended to the ground within sixty yards of where the prison guards
were sitting round a fire and conversing. Here we separated, General
Morgan and myself going to the depot, about a quarter, of a mile from
the prison, where I purchased two tickets for Cincinnati, and entered
the car that just then came in. General Morgan took a seat beside a
Federal major in uniform, and I sat immediately in their rear. The
general entered into conversation with the major, who was made the more
talkative by a copious drink of my French brandy. As the train passed
near the prison-wall where we had descended, the major remarked, "There
is where the rebel General Morgan and his officers are put for
safe-keeping." The general replied, "I hope they will keep him as safe
as he is now." Our train passed through Dayton, Ohio, and there, for
some unknown reason, we were delayed an hour. This rendered it extra
hazardous to go to the depot in the city of Cincinnati, since by that
time the prison officials would, in all probability, know of our escape,
and telegraph to intercept us. In fact, they did telegraph in every
direction, and offered a reward for our recapture. Instead, then, of
going to the depot in Cincinnati, we got off, while the train was moving
slowly, in the outskirts of the city, near Ludlow Ferry, on the Ohio
River. Going directly to the ferry we were crossed over in a skiff and
landed immediately in front of the residence of Mrs. Ludlow. We rang the
door-bell, a servant came, and General Morgan wrote upon a
visiting-card, "General Morgan and Captain Hines, escaped." We were
warmly received, took a cup of coffee with the family, were furnished a
guide, and walked some three miles in the country, where we were
furnished horses. Thence we went through Florence to Union, in Boone
County, Kentucky, where we took supper with Daniel Piatt. On making
ourselves known to Mr. Piatt, who had two sons in our command, we were
treated with the most cordial hospitality and kindness by the entire
family. We there met Dr. John J. Dulaney of Florence, Kentucky, who was
of great benefit in giving us information as to the best route. That
night we went to Mr. Corbin's, near Union,--who also had gallant sons in
our command,--where we remained concealed until the next night, and
where friends supplied us with fresh horses and a pair of pistols each.

[Illustration: OVER THE PRISON WALL.]

On the evening of the 29th of November we left Union with a voluntary
guide, passed through the eastern edge of Gallatin County, and after
traveling all night spent the day of the 30th at the house of a friend
on the Owen County line. Passing through New Liberty, in Owen County,
and crossing the Kentucky River at the ferry on the road to New Castle,
in Henry County, we stopped at the house of Mr. Pollard at 2 A.M.,
December 1. Our guide did not know the people nor the roads farther than
the ferry, at which point he turned back. Not knowing the politics of
Mr. Pollard, it was necessary to proceed with caution. On reaching his
house we aroused him and made known our desire to spend the remainder of
the night with him. He admitted us and took us into the family room,
where there was a lamp dimly burning on a center-table. On the light
being turned up I discovered a Cincinnati "Enquirer" with large
displayed head-lines, announcing the escape of General Morgan, Captain
Hines, and five other officers from the Ohio penitentiary. The fact that
this newspaper was taken by Mr. Pollard was to me sufficient evidence
that he was a Southern sympathizer. Glancing at the paper, I looked up
and remarked, "I see that General Morgan, Hines, and other officers have
escaped from the penitentiary." He responded, "Yes; and you are Captain
Hines, are you not?" I replied, "Yes; and what is your name?" "Pollard,"
he answered. "Allow me, then, to introduce General Morgan," I found that
I had not made a mistake.

After rest and a late breakfast and a discussion of the situation, it
was deemed inexpedient to remain during the day, as the house was
immediately on a public highway, besides the danger of such unexplained
delay exciting the suspicion of the negroes on the place. We assumed the
character of cattle-buyers, Mr. Pollard furnishing us with cattle-whips
to make the assumption plausible. Our first objective point was the
residence of Judge W.S. Pryor, in the outskirts of New Castle. After
dinner Judge Pryor rode with us some distance, and put us in charge of a
guide, who conducted us that night to Major Helm's, near Shelbyville,
where we remained during the day of the 2d, and were there joined by
four of our command in citizen's dress. That night we passed through
Taylorsville, and stopped on the morning of the 3d near Bardstown.

The night of the 4th we resumed our journey, and stopped on the morning
of the 5th at Mr. McCormack's at Rolling Fork Creek, in Nelson County,
thence through Taylor, Green (passing near Greensburg), Adair, and
Cumberland counties, crossing Cumberland River some nine miles below
Burkesville. We crossed the Cumberland, which was quite high, by
swimming our horses by the side of a canoe. Near the place of crossing,
on the south side, we stopped overnight with a private in Colonel R.T.
Jacob's Federal cavalry, passing ourselves as citizens on the lookout
for stolen horses. Next morning, in approaching the road from
Burkesville to Sparta, Tennessee, we came out of a byway immediately in
the rear of and some hundred yards from a dwelling fronting on the
Burkesville-Sparta road, and screening us from view on the Burkesville
end. As we emerged from the woodland a woman appeared at the back door
of the dwelling and motioned us back. We withdrew from view, but kept in
sight of the door from which the signal to retire was given, when after
a few minutes the woman again appeared and signaled us to come forward.
She informed us that a body of Federal cavalry had just passed, going in
the direction of Burkesville, and that the officer in command informed
her that he was trying to intercept General Morgan. We followed the
Burkesville road something like a mile, and in sight of the rear-guard.
We crossed Obey's River near the mouth of Wolf, and halted for two days
in the hills of Overton County, where we came upon forty of our men, who
had been separated from the force on the expedition into Indiana and
Ohio. These men were placed under my command, and thence we moved
directly toward the Tennessee River, striking it about fifteen miles
below Kingston, at Bridges's Ferry, December 13. There was no boat to be
used in crossing, and the river was very high and angry, and about one
hundred and fifty yards wide. We obtained an ax from a house near by,
and proceeded to split logs and make a raft on which to cross, and by
which to swim our horses. We had learned that two miles and a half below
us was a Federal cavalry camp. This stimulated us to the utmost, but
notwithstanding our greatest efforts we were three hours in crossing
over five horses and twenty-five men. At this juncture the enemy
appeared opposite, and began to fire on our men.

[Illustration: "HURRY UP, MAJOR!"]

Here General Morgan gave characteristic evidence of devotion to his
men. When the firing began he insisted on staying with the dismounted
men and taking their chances, and was dissuaded only by my earnest
appeal and representation that such a course would endanger the men as
well as ourselves. The men, by scattering in the mountains, did
ultimately make their way to the Confederacy.

General Morgan, myself, and the four mounted men crossed over a spur of
the mountains and descended by a bridle-path to a ravine or gulch upon
the opposite side, and halted in some thick underbrush about ten steps
from a path passing along the ravine. Not knowing the country, it was
necessary to have information, or a guide, and observing a log cabin
about a hundred yards up the ravine, I rode there to get directions,
leaving General Morgan and the others on their horses near the path. I
found at the house a woman and some children. She could not direct me
over the other spur of the mountain, but consented that her ten-year-old
son might go with me and show the way. He mounted behind me, and by the
time he was seated I heard the clatter of hoofs down the ravine, and,
looking, I saw a body of about seventy-five cavalry coming directly
toward me, and passing within ten steps of where the general and his men
were sitting on their horses. I saw that my own escape was doubtful, and
that any halt or delay of the cavalry would certainly result in the
discovery and capture of General Morgan. I lifted the boy from behind me
and dashed to the head of the column, exclaiming, "Hurry up, Major, or
the rebels will escape!" He responded, "Who are you?" I answered, "I
belong to the home-guard company in the bend: hurry, or they are gone."
We dashed on, I riding by the major at the head of the column about half
a mile, when we came to where a dry branch crossed the road, and, as it
had been raining that day, it was easily seen from the soil that had
washed down from the side of the mountain that no one had passed there
since the rain. Seeing this, the command was halted, and the major again
demanded to know who I was. I replied that I was a member of General
Morgan's command. "Yes, ---- you! You have led me off from Morgan; I have
a notion to hang you for it." "No, that was not General Morgan. I have
served under him two years and know him well, and have no object in
deceiving you; for if it was Morgan, he is now safe." "You lie, for he
was recognized at the house where you got the ax. I would not have
missed getting him for ten thousand dollars. It would have been a
brigadier's commission to me. I will hang you for it." Up to this time I
had taken the situation smilingly and pleasantly, because I did not
apprehend violence; but the officer, livid with rage from
disappointment, directed one of his men to take the halter from his
horse and hang me to a designated limb of a tree. The halter was
adjusted around my neck, and thrown over the limb. Seeing that the
officer was desperately in earnest, I said, "Major, before you perform
this operation, allow me to make a suggestion." "Be quick about it,
then." "Suppose that _was_ General Morgan, as you insist, and I have led
you astray, as you insist, wouldn't I, being a member of his command,
deserve to be hung if I had not done what you charge me with?" He
dropped his head for a moment, looked up with a more pleasant
expression, and said, "Boys, he is right; let him alone."


I was placed under guard of two soldiers and sent across the river to
camp, while the officer in command took his men over the mountain in
search of General Morgan, who succeeded in making good his escape. The
next evening the major returned with his command from his unsuccessful
pursuit. He questioned me closely, wanting to know my name, and if I
was a private in the command, as I had stated to him at the time of my
capture. Remembering that in prison the underclothing of Captain Bullitt
had been exchanged for mine, and that I then had on his with his name in
ink, I assumed the name of Bullitt.

On the evening of the second day in this camp the major invited me to go
with him and take supper at the house of a Unionist half a mile away. We
spent the evening with the family until nine o'clock, when the major
suggested that we should go back to camp. On reaching the front gate,
twenty steps from the front veranda, he found that he had left his shawl
in the house, and returned to get it, requesting me to await his return.
A young lady of the family was standing in the door, and when he went in
to get the shawl, she closed the door. I was then perfectly free, but I
could not get my consent to go. For a moment of time while thus at
liberty I suffered intensely in the effort to determine what was the
proper thing to do. Upon the one hand was the tempting offer of freedom,
that was very sweet to me after so many months of close confinement;
while, on the other hand was the fact that the officer had treated me
with great kindness, more as a comrade than as a prisoner, that the
acceptance of his hospitality was a tacit parole and my escape would
involve him in trouble. I remained until his return. He was greatly
agitated, evidently realizing for the first time the extent of his
indiscretion, and surprised undoubtedly at finding me quietly awaiting
him. I had determined not to return to prison, but rather than break
faith I awaited some other occasion for escape. Notwithstanding all
this, something excited suspicion of me; for the next morning, while
lying in the tent apparently asleep, I heard the officer direct the
sergeant to detail ten men and guard me to Kingston, and he said to the
sergeant, "Put him on the meanest horse you have and be watchful or he
will escape." I was taken to Kingston and placed in jail, and there met
three of our party who had been captured on the north side of the
Tennessee River at the time we attempted to cross. They were R.C.
Church, William Church, and ---- Smith. After two days' confinement
there, we were sent under guard of twelve soldiers to the camp of the 3d
Kentucky Federal Infantry, under command of Colonel Henry C. Dunlap. The
camp was opposite the town of Loudon, and was prepared for winter
quarters. The large forest trees had been felled for a quarter of a mile
around the camp, and log huts built in regular lines for the occupation
of the troops. We were placed in one of these huts with three guards on
the inside, while the guards who delivered us there were located around
a campfire some ten steps in front of the only door to our hut, and
around the whole encampment was the regular camp guard. The next day, as
we had learned, we were to be sent to Knoxville, Tennessee, which was
then General Burnside's headquarters; and as I knew I would there be
recognized, and, on account of my previous escape, that my chances for
freedom would be reduced to a minimum, we determined to escape that

It was perfectly clear, the moon about full, making the camp almost as
light as day; and as the moon did not go down until a short time before
daylight, we concluded to await its setting. The door of the cabin was
fastened by a latch on the inside. The night was cold. We had only
pretended to sleep, awaiting our opportunity. When the moon was down we
arose, one after another, from our couches, and went to the fire to warm
us. We engaged the guards in pleasant conversation, detailing incidents
of the war. I stood with my right next the door, facing the fire and the
three guards, and my comrades standing immediately on my left. While
narrating some incident in which the guards were absorbed, I placed my
right hand upon the latch of the door, with a signal to the other
prisoners, and, without breaking the thread of the narrative, bade the
guards good night, threw the door open, ran through the guards in front
of the door, passed the sentinel at the camp limits, and followed the
road we had been brought in to the mountains. The guards in front of the
door fired upon me, as did the sentinel on his beat, the last shot being
so close to me that I felt the fire from the gun. Unfortunately and
unwittingly I threw the door open with such force that it rebounded and
caught my comrades on the inside. The guards assaulted them and
attempted to bayonet them, but they grappled, overpowered, and disarmed
the guards, and made terms with them before they would let them up. All
three of these prisoners, by great daring, escaped before they were
taken North to prison.

In running from the camp to the mountains I passed two sentinel fires,
and was pursued some distance at the point of the bayonet of the soldier
who had last fired at me. All was hurry and confusion in the camp. The
horses were bridled, saddled, and mounted, and rapidly ridden out on
the road I had taken; but by the time the pursuers reached the timber I
was high up the mountain side, and complacently watched them as they
hurried by. As I ran from my prison-house I fixed my eye upon Venus, the
morning star, as my guide, and traveled until daylight, when I reached
the summit of the mountain, where I found a sedge-grass field of about
twenty acres, in the middle of which I lay down on the frozen ground and
remained until the sun had gone down and darkness was gathering. During
the day the soldiers in search of me frequently passed within thirty
steps, so close that I could hear their conjectures as to where I was
most likely to be found. I remained so long in one position that I
thawed into the frozen earth; but the cool of the evening coming on, the
soil around me froze again, and I had some difficulty in releasing

As it grew dark I descended the mountain, and cautiously approached a
humble dwelling. Seeing no one but a woman and some children, I entered
and asked for supper. While my supper was being prepared, no little to
my disappointment, the husband, a strapping, manly-looking fellow, with
his rifle on his shoulder, walked in. I had already assumed a character,
and that was as agent to purchase horses for the Federal Government. I
had come down that evening on the train from Knoxville, and was anxious
to get a canoe and some one to paddle me down to Kingston, where I had
an engagement for the next day to meet some gentlemen who were to have
horses there, by agreement with me, for sale. Could the gentleman tell
me where I could get a canoe and some one to go with me? He said the
rebels were so annoying that all boats and canoes had been destroyed to
keep them from crossing. He knew of but one canoe, owned by a good Union
man some two miles down the river. Would he be kind enough to show me
the way there, that I might get an early start and keep my engagement?

After supper my hospitable entertainer walked with me to the residence
of the owner of the canoe. The family had retired, and when the owner of
the premises came out, there came with him a Federal soldier who was
staying overnight with him. This was not encouraging. After making my
business known and offering large compensation, the owner of the canoe
agreed to start with me by daylight. During my walk down there, my guide
had mentioned that a certain person living opposite the place where the
canoe was owned had several horses that he would like to sell. I
suggested that, in order to save time and get as early a start as
possible for Kingston, the canoe-owner should take me over to see to the
purchase of these horses that night. The river was high and dangerous to
cross at night, but by promises of compensation I was taken over and
landed some quarter of a mile from the house. With an injunction to
await me, when the canoe landed I started toward the house; but when out
of sight I changed my course and took to the mountains.

For eight days I traveled by night, taking my course by the stars, lying
up in the mountains by day, and getting food early in the evening
wherever I could find a place where there were no men. On the 27th of
December I reached the Confederate lines near Dalton, Georgia.



Among all the thrilling incidents in the history of Libby Prison, none
exceeds in interest the celebrated tunnel escape which occurred on the
night of February 9, 1864. I was one of the 109 Union officers who
passed through the tunnel, and one of the ill-fated 48 that were
retaken. I and two companions--Lieutenant Charles H. Morgan of the 21st
Wisconsin regiment, who has since served several terms in Congress from
Missouri, and Lieutenant William L. Watson of the same company and
regiment--when recaptured by the Confederate cavalry were in sight of
the Union picket posts. Strange as it may appear, no accurate and
complete account has ever been given to the public of this, the most
ingenious and daring escape made on either side during the civil war.
Twelve of the party of fifteen who dug the tunnel are still living,
including their leader.

Thomas E. Rose, colonel of the 77th Pennsylvania Volunteers, the
engineer and leader in the plot throughout,--now a captain in the 16th
United States Infantry,--was taken prisoner at the battle of
Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. On his way to Richmond he escaped from
his guards at Weldon, N.C., but, after a day's wandering about the pine
forests with a broken foot, was retaken by a detachment of Confederate
cavalry and sent to Libby Prison, Richmond, where he arrived October 1,

[Illustration: COLONEL THOMAS E. ROSE.]

Libby Prison fronts on Carey street, Richmond, and stands upon a hill
which descends abruptly to the canal, from which its southern wall is
divided only by a street, and having a vacant lot on the east. The
building was wholly detached, making it a comparatively easy matter to
guard the prison securely with a small force and keep every door and
window in full view from without. As an additional measure of safety,
prisoners were not allowed on the ground-floor, except that in the
daytime they were permitted to use the first floor of the middle
section for a cook-room. The interior embraced nine large
warehouse-rooms 105 × 45, with eight feet from each floor to ceiling,
except the upper floor, which gave more room, owing to the pitch of the
gable roof. The abrupt slant of the hill gives the building an
additional story on the south side. The whole building really embraces
three sections, and these were originally separated by heavy blank
walls. The Confederates cut doors through the walls of the two upper
floors, which comprised the prisoners' quarters, and they were thus
permitted to mingle freely with each other; but there was no
communication whatever between the three large rooms on the first floor.
Beneath these floors were three cellars of the same dimensions as the
rooms above them, and, like them, divided from each other by massive
blank walls. For ready comprehension, let these be designated the east,
middle, and west cellars. Except in the lofts known as "Streight's room"
and "Milroy's room," which were occupied by the earliest inmates of
Libby in 1863, there was no furniture in the building, and only a few of
the early comers possessed such a luxury as an old army blanket or a
knife, cup, and tin plate. As a rule, the prisoner, by the time he
reached Libby, found himself devoid of earthly goods save the meager and
dust-begrimed summer garb in which he had made his unlucky campaign.

At night the six large lofts presented strange war-pictures, over which
a single tallow candle wept copious and greasy tears that ran down over
the petrified loaf of corn-broad, Borden's condensed-milk can, or
bottle in which it was set. The candle flickered on until "taps," when
the guards, with unconscious irony shouted, "Lights out!"--at which
signal it usually disappeared amid a shower of boots and such other
missiles as were at hand. The sleepers covered the six floors, lying in
ranks, head to head and foot to foot, like prostrate lines of battle.
For the general good, and to preserve something like military precision,
these ranks (especially when cold weather compelled them to lie close
for better warmth) were subdivided into convenient squads under charge
of a "captain," who was invested with authority to see that every man
lay "spoon fashion."


No consideration of personal convenience was permitted to interfere with
the general comfort of the "squad." Thus, when the hard floor could no
longer be endured on the right side,--especially by the thin men,--the
captain gave the command, "Attention, Squad Number Four! Prepare to
spoon! One--two--spoon!" And the whole squad flopped over on the left

The first floor on the west of the building was used by the Confederates
as an office and for sleeping-quarters for the prison officials, and a
stairway guarded by sentinels led from this to Milroy's room just above
it. As before explained, the middle room was shut off from the office by
a heavy blank wall. This room, known as the "kitchen," had two stoves in
it, one of which stood about ten feet from the heavy door that opened on
Carey street sidewalk, and behind the door was a fireplace. The room
contained also several long pine tables with permanent seats attached,
such as may be commonly seen at picnic grounds. The floor was constantly
inundated here by several defective and overworked water-faucets and a
leaky trough.

A stairway without banisters led up on the southwest end of the floor,
above which was a room known as the "Chickamauga room," being chiefly
occupied by Chickamauga prisoners. The sentinel who had formerly been
placed at this stairway at night, to prevent the prisoners from entering
the kitchen, had been withdrawn when, in the fall of 1863, the horrible
condition of the floor made it untenable for sleeping purposes.

The uses to which the large ground-floor room east of the kitchen was
put varied during the first two years of the war; but early in October
of 1863, and thereafter, it was permanently used and known as the
hospital, and it contained a large number of cots, which were never
unoccupied. An apartment had been made at the north or front of the
room, which served as a doctor's office and laboratory. Like those
adjoining it on the west, this room had a large door opening on Carey
street, which was heavily bolted and guarded on the outside.

[Illustration: LIBBY PRISON IN 1865]

The arrival of the Chickamauga prisoners greatly crowded the upper
floors, and compelled the Confederates to board up a small portion of
the east cellar at its southeast corner as an additional cook-room,
several large caldrons having been set in a rudely built furnace; so,
for a short period, the prisoners were allowed down there in the daytime
to cook. A stairway led from this cellar to the room above, which
subsequently became the hospital.

Such, in brief, was the condition of things when Colonel Rose arrived at
the prison. From the hour of his coming, a means of escape became his
constant and eager study; and, with this purpose in view, he made a
careful and minute survey of the entire premises.

From the windows of the upper east or "Gettysburg room" he could look
across the vacant lot on the east and get a glimpse of the yard between,
two adjacent buildings which faced the canal and Carey street
respectively, and he estimated the intervening space at about seventy
feet. From the south windows he looked out across a street upon the
canal and James River, running parallel with each other, the two streams
at this point being separated by a low and narrow strip of land. This
strip periodically disappeared when protracted seasons of heavy rain
came, or when spring floods so rapidly swelled the river that the latter
invaded the cellars of Libby. At such times it was common to see
enormous swarms of rats come out from the lower doors and windows of the
prison and make head for dry land in swimming platoons amid the cheers
of the prisoners in the upper windows. On one or two occasions Rose
observed workmen descending from the middle of the south-side street
into a sewer running through its center, and concluded that this sewer
must have various openings to the canal both to the east and west of the

The north portion of the cellar contained a large quantity of loose
packing-straw, covering the floor to an average depth of two feet; and
this straw afforded shelter, especially at night, for a large colony of
rats, which gave the place the name of "Rat Hell."

[Illustration: MAJOR A.G. HAMILTON.]

In one afternoon's inspection of this dark end, Rose suddenly
encountered a fellow-prisoner, Major A.G. Hamilton, of the 12th Kentucky
Cavalry. A confiding friendship followed, and the two men entered at
once upon the plan of gaining their liberty. They agreed that the most
feasible scheme was a tunnel, to begin in the rear of the little
kitchen-apartment at the southeast corner of Rat Hell. Without more ado
they secured a broken shovel and two case-knives and began operations.

Within a few days the Confederates decided upon certain changes in the
prison for the greater security of their captives. A week afterward the
cook-room was abandoned, the stairway nailed up, the prisoners sent to
the upper floors, and all communication with the east cellar was cut
off. This was a sore misfortune, for this apartment was the only
possible base of successful tunnel operations. Colonel Rose now began to
study other practicable means of escape, and spent night after night
examining the posts and watching the movements of the sentinels on the
four sides of Libby. One very dark night, during a howling storm, Rose
again, unexpectedly met Hamilton in a place where no prisoner could
reasonably be looked for at such an hour. For an instant the
impenetrable darkness made it impossible for either to determine whether
he had met a friend or foe: neither had a weapon, yet each involuntarily
felt for one, and each made ready to spring at the other's throat, when
a flash of lightning revealed their identity. The two men had availed
themselves of the darkness of the night and the roar of the storm to
attempt an escape from a window of the upper west room to a platform
that ran along the west outer wall of the prison, from which they hoped
to reach the ground and elude the sentinels, whom they conjectured would
be crouched in the shelter of some doorway or other partial refuge that
might be available; but so vivid and frequent were the lightning flashes
that the attempt was seen to be extremely hazardous.

Rose now spoke of the entrance from the south-side street to the middle
cellar, having frequently noticed the entrance and exit of workmen at
that point, and expressed his belief that if an entrance could be
effected to this cellar it would afford them the only chance of slipping
past the sentinels.

He hunted up a bit of pine-wood which he whittled into a sort of wedge,
and the two men went down into the dark, vacant kitchen directly over
this cellar. With the wedge Rose pried a floor-board out of its place,
and made an opening large enough to let himself through. He had never
been in this middle cellar, and was wholly ignorant of its contents or
whether it was occupied by Confederates or workmen; but as he had made
no noise, and the place was in profound darkness, he decided to go down
and reconnoiter.

He wrenched off one of the long boards that formed a table-seat in the
kitchen, and found that it was long enough to touch the cellar base and
protrude a foot or so above the kitchen floor. By this means he easily
descended, leaving Hamilton to keep watch above.

The storm still raged fiercely, and the faint beams of a street-lamp
revealed the muffled form of the sentinel slowly pacing his beat and
carrying his musket at "secure" arms. Creeping softly toward him along
the cellar wall, he now saw that what he had supposed was a door was
simply a naked opening to the street; and further inspection disclosed
the fact that there was but one sentinel on the south side of the
prison. Standing in the dark shadow, he could easily have touched this
man with his hand as he repeatedly passed him. Groping about, he found
various appurtenances indicating that the south end of this cellar was
used for a carpenter's shop, and that the north end was partitioned off
into a series of small cells with padlocked doors, and that through each
door a square hole, a foot in diameter, was cut. Subsequently it was
learned that these dismal cages were alternately used for the
confinement of "troublesome prisoners"--_i.e._, those who had
distinguished themselves by ingenious attempts to escape--and also for
runaway slaves, and Union spies under sentence of death.

At the date of Rose's first reconnaissance to this cellar, these cells
were vacant and unguarded. The night was far spent, and Rose proceeded
to return to the kitchen, where Hamilton was patiently waiting for him.

The very next day a rare good fortune befell Rose. By an agreement
between the commissioners of exchange, several bales of clothing and
blankets had been sent by our government to the famishing Union
prisoners on Belle Isle, a number of whom had already frozen to death. A
committee of Union officers then confined in Libby, consisting of
General Neal Dow, Colonel Alexander von Shrader, Lieut.-Colonel Joseph
F. Boyd, and Colonel Harry White, having been selected by the
Confederates to supervise the distribution of the donation, Colonel
White had, by a shrewd bit of finesse, "confiscated" a fine rope by
which one of the bales was tied, and this he now presented to Colonel
Rose. It was nearly a hundred feet long, an inch thick, and almost new.

It was hardly dark the following night before Rose and Hamilton were
again in the kitchen, and as soon as all was quiet Rose fastened his
rope to one of the supporting posts, took up the floor-plank as before,
and both men descended to the middle cellar. They were not a little
disappointed to discover that where there had been but one sentinel on
the south side there were now two. On this and for several nights they
contented themselves with sly visits of observation to this cellar,
during which Rose found and secreted various tools, among which were a
broad-ax, a saw, two chisels, several files, and a carpenter's square.
One dark night both men went down and determined to try their luck at
passing the guards. Rose made the attempt and succeeded in passing the
first man, but unluckily was seen by the second. The latter called
lustily for the corporal of the guard, and the first excitedly cocked
his gun and peered into the dark door through which Rose swiftly
retreated. The guard called, "Who goes there?" but did not enter the
dark cellar. Rose and Hamilton mounted the rope and had just succeeded
in replacing the plank when the corporal and a file of men entered the
cellar with a lantern. They looked into every barrel and under every
bench, but no sign of Yankees appeared; and as on this night it happened
that several workmen were sleeping in an apartment at the north end, the
corporal concluded that the man seen by the sentinel was one of these,
notwithstanding their denial when awakened and questioned. After a long
parley the Confederates withdrew, and Hamilton and Rose, depressed in
spirits, went to bed, Rose as usual concealing his rope.

Before the week was out they were at it again. On one of these nights
Rose suddenly came upon one of the workmen, and, swift as thought,
seized the hidden broad-ax with the intention of braining him if he
attempted an alarm; but the poor fellow was too much paralyzed to cry
out, and when finally he did recover his voice and his wits, it was to
beg Rose, "for God's sake," not to come in there again at night.
Evidently the man never mentioned the circumstance, for Rose's
subsequent visits, which were soon resumed, disclosed no evidence of a
discovery by the Confederates.

Hamilton agreed with Rose that there remained apparently but one means
of escape, and that was by force. To overpower the two sentinels on the
south side would have been an easy matter, but how to do it and not
alarm the rest of the guard, and, in consequence, the whole city, was
the problem. To secure these sentinels, without alarming their comrades
on the east, west, and north sides of the prison, would require the
swift action of several men of nerve acting in concert. Precious time
was passing, and possibly further alterations might be decided upon that
would shut them off from the middle cellar, as they had already been
from their original base of operations. Moreover, a new cause of anxiety
now appeared. It soon transpired that their nocturnal prowlings and
close conferences together had already aroused the belief among many
observant prisoners that a plan of escape was afoot, and both men were
soon eagerly plied with guarded inquiries, and besought by their
questioners to admit them to their confidence.

[Illustration: LIBBY PRISON IN 1884.]

Hamilton and Rose now decided to organize an escaping party. A number of
men were then sworn to secrecy and obedience by Colonel Rose, who was
the only recognized leader in all operations that followed. This party
soon numbered seventy men. The band was then taken down by Rose in
convenient details to the middle cellar or carpenter's shop on many
nights, to familiarize each man with the place and with his special part
in the plot, and also to take advantage of any favoring circumstances
that might arise.

When all had by frequent visits become familiar with the rendezvous,
Rose and the whole party descended one night with the determination to
escape at whatever hazard. The men were assigned to their several
stations as usual, and a selected few were placed by the leader close to
the entrance, in front of which the sentinel was regularly passing. Rose
commanded strict silence, and placed himself near the exit preparatory
to giving the signal. It was an exciting moment, and the bravest heart
beat fast. A signal came, but not the one they looked for. At the very
moment of action, the man whom Rose had left at the floor-opening in the
kitchen gave the danger-signal! The alert leader had, with consummate
care, told every man beforehand that he must never be surprised by this
signal,--it was a thing to be counted upon,--and that noise and panic
were of all things to be avoided as fatal folly in their operations. As
a consequence, when this signal came, Rose quietly directed the men to
fall in line and reascend to the kitchen rapidly, but without noise,
which they did by the long rope which now formed the easy means of
communication from the kitchen to the cellar.

Rose remained below to cover the retreat, and when the last man got up
he followed him, replaced the board in the floor, and concealed the
rope. He had barely done so when a detail of Confederate guards entered
the kitchen from the Carey street door, and, headed by an officer,
marched straight in his direction. Meantime the party had disappeared up
the stairway and swiftly made their way over their prostrate comrades'
forms to their proper sleeping-places. Rose, being the last up, and
having the floor to fix, had now no time to disappear like his
companions, at least without suspicious haste. He accordingly took a
seat at one of the tables, and, putting an old pipe in his mouth, coolly
awaited the approach of the Confederates. The officer of the guard came
along, swinging his lantern almost in his face, stared at him for a
second, and without a remark or a halt marched past him and ascended
with his escort to the Chickamauga room. The entrance of a guard and
their march around the prison, although afterward common enough after
taps, was then an unusual thing, causing much talk among the prisoners,
and to the mind of Rose and his fellow-plotters was indicative of
aroused suspicion on the part of the Confederates.

The whispering groups of men next day, and the number of his eager
questioners, gave the leader considerable concern; and Hamilton
suggested, as a measure of safety rather than choice, that some of the
mischievous talk of escape would be suppressed by increasing the party.
This was acted upon; the men, like the rest, were put under oath by
Rose, and the party was thus increased to four hundred and twenty. This
force would have been enough to overpower the prison guard in a few
minutes, but the swift alarm certain to ensue in the streets and spread
like wild-fire over Richmond, the meager information possessed by the
prisoners as to the strength and position of the nearest Federal
troops, the strongly guarded labyrinth of breastworks that encircled the
city, and the easy facilities for instant pursuit at the command of the
Confederates, put the success of such an undertaking clearly out of the
range of probability, unless, indeed, some unusual favoring contingency
should arise, such as the near approach of a coöperating column of
Federal cavalry.

Nor was this an idle dream, as the country now knows, for even at this
period General Kilpatrick was maturing his plans for that bold
expedition for the rescue of the prisoners at Richmond and Belle Isle in
which the lamented and heroic young cripple, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren,
lost his life. Rose saw that a break out of Libby without such outside
assistance promised nothing but a fruitless sacrifice of life and the
savage punishment of the survivors. Hence the project, although eagerly
and exhaustively discussed, was prudently abandoned.

All talk of escape by the general crowd now wholly ceased, and the
captives resigned themselves to their fate and waited with depressed
spirits for the remote contingency of an exchange. The quiet thus gained
was Rose's opportunity. He sought Hamilton and told him that they must
by some stratagem regain access to Rat Hell, and that the tunnel project
must be at once revived. The latter assented to the proposition, and the
two began earnestly to study the means of gaining an entrance without
discovery into this coveted base of operations.

They could not even get into the room above the cellar they wanted to
reach, for that was the hospital, and the kitchen's heavy wall shut
them off therefrom. Neither could they break the heavy wall that divided
this cellar from the carpenter's shop, which had been the nightly
rendezvous of the party while the breakout was under consideration, for
the breach certainly would be discovered by the workmen or Confederates,
some of whom were in there constantly during daylight.

There was, in fact, but one plan by which Rat Hell could be reached
without detection, and the conception of this device and its successful
execution were due to the stout-hearted Hamilton. This was to cut a hole
in the back of the kitchen fireplace; the incision must be just far
enough to preserve the opposite or hospital side intact. It must then be
cut downward to a point below the level of the hospital floor, then
eastward into Rat Hell, the completed opening thus to describe the
letter "S." It must be wide enough to let a man through, yet the wall
must not be broken on the hospital side above the floor, nor marred on
the carpenter's-shop side below it. Such a break would be fatal, for
both of these points were conspicuously exposed to the view of the
Confederates every hour in the day. Moreover, it was imperatively
necessary that all trace of the beginning of the opening should be
concealed, not only from the Confederate officials and guards, who were
constantly passing the spot every day, but from the hundreds of
uninitiated prisoners who crowded around the stove just in front of it
from dawn till dark.

Work could be possible only between the hours of ten at night, when the
room was generally abandoned by the prisoners because of its inundated
condition, and four o'clock in the morning, when the earliest risers
were again astir. It was necessary to do the work with an old jack-knife
and one of the chisels previously secured by Rose. It must be done in
darkness and without noise, for a vigilant sentinel paced on the Carey
street sidewalk just outside the door and within ten feet of the
fireplace. A rubber blanket was procured, and the soot from the chimney
carefully swept into it. Hamilton, with his old knife, cut the mortar
between the bricks and pried a dozen of them out, being careful to
preserve them whole.

The rest of the incision was made in accordance with the design
described, but no conception could have been formed beforehand of the
sickening tediousness of cutting an S-shaped hole through a heavy wall
with a feeble old jack-knife, in stolen hours of darkness. Rose guarded
his comrade against the constant danger of interruption by alert enemies
on one side and by blundering friends on the other; and, as frequently
happens in human affairs, their friends gave them more trouble than
their foes. Night after night passed, and still the two men got up after
taps from their hard beds, and descended to the dismal and reeking
kitchen to bore for liberty. When the sentinel's call at Castle Thunder
and at Libby announced four o'clock, the dislodged bricks were carefully
replaced, and the soot previously gathered in the gum blanket was flung
in handfuls against the restored wall, filling the seams between the
bricks so thoroughly as to defy detection. At last, after many weary
nights, Hamilton's heroic patience and skill were rewarded, and the way
was open to the coveted base of operations, Rat Hell.

Now occurred a circumstance that almost revealed the plot and nearly
ended in a tragedy. When the opening was finished, the long rope was
made fast to one of the kitchen supporting posts, and Rose proceeded to
descend and reconnoiter. He got partly through with ease, but lost his
hold in such a manner that his body slipped through so as to pinion his
arms and leave him wholly powerless either to drop lower or return--the
bend of the hole being such as to cramp his back and neck terribly and
prevent him from breathing. He strove desperately, but each effort only
wedged him more firmly in the awful vise. Hamilton sprang to his aid and
did his utmost to effect his release; but, powerful as he was, he could
not budge him. Rose was gasping for breath and rapidly getting fainter,
but even in this fearful strait he refrained from an outcry that would
certainly alarm the guards just outside the door. Hamilton saw that
without speedy relief his comrade must soon smother. He dashed through
the long, dark room up the stairway, over the forms of several hundred
men, and disregarding consequences and savage curses in the dark and
crowded room, he trampled upon arms, legs, faces, and stomachs, leaving
riot and blasphemy in his track among the rudely awakened and now
furious lodgers of the Chickamauga room. He sought the sleeping-place of
Major George H. Fitzsimmons, but he was missing. He, however, found
Lieutenant F.F. Bennett, of the 18th Regulars (since a major in the 9th
United States Cavalry), to whom he told the trouble in a few hasty
words. Both men fairly flew across the room, dashed down the stairs,
and by their united efforts Rose, half dead and quite speechless, was
drawn up from the fearful trap.

Hamilton managed slightly to increase the size of the hole and provide
against a repetition of the accident just narrated, and all being now
ready, the two men entered eagerly upon the work before them. They
appropriated one of the wooden spittoons of the prison, and to each side
attached a piece of clothes-line which they had been permitted to have
to dry clothes on. Several bits of candle and the larger of the two
chisels were also taken to the operating-cellar. They kept this secret
well, and worked alone for many nights. In fact, they would have so
continued, but they found that after digging about four feet their
candle would go out in the vitiated air. Rose did the digging, and
Hamilton fanned air into him with his hat: even then he had to emerge
into the cellar every few minutes to breathe. Rose could dig, but needed
the light and air; and Hamilton could not fan, and drag out and deposit
the excavated earth, and meantime keep a lookout. In fact, it was
demonstrated that there was slim chance of succeeding without more
assistance, and it was decided to organize a party large enough for
effective work by reliefs. As a preliminary step, and to afford the
means of more rapid communication with the cellar from the fireplace
opening, the long rope obtained from Colonel White was formed by
Hamilton into a rope-ladder with convenient wooden rungs. This
alteration considerably increased its bulk, and added to Rose's
difficulty in concealing it from curious eyes.

He now made a careful selection of thirteen men besides himself and
Hamilton, and bound them by a solemn oath to secrecy and strict
obedience. To form this party as he wanted it required some diplomacy,
as it was known that the Confederates had on more than one occasion sent
cunning spies into Libby disguised as Union prisoners, for the detection
of any contemplated plan of escape. Unfortunately, the complete list of
the names of the party now formed has not been preserved; but among the
party, besides Rose and Hamilton, were Captain John Sterling, 30th
Indiana; Captain John Lucas, 5th Kentucky Cavalry; Captain Isaac N.
Johnson, 6th Kentucky Cavalry; and Lieutenant F.F. Bennett, 18th

The party, being now formed, were taken to Rat Hell and their several
duties explained to them by Rose, who was invested with full authority
over the work in hand. Work was begun in rear of the little kitchen-room
previously abandoned at the southeast corner of the cellar. To
systematize the labor, the party was divided into squads of five each,
which gave the men one night on duty and two off, Rose assigning each
man to the branch of work in which experiments proved him the most
proficient. He was himself, by long odds, the best digger of the party;
while Hamilton had no equal for ingenious mechanical skill in contriving
helpful, little devices to overcome or lessen the difficulties that
beset almost every step of the party's progress.

The first plan was to dig down alongside the east wall and under it
until it was passed, then turn southward and make for the large street
sewer next the canal and into which Rose had before noticed workmen
descending. This sewer was a large one, believed to be fully six feet
high, and, if it could be gained, there could be little doubt that an
adjacent opening to the canal would be found to the eastward. It was
very soon revealed, however, that the lower side of Libby was built upon
ponderous timbers, below which they could not hope to penetrate with
their meager stock of tools--such, at least, was the opinion of nearly
all the party. Rose nevertheless determined that the effort should be
made, and they were soon at work with old penknives and case-knives
hacked into saws. After infinite labor they at length cut through the
great logs, only to be met by an unforeseen and still more formidable
barrier. Their tunnel, in fact, had penetrated below the level of the
canal. Water began to filter in--feebly at first, but at last it broke
in with a rush that came near drowning Rose, who barely had time to make
his escape. This opening was therefore plugged up; and to do this
rapidly and leave no dangerous traces put the party to their wit's end.

An attempt was next made to dig into a small sewer that ran from the
southeast corner of the prison into the main sewer. After a number of
nights of hard labor, this opening was extended to a point below a brick
furnace in which were incased several caldrons. The weight of this
furnace caused a cave-in near the sentinel's path outside the prison
wall. Next day, a group of officers were seen eying the break curiously.
Rose, listening at a window above, heard the words "rats" repeated by
them several times, and took comfort. The next day he entered the cellar
alone, feeling that if the suspicions of the Confederates were really
awakened a trap would be set for him in Rat Hell, and determined, if
such were really the case, that he would be the only victim caught. He
therefore entered the little partitioned corner room with some anxiety,
but there was no visible evidence of a visit by the guards, and his
spirits again rose.

The party now reassembled, and an effort was made to get into the small
sewer that ran from the cook-room to the big sewer which Rose was so
eager to reach; but soon it was discovered, to the utter dismay of the
weary party, that this wood-lined sewer was too small to let a man
through it. Still it was hoped by Rose that by removing the plank with
which it was lined the passage could be made. The spirits of the party
were by this time considerably dashed by their repeated failures and
sickening work; but the undaunted Rose, aided by Hamilton, persuaded the
men to another effort, and soon the knives and toy saws were at work
again with vigor. The work went on so swimmingly that it was confidently
believed that an entrance to the main sewer would be gained on the night
of January 26, 1864.

On the night of the 25th two men had been left down in Rat Hell to cover
any remaining traces of a tunnel, and when night came again it was
expected that all would be ready for the escape between eight and nine
o'clock. In the mean time, the two men were to enter and make careful
examination of the main sewer and its adjacent outlets. The party, which
was now in readiness for its march to the Federal camps, waited tidings
from these two men all next day in tormenting anxiety, and the weary
hours went by on leaden wings. At last the sickening word came that the
planks yet to be removed before they could enter the main sewer were of
seasoned oak--hard as bone, and three inches thick. Their feeble tools
were now worn out or broken; they could no longer get air to work, or
keep a light in the horrible pit, which was reeking with cold mud; in
short, any attempt at further progress with the utensils at hand was

Most of the party were now really ill from the foul stench in which they
had lived so long. The visions of liberty that had first lured them to
desperate efforts under the inspiration of Rose and Hamilton had at last
faded, and one by one they lost heart and hope, and frankly told Colonel
Rose that they could do no more. The party was therefore disbanded, and
the yet sanguine leader, with Hamilton for his sole helper, continued
the work alone. Up to this time thirty-nine nights had been spent in the
work of excavation. The two men now made a careful examination of the
northeast corner of the cellar, at which point the earth's surface
outside the prison wall, being eight or nine feet higher than at the
canal or south side, afforded a better place to dig than the latter,
being free from water and with clay-top enough to support itself. The
unfavorable feature of this point was that the only possible terminus of
a tunnel was a yard between the buildings beyond the vacant lot on the
east of Libby. Another objection was that, even when the tunnel should
be made to that point, the exit of any escaping party must be made
through an arched wagon-way under the building that faced the street on
the canal side, and every man must emerge on the sidewalk in sight of
the sentinel on the south side of the prison, the intervening space
being in the full glare of the gas-lamp. It was carefully noted, however
by Rose, long before this, that the west end of the beat of the nearest
sentinel was between fifty and sixty feet from the point of egress, and
it was concluded that by walking away at the moment the sentinel
commenced his pace westward, one would be far enough into the shadow to
make it improbable that the color of his clothing could be made out by
the sentinel when he faced about to return toward the eastern end of his
beat, which terminated ten to fifteen feet east of the prison wall. It
was further considered that as these sentinels had for their special
duty the guarding of the prison, they would not be eager to burden
themselves with the duty of molesting persons seen in the vicinity
outside of their jurisdiction, provided, of course, that the retreating
forms--many of which they must certainly see--were not recognized as
Yankees. All others they might properly leave for the challenge and
usual examination of the provost guard who patrolled the streets of

The wall of that east cellar had to be broken in three places before a
place was found where the earth was firm enough to support a tunnel. The
two men worked on with stubborn patience, but their progress was
painfully slow. Rose dug assiduously, and Hamilton alternately fanned
air to his comrade and dragged out and hid the excavated dirt, but the
old difficulty confronted him. The candle would not burn, the air could
not be fanned fast enough with a hat, and the dirt hidden, without
better contrivances or additional help.

Rose now reassembled the party, and selected from them a number who were
willing to renew the attempt.[12] Against the east wall stood a series
of stone fenders abutting inward, and these, being at uniform intervals
of about twenty feet, cast deep shadows that fell toward the prison
front. In one of these dark recesses the wall was pierced, well up
toward the Carey street end. The earth here has very densely compressed
sand, that offered a strong resistance to the broad-bladed chisel, which
was their only effective implement, and it was clear that a long turn of
hard work must be done to penetrate under the fifty-foot lot to the
objective point. The lower part of the tunnel was about six inches above
the level of the cellar floor, and its top about two and a half feet.
Absolute accuracy was of course impossible, either in giving the hole a
perfectly horizontal direction or in preserving uniform dimensions; but
a fair level was preserved, and the average diameter of the tunnel was a
little over two feet. Usually one man would dig, and fill the spittoon
with earth; upon the signal of a gentle pull, an assistant would drag
the load into the cellar by the clothes-lines fastened to each side of
this box and then hide it under the straw; a third constantly fanned air
into the tunnel with a rubber blanket stretched across a frame, the
invention of the ingenious Hamilton; a fourth would give occasional
relief to the last two; while a fifth would keep a lookout.

[Footnote 12: The party now consisted of Colonel Thomas E. Rose, 77th
Pennsylvania; Major A.G. Hamilton, 12th Kentucky; Captain Terrance
Clark, 79th Illinois; Major George H. Fitzsimmons, 30th Indiana; Captain
John F. Gallagher, 2d Ohio: Captain W.S.B. Randall, 2d Ohio; Captain
John Lucas, 5th Kentucky; Captain I.N. Johnson, 6th Kentucky; Major B.B.
McDonald, 101st Ohio; Lieutenant N.S. McKean, 21st Illinois; Lieutenant
David Garbett, 77th Pennsylvania; Lieutenant J.C. Fislar, 7th Indiana
Artillery; Lieutenant John D. Simpson, 10th Indiana; Lieutenant John
Mitchell, 79th Illinois; and Lieutenant Eli Foster, 30th Indiana. This
party was divided into three reliefs, as before, and the work of
breaking the cellar wall was successfully done the first night by
McDonald and Clark.]

The danger of discovery was continual, for the guards were under
instructions from the prison commandant to make occasional visits to
every accessible part of the building; so that it was not unusual for a
sergeant and several men to enter the south door of Rat Hell in the
daytime, while the diggers were at labor in the dark north end. During
these visits the digger would watch the intruders with his head sticking
out of the tunnel, while the others would crouch behind the low stone
fenders, or crawl quickly under the straw. This was, however, so
uninviting a place that the Confederates made this visit as brief as a
nominal compliance with their orders permitted, and they did not often
venture into the dark north end. The work was fearfully monotonous, and
the more so because absolute silence was commanded, the men moving about
mutely in the dark. The darkness caused them frequently to become
bewildered and lost; and as Rose could not call out for them, he had
often to hunt all over the big dungeon to gather them up and pilot them
to their places.

The difficulty of forcing air to the digger, whose body nearly filled
the tunnel, increased as the hole was extended, and compelled the
operator to back often into the cellar for air, and for air that was
itself foul enough to sicken a strong man.

But they were no longer harassed with the water and timbers that had
impeded their progress at the south end. Moreover, experience was daily
making each man more proficient in the work. Rose urged them on with
cheery enthusiasm, and their hopes rose high, for already they had
penetrated beyond the sentinel's beat and were nearing the goal.

The party off duty kept a cautious lookout from the upper east windows
for any indications of suspicion on the part of the Confederates. In
this extreme caution was necessary, both to avert the curiosity of
prisoners in those east rooms, and to keep out of the range of bullets
from the guards, who were under a standing order to fire at a head if
seen at a window, or at a hand if placed on the bars that secured them.
A sentinel's bullet one day cut a hole in the ear of Lieutenant Hammond;
another officer was wounded in the face by a bullet, which fortunately
first splintered against one of the window-bars; and a captain of an
Ohio regiment was shot through the head and instantly killed while
reading a newspaper. He was violating no rule whatever, and when shot
was from eight to ten feet inside the window through which the bullet
came. This was a wholly unprovoked and wanton murder; the cowardly
miscreant had fired the shot while he was off duty, and from the north
sidewalk of Carey street. The guards (home guards they were) used, in
fact, to gun for prisoners' heads from their posts below, pretty much
after the fashion of boys after squirrels; and the whizz of a bullet
through the windows became too common an occurrence to occasion remark
unless some one was shot.

Under a standing rule, the twelve hundred prisoners were counted twice
each day, the first count being made about nine in the morning, and the
last about four in the afternoon. This duty was habitually done by the
clerk of the prison, E.W. Ross, a civilian employed by the commandant.
He was christened "Little Ross"[13] by the prisoners, because of his
diminutive size. Ross was generally attended by either "Dick" Turner,
Adjutant Latouche, or Sergeant George Stansil, of the 18th Georgia, with
a small guard to keep the prisoners in four closed ranks during the
count. The commandant of the prison, Major Thomas P. Turner (no relative
of Dick's), seldom came up-stairs.

[Footnote 13: "Little Ross" was burned to death, with other guests, at
the Spotswood House, Richmond, in 1873.]

To conceal the absence of the five men who were daily at work at the
tunnel, their comrades of the party off digging duty resorted, under
Rose's supervision, to a device of "repeating." This scheme, which was
of vital importance to hoodwink the Confederates and avert mischievous
curiosity among the uninformed prisoners, was a hazardous business that
severely taxed the ingenuity and strained the nerve of the leader and
his coadjutors. The manner of the fraud varied with circumstances, but
in general it was worked by five of Rose's men, after being counted at
or near the head of the line, stooping down and running toward the foot
of the ranks, where a few moments later they were counted a second time,
thus making Ross's book balance. The whole five, however, could not
always do this undiscovered, and perhaps but three of the number could
repeat. These occasional mishaps threatened to dethrone the reason of
the puzzled clerk; but in the next count the "repeaters" would succeed
in their game, and for the time all went well, until one day some of the
prisoners took it into their heads, "just for the fun of the thing," to
imitate the repeaters. Unconscious of the curses that the party were
mentally hurling at them, the meddlers' sole purpose was to make "Little
Ross" mad. In this they certainly met with signal success, for the
reason of the mystified clerk seemed to totter as he repeated the count
over and over in the hope of finding out how one careful count would
show that three prisoners were missing and the next an excess of
fifteen. Finally Ross, lashed into uncontrollable fury by the sarcastic
remarks of his employers and the heartless merriment of the grinning
Yanks before him, poured forth his goaded soul as follows:

"Now, gentlemen, look yere. I can count a hundred as good as any blank
man in this yere town, but I'll be blank blanked if I can count a
hundred of you blanked Yankees. Now, gentlemen, there's one thing sho:
there's eight or ten of you-uns yere that ain't yere!"

This extraordinary accusation "brought down the house," and the
Confederate officers and guards, and finally Ross himself, were caught
by the resistless contagion of laughter that shook the rafters of Libby.

The officials somehow found a balance that day on the books, and the
danger was for this once over, to the infinite relief of Rose and his
anxious comrades. But the Confederates appeared dissatisfied with
something, and came up-stairs next morning with more officers and with
double the usual number of guards; and some of these were now stationed
about the room so as to make it next to impossible to work the repeating
device successfully. On this day, for some reason, there were but two
men in the cellar, and these were Major B.B. McDonald and Captain I.N.

The count began as usual, and despite the guard in rear, two of the
party attempted the repeating device by forcing their way through the
center of the ranks toward the left; but the "fun of the thing" had now
worn out with the unsuspecting meddlers, who resisted the passage of the
two men. This drew the attention of the Confederate officers, and the
repeaters were threatened with punishment. The result was inevitable:
the count showed two missing. It was carefully repeated, with the same
result. To the dismay of Rose and his little band, the prison register
was now brought up-stairs and a long, tedious roll-call by name was
endured, each man passing through a narrow door as his name was called,
and between a line of guards.

No stratagem that Rose could now invent could avert the discovery by the
Confederates that McDonald and Johnson had disappeared, and the mystery
of their departure would be almost certain to cause an inquiry and
investigation that would put their plot in peril and probably reveal it.

At last the "J's" were reached, and the name of I.N. Johnson was lustily
shouted and repeated, with no response. The roll-call proceeded until
the name of B.B. McDonald was reached. To the increasing amazement of
everybody but the conspirators, he also had vanished. A careful note was
taken of these two names by the Confederates, and a thousand tongues
were now busy with the names of the missing men and their singular

The conspirators were in a tight place, and must choose between two
things. One was for the men in the cellar to return that night and face
the Confederates with the most plausible explanation of their absence
that they could invent, and the other alternative was the revolting one
of remaining in their horrible abode until the completion of the tunnel.

When night came the fireplace was opened, and the unlucky pair were
informed of the situation of affairs and asked to choose between the
alternatives presented. McDonald decided to return and face the music;
but Johnson, doubtful if the Confederates would be hoodwinked by any
explanation, voted to remain where he was and wait for the finish of the

As was anticipated, McDonald's return awakened almost as much curiosity
among the inhabitants of Libby as his disappearance, and he was soon
called to account by the Confederates. He told them he had fallen asleep
in an out-of-the-way place in the upper west room, where the guards must
have overlooked him during the roll-call of the day before. McDonald was
not further molested. The garrulous busybodies, who were Rose's chief
dread, told the Confederate officials that they had certainly slept near
Johnson the night before the day he was missed. Lieutenant J.C. Fislar
(of the working party), who also slept next to Johnson, boldly declared
this a case of mistaken identity, and confidently expressed his belief
to both Confederates and Federals who gathered around him that Johnson
had escaped, and was by this time, no doubt, safe in the Union lines. To
this he added the positive statement that Johnson had not been in his
accustomed sleeping-place for a good many nights. The busybodies, who
had indeed told the truth, looked at the speaker in speechless
amazement, but reiterated their statements. Others of the conspirators,
however, took Fislar's bold cue and stoutly corroborated him.

Johnson, was, of course, nightly fed by his companions, and gave them
such assistance as he could at the work; but it soon became apparent
that a man could not long exist in such a pestilential atmosphere. No
tongue can tell how long were the days and nights the poor fellow passed
among the squealing rats,--enduring the sickening air, the deathly
chill, the horrible, interminable darkness. One day out of three was an
ordeal for the workers, who at least had a rest of two days afterward.
As a desperate measure of relief, it was arranged, with the utmost
caution, that late each night Johnson should come up-stairs, when all
was dark and the prison in slumber, and sleep among the prisoners until
just before the time for closing the fireplace opening, about four
o'clock each morning. As he spoke to no one and the room was dark, his
presence was never known, even to those who lay next to him; and indeed
he listened to many earnest conversations between his neighbors
regarding his wonderful disappearance.[14]

[Footnote 14: In a volume entitled "Four Months in Libby," Captain
Johnson has related his experience at this time, and his subsequent

As a matter of course, the incidents above narrated made day-work on the
tunnel too hazardous to be indulged in, on account of the increased
difficulty of accounting for absentees; but the party continued the
night-work with unabated industry.

When the opening had been extended nearly across the lot, some of the
party believed they had entered under the yard which was the intended
terminus; and one night, when McDonald was the digger, so confident was
he that the desired distance had been made, that he turned his direction
upward, and soon broke through to the surface. A glance showed him his
nearly fatal blunder, against which, indeed, he had been earnestly
warned by Rose, who from the first had carefully estimated the
intervening distance between the east wall of Libby and the terminus. In
fact, McDonald saw that he had broken through in the open lot which was
all in full view of a sentinel who was dangerously close. Appalled by
what he had done, he retreated to the cellar and reported the disaster
to his companions. Believing that discovery was now certain, the party
sent one of their number up the rope to report to Rose, who was asleep.
The hour was about midnight when the leader learned of the mischief. He
quickly got up, went down cellar, entered the tunnel, and examined the
break. It was not so near the sentinel's path as McDonald's excited
report indicated, and fortunately the breach was at a point whence the
surface sloped downward toward the east. He took off his blouse and
stuffed it into the opening, pulling the dirt over it noiselessly, and
in a few minutes there was little surface evidence of the hole. He then
backed into the cellar in the usual crab fashion, and gave directions
for the required depression of the tunnel and vigorous resumption of
the work. The hole made in the roof of the tunnel was not much larger
than a rat-hole and could not be seen from the prison. But the next
night Rose shoved an old shoe out of the hole, and the day afterward he
looked down through the prison bars and saw the shoe lying where he had
placed it, and judged from its position that he had better incline the
direction of the tunnel slightly to the left.

Meantime Captain Johnson was dragging out a wretched existence in Rat
Hell, and for safety was obliged to confine himself by day to the dark
north end, for the Confederates often came into the place very suddenly
through the south entrance. When they ventured too close, Johnson would
get into a pit that he had dug under the straw as a hiding-hole both for
himself and the tunnelers' tools, and quickly cover himself with a huge
heap of short packing-straw. A score of times he came near being stepped
upon by the Confederates, and more than once the dust of the straw
compelled him to sneeze in their very presence.

On Saturday, February 6, a larger party than usual of the Confederates
came into the cellar, walked by the very mouth, of the tunnel, and
seemed to be making a critical survey of the entire place. They remained
an unusually long time and conversed in low tones; several of them even
kicked the loose straw about; and in fact everything seemed to indicate
to Johnson--who was the only one of the working party now in the
cellar--that the long-averted discovery had been made. That night he
reported matters fully to Rose at the fireplace opening.

The tunnel was now nearly completed, and when Rose conveyed Johnson's
message to the party it caused dismay. Even the stout-hearted Hamilton
was for once excited, and the leader whose unflinching fortitude had
thus far inspired his little band had his brave spirits dashed. But his
buoyant courage rose quickly to its high and natural level. He could not
longer doubt that the suspicions of the Confederates were aroused, but
he felt convinced that these suspicions had not as yet assumed such a
definite shape as most of his companions thought; still, he had abundant
reason to believe that the success of the tunnel absolutely demanded its
speedy completion, and he now firmly resolved that a desperate effort
should be made to that end. Remembering that the next day was Sunday,
and that it was not customary for the Confederates to visit the
operating-cellar on that day, he determined to make the most in his
power of the now precious time. He therefore caused all the party to
remain up-stairs, directing them to keep a close watch upon the
Confederates from all available points of observation, to avoid being
seen in whispering groups,--in short, to avoid all things calculated to
excite the curiosity of friends or the suspicion of enemies,--and to
await his return.

Taking McDonald with him, he went down through the fireplace before
daylight on Sunday morning, and, bidding Johnson to keep a vigilant
watch for intruders and McDonald to fan air into him, he entered the
tunnel and began the forlorn hope. From this time forward he never once
turned over the chisel to a relief.

All day long he worked with the tireless patience of a beaver. When
night came, even his single helper, who performed the double duty of
fanning air and hiding the excavated earth, was ill from his hard, long
task and the deadly air of the cellar. Yet this was as nothing compared
with the fatigue of the duty that Rose had performed; and when at last,
far into the night, he backed into the cellar, he had scarcely strength
enough to stagger across to the rope-ladder.

He had made more than double the distance that had been accomplished
under the system of reliefs on any previous day, and the non-appearance
of the Confederates encouraged the hope that another day, without
interruption, would see the work completed. He therefore determined to
refresh himself by a night's sleep for the finish. The drooping spirits
of his party were revived by the report of his progress and his
unalterable confidence.

Monday morning dawned, and the great prison with its twelve hundred
captives was again astir. The general crowd did not suspect the
suppressed excitement and anxiety of the little party that waited
through that interminable day, which they felt must determine the fate
of their project.

Rose had repeated the instructions of the day before, and again
descended to Rat Hell with McDonald for his only helper. Johnson
reported all quiet, and McDonald taking up his former duties at the
tunnel's mouth, Rose once more entered with his chisel. It was now the
seventeenth day since the present tunnel was begun, and he resolved it
should be the last. Hour after hour passed, and still the busy chisel
was plied, and still the little wooden box with its freight of earth
made its monotonous trips from the digger to his comrade and back again.

From the early morning of Monday, February 8, 1864, until an hour after
midnight the next morning his work went on. As midnight approached, Rose
was nearly a physical wreck: the perspiration dripped from every pore of
his exhausted body; food he could not have eaten, if he had had it. His
labors thus far had given him a somewhat exaggerated estimate of his
physical powers. The sensation of fainting was strange to him, but his
staggering senses warned him that to faint where he was meant at once
his death and burial. He could scarcely inflate his lungs with the
poisonous air of the pit; his muscles quivered with increasing weakness
and the warning spasmodic tremor which their unnatural strain induced;
his head swam like that of a drowning person.

By midnight he had struck and passed beyond a post which he felt must be
in the yard. During the last few minutes he had directed his course
upward, and to relieve his cramped limbs he turned upon his back. His
strength was nearly gone; the feeble stream of air which his comrade was
trying, with all his might, to send to him from a distance of
fifty-three feet could no longer reach him through the deadly stench.
His senses reeled; he had not breath or strength enough to move backward
through his narrow grave. In the agony of suffocation he dropped the
dull chisel and beat his two fists against the roof of his grave with
the might of despair--when, blessed boon! the crust gave way and the
loosened earth showered upon his dripping face purple with agony; his
famished eye caught sight of a radiant star in the blue vault above
him; a flood of light and a volume of cool, delicious air poured over
him. At that very instant the sentinel's cry rang out like a
prophecy--"Half-past one, and all's well!"

[Illustration: LIBERTY!]

Recovering quickly under the inspiring air, he dragged his body out of
the hole and made a careful survey of the yard in which he found
himself. He was under a shed, with a board fence between him and the
east-side sentinels, and the gable end of Libby loomed grimly against
the blue sky. He found the wagon-way under the south-side building
closed from the street by a gate fastened by a swinging bar, which,
after a good many efforts, he succeeded in opening. This was the only
exit to the street. As soon as the nearest sentinel's back was turned he
stepped out and walked quickly to the east. At the first corner he
turned north, carefully avoiding the sentinels in front of the
"Pemberton Buildings" (another military prison northeast of Libby), and
at the corner above this he went westward, then south to the edge of the
canal, and thus, by cautious moving, made a minute examination, of Libby
from all sides.

Having satisfied his desires, he retraced his steps to the yard. He
hunted up an old bit of heavy plank crept back into the tunnel feet
first, drew the plank over the opening to conceal it from the notice of
any possible visitors to the place, and crawled back to Rat Hell.
McDonald was overjoyed, and poor Johnson almost wept with delight, as
Rose handed one of them his victorious old chisel, and gave the other
some trifle he had picked up in the outer world as a token that the
Underground Railroad to God's Country was open.

Rose now climbed the rope-ladder, drew it up, rebuilt the fireplace wall
as usual, and, finding Hamilton, took him over near one of the windows
and broke the news to him. The brave fellow was almost speechless with
delight, and quickly hunting up the rest of the party, told them that
Colonel Rose wanted to see them down in the dining-room.

As they had been waiting news from their absent leader with feverish
anxiety for what had seemed to them all the longest day in their lives,
they instantly responded to the call, and flocked around Rose a few
minutes later in the dark kitchen where he waited them. As yet they did
not know what news he brought, and they could scarcely wait for him to
speak out; and when he announced, "Boys, the tunnel is finished," they
could hardly repress a cheer. They wrung his hand again and again, and
danced about with childish joy.

It was now nearly three o'clock in the morning. Rose and Hamilton were
ready to go out at once, and indeed were anxious to do so, since every
day of late had brought some new peril to their plans. None of the rest
however, were ready; and all urged the advantage of having a whole night
in which to escape through and beyond the Richmond fortifications,
instead of the few hours of darkness which now preceded the day. To this
proposition Rose and Hamilton somewhat reluctantly assented. It was
agreed that each man of the party should have the privilege of taking
one friend into his confidence, and that the second party of fifteen
thus formed should be obligated not to follow the working party out of
the tunnel until an hour had elapsed. Colonel H.C. Hobart, of the 21st
Wisconsin, was deputed to see that the program was observed. He was to
draw up the rope-ladder, hide it, and rebuild the wall; and the next
night was himself to lead out the second party, deputing some
trustworthy leader to follow with still another party on the third
night; and thus it was to continue until as many as possible should

On Tuesday evening, February 9, at seven o'clock, Colonel Rose assembled
his party in the kitchen, and, posting himself at the fireplace, which
he opened, waited until the last man went down. He bade Colonel Hobart
good-by, went down the hole, and waited until he had heard his comrade
pull up the ladder, and finally heard him replace the bricks in the
fireplace and depart. He now crossed Rat Hell to the entrance into the
tunnel, and placed the party in the order in which they were to go out.
He gave each a parting caution, thanked his brave comrades for their
faithful labors, and, feelingly shaking their hands, bade them God-speed
and farewell.

He entered the tunnel first, with Hamilton next, and was promptly
followed by the whole party through the tunnel and into the yard. He
opened the gate leading toward the canal, and signaled the party that
all was clear. Stepping out on the sidewalk as soon as the nearest
sentinel's back was turned, he walked briskly down the street to the
east, and a square below was joined by Hamilton. The others followed at
intervals of a few minutes, and disappeared in various directions in
groups usually of three.

The plan agreed upon between Colonels Rose and Hobart was frustrated by
information of the party's departure leaking out; and before nine
o'clock the knowledge of the existence of the tunnel and of the
departure of the first party was flashed over the crowded prison, which
was soon a convention of excited and whispering men. Colonel Hobart made
a brave effort to restore order, but the frenzied crowd that now
fiercely struggled for precedence at the fireplace was beyond human

Some of them had opened the fireplace and were jumping down like sheep
into the cellar one after another. The colonel implored the maddened men
at least to be quiet, and put the rope-ladder in position and escaped

My companion, Sprague, was already asleep when I lay down that night;
but my other companion, Duenkel, who had been hunting for me, was very
much awake, and, seizing me by the collar, he whispered excitedly the
fact that Colonel Rose had gone out at the head of a party through a
tunnel. For a brief moment the appalling suspicion, that my friend's
reason had been dethroned by illness and captivity swept over my mind;
but a glance toward the window at the east end showed a quiet but
apparently excited group of men from other rooms, and I now observed
that several of them were bundled up for a march. The hope of regaining
liberty thrilled me like a current of electricity. Looking through the
window, I could see the escaping men appear one by one on the sidewalk
below, opposite the exit yard, and silently disappear, without hindrance
or challenge by the prison sentinels. While I was eagerly surveying this
scene, I lost track of Duenkel, who had gone in search of further
information, but ran against Lieutenant Harry Wilcox, of the 1st New
York, whom I knew, and who appeared to have the "tip" regarding the
tunnel. Wilcox and I agreed to unite our fortunes in the escape. My
shoes were nearly worn out, and my clothes were thin and ragged. I was
ill prepared for a journey in midwinter through the enemy's country:
happily I had my old overcoat, and this I put on. I had not a crumb of
food saved up, as did those who were posted; but as I was ill at the
time, my appetite was feeble.

Wilcox and I hurried to the kitchen, where we found several hundred men
struggling to be first at the opening in the fireplace. We took our
places behind them, and soon two hundred more closed us tightly in the
mass. The room was pitch-dark, and the sentinel could be seen through
the door-cracks, within a dozen feet of us. The fight for precedence was
savage, though no one spoke; but now and then fainting men begged to be
released. They begged in vain: certainly some of them must have been
permanently injured. For my own part, when I neared the stove I was
nearly suffocated; but I took heart when I saw but three more men
between me and the hole. At this moment a sound as of tramping feet was
heard, and some idiot on the outer edge of the mob startled us with the
cry, "The guards the guards!" A fearful panic ensued, and the entire
crowd bounded toward the stairway leading up to their sleeping-quarters.
The stairway was unbanistered, and some of the men were forced off the
edge and fell on those beneath. I was among the lightest in that crowd;
and when it broke and expanded I was taken off my feet, dashed to the
floor senseless, my head and one of my hands bruised and cut, and my
shoulder painfully injured by the boots of the men who rushed over me.
When I gathered my swimming wits I was lying in a pool of water. The
room seemed darker than before; and, to my grateful surprise, I was
alone. I was now convinced that it was a false alarm, and quickly
resolved to avail myself of the advantage of having the whole place to
myself. I entered the cavity feet first, but found it necessary to
remove my overcoat and push it through the opening, and it fell in the
darkness below.

I had now no comrade, having lost Wilcox in the stampede. Rose and his
party, being the first out, were several hours on their journey; and I
burned to be away, knowing well that my salvation depended on my passage
beyond the city defenses before the pursuing guards were on our trail,
when the inevitable discovery should come at roll-call. The fact that I
was alone I regretted; but I had served with McClellan in the Peninsula
campaign of 1862, I knew the country well from my frequent inspection of
war maps, and the friendly north star gave me my bearings. The
rope-ladder had either become broken or disarranged, but it afforded me
a short hold at the top; so I balanced myself, trusted to fortune, and
fell into Rat Hell, which was a rayless pit of darkness, swarming with
squealing rats, several of which I must have killed in my fall. I felt a
troop of them, run over my face and hands before I could regain my feet.
Several times I put my hand on them, and once I flung one from my
shoulder. Groping around, I found a stout stick or stave, put my back to
the wall, and beat about me blindly but with vigor.

In spite of the hurried instructions given me by Wilcox, I had a long
and horrible hunt over the cold surface of the cellar walls in my
efforts to find the entrance to the tunnel; and in two minutes after I
began feeling my way with my hands I had no idea in what part of the
place was the point where I had fallen: my bearings were completely
lost, and I must have made the circuit of Rat Hell several times. At my
entrance the rats seemed to receive me with cheers sufficiently hearty,
I thought; but my vain efforts to find egress seemed to kindle anew
their enthusiasm. They had received large reinforcements, and my march
around was now received with deafening squeaks. Finally, my exploring
hands fell upon a pair of heels which vanished at my touch. Here at last
was the narrow road to freedom! The heels proved to be the property of
Lieutenant Charles H. Morgan, 21st Wisconsin, a Chickamauga prisoner.
Just ahead of him in the tunnel was Lieutenant William L. Watson of the
same company and regiment. With my cut hand and bruised shoulder, the
passage through the cold, narrow grave was indescribably horrible, and
when I reached the terminus in the yard I was sick and faint. The
passage seemed to me to be a mile long; but the crisp, pure air and the
first glimpse of freedom, the sweet sense of being out of doors, and the
realization that I had taken the first step toward liberty and home,
had a magical effect in my restoration.

[Illustration: FIGHTING THE RATS.]

I have related before, in a published reminiscence,[15] my experience
and that of my two companions above named in the journey toward the
Union lines, and our recapture; but the more important matter relating
to the plot itself has never been published. This is the leading motive
of this article, and therefore I will not intrude the details of my
personal experience into the narrative. It is enough to say that it was
a chapter of hairbreadth escapes, hunger, cold, suffering, and, alas!
failure. We were run down and captured in a swamp several miles north of
Charlottesville, and when we were taken our captors pointed out to us
the smoke over a Federal outpost. We were brought back to Libby, and put
in one of the dark, narrow dungeons. I was afterward confined in Macon,
Georgia; Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; and in Charlotte,
North Carolina. After a captivity of just a year and eight months,
during which I had made five escapes and was each time retaken, I was at
last released on March 1, 1865, at Wilmington, North Carolina.

[Footnote 15: "Philadelphia Times," October 28, 1882.]

Great was the panic in Libby when the next morning's roll revealed to
the astounded Confederates that 109 of their captives were missing; and
as the fireplace had been rebuilt by some one and the opening of the
hole in the yard had been covered by the last man who went out, no human
trace guided the keepers toward a solution of the mystery. The Richmond
papers having announced the "miraculous" escape of 109 Yankee officers
from Libby, curious crowds flocked thither for several days, until some
one, happening to remove the plank in the yard, revealed the tunnel. A
terrified negro was driven into the hole at the point of the bayonet,
and thus made a trip to Rat Hell that nearly turned him white.

Several circumstances at this time combined to make this escape
peculiarly exasperating to the Confederates. In obedience to repeated
appeals from the Richmond newspapers, iron bars had but recently been
fixed in all the prison windows for better security, and the guard had
been considerably reinforced. The columns of these same journals had
just been aglow with accounts of the daring and successful escape of the
Confederate General John Morgan and his companions from the Columbus
(Ohio) jail. Morgan had arrived in Richmond on the 8th of January,
exactly a month prior to the completion of the tunnel, and was still the
lion of the Confederate capital.


1. Streight's room; 2. Milroy's room; 3. Commandant's office; 4.
Chickamauga room (upper); 5. Chickamauga room (lower); 6. Dining-room;
7. Carpenter's shop (middle cellar); 8. Gettysburg room (upper); 9.
Gettysburg room (lower); 10. Hospital room; 11. East or "Rat Hell"
cellar; 12. South side Canal street, ten feet lower than Carey street;
13. North side Carey street, ground sloping toward Canal; 14. Open lot;
15. Tunnel; 16. Fence; 17. Shed; 18. Kerr's warehouse; 19. Office James
River Towing Co.; 20. Gate; 21. Prisoners escaping; 22. West cellar.]

At daylight a plank was seen suspended on the outside of the east wall;
this was fastened by a blanket-rope to one of the window-bars, and was,
of course, a trick to mislead the Confederates. General John H. Winder,
then in charge of all the prisoners in the Confederacy, with his
headquarters in Richmond, was furious when the news reached him. After a
careful external examination of the building, and a talk, not of the
politest kind, with Major Turner, he reached the conclusion that such an
escape had but one explanation--the guards had been bribed. Accordingly
the sentinels on duty were marched off under arrest to Castle Thunder,
where they were locked up and searched for "greenbacks." The thousand
and more prisoners still in Libby were compensated, in a measure, for
their failure to escape by the panic they saw among the "Rebs."
Messengers and despatches were soon flying in all directions, and all
the horse, foot, and dragoons of Richmond were in pursuit of the
fugitives before noon. Only one man of the whole escaping party was
retaken inside of the city limits.[16] Of the 109 who got out that
night, 59 reached the Union lines, 48 were recaptured, and 2 were

[Footnote 16: Captain Gates, of the 33d Ohio.]

Colonel Streight and several other officers who had been chosen by the
diggers of the tunnel to follow them out, in accordance with the
agreement already referred to, lay concealed for a week in a vacant
house, where they were fed by loyal friends, and escaped to the Federal
lines when the first excitement had abated.

After leaving Libby, Rose and Hamilton turned northward and cautiously
walked on a few squares, when suddenly they encountered some
Confederates who were guarding a military hospital. Hamilton retreated
quickly and ran off to the east; but Rose, who was a little in advance,
walked boldly by on the opposite walk, and was not challenged; and thus
the two friends separated.

Hamilton, after several days of wandering and fearful exposure, came
joyfully upon a Union picket squad, received the care he painfully
needed, and was soon on his happy journey home.


A. Break in fireplace on floor above; B. End of tunnel; CCC. Course of
party escaping; D. Shed; E. Cook-room (abandoned Oct., '63); F.
Lumber-room; G. Office of James River Towing Company; HH. Gates; III.
Doors; J. Cells for condemned prisoners; K. First tunnel (abandoned); L.

Rose passed out of the city of Richmond to the York River Railroad, and
followed its track to the Chickahominy bridge. Finding this guarded, he
turned to the right, and as the day was breaking he came upon a camp of
Confederate cavalry. His blue uniform made it exceedingly dangerous to
travel in daylight in this region; and seeing a large sycamore log that
was hollow, he crawled into it. The February air was keen and biting,
but he kept his cramped position until late in the afternoon; and all
day he could hear the loud talk in the camp and the neighing of the
horses. Toward night he came cautiously forth, and finding the
Chickahominy fordable within a few hundred yards, he succeeded in wading
across. The uneven bed of the river, however, led him into several deep
holes, and before he reached the shore his scanty raiment was thoroughly
soaked. He trudged on through the woods as fast as his stiffened limbs
would bear him, borne up by the hope of early deliverance, and made a
brave effort to shake off the horrible ague. He had not gone far,
however, when he found himself again close to some Confederate cavalry,
and was compelled once more to seek a hiding-place. The day seemed of
interminable length, and he tried vainly in sleep to escape from hunger
and cold. His teeth chattered in his head, and when he rose at dark to
continue his journey his tattered clothes were frozen stiff. In this
plight he pushed on resolutely, and was obliged to wade to his waist for
hundreds of yards through one of those deep and treacherous morasses
that proved such deadly fever-pools for McClellan's army in the campaign
of 1862. Finally he reached the high ground, and as the severe exertion
had set his blood again in motion and loosened his limbs, he was making
better progress, when suddenly he found himself near a Confederate
picket. This picket he easily avoided, and, keeping well in the shadow
of the forest and shunning the roads, he pressed forward with increasing
hopes of success. He had secured a box of matches before leaving Libby;
and as the cold night came on and he felt that he was really in danger
of freezing to death, he penetrated into the center of the cedar grove
and built a fire in a small and secluded hollow. He felt that this was
hazardous, but the necessity was desperate, since with his stiffened
limbs he could no longer move along fast enough to keep the warmth of
life in his body. To add to his trouble, his foot, which had been broken
in Tennessee previous to his capture, was now giving him great pain, and
threatened to cripple him wholly; indeed, it would stiffen and disable
the best of limbs to compass the journey he had made in darkness over
strange, uneven, and hard-frozen ground, and through rivers, creeks, and
bogs, and this without food or warmth.

The fire was so welcome that he slept soundly--so soundly that waking in
the early morning he found his boot-legs and half his uniform burned up,
the ice on the rest of it probably having prevented its total

Resuming his journey much refreshed, he reached Crump's Cross-roads,
where he successfully avoided another picket. He traveled all day,
taking occasional short rests, and before dark had reached New Kent
Court-house. Here again he saw some pickets, but by cautious flanking
managed to pass them; but in crossing an open space a little farther on
he was seen by a cavalryman, who at once put spurs to his horse and rode
up to Rose, and, saluting him, inquired if he belonged to the New Kent
Cavalry. Rose had on a gray cap, and seeing that he had a stupid sort of
fellow to deal with, instantly answered, "Yes," whereupon the trooper
turned his horse and rode back. A very few moments were enough to show
Rose that the cavalryman's report had failed to satisfy his comrades,
whom he could see making movements for his capture. He plunged through a
laurel thicket, and had no sooner emerged than he saw the Confederates
deploying around it in confidence that their game was bagged. He dashed
on as fast as his injured foot would let him, and entered a tract of
heavily timbered land that rose to the east of this thicket. At the
border of the grove he found another picket post, and barely escaped the
notice of several of the men. The only chance of escape lay through a
wide, clear field before him, and even this was in full view from the
grove that bordered it, and this he knew would soon swarm with his

Across the center of this open field, which was fully half a mile wide,
a ditch ran, which, although but a shallow gully, afforded a partial
concealment. Rose, who could now hear the voices of the Confederates
nearer and nearer, dove into the ditch as the only chance, and dropping
on his hands and knees crept swiftly forward to the eastward. In this
cramped position his progress was extremely painful, and his hands were
torn by the briers and stones; but forward he dashed, fully expecting a
shower of bullets every minute. At last he reached the other end of the
half-mile ditch, breathless and half dead, but without having once
raised his head above the gully.

Emerging from this field, he found himself in the Williamsburg road, and
bordering the opposite side was an extensive tract thickly covered with
pines. As he crossed and entered this tract he looked back and could see
his enemies, whose movements showed that they were greatly puzzled and
off the scent. When at a safe distance he sought a hiding-place and took
a needed rest of several hours.

He then resumed his journey, and followed the direction of the
Williamsburg road, which he found picketed at various points, so that it
was necessary to avoid open spaces. Several times during the day he saw
squads of Confederate cavalry passing along the road so near that he
could hear their talk. Near nightfall he reached Diasen Bridge, where he
successfully passed another picket. He kept on until nearly midnight,
when he lay down by a great tree and, cold as he was, slept soundly
until daylight. He now made a careful reconnoissance, and found near the
road the ruins of an old building which, he afterward learned, was
called "Burnt Ordinary."

He now found himself almost unable to walk with his injured foot, but,
nerved by the yet bright hope of liberty, he once more went his weary
way in the direction of Williamsburg. Finally he came to a place where
there were some smoking fagots and a number of tracks, indicating it to
have been a picket post of the previous night. He was now nearing
Williamsburg, which, he was inclined to believe from such meager
information as had reached Libby before his departure, was in possession
of the Union forces. Still, he knew that this was territory that was
frequently changing hands, and was therefore likely to be under a close
watch. From this on he avoided the roads wholly, and kept under cover as
much as it was possible; and if compelled to cross an open field at all,
he did so in a stooping position. He was now moving in a southeasterly
direction, and coming again to the margin of a wide opening, he saw, to
his unutterable joy, a body of Union troops advancing along the road
toward him.

Thoroughly worn out, Rose, believing that his deliverers were at hand,
sat down to await their approach. His pleasant reverie was disturbed by
a sound behind and near him, and turning quickly he was startled to see
three soldiers in the road along which the troops first seen were
advancing. The fact that these men had not been noticed before gave Rose
some uneasiness for a moment; but as they wore blue uniforms, and
moreover seemed to take no note of the approaching Federal troops, all
things seemed to indicate that they were simply an advanced detail of
the same body. This seemed to be further confirmed by the fact that the
trio were now moving down the road, apparently with the intent of
joining the larger body; and as the ground to the east rose to a crest,
both of the bodies were a minute later shut off from Rose's view.

In the full confidence that all was right he rose to his feet and walked
toward the crest to get a better view of everything and greet his
comrades of the loyal blue. A walk of a hundred yards brought him again
in sight of the three men, who now noticed and challenged him.

In spite of appearances a vague suspicion forced itself upon Rose, who,
however, obeyed the summons and continued to approach the party, who now
watched him with fixed attention. As he came closer to the group, the
brave but unfortunate soldier saw that he was lost.

For the first time the three seemed to be made aware of the approach of
the Federals, and to show consequent alarm and haste. The unhappy Rose
saw before the men spoke that their blue uniform was a disguise, and the
discovery brought a savage expression to his lips. He hoped and tried to
convince his captors that he was a Confederate, but all in vain; they
retained him as their prisoner, and now told him that they were
Confederates. Rose, in the first bitter moment of his misfortune,
thought seriously of breaking away to his friends so temptingly near;
but his poor broken foot and the slender chance of escaping three
bullets at a few yards made this suicide, and he decided to wait for a
better chance, and this came sooner than he expected.

One of the men appeared to be an officer, who detailed one of his
companions to conduct Rose to the rear in the direction of Richmond. The
prisoner went quietly with his guard, the other two men tarried a little
to watch the advancing Federals, and now Rose began to limp like a man
who was unable to go farther. Presently the ridge shut them off from the
view of the others. Rose, who had slyly been staggering closer and
closer to the guard, suddenly sprang upon the man, and before he had
time to wink had twisted his gun from his grasp, discharged it into the
air, flung it down, and ran off as fast as his poor foot would let him
toward the east and so as to avoid the rest of the Confederates. The
disarmed Confederate made no attempt at pursuit, nor indeed did the
other two, who were now seen retreating at a run across the adjacent

Rose's heart bounded with new hope, for he felt that he would be with
his advancing comrades in a few minutes at most. All at once a squad of
Confederates, hitherto unseen, rose up in his very path, and beat him
down with the butts of their muskets. All hands now rushed around and
secured him, and one of the men called out excitedly, "Hurry up, boys;
the Yankees are right here!" They rushed their prisoner into the wooded
ravine, and here they were joined by the man whom Rose had just
disarmed. He was in a savage mood, and declared it to be his particular
desire to fill Rose full of Confederate lead. The officer in charge
rebuked the man, however, and compelled him to cool down, and he went
along with an injured air that excited the merriment of his comrades.

The party continued its retreat to Barhamsville, thence to the White
House on the Pamunkey River, and finally to Richmond, where Rose was
again restored to Libby, and, like the writer, was confined for a number
of days in a narrow and loathsome cell. On the 30th of April his
exchange was effected for a Confederate colonel, and on the 6th of July,
1864, he rejoined his regiment, in which he served with conspicuous
gallantry to the close of the war.

As already stated, Hamilton reached the Union lines safely after many
vicissitudes, and did brave service in the closing scenes of the
rebellion. He is now a resident of Reedyville, Kentucky. Johnson, whose
enforced confinement in Rat Hell gave him a unique fame in Libby, also
made good his escape, and now lives at North Pleasantville, Kentucky.

Of the fifteen men who dug the successful tunnel, four are dead, viz.:
Fitzsimmons, Gallagher, Garbett, and McDonald. Captain W.S.B. Randall
lives at Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio; Colonel Terrance Clark at
Paris, Edgar County, Illinois; Captain Eli Foster at Chicago; Colonel
N.S. McKean at Collinsville, Madison County, Illinois; and Captain J.C.
Fislar at Lewiston, I.T. The addresses of Captains Lucas, Simpson, and
Mitchell are unknown at this writing.

Colonel Rose has served faithfully almost since the end of the war with
the 16th United States Infantry, in which he holds a captain's
commission. No one meeting him now would hear from his reticent lips, or
read in his placid face, the thrilling story that links his name in so
remarkable a manner with the history of the famous Bastile of the



It was past noon of the first day of the bloody contest in the
Wilderness. The guns of the Fifth Corps, led by Battery D of the 1st New
York Artillery, were halted along the Orange turnpike, by which we had
made the fruitless campaign to Mine Run. The continuous roar of musketry
in front and to the left indicated that the infantry was desperately
engaged, while the great guns filling every wooded road leading up to
the battle-field were silent. Our drivers were lounging about the
horses, while the cannoneers lay on the green grass by the roadside or
walked by the pieces. Down the line came an order for the center
section, under my command, to advance and pass the right section, which
lay in front of us. General Warren, surrounded by his staff, sat on a
gray horse at the right of the road where the woods bordered an open
field dipping between two wooded ridges. The position we were leaving
was admirable, while the one to which we were ordered, on the opposite
side of the narrow field, was wholly impracticable. The captain had
received his orders in person from General Warren, and joined my command
as we passed.

We dashed down the road at a trot, the cannoneers running beside their
pieces. At the center of the field we crossed by a wooden bridge over a
deep, dry ditch, and came rapidly into position at the side of the
turnpike and facing the thicket. As the cannoneers were not all up, the
captain and I dismounted and lent a hand in swinging round the heavy
trails. The air was full of Minié balls, some whistling by like mad
hornets, and others, partly spent, humming like big nails. One of the
latter struck my knee with force enough to wound the bone without
penetrating the grained-leather boot-leg. In front of us the ground rose
into the timber where our infantry was engaged. It was madness to
continue firing here, for my shot must first plow through our own lines
before reaching the enemy. So after one discharge the captain ordered
the limbers to the rear, and the section started back at a gallop. My
horse was cut on the flanks, and his plunging, with my disabled knee,
delayed me in mounting, and prevented my seeing why the carriages kept
to the grass instead of getting upon the roadway. When I overtook the
guns they had come to a forced halt at the dry ditch, now full of
skulkers, an angle of which cut the way to the bridge. Brief as the
interval had been, not a man of my command was in sight. The lead horse
of the gun team at my side had been shot and was reeling in the harness.
Slipping to the ground, I untoggled one trace at the collar to release
him, and had placed my hand on the other when I heard the demand
"Surrender!" and turning found in my face two big pistols in the hands
of an Alabama colonel. "Give me that sword," said he. I pressed the
clasp and let it fall to the ground, where it remained. The colonel had
taken me by the right arm, and as we turned toward the road I took in
the whole situation at a glance. My chestnut horse and the captain's
bald-faced brown were dashing frantically against the long, swaying gun
teams. By the bridge stood a company of the 61st Alabama Infantry in
butternut suits and slouch-hats, shooting straggling and wounded Zouaves
from a Pennsylvania brigade as they appeared in groups of two or three
on the road in front. The colonel as he handed me over to his men
ordered his troops to take what prisoners they could and to cease
firing. The guns which we were forced to abandon were a bone of
contention until they were secured by the enemy on the third day, at
which time but one of the twenty-four team horses was living.

With a few other prisoners I was led by a short detour through the
woods. In ten minutes we had turned the flank of both armies and reached
the same turnpike in the rear of our enemy. A line of ambulances was
moving back on the road, all filled with wounded, and when we saw a
vacant seat beside a driver I was hoisted up to the place. The boy
driver was in a high state of excitement. He said that two shells had
come flying down this same road, and showed where the trace of the near
mule had been cut by a piece of shell, for which I was directly

The field hospital of General Jubal Early's corps was near Locust Grove
Tavern, where the wounded Yankees were in charge of Surgeon Donnelly of
the Pennsylvania Reserves. No guard was established, as no one was
supposed to be in condition to run away. At the end of a week, however,
my leg had greatly improved, although I was still unable to use it. In
our party was another lieutenant, an aide on the staff of General James
C. Rice, whose horse had been shot under him while riding at full speed
with despatches. Lieutenant Hadley had returned to consciousness to find
himself a prisoner in hospital, somewhat bruised, and robbed of his
valuables, but not otherwise disabled. We two concluded to start for
Washington by way of Kelly's Ford. I traded my penknife for a haversack
of corn-bread with one of the Confederate nurses, and a wounded officer,
Colonel Miller of a New York regiment, gave us a pocket compass. I
provided myself with a stout pole, which I used with both hands in lieu
of my left foot. At 9 P.M. we set out, passing during the night the
narrow field and the dry ditch where I had left my guns. Only a pile of
dead horses marked the spot.

On a grassy bank we captured a firefly and shut him in between the glass
and the face of our pocket compass. With such a guide we shaped our
course for the Rapidan. After traveling nearly all night we lay down
exhausted upon a bluff within sound of the river, and slept until
sunrise. Hastening to our feet again, we hurried down to the ford. Just
before reaching the river we heard shouts behind us, and saw a man
beckoning and running after us. Believing the man an enemy, we dashed
into the shallow water, and after crossing safely hobbled away up the
other side as fast as a man with one leg and a pole could travel. I
afterward met this man, himself a prisoner, at Macon, Georgia. He was
the officer of our pickets, and would have conducted us into our lines
if we had permitted him to come up with us. As it was, we found a snug
hiding-place in a thicket of swamp growth, where we lay in concealment
all day. After struggling on a few miles in a chilling rain, my leg
became so painful that it was impossible to go farther. A house was near
by and we threw ourselves on the mercy of the family. Good Mrs. Brandon
had harbored the pickets of both armies again and again, and had
luxuriated in real coffee and tea and priceless salt at the hands of our
officers. She bore the Yankees only good-will, and after dressing my
wound we sat down to breakfast with herself and daughters.

After breakfast we were conducted to the second half-story, which was
one unfinished room. There was a bed in one corner, where we were to
sleep. Beyond the stairs was a pile of yellow ears of corn, and from the
rafters and sills hung a variety of dried herbs and medicinal roots.
Here our meals were served, and the girls brought us books and read
aloud to pass away the long days. I was confined to the bed, and my
companion never ventured below stairs except on one dark night, when at
my earnest entreaty he set out for Kelly's Ford, but soon returned
unable to make his way in the darkness. One day we heard the door open
at the foot of the stairs, a tread of heavy boots on the steps, and a
clank, clank that sounded very much like a saber. Out of the floor rose
a gray slouch-hat with the yellow cord and tassel of a cavalryman, and
in another moment there stood on the landing one of the most astonished
troopers that ever was seen. "Coot" Brandon was one of "Jeb" Stuart's
rangers, and came every day for corn for his horse. Heretofore the corn
had been brought down for him, and he was as ignorant of our presence
as we were of his existence. On this day no pretext could keep him from
coming up to help himself. His mother worked on his sympathies, and he
departed promising her that he would leave us undisturbed. But the very
next morning he turned up again, this time accompanied by another ranger
of sterner mold. A parole was exacted from my able-bodied companion, and
we were left for another twenty-four hours, when I was considered in
condition to be moved. Mrs. Brandon gave us each a new blue overcoat
from a plentiful store of Uncle Sam's clothing she had on hand, and I
opened my heart and gave her my last twenty-dollar greenback--and wished
I had it back again every day for the next ten months.

I was mounted on a horse, and with Lieutenant Hadley on foot we were
marched under guard all day until we arrived at a field hospital
established in the rear of Longstreet's corps, my companion being sent
on to some prison for officers. Thence I was forwarded with a train-load
of wounded to Lynchburg, on which General Hunter was then marching, and
we had good reason to hope for a speedy deliverance. On more than one
day we heard his guns to the north, where there was no force but a few
citizens with bird-guns to oppose the entrance of his command. The
slaves were employed on a line of breastworks which there was no
adequate force to hold. It was our opinion that one well-disciplined
regiment could have captured and held the town. It was several days
before a portion of General Breckinridge's command arrived for the
defense of Lynchburg.

I had clung to my clean bed in the hospital just as long as my rapidly
healing wound would permit, but was soon transferred to a prison where
at night the sleepers--Yankees, Confederate deserters, and negroes--were
so crowded upon the floor that some lay under the feet of the guards in
the doorways. The atmosphere was dreadful. I fell ill, and for three
days lay with my head in the fireplace, more dead than alive.

A few days thereafter about three hundred prisoners were crowded into
cattle-cars bound for Andersonville. We must have been a week on this
railroad journey when an Irish lieutenant of a Rochester regiment and I,
who had been allowed to ride in the baggage-car, were taken from the
train at Macon, Georgia, where about sixteen hundred Union officers were
confined at the fair-grounds. General Alexander Shaler, of Sedgwick's
corps, also captured at the Wilderness, was the ranking officer, and to
him was accorded a sort of interior command of the camp. Before passing
through the gate we expected to see a crowd bearing some outward
semblance of respectability. Instead, we were instantly surrounded by
several hundred ragged, barefooted, frowzy-headed men shouting "Fresh
fish!" at the top of their voices and eagerly asking for news. With rare
exceptions all were shabbily dressed. There was, however, a little knot
of naval officers who had been captured in the windings of the narrow
Rappahannock by a force of cavalry, and who were the aristocrats of the
camp. They were housed in a substantial fair-building in the center of
the grounds, and by some special terms of surrender must have brought
their complete wardrobes along. On hot days they appeared in spotless
white duck, which they were permitted to send outside to be laundered.
Their mess was abundantly supplied with the fruits and vegetables of the
season. The ripe red tomatoes they were daily seen to peel were the envy
of the camp. I well remember that to me, at this time, a favorite
occupation was to lie on my back with closed eyes and imagine the dinner
I would order if I were in a first-class hotel. It was no unusual thing
to see a dignified colonel washing his lower clothes in a pail, clad
only in his uniform dresscoat. Ladies sometimes appeared on the
guard-walk outside the top of the stockade, on which occasions the
cleanest and best-dressed men turned out to see and be seen. I was quite
proud to appear in a clean gray shirt, spotless white drawers, and
moccasins made of blue overcoat cloth.

On the Fourth of July, after the regular morning count, we repaired to
the big central building and held an informal celebration. One officer
had brought into captivity, concealed on his person, a little silk
national flag, which was carried up into the cross-beams of the
building, and the sight of it created the wildest enthusiasm. We cheered
the flag and applauded the patriotic speeches until a detachment of the
guard succeeded in putting a stop to our proceedings. They tried to
capture the flag, but in this they were not successful. We were informed
that cannon were planted commanding the camp, and would be opened on us
if we renewed our demonstrations.

Soon after this episode the fall of Atlanta and the subsequent movements
of General Sherman led to the breaking up of the camp at Macon, and to
the transfer of half of us to a camp at Charleston, and half to
Savannah. Late in September, by another transfer, we found ourselves
together again at Columbia. We had no form of shelter, and there was no
stockade around the camp, only a guard and a dead-line. During two hours
of each morning an extra line of guards was stationed around an
adjoining piece of pine woods, into which we were allowed to go and cut
wood and timber to construct for ourselves huts for the approaching
winter. Our ration at this time consisted of raw corn-meal and sorghum
molasses, without salt or any provision of utensils for cooking. The
camp took its name from our principal article of diet, and was by common
consent known as "Camp Sorghum." A stream of clear water was accessible
during the day by an extension of the guards, but at night the lines
were so contracted as to leave the path leading to the water outside the
guard. Lieutenant S.H.M. Byers, who had already written the well-known
lyric "Sherman's March to the Sea," was sharing my tent, which consisted
of a ragged blanket. We had been in the new camp but little more than a
week when we determined to make an attempt at escape. Preparatory to
starting we concealed two tin cups and two blankets in the pine woods to
which we had access during the chopping hours, and here was to be our
rendezvous in case we were separated in getting out. Covering my
shoulders with an old gray blanket and providing myself with a stick,
about the size of a gun, from the woodpile, I tried to smuggle myself
into the relief guard when the line was contracted at six o'clock.
Unfortunately an unexpected halt was called, and the soldier in front
turned and discovered me. I was now more than ever determined on getting
away. After a hurried conference with Lieutenant Byers, at which I
promised to wait at our rendezvous in the woods until I heard the
posting of the ten-o'clock relief, I proceeded alone up the side of the
camp to a point where a group of low cedars grew close to the dead-line.
Concealing myself in their dark shadow, I could observe at my leisure
the movements of the sentinels. A full moon was just rising above the
horizon to my left, and in the soft, misty light the guards were plainly
visible for a long distance either way. An open field from which the
small growth had been recently cut away lay beyond, and between the camp
and the guard-line ran a broad road of soft sand--noiseless to cross,
but so white in the moonlight that a leaf blown across it by the wind
could scarcely escape a vigilant eye. The guards were bundled in their
overcoats, and I soon observed that the two who met opposite to my place
of concealment turned and walked their short beats without looking back.
Waiting until they separated again, and regardless of the fact that I
might with equal likelihood be seen by a dozen sentinels in either
direction, I ran quickly across the soft sand road several yards into
the open field, and threw myself down upon the uneven ground. First I
dragged my body on my elbows for a few yards, then I crept on my knees,
and so gradually gained in distance until I could rise to a standing
position and get safely to the shelter of the trees. With some
difficulty I found the cups and blankets we had concealed, and lay down
to await the arrival of my companion. Soon I heard several shots which
I understood too well; and, as I afterward learned, two officers were
shot dead for attempting the feat I had accomplished, and perhaps in
emulation of my success. A third young officer, whom I knew, was also
killed in camp by one of the shots fired at the others.

At ten o'clock I set out alone and made my way across the fields to the
bank of the Saluda, where a covered bridge crossed to Columbia. Hiding
when it was light, wandering through fields and swamps by night, and
venturing at last to seek food of negroes, I proceeded for thirteen days
toward the sea.

In general I had followed the Columbia turnpike; at a quaint little
chapel on the shore of Goose Creek, but a few miles out of Charleston, I
turned to the north and bent my course for the coast above the city.
About this time I learned that I should find no boats along the shore
between Charleston and the mouth of the Santee, everything able to float
having been destroyed to prevent the escape of the negroes and the
desertion of the soldiers. I was ferried over the Broad River by a
crusty old darky who came paddling across in response to my cries of
"O-v-e-r," and who seemed so put out because I had no fare for him that
I gave him my case-knife. The next evening I had the only taste of meat
of this thirteen days' journey, which I got from an old negro whom I
found alone in his cabin eating possum and rice.

I had never seen the open sea-coast beaten by the surf, and after being
satisfied that I had no hope of escape in that direction it was in part
my curiosity that led me on, and partly a vague idea that I would get
Confederate transportation back to Columbia and take a fresh start
westward bound. The tide was out, and in a little cove I found an
abundance of oysters bedded in the mud, some of which I cracked with
stones and ate. After satisfying my hunger, and finding the sea rather
unexpectedly tame inside the line of islands which marked the eastern
horizon, I bent my steps toward a fire, where I found a detachment of
Confederate coastguards, to whom I offered myself as a guest as coolly
as if my whole toilsome journey had been prosecuted to that end.

In the morning I was marched a few miles to Mount Pleasant, near Fort
Moultrie, and taken thence in a sail-boat across the harbor to
Charleston. At night I found myself again in the city jail, where with a
large party of officers I had spent most of the month of August. My
cell-mate was Lieutenant H.G. Dorr of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry,
with whom I journeyed by rail back to Columbia, arriving at "Camp
Sorghum" about the 1st of November.

I rejoined the mess of Lieutenant Byers, and introduced to the others
Lieutenant Dorr, whose cool assurance was a prize that procured us all
the blessings possible. He could borrow frying-pans from the guards,
money from his brother Masons at headquarters, and I believe if we had
asked him to secure us a gun he would have charmed it out of the hand of
a sentinel on duty.


Lieutenant Edward E. Sill, of General Daniel Butterfield's staff, whom I
had met at Macon, during my absence had come to "Sorghum" from a
fruitless trip to Macon for exchange, and I had promised to join him
in an attempt to escape when he could secure a pair of shoes. On
November 29 our mess had felled a big pine-tree and had rolled into camp
a short section of the trunk, which a Tennessee officer was to split
into shingles to complete our hut, a pretty good cabin with an earthen
fireplace. While we were resting from our exertion, Sill appeared with
his friend Lieutenant A.T. Lamson of the 104th New York Infantry, and
reminded me of my promise. The prisoners always respected their parole
on wood-chopping expeditions, and went out and came in at the main
entrance. The guards were a particularly verdant body of back-country
militia, and the confusion of the parole system enabled us to practise
ruses. In our present difficulty we resorted to a new expedient and
forged a parole. The next day all three of us were quietly walking down
the guard-line on the outside. At the creek, where all the camp came for
water, we found Dorr and Byers and West, and calling to one of them in
the presence of the guard, asked for blankets to bring in spruce boughs
for beds. When the blankets came they contained certain haversacks,
cups, and little indispensable articles for the road. Falling back into
the woods, we secured a safe hiding-place until after dark. Just beyond
the village of Lexington we successfully evaded the first picket, being
warned of its presence by the smoldering embers in the road. A few
nights after this, having exposed ourselves and anticipating pursuit, we
pushed on until we came to a stream crossing the road. Up this we waded
for some distance, and secured a hiding-place on a neighboring hill. In
the morning we looked out upon mounted men and dogs, at the very point
where we had entered the stream, searching for our lost trail. We spent
two days during a severe storm of rain and sleet in a farm-barn where
the slaves were so drunk on applejack that they had forgotten us and
left us with nothing to eat but raw turnips. One night, in our search
for provisions, we met a party of negroes burning charcoal, who took us
to their camp and sent out for a supply of food. While waiting a
venerable "uncle" proposed to hold a prayer-meeting. So under the tall
trees and by the light of the smoldering coal-pits the old man prayed
long and fervently to the "bressed Lord and Massa Lincoln," and hearty
amens echoed through the woods. Besides a few small potatoes, one dried
goat ham was all our zealous friends could procure. The next day, having
made our camp in the secure depths of a dry swamp, we lighted the only
fire we allowed ourselves between Columbia and the mountains. The ham,
which was almost as light as cork, was riddled with worm-holes, and as
hard as a petrified sponge.

We avoided the towns, and after an endless variety of adventures
approached the mountains, cold, hungry, ragged, and foot-sore. On the
night of December 13 we were grouped about a guide-post, at a fork in
the road, earnestly contending as to which way we should proceed.
Lieutenant Sill was for the right, I was for the left, and no amount of
persuasion could induce Lieutenant Lamson to decide the controversy. I
yielded, and we turned to the right. After walking a mile in a state of
general uncertainty, we came to a low white farm-house standing very
near the road. It was now close upon midnight, and the windows were all
dark; but from a house of logs, partly behind the other, gleamed a
bright light. Judging this to be servants' quarters, two of us remained
back while Lieutenant Sill made a cautious approach. In due time a negro
appeared, advancing stealthily, and, beckoning to my companion and me,
conducted us in the shadow of a hedge to a side window, through which we
clambered into the cabin. We were made very comfortable in the glow of a
bright woodfire. Sweet potatoes were already roasting in the ashes, and
a tin pot of barley coffee was steaming on the coals. Rain and sleet had
begun to fall, and it was decided that after having been warmed and
refreshed we should be concealed in the barn until the following night.
Accordingly we were conducted thither and put to bed upon a pile of
corn-shucks high up under the roof. Secure as this retreat seemed, it
was deemed advisable in the morning to burrow several feet down in the
mow, so that the children, if by any chance they should climb so high,
might romp unsuspecting over our heads. We could still look out through
the cracks in the siding and get sufficient light whereby to study a map
of the Southern States, which had been brought us with our breakfast. A
luxurious repast was in preparation, to be eaten at the quarters before
starting; but a frolic being in progress, and a certain negro present of
questionable fidelity, the banquet was transferred to the barn. The
great barn doors were set open, and the cloth was spread on the floor by
the light of the moon. Certainly we had partaken of no such substantial
fare within the Confederacy. The central dish was a pork-pie, flanked by
savory little patties of sausage. There were sweet potatoes, fleecy
biscuits, a jug of sorghum, and a pitcher of sweet milk. Most delicious
of all was a variety of corn-bread having tiny bits of fresh pork baked
in it, like plums in a pudding.[17]

[Footnote 17: Major Sill contributes the following evidence of the
impression our trio made upon one, at least, of the piccaninnies who
looked on in the moonlight. The picture of Lieutenants Sill and Lamson
which appears on page 255 was enlarged from a small photograph taken on
their arrival at Chattanooga, before divesting themselves of the rags
worn throughout the long journey. Years afterward Major Sill gave one of
these pictures to Wallace Bruce of Florida, at one time United States
consul at Glasgow. In the winter of 1888-89 Mr. Bruce, at his Florida
home, was showing the photograph to his family when it caught the eye of
a colored servant, who exclaimed: "O Massa Bruce, I know those gen'men.
My father and mother hid 'em in Massa's barn at Pickensville and fed
'em; there was three of 'em; I saw 'em." This servant was a child barely
ten years old in 1864, and could have seen us only through the barn door
while we were eating our supper in the uncertain moonlight. Yet more
than twenty years thereafter he greeted the photograph of the ragged
Yankee officers with a flash of recognition.]

Filling our haversacks with the fragments, we took grateful leave of our
sable benefactors and resumed our journey, retracing our steps to the
point of disagreement of the evening before. Long experience in night
marching had taught us extreme caution. We had advanced along the new
road but a short way when we were startled by the barking of a
house-dog. Apprehending that something was moving in front of us, we
instantly withdrew into the woods. We had scarcely concealed ourselves
when two cavalrymen passed along, driving before them a prisoner. Aware
that it was high time to betake ourselves to the cross-roads and
describe a wide circle around the military station at Pickensville, we
first sought information. A ray of light was visible from a hut in the
woods, and believing from its humble appearance that it sheltered
friends, my companions lay down in concealment while I advanced to
reconnoiter. I gained the side of the house, and, looking through a
crack in the boards, saw, to my surprise, a soldier lying on his back
before the fire playing with a dog. I stole back with redoubled care.
Thoroughly alarmed by the dangers we had already encountered, we decided
to abandon the roads. Near midnight of December 16 we passed through a
wooden gate on a level road leading into the forest. Believing that the
lateness of the hour would secure us from further dangers, we resolved
to press on with all speed, when two figures with lighted torches came
suddenly into view. Knowing that we were yet unseen, we turned into the
woods and concealed ourselves behind separate trees at no great distance
from the path. Soon the advancing lights revealed two hunters, mere
lads, but having at their heels a pack of mongrel dogs, with which they
had probably been pursuing the coon or the possum. The boys would have
passed unaware of our presence, but the dogs, scurrying along with their
noses in the leaves, soon struck our trail, and were instantly yelping
about us. We had possessed ourselves of the name of the commanding
officer of the neighboring post at Pendleton, and advanced boldly,
representing ourselves to be his soldiers. "Then where did you get them
blue pantaloons?" they demanded, exchanging glances, which showed they
were not ignorant of our true character. We coolly faced them down and
resumed our march leisurely, while the boys still lingered undecided.
When out of sight we abandoned the road and fled at the top of our
speed. We had covered a long distance through forest and field before
we heard in our wake the faint yelping of the pack. Plunging into the
first stream, we dashed for some distance along its bed. Emerging on the
opposite bank, we sped on through marshy fields, skirting high hills and
bounding down through dry watercourses, over shelving stones and
accumulated barriers of driftwood; now panting up a steep ascent, and
now resting for a moment to rub our shoes with the resinous needles of
the pine; always within hearing of the dogs, whose fitful cries varied
in volume in accordance with the broken conformation of the intervening
country. Knowing that in speed and endurance we were no match for our
four-footed pursuers, we trusted to our precautions for throwing them
off the scent, mindful that they were but an ill-bred kennel and the
more easily to be disposed of. Physically we were capable of prolonged
exertion. Fainter and less frequent came the cry of the dogs, until,
ceasing altogether, we were assured of our escape.

At Oconee, on Sunday, December 18, we met a negro well acquainted with
the roads and passes into North Carolina, who furnished us information
by which we traveled for two nights, recognizing on the second objects
which by his direction we avoided (like the house of Black Bill
McKinney), and going directly to that of friendly old Tom Handcock. The
first of these two nights we struggled up the foot-hills and outlying
spurs of the mountains, through an uninhabited waste of rolling barrens,
along an old stage road, long deserted, and in places impassable to a
saddle-mule. Lying down before morning, high up on the side of the
mountain, we fell asleep, to be awakened by thunder and lightning, and
to find torrents of hail and sleet beating upon our blankets. Chilled to
the bone, we ventured to build a small fire in a secluded place. After
dark and before abandoning our camp, we gathered quantities of wood,
stacking it upon the fire, which when we left it was a wild tower of
flame lighting up the whole mountain-side in the direction we had come,
and seeming, in some sort, to atone for a long succession of shivering
days in tireless bivouac. We followed the same stage road through the
scattering settlement of Casher's Valley in Jackson County, North
Carolina. A little farther on, two houses, of hewn logs, with verandas
and green blinds, just fitted the description we had received of the
home of old Tom Handcock. Knocking boldly at the door of the farther
one, we were soon in the presence of the loyal mountaineer. He and his
wife had been sleeping on a bed spread upon the floor before the fire.
Drawing this to one side, they heaped the chimney with green wood, and
were soon listening with genuine delight to the story of our adventures.

After breakfast next day, Tom, with his rifle, led us by a back road to
the house of "'Squire Larkin C. Hooper," a leading loyalist, whom we met
on the way, and together we proceeded to his house. Ragged and forlorn,
we were eagerly welcomed at his home by Hooper's invalid wife and
daughters. For several days we enjoyed a hospitality given as freely to
utter strangers as if we had been relatives of the family.

[Illustration: WE ARRIVE AT HEADEN'S.]

Here we learned of a party about to start through the mountains for East
Tennessee, guided by Emanuel Headen, who lived on the crest of the Blue
Ridge. Our friend Tom was to be one of the party, and other refugees
were coming over the Georgia border, where Headen, better known in the
settlement as "Man Heady," was mustering his party. It now being near
Christmas, and the squire's family in daily expectation of a relative,
who was a captain in the Confederate army, it was deemed prudent for us
to go on to Headen's under the guidance of Tom. Setting out at sunset on
the 23d of December, it was late in the evening when we arrived at our
destination, having walked nine miles up the mountain trails over a
light carpeting of snow. Pausing in front of a diminutive cabin, through
the chinks of whose stone fireplace and stick chimney the whole interior
seemed to be red hot like a furnace, our guide demanded, "Is Man Heady
to hum?" Receiving a sharp negative in reply, he continued, "Well, can
Tom get to stay all night?" At this the door flew open and a skinny
woman appeared, her homespun frock pendent with tow-headed urchins.

"In course you can," she cried, leading the way into the cabin. Never
have I seen so unique a character as this voluble, hatched-faced,
tireless woman. Her skin was like yellow parchment, and I doubt if she
knew by experience what it was to be sick or weary. She had built the
stake-and-cap fences that divided the fields, and she boasted of the
acres she had plowed. The cabin was very small. Two bedsteads, with a
narrow alleyway between, occupied half the interior. One was heaped with
rubbish, and in the other slept the whole family, consisting of father,
mother, a daughter of sixteen, and two little boys. When I add that the
room contained a massive timber loom, a table, a spinning-wheel, and a
variety of rude seats, it will be understood that we were crowded
uncomfortably close to the fire. Shrinking back as far as possible from
the blaze, we listened in amused wonder to the tongue of this seemingly
untamed virago, who, nevertheless, proved to be the kindest-hearted of
women. She cursed, in her high, pitched tones, for a pack of fools, the
men who had brought on the war. Roderic Norton, who lived down the
mountain, she expressed a profane desire to "stomp through the turnpike"
because at some time he had stolen one of her hogs, marked, as to the
ear, with "two smooth craps an' a slit in the left." Once only she had
journeyed into the low country, where she had seen those twin marvels,
steam cars and brick chimneys. On this occasion she had driven a heifer
to market, making a journey of forty miles, walking beside her horse
and wagon, which she took along to bring back the corn-meal received in
payment for the animal. Charged by her husband to bring back the heifer
bell, and being denied that musical instrument by the purchaser, it
immediately assumed more importance to her mind than horse, wagon, and
corn-meal. Baffled at first, she proceeded to the pasture in the gray of
the morning, cornered the cow, and cut off the bell, and, in her own
picturesque language, "walked through the streets of Walhalla cussin'."
Rising at midnight she would fall to spinning with all her energy. To
us, waked from sleep on the floor by the humming of the wheel, she
seemed by the light of the low fire like a witch in a sunbonnet, darting
forward and back.

We remained there several days, sometimes at the cabin and sometimes at
a cavern in the rocks such as abound throughout the mountains, and which
are called by the natives "rock houses." Many of the men at that time
were "outliers"--that is, they camped in the mountain fastnesses,
receiving their food from some member of the family. Some of these men,
as now, had their copper stills in the rock houses, while others, more
wary of the recruiting sergeant, wandered from point to point, their
only furniture a rifle and a bed-quilt. On December 29, we were joined
at the cavern by Lieutenant Knapp and Captain Smith, Federal officers,
who had also made their way from Columbia, and by three refugees from
Georgia, whom I remember as Old Man Tigue and the two Vincent boys.
During the night our party was to start across the mountains for
Tennessee. Tom Handcock was momentarily expected to join us. Our guide
was busy with preparations for the journey. The night coming on icy
cold, and a cutting wind driving the smoke of the fire into our granite
house, we abandoned it at nine o'clock and descended to the cabin.
Headen and his wife had gone to the mill for a supply of corn-meal.
Although it was time for their return, we were in nowise alarmed by
their absence, and formed a jovial circle about the roaring chimney.
About midnight came a rap on the door. Thinking it was Tom Handcock and
some of his companions, I threw it open with an eager "Come in, boys!"
The boys began to come in, stamping the snow from their boots and
rattling their muskets on the floor, until the house was full, and yet
others were on guard without and crowding the porch. "Man Heady" and his
wife were already prisoners at the mill, and the house had been picketed
for some hours awaiting the arrival of the other refugees, who had
discovered the plot just in time to keep out of the toils. Marshaled in
some semblance of military array, we were marched down the mountain,
over the frozen ground, to the house of old Roderic Norton. The Yankee
officers were sent to an upper room, while the refugees were guarded
below, under the immediate eyes of the soldiery. Making the best of our
misfortune, our original trio bounced promptly into a warm bed, which
had been recently deserted by some members of the family, and secured a
good night's rest.

Lieutenant Knapp, who had imprudently indulged in frozen chestnuts on
the mountain-side, was attacked with violent cramps, and kept the
household below stairs in commotion all night humanely endeavoring to
assuage his agony. In the morning, although quite recovered, he
cunningly feigned a continuance of his pains, and was left behind in the
keeping of two guards, who, having no suspicion of his deep designs,
left their guns in the house and went out to the spring to wash. Knapp,
instantly on the alert, possessed himself of the muskets, and breaking
the lock of one, by a powerful effort he bent the barrel of the other,
and dashed out through the garden. His keepers, returning from the
spring, shouted and rushed indoors only to find their disabled pieces.
They joined our party later in the day, rendering a chapfallen account
of their detached service.

We had but a moderate march to make to the headquarters of the
battalion, where we were to spend the night. Our guards we found kindly
disposed toward us, but bitterly upbraiding the refugees, whom they
saluted by the ancient name of Tories. Lieutenant Cogdill, in command of
the expedition, privately informed us that his sympathies were entirely
ours, but as a matter of duty he should guard us jealously while under
his military charge. If we could effect our escape thereafter we had
only to come to his mountain home and he would conceal us until such
time as he could despatch us with safety over the borders. These
mountain soldiers were mostly of two classes, both opposed to the war,
but doing home-guard duty in lieu of sterner service in the field.
Numbers were of the outlier class, who, wearied of continual hiding in
the laurel brakes, had embraced this service as a compromise. Many were
deserters, some of whom had coolly set at defiance the terms of their
furloughs, while others had abandoned the camps in Virginia, and,
versed in mountain craft, had made their way along the Blue Ridge and
put in a heroic appearance in their native valleys.

That night we arrived at a farm-house near the river, where we found
Major Parker, commanding the battalion, with a small detachment billeted
upon the family. The farmer was a gray-haired old loyalist, whom I shall
always remember, leaning on his staff in the middle of the kitchen,
barred out from his place in the chimney-corner by the noisy circle of
his unbidden guests. Major Parker was a brisk little man, clad in
brindle jeans of ancient cut, resplendent with brass buttons. Two small
piercing eyes, deep-set beside a hawk's-beak nose, twinkled from under
the rim of his brown straw hat, whose crown was defiantly surmounted by
a cock's feather. But he was exceedingly jolly withal, and welcomed the
Yankees with pompous good-humor, despatching a sergeant for a jug of
applejack, which was doubtless as inexpensive to the major as his other
hospitality. Having been a prisoner at Chicago, he prided himself on his
knowledge of dungeon etiquette and the military courtesies due to our

We were awakened in the morning by high-pitched voices in the room
below. Lieutenant Sill and I had passed the night in neighboring caverns
of the same miraculous feather-bed. We recognized the voice of the
major, informing some culprit that he had just ten minutes to live, and
that if he wished to send any dying message to his wife or children then
and there was his last opportunity; and then followed the tramping of
the guards as they retired from his presence with their victim. Hastily
dressing, we hurried down to find what was the matter. We were welcomed
with a cheery good-morning from the major, who seemed to be in the
sunniest of spirits. No sign of commotion was visible. "Step out to the
branch, gentlemen; your parole of honor is sufficient; you'll find
towels--been a prisoner myself." And he restrained by a sign the
sentinel who would have accompanied us. At the branch, in the yard, we
found the other refugees trembling for their fate, and learned that
Headen had gone to the orchard in the charge of a file of soldiers with
a rope. While we were discussing the situation and endeavoring to calm
the apprehensions of the Georgians, the executioners returned from the
orchard, our guide marching in advance and looking none the worse for
the rough handling he had undergone. The brave fellow had confided his
last message and been thrice drawn up toward the branch of an
apple-tree, and as many times lowered for the information it was
supposed he would give. Nothing was learned, and it is probable he had
no secrets to disclose or conceal.

Lieutenant Cogdill, with two soldiers, was detailed to conduct us to
Quallatown, a Cherokee station at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Two horses were allotted to the guard, and we set out in military order,
the refugees two and two in advance, Headen and Old Man Tigue lashed
together by the wrists, and the rear brought up by the troopers on
horseback. It was the last day of the year, and although a winter
morning, the rare mountain air was as soft as spring. We struck the
banks of the Tuckasegee directly opposite to a feathery waterfall,
which, leaping over a crag of the opposite cliff, was dissipated in a
glittering sheet of spray before reaching the tops of the trees below.
As the morning advanced we fell into a more negligent order of marching.
The beautiful river, a wide, swift current, flowing smoothly between
thickly wooded banks, swept by on our left, and on the right wild,
uninhabited mountains closed in the road. The two Vincents were
strolling along far in advance. Some distance behind them were Headen
and Tigue; the remainder of us following in a general group, Sill
mounted beside one of the guards. Advancing in this order, a cry from
the front broke on the stillness of the woods, and we beheld Old Man
Tigue gesticulating wildly in the center of the road and screaming,
"He's gone! He's gone! Catch him!" Sure enough the old man was alone,
the fragment of the parted strap dangling from his outstretched wrist.
The guard, who was mounted, dashed off in pursuit, followed by the
lieutenant on foot, but both soon returned, giving over the hopeless
chase. Thoroughly frightened by the events of the morning, Headen[18]
had watched his opportunity to make good his escape, and, as we
afterward learned, joined by Knapp and Tom Handcock, he conducted a
party safely to Tennessee.

[Footnote 18: A short time ago the writer received the following letter:
"Casher's Valley, May 28, 1890. Old Manuel Headen and wife are living,
but separated. Julia Ann is living with her mother. The old lady is
blind. Old man Norton (Roderic), to whose house you were taken as
prisoner, has been dead for years. Old Tom Handcock is dead.--W.R.

At Webster, the court town of Jackson County, we were quartered for the
night in the jail, but accompanied Lieutenant Cogdill to a venison
breakfast at the parsonage with Mrs. Harris and her daughter, who had
called on us the evening before. Snow had fallen during the night, and
when we continued our march it was with the half-frozen slush crushing
in and out, at every step, through our broken shoes. Before the close
of this dreary New-Year's day we came upon the scene of one of those
wild tragedies which are still of too frequent occurrence in those
remote regions, isolated from the strong arm of the law. Our road led
down and around the mountain-side, which on our right was a barren,
rocky waste, sloping gradually up from the inner curve of the arc we
were describing. From this direction arose a low wailing sound, and a
little farther on we came in view of a dismal group of men, women, and
mules. In the center of the gathering lay the lifeless remains of a
father and his two sons; seated upon the ground, swaying and weeping
over their dead, were the mother and wives of the young men. A burial
party, armed with spades and picks, waited by their mules, while at a
respectful distance from the mourners stood a circle of neighbors and
passers-by, some gazing in silent sympathy, and others not hesitating to
express a quiet approval of the shocking tragedy. Between two families,
the Hoopers and the Watsons, a bitter feud had long existed, and from
time to time men of each clan had fallen by the rifles of the other. The
Hoopers were loyal Union men, and if the Watsons yielded any loyalty it
was to the State of North Carolina. On one occasion shortly before the
final tragedy, when one of the young Hoopers was sitting quietly in his
door, a light puff of smoke rose from the bushes and a rifle-ball plowed
through his leg. The Hoopers resolved to begin the new year by wiping
out their enemies, root and branch. Before light they had surrounded the
log cabin of the Watsons and secured all the male inmates, except one
who, wounded, escaped through a window. The latter afterward executed a
singular revenge by killing and skinning the dog of his enemies and
elevating the carcass on a pole in front of their house.

[Illustration: THE ESCAPE OF HEADEN.]

After a brief stay at Quallatown we set out for Asheville, leaving
behind our old and friendly guard. Besides the soldiers who now had us
in charge, a Cherokee Indian was allotted to each prisoner, with
instructions to keep his man constantly in view. To travel with an armed
Indian, sullen and silent, trotting at your heels like a dog, with very
explicit instructions to blow out your brains at the first attempt to
escape, is neither cheerful nor ornamental, and we were a sorry-looking
party plodding silently along the road. Detachments of prisoners were
frequently passed over this route, and regular stopping-places were
established for the nights. It was growing dusk when we arrived at the
first cantonment, which was the wing of a great barren farm-house owned
by Colonel Bryson. The place was already occupied by a party of
refugees, and we were directed to a barn in the field beyond. We had
brought with us uncooked rations, and while two of the soldiers went
into the house for cooking utensils, the rest of the party, including
the Indians, were leaning in a line upon the door-yard fence; Sill and
Lamson were at the end of the line, where the fence cornered with a
hedge. Presently the two soldiers reappeared, one of them with an iron
pot in which to cook our meat, and the other swinging in his hand a
burning brand. In the wake of these guides we followed down to the barn,
and had already started a fire when word came from the house that for
fear of rain we had best return to the corn-barn. It was not until we
were again in the road that I noticed the absence of Sill and Lamson. I
hastened to Smith and confided the good news. The fugitives were missed
almost simultaneously by the guards, who first beat up the vicinity of
the barn, and then, after securing the remainder of us in a corn-crib,
sent out the Indians in pursuit. Faithful dogs, as these Cherokees had
shown themselves during the day, they proved but poor hunters when the
game was in the bush, and soon returned, giving over the chase. Half an
hour later they were all back in camp, baking their hoe-cake in genuine
aboriginal fashion, flattened on the surface of a board and inclined to
the heat of the fire.[19]

[Footnote 19: Sill and Lamson reached Loudon, Tennessee, in February. A
few days after their escape from the Indian guard they arrived at the
house of "Shooting John Brown," who confided them to the care of the
young Hoopers and a party of their outlying companions. From a rocky
cliff overlooking the valley of the Tuckasegee they could look down on
the river roads dotted with the sheriff's posse in pursuit of the
Hoopers. So near were they that they could distinguish a relative of the
Watsons leading the sheriff's party. One of the Hooper boys, with
characteristic recklessness and to the consternation of the others,
stood boldly out on a great rock in plain sight of his pursuers (if they
had chanced to look up), half resolved to try his rifle at the last of
the Watsons.]

That I was eager to follow goes without saying, but our keepers had
learned our slippery character. All the way to Asheville, day and night,
we were watched with sleepless vigilance. There we gave our parole,
Smith and I, and secured thereby comfortable quarters in the court-house
with freedom to stroll about the town. Old Man Tigue and the Vincents
were committed to the county jail. We were there a week, part of my
spare time being employed in helping a Confederate company officer make
out a correct pay-roll.

When our diminished ranks had been recruited by four more officers from
Columbia, who had been captured near the frozen summit of the Great
Smoky Mountains, we were started on a journey of sixty miles to
Greenville in South Carolina. The night before our arrival we were
quartered at a large farm-house. The prisoners, together with the
privates of the guard, were allotted a comfortable room, which
contained, however, but a single bed. The officer in charge had retired
to enjoy the hospitality of the family. A flock of enormous white
pullets were roosting in the yard. Procuring an iron kettle from the
servants, who looked with grinning approval upon all forms of chicken
stealing, we sallied forth to the capture. Twisting the precious necks
of half a dozen, we left them to die in the grass while we pierced the
side of a sweet-potato mound. Loaded with our booty we retreated to the
house undiscovered, and spent the night in cooking in one pot instead of
sleeping in one bed. The fowls were skinned instead of plucked, and,
vandals that we were, dressed on the backs of the picture-frames taken
down from the walls.

At Greenville we were lodged in the county jail to await the
reconstruction of railway-bridges, when we were to be transported to
Columbia. The jail was a stone structure, two stories in height, with
halls through the center on both floors and square rooms on each side.
The lock was turned on our little party of six in one of these upper
rooms, having two grated windows looking down on the walk. Through the
door which opened on the hall a square hole was cut as high as one's
face and large enough to admit the passage of a plate. Aside from the
rigor of our confinement we were treated with marked kindness. We had
scarcely walked about our dungeon before the jailer's daughters were at
the door with their autograph albums. In a few days we were playing
draughts and reading Bulwer, while the girls, without, were preparing
our food and knitting for us warm new stockings. Notwithstanding all
these attentions, we were ungratefully discontented. At the end of the
first week we were joined by seven enlisted men, Ohio boys, who like
ourselves had been found at large in the mountains. From one of these
new arrivals we procured a case-knife and a gun screw-driver. Down on
the hearth before the fire the screw-driver was placed on the thick edge
of the knife and belabored with a beef bone until a few inches of its
back were converted into a rude saw. The grate in the window was formed
of cast-iron bars, passing perpendicularly through wrought-iron plates,
bedded in the stone jambs. If one of these perpendicular bars, an inch
and a half square, could be cut through, the plates might be easily bent
so as to permit the egress of a man. With this end in view we cautiously
began operations. Outside of the bars a piece of carpet had been
stretched to keep out the raw wind, and behind this we worked with
safety. An hour's toil produced but a few feathery filings on the
horizontal plate, but many hands make light work, and steadily the cut
grew deeper. We recalled the adventures of Claude Duval, Dick Turpin,
and Sixteen-string Jack, and sawed away. During the available hours of
three days and throughout one entire night the blade of steel was
worrying, rasping, eating the iron bar. At last the grosser yielded to
the temper and persistence of the finer metal. It was Saturday night
when the toilsome cut was completed, and preparations were already under
way for a speedy departure. The jail had always been regarded as too
secure to require a military guard, although soldiers were quartered in
the town; besides, the night was so cold that a crust had formed on the
snow, and both citizens and soldiers, unused to such extreme weather
would be likely to remain indoors. For greater secrecy of movement, we
divided into small parties, aiming to traverse different roads. I was to
go with my former companion, Captain Smith. Lots were cast to determine
the order of our going. First exit was allotted to four of the Ohio
soldiers. Made fast to the grating outside were a bit of rope and strip
of blanket, along which to descend. Our room was immediately over that
of the jailer and his sleeping family, and beneath our opening was a
window, which each man must pass in his descent. At eleven o'clock the
exodus began. The first man was passed through the bars amid a
suppressed buzz of whispered cautions. His boots were handed after him
in a haversack. The rest of us, pressing our faces to the frosty
grating, listened breathlessly for the success of the movement we could
no longer see. Suddenly there was a crash, and in the midst of
mutterings of anger we snatched in the rag ladder and restored the piece
of carpeting to its place outside the bars. Our pioneer had hurt his
hand against the rough stones, and, floundering in mid-air, had dashed
his leg through sash and glass of the window below. We could see nothing
of his further movements, but soon discovered the jailer standing in the
door, looking up and down the street, seemingly in the dark as to where
the crash came from. At last, wearied and worried and disappointed, we
lay down in our blankets upon the hard floor.

[Illustration: GREENVILLE JAIL.]

At daylight we were awakened by the voice of Miss Emma at the hole in
the door. "Who got out last night?" "Welty." "Well, you was fools you
didn't all go; pap wouldn't 'a' stopped you. If you'll keep the break
concealed until night we'll let you all out." The secret of the extreme
kindness of our keepers was explained. The jailer, a loyalist, retained
his position as a civil detail, thus protecting himself and sons from
conscription. Welty had been taken in the night before, his bruises had
been anointed, and he had been provisioned for the journey.

We spent the day repairing our clothing and preparing for the road. My
long-heeled cowhides, "wife's shoes," for which I had exchanged a
uniform waistcoat with a cotton-wooled old darky on the banks of the
Saluda, were about parting soles from uppers, and I kept the twain
together by winding my feet with stout cords. At supper an extra ration
was given us. As soon as it was dark the old jailer appeared among us
and gave us a minute description of the different roads leading west
into the mountains, warning us of certain dangers. At eleven o'clock
Miss Emma came with the great keys, and we followed her, in single file,
down the stairs and out into the back yard of the jail. From the broken
gratings in front, the bit of rope and strip of blanket were left
dangling in the wind.

We made short work of leave-taking, Captain Smith and I separating
immediately from the rest, and pushing hurriedly out of the sleeping
town, by back streets, into the bitter cold of the country roads. We
stopped once to warm at the pits of some negro charcoal-burners, and
before day dawned had traveled sixteen miles. We found a sheltered nook
on the side of the mountain open to the sun, where we made a bed of dry
leaves and remained for the day. At night we set out again, due west by
the stars, but before we had gone far my companion, who claimed to know
something of the country, insisted upon going to the left, and within a
mile turned into another left-hand road. I protested, claiming that this
course was leading us back. While we were yet contending, we came to a
bridgeless creek whose dark waters barred our progress, and at the same
moment, as if induced by the thought of the fording, the captain was
seized with rheumatic pains in his knees, so that he walked with
difficulty. We had just passed a house where lights were still showing,
and to this we decided to return, hoping at least to find shelter for
Smith. Leaving him at the gate, I went to a side porch and knocked at
the door, which was opened by a woman who proved to be friendly to our
cause, her husband being in the rebel army much against his will. We
were soon seated to the right and left of her fireplace. Blazing
pine-knots brilliantly lighted the room, and a number of beds lined the
walls. A trundle-bed before the fire was occupied by a very old woman,
who was feebly moaning with rheumatism. Our hostess shouted into the old
lady's ear, "Granny, them's Yankees." "Be they!" said she, peering at us
with her poor old eyes. "Be ye sellin' tablecloths?" When it was
explained that we were just from the war, she demanded, in an absent
way, to know if we were Britishers. We slept in one of the comfortable
beds, and, as a measure of prudence, passed the day in the woods,
leaving at nightfall with well-filled haversacks. Captain Smith was
again the victim of his rheumatism, and directing me to his friends at
Cæsar's Head, where I was to wait for him until Monday (it then being
Tuesday), he returned to the house, little thinking that we were
separating forever.

I traveled very rapidly all night, hoping to make the whole distance,
but day was breaking when I reached the head waters of the Saluda.
Following up the stream, I found a dam on which I crossed, and although
the sun was rising and the voices of children mingled with the lowing of
cattle in the frosty air, I ran across the fields and gained a secure
hiding-place on the side of the mountain. It was a long, solitary day,
and glad was I when it grew sufficiently dark to turn the little
settlement and get into the main road up the mountain. It was six zigzag
miles to the top, the road turning on log abutments, well anchored with
stones, and not a habitation on the way until I should reach Bishop's
house, on the crest of the divide. Half-way up I paused before a big
summer hotel, looming up in the woods like the ghost of a deserted
factory, its broken windows and rotting gateways redoubling the solitude
of the bleak mountain-side. Shortly before reaching Bishop's, "wife's
shoes" became quite unmanageable. One had climbed up my leg half-way to
the knee, and I knocked at the door with the wreck of the other in my
hand. My visit had been preceded but a day by a squad of partizan
raiders, who had carried away the bedding and driven off the cattle of
my new friends, and for this reason the most generous hospitality could
offer no better couch than the hard floor. Stretched thereon in close
proximity to the dying fire, the cold air coming up through the wide
cracks between the hewn planks seemed to be cutting me in sections as
with icy saws, so that I was forced to establish myself lengthwise on a
broad puncheon at the side of the room and under the table.

In this family "the gray mare was the better horse," and poor Bishop, an
inoffensive man, and a cripple withal, was wedded to a regular Xantippe.
It was evident that unpleasant thoughts were dominant in the woman's
mind as she proceeded sullenly and vigorously with preparations for
breakfast. The bitter bread of charity was being prepared with a
vengeance for the unwelcome guest. Premonitions of the coming storm
flashed now and then in lightning cuffs on the ears of the children, or
crashed venomously among the pottery in the fireplace. At last the
repast was spread, the table still standing against the wall, as is the
custom among mountain housewives. The good-natured husband now advanced
cheerfully to lend a hand in removing it into the middle of the room. It
was when one of the table-legs overturned the swill-pail that the long
pent-up storm burst in a torrent of invective. The prospect of spending
several days here was a very gloomy outlook, and the relief was great
when it was proposed to pay a visit to Neighbor Case, whose house was in
the nearest valley, and with whose sons Captain Smith had lain in
concealment for some weeks on a former visit to the mountains. I was
curious to see his sons, who were famous outliers. From safe cover they
delighted to pick off a recruiting officer or a tax-in-kind collector,
or tumble out of their saddles the last drivers of a wagon-train. These
lively young men had been in unusual demand of late, and their
hiding-place was not known even to the faithful, so I was condemned to
the society of an outlier of a less picturesque variety. Pink Bishop was
a blacksmith, and just the man to forge me a set of shoes from the
leather Neighbor Case had already provided. The little still-shed,
concealed from the road only by a low hill, was considered an unsafe
harbor, on account of a fresh fall of snow with its sensibility to
tell-tale impressions. So, we set up our shoe-factory in a deserted
cabin, well back on the mountain and just astride of that imaginary line
which divides the Carolinas. From the fireplace we dug away the
corn-stalks, heaping the displaced bundles against broken windows and
windy cracks, and otherwise secured our retreat against frost and
enemies. Then ensued three days of primitive shoemaking. As may be
inferred, the shoes made no pretension to style. I sewed the short seams
at the sides, and split the pegs from a section of seasoned maple.
Rudely constructed as these shoes were, they bore their wearer
triumphantly into the promised land.


I restrained my eagerness to be going until Monday night, the time
agreed upon, when, my disabled companion not putting in an appearance, I
set out for my old friend's in Casher's Valley. I got safety over a long
wooden bridge within half a mile of a garrisoned town. I left the road,
and turned, as I believed, away from the town; but I was absolutely lost
in the darkness of a snow-storm, and forced to seek counsel as well as
shelter. In this plight I pressed on toward a light glimmering faintly
through the blinding snow. It led me into the shelter of the porch to a
small brown house, cut deeply beneath the low eaves, and protected at
the sides by flanking bedrooms. My knock was answered by a girlish
voice, and from the ensuing parley, through the closed door, I learned
that she was the daughter of a Baptist exhorter, and that she was alone
in the house, her brother being away at the village, and her father, who
preached the day before at some distance, not being expected home until
the next morning. Reassured by my civil-toned inquiries about the road,
she unfastened the door and came out to the porch, where she proceeded
to instruct me how to go on, which was just the thing I least desired to
do. By this time I had discovered the political complexion of the
family, and, making myself known, was instantly invited in, with the
assurance that her father would be gravely displeased if she permitted
me to go on before he returned. I had interrupted my little benefactress
in the act of writing a letter, on a sheet of foolscap which lay on an
old-fashioned stand in one corner of the room, beside the ink-bottle and
the candlestick. In the diagonal corner stood a tall bookcase, the
crowded volumes nestling lovingly behind the glass doors--the only
collection of the sort that I saw at any time in the mountains. A
feather-bed was spread upon the floor, the head raised by means of a
turned-down chair, and here I was reposing comfortably when the brother
arrived. It was late in the forenoon when the minister reached home, his
rickety wagon creaking through the snow, and drawn at a snail's pace by
a long-furred, knock-kneed horse. The tall but not very clerical figure
was wrapped in a shawl and swathed round the throat with many turns of a
woolen tippet. The daughter ran out with eagerness to greet her father
and tell of the wonderful arrival. I was received with genuine delight.
It was the enthusiasm of a patriot eager to find a sympathetic ear for
his long-repressed views.[20]

[Footnote 20: The Rev. James H. Duckworth, now postmaster of Brevard,
Transylvania County, North Carolina, and in 1868 member of the State
Constitutional Convention, in his letter of June 24, 1890, says: "I have
not forgotten those things of which you speak. I can almost see you
(even in imagination) standing at the fire when I drove up to the gate
and went into the house and asked you, 'Have I ever seen you before?'
Just then I observed your uniform. 'Oh, yes,' said I; 'I know who it is
now.' ... This daughter of whom you speak married about a year after,
and is living in Morgantown, North Carolina, about one hundred miles
from here. Hattie (for that is her name) is a pious, religious woman."]


When night came and no entreaties could prevail to detain me over
another day, the minister conducted me some distance in person, passing
me on with ample directions to another exhorter, who was located for
that night at the house of a miller who kept a ferocious dog. I came
first to the pond and then to the mill, and got into the house without
encountering the dog. Aware of the necessity of arriving before bedtime,
I had made such speed as to find the miller's family still lingering
about the fireplace with preacher number two seated in the lay circle.
That night I slept with the parson, who sat up in bed in the morning,
and after disencumbering himself of a striped extinguisher nightcap,
electrified the other sleepers by announcing that this was the first
time he had ever slept with a Yankee. After breakfast the parson, armed
with staff and scrip, signified his purpose to walk with me during the
day, as it was no longer dangerous to move by daylight. We must have
been traveling the regular Baptist road, for we lodged that night at the
house of another lay brother. The minister continued with me a few miles
in the morning, intending to put me in the company of a man who was
going toward Casher's Valley on a hunting expedition. When we reached
his house, however, the hunter had gone; so, after parting with my
guide, I set forward through the woods, following the tracks of the
hunter's horse. The shoe-prints were sometimes plainly impressed in the
snow, and again for long distances over dry leaves and bare ground but
an occasional trace could be found. It was past noon when I arrived at
the house where the hunters were assembled. Quite a number of men were
gathered in and about the porch, just returned from the chase. Blinded
by the snow over which I had been walking in the glare of the sun, I
blundered up the steps, inquiring without much tact for the rider who
had preceded me, and was no little alarmed at receiving a rude and gruff
reception. I continued in suspense for some time, until my man found an
opportunity to inform me that there were suspicious persons present,
thus accounting for his unexpected manner. The explanation was made at a
combination meal, serving for both dinner and supper, and consisting
exclusively of beans. I set out at twilight to make a walk of thirteen
miles to the house of our old friend Esquire Hooper. Eager for the
cordial welcome which I knew awaited me, and nerved by the frosty air, I
sped over the level wood road, much of the way running instead of
walking. Three times I came upon bends of the same broad rivulet. Taking
off my shoes and stockings and rolling up my trousers above my knees, I
tried the first passage. Flakes of broken ice were eddying against the
banks, and before gaining the middle of the stream my feet and ankles
ached with the cold, the sharp pain increasing at every step until I
threw my blanket on the opposite bank and springing upon it wrapped my
feet in its dry folds. Rising a little knoll soon after making the third
ford, I came suddenly upon the familiar stopping-place of my former
journey. It was scarcely more than nine o'clock, and the little
hardships of the journey from Cæsar's Head seemed but a cheap outlay for
the joy of the meeting with friends so interested in the varied fortunes
of myself and my late companions. Together we rejoiced at the escape of
Sill and Lamson, and made merry over the vicissitudes of my checkered
career. Here I first learned of the safe arrival in Tennessee of Knapp,
Man Heady, and old Tom Handcock.

After a day's rest I climbed the mountains to the Headen cabin, now
presided over by the heroine of the heifer-bell, in the absence of her
fugitive husband. Saddling her horse, she took me the next evening to
join a lad who was about starting for Shooting Creek. Young Green was
awaiting my arrival, and after a brief delay we were off on a journey of
something like sixty miles; the journey, however, was pushed to a
successful termination by the help of information gleaned by the way. It
was at the close of the last night's march, which had been long and
uneventful, except that we had surmounted no fewer than three
snow-capped ridges, that my blacksmith's shoes, soaked to a pulp by the
wet snow, gave out altogether. On the top of the last ridge I found
myself panting in the yellow light of the rising sun, the sad wrecks of
my two shoes dangling from my hands, a wilderness of beauty spread out
before me, and a sparkling field of frosty forms beneath my tingling
feet. Stretching far into the west toward the open country of East
Tennessee was the limitless wilderness of mountains, drawn like mighty
furrows across the toilsome way, the pale blue of the uttermost ridges
fading into an imperceptible union with the sky. A log house was in
sight down in the valley, a perpendicular column of smoke rising from
its single chimney. Toward this we picked our way, I in my stocking
feet, and my boy guide confidently predicting that we should find the
required cobbler. Of course we found him in a country where every family
makes its own shoes as much as its own bread, and he was ready to serve
the traveler without pay. Notwithstanding our night's work, we tarried
only for the necessary repairs, and just before sunset we looked down
upon the scattering settlement of Shooting Creek. Standing on the bleak
brow of "Chunky Gall" Mountain, my guide recognized the first familiar
object on the trip, which was the roof of his uncle's house. At Shooting
Creek I was the guest of the Widow Kitchen, whose house was the chief
one in the settlement, and whose estate boasted two slaves. The husband
had fallen by an anonymous bullet while salting his cattle on the
mountain in an early year of the war.

On the day following my arrival I was conducted over a ridge to another
creek, where I met two professional guides, Quince Edmonston and Mack
Hooper. As I came upon the pair parting a thicket of laurel, with their
long rifles at a shoulder, I instantly recognized the coat of the latter
as the snuff-colored sack in which I had last seen Lieutenant Lamson. It
had been given to the man at Chattanooga, where these same guides had
conducted my former companions in safety a month before. Quince
Edmonston, the elder, had led numerous parties of Yankee officers over
the Wacheesa trail for a consideration of a hundred dollars, pledged to
be paid by each officer at Chattanooga or Nashville.


Two other officers were concealed near by, and a number of refugees,
awaiting a convoy, and an arrangement was rapidly made with the guides.
The swollen condition of the Valley River made it necessary to remain
for several days at Shooting Creek before setting out. Mack and I were
staying at the house of Mrs. Kitchen. It was on the afternoon of a
memorable Friday, the rain still falling in torrents without, that I
sat before the fire poring over a small Sunday-school book,--the only
printed book in the house, if not in the settlement. Mack Hooper was
sitting by the door. Attracted by a rustling sound in his direction, I
looked up just in time to see his heels disappearing under the nearest
bed. Leaping to my feet with an instinctive impulse to do likewise, I
was confronted in the doorway by a stalwart Confederate officer fully
uniformed and armed. Behind him was his quartermaster-sergeant. This was
a government party collecting the tax in kind, which at that time
throughout the Confederacy was the tenth part of all crops and other
farm productions. It was an ugly surprise. Seeing no escape, I ventured
a remark on the weather: only a stare in reply. A plan of escape flashed
through my mind like an inspiration. I seated myself quietly, and for an
instant bent my eyes upon the printed pages. The two soldiers had
advanced to the corner of the chimney nearest the door, inquiring for
the head of the family, and keeping their eyes riveted on my hostile
uniform. At this juncture I was seized with a severe fit of coughing.
With one hand upon my chest, I walked slowly past the men, and laid my
carefully opened book face down upon a chest. With another step or two I
was in the porch, and bounding into the kitchen I sprang out through a
window already opened by the women for my exit. Away I sped bareheaded
through the pelting rain, now crashing through thick underbrush, now up
to my waist in swollen streams, plunging on and on, only mindful to
select a course that would baffle horsemen in pursuit. After some miles
of running I took cover behind a stack, within view of the road which
Mack must take in retreating to the other settlement; and sure enough
here he was, coming down the road with my cap and haversack, which was
already loaded for the western journey. Mack had remained undiscovered
under the bed, an interested listener to the conversation that ensued.
The officer had been assured that I was a friendly scout; but, convinced
of the contrary by my flight, he had departed swearing he would capture
that Yankee before morning if he had to search the whole settlement. So
alarmed were we for our safety that we crossed that night into a third
valley and slept in the loft of a horse-barn.

On Sunday our expedition assembled on a hillside overlooking Shooting
Creek, where our friends in the secret of the movement came up to bid us
adieu. With guides we were a party of thirteen or fourteen, but only
three of us officers who were to pay for our safe conduct. Each man
carried his supply of bread and meat and bedding. Some were wrapped in
faded bed-quilts and some in tattered army blankets; nearly all wore
ragged clothes, broken shoes, and had unkempt beards. We arrived upon a
mountain-side overlooking the settlement of Peach Tree, and were
awaiting the friendly shades of night under which to descend to the
house of the man who was to put us across Valley River. Premature
darkness was accompanied with torrents of rain, through which we
followed our now uncertain guides. At last the light of the cabin we
were seeking gleamed humidly through the trees. Most of the family fled
into the outhouses at our approach, some of them not reappearing until
we were disposed for sleep in a half-circle before the fire. The last
arrivals were two tall women in homespun dresses and calico sunbonnets.
They slid timidly in at the door, with averted faces, and then with a
rush and a bounce covered themselves out of sight in a bed, where they
had probably been sleeping in the same clothing when we approached the
house. Here we learned that a cavalcade of four hundred Texan Rangers
had advanced into Tennessee by the roads on the day before. Our guides,
familiar with the movements of these dreaded troopers, calculated that
with the day's delay enforced by the state of the river a blow would
have been struck and the marauders would be in full retreat before we
should arrive on the ground. We passed that day concealed in a stable,
and as soon as it was sufficiently dark we proceeded in a body to the
bank of the river, attended by a man and a horse. The stream was narrow,
but the current was full and swift. The horse breasted the flood with
difficulty, but he bore us all across one at a time, seated behind the

We had now left behind us the last settlement, and before us lay only
wild and uninhabited mountains. The trail we traveled was an Indian path
extending for nearly seventy miles through an uninhabited wilderness.
Instead of crossing the ridges it follows the trend of the range,
winding for the most part along the crests of the divides. The
occasional traveler, having once mounted to its level, pursues his
solitary way with little climbing.

Early in the morning of the fourth day our little party was assembled
upon the last mountain overlooking the open country of East Tennessee.
Some of us had been wandering in the mountains for the whole winter. We
were returning to a half-forgotten world of farms and fences, roads and
railways. Below us stretched the Tellico River away toward the line of
towns marking the course of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. One
of the guides who had ventured down to the nearest house returned with
information that the four hundred Texan Rangers had burned the depot at
Philadelphia Station the day before, but were now thought to be out of
the country. We could see the distant smoke arising from the ruins.
Where the river flowed out of the mountains were extensive iron-works,
the property of a loyal citizen, and in front of his house we halted for
consultation. He regretted that we had shown ourselves so soon, as the
rear-guard of the marauders had passed the night within sight of where
we now stood. Our nearest pickets were at Loudon, thirty miles distant
on the railway, and for this station we were advised to make all speed.


For half a mile the road ran along the bank of the river, and then
turned around a wooded bluff to the right. Opposite this bluff and
accessible by a shallow ford was another hill, where it was feared that
some of the Rangers were still lingering about their camp. As we came to
the turn in the road our company was walking rapidly in Indian file,
guide Edmonston and I at the front. Coming around the bluff from the
opposite direction was a countryman mounted on a powerful gray mare. His
overcoat was army blue, but he wore a bristling fur cap, and his rifle
was slung on his back. At sight of us he turned in his saddle to shout
to some one behind, and bringing his gun to bear came tearing and
swearing down the road, spattering the gravel under the big hoofs of the
gray. Close at his heels rode two officers in Confederate gray uniforms,
and a motley crowd of riders closed up the road behind. In an instant
the guide and I were surrounded, the whole cavalcade leveling their guns
at the thicket and calling on our companions, who could be plainly heard
crashing through the bushes, to halt. The dress of but few of our
captors could be seen, nearly all being covered with rubber talmas; but
their mounts, including mules as well as horses, were equipped with
every variety of bridle and saddle to be imagined. I knew at a glance
that this was no body of our cavalry. If we were in the hands of the
Rangers, the fate of the guides and refugees would be the hardest. I
thought they might spare the lives of the officers. "Who are you? What
are you doing here?" demanded the commander, riding up to us and
scrutinizing our rags. I hesitated a moment, and then, throwing off the
blanket I wore over my shoulders, simply said, "You can see what I am."
My rags were the rags of a uniform, and spoke for themselves.

Our captors proved to be a company of the 2d Ohio Heavy Artillery, in
pursuit of the marauders into whose clutches we thought we had fallen.
The farmer on the gray mare was the guide of the expedition, and the two
men uniformed as rebel officers were Union scouts. The irregular
equipment of the animals, which had excited my suspicion most, as well
as the animals themselves, had been hastily impressed from the country
about the village of Loudon, where the 2d Ohio was stationed. On the
following evening, which was the 4th of March, the day of the second
inauguration of President Lincoln, we walked into Loudon and gladly
surrendered ourselves to the outposts of the Ohio Heavy Artillery.



As one of the aides of President Jefferson Davis, I left Richmond with
him and his cabinet on April 2, 1865, the night of evacuation, and
accompanied him through Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, until his
capture. Except Lieutenant Barnwell, I was the only one of the party who
escaped. After our surprise, I was guarded by a trooper, a German, who
had appropriated my horse and most of my belongings. I determined, if
possible, to escape; but after witnessing Mr. Davis's unsuccessful
attempt, I was doubtful of success. However, I consulted him, and he
advised me to try. Taking my guard aside, I asked him, by signs (for he
could speak little or no English), to accompany me outside the
picket-line to the swamp, showing him at the same time a twenty-dollar
gold piece. He took it, tried the weight of it in his hands, and put it
between his teeth. Fully satisfied that it was not spurious, he escorted
me with his carbine to the stream, the banks of which were lined with a
few straggling alder-bushes and thick saw-grass. I motioned him to
return to camp, only a few rods distant. He shook his head, saying,
"_Nein, nein_." I gave him another twenty-dollar gold piece; he chinked
them together, and held up two fingers. I turned my pockets inside out,
and then, satisfied that I had no more, he left me.

Creeping a little farther into the swamp, I lay concealed for about
three hours in the most painful position, sometimes moving a few yards
almost _ventre à terre_ to escape notice; for I was within hearing of
the camps on each side of the stream, and often when the soldiers came
down for water, or to water their horses, I was within a few yards of
them. Some two hours or more passed thus before the party moved. The
wagons left first, then the bugles sounded, and the president started on
one of his carriage-horses, followed by his staff and a squadron of the
enemy. Shortly after their departure I saw some one leading two
abandoned horses into the swamp, and recognized Lieutenant Barnwell of
our escort. Secreting the horses, we picked up from the debris of the
camp parts of two saddles and bridles, and with some patching and tying
fitted out our horses, as sad and war-worn animals as ever man bestrode.
Though hungry and tired, we gave the remains of the camp provisions to a
Mr. Fenn for dinner. He recommended us to Widow Paulk's, ten miles
distant, an old lady rich in cattle alone.

The day after my escape, I met Judah P. Benjamin as M. Bonfals, a French
gentleman traveling for information, in a light wagon, with Colonel
Leovie, who acted as interpreter. With goggles on, his beard grown, a
hat well over his face, and a large cloak hiding his figure, no one
would have recognized him as the late secretary of state of the
Confederacy. I told him of the capture of Mr. Davis and his party, and
made an engagement to meet him near Madison, Florida, and there decide
upon our future movements. He was anxious to push on, and left us to
follow more leisurely, passing as paroled soldiers returning home. For
the next three days we traveled as fast as our poor horses would permit,
leading or driving them; for even if they had been strong enough, their
backs were in such a condition that we could not ride. We held on to
them simply in the hope that we might be able to dispose of them or
exchange them to advantage; but we finally were forced to abandon one.

On the 13th we passed through Valdosta, the first place since leaving
Washington, in upper Georgia, in which we were able to purchase
anything. Here I secured two hickory shirts and a pair of socks, a most
welcome addition to my outfit; for, except what I stood in, I had left
all my baggage behind. Near Valdosta we found Mr. Osborne Barnwell, an
uncle of my young friend, a refugee from the coast of South Carolina,
where he had lost a beautiful estate, surrounded with all the comforts
and elegances which wealth and a refined taste could offer. Here in the
pine forests, as far as possible from the paths of war, and almost
outside of civilization, he had brought his family of ladies and
children, and with the aid of his servants, most of whom had followed
him, had built with a few tools a rough log cabin with six or eight
rooms, but without nails, screws, bolts, or glass--almost as primitive a
building as Robinson Crusoe's. But, in spite of all drawbacks, the
ingenuity and deft hands of the ladies had given to the premises an air
of comfort and refinement that was most refreshing. Here I rested two
days, enjoying the company of this charming family, with whom Lieutenant
Barnwell remained. On the 15th I crossed into Florida, and rode to
General Finnegan's, near Madison. Here I met General Breckinridge, the
late secretary of war of the Confederacy, alias Colonel Cabell, and his
aide, Colonel Wilson,--a pleasant encounter for both parties. Mr.
Benjamin had been in the neighborhood, but, hearing that the enemy were
in Madison, had gone off at a tangent. We were fully posted as to the
different routes to the seaboard by General Finnegan, and discussed with
him the most feasible way of leaving the country. I inclined to the
eastern coast, and this was decided on. I exchanged my remaining horse
with General Finnegan for a better, giving him fifty dollars to boot.
Leaving Madison, we crossed the Suwanee River at Moody's Ferry, and took
the old St. Augustine road, but seldom traveled in late years, as it
leads through a pine wilderness, and there is one stretch of twenty
miles with only water of bad quality, at the Diable Sinks. I rode out of
my way some fifteen miles to Mr. Yulee's, formerly senator of the United
States, and afterward Confederate senator, hoping to meet Mr. Benjamin;
but he was too wily to be found at the house of a friend. Mr. Yulee was
absent on my arrival, but Mrs. Yulee, a charming lady, and one of a
noted family of beautiful women, welcomed me heartily. Mr. Yulee
returned during the night from Jacksonville, and gave me the first news
of what was going on in the world that I had had for nearly a month,
including the information that Mr. Davis and party had reached Hilton
Head on their way north.

Another day's ride brought us to the house of the brothers William and
Samuel Owens, two wealthy and hospitable gentlemen, near Orange Lake.
Here I rejoined General Breckinridge, and we were advised to secure the
services and experience of Captain Dickinson. We sent to Waldo for him,
and a most valuable friend he proved. During the war he had rendered
notable services; among others he had surprised and captured the United
States gunboat _Columbine_ on the St. John's River, one of whose small
boats he had retained, and kept concealed near the banks of the river.
This boat with two of his best men he now put at our disposal, with
orders to meet us on the upper St. John.

We now passed through a much more interesting country than the two or
three hundred miles of pines we had just traversed. It was better
watered, the forests were more diversified with varied species,
occasionally thickets or hummocks were met with, and later these gave
place to swamps and everglades with a tropical vegetation. The road led
by Silver Spring, the clear and crystal waters of which show at the
depth of hundreds of feet almost as distinctly as though seen through

We traveled incognito, known only to good friends, who sent us stage by
stage from one to another, and by all we were welcomed most kindly.
Besides those mentioned, I recall with gratitude the names of Judge
Dawkins, Mr. Mann, Colonel Summers, Major Stork, all of whom overwhelmed
us with kindness, offering us of everything they had. Of money they were
as bare as ourselves, for Confederate currency had disappeared as
suddenly as snow before a warm sun, and greenbacks were as yet unknown.
Before leaving our friends, we laid in a three weeks' supply of stores;
for we could not depend upon obtaining any further south.

On May 25 we struck the St. John's River at Fort Butler, opposite
Volusia, where we met Russell and O'Toole, two of Dickinson's command,
in charge of the boat; and two most valuable and trustworthy comrades
they proved to be, either in camp or in the boat, as hunters or
fishermen. The boat was a man-of-war's small four-oared gig; her outfit
was scanty, but what was necessary we rapidly improvised. Here General
Breckinridge and I gave our horses to our companions, and thus ended my
long ride of a thousand miles from Virginia.

Stowing our supplies away, we bade good-by to our friends, and started
up the river with a fair wind. Our party consisted of General
Breckinridge; his aide, Colonel Wilson of Kentucky; the general's
servant, Tom, who had been with him all through the war; besides
Russell, O'Toole, and I,--six in all. With our stores, arms, etc., it
was a tight fit to get into the boat; there was no room to lie down or
to stretch. At night we landed, and, like old campaigners, were soon
comfortable. But at midnight the rain came down in bucketfuls, and
continued till nearly morning; and, notwithstanding every effort, a
large portion of our supplies were soaked and rendered worthless, and,
what was worse, some of our powder shared the same fate.

Morning broke on a thoroughly drenched and unhappy company; but a little
rum and water, with a corn-dodger and the rising sun, soon stirred us,
and with a fair wind we made a good day's run,--some thirty-five miles.
Except the ruins of two huts, there was no sign that a human being had
ever visited these waters; for the war and the occasional visit of a
gunboat had driven off the few settlers. The river gradually became
narrower and more tortuous as we approached its head waters. The banks
are generally low, with a few sandy elevations, thickly wooded or
swampy. Occasionally we passed a small opening, or savanna, on which
were sometimes feeding a herd of wild cattle and deer; at the latter we
had several potshots, all wide. Alligators, as immovable as the logs on
which they rested, could be counted by hundreds, and of all sizes up to
twelve or fifteen feet. Occasionally, as we passed uncomfortably near,
we could not resist, even with our scant supply of ammunition, giving
them a little cold lead between the head and shoulders, the only
vulnerable place. With a fair wind we sailed the twelve miles across
Lake Monroe, a pretty sheet of water, the deserted huts of Enterprise
and Mellonville on each side. Above the lake the river became still
narrower and more tortuous, dividing sometimes into numerous branches,
most of which proved to be mere _culs-de-sac_. The long moss, reaching
from the overhanging branches to the water, gave to the surroundings a
most weird and funereal aspect.

On May 29 we reached Lake Harney, whence we determined to make the
portage to Indian River. O'Toole was sent to look for some means of
moving our boat. He returned next day with two small black bulls yoked
to a pair of wheels such as are used by lumbermen. Their owner was a
compound of Caucasian, African, and Indian, with the shrewdness of the
white, the good temper of the negro, and the indolence of the red man.
He was at first exorbitant in his demands; but a little money, some
tobacco, and a spare fowling-piece made him happy, and he was ready to
let us drive his beasts to the end of the peninsula. It required some
skill to mount the boat securely on the wheels and to guard against any
upsets or collisions, for our escape depended upon carrying it safely

The next morning we made an early start. Our course was an easterly one,
through a roadless, flat, sandy pine-barren, with an occasional thicket
and swamp. From the word "go" trouble with the bulls began. Their owner
seemed to think that in furnishing them he had fulfilled his part of the
contract. They would neither "gee" nor "haw"; if one started ahead, the
other would go astern. If by accident they started ahead together, they
would certainly bring up with their heads on each side of a tree.
Occasionally they would lie down in a pool to get rid of the flies, and
only by the most vigorous prodding could they be induced to move.

Paul, the owner, would loiter in the rear, but was always on hand when
we halted for meals. Finally we told him, "No work, no grub; no drive
bulls, no tobacco." This roused him to help us. Two days were thus
occupied in covering eighteen miles. It would have been less labor to
have tied the beasts, put them into the boat, and hauled it across the
portage. The weather was intensely hot, and our time was made miserable
by day with sand-flies, and by night with mosquitos.

The waters of Indian River were a most welcome sight, and we hoped that
most of our troubles were over. Paul and his bulls of Bashan were gladly
dismissed to the wilderness. Our first care was to make good any defects
in our boat: some leaks were stopped by a little calking and pitching.
Already our supply of provisions began to give us anxiety: only bacon
and sweet potatoes remained. The meal was wet and worthless, and, what
was worse, all our salt had dissolved. However, with the waters alive
with fish, and some game on shore, we hoped to pull through.

We reached Indian River, or lagoon, opposite Cape Carnaveral. It extends
along nearly the entire eastern coast of Florida, varying in width from
three to six miles, and is separated from the Atlantic by a narrow sand
ridge, which is pierced at different points by shifting inlets. It is
very shoal, so much so that we were obliged to haul our boat out nearly
half a mile before she would float, and the water is teeming with
stingarees, sword-fish, crabs, etc. But once afloat, we headed to the
southward with a fair wind.

For four days we continued to make good progress, taking advantage of
every fair wind by night as well as by day. Here, as on the St. John's
River, the same scene of desolation as far as human beings were
concerned was presented. We passed a few deserted cabins, around which
we were able to obtain a few cocoanuts and watermelons, a most welcome
addition to our slim commissariat. Unfortunately, oranges were not in
season. Whenever the breeze left us the heat was almost suffocating;
there was no escape for it. If we landed, and sought any shade, the
mosquitos would drive us at once to the glare of the sun. When sleeping
on shore, the best protection was to bury ourselves in the sand, with
cap drawn down over the head (my buckskin gauntlets proved invaluable);
if in the boat, to wrap the sail or tarpaulin around us. Besides this
plague, sand-flies, gnats, swamp-flies, ants, and other insects
abounded. The little black ant is especially bold and warlike. If, in
making our beds in the sand, we disturbed one of their hives, they would
rally in thousands to the attack, and the only safety was in a hasty
shake and change of residence. Passing Indian River inlet, the river
broadens, and there is a thirty-mile straight-away course to Gilbert's
Bar, or Old Inlet, now closed; then begin the Jupiter Narrows, where the
channel is crooked, narrow, and often almost closed by the dense growth
of mangroves, juniper, saw-grass, etc., making a jungle that only a
water-snake could penetrate. Several times we lost our reckoning, and
had to retreat and take a fresh start; an entire day was lost in these
everglades, which extend across the entire peninsula. Finally, by good
luck, we stumbled on a short "haulover" to the sea, and determined at
once to take advantage of it, and to run our boat across and launch her
in the Atlantic. A short half-mile over the sand-dunes, and we were
clear of the swamps and marshes of Indian River, and were reveling in
the Atlantic, free, at least for a time, from mosquitos, which had
punctured and bled us for the last three weeks.


On Sunday, June 4, we passed Jupiter Inlet, with nothing in sight. The
lighthouse had been destroyed the first year of the war. From this point
we had determined to cross Florida Channel to the Bahamas, about eighty
miles; but the wind was ahead, and we could do nothing but work slowly
to the southward, waiting for a slant. It was of course a desperate
venture to cross this distance in a small open boat, which even a
moderate sea would swamp. Our provisions now became a very serious
question. As I have said, we had lost all the meal, and the sweet
potatoes, our next main-stay, were sufficient only for two days more. We
had but little more ammunition than was necessary for our revolvers, and
these we might be called upon to use at any time. Very fortunately for
us, it was the time of the year when the green turtle deposits its eggs.
Russell and O'Toole were old beach-combers, and had hunted eggs before.
Sharpening a stick, they pressed it into the sand as they walked along,
and wherever it entered easily they would dig. After some hours' search
we were successful in finding a nest which had not been destroyed, and I
do not think prospectors were ever more gladdened by the sight of "the
yellow" than we were at our find. The green turtle's egg is about the
size of a walnut, with a white skin like parchment that you can tear,
but not break. The yolk will cook hard, but the longer you boil the egg
the softer the white becomes. The flavor is not unpleasant, and for the
first two days we enjoyed them; but then we were glad to vary the fare
with a few shell-fish and even with snails.


From Cape Carnaveral to Cape Florida the coast trends nearly north and
south in a straight line, so that we could see at a long distance
anything going up or down the shore. Some distance to the southward of
Jupiter Inlet we saw a steamer coming down, running close to the beach
to avoid the three-and four-knot current of the stream. From her yards
and general appearance I soon made her out to be a cruiser, so we hauled
our boat well up on the sands, turned it over on its side, and went back
among the palmettos. When abreast of us and not more than half a mile
off, with colors flying, we could see the officer of the deck and
others closely scanning the shore. We were in hopes they would look upon
our boat as flotsam and jetsam, of which there was more or less strewn
upon the beach. To our great relief, the cruiser passed us, and when she
was two miles or more to the southward we ventured out and approached
the boat, but the sharp lookout saw us, and, to our astonishment, the
steamer came swinging about, and headed up the coast. The question at
once arose, What was the best course to pursue? The general thought we
had better take to the bush again, and leave the boat, hoping they would
not disturb it. Colonel Wilson agreed with his chief. I told him that
since we had been seen, the enemy would certainly destroy or carry off
the boat, and the loss meant, if not starvation, at least privation, and
no hope of escaping from the country. Besides, the mosquitos would suck
us as dry as Egyptian mummies. I proposed that we should meet them
half-way, in company with Russell and O'Toole, who were paroled men, and
fortunately had their papers with them, and I offered to row off and see
what was wanted. He agreed, and, launching our boat and throwing in two
buckets of eggs, we pulled out. By this time the steamer was abreast of
us, and had lowered a boat which met us half-way. I had one oar, and
O'Toole the other. To the usual hail I paid no attention except to stop
rowing. A ten-oared cutter with a smart-looking crew dashed alongside.
The sheen was not yet off the lace and buttons of the youngster in
charge. With revolver in hand he asked us who we were, where we came
from, and where we were going. "Cap'n," said I, "please put away
that-ar pistol,--I don't like the looks of it,--and I'll tell you all
about us. We've been rebs and there ain't no use saying we weren't; but
it's all up now, and we got home too late to put in a crop, so we just
made up our minds to come down shore and see if we couldn't find
something. It's all right, Cap'n; we've got our papers. Want to see 'em?
Got 'em fixed up at Jacksonville." O'Toole and Russell handed him their
paroles, which he said were all right. He asked for mine. I turned my
pockets out, looked in my hat, and said: "I must er dropped mine in
camp, but 'tis just the same as theirn." He asked who was ashore. I told
him, "There's more of we-uns b'iling some turtle-eggs for dinner. Cap'n,
I'd like to swap some eggs for tobacco or bread." His crew soon produced
from the slack of their frocks pieces of plug, which they passed on
board in exchange for our eggs. I told the youngster if he'd come to
camp we'd give him as many as he could eat. Our hospitality was
declined. Among other questions he asked if there were any batteries on
shore--a battery on a beach where there was not a white man within a
hundred miles! "Up oars--let go forward--let fall--give 'way!" were all
familiar orders; but never before had they sounded so welcome. As they
shoved off, the coxswain said to the youngster, "That looks like a
man-of-war's gig, sir"; but he paid no attention to him. We pulled
leisurely ashore, watching the cruiser. The boat went up to the davits
at a run, and she started to the southward again. The general was very
much relieved, for it was a narrow escape.


The wind still holding to the southward and eastward, we could work
only slowly to the southward, against wind and current. At times we
suffered greatly for want of water; our usual resource was to dig for
it, but often it was so brackish and warm that when extreme thirst
forced its use the consequences were violent pains and retchings. One
morning we saw a few wigwams ashore, and pulled in at once and landed.
It was a party of Seminoles who had come out of the everglades like the
bears to gather eggs. They received us kindly, and we devoured
ravenously the remnants of their breakfast of fish and _kountee_. Only
the old chief spoke a little English. Not more than two or three hundred
of this once powerful and warlike tribe remain in Florida; they occupy
some islands in this endless swamp to the southward of Lake Okeechobee.
They have but little intercourse with the whites, and come out on the
coast only at certain seasons to fish. We were very anxious to obtain
some provisions from them, but excepting kountee they had nothing to
spare. This is an esculent resembling arrowroot, which they dig,
pulverize, and use as flour. Cooked in the ashes, it makes a palatable
but tough cake, which we enjoyed after our long abstinence from bread.
The old chief took advantage of our eagerness for supplies, and
determined to replenish his powder-horn. Nothing else would do; not even
an old coat, or fish-hooks, or a cavalry saber would tempt him. Powder
only he would have for their long, heavy small-bore rifles with
flintlocks, such as Davy Crockett used. We reluctantly divided with him
our very scant supply in exchange for some of their flour. We parted
good friends, after smoking the pipe of peace.


On the 7th, off New River Inlet, we discovered a small sail standing to
the northward. The breeze was very light, so we downed our sail, got out
our oars, and gave chase. The stranger stood out to seaward, and
endeavored to escape; but slowly we overhauled her, and finally a shot
caused her mainsail to drop. As we pulled alongside I saw from the dress
of the crew of three that they were man-of-war's men, and divined that
they were deserters. They were thoroughly frightened at first, for our
appearance was not calculated to impress them favorably. To our
questions they returned evasive answers or were silent, and finally
asked by what authority we had overhauled them. We told them that the
war was not over so far as we were concerned; that they were our
prisoners, and their boat our prize; that they were both deserters and
pirates, the punishment of which was death; but that under the
circumstances we would not surrender them to the first cruiser we met,
but would take their paroles and exchange boats. To this they
strenuously objected. They were well armed, and although we outnumbered
them five to three (not counting Tom), still, if they could get the
first bead on us the chances were about equal. They were desperate, and
not disposed to surrender their boat without a tussle. The general and I
stepped into their boat, and ordered the spokesman and leader to go
forward. He hesitated a moment, and two revolvers looked him in the
face. Sullenly he obeyed our orders. The general said, "Wilson, disarm
that man." The colonel, with pistol in hand, told him to hold up his
hands. He did so while the colonel drew from his belt a navy revolver
and a sheath-knife. The other two made no further show of resistance,
but handed us their arms. The crew disposed of, I made an examination of
our capture. Unfortunately, her supply of provisions was very
small--only some "salt-horse" and hardtack, with a breaker of fresh
water, and we exchanged part of them for some of our konatee and
turtles' eggs. But it was in our new boat that we were particularly
fortunate: sloop-rigged, not much longer than our gig, but with more
beam and plenty of freeboard, decked over to the mast, and well found in
sails and rigging. After our experience in a boat the gunwale of which
was not more than eighteen inches out of water, we felt that we had a
craft able to cross the Atlantic. Our prisoners, submitting to the
inevitable, soon made themselves at home in their new boat, became more
communicative, and wanted some information as to the best course by
which to reach Jacksonville or Savannah. We were glad to give them the
benefit of our experience, and on parting handed them their knives and
two revolvers, for which they were very thankful.

Later we were abreast of Green Turtle Key, with wind light and ahead;
still, with all these drawbacks, we were able to make some progress. Our
new craft worked and sailed well, after a little addition of ballast.
Before leaving the coast, we found it would be necessary to call at Fort
Dallas or some other point for supplies. It was running a great risk,
for we did not know whom we should find there, whether friend or foe.
But without at least four or five days' rations of some kind, it would
not be safe to attempt the passage across the Gulf Stream. However,
before venturing to do so, we determined to try to replenish our larder
with eggs. Landing on the beach, we hunted industriously for some hours,
literally scratching for a living; but the ground had evidently been
most effectually gone over before, as the tracks of bears proved. A few
onions, washed from some passing vessel, were eagerly devoured. We
scanned the washings along the strand in vain for anything that would
satisfy hunger. Nothing remained but to make the venture of stopping at
the fort. This fort, like many others, was established during the
Seminole war, and at its close was abandoned. It is near the mouth of
the Miami River, a small stream which serves as an outlet to the
overflow of the everglades. Its banks are crowded to the water's edge
with tropical verdure, with many flowering plants and creepers, all the
colors of which are reflected in its clear waters. The old barracks were
in sight as we slowly worked our way against the current. Located in a
small clearing, with cocoanut-trees in the foreground, the white
buildings made, with a backing of deep green, a very pretty picture. We
approached cautiously, not knowing with what reception we should meet.
As we neared the small wharf, we found waiting some twenty or thirty
men, of all colors, from the pale Yankee to the ebony Congo, all armed:
a more motley and villainous-looking crew never trod the deck of one of
Captain Kidd's ships. We saw at once with whom we had to deal--deserters
from the army and navy of both sides, with a mixture of Spaniards and
Cubans, outlaws and renegades. A burly villain, towering head and
shoulders above his companions, and whose shaggy black head scorned any
covering, hailed us in broken English, and asked who we were. Wreckers,
I replied; that we left our vessel outside, and had come in for water
and provisions. He asked where we had left our vessel, and her name,
evidently suspicious, which was not surprising, for our appearance was
certainly against us. Our head-gear was unique: the general wore a straw
hat that napped over his head like the ears of an elephant; Colonel
Wilson, an old cavalry cap that had lost its visor; another, a turban
made of some number 4 duck canvas; and all were in our shirt-sleeves,
the colors of which were as varied as Joseph's coat. I told him we had
left her to the northward a few miles, that a gunboat had spoken us a
few hours before, and had overhauled our papers, and had found them all
right. After a noisy powwow we were told to land, that our papers might
be examined. I said no, but if a canoe were sent off, I would let one of
our men go on shore and buy what we wanted. I was determined not to
trust our boat within a hundred yards of the shore. Finally a canoe
paddled by two negroes came off, and said no one but the captain would
be permitted to land. O'Toole volunteered to go, but the boatmen would
not take him, evidently having had their orders. I told them to tell
their chief that we had intended to spend a few pieces of gold with
them, but since he would not permit it, we would go elsewhere for
supplies. We got out our sweeps, and moved slowly down the river, a
light breeze helping us. The canoe returned to the shore, and soon some
fifteen or twenty men crowded into four or five canoes and dugouts, and
started for us. We prepared for action, determined to give them a warm
reception. Even Tom looked after his carbine, putting on a fresh cap.

Though outnumbered three to one, still we were well under cover in our
boat, and could rake each canoe as it came up. We determined to take all
the chances, and to open fire as soon as they came within range. I told
Russell to try a shot at one some distance ahead of the others. He broke
two paddles on one side and hit one man, not a bad beginning. This canoe
dropped to the rear at once; the occupants of the others opened fire,
but their shooting was wild from the motions of their small craft. The
general tried and missed; Tom thought he could do better than his
master, and made a good line shot, but short. The general advised
husbanding our ammunition until they came within easy range. Waiting a
little while, Russell and the colonel fired together, and the bowman in
the nearest canoe rolled over, nearly upsetting her. They were now
evidently convinced that we were in earnest, and, after giving us an
ineffectual volley, paddled together to hold a council of war. Soon a
single canoe with three men started for us with a white flag. We hove
to, and waited for them to approach. When within hail, I asked what was
wanted. A white man, standing in the stern, with two negroes paddling,

"What did you fire on us for? We are friends."

"Friends do not give chase to friends."

"We wanted to find out who you are."

"I told you who we are; and if you are friends, sell us some

"Come on shore, and you can get what you want."

Our wants were urgent, and it was necessary, if possible, to make some
terms with them; but it would not be safe to venture near their lair
again. We told them that if they would bring us some supplies we would
wait, and pay them well in gold. The promise of gold served as a bait to
secure some concession. After some parleying it was agreed that O'Toole
should go on shore in their canoe, be allowed to purchase some
provisions, and return in two hours. The bucaneer thought the time too
short, but I insisted that if O'Toole were not brought back in two
hours, I would speak the first gunboat I met, and return with her and
have their nest of freebooters broken up. Time was important, for we had
noticed soon after we had started down the river a black column of smoke
ascending from near the fort, undoubtedly a signal to some of their
craft in the vicinity to return, for I felt convinced that they had
other craft besides canoes at their disposal; hence their anxiety to
detain us. O'Toole was told to be as dumb as an oyster as to ourselves,
but wide awake as to the designs of our dubious friends. The general
gave him five eagles for his purchase, tribute-money. He jumped into the
canoe, and all returned to the fort. We dropped anchor underfoot to
await his return, keeping a sharp lookout for any strange sail. The two
hours passed in pleasant surmises as to what he would bring off; another
half-hour passed, and no sign of his return; and we began to despair of
our anticipated feast, and of O'Toole, a bright young Irishman, whose
good qualities had endeared him to us all. The anchor was up, and slowly
with a light breeze we drew away from the river, debating what should be
our next move. The fort was shut in by a projecting point, and three or
four miles had passed when the welcome sight of a canoe astern made us
heave to. It was O'Toole with two negroes, a bag of hard bread, two
hams, some rusty salt pork, sweet potatoes, fruit, and, most important
of all, two breakers of water and a keg of New England rum. While
O'Toole gave us his experience, a ham was cut, and a slice between two
of hardtack, washed down with a jorum of rum and water, with a dessert
of oranges and bananas, was a feast to us more enjoyable than any ever
eaten at Delmonico's or the Café Riche. On his arrival on shore, our
ambassador had been taken to the quarters of Major Valdez, who claimed
to be an officer of the Federals, and by him he was thoroughly
cross-examined. He had heard of the breaking up of the Confederacy, but
not of the capture of Mr. Davis, and was evidently skeptical of our
story as to being wreckers, and connected us in some way with the losing
party, either as persons of note or a party escaping with treasure.
However, O'Toole baffled all his queries, and was proof against both
blandishments and threats. He learned what he had expected, that they
were looking for the return of a schooner; hence the smoke signal, and
the anxiety to detain us as long as possible. It was only when he saw us
leaving, after waiting over two hours, that the major permitted him to
make a few purchases and rejoin us.

Night, coming on, found us inside of Key Biscayne, the beginning of the
system of innumerable keys, or small islands, extending from this point
to the Tortugas, nearly two hundred miles east and west, at the
extremity of the peninsula. Of coral formation, as soon as it is built
up to the surface of the water it crumbles under the action of the sea
and sun. Sea-fowl rest upon it, dropping the seed of some marine plants,
or the hard mangrove is washed ashore on it, and its all-embracing roots
soon spread in every direction; so are formed these keys. Darkness and
shoal water warned us to anchor. We passed an unhappy night fighting
mosquitos. As the sun rose, we saw to the eastward a schooner of thirty
or forty tons standing down toward us with a light wind; no doubt it was
one from the fort sent in pursuit. Up anchor, up sail, out sweeps, and
we headed down Biscayne Bay, a shoal sheet of water between the reefs
and mainland. The wind rose with the sun, and, being to windward, the
schooner had the benefit of it first, and was fast overhauling us. The
water was shoaling, which I was not sorry to see, for our draft must
have been from two to three feet less than that of our pursuer, and we
recognized that our best chance of escape was by drawing him into shoal
water, while keeping afloat ourselves. By the color and break of the
water I saw that we were approaching a part of the bay where the shoals
appeared to extend nearly across, with narrow channels between them like
the furrows in a plowed field, with occasional openings from one channel
into another. Some of the shoals were just awash, others bare. Ahead was
a reef on which there appeared but very little water. I could see no
opening into the channel beyond. To attempt to haul by the wind on
either tack would bring us in a few minutes under fire of the schooner
now coming up hand over hand. I ordered the ballast to be thrown
overboard, and determined, as our only chance, to attempt to force her
over the reef. She was headed for what looked like a little breakwater
on our port bow. As the ballast went overboard we watched the bottom
anxiously; the water shoaled rapidly, and the grating of the keel over
the coral, with that peculiar tremor most unpleasant to a seaman under
any circumstances, told us our danger. As the last of the ballast went
overboard she forged ahead, and then brought up. Together we went
overboard, and sank to our waists in the black, pasty mud, through which
at intervals branches of rotten coral projected, which only served to
make the bottom more treacherous and difficult to work on. Relieved of a
half-ton of our weight, our sloop forged ahead three or four lengths,
and then brought up again. We pushed her forward some distance, but as
the water lessened, notwithstanding our efforts, she stopped.

Looking astern, we saw the schooner coming up wing and wing, not more
than a mile distant. Certainly the prospect was blue; but one chance was
left, to sacrifice everything in the boat. Without hesitation,
overboard went the provisions except a few biscuits; the oars were made
fast to the main-sheet alongside, and a breaker of water, the anchor and
chain, all spare rope, indeed everything that weighed a pound, was
dropped alongside, and then, three on each side, our shoulders under the
boat's bilges, at the word we lifted together, and foot by foot moved
her forward. Sometimes the water would deepen a little and relieve us;
again it would shoal. Between the coral-branches we would sink at times
to our necks in the slime and water, our limbs lacerated with the sharp
projecting points. Fortunately, the wind helped us; keeping all sail on,
thus for more than a hundred yards we toiled, until the water deepened
and the reef was passed. Wet, foul, bleeding, with hardly strength
enough to climb into the boat, we were safe at last for a time. As we
cleared the shoal, the schooner hauled by the wind, and opened fire from
a nine-or twelve-pounder; but we were at long range, and the firing was
wild. With a fair wind we soon opened the distance between us.

General Breckinridge, thoroughly used up, threw himself down in the
bottom of the boat; at which Tom, always on the lookout for his master's
comfort, said, "Marse John, s'pose you take a little rum and water."
This proposal stirred us all. The general rose, saying, "Yes, indeed,
Tom, I will; but where is the rum?" supposing it had been sacrificed
with everything else.

[Illustration: OVER A CORAL-REEF.]

"I sees you pitchin' eberyt'ing away; I jes put this jug in hyar, 'ca'se
I 'lowed you'd want some."

Opening a looker in the transom, he took out the jug. Never was a potion
more grateful; we were faint and thirsty, and it acted like a charm,
and, bringing up on another reef, we were ready for another tussle.
Fortunately, this proved only a short lift. In the mean time the
schooner had passed through the first reef by an opening, as her skipper
was undoubtedly familiar with these waters. Still another shoal was
ahead; instead of again lifting our sloop over it, I hauled by the wind,
and stood for what looked like an opening to the eastward. Our pursuers
were on the opposite tack and fast approaching; a reef intervened, and
when abeam, distant about half a mile, they opened fire both with their
small arms and boat-gun. The second shot from the latter was well
directed; it grazed our mast and carried away the luff of the mainsail.
Several Minié balls struck on our sides without penetrating; we did not
reply, and kept under cover. When abreast of a break in the reef, we up
helm, and again went off before the wind. The schooner was now satisfied
that she could not overhaul us, and stood off to the northward.

Free from our enemy, we were now able to take stock of our supplies and
determine what to do. Our provisions consisted of about ten pounds of
hard bread, a twenty-gallon breaker of water, two thirds full, and three
gallons of rum. Really a fatality appeared to follow us as regards our
commissariat. Beginning with our first drenching on the St. John's,
every successive supply had been lost, and now what we had bought with
so much trouble yesterday, the sellers compelled us to sacrifice to-day.
But our first care was to ballast the sloop, for without it she was so
crank as to be unseaworthy. This was not an easy task; the shore of all
the keys, as well as that of the mainland in sight, was low and swampy,
and covered to the water's edge with a dense growth of mangroves. What
made matters worse, we were without any ground-tackle.

At night we were up to Elliott's Key, and anchored by making fast to a
sweep shoved into the muddy bottom like a shad-pole. When the wind went
down, the mosquitos came off in clouds. We wrapped ourselves in the
sails from head to feet, with only our nostrils exposed. At daylight we
started again to the westward, looking for a dry spot where we might
land, get ballast, and possibly some supplies. A few palm-trees rising
from the mangroves indicated a spot where we might find a little _terra
firma_. Going in as near as was prudent, we waded ashore, and found a
small patch of sand and coral elevated a few feet above the everlasting
swamp. Some six or eight cocoa-palms rose to the height of forty or
fifty feet, and under their umbrella-like tops we could see the bunches
of green fruit. It was a question how to get at it. Without saying a
word, Tom went on board the boat, brought off a piece of canvas, cut a
strip a yard long, tied the ends together, and made two holes for his
big toes. The canvas, stretched between his feet, embraced the rough
bark so that he rapidly ascended. He threw down the green nuts, and
cutting through the thick shell, we found about half a pint of milk. The
general suggested a little milk-punch. All the trees were stripped, and
what we did not use we saved for sea-stores.

To ballast our sloop was our next care. The jib was unbent, the sheet
and head were brought together and made into a sack. This was filled
with sand, and, slung on an oar, was shouldered by two and carried on

Leaving us so engaged, the general started to try to knock over some of
the numerous water-fowl in sight. He returned in an hour thoroughly used
up from his struggles in the swamp, but with two pelicans and a white
crane. In the stomach of one of the first were a dozen or more mullet,
from six to nine inches in length which had evidently just been
swallowed. We cleaned them, and wrapping them in palmetto-leaves,
roasted them in the ashes, and they proved delicious. Tom took the birds
in hand, and as he was an old campaigner, who had cooked everything from
a stalled ox to a crow, we had faith in his ability to make them
palatable. He tried to pick them, but soon abandoned it, and skinned
them. We looked on anxiously, ready after our first course of fish for
something more substantial. He broiled them, and with a flourish laid
one before the general on a clean leaf, saying, "I's 'feared, Marse
John, it's tough as an old muscovy drake."

"Let me try it, Tom."

After some exertion he cut off a mouthful, while we anxiously awaited
the verdict. Without a word he rose and disappeared into the bushes.
Returning in a few minutes, he told Tom to remove the game. His tone and
expression satisfied us that pelican would not keep us from starving.
The colonel thought the crane might be better, but a taste satisfied us
that it was no improvement.

Hungry and tired, it was nearly night before we were ready to move; and,
warned by our sanguinary experience of the previous night, we determined
to haul off from the shore as far as possible, and get outside the range
of the mosquitos. It was now necessary to determine upon our future
course. We had abandoned all hope of reaching the Bahamas, and the
nearest foreign shore was that of Cuba, distant across the Gulf Stream
from our present position about two hundred miles, or three or four
days' sail, with the winds we might expect at this season. With the
strictest economy our provisions would not last so long. However, nearly
a month in the swamps and among the keys of Florida, in the month of
June, had prepared us to face almost any risk to escape from those
shores, and it was determined to start in the morning for Cuba. Well out
in the bay we hove to, and passed a fairly comfortable night; next day
early we started for Cæsar's Canal, a passage between Elliott's Key and
Key Largo. The channel was crooked and puzzling, leading through a
labyrinth of mangrove islets, around which the current of the Gulf
Stream was running like a sluice; we repeatedly got aground, when we
would jump overboard and push off. So we worked all day before we were
clear of the keys and outside among the reefs, which extend three or
four miles beyond. Waiting again for daylight, we threaded our way
through them, and with a light breeze from the eastward steered south,
thankful to feel again the pulsating motion of the ocean.

Several sail and one steamer were in sight during the day, but all at a
distance. Constant exposure had tanned us the color of mahogany, and our
legs and feet were swollen and blistered from being so much in the salt
water, and the action of the hot sun on them made them excessively
painful. Fortunately, but little exertion was now necessary, and our
only relief was in lying still, with an impromptu awning over us.
General Breckinridge took charge of the water and rum, doling it out at
regular intervals, a tot at a time, determined to make it last as long
as possible.

Toward evening the wind was hardly strong enough to enable us to hold
our own against the stream. At ten, Carysfort Light was abeam, and soon
after a dark bank of clouds rising in the eastern sky betokened a change
of wind and weather. Everything was made snug and lashed securely, with
two reefs in the mainsail, and the bonnet taken off the jib. I knew from
experience what we might expect from summer squalls in the straits of
Florida. I took the helm, the general the sheet, Colonel Wilson was
stationed by the halyards, Russell and O'Toole were prepared to bail.
Tom, thoroughly demoralized, was already sitting in the bottom of the
boat, between the general's knees. The sky was soon completely overcast
with dark lowering clouds; the darkness, which could almost be felt, was
broken every few minutes by lurid streaks of lightning chasing one
another through black abysses. Fitful gusts of wind were the heralds of
the coming blast. Great drops of rain fell like the scattering fire of a
skirmish-line, and with a roar like a thousand trumpets we heard the
blast coming, giving us time only to lower everything and get the stern
of the boat to it, for our only chance was to run with the storm until
the rough edge was taken off, and then heave to. I cried, "All hands
down!" as the gale struck us with the force of a thunderbolt, carrying a
wall of white water with it which burst over us like a cataract. I
thought we were swamped as I clung desperately to the tiller, though
thrown violently against the boom. But after the shock, our brave little
boat, though half filled, rose and shook herself like a spaniel. The
mast bent like a whip-stick, and I expected to see it blown out of her,
but, gathering way, we flew with the wind. The surface was lashed into
foam as white as the driven snow. The lightning and artillery of the
heavens were incessant, blinding, and deafening; involuntarily we bowed
our heads, utterly helpless. Soon the heavens were opened, and the
floods came down like a waterspout. I knew then that the worst of it had
passed, and though one fierce squall succeeded another, each one was
tamer. The deluge, too, helped to beat down the sea. To give an order
was impossible, for I could not be heard; I could only, during the
flashes, make signs to Russell and O'Toole to bail. Tying themselves and
their buckets to the thwarts, they went to work and soon relieved her of
a heavy load.


From the general direction of the wind I knew without compass or any
other guide that we were running to the westward, and, I feared, were
gradually approaching the dreaded reefs, where in such a sea our boat
would have been reduced to match-wood in a little while. Therefore,
without waiting for the wind or sea to moderate, I determined to heave
to, hazardous as it was to attempt anything of the kind. Giving the
colonel the helm, I lashed the end of the gaff to the boom, and then
loosed enough of the mainsail to goose-wing it, or make a leg-of-mutton
sail of it. Then watching for a lull or a smooth time, I told him to put
the helm a-starboard and let her come to on the port tack, head to the
southward, and at the same time I hoisted the sail. She came by the wind
quickly without shipping a drop of water, but as I was securing the
halyards the colonel gave her too much helm, bringing the wind on the
other bow, the boom flew round and knocked my feet from under me, and
overboard I went. Fortunately, her way was deadened, and as I came up I
seized the sheet, and with the general's assistance scrambled on board.
For twelve hours or more I did not trust the helm to any one. The storm
passed over to the westward with many a departing growl and threat. But
the wind still blew hoarsely from the eastward with frequent gusts
against the stream, making a heavy, sharp sea. In the trough of it the
boat was becalmed, but as she rose on the crest of the waves even the
little sail set was as much as she could stand up under, and she had to
be nursed carefully; for if she had fallen off, one breaker would have
swamped us, or any accident to sail or spar would have been fatal: but
like a gull on the waters, our brave little craft rose and breasted
every billow.

By noon the next day the weather had moderated sufficiently to make more
sail, and the sea went down at the same time. Then, hungry and thirsty,
Tom was thought of. During the gale he had remained in the bottom of the
boat as motionless as a log. As he was roused up, he asked:

"Marse John, whar is you, and whar is you goin'? 'Fore de Lord, I never
want to see a boat again."

"Come, Tom, get us something to drink, and see if there is anything left
to eat," said the general. But Tom was helpless.

The general served out a small ration of water and rum, every drop of
which was precious. Our small store of bread was found soaked, but, laid
in the sun, it partly dried, and was, if not palatable, at least a
relief to hungry men.

During the next few days the weather was moderate, and we stood to the
southward; several sail were in sight, but at a distance. We were
anxious to speak one even at some risk, for our supplies were down to a
pint of rum in water each day under a tropical sun, with two
water-soaked biscuits. On the afternoon of the second day a brig drifted
slowly down toward us; we made signals that we wished to speak her, and,
getting out our sweeps, pulled for her. As we neared her, the captain
hailed and ordered us to keep off. I replied that we were shipwrecked
men, and only wanted some provisions. As we rounded to under his stern,
we could see that he had all his crew of seven or eight men at quarters.
He stood on the taff-rail with a revolver in hand, his two mates with
muskets, the cook with a huge tormentor, and the crew with handspikes.

"I tell you again, keep off, or I'll let fly."

"Captain, we won't go on board if you will give us some provisions; we
are starving."

"Keep off, I tell you. Boys, make ready."

One of the mates drew a bead on me; our eyes met in a line over the
sights on the barrel. I held up my right hand.

"Will you fire on an unarmed man? Captain, you are no sailor, or you
would not refuse to help shipwrecked men."

"How do I know who you are? And I've got no grub to spare."

"Here is a passenger who is able to pay you," said I, pointing to the

"Yes; I will pay for anything you let us have."

The captain now held a consultation with his officers, and then said:
"I'll give you some water and bread. I've got nothing else. But you must
not come alongside."

A small keg, or breaker, was thrown overboard and picked up, with a bag
of fifteen or twenty pounds of hardtack. This was the reception given us
by the brig _Neptune_ of Bangor. But when the time and place are
considered, we cannot wonder at the captain's precautions, for a more
piratical-looking party than we never sailed the Spanish main. General
Breckinridge, bronzed the color of mahogany, unshaven, with long
mustache, wearing a blue flannel shirt open at the neck, exposing his
broad chest, with an old slouch hat, was a typical bucaneer. Thankful
for what we had received, we parted company. Doubtless the captain
reported on his arrival home a blood-curdling story of his encounter
with pirates off the coast of Cuba.

"Marse John, I thought the war was done. Why didn't you tell dem folks
who you was?" queried Tom. The general told Tom they were Yankees, and
would not believe us. "Is dar any Yankees whar you goin'?--'ca'se if dar
is, we best go back to old Kentucky." He was made easy on this point,
and, with an increase in our larder, became quite perky. A change in the
color of the water showed us that we were on soundings, and had crossed
the Stream, and soon after we came in sight of some rocky islets, which
I recognized as Double-Headed Shot Keys, thus fixing our position; for
our chart, with the rest of our belongings, had disappeared, or had been
destroyed by water, and as the heavens, by day and night, were our only
guide, our navigation was necessarily very uncertain. For the next
thirty miles our course to the southward took us over Salt Key Bank,
where the soundings varied from three to five fathoms, but so clear was
the water that it was hard to believe that the coral, the shells, and
the marine flowers were not within arm's reach. Fishes of all sizes and
colors darted by us in every direction. The bottom of the bank was a
constantly varying kaleidoscope of beauty. But to starving men, with not
a mouthful in our grasp, this display of food was tantalizing. Russell,
who was an expert swimmer, volunteered to dive for some conchs and
shell-fish; oysters there were none. Asking us to keep a sharp lookout
on the surface of the water for sharks, which generally swim with the
dorsal fin exposed, he went down and brought up a couple of live conchs
about the size of a man's fist. Breaking the shell, we drew the
quivering body out. Without its coat it looked like a huge grub, and not
more inviting. The general asked Tom to try it.

"Glory, Marse John, I'm mighty hungry, nebber so hungry sense we been in
de almy, and I'm just ready for ole mule, pole-cat, or anyt'ing 'cept
dis worm."

After repeated efforts to dissect it we agreed with Tom, and found it
not more edible than a pickled football. However, Russell, diving again,
brought up bivalves with a very thin shell and beautiful colors, in
shape like a large pea-pod. These we found tolerable; they served to
satisfy in some small degree our craving for food. The only drawback was
that eating them produced great thirst, which is much more difficult to
bear than hunger. We found partial relief in keeping our heads and
bodies wet with salt water.

On the sixth day from the Florida coast we crossed Nicholas Channel with
fair wind. Soon after we made the Cuban coast, and stood to the
westward, hoping to sight something which would determine our position.
After a run of some hours just outside of the coral-reefs, we sighted in
the distance some vessels at anchor. As we approached, a large town was
visible at the head of the bay, which proved to be Cardenas. We offered
prayful thanks for our wonderful escape, and anchored just off the
custom-house, and waited some time for the health officer to give us
pratique. But as no one came off in answer to our signals, I went on
shore to report at the custom-house. It was some time before I could
make them comprehend that we were from Florida, and anxious to land.
Their astonishment was great at the size of our boat, and they could
hardly believe we had crossed in it. Our arrival produced as much
sensation as would that of a liner. We might have been filibusters in
disguise. The governor-general had to be telegraphed to; numerous papers
were made out and signed; a register was made out for the sloop _No
Name_; then we had to make a visit to the governor before we were
allowed to go to a hotel to get something to eat. After a cup of coffee
and a light meal I had a warm bath, and donned some clean linen which
our friends provided.

We were overwhelmed with attentions, and when the governor-general
telegraphed that General Breckinridge was to be treated as one holding
his position and rank, the officials became as obsequious as they had
been overbearing and suspicious. The next day one of the
governor-general's aides-de-camp arrived from Havana, with an
invitation for the general and the party to visit him, which we
accepted, and after two days' rest took the train for the capital. A
special car was placed at our disposal, and on our arrival the general
was received with all the honors. We were driven to the palace, had a
long interview, and dined with Governor-General Concha. The transition
from a small open boat at sea, naked and starving, to the luxuries and
comforts of civilized life was as sudden as it was welcome and
thoroughly appreciated.

At Havana our party separated. General Breckinridge and Colonel Wilson
have since crossed the great river; Russell and O'Toole returned to
Florida. I should be glad to know what has become of faithful Tom.

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