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Title: Daring and Suffering: - A History of the Great Railroad Adventure
Author: Pittenger, William, 1840-1904
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 "Daring and Suffering: - A History of the Great Railroad Adventure" ***

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Transcriber's Note: All printer's errors retained.

[Illustration: _Engraved by Samuel Sartain, Phil.^a_

(Signed) Wm Pittenger]






"The expedition, in the daring of its conception, had the wildness of
a romance; while in the gigantic and overwhelming results it sought
and was likely to accomplish, it was absolutely sublime."--_Official
Report of Hon. Judge Holt to the Secretary of War._

"It was all the deepest laid scheme, and on the grandest scale, that
ever emanated from the brains of any number of Yankees
combined."--_Atlanta "Southern Confederacy" of April 15th, 1862._


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by


In the Office of the Clerk of the District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.


R. T. TRALL, M. D.,



Leader of the Hygienic Reform,






NEW SOMERSET, Jefferson Co., O.,
October, 1863.



J. J. ANDREWS, _Leader_,                Citizen of Kentucky.
WILLIAM CAMPBELL,                       Citizen of Kentucky.
GEORGE D. WILSON,           Co. B,      Second Reg't Ohio Vols.
MARION A. ROSS,             Co. A,      Second Reg't Ohio Vols.
PERRY G. SHADRACK,          Co. K,      Second Reg't Ohio Vols.
SAMUEL SLAVENS,                         Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
SAMUEL ROBINSON,            Co. G,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
JOHN SCOTT,                 Co. K,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.


W. W. BROWN,                Co. F,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
WILLIAM KNIGHT,             Co. E,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
J. R. PORTER,               Co. C,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
MARK WOOD,                  Co. C,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
J. A. WILSON,               Co. C,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
M. J. HAWKINS,              Co. A,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
JOHN WOLLAM,                Co. C,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
D. A. DORSEY,               Co. H,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.


JACOB PARROTT,              Co. K,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
ROBERT BUFFUM,              Co. H,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
WILLIAM BENSINGER,          Co. G,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
WILLIAM REDDICK,            Co. B,      Thirty-third Reg't Ohio Vols.
E. H. MASON,                Co. K,      Twenty-first Reg't Ohio Vols.
WILLIAM PITTENGER,          Co. G,      Second Reg't Ohio Vols.


The following work is a narration of facts. My only desire is to give
a clear and connected record of what will ever be regarded as a most
remarkable episode in the history of the Great Rebellion.

The style of the book demands an apology. It was begun in sickness
induced by the privations of rebel prisons, and completed amidst the
fatigue and excitement of the most glorious campaign which has yet
crowned our arms. Under these circumstances, there must be many faults
of expression, which a generous reader will readily pardon.

To the many kind friends who sympathized with me during the weary
interval when my fate was considered hopeless, as well as those who
rejoiced with me on my return, I can only tender my most sincere

Myself and comrades are greatly indebted to the PRESIDENT and
Secretary STANTON for their generous recognition of our services, and
the munificent rewards bestowed upon us. To them, and to Judge HOLT,
Major-General HITCHCOCK, and JAMES C. WETMORE, Ohio State Military
Agent, we take this opportunity of expressing our heartfelt

Another to whom I am indebted is Dr. R. T. TRALL of New York. At his
beautiful "_Hygiean Home_," on the mountain side, near Wernersville,
Berks county, Pennsylvania, I regained my lost health. For his
kindness, and that of his skillful assistants, Drs. GLASS and
FAIRCHILD, I will ever be deeply grateful. It was with regret, woven
with many pleasant memories, that I left their hospitable home when
recovered health and duty called me again to the field.

To my early friend, Rev. ALEXANDER CLARK, Editor of the "_School
Visitor_," I am still more deeply indebted. His literary experience
was freely placed at my service, and when discouraged in the
preparation of my story, which was to me an arduous undertaking, his
words of hope and cheer stimulated me to renewed efforts. But for aid
derived from his sympathy and advice, I would have probably abandoned
my task. May he be fully rewarded!

There are a host of others whose good offices will always be kindly
remembered. Among them are W. R. ALLISON of the "_Steubenville
Herald_," Dr. JOHN McCOOK, also of Steubenville, Dr. GEORGE McCOOK of
Pittsburgh, Rev. WILLIAM B. WATKINS, A. M., Dr. JOHN MILLS, and many
others. Thanks to them all!


_Army of the Cumberland, August, 1863._



Sad Retrospective--Object of the Book--Military Situation
in the Southwest--Disaster and Energy of the Rebels--Necessity
for a Secret Expedition--A Proposition to
Buell and Mitchel--An Attempt and Failure--Return of
Adventurers--Second Expedition--Writer Volunteers--Andrews,
the Leader--Parting from the Regiment--On
the Way--Perplexities--The Writer _Cur-tailed_!              23-35


Midnight Consultation--Plans Developed--Money Distributed--_Compagnons
du Voyage_--A Dismal Night--Sheltered
from the Storm--Southern Unionist--Arrested by
Federal Soldiers--Beyond the Lines--Panic Caused by
Negroes--Method of Avoiding Suspicion--Continuous
Rain--Behind Time--Hunting Human Beings with
Bloodhounds--The Cumberland Mountains--Rain again.           36-45


Crossing the Mountains--Playing Hypocrite--Legend of
Battle Creek Valley--Lodged with a Secessionist--Strategy--A
Welcome but Fatal Delay--Exaggerated
Accounts of Shiloh--Prevented from Crossing the Tennessee--In
the Mountains again--Amusing Rebel Story--To
the River again--Perilous Crossing--Success--Chattanooga--On
the Cars--Night--Arrive at Marietta.                         46-56


Take an Early Train--Prospecting--Capture of the Train--Panic
in Confederate Camp--Away at Lightning
Speed--Thrilling Experience--Cut the Telegraph--Tear
up the Track--Unexpected Obstacle--Running a Powder
Train to Beauregard--Red Flag--Dropping Cross-Ties--Battering
out Spikes--Immense Exertion of Strength--Pursuing
Backward--Terrible Chase--Attempt to Wreck
the Enemy's Train--Fearful Speed--Bold Plan.                 57-67


Consternation along the Route--Wood and Water--Attempt
to Fire the Train--Partial Failure--Message sent
to Chattanooga--Terrific Preparations--Abandon the
Train--A Capital Error--In the Woods--A Thrilling
Account of the Chase from the Atlanta "_Southern Confederacy_."


Stupendous "Man Hunt"--My Own Adventures--Playing
Acrobat--Perilous Crossing of a River--Hunger--The
Bloodhounds--Flying for Life--No Sun or Star to Guide
me--Traveling in a Circle--Nearing Chattanooga--Lost
in Deadened Timber--Glimpse of the Moon--Fatigue
produces Phantoms--Dreadful Storm--I Sleep and enter
Fairy Land--Glorious Visions--Reality--A Picket--Romance
Faded--Horrible Situation--Day Dawn--No Relief.              91-105


Sabbath--Continuous Rain--Press Onward--Observed--Arrested--Curious
Examination--Equivocating for Life--Plans
Foiled by Unexpected News--Plundered--Jail--Terrible
Reflections--New and Hopeful Resolve--Unwelcome
Visitors--Vigilance Committee Disappointed--Ordered
to Chattanooga--A Mob--Chained to the
Carriage--Escort--The Journey--Musings--Arrival--Another
Mob--Benevolent Gentleman(?)--General
Leadbetter--Andrews.                                        106-126


Negro Prison--Swims, the Jailor--Horrible Dungeon--Black
Hole of Calcutta--Suffocation--Union Prisoners--Slave
Catching--Our Party Reunited--Breakfast Lowered
by Rope--Hunger--Counseling--Fiendish Barbarity--Chained
in the Dungeon--Andrews tried as a Spy
and Traitor--Sweet, but Stolen News--Removed from
Dungeon--Pure Air and Sunlight--Attacked by a Mob--"A
Friend"--Madison--Daring Adventure and Narrow
Escape.                                                     127-147


Return to Chattanooga--Caution of Rebels--Unchain Ourselves--Mock
Trials--The Judge--Singing--One Kindness--Projected
Escape--Loitering Comrades--A Gleam
of Hope--Sad Parting--Knoxville--Prison Inmates--Brownlow--Awful
Cruelty--Andrews Condemned to
Death--Escapes with Wollam--Fearful Perils--Swimming
the River--Hiding on an Island--Found by Children--Yields
to His Fate--Horrible Death--Wollam's
Stratagem--On the River--Passes a Gun Boat--Final
Capture.                                                    148-170


Sorrow for Andrews--Prepare for Trial--Charges and
Specifications--Plan of Defence--Incidents of Trial--Encouragement--Not
Allowed to Hear Pleading--Lawyer's
Plea--Seven Tried--Mitchel Dissolves the Court--Tied
Again--A Saucy Reply--Advantage of Sickness--Fry
Deceived--Revolting Inhumanity--Fry's Capture--Starve
to Atlanta--Taunts of the Mob--Atlanta Prison--A
Kind Jailor.                                                171-183


Cavalry Approach--Seven Removed from the Room--Suspense--Sentence
of Death--Heart-rending Separation--Death
and the Future--Not Prepared--Inhuman Haste--The
Tragedy--Speech on the Scaffold--Breaking Ropes--Enemies
Affected--Gloom of Survivors--Prayer.                       184-192


Religious Experience--Contraband Assistance--Intelligence
of Negroes--Love of Freedom--Wollam's Recapture--A
Friendly Preacher--Obtain Books--Disgusting
Diet--Plays--Debates--Reading Hours--Envy the Birds--Dreams
of Home--Telegraphing--Friends from our
Army--Hope Deferred--Union Society--Difficulties of
Tobacco-chewers--Precious Books.                            193-207


Contemplated Escape--Startling Intelligence--Our Doom
Pronounced from Richmond--Hesitate no Longer--Our
Plan--All Ready--Supper--Farewell--Life or Death--Seize
the Jailor--Guns Wrested from Guards--Alarm
Given--Scaling the Wall--Guards Fire--Terrible Chase--Six
Recaptured--Wood and Wilson Reach the Gulf--Dorsey's
Narrative--Porter's Account--Boasting of the
Guards--Barlow's Cruel Death.                               208-223


Despair and Hope--Bitten Finger--Removed to Barracks--Greater
Comfort--Jack Wells--Cruel Punishment of
Tennesseeans--Story of a Spy--Help Him to Escape--Virtue
of a Coat--A Practical Joke--Unionism--Sweet
Potatoes--Enlisting in Rebel Army--Description of a
Day--Happy News--Start for Richmond--Not Tied--Night
Journey--Varied Incidents--Lynchburg--Rebel
Audacity Punished--Suffering from the Cold--Arrival
in Richmond.                                                224-246


The City by Moonlight--Old Accusation Renewed--Libby
Prison--Discomfort--A Change--Citizens' Department--Richmond
Breakfast--Removed under Guard--Castle
Thunder--Miniature Bedlam--Conceal a Knife--Confined
in a Stall--Dreadful Gloom--Routine of a Day--Suffering
at Night--Friends Exchanged--Newspapers--Burnside--Pecuniary
Perplexities--Captain Webster--Escape
Prevented--Try Again on Christmas Night--Betrayed--Fearful
Danger Avoided.                                             247-266


Letter sent Home--Alarming Pestilence--Our Quarters
Changed--Rowdyism--Fairy Stories--Judge Baxter--Satanic
Strategy--Miller's History--An Exchange with a
Dead Man--Effect of Democratic Victories--Attempt to
Make us Work--Digging out of a Cell--Worse than the
Inquisition--Unexpected Interference--List from "Yankee
Land"--Clothing Stolen--Paroled--A Night of Joy--Torch-light
March--On the Cars--The Boat--Reach
Washington--Receive Medals, Money, and Promotion--Home.     267-288


While our absent brothers are battling on the field, it is becoming
that the friends at home should be eager for the minutest particulars
of the camp-life, courage and endurance of the dear boys far away; for
to the loyal lover of his country every soldier is a brother.

The narrative related on the following pages is one of extraordinary
"daring and suffering," and will excite an interest in the public mind
such as has rarely, if ever, arisen from any personal adventures
recorded on the page of history.

WILLIAM PITTENGER, the oldest of a numerous family, was born in
Jefferson county, Ohio, January 31st, 1840. His father, THOMAS
PITTENGER, is a farmer, and trains his children in the solid
experiences of manual labor. His mother is from a thinking familyhood
of people, many of whom are well known in Eastern Ohio as pioneers in
social and moral progress--the MILLS'S. WILLIAM learned to love his
country about as early as he learned to love his own mother; for his
first lessons were loyalty and liberty, syllabled by a mother's lips.
Even before the boy could read, he knew in outline the history of our
nation's trials and triumphs, from the days of Bunker Hill, forward to
the passing events of the latest newspaper chronicling,--all of which
facts were nightly canvassed around the cabin-hearth.

Although he was an adept in all branches of learning, yet, in school
days, as now, young PITTENGER had two favorite studies; and they
happened to be the very ones in the prosecution of which his teachers
could aid him scarcely at all--History and Astronomy. But, in the face
of discouragement, with the aid only of accidental helps, and by the
candle-light and the star-light after the sunny hours had been toiled
away, he pressed patiently and perseveringly forward in his own chosen
methods, until he became an accurate historian, and a practical
astronomer. At the age of seventeen, he manufactured, for the most
part with his own hands, a reflecting telescope, which his friends
came from near and far to see, and gaze through, at the wonderful
worlds unthought-of before.

The ambitions of farm-life were not sufficient to occupy the head and
hands of this searcher for knowledge. To explore the fields of the
firmament with his telescope, gave him intenser pleasure than the most
faithful farmer ever realized from furrowing his fields in the dewiest
spring mornings. To follow the footsteps of heroes through the world's
annals, as they struggled up through conflicts to glorious liberty,
thrilled him with a livelier enthusiasm than ever sprang from the
music of marching harvesters. While other young men of his age and
neighborhood idled their rainy days and winter nights in trifling
diversions, there was one who preferred the higher joy of communion
with Humboldt in his "Cosmos," Macaulay in his "England," Irving in
his "Columbus," or Burritt in his "Geography of the Heavens."

Owing to this decided preference for science and literature, the
father found it advisable to indulge his son in the desire to enter a
field more consonant with his wishes. He accordingly qualified
himself, by close study at home, and without a tutor, for the
profession of teaching. In this honorable avocation he labored with
industry and promise, until he felt constrained by love of country to
quit the desk and the children, for the tent and the hosts of armëd

During his career as teacher, he was, for awhile, associated with the
writer in the publication of the _School Visitor_, then issued at
Cleveland, Ohio. The enterprise was, at that time, (1857-8,) to the
great outer world, an unnoticed and insignificant one; yet to those
whose little all was enlisted in the mission of a Day School paper, it
was, indeed, something that lay close upon their hearts. That was a
cheerless, friendless time in the history of the little _Visitor_, to
at least two inexperienced adventurers in the literary world. But
these were hidden trials, and shall be unwritten still.

The never-forgotten teachings of his mother, together with the
unconscious tuition resulting from observation and experience, made
PITTENGER an early and constant friend of freedom. Any mind imbued
with an admiration of God's marches in the Heavens as an Omnipotent
Creator, and inspired by a contemplation of God's finger in History as
a merciful Deliverer, will rise to the high level of universal love to
man, and will comprehend the broad equality of Gospel liberty and
republican brotherhood. Let a man be educated, head and heart, and he
will love freedom, and demand freedom, and "dare and suffer" for
freedom, not for himself only, but for all the oppressed of the whole

Reader, you may draw lines. You may profess a conservative
Christianity that would theologize the very grace out of the command,
"_Love thy neighbor as thyself._" You may ignore this Christ-like
precept, and adopt something more fashionable and aristocratic; but if
you do, you entertain in your heart treason, both to your Father in
heaven and to your brother on earth. This law of love is revealed to
lowly men. It cuts down through crowns and creeds and chains, and
rests as a blessed benediction on sufferers and slaves. This is the
inspiration that brings victory to our arms, and deals death to
destroyers. This was the spirit that prompted our young hero to stand
forth, one of the very first from his native county, a soldier for
right and righteousness, the moment the Sumter cry rang up the valley
of his Ohio home.

When PITTINGER became a volunteer, it was for the suppression of the
Rebellion with all its belongings,--and if its overthrow should tumble
slavery, with its clanking fetters and howling hounds, to the
uttermost destruction, he would grasp his gun the firmer for the
hope, and thank God for the prospect, the test, and the toil! He
enlisted as a soldier for his country, ready to march anywhere, strike
with any weapon, endure any fatigue, or share any sorrow. He went out
not merely an armored warrior, to ward off attacks, not to strike off
obnoxious top-growths; but to "lay the ax at the root of the tree,"
and to pierce the very heart of the monster iniquity.

In three days after the receipt of the startling intelligence that the
Stars and Stripes had been fired upon by rebels in arms, PITTENGER was
on his way to the Capital as a private soldier in the Second Ohio
Regiment of volunteers. He fought bravely on the disastrous 21st of
July, in the battle of Bull Run, while many of his comrades fell
bleeding at his side. For his calm, heroic conduct throughout that
memorable day of peril and panic, he received the highest praise from
every officer of his regiment. Although thus a sharer of war's
sternest conflicts during the three months' campaign, he was ready to
re-enlist immediately, when his country called for a longer service;
and after a few days' rest beneath the old homestead roof, he was
again on his way with the same regiment to the seat of war in the

During the fall and winter he saw severe service on the "dark and
bloody ground." No soldiers ever endured so many midnight marches more
patiently, or manifested more self-sacrificing devotion to country,
through rains and storms, and wintry desolations, than the noble Ohio
Second, under the command of Colonel HARRIS, through the campaign in
the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

In December, the regiment was transferred to the Division commanded by
the lamented General MITCHEL, then encamped at Louisville. From this
point, the army pressed forward victoriously through Elizabethtown,
Bowling Green, Nashville, and Murfreesboro', until the old banner
floated in the Tennessee breezes at Shelbyville. While here, the
daring expedition to penetrate the heart of the Confederacy was
organized, of which party PITTENGER was one of the most enthusiastic
and determined.

From the day the brave fellows departed over the Southern hills on
their adventurous journey, a veil was dropped which hid them from
sight of friends for many weary months--and some of them for ever! No
tidings came in answer to all the beseeching thought-questionings
that followed their mysterious pathway "beyond the lines."

Vague rumors were current around the camp-fires and home-circles that
the whole party had been executed. Friends began to despair. Strangers
began to inquire as if for missing friends. A universal sympathy
prevailed in their behalf, and whole communities were excited to the
wildest fervor on account of the lost adventurers. The widely-read
letters from the Steubenville _Herald's_ army correspondent were
missed, for PITTENGER wrote no more. The family were in an agony of
suspense for the silent, absent son and brother. His ever faithful
friend, Chaplain GADDIS, of the Ohio Second, made an effort to go,
under a flag of truce, in search of the party, but was dissuaded by
the commanding officers from so hopeless an undertaking. The summer
passed, and yet no tidings came. The autumn came with its
melancholy,--and uncertain rumors, like withered, fallen leaves, were
again afloat about the camps and the firesides. The dreary winter
came, and still the hearts of the most hopeful were chilled with
disappointment. The father began to think of William as dead,--the
mother to talk of her darling as one who had lived,--the children to
speak of their elder brother as one they should never see any more
until all the lost loved ones meet in the better land. The writer was
even solicited by a mutual friend to preach the funeral sermon of one
whose memory was still dear, but whom none of us ever hoped to see
again on earth.

But our Father in heaven was kinder than we thought. Our prayers had
been heard! As our fervent petitions winged up from family altars to
the ear of the Infinite Lover, the guardian angels winged afar
downward through battle alarms, and ministered to him for whom we
besought protection. When the bright spring days came smiling over the
earth, a message came from the hand of the missing one, brighter and
sunnier to our hearts than the April sunlight on the hills! Soon the
story was told, and we all thanked God for the merciful deliverance of
him for whom we prayed, and who had found, even in a dismal
prison-cell, the Pearl of great price! The one we loved returned home
a witness of the Spirit that came to him as a Comforter in his
dreariest loneliness, and is already a minister of the precious Gospel
that gladdened him in the time of his tribulation.

And now the reader shall know all about the tedious delay and the
long silence, from the pen of him who survives to tell the story.

We commend to all who peruse this narrative an interesting volume,
entitled "_Beyond the Lines_," another sad rehearsal of terror in
rebel prisons and Southern swamps, in other portions of the
Confederacy--the experience of Rev. Capt. J. J. GEER, now one of
Lieutenant PITTENGER'S associate-advocates for liberty in the pulpit,
as he was recently a brother-bondman in the land of tyranny and death.
A. C.

PHILADELPHIA, September 15, 1863.



Sad Retrospective--Object of the Book--Military Situation in the
Southwest--Disaster and Energy of the Rebels--Necessity for a Secret
Expedition--A Proposition to Buell and Mitchel--An Attempt and
Failure--Return of Adventurers--Second Expedition--Writer
Volunteers--Andrews, the Leader--Parting from the Regiment--On the
Way--Perplexities--The Writer _Cur-tailed_!

It is painful for me to write the adventures of the last year. As I
compose my mind to the task, there arises before me the memory of days
of suffering, and nights of sleepless apprehension--days and nights
that, in their black monotony, seemed well nigh eternal. And the
sorrow, too, which I felt on that terrible day, when my companions,
whom common dangers and common sufferings had made as brothers to me,
were dragged away to an ignominious death that I expected soon to
share--all comes before me in the vividness of present reality, and I
almost shrink back and lay down the pen. But I believe it to be a
duty to give to the public the details of the great railroad
adventure, which created such an excitement in the South, and which
Judge Holt pronounced to be the most romantic episode of the war, both
on account of the intrinsic interest involved, and still more because
of the light it throws on the manners and feelings of the Southern
people, and their conduct during the rebellion.

With this view, I have decided to give a detailed history of the
expedition, its failure, and the subsequent imprisonment and fate of
all of the members of the party. In doing this, I will have the aid of
the survivors of the expedition--fourteen in all--and hope to give a
narrative that will combine the strictest truth with all the interest
of a romance.

In order to understand why the destruction of the Georgia State
Railroad was of so much consequence, I will refer to the situation of
affairs in the Southwest, in the opening of the spring of 1862.

The year commenced very auspiciously for our arms. Fort Donelson had
fallen, after a desperate contest, and nearly all its garrison were
taken prisoners. The scattered remains of the rebel army, under
Johnston, had retreated precipitately from Kentucky, which had indeed
been to them "the dark and bloody ground." Columbus and Nashville were
evacuated, and fell into our hands. Island No. 10 was invested, and
the Tennessee river groaned beneath a mighty army afloat, the same
that had conquered Donelson, under its popular leader, General Grant,
and which, it was fondly hoped, would strike far away into the center
of the rebel States. Throughout the North, men talked of the war as
done, and speculated as to the terms of a peace that was soon to come.

But the end was not yet. The rebel leaders, who had embarked their all
in this cause, and had pictured to themselves a magnificent
slaveholding empire, stretching away from the Potomac to the Sierra
Madre, in Mexico, and swallowing up all tropical America in one mighty
nation, devoted to the interests of cotton and slavery alone, over
which they should reign, were not yet satisfied to relinquish their
cause as desperate, and abandon their glorious dreams. With a
wonderful energy that must command our admiration, though it be only
of the kind that is accorded to Satan as pictured in "Paradise Lost,"
they passed the conscription law, abandoned the posts they still held
on the frontier, and concentrated their forces on a shorter line of

The eastern part of this line extended from Richmond, through
Lynchburg, to East Tennessee. In the west, it was represented by the
Memphis and Charleston Railroad, extending from Memphis, through
Corinth, Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, to Charleston. Here
they poured forward their new levies, and began to prepare for another
desperate contest.

The unaccountable inertness of the Eastern army of the Union, under
McClellan, gave them time to strengthen their defences, and reinforce
their army, which had dwindled to a very low ebb during the winter.
But while the commander of the East was planning strategy that, by the
slowness of its development, if by nothing _worse_, was destined to
dim the lustre of the Union triumphs, and lose the results of a year
of war, the West was in motion. Down the Mississippi swept our
invincible fleet, with an army on shore to second its operations. Up
the Tennessee steamed Grant's victorious army, and Buell, with forty
thousand men, was marching across the State of Tennessee, to reach the
same point. My own division, under the lamented General O. M. Mitchel,
was also marching across the State, but in a different direction,
having Chattanooga as its ultimate aim, while Morgan, with another
strong force, many of whom were refugees from East Tennessee, lay
before Cumberland Gap, ready to strike through that fastness to
Knoxville, and thus reach the very heart of rebellion.

To meet these powerful forces, whose destination he could not
altogether foresee, Beauregard, who commanded in the west,
concentrated his main army at Corinth, with smaller detachments
scattered along the railroad to Chattanooga. The railroads on which he
relied for supplies and reinforcements, as well as for communication
with the eastern portion of rebeldom, formed an irregular
parallelogram, of which the northern side extended from Memphis to
Chattanooga, the eastern from Chattanooga to Atlanta, the southern
from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi, and the western, by a network of
roads, from Jackson to Memphis. The great East Tennessee and Virginia
Railroad, which has not inaptly been called "the backbone of the
rebellion," intersected this parallelogram at Chattanooga. Thus it
will be seen that to destroy the northern and eastern sides of this
parallelogram isolated Beauregard, and left East Tennessee, which was
then almost stripped of troops, to fall easily before General Morgan.

So important was this destruction of communication deemed by those in
power, that it was at first intended to reach both sides, and destroy
them by armies; but the distance was so great that the design of
destroying it in this manner was abandoned.

However, just at this time, J. J. Andrews, who was a secret agent of
the United States, and had repeatedly visited every part of the South,
proposed another method of accomplishing the same object, by means of
a _secret_ military expedition, to burn the bridges on the road, and
thus interrupt communication long enough for the accomplishment of the
schemes which were expected to give rebellion in the southwest its
death-blow. He first made the proposition to General Buell, who did
not, for some reason, approve of it. Afterwards he repeated it to
General Mitchel, who received it with more favor.

Our division was at this time lying at Murfreesboro', repairing some
bridges that had been destroyed, preparatory to an onward march
further into the interior. All at once, eight men were detailed from
our regiment--four of them from my own company. No one knew anything
of their object or destination, and numberless were the conjectures
that were afloat concerning them. Some supposed they had gone home to
arrest deserters; others, that they were deserters themselves. But
this last idea was contradicted by the fact that they were seen in
close and apparently confidential communication with the officers just
before their departure, as well as by the character of the men
themselves, who were among the boldest and bravest of the regiment.
Many supposed that they were sent into the enemy's country as spies;
but the idea of sending such a number of spies from the privates in
the ranks was so obviously absurd, that I did not seriously consider
it. However, I was not long to remain in uncertainty, for an officer,
who was an intimate friend of mine, revealed the secret to me. The
enterprise was so grand and so audacious, that it instantly charmed my
imagination, and I at once went to Colonel L. A. Harris, of the Second
Ohio, and asked, as a favor from him, that if any detail was made for
another expedition of the same kind, I should be placed on it.

Soon after, one of the party, from Company C, returned, and reported
that he had ventured as far as Chattanooga, and there had met a
Confederate soldier who recognized him as belonging to the Union army;
and while, for the sake of old friendship, he hesitated to denounce
him to the authorities, yet advised him to return, which he
immediately did, and arrived safely in camp in a few days. He would
give no details that might embarrass his companions, who were still
pressing their way onward into the Confederacy.

A short time after this, all the party came back, and I received full
details of their trip to the center of rebeldom. They had proceeded in
citizens' dress, on foot and unsuspected, to Chattanooga; there had
taken the cars for Atlanta, where they arrived in safety. Here they
expected to meet a Georgia engineer, who had been running on the State
road for some time, and, with his assistance, intended to seize the
passenger train, at breakfast, and run through to our lines, burning
all the bridges in their rear. For several days they waited for him,
but he came not. They afterwards learned that he had been pressed to
run troops to Beauregard, who was then concentrating every available
man at Corinth, in anticipation of the great battle which afterwards
took place. Thus foiled, and having no man among them capable of
running an engine, they abandoned the enterprise for that time, and
quietly stole back to our lines. Had an engineer then been along, they
would, in all probability, have been successful, as the obstacles
which afterward defeated us did not then exist.

Our camp had been moved onward from Murfreesboro' to Shelbyville,
which is a beautiful little city, situated on Duck river. We camped
above the town, in a delightful meadow.

It was Sabbath, the 6th of April, and the earliness of the clime made
the birds sing, and the fields bloom with more than the brilliancy of
May in our own northern land. Deeply is the quiet of that Sabbath,
with the green beauty of the warm spring landscape, pictured on my
mind! An impression, I know not what, made me devote the day to
writing letters to my friends. It was well I did so, for long and
weary months passed ere I was permitted to write to them again.

But while the day was passing in such sweet repose with us, it was far
different in another army; that was the day on which Grant was
surprised by Beauregard, and only saved from destruction by the
assistance of the gunboats. This, however, we did not learn for
several days after.

On Monday, Andrews returned to our camp. He had spent some time along
the line of the Georgia State road, and on his return reported to
General Mitchel that the scheme was still feasible, and would be of
more advantage than ever. He, however, asked for a larger detail of
men, and twenty-four were given from the three Ohio regiments then in
Sill's Brigade. One man was detailed from a company, though all the
companies were not represented, and I believe in two[1] instances, two
men were detailed from one company--they were probably intimate
friends, who wished to go together.

[1] One of these I noticed only very lately.

During the day, I saw Andrews in the camp. I had seen him frequently
before, away up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, but did not then
observe him particularly. Now I paid more attention. He was nearly six
feet in hight, of powerful frame, black hair, and long, black, silken
beard, Roman features, a high and expansive forehead, and a voice fine
and soft as a woman's. He gave me the impression of a man who combined
intellect and refinement with the most cool and dauntless courage. Yet
his manner and speech, which was slow and pensive, indicated what I
afterwards found to be almost his only fault--a slowness to decide on
the spur of the moment, and back his decision by prompt, vigorous
action. This did not detract from his value as a secret agent, when
alone, for then all his actions were premeditated, and carried out
with surpassing coolness and bravery; but it did unfit him for the
command of men, in startling emergencies, where instant action
afforded the only chance of safety. This trait of character will be
more fully developed in the course of my story. I conversed with him
on the object of the expedition, not, of course, expecting a full
detail, but receiving a general idea. I put particular stress on his
promise, that whatever happened, he would keep us all together, and,
if necessary, we would cut our way through in a body. This was
because, being near-sighted, and, therefore, a bad hand to travel in a
strange country, with no guide, I had a particular horror of being
left alone.

I returned to my company, and procured a suit of citizen's clothes
from our boys who had been out before. All the members of the company,
seeing me so arrayed, came around to try to dissuade me from the
enterprise, which to them appeared full of unknown perils. It was
gratifying to be the object of so much solicitude, but having decided
to go, I could not yield.

My captain, J. F. Sarratt, of Company G, Second Ohio, as brave and
true-hearted a soldier as ever lived, earnestly entreated me not to
go; but finding my determination was fixed, he bade me an affectionate
farewell. Seldom have I parted with more emotion from any one than
these war-worn veterans.

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when we left camp, and
started for the place of rendezvous at Shelbyville. The sun was
shining brightly, and the bracing evening air sent the blood coursing
cheerily through our veins, and inspired us with the brightest hopes
of the future. Soon we reached Shelbyville, and lingered there for an
hour or two, when Ross and I, acting under the previous direction of
Andrews, started out of town. Our orders were for us all to proceed
along the road in small squads, for two or three miles, and then halt
and wait for him.

We walked quietly along, until about dark, when, seeing none of the
others, we began to grow uneasy, fearing we had gone on the wrong
road. We met several persons, but they could give no account of any
one before; then we saw a house just by the road, and crossing the
fence, went up to it to get a drink of water. Before we reached the
door, a dog came up behind my companion and bit him--then ran away
before punishment could be inflicted.

The bite was not severe, and I good-humoredly laughed at his mishap;
but before we again reached the fence, the same dog came once more.
Ross saw him, and sprang over the fence; but I had only time to reach
the top of it, where I sat in fancied security. But the merciless
whelp, in his ire, sprang at me, seized my coat, and tore a large
piece out of it! That coat, thus _cur_-tailed, I wore all through
Dixie. I mention this incident, because it was what some would call a
bad omen.


Midnight Consultation--Plans Developed--Money Distributed--_Compagnons
du Voyage_--A Dismal Night--Sheltered from the Storm--Southern
Unionist--Arrested by Federal Soldiers--Beyond the Lines--Panic Caused
by Negroes--Method of Avoiding Suspicion--Continuous Rain--Behind
Time--Hunting Human Beings with Bloodhounds--The Cumberland
Mountains--Rain again.

We now proceeded on our way--not rejoicing, for our situation grew
every moment more perplexing. Darkness was falling rapidly, and not
one of our comrades was visible. We were almost certain we had taken
the wrong road. Finally, we resolved to retrace our steps, and
endeavor to obtain some clue to our journey, or if we could not, to
return to camp; for, without instruction, we knew not how or where to
go. We therefore retraced our steps till in sight of Shelbyville, and
then, sure that none could pass without our knowledge, we waited
nearly an hour longer.

Our patience was rewarded. A few, whom we recognized as belonging to
our party, came along the road; we fell in with them, and were soon
overtaken by others, among whom was Andrews. Now all was right. Soon
we were as far from Shelbyville as Ross and I had been when alone, and
a few hundred yards further on we found the remainder of our comrades.

In a little thicket of dead and withered trees, sufficiently open to
assure us that no listening ear was near, we halted, and Andrews
revealed to us his plans. There were twenty-three gathered around him;
twenty-four had been detailed, but from some cause, one had failed to
report. In low tones, amid the darkness, he gave us the details of the
romantic expedition.

We were to break up in small squads of three or four, and travel as
far south as Chattanooga. If questioned, we were to answer so as to
avoid exciting suspicion, and tell any plausible tale that might
answer our purpose.

We were to travel rapidly, and, if possible, reach Chattanooga on
Thursday evening at five o'clock. This was Monday, and the distance
was one hundred and three miles, a heavy travel on foot; but then we
were allowed to hire conveyances, if we could.

Andrews then gave us some Confederate money to bear our expenses, and
we parted. There were three others with me; P. G. Shadrack, of Company
K, Second Ohio, a merry, reckless fellow, but at heart noble and
generous; William Campbell, a citizen of Kentucky, who had received
permission to come with us, in a soldier's place. He was a man of two
hundred and twenty pounds weight, handsome as Apollo, and of immense
physical strength, which he was not slow to use when roused, though
good-natured and clever in the main.

The third was the most remarkable man of the whole party. He was not
educated highly, though he had read a great deal; but in natural
shrewdness, I rarely, if ever, saw his equal. He had traveled
extensively over the United States, had observed everything, and
remembered all he observed. Had he lived, the composition of this book
would have been in abler hands than mine. In addition to this, he
excelled, perhaps, even Parson Brownlow, in the fiery and scorching
denunciation he could hurl on the head of an opponent. In action he
was brave and cool; no danger could frighten him, no emergency find
him unprepared. These were my companions.

The rain had begun to fall slightly as we walked out the railroad, on
our route, and soon it increased to torrents. The night was pitchy
dark, and we stumbled along, falling into gutters here, and nearly
sticking in the mud there, until midnight, when we resolved to seek
shelter from the storm.

For a long time we could find no indication of a house, until, at
last, the barking of a dog gave us a clue. After some dispute as to
which side of the road it was on, we struck off over a field. Our only
guide were the random flashes of lightning that gave us a momentary
view of the country around. The better to prosecute our search, we
formed a line within hearing distance of each other, and thus swept
around in all directions. At last we found a barn, but were so wet and
chilly that we resolved to hunt on, in the hope of finding a fire and
a bed.

After a still more tedious search, we found the goal of our wishes. It
was a rude, double log-house. Here we roused up the inmates, and
demanded a shelter for the night. The man of the house was evidently
alarmed, but let us in, and then commenced questioning us as to who we

We told him we were Kentuckians who were disgusted with the tyranny of
the Lincoln Government, and were seeking an asylum in the free and
independent South.

"Oh," said he, "you come on a bootless errand, and had better go back
home, for I have no doubt the whole of the South will soon be as much
under Lincoln as Kentucky is."

"Never!" we answered, "we will fight till we die first!"

At this the old man chuckled quietly, and only said, "Well, we'll see;
we'll see," which closed the discussion.

We were truly glad to find a Union man under such circumstances, but
did not dare to reveal our true character to him, and he probably
believes to this day that he harbored some chivalric Southerners.
However, he provided us with a good supper and a comfortable bed,
promising, also, not to inform the Federal pickets on us. The next
morning, the sky for a time was clear, but it soon became overcast,
and we were again compelled to suffer the inevitable drenching that
befel us every day of this dreary journey.

We reached Wartrace in the midst of a pelting storm. At first we
intended to go around the town, as it was the last station on our
picket line. It was raining so hard that we thought we would not be
interrupted in passing through it, but our guards were too vigilant
for us. They stopped us, and after being for some time detained, and
trying to play off the innocent Southern citizen, as hundreds do, we
were obliged to reveal our true character to the commanding officer
of the post, which, of course, secured our release.

Then again, we traveled onward for a time, wading the swollen creeks,
and plodding through the mud as fast as we could. We were now outside
of our lines, with nothing to trust to but the tender mercies of the
rebels. Soon after, we found what a slender ground of trust that was,
but _now_ we were safe in the completeness of our disguise.

We met many others of our party, and trudged along--sometimes in
company with them, but oftener alone. Toward evening, we reached
Manchester, crossed Duck river, which was at flood hight, and entered
the town.

Here we found the population in a wild ferment, and on inquiring the
cause, learned that some of the citizens had reported an approaching
band of Yankee cavalry, and that they were even now visible from the
public square. We repaired thither with all speed to witness the novel
spectacle of the entrance of National troops into a hostile town, from
a Southern point of view. Mingled were the emotions expressed; fear
was most prominent, but I thought I could detect on some countenances
a half-concealed smile of exultation. Soon the terrible band loomed
up over the hill which bounded the view, when lo! the dreaded enemies
were seen to be only a party of negroes, who had been working in the
coal mines in the mountains somewhere. Some of Mitchel's men had
destroyed the works, and the contrabands were brought here for safe
keeping. The feelings of the chivalry may be better imagined than
described, as they dispersed with curses on the whole African race!

We here obtained from some of the citizens the names of the most
prominent secessionists along the route we were to travel, who would
be most likely to help us on to that blissful land where we might
enjoy our rights in peace (?) undisturbed by even dreams of
Abolitionists. These names were a great advantage to us, because
always having some one to inquire for, and being recommended from one
influential man to another, it was taken for granted that we were
trustworthy characters, and few questions asked. That night we were
within a few miles of Hillsboro', but so much were we delayed by the
rain, that we began to fear we could not reach our destination in
time. My feet, too, were sore from the gravel and dirt that filled my
shoes in crossing the creeks, and wading through the mud, and already
we were weary and stiff from traveling in the wet. But we resolved to
press on, and, if necessary, to travel in the night, too, rather than
miss our appointment.

Where we stayed that night, I first heard from the lips of a
slave-owner himself of hunting negroes with bloodhounds. Our host said
he had seen some one dodging around the back of his plantation, by the
edge of the woods, just as it was getting dark, and in the morning he
would take his bloodhounds, and go to hunt him up, and if it proved to
be a negro, he would get the reward. He said he had caught great
numbers of them, and seemed to regard it as a highly profitable

We, of course, had to agree with him; but I well remember that the
idea of hunting human beings with bloodhounds, for money, sent a
thrill of horror and detestation through my veins. Not long after, we
found that bloodhounds were not for negroes alone.

The next morning, we continued our journey, and after walking three
miles, found a man who agreed, for an exorbitant price, and for the
good of the Confederacy, to give us conveyance in a wagon for a few
miles. This was a great help to us, and as we trotted briskly along,
we soon came in sight of the Cumberland Mountains.

Never did I behold more beautiful scenery. The rain had for a short
time ceased to fall, and the air was clear. The mountains shone in the
freshest green, and around their tops, just high enough to veil their
loftiest summits, clung a soft, shadowy mist, gradually descending
lower, shrouding one after another of the spurs and high mountain
valleys from view. But the beautiful scene did not long continue. Soon
the mist deepened into cloud, and again the interminable rain began to
fall. To add to our discomforts, our wagon would go no further, and
once more we trudged along afoot.

At noon we stopped for dinner at a house belonging to one of the
"sand-hillers." This is the general name applied to the poor class of
whites at the South. They have no property of their own, and live in
small hovels, on the worst portions of the lands of the rich. Here
they lead an ignorant, lazy life, devoting most of their time to
hunting and fishing; only raising a little patch of corn to furnish
their bread. They are almost as completely owned by their landlords as
the slaves, and are compelled to vote as their masters choose. In the
social scale they are no higher than any slave, nor do they deserve to
be, for their intelligence is less. The term "sand-hiller," or
"clay-eater," is a terrible one of reproach, and is applied
unsparingly by the aristocrats. Of course, our entertainment here was
composed of rather rude fare, but we ate the half-ground and
half-baked corn bread, with the strong pork, and went on our way


Crossing the Mountains--Playing Hypocrite--Legend of Battle-Creek
Valley--Lodged with a Secessionist--Strategy--A Welcome but Fatal
Delay--Exaggerated Accounts of Shiloh--Prevented from Crossing the
Tennessee--In the Mountains Again--Amusing Rebel Story--To the River
Again--Perilous Crossing--Success--Chattanooga--On the Cars--Night--Arrive
at Marietta.

We were near the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, and addressed
ourselves to the task of crossing them. Just as we were mounting the
first spur, we fell in with a Confederate soldier, who was at home on
a furlough. He had been in a number of battles, and among others the
first Manassas, which he described very minutely to me. Little did he
think that I, too, had been there, as we laughed together at the wild
panic of the Yankees. He was greatly delighted to see so many
Kentuckians coming out on the right side, and contrasted our noble
conduct with that of some persons of his own neighborhood, who still
sympathized with the Abolitionists.

When we parted, he grasped my hand with tears in his eyes, and said he
hoped "the time would soon come when we would be comrades, fighting
side by side in one glorious cause." My heart revolted from the
hypocrisy I was compelled to use; but having commenced, there was no
possibility of turning back.

On we clambered up the mountain till the top was reached; then across
the summit, which was a tolerably level road for six miles; then down
again, over steep rocks, yawning chasms, and great gullies; a road
that none but East Tennesseeans or soldier Yankees could have traveled
at all. This rough jaunt led us down into Battle Creek, which is a
delightful, picturesque valley, hemmed in by projecting ridges of
lofty mountains.

While here, they told me how this valley obtained its name, which is
certainly a very romantic legend, and no doubt true.

In early times there was war among the Indians. One tribe made a
plundering expedition into the camp of another, and after securing
their booty retreated. Of course they were pursued, and in their
flight were traced to this valley. There the pursuers believed them to
be concealed, and to make their capture sure, divided their force into
two bands, each one taking an opposite side of the valley.

It was early in the morning, and as they wended their way cautiously
onward, the mountain mist came down just as I had seen it descend
that morning, and enveloped each of the parties in its folds.
Determined not to be foiled, they marched on, and meeting at the head
of the valley, each supposed the other to be the enemy. They poured in
their fire, and a deadly conflict ensued. Not till nearly all their
number had fallen did the survivors discover their mistake, and they
slowly and sorrowfully returned to their wigwams. The plunderers, who
had listened to their conflict in safety, being further up the
mountains, were thus left to carry home their booty in triumph.

But we had no leisure for legendary tales.

The sun had set, and we stopped for the night with a rabid
Secessionist, whom our soldier-friend on the mountain had recommended
to us. He received us with open arms, shared with us the best his
house afforded--giving us his bedroom, and sleeping with his family in
the kitchen. We spent the evening in denouncing the Abolitionists,
which term was used indiscriminately to designate all Federals who did
not advocate the acknowledgment of the Confederacy. This did not go
quite so hard as it did at first, for practice had rendered it nearly
as easy for us to falsify our sentiments as to express them plainly.

Among other things we instanced to show the tyranny of the Lincolnites
in Kentucky, was the expatriation law. This law provides that all
persons aiding or abetting the rebels, or leaving the State and going
South with their army, shall be _expatriated_, and lose all their
right of citizenship in the State. The old man thought this was an act
of unparalleled oppression; and in the morning, before I was out of
bed, came in the room, and desired that some one of us would write
that law down, that he might show his Union neighbors what the Yankees
would do when they had the sway. I wrote it, and we all afterward
signed our names to it. No doubt that document has been the theme of
many angry discussions.

So thoroughly did we deceive the old man, that when, three days after,
the railroad adventure fell on the astonished Confederates like a clap
of thunder out of a clear sky, he would not believe that we were part
of the men engaged in it. One of his neighbors, who was a Union man,
and was arrested and confined in the same prison with us, told us that
to the last our host maintained that his guests, at least, were true
and loyal Southerners. Should I ever again be in that part of the
country, I would delight to call on him in my true character, and
talk over the national troubles from another point of view.

We stayed with him Wednesday night, and were still a long way from
Chattanooga. We had designed, notwithstanding our weariness, to travel
all that night, but accidentally met some of our comrades who had seen
Andrews, who informed them that he had postponed the enterprise one
day longer. This was a great relief, as it saved us a most wearisome
and dreaded night tramp. But better to have taken it, for the delay of
that _one_ day was fatal. On Friday there would have been no extra
trains to meet, and our success would have been sure. But this we did
not know at the time.

The next day, which was Thursday, we came to Jasper, stopped in the
town and around the groceries awhile, talking of the state of the
country. We told them Kentucky was just ready to rise and shake off
her chains, and they were just foolish enough to believe it!

Here we heard the first indistinct rumor of the battle of Shiloh--of
course, a wonderful victory to the rebels, killing thousands of
Yankees, and capturing innumerable cannon. It was the impression that
our army was totally destroyed. One countryman gravely assured me that
five hundred gunboats had been sunk. I told him I did not think the
Yankees had so many as that, but was unable to shake his faith.

That night we stayed at Widow Hall's, and there met Andrews and some
of our other comrades. This was on the banks of the Tennessee river,
and Andrews advised us to cross there, and to take passage on the cars
at Shell Mound station, as there had been a stringent order issued to
let no one cross above, who could not present perfectly satisfactory
credentials. Andrews had these, but we had not; it was, therefore,
advisable for us to be challenged as few times as possible. We passed
a pleasant evening, during which the wit of my friend Shadrack kept us
in a continual roar of laughter.

At last morning came, and we went down to the bank of the river to
cross. The ferryman had just swung the boat into the stream, and we
were getting into it, when a man arrived with positive orders from the
military authorities to let no one across for three days.

Affairs now looked dark. We could not cross except at the upper
ferries, and not there unless our credentials were good. However, we
resolved to persevere, and thinking in this case, as in many others,
the boldest plan would be the safest, we again struck over the wild
spurs of the Cumberland, which here sweep directly down to the river,
on in the direction of Chattanooga, with the intention of trying to
cross there, at headquarters.

Our journey was far from a pleasant one, and several times we lost our
road in the entanglements of the mountains; but at last we reached a
valley that ran directly down to the river, opposite Chattanooga. Here
the road was more frequented, and from the travelers we met we learned
further particulars of the battle of Shiloh. Still the accounts were
rose-tinted for the Confederates, though they now admitted a
considerable loss.

One man gave me an interesting item of news from the East; it was,
that the Merrimac had steamed out, and after engaging the Monitor for
some time with no decisive results, had ran alongside, and throwing
grappling-hooks on her, towed her ashore, where, of course, she fell
an easy prey. He said that now they had the two best gunboats in the
world, and they would be able to raise the blockade without
difficulty, and even to burn the Northern cities. But I have not space
to tell of all the wild chimeras and absurd stories that we heard on
our entrance into a land where truth always has been contraband. From
that time forward, we heard of continuous Confederate victories, and
not one Union triumph, till in September, when they admitted that they
were repulsed by Rosecrans at Corinth.

On reaching the river, we found a great number of persons on the bank
waiting to go over. The ferryman was there with a horse-boat, but the
wind was so high that he feared to attempt the crossing. We waited as
patiently as we could, though the time for the cars to start on the
other side had nearly arrived, and we could not well afford to miss
them. At length, the ferryman agreed to attempt the passage. He found
it very difficult. We were about an hour in crossing, though the river
was only a few hundred yards in width. Several times we were beaten
back to our own side, but at last perseverance conquered, and we
landed at Chattanooga.

The passage was an anxious one, for we expected to find the guard
waiting for us on the other side; and then, if we failed to satisfy
them that we were loyal subjects of King Jefferson, we would at once
land in a Southern prison. Judge, then, of our delight when we saw no
guard there, and were permitted to pass unmolested and unquestioned on
our route.

I do not yet know the reason of this sudden relaxation of vigilance.
Perhaps it was because all their attention was directed to Huntsville,
which was now occupied in force by General Mitchel. The panic produced
by this occupation was immense, as the only communication it left them
with Beauregard was by the circuitous route through Atlanta, and when,
the next day, this too was endangered, their excitement knew no

Chattanooga is a small town--not much more than a village. It is
pleasantly situated on the banks of the Tennessee, and is bowered in
amidst lofty mountain peaks. One of these hangs right over the town,
and is more than seven hundred feet in perpendicular hight. From its
summit parts of four States are visible--Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama,
and North Carolina. It is capable of being very strongly fortified;
and though there were no works erected when I was there, many may have
been built since. It is one of the most important strategic points in
the whole South, and should have been in the possession of our forces
long ago.

From the river we went directly to the depot. Some of our party had
arrived earlier, and gone down to Marietta on a former train. We found
the cars nearly ready to start, and after loitering around a few
minutes in the depot, which was crowded full of travelers--mostly
soldiers--we purchased our tickets and got aboard. The cars were
jammed full. There was scarcely room to stand. Many of the passengers
were soldiers who had been at home on furlough, and were returning to
join Beauregard. The conversation was mostly on the great battle which
had just been fought, and the accounts were by no means so glowing as
they had been at first; still they announced a great victory. We took
part in the conversation, and expressing as much interest as any one,
our true character was not suspected. There was at this time no system
of passports in use on that line, and travel was entirely

The sun was about an hour high as we glided out of the depot, and soon
sunk to rest behind the hills of Georgia. There were many bridges on
the road, and as we passed over them, we could not help picturing to
ourselves our proposed return on the morrow, and the probabilities of
the destruction we intended to wreck on them. Darkness gradually
closed in, and on we went amid the laughter and oaths of the
Confederates, many of whom were very much intoxicated. I procured a
seat on the coal-box, and for awhile gave myself up to the
reflections naturally suggested by the near culmination of the
enterprise in which I was engaged. Visions of former days and
friends--dear friends, both around the camp-fire and by the hearth of
home, whom I might never see again, floated before me. But gradually,
as the night wore on, these faded, and I slept.

At midnight, we were wakened by the conductor calling "Marietta." The
goal was reached. We were in the center of the Confederacy, with our
deadly enemies all around. Before we left, we were to strike a blow
that would either make all rebeldom vibrate to the center, or be
ourselves at the mercy of the merciless. It was a time for solemn
thought; but we were too weary to indulge in speculations of the
future. We retired to bed in the Tremont House, and were soon folded
in sweet slumbers--the last time we slept on a bed for many weary


Take an Early Train--Prospecting--Capture of the Train--Panic in
Confederate Camp--Away at Lightning Speed--Thrilling Experience--Cut
the Telegraph--Tear up the Track--Unexpected Obstacle--Running a
Powder Train to Beauregard--Red Flag--Dropping Cross-Ties--Battering
out Spikes--Immense Exertion of Strength--Pursuing Backward--Terrible
Chase--Attempt to Wreck the Enemy's Train--Fearful Speed--Bold Plan.

The waiter aroused us at four o'clock in the morning, as we told him
we wished to take the train at that hour back to Camp McDonald, which
is located at a place called Big Shanty, eight miles north of
Marietta, and is also a breakfast station. Andrews had gone to another
hotel, and warned the members of the party there to be in readiness to
take passage. Two of them, Hawkins and Porter, who had arrived
earlier, were not warned, and were, therefore, left behind. It was not
their fault, as they had no certain knowledge of the time we were to
start, but rather thought it would be the next day.

There were just twenty of us on the train, Andrews and nineteen
others, of whom several were engineers. We went along very quietly
and inoffensively, just as any other passengers would do, until we
reached Big Shanty. I knew that we were to take possession of the
train at this place, but did not just know how it was to be done. I
thought we would probably have to fight, and compel the conductor,
train-hands, and passengers to get off. We might have done this, but
it would have required very quick work, for there were then some ten
thousand troops, mostly conscripts, camped there, and a guard was
placed watching the train. But a far better plan was adopted.

As soon as we arrived, the engineer, conductor, and many of the
passengers went over to the eating-house. Now was our opportunity!
Andrews, and one or two others, went forward and examined the track,
to see if everything was in readiness for a rapid start.

Oh! what a thrilling moment was that! Our hearts throbbed thick and
fast with emotions we dared not manifest to those who were loafing
indifferently around. In a minute, which seemed an hour, Andrews came
back, opened the door, and said, very quietly and carelessly, "Let us
go, now, boys." Just as quietly and carelessly we arose and followed
him. The passengers who were lazily waiting for the train to move
on and carry them to their destination, saw nothing in the transaction
to excite their suspicions. Leisurely we moved forward--reached the
head of the train--then Andrews, Brown our engineer, and Knight, who
also could run an engine, leaped on the locomotive; Alfred Wilson took
the top of the cars as brakesman, and the remainder of us clambered
into the foremost baggage car, which, with two others, had been
previously uncoupled from the hinder part of the train. For one moment
of most intense suspense all was still--then a pull--a jar--a
clang--and we were flying away on our perilous journey.

[Illustration: "A pull--a jar--a clang--and we were flying away on our
perilous journey."--Page 59.]

There are times in the life of man when whole years of intensest
enjoyment seem condensed into a single moment. It was so with me then.
I could comprehend the emotion of Columbus, when he first beheld
through the dim dawn of morning, the new found, but long dreamed-of
shores of America, or the less innocent, but no less vivid joy of
Cortez, when he first planted the cross of Spain over the golden halls
of Montezuma. My breast throbbed full with emotions of delight and
gladness, that words labor in vain to express. A sense of ethereal
lightness ran through all my veins, and I seemed to be ascending
higher--higher--into realms of inexpressible bliss, with each
pulsation of the engine. It was a moment of triumphant joy that will
never return again. Not a dream of failure now shadowed my rapture.
All had told us that the greatest difficulty was to reach and take
possession of the engine, and after that, success was certain. _It
would have been_, but for unforeseen contingencies.

Away we scoured, passing field, and village, and woodland. At each
leap of the engine our hearts rose higher, and we talked merrily of
the welcome that would greet us when we dashed into Huntsville a few
hours later--our enterprise done, and the brightest laurels of the
guerilla Morgan far eclipsed!

But the telegraph ran by our side, and was able, by the flashing of a
single lightning message ahead, to arrest our progress and dissipate
all our fondest hopes. There was no telegraphic station where we took
the train, but we knew not how soon our enemies might reach one, or
whether they might not have a portable battery at command. To obviate
all danger on this point, we stopped, after running some four miles,
to cut the wire.

John Scott, an active young man, climbed the pole, and with his hand
knocked off the insulated box at the top, and swung down on the wire.
Fortunately, there was a small saw on the engine, with which the wire
was soon severed. While this was being done, another party took up a
rail, and put it into the car to carry off with us. This did not long
check our pursuers, but we had the satisfaction of learning that it
threw them down an embankment, as will be narrated more fully in a
Confederate account inserted hereafter.

When the engine first stopped, Andrews jumped off, clasped our hands
in ecstasy, congratulating us that our difficulties were now all over;
that we had the enemy at such a disadvantage that he could not harm
us, and exhibited every sign of joy. Said he, "Only one more train to
pass, and then we will put our engine to full speed, burn the bridges
after us, dash through Chattanooga, and on to Mitchel at Huntsville."
The programme would have been filled if we had met _only one_ train.

We were ahead of time, and in order to meet the down train just _on_
time, we were obliged to stop on the track awhile. These were tedious
moments while we waited, but soon we moved on very slowly again. At
the next station, Andrews borrowed a schedule from the tank-tender,
telling him that he was running an express powder-train through to
Beauregard. He gave the schedule, saying that he would send his shirt
to Beauregard if he wanted it. When asked afterwards if he did not
suspect anything, he said he would as soon have thought of suspecting
Jeff Davis, as one who talked with so much assurance as Andrews did!

On we went till we reached the station where we were to pass what we
believed to be the last train. Here the switch was not properly
adjusted, and Andrews entered the station-house, without asking leave
of anybody, took down the keys, and adjusted the switch. This raised
some disturbance on the part of those around the station, but it was
quieted by telling them the same powder story. After waiting a short
time, the down train arrived, and we passed it without difficulty. But
we observed on it what we did not like--a _red flag_, indicating that
another train was behind.

This was most discouraging, for we had now hoped to have the road
exclusively to ourselves; but still we did not despair. However, we
had yet to run on regular time, which was, unfortunately, very _slow_
time--not more than twelve or fifteen miles an hour. Thus unavoidably
consuming our precious moments, we glided on till we reached the
station where we expected to meet what we were now sure would be our
last hindrance. We stopped on a side-track to wait for it, and there
had to remain _twenty-five_ minutes. Just as we had concluded to go
on, and risk the chances of a collision, the expected train hove in

It was safely passed, as the other had been before; but judge of our
dismay when we beheld a _red flag_ on this train also! Matters now
began to look dark. Much of our precious time, which we had reserved
as a margin for burning bridges, was now gone, and we were still tied
down to the slow regular rate of running. Yet we could not retreat,
and had no resource but to press firmly on. This we did, and
obstructed the track as well as we could, by laying on cross-ties at
different places. We also cut the telegraph wire between every

Finally, when we were nearly to the station where we expected to meet
the last train, we stopped to take up a rail. We had no instruments
for doing this, except a crowbar, and, instead of pulling out the
spikes, as we could have done with the pinch burrs used for that
purpose by railroad men, we had to _batter_ them out. This was slow
work. We had loosened this rail at one end, and eight of us took hold
of it to try to pull the other end loose. Just as we were going to
relinquish the effort in despair, the _whistle of an engine in pursuit
sounded in our ears_! The effect was magical. With one convulsive
effort we broke the rail in two, and tumbled pell-mell over the
embankment. No one was hurt, and we took up our precious half rail,
which insured us time to pass the train ahead, before our pursuers
could be upon us.

We were not a moment too soon, for we were scarcely out of sight of
where we had taken up the last rail, before the other train met us.
This was safely passed, and when our pursuers came to the place where
we had broken the rail, they abandoned their own train, and ran on
foot till they met the one we had just passed, and turned it back
after us, running with great speed.

We were now aware of our danger, and adopted every expedient we could
think of to delay pursuit; but, as we were cutting the wire near
Calhoun, they came in sight of us. Then ensued the most terrible and
thrilling chase ever known on the American continent.

We instantly put our engine to full speed, and in a moment its wheels
were striking fire from the rails in their rapid revolutions. The car
in which we were, rocked furiously, and threw us from one side to the
other like peas rattled in a gourd. Still on after us relentlessly
came the pursuers. The smoke of their engine could be distinguished in
every long reach, and the scream of their whistle sounded in our ears
around every curve. It was still necessary for us to cut the wire,
and, in order to gain time for that, we dropped a car on the track,
and, soon after, another. This left us with only the locomotive,
tender, and one baggage-car. Each time, when we stopped to cut the
wire, we would try to take up another rail; but before we could loosen
its fastenings with our imperfect tools, the approach of our enemies
would compel us to hasten on.

The thought of a new expedient crossed my mind, which saved us for
some time longer. It was to knock out the end of our car, and drop the
rails on the track as we ran. Soon after, in one of our necessary
stoppages to take care of the telegraph, we loaded on some cross ties,
which we threw out in the same manner. One rail I reserved for a
particular purpose. When we stopped again, I took it, placed one end
under the track, and let the other project upward, jointing toward the
advancing train. It was very nearly effectual. The engineer of the
train in pursuit, who afterward visited us in prison, said that if it
had been only one inch higher, nothing could have saved their train
from wreck, because, being so dark and small, it was not noticed till
too late to stop. However, it was a little too low to hook in the bars
of the cow-catcher, as I intended.

Our enemies pursued us with great determination. One man rode on the
cow-catcher, and, springing off, would throw the obstructions from the
track, and jump on again while they had merely checked the engine. So
great was our velocity, that most of the ties we threw out bounced off
the track; but the few that remained enabled us several times to get
out of sight of them. When this was the case, we would stop, and again
try to take up a rail, which would have given us leisure for the
greater operation of burning a bridge.

By this time we had a few more instruments, which Andrews and Wilson
had simultaneously procured from a switch tender. We worked
faithfully, but each time, before we had loosened a rail, the
inexorable pursuers were again visible.

I then proposed to Andrews a plan that afforded a hope of final
escape. It was to let our engineer take our engine on out of sight,
while we hid on a curve after putting a tie on the track, and waited
for the pursuing train to come up; then, when they checked to remove
the obstruction, we could rush on them, shoot every person on the
engine, reverse it, and let it drive at will back as it came. It would
have chased all the trains following, of which there were now two or
three, back before it, and thus have stopped the whole pursuit for a
time. This would have required quick work, and have been somewhat
dangerous, as the trains were now loaded with soldiers; but it
afforded a _chance_ of success. Andrews said it was a good
plan--looked all around, and then hurried to the engine, and I had no
further opportunity of discussing the subject. After we were in
prison, he said he was very sorry that we had not made the effort.


Consternation Along the Route--Wood and Water--Attempt to Fire the
Train--Partial Failure--Message Sent to Chattanooga--Terrific
Preparations--Abandon the Train--A Capital Error--In the Woods--A
Thrilling Account of the Chase from the Atlanta "_Southern

All this time we were rushing through towns and villages at terrific
speed. Some passengers came down when they heard our whistle, to go
aboard, but they all shrank back amazed when they saw us pass with the
noise of thunder, and the speed of lightning. Still more were they
astonished when they saw three other trains dashing by in close
pursuit, and loaded with excited soldiers. Thus the break-neck chase
continued through Dalton, Ringgold, and the other small towns on the

But it soon became evident that it could not continue much longer. We
had taken on wood and water before we were so closely pressed, but now
our supply was nearly exhausted, and our pursuers were too close
behind to permit us to replenish it. But before yielding, we resolved
to try one more expedient.

For this purpose, we broke open the forward end of the only box-car we
had left, and with the fragments endeavored to kindle a fire in it.
Had we succeeded, we would have detached it, left it burning on a
bridge, and run on with the locomotive alone. But the fuel on the
latter was too nearly gone to afford us kindling wood, and the draught
through the car, caused by our rapid motion, blew our matches out. At
length we succeeded in kindling a small fire; but the drizzling rain,
which had been falling all morning, blew in on it, and prevented it
from burning rapidly enough to be of any service.

Thus our last hope expired, and our magnificent scheme, on which we
had so long thought and toiled, was a failure. But one thing more now
remained--to save ourselves, if possible.

We were within, perhaps, fifteen miles of Chattanooga, when we
resolved to abandon the engine. Having made this resolve, we did not
cut the telegraph wire, and then, for the first time, they succeeded
in sending a message ahead of us.

This was no serious detriment to us, but it raised the wildest
excitement in Chattanooga. The women and children instantly fled from
the town, and sought safety in the woods and mountains. The whole
military force, which was encamped near the place, came out, and
selected an advantageous position to meet us. There they planted
cannon, felled trees across the track, tore up the rails for some
distance, and waited for our approach. Their orders were for them to
make a general massacre--not to spare a single man. But we came not,
and therefore they had no opportunity to display their latent cruelty.

It was at this point, when he saw every scheme we attempted to execute
completely foiled, that Andrews' presence of mind, for a time, seemed
to desert him. It was only fifteen miles across the country to the
Tennessee river, and we could have reached it ahead of any opposition,
had we all stuck together. One man had a compass, and with that, and
Andrews' knowledge of the country, we could have gained, and crossed
the Tennessee, and struck into the mountains beyond, before the
country could have been aroused around us. Once there, in those
interminable forests, it would have been almost impossible for them to
capture us, well armed as we were, before we could have reached the
shelter of our army. But this was not done, and this last chance of
escape was lost.

The locomotive was run on till the wood and water were completely
exhausted, and the pursuers plainly in view. Then Andrews gave the
order for us to leave the train, disperse, and for every man to save
himself, if he could. We obeyed, jumping off the train while still in
motion, and were soon making the best of our way through the tangled
pines of Georgia.

Before giving an account of our adventures in the woods, I will insert
the following article from the "_Southern Confederacy_," of April 15,
1862, a paper published in Atlanta, Georgia, only three days after our
adventure. This I purloined from the officer in charge of us, and
carried concealed about my clothes all the time I remained in the
South. It contains a good many errors of statement, particularly where
it refers to our numbers and plans, but is valuable as showing the
estimate the rebels placed on our enterprise, and as giving their
ideas of the chase. It also represents us as tearing up the railroad
many more times than we did. In _no case_ did they take up rails
behind, and lay them down before their train. This assertion was made
to give Messrs. Fuller and Murphy more credit at our expense. So
highly were the services of these gentlemen appreciated, that the
Georgia State Legislature, in the fall of 1862, gave them a vote of
thanks, and recommended the Governor to grant them the highest
offices in his gift. I do not know what they actually did receive.

Below is the account:


     _The Most Extraordinary and Astounding Adventure of the
     War--The Most Daring Undertaking that Yankees ever Planned
     or Attempted to Execute--Stealing an Engine--Tearing up the
     Track--Pursued on Foot, on Hand-Cars, and
     Engines--Overtaken--A Scattering--The Capture--The Wonderful
     Energy of Messrs. Fuller, Murphy and Cain--Some Reflections,
     &c., &c._


     Since our last issue, we have obtained full particulars of
     the most thrilling railroad adventure that ever occurred on
     the American continent, as well as the mightiest and most
     important in its results, if successful, that has been
     conceived by the Lincoln Government since the commencement
     of this war. Nothing on so grand a scale has been attempted,
     and nothing within the range of possibility could be
     conceived, that would fall with such a tremendous, crushing
     force upon us, as the accomplishment of the plans which
     were concocted and dependent on the execution of the one
     whose history we now proceed to narrate.

     Its _reality_--_what was actually done_--excels all the
     extravagant _conceptions_ of the Arrow-Smith hoax, which
     fiction created such a profound sensation in Europe.

     To make the matter more complete and intelligible, we will
     take our readers over the same history of the case which we
     related in our last, the main features of which are correct,
     but are lacking in details, which have since come to hand.

     We will begin at the breakfast-table of the Big Shanty Hotel
     at Camp McDonald, on the Western and Atlantic Railroad,
     where several regiments of soldiers are now encamped. The
     morning mail and passenger train had left here at four A.
     M., on last Saturday morning, as usual, and had stopped
     there for breakfast. The conductor, William A. Fuller; the
     engineer, I. Cain, both of this city; and the passengers
     were at the table, when some eight men, having uncoupled the
     engine and three empty box-cars next to it, from the
     passenger and baggage-cars, mounted the engine, pulled open
     the valve, put on all steam, and left conductor, engineer,
     passengers, spectators, and the soldiers in the camp hard
     by, all lost in amazement, and dumbfounded at the strange,
     startling, and daring act.

     This unheard-of act was, doubtless, undertaken at that place
     and time upon the presumption that pursuit could not be made
     by an engine short of Kingston, some thirty miles above, or
     from this place; and that by cutting down the telegraph
     wires as they proceeded, the adventurers could calculate on
     at least three or four hours' start of any pursuit it was
     reasonable to expect. This was a legitimate conclusion, and
     but for the will, energy, and quick good judgment of Mr.
     Fuller, and Mr. Cain, and Mr. Anthony Murphy, the
     intelligent and practical foreman of the wood department of
     the State Road shop, who accidentally went on the train from
     this place that morning, their calculations would have
     worked out as originally contemplated, and the results would
     have been obtained long ere this reaches the eye of our
     readers--the most terrible to us of any that we can conceive
     as possible, and unequaled by any attempted or conceived
     since this war commenced.

     Now for the chase!

     These three determined men, without a moment's delay, put
     out after the flying train--_on foot_, amidst shouts of
     laughter by the crowd, who, though lost in amazement at the
     unexpected and daring act, could not repress their
     risibility at seeing three men start after a train on foot,
     which they had just witnessed depart at lightning speed.
     They put on all their speed, and ran along the track for
     three miles, when they came across some track-raisers, who
     had a small truck-car, which is shoved along by men so
     employed on railroads, on which to carry their tools. This
     truck and men were at once "impressed." They took it by
     turns of two at a time to run behind this truck, and push it
     along all up grades and level portions of the road, and let
     it drive at will on all the down grades. A little way
     further up the fugitive adventurers had stopped, cut the
     telegraph wires, and torn up the track. Here the pursuers
     were thrown off pell mell, truck and men, upon the side of
     the road. Fortunately "nobody was hurt on our side." The
     truck was soon placed on the road again; enough hands were
     left to repair the track, and with all the power of
     determined will and muscle, they pushed on to Etowah
     Station, some twenty miles above.

     Here, most fortunately, Major Cooper's old coal engine, the
     "Yonah"--one of the first engines on the State road--was
     standing out, fired up. This venerable locomotive was
     immediately turned upon her own track, and like an old
     racer, at the tap of the drum, pricked up her ears and made
     fine time to Kingston.

     The fugitives, not expecting such early pursuit, quietly
     took in wood and water at Cass Station, and borrowed a
     schedule from the tank-tender, upon the plausible plea that
     they were running a pressed train, loaded with powder, for
     Beauregard. The attentive and patriotic tank-tender, Mr.
     William Russell, said he gave them his schedule, and would
     have sent the shirt off his back to Beauregard, if it had
     been asked for. Here the adventurous fugitives inquired
     which end of the switch they should go in on at Kingston.
     When they arrived at Kingston, they stopped, went to the
     agent there, told the powder story, readily got the
     switch-key, went on the upper turn-out, and waited for the
     down _way freight train to pass_. To all inquiries they
     replied with the same powder story. When the freight train
     had passed, they immediately proceeded on to the next
     station--Adairsville--where they were to meet the _regular
     down freight train_. At some point on the way they had taken
     on some fifty cross-ties, and before reaching Adairsville,
     they stopped on a curve, tore up the rails, and put seven
     cross-ties on the track--no doubt intending to wreck this
     down freight train, which would be along in a few minutes.
     They had out upon the engine a red handkerchief, as a kind
     of flag or signal, which, in railroading, means another
     train is behind--thereby indicating to all that the regular
     passenger train would be along presently. They stopped a
     moment at Adairsville, and said Fuller, with the regular
     passenger train, was behind, and would wait at Kingston for
     the freight train, and told the conductor thereon to push
     ahead and meet him at that point. They passed on to Calhoun,
     where they met the down passenger train, due here at 4.20 P.
     M., and without making any stop, they proceeded--on, on, and

     But we must return to Fuller and his party, whom we have
     unconsciously left on the old "Yonah," making their way to

     Arriving there, and learning the adventurers were but twenty
     minutes ahead, they left the "Yonah" to blow off, while they
     mounted the engine of the Rome Branch Road, which was ready
     fired up, and waiting for the arrival of the passenger train
     nearly due, when it would have proceeded to Rome. A large
     party of gentlemen volunteered for the chase, some at
     Acworth, Altoona, Kingston, and other points, taking such
     arms as they could lay their hands on at the moment; and
     with this fresh engine they set out with all speed, but with
     great "care and caution," as they had scarcely time to make
     Adairsville, before the down freight train would leave that
     point. Sure enough, they discovered, this side of
     Adairsville, three rails torn up and other impediments in
     the way. They "took up" in time to prevent an accident, but
     could proceed with the train no further. This was most
     vexatious, and it may have been in some degree
     disheartening; but it did not cause the slightest relaxation
     of efforts, and, as the result proved, was but little in the
     way of the _dead game_, pluck and resolutions of Fuller and
     Murphy, who left the engine and again _put out on foot
     alone_! After running two miles, they met the down freight
     train, one mile out from Adairsville. They immediately
     reversed the train, and ran backwards to Adairsville--put
     the cars on the siding, and pressed forward, making fine
     time to Calhoun, where they met the regular down passenger
     train. Here they halted a moment, took on board a telegraph
     operator, and a number of men who again volunteered, taking
     their guns along--and continued the chase. Mr. Fuller also
     took on here a company of track-hands to repair the track as
     they went along. A short distance above Calhoun, they
     _flushed their game_ on a curve, where they doubtless
     supposed themselves out of danger, and were quietly oiling
     the engine, taking up the track, &c. Discovering that they
     were pursued, they mounted and sped away, throwing out upon
     the track as they went along, the heavy cross-ties they had
     prepared themselves with. This was done by breaking out the
     end of the hindmost box-car, and pitching them out. Thus,
     "nip and tuck," they passed with fearful speed Resaca,
     Tilton, and on through Dalton.

     The rails which they had taken up last they took off with
     them--besides throwing out cross-ties upon the track
     occasionally--hoping thereby the more surely to impede the
     pursuit; but all this was like tow to the touch of fire to
     the now thoroughly-aroused, excited, and eager pursuers.
     These men, though so much excited, and influenced by so much
     determination, still retained their well-known caution, were
     looking out for this danger, and discovered it, and though
     it was seemingly an insuperable obstacle to their making any
     headway in pursuit, was quickly overcome by the genius of
     Fuller and Murphy. Coming to where the rails were torn up,
     they stopped, tore up rails behind them, and laid them down
     before, till they had passed over that obstacle. When the
     cross-ties were reached, they hauled to and threw them off,
     and thus proceeded, and under these difficulties gained on
     the frightened fugitives. At Dalton they halted a moment.
     Fuller put off the telegraph operator, with instructions to
     telegraph to Chattanooga to have them stopped, in case he
     should fail to overhaul them.

     Fuller pressed on in hot chase--sometimes in sight--as much
     to prevent their cutting the wires before the message could
     be sent, as to catch them. The daring adventurers stopped
     just opposite and very near to where Colonel Glenn's
     regiment is encamped, and cut the wires; but the operator at
     Dalton _had put the message through about two minutes
     before_. They also again tore up the track, cut down a
     telegraph pole, and placed the two ends of it under the
     cross-ties, and the middle over the rail on the track. The
     pursuers stopped again, and got over this impediment in the
     same manner they did before--taking up the rails behind, and
     laying them down before. Once over this, they shot on, and
     passed through the great tunnel at Tunnel Hill, being there
     only five minutes behind. The fugitives, thus finding
     themselves closely pursued, uncoupled two of the box-cars
     from the engine, to impede the progress of the pursuers.
     Fuller hastily coupled them to the front of his engine, and
     pushed them ahead of him, to the first turn-out or siding,
     where they were left, thus preventing the collision the
     adventurers intended.

     Thus the engine-thieves passed Ringgold, where they began to
     fag. They were out of wood, water, and oil. Their rapid
     running and inattention to the engine had melted all the
     brass from the journals. They had no time to repair or
     refit, for an iron-horse of more bottom was close behind.
     Fuller and Murphy, and their men, soon came within four
     hundred yards of them, when the fugitives jumped from the
     engine, and left it, three on the north side, and five on
     the south side; all fleeing precipitately, and scattering
     through the thicket. Fuller and his party also took to the
     woods after them.

     Some gentleman, also well armed, took the engine and some
     cars of the down passenger train at Calhoun, and followed up
     Fuller and Murphy and their party in the chase, but a short
     distance behind, and reached the place of the stampede but a
     very few moments after the first pursuers did. A large
     number of men were soon mounted, armed, and scouring the
     country in search of them. Fortunately, there was a militia
     muster at Ringgold. A great many countrymen were in town.
     Hearing of the chase, they put out on foot and on horseback
     in every direction, in search of the daring, but now
     thoroughly frightened and fugitive men.

     We learn that Fuller, soon after leaving his engine, in
     passing a cabin in the country, found a mule, having on a
     bridle but no saddle, and tied to a fence. "_Here's your
     mule_," he shouted, as he leaped upon his back, and put out
     as fast as a good switch, well applied, could impart vigor
     to the muscles and accelerate the speed of the patient
     donkey. The cry of "Here's your mule," and "Where's my
     mule," have become national, and are generally heard when,
     on the one hand, no mule is about, and on the other when no
     one is hunting a mule. It seems not to be understood by any
     one, though it is a peculiar Confederate phrase, and is as
     popular as Dixie, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. It
     remained for Fuller, in the midst of this exciting chase, to
     solve the mysterious meaning of this national by-word or
     phrase, and give it a practical application.

     All of the eight men were captured, and are now safely
     lodged in jail. The particulars of their capture we have not
     received. This we hope to obtain in time for a postscript to
     this, or for our second edition. They confessed that they
     belonged to Lincoln's army, and had been sent down from
     Shelbyville to burn the bridges between here and
     Chattanooga; and that the whole party consisted of nineteen
     men, eleven of whom were dropped at several points on the
     road as they came down, to assist in the burning of the
     bridges as they went back.

     When the morning freight train which left this city reached
     Big Shanty, Lieutenant-Colonels R. F. Maddox and C. P.
     Phillips took the engine and a few cars, with fifty picked
     men, well armed, and followed on as rapidly as possible.
     They passed over all difficulties, and got as far as
     Calhoun, where they learned the fugitives had taken the
     woods, and were pursued by plenty of men, with the means to
     catch them if it were possible.

     One gentleman who went upon the train from Calhoun, who has
     furnished us with many of these particulars, and who, by the
     way, is one of the most experienced railroad men in Georgia,
     says too much praise cannot be bestowed on Fuller and
     Murphy, who showed a cool judgment and forethought in this
     extraordinary affair, unsurpassed by anything he ever knew
     in a railroad emergency. This gentleman, we learn from
     another, offered, on his own account, one hundred dollars
     reward on each man, for the apprehension of the villains.

     We do not know what Governor Brown will do in this case, or
     what is his custom in such matters; but if such a thing is
     admissible, we insist upon Fuller and Murphy being promoted
     to the highest honors on the road; if not by actually giving
     them the highest position, at least let them be promoted by
     _brevet_. Certainly their indomitable energy, and quick,
     correct judgment and decision in the many difficult
     contingencies connected with this unheard-of emergency, has
     saved all the railroad bridges above Ringgold from being
     burned; the most daring scheme that this revolution has
     developed has been thwarted, and the tremendous results
     which, if successful, can scarcely be imagined, much less
     described, have been averted. Had they succeeded in burning
     the bridges, the enemy at Huntsville would have occupied
     Chattanooga before Sunday night. Yesterday they would have
     been in Knoxville, and thus had possession of all East
     Tennessee. Our forces at Knoxville, Greenville, and
     Cumberland Gap, would, ere this, have been in the hands of
     the enemy. Lynchburg, Virginia, would have been moved upon
     at once. This would have given them possession of the Valley
     of Virginia, and Stonewall Jackson could have been attacked
     in the rear. They would have possession of the railroad
     leading to Charlottesville and Orange Court House, as well
     as the South Side Railroad leading to Petersburg and
     Richmond. They might have been able to unite with
     McClellan's forces, and attack Jo. Johnston's army, front
     and flank. It is not by any means improbable that our army
     in Virginia would have been defeated, captured, or driven
     out of the State this week.

     Then reinforcements from all the Eastern and Southeast
     portion of the country would have been cut off from
     Beauregard. The enemy have Huntsville now, and with all
     these designs accomplished, his army would have been
     effectually flanked. The mind and heart shrink appalled at
     the awful consequences that would have followed the success
     of this one act. When Fuller, Murphy, and Cain started from
     Big Shanty _on foot, to capture that fugitive engine_, they
     were involuntarily laughed at by the crowd, serious as the
     matter was--and to most observers it was indeed most
     ludicrous; but _that footrace saved us_, and prevented the
     consummation of these tremendous consequences.

     One fact we must not omit to mention, is the valuable
     assistance rendered by Peter Bracken, the engineer on the
     down freight train which Fuller and Murphy turned back. He
     ran his engine fifty and a half miles--two of them backing
     the whole freight train up to Adairsville--made twelve
     stops, coupled to the two cars which the fugitives had
     dropped, and switched them off on sidings--all this, _in one
     hour and five minutes_.

     We doubt if the victory of Manasses or Corinth were worth as
     much to us as the frustration of this grand _coup d' etat_.
     It is not by any means certain that the annihilation of
     Beauregard's whole army at Corinth would be so fatal a blow
     to us as would have been the burning of the bridges at that
     time and by these men.

     When we learned by a private telegraph dispatch, a few days
     ago, that the Yankees had taken Huntsville, we attached no
     great importance to it. We regarded it merely as a dashing
     foray of a small party to destroy property, tear up the
     road, &c., _a la_ Morgan. When an additional telegram
     announced the Federal force there to be from 17,000 to
     20,000, we were inclined to doubt--though coming from a
     perfectly honorable and upright gentleman, who would not be
     apt to seize upon a wild report to send here to his friends.
     The coming to that point with a large force, where they
     would be flanked on either side by our army, we regarded as
     a most stupid and unmilitary act. We now understand it all.
     They were to move upon Chattanooga and Knoxville as soon as
     the bridges were burnt, and press on into Virginia as far as
     possible, and take all our forces in that State in the rear.
     It was all the deepest laid scheme, and on the grandest
     scale, that ever emanated from the brains of any number of
     Yankees combined. It was one that was also entirely
     practicable on almost any day for the last year. There were
     but two miscalculations in the whole programme; they did not
     expect men to start out afoot to pursue them, and they did
     not expect these pursuers on foot to find Major Cooper's old
     "Yonah" standing there all ready fired up. Their
     calculations on every other point were dead certainties, and
     would have succeeded perfectly.

     This would have eclipsed anything Captain Morgan ever
     attempted. To think of a parcel of Federal soldiers,
     officers and privates, coming down into the heart of the
     Confederate States--for they were here in Atlanta and at
     Marietta--(some of them got on the train at Marietta that
     morning, and others were at Big Shanty;) of playing such a
     serious game on the State Road, which is under the control
     of our prompt, energetic and sagacious Governor, known as
     such all over America; to seize the passenger train on his
     road, right at Camp McDonald, where he has a number of
     Georgia regiments encamped, and run off with it; to burn the
     bridges on the same road, and to go safely through to the
     Federal lines--all this would have been a feather in the cap
     of the man or men who executed it.

     Let this be a warning to the railroad men and everybody else
     in the Confederate States. Let an engine never be left alone
     a moment. Let additional guards be placed at our bridges.
     This is a matter we specially urged in the Confederacy long
     ago. We hope it will now be heeded. Further, let a
     sufficient guard be placed to watch the government stores in
     this city; and let increased vigilance and watchfulness be
     put forth by the watchmen. We know one solitary man who is
     guarding a house in this city, which contains a lot of
     bacon. Two or three men could throttle and gag him, and set
     fire to the house at any time; and worse, he conceives that
     there is no necessity for a guard, as he is sometimes seen
     off duty for a few moments, fully long enough for an
     incendiary to burn the house he watches. Let Mr. Shakelford,
     whom we know to be watchful and attentive to his duties,
     take the responsibility at once of placing a well-armed
     guard of sufficient force around every house containing
     government stores. Let this be done without waiting for
     instructions from Richmond.

     One other thought. The press is requested by the Government
     to keep silent about the movements of the army, and a great
     many things of the greatest interest to our people. It has,
     in the main, patriotically complied. We have complied in
     most cases, but our judgment was against it all the while.
     The plea is that the enemy will get the news if it is
     published in our papers. Now, we again ask, what's the use?
     The enemy get what information they want. They are with us
     and pass among us almost daily. They find out from us what
     they want to know, by passing through our country unimpeded.
     It is nonsense--it is folly, to deprive our own people of
     knowledge they are entitled to and ought to know, for fear
     the enemy will find it out. We ought to have a regular
     system of passports over all our roads, and refuse to let
     any man pass who could not give a good account of himself,
     come well vouched for, and make it fully appear that he is
     not an enemy, and that he is on legitimate business. This
     would keep information from the enemy far more effectually
     than any reticence of the press, which ought to lay before
     our people the full facts in everything of a public nature.


Stupendous "Man Hunt"--My Own Adventures--Playing Acrobat--Perilous
Crossing of a River--Hunger--The Bloodhounds--Flying for Life--No Sun
or Star to Guide me--Traveling in a Circle--Nearing Chattanooga--Lost
in Deadened Timber--Glimpse of the Moon--Fatigue Produces
Phantoms--Dreadful Storm--I Sleep and enter Fairy Land--Glorious
Visions--Reality--A Picket--Romance Faded--Horrible Situation--Day
Dawn--No Relief.

On leaving the train, I confess for a moment my heart sunk within me.
I was alone, for no one happened to strike off in the same direction I
did. I knew not where I was--whether fifteen or fifty miles from
Chattanooga[2]--neither had I the most indefinite idea of the lay of
the country. I only knew that north or northwest would bring me to our
forces; but the sun did not shine, to give me even the points of the

[2] The description of places and distances given in the preceding
chapter, was mostly obtained from Confederates, who afterward visited
and talked with us.

I supposed that the country would be aroused, and a vigorous pursuit
made, but my worst anticipations proved far short of the reality. It
was Saturday, the 12th of April, and was a general muster-day for the
conscripts over the whole country; but as soon as the news of our raid
was received, drill was suspended, and every one turned out in search
of us. Then was organized the most stupendous _man-hunt_ that ever
took place in the South. Horsemen hurried at full speed along every
road, and proclaimed the news as they went. Each planter, with his
dependents, for at least fifty miles in every direction, took his
bloodhounds and scoured the woods. Every cross-road, every river,
ford, or ferry, was at once picketed by bodies of cavalry. Large
rewards were offered, and thousands of soldiers pursued us, in
addition to the universal uprising of the citizens. The only partially
known object of the expedition imparted a tone of romantic
exaggeration to it, and made the people doubly anxious to solve the
mystery. The feeling in northern Georgia may be best conceived by
imagining what would be the excitement in the immediate vicinity, if a
party of Confederates would seize a train near Philadelphia, and
attempt to run it through Baltimore, especially if the movements of
their armies should be such as would lead to the belief that this was
only _part_ of a grand scheme!

I will now give a personal sketch of my own adventures after leaving
the train. It was still moving when I jumped off,--fast enough to make
me perform several inconvenient gyrations on reaching the ground. Most
of the party were ahead of me. Three had taken the eastern side of the
road, and the remainder the opposite side. I followed the example of
the latter, and soon reached the cover of the stunted pines that grew
near the road. Feeling the necessity of getting away as far as
possible before the enemy could pursue us on foot, I struck off at a
rapid rate.

Soon I passed the little brook that ran along the foot of the hill,
and pressed on up its steep side. There were three of my comrades not
far from me on the left, but I could not overtake them, and still
proceeded alone. I knew that pursuit would be rapid and instantaneous.
I seemed to hear the tread of cavalry in every breeze that sighed
through the branches of the naked forest!

The country was rough and uneven. On the bottoms, and by the streams,
were a few pines; but on the mountain spurs, which here are a low
continuation of the Cumberland range, the timber is mostly oak and
other varieties, which were not then in foliage. This was a great
disadvantage, because it left no hiding place, and exposed us to the
view of the watchful eyes of our enemies.

Soon I found myself in the bend of a little river that empties into
the Tennessee at Chattanooga. It was swollen by continuous rains, and
for some time I searched along its bank for a place to cross the
turbulent stream; but, seeing none, and believing that death was
behind, I committed myself to its angry current, and, after being
thoroughly soaked, and almost washed away, I succeeded in reaching the
opposite side. Here the bank rose in an almost perpendicular precipice
of more than a hundred feet in hight. I dared not recross the stream,
for I knew the enemy could not be far behind, and, therefore, I
clambered up the precipice. Several times when near the top did I feel
my grasp giving way; but as often did some bush or projecting rock
afford me the means of saving myself. At last, after the most imminent
danger, I reached the top utterly exhausted, pulled myself out of
sight, and breathed for a while.

I had had no breakfast or dinner, and had spent not only that day, but
many preceding ones, in the most fatiguing exertion. I was very faint
and sick, and almost out of hope. I had no guide even in the direction
of home, for the sun still lingered behind an impenetrable veil.

While I thus lay and mused on the unenviable situation in which I
found myself placed, a sound reached my ears that again sent the blood
leaping wildly through my veins. It was the distant baying of a
bloodhound! Never again will I read the story of human beings, of any
color, pursued by these revolting instruments of man's most savage
"inhumanity to man," with indifference!

I started to my feet, and a few moments' listening confirmed my first
impression. It was true. They were after us with their bloodhounds!
not one pack alone, but all in the country, as the widening circle,
from which echoed their dismal baying, revealed but too plainly. There
was no longer safety in idleness, and I at once started up, and
hurried off, as nearly at right angles to the railroad as I could
ascertain by the whistling of the trains, which seemed to be moving in
great numbers, and much excited. The fearful barking of the dogs also
gave me a clue to avoid them. Faint and weak as I was, excitement
supplied the place of strength, and I rapidly placed a considerable
distance between myself and pursuers.

Away across the hills and streams I sped, I knew not how far--I only
knew that the noise of the dogs grew fainter and fainter as the
evening wore on. I had distanced them, and began to breathe freer. I
even indulged the hope of being able ultimately to work my way to the
lines, and still think I might have done so, had the weather been
clear enough to permit my traveling by the sun or stars.

As I descended the long slope of a wooded hill into a wild, solitary
valley, I saw a rude hut, and a man in the garden beside it. I
approached him to inquire the road to Chattanooga, though that was the
last place I wished to go. The answer was, that it was only eight
miles. This was nearer than I liked to be, as I rightly judged the
pursuit would be most vigorous in that vicinity. However, I continued
my journey in that direction, until out of sight, and then climbed up
the hill at right angles to my former course. I traveled this way for
some time, when an incident occurred that would have been amusing, had
it been less vexatious.

I had often heard that persons who were lost would naturally travel in
a circle, but did not attach a great deal of credit to the assertion.
Now I had the proof. I had crossed a road, and left it for something
like an hour, during which time I walked very fast, when, to my
surprise, I came to the same place again.

I was considerably annoyed to thus lose my labor, but struck over the
hill in what I supposed to be the right direction. Judge of my
astonishment when, after an hour or more of hard walking, I found
myself at precisely the same spot again! So much time had been lost,
that I now could hear the bloodhounds once more. I was perplexed
beyond measure. A few steps further brought me to the _same river_ I
had crossed hours before. In sheer desperation I took the first road I
came to, and followed it a long time, almost regardless of where it
should lead, or whom I should meet.

Thus I pressed forward till twilight was deepening into darkness, when
I met a negro driving a team. From him I learned that I was within
four miles of Chattanooga; words can not describe the tide of
vexation, disappointment, and anger that swept over my breast, when I
found that in spite of my most determined efforts I was steadily
approaching the lion's mouth. But it was no use to give way to
despair. Learning from the negro the direction of both Ringgold and
Chattanooga, I resolved to make an effort to reach the Tennessee
river some eight or ten miles below Chattanooga. For this purpose, I
struck across the fields in the proper course.

For some time now I did well enough, but before long I came to a large
field of deadened timber. When I had crossed this, I was again
completely lost. Soon, however, I reached a road which seemed to lead
right, which I followed with renewed vigor for several miles. At last
I met three men on horseback; it was too dark to tell whether they
were negroes or white men, but I ventured to ask them:

"How far is it to Chattanooga?"

"_Three miles!_"

"Is this the road?"

"Yes, sah! _right ahead_."

I had afterwards reason to believe that these were men sent out to
arrest us, and that they did not stop me just because I was going
right to Chattanooga!

But it was evident that I was again on the wrong road. Indeed, it
seemed as if I was so hopelessly bewildered that it was impossible for
me to travel any _but_ the wrong road. As soon as the horsemen got out
of sight, I turned and followed them three or four miles, when I came
to a large road running at right angles with my own, which terminated
where it joined the other. I deliberated for some time as to which end
of this new road I should take. I had no guide to direct me, for my
old road was too crooked even to give me the direction of the dreaded

Many a time have I wished for a sight of the moon and stars. Long
before the clash of arms was heard in our land, before the thunder and
the wailing of battle had filled a nation with weeping, have I waited
and wished for the parting away of the tedious clouds, that, with my
telescope, I might gaze on the wonders and beauties of the worlds
above. But never did I bend a more anxious eye to the darkened
firmament, than in my solitary wanderings over the Georgia hills that
memorable night. But all in vain; no North Star appeared to point with
beam of hope to the land of the free.

At length I started off on the road that I thought most likely to lead
me in the right direction; but as usual I had the misfortune of being
wrong; for after I had gone a long distance, the moon broke through a
rift in the clouds, and for a moment poured her light down on the dark
forest through which I was passing. That one glance was enough to show
me that I was heading back toward the railroad I had left in the
morning. Wearily I turned and retraced my tedious steps.

One of my feet had been injured by an accident three mouths before,
and now pained me excessively. Still I dragged myself along. My nerves
had become completely exhausted by the long-continued tension they had
sustained, and now played me many fantastic tricks, which became more
vivid as the night waned away. I passed the place where I had made the
wrong choice of roads, and still toiled on.

The rain fell in torrents now. I was thinly clad, and as the wind,
which was blowing quite hard, drove the falling showers against me, my
teeth chattered, and I shivered to the bone. I passed many houses, and
feared the barking of the dogs might betray me to watchers within; but
my fears were groundless. The storm, which was then howling fearfully
through the trees, served to keep most of those who sought our lives,
within doors. Even the barking of the bloodhounds was heard but
seldom, and then far in the distance. I seemed to have the lonely,
fearful, stormy night to myself.

At last all thoughts gave way to the imperative necessity of repose. I
reeled to a large log that lay by the side of the road, on the edge
of a small patch of woodland, and crawling close under the side of it,
not for shelter from the driving rain, but for concealment from my
worse-dreaded human foes, I slept in peace.

Up to this time the image of that terrible night is graven on my
memory with a scorching pen of fire. After this it changes, and with
the exception of a few real incidents that aroused me from my trance,
it floats before me in more than the voluptuous splendor of an
opium-dream. The cause of this change is a curious chapter in mental
philosophy. It was no doubt purely physical, resulting from want of
sleep, fatigue, dampness, lack of food, and intense mental exertion.
But let me narrate facts.

When I awoke, it was with a full realization of my position. But in
addition to this, I seemed to hear some one whisper, as plainly as
ever I heard human voice:

"Shoot him! shoot him! Let us shoot him before he wakes!"

My first impression was, that a party of rebels had discovered my
hiding-place, and were about to murder me in my sleep, to save
themselves further trouble. But the next thought brought a new
suspicion, and I cautiously opened my eyes to test it, and see if my
senses were really playing false.

Directly before me stood a small tree. The first glance showed a tree
and nothing more. The next showed a score of angels, all clad in
softest outlines, their heads nodding with feathery plumes above all
beauty, and their wings slowly waving with borders of violet and
pearl. The whole forest was suddenly transformed into a paradise of
radiant glory, in which moved celestial beings of every order, all
instinct with life, blushing with love, and bending their kindest
regards on me. Ladies, too, were there, fairer than ever walked the
fields of earth, embowered in roses; little cherubs with laughing
faces, on cloudlets of amber and gold, floated around. Indeed, all
that the imagination could conceive of beauty was comprised in that
one gorgeous, glorious vision.

The most singular fact of all was, that although the brain and eye
were thus impressed with that which had no real existence, I was
perfectly calm and self-possessed, knowing the whole thing to be but a
pleasing illusion. I did not in the least fear these figures of the
brain, but on the contrary found them pleasant company. Not always,
however, did they personate the same characters. Occasionally they
would change to the old feudal knights, sometimes on horseback,
sometimes on foot, but always clad in glittering armor.

The finest landscapes would start up from the cold, dull hills around,
like mirages in the desert; panoramas of the most vivid action passed
before me; even language was not denied to my visitants, whose voices
were inexpressibly melodious; every thought that passed through my
mind seemed sounded audibly at my side.

Thus through the visions of night and darkness I passed rapidly on,
for now I felt refreshed and endowed with new strength. Even the
merciless pelting of the cold rain seemed pleasant and luxurious as a
cool bath in the parching heats of harvest. But beyond these
illusions, another faculty seemed to penetrate and show me, though but
dimly, the true face of the country.

Once the two became mingled, and very nearly involved me in a serious
difficulty. At a cross-road, a considerable distance ahead, I saw what
I at first supposed to be some more of my spectral friends, standing
around a fire, the ruddy blaze of which served to render them clearly
visible. They were not quite so beautiful as those I had seen before,
but still I advanced carelessly toward them, and would probably have
continued to do so, until too late for retreat, had not my progress
been arrested by a sound of all others the least romantic. It was the
squealing of a pig they had caught, and were killing, preparatory to
roasting in the fire.

This at once drove away the seraphs and the angels, and left me in
full possession of my faculties. I listened, and soon became convinced
that they were a picket, sent out there to watch for just such persons
as myself. They had some dogs with them, which, fortunately, were too
much absorbed in the dying agonies of the poor pig to give attention
to me.

I crawled cautiously away, and made a long circuit through the fields.
A dog made himself exceedingly annoying by following and barking after
me. I did not apprehend danger from him, for I yet had my trusty
revolver, and had managed to keep it dry all the time; but I feared he
would attract the attention of the picket, who might easily have
captured me, for I was too weary to elude them.

At last he left me, and I again returned to the road. I had not gone
far till I came to three horses hobbled down, which, no doubt,
belonged to the picket behind, and had to make another circuit to
avoid driving them away before me. On again reaching the road, I
pressed on as fast as possible, hoping, before the morning light, to
be beyond the circle of guarded roads, and the line of planters who
were scouring the woods with their dogs. It was a vain hope, but I
knew not then the gigantic plan of search which had been organized.

The visions which had made the lonely forest almost a paradise, now
grew dimmer and dimmer. The roses faded, and all the forms of beauty
vanished into thin air.

The chill horror of my situation froze deeper into my veins. I would
find myself walking along, almost asleep, then would wander a short
distance from the road to a secluded spot,--throw myself down on the
flooded ground, and sleep a few minutes; then would awaken, almost
drowned by the pitiless rain, and so sore and benumbed that I could
scarcely stagger to my feet, and plod onward.

Thus that dreary night wore on; it seemed an age of horror, and placed
a shuddering gulf between my present life and the past. But at last
the cold gray of a clouded morning broke through the weeping sky. Day
brought no relief. Every one I saw seemed to be a foe. Still I did not
avoid them. I carefully washed all traces of that terrible night from
my clothes. The wet did not matter, for the rain was still falling
fast enough to account for that.


Sabbath--Continuous Rain--Press Onward--Observed--Arrested--Curious
Examination--Equivocating for Life--Plans Foiled by Unexpected
News--Plundered--Jail--Terrible Reflections--New and Hopeful
Resolve--Unwelcome Visitors--Vigilance Committee Disappointed--Ordered
to Chattanooga--A Mob--Chained to the Carriage--Escort--The
Journey--Musings--Arrival--Another Mob--Benevolent Gentleman(?)--General

It was Sabbath morning, but it came not to me with the blessed
calmness and peace that accompany it in my own sweet Ohio. I saw the
people going to church, and longed to go with them, but dared not
encounter the prying eyes that would have greeted a stranger, even if
I had wished thus to loiter on my journey.

But why should I dwell longer on this dreary morning? why linger over
its miseries, deepened by the faintness of the hope that they would
ever cease, and give me again to the comfort and love of home? I
wandered on till about noon, when I was observed by some one on the
watch for strangers. This was just beyond Lafayette, Georgia. A party
of pursuit was at once organized numbering twenty or more. I knew
nothing of my danger, till they were within about fifty yards of me,
when they ordered me to stop.

I put my hand on my pistol, and looked round. The country was level
and open for some distance, and I was too weary to run, even if some
of the party had not been mounted; therefore I made a virtue of
necessity, and stopped, asking what they wanted. They replied that
they wanted to talk with me awhile. Soon they came up, and a little,
conceited man, who had the epaulets of a lieutenant, but whom they
called major, undertook to question me. He was very bland about it,
and apologized hugely for interrupting me, but said if I was a
patriotic man, as he had no doubt I was, I would willingly undergo a
slight inconvenience for the good of the Confederacy. I endeavored to
imitate his politeness, and begged him to proceed in the performance
of his duty, assuring him that he would find nothing wrong. He then
searched me very closely for papers, looking over my money and pistol,
but found nothing suspicious.

He next asked me who I was, where I came from, and where I was going.
I told him that I was a citizen of Kentucky, who had been disgusted
with the tyranny of Lincoln, and was ready to fight against it; that I
came to Chattanooga, but would not enlist at that place, because most
of the troops there were conscripts, and the few volunteers were very
poorly armed. I told him all about where I had been in Chattanooga,
and the troops there, for I had heard a good deal said about them as I
went down on the cars to Marietta, on the previous Friday evening. I
had also heard them praising the First Georgia, which was with
Beauregard, and now told the Major that I wanted to join it. He then
asked why I did not proceed at once to Corinth, without going so far
around the country. I alleged that General Mitchel was in the way at
Huntsville, and that I was merely making a circuit far enough around
to be out of the danger of capture.

This seemed to be perfectly satisfactory to the little man, and
turning to the crowd he said:

"We may as well let this fellow go on, for he seems to be all right."

These words rejoiced me, but my joy was premature. A dark-complexioned
man, who sat on his horse, with his hat drawn down over his brows,
raised his eyes slowly, and drawled out:

"Well, y-e-s! Perhaps we'd as well take him back to town, and if all's
right, maybe we can help him on to Corinth."

This was rather more help than I wanted, but it was useless to demur.

They conducted me to the largest hotel in the place, where I was
received very kindly. Soon a number of lawyers came in, and commenced
asking me all kinds of hard questions. I answered as well as I could.
When I told them I was from Kentucky, they wished to know the county.
I told them Fleming. Then they asked the county seat. This also I was
able to give; but when they required me to give the counties which
bounded it, I was nonplussed. I mentioned a few at random, but suspect
most of them were wrong. They said it looked suspicious to find a man
who could not bound his own county, but proceeded in their

They requested a narrative of my journey all the way through from
Kentucky. This I gave very easily, as long as it was on ground that
was not accessible to them; but it sorely puzzled me to account for
the time I had been on the railroad, and for the last night, which I
spent in the woods. I had to _invent_ families with whom I
stayed--tell the number of children and servants at each, and all the
particulars. This was rather perilous, as many of my auditors knew all
the country around which I was thus fancifully populating; but I had
no alternative. I might have refused to answer at all, but this would
have been construed into positive proof of guilt--at least as good as
a _mob_ would have required. Besides, I still had a faint hope that
they might be induced to release me, and allow me to continue my
journey. As it was, my assurance puzzled them somewhat, and they held
numerous private consultations.

But while they were thus deliberating over my case, and could only
agree that it needed further investigation, a man, riding a horse
covered with foam, dashed up to the door. He came from Ringgold, and
brought the news that part of the bridge-burners had been captured,
and that they had at first pretended to be _citizens of Kentucky, from
Fleming county_,--but, on finding that this did not procure their
release, they confessed that they were Ohio soldiers, sent out to burn
the bridges on the Georgia State Road.

The remarkable coincidence of their first story with the one I had
been trying so hard to make the rebels believe, produced a marked
change in their conduct toward me. They at once adjourned to another
room, and, after a brief consultation, agreed to commit me to jail to
await further developments.

The little major was my escort. He first purloined my money, then took
me to the county jail and handed me over to the jailor. This personage
took my penknife and other little articles,--then led me up
stairs,--unfastened the door of a cage of crossing iron bars, in which
was one poor fellow--a Union man, as I afterward found--and bade me
enter. My reflections could not have been more gloomy if the
celebrated inscription, _Dante_, placed over the gates of hell, had
been written above the massive iron door.

          "All hope abandon, ye who enter here."

My feelings were terrible when the jailor turned the key in the lock,
secured the heavy iron bar that crossed the door, and left me. Never
before had I been locked up as a prisoner, and now it was no trivial
matter--a few days or weeks. There was absolutely no hope ahead. I was
there as a criminal, and too well did I realize the character of the
Southern people, to believe that they would be fastidious about proof.
Life is held too cheap in that country to cause them a long delay in
its disposal.

In that hour, my most distressing thought was of my friends at home,
and particularly of my mother--thinking what would be their sorrow
when they heard of my ignominious fate--if indeed they ever heard, for
I had given an assumed name. That all my young hopes and ambitions, my
fond dreams of being useful, should perish, as I then had no doubt
they would, on a Southern scaffold, seemed unbearable in the extreme.
But only one moment did these thoughts sweep over me; the next they
were rejected as not calculated to profit in the least. My first
action was to borrow from my Union companion his blankets, of which he
had a plentiful supply, and wrap myself in them. The warmth they
produced soon threw me into a deep sleep,--profound and
dreamless,--such as only extreme fatigue can afford.

I awoke hours after, feeling much refreshed, but did not at first
realize where I was; yet a glance at the woven bars which everywhere
bounded me in, brought back the knowledge that I was a prisoner; but I
did not give way to useless despair. I was almost amused at the
quaint, yet truthful remark my fellow-prisoner made to me. Said he:

"If you are innocent of the charge they have against you, there is no
hope for you. But if it is true, you may save yourself by telling
what regiment and company you belong to, and claiming protection as a
United States prisoner of war."

I thought a good deal over this opinion, and became more and more
impressed with its wisdom. It contained a truth that I could not
gainsay. To hang a poor stranger in the South would be a common-place
affair--only what was often done by the Southerners before the war
began. In fact, they did kill a man at Dalton, under circumstances of
the greatest cruelty, because he cheered as we dashed through the
town. Afterward they found out that the man was as good a rebel as any
of them, and had merely cheered because he thought we, too, were
rebels; then they set the matter right by apologizing to his friends!

It was quite different in the case of our soldiers. If they were
murdered, there was an unpleasant probability that some of the
chivalry themselves would have to suffer in retaliation. Besides, I
reflected with a glow of hope, the first I experienced since I fell
into their hands, that our government held a number of rebels, who had
been taken in Missouri on a similar expedition. All day and night I
mused on these things, and endeavored to come to such a decision as
would be for the best. When I heard of the capture of many of our
party, and the announcement of the regiments to which they belonged,
showing that they had been influenced by the same considerations I had
been revolving, I at once determined to rest my fate on my claim as a
United States soldier. I believe that this decision ultimately saved
my life.

All this time I was not in loneliness. Throngs of Georgians came in to
see the caged Yankee--both ladies and gentlemen. Many were the odd
remarks they made, criticising every feature, and not a few adding
every possible word of insult. The whole day they crowded in, and I
was glad when the approach of night put an end to the annoyance.

The coarse food the jailor brought was eaten with such a relish as
hunger only can impart. I was fortunate in respect to quantity, for my
companion was not well, and could not eat much; but I atoned for his
shortcoming by eating both of our allowances without difficulty.

In the morning, they took me before a self-constituted committee of
vigilance. These committees were very common in the South, and still
more summary in their modes of administering justice, or rather
vengeance, than were the celebrated vigilance committees of San
Francisco, in the early history of the gold mines. They were prepared
with a board of the most eminent lawyers in the vicinity, and no doubt
hoped to entangle me still more deeply in the meshes of contradiction
than they did the day before. But I cut the whole matter short by

"Gentlemen, the statements I gave you yesterday were intended to
deceive you. I will now tell you the truth."

The clerk got his pen ready to take down the information.

"Go on, sir; go on," said the president.

"I am ready," said I, "to give you my true name and regiment, and to
tell you why I came into your country."

"Just what we want, sir. Go on," said they.

"But," I returned, "I will make no statement whatever, until taken
before the regular military authority of this department."

This took them by surprise, and they used every threat and argument in
their power to induce me to change my purpose, but in vain. My reason
for this, was to avoid the violence of mob law. While in the hands of
the populace, there was danger of the summary infliction of punishment
that the military authorities could disavow, if our government
threatened retaliation. But if I was once under the regular military
jurisdiction, they would be responsible both to the United States and
to the civilized world.

When they found that I would tell them nothing further, they made
arrangements to take me to Chattanooga, which was distant twenty
miles. It was the same to Ringgold, near which we abandoned the train.
Thus it will be seen that in that long and terrible night I had
traveled twenty miles in a straight line, and, with my meanderings,
must have walked fifty.

I was remanded to the jail to wait for the preparation of a suitable
escort. Here I remained till after dinner, when I was guarded by about
a dozen men to the public square. A carriage was in waiting, in which
I was placed, and then commenced the process of tying and chaining.

A great mob gathered around, completely filling the whole square, and
was exceedingly angry and excited. They questioned me in loud and
imperious tones, demanding why I came down there to fight them, and
adding every possible word of insult. I heard many significant hints
about getting ropes, and the folly of taking me down to Chattanooga,
when I could be hanged just as well there.

However, as the mob grew more violent in their denunciations, I
selected some of the more intelligent ones and addressed them. They
answered with curses; but in the very act of cursing, they grew milder
and more willing to converse. I was not very much in the humor for
talking, but following the dictates of policy rather than inclination,
I answered their innuendoes merrily, and soon had some of the laughers
on my side. Before long, I heard some of them say, "Pity he is a
Yankee, for he seems to be a good fellow." This was gratifying, and we
were soon ready to start.

I had been secured in such a manner as to make assurance doubly sure.
A heavy chain was put around my neck and fastened by a padlock; the
other end was hitched to one foot, and secured in the same manner; the
chain being extended to its full length, while I was in a sitting
position, making it impossible for me to rise.--My hands were tied
together; my elbows were pinioned to my side by ropes; and, to crown
all, I was firmly bound to the carriage seat!

My evil genius, the little major, took the seat beside me as driver.
He was armed to the teeth. Two other officers on horseback, likewise
fully armed, constituted the rest of the guard that was thought
necessary to attend one chained and helpless Yankee. Oh! spirit of
chivalry! how art thou fallen! No longer one brave Southern knight a
match for eight or ten Northern mudsills; but three well-armed
officers to guard one chained Union soldier! The same exaggerated
caution I frequently noticed afterward. There seemed to be a perpetual
fear on the minds of the miscreants that we were about to do something

As we journeyed along, the sky, which for days had been overcast, and,
during that time, had hardly afforded us a glimpse of its celestial
blue, became suddenly clear. The sun shone out in beauty, and smiled
on the first faint dawnings of spring that lay in tender green on the
surrounding hills. I am ever very sensitive to the influences of
nature in all its phases, and now felt my spirit grow more light as I
breathed the fresh air, and listened to the singing of the birds.

My companions were quite talkative, and though I hated them for the
indignity they had thus put upon me in chaining me as a criminal, yet
I knew it would be unavailing to indulge a surly and vindictive
disposition, and therefore talked as fast and as lively as they could.

My guards, themselves, did not subject me to any insults, and even
endeavored to prove that the extraordinary manner in which I was bound
was a compliment to me. I could not see it in that light, and would
have willingly excused the tying and the compliment together! The
worst was that when they passed any house they would call out, "We've
got a live Yankee here;" then men, women, and children, would rush to
the door, and stare as though they saw some great monster, asking:

"Whar did you ketch him? Goin' to hang him when you get him to
Chattanooga?" and similar expressions without end.

This was only amusing at first, but its perpetual recurrence soon grew
terribly wearisome, and was not without its effect in making me
believe they really would hang me. In fact, my expectation of escaping
was never very bright; yet I considered it my duty to keep up my
spirits as well as I could, and not despair till it really was certain
that there remained no ground for hope. The afternoon wore slowly away
as we traveled along, passing some very grand and romantic scenery,
that in any other frame of mind would have been enthusiastically
enjoyed; but now my thoughts were otherwise engaged.

It was not the thought of death I so much dreaded, as the manner of
death. Death amid the smoke, and excitement, and glory of battle, was
not half so terrible as in the awful calmness and chill horror of the
scaffold! And sadder yet, to think of my friends, who would count the
weary months that had gone by, and wish and long for my return, till
hope became torturing suspense, and suspense deepened into despair.
These thoughts were almost too much for stoicism; yet there was no
alternative but to patiently endure.

The sun went down, and night came on--deep, calm, and clear. One by
one the stars twinkled into light. I gazed upon their beauty with new
feelings, as I wondered whether the short, revolving course of a few
more suns might not bring me a dweller above the stars! And as I
thought of the blessed rest for the weary beyond the shores of time,
my thoughts took a new direction. I was not then a professor of
Christianity, but had often and believingly thought of the great
interests of the future, and had resolved to make them my particular
study; but had never hitherto addressed myself in earnest to the task,
and latterly, the confusion and bustle of a camp-life had almost
driven the subject out of my mind. But now, whether it came from the
clustering stars above, or from the quiet and stillness so congenial
to exhausted nature, after the weariness and excitement of the last
few days, or from a still deeper source, I know not. I only know that
the memory of that night, when I was thus being carried chained to an
unknown fate, is one of the sweetest of my life. My babbling guards
had subsided into silence, and, as we wended along through the
gathering darkness, high and noble thoughts of the destiny of man
filled my breast, and death seemed only the shining gate to eternal
and blissful life. I was nerved for any fate.

We arrived at Chattanooga while a feeble glow of the soft spring
twilight still lingered on the earth. We immediately drove to the
headquarters of General Leadbetter, then commanding that place, and
while our guards ascended to inform him of our arrival, I was left in
the carriage. As soon as we entered the town, the word was given:

"We've got a live Yankee; one that took the train the other day."

I was not the first one of the party captured, but was the first
brought to Chattanooga. The curiosity to see one of the men who had
frightened women and children into the woods, was, of course, most
extreme, and an immense crowd soon gathered around. They behaved just
as Southern mobs usually do--jeering and hooting--calling me by every
epithet of reproach the language afforded, and wanting to know why I
came down there to burn their property, and murder them and their
children. To these multitudinous questions and assertions I made no
answer. I was greatly amused (afterward!) by their criticisms on my
appearance. One would say that "it was a pity that so young and
clever-looking a man should be caught in such a scrape." Another, of
more penetrating cast, could tell that "he was a rogue by his
appearance--probably came out of prison in his own country." Another
was surprised that I could hold up my head and look around on honest
men--arguing that such brazen effrontery was a proof of enormous
depravity of heart. I did not give my opinion on the subject. Indeed,
it was not asked.

There was one man I noticed in particular. He was tall and
venerable-looking; had gray hair, gray beard, a magnificent forehead,
and an altogether commanding and intellectual expression of
countenance. He was treated with great deference, and appeared to me
most like a doctor of divinity. As he parted his way through the
crowd toward me, I thought:

"Surely I will receive some sympathy from that noble-looking man."

His first question was calculated to confirm my impression. Said he:

"How old are you?"

I answered, "Twenty-two, sir."

Gradually his lip wreathed itself into a curl of unutterable scorn, as
he slowly continued:

"Poor young fool! and I suppose you was a school-teacher, or something
of that kind in your own land! and you thought you would come down
here and rob us, and burn our houses, and murder us, did you? Now let
me give you a little advice: if you ever get home again, (but you
never will,) do try, for God's sake, and have a little better sense,
and stay there!"

Then he turned contemptuously on his heel, and strode away, while the
rabble around rewarded him with a cheer. I never could find out who he
was. After that I looked no more for sympathy in that crowd.

My conductors now returned, and escorted me into the presence of
General Leadbetter. They said he was a Northern man; but if so, it is
very little credit to my section, for he was one of the most
contemptible individuals I ever knew. He was a perfect sot, and had
just two states of body, as a Confederate captain afterwards explained
to us--these were, dead drunk, and gentlemanly drunk. He oscillated
constantly between these two. He was a coward as well, and though only
a brigadier-general, managed to stay as far away from the field when
the fight was going on, as one of our own most conspicuous
major-generals did. He had been promoted to his present position for
his _gallantry_ in hanging some defenceless East Tennessee citizens,
which he did without a trial.

All these facts I learned afterward, except one, which was apparent
when I entered the room. He was "gentlemanly drunk." He commenced
questioning me, and I told him partly the truth, and partly not--going
on the principle that truth is a pearl, and pearls are not to be
thrown before swine. I told him that I was a United States soldier,
giving him my company and regiment; but saying that I was detailed
without my consent, that I was ignorant of where I was going, and what
I was to perform, which I only learned as fast as I was to execute it.
He wanted to know our intention in thus seizing the engine, but I
plead ignorance. He next inquired who was our engineer, but I refused
to tell. He then said:

"Sir, I want you to tell me just how many men you had on that train,
and to describe them so I may know when I get them."

I answered, "General, I have freely told you whatever concerns only
myself, because I thought it better that you should know that I am a
soldier under the protection of the United States, but I have not yet
become base enough to describe my comrades!"

"O!" sneered he, "I don't know that I ought to have asked you that."

"I think not, sir," I replied.

"Well," said he, "I know all about it. Your leader's name is Andrews.
What kind of a man is he?"

I was perfectly astonished that he should have Andrews' name, and know
him to be our leader; but I never imagined what I afterward found to
be the true cause--that Andrews had been captured, and had given his
name, with the fact that he was the leader of the expedition. I had
every confidence that _he_ would get away, and try some measures for
our relief; so I answered boldly:

"I can tell you only one thing about him, and that is, he is a man
whom you will never catch."

I _thought_ I noticed a peculiar smile on the General's face as I said
this, but he only replied:

"That will do for you;" and turning to a captain who stood by, he
continued, "take him to the hole; you know where that is."

With a nod in reply, the captain took me out of the room. As I passed
through the door, I saw an explanation of the General's smile. There
stood Andrews, ironed, waiting an audience, and Marion Ross and John
Williams with him. I did not choose to recognize them; for such
recognition might have compromised them, as I knew not what course
they would pursue.


Negro Prison--Swims, the Jailor--Horrible Dungeon--Black Hole of
Calcutta--Suffocation--Union Prisoners--Slave Catching--Our Party
Reunited--Breakfast Lowered by Rope--Hunger--Counseling--Fiendish
Barbarity--Chained in the Dungeon--Andrews tried as a Spy and
Traitor--Sweet, but Stolen News--Removed from Dungeon--Pure Air and
Sunlight--Attacked by a Mob--"A Friend"--Madison--Daring Adventure and
Narrow Escape.

The captain now called a guard of eight men, and conducted me through
the streets for some time; at last we came to a little brick building,
surrounded by a high board fence. Those who have ever been in
Chattanooga, and visited the negro prison, will recognize my
description. A portion of the building was occupied by the jailor, but
the prison part consisted of two rooms, one under the other, and also
partly underground. This under room had no entrance from the outside,
but was accessible only through a trap-door from the room directly

Chattanooga is not a county-seat, and, therefore, this prison was
built only for the accommodation of negroes by their humane owners.

The jailor, Swims, was a character, and merits a particular
description. He was an old man--perhaps sixty. His hair, which was
very abundant, was white as snow, and his face had a dry and withered
expression. His voice was always keyed on a whining tone, except when
some great cause, such as the demand of prisoners for an extra bucket
of water, excited him, and then it rose to a hoarse scream. Avarice
was his predominant, almost his only, characteristic. He seemed to
think his accommodations were vastly too good for negroes and Yankees,
and that when they were admitted within his precincts, they should be
thankful, and give as little trouble as possible. With such notions,
it was not wonderful that he managed to make the lot of the prisoner
an uncomfortable one. In addition to this, he was very fond of a dram,
and frequently became sufficiently intoxicated to reveal many
important matters that we would not otherwise have learned.

He bustled to the gate, growling all the time about being troubled so
much, unlocked it, and admitting us, led us up the outside stairway,
and then into the upper room. I now saw why the General called the
place a "hole," and truly I thought the name was appropriate. It was
only thirteen feet square, destitute of every convenience, without
chairs, beds, or anything of the kind. There were in it five or six
old, miserable-looking men, who had not been washed for months. The
place looked hard to me, and I shuddered at the idea of taking up my
abode in such a den. But I soon found that I was not to enjoy that

Said the jailor to the captain, "Where shall I put him?"

"Below, of course," was the reply.

The jailor then advanced to the middle of the floor, and taking a
large key from his pocket, knelt down and unlocked two rusty locks;
then, with a great effort, raised a ponderous trap-door just at my
feet. The hot air and the stifling stench smote me back, but the
bayonets of the guards were just behind, and I was compelled to move
forward again. A long ladder was next thrust down through the
trap-door, and the inmates warned to stand from under. A mingled
volley of cries, oaths, and questions ascended, and the ladder was
secured. The captain then ordered me to descend into what seemed more
like Pandemonium than any place on earth. Down I went into the
cimmerian gloom--clambering step by step to a depth of fully thirteen
feet; for the place, as I afterwards learned, when I had more leisure
for observation, was a cube, just thirteen feet each way. I stepped
off the ladder, treading on human beings I could not discern, and
crowding in as best I might.

[Illustration: "Down I went into the cimmerian gloom--clambering step
by step to a depth of fully thirteen feet."--Page 129.]

The heat was so great that the perspiration broke from me in streams.
The foeted air made me for a time deadly sick, and I wondered whether
it could be possible they would leave human beings in this horrible
place to perish. The thought of the black hole at Calcutta, where so
many Englishmen died, rushed over me. True, this was done by the cruel
and savage East Indians, while we were in the hands of "our Southern
brethern," the "chivalry;" but I could not perceive that this
difference of captors made any difference of treatment.

My breath came thick and heavy, and I thought of suffocation. The
ladder was drawn up, and with a dull and heavy sound that seemed
crushing down on my heart, the trap-door fell. I wedged and jammed my
way through the living throng to the window. The one I reached was
just under the wooden stairs, and, of course, gave no light. The other
was below the surface of the ground. They were at opposite sides of
the room, and were only about a foot square, being filled with a
triple row of thick set iron bars, that almost excluded every current
of air. I pressed my face close to the bars, and breathed the purest
air I could get, until I became partly reconciled to the oppression,
and then turned to ascertain the condition of my companions. It was
wretched beyond description. They were ragged, dirty, and crawling
with vermin. Most of them were nearly naked; but this was no
inconvenience there, for it was so warm that those who had clothes
were obliged to take them off, and nearly all were in a state of
nudity. I soon found it necessary myself to disrobe, and even then the
perspiration poured off me most profusely. It was an atmosphere of

Yet among the prisoners were old men, just trembling on the verge of
the grave, who were arrested merely because they had ventured to
express a preference for the old, well-tried Government, over the new,
slave-built Confederacy. The cruelty practiced on the Tennessee Union
men will never half be told. It forms the darkest page in the history
of the war. In every prison of which I was an inmate in Georgia and
Virginia, as well as in Tennessee, I found these miserable but
patriotic men thus heartlessly immured. But I will speak more of them
hereafter; at that time the thought of my own danger banished every
other consideration.

There were fourteen white men in the room beside myself, and one
negro. I wonder what those tender soldiers, who consider it derogatory
to their dignity to fight in the same army that blacks do, would think
if they were confined with them so closely that there was no
possibility of getting away. But we endured too many real evils to
fret at imaginary ones; and besides, Aleck was so kind and
accommodating, so anxious to do everything in his power for us, that
he soon became a general favorite; and when he was taken out to be
whipped, as he was several times, to ascertain whether he was telling
a true story or not, we could not help feeling the sincerest sympathy
for him.

The Southern method of catching stray negroes is about this: When one
is found traveling without a pass, he is arrested, taken to the jail,
and severely flogged. This usually brings some kind of a confession
from him, and he is advertised in accordance with that confession. If
no answer is received in a limited time, it is taken for granted that
he lied, and he is whipped again, in order to bring a new confession.
Thus they continue alternately whipping and advertising, till the
close of the year. If a master is found before this, he can pay the
costs and take his property; if not, the negro is sold to pay the jail
and whipping fees. No trial is ever allowed at which the negro might
prove himself free. When once arrested his doom is sealed, and in this
way many free negroes are enslaved.

Aleck had been in this prison seven months, and was to remain five
more, with no other prospect than that of being sold into perpetual

Every society has its aristocrats, and here I soon found that the
eminence was given to those who were charged with the most daring
deeds. The spy--there was but one so accused, and he was
blind,[3]--was considered much above the ordinary Union men. I was
charged with the greatest adventure of any confined there, and, of
course, was treated with becoming deference.

[3] The rebels thought he was counterfeiting blindness, but I believe
it was real.

I was not long the only one of the _engine-thieves_, (by which name we
were known during our stay in the Confederacy,) who was confined in
this dungeon. Soon the trap-door again opened, causing a stream of
comparatively cool air from the room above to rush down. It was an
inconceivable relief--a _luxury_ that none could appreciate who had
not, as we had, been deprived of that greatest blessing God has given
to man--pure air.

We wondered who was coming next, as the feeble glimmering of a candle
above revealed several forms descending. The Tennesseeans cried out:

"Don't put any more down here! We're full! We'll die if more are put
down!" which did not seem improbable.

But these remonstrances produced no effect. Down they came, and I,
stationing myself at the foot of the ladder, spoke something
indifferently to them, and heard my name called in return.

It was Andrews, Wollam, and Ross, who gave me their hands in silent
condolence of our common misery. Still others were brought, I do not
now remember whether that evening, or in the morning. Again the door
was closed, and the free air, which had seemed to flow to us in
sympathy, was once more shut out.

We tried to arrange ourselves to secure the repose we so much needed,
but the room was too small. Think of this, ye who sleep on your downy
beds at home. Here were your brothers of Ohio, not only compelled to
sleep on the bare floor, but not even enough of that, in this vilest
of dens, on which to lie down at all! and yet some of you sympathize
with those who were the authors of this cruelty, and think it so hard
that their property should be confiscated for such trifles as these,
and, worst of all, that their negroes should be taken from them! What
shall we think of _you_?

We did the best we could. Some found room to lie down. Others sat
against the wall, and still others leaned on the breasts of those who
were thus supported. It is no wonder if, while in such a situation we
should be afflicted with the nightmare, and have innumerable bad
dreams. If any one wanted to move his position, or go for a drink,
(and the stifling heat rendered us all very thirsty,) he was sure to
tread on his neighbors, and tempers being naturally very short here,
some warm altercations took place, which contributed still more to
disturb our slumbers.

The next morning we slept late. Indeed, as long as we remained in this
prison we were inclined to sleep much. The great quantity of carbonic
acid gas our breathing produced, seemed to act as an opiate, and thus
served, in some measure, to deaden the sense of pain. We were aroused
the next morning--early, as we supposed--by the opening of the door
above, and the delicious shower of cool air that fell on us. As we
looked up, we saw the white head of our old jailor bending over, and
saying, in drawling tones, "Boys, here's your breakfast," and down he
lowered a bucket, by a rope, containing a very small piece of bread,
and the same of meat, for each of us. This was seized and devoured
almost instantly. I had received nothing to eat since breakfast the
day before, and the little morsel I got only served to whet my
appetite; but there was no more! We asked what time it was, and were
told nine o'clock. We were also informed that we would get our meals
only twice a day. This was rather discouraging information for persons
as hungry as ourselves, but we had no remedy.

During the day a few more of our party came in, and among them was G.
D. Wilson. I found that they had all done as I had in acknowledging
themselves United States soldiers, influenced by the same reasons, and
most of them sooner than myself. We consulted about the matter, and
concluded that the only hope we had, was in adhering to the same
story, and trying to make them believe that we were actually detailed
without our consent, and without a knowledge of what we had to do.
This was true for part, but not for all, or even for the most of us.
We agreed to conceal the name of the engineer at all hazards--the fact
of a previous expedition being sent down into Georgia, and that
Campbell was not a soldier--also our previous acquaintance with
Andrews, thus leaving him free to make his own defense. With the
exception of these reserved facts, which were not even to be whispered
among ourselves, we were to talk freely; to answer all questions and
convey the impression that we had nothing to conceal. We carried out
this idea, and, as more of our men came in, they agreed to it, and
gave, without reserve, their true names, companies, and regiments.
This course gained us sympathy from those whose bosoms were not
steeled against every kindly feeling; and to this, more than anything
else, I attribute the fact of some of the party being alive to-day.

We afterward communicated our plan to Andrews, who cordially approved
it--saying that if we adhered to it there would be some chance for our
lives. We did adhere to it, and no amount of persuasion, threatening,
or promises, could induce any of the party to betray one of our
reserved secrets. The rebels were particularly anxious to discover who
was the engineer, and would first ask the question in the most
careless manner; then afterward would sternly demand to know. They
even employed a man, who was a freemason, to visit the party, and try
to gain the confidence of one of our number, who belonged to that
order, and subsequently urge him to tell the desired name, under the
sanction of the masonic oath! But all in vain.

As others of our party joined us, in bands of two or three, they told
the story of their capture. This was, in some cases, most thrilling,
and still further illustrates the fiendish barbarities of the rebels.

Two of them, Parrott and Robinson, who were captured the same day they
left the train, were taken to Ringgold. Here they endeavored to compel
Parrott, who was the youngest looking of the party, to betray his
companions, and particularly the engineer; but he refused to do it;
then these villains in Confederate uniform, stripped him naked, and
stretched him down on a rock, four men holding him by each hand and
foot, while two others stood by with loaded revolvers, threatening him
with instant death if he offered the least resistance; then a rebel
lieutenant commenced whipping him with a raw hide; three different
times he ceased and raised Parrott up, asking him if he was ready to
confess; but the heroic boy refused, and at last the whipping was
discontinued, after more than a hundred lashes had been inflicted. His
back remained sore a long time, and he suffered very much from being
obliged to lie on the hard floor. They did not apply anything to his
wounds to heal them, and the scars still remain.

All the party came in chained, but of course expected, when they were
put down into the dungeon--and _such_ a dungeon!--that they would at
least have the use of their hands. But this was too great an
indulgence to be allowed. We were handcuffed, and then chained
together by the neck in twos and threes. My partner was William
Reddick, to whom I was _strongly attached_ for some time!

Thus chained together, packed into a little cramped dungeon, deprived
even of light, and almost of air, crawled over by all kinds of vermin,
for there were innumerable rats, mice, and bugs, as well as a smaller
and still more pestiferous insect, we presented a picture of nearly
perfect misery.

In this state we remained almost three weeks. During this time Andrews
had received a trial. The evidence was strong against him. A Mr.
Whiteman, whom Andrews himself had directed to be summoned, and who
was a former business partner of his, testified that Andrews had been
repeatedly in the South, that he had professed allegiance to the
Southern Confederacy, and in all things represented himself to be a
citizen of the same. In fact he had passes in his possession when he
was captured that could hardly have been obtained without his taking
the oath of allegiance. This did much to sustain the charge of treason
against him, as he admitted being the leader of the expedition. The
other indictment, which was that of being a spy, was not supported by
any evidence, so far as I could learn; but this was of no importance,
as the punishment of the first charge was death. However, the sentence
was not then given, and Andrews' lawyers gave him some reason to hope
that there was an informality in the proceedings which would render
the whole trial void.

All this time we were most intensely anxious to know how military
affairs were progressing in the world without. I had appropriated from
an officer in charge of us, a paper containing the Confederate account
of our chase, which has been given before, and also an admission that
the battle of Shiloh was not so much of a victory as they had at first
supposed. We managed, likewise, to get one or two other papers which
gave the welcome news that our armies were still pressing onward, and
earnestly did we wish and hope that Chattanooga would be reached in
time to effect our deliverance.

But the best item of news we received, was from our old jailor, who,
on one occasion, became too drunk to remember the orders he had
received against telling us anything, and let out the very interesting
fact that General Mitchel had advanced to Bridgeport, only
twenty-eight miles below us, on the Tennessee river, and there had
sorely defeated the rebels, capturing some of the very same men who
had been guarding us a few days before.

This was very cheering, and we began to hope that we, too, would soon
be captured. The officer of the guard was obviously uneasy. All the
time we were in the dungeon, we had been guarded by twenty-six men,
with a captain over them. This was certainly enough to keep
twenty-two, confined and chained as we were, in our place, but we
thought it would be a capital joke should they be captured with us!

But it was not their intention to let us fall into Mitchel's hands. An
order was sent to the captain in charge to prepare us for moving. He
did so; and soon after, we were in the cars, carried down the same
road we came up so rapidly three weeks before.

How beautiful all nature appeared! It was May, and the time we had
spent without one glance at the expansive sky or green earth, had not
been lost in the material world. The landscape had been robed in a
richer verdure, the budding trees had swelled into leafy screens, the
sky was of a softer blue, the birds warbled with new melody, and
everything seemed to wear its holiday dress.

O, the joy! the gladness! of being once more under the canopy of
heaven, and of looking up to its unfathomable depths, with no envious
bars to obstruct our view. Many a time have I passed the month of May,
amidst the most romantic scenery, but never yet did I so deeply feel,
that this is indeed a pleasant world, full of beauty and goodness, as
on that balmy evening, when the rays of the setting sun, glowing from
the west, streamed over the grass and wheatfields on their path, and
poured in mellowed, yellow radiance, through our car-window. But even
then the glories of earth and sky could not make me forget that I was
still chained to my companion, and surrounded by guards with gleaming

The wild excitement caused by our raid had not subsided in the least,
and as it became known that we were passing along the road, a mob
greeted us at every station. It is not necessary to again describe
these mobs, for all are alike, and one description answers for many.
They were, as usual, rude, loquacious, and insulting.

When we arrived in Atlanta, which was in the morning, there was no
jail-room for us; but before going further, we were obliged to wait
for the evening train. When it became known in the city that we were
there, a mob instantly collected, and prepared to hang us. They were
prevented by our guard, probably on the principle that a mouse is
protected by a kitten--that it may have the pleasure of first playing
with it, and afterwards killing it itself. During the progress of the
strife between those who wanted to hang us and those who wanted the
law to take its course, several persons were severely injured. But
while the disturbance was in progress, one man succeeded in reaching
the car window unnoticed, and handed us a paper, using only the single
but magical word--"a friend"--and then was lost in the throng. We read
the paper by snatches as the attention of the guard was directed to
other objects, and found it to contain glorious news--nothing less
than _the capture of New Orleans by our fleet_! Need I say that, for
the time, all thought of private misfortune was lost in the
exhilaration of national triumph?

The cause of secession then looked gloomy. I took particular pains to
talk with the officer in charge of us, and other intelligent rebels,
about their prospects, and found them discouraged. Our captain would
not let us have any newspapers, or _knowingly_ give us any
information; yet he thought it no harm to talk with us on the great
subject of the war, after we had learned the facts from other sources.
Frequently, by pretending to know, we could get from him a full idea
of things concerning which we were ignorant before. Of this character
was McClellan's advance on Richmond. The captain admitted that he was
moving with an overwhelming force, and that they had then but a
comparatively small army to resist him. Indeed, everything looked
bright for the Union cause, and the only uneasiness that disturbed us
was the apprehension that we might not live to witness that happy
triumph which now seemed so near.

In the evening we glided on again, and at length arrived at Madison.
This is a flourishing village, and looked well as we entered it.
There were then some six hundred of our prisoners confined there, and
we indulged the hope that we might be put with them. But we soon
learned that the brand of criminality for our daring adventure still
rested on us; for we were marched past the dilapidated cotton factory
where our friends were confined, to the old county jail, which was
then entirely unoccupied. It was a gloomy stone building, and had two
rooms, but both had doors, and were above ground. Of the upper story I
can not speak, as our party was divided, and I was one that was
assigned to the lower apartment. The room was very dark, and its heavy
stone walls rendered it quite damp. It would have seemed like a
wretched place, had it not been for our previous experience in
Chattanooga. Besides, we were now further from the influence of
General Leadbetter, and only under the control of our captain, who
showed us some kindness, though we were still in irons.

The citizens of the place were freely admitted to see us, and ranged
themselves--always in the presence of the guard--along one side of the
cell, and talked about all the exciting topics of the day. They
pretended to admire us very much, and contrasted our daring expedition
with what they were pleased to call the cowardice of the Yankees
generally, and asked if there were any more like us in the army.
Wilson, of Cincinnati, assured them that we were the poorest men in
Mitchel's Division, and only sent away because he had no use for us.
This rather astonished them; but from the way in which Mitchel, with
his small and divided force, was controlling Northern Alabama, and
much of Eastern Tennessee, as well as defeating them at all points,
they were rather inclined to believe it.

But among these visitors was one who came not for mere curiosity. He
was dressed in rebel uniform, but was instantly recognized by Andrews
as a _spy in the service of the United States_. They had no
opportunity for private communication, but our situation was revealed
in such a way as not to excite suspicion. His character was made known
to us by Andrews, after his departure; and while we were wondering at
his audacity, and rather inclined to disbelieve the story, the captain
of the guard, who had come to bring supper, told us that a most
remarkable occurrence had taken place that afternoon.

He said that the Provost-Marshal had learned, from some source, that a
spy of Lincoln's had been among our visitors, and had at once sent a
guard to arrest him. The guard found him at the depot, just as the
cars were coming in. The stranger was very indignant at his arrest,
and told them scornfully that he had papers in his pocket that would
prove his character anywhere. They were somewhat abashed at this, and
released their hold on him, but asked him to produce the papers. He
put his hand in his pocket, as though searching for them, and fumbled
about, until he noticed that the train, which was starting, had
attained a good rate of speed, and then, just as the last car swung
by, he dashed from them, and jumped aboard! There was no telegraph
station at Madison, and he escaped.

At this the Confederates were very much enraged, and would permit no
more visiting; but we felt ample consolation in the certainty that our
condition would be at once reported to our officers, and every effort
made for our release.


Return to Chattanooga--Caution of Rebels--Unchain Ourselves--Mock
Trials--The Judge--Singing--One Kindness--Projected Escape--Loitering
Comrades--A Gleam of Hope--Sad Parting--Knoxville--Prison
Inmates--Brownlow--Awful Cruelty--Andrews Condemned to Death--Escapes
with Wollam--Fearful Perils--Swimming the River--Hiding on an
Island--Found by Children--Yields to His Fate--Horrible
Death--Wollam's Stratagem--On the River--Passes a Gun Boat--Final

We remained only three days in Madison, when the rebel general,
becoming convinced that Mitchel was not then going to advance on
Chattanooga, ordered us back to that place. Again we were compelled to
run the gauntlet of insulting and jeering mobs that had annoyed our
course down the road. We traveled in rude box-cars, that were wet and
filthy, and the journey was rendered still more uncomfortable by the
idea of going back to our old quarters in the wretched prison at

However, by the time we arrived there, our captain, who had never been
a very warm secessionist, and, therefore, had no very hard feelings
towards us, had become quite friendly. He now proved this by
interceding in our behalf, and procuring us permission to remain in
the upper room. This was the same size as the lower one, but it had
three windows instead of two, and these were larger, and obscured by
only one row of bars. But the poor Tennessee Union men had to go

It was amusing to see the exaggerated caution with which they guarded
us. Even when we were below, where scarcely any man could have got out
without assistance, they never raised the trap-door unprotected by a
strong guard. Now, when we were in the upper room, their vigilance was
still further increased. They would bring a guard into the jailor's
room, through which ours was entered, and there array them with
leveled bayonets, into two lines across the door. At the same time,
the stairway was guarded, and another guard always surrounded the jail
outside of the wall. And even the old jailor would fret, and predict
that evil would result from showing the Yankees so much indulgence.

All this time we were chained, and as the authorities were thus slow
in relieving us of what we believed to be an unnecessary incumbrance,
we set our wits to work to free ourselves. One of the party had
managed to secrete a small knife while they were searching him, and
with this made rude keys from the bones of the meat given us, and in a
short time opened every lock. We could not, of course, appear in
public in our new liberty, or more effectual means of fastening would
probably have been devised. To avoid detection, we kept some one
always on the watch. Then, when any person was heard approaching our
room, a signal was given, and a quick rattling of chains accompanied
the adjustment and re-locking of our bands. When the door opened, we
would be chained all right, and as soon as it closed we would be free
again. We continued this deception during our stay in this prison, and
were never detected.

While here, we relieved the tedious time that hung heavily on our
hands by mock trials. We would charge one of the company with some
offence, generally a trifling breach of our prison rules, and proceed
to trial. Campbell, whose immense personal strength better enabled him
to inflict the punishment that would be awarded, usually officiated as
judge, until at last he got the name of Judge firmly fixed on him.
These trials produced much sport. We had ample time for it, and the
opposing counsel would make very long and learned speeches. So
interesting were these arguments, and so eloquent our appeals, that no
one of the auditors was ever known to leave the house while they were
in progress! The witnesses, too, were very slippery, and it was
sometimes quite difficult to reconcile their testimony. There were
always some nullifiers present who would attempt to resist the
enforcement of the laws, and the infliction of the penalties adjudged;
but in these cases the _personal weight_ of the judge decided the
matter. This resistance would give rise to new arrests and trials, and
thus the work became interminable.

Another and more refined enjoyment was singing. There were several
good singers in the party, and, by practicing together, they soon
acquired great proficiency. Most of the songs were of a tender and
melancholy cast; such as the "Carrier Dove," "Do They Miss Me at
Home," "Nettie More," "Twenty Years Ago," &c. Our time for singing was
when twilight began to fall. Then in the gathering darkness the voice
of song would ring out, as glad and free as if it was not strained
through prison bars. The guards liked very much to hear us sing, and
frequently citizens of the town would gather round outside to listen
to the caged Yankees.

There is one man in the Confederacy whom I must praise. Amid the
worthless and boastful aristocrats who have monopolized for themselves
the name of "chivalry," I found _one_ gentleman. This was Colonel
Claiborne, at that time Provost-Marshal of Chattanooga. When he first
visited us, he said boldly that it was a shame to keep men in such a
condition, and tried in vain to get permission from General
Leadbetter, to remove our irons; he then ordered us to be brought into
the yard to breathe the fresh air every afternoon. This was an
inexpressible relief, for it was now intensely hot in our room; and
simply to be in the open air a short time was a luxury above all
price. This he did on his own responsibility, and some weeks afterward
was dismissed from his post on account of his humanity to us!

While here, the idea of escape frequently presented itself. It is true
that our guards outnumbered us, and always used the cautions I have
described above; but the very fear this argued would have been our
best help. We often discussed the subject among ourselves.

All were anxious to go but Ross and Wilson, who thought the
proposition premature, as they, relying on what the officers in charge
of us said, believed that there was some hope of our exchange. But
others of us were impatient to make one bold effort for our own
deliverance. Two plans were proposed. The first, which I suggested,
was to have all our irons off when the guards came up to feed us, and
then, as the door opened, to make a simultaneous rush on the leveled
bayonets outside, wrest the arms from their owners, and pour down
stairs on the guard below. As soon as we had secured the arms of the
remainder, we could leave the prison-yard in a solid body, and pass on
double-quick to the ferry-boat, which lay on our side of the river,
not far distant. Once over the river, and thus armed, we would have
been comparatively safe.

The other plan, which we finally agreed to adopt, was proposed by
Andrews. It was, that some one should secrete himself under the bed in
the jailor's room, when we were coming up from our breathing in the
yard, and remain there till all was quiet at night; then come out and
noiselessly unlock the door; after this, we could rush down, seize the
guard, and proceed, as in the first plan.

There were two of our party who failed to reach the place of
rendezvous in time to be with us on the train. One was from the
Twenty-first, the other from the Second Ohio Regiment. They were
suspected, and to save themselves, were compelled to join a rebel
battery, which they did, representing themselves as brothers from
Kentucky. In the battle at Bridgeport, in which the secessionists were
so badly panic-stricken, the one from the Twenty-first found an
opportunity to escape to General Mitchel. This caused suspicion to
rest on his supposed brother, who was arrested, brought to
Chattanooga, and confined in the dungeon while we were there. We
recognized him, and talked, though very cautiously, about his
adventures. He asked us not to divulge the fact that he was one of
us--an unnecessary request. He remained there for some time, and was
finally released, and put into the battery again, from which, by a
wonderful series of adventures, he succeeded in making good his escape
to our lines.

At this time there was a great talk of exchange. A son of General
Mitchel's had been captured; but he also held a considerable number of
prisoners, and it was believed that an exchange would be effected. A
lieutenant, whom Mitchel had released on parole, for the purpose of
seeing Kirby Smith, at that time commanding the department of East
Tennessee, and obtaining his consent to an exchange, visited us. His
story raised the most sanguine hopes. The Confederate officers,
however, said that it would be first necessary to have a trial, and
prove that we were really United States soldiers, and then we, too,
would be embraced in the exchange. Andrews, some time before, wanted
to send a flag of truce through the lines to get from our officers a
statement of our true character; but they refused permission, saying
that they could believe our own story on the subject without going to
so much trouble.

The prospect of an exchange served to defer our attempted escape, but
at last we resolved to wait no longer. The very day we came to this
conclusion, an order was given to send twelve to Knoxville for
trial--a mere formal one as the commander of the guard and the marshal
told us--to clearly prove that we were an authorized military
expedition, and not mere citizen adventurers. George D. Wilson was in
the yard when the order came. He was permitted to be down there,
because he was very sick. The officer of the guard handed him the
order, asking him to select twelve to go, as no names were mentioned.
He did so, selecting all his own regiment (Second Ohio) first, and
afterward his special friends from the other regiments, because he
thought it would be a favor to them--that they would probably be
first exchanged. This unexpected order induced us to abandon our
cherished scheme of escape, which, in all probability, judging from
the result of a subsequent attempt, under far more unfavorable
circumstances, would have been completely successful.

As we twelve, who were to go to Knoxville, prepared for our departure,
we felt a shade of gloom fall over our spirits. Our little band, who
had for nearly two months been companions in dangers and privations,
such as few men ever experienced, was now to be divided, and we knew
not where we should unite again; for in spite of their fair words, the
_fact_ remained that we were in the power of that enemy who has
deluged our land in blood.

With Andrews, the parting was peculiarly affecting; we had been
accustomed to look up to him in all emergencies. He was our leader,
and was the particular mark for the vengeance of the foe. Officers, in
bidding us hope, spoke no words of comfort to him. He bore this like a
hero, as he was, and continued to hope against hope. But _now_, after
we had sung our songs together for the last time, and come to bid him
farewell, we were moved even to tears. I will never forget his last
words, as he silently pressed our hands, and with a tear in his blue
eye, and a low, sweet voice, that thrilled through my inmost being,
said: "Boys, if I never see you here again, try to meet me on the
other side of Jordan." It _was_ our last earthly meeting.

Colonel Claiborne accompanied us to the cars, where we found we were
to be escorted by a detachment of Morgan's celebrated guerillas.
Claiborne gave orders for our humane treatment, saying: "They are men,
like other men, and gentlemen too, and I want them treated as such."
When he left, I felt we had parted from a friend, rebel as he was.

Claiborne's parting charge procured us courtesy from our guard.
Indeed, they were a much better class of men than the great mass of
the Southern army. Several of them told us that they had enlisted with
Morgan only to make money, and were getting it fast. All were well
dressed in citizens' clothes, and had the language and manners of
gentlemen. They had another motive in treating us kindly. A large
number of their own band were now in the hands of the government, and
were equally liable with ourselves, under every rule of right, to be
treated as criminals; for they had not only dressed in citizens'
clothes, but had even assumed our uniform wherever it was their
interest to do so. They were indignant to see us in irons, and said
they would not be afraid to guard us with our limbs free, but did not,
of course, dare to remove our fastenings.

We had been started as usual, without any rations, on the calculation
that we should fast till we reached our destination, which would be in
about twenty-four hours. But our guerilla friends would not permit
this. They bought pies, and literally feasted us, saying that their
money was plenty, and when it was gone they could easily get more from
our men. We hoped that we might have Morgan's men for our escort in
all future migrations.

We arrived in Knoxville shortly after noon, and marched through the
hot, dusty streets, directly to the old jail. This is now a historical
edifice. It will forever remain associated with the extreme sufferings
of the loyal East Tennesseeans, during the progress of the great

The building itself is a noble one, and resembles some old baronial
hall. It is of a peculiar style of architecture--solid, square and
massive, with lofty projecting towers and sharp angles--altogether
presenting an imposing appearance. It was used as a military prison,
and was filled from top to bottom with ragged, dirty-looking
prisoners. Some were Union men, and others were deserters from their
own rebel ranks. These constituted the _lower_ class of prisoners, and
were permitted to range over most of the building, which was
completely encircled outside by a strong guard.

The higher class, or those who were charged with more desperate
offences, were shut up in cages. There were five of these. Two of them
were at once cleared for our reception. The smaller one was about
seven feet by nine, and four of us were put into it. The larger, in
which the remainder of the party were placed, was perhaps ten by
twelve. The latter was the cage in which Parson Brownlow had been
confined, and we felt honored by being in the same cell that this
noble champion of the Union had once occupied.

While in this cage, we read an article in a copy of the _Knoxville
Register_, stating that Brownlow was in the North, humbugging the
Yankees by telling them that he had been kept in an iron cage, and
fired at by his guards, when everybody in that vicinity knew that the
whole thing was a falsity. Even while we read this, we looked at the
shot-marks which were still visible on the cage, and which the guards
and prisoners assured us had been made in the way Brownlow stated.
This may serve as a specimen of the manner in which Southern papers
are accustomed to deal with facts.

It was in the latter part of May when we arrived in Knoxville, and
_outside_, the weather was intensely warm, but _inside_, from the
enormous masses of stone and iron around, it was quite cool. Indeed
the nights, which are always cool, even in midsummer, in the warmest
parts of the South, were here very cold, and as we had no beds or
blankets, but had to lie on the partly iron floor, we suffered

Here we formed the acquaintance of a few Tennesseeans, who continued
with us during the remainder of our sojourn in Dixie. One of the most
remarkable of their number was named Pierce. He was some sixty years
old, and had received a stroke with a gun-barrel, right down his
forehead, which, even after healing, had left a gash more than an inch
deep. From this he was denominated, "Gun-barrel," "Forked head," &c.
He was at the same time very religious and very profane. His voice
would first be heard singing hymns, and next cursing the Confederacy
in no measured terms. He was, however, a very clever man, and almost
adored the name of a Union soldier.

Here it was that we first became acquainted with Captain Fry. He was
confined in a cage in another room. We could not get to see him, but
could entrust little notes, written on the margin of newspapers, to
the more faithful of the outside prisoners, and were always sure of a

There was one man in the same room with me, but in another cage, in
whom I became especially interested. He was between seventy and eighty
years old, and was awaiting sentence of death. Before his arrest he
had been a Union man, and, of course, a marked object of suspicion to
his secession neighbors. A band of these came one night for the
purpose of robbing him. He endeavored to prevent them, when they
attacked him, drawing revolvers and bowie-knives. They fired several
shots, and pursued him. He dodged around old barrels and other pieces
of furniture in the outhouse where the assault was made, for some
time, until finally he managed to seize a pitch-fork and plunge it
into the foremost of his foes; then breaking away, he escaped for the
time. The robber whom he wounded afterwards died, and the Confederate
government arrested the old man, and confined him in the cage on a
charge of murder! I never heard the result of it, but have no doubt
that he has long since been hung.

We obtained quite a number of papers while here, and were much pleased
to learn of the continued progress of our arms, particularly in the
West. The taking of Fort Pillow, the evacuation of Memphis and
Corinth, with the destruction of the rebel flotilla on the
Mississippi, all came out in one paper; and the editor complained that
he had been restrained from publishing this by the government for more
than two weeks after the intelligence arrived.

One day we received news that sent the blood coursing through our
veins in swifter flow. It was that Andrews and one other of our party
_had escaped from Chattanooga_!

Here, to preserve the unity of the story, I will give a history of the
events that took place at Chattanooga subsequent to our departure.

No unusual event occurred until a week after we had left. Then, one
day, an officer entered the yard, where our boys were enjoying the
shade of the prison, in the cool of the afternoon, and carelessly
handed to Andrews his _death-warrant_! It was a terrible shock, but
was borne bravely. He communicated the startling intelligence to our
comrades as soon as they again assembled in their room. At once they
resolved to carry into immediate execution the long-projected plan of
escape, on which now depended their leader's only chance of life.

He was separated from them, and put down into the dungeon. But this
did not interfere with their plans, for with the same knife which was
so serviceable in making keys, a hole was cut above the bolts of the
trap-door, allowing it to be raised. This done, which was late at
night, they drew Andrews up by blankets, and then went to work cutting
another hole through the ceiling. While they were performing the most
noisy part of this operation, they deadened the sound by singing. The
jailor afterward remarked that he might have known there was something
the matter by their singing so mournfully.

When all their preparations were completed, the gray tint of dawn was
just beginning to rise in the east. There was no time to lose. Andrews
quickly mounted aloft. A rope was formed of some twisted blankets, and
the next moment he was swinging outside of the wall. But in passing
through the hole he loosened some bricks which fell to the ground, and
thus gave the alarm. The accident caused him to drop his boots, which
he afterward sorely needed.

The guard was instantly aroused, but Andrews dropped to the ground,
darted to the fence, and was over before he could be prevented. John
Wollam followed, and even while suspended in the air by the blankets,
was fired upon. Fortunately, the hands of the guards were too unsteady
to inflict any injury, and he, too, succeeded in getting out of the
yard in safety.

Now the excitement became intense. All Chattanooga was roused, and the
whole force started in pursuit of the flying fugitives. The officers
hurried to the prison and roundly berated our boys because they did
not give the alarm when their comrades were escaping! Colonel
Claiborne, the Marshal, who had shown us some humanity, was summarily
dismissed from his office for that cause alone! And the press came out
in the most violent language, denouncing the officers in charge, and
particularly General Leadbetter, for their false philanthropy in not
having us chained to the floor in such a manner as to make escape

Our flying comrades had separated as soon as they left the prison. It
was now daylight, and they could not continue their flight without
the most imminent danger of discovery. Andrews went only a few hundred
yards from town, and there secreted himself in a tree, in plain view
of the railroad. He remained all day in this uncomfortable position,
and saw the trains running under his feet, and heard his pursuers
speculating as to what course he could have taken. The search was most
thorough; but, fortunately, his umbrageous shelter was secure.

At night he came down and swam the river, but lost most of his
clothing in the passage; he then journeyed on nearly naked. In the
morning, just at the break of day, he crossed a small open field on
his way to a tree, in which he intended to take shelter, as he had
done the day before; but, unfortunately, he was observed. Immediately
pursuit was made, but he dashed through the woods, and regained the
river, much lower down than he had crossed the evening before. Here he
swam a narrow channel, and reached a small island, where, for a time,
he secreted himself among some driftwood at the upper end of the

A party with bloodhounds now came over from the mainland in search of
him. He was soon observed, but broke away from them, and ran around
the lower end of the island, wading in the shallow water, and in this
way threw the hounds off his track; then he plunged into a dense
thicket, with which the island was covered, and again ascended a tree.
There, for a long time, he remained securely concealed, while his
pursuers searched the whole island, being frequently under the very
tree whose high foliage effectually screened him from the sight of
dogs and men. At last they abandoned the search in despair, concluding
that he had, by some means, left the island, and slowly took their
departure to the shore to concert new plans of search. Two little
boys, who came along merely for curiosity, were all that still
lingered behind.

At length, in their childish prattle, one of them said he saw a great
bunch on a tree. The other looked--shifted his position--looked again,
and exclaimed that it was _a man_! This alarmed them both, and they
called aloud, announcing the discovery to their friends on shore. The
latter instantly returned, and Andrews, seeing himself observed,
dropped from the tree, ran to the lower end of the island, took a
small log, with a limb for a paddle, and shoved into the stream,
hoping to reach the opposite shore before he could be overtaken. But
there was another party with a skiff, lower down the river, who saw
him, and rowed out to meet him. Thus enclosed, there was no hope, and
he surrendered.

He was in a most wretched condition, having eaten nothing since he
left the jail. His feet were all cut and bleeding from running over
the sharp stones, and his back and shoulders were parched and
blistered from exposure, unprotected, to the rays of the sun. He said
he felt so miserable that the thought of the certain death, to which
he then resigned himself, had no further terror for him.

He was brought back to Chattanooga, where a blacksmith welded a pair
of heavy clevises on his ankles, and connected them with a chain only
about eighteen inches in length. He had then but few more days to
live, and his confinement was most rigid. They prepared a scaffold for
him at Chattanooga, but the indications of an advance by Mitchel,
induced them to change the death scene to Atlanta. All the way down to
that place he was taunted with his approaching doom by the mobs who
surrounded every station. Our eight comrades accompanied him to
Atlanta, but parted as soon as they arrived--they going to prison, and
he to the place of execution. He was compelled to walk, all ironed as
he was, and the clanking of his chains no doubt made sweet music in
the ears of these human bloodhounds.

He displayed great firmness when led to the place of execution, and
mounted the scaffold without a tremor. When swung off, the rope by
which he was suspended, stretched so that his feet came to the ground,
but, nothing disconcerted, these wretches dug the earth away from
under him and completed the murder! Thus died a good and brave man, at
the early age of thirty-three, by the hands of rebels, for the crime
of loving and trying to serve his country! He was engaged to be
married to a young lady of his own adopted State the same month in
which he suffered death on the scaffold!

It is now time to return to Wollam, whom we left outside of the
jail-fence, trying to get away from Chattanooga.

He ran down to the river side, and seeing no way of crossing himself,
hit on the brilliant ruse of making them believe that he was across.
To this end he threw off his coat and vest, dropping them on the bank
of the river, and then, after walking a few rods in the water to elude
the hounds, quietly slipped back, and hid in a dense thicket of canes
and rushes. He heard his pursuers on the bank above him, and all
around, talking of their various plans. At last they found the
clothes, and at once concluded that he had taken to the river. Then
they took the bloodhounds over to the other side, and searched for the
place of his exit from the water. The dogs could not find that, as
might be expected, and then, after a due time spent in consultation,
they concluded that he was drowned, and departing much comforted,
searched no more for him.

After spending a day of most anxious suspense, the approach of night
gave him an opportunity of leaving his hiding-place. He now cautiously
made his way down the river on the Chattanooga side. At length he
found a canoe, in which he rowed at night, and when morning came, he
would sink it, and hide in the bushes; then in the evening raise it,
and again pursue his way. Twice he passed the extempore gun-boat
Mitchel had made, but feared it was some secession craft, and
therefore crept cautiously by in the shadow of the shore, without
being discovered. At last he thought he was beyond the danger of
probable capture, and went boldly forward in the day time.

This was a fatal mistake. A band of cavalry, who were camped almost
within our lines, saw him, and procuring a boat, came out to meet him.
He was unable to escape, and thus the poor fellow was captured on the
very brink of safety. He at first tried to persuade them that he was a
Confederate, but, unfortunately, a Lieutenant Edwards, who had
assisted in capturing him the first time, happened to be present, and
at once recognized him. He was soon after taken to Atlanta, where the
rest of the party then were.


Sorrow for Andrews--Prepare for Trial--Charges and Specifications--Plan
of Defence--Incidents of Trial--Encouragement--Not Allowed to Hear
Pleading--Lawyers' Plea--Seven Tried--Mitchel Dissolves the Court--Tied
Again--A Saucy Reply--Advantage of Sickness--Fry Deceived--Revolting
Inhumanity--Fry's Capture--Starve to Atlanta--Taunts of the Mob--Atlanta
Prison--A Kind Jailor.

We, who were at Knoxville, read of the recapture of Andrews with the
most poignant regret, though we knew not yet that he had received the
sentence of death. Of Wollam we heard nothing.

We were well supplied with papers here, as there were plenty of Union
people who ministered to our wants. One day we received a paper
containing an account of the _execution of Andrews_. It was awful news
to us. We had been engaged, just before, in all kinds of games and
story-telling, for we were always merry, and never suffered ourselves
to indulge in gloomy forebodings. But when this news came, all noise
and merriment were hushed, and we passed a whole day in the most
heartfelt mourning. We all loved our leader, and would willingly have
engaged in the most desperate enterprise to save his life; but, alas!
he was gone, and there was no chance even for that vengeance for which
our souls thirsted.

Before we had been long at Knoxville, we were notified to prepare for
trial. We requested that we should all be tried at once, as our cases
were precisely alike. When this was not granted, we next asked that
one might be tried, and his sentence be the sentence of the whole
party. But this too, was refused, with the reply that they knew their
own business best. We were forced to accept this decision, though we
could not imagine why it was that they should thus insist on trying
but one at a time. The only reason that I can yet conjecture for this
proceeding is, that it would have looked too absurd to arraign
twenty-one, or even twelve men, all in a body, and from one brigade,
as spies.

They allowed us the privilege of counsel, and we employed two good
Union men, Colonels Baxter and Temple, who volunteered their services.
We were each to pay them one hundred and fifty dollars, and as fast as
we were tried, to give our notes for that amount.

The charges and specifications of William Campbell were first handed
in. He was a citizen, but claimed to be a soldier, and we endorsed his
position. The charge against all who were brought to trial was for
"lurking in and around Confederate camps as spies, for the purpose of
obtaining information." Not a word was said of taking the cars, or of
anything we really did do.

Our plan of defence has been partly indicated before. It was to tell
just who we were, and what we had done, with the exceptions of the
pranks we had played on the rebel citizens coming down, and to claim
that we were United States soldiers, detailed on a military expedition
without our consent, and therefore entitled to the protection accorded
to regular prisoners of war. This was put into words, and read on the
trial as the acknowledgement of the party while pleading "not guilty"
to the charge. The only evidence they had was of the men who pursued
us on the train, and also of those who afterward arrested us; but of
course none of these knew anything of our lurking around the camps.

George D. Wilson related a ludicrous incident that occurred when he
was on trial, and which fitly illustrates the desire they had to
convict us. It was of a young lieutenant belonging to the
court-martial, who requested to be sworn, saying that he could tell of
at least one place we had passed the Confederate guards. On his
request being complied with, he testified that we crossed their
picket-line at the ferry, on the evening of our first arrival at
Chattanooga. Immediately the president of the court arose, and said
that he commanded the guard that day, and _no guard was placed at the
ferry_. The whole court was instantly in a roar of laughter, and the
confusion of our would-be convictor may be better imagined than

Our lawyers were delighted with the course we took, and said that it
had deranged all the plans of the prosecution, and that they had not a
particle of evidence against us; that if we were convicted now, it
would be through mere prejudice and perjury on the part of the court.

As the trial of different ones proceeded, we had still greater
encouragement from the court itself. Members called on us, and told us
to keep in good heart, as there was no evidence before them to convict
any one. This cheered us somewhat, but there was still one thing which
I did not like, and which looked as if something was wrong. The court
would not let our boys be present to hear the pleading of counsel on
either side, though they urgently requested it. They could neither
hear what our lawyers had to say for them, nor what the Judge Advocate
urged against them. This seemed still stranger, because Andrews had
not been debarred this privilege. But they used our soldiers with even
less show of justice than had been accorded to him.

After three or four had been tried, one of our lawyers visited the
prison, and read to us the plea which he said he had read to the
court. It was an able paper. I still remember its principal features.
He contended that our being dressed in citizens' clothes was nothing
more than what the Confederate government had expressly authorized,
and that it was done by all the guerillas in the service of the
Confederacy, whenever it was for their interest. And he cited the
instance of General Morgan having dressed his men in Federal uniform,
and passed them off as belonging to the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry,
by which means he succeeded in reaching a railroad and damaging it.
Also that our government had captured some of these very men, and
treated them as prisoners of war. This instance was mentioned to show
that our being dressed in citizens' clothes did not take from us the
right to be treated as United States soldiers. The plea went on
further to state that we had told the object of our expedition; that
it was a purely military one, for the destruction of communications,
and as such, entirely lawful according to the rules of war. What reply
the Judge Advocate made to this, we never had the means of

The trials proceeded rapidly. One man was taken out each day, and in
about an hour returned. The table in the court room was covered with
bottles, newspapers, and novels, and the court passed its time during
trial in discussing these. This was very well if the trial was, as
they said, a mere matter of formality; but if it was a trial in
earnest, on which depended issues of life or death, it was most
heartless conduct.

At last the number of seven was reached, and they would probably have
proceeded in trying others, had not General Mitchel, who was
continually troubling them, now advanced, and shelled Chattanooga from
the opposite side of the Tennessee river. This at once broke up the
court-martial, and sent the officers in hot haste to their regiments
to resist his progress. Soon after, General Morgan advanced through
Cumberland Gap, and threatened Knoxville, which also rendered it
necessary to remove us.

They came in with ropes and began to tie us. We did not at first
understand this, and some supposed we were to be taken out for
execution; but we soon became convinced that it was only a change of
place. They arranged us for transportation by first binding our hands
together; then, fixing our arms securely in the loops of long ropes,
tied them firmly to our sides, after which we were coupled two and
two. Ropes were used in fastening us instead of irons as before,
because they had borrowed the latter for some Union prisoners, who had
just been sent to Richmond; therefore we had to be content with a most
liberal allowance of cotton rope. While they were thus arranging our
manacles, I had a most amusing passage-at-words with the adjutant who
was superintending the operation. I said to him as politely as I

"I suppose, sir, our destination is not known?"

"It is not known to you at any rate, sir," was the gruff rejoinder.

This was noticed by the whole party, and I felt rather beaten; but a
moment later came my chance for revenge. He turned again to me, and
said, in a dictatorial manner:

"Who was it that run your engine through?"

I bowed and returned in the blandest tone, "_That is not known to you
at any rate, Sir._"

All around roared with laughter, and the adjutant, reddening to the
eyes, turned away, muttering that he believed I was the engineer

When everything was in readiness, we bade an adieu to the capital of
down-trodden East Tennessee. Oh! what bitter memories cluster around
that old gloomy building. It has been one of the principal instruments
in crushing the life and loyalty out of the hearts of a brave, but
unfortunate people. May the day soon come when the suffering of East
Tennessee will be richly repaid on the heads of its guilty authors!

While we remained here, our fare was of the most scanty character. We
received it only twice a day, and then in homeopathic doses. We
continually suffered with hunger while we were well. I, myself, became
quite sick during our imprisonment here, and continued so for most of
the summer. Several others were in the same condition. This was rather
an advantage, for when sick we did not so much mind the scantiness of
our diet.

A number of Tennesseeans were removed with us. Among them was Captain
Fry and Mr. Pierce. In conversation with the former, I learned the
full particulars of his history, some incidents of which I had heard
before leaving our camp. He had raised a company of his neighbors, and
running the gauntlet of guarded roads, succeeded in reaching our army
in Kentucky. Here he was elected captain, and remained for some time.
After a while, the general in command wished him to go into Tennessee,
and there destroy the bridges on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad;
then to raise the loyal citizens of that vicinity, and hold the
country till our forces could arrive. He refused to go, until assured
of support from McClellan himself, who was at that time (the fall of
1861) in command of the whole United States army, and who promised
that a column should advance as soon as Fry succeeded. With this
assurance, he departed on his perilous mission. He aroused the Union
men in both Virginia and Tennessee, burned the bridges, and thus for a
time destroyed the most important rebel line of communication; and,
with a force of fifteen hundred men, held the entire country embraced
in his operations, and even seriously threatened Knoxville itself. Now
was the time for our forces to have struck the decisive blow, and not
only have redeemed East Tennessee from its chains, but also severed
the rebellion in halves! It was perfectly practicable. A large body
lay near Camp Dick Robinson, with only a trifling force in front to
impede its progress. But in the meantime, McClellan _had changed his
plans_, and without warning Fry, left him and his brave companions to
their fate. The struggle was a brief one; the secessionists, thus left
to themselves, concentrated an overwhelming force against him. Several
skirmishes were fought, and finally the Union force was compelled to
disperse. Some of them succeeded in reaching our lines in Kentucky.
Others were caught, and several of these were hung without a trial!
Such were some of the murders that first rendered General Leadbetter

One of these cases is almost too horrible for belief. I would hesitate
to record it, were I not assured of its truth by the testimony of
eyewitnesses separated by hundreds of miles. It was of a man named
named Whan, who, on being arrested, acknowledged that he helped to
burn the bridges, but refused to describe his companions. For this, he
was put into a barrel driven full of small, sharp-pointed nails, and
rolled down a steep hill--then taken out, all bleeding, and hung! This
was on Saturday and he, with his companions, was allowed to hang till
Monday night, when some of his friends, at the risk of their own
lives, came and took them down! Should we compromise with such fiends
in human shape, and purchase their fellowship again, or give them the
puishment that injured humanity demands?

Fry passed the whole winter in the wild mountains with which Tennessee
abounds, and in the spring he again gathered his neighbors together, a
regiment strong, and tried to reach the Union lines. Near the border,
he was attacked by a superior rebel force, and after a severe contest,
his band was dispersed, himself wounded and taken prisoner. This was
on the 5th of March, and he remained in solitary confinement until he
joined us on the 13th of June. He was an uneducated man, but possessed
of great natural ability, and the most undaunted courage, with a heart
as tender and sympathetic as a child's.

We took no rations along, and were obliged to _starve through_, as we
now had no guerillas along to buy us pies. On the way, the populace
taunted us with Andrews' death, and charitably hoped that we might
soon meet the same fate. But some of the officers talked with us in a
friendly spirit, assuring us that we would not be hurt. This produced
some impression, and taken in connection with what had been told us by
members of the court-martial, and others at Knoxville, made us quite

When we neared the Atlanta city jail, which was to be our abode for
many weary months, a crowd gathered as usual, and a man who called
himself mayor of the city began to insult Captain Fry, telling him
that he knew him to be a rascal in his own country, and that he hoped
soon to have the pleasure of hanging him. Then turning to us, he
boasted that he had put the rope around Andrews' neck, and was waiting
and anxious to do the same for us!

This prison was smaller than that at Knoxville, but was still a large
edifice. The lower story was occupied by the jailor and his family.
The upper contained four rooms, of which we, with Captain Fry,
occupied one. The Tennesseeans were put into another, just across the
entry from us. Our comrades, who had been left at Chattanooga, were in
another; and the last one, which was on the same side as ours, was
frequently occupied by negroes who had been in search of the North

For some time here, our rations were comparatively good and abundant.
But after awhile, the task of feeding us was taken from the jailor,
who had at first assumed it, and then our fare became worse than it
ever had been before. The jailor himself was a kind man, and rather of
Union sentiments. He showed us all the favor in his power, and,
indeed, became so much suspected, that an odious old man named Thoer
was hired to watch him. The constant vigilance of this antiquated
scoundrel, with the superintendence of the officers of the guard, who
were always at hand, prevented the jailor from befriending us as much
as his heart dictated.

Here we remained for a week in quietness and hope, thinking the worst
of our trials were past. Little did we foresee how fearful a storm was
soon to burst over us.


Cavalry Approach--Seven Removed from the Room--Suspense--Sentence of
Death--Heart-rending Separation--Death and the Future--Not
Prepared--Inhuman Haste--The Tragedy--Speech on the Scaffold--Breaking
Ropes--Enemies Affected--Gloom of Survivors--Prayer.

One day while we were very merry, amusing ourselves with games and
stories, we saw a squadron of cavalry approaching. This did not at
first excite any attention, for it was a common thing to see bodies of
horsemen in the streets; but soon we observed them halt at our gate,
and surround the prison. What could this mean?

A moment after, the clink of the officers' swords was heard as they
ascended the stairway, and we knew that something unusual was about to
take place. They paused at our door, threw it open, called the names
of our seven companions, and took them out to the room opposite,
putting the Tennesseeans in with us. One of our boys, named Robinson,
was sick of a fever, and had to be raised to his feet, and supported
out of the room.

With throbbing hearts we asked one another the meaning of these
strange proceedings. Some supposed they were to receive their
acquittal; others, still more sanguine, believed they were taken out
of the room to be paroled, preparatory to an exchange.

I was sick, too, but rose to my feet, oppressed with a nameless fear.
A half crazy Kentuckian, who was with the Tennesseeans, came to me and
wanted to play a game of cards. I struck the greasy pack out of his
hands, and bade him leave me.

A moment after, the door opened, and George D. Wilson entered, his
step firm and his form erect, but his countenance pale as death. Some
one asked a solution of the dreadful mystery, in a whisper, for his
face silenced every one.

"_We are to be executed immediately_," was the awful reply, whispered
with thrilling distinctness. The others came in all tied, ready for
the scaffold. Then came the farewells--farewells with no hope of
meeting again in this world! It was a moment that seemed an age of
measureless sorrow.

Our comrades were brave; they were soldiers, and had often looked
death in the face on the battle-field. They were ready, if need be, to
die for their country; but to die on the _scaffold_--to die as
murderers die--seemed almost too hard for human nature to bear.

Then, too, the prospect of a future world, into which they were thus
to be hurled without a moment's preparation, was black and appalling.
Most of them had been careless, and had no hope beyond the grave.
Wilson was a professed infidel, and many a time had argued the truth
of the Christian religion with me for a half day at a time; but in
this awful hour he said to me:

"Pittenger, I believe you are right, now! Oh! try to be better
prepared when you come to die than I am." Then, laying his hand on my
head with a muttered "God bless you," we parted.

Shadrack was profane and reckless, but good-hearted and merry. Now,
turning to us with a voice, the forced calmness of which was more
affecting than a wail of agony, he said:

"Boys, I am not prepared to meet Jesus."

When asked by some of us in tears to think of heaven, he answered,
still in tones of thrilling calmness, "I'll try! I'll try! But I
_know_ I am _not_ prepared."

Slavens, who was a man of immense strength and iron resolution,
turned to his friend Buffum, and could only articulate,
"Wife--children--tell"--when utterance failed.

Scott was married only three days before he came to the army, and the
thought of his young and sorrowing wife nearly drove him to despair.
He could only clasp his hands in silent agony.

Ross was the firmest of all. His eyes beamed with unnatural light, and
there was not a tremor in his voice as he said, "Tell them at home, if
any of you escape, that I died for my country, and did not regret it."

All this transpired in a moment, and even then the Marshal and other
officers standing by him in the door, exclaimed:

"Hurry up there! come on! we can't wait!"

In this manner my poor comrades were hurried off. Robinson, who was
too sick to walk, was dragged away with them. They asked leave to bid
farewell to our other boys, who were confined in the adjoining room,
but it was sternly refused!

Thus we parted. We saw the death cart containing our comrades drive
off, surrounded by cavalry. In about an hour it came back _empty_. The
tragedy was complete!

Later in the evening, the Provost-Marshal came to the prison, and, in
reply to our questions, informed us that our friends "Had met their
fate as brave men should die everywhere."

The next day we obtained from the guards, who were always willing to
talk with us in the absence of the officers, full particulars of the
seven-fold murder.

When our companions were mounted on the scaffold, Wilson asked
permission to say a few words, which was granted--probably in the hope
of hearing some confession which would justify them in the murder they
were about to commit. But this was not his intention. It was a strange
stand--a dying speech to a desperate audience, and under the most
terrible circumstances.

But he was equal to the occasion. Unterrified by the near approach of
death, he spoke his mind freely. He told them that "they were all in
the wrong; that he had no hard feelings toward the Southern people for
what they were about to do, because they had been duped by their
leaders, and induced by them to engage in the work of rebellion. He
also said, that though he was condemned as a spy, yet he was none, and
they well knew it. He was only a soldier in the performance of the
duty he had been detailed to do; that he did not regret to die for his
country, but only regretted the manner of his death. He concluded by
saying that they would yet live to regret the part they had taken in
this rebellion, and would see the time when the old Union would be
restored, and the flag of our country wave over the very ground
occupied by his scaffold."

This made a deep impression on the minds of those who listened, and I
often afterward heard it spoken of in terms of the highest admiration.
When he ceased, the signal was given, and the traps fell![4]

[4] A refugee from the State of Georgia, now in this city, who
witnessed the execution, but, from peculiar circumstances, does not
make his name public, corroborates this statement, and adds, that
these brave men were surrounded by three or four hundred guerillas and
partisan rangers, as they called themselves, who disputed for the
honor of being the executioners. The matter was settled by the party
taking a vote, when twelve were selected as the favored ones. The
rebel soldiers who perpetrated this outrageous murder, spent the rest
of the day in spreeing and jollification, many of them writing to
their friends at home an account of the pleasure they felt in
assisting in the hanging of "seven blue-bellies," as they termed the
Union soldiers.--_Note from a Pamphlet entitled "Ohio Boys in Dixie,"
published in New York in April, 1863._

Five only remained dangling in the air; for two of the seven, Campbell
and Slavens, being very heavy men, broke the ropes, and fell to the
ground insensible. In a short time they recovered, and asked for a
drink of water, which was given them. Then they requested an hour to
pray before entering the future world which lay so near and dark
before them. This last petition was indignantly refused, and as soon
as the ropes could be adjusted, they were compelled to re-ascend the
scaffold, and were again turned off!

The whole proceeding, from beginning to end, was marked by the most
revolting haste. They seemed to wish, by thus affording no time to
prepare for death, to murder soul and body both. Even the worst
criminals in our country are allowed some weeks to ask for God's
mercy, before they are thrust into his presence; but our poor boys,
whose only crime was loving and trying to serve their country, were
not allowed one moment! Could the barbarity of fiends go further?

That afternoon was one of deepest gloom for those who remained. We
knew not how soon we might be compelled to follow in the same path,
and drink the same bitter cup our comrades drank. Once during the
trial we had offered to accept the award of the court in one of the
cases as the sentence of all, since we could not see the slightest
reason for leaving some and taking others. At that time, however, we
believed that all would be acquitted. Now every hope had vanished.

But even without the addition of fear for ourselves, the parting from
our loved friends, whose voices were still ringing in our ears, while
they themselves had passed beyond the gates of death into the unknown
land of shadows, was enough to rend the stoutest heart. There were
tears then from eyes that shrank before no danger.

But I could not shed a tear. A cloud of burning heat rushed to my head
that seemed to scorch through every vein. For hours I scarcely knew
where I was, or the loss I had sustained. Every glance around the
room, which revealed the vacant places of our friends, would bring our
sorrow freshly on us again. Thus the afternoon passed away in grief
too deep for words. Slowly and silently the moments wore on, and no
one ventured to whisper of hope.

At last some voice suggested that we should seek relief in prayer. The
very idea seemed to convey consolation, and was eagerly accepted. Soon
we knelt around the bare walls of our strange sanctuary, and with
bleeding hearts drew near the throne of God. Captain Fry first led us,
and mingled sobs with strong supplications. Then each followed in his
turn, with but one or two exceptions, and even these were kneeling
with the rest. As the twilight deepened, our devotional exercises grew
more solemn. In the lonely shadow of coming night, with eternity thus
open tangibly before us, and standing on its very brink, we prayed
with a fervor that those who dwell in safety can scarcely conceive. We
besought our Father only that we might be prepared for the fate that
was inevitable, and that as he had led us through great trials, he
would be our Comforter, and sustain us still. Who will say that such
prayer was not effectual! It was heard in heaven. Even there, in that
prison, surrounded by an armed guard, amid the gloom of coming danger,
the peace of God, like a dove bearing the olive branch, descended into
every broken and believing heart. It was a holy hour, and if the
angels above ever bend from their bright mansions to comfort human
sorrow, I do believe that they were then hovering near. From that hour
I date the birth of an immortal hope, and I believe that many of my
companions also, on looking back, will realize that they passed from
death to life in that dreary prison-room!


Religious Experience--Contraband Assistance--Intelligence of Negroes--Love
of Freedom--Wollam's Recapture--A Friendly Preacher--Obtain
Books--Disgusting Diet--Plays--Debates--Reading Hours--Envy the
Birds--Dreams of Home--Telegraphing--Friends from our Army--Hope
Deferred--Union Society--Difficulties of Tobacco-chewers--Precious Books.

From this time forward, we had religious exercises each morning and
evening, and they were a blessed consolation to us--sustaining our
hearts when every earthly avenue of hope had closed. Frequently we
startled the guards who were around us, by the hymns we sang, for now
the character of our songs was changed, and our thoughts and
aspirations began to point upward. It is a delicate matter to speak of
one's own religious experience, but in the hope of doing good, I will
venture. At first my hopes were not bright. For days and weeks an
impenetrable cloud seemed to rest over me, and to vail heaven from my
view; sometimes for a moment it would give way, and show light and
peace beyond, then close up, thick, and dark, and lowering, as ever.
But at last the day gradually arose, and I was enabled to rejoice in
hopes the world can neither give nor take away.

But these were long and weary days. Our room was of greater size than
that in Chattanooga, and had larger windows, yet the heat was
fearfully oppressive. Our other boys were put in the room with us,
which made fifteen in all. One of them, named Wood, was very sick. He
had been prostrated with the fever for nearly a month, and at this
time his life was despaired of. This was not thought to be any great
misfortune to him by the others, who administered consolation in a
style worthy of the best of Job's friends. They reasoned, "Now, if you
get well, you will only be hung. You had better try to die yourself,
and thus you will outwit them." Wood, however, did not relish the
counsel, and getting contrary, he recovered, "just for spite," as he
often declared. He yet lives to laugh over the advice that his
despairing associates gave him.

We had friends in the waiters of the prison, though their faces were
black. They assisted us by every means in their power. It was not long
till they found that there was nothing we desired so much as to read
the news; and they taxed their ingenuity to gratify us. They would
wait till the jailor or some of the guard had finished reading a
paper, and laid it down, and then slyly purloin it. When meal time
came, it would be put into the bottom of the pan in which our food was
brought, and thus handed in to us. The paper had to be returned in the
same way, to avoid suspicion.[5] The guards and officers would talk
with us, and always finding us possessed of a knowledge of the events
of the war, at least as far as the Southern papers gave it, came at
last to think we had an instinctive idea of news--something like what
the bee has of geometrical forms! They never suspected the negroes,
though for several months it was only through their instrumentality
that we could obtain any definite information of what was going on in
the world without.

[5] In one of these papers I noticed a description of two Federal
officers who had escaped from Macon, Georgia. It was Captain Geer,
with whom I have lectured in several places since my return, and his
comrade, Lieutenant Collins. Their adventures are recorded in a book
called "_Beyond the Lines_."

Having found the negroes thus intelligent and useful, far beyond what
I had supposed possible, I questioned them about other matters. They
were better informed than I had given them credit for, and knew enough
to disbelieve all the stories rebels told. When the whites were not
present, they laughed at the grand victories the papers were
publishing every day, but rather leaned to the opposite extreme, and
gave them less credit than was their due, for they would believe that
the Federal troops were always victorious. Even after McClellan's
repulse before Richmond, they continued, for weeks, to assure us that
he had the town, and had beaten the rebels in every engagement!

They imagined that all the Northern troops were chivalrous soldiers,
fighting for the universal rights of man, and, of course, they
esteemed it a high privilege to contribute to the comfort of such
noble men. Some of them had imbibed the idea, which is common with the
poor whites of the South, that Lincoln is a negro or a mulatto; but
most of them placed so little credit in the assertions of their
masters, that they disbelieved this story also. But they never wavered
in their belief that the Union troops would conquer, and that the
result of the victory would be their freedom. I had extensive
opportunities for observing them, as the room next to us was
appropriated to the safe-keeping of negroes, and I never yet saw one
who did not cherish an ardent desire for freedom, and wish and long
for the time when the triumph of the national forces would place the
coveted boon within his grasp.

One morning our jailor came to our room, and asked us if we knew John
Wollam. We hesitated to answer, as we could not fathom the motives of
the inquiry. But even while we deliberated among ourselves, John came
up, and ended our doubts by greeting us heartily. He had been parted
from us some three weeks, and in that time had suffered most
incredible hardships in the manner I have narrated before. He joined
us in our prayer-meeting with much good will. Now all the survivors of
our party were together again.

There is one Georgia minister I will always remember with gratitude,
not that he was a Union man, for I have no evidence that he was, but
because of his generosity to us. He was a Methodist clergyman in
Atlanta, by the name of McDonnell. He came to visit us at the
suggestion of our old jailor, who, seeing us engaged in religious
exercises, naturally supposed we would like to talk with a preacher.
We received him kindly, and an interesting conversation took place.
Some of the boys were slightly offended by his first prayer, in which
he petitioned that our lives might be spared, if consistent with the
_interests of the Confederacy_. We did not very well like the
condition, but said nothing, and were afterward rewarded for our
complacency. At my request, he loaned us a few books, and when these
were read through, gave us still others, until we had read nearly his
entire library. Those only who know what a terrible weariness it is to
pass time without any definite employment, and with no means of
relieving the hours that hang so heavily on their hands, or of
diverting their thoughts from the one never-ending round, can form any
idea of the great boon that a few good books bestowed on us.

Our provision here became worse and less, until it very nearly reached
the starvation point. For some months, the only food we received was a
very short allowance of corn-bread, baked with all the bran in it, and
without salt, with a little pork, mostly spoiled! Frequently the pork
would be completely covered with maggots, and disgusting as it was,
hunger compelled us to eat it! Even then, there was not enough of this
miserable fare to satisfy our appetites! What would those who spend
their time in denouncing our government as the only enemy, and
sympathize with "our mistaken Southern brethren," who have been
alienated by the misconduct of the loyal States, say, if these
"brethren" had subjected them to the same treatment. Their sympathies
would hardly have survived the trial.

Dreary as the days were here, yet we did not surrender ourselves to
gloomy forebodings and vain lamentings over our misfortunes. Although
the fate of our companions seemed suspended over our heads by a single
hair, yet we shunned despondency, and labored to provide such
amusements as would relieve us of the heavy tedium of our prison-life.

On that terrible day of execution, we threw away our cards, which
before had been played almost day and night, and resolved to engage no
more in that game. But the necessity of doing something prompted us to
search for new pastimes. We carved a checker-board on the floor, and
it was occupied from morning till evening by eager players. We all
became very expert in checkers. To provide a more intellectual
amusement, we also formed a debating society, and spent hour after
hour in discussing quaint questions of every kind. Many were the
long-winded speeches that were made, for time was no object; and if no
one was convinced of a new position, we still had the consolation of
knowing that there was no lost labor, where the labor itself was a

In order to enjoy to the fullest extent the books we had so
fortunately procured, we appointed regular reading hours--two in the
forenoon, and the same in the afternoon. During this time, no one was
allowed even to whisper. Some of our boys were a little wild and
restless at times, and would break the rules; but generally our order
was excellent. We gained much useful knowledge during these hours of
intellectual employment in our novel school.

But all our efforts to pleasantly while away those terribly long
summer days were in vain. The tediousness, and oppressiveness, and
vain longing for action, would press down on us closer and closer.
Brown, who was one of the most restless of mortals, would amuse
himself, as long as he could endure it, at the pastimes we had
devised, then suddenly cease playing, and commence pacing the floor
like a caged bear; when this, too, grew unendurable, he would stop at
the door, and say, in the most piteous tones (of course meant only for
us to hear) "O! kind sir, please let me out!" The feeling he expressed
was shared by all. Never before could I realize the full value of
liberty, and the horror of confinement. Even in the prisons where we
had hitherto been, the novelty of our situation, the frequency of our
removals, and the bustle and excitement of the trial, prevented the
blank monotony of imprisonment from settling down on us as it did
here, when the first few weeks had rolled by, and no intimations of
our fate reached us. It was like the stillness and the death that
brood over the Dead Sea.

We would sit at the windows, in the sultry noon, and look out through
the bars, at the free birds as they flew past, seemingly so merry and
full of joyous life, and foolishly wish that we, too, were birds, that
we might fly away, and be at peace.

At long intervals, two of us would be permitted to go down into the
yard, to do our washing. One day it came my turn; it was then three
months since I had stepped out of my room, and the unobscured vision
of open air and sky made it seem like another world. I remember
looking up at the snowy clouds, my eyes almost dazzled by the unusual
light, and wondering, as I gazed on their beautiful and changing
forms, whether beyond them lay a world of rest, in which were neither
wars nor prisons. And with the thought came the fear that if I was
once more permitted to mingle as a free man, away from the immediate
pressure of danger, with the busy throng of life, I would forget my
prison-made vows, and thus lose my claim to a world of never-fading
light. Such a sense of weakness and helplessness came over me, that it
was with a feeling almost of relief that I returned once more to my
dark and narrow room, where the contrast between freedom and bondage
was less palpably forced on my view.

All this time we hardly permitted ourselves to indulge a hope of ever
getting home again. The friends we once knew in happier days, seemed
separated from us by an impassable gulf; and when our minds would call
up before us the scenes and loved ones of home, it was like treading
on forbidden ground. But when the miseries of the day were passed, and
we were wrapped in that sweet slumber that ever visits the weary alike
in prison and palace, there was no longer any restraint, and we were
once more at home--once more in the enjoyment of love and freedom.

Often have I seen in dreams the streets and buildings of my own town
rise before me, and have felt a thrilling pleasure in contemplating
them, as I wended my way towards the sacred precincts for ever
hallowed by affection. But the waking from these incursions into the
realms of paradise was sad beyond measure, and the cold, bare walls
of prison never looked half so dreary, as when seen in contrast with
the visions which had just been dispersed by the morning light.

An anecdote here will fitly illustrate the affection and exaggerated
reverence we felt for what we, to the great annoyance of the guards
and citizens, insisted on calling "God's country." I had been reading
one of Bascom's sermons, from a book which the minister had loaned us,
on "The Joys of Heaven." All listened to his magnificent description
with the greatest of interest, and when it was finished, some one
started the query as to whether they would rather be in heaven, safe
from all harm, or in Cincinnati. After a debate which was conducted
with great animation on both sides, the majority concluded, no doubt
honestly, that they would rather be in Cincinnati--for a while, at

In order to keep thoroughly posted, we opened communications to every
room in the prison. Those on the other side of the entry, we reached
by means of a small stick, attached to a string, and thrown under the
door. There was a chimney came up between our room and the other on
the same side of the entry; each of our stove-pipes led into this
chimney at points directly opposite, and by taking off the pipes, we
could talk through, but there was danger of being overheard. To
obviate this, we split a long lath off the side of our room, in such a
way as to be able to take it down and put it up at pleasure. This we
used for passing notes backward and forward through this concealed
passage, and it became very useful when we afterward contemplated an

One morning the guard brought up some prisoners, and as soon as they
had retired, we resorted to our usual method of telegraphing, to
ascertain their character. To our great surprise and pleasure, we
found that two of them were from the Tenth Wisconsin, a regiment in
our own brigade. They told us that we had long since been given up for
dead,[6] and that our comrades were vowing vengeance for our murder.
They were quite surprised to find so many of us still alive. The other
two were regulars, who had been captured on the coast of Florida.
These soldiers remained with us till we were taken to Richmond. From
them we gained a complete detail of the movements of our army since
we had left it.

[6] All our friends at home believed we were executed. My obituary
notice was published in our county paper, and the Rev. Alexander Clark
was invited to preach my funeral sermon, which providential
circumstances alone prevented.

One of the hardest things we had to endure was the rejoicing that
accompanied McClellan's flight from Richmond. Before this occurrence,
the secessionists were down-spirited and despairing; but afterward
they were jubilant. About the last of May, a prominent officer said to
me: "Any other officer of yours but McClellan, would now take
Richmond, for we have not men enough at present to offer successful
resistance; but _he_ will fortify each step of his way, and lay grand
plans, and thus delay until we can raise men enough by the conscript
law to defeat him." I did not then think that his prediction would be
verified, and hoped that McClellan would show that he was not delaying
for nothing; but when I heard of the precipitate retreat to Harrison's
Landing, I was ready to confess that the Confederate officer had been
more penetrating in his views than myself. From this moment, the tide
of victory seemed to set to the southward side, with a still deeper
and stronger flow, till the next spring, when it returned again.

I can preserve no order of time in relating the events of these
tedious mouths, which slowly rolled away their ponderous length. It
was almost a perfect isolation from the world, with little hope of
ever again mingling in its busy throng. As each month closed, we were
startled by the thought we were still alive--that the bolt had not yet
descended--and we surmised and wondered how much longer it could be
delayed. At last a small ray of hope began to arise--very feeble at
first--based on the long and incomprehensible reprieve we were
enjoying. As week after week glided tediously away, marked only by the
monotony which is more wearying to heart and frame than the most
severe anguish, this hope grew stronger; yet still so little assured
that the most trifling circumstance, such as strengthening the guard,
or a visit from the officers, was sufficient to blast the hopes we
were beginning so fondly to cherish.

I saw many instances of the iron rule with which the Southern Union
men are kept in subjection. The strictest espionage was maintained
through every order of society. The spies of the government would
pretend to be Union men, and thus worm themselves into loyal
societies; and when they had learned the names of the members, would
denounce them to the government. It was not necessary to be particular
about truth, as the suspicion of guilt, in their mode of procedure,
was just as good as its positive evidence. One day seventy men and
twelve women were arrested, and sent in irons to Richmond! Many other
instances of this remorseless tyranny will be given hereafter.

Most of our boys were tobacco-chewers, and were driven to numberless
expedients to obtain that which some of them declared they valued more
than their daily food. There were several articles of which the rebels
had not seen fit to rob us, such as handkerchiefs and a few vests;
These were now sold to the surrounding guards. Andrews had given
Hawkins a very large, fine coat, and as there seemed to be no prospect
of taking it home, he sold it to the jailor, and invested the proceeds
in tobacco, apples, &c., which he generously divided among his

I wanted books more than anything else, and sold my vest and a
pocket-book the rebels had left when they took what was in it, and
bought three books--all gems--"Paradise Lost," "Pilgrim's Progress,"
and "Pollock's Course of Time." These I nearly committed to memory. It
was a profitable employment, while I am sure it very much lightened
and shortened these interminable days.


Contemplated Escape--Startling Intelligence--Our Doom Pronounced from
Richmond--Hesitate no Longer--Our Plan--All Ready--Supper--Farewell--Life
or Death--Seize the Jailor--Guns Wrested from Guards--Alarm Given--Scaling
the Wall--Guards Fire--Terrible Chase--Six Recaptured--Wood and Wilson
Reach the Gulf--Dorsey's Narrative--Porter's Account--Boasting of the
Guards--Barlow's Cruel Death.

We frequently talked and plotted about making our escape. All agreed,
that if they should proceed to try us, we should make one desperate
effort for life; for we had learned by sad experience, that they did
not take the trouble of going to the formality of a trial unless they
were fully resolved to hang the accused. But as time rolled on, and
the dreaded preparations for trial were not made, the imprisonment
became daily more unendurable. The food was of a poorer quality, and
more scanty at that. It was, therefore, proposed that we should make a
bold strike for freedom. The question was a serious one. On the one
hand was the bright prize of liberty--of which none ever knew the
value better than we,--shining ahead as the sure reward of success.
But on the other hand was the danger of failure. We were in the very
center of the Confederacy, and the nearest point where we could reach
our lines was two hundred miles distant. This journey had to be made
through the enemy's country, and by traveling at night, with no guide
but the stars, which the envious clouds might conceal from us for many
successive nights, as they had done before. Then there was the
probability that those who were retaken would be mercilessly dealt
with, if not instantly put to death.

It was a grave question. And then the great heat of the days, added to
our enfeebled condition, caused by the close confinement, and the
meagre character of our diet, as well as the actual sickness of some
of our party, including myself, induced me to believe that the attempt
should at least be postponed. Still, day by day, we discussed the
subject. It afforded us an inexhaustible theme for conversation, and
had this further advantage that all the knowledge possessed by the
party collectively was communicated to each one. Besides, the plans
were laid by which to avoid pursuit, and all possible information
respecting the country obtained from the guards and negroes, and then
we felt quite prepared for the issue when it should come.

At last we received a piece of intelligence which made us resolve to
hesitate no longer. Colonel Lee, Provost-Marshal, came to our room one
morning, and after talking some time, told us that he had just
received a letter from the Secretary of War, asking why _all_ the
party had not been executed. He had answered that he did not know, but
referred him to the court-martial which had tried our comrades at
Knoxville. This court had dispersed long before, and I feel hopeful
that many of the perjured villains have fallen beneath the avenging
bullets of Union soldiers! So the Secretary could not have obtained
much information from them. A few days after, we received still
further and more alarming information.

One of the regular soldiers in the adjoining room overheard the
officer of the guard telling the jailor that Colonel Lee had received
another letter from the Secretary, ordering our immediate execution.
This was duly telegraphed to us through the stove-pipe, and at once
put an end to all our deliberations. The time had come for us to save
ourselves or perish.

Quietly we sat down and arranged our plans. We were in an upper story,
and several locked doors had to be opened before we could reach the
ground. There were seven guards keeping watch over us, and a large
force near by ready to rush to their assistance at the slightest
notice. It was evident that our only chance of success lay in moving
very quickly and silently. We could not leave at night, for then all
the doors were closed, and we had no means of opening them. The best
time was at supper, which was brought a little before sundown, and by
starting then, we would soon have the cover of darkness to conceal our
flight. The soldiers in the next room, and a deserter who was confined
with them, agreed to go with us, if we would open their door. Only one
of the Tennesseeans, named Barlow, would risk the trial, although they
were anxious for the movement before it was seriously contemplated.

The plan on which we finally settled, was to seize the jailor when he
came to take out the buckets in which our supper was brought, holding
him so that he could make no noise, take the keys from him, and let
Buffum unlock the doors and release the remaining prisoners. While
this was being done, our other boys would divide into two squads, and,
cautiously descending the stairway, pounce upon the guards, and take
their guns from them; then, at a signal, we would all come down, and
march, thus armed, on our homeward journey. We very nearly succeeded
in our programme.

The second day after receiving the news, all our plans were completed.
We had patched our clothes as best we could, and made cloth moccasins
to protect our feet, for many of our shoes were altogether worn out.
Now we only awaited the approach of the appointed hour. Slowly the sun
rolled down the west; slowly the shadows lengthened in the east, till
the gloomy shade of the jail had nearly reached the crest of the hill
which usually marked our supper time. The eventful hour drew nigh. We
bade one another a solemn farewell, for we knew not when we should
meet again on earth, or how many of us might be cold and lifeless
before the stars shone out. Captain Fry, who was tender-hearted as a
child, wept at the parting. He had two coats, and, as he could not
take both with him, he gave one to me. I needed it extremely, for I
was very nearly destitute of clothing.

Everything was now in readiness. I had piled up the books of the
minister, some of which we still retained, in the corner, and had
written him a note thanking him for the use of them. We had on our
coats, and had a few canes, and bottles, and pieces of lath, taken out
of the wall, which were to be used in the fight down stairs, if
necessary. Then came the supper. It was brought in by negroes, the
jailor standing at the door. Our preparations for leaving were not
noticed. We ate in silence, stowing part of the bread in our pockets
for future emergencies. It so happened that the old watchman, whom
everybody hated, was away. It was well for him, as he would have
received little mercy.

After the jailor had given their food to the inmates of the other
rooms, he came back to ours. We asked him to let Barlow come over and
stay with us that night. He consented, and soon Barlow was with us.
Now was the time for action.

It was a thrilling moment! On the action of the next few minutes hung
the issues, probably, of life or death. I confess that for one moment
the blood flowed to my heart with a sharp throb of pain. The others
were pale, but determined. As for Captain Fry, who was to initiate the
movement, and whom I had seen weeping a few minutes before--he was
perfectly calm, and his face wore a pleasant smile. He stepped out of
the door as if it was the most natural action in the world, and said,
very quietly:

"A pleasant evening, Mr. Turner."

"Yes, rather pleasant," responded the latter, looking as if he could
not understand what Fry was out there for.

"We feel like taking a little walk this evening," continued the

The astonishment of the jailor now knew no bounds. "_What! How!_
WHERE!" he exclaimed, in broken ejaculations.

Fry's countenance grew darker as he clasped the old man in his arms,
and said:

"We have stayed as long as we can stand it, and we now are going to
leave, and let out the other prisoners; so give up the keys, and make
no noise, or it will be the worse for you!"

Turner tightened his grasp on the keys desperately, and exclaimed,
"You can't do that!" then commenced in a loud tone, "Guar"--when my
hand closed across his mouth and stifled the incipient call for help.

It was not our intention to hurt the old man, for he had been kind to
us; but it was necessary to keep him quiet. He possessed great
strength, and struggled very hard, managing to bite my finger; but we
held him fast, and easily wrestled the keys from him. Buffum was soon
at work on the locks of the doors.

Meantime, our companions had quietly descended the stairway, and burst
out on the guards. There were seven of them, but they were so much
taken by surprise as to be incapable of resistance. Our boys divided
into two parties, one for the front and the other for the back door.
The latter was completely successful, capturing the guard, and taking
their guns from them without the least alarm being given.

The attack at the front door was made with equal skill and bravery,
and the guards who stood near were at once secured. Unfortunately
there were two in the yard gate, which happened to be open. As soon as
these saw the charge made, they, without waiting to attempt
resistance, ran through the gate, shrieking, "Help! murder!" in tones
that aroused the whole neighborhood. There were troops near at hand,
who instantly rushed to the rescue.

Our boys saw their peril, and knew that the part of our scheme which
provided for a regular and quiet departure was defeated, and they
endeavored to save themselves. They threw away the guns, which now
would only hinder their flight, and scaled the wall, some ten feet in
hight, and made for the woods, nearly a mile distant. It was a close
chase. Several times they were fired on by the pursuing rebels, but
fortunately not hit.

We, who were above, heard the noise, and were admonished by it to take
our leave as soon as possible. Buffum had just succeeded in unlocking
the door that kept in our other soldiers, who at once came out. The
deserter confined with them, who was the most powerful and active of
the whole party, also broke out, and passed by where Fry and myself
still held the jailor, like a tiger on the leap. When he reached the
yard, he found two soldiers before him, with their bayonets at a
charge. Without a moment's hesitation, he seized them, cutting his
hands severely, but dashing them aside with such violence as nearly to
throw the rebels from their feet, and bounded on his way. His almost
incredible swiftness soon placed him in advance of all the fugitives.

Captain Fry and I started down stairs together. He was a little in
advance, and at once saw there was no chance in the front yard, which
was now filled with armed rebels, and darted to the back door. Here he
scaled the wall just in time to get away, after a most desperate
chase, being repeatedly fired upon by the guards, who were only a few
feet from him, but, fortunately, was unharmed.

I did not so soon comprehend the state of affairs, (probably because I
am near-sighted,) and rushed to the front yard. Here I saw two rebels
who seemed perfectly distracted, and were throwing their guns wildly
about and exclaiming: "What shall we do? O! what shall we do?" Not
thinking them very dangerous, I darted past them, but was checked by a
stream of less frightened guards pouring through the gate. Seeing then
that there was no chance of escape in that direction, I turned and
regained the jail. One man snapped his gun at me, but, fortunately, it
did not go off. I instantly tried the back yard, and succeeded in
getting to the top of the wall; but here I found that the rebels had
again been too fast for me, and were around under the wall outside.
Under these circumstances, I could do no better than surrender.

I was taken back to prison, and instead of going to my own room, went
to that occupied by the prisoners of war, who had all been recaptured
and put in again. Buffum, too, who had managed to get over the wall,
was retaken and brought back. Parrott and Reddick were captured
inside of the wall, and Mason and Bensinger the next day, making six
of our party who were retaken.

From the window where I was, I had a good view of all the proceedings
below. In a very short time, the whole force of the place, including a
regiment of cavalry, was drawn up in front of the jail. I heard
Colonel Lee, (the Provost-Marshal,) give his orders. He said: "Don't
take one of the villains alive! Shoot them down, and let them lie in
the woods for the birds and hogs to eat!" He also ordered pickets to
be placed at the ferries of the Chattahoochie, along the railroad, and
at all cross-roads. This arrangement pleased me, for these were the
very places we had agreed to avoid, and I was sure none of the boys
would be caught there. Our intention had been to travel in the night
time, through the woods, and cross the rivers on logs, as far from the
ferries as possible.

Eight escaped. Wood and Wilson traveled southward, and, after passing
through a series of the most startling adventures, that recall the old
Indian tales we have all listened to in the winter evenings, they
succeeded in reaching the Gulf, where they were taken on board a
United States ship, and brought around to Washington.

Porter and Wollam started westward. Their journey was a most perilous
one. I will insert a short account which Porter has since furnished

"We started on the 16th of October, and reached the Federal lines on
the 18th of November. During this time, we endured all the hardships
imaginable. We traveled night and day, sleeping mostly in the woods,
and subsisting on wild grapes, chestnuts, hickory-nuts, walnuts, and
some few sweet potatoes. Occasionally, we got a little corn-bread from
the poor class of whites and the negroes. It was miserable stuff.
Several times we slipped into the fields where the negroes were at
work, and stole the provisions they had brought out for their dinner.
Once we were seven days without a bite of bread, and often went
without for two or three days.

"We suffered much with cold, for our clothes were very poor. We slept
but twice in houses during the whole journey. One night we traveled
till we became chilled and weary; it was very late, and we were nearly
frozen, when we fortunately discovered _a nest of hogs_. Immediately
we routed them up, and, lying down in the warm retreat they had left,
slept till morning!

"Many streams were in our way, which we were obliged to wade, or float
across on logs. After twenty-two days of such privations, we reached
the Tennessee river, twenty-seven miles below Bridgeport. Here we
pressed a canoe into the service, and started down the river. We would
run the canoe at night, and hide it and ourselves in the day time.
When we arrived at the head of the Muscle Shoals, we were compelled to
abandon our canoe on account of low water, and make a circuit of forty
miles around. When we reached the foot of the Shoals, we procured a
skiff, and continued our voyage until within twelve miles of Pittsburg
Landing. Here we left the river, and striking across the country to
Corinth, reached there in safety. Thus, after six months of suffering,
we were once more under the glorious flag of the free."

These[7] will serve as specimens of what the brave boys endured in
the truly herculean task of penetrating for hundreds of miles--in
fact, from the very center of the Confederacy to its circumference--in
different directions. It is an achievement I can not look upon without
wonder, and in dangers to be encountered, and difficulties to be
overcome, is at least equal to the proudest exploits of Park or

[7] Hawkins and myself associated, and made good our escape. We think
all our party escaped to the woods. Whether any were afterward caught
by the rebels, we know not. We traveled by starlight for more than
three weeks. After twenty-one days of fatigue and hunger--living most
of the time on corn or persimmons--occasionally a few raw sweet
potatoes or a head of cabbage--dodging the rebel pickets and cavalry,
climbing mountains, dragging through brush, and wading streams, we
finally were so fortunate as to meet some Union men in the Cumberland
Mountains. We met them, three in number, in the woods, and asked them
to give us some supper, stating that we had no money, but we belonged
to the rebel army, had been sick and left behind, and were now on our
way to rejoin our regiments. They refused to supply our wants, and
finally openly declared themselves to be Union men. When we became
satisfied that they were all right, we made known our true character,
and warmer friends were never met. They lodged and fed us, then
piloted us to another Union man who did the same, and he to another;
thus we were passed from one to another till we arrived at Somerset,
Kentucky, where we procured transportation to our regiments.--_Extract
from an Account published by D. A. Dorsey._

All night long the guards talked over their adventures. Generally they
praised their own bravery to the skies, but occasionally one who had
arrived since the affray, would suggest that it was not very much to
their credit to let unarmed men snatch their guns from them; but
these hinted slanders were always received with the contempt they
deserved, and the work of self-glorifying went on! One wondered at the
speed of the Yankees, who had been kept in prison so long; another
accounted for it by saying that they had received so much practice in
that line, in all the battles they had fought, that it was no wonder
if they were fleet of foot. This sally was received with prodigious

I heard some confused sounds of distress from the room of the
Tennesseeans, and on inquiring what was the matter, learned that
Barlow had broken his ankle. He had gone down into the yard with our
party, but in jumping from the wall, had received this very serious
injury. Here he was found by a guard, who at first threatened to shoot
him; but on being persuaded not to do that, ordered him to get up and
lead the way into the jail. Barlow tried to do so, but fell down
again. Then this inhuman guard punched him with the bayonet, and made
him crawl, in all the agony that pain could produce, back to his cell,
and as he went, kept hurrying him along by the sharp admonition of the
bayonet! When here, his companions asked for surgical aid for him, but
the Confederate authorities refused it, saying that he had caused the
injury himself, and that they rather preferred that it should kill
him! Their wishes were gratified. For months he lingered on in the
greatest pain, until, finally, the leg mortified, and terminated his
life. He was quite a young man--only eighteen--and had just been
married when he was arrested. Thus died, in darkness and dungeon, one
other East Tennessee martyr!


Despair and Hope--Bitten Finger--Removed to Barracks--Greater Comfort--Jack
Wells--Cruel Punishment of Tennesseeans--Story of a Spy--Help Him to
Escape--Virtue of a Coat--A Practical Joke--Unionism--Sweet
Potatoes--Enlisting in Rebel Army--Description of a Day--Happy News--Start
for Richmond--Not Tied--Night Journey--Varied Incidents--Lynchburg--Rebel
Audacity Punished--Suffering from the Cold--Arrival in Richmond.

All night long I lay in the hammock that one of the regulars had swung
by the window, and listened to the boasting below.

          "Sadly I thought of the morrow."

I had little doubt now, that the full weight of their vengeance would
fall on every one who had been recaptured. And then, too, was the news
we had received, and which had induced us to make our desperate effort
to escape! We could scarcely hope that the death which had so long
stared us in the face would now be longer delayed. And _such_ a death!
No vision of glory to dazzle the sight, and hide the grim monster from
view, or wreathe him in flowers. No eye of friends beholding the last
struggle, and sure, if you acted well your part, to tell it to those
whose love and praise were more than life. Nothing but ignominy and an
impenetrable darkness, beyond which no loving eye might ever pierce!
But even as the cold horror of the scaffold and the vision of the
heartless, jeering crowd, rose once more freshly before me, I looked
out in the clear night, and up to the shining stars, and felt that I
had one Friend--that He who dwelt above the stars, and to whom I had
plighted my faith, would not forsake me, even if I had to pass through
the very "valley of the shadow of death." With the thought came a
still and heavenly peace once more--a peace that visits only those who
feel, in the midst of sorrow and fear, that there is a blissful rest
beyond the night bounding life's fleeting day!

The next morning, the jailor put me in the room I had formerly
occupied, with the remainder of my companions. He told us that a man
had put his hand over his mouth, and nearly smothered him, but added,
with great satisfaction: "I bit his finger terribly, and gave the
rascal a mark he will carry to the grave with him." However, his teeth
were not so sharp as he thought, and he only managed to inflict a
slight scratch. He had no suspicion that I was the person to whom he
referred, as his fright had prevented him from observing anything. For
a while, he was rather cross, and brought up the guards when he came
to feed us; but this soon wore off.

About the middle of the day, some officers came, and, with many
threats, asked us which way our boys intended to travel. I answered,
"I heard them say that they were going to try to get to our lines, and
that traveling in _any_ direction would bring them there, for our men
had you surrounded." They asked no more questions, but retired,
satisfied that there was no information to be gained.

Our anticipations of worse treatment in consequence of our attempted
escape were not realized. Colonel Lee thought the jail was no longer a
safe place, and ordered us to be taken to the city barracks. Our
apartment here was far more pleasant than our quarters in the jail had
been. It was large, well lighted, and provided with a fire-place,
which the chilliness of the days (it was now in October) made a great
acquisition. It also commanded a view of one of the busiest public
squares of Atlanta, and we would sit in the windows, which had no bars
across them, and watch the tide of human life that flowed before us,
for hours at a time, with an interest that only our long seclusion
from the world could have given.

Jack Wells, the commander of the barracks, had been an old United
States soldier. Being thus brought up under a more honorable system
than obtains in the South at present, he did not consider it
derogatory to his dignity to treat prisoners kindly. He would come
around to our room and talk with us by the hour--telling us great
stories of his adventures, and receiving as great in return. Most of
the time he was half drunk, and very frequently did not stop at the
half way point. In these cases, and when he was in a communicative
mood, he would tell us that he did not care a cent which side
whipped--that he only held his present position to avoid being
conscripted. But his masters knew him to be such a faithful, vigilant
officer, and he could so readily control the rude mass who occupied
the rebel portion of the barracks, that they readily forgave these
little slips of the tongue. We passed our time while here more
pleasantly than at any other place in the Confederacy; yet even here,
our path was not one of roses. The following incidents will prove

The Tennesseeans were confined with us, making twenty in all. Our
provisions, which were still very scanty, were handed around in a
tray. Mr. Pierce, who is mentioned before, one time conceived his
allowance to be too small, and threw it back into the tray again. Not
a word was spoken on either side; but in a few minutes the guards came
up, and, seizing Pierce, took him out of the room into the cold hall,
and tying his hands before his knees, with a stick inserted across
under his knees and over his arms, in the way that soldiers call
"bucking," they left him there all night. This indignity was
perpetrated on an old man over sixty!

One of the guards was a malicious fellow, who delighted in teasing our
men by asking them how they liked being shut up in a prison, "playing
checkers with their noses on the windows," &c. One day, when he was
talking as usual, a Tennesseean, named Barker, replied that _he_ need
not be so proud of it, for he would some time have to work like a
slave, in the cotton-fields, to help pay the expenses of the war. The
guard reported this _treasonable_ remark to the commander. Poor Barker
was seized and taken to the punishment-room up stairs, and there
suspended by the heels till he fainted; then let down until he
revived, then hung up again. This was continued till they were
satisfied, when he was taken down, and put into a little, dark
dungeon, only about four feet square, and there kept twenty-four hours
with nothing to eat!

While in this prison, I had the heartfelt pleasure of helping one man
to escape. The guards, and, indeed, all the poorer class of
Southerners, were very illiterate. Out of twenty-six who guarded us,
only two or three could write at all, and these not enough to be of
any service. Wells wrote a hand that nobody but himself could read,
and even he not always. Therefore he often came for the prisoners to
write short articles for him. On one of these occasions I was in the
office, which was just by our room, and equally guarded, writing a
requisition for provisions. While thus engaged, a man, dressed in the
uniform of a rebel officer, was brought in for confinement in the
barracks. He appeared to be very drunk, but remonstrated so hard
against being put into the room where the remainder of the prisoners
were kept, that Wells consented to let him stay for a while in his
office. His money was not taken from him, for Wells, not knowing the
charge against him, believed he was arrested only for being drunk--an
offence with which he had a good deal of sympathy. Wells had some
business to attend to, and went out. A sergeant was with us, but he,
too, soon took his departure, leaving us alone. I was busy writing,
but, looking up, I saw the stranger approaching me. There was no trace
of drunkenness about him. I watched his movements attentively. Soon he
was standing by me.

"You are a prisoner?" he queried.

"Yes, sir."

"One they call engine-thieves?" he continued.

I again answered in the affirmative.

"I know you," said he; "I know all about you. I was here when your
comrades were hung. Brave men they were, and the cruel deed will yet
be avenged. I am not afraid to trust you. They don't yet know who I
am, but they will learn to-morrow, and then, if I am still in their
hands, I will _die_, for I am _a spy from the Federal army_. Can't you
help me to escape?"

I was astonished at this revelation, and for a moment doubted his
character, thinking that his aim might be to betray me for a selfish
advantage. I put a few hasty questions to him, to test his knowledge
of the Federal army. The answers were satisfactory, and seeing
nothing but truth in his clear eye, I hesitated no longer, but asked:

"What can I do for you?"

He answered: "Can't you write me a pass, and sign the commander's name
to it?"

"That," I returned, "would probably be detected; but I think I can put
you on a better plan. Take that overcoat," pointing to one belonging
to Wells, and lying on the foot of a bed, "put it around you, and just
walk past the guards as independently as though you owned the entire
establishment. It is now nearly dark, and the chances are that you
will not be halted by the guard at all."

"A good idea," said he, "I'll try it."

At once folding himself in the coat, he bade me an affectionate adieu.
Eagerly I sat with beating heart in the deepening twilight, listening
for any sound that might betray the success or failure of the scheme;
but all was silence. I have since learned that the guard, seeing the
familiar coat, supposed that, of course, its owner was in it, and
allowed it to pass unchallenged! A moment after, the sergeant came in,
and I instantly engaged him in conversation, inducing him to tell some
good stories, to keep him from missing my companion, and to allow as
much time for a start as possible, before the inevitable alarm was
given. I succeeded perfectly for some five minutes, when Wells came
in, threw an uneasy glance around the room, and at once exclaimed:

"Sergeant, where is that officer?"

The sergeant protested that he knew nothing about him; that he was not
in the room when he entered.

Wells then turned to me, and demanded:

"Pittenger, where's that officer?"

"What officer?"

"That officer I put in here."

"Oh! that drunken fellow?"

"Yes; where is he?"

"The last I saw of him, he picked up his coat, and said he was going
to supper."[8]

[8] I do not pretend to justify the falsehoods recorded in this book.
But it is better to give a _true_ narrative, and bear the censure
awarded by the reader, than to increase the guilt by omitting or
misrepresenting facts.

"Going to supper, was he! Ho! I see it! Sergeant, run to the guards,
and tell them if they let him out, I will have every one of them hung
up by the heels."

This was rather a useless punishment, considering that the prisoner
was already far away.

But the sergeant departed to muster the guards. Shortly after, Wells,
who had resumed his seat, said in a meditative tone:

"Had he a coat?"

"I suppose so, sir," I returned, "or he would not have taken it."

"Where did he get it?"

"Off the foot of that bed."

Wells sprang to his feet as quickly as though he had been galvanized,
kicking over the chair on which he had been sitting, and exclaimed:

"_My coat!_ sure as----! worth eighty dollars! The villain!" then
pressing his head between his hands, sat down again, but, as if
thinking better of it, ejaculated, "Well, if that ain't a cool joke!"
and burst into a loud laugh, which ended the scene.

There are some facts connected with the Union sentiment in the South,
which I would like to publish, if I dared; but I cannot do it in full,
for it might be the means of exposing persons who befriended us, to
the vengeance of the tyrant rebels. I will only say that there exists
in Atlanta a society of over four hundred members,[9] who are still
devoted to the cause of union and liberty; who endure in patient faith
all the cruel persecutions heaped on them by the slavery-loving
aristocrats who now rule their beautiful land. From members of this
society many prisoners as well as myself, received money and other
needed articles, which were of the greatest value to us. These were
given at great risk to the donors, for _there_ to give a Union soldier
money is a serious criminal offence. One man I know was confined for
four months on the mere suspicion of having aided the Shiloh prisoners
in this manner.

[9] My impression of Southern feeling is very different from
Vallandigham's. But the Union men were my friends. Were they his?

Sweet potatoes were very abundant in Atlanta, and with the money Union
friends supplied us, we bought a great many, roasting them in the
ashes of the large fire-place that made our room so comfortable. They
added materially to our rations, and rendered our living here more
tolerable. In fact, had it not been for that universal Confederate
pest, with which all, from the least to the greatest, seemed
supplied--sometimes termed the "rebel body guard"--and from which, for
the want of clean clothes, no exertions of ours could free ourselves,
we might have passed our time not unpleasantly.

We still continued our devotions in the morning and evening, and trust
that God blessed them to us. We met with occasional hindrances. Some
of our own party seemed to consider that our release from the dark
cells of a criminal prison did away with the necessity of continued
prayer. The Confederates also annoyed us very much by interruptions,
while thus engaged in seeking help from above. On these occasions,
Wells was our friend. He declared that he could not stand praying
himself, and so invariably stayed away; but that if it did us any
good, we were welcome to it, and ought not to be disturbed. The
opposition we met with was of short continuance. As soon as they found
us firmly resolved on our own course, they did as all cavilers do in
similar circumstances--let us alone. Thus even there we enjoyed many
pleasant moments, which will ever be remembered as a green oasis in
the parched desert of prison-life.

While here, the Confederates wanted some of us to enlist in their
army. They tried particularly hard to get the regulars, Wells
declaring that he would rather have the two, than any half dozen of
his own men. They pretended not to be unfavorable to the scheme, but
delayed complying with it for a time, to see what the ultimate
prospects of an exchange might be.

The cartel of exchange had been agreed upon long before; yet these
men, who had no charge against them, were still held. They believed
that it was because they were with us, and that the rebels feared to
let them go, as they would most certainly convey to our government
intelligence as to our whereabouts, condition, and treatment. This
view appeared still more probable, when I learned, since returning to
Washington, that the Confederate government had _officially_ denied
hanging any of the party. They have never yet acknowledged it.

The time wore wearily away here, as it had done before. The delay,
since the death of our friends, had now been so long extended, that we
began to believe that our lives might be spared. This conviction was
strengthened as the months rolled on.

At last a court-martial was convened--the first since the
ever-memorable one at Knoxville, and we awaited its action with the
utmost anxiety. A week of sickening suspense passed by, and no summons
came for us. Then the court adjourned, and we breathed freer. It now
seemed probable that they did not intend to prosecute the feeble
remnant of our party any further; and, passing from the extreme of
despair to that of hope, we began to indulge once more the blissful
expectation of being permitted to revisit the scenes of our loved
North, and stand beneath the "old flag," which we honored and
reverenced as the embodiment of liberty with law--the emblem of the
highest national life. But our time for freedom had not yet come.

The weeks rolled on. Few things occurred worthy of note. That same
monotony which makes prison-life so dreary, robs it of interest when
recorded. We would rise in the morning from our hard bed, and wash
ourselves, pouring the water upon each others' hands, and eat our
scanty breakfast; then loll listlessly around, seeking in vain for
anything which might relieve the almost unendurable tedium. When
dinner came, which was of the same quality as the breakfast, we would
eat it, and then try desperately to kill time until dark, when the gas
was lit--not from any favor to us, but that the guard could watch us
from the ever-open door, and see that we were working no plots to get

This was the most cheerful hour of the day, for under the soft
inspiration of the gaslight, conversation flowed more freely, and all
the incidents of our past lives were rehearsed to attentive listeners.
To vary the subject, an argument would be started on science,
politics, or religion, and warmly discussed. When the talk would flag,
which was frequently not till the midnight bells were striking in the
town, we would offer up our devotions, and lie down to sleep, and
often to indulge in the most delightful dreams of freedom, friends,
and home. In the morning we waked again, and the same round was
recommenced. Thus days glided into weeks, and weeks passed into
months. The light golden hues of autumn deepened into the dead and
sombre colors of early winter, and still we were in Atlanta. Our weak
faith, judging what would be from what had been, could scarcely
conceive that we would ever be anywhere else! A heavy, dead
indifference, like the lack of sensibility which the repeated
infliction of pain produces in our physical natures, took possession
of us. We almost ceased even to hope!

But at last there came a day of rejoicing. A number of officers
visited the barracks, and inquired which was the room occupied by the
Federal prisoners. On being shown around to our apartment, they told
us to fall into line, and then said they had glad news for us.

"You have all been exchanged, and all that now remains is for us to
send you out of our territory."

They then came along the lines, and shook hands with us, offering
congratulations on the happy termination of our trials, and wishing us
much joy on our arrival at home.

Our feelings may be better imagined than described. There was an
overwhelming rush of emotions which forbade utterance--happy
joy--exhilarating, and yet mingled with a deep touch of sorrow, that
our seven dead--murdered--comrades were not with us to share the joy
of this unexpected release. And the eight also who had managed to get
out of the clutches of the rebels by their own daring--we were uneasy
about them. Only a day or two before, we had seen in an Atlanta paper,
obtained, as usual, through a _contraband_ source, an article clipped
from the "_Cincinnati Commercial_," giving notice of the arrival of
Porter and Wollam at Corinth, in a very wretched and famished
condition. This was most gratifying to us, but of the others we had,
as yet, received no reliable information. The Provost-marshal told us
that three of them had been shot and left in the woods, but judging by
the source, we considered the account very doubtful, and still
cherished the hope that the whole story was a fabrication.[10] Thus we
were in suspense as to their fate. But still, beyond all this, the
prospect of speedily gaining our liberty, was enough to make our
hearts overflow with gratitude to that Being who had so wonderfully
preserved us through all our trials. I was so agitated that when Wells
asked me to write a requisition for provisions for our journey, I
could not do it, and had to transfer the task to more steady hands. It
was six in the morning when we received the news, and we were to start
for "home--_via_ Richmond"--at seven in the evening. We spent the
intervening time in arranging what clothes we had, and preparing for
the journey. And as the time for departure drew near, we again lit the
gas, and built a fire, the ruddy blaze of which was itself an emblem
of cheerfulness, to take a farewell view of the room in which we had
spent so many not altogether unhappy hours. Often afterward did we
think of that bright hour of expectation, during the dreary lapse of
succeeding months, which we were still doomed to pass in the South.

[10] It was a malicious falsehood. All were safe.

We had obtained quite a number of pieces of carpet, which served as
blankets, but were forbidden to take these with us, being told that we
would be run directly through, and would soon be where blankets were
plenty. We however managed to secrete two very small pieces, which
were afterwards of great advantage to us. They did not tie us now for
the first time in all our travels. This was truly remarkable, and
afforded strong confirmation to our hopes.

All was now in readiness for our departure, and we took a long, and, I
trust, a last look at Atlanta--at least while it remains in rebel
possession. The guards fell in on each side of us, and we wended our
silent way along the dark streets. Wells, even drunker than usual,
accompanied us to the cars, where he hiccoughed an affectionate
farewell. White, the sergeant who was with me when our spy escaped,
commanded our escort. He was one of the best-natured rebels I ever
saw, and, like his superior, did not care which side came out best, so
long as he was not hurt. The guard was only ten in number, while we,
including the Tennesseeans, were twenty--a great falling off in
precaution from their former custom.

We were crowded into rude box-cars, and soon began to suffer severely
with the cold, for the night air was most piercing. It was the 3d of
December, and we had only summer clothing, which was, in addition,
very ragged. At about three o'clock in the morning we arrived at
Dalton. We were not to go through Chattanooga.

The stars were sparkling in light and frosty brilliancy when we
stopped. The other train, on which we were to continue our journey,
had not yet arrived, and the keen and icy wind cut almost through us.
We stood shivering here, and suffering extremely from the cold, for
something like an hour, when, to our great relief, the expected train
arrived. We were more comfortably fixed in it, and managed to doze
away the time till daybreak.

In the morning, we found that our three days rations, which were to
last us to Richmond, were scarcely enough for a breakfast. However, we
ate what we had, and trusted to buying a few necessaries with the
remaining money which our Union friends had given us. When that
failed, we had still a sure resource that never failed--endurance of

During the day, we discussed the question whether it would not be
best, at nightfall, to try making our escape, as we were within forty
miles of our own lines. It would be an easy task. The guards were
perfectly careless, and at any time we could have had as many guns as
they had. They sat on the same seats with us, and slept. Frequently
those guarding the doors would fall asleep, and we would wake them as
the corporal came around, thus saving them from punishment. The most
complete security seemed to pervade them, utterly forbidding the idea
that _they_ thought they were taking us onward for any other purpose
than that of exchange. Once the sergeant laughingly told us that we
could escape if we wished, for we had the matter in our own hands; but
that he thought it would be more pleasant to ride on around, than to
walk across on our own responsibility. This very security lulled our
suspicions, and, combined with what the Marshal and other officers had
told us in Atlanta, induced us to shrink from undertaking a journey,
almost naked and barefoot as some of us were, over the mountains and
in the snow, which now began to appear.

In the afternoon, we passed the town of Knoxville, now a place of
loathing and hatred to us; then the town of Greenville, which we
noticed as being the residence of our heroic companion, Captain Fry;
then on into the lower part of Western Virginia. It was nightfall when
we entered this State, and a beautiful night it was. The moon shone
over the pale, cold hills with a mellow, silver radiance, which made
the whole landscape enchanting. On, on, we glided, over hill and
plain, at the dead of night, and saw, in the shifting scenery of the
unreal-looking panorama without, a representation of the fleeting
visions of life--like us, now lost in some dark, gloomy wood, or
walled in by the encroaching mountain side, and now catching a
magnificent view of undulating landscapes, far away in the shadowy
distance. Thus, through the silent night, we journeyed on, and morning
dawned on us, still steaming through the romantic valleys of Virginia.

The next day was a wet, dreary one. Our car leaked, our fire went out,
and we were most thoroughly uncomfortable. The evening found us at the
mountain city of Lynchburg, which is literally "set on a hill." Here
we discovered that we had missed the connection, and would have to
wait for twenty-four hours. We were very sorry for this, as we were in
a great hurry to get to our own lines, and had been talking all the
way about what we should do when we arrived at Washington. But there
was no help for it, and we marched up to the barracks with as good
grace as possible.

We here found a large, empty-looking room, with some of the refuse of
the Confederate army in it. There was an immense stove in the center
of the room, but, being without fire, it was of no particular
benefit. We resigned ourselves to another night of freezing, with the
consoling thought that we would not have many more of such to endure.
I paced the floor till nearly morning, and witnessed a good many
amusing incidents. Many of the Confederates were quite drunk, and
disposed to be mischievous. One of them diverted himself by walking
about on the forms of those who were trying to sleep. Soon he came
around to Bensinger. He endured the infliction patiently the first
time; but as the sot came again, Bensinger was on the look-out, and,
springing to his feet, gave him a blow that laid him out on the floor.
Some of his companions rushed forward to resent the infliction; but,
finding that nobody was frightened, they gave over.

Here, in Virginia, I met the most spiteful and venomous secessionists
I had yet seen.

One of them--a prisoner--said that he had advocated raising the black
flag, asserting that if it "had been done at first, the war would have
been over long since."

"No doubt of it," I replied; "the whole Southern race would have been
exterminated long before this."

This way of ending the war had not entered his mind, and he became
very indignant at the suggestion.

All the next day was cold and gloomy. After noon, we succeeded in
obtaining some wood for the big stove, with permission to make a fire
in it, which was soon done, and a genial glow diffused over the whole
room, in time to warm us before taking our departure for Richmond.

We started a while before dark, seated in good, comfortable cars--the
best we enjoyed on the route. But we only ran a short distance to a
junction, where we were again to change cars. The next train had not
yet arrived, and we built a large fire, as it still continued bitterly
cold. We could easily have escaped, for the passengers mingled with us
around the fire, and we even went to a considerable distance away to
procure fuel. But so confident were we of a speedy exchange, that we
did not make the effort, and the golden opportunity passed unimproved.
Oh! how greatly we afterward regretted that we had not at least made
the attempt. Soon the other train arrived, and a few hours placed us
in Richmond--the goal to which every Union soldier is turning his
eyes, though he would not wish to reach it in the manner we did.


The City by Moonlight--Old Accusation Renewed--Libby Prison--Discomfort--A
Change--Citizens' Department--Richmond Breakfast--Removed under
Guard--Castle Thunder--Miniature Bedlam--Conceal a Knife--Confined in a
Stall--Dreadful Gloom--Routine of a Day--Suffering at Night--Friends
Exchanged--Newspapers--Burnside--Pecuniary Perplexities--Captain
Webster--Escape Prevented--Try Again on Christmas Night--Betrayed--Fearful
Danger Avoided.

It was still the same sparkling moonlight, and the same intense and
piercing cold, that marked our journey the preceding night, when we
left the cars, and entered the rebel capital.

Everything looked grim and silent through the frosty air, and our
teeth chattered fast and loud as we walked through a few squares of
this now historic city.

But suddenly the sergeant recollected that he did not know what to do
with us, and we were obliged to remain where we were, till he could find
the Provost-Marshal's office, and get instructions. We endeavored to
shelter ourselves as best we could from the unbearable cold, which
really threatened to prove fatal. We had two blankets, or rather pieces
of carpet, and we spread them over the heads of us all as we huddled
together in a solid mass, in the angle of a brick wall. It was
astonishing how much more comfortable this made us--especially in the
inside of the _pack_, where I happened to be. Here we remained shivering
till the sergeant returned. He had found the Provost-Marshal's office,
and proceeded to conduct us thither.

We marched through several of the principal streets, which, but for
the moonlight, would have been entirely dark. At last we arrived at
the office, which, to add to our discomfort, was destitute of fire. We
stood in the empty room looking at the grim portraits of the rebel
generals that stared at us from the walls, until the Marshal himself
entered. He did not deign to speak to us, but opened a sealed letter
which the sergeant handed him, and read that ten disloyal
Tennesseeans, four prisoners of war, and _six engine-thieves_, were
hereby forwarded to Richmond, by order of General Beauregard. We had
hoped that the title of thieves, of which we had become heartily
tired, would now be left behind; but it seemed still to cling to us,
and afforded an unpleasant premonition of the Confederacy's not yet
being done with us. The Marshal then gave his orders, and we were
again marched off.

By this time it was daylight, December 7th, 1862. Richmond looked
still more cheerless by the cold beams of morning than it did before.

We now threaded several tedious streets, and at last came to the James
river, where we halted in front of a most desolate-looking, but very
large brick building, situated on the bank, and surrounded by a
formidable circle of guards. This building we very naturally took to
be a prison, and soon learned that we were right. It was the famous
LIBBY. We entered its precincts, and were conducted up a flight of
stairs, and then, on reaching the upper room, which was a vast, open
one, we saw, almost for the first time since our capture, the old
familiar United States uniform. We were soon in the midst of over a
hundred Union soldiers.

At first our greeting was not very warm, as we still wore the rebel
rags that had served us all summer; but as soon as our true character
and history were made known, we were most cordially welcomed. There
was a small stove--only one--in the cold, empty room, and part of the
inmates were huddled around it. But with the characteristic courtesy
and charity of the American soldier, they soon cleared a place beside
it for us. Then I had leisure to look around.

The room was very large and bare; the floor above was taken out,
leaving it open to the roof. Beside this, the window sashes were all
removed, and the cold wind whistled in from the river far more sharply
than was consistent with comfort. The inmates informed me that they
had only a limited amount of fuel allowed them per day, and when that
was exhausted, they had to endure the freezing as best they could.
Even when the fire was burning, only about a dozen could get around
it, and the room was too large and open to be warmed more than a few
feet from the stove. Yet, with all these discomforts, we rejoiced to
be here. It was the sure pledge that our foes had not been deceiving
us in their promises of an exchange, for these men, with whom we found
ourselves, were actually going northward in the next truce-boat, which
was daily expected. Our hearts beat high as we thought that, after
drinking the bitter draught of bondage and persecution for eight long
months, we were at last to taste the sweets of liberty. What wonder if
our joy was too deep for words, and we could only turn it over in our
minds, and tremble lest it should prove too delightful to be
realized! What cared we for the cold that made our teeth chatter, and
sent the icy chill to our very bones! It was only for the moment, and
beyond that we painted the bright vision of freedom, with such
vividness and warmth, that cold and privations were forgotten
together. But our dream was short.

We talked with our companions, and learned from them many interesting
items of news. The worst we heard, and which, at first, we could
hardly credit, was the existence of a large party in the North who
were opposed to the war; because, as my informant said, "They were
afraid if the thing went on, they would be drafted, and would have to
fight themselves." Oh! how bitterly some of the prisoners, who were
profanely inclined, cursed those who could oppose their government in
such a time as this! Not many of the soldiers sympathized with these
traitors. They were still hopeful of success, and confident that the
time would soon come when they would crush rebellion.

But in the midst of our conversation, an officer entered, and called
for the men who had just been admitted. Expecting to be paroled, as
all the other prisoners in the room were, we at once responded. They
conducted us down to the entrance hall, and called over our names.
The four prisoners of war, and one of the Tennesseeans, were put on
one side, and we on the other. The first party were then taken up
stairs again, while we were put into an immense, but dark and low
room, on the left of the stairway.

This was an awful moment. We now felt that we had been deceived, and
our hopes at once fell from the highest heaven, to which they had
soared, down to perfect nothingness, and a cold sense of misery and
despair came over us. To be thus separated from our friends, also,
seemed like parting the sheep from the goats, and could only be for
the purpose of punishment! No wonder that we looked at each other with
pale, troubled countenances, and asked questions which none were
prepared to solve. But only one moment were we thus crushed beneath
this unexpected blow; the next, we again sought an avenue for hope.

Perhaps they did not recognize us as soldiers, and only wanted to
exchange us as citizens--a matter of indifference to us, provided we
were exchanged at all. We looked around to see what foundation there
might be for this pleasing conjecture.

Our present apartment contained even more prisoners than the one
up-stairs. They were men from all parts of the South. Some of them
had been in prison ever since the war broke out, and a few had been
arrested for supposed anti-slavery principles, even before that event,
and had lived in loathsome dungeons ever since. This would be called
barbarous tyranny if it occurred in Italy; but I have seen men, even
in my own Ohio, who could see no wrong in it when practiced in the
South, on supposed _abolitionists_. There were also some of our own
soldiers here, who had been put in for attempting to escape. This
survey was not calculated to increase our feeble hopes of a speedy
exchange, or even to weaken our fears of further punishment.

In the meantime, breakfast was brought in. It consisted of a small
quantity of thin soup, and a very scanty allowance of bread. To our
delight, the latter was made of flour, instead of corn meal; and all
the time we remained in Richmond, we received good bread, though often
very deficient in quantity.

While we were talking with our new room-mates, an officer again
entered, and inquired for the fifteen men who had last come in. We
answered quickly, for hope was again busy whispering in our hearts,
and suggesting that there had been some mistake, which would now be
rectified, and we taken up stairs again. But there was no such good
fortune in store for us. We were taken out of doors, and there found a
guard waiting to remove us to another prison. Again our hearts sank
within us.

We crossed the street, and halted at a desolate-looking building,
which we afterward learned was "CASTLE THUNDER," the far-famed Bastile
of the South. We were conducted through a guarded door into the
reception-room, where we had to wait for some time. While here, a
fierce-looking, black-whiskered man, who, I afterwards learned, was
Chillis, the commissary of the prison, came in, and said:

"Bridge burners, are they! They ought to be hung, every man of them;
and so ought every man that does anything against the Confederacy."
Had he said _for_, I would have agreed with him heartily.

Soon the guide returned, and ordered us to be conducted up stairs. Up
we went, passing by a room filled with a howling and yelling
multitude, who made such an outrageous racket that I was compelled to
put my hands to my ears. As we came in view, a score of voices
screamed with all the energy their lungs could give:

"Fresh fish! Fresh fish!" The same exclamation greeted every new

We were taken into the office and searched, to see if we possessed
anything contraband, or, in plainer terms, anything they could make
useful to themselves. They took some nice pocket knives from the
Tennesseeans, which they had contrived to keep secreted till now. When
it came my turn, I managed to slip a large knife, that I had obtained
at Atlanta, up my sleeve, and by carefully turning my arm when they
felt for concealed weapons, succeeded in keeping it out of the way.

The examination over, I thought they were going to put us into the
miniature mad-house we had just passed; and they did not do much
better, for they put us into a stall beside it. I call it a stall, for
the word describes it most fully. It was one of a range, partitioned
off from the large room in which were the noisy miscreants, and from
each other by loose plank, with cracks wide enough to let the wind
circulate freely through them. Most of the windows of the large room
were out, which greatly increased the cold. Our stall was only eight
or nine feet wide, and perhaps sixteen in length. It was bare of any
furniture--not even having a chair, or any means of making a fire.

In this cheerless place our party, six in number, and nine
Tennesseeans, were confined during the months of December and January!

The first day of our imprisonment here, our spirits sank lower than
they had ever done before. All our bright hopes were dashed to the
ground, and there seemed every reason to believe that we were doomed
to this dreary abode for the remaining term of the war, even if we
escaped sharing with our murdered friends the horrors of a Southern
scaffold. It was too disheartening for philosophy, and that day was
one of the blackest gloom. We seldom spoke, and when we did, it was to
denounce our folly, in suffering ourselves to be deluded to Richmond
by the lies they had told, and not seizing some of the many
opportunities our journey afforded for making our escape. But it was
no use lamenting; and all we could do was to register a solemn vow
never to be deceived by them again. When night came, we knelt in
prayer to God, and if I ever prayed with fervor, it was in this hour
of disappointment and dread. I tried to roll all my cares upon the
Lord, and partly succeeded, rising from my knees comforted, and
assured that whatever might be the issue, we had one Friend who was
nigh to save, and had often made his children rejoice, in worse
situations than ours. The next morning I awoke again cheerful, and
felt nerved for any fate that might befall me.

Here the routine of prison life did not differ materially from that at
Atlanta. We had to go down to the court (the building was square, and
built with an open court in the center) to wash in the morning, and
were immediately taken back to our stall, and locked up. But the
principal difference was our want of fire. This made it our greatest
difficulty to keep warm, and effectually destroyed all those pleasant
fireside chats that had done so much to make our condition endurable
in the Atlanta barracks.

As the darkness and coldness of night drew on, we were compelled to
pace the floor, trying to keep warm; and when sleep became a
necessity, we would all pile down in a huddle, as pigs sometimes do,
and spread over us the thin protection of our two bits of carpet. Thus
we would lie until too cold to remain longer, and then arise and
resume our walk. We had always plenty of light, except when the
awkwardness of the gas managers left the whole city in darkness, which
was frequently the case.

We never omitted our devotions. For awhile the deserters outside, who
were composed of the very scum of Southern society, many of them
being the rowdies, gamblers, and cutthroats of the large cities, tried
to interrupt us by every means in their power; but finding that their
efforts produced no effect, they finally gave over, and left us to
pursue our own way in peace. We found afterward, when, for a short
time, we were put among them, that they respected us the more for it.
Thus it will always be when perseverance is exercised in a good cause.

A few days after our arrival, we noticed a great stir among the
prisoners at the Libby, which was plainly in view across the road, and
but a short distance from us. We learned that a truce-boat had
arrived. Soon a body of United States soldiers came up the street by
us, and our five friends with them. As they passed our window, they
waved their hands in farewell, and continued their journey. No doubt
they were soon with their friends at home.[11] The parting was a hard
one for us. It seemed so much like fulfilling the passage of
Scripture--"One shall be taken and the other left," that we turned
away from the window feeling again the gloom which darkened the first
day of our arrival. We felt utterly deserted and alone; yet we were
glad that some had been able to escape from the power of this accursed
rebellion, "every throb of whose life is a crime against the very race
to which we belong."

[11] A letter was received from one of them by my father a short time
ago. He had not heard of our release, but described our parting, and
gave a rumor which he had heard of our subsequent execution.

In the dead sameness which now settled down again over our
prison-life, we had a delightful daily oasis, in reading the
newspapers. In Richmond we were not, as elsewhere, debarred their
perusal, and there was always some one who had money enough to buy
them, and then charity enough to lend them all over the prison. In
this way, we were enabled to see most of the dailies published. As
soon as we received one, all the party would gather around, while I
read the news and editorials aloud.

The time of our arrival was an exciting one. Burnside had just made
his celebrated advance, and as we read of his crossing the river, we
breathed a prayer that he would be successful, and continue onward to
Richmond. Had he done so, we would either have fallen into his hands
or been removed. In the latter case, we would have made a desperate
effort to escape, for we had firmly resolved never to be moved again
without making a strike for freedom.

But soon came the sad news of his repulse--sad to us, but causing the
greatest rejoicings among the rebels, who felt that they had escaped a
great danger, and renewed the life of their tottering treason.

We missed the books we were no longer able to borrow, and planned all
kinds of means to obtain them. Among other expedients, I managed to
sell my hat. It was a fine one, and had formerly belonged to Jack
Wells; but one day when he was drunk enough to be in a clever humor,
he took mine, which was a very poor one, from me, and put his own on
my head, saying that I looked better in that. No doubt he intended to
trade back, but forgot it when we started away, and so left me in
possession. I sold this hat for three dollars and a half, and bought
another extremely poor one for half a dollar, leaving me three dollars
of available funds; which, added to five more afterward obtained from
a Union man, made quite a fortune. With this I tried to procure a book
I wanted. I gave the money to the corporal who attended the prison,
but he kept it several days, and then returned it to me. I next tried
one of the officers of the prison, but met with no better success.
Determined not to be baffled, I dropped the money through a crack in
the floor to a lady prisoner below, who was allowed to go out in town,
but in a few days she, too, sent it back, saying that the book was not
in Richmond.

Still persevering, I wrote the names of several books on a slip of
paper, and gave it to Chillis, the commissary, who wanted us hung when
we first came, but who was, nevertheless, the kindest official of the
prison; he likewise returned it, saying that _none_ of the books named
were to be found. I then yielded, and reserved my money for the next
best purpose to which it could be applied--to buy bread, which I often
needed. We could at first get small cakes for ten cents apiece; but
they afterward rose to fifteen. We had to take postage stamps in
change, and, having no pocket-book to carry them in, they would often
become torn and cracked, which rendered them worthless. Thus we lost a
considerable portion of our precious money.

We soon became very restless and discontented here, and revolved
desperate plans of escape. It seemed like a hopeless prospect, for we
were in the third story, and could only escape by passing at each door
through successive relays of guards, all of which had a reserve ready
to coöperate with them in case of alarm. Our room was next to the
jailor's office, and on the opposite side was a row of rooms
containing all kinds of prisoners. The one next to us was occupied by
a number of Federal soldiers--some charged with being spies, and
others with murder.

One of the latter was Captain Webster. He was a young and most
handsome man, not over twenty-two years of age. He had, on one
occasion, been sent to take a notorious guerilla captain, named
Simpson, who was then hiding within our lines. When he was found,
Webster summoned him to surrender. Instead of doing so he fired his
pistol and started to run; but Webster also fired, and mortally
wounded him.

When Webster was subsequently taken prisoner, he was held for the
_murder_ of Simpson, and confined in the room next to us. The charge I
have repeatedly heard, not only from himself and fellow prisoners, but
from the officers of the prison. Judge of my surprise, then, on
reading, since my return home, of the hanging of Webster for
_violating his parole_. This being a charge that the law of war would
visit with death, the Confederates _officially lied_ in substituting
the one charge for the other, in order to justify themselves, and
prevent retaliation.

Webster, too, was tired of confinement, and ready to risk all in a
bold strike for freedom. The decision was soon made, and Christmas
evening was the time fixed for the attempt. There were a number of
citizens in the room below, who were in a more favorable situation for
initiating the movement than we were. We had opened telegraphic
communication, as we had done before at Atlanta, and after full
consultation, it was agreed to let these citizens give the signal.
This was to be the cry of fire, and when it was heard, we were all to
rush upon the guards, and overpower them. There were only about thirty
guards in the building, and we had over a hundred and fifty men
concerned in the plot. We were, therefore, sure of success if every
one performed his part--at least in getting out of the building, which
was a less difficult task than leaving the city.

On Christmas eve everything was in readiness with us, and most
anxiously did we wait for the signal. The hours rolled slowly on, and
midnight passed, but no signal was given. We afterward learned that
the citizens below failed in courage when the decisive moment came,
and thus defeated a plan which would, in all probability, have been
successful, and would have startled rebeldom no little in thus
bursting open their strongest prison.

The next night we resolved to try once more. And that no
faint-heartedness might now interfere, we appointed Webster our
leader, knowing that he would not falter. Again we prepared. The locks
of all the rooms were drawn except our own, which was so close to the
guard that it could not be taken off without great danger of

Some did not want to go, but were very kind to those of us who did,
supplying us with serviceable shoes, and taking our worn-out ones in
return. At last everything being in readiness, we again waited for the
signal. Those in our room were to remain quiet till it was given, and
then burst off the door, which was a light one, and rush on the guard.
We took a board that supported the water-bucket, and four of us,
holding it as a battering-ram, did not doubt our ability to dash the
door into the middle of the large room, and seize the guard before he
could make up his mind as to the nature of the assault.

The other small rooms were soon vacated, the movement being concealed
from the observation of the guard, by the inmates of the large room,
into which all the others opened, standing up around the doors.

For an instant all was silence. We lifted up our hearts in prayer to
God, that He would be with us, and preserve us through the coming
strife, and if consistent with His high will, permit us to regain our

What can cause the delay? Minute after minute passes, and the dead
silence is only broken by the throbbing of our own hearts. We stand
with the board ready, and our spirits eager for the coming contest,
which shall lead us to grapple, with naked arms, the shining bayonets
of the guards. We do not doubt the issue, for the hope of liberty
inspires us.

But now we see our friends creeping _back to their rooms_! We grind
our teeth with rage and chagrin, but soon hear the explanation, which
makes us think that the Lord is indeed watching over us.

Just as our leader was ready to give the signal, a friend pressed to
his side, and informed him that we were betrayed, and that an extra
guard of over eighty men was drawn up in line before the door, with
orders to shoot down every one that issued from it, while still
another detachment was ready to close in behind, and make an
indiscriminate massacre. Had we attempted to carry out our plan, the
guard would have yielded before us until we were drawn into the trap,
and then they hoped to make such a slaughter as would be a perpetual
warning to prison-breakers.

When I first heard this story, I thought it the invention of some
weak-nerved individual who feared the trial and the danger of our
scheme. But it was true. The next day the Richmond papers contained a
full _expose_ of the whole affair, and Captain Alexander, the tyrant
who commanded the prison, threatened to have every one engaged in it
tied up and whipped. But he finally concluded not to do so, and the
excitement passed away.


Letter sent Home--Alarming Pestilence--Our Quarters
Changed--Rowdyism--Fairy Stories--Judge Baxter--Satanic
Strategy--Miller's History--An Exchange with a Dead Man--Effect of
Democratic Victories--Attempt to Make us Work--Digging out of a
Cell--Worse than the Inquisition--Unexpected Interference--List from
"Yankee Land"--Clothing Stolen--Paroled--A Night of Joy--Torch-light
March--On the Cars--The Boat--Reach Washington--Receive Medals, Money,
and Promotion--Home.

All of our party had repeatedly tried to send letters home to let our
friends know that we were still alive, but hitherto had failed. Now we
had a providential opportunity. Some of the prisoners who were
captured at the battle of Murfreesboro' were brought to Richmond, and
confined in the basement of our building. While they remained, I wrote
a note with a pencil, on the fly-leaf of a book, and when taken down
to wash in the morning, slipped around to the door of the Western
prisoners, and gave it to an Irishman. He concealed it until he was
exchanged, and then mailed it to my father. It produced a great
sensation among my friends, most of whom had long since given me up
for dead. It was the first that had been heard of our party since the
Atlanta escape, and was at once published in my county paper, and
copied in many others. The following is the note:

                              RICHMOND, VA., January 6th, 1863.

     DEAR FATHER--I take the opportunity of writing by a paroled
     prisoner, to let you know that I am well, and doing as well
     as could be expected under the circumstances. I have seen
     some rather hard times, but the worst is past. Our lives are
     now safe, but we will be kept during the war, unless
     something lucky turns up for us. There are six of our
     original railroad party here yet. Seven were executed in
     June, and eight escaped in October.

     I stand the imprisonment pretty well. The worst of it is to
     hear of our men getting whipped so often. I hear all the
     news here; read three or four papers a day. I even know that
     Bingham was beat in the last election, for which I am very

     The price of everything here is awful. It costs thirty cents
     to send a letter. This will account for my not writing to
     all my friends. Give my sincere love to them, and tell them
     to write to me.

     You may write by leaving the letter unsealed, putting in
     nothing that will offend the Secesh, and directing to Castle
     Thunder, Richmond, Virginia. I want to know the private
     news--how many of my friends have fallen. Also tell who has
     been drafted in our neighborhood, who married, and who like
     to be. Also if you have a gold dollar at hand, slip it into
     the letter--not more, as it might tempt the Secesh to _hook_
     it. I have tried to send word through to you several times
     before, but there is now a better chance of communicating
     since we came from Atlanta to Richmond. Mother, (here
     referring to religious experience.) * * * * * * *

     No doubt you all would like to see me again, but let us have
     patience; many a better man than I am has suffered more, and
     many parents are mourning for their children without the
     hope of seeing them again. So keep your courage up, and do
     not be uneasy about me. Write as soon as you can, and tell
     all my friends to do the same.
                               Ever yours,
                                     WILLIAM PITTENGER.
         New Somerset, Jefferson county, Ohio.

We remained in this prison, reading of the victories of Southern
rebels, and the doings of Northern traitors, until the first of
February. At that time they wanted our range of rooms for a hospital.
This range was not adapted to the purpose, but was at least as good as
the garret above, where all who went were sure of death.

Disease was now making fearful havoc. The small-pox prevailed to a
frightful extent, and the whole town was alarmed. Men were dying
around us every day; none of our party was infected, but many of the
Tennesseeans were. It was no wonder that they found it necessary to
extend their hospitals, for the treatment we received was well
calculated to make the hardiest men sink beneath their trials. But
these fearful ravages of pestilence did at least the good of securing
our removal from the pen in which we had been confined. At first we
were taken to the bedlam I have described before; and even this was
better than the loneliness and _ennui_ of our strict confinement.

It seemed like freedom by contrast. We now had a fire also--a luxury
which one who has been _freezing_ for two months knows well how to
appreciate. It is true it did not warm half the people around it, and
these had not the courtesy of our brethern in the Libby; yet it was a
great thing to be occasionally warm.

The amusements of our new friends were striking, if not elegant. When
a dense crowd would gather round the fire, some mischievous Irishman
would cry out, "Char-rge, me boys;" and, with his confederates, rush
against the mass, knocking men in all directions, upsetting pots,
skinning elbows, and spoiling tempers generally. Fights were of
frequent occurrence, and it only needed the addition of intoxicating
liquor to constitute a perfect pandemonium.

The evenings were a compensation. After the turmoil of the day was
over, and most of those who had blankets had retired to rest, a party
of the worst rowdies, who had been annoying us all day, would gather
around the stove, and appear in a new character--that of
story-tellers. I have spent the greater part of the night in listening
to them, and have heard some of the finest fairy tales, and most
romantic legends. But the approach of day put an end to all the
romantic disposition of my companions, and left them ill ruffians as

We soon wearied of this perpetual ferment, and petitioned to be put
below in the room with the Union men. After some delay it was granted,
and then came a more pleasant part of my prison life. The room was
large, but dark, and the windows not only secured by crossing bars,
but woven over with wires. The refuse tobacco-stems of the manufactory
had been thrown in this room, till they covered the floor to a depth
of several inches.

But to compensate for these disagreeable accompaniments of our new
apartment, it had a stove, and was warm; so that the terrible
suffering with the cold, which none can appreciate but those who have
endured, was now at an end. There was also good society here--nearly a
hundred Union men from different parts of the South--all intensely
patriotic, and many of them possessing great intelligence. In talking
with these men, and hearing their adventures and opinions, I passed
many a pleasant hour, and gained a great insight into the views of
Southern Unionists.

One of these, who became an intimate friend, was a Scotchman, named
Miller. When the war commenced, he was residing in Texas, and
witnessed the manner in which that State was precipitated into
secession. The first part of the plan was to excite rumors of a
contemplated slave insurrection; then the conspirators would place
poison and weapons in certain localities, and find them, as if by
accident. This was continued till the public mind was in a perfect
ferment. The next step was to take some slaves, and whip them until
the torture made them confess their own guilt, and also implicate the
leading opponents of secession. This was enough. The slaves and
Unionists were hung together on the nearest tree, and all opposition
to the nefarious schemes brutally crushed. Thus has slavery furnished
the means of paving the way to treason!

Miller himself was taken, and after narrowly escaping the fate of his
friends, was sent eastward to be tried as a traitor. He twice made his
escape, once traveling over two hundred miles, and each time, when
captured, telling a different story. Finally, he represented himself
as a citizen from New York. When brought before Judge Baxter, the
magistrate of Castle Thunder, for examination, he merely said:

"I told you all about my case before."

The judge, who was considerably intoxicated, thought that he had
actually been examined before, and dismissed him without further
questioning. He was brought up several times after that, but always
gave them the same answer, thus keeping them completely deceived, and
was at length exchanged.

I here became acquainted with a young man of the Potomac army, whom I
shall call Charlie. He was employed to go near Richmond to fire a
bridge, and collect important information. While executing his
perilous mission, he was captured, with papers in his possession fully
proving his character as a spy, and was despatched with a sergeant as
escort, toward Richmond. While on the way, the sergeant, who was fond
of liquor, got a chance to indulge, and became very careless. Charlie,
watching his opportunity, slipped from the breast pocket of his guard
the packet of papers containing his charges, with the directions for
his disposal, and threw them into a pond by the wayside.

When he arrived at Richmond, the authorities did not know his
character, and put him into the large room with the other prisoners,
instead of confining him separately. When the evidence against him
arrived, the commanding officer entered with a guard, and inquired for
him. Now was his last chance for life, and well was it improved! It so
happened that a man had died in the prison the night before, and
Charlie at once responded:

"O! that fellow died last night," and pointed to the corpse.

"Died, has he! the rascal! We'd 'a hung him this week, and saved him
the trouble if he'd only held on!" growled the officer, and departed.

Charlie was shortly after exchanged under the _dead man's name_!

Just when the discouragement of all lovers of their country was the
greatest, resulting from the news of the rise and progress of the
peace party in the North, a Tennessee Congressman visited our prison.
He gathered the Tennesseeans around him, and urged them to return to
their allegiance; stating that the Union cause was now hopeless, as it
was abandoned even by the Northern States, which were in the hands of
the Democrats, who would make peace on any terms; closing by asking
them now to _do right_, take the oath of allegiance to the
Confederacy, and go into its army, promising that all their previous
obstinacy should be forgiven. The effect was wonderful! Listen, ye who
cavil at the government, and while opposing its policy, still think
you do no harm! These were loyal men, and had proved it by abandoning
all for the cherished cause--many of them spending weary months in
loathsome dungeons. Yet on hearing of the triumph of this faction,
which promises to restore the Union by conciliating and wooing back
the rebels, over one-half of them yielded, and gave that consent which
neither danger nor suffering had been able to force from them! Thus
were over twenty recruits from one room of one prison, obtained for
the rebel army by the triumphs of Northern Democracy!

A part remained faithful, and this excited the ire of the
secessionists. To punish them, Captain Alexander issued an order that
all the menial service of the prison should be performed by Union men.
Some obeyed the order, while others would not. But those who did the
work complained that unwilling ones were not made to help them. To
remedy this, a list was prepared, and the names taken in order. One of
the first called was a Tennesseean, named McCoy. He answered boldly:

"I'm not going."

"What's the matter, now?" demanded the sergeant.

"I didn't come here to work; and if you can't board me without, you
may send me home," replied the fearless man.

"Well! well! you'll be attended to," growled the sergeant, and
proceeded with the roll. Four others likewise refused, and were
reported to Captain Alexander, who at once ordered them to be put into
"the cell." This was a dark place beside the open court, and only
about four feet wide, by six or seven in length. It had no floor but
the damp earth, and was destitute of light. Here they were informed
that they should remain until they agreed to work.

We found another alternative for them.--There was a piece of file and
a scrap of stove-pipe in our room, which we took, and buying a candle
from the commissary, watched our opportunity, when taken out to wash,
to slip them into the cell. As soon as these necessaries were
received, the boys begun faithfully to dig their way out under the
wall. All day and night they worked, but did not get through. The next
day, we supplied them with another candle, and they labored on. Toward
morning, they broke upward through the crust of the ground outside.
The foremost one wormed his way out, and glided off. He was never
heard from, and no doubt reached the Union lines. The next man was
just under the wall, when the barking of a dog, that happened to be
prowling around, drew the attention of the guard that way, and
prevented his escape. But though the stampede was thus arrested, it
was a lesson that prevented the confinement of any more in the cell.

Yet they were not content to give up the idea of making us their
servants. I happened to be on the next list prepared. This time the
task was to dig in Captain Alexander's garden, which we would have
been obliged to perform with an armed guard standing over us.

Of course, we refused to go. As a punishment, we were ordered into the
yard, which was only a vacant corner of the building, enclosed by high
brick walls, on the top of which guards walked. It was a cold day in
February, and was raining. We were nearly naked, having only the
remnant of the rags that had already served for more than their time.
The bottoms were out of my shoes, and the water stood in the yard
several inches deep. The cold, wet wind, swept down with biting
sharpness, and almost robbed us of sensation. We paced the narrow
bounds, through the mud and water, until too weary to walk any more,
and then resigned ourselves to our misery!

Here we remained from early in the morning till in the evening. They
told us we would have to stay there till we agreed to work, or froze
to death! The first we resolved never to do. The latter was prevented
by relief from an unexpected source.

The old commissary, who had been so harsh to us when we first arrived,
now went to Captain Alexander, and remonstrated with him for his

Said he, "If you want to kill the men, and I know the rascals deserve
it, do it at once. Hanging is the best way. But don't keep them there
to die by inches, for it will disgrace us all over the world."

This logic produced a good effect, and the order was given to send us
back to our room, which, with its warm fire, never seemed more
pleasant. It was well they did not keep us out during the night, for
we had determined to scale the wall, if we lost half of our number in
the attempt.

The effects of that terrible day of freezing were soon visible. On
entering the room, the grateful warmth produced a stupor from which
most of us awoke, sick. Some died. I, myself, contracted a disease of
the lungs, which rendered me an invalid for months after regaining my

One day we were ordered into line, and the names of all our railroad
party, with a few of the others, called over. One, whose name was
omitted, asked the reason of the omission. The officer answered:

"We can't tell, for this list came from Yankee land."

The mention of "Yankee land" started conjectures afloat thick and
fast. Why should a list be sent from the North? Could it be for the
purpose of exchange? The whole prison was in a ferment.

They soon discovered that a general exchange of political prisoners
was in contemplation. This added fuel to the flames. But as the
truce-boats went off one after another, and week after week passed by,
leaving us still in our dark and wearisome prison, hope again died
away. Every person who ventured to speak of exchange was laughed into

One day an officer came into the room, and ordered a sergeant to take
the name of every man who claimed United States protection, in order
to obtain clothes for him. Soon the clothing came. It did not
comprise a complete suit, but was extremely welcome. Never did I see a
peacock strut with more ostentation than did some of the prisoners on
donning the uniform. And it was worthy of pride. It was a token that
we were not forsaken, but that a great nation was extending its
protection over us. The ragged guards around, clad in their miserable
butternut suits, growled many uncomplimentary allusions to the
penuriousness of their own government, in contrast with the
munificence of ours.

There were only about one hundred _parts_ of suits distributed, though
the papers, the next day, stated the number at _five_ hundred! and
this I afterward found was actually the number sent from Washington.
The entire four hundred, and part of the last hundred, was kept by the
officers as a compensation for their trouble in distributing them! But
they certainly acted with more than their ordinary honesty in giving
us any at all!

On the evening of the 17th of March, when we were sitting around the
fire, lazily, but not indifferently, discussing the siege of
Vicksburg, and laying many infallible plans by which it might be at
once reduced, an officer entered, and gave the strange order for all
"who wanted to go to the _United States_ to come to the office!"

When I obeyed, it was with very little hope that there was really a
chance once more to stand beneath the folds of our loved banner. Even
when part of our room-mates had gone in, and signed the oath of
parole, I feared that the good news was _only_ for them. To test the
matter, I went forward, and as I gave my name, fully expected to
hear--"The engine-thieves can't go"--but no objection was made. For a
moment a delicious hope thrilled through my veins--a vision of
happiness and home, dazzling as a flash of summer lightning, shone
before my eyes--but it instantly faded before the remembrance of our
Atlanta deception.

It was announced that we were to start at four o'clock the next
morning. The evening, as might be expected, was one of wild
excitement. Nearly all acted like men bereft of reason. Their
joyousness found vent in vociferous cheers--in dancing and bounding
over the floor--in embracing each other, and pledging kind
remembrances. But there were a few who were not permitted to go, and I
pitied them. I remembered when we had been left by our comrades on our
first arrival in Richmond, and my heart bled for these forsaken ones,
as they sat cheerless and alone, seeming to feel even more wretched
than ever, amid the general joy.

It was near midnight before we became calm enough to offer up our
usual evening devotions. But when all were at length still, wearied
out by the very excess of joy, and when the quietness that ever
follows overwhelming emotions had settled down upon us, we knelt in
prayer--a prayer of deep, strong, fervent thankfulness; and we
implored that we might not be deceived in our bright and vivid hopes,
and dashed back from our anticipated paradise; yet if such should be
His high and mysterious will, and we should see these hopes fade, as
others faded before them, we asked for strength to bear the trial.
Thus composed, we laid down to sleep, and await the event.

Few eyes closed during the entire night. Fancy was too busy peopling
her fairy landscapes--picturing the groups that awaited us beyond that
boundary which, for nearly a year, frowned before us, gloomy and
impassable as the silent river of death! But even as we muse, what
unbidden fears spring up to darken the prospect, and stain the
brightness of our joy! How many of those friends whose love was as our
life, may be no more! For a year, not a whisper had been heard, and we
trembled as we thought of the ravages of time and of battle. These
and other thoughts whirled through our throbbing brains during that
ever-memorable night, and were only broken by the summons of the
commanding officer, who, long ere morning light, gave the thrilling
order to--_prepare for our journey_!

Hurriedly we thronged to our feet. It was true! Freedom once more! Our
terrible captivity was passed! O joy! JOY!--almost too wild and
delirious for earth!

There was a hurrying around in the darkness illumined by the flashing
of torch-lights--a discordant calling of names--a careful inspection
to see that none went but those allowed; then, forming two lines in
the courtyard, and with bounding hearts, we passed _outward_ through
the dreaded portals of Castle Thunder--the same portals we had passed
_inward_ more than three months before! passed out into the cool, but
_free_ night air!

We next marched through the muddy, unlighted streets for many squares.
There were with us a number of sick, who were not willing to be left
behind; and as the rebels refused to provide conveyances, we helped
them--encircling them in our arms, and supporting their tottering
steps during the weary distance. Some had to be carried altogether,
but the burden was light, upborne, as we were, on the wings of hope
and exultation.

After we were seated in the cars, we found in some Richmond papers the
intelligence that "a large number of engine-thieves, bridge-burners,
murderers, robbers, and traitors will leave this morning for the
United States," also congratulating themselves on the riddance. Our
congratulations were not less fervid!

We glided slowly along, passing fortifications and rifle-pits, till we
arrived at Petersburg; then onward to City Point, the place of general
exchange. Here, for the first time in eleven months, we saw the "flag
of the free," floating in proud beauty from the truce-boat "State of
Maine." It was a glad sight! Her undulating stars were fairer to us
than the brightest constellations that ever sparkled in the azure
fields above.

The grossest frauds are often practised by the unscrupulous
secessionists in these exchanges. I will give a case that occurred at
this time.

A rebel soldier was wounded in the head at the first battle of
Manassas. It affected his brain, and disordered his intellect, so that
even after he had recovered physically, he was mentally unable to
perform the duties of a soldier. He was confined a short time in
Castle Thunder, and then sent to Camp Lee, to try him again. But he
was no better than before, and they gave up the attempt in despair.
Then they exchanged him to us, and got a _sound man_ in his place!

When the boat rounded out from the shore on its homeward way, our joy
knew no bounds. It seemed as if we had awakened from a hideous
nightmare dream to find that all its shapes of horror and grinning
fiends had passed away, and left us standing in the free sunlight once
more. Our hearts beat glad music to the thresh of the wheels on the
water, knowing that each ponderous stroke was placing a greater
distance between us and our hated enemies.

Then, too, the happy welcome with which we were greeted; and the good
cheer, so different from our miserable prison fare, and the kind
faces, smiling all around, showed in living colors that we were
freemen again.

Down the river we went, passing the historic ground of the James, as
in a delirious dream of rapture! We were scarcely conscious of passing
events. No emotion on earth has the same sweep and intensity as the
wild, throbbing sensations that rush thick and fast through the bosom
of the liberated captive!

On we went--reached the gunboats that ply up and down the river, like
giant sentinels, guarding the avenue to rebellion--reached the river's
mouth, passed onward up the bay to Washington! As we came in sight, we
thronged tumultuously to the vessel's side, and bent eager, loving
eyes on the snowy marble front, and white towering steeple of our
nation's Capitol.

On our arrival, we were requested by the Secretary of War to give our
depositions before Hon. Joseph Holt, Judge Advocate General, that the
world at large might know on the surest foundation the truth of our
narrative. We were received by the Judge himself, and Major-General
Hitchcock, who was present, with the most marked cordiality. This
interview was merely a friendly one, and was passed in familiar

On our second visit, we found a justice of the peace in waiting to
administer the necessary oath, and also a phonographer to write our
testimony. We were examined separately, and the result published
officially in the _Army and Naval Gazette_, and also in most of the
newspapers of the day.

We then called on the Secretary of War, accompanied by our kind
friends, Major-General Hitchcock and J. C. Wetmore, Ohio State Agent.
Generals Sigel and Stahl, with many other distinguished personages,
were in waiting, but we were given the preference, and at once

The Secretary conversed with us most affably for some time. Then going
into another room, he brought out _six medals_, (see engraving--all
are similar,) and presented them to us, saying that they were the
first ever given to private soldiers. Jacob Parrott, the boy who
endured the terrible beating, received, as he well deserved, the first

[Illustration: THE MEDAL--(_reduced size._)]

[Illustration: REVERSE OF MEDAL.]

He next presented us with one hundred dollars each, and ordered all
arrearages to be paid, and the money and the value of the arms taken
from us to be refunded.

This was not all. He requested Governor Todd to promote each of us to
first lieutenants in the Ohio troops; and, if he failed to do so,
promised to give us that grade in the regular army. We then received
furloughs to visit our homes, and left his presence profoundly
convinced that "republics are" not always "ungrateful."

We were then escorted by our friends to the Executive mansion, and had
a most pleasing interview with our noble President. His kindness was
equal to that of the Secretary. After relating to him some incidents
of prison experience, and receiving his sympathizing comments, we took
our leave.

And now--safe in a land of freedom--with the consciousness of having
performed our duty--surrounded by fathers and mothers, brothers and
sisters, wives and children, who had long mourned us as dead--our
dangers past, and our sufferings rewarded--I drop the vail.


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