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Title: My Cave Life in Vicksburg - With Letters of Trial and Travel
Author: Loughborough, Mary Ann
Language: English
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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.

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  443 & 445 BROADWAY.

  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by


  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
  for the Southern District of New York.



  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

      I. Our Party set out for Vicksburg--The Ride and Scenery--
         Scenes during the first Bombardment--View of the City
         and River--Opening of a Battery--The Enemy,                   9

     II. At Night the Signal Gun sounds--The Gunboats are coming
         down--The Town Awake--Shell Music--The Boats near us--
         Rapid Descent to the Cave--They have passed safely--Why
         the Confederate Guns do not fire--The Burning Transport,     15

    III. Masked Battery on the Opposite Shore--Taking the Cars--
         Fright of the Negro Porters--Major Watts's Party--
         Stampede of Ladies,                                          20

     IV. Jackson threatened--Colonel Grierson--General Pemberton
         departs--My Mind is made up to go also--Ride on the
         Cars--Vicksburg again,                                       25

      V. To Vicksburg again--Aspirations--Troops passing to
         Black River--General Pemberton orders all Non-Combatants
         to leave the City,                                           29

     VI. Rumors of the Federal Advance on Black River--Gunboats
         on the River--Cannonading and Fire at Warrenton--
         General Pemberton's Forces engaged at Black River,           35

    VII. Sunday, the 17th--After Church--The Demoralized
         Army--Soldiers' Stories,                                     40

   VIII. Fresh Troops from Warrenton for the Intrenchments--
         "We'll Protect You"--Fears,                                  46

     IX. The Ball in Motion--View from the Court House--Federal
         Prisoners sent across the River--Movements of Gunboats,      49

      X. Groundless Fear of an Attack by Gunboats--Shells
         fall--The Bombardment begins--Cave Shelter--Garrison
         Force--Cave and Cave Life,                                   55

     XI. Buried Alive--House Breaking--Appearance of Shell at
         Night--Under the Root of a Fig Tree,                         63

    XII. Fire at Night--A Narrow Escape--Moonlight--Shells
         from the Battle Field--Employment and Traffic,               69

   XIII. Shells from the Rear of the City--Providential
         Deliverance--Pantomime--Pea Meal--Hospital Accident,         73

    XIV. Dogs--Horses--Descent of a Shell through a Cave--A
         Mother's Cries--Deserted Homes--Silence,                     78

     XV. An Excitement--Sinking of the Cincinnati--Sky Parlor
         Hill--Moving Prospects,                                      84

    XVI. Fall of a Shell at the Corner of my Cave--Music--
         Casualties of the Day,                                       89

   XVII. Ride to the Fortifications--Number of Caves along the
         Road--Appearance of the New Home--Change of Missiles,        94

  XVIII. Morning--Charge of General Burbridge--Horrors of
         War--An Important Discovery,                                 99

    XIX. An Acceptable Present--Hunger--Half Rations--In the
         Rifle Pits,                                                 105

     XX. A Rainy Morning--A Waterspout--Dismal Experience--
         Brighter Prospects--An Unfortunate Sleeper,                 109

    XXI. Weary--The Couriers from General Johnston--Dangerous
         Pasturage--Mule Meat--Local Songs--Missed by a Minié
         Ball,                                                       114

   XXII. A Wounded Horse--Shrapnell Shells--Charge on the
         Intrenchments--Fearful Firing,                              122

  XXIII. An Unhappy Accident--The Unfortunate Ladies of
         Vicksburg--Approach of Mortar Shells near the
         Intrenchments,                                              128

   XXIV. Death of a Faithful Servant--Blowing up of a Fort--Loss
         of Prominent Officers--Surrender of Vicksburg,              135

    XXV. A Fright--George my Protector--A Polite Soldier gets
         the Tent Fly,                                               143

  LETTERS OF TRIAL AND TRAVEL,                                       147





It has been said that the peasants of the Campagna, in their semi-annual
visits to the Pontine marshes, arrive piping and dancing; but it is seldom
they return in the same merry mood, the malaria fever being sure to affect
them more or less. Although I did not leave Jackson on the night of the
15th piping and dancing, yet it was with a very happy heart and very
little foreboding of evil that I set off with a party of friends for a
pleasant visit to Vicksburg. Like the peasants, I returned more serious
and with a dismal experience. How little do we know with what rapidity
our feelings may change! We had been planning a visit to Vicksburg for
some weeks, and anticipating pleasure in meeting our friends. How gladly,
in a few days, we left it, with the explosions of bombs still sounding in
our ears! How beautiful was this evening: the sun glowed and warmed into
mellow tints over the rough forest trees; over the long moss that swung in
slow and stately dignity, like old-time dancers, scorning the quick and
tripping movements of the present day! Glowing and warming over all, this
evening sun, this mellow, pleasant light, breaking in warm tints over the
rugged ground of the plantation, showed us the home scenes as we passed;
the sober and motherly cows going home for the evening's milking through
the long lanes between the fields, where the fences threw shadows across
the road; making strange, weird figures of the young colts' shadows, lean
and long-limbed and distorted; the mothers, tired of eating the grass that
grew so profusely, were standing in quiet contentment, or drank from the
clear runs of water. And so we passed on by the houses, where the planter
sat on his veranda, listening to the voice of his daughter reading the
latest paper, while round her fair head, like a halo, the lingering beams
of the sun played.

And on to Black River, "Big Black," with its slow, sluggish tide! Dark,
like the Stygian stream, it flowed in the mist of the evening, the
twilight. And soon we see Vicksburg, classic ground forever in America.
The Hudson must now yield the palm to the Father of Waters. Our interest
will centre around spots hallowed by the deeds of our countrymen. I had
thought, during the first bombardment of Vicksburg, that the town must
have been a ruin; yet very little damage has been done, though very few
houses are without evidence of the first trial of metal. One, I saw, with
a hole through the window; behind was one of corresponding size through
the panel of the door, which happened to be open. The corner of the piano
had been taken off, and on through the wall the shot passed; one, also,
passed through another house, making a huge gap through the chimney. And
yet the inhabitants live in their homes (those who have not lost some
loved one) happy and contented, not knowing what moment the house may be
rent over their heads by the explosion of a shell.

"Ah!" said I to a friend, "how is it possible you live here?" "After one
is accustomed to the change," she answered, "we do not mind it; but
becoming accustomed, that is the trial." I was reminded of the poor man in
an infected district who was met by a traveller and asked, "How do you
live here?" "Sir, we die," was the laconic reply. And this is becoming
accustomed. I looked over this beautiful landscape, and in the distance
plainly saw the Federal transports lying quietly at their anchorage. Was
it a dream? Could I believe that over this smiling scene, in the bright
April morning, the blight of civil warfare lay like a pall?--lay over the
fearful homesteads--some, even now, jarred by the shock of former
conflicts--lay by the hearthstones, making moan in many a bereaved heart
looking forward with vague fears to the coming summer.

What soul in the land but has felt and witnessed this grief--this
unavailing sorrow for the brave and untimely dead? I thought of the letter
from the sorrowing one in Iowa, whose son, a prisoner, I had nursed,
receiving with the last breath words for the distant, unconscious mother;
of her sorrow in writing of him in his distant grave; of her pride in him,
her only son. How many in the land could take her hand and weep over a
mutual sorrow! And in the hospital wards, men, who still hold the name of
Americans, together were talking of battles, prisoners, and captors, when
each told the other of acts of bravery performed on hostile fields, and
took out pictures of innocent babes, little children, and wives, to show
each other, all feeling a sympathy and interest in the unknown faces.
Verily, war is a species of passionate insanity. While standing and
thinking thus, the loud booming of the guns in the water batteries
startled me, the smoke showing that it was the battery just below me, that
opened, I was told, on what was thought to be a masked battery on the
opposite shore. No reply was elicited, however; and on looking through the
glass, we saw in the line of levee, between the river and the Federal
canal, a spot where new earth seemed to have been thrown up, and branches
of trees to have been laid quite regularly in one place. This was all.
General Lee, however, had ordered the spot to be fired on, and the firing
continued some little time. Our ride that evening had been delightful. We
sat long on the veranda in the pleasant air, with the soft melody and rich
swell of music from the band floating around us, while ever and anon my
eye sought the bend of the river, two miles beyond, where the Federal
transports, brought out in bold relief by the waning, crimson light of the
evening, lay in seeming quiet. Still, resting in Vicksburg seemed like
resting near a volcano.



At night I was sleeping profoundly, when the deep boom of the signal
cannon startled and awoke me. Another followed, and I sprang from my bed,
drew on my slippers and robe, and went out on the veranda. Our friends
were already there. The river was illuminated by large fires on the bank,
and we could discern plainly the huge, black masses floating down with the
current, now and then belching forth fire from their sides, followed by
the loud report, and we could hear the shells exploding in the upper part
of town. The night was one of pitchy darkness; and as they neared the
glare thrown upon the river from the large fires, the gunboats could be
plainly seen. Each one, on passing the track of the brilliant light on the
water, became a target for the land batteries. We could hear the gallop,
in the darkness, of couriers upon the paved streets; we could hear the
voices of the soldiers on the riverside. The rapid firing from the boats,
the roar of the Confederate batteries, and, above all, the screaming,
booming sound of the shells, as they exploded in the air and around the
city, made at once a new and fearful scene to me. The boats were rapidly
nearing the lower batteries, and the shells were beginning to fly
unpleasantly near. My heart beat quickly as the flashes of light from the
portholes seemed facing us. Some of the gentlemen urged the ladies to go
down into the cave at the back of the house, and insisted on my going, if
alone. While I hesitated, fearing to remain, yet wishing still to witness
the termination of the engagement, a shell exploded near the side of the
house. Fear instantly decided me, and I ran, guided by one of the ladies,
who pointed down the steep slope of the hill, and left me to run back for
a shawl. While I was considering the best way of descending the hill,
another shell exploded near the foot, and, ceasing to hesitate, I flew
down, half sliding and running. Before I had reached the mouth of the
cave, two more exploded on the side of the hill near me. Breathless and
terrified, I found the entrance and ran in, having left one of my slippers
on the hillside.

I found two or three of our friends had already sought refuge under the
earth; and we had not been there long before we were joined by the
remainder of the party, who reported the boats opposite the house. As I
had again become perfectly calm and collected, I was sorry to find myself
slightly fluttered and in a state of rapid heart-beatings, as shell after
shell fell in the valley below us, exploding with a loud, rumbling noise,
perfectly deafening. The cave was an excavation in the earth the size of a
large room, high enough for the tallest person to stand perfectly erect,
provided with comfortable seats, and altogether quite a large and
habitable abode (compared with some of the caves in the city), were it not
for the dampness and the constant contact with the soft earthy walls. We
had remained but a short time, when one of the gentlemen came down to tell
us that all danger was over, and that we might witness a beautiful sight
by going upon the hill, as one of the transports had been fired by a
shell, and was slowly floating down as it burned.

We returned to the house, and from the veranda looked on the burning boat,
the only one, so far as we could ascertain, that had been injured, the
other boats having all passed successfully by the city. We remained on the
veranda an hour or more, the gentlemen speculating on the result of the
successful run by the batteries. All were astonished and chagrined. It was
found that very few of the Confederate guns had been discharged at all.
Several reasons had been assigned; the real one was supposed to have been
the quality of the fuses that were recently sent from Richmond, and had
not been tried since their arrival. This night of all others they were
found to be defective. The lurid glare from the burning boat fell in red
and amber light upon the house, the veranda, and the animated faces turned
toward the river--lighting the white magnolias, paling the pink crape
myrtles, and bringing out in bright distinctness the railing of the
terrace, where drooped in fragrant wreaths the clustering passion vine:
fair and beautiful, but false, the crimson, wavering light.

I sat and gazed upon the burning wreck of what an hour ago had thronged
with human life; with men whose mothers had this very night prayed for
them; with men whose wives tearfully hovered over little beds, kissing
each tender, sleeping lid for the absent one. Had this night made them
orphans? Did this smooth, deceitful current of the glowing waters glide
over forms loved and lost to the faithful ones at home? O mother and wife!
ye will pray and smile on, until the terrible tidings come: "Lost at
Vicksburg!" Lost at Vicksburg! In how many a heart the name for years will
lie like a brand!--lie until the warm heart and tried soul shall be at
peace forever.



At breakfast, on the morning of the 17th, we heard discussed the question,
Whether there was a masked battery on the opposite shore or not? After
some words on the subject, pro and con, we ranged the shore with the
glass, seeing what the gentlemen believed to be a battery. They had been
talking some moments, when I took the glass and saw a number of Federal
soldiers walking on the levee toward the spot where the battery was
supposed to be. Several others seemed to be engaged on this very place
removing the branches. I called one of the gentlemen to look. I had given
up the glass but a few moments, when a volume of smoke burst from the
embankment, and two shells were sent, one after the other, exploding at
the depot just below us. It was indeed a battery, with two guns, which
commenced playing on the city vigorously.

We were to leave that morning, and hearing that the cars would not venture
up to the depot, went to a point below, where we found many anxious
persons awaiting their arrival. We entered the cars, and were sitting
quite securely and comfortably, when it was whispered around, much to the
consternation of passengers, that they were ordered to approach the depot
as near as possible, and take on freight; and thus we were carried up,
under shelter of a high bluff, with many misgivings on my part, as shell
after shell exploded on the hill above us. A nervous gentleman leaned
forward and told me that we were in great danger, and, speaking in the
same manner to many of the ladies, suggested that, if we made the request,
the conductor would doubtless back into a safe place.

Although so frightened, his mode of relief was so evidently selfish that
the gentlemen began joking him most unmercifully. In looking out of the
window, although I felt a sympathy for the poor fellow, I could not but be
amused at the ludicrous scene that presented itself: the porters bringing
the baggage and small freight from the depot acted as if wild--now halting
to await the course of a shell--then dashing forward, determined to reach
the cars before another came. Two negroes were coming with a small trunk
between them, and a carpet bag or two, evidently trying to show others of
the profession how careless of danger they were, and how foolish "niggars"
were to run "dat sort o' way." A shell came ricochetting through the air
and fell a few yards beyond the braves, when, lo! the trunk was sent
tumbling, and landed bottom upward; the carpet bag followed--one grand
somerset; and amid the cloud of dust that arose, I discovered one porter
doubled up by the side of the trunk, and the other crouching close by a
pile of plank. A shout from the negroes on the cars, and much laughter,
brought them on their feet, brushing their knees and giggling, yet looking
quite foolish, feeling their former prestige gone. Yet gentlemen and
servants avoided the depot as much as possible; and whenever a portion of
earth was seen to arise in a small volume, accompanied by smoke, men of
both colors immediately ran (without casting a look behind) swiftly in the
opposite direction, "gentlemen of color" generally, in their haste,
stumbling and turning one or two somersets before reaching a place of
safety. And so the shell continued coming, exploding on all sides, yet not
happening to reach us. Soon the glad sound of the whistle was heard, and,
after our long suspense, we felt the motion of the cars again, and were
glad to leave Vicksburg, with the sound of the cannon and noise of the
shell still ringing in our ears. Some young lady friends of mine were
laughing and telling me of their experience during the danger of the
previous night; of the fright and trouble they were in at the time the
gunboats passed. Major Watts, of the Confederate army, had given a very
large party, which they attended; one dressed in a corn-colored silk
trimmed with black lace; another in blue silk trimmed with white point,
and still another in white lace. In the confusion and alarm, as the first
shell fell, one of the young girls, who was dancing with a
brigadier-general, clasped her hands and exclaimed, "Where shall we go?"
In jest he said, "To the country for safety." Believing him serious, in
the confusion that ensued, she told her young friends. They set out alone
with all speed, frightened and trembling. Fortunately a gentleman friend,
discovering their absence, overtook, and proceeded with them. As a shell
would be heard coming, he would cry, "Fall!" and down they would drop in
the dust, party dresses and all, lying until the explosion took place;
then up, with wild eyes and fiercely beating hearts, flying with all speed
onward. After running about a mile in the fewest moments possible, and
falling several times, they stopped at the first house, and remained until
their friends sent out for them in carriages.

"If you could have seen our party dresses when we reached home, and our
hair, and the flowers, full of dust, you would never have forgotten us,"
cried one. "Ah!" said another, "we laugh gayly this morning, for we are
leaving the guns behind us; but last night it was a serious business, and
we absolutely ran for our lives. How delighted I was with the quiet rest
of our home in Jackson! I mentally forswore Vicksburg during the war. But
man proposes, and God disposes."



Our quiet was destined to be of short duration. We were startled one
morning by hearing that Colonel Grierson, of the Federal army, was
advancing on Jackson. The citizens applied to General Pemberton to protect
them. He answered that there was no danger. Suddenly, the ladies' carriage
and saddle horses were pressed, and the clerks and young men of the town
were mounted on them, and started out to protect us(!). I was told that
the first time they met the Federal troops most of them were captured, and
we heard of them no more. We need not have feared, for Colonel Grierson
was spoken of everywhere (so some ladies from the district through which
he passed, afterward told me) as a gentleman who would not allow his men
to treat any one with the slightest disrespect, or take the least article
from a citizen's house; and they all treated ladies courteously. There was
not one instance of unkindness to any human being, so far as I could
learn. He should have the thanks of every brave man and Southern woman.
This man, though an avowed enemy, scorned to torture or wage war on God's
weaker creation.

Again the rumor came that from Canton a large Federal force was advancing
on Jackson. Jackson was to be defended!! which I doubted. Soon General
Pemberton left and went to Vicksburg--Mrs. Pemberton to Mobile. Batteries
were being erected in different parts of the town--one directly opposite
the house I was in. I stood considering one morning where it was best to
go, and what it was best to do, when a quick gallop sounded on the drive,
and a friend rode hastily up and said, "Are you going to leave?" "Yes," I
answered, "but I have not yet decided where to go." "Well, I assure you
there is no time for deliberation; I shall take my family to Vicksburg, as
the safest place, and, if you will place yourself under my charge, I will
see you safely to your husband." So the matter was agreed upon, and we
were to leave that evening. Still, I was in doubt; the Federal army was
spreading all over the country, and I feared to remain where I was. Yet I
thought, may I not be in danger in Vicksburg? Suppose the gunboats should
make an attack? Still, it was true, as my friend had said, we were in far
more danger here from the rabble that usually followed a large army, and
who might plunder, insult, and rob us. No; to Vicksburg we must go!

Very hurriedly we made our arrangements, packing with scarcely a moment to
lose, not stopping to discuss our sudden move and the alarming news. Our
friends, also, were in as great a panic and dismay as ourselves. Mrs. A.
had some chests of heavy silver. Many of the pieces were such that it
would have taken some time to bury them. Her husband was absent, and she
feared to trust the negro men with the secret. Another friend feared to
bury her diamonds, thinking in that case she might never see them more;
feared, also, to retain them, lest, through negroes' tales, the cupidity
of the soldiers might become excited, and she be a sufferer in
consequence. Every tumult in the town caused us to fly to the doors and
windows, fearing a surprise at any time; and not only ladies, with pale
faces and anxious eyes, met us at every turn, but gentlemen of
anti-military dispositions were running hither and thither, with carpet
bags and little valises, seeking conveyances, determined to find a safe
place, if one could be found, where the sound of a gun or the smell of
powder might never disturb them any more; and, as they ran, each had an
alarming report to circulate; so that with the rush and roar of dray,
wagon, and carriage, the distracting reports of the rapid advance of the
Federal army, and the stifling clouds of dust that arose--with all, we
were in a fair way to believe ourselves any being or object but ourselves.

The depot was crowded with crushing and elbowing human beings, swaying to
and fro--baggage being thrown hither and thither--horses wild with fright,
and negroes with confusion; and so we found ourselves in a car, amid the
living stream that flowed and surged along--seeking the Mobile
cars--seeking the Vicksburg cars--seeking anything to bear them away from
the threatened and fast depopulating town.



Leaving the threatened, teeming town behind us, we moved slowly on--our
friends, my little one, and myself--toward Vicksburg. Ah! Vicksburg, our
city of refuge, the last to yield thou wilt be; and within thy homes we
will not fear the footstep of the victorious army, but rest in safety amid
thy hills! and those whom we love so dearly will comfort and sustain us in
our frightened and panic-stricken condition--will laugh away our woman's
fears, and lighten our hearts from the dread and suffering we have
experienced. Yet, is there any place where one is perfectly safe in these
terrible times? As we travelled along, the night air blowing so
refreshingly upon us through the open window--our seats so quiet--the
motion of the cars so soothing, my friends soon gave unmistakable signs
of the deep sleep that had fallen upon them;--the quiet of the night--the
air so fragrant--the heavens above us so calm and starlit!

I leaned my head against the window and looked into the darkness. How calm
and earnest the thoughts that came to me after the unquiet and
restlessness of the day! The blessed hope of the heavenly home seemed
doubly gracious. How longingly I looked upon the veil that lay between our
world and the beyond! Ah! the beyond, where Christ has gone, that our life
there may be perfected through him; the beyond, where many a night like
this my eyes have looked upon the stars; and my soul trembled and panted,
wistfully longing for more knowledge of the life above--wistfully longing
for the child, the martyr child, that suffered and died upon my bosom--the
child whose life on earth was so much a part of my own!--whose heavenly
life I wish so much to influence my own! And I seek, I know not what, as I
gaze upon those worlds above. I dare not ask for a revelation; but, ah!
could I penetrate beyond the stars and catch one ray of the glorious
life! Yet, the consciousness of a refined and purer existence is ever near
me, as my mind separates from the earth--gives itself up to intangible and
yearning inquiries, that will never be satisfied until I, too, stand
within the presence of my Creator. Oh, this night time, this starlit,
clear, and most pure heaven before us! Does not one see oneself more
clearly, when looking upward with the ever-undefined emotion that we feel
when gazing at the heavens at night?--does not our own unworthiness, our
soul's need of a Saviour, come to us as our conscience, overcoming the
callousness of the day and the world, whispers to us of many derelictions
from our duty? of prayers hastily said over? of opportunities for good to
our fellow men lost? The soft answer, the kind word and cheering smile to
the world weary, all have been passed by; and we see where good, to one
"of the least of these," might have made a life happier; and, as to the
pure, all things are pure, so we, as we pant for the heavenly life, and
the ennobling existence belonging to it, see more clearly the
imperfections in this, and in our daily duties, and our need of a Mediator
with him to whose pure eyes we are wholly unworthy; alas! so unworthy,
that with this life our worthiness can never begin.

As we passed along nearing Vicksburg, we could see camps and camp fires,
with the dim figures of men moving around them; we could see the sentinel
guarding the Black River bridge, silent and erect, looking in the darkness
like a dusky statue ornamenting some quaint and massive bridge of the old
countries; and farther, masses of men in the road marching quietly in the
night time, followed by the artillery; long lines of wagons, too, passing
through the ravines--now the white covers seen on the brow of the hill;
losing sight of them again, we hear the shout of the teamsters, the crack
of the whip--and again catch sight of a white top through trees--and the
occasional song of a wagoner. At the depot soldiers were crowded, waiting
to go out; and on our arrival at our friend's, we, so weary with the
excitement and turmoil of the day, were glad to rest our tired heads in
calmness and peace, with no fears for the morrow, or restless forebodings
of evil.

Upon reading the papers the next morning, almost the first article that
caught my eye was an order from General Pemberton, insisting on all
non-combatants leaving the city. "Heretofore," he said, "I have merely
requested that it should be done; now I demand it." "Ah!" cried I, "have
we no rest for the sole of our foot? Must we again go through the fright
and anxiety of yesterday?" "We cannot leave here," replied my friend.
"Where can we go? Here we are among our friends--we are welcome, and we
feel in safety. Let us at least share the fate of those we love so much.
If we leave, we cannot tell to what we may be exposed--even now, probably,
the Federal army occupy Jackson; if we go into the country, we are liable
at any time to be surrounded by them; and to whom can we apply for
protection from the soldiery? We _must_ stay here, even if the gentlemen
say go, which, I fear, they will; we must urge them to allow us to remain,
for you know they can refuse us nothing. Oh, we are so quiet and peaceful,
we must stay, come what will." When the gentlemen came, we talked of the
"order" with them. At first they said we must leave; but we entreated them
to let us stay, representing our deplorable condition in a country overrun
by soldiers, the great danger of trying to go to Mobile by railway, the
track having been partly destroyed between Meridian and Jackson. We
declared that we would almost starve--that we would meet any evil
cheerfully in Vicksburg, where our friends were--where we were carefully
housed, quiet, and contented. So, laughingly, they said they were
completely overcome by our distress, and would arrange it so that we could
stay if we wished. "But, remember," they said, "if trouble comes, you must
meet it with your eyes open." "Yes," we said, "we can meet trouble where
you are, cheerfully." All seemed to think that the matter would be decided
some distance from Vicksburg, and that General Pemberton wanted to cast
the responsibility from his shoulders, if the worst came, and ladies were
endangered in the city.



We settled ourselves delightfully. With our sewing in the morning, and
rides in the evening, our home was very pleasant--very happy and quiet.
Rumors came to us of the advance of the Federal troops on Black River;
yet, so uncertain were the tidings, and so slow was the advantage gained,
we began to doubt almost everything. M---- was stationed below at
Warrenton, and came only occasionally to see us, as the gunboats were
threatening that point. Still, we were in a manner already cut off from
the outer world, for the cars had ceased running farther than the Black
River bridge, where General Pemberton had stationed his forces, fortifying
and awaiting an attack; still, every morning the papers would tell us all
was right, and our life passed on the same. Almost every day we walked up
the Sky Parlor Hill, and looked through the glass at the Federal
encampment near the head of the abandoned canal; we could see plainly,
also, below, at a point called "Brown and Johnson's Landing," the passing
of trains of wagons carrying supplies to the fleet below; we could, also,
discern troops and mounted men on the opposite shore, though some miles
away,--again, at the head of the canal, out in the stream, listlessly lay
the dark forms of the gunboats--now two lying quite near each other--then,
perhaps, a group of three, or often one alone, manned by negroes, as with
the aid of the glass we could see them passing to and fro; we could see,
also, the little tugboats carrying despatches from one to the other, we
supposed, as frequently after their visit a transport or gunboat would put
on steam and follow them up the river; we could see couriers galloping
from groups of tents along the shore up to where, we presumed, the masses
of the soldiers were encamped. Altogether, the Federal encampment and
movements were far more stirring and interesting than the quiet fortified
life of Vicksburg, waiting with calm and bristling front the result of the
energetic movements beyond. We met frequently on Sky Parlor Hill an
acquaintance on General Pemberton's staff, who seemed to watch with
interest operations on the shore above and below us. We could see that
Vicksburg was as attentively observed by the Federal troops.

The gunboats that stood out in the stream above seemed to be acting as
sentinels, or on a kind of picket duty, I might call it, as a man in
uniform constantly paced the deck with a large glass under his arm, which
he frequently raised and took a survey of the city. But Vicksburg must
have been a sealed book to him among her hills from that point of view.

One night we heard heavy cannonading an hour or two, ceasing, and then
commencing again quite early in the morning, undoubtedly from the vicinity
of Warrenton. How little we thought that was the commencement of music
that would ring in our ears for weeks to come!--how little we thought it
the beginning of trouble! That night the sky in the south was crimsoned by
the light of a large fire--the cause we could not learn. The next day we
heard that the little village of Warrenton had been burned by shells
thrown from the boats. M---- came in that evening, and told us that the
gunboats had been amusing themselves by throwing shot and shell at the
fort--that very little damage had been done, except setting fire to some
of the cotton composing the fort, which was still smouldering and burning
slowly under the earth-works. We were told soon after by some of our
friends, that the fort at Warrenton had been quietly evacuated; at least,
all the guns had been taken from it and brought into Vicksburg, with
ammunition, stores, &c.; the troops were left there as a blind for the
time being--all this M---- did not tell me. It must have been a trial for
the men to lie perfectly quiet, enduring a steady fire that they were
unable to return. However, the time came when these men could look back to
the shelling of Warrenton as a slight matter in comparison with the storm
of shot and shell that rained upon them in the rear of Vicksburg. And now
began my excitement: M---- was below, and exposed to the firing we heard
every morning and evening; and I prayed for him so fervently, feeling how
utterly powerless I was, and how merciful and powerful our Father would

Saturday came, and with it the news that a battle was going on between the
Federal troops and General Pemberton's forces at Black River; and I saw
the blanching of a bright cheek, and felt, with a heavy heart, that the
hopes of happiness, for many a year to come, of a dear friend, hung upon a
life that would be bravely ventured there to-day. Oh! the terrible
suspense of that day, when feeling that, let the result be what it would
(and we trembled for it), the lives of our friends were all in all to us.



Sunday, the 17th--the memorable seventeenth of May--as we were dressing
for church, and had nearly completed the arrangement of shawls and gloves,
we heard the loud booming of cannon. Frightened, for at this time we knew
not _what_ "an hour would bring forth," seeing no one who might account
for the sudden alarm, we walked down the street, hoping to find some
friend that could tell us if it were dangerous to remain away from home at
church. I feared leaving my little one for any length of time, if there
were any prospect of an engagement. After walking a square or two, we met
an officer, who told us the report we heard proceeded from our own guns,
which were firing upon a party of soldiers, who were burning some houses
on the peninsula on the Louisiana shore; he told us, also, it had been
rumored that General Pemberton had been repulsed--that many citizens had
gone out to attend to the wounded of yesterday's battle--all the ministers
and surgeons that could leave had also gone. Still, as the bell of the
Methodist church rang out clear and loud, my friend and I decided to
enter, and were glad that we did so, for we heard words of cheer and
comfort in this time of trouble. The speaker was a traveller, who supplied
the pulpit this day, as the pastor was absent ministering to the wounded
and dying on the battle field. This was a plain man, of simple, fervent
words, but with so much of heart in all his exercises, that we felt, after
the last hymn had been sung, the last prayer said, that we had been in a
purer atmosphere. After the blessing, he requested the ladies to meet and
make arrangements for lint and bandages for the wounded. As we returned
home, we passed groups of anxious men at the corners, with troubled faces;
very few soldiers were seen; some battery men and officers, needed for the
river defences, were passing hastily up the street. Yet, in all the
pleasant air and sunshine of the day, an anxious gloom seemed to hang over
the faces of men: a sorrowful waiting for tidings, that all knew now,
would tell of disaster. There seemed no life in the city; sullen and
expectant seemed the men--tearful and hopeful the women--prayerful and
hopeful, I might add; for, many a mother, groaning in spirit over the
uncertainty of the welfare of those most dear to her, knelt and laid her
sorrows at the foot of that Throne, where no earnest suppliant is ever
rejected; where the sorrow of many a broken heart has been turned in
resignation to His will who afflicts not willingly the children of men.
And so, in all the dejected uncertainty, the stir of horsemen and wheels
began, and wagons came rattling down the street--going rapidly one way,
and then returning, seemingly, without aim or purpose: now and then a worn
and dusty soldier would be seen passing with his blanket and canteen;
soon, straggler after straggler came by, then groups of soldiers worn and
dusty with the long march. "What can be the matter?" we all cried, as the
streets and pavements became full of these worn and tired-looking men. We
sent down to ask, and the reply was: "We are whipped; and the Federals are
after us." We hastily seized veils and bonnets, and walked down the avenue
to the iron railing that separates the yard from the street.

"Where are you going?" we asked.

No one seemed disposed to answer the question. An embarrassed, pained look
came over some of the faces that were raised to us; others seemed only to
feel the weariness of the long march; again we asked:

"Where on earth are you going?"

At last one man looked up in a half-surly manner, and answered:

"We are running."

"From whom?" exclaimed one of the young girls of the house.

"The Feds, to be sure," said another, half laughing and half shamefaced.

"Oh! shame on you!" cried the ladies; "and you running!"

"It's all Pem's fault," said an awkward, long-limbed, weary-looking man.

"It's all your own fault. Why don't you stand your ground?" was the reply.

"Shame on you all!" cried some of the ladies across the street, becoming

I could not but feel sorry for the poor worn fellows, who did seem indeed
heartily ashamed of themselves; some without arms, having probably lost
them in the first break of the companies.

"We are disappointed in you!" cried some of the ladies. "Who shall we
look to now for protection?"

"Oh!" said one of them, "it's the first time I ever ran. We are Georgians,
and we never ran before; but we saw them all breaking and running, and we
could not bear up alone."

We asked them if they did not want water; and some of them came in the
yard to get it. The lady of the house offered them some supper; and while
they were eating, we were so much interested, that we stood around
questioning them about the result of the day. "It is all General
Pemberton's fault," said a sergeant. "I'm a Missourian, and our boys stood
it almost alone, not knowing what was wanted to be done; yet, fighting as
long as possible, every one leaving us, and we were obliged to fall back.
You know, madam, we Missourians always fight well, even if we have to
retreat afterward."

"Oh!" spoke up an old man, "we would ha' fit well; but General Pemberton
came up and said: 'Stand your ground, boys. Your General Pemberton is
with you;' and then, bless you, lady! the next we see'd of him, he was
sitting on his horse behind a house--close, too, at that; and when we
see'd that, we thought 'tain't no use, if he's going to sit there."

We could not help laughing at the old man's tale and his anger. Afterward
we were told that General Pemberton behaved with courage--that the fault
lay in the arrangement of troops.

And where these weary and wornout men were going, we could not tell. I
think they did not know themselves.



At dark the fresh troops from Warrenton marched by, going out to the
intrenchments in the rear of the city about two miles; many of the
officers were fearful that the fortifications, being so incomplete, would
be taken, if the Federal troops pushed immediately on, following their

As the troops from Warrenton passed by, the ladies waved their
handkerchiefs, cheering them, and crying:

"These are the troops that have not run. You'll stand by us, and protect
us, won't you? You won't _retreat_ and bring the Federals behind you."

And the men, who were fresh and lively, swung their hats, and promised to
die for the ladies--never to run--never to retreat; while the poor fellows
on the pavement, sitting on their blankets--lying on the ground--leaning
against trees, or anything to rest their wearied bodies, looked on silent
and dejected. They were not to blame, these poor, weary fellows. If they
were unsuccessful, it is what many a man has been before them; and then,
endurance of the long fasts in the rifle pits, and coolness amid the
showers of ball and shell thrown at devoted Vicksburg afterward, show us
that men, though unfortunate, can retrieve their character.

"There has been many a life lost to-day," said a soldier to me--"many an
officer and man."

"Ah! truly, yes," I said; for the ambulances had been passing with wounded
and dead; and one came slowly by with officers riding near it, bearing the
dead body of General Tilghman, the blood dripping slowly from it. We were
told, also, of a friend who had been mortally wounded.

What a sad evening we spent--continually hearing of friends and
acquaintances left dead on the field, or mortally wounded, and being
brought in ambulances to the hospital! We almost feared to retire that
night; no one seemed to know whether the Federal army was advancing or
not; some told us that they were many miles away, and others that they
were quite near. How did we know but in the night we might be awakened by
the tumult of their arrival!

The streets were becoming quiet; the noise and bustle had died out with
the excitement of the day, and, save now and then the rapid passing of
some officer, or army wagon, they were almost deserted. And what will the
morrow bring forth? I thought, as I leaned from the balcony of my room;
will these streets echo to the tread of the victorious army? I shrank from
the thought. Without protectors, what might be our fate?--to be turned
from our homes, perhaps, widows and orphans. But the heavens above so
calm--so smooth and soothing--the quiet glide of the silent river--and the
wind swaying the trees with a monotonous wave--quelled and laid these
thoughts of evil; and the blessed trust and faith in Him who is all
powerful came with renewed balm to my anxious heart.



The next morning all was quiet; we heard no startling rumors; the soldiers
were being gathered together and taken out into the rifle pits; Vicksburg
was regularly besieged, and we were to stay at our homes and watch the
progress of the battle. The rifle pits and intrenchments were almost two
miles from the city. We would be out of danger, so we thought; but we did
not know what was in preparation for us around the bend of the river. The
day wore on; still all was quiet. At night our hopes revived: the Federal
troops had not yet come up--another calm night and morning. At three
o'clock that evening, the artillery boomed from the intrenchments, roar
after roar, followed by the rattle of musketry: the Federal forces were
making their first attack. Looking out from the back veranda, we could
plainly see the smoke before the report of the guns reached us. Our
anxiety was great, indeed, having been told by gentlemen the night before,
that the works in the rear of Vicksburg were anything but of a superior

The discharges of musketry were irregular. Yet, to us who were thinking of
the dear ones exposed to this frequent firing, the restless forebodings
and unhappiness caused by the distant din of battle pained us indeed.
After listening for some time to the reports, which sounded to us, in the
distance, like the quick, successive droppings of balls on sheet iron,
again and again sounded the cannon like thunderings near us. At every
report our hearts beat quicker. The excitement was intense in the city.
Groups of people stood on every available position where a view could be
obtained of the distant hills, where the jets of white smoke constantly
passed out from among the trees.

Some of our friends proposed going for a better view up on the balcony
around the cupola of the court house. The view from there was most
extensive and beautiful. Hill after hill arose in the distance, enclosing
the city in the form of a crescent. Immediately in the centre and east of
the river, the firing seemed more continuous, while to the left and
running northly, the rattle and roar would be sudden, sharp, and vigorous,
then ceasing for some time. The hills around near the city, and indeed
every place that seemed commanding and secure, was covered with anxious
spectators--many of them ladies--fearing the result of the afternoon's
conflict. To the extreme left and north, near the river, the warfare
became general, while toward the centre the firing became less rapid.

What a beautiful landscape lay out before us! Far in the distance lay the
cultivated hills--some already yellow with grain, while on other hills and
in the valleys the deep green of the trees formed the shadows in the fair

It was amid the clump of trees on the far distant hillside, that the
Federal batteries could be discerned by the frequent puffings of smoke
from the guns. Turning to the river, we could see a gunboat that had the
temerity to come down as near the town as possible, and lay just out of
reach of the Confederate batteries, with steam up.

Two more lay about half a mile above and nearer the canal; two or three
transports had gotten up steam, and lay near the mouth of the canal. Below
the city a gunboat had come up and landed, out of reach, on the Louisiana
side, striving to engage the lower batteries of the town--firing about
every fifteen minutes. While we were looking at the river, we saw two
large yawls start out from shore, with two larger boats tied to them, and
full of men.

We learned that they were the Federal prisoners that had been held in the
town, and to-day paroled and sent over to the Federal encampment, so that
the resources of the garrison might be husbanded as much as possible, and
the necessity of sustaining them avoided.

The idea made me serious. We might look forward truly now to perhaps real

Yet, I did not regret my resolution to remain, and would have left the
town more reluctantly to-day than ever before, for we felt that now,
indeed, the whole country was unsafe, and that our only hope of safety lay
in Vicksburg.

The little boats, with their prisoners, had gained the opposite shore; and
we could see the liberated men walking along the river bank; we could
see, also, the little steamtug coming down, and stopping at the gunboat
near the city; it, also, visited the transports and the gunboats near the
canal, and then, leaving, steamed with much swiftness up the river toward
the mouth of the Yazoo.

In looking again with a glass in the rear of the city, we could see the
Southern soldiers working at their guns, and walking in the rear of a fort
on a hill nearer by. The Federal troops were too distant to discern.

Some ambulances were coming into the city, probably bringing the wounded
from the field.

We saw an officer coming in with his head bound up and his arm in a sling,
his servant walking by his side leading his horse. Aside from the earnest
group of spectators moving from one place to another, the town seemed
perfectly quiet.

Looking again toward the river, the gunboat near the lower batteries kept
its old position, slowly firing at the lower part of the city; and far
over on the other shore, walking rapidly, I observed the figures of the
freed prisoners near the canal, and fast becoming indistinct, even with
the aid of a glass.

So twilight began falling over the scene--hushing to an occasional report
the noise and uproar of the battle field--falling softly and silently upon
the river--separating us more and more from the raging passions surging
around us--bringing only the heaven above us, and the small space of life
we occupy, distinctly to our eyes.



From gentlemen who called on the evening of the attack in the rear of the
town, we learned that it was quite likely, judging from the movements on
the river, that the gunboats would make an attack that night. We remained
dressed during the night; once or twice we sprang to our feet, startled by
the report of a cannon; but after waiting in the darkness of the veranda
for some time, the perfect quiet of the city convinced us that our alarm
was needless.

Next day, two or three shells were thrown from the battle field, exploding
near the house. This was our first shock, and a severe one. We did not
dare to go in the back part of the house all day.

Some of the servants came and got down by us for protection, while others
kept on with their work as if feeling a perfect contempt for the shells.

In the evening we were terrified and much excited by the loud rush and
scream of mortar shells; we ran to the small cave near the house, and were
in it during the night, by this time wearied and almost stupefied by the
loss of sleep.

The caves were plainly becoming a necessity, as some persons had been
killed on the street by fragments of shells. The room that I had so lately
slept in had been struck by a fragment of a shell during the first night,
and a large hole made in the ceiling. I shall never forget my extreme fear
during the night, and my utter hopelessness of ever seeing the morning
light. Terror stricken, we remained crouched in the cave, while shell
after shell followed each other in quick succession. I endeavored by
constant prayer to prepare myself for the sudden death I was almost
certain awaited me. My heart stood still as we would hear the reports from
the guns, and the rushing and fearful sound of the shell as it came toward
us. As it neared, the noise became more deafening; the air was full of the
rushing sound; pains darted through my temples; my ears were full of the
confusing noise; and, as it exploded, the report flashed through my head
like an electric shock, leaving me in a quiet state of terror the most
painful that I can imagine--cowering in a corner, holding my child to my
heart--the only feeling of my life being the choking throbs of my heart,
that rendered me almost breathless. As singly they fell short, or beyond
the cave, I was aroused by a feeling of thankfulness that was of short
duration. Again and again the terrible fright came over us in that night.

I saw one fall in the road without the mouth of the cave, like a flame of
fire, making the earth tremble, and, with a low, singing sound, the
fragments sped on in their work of death.

Morning found us more dead than alive, with blanched faces and trembling
lips. We were not reassured on hearing, from a man who took refuge in the
cave, that a mortar shell in falling would not consider the thickness of
earth above us a circumstance.

Some of the ladies, more courageous by daylight, asked him what he was in
there for, if that was the case. He was silenced for an hour, when he
left. As the day wore on, and we were still preserved, though the shells
came as ever, we were somewhat encouraged.

The next morning we heard that Vicksburg would not in all probability hold
out more than a week or two, as the garrison was poorly provisioned; and
one of General Pemberton's staff officers told us that the effective force
of the garrison, upon being estimated, was found to be fifteen thousand
men; General Loring having been cut off after the battle of Black River,
with probably ten thousand.

The ladies all cried, "Oh, never surrender!" but after the experience of
the night, I really could not tell what I wanted, or what my opinions

How often I thought of M---- upon the battle field, and his anxiety for us
in the midst of this unanticipated danger, wherein the safety lay entirely
on the side of the belligerent gentlemen, who were shelling us so
furiously, at least two miles from the city, in the bend of the river near
the canal.


So constantly dropped the shells around the city, that the inhabitants all
made preparations to live under the ground during the siege. M---- sent
over and had a cave made in a hill near by. We seized the opportunity one
evening, when the gunners were probably at their supper, for we had a
few moments of quiet, to go over and take possession. We were under the
care of a friend of M----, who was paymaster on the staff of the same
General with whom M---- was Adjutant. We had neighbors on both sides of
us; and it would have been an amusing sight to a spectator to witness the
domestic scenes presented without by the number of servants preparing the
meals under the high bank containing the caves.

Our dining, breakfasting, and supper hours were quite irregular. When the
shells were falling fast, the servants came in for safety, and our meals
waited for completion some little time; again they would fall slowly, with
the lapse of many minutes between, and out would start the cooks to their

Some families had light bread made in large quantities, and subsisted on
it with milk (provided their cows were not killed from one milking time to
another), without any more cooking, until called on to replenish. Though
most of us lived on corn bread and bacon, served three times a day, the
only luxury of the meal consisting in its warmth, I had some flour, and
frequently had some hard, tough biscuit made from it, there being no soda
or yeast to be procured. At this time we could, also, procure beef. A
gentleman friend was kind enough to offer me his camp bed, a narrow spring
mattress, which fitted within the contracted cave very comfortably;
another had his tent fly stretched over the mouth of our residence to
shield us from the sun; and thus I was the recipient of many favors, and
under obligations to many gentlemen of the army for delicate and kind
attentions; and, in looking back to my trials at that time, I shall ever
remember with gratitude the kindness with which they strove to ward off
every deprivation. And so I went regularly to work, keeping house under
ground. Our new habitation was an excavation made in the earth, and
branching six feet from the entrance, forming a cave in the shape of a T.
In one of the wings my bed fitted; the other I used as a kind of a
dressing room; in this the earth had been cut down a foot or two below the
floor of the main cave; I could stand erect here; and when tired of
sitting in other portions of my residence, I bowed myself into it, and
stood impassively resting at full height--one of the variations in the
still shell-expectant life. M----'s servant cooked for us under
protection of the hill. Our quarters were close, indeed; yet I was more
comfortable than I expected I could have been made under the earth in that

We were safe at least from fragments of shell--and they were flying in all
directions; though no one seemed to think our cave any protection, should
a mortar shell happen to fall directly on top of the ground above us. We
had our roof arched and braced, the supports of the bracing taking up much
room in our confined quarters. The earth was about five feet thick above,
and seemed hard and compact; yet, poor M----, every time he came in,
examined it, fearing, amid some of the shocks it sustained, that it might
crack and fall upon us.



One afternoon, amid the rush and explosion of the shells, cries and
screams arose--the screams of women amid the shrieks of the falling
shells. The servant boy, George, after starting and coming back once or
twice, his timidity overcoming his curiosity (I was not at all surprised
at it), at last gathered courage to go to the ravine near us, from whence
the cries proceeded, and found that a negro man had been buried alive
within a cave, he being alone at that time. Workmen were instantly set to
deliver him, if possible; but when found, the unfortunate man had
evidently been dead some little time. His wife and relations were
distressed beyond measure, and filled the air with their cries and groans.

This incident made me doubly doubtful of my cave; I feared that I might be
buried alive at any time. Another incident happened the same day: A
gentleman, resident of Vicksburg, had a large cave made, and repeatedly
urged his wife to leave the house and go into it. She steadily refused,
and, being quite an invalid, was lying on the bed, when he took her by the
hand and insisted upon her accompanying him so strongly, that she yielded;
and they had scarcely left the house, when a mortar shell went crashing
through, utterly demolishing the bed that had so lately been vacated,
tearing up the floor, and almost completely destroying the room.

That night, after my little one had been laid in bed, I sat at the mouth
of the cave, with the servants drawn around me, watching the brilliant
display of fireworks the mortar boats were making--the passage of the
shell, as it travelled through the heavens, looking like a swiftly moving
star. As it fell, it approached the earth so rapidly, that it seemed to
leave behind a track of fire.

This night we kept our seats, as they all passed rapidly over us, none
falling near. The incendiary shells were still more beautiful in
appearance. As they exploded in the air, the burning matter and balls fell
like large, clear blue-and-amber stars, scattering hither and thither.

"Miss M----," said one of the more timid servants, "do they want to kill
us all dead? Will they keep doing this until we all die?"

I said most heartily, "I hope not."

The servants we had with us seemed to possess more courage than is usually
attributed to negroes. They seldom hesitated to cross the street for water
at any time. The "boy" slept at the entrance of the cave, with a pistol I
had given him, telling me I need not be "afeared--dat any one dat come dar
would have to go over his body first."

He never refused to carry out any little article to M---- on the battle
field. I laughed heartily at a dilemma he was placed in one day: The mule
that he had mounted to ride out to the battle field took him to a
dangerous locality, where the shells were flying thickly, and then,
suddenly stopping, through fright, obstinately refused to stir. It was in
vain that George kicked and beat him--go he would not; so, clenching his
hand, he hit him severely in the head several times, jumped down, ran
home, and left him. The mule stood a few minutes rigidly, then, looking
round, and seeing George at some distance from him, turned and followed,
quite demurely.

Each day, as the couriers came into the city, M---- would write me little
notes, asking after our welfare, and telling me of the progress of the
siege. I, in return, would write to him of our safety, but was always
careful in speaking of the danger to which we were exposed. I thought poor
M---- had enough to try him, without suffering anxiety for us; so I made
light of my fears, which were in reality wearing off rapidly. Every week
he came in to make inquiries in person. In his letters he charged me
particularly to be careful of the provisions--that no one could tell what
our necessities might be.

In one of his letters, he says: "Already I am living on pea meal, and
cannot think of your coming to this." One thing I had learned quite lately
in my cave was to make good bread: one of my cave neighbors had given me
yeast and instructions. I, in turn, had instructed a servant, so that when
we used the flour it could be presented in a more inviting form.

One morning, after breakfast, the shells began falling so thickly around
us, that they seemed aimed at the particular spot on which our cave was
located. Two or three fell immediately in the rear of it, exploding a few
moments before reaching the ground, and the fragments went singing over
the top of our habitation. I, at length, became so much alarmed--as the
cave trembled excessively--for our safety, that I determined, rather than
be buried alive, to stand out from under the earth; so, taking my child in
my arms, and calling the servants, we ran to a refuge near the roots of a
large fig tree, that branched out over the bank, and served as a
protection from the fragments of shells. As we stood trembling there--for
the shells were falling all around us--some of my gentlemen friends came
up to reassure me, telling me that the tree would protect us, and that the
range would probably be changed in a short time. While they spoke, a
shell, that seemed to be of enormous size, fell, screaming and hissing,
immediately before the mouth of our cave, within a few feet of the
entrance, sending up a huge column of smoke and earth, and jarring the
ground most sensibly where we stood. What seemed very strange, the earth
closed in around the shell, and left only the newly upturned soil to show
where it had fallen.

Long it was before the range was changed, and the frightful missiles fell
beyond us--long before I could resolve to return to our sadly threatened

I found on my return that the walls were seamed here and there with
cracks, but the earth had remained firm above us. I took possession again,
with resignation, yet in fear and trembling.



My past resolution having forsaken me, again were the mortar shells heard
with extreme terror, and I was many days recovering the equanimity I had
been so long attaining. This night, as a few nights before, a large fire
raged in the town. I was told that a large storehouse, filled with
commissary stores, was burning, casting lurid lights over the devoted
city; and amid all, fell--with screams and violent explosions, flinging
the fatal fragments in all directions--our old and relentless enemies, the
mortar shells.

The night was so warm, and the cave so close, that I tried to sit out at
the entrance, George saying he would keep watch and tell when they were
falling toward us. Soon the report of the gun would be heard, and George,
standing on the hillock of loose earth, near the cave, looked intently
upward; while I, with suspended breath, would listen anxiously as he
cried, "Here she comes! going over!" then again, "Coming--falling--falling
right dis way!" Then I would spring to my feet, and for a moment hesitate
about the protection of the cave. Suddenly, as the rushing descent was
heard, I would beat a precipitate retreat into it, followed by the

That night I could scarcely sleep, the explosions were so loud and
frequent. Before we retired, George had been lying without the door. I had
arisen about twelve o'clock, and stood looking out at the different
courses of light marking the passage of the shells, when I noticed that
George was not in his usual place at the entrance. On looking out, I saw
that he was sleeping soundly, some little distance off, and many fragments
of shell falling near him. I aroused him, telling him to come to the
entrance for safety. He had scarcely started, when a huge piece of shell
came whizzing along, which fortunately George dodged in time, and it fell
in the very spot where he had so lately slept.

Fearing to retire, I sat in the moonlight at the entrance, the square of
light that lay in the doorway causing our little bed, with the sleeping
child, to be set out in relief against the dark wall of the cave--causing
the little mirror and a picture or two I had hung against the wall to show
mis-shapen lengths of shadows--tinting the crimson shawl that draped the
entrance of my little dressing room, with light on the outer folds, and
darkening in shadow the inner curves;--beautifying all, this silvery glow
of moonlight, within the darkened earth--beautifying my heart with lighter
and more hopeful thoughts. Whatever the sins of the world may have brought
us to--however dark and fearful the life to which man may subject us, our
Heavenly Father ever blesseth us alike with the sun's warmth and the
moon's beauty--ever blesseth us with the hope that, when our toil and
travail here are ended, the peace and the beautiful life of heaven will be

Days wore on, and the mortar shells had passed over continually without
falling near us; so that I became quite at my ease, in view of our danger,
when one of the Federal batteries opposite the intrenchments altered their
range; so that, at about six o'clock every evening, Parrott shells came
whirring into the city, frightening the inhabitants of caves wofully.

Our policy in building had been to face directly away from the river, and
all caves were prepared, as near as possible, in this manner. As the
fragments of shells continued with the same impetus after the explosion,
in but one direction, onward, they were not likely to reach us, fronting
in this manner with their course.

But this was unexpected--guns throwing shells from the battle field
directly at the entrance of our caves. Really, was there to be no mental
rest for the women of Vicksburg?

The cave we inhabited was about five squares from the levee. A great many
had been made in a hill immediately beyond us; and near this hill we could
see most of the shells fall. Caves were the fashion--the rage--over
besieged Vicksburg. Negroes, who understood their business, hired
themselves out to dig them, at from thirty to fifty dollars, according to
the size. Many persons, considering different localities unsafe, would
sell them to others, who had been less fortunate, or less provident; and
so great was the demand for cave workmen, that a new branch of industry
sprang up and became popular--particularly as the personal safety of the
workmen was secured, and money withal.



It was about four o'clock, one Wednesday evening--the shelling during the
day had gone on about as usual--I was reading in safety, I imagined, when
the unmistakable whirring of Parrott shells told us that the battery we so
much feared had opened from the intrenchments. I ran to the entrance to
call the servants in; and immediately after they entered, a shell struck
the earth a few feet from the entrance, burying itself without exploding.
I ran to the little dressing room, and could hear them striking around us
on all sides. I crouched closely against the wall, for I did not know at
what moment one might strike within the cave. A man came in much
frightened, and asked to remain until the danger was over. The servants
stood in the little niche by the bed, and the man took refuge in the small
ell where I was stationed. He had been there but a short time, standing
in front of me, and near the wall, when a Parrott shell came whirling in
at the entrance, and fell in the centre of the cave before us all, lying
there smoking. Our eyes were fastened upon it, while we expected every
moment the terrific explosion would ensue. I pressed my child closer to my
heart, and drew nearer to the wall. Our fate seemed almost certain. The
poor man who had sought refuge within was most exposed of all. With a
sudden impulse, I seized a large double blanket that lay near, and gave it
to him for the purpose of shielding him from the fragments; and thus we
remained for a moment, with our eyes fixed in terror on the missile of
death, when George, the servant boy, rushed forward, seized the shell, and
threw it into the street, running swiftly in the opposite direction.
Fortunately, the fuse had become nearly extinguished, and the shell fell
harmless--remaining near the mouth of the cave, as a trophy of the
fearlessness of the servant and our remarkable escape. Very thankful was I
for our preservation, which was the theme of conversation for a day among
our cave neighbors. The incident of the blanket was also related; and all
laughed heartily at my wise supposition that the blanket could be any
protection from the heavy fragments of shells.

Nor was this all: I had occasion to go to the mouth of the cave one
evening to speak to George; and there, with an enlightened audience of
servants from the surrounding caves collected near him, George was going
through a grave pantomime of the whole affair. It seems that he expected
the refugee to act the part of preserver in our extremity, and throw out
the shell; but, as he was disappointed in the matter, he represented him
in the most ridiculous manner possible to the audience.

Pressing up closely to the wheel of a wagon near by, George extended his
eyes, holding out his hand as if with a shield, and shrinking with the
semblance of extreme terror, that amused his spectators vastly: then,
changing the whole character, he put on the bravest port imaginable,
pushing his hat, with an independent air, on the side of his head; and,
assuming a don't-carish look, he sauntered forward to a large piece of
shell that lay conveniently near, caught it with both hands, gave it a
careless swing and throw far different from the reality, turned on his
heels, walked back to the wagon, with the peculiar swinging step of a
proud negro; then, leaning his arm on the wheel, carelessly surveyed his
audience, with a look that plainly said, "What you think o' dat, niggars?"
The benefited group immediately began laughing and applauding, like a
well-trained bevy of _claqueurs_, in which they were soon joined by George

Soon after, I received a note from M----, imploring me to be careful and
remain within the cave constantly. I could see that he was restless and
troubled in regard to the new peril from the battle field.

And so the weary days went on--the long, weary days--when we could not
tell in what terrible form death might come to us before the sun went
down. Another fear that troubled M---- was, that our provisions might not
last us during the siege. He would frequently urge me to husband all that
I had, for troublesome times were probably in store for us; told me of the
soldiers in the intrenchments, who would have gladly eaten the bread that
was left from our meals, for they were suffering every privation, and that
our servants lived far better than these men who were defending the city.
Soon the pea meal became an article of food for us also, and a very
unpalatable article it proved. To make it of proper consistency, we were
obliged to mix some corn meal with it, which cooked so much faster than
the pea meal, that it burned before the bread was half done. The taste was
peculiar and disagreeable.

However, it soon proved unwholesome, for the soldiers were again allowed
to draw rations of the remaining corn meal, with the peas in the kernel to
be boiled with meat. We were, indeed, experiencing the rigors and
hardships of a siege, for we ate nothing now but meat and bread.

Still, we had nothing to complain of in comparison with the soldiers: many
of them were sick and wounded in a hospital in the most exposed parts of
the city, with shells falling and exploding all around them. One shell
went completely through a hospital in the centre of the city, without
exploding or injuring any one, save by the severe shock to the invalids: a
fragment afterward came through the side of the same house, severely
fracturing the hip of a soldier, who was lying already wounded; one or two
wounded men were, also, killed by fragments of shell while in the



Even the very animals seemed to share the general fear of a sudden and
frightful death. The dogs would be seen in the midst of the noise to
gallop up the street, and then to return, as if fear had maddened them. On
hearing the descent of a shell, they would dart aside--then, as it
exploded, sit down and howl in the most pitiful manner. There were many
walking the street, apparently without homes. George carried on a
continual warfare with them, as they came about the fire where our meals
were cooking.

In the midst of other miserable thoughts, it came into my mind one day,
that these dogs through hunger might become as much to be dreaded as
wolves. Groundless was this anxiety, for in the course of a week or two
they had almost disappeared.

The horses, belonging to the officers, and fastened to the trees near the
tents, would frequently strain the halter to its full length, rearing high
in the air, with a loud snort of terror, as a shell would explode near. I
could hear them in the night cry out in the midst of the uproar, ending in
a low, plaintive whinny of fear.

The poor creatures subsisted entirely on cane tops and mulberry leaves.
Many of the mules and horses had been driven outside of the lines, by
order of General Pemberton, for subsistence. Only mules enough were left,
belonging to the Confederacy, to allow three full teams to a regiment.
Private property was not interfered with.

Sitting in the cave, one evening, I heard the most heartrending screams
and moans. I was told that a mother had taken a child into a cave about a
hundred yards from us; and having laid it on its little bed, as the poor
woman believed, in safety, she took her seat near the entrance of the
cave. A mortar shell came rushing through the air, and fell with much
force, entering the earth above the sleeping child--cutting through into
the cave--oh! most horrible sight to the mother--crushing in the upper
part of the little sleeping head, and taking away the young innocent life
without a look or word of passing love to be treasured in the mother's

I sat near the square of moonlight, silent and sorrowful, hearing the sobs
and cries--hearing the moans of a mother for her dead child--the child
that a few moments since lived to caress and love--speaking the tender
words that endear so much the tie of mother and child. Oh, the little
lonely grave! so far distant, yet so ever present with me; the sunny,
auburn head that I laid there six months after this terrible war began!

I could not hear those sobs and cries without thinking of the night--that
last night--when I held my darling to my heart, thinking that, though so
suddenly stricken and so scared, she would still live to bless my life.
And the terrible awakening!--to find that, lying in my arms all my own, as
I believed, she was going swiftly--going into the far unknown eternity!
Sliding from my embrace, the precious life was called by One so mighty--so
all-powerful--yet so merciful, that I bowed my head in silence.

Still the moans from the bereaved mother came borne on the pleasant air,
floating through the silvery moonlit scene--saddening hearts that had
never known sorrow, and awakening chords of sympathy in hearts that before
had thrilled and suffered. Yet, "it is better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved at all." Yes, better the tender memory of a hidden
life that glows in our hearts forever; better, all will say who have known
the light and consolation given from on high, when we throw ourselves
before His Throne in utter wretchedness, and arise strong--strong in the
strength that never faileth--the Lord's strength. The desert that hath not
known the oases of life, though blasted and withered by the burning
sirocco that passeth over, cannot know the refreshing and gentle drops
that bring renewed and more tender verdure.

How very sad this life in Vicksburg!--how little security can we feel,
with so many around us seeing the morning light that will never more see
the night! I could not sit quietly within hearing of so much grief; and,
leaving my seat, I paced backward and forward before the low entrance of
my house. The court-house bell tolled twelve; and though the shells fell
slowly still around the spot where the young life had gone out, yet
friends were going to and from the place.

How blightingly the hand of warfare lay upon the town! even in the
softening light of the moon--the closed and desolate houses--the gardens,
with gates half open, and cattle standing amid the loveliest flowers and
verdure! This carelessness of appearance and evident haste of departure
was visible everywhere--the inhabitants, in this perilous time, feeling
only anxiety for personal safety and the strength of their cave homes.

The moans of pain came slowly and more indistinct, until all was silent;
and the bereaved mother slept, I hope--slept to find, on waking, a dull
pressure of pain at her heart, and in the first collection of faculties
will wonder what it is. Then her care for the child will return, and the
new sorrow will again come to her--gone, forever gone!

It will take days to fully realize it, and then she will struggle and grow
strong. God in his mercy helps the poor human hearts that suffer,
struggle, and grow strong in these sad years of warfare! No one came
now--no word to show that life still throbbed in the silent city.

The fresh air told of the coming morning: the guns were still. Peace for a
short time reigned in the troubled city; and, in the perfect quiet that
prevailed, my eyes grew heavy, and I once more sought my bed--this time to
rest peacefully until the cheerful morning light dawned upon us.



With the dawn came the old unrest and distrust, for the shells were again
falling quite thickly around us; and I passed an hour or two in continual
shrinkings and exclamations. At length our tormentors passed farther on,
and I again felt relieved from anxiety.

At ten or twelve o'clock, we saw, in spite of the continual falling of the
shells, gentlemen hurrying toward the river. Soon we heard the Confederate
river batteries booming loudly, and then all was silent. What could it
mean? I did not venture to look without; and so I sat waiting for some one
to come to me. At last a friend appeared, who, in the most triumphant
manner, told us that the Confederates had routed the Federal fleet. The
gunboats had formed in line of battle, sailing down majestically, with the
Cincinnati--one of the finest boats in the river navy--leading the

She came rapidly down around the point of the peninsula--the signal guns
silent--when the battery, containing the Brooks gun, opened on her, as she
came within range. The first shot cut down the flag; the second struck her
side; and the third, the Brooks ball, with the steel wedge, cut into the
iron plates near the water's edge. She turned immediately, and steamed
back up the river in a sinking condition. The remaining boats, also,
changed their course and retired. The Cincinnati had scarcely turned the
point, when she sank near the shore.

"Ah! yes!" said the Major, "had it not been for the fortunate sinking of
the Cincinnati, you would have become conscious of a fearful warfare
raging in the city. Had the boats gotten opposite and engaged our
batteries, the firing would have been terrific."

The Major also told us that many ladies had been so much interested in the
expected engagement, that they had gone up on Sky Parlor Hill for a better

It has been said that the Federal guns have never been sufficiently
elevated to throw shell and shot so high as Sky Parlor Hill; yet, I should
not like to risk my life for mere curiosity sake, when it was not possible
to be of any service.

The Sky Parlor Hill is so called from its extreme height, being a portion
of the bluff that stood where the principal commercial street now stands,
the grading of the city having taken most of the elevation down. The hill
now occupies about a square--the distance of two squares from the
river--and is a prominent feature from all parts of the city. A rugged
drive winds on one side up the steep ascent, and a long and dizzy flight
of wooden steps ascend from the street on the opposite side.

It is surmounted by a little house that one could imagine surmounted "the
bean stalk," in the celebrated history of "Jack," quaint and old, yet one
that the earlier inhabitants would have called a "fine house."

The view--and that is what the place is visited for--is good, both of the
city and river, for some miles above. Crowds of people collect here on the
occasion of any move being made in the direction of the river.

A large trunk was picked up after the sinking of the Cincinnati, belonging
to a surgeon on board. It contained valuable surgical instruments that
could not be procured in the Confederacy; a letter, also, written to the
gentleman's wife previous to the departure of the fleet from above,
telling her that the letter would be mailed at Vicksburg, as there was no
doubt whatever that the place would be taken when an attack was made from
the river.

It was also said that Commodore Porter was aboard the Cincinnati. How the
fact was ascertained, no one could tell.

Shortly after the sinking of the Cincinnati, I received a note from M----,
saying that he was very much troubled in regard to our safety in the
city--fearing that some time a mortar shell might fall on our cave, or
that the constant jarring of the earth from the near explosion might cause
it to seam and fall upon us. Therefore, he had decided to have a home made
for me near the battle field, where he was stationed--one that would be
entirely out of reach of the mortar shells. I was positively shocked at
the idea--going to the battle field! where ball and shell fell without
intermission. Was M---- in earnest? I could scarcely believe it.

A friend came soon after, and told me that I would find my home on the
battle field far more pleasant and safe than the one in town--that we were
protected from the fragments only in our cave--that on the battle field
the missiles were of far less weight, and in falling far less dangerous.

We were to experience our last and nearest explosion of the
never-to-be-forgotten mortar shells before we left. M---- had written to
me to be ready on the following night. As the moon was not shining, the
firing from the Federal batteries would cease at dark afterward we could
go out without interruption. I was delighted at the prospect of a change
in our mouldy lives, and looked forward to our ride--after dark though it
was--with the utmost pleasure.



I was sitting near the entrance, about five o'clock, thinking of the
pleasant change--oh, bless me!--that to-morrow would bring, when the
bombardment commenced more furiously than usual, the shells falling
thickly around us, causing vast columns of earth to fly upward, mingled
with smoke. As usual, I was uncertain whether to remain within or run out.
As the rocking and trembling of the earth was very distinctly felt, and
the explosions alarmingly near, I stood within the mouth of the cave ready
to make my escape, should one chance to fall above our domicile. In my
anxiety I was startled by the shouts of the servants and a most fearful
jar and rocking of the earth, followed by a deafening explosion, such as I
had never heard before. The cave filled instantly with powder smoke and
dust. I stood with a tingling, prickling sensation in my head, hands, and
feet, and with a confused brain. Yet alive!--was the first glad thought
that came to me;--child, servants, all here, and saved!--from some great
danger, I felt. I stepped out, to find a group of persons before my cave,
looking anxiously for me; and lying all around, freshly torn, rose bushes,
arbor-vitæ trees, large clods of earth, splinters, pieces of plank, wood,
&c. A mortar shell had struck the corner of the cave, fortunately so near
the brow of the hill, that it had gone obliquely into the earth, exploding
as it went, breaking large masses from the side of the hill--tearing away
the fence, the shrubbery and flowers--sweeping all, like an avalanche,
down near the entrance of my good refuge.

I stood dismayed, and surveyed the havoc that had been made around me,
while our little family under it all had been mercifully preserved. Though
many of the neighboring servants had been standing near at the time, not
one had been injured in the slightest degree; yet, pieces of plank,
fragments of earth, and splinters had fallen in all directions. A portion
of earth from the roof of my cave had been dislodged and fallen. Saving
this, it remained intact.

That evening some friends sat with me: one took up my guitar and played
some pretty little airs for us; yet, the noise of the shells threw a
discord among the harmonies. To me it seemed like the crushing and bitter
spirit of hate near the light and grace of happiness. How could we sing
and laugh amid our suffering fellow beings--amid the shriek of death

This, only breaking the daily monotony of our lives!--this thrilling
knowledge of sudden and horrible death occurring near us, told to-night
and forgotten in to-morrow's renewal!--this sad news of a Vicksburg day! A
little negro child, playing in the yard, had found a shell; in rolling and
turning it, had innocently pounded the fuse; the terrible explosion
followed, showing, as the white cloud of smoke floated away, the mangled
remains of a life that to the mother's heart had possessed all of beauty
and joy.

A young girl, becoming weary in the confinement of the cave, hastily ran
to the house in the interval that elapsed between the slowly falling
shells. On returning, an explosion sounded near her--one wild scream, and
she ran into her mother's presence, sinking like a wounded dove, the life
blood flowing over the light summer dress in crimson ripples from a
death-wound in her side, caused by the shell fragment.

A fragment had also struck and broken the arm of a little boy playing near
the mouth of his mother's cave. This was one day's account.

I told of my little girl's great distress when the shells fell thickly
near us--how she ran to me breathless, hiding her head in my dress without
a word; then cautiously looking out, with her anxious face questioning,
would say: "Oh! mamma, was it a mortar tell?" Poor children, that their
little hearts should suffer and quail amid these daily horrors of war!

The next evening, about four o'clock, M----'s dear face appeared. He told
us that he had heard of all the danger through which we had passed, and
was extremely anxious to have us out of reach of the mortar shells, and
near him; he also thought we would find our new home on the battle field
far superior to this; he wished us to go out as soon as possible. As at
this hour in the evening, for the last week, the Federal guns had been
quiet until almost sundown, he urged me to be ready in the shortest time
possible; so I hastened our arrangements, and we soon were in the
ambulance, driving with great speed toward the rifle pits.

O the beautiful sunlight and the fresh evening air! How glowing and
delightful it all seemed after my incarceration under the earth! I turned
to look again and again at the setting sun and the brilliant crimson glow
that suffused the atmosphere. All seemed glad and radiant: the sky--the
flowers and trees along our drive--the cool and fragrant breeze--all, save
now and then the sullen boom of the mortar, as it slowly cast its
death-dealing shell over the life we were leaving behind us.

Were it not for the poor souls still within, I could have clapped my hands
in a glad, defiant jubilee as I heard the reports, for I thought I was
leaving my greatest fear of our old enemy in the desolate cave of which I
had taken my last contemptuous glance; yet, the fear returned forcibly to
me afterward.



The road we were travelling was graded out through the hills; and on every
side we could see, thickly strewn among the earthy cliffs, the
never-to-be-lost sight of caves--large caves and little caves--some cut
out substantially, roomy, and comfortable, with braces and props
throughout--many only large enough for one man to take refuge in,
standing;--again, at a low place in the earth was a seat for a passer-by
in case of danger.

Driving on rapidly, we reached the suburbs of the city, where the road
became shady and pleasant--still with caves at every large road
excavation, reminding one very much of the numberless holes that swallows
make in summer; for both the mortar and Parrott shells disputed this
district; and a cave, front in whatever direction it might, was not secure
from fragments. M---- impatiently urged on the driver, fearing that when
the firing recommenced we would still be on the road. Suddenly, a turn of
the drive brought in sight two large forts on the hills above us; and
passing down a ravine near one of these, the ambulance stopped. Here we
saw two or three of the little shell and bomb proof-houses in the earth,
covered with logs and turf. We were hastily taken out and started for our
home, when I heard a cutting of the air--the most expressive term I can
use for that peculiar sound--above my head; and the balls dropped thickly
around me, bringing leaves and small twigs from the trees with them.

I felt a sudden rush to my heart; but the soldiers were camped near, and
many stood cautiously watching the effect of the sudden fall of metal
around me. I would not for the world have shown fear; so, braced by my
pride, I walked with a firm and steady pace, notwithstanding the
treacherous suggestions of my heart that beat a loud "Run, run." M----,
fearing every moment that I might fall by his side, hurried me anxiously
along. Within a short distance was the adjutant's office, where we took
refuge until the firing became less heavy. Here we found friends, and sat
chatting some time.

The "office" was a square excavation made in the side of the hill, covered
over with logs and earth, seemingly quite cool and comfortable. I had been
confined for so long a time in a narrow space of earth, that daylight,
green trees, and ample room became a new pleasure to me. At sundown there
was a cessation in the rapid fall of balls and shells; and we again
started for our home. I was taken up a little footpath that led from the
ravine up under a careless, graceful arch of wild grape vines, whose
swinging branchlets were drawn aside; and a low, long room, cut into the
hillside and shaded by the growth of forest trees around, was presented to
my view as our future home. What a pleasant place, after the close little
cave in the city!--large enough for two rooms--the back and sides solid
walls of earth, the sloping of the hill bringing down the wall to about
four feet at the entrance, leaving the spaces above, between the wall and
roof, for light; the side, looking out on the road through the ravine, was
entirely open, yet shaded from view by the clustering vines over the

I took possession delightedly. A blanket, hung across the centre, made us
two good-sized rooms: the front room, with a piece of carpet laid down to
protect us from the dampness of the floor, and two or three chairs, formed
our little parlor; and the back room, quiet and retired, the bedroom. Over
the top of the earth, or our house, held up by huge forked props, were the
trunks of small trees laid closely across together; over that, brush,
limbs, and leaves, and covering all this the thickness of two or three
feet of earth beaten down compactly, and thought perfectly safe from Minié
balls and Parrott or shrapnell shells.

We had our tent fly drawn over the front, making a very pleasant veranda;
for a narrow terrace had been made along the entrance, from which the hill
sloped abruptly down to the road in the ravine opposite the dwelling; in
the rear the hill rose steeply above us. All was quiet to-night, as it
usually is, I was told, when the moon is not brightly shining.

The Federal commanders fear that the Confederates will strive to improve
their defences by the moonlight, which is certainly done, firing or not,
for the fortifications need constant strengthening, being frequently
badly torn by the Parrott shells.

The next morning at four o'clock, I was awakened by a perfect tumult in
the air: the explosion of shrapnell and the rattling of shrapnell balls
around us reminded me that my dangers and cares were not yet over. How
rapidly and thickly the shells and Minié balls fell--Parrott of various
sizes--canister and solid shot, until I was almost deafened by the noise
and explosions! I lay and thought of the poor soldiers down below in the
ravine, with only their tents over their heads; and it seemed in this
storm of missiles that all must be killed. How strange so few casualties
occur during these projectile storms!

Our little home stood the test nobly. We were in the first line of hills
back of the heights that were fortified; and, of course, we felt the full
force of the very energetic firing that was constantly kept up; and being
so near, many that passed over the first line of hills would fall directly
around us.



How dewy and pleasant the morning! I stood looking out from the little
terrace, breathing the fresh air, and learning the new surroundings, so
far as my eye went, for it was not safe to venture out from the covering
of the cave--the ravine fronting me, shady, dark, and cool--the sun just
rising over the hilltop and lighting the upper limbs of the large trees.
Up the ravine, the Headquarters, horses were tethered, lazily rising and
shaking their coats after the night's rest on the ground--shaking off
their drowsiness to begin the breakfast of mulberry leaves. Amidst the
constant falling of rifle balls, the birds sang as sweetly, and flew as
gayly from tree to tree, as if there were peace and plenty in the land.
Plenty there certainly was not in Vicksburg, as any one would have said
who had been invited to our little breakfast that morning: bacon side and
bread were all; and I had become so accustomed to them, that I obeyed the
calls to breakfast with reluctance; eating, most practically, to sustain
life, without the slightest relish for the food I was compelled to
masticate and swallow.

Yet, all received their trials with cheerfulness. The gentlemen, who
breakfasted with us that morning, laughed and made merry over the rations,
and told me of the mule meat that was soon to be served up to us.

They were speaking of a charge that had been made, most gallantly, by
General Burbridge and the Federal troops of his command, on the
Confederate intrenchments: they had rushed over the breastworks and into
the rifle pits, driving out the Southern soldiers. The whole Confederate
camp near the spot arose in a furious excitement, officers and men alike
throwing hand grenades down upon the intruders, until they were forced to
retire, after holding the place some little time. I was told that General
Burbridge had, laughingly, remarked to a Confederate officer, during the
truce, that, staying in the intrenchments in the hot sun, and having hand
grenades thrown at him in profusion, was as warm a work as he wished to
undertake in one day.

After the Federal troops left the intrenchments, a hole was found in the
loose earth of the breastworks that caused much amusement among the
Confederate soldiers--a large hole where one of the Federals had literally
burrowed his way out from the pits. "I reckon he's some kin to a mole,"
sagely commented one of the soldiers.

A flag of truce had been sent by the Federal commander, asking leave to
bury the killed and remove the wounded that had been left on the field, in
one of the charges that had been made on the Confederate lines.

The request had been refused by General Pemberton. Afterward the effluvia
from the dead bodies became so intolerable, that he was obliged in his
turn to ask a truce, and request the Federal officers to bury their dead.
I was distressed to hear of a young Federal lieutenant who had been
severely wounded and left on the field by his comrades. He had lived in
this condition from Saturday until Monday, lying in the burning sun
without water or food; and the men on both sides could witness the agony
of the life thus prolonged, without the power to assist him in any way. I
was glad, indeed, when I heard the poor man had expired on Monday morning.
Another soldier left on the field, badly wounded in the leg, had begged
most piteously for water; and lying near the Confederate intrenchments,
his cries were all directed to the Confederate soldiers. The firing was
heaviest where he lay; and it would have been at the risk of a life to
have gone to him; yet, a Confederate soldier asked and obtained leave to
carry water to him, and stood and fanned him in the midst of the firing,
while he eagerly drank from the heroic soldier's canteen.

The officer who related this little incident had not yet obtained the name
of the noble man. Truly, "the bravest are the tenderest; the loving are
the daring." How generous--how truly brave the man who would thus dare
death! who would, at the risk of life, perform a truly Christian deed! Oh!
were all men but true followers of the Prince of Peace, how short would be
this warfare! Did only individual Christians strive to do their duty in
every respect, this great suffering would not be upon us. There are enough
in the world who worship Him who died that all might be happy--enough to
stand before the heads of the Christian nation and plead in His name that
there be mercy for these dying and bleeding thousands--that these
brothers, sons, and husbands may not lie torn, swollen, and writhing in
the hot sun, with burning eyes and parched tongues, far, far from those
who are powerless to succor them in this fearful time; and, with these
pleadings, would ascend prayers to Him who rewards the peace-makers as the
children of God--prayers from many an aching, tear-seared heart; and the
fierce bitterness, strife, and hatred that move men so, would pale before
this blessing. Should they fail, and the wrong go on, then they have done
their duty; and they will find mercy, not where the error of man's
judgment withholds it, but before Him to whom the least of these are of
incalculable value.

One morning George made an important discovery--a newly made stump of
sassafras, very near the cave, with large roots extending in every
direction, affording us an inexhaustible vein of tea for future use. We
had been drinking water with our meals previous to this disclosure;
coffee and tea had long since been among the things that were, in the
army. We, however, were more fortunate than many of the officers, having
access to an excellent cistern near us; while many of our friends used
muddy water, or river water, which, being conveyed so great a distance,
became extremely warm and disagreeable.



A servant brought me one day a present from an officer, that was
acceptable indeed: two large, yellow, ripe, June apples, sealed in a large
envelope. They were as much of a variety to me as pineapples would have

On another occasion, a gentleman sent me four large slices of ham, having
been fortunate enough to procure a small piece himself. Now and then
gentlemen in calling would bring to my little girl and myself some little
article that it was impossible to procure; and only those who have
undergone like privations can understand how truly grateful we felt for
these little kindnesses. One day a friend brought us some fruit that had
been presented to him. While we were conversing, my little
hunger-besieged two-year-old daughter quietly secured it, and, sitting on
the floor, ate with avidity. When she had finished nearly all of it, she
turned around, with a bright and well-satisfied face, to me, saying,
"Mamma, it's so dood!"--the first intimation that I had that my portion
had disappeared. Dear child; I trembled for her in the greater trials I
believed in store for us. Fruits and vegetables were not to be procured at
any price. Every one felt the foreboding of a more serious trouble, the
great fear of starvation that stared all in the face causing those who
possessed any article in the shape of edibles to retain it for that period
to which all looked forward with anxiety--when we would come to actual

Already the men in the rifle pits were on half rations--flour or meal
enough to furnish bread equivalent in quantity to two biscuits in two
days: many of them ate it all at once, and the next day fasted,
preferring, as they said, to have one good meal.

So they sat cramped up all day in the pits--their rations cooked in the
valley and brought to them--scarcely daring to change their positions and
stand erect, for the Federal sharpshooters were watching for the heads;
and to rise above the breastworks was almost certain death. Frequently, a
Parrott shell would penetrate the intrenchments, and, exploding, cause
frightful wounds, and death most frequently. "Ah!" said M----, one day,
"it is to the noble men in the rifle pits that Vicksburg will owe aught of
honor she may gain in this siege. I revere them, as I see them undergoing
every privation with courage and patience, anxious only for the high
reputation of the city."

They amused themselves, while lying in the pits, by cutting out little
trinkets from the wood of the parapet and the Minié balls that fell around
them. Major Fry, from Texas, excelled in skill and ready invention, I
think: he sent me one day an arm chair that he had cut from a Minié
ball--the most minute affair of the kind I ever saw, yet perfectly
symmetrical. At another time, he sent me a diminutive plough made from the
parapet wood, with traces of lead, and a lead point made from a Minié

I had often remarked how cheerfully the soldiers bore the hardships of the
siege. I saw them often passing with their little sacks containing scanty
rations, whistling and chatting pleasantly, as around them thickly flew
the balls and shells.

Poor men, yet so badly used, and undergoing so many privations!



The clouds had been darkening around us all day, and at night we had the
prospect of a storm. M---- sent George out with a spade to slope the earth
about the roof of our home, and widen the water ditch around it; yet, it
was not until the next morning that the rain began falling. By daylight I
heard M---- giving orders rapidly about packing the earth firmly,
deepening the ditch, and watching the rear of the cave.

I opened my eyes to see without the darkness and gloom of a rainy day--to
feel the dampness of the mist upon my face, and to behold M---- standing
at the entrance, with the movable articles near him piled out of reach of
the driving rain, giving orders to George in regard to our doubly besieged
fortress. I lay and listened to the dropping and plashing with a dreamy
pleasure at first; but hearing M---- start out to see if all were right, I
sprang up, thinking I might assist in keeping out the water. It was a very
fortunate move; for I had scarcely begun dressing, when the earth gave
away at the head of my bed, and a perfect spout of muddy water burst
through the embankment and fell in the centre of the resting place I had
so lately left. To run and call M---- to stop the water in the back part
of the cave, and, in the greatest haste, to assist Cinth in removing every
article that was at all dry, and let the water have free course through,
was the work of an instant; yet, in the short time that the water had
flowed through the cave, we presented a miserably deluged appearance:
trunks were piled on trunks--lines hanging from log to log in the roof,
filled with the dripping carpet, blankets, sheets, and miscellaneous
articles, dripping with a dreary patter on the floor--chairs turned up
together, and packed out of the way--our home-like arrangements all in
disorder. And now that the water had been turned that flowed through the
cave, I and the servant sat, disconsolately, with our skirts drawn around,
and our feet on little blocks of wood to keep them out of the mud, with
rueful faces, regarding the sweeping of the water and plashing of rain

The water, having overflowed the sides of the ditch, making a new channel,
and pouring down at the entrance, had completely washed away our little
terrace, leaving a huge and yawning gulf immediately in front of us. I was
thus contemplating, sorrowfully, the ruins of our little home, when M----
came down, bringing cheer to us again in the expression of his bright,
strong, and calm face; the water was flowing in little streams from his
hat down to his coat, flowing over his coat, making little pools on the
floor as he stood. He declared that the storm was nearly over, and that we
would have some breakfast in spite of it. Taking his hat from his head and
shaking the water from it, and from his hair, he bade George take his
spade and cut a fireplace near the entrance, bring up his camp kettles,
which were full of water, kindle a large fire, and have the breakfast on.
He congratulated me upon the perfect safety of our residence, that the
water was running around it in regular Venetian style, and that for the
present we were perfectly waterproof.

Indeed, our home was in a precarious situation on a rainy day, for we were
planted in the bed of the torrent of water that drained from the hill
above; yet, M---- assured me that now we had nothing to fear, for with
George he had packed the earth perfectly firm and secure. He laughed
heartily at my narrow escape; for I declared that I should never have felt
in a pleasant humor again if that rush of muddy water had fallen on me.

Soon the fire blazed cheerfully up, and George commenced the preparation
of our simple breakfast--M---- going out to attend to some reports. I had
always looked forward to the prospect of rain with pleasure, as procuring
us some respite from the incessant noise of explosions, and from the
whistling and falling of balls. The fury of the storm had scarcely abated,
when the tumult and din of the Federal batteries and musketry recommenced;
and far from the rain extinguishing the fuse of the shell, there seemed to
be an unusually large number falling this morning. I began to feel
thoroughly thawed and revived when George set the breakfast on the table
and M---- came in; so we sat down quite gayly, in spite of the continued
falling of the rain.

The pleasant fire was doing its work, and the earth was rapidly hardening
around us.

M---- told me of a colonel of one of the regiments stationed at the foot
of one of the fortified hills, who unfortunately slept too long, and the
turbulent rush of the waters down the hill broke through all barriers,
enveloping him completely in mud, water, sand, and sediment. He sprang
from the ground in a towering rage, and could scarcely be persuaded that
he was not the victim of a practical joke. So soundly had he slept, that
he was entirely oblivious of the storm, and could scarcely believe his
rude awakening the work of the elements. M---- told me also, with a grave
face, of the poor soldiers he had seen in the rifle pits that morning,
standing in water--some with little pieces of carpet drawn around them;
others with nothing but their thin clothes, which were saturated; and
there they would lie through the day, with only the meal of yesterday to
sustain them.



I am told by my friends, who call, that I am looking worn and pale, and
frequently asked if I am not weary of this cave life. I parry the question
as well as possible, for I do not like to admit it for M----'s sake; yet,
I _am_ tired and weary--ah! so weary! I never was made to exist under
ground; and when I am obliged to, what wonder that I vegetate, like other
unfortunate plants--grow wan, spindling, and white! Yet, I must reason
with myself: I had chosen this life of suffering with one I love; and what
suffering, after all, have I experienced?--privations in the way of good
and wholesome food, not half what the poor people around us are

A fear of those that can kill the body, and after that have no more that
they can do! I will not be unnerved--I have no right to complain.
Wherever He hath placed me, there will I be found in His strength; and
hereafter I will be brave and steadfast.

To reason with myself in this time of danger was one of the chief
employments of my cave life. Time passes on, and all say the siege cannot
last much longer; and still we are here--and still the deafening noise of
shells--and the variety of missiles that are thrown fall, scattering death
in all directions.

About this time, the town was aroused by the arrival of a courier from
General Johnston, who brought private despatches to General Pemberton, the
nature of which did not transpire; yet, from the very silence of General
Pemberton, the officers augured the worst.

The courier brought many letters to the inhabitants from friends without.
His manner of entering the city was singular: Taking a skiff in the Yazoo,
he proceeded to its confluence with the Mississippi, where he tied the
little boat, entered the woods, and awaited the night. At dark he took off
his clothing, placed his despatches securely within them, bound the
package firmly to a plank, and, going into the river, he sustained his
head above the water by holding to the plank, and, in this manner, floated
in the darkness through the fleet, and on two miles down the river to
Vicksburg, where his arrival was hailed as an event of great importance,
in the still life of the city.

The hill opposite our cave might be called "death's point" from the number
of animals that had been killed in eating the grass on the sides and
summit. In all directions I can see the turf turned up, from the shells
that have gone ploughing into the earth. Horses or mules that are tempted
to mount the hill by the promise of grass that grows profusely there,
invariably come limping down wounded, to die at the base, or are brought
down dead from the summit.

A certain number of mules are killed each day by the commissaries, and are
issued to the men, all of whom prefer the fresh meat, though it be of
mule, to the bacon and salt rations that they have eaten for so long a
time without change. There have already been some cases of scurvy: the
soldiers have a horror of the disease; therefore, I suppose, the mule meat
is all the more welcome. Indeed, I petitioned M---- to have some served
on our table. He said: "No; wait a little longer." He did not like to see
me eating mule until I was obliged to; that he trusted Providence would
send us some change shortly.

That very afternoon I was looking out on the opposite hill, where the
shells were falling frequently. I noticed a very large, fine cow slowly
grazing on the side, and ascending higher and higher as she moved.

It was a matter of wonder with me where she came from, for beef cattle of
all kinds had disappeared from Vicksburg. The cow was in fine condition;
and I thought: Poor creature, you are not prudent in eating such dangerous
grass. A short time before tea, M---- came up laughing, and said:
"Providence has indeed sent you fresh meat, so that you will not have to
depend upon mule. A fine cow has been killed by a shell on the opposite
hill. The General has taken the meat, and a large share has been sent to

I regretted the fate of the animal that I had so lately seen vigorous with
life; yet now, "since fate was so unkind," I gladly received my portion,
thinking of the old saw, "it's an ill wind," &c. George and some of the
boys in the camp cut the meat in strips; and I was able to send some soup
meat to the courier that rode continually among the shower of balls, and
to a poor humped-back soldier, whose strength was giving way from the
privation he had undergone: the remainder was rubbed with saltpetre,
strung on canes laid across frames, with a slow fire underneath; and the
heat of the sun and the fire combined jerked it nicely for future use.

I laughed heartily at the appearance of the cave a day or two after the
process. The logs of the roof were hung with festoons of jerked meat, that
swung gracefully and constantly above us; and walking around under it, I
felt, quite like an Indian, I suppose, after a successful chase, that
starvation for a while was far in the background.

It was astonishing how the young officers kept up their spirits,
frequently singing quartets and glees amid the pattering of Minié balls;
and I often heard gay peals of laughter from headquarters, as the officers
that had spent the day, and perhaps the night, previous in the rifle pits,
would collect to make out reports. This evening a gentleman visited us,
and, among other songs, sang words to the air of the "Mocking Bird,"
which I will write:

          "'Twas at the siege of Vicksburg,
          Of Vicksburg, of Vicksburg--
          'Twas at the siege of Vicksburg,
  When the Parrott shells were whistling through the air
          Listen to the Parrott shells--
          Listen to the Parrott shells:
  The Parrott shells are whistling through the air.

          "Oh! well will we remember--
          Tough mule meat, June _sans_ November,
  And the Minié balls that whistled through the air.
          Listen to the Minié balls--
          Listen to the Minié balls:
  The Minié balls are singing in the air."

Songs of every description are composed in honor of narrow escapes,
unlucky incidents, brave deeds, &c.; songs--humorous, pathetic, and
tragic--are sung in every manner of voice. Sometimes hoarse, with
surprising loudness and depth; again, with richly modulated tones and much
soft volume and melody--all sing, according to differently accustomed

I heard, one night, a soldier down the ravine singing one of the weird,
melodious hymns that negroes often sing; and, amid the firing and crashing
of projectiles, it floated up to me in soft, musical undertones that
were fascinating in the extreme: the wailing of the earthly unrest--the
longing for the glorious home that the warm imagery pictures to be
glorious in golden lights and silvery radiance--of song and brilliant
happiness! The voice was full and triumphant. Then the rapid change, in
low and mournful cadence, to the earth, the clay, the mire--to dearth, to
suffering, to sin! "I wonder, Lord, will I ever get to heaven--to the New
Jerusalem?" came with the ending of every verse. I bowed my face in my
hands. Yes! heaven was so far off! Yet--"he that cometh to me, I will in
nowise cast out"--our grasp is firm, but our eyes are blind. Some day,
after the earthly longings are stilled, we will know the exceeding glory.

Though singing songs of every description, yet how often we are made to
feel that any moment the summons may come!

I was sewing, one day, near one side of the cave, where the bank slopes
and lights up the room like a window. Near this opening I was sitting,
when I suddenly remembered some little article I wished in another part of
the room. Crossing to procure it, I was returning, when a Minié ball
came whizzing through the opening, passed my chair, and fell beyond it.
Had I been still sitting, I should have stopped it. Conceive how speedily
I took the chair into another part of the room, and sat in it!



One evening I noticed one of the horses tied in the ravine, acting very
strangely--writhing and struggling as if in pain. One of the soldiers went
to him and found that he was very badly wounded in the flank by a Minié
ball. The poor creature's agony was dreadful: he would reach his head up
as far as possible into the tree to which he was tied, and cling with his
mouth, while his neck and body quivered with the pain. Every motion,
instead of being violent, as most horses would have been when wounded, had
a stately grace of eloquent suffering that is indescribable. How I wanted
to go to him and pat and soothe him! The halter was taken off, and he was
turned free. Going to a tree, he leaned his body against it, and moaned,
with half closed eyes, shivering frequently throughout his huge body, as
if the pain were too great to bear.

Then, turning his head entirely around, he would gaze at the group of
soldiers that stood pityingly near, as if he was looking for human
sympathy. The master refused to have him shot, hoping he would recover;
but it must have been evident that this day was the last of his strong,
proud life: the noble black was doomed. After the gentle faithfulness of
his service, it was cruel to prolong his suffering: after the simple meals
of mulberry leaves, with scarcely sustenance enough to maintain life, why
should this pain and agony be permitted to rack his already weakened body?
These truths were set aside, and the master looked with pity; yet, it
seemed, a selfish pity.

Becoming restless with the pain, the poor brute staggered blindly on. And
now my eyes fill with tears; for he has fallen, with a weary moan, between
the banks of the little rivulet in the ravine, his head thrown on the sod,
and the bright, intelligent eye turned still upon the men who have been
his comrades in many a battle, standing still near him.

Poor fellow!--those low and frequent moans and trembling limbs tell them
that death has stricken you already--that you are far beyond human
sympathy. In the midst of all the falling shells, cannot one reach him,
giving him peace and death? I see an axe handed to one of the bystanders,
and turn suddenly away from the scene. The quick, soft stroke! I know it
must be over. Again I look, and the glossy, black body is being taken out
from our sight, to be replaced by new sufferings, and to be forgotten in
new incidents.

There is one missile, were I a soldier, that would totally put me to
rout--and that is a shrapnell shell. Only those who have heard several
coming at a time, exploding near, and scattering hundreds of small balls
around them, can tell how fearful the noise they make--a wild scream--a
clattering and whizzing sound that never fails in striking terror to my
heart! It seemed sometimes that as many as fifty balls fell immediately
around our door. I could have sent out at any time, near the entrance of
our cave, and had a bucketful of balls from shrapnell and the Minié rifle,
picked up in the shortest possible time.

One old, gray-headed, cheerful-hearted soldier, whom I had talked with
often, was passing through the ravine for water, immediately opposite our
cave. A Minié ball struck him in the lower part of the leg; he coolly
stooped down, tied his handkerchief around it, and passed on. So
constantly fell projectiles of all descriptions, that I became almost
indifferent to them. Only the hideous noise of numerous shrapnell could
startle me now. Generally at four o'clock in the morning the shrapnell
were thrown more furiously than at any other time through the day. At
about seven, the Minié balls began falling, accompanied by Parrott,
canister, solid shot, and shrapnell shells; and through every minute in
the day this constant play of artillery and musketry was kept up from the
Federal lines. General Pemberton had ordered the Confederate batteries to
remain silent, unless particular orders were given to fire, or an assault
was made on the works.

One afternoon I remember so vividly! One of the surgeons of the staff was
chatting with M----, when I heard a rushing and peculiar sound, as if some
one were rapidly cutting through the air, near and around me, with a

Both the doctor and M---- sprang to their feet, as the sound grew more
confused, seeming as if the sudden rush of a volume of water was pouring
down the hill. I saw M---- turn to the doctor and say: "They're coming!" I
dared not ask any questions; yet, I at first supposed the intrenchments
were taken. M----, without a word, drew on another coat and threw the
linen one he had worn to me, with a laugh. I suppose I must have looked
rather wild; for I could not tell or imagine the meaning of the confusing
and singular noise around us. Taking his sword, M---- started immediately.
I feared every moment that he would fall, for the balls fell like hail. I
turned to the doctor, questioning: "Are they coming over the hill?" He
laughed, and said:

"Oh! no; they are only making a charge on the intrenchments; and the
rushing in the air you hear is the numerous small balls flying over us."

The strange, bewildering sound lasted for some time. The doctor soon took
his leave, saying that the wounded would be brought in for him to attend.
I sat for half an hour hearing the constant rushing and surging around me,
and the quick dropping of balls; the ground trembled from the frequent
discharge of the Confederate cannon. What was likely to be the result, I
could not tell; for the ravine below, lately so full of animation, seemed
to be totally deserted, save now and then the rapid gallop of a courier
through the shower of balls along the road. Soon there came a gradual
cessation, quieting more and more down to the old interval of a minute
between the discharges; soon M---- came home, reporting one or two wounded
and one killed. It seems miraculous to me that, amid such a shower of
balls, so few persons should be injured.



A few days after the assault on the Confederate fortifications, a sad
accident cast a gloom over all the little community encamped in the
ravine--officers, soldiers, and servants: A soldier, named Henry, had
noticed my little girl often, bringing her flowers at one time, an apple
at another, and again a young mocking bird, and had attached her to him
much by these little kindnesses. Frequently, on seeing him pass, she would
call his name, and clap her hands gleefully, as he rode the general's
handsome horse for water, causing him to prance past the cave for her
amusement. She called my attention to him one morning, saying: "O mamma,
look at Henny's horse how he plays!" He was riding a small black horse
that was exceedingly wild, and striving to accustom it to the rapid
evolutions of the Texas troops, turning in his saddle to grasp something
from the ground, as he moved speedily on. Soon after, he rode the horse
for water; and I saw him return and fasten it to a tree.

Afterward I saw him come down the hill opposite, with an unexploded
shrapnel shell in his hand. In a few moments I heard a quick explosion in
the ravine, followed by a cry--a sudden, agonized cry. I ran to the
entrance, and saw a courier, whom I had noticed frequently passing by,
roll slowly over into the rivulet of the ravine and lie motionless, at a
little distance: Henry--oh, poor Henry!--holding out his mangled arms--the
hands torn and hanging from the bleeding, ghastly wrists--a fearful wound
in his head--the blood pouring from his wounds. Shot, gasping, wild, he
staggered around, crying piteously, "Where are you, boys? O boys, where
are you? Oh, I am hurt! I am hurt! Boys, come to me!--come to me! God have
mercy! Almighty God, have mercy!"

My little girl clung to my dress, saying, "O mamma, poor Henny's killed!
Now he'll die, mamma. Oh, poor Henny!" I carried her away from the painful

My first impulse was to run down to them with the few remedies I
possessed. Then I thought of the crowd of soldiers around the men; and if
M---- should come and see me there--the only lady--he might think I did
wrong; so I sent my servant, with camphor and other slight remedies I
possessed, and turned into my cave, with a sickened heart.

In a few moments, the litters pass by, going toward the hospital, the
blood streaming from that of Henry, who still moaned and cried "for the
boys to come to him," and "for God to pity him."

But the other bore the still, motionless body of the young courier, who,
in the strength of his life, had been so suddenly stricken. It seems that
the two men had been trying to take out the screw from an unexploded shell
for the purpose of securing the powder; in turning it, the fuse had become
ignited, communicating the fire to the powder, and the fatal explosion

Henry had been struck in the head by a fragment--his hands torn from his
arms; one or two fragments had also lodged in his body. The courier had
been struck in two places in his head, and a number of balls had entered
his body. Poor soldier! his mother lived in Yazoo City; and he was her
only son. So near was she, yet unable to hold his head and set the seal of
her love on his lips ere the breath fled from them forever! He lived until
the sun went down, speaking no word--making no moan; only the quickly
drawn breath told that life still flickered in the mangled body. Henry
died, also, that night, still unconscious of the sorrowful comrades around
his bed--still calling on God to pity him.

After the bodies of the wounded men had been carried away, we heard loud
wailings and cries in the direction of the city. I was told a negro woman,
in walking through the yard, had been struck by a fragment of shell, and
instantly killed. The screams of the women of Vicksburg were the saddest I
have ever heard. The wailings over the dead seemed full of a heart-sick
agony. I cannot attempt to describe the thrill of pity, mingled with fear,
that pierced my soul, as suddenly vibrating through the air would come
these sorrowful shrieks!--these pitiful moans!--sometimes almost
simultaneously with the explosion of a shell. This anguish over the dead
and wounded was particularly low and mournful, perhaps from the
depression. Many women were utterly sick through constant fear and
apprehension. It is strange that the ladies were almost constantly in
caves, and yet, did one go out for a short time, she was almost certain to
be wounded; while the officers and soldiers rode and walked about, with
very little destruction of life ensuing.

An officer was telling me of two soldiers near his camp, who had been
severely wounded by Minié balls--one shot through the hand and lung; the
other through the side.

A new cause for apprehension came to me about this time: the mortar boats
were endeavoring to throw their bombs as far as the intrenchments, and
almost succeeded. I could see them at night falling near the opposite
hill; and I was in a constant state of trepidation, lest they should be
cast still nearer us. After witnessing the brilliant streams of light that
they created in the heavens, one night, and feeling repeatedly thankful
that they always fell short of the hill we inhabited, I gradually grew
sleepy in utter loneliness, for M---- seldom finished receiving reports
until eleven. I wearily turned to the little mattress on the floor, said
my prayers, and retired. I had been sleeping some time, for the moon was
shining brightly, when I was awakened by loud cries and screams: "Where
shall we go? Oh! where shall we go?" My immediate conclusion was that some
woman had been killed or wounded, as every now and then I could see the
mortar shells dropping on the hill opposite. I therefore thought that I
had been spared in Vicksburg, as long as I reasonably could hope, from the
variety of changes through which I had passed; and immediately I was
seized with a severe panic. If shells had not been falling from the battle
field also, I fear I should have started in that direction--so great was
my dread of the mortars!--and run, I cared not where, out of their range.

But the counter awe of Parrott shells kept me where I was. I sat up in bed
in a fearful state of excitement; called M---- again and again, without
the slightest response; at last, a sleepily uttered "What is the matter?"
gave me an opportunity of informing him that we would all be killed, and
telling him, while the cold moisture of fear broke out over my forehead,
that the mortar shells were nearer than ever, and that the next one
would probably fall upon our cave. Awakened at last to my distressed state
of mind, and hearing me say that I knew some woman had been killed, he got
up, dressed, took up his cap, and went out to see what had happened,
telling me he would return shortly--looking back, laughing as he went, and
saying to me that I was fearfully demoralized for so good a soldier. He
soon returned, telling me that a negro man had been killed at the entrance
of a cave a little beyond us, toward the city; that his mistress, wife,
and the young ladies of the family were very badly frightened, having
taken refuge in the adjutant's office.



The next day, the family were invited up to our cave; and the lady told
me, with tears, of the death of the faithful old man, who had served her
mother before her. The morning of the day he died, he called her to him,
and said: "Mistess, I feel like I ain't gwin' to live much longer. Tell
young master, when you see him, that I've been praying for him dis day;
tell him it smites my heart mightily to think I won't see his young face
dis day with the childern. Please tell the young folks, mistess, to come;
and let me pray with them." "Oh! uncle!" the mistress answered, "don't
talk that way; you will live many years yet, I hope." The young ladies
were called, and knelt, while he prayed for them and all he loved,
shaking hands with them, and speaking to each one separately, as they
left. His cave was next his mistress's. That night he sat smoking his pipe
near the entrance, when a mortar shell, exploding near, sent a fragment
into the old man's side, rending it open, and tearing away his hip. He
lived a few moments, and was carried into the cave. Turning to his
mistress, while he shook his head, he said: "Don't stay here, mistess. I
said the Lord wanted me." And so the good old Christian died. When he had
breathed his last, a sudden panic seized them, for shell after shell fell
near them; and they all ran. Some of the gentlemen, hearing them cry,
brought them to headquarters.

The next day, the news came that one of the forts to the left of us had
been undermined and blown up, killing sixty men; then of the death of the
gallant Colonel Irwin, of Missouri; and again, the next day, of the death
of the brave old General Green, of Missouri.

We were now swiftly nearing the end of our siege life: the rations had
nearly all been given out. For the last few days I had been sick; still
I tried to overcome the languid feeling of utter prostration. My little
one had swung in her hammock, reduced in strength, with a low fever
flushing in her face. M---- was all anxiety, I could plainly see. A
soldier brought up, one morning, a little jaybird, as a plaything for the
child. After playing with it for a short time, she turned wearily away.
"Miss Mary," said the servant, "she's hungry; let me make her some soup
from the bird." At first I refused: the poor little plaything should not
die; then, as I thought of the child, I half consented. With the utmost
haste, Cinth disappeared; and the next time she appeared, it was with a
cup of soup, and a little plate, on which lay the white meat of the poor
little bird.

On Saturday a painful calm prevailed: there had been a truce proclaimed;
and so long had the constant firing been kept up, that the stillness now
was absolutely oppressive.

At ten o'clock General Bowen passed by, dressed in full uniform,
accompanied by Colonel Montgomery, and preceded by a courier bearing a
white flag. M---- came by, and asked me if I would like to walk out; so I
put on my bonnet and sullied forth beyond the terrace, for the first
time since I entered. On the hill above us, the earth was literally
covered with fragments of shell--Parrott, shrapnell, canister; besides
lead in all shapes and forms, and a long kind of solid shot, shaped like a
small Parrott shell. Minié balls lay in every direction, flattened,
dented, and bent from the contact with trees and pieces of wood in their
flight. The grass seemed deadened--the ground ploughed into furrows in
many places; while scattered over all, like giants' pepper, in numberless
quantity, were the shrapnell balls.

I could now see how very near to the rifle pits my cave lay: only a small
ravine between the two hills separated us. In about two hours, General
Bowen returned. No one knew, or seemed to know, why a truce had been made;
but all believed that a treaty of surrender was pending. Nothing was
talked about among the officers but the all-engrossing theme. Many wished
to cut their way out and make the risk their own; but I secretly hoped
that no such bloody hazard would be attempted.

The next morning, M---- came up, with a pale face, saying: "It's all
over! The white flag floats from our forts! Vicksburg has surrendered!"

He put on his uniform coat, silently buckled on his sword, and prepared to
take out the men, to deliver up their arms in front of the fortification.

I felt a strange unrest, the quiet of the day was so unnatural. I walked
up and down the cave until M---- returned. The day was extremely warm; and
he came with a violent headache. He told me that the Federal troops had
acted splendidly; they were stationed opposite the place where the
Confederate troops marched up and stacked their arms; and they seemed to
feel sorry for the poor fellows who had defended the place for so long a
time. Far different from what he had expected, not a jeer or taunt came
from any one of the Federal soldiers. Occasionally, a cheer would be
heard; but the majority seemed to regard the poor unsuccessful soldiers
with a generous sympathy.

After the surrender, the old gray-headed soldier, in passing on the hill
near the cave, stopped, and, touching his hat, said:

"It's a sad day this, madam; I little thought we'd come to it, when we
first stopped in the intrenchments. I hope you'll yet be happy, madam,
after all the trouble you've seen."

To which I mentally responded, "Amen."

The poor, hunchback soldier, who had been sick, and who, at home in
Southern Missouri, is worth a million of dollars, I have been told, yet
within Vicksburg has been nearly starved, walked out to-day in the
pleasant air, for the first time for many days.

I stood in the doorway and caught my first sight of the Federal uniform
since the surrender. That afternoon the road was filled with them, walking
about, looking at the forts and the headquarter horses: wagons also filled
the road, drawn by the handsome United States horses. Poor M----, after
keeping his horse upon mulberry leaves during the forty-eight days, saw
him no more! After the surrender in the evening, George rode into the city
on his mule: thinking to "shine," as the negroes say, he rode M----'s
handsome, silver-mounted dragoon-saddle. I could not help laughing when he
returned, with a sorry face, reporting himself safe, but the saddle gone.
M---- questioned and requestioned him, aghast at his loss; for a saddle
was a valuable article in our little community; and George, who felt as
badly as any one, said: "I met a Yankee, who told me: 'Git down off dat
mule; I'm gwin' to hab dat saddle.' I said: 'No; I ain't gwin' to do no
such thing.' He took out his pistol, and I jumped down."

So Mister George brought back to M---- a saddle that better befitted his
mule than the one he rode off on--a much worn, common affair, made of
wood. I felt sorry for M----. That evening George brought evil news again:
another horse had been taken. His remaining horse and his only saddle
finished the news of the day.

The next morning, Monday, as I was passing through the cave, I saw
something stirring at the base of one of the supports of the roof: taking
a second look, I beheld a large snake curled between the earth and the
upright post. I went out quickly and sent one of the servants for M----,
who, coming up immediately, took up his sword and fastened one of the
folds of the reptile to the post. It gave one quick dart toward him, with
open jaws. Fortunately, the length of the sword was greater than the upper
length of body; and the snake fell to the earth a few inches from M----,
who set his heel firmly on it, and severed the head from the body with the
sword. I have never seen so large a snake; it was fully as large round the
body as the bowl of a good-sized glass tumbler, and over two yards long.



In the afternoon, M---- went into the city, with some of the officers, to
make arrangements for me. I was much amused, though I did not let them see
it, as they set off on their poor mulberry-fed horses. M---- had been
presented by some one, after the loss of his horse, with a little, lame,
subdued-looking animal, to whom food of any kind seemed a rarity; and the
poor horse ambled along as if he considered his weight a great affliction.
Our whole little household had been drawn out to witness the departure of
the brilliant (?) cavalcade.

Afterward, as I sat with a book at the entrance, I heard steps, and,
looking up, I saw a large, burly negro, with a most disagreeable face,
dressed in Federal uniform, and armed, coming up the little path that led
to the cave. As he advanced toward me, I sprang to my feet; but George,
who was luckily near, crossed over from the "sassafras bed," carving knife
in hand, with which he was digging some of the root. Standing between us,
he said: "Where are you gwin', old man?" "None your business," he
returned, pausing a moment. I was just on the point of calling for some of
the gentlemen at headquarters, when he turned and went round the cave on
the hill. "I'll make dis knife show you what's your business," growled
George. Poor George! he had been my faithful defender throughout all my
vicissitudes in Vicksburg.

Soon after, George came to me in a great state of excitement, and said:
"Oh! Miss Mary, a Yankee soldier was just going with our tent fly from the
top of the cave, and I made him stop and leave it." A Federal soldier came
down the side of the hill, stopped, and took my little daughter's hand and
said some pleasant words to her; turned to me, touching his hat, with a
smile, and said, "Good morning." I bowed in return, while a lucky thought
came to me: Here was a kind-hearted, polite soldier; why not let him
take the tent fly, in the place of some undeserving man? So I said:
"Soldier, would you like a tent fly?" He answered: "Oh! yes, madam; I
would like one very much." So I sent George to get it for him. He
expressed himself very grateful--disliked to take it, fearful of robbing
us; but I assured him he was welcome; so he again bade me good morning,
and carried off his acquisition.

The Confederate troops were being marched into Vicksburg to take the
parole that the terms of the treaty of surrender demanded. In a few days
they would leave the city they had held so long.

On Friday they began their march toward the South; and on Saturday poor
George came to me, and said he had put on a pair of blue pants, and,
thinking they would take him for a Federal soldier, had tried to slip
through after M----, but he was turned back; so he came, begging me to try
and get him a pass: the effort was made; and to this day I do not know
whether he ever reached M---- or not.

Saturday evening, Vicksburg, with her terraced hills--with her pleasant
homes and sad memories, passed from my view in the gathering
twilight--passed, but the river flowed on the same, and the stars shone
out with the same calm light! But the many eyes--O Vicksburg!--that have
gazed on thy terraced hills--on thy green and sunny gardens--on the flow
of the river--the calm of the stars--those eyes! how many thou hast closed
on the world forever!




MY DEAR J----:

I am just in from dinner; and you would be amused to see the different
faces--I might as well say the different appetites; for the Army of
Missouri and Arkansas have been undergoing rigorous fasts of late; and the
little episode of the battle of Elkhorn and the consequent privations have
helped not a little the gaunt appearance of these military characters. All
eat, eat rapidly; from General V---- D---- down to the smallest
lieutenant, whose manner of playing the epicure over the different dishes
ordered, is a study. The confidential consultations with the waiter over
them, together with the knowing unconsciousness of bestowing his small
change, almost convinces me that he is a brigadier-general, or a colonel,
at least. You see streaming in constantly this tide of human beings, to
eat, stare at the ladies, talk, and order much wine in the excitement of
military anecdotes; for you must understand that a civilian is a "rara
avis" amid the brilliant uniforms of the dining room. Yet, amid all this
mass and huge crowd, the majority are polished gentlemen, who have
evidently seen much of the world, and who are men of purpose and

General V---- D---- and staff sit not far from me--looked at rather
jealously by the Missourians, as ranking and commanding them over their
favorite general. Yet, he always treats the old general with the utmost
consideration and courtesy. On the other side sits General P----, with his
kind, benevolent face. The poor old gentleman finds at the table his
lightest reserves become his heaviest forces: nearly all his staff are
about him.

And, as I sit half amused at the expression of some faces, and thinking
deeply of the mute, yet determined impress of character on others, two
gentlemen come in--one in plain citizen's clothing, with heavy black
beard and high forehead--with stooping gait and hands behind him. I am
told he is Governor J----, of Missouri. His face puzzles me--it is
thoughtful and singular. By his side, with tall, lithe, slender figure,
fully erect, walks General J---- T----. You will scarcely think it
possible that this is the so-frequently talked of J---- T----. I thought
him an ordinary man, did not you? Yet, this is anything but an ordinary
man. The keen dark eye sweeps the room as he enters, taking us all in at a
glance--a quick, daring, decisive, resolute face. I can make nothing more
out of him. Yet, there is more of thought and intellect than you see at
first. He is dressed in full uniform, with sword and sash, and has quite a
military air.

There are many Saint Louisians here; you see them scattered around the
tables quite plentifully. General C---- is among the number. He sits at
some distance, and looks quite worn and sad. You know--do you not?--that
he is the father of young Churchill Clark, who was killed at Elkhorn. Have
I ever told you his history? It is this: He graduated at West Point in the
commencement of the war; and knowing and having a great admiration for
General P----, he joined him at once: he was put in command of some
artillery; and showing himself a youth of courage and ability--for he was
only twenty years old--his command was increased. Throughout the constant
trials and sufferings of the campaign, he showed himself equal in courage,
daring, and judgment, to many older heads. He was particularly beloved by
General P----. At Elkhorn, as ever, his battery sustained itself with
coolness and bravery. As the general rode by, he said some cheering words
to young Clark, who took off his cap and waved it, saying, "General, we
will hold our own," or words to that effect, when a ball sped from the
enemy, and crashed in the young, ardent brain as he spoke.

I have been told that the general was affected to tears. He knelt by his
side, vainly seeking for some trace of the strong, young life, but the
pulses were stilled forever; and Churchill Clark lay a stiffened corpse in
the long, wet grass at Elkhorn. And so his father sits silent and alone,
and all respect the grief that none can assuage.

In a few days we leave. The gentlemen all go to Corinth, where a battle,
in all probability, will take place before long. Fort Pillow can hardly
hold out, under the daily bombardment that we hear from the gunboats; and
if it falls, Memphis, on taking leave of the Confederate officers, will
usher in the Federal to quarters in the Gayoso.


MEMPHIS, _April_.

DEAR J----:

Again I write you from the Gayoso House, which still teems with
Missourians, and many ladies--some few from St. Louis. General P----'s
parlor is filled with ladies from morning until night. I have been told
that on one occasion some ladies, who were the reverse of beautiful, were
coming in to see him, when he turned to one of his staff officers, and
told him that it was his duty to assist him--that here was an opportunity:
he must kiss these ladies for him; but the officer was politely deaf until
too late.

It is astonishing to see how ladies do flock to see the old general; and
all kiss him, as a matter of course. I rode out to the camp of the
Missourians with M----, a few mornings since. It is pleasantly situated
near the bank of the river. The men seem to be in good spirits; although
moving them across the Mississippi has been an unpopular act. The poor
fellows are being taken out to Corinth as fast as transportation can be
furnished them. The compliment is paid them of being placed in the most
dangerous position; for we daily expect an attack from the Federal
forces on Corinth.

Would you like to see those you love complimented in this way? You can
form no idea of the love and devotion shown by the Missouri troops for
their general. I happened to be standing near a window at the end of the
hall, last evening, as some regiments passed by the Gayoso on their way
out to the depot, bound for Corinth. General P---- stood out on the
veranda as they passed by, and shouts and cheers for the old general and
Missouri rent the air.

General J---- T---- called on me this morning, and amused me much with
some of his adventures in Missouri last winter; among others, he told us
of his dash into the little town of Commerce for food. His men were
ordered to take a certain amount, lay down the money, and leave. As he sat
on a small horse, waiting for them, out came the "heroine of Commerce," as
he called the lady. I have forgotten her name; yet, I think it was
O'Sullivan. She walked up to the general, shook her clenched hand in his
face, and told him he was a robber and a scoundrel. Her husband pulled her
by the arm and tried to make her desist; but she was deaf to his
entreaties, standing part of the time on one side of the little horse, and
part of the time on the other; first, shaking her clenched hand at him,
and then standing, with arms folded, calling him all manner of names. Some
of the officers wished General T---- to have her confined to her own house
until his departure; but he laughed, and said: "No; let her alone." She
still continued hovering around him, threatening and talking.

He said: "Oh! Mrs. O'Sullivan, you are a modest woman--a very modest
woman. Madam, don't you think your house stands in need of you?" Powerless
fell the irony: wherever he went, he was followed by the persistent Mrs.
O'Sullivan; stop where he would, Mrs. O'Sullivan was by his side, much to
the amusement of his followers; go where he would, up rose Mrs. O'Sullivan
unexpectedly at corners--red-faced and bitter--always in the same
belligerent, defiant state.

A steamboat was seen coming down the river. General T---- ordered his men
to hide behind a woodpile until it came up, expecting to get supplies from
it. When they thought themselves disposed out of sight, General T----
raised his eyes, and behold! some little distance up the river, stood the
inevitable Mrs. O'Sullivan, violently gesticulating to the boat, and
crying, "Turn, turn! J---- T---- is here;" at the same time waving her
apron and sun bonnet, in quite a frantic manner. The boat turned indeed;
and although the scheme failed, behind the woodpile sat General T----,
chagrined at the failure, yet laughing most heartily at the attitude and
_mal-à-propos_ appearance of Mrs. O'Sullivan.

The hotel is crowded with military men: many wounded at the late battle of
Shiloh, going around with arms in slings; others supported by crutches.
The ladies are seemingly having a very gay time: the halls are filled with
promenaders, and the parlors with gay young couples, music, and laughter.

Yet, a sudden surprise has come to all: New Orleans has fallen--an
unexpected blow to most of the Southern officers. I cannot but think, as I
see all the life and bustle around me, of the different scenes a week or
two hence, when the fearful battle of Corinth will have taken place. How
many that are now happy and full of life, looking forward with
confidence to the laurels that may be won, before the struggle is over
will be silent forever in death! or, worse, perhaps lamed and maimed for
life! General Beauregard's works are said to be fine; yet, the Federal
approaches are said to be greatly superior.

My husband goes to-morrow to Corinth; and I will go to O----, Miss., to
await the result of what all seem to think will be a most bloody struggle.
I will write on reaching O----; until then, farewell.

O----, _May 1st_.

The expected battle has not yet come off, and I am still awaiting the
result; busying myself about many things, visiting and returning visits
from my old friends; dividing my time between the world and the hospital,
the lights and shades of life. Ah, the shades! My dear J----, you can
little imagine how much suffering I have witnessed in the last few
weeks--how much, that acts or kind words have no power to mitigate. There
have been many wounded brought in from Corinth, many who have died since
their arrival, many who will die; but, saddest of all, a young boy, too
young to be a soldier, yet possessing all a soldier's spirit. I walked
into a ward, one morning, that I had visited the evening before--a ward of
very sick patients--and saw an old man sitting by a new cot, fanning a
young boy, who lay with flushed face, and burning eyes fixed on the
ceiling. As I advanced toward them, the weather-bronzed man stood stiffly
erect, making me a quaint, half-awkward, military salute, saying, as he
did so, "My boy, ma'am!" "Is he wounded?" I asked. He threw back the sheet
that covered him, pointed to the stump of a limb amputated near the
thigh: "He has gained the cross," he said, while his head grew more erect,
as he held back the sheet with the fan, and his eye shot out the grim
ghost of a smile.

A proud, iron soldier the man was, I could see. The boy was delirious; so
I shall tell you of the man. Refusing to be seated as long as a lady
remained standing in the room, he stood stiffly upright at the head of the
cot, keeping each fly from the face of the boy with the tenderness of a
mother. A limp brown hat was on the side of his head, shading his eyes,
that followed me in all parts of the room. A red cord and tassel hung from
one side of his hat, and gave him a jaunty air that was quite out of
keeping with the quaint stiffness of his manner. After speaking to the
sick and wounded soldiers around, asking after their wounds and wants, I
returned to the young boy's cot, and heard the old man's story. Don't be
weary if I give it to you; he had so much pride in his boy, let that be my

"We belong to the Texas Rangers, ma'am, the boy and me; he could ride as
well as the rest of them, ma'am, a year ago. When the war broke out, and
we practised regularly like, he was the best rider in the company--could
pick anything he wanted off the ground as he was going. He's only
fourteen, ma'am--a fine-grown lad, indeed. His mother was the likeliest
woman I ever seed," with a deprecating bow to me; "he's got her eyes--the
finest eyes God ever made, she had, ma'am. She died when quite young like,
leaving him to me, a little shaver, and he's been by me ever since. The
boys and me tried to overpersuade him out of the army; 'peared like he was
too young for such business; but he wouldn't hear to it, not he, ma'am,
and here he is," passing his sleeve across his eyes.

"Well, ma'am, so he staid with us; and when we got to Corinth, General
Beauregard offered a cross of honor to the ones that showed themselves the
best soldiers. So our boys talked a heap about who'd get it; but this boy
says nothing. Well, one day we were ordered out to scout, and we came up
with the Yankees, and we fit 'em a half hour or so, when I seed this
youngster by my side kind adrooping by a tree, but standing his ground.
Well, we routed them at last, when I found the boy's leg was all
shattered, and he'd kept up like nothing wan't the matter. So when we
went back to Corinth, it got noised about like from the soldiers to the
officers--how he'd held out. And, more'n all, the time when his leg was
being cut off, we couldn't get any chloroform, morphine, or the like: he
just sit up like a brave lad, and off it went, without a word out of him.
So the doctors they talked of that; and he's been notified that he'll get
the first cross, and the boys'll be monstrous fond of him, and feel most
like they'd got it themselves. If he'd get rid of his fever and pick up
like, I'd be a happy man," he said anxiously.

Pardon me do I tire you; but let me take you to visit the sick prisoners.
The old man that we pass in the hall, with his arm and leg in a frame,
will never recover; yet he does not know it, and frequently asks me if I
think he will get a pension when he is well, if he loses his leg and arm.
He persists in keeping his face covered with a handkerchief, raising it up
and peeping out, if he hears my voice, each day, with his usual
salutation: "You've come, have ye?" If I bring any little article of food
that I think the patients will relish, this old man must be fed by me, and
I am frequently amused at the directions he gives me, for he is
extremely practical and particular: "Now, if you will turn the spoon a
little to one side, I will turn my mouth in this direction, and the
custard will pass safely in." Poor man, without a friend, both arms badly
wounded, and leg shattered, dying by degrees, yet to the last the
handkerchief would be raised, and the cheery welcome greet me, "Ye're
come, have ye?"

I think I can see you looking around in this ward to learn which are the
prisoners, for all seem cheerful and talkative. In this cot by the door,
with a wounded limb in a frame--like a huge lion--lies a man, large
whiskered, large bodied, and long limbed, yet with a pleasant smile of
greeting as we enter and make our inquiries after his wound. He is "better
this morning, thank you," or, "I am obliged to you, not quite so well." A
little picture on the table by his side, of a child three years of age, is
never closed. A little child, blue eyed, with bare white neck, and plump
round arms, showing the mother's wish that the picture should be fair and
lovely to the father's eye. The Federal flag is on the cover. The man, a
captain, is of an Illinois company. The child and mother, with tearful
eyes and wistful hearts, look over the wide expanse of land and water that
separates, over the cruel bounds that man has set--still faithful in their
love. Still watching, and hoping, for the time when liberty will be his,
and he, constant and true, will return to them. He tells me the name of
the little one, with a sorrowful look at me with his dark eye. If he is
free, if he ever sees these words, he will remember how the little one was
gazed on by a lady in deep mourning, to whose heart a child of three years
brought a sad and tearful memory.

Come to the next cot with me; do not shrink from this blackened brow.
Yesterday this was a noble-faced, gray-haired, old Confederate soldier,
with the plaintive, lovely smile of perfect resignation. He suffers much
from a wound in his body; seldom talks, yet always smiles gratefully for
the slightest attention. This morning I find the erysipelas has broken
out, spreading over his forehead and a part of his face. He cautions me,
with the same pleasant, resigned smile, about coming near him, lest I take
the disease. The blackened skin is from the effect of iodine to stay its
progress. He will not live: dear, patient old man, my heart aches for
him, yet I can give him nothing but kind words.

This morning I brought the men in this ward toast. The old man slept, and
I gave to each his portion. Engaged in talking to a prisoner in another
part of the room, I heard the Illinoisian say: "Let me divide this toast
with you; I do not need it all." I turned, and heard the old man reply:
"Oh, no; you keep it." I procured his toast and brought it to him,
laughingly telling the prisoner I believed I saw the dawn of the

Do you not wish, dear J----, that the dawning was indeed with us; that
brave and noble men should no more suffer, bleed, and die, but live; and
in their lives grow more thankful and worthy of the Divine blood that has
been shed for the removal of the fearful suffering and warfare that is all
around us?

Pardon me for the length of time I have detained you, and remember me as
ever, dear J----,


O----, _June, 1862_.

Can you credit it, dear J----, General Beauregard has evacuated Corinth?
You have learned it by this time through the papers, and share with me the
surprise. Our feelings have fluctuated with the news from Corinth for
weeks. First, an engagement would probably ensue the following day. Then,
some one had heard heavy guns, and was sure that the battle had taken
place. And the next day, all quiet at Corinth. But the most astonishing of
all, for we were prepared for everything besides, Corinth has been left
quietly; absolutely left, and the Federal troops probably occupy the
place. Every one has something to say on the subject, and all are more
brilliant in their ideas for the reason that all have full scope to
exercise them. No one possesses reliable information, and we are a
conjecturing community--gentlemen as well as ladies. Something out of the
common order of affairs, you will say.

But a truce to politics, of which I am very fond, and, like most women,
know very little about. Why should a woman of sense care to talk about
anything but dress and her servants? So I attended a pleasant little
_soirée_ a few evenings since, graced by the fair and elegant daughters of
General P----, of Tennessee, and the young bride of Jacob J----'s only
son, a sweet young girl. All were in full evening dress, though the guests
were few.

But a novelty, listen: A young Spanish bride--a brilliant woman--dazzled
my eyes for the evening. Conversing only in her beautiful national
language, she with animated gestures fascinates and enlightens one readily
in relation to her themes. Then she warbles most beautifully, and one can
scarcely complain that her higher notes lack in power, as she rises from
the instrument, placing her hand on her heart, saying brokenly the only
English words she is mistress of: "Oh! pity me, pity!" with an arch
reverence to her audience.

I am troubled about our poor hospital patients, the one third of whom you
have not met with me, each has a separate individuality that interests me
exceedingly. It is feared that the Federal troops will advance on O----,
and the patients will be removed to a safer place below. I will be sorry
to see them leave, poor fellows. The boy that gained a double cross at
Corinth has closed his eyes softly and calmly. Suffering will never
disturb him more. He is dead. The old man has gone back to his company
with spasms of pain in his heart, of which the world will never know.

Let me tell you of the man's devotion. The boy's fever still raged, with
slighter and slighter intervals. The medicine failed to procure the
desired effect. The physicians looked anxious as they approached his cot.
I wanted to take the old man's hand and tell him of the Friend in heaven,
from whom death itself can never separate us; but a foolish fear withheld
me. One night the physicians met around the little cot, the old man, as
usual when others were near, standing stiffly at the head, yet, with
alarmed and burning eyes, intently reading each face. A sad reading,
hopeless--the eyes told that, while the hand sought the faintly beating
pulse. "Doctor, may I try to save my boy my own way?" said the old man,
following the physician into the hall. "Yes, do as you choose with him,
only do not give him unnecessary pain."

In the morning a large tub of cold water was taken to the ward and placed
by the sick boy's cot; and, to the dismay of the soldiers in the beds
around, the boy was lifted out, wounded as he was, by the strong and
gentle arms of one in whose eyes he was more precious than the rarest of
diamonds and gold. A quick douse, and he was rubbed well, covered closely,
and soon slept soundly, the perspiration breaking out profusely for the
first time in two days. He was decidedly better, and the proud smile on
the father's face was a happy thing to see. Gradually he grew more feeble,
the fever returned, and one morning, with an aching heart, I saw the
calmness of death in the closed eyes and motionless nostril. Standing at
the head of the bed, his hat drawn over his eyes, his arms folded in a
stern and patient agony, the father stood watching yet, most faithfully. I
cannot express to you the grief that my sympathy brought--the grief, and
constantly the words: "Alone! all alone! My boy! oh, my boy!"

The ladies wished to have a large funeral over the brave, young soldier
but the physicians would not consent to having him buried in town, saying
that the soldiers were all worthy of attention, and that no distinction
could be allowed. So, before he was buried, I went out to the hospital and
looked my last on the young, dead face, from which all trace of
suffering had fled: only peace and rest now forever!

Pain and anguish were making a deep impress on the face of the man by the
head: the drawn lines of watching and suffering were more evident, as with
a strained smile, and almost a gasp of pain, he thanked me for the
interest I had taken. "Everybody is so kind!" he said. He had gone into
town that morning and purchased a little black coat, placing it on the
small form. A black velvet vest, white bosom, and the cravat tied over the
white, boyish throat, told of the tenderness that shrank not from the
coldness of death.

"He's like his mother, ma'am, more than ever, now," he whispered, softly
drawing the sheet over the inanimate form; and turning squarely around,
with his back to me, I saw him draw again and again his sleeve across his
eyes. We are born to this human sorrow; and yet it is an appalling thing
to me. You have expressed an interest in these visits to the wounded and
dying; therefore I speak.

One more life that hovers over the grave!--one more who has suffered, oh,
I cannot express to you how much! A prisoner from Iowa, belonging to the
second Iowa cavalry, was captured at Farmington, near Corinth, shot
through the body so badly, that very little hope was entertained of his
recovery: he lingered some weeks, and dwindled from a robust, hearty man,
down to a poor emaciated being--seldom talking--never complaining, yet
suffering much, I could see.

When I came, one morning, the ward master whispered aside to me that he
had been dying through the night. I entered the ward; his eye sought mine,
with a wistful look, and brightened as I came near his bed. I smoothed the
hair from his forehead, moistened his lips, and then, taking the fly
brush, resolved to stay by him to the last. Oh, dear J----! those wistful
eyes that followed every motion of mine!--those anxious, dying eyes!

What was the poor mother doing now, of whom he whispered to me? How little
she knew that the eyes that were so dear, now were looking their last on
the light! Far away from home and friends, among strangers, the soul was
swiftly passing out into the great sea of eternity, the bright hopes of
which so softly regulate this life-tide of ours!--passing out--passing
out, with a lingering look of unfathomable speech, into my face; for my
face told him what my lips faltered in doing!

"If I can write to your mother before you are free, what shall I say?"

"You know," he whispered.

"You are very sick, and God may not spare your life; will you say one
little prayer after me?" And so a few words were said, that, with long
pauses, he whispered after me, almost gasping at the last word. And thus
beside him I sat, the gaze from his eyes into mine growing more and more
intense. It seemed as if his whole soul was drawn out in unutterable
language. At length, the quivering eyelid, the softly fleeting breath,
ebbing out--yes, ebbing out so swiftly!

O Father! give this tried soul thy rest, through thy dear Son.

Free at last, prisoner! Peace to thy soul! God grant his peace!

My friend, do you dread death? I have seen it come so often as a relief
from pain and distress, that I could not but bless it. Do not forget that
you asked for these details; and believe, as I wish you always to, in my


It is long since I have heard from you, dear J----; long since I have
written. You will notice that I am again at O----. Soon after writing my
last, the Federal troops took possession of Holly Springs and threatened
O----. The hospital patients were removed; and I crossed the country to
meet my husband, who was at Tupelo. After spending some time in Pontotoc,
I continued on to Tupelo, and for some time remained on a plantation six
miles distant. Meantime the battle of Iuka occurred; and the loss of the
brave General Little was deeply felt by the Missourians. The troops
returned in dejection. Shortly, they were marched across to Ripley, where
a junction was formed with the troops under General V---- D----; and an
attack was made on Corinth, in which the troops behaved gallantly, but all
to no purpose: a complete repulse it proved; and the army under the two
generals narrowly escaped capture.

The wives and families of the officers were, of course, distressed and
anxious. Couriers daily came galloping into the town, with the most
conflicting reports.

At one time we heard that the Missourians were completely cut to pieces;
again, that they were all captured. One of the couriers said he had seen
my husband lying in an ambulance as he passed. How much distressed I was,
you can imagine. Yet, two days passed wearily along; and still no tidings.
The evening of the second day, as I sat in the moonlight on the portico, I
heard a vehicle coming down the road with great speed; as it neared the
house, I saw that it was an ambulance. My worst fears now took shape and
form: M---- wounded, perhaps mortally wounded, I thought; and I ran
swiftly down the walk. The driver met me at the gate, telling me that he
had been sent with all speed after me--that Tupelo would be evacuated
during the night, and my husband had written to the post quartermaster,
placing me in his charge. I also had a letter. The quartermaster would
take me over the country with the wagon train at daylight in the morning.
My husband was well, he answered to my first, earnest inquiry.

It was now nine o'clock; my little daughter was in bed sleeping soundly.
The man, a sergeant, who was well known to my husband, had, as yet, not
supped; so, while he ate, I gathered my baggage together, wrapped a shawl
around my sleeping child, and then, with a hurried good by, we drove off,
six miles through the woods, through what had been an impassable swamp.
Now the gloom of the huge trees brought to my mind all the thrilling tales
I had heard of travellers being waylaid in swamps and dense woods. I
looked at the shadows on the trunks of trees, and imagined a man skulked
in the darkness behind them. The owls were crying mournfully, and the
plaintive song of the whippoorwill came to us from the dense recesses of
the forest.

My servant crept closely to my side, for negroes, in their vivid
imaginations, fill the woods at night with phantoms and ghosts of the
departed. Frequently, after detailing the events of the recent battle to
us, our driver, in the full moonlight, would break the silence with one of
the stirring camp airs, whistling loud and shrilly; then my martial and
political hopes would rise; but as we would again plunge into the darkness
of the rugged cypress trees, where the owl and whippoorwill vied with each
other, a silence would again come over us, and I again become a timid,
fearful woman.

Soon we saw lights through the trees, then the rows of camp fires, and
noise and bustle became the prominent features of the town: cattle were
driven through, with many a shout and halloo; wagons were passing rapidly;
soldiers were cooking rations at the camp fires--a scene of busy

We drove to the quartermaster's office, and the gentlemen conducted us in,
regretting that they had been obliged to send for me in such a summary
manner. The order to move had come at dark; and since then they had been
employed constantly, as the town must be evacuated by daylight; for the
Federal forces were advancing rapidly.

The house was an unfinished building: one large, long room comprised the
second story, with a small portion partitioned off, and dignified by the
name of office. To this I, with my servant, was conducted through piles of
mule collars, harness, bridles, &c.

Here I was glad to find a little camp cot, on which I laid my child for
the first time out of my arms. With many apologies for the poor
accommodations they had to offer me, the gentlemen took their leave; and
I could hear the quick orders to clerks, drivers, and soldiers, as they
recommenced their hurried preparations. I took my knitting and sat by the
window. The moon was low in the heavens; yet the tumult continued
throughout the town. My child slept peacefully--her father many miles
away, yet, I knew, filled with anxiety for our welfare.

At dawn we were on our way. The first night, I slept in Pontotoc at a
friend's house. The gentlemen camped out of town about a mile. In the
morning, before I had left my room, my friends called and left a message
for me with the lady of the house. I was to start as soon as I could, and
strive to gain the head of the wagon train, thereby escaping the dust. Our
driver was a soldier from Arkansas--a quiet, mild, little man, with very
little force. We drove on briskly in the pleasant morning air for two or
three hours, and saw nothing of the train: perhaps we were before them.
Presently, we stopped and held a consultation. In every opinion that I
expressed in regard to the matter, I found a ready echo from the little
man, pro and con. We had driven perhaps too rapidly: no signs of the
wagons could we find. Waiting patiently for a time, a disagreeable
foreboding crossed my mind. I had not been told which road to take; there
were two: perhaps we were on the wrong one. O---- was forty miles from
Pontotoc; we had already gone nine, and could not now return expecting to
find our friends.

The only alternative was to drive through to O----, where M---- designed
meeting us. So, in answer to the little man's query, "Don't you think we'd
better whip up and try to make O---- by night?" I said, "Yes." Clouds
began to overspread the sky; and I heard mutterings of thunder in the
distance; still the sun shone out fitfully; and I hoped the rain would not
fall near us. Driving on with speed, we had proceeded but a few miles,
when the unmistakable evidences of a storm, that would soon burst upon us,
convinced me that a shelter must be sought; where, it was hard tell, for
the road we travelled was almost destitute of houses. I was in despair, as
the wind whistled around us, driving in eddies the leaves and dried grass
about the ground, and swaying high and low, with a moaning sound, the
limbs of the huge forest trees. In my anxiety, I grasped at a straw. I
remembered, in travelling this road before, that M---- had pointed out a
by road through the woods, that led to Lafayette Springs. The proprietor
knew my husband; and I resolved to take a country road that I saw leading
in the direction I imagined the Springs to be. Picture me, J----, if you
can, sitting up in the centre of the ambulance, my servant by my side,
little J---- between us--the little driver, meek and resigned, turning
when I said turn, stopping when I said stop. Taking a strange road, I knew
not where, we drew near, at last, a most unpromising-looking cabin, the
inhabitants of which filled the door at the sound of wheels--in every
variety of size--robed in yellow dresses, surmounted by tangled white
heads. The old lady "knew thar was some springs somewhar abouts, and
reckoned this road might run thar;" then, resuming her pipe, looked for
confirmation of the statement to her eldest daughter, who said: "Yes, she
reckoned, the road would take us thar, if we kept 'straight ahead.'"

"Whip the mules," I cried, "and drive rapidly;" for the storm was
darkening around us; and the ambulance jingled a chorus through the
silent "piny woods." Large drops were now falling; the wind moaned and
surged mournfully through the "barren," moaned and swept over the narrow
road, whirling the "pine points" as we passed; faster and faster fell the
rain. Our heavier clothing, shawls, cloaks, &c., were with the trunks: one
light shawl, in which I enveloped my child, was all we possessed in this
emergency. The ambulance cover was dotted with bullet holes, through which
the rain dropped in cold relentlessness. The little driver was suffering
martyrdom: drawn up as closely as possible, with his blanket around him,
the wind driving the rain in sheets between him and the mules, he looked
to me in the mist like an inanimate, round, brown ball. Soon, the floor of
the ambulance filled so rapidly with water, that he threw his blanket over
the top of the conveyance to keep the rain from falling through; then
subsiding again, the only sign of life about the little being was the
mechanical process of whipping the mules.

A little side road presented itself, leading into the forest, freshly
marked with wagon tracks. Hearing the barking of a dog not far distant, I
ordered the driver to turn in search of a house. Proceeding a quarter of
a mile, we came to another little cabin. Through the rain, the weak voice
of the little driver brought to the door a woman, who informed us that
Lafayette Springs were three miles on "ahead." Highly elate, the little
man turned to me, and, with a glad face, saying, "Very good news," whipped
up his mules; and I firmly believe the man was nearsighted; for in two
minutes more we would have gone off a precipice that was almost hidden by
the tops of trees that grew far below at the base. "Stop!" I cried, as the
heads of the mules were almost over the verge of the cliff. The little man
meekly asked what he should do. "Back the mules!" I cried; and, after a
troublesome detention, we at last turned and found ourselves on the road
again. "We like to had a right smart time thar," said the little man to
me. "We did, indeed," I returned, blandly; for I feared I had hurt the
poor man's feelings in speaking so quickly at that critical time. Gladly
we reached the Springs through the driving rain, and were pleasantly
welcomed. The landlord did all that he could for my comfort.

I had the pleasure of meeting a friend who had met my husband, and who
told me much about the recent battle. The next morning, we started early.
I determined, although it was a raw, disagreeable morning, to be done with
my lonely wanderings. We had gone about four miles, shivering in the
dismal mist, when I heard a quick galloping along the road. The curtain of
the ambulance was lifted--a blithe good morning in a voice I could not
mistake: M---- was riding by our side, asking how on earth we had
contrived to wander so far off from our friends. I could answer nothing to
this bantering. Corinth, with all its bloody horrors that have been so
vividly before my mind, the constant anxiety I had felt, and now my
tribulations were ended--M---- in person here to take charge of us! I
covered my face and cried like a silly child. Do not blame me; you have
never been lost in the woods in a storm, and felt that the responsibility
of every action rested with you. M---- had been sent on business to
Pontotoc--had heard of us there and followed, fearing that we might have
met with some accident. I will accompany M---- in a few days to Holly
Springs, where Generals P----, V---- D----, and L---- are intrenching
with their forces. As I write, the sunlight fades away; and only the
fading crimson light lies across my paper. In closing, let me entreat you
to remember always, as you read, my affection for you,

As ever.


You wished me to keep a journal for you, dear J----; but I answered that a
journal would be a dull compound of dates, with three lines setting forth
the vapidity of most days; and I would rather write events as they passed.
You replied that my letters must be voluminous if they were satisfactory.
Do you not already repent the remark? I rejoice, if length is pleasing, my
letters are satisfactory.

The battle of Corinth was a bloody failure. Oh the blood that has flowed
in this wonderful and most appalling warfare!--the tears and the
suffering! Can there be nothing done to assuage the fierce passions of
men? Oh! J----, could you see, as I have, the torn and mangled human
beings brought from the field of battle, with loud cries to God for
death!--for mercy and for death!--you, like me, would ask anxiously, "Can
nothing do away with this death?--this anguish? Can no appeal be made by
which peace may come to us?" But woman weeps, while man strikes!

Holly Springs, with its white verandahed houses, its pleasant gardens,
wide streets, and hospitable homes, is the most pleasant of Southern
towns; though crowded and teeming with soldiers and officers.

The inhabitants seem uniting in the efforts to entertain. Generals V----
D----, P----, L----, and T---- have each their respective headquarters in
the town. A week ago I attended a review of the troops under Generals
L---- and T----. They presented a fine appearance: most of them were newly
uniformed and renovated from their prison clothing. General V---- D----,
who is called the finest horseman in the army, galloped up and down the
line on a fleet, beautiful black horse, followed by General P---- on a
large bay that galloped heavily and with less speed.

There were many ladies present on horseback, scattered around the field,
with generally a gay group of officers surrounding them. Day before
yesterday we rode out to a large review of the Missouri troops under
General P----. There were spectators from the whole country around: many
came up on the cars from a distance. Such imperishable renown have the
Missouri troops gained in the late battle of Corinth, that all are anxious
to witness their review, and cheer the brave fellows who have suffered so
much. Although driven back and obliged to retreat, their gallant struggle
over two rows of superior fortifications in the face of a galling fire,
the Southern people will never forget.

General P---- is greatly beloved by the people also; though the heads of
the Government are strongly opposed to him. It is natural, of course, that
President Davis should suppose a regularly educated military man would be
more likely to understand the science of war than a man who had not made
it his study. But why does he cripple so efficient an officer as General
P---- certainly is, so as almost to render him inefficient?

The Missourians on review looked fresh and lively. General P----, attended
by his staff, stood near us in the pause, while we waited the arrival of
General V---- D----. One of General P----'s staff officers started across
the field to carry a despatch, when his horse, stumbling, fell on the
grass, rolling the brilliantly uniformed gentleman over and over on the
sod, much to the amusement of the spectators, who cheered him lustily. I
felt sorry for him; and although some of his friends were talking to me at
the time, I could scarcely conceal a smile. But the men, who, half a mile
distant, have been drawn in line, now wheel, form, and march around the
little hillock in the distance. See, the sun glances on the bayonets of
the guns, as they ascend, and in coming down over the brow of the hill,
the regular swing of the line and glance of the steel show the discipline
they have been under.

Now they pass by the general, who sits a little behind General V----
D----, and near General Q----. Among the artillery, I saw the Lady
Richardson, captured and brought away from Corinth. As they come on, and
pass by General V---- D----, they salute; which is answered by his raising
his cap to the colors, disclosing a proud, youthful head, surrounded by
curls. He is immediately before me, and I do not see his face, which is
marked with deep lines I have noticed before. In the evening, after the
review, I attended a party given to the generals here collected. The house
was crowded; the generals, with their staff and other officers, were
there, and some of the lovely ladies of Holly Springs. The supper was
handsome. Toasts were drunk to Generals P---- and V---- D----, and all
went merry, &c. But in the midst of a conversation, an officer told me
that the Federal forces were advancing on Holly Springs, and that probably
the Confederate forces would evacuate the town in a day or two. So, dear
J----, there is no telling where I will be when I write next.


I know you are smiling, as you see Jackson written at the head of my
letter--smiling to think how systematically I have bowed myself out of one
town after the other, as the Federal troops have bowed themselves in; yet
you know the old saw, "He that fights, and runs away," &c.; though I can
take no comfort in this, as fighting has been my abomination since the war
began. I have always, in peaceful times, had an admiration for heroes in
brilliant uniforms, and would now, if the hero could possibly assure me
that the brilliant uniform would always be filled with life. But how can
one feel a pleasure in the gilt trappings of a friend, when they know that
they may possibly serve as an anxiously sought target for some
sharpshooter. You do not wonder at my quotation in favor of a retrograde
movement in this frame of mind, do you? For the last week or two I have
passed from one state of excitement to another, so that I am glad indeed
to find a quiet resting place.

From Holly Springs the army under Generals V---- D---- and P---- retreated
to Abbeville, where they remained stationary for a time. One day the
inhabitants of O---- were alarmed by the distant booming of cannon. A
great excitement prevailed, and various rumors went the rounds. One that
the Federal troops had reached the Tallahatchee; another that they had
crossed, and a battle was progressing between the Federal and Confederate

The town grew wide awake. Wagons passed and repassed. Numerous families
were seen walking rapidly toward the depot, carriages filled with ladies
and children driving swiftly in the same direction. My friends were
preparing to leave also. I had received a telegram from M----, telling me
to be in readiness to take my departure during the afternoon. My
preparations were made. A gentleman came on the down train to accompany
me, when, to our great disappointment, passengers were not allowed to go
on the train, for the hospital patients were all to be taken off before
passengers could be accommodated. My friend was, however, by particular
favor, allowed to ride in a baggage car with my trunks. The next day,
Sunday, how little it seemed like the Sabbath! passenger trains were to
run if the stores could all be transported. So a number of friends, with
myself, took our seats quite early in the cars at the depot, and waited
patiently hour after hour, hearing most distracting rumors, until my
patience had become nearly exhausted.

In the afternoon, great was my joy on seeing M---- enter the car. The army
was retreating from Abbeville. Our friends resolved to take their carriage
and cross the country to Columbus. M---- said he could get an ambulance
for me, but I would be obliged to keep up with the army, as the Federal
forces were following closely. The cars were vacated quickly, and I saw
the last of my friends. An ambulance came up, and I was soon riding
rapidly southward. That night we stopped at a roadside house. During the
next day the greater portion of the army passed by, and encamped below the
house we were in for the night.

The next morning was gloomy, dark, and disagreeable. While I waited for
M---- to come with an ambulance, Gen. P---- invited me to ride with him.
The roads were in the most miserable condition, and for a time we drove on
a corduroy road.

Just imagine me, dear J----, on a corduroy road, jolting through a swamp,
with my child in my arms; the general talking in the calmest and most
urbane manner. Yet the gloom of the day was over me, and I felt dismally
miserable. Soon the rain began to pour down. We were at this time on the
high road, which became every moment worse, from the travel of the
artillery, the greater portion of which was before us. Immediately behind
the general's ambulance drove the carriage of a lady, who had been
compelled, like myself, to abandon the cars.

How incessantly the rain poured down! Now and then the ambulance would
drive on the side of the road, stopping to let the infantry pass. Poor
fellows! wet and begrimed with mud, plodding with blankets and knapsacks
strapped on their backs, and guns on their shoulders; troublesome
accompaniments at any time--far more so now in the driving rain. At the
foot of the hills we would frequently be obliged to halt, sometimes for an
hour, awaiting the passage of the artillery over the brow of the ascent.
The Federal troops were close in the rear. The horses strained and
pulled, but the mud was so deep and heavy that the wheels became clogged,
and I looked anxiously up, expecting to see some huge cannon, impelled by
its weight, return to the base of the hill. Frequently the soldiers would
be obliged to wade through the deep ruts of mud on the hillside, and give
a new impulse to some wavering piece, assisting the horses, and pushing
the weighty gun-carriage with united strength.

In the rain sat the staff officers on their dripping horses; and, giving
orders from the ambulance window, the old general urged on the men. I
wondered at the patience, the kindness with which he spoke to all; rapidly
and cheerily to the staff officers: "Ride on, and see what obstructs the
road;" and in a tone of sympathy, through the rain, to the straggling
soldier: "Keep up, men, keep up." "We camp near, do we?" he called out in
clear tones to the inspector. And the men raised their drooping heads and
pressed forward at the encouragement in the well-known voice. I see the
power of kindness with these men, dear J----. There are few general
officers in the Confederacy so well-beloved by their men as General
P----, yet he is only kind and perfectly just.

That night we stopped beyond Water Valley, at a house where the poor
hostess tried to make us comfortable, and gave us much of her company,
telling us that she was "cousin to Stonewall Jackson's wife and Hill's
wife;" but she "reckoned they did not know it, and wouldn't think much of
it, if they did." She brought in a large baby, and sat down by the
general's side, telling him that she was going to name that baby after
him. The general was as affable as usual; but I frequently turned to the
window to conceal my amusement.

Suddenly I was startled by her turning quickly to me, and asking if I
"would ever think her any kin to Stonewall Jackson's wife and Hill's
wife." Never having seen either of the above-named ladies, I
conscientiously answered I did not know as I should.

Wakened by the bugle call the next morning, I hastily arose, and in a few
moments was ready to depart. We had proceeded but five miles when an
aid-de-camp rode up, and told General P---- that General Pemberton wished
him to return to Water Valley immediately, as the Federal forces were
quite near, and the Confederate soldiers must make a stand. We alighted
and sat a few moments in a negro cabin. Then the general mounted and rode
toward Water Valley, followed by his staff officers. The lady and myself
proceeded on with the wagons beyond Coffeeville, where the train halted
and prepared to camp for the night. As yet I had not heard from M----
since he rode off with the general, and I scarcely knew what to do. The
soldiers were thrown out on picket duty around the trains, as a Federal
force was also to the left of us, near the little town of Charleston.
Heavy skirmishing was going on at Water Valley, we were told. As no house
was near, the gentleman who had charge of the lady and myself told us that
he would put up a pleasant tent, and make us quite comfortable. So a tent
was pitched on a little hillock near, and I rested comfortably during the
night. Early in the morning we were on our way, the remainder of the army
having come up. At length we reached Grenada in safety, yet sorely pressed
by the Federal troops.

Thus you see, dear J----, that I am unlucky enough to be identified with
some retreat or threatened city. From Memphis, or over the greater
distance that separates us, we can span our love; and through all, I am







In 16 Vols. 8vo, Double Columns, 750 Pages each.

_Price, Cloth, $3.50; Sheep, $4; Half Mor., $4.50;
Half Russia, $5 per Volume._

Every one that reads, every one that mingles in society, is constantly
meeting with allusions to subjects on which he needs and desires further
information. In conversation, in trade, in professional life, on the farm,
in the family, practical questions are continually arising, which no man,
well read or not, can always satisfactorily answer. If facilities for
reference are at hand, they are consulted, and not only is the curiosity
gratified, and the stock of knowledge increased, but perhaps information
is gained and ideas are suggested that will directly contribute to the
business success of the party concerned.

With a Cyclopædia, embracing every conceivable subject, and having its
topics alphabetically arranged, not a moment is lost. The matter in
question is found at once, digested, condensed, stripped of all that is
irrelevant and unnecessary, and verified by a comparison of the best
authorities. Moreover, while only men of fortune can collect a library
complete in all the departments of knowledge, a Cyclopædia, worth in
itself, for purposes of reference, at least a thousand volumes, is within
the reach of all--the clerk, the merchant, the professional man, the
farmer, the mechanic. In a country like ours, where the humblest may be
called to responsible positions requiring intelligence and general
information, the value of such a work can not be over-estimated.


The New American Cyclopædia presents a panoramic view of all human
knowledge, as it exists at the present moment. It embraces and popularizes
every subject that can be thought of. In its successive volumes is
contained an inexhaustible fund of accurate and practical information on
Art and Science in all their branches, including Mechanics, Mathematics,
Astronomy, Philosophy, Chemistry, and Physiology; on Agriculture,
Commerce, and Manufactures; on Law, Medicine, and Theology; on Biography
and History, Geography and Ethnology; on Political Economy, the Trades,
Inventions, Politics, the Things of Common Life, and General Literature.

The Industrial Arts and those branches of Practical Science which have a
direct bearing on our every-day life, such as Domestic Economy,
Ventilation, the Heating of Houses, Diet, &c., are treated with the
thoroughness which their great importance demands.

The department of Biography is full and complete, embracing the lives of
all eminent persons, ancient and modern. In American biography,
particularly, great pains have been taken to present the most
comprehensive and accurate record that has yet been attempted.

In History, the New American Cyclopædia gives no mere catalogue of barren
dates, but a copious and spirited narrative, under their appropriate
heads, of the principal events in the annals of the world. So in
Geography, it not only serves as a general Gazetteer, but it gives
interesting descriptions of the principal localities mentioned, derived
from books of travel and other fresh and authentic sources.

As far as is consistent with thoroughness of research and exactness of
statement, the popular method has been pursued. The wants of the people in
a work of this kind have been carefully kept in view throughout.

It is hardly necessary to add that, throughout the whole, perfect fairness
to all sections of country, local institutions, public men, political
creeds, and religious denominations, has been a sacred principle and
leading aim. Nothing that can be construed into an invidious or offensive
allusion has been admitted.


While we prefer that the work should speak for itself, and that others
should herald its excellences, we cannot refrain from calling attention to
the following points, in which we take an honest pride in believing that
the New American Cyclopædia surpasses all others:--

kind is exactly proportioned to its correctness. It must preclude the
necessity of having other books. Its decision must be final. It must be an
ultimatum of reference, or it is good for nothing.

II. IN IMPARTIALITY.--Our work has undergone the examination of Argus
eyes. It has stood the ordeal. It is pronounced by distinguished men and
leading reviews in all parts of the Union, strictly fair and national.
Eschewing all expressions of opinion on controverted points of science,
philosophy, religion, and politics, it aims at an accurate representation
of facts and institutions, of the results of physical research, of the
prominent events in the history of the world, of the most significant
productions of literature and art, and of the celebrated individuals whose
names have become associated with the conspicuous phenomena of their
age--doing justice to all men, all creeds, all sections.

III. IN COMPLETENESS.--It treats of every subject, in a terse and
condensed style, but fully and exhaustively. It is believed that but few
omissions will be found; but whatever topics may, through any oversight,
be wanting, are supplied in an Appendix.

IV. IN AMERICAN CHARACTER.--The New Cyclopædia is intended to meet the
intellectual wants of the American people. It is not, therefore, modelled
after European works of a similar design; but, while it embraces all their
excellences, has added to them a peculiar and unmistakable American
character. It is the production mainly of American mind.

V. IN PRACTICAL BEARING.--The day of philosophical abstraction and
speculation has passed away. This is an age of action. _Cui bono_ is the
universal touchstone. Feeling this, we have made our Cyclopædia thoroughly
practical. No man of action, be his sphere humble or exalted, can afford
to do without it.

VI. IN INTEREST OF STYLE.--The cold, formal, and repulsive style usual in
works of this kind, has been replaced with a style sparkling and
emphatically readable. It has been the aim to interest and please, as well
as instruct. Many of our writers are men who hold the foremost rank in
general literature, and their articles have been characterized by our best
critics as models of elegance, force, and beauty.

VII. IN CONVENIENCE OF FORM.--No ponderous quartos, crowded with fine type
that strains the eyes and wearies the brain, are here presented. The
volumes are just the right size to handle conveniently; the paper is thick
and white, the type large, the binding elegant and durable.

VIII. IN CHEAPNESS.--Our Cyclopædia has been universally pronounced a
miracle of cheapness. We determined, at the outset, to enlarge its sphere
of usefulness, and make it emphatically a book for the people, by putting
it at the lowest possible price.

Such being the character of the New American Cyclopædia, an accurate,
fresh, impartial, complete, practical, interesting, convenient, cheap
Dictionary of General Knowledge, we ask, who can afford to do without it?
Can the merchant, the statesman, the lawyer, the physician, the clergyman,
to whom it gives thorough and complete information on every point
connected with their several callings? Can the teacher, who is enabled, by
the outside information it affords, to make his instructions doubly
interesting and profitable? Can the farmer, to whom it offers the latest
results of agricultural research and experiment? Can the young man, to
whom it affords the means of storing his mind with useful knowledge
bearing no any vocation he may have selected? Can the intelligent
mechanic, who wishes to understand what he reads in his daily paper? Can
the mother of a family, whom it initiates into the mysteries of domestic
economy, and teaches a thousand things which more than saves its cost in a
single year? In a word, can any intelligent American, who desires to
understand the institutions of his country, its past history and present
condition, and his own duties as a citizen, deny himself this great
American digest of all human knowledge, universally pronounced the best
Cyclopædia and the most valuable work ever published?


The best talent in all parts of the country, and many distinguished
foreign writers, have been engaged in the New American Cyclopædia. We give
below the names of several of the most prominent contributors, from which
the public may form some idea of the character of the work.


Hon. J. R. BARTLETT, late U. S. and Mexican Boundary Commissioner,
Providence, R. I.

Rev. HENRY W. BELLOWS, D.D., New York.

Hon. JEREMIAH S. BLACK, U. S. Attorney General, Washington, D. C.

Capt. GEORGE S. BLAKE, U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.



JOHN ESTEN COOKE, Esq., Richmond, Va.

Rev. J. W. CUMMINGS, D.D., Pastor of St. Stephen's Church, New York.

Prof. JAMES D. DANA, LL.D., Yale College, New Haven, Conn.

Hon. CHARLES P. DALY, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, New York.

Hon. CHARLES S. DAVIES, LL.D., Portland, Me.


Hon. EDWARD EVERETT, Boston, Mass.

Pres. C. C. FELTON, LL.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

D. W. FISKE, Esq., Secretary of the Geographical and Statistical Society,
New York.

CHARLES L. FLINT, Esq., Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of
Agriculture, Boston, Mass.


Prof. CHANDLER R. GILMAN, M.D., College of Physicians and Surgeons, New

Prof. HENRY GOADBY, M.D., State Agricultural College of Michigan, Ann
Arbor, Mich.


GEORGE W. GREENE, Esq., New York.

R. A. GUILD, Esq., Librarian of Brown University, Providence, R. I.

Prof. CHARLES W. HACKLEY, D.D., Columbia College, New York.

Hon. JAMES HALL, Cincinnati, Ohio.

GERARD HALLOCK, Esq., editor of the "Journal of Commerce," New York.

Prof. A. W. HARKNESS, Brown University, Providence, R. I.

JOHN R. G. HASSARD, Esq., New York.

CHARLES C. HAZEWELL, Esq., Boston, Mass.

M. HEILPRIN, Esq., New York.

RICHARD HILDRETH, Esq., author of "History of the United States," &c., New

Rev. THOMAS HILL, President of Antioch College, Ohio.

Hon. GEORGE S. HILLARD, Boston, Mass.

J. S. HITTELL, Esq., San Francisco, Cal.

JAMES T. HODGE, Esq., Cooper Institute, New York.

Prof. L. M. HUBBARD, D.D., University of N. C., Chapel Hill, N. C.

Rev. HENRY N. HUDSON, author of "Lectures on Shakespeare," &c.,
Litchfield, Conn.

Prof. S. W. JOHNSON, Yale College, New Haven, Conn.

J. C. G. KENNEDY, Esq., Washington, D. C.

Hon. JOHN B. KERR, late U. S. Minister to Central America, Baltimore, Md.

Rev. T. STARR KING, San Francisco, Cal.

CHARLES LANMAN, Esq., Washington, D. C.

CHARLES G. LELAND, Esq., Philadelphia, Pa.

Prof. JAMES R. LOWELL, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

R. SHELTON MACKENZIE, D.C.L., Philadelphia, Pa.

Rev. H. N. MCTYEIRE, D.D., editor "Christian Advocate," Nashville, Tenn.

CHARLES NORDHOFF, Esq., author of "Stories of the Island World," &c., New

Rev. SAMUEL OSGOOD, D.D., New York.

Prof. THEOPHILUS PARSONS, LL.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Prof. E. R. PEASLER, M.D., New York Medical College, New York.

JOHN L. PEYTON, Esq., Staunton, Va.

WILLIAM C. PRIME, author of "Boat Life and Tent Life," &c., New York.

J. H. RAYMOND, LL.D., Principal of the Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn,
New York.

GEORGE SCHEDEL, Esq., late British Consular Agent for Costa Rica, Staten
Island, N. Y.

Prof. ALEXANDER G. SCHEM, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn.

Hon. FRANCIS SCHROEDER, JR., late U. S. Minister to Sweden, Paris.

Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, U. S. Senator from New York, Auburn, N. Y.


Prof. HENRY B. SMITH, D.D., Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Rev. J. A. SPENCER, D.D., author of "The History of the United States,"
&c., New York.

Rev. WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, D.D., Albany, N. Y.

Hon. E. G. SQUIER, author of "The States of Central America," "Nicaragua,"

ALEX. W. THAYER, Esq., Berlin, Prussia.

JOHN R. THOMPSON, Esq., editor "Southern Literary Messenger," Richmond,

GEORGE TICKNOR, LL.D., Boston, Mass.

OSMOND TIFFANY, Esq., Springfield, Mass.

R. T. TRALL, M.D., author of "Hydropathic Encyclopædia," New York.

Baron DE TROBRIAND, New York.

W. P. TROWBRIDGE, Esq., U. S. Coast Survey, Washington, D. C.


ALEXANDER WALKER, Esq., editor of the "Delta," New Orleans.

CHARLES S. WEYMAN, Esq., New York.

Rev. W. D. WILSON, D.D., Hobart Free College, Geneva, N. Y.

E. L. YOUMANS, Esq., author of "The Hand-Book of Household Science," New


In setting forth what the Press think of the New American Cyclopædia, we
hardly know where to begin, so numerous and flattering are the notices it
has received. We can only give here and there a brief extract from the
leading Reviews and Journals, and letters from distinguished men, bearing
for the most part on special features of the work.

The work itself no longer needs commendation at our hands, or at any
hands. It has long since established its worth; and, if there be in it any
considerable defect, much search will be required to find it--_North
American, Philadelphia, Pa._

The great arts of condensation, of clear perception, and striking
exposition of the essential parts of their subject have been fully
attained; and will give the reader a library of universal knowledge in a
convenient compass, arranged for ready use, and attractively presented in
the concise and perspicuous style appropriate to such a work.--_Letter
from the late Hon._ THOS. H. BENTON.

This work, instead of being a mere dictionary--a stupid epitome of dry
facts and dates--is made up of attractive and readable matter; scholarly
and sparkling essays; fresh biographies of living and dead celebrities;
records of important discoveries and inventions; and information on every
subject that has attracted the attention of man up to the present
period.--_Examiner, Poughkeepsie, N. Y._

I feel quite sure that it will be marked by distinguished ability, and
that, when concluded, it will be a vast storehouse of late and very
important information--such a work as almost every intelligent person will
be glad to have always near him for reference. I can only express the hope
that so large an undertaking may be duly sustained, and crowned with
ultimate success.--_Letter from the Rt. Rev._ HORATIO POTTER, (_Prot.
Epis._) _Bishop of N. Y._

The editors have done their duty with justice, fairness, and liberality.
We see no instance of partisanship or partiality, and, as yet, no proofs
of that hostile sectionality of which we have hitherto had reason, in all
such publications, to complain.--_Mercury, Charleston, S. C._

We esteem it the best and most comprehensive Cyclopædia that has yet been
issued from the press of this or any other country.--_News, Savannah, Ga._

When completed, this Cyclopædia will be the most complete library of
knowledge which has ever been given to the world in the same space since
the art of printing was discovered.--_Union, Rochester, N. Y._

Its freshness and general thoroughness give it a decided advantage over
any other Cyclopædia of its class hitherto issued on either side of the
Atlantic.--_Daily Times, N. Y._

It is a perfect treasury of knowledge. In all branches of the arts and
sciences, in literature, history, biography, and geography.--_Pilot,
Boston, Mass._

The scientific articles are evidently the productions of learned and
accomplished men. Many of the papers deserve especial commendation, as
presenting the latest developments in their various departments of
research.--_National Intelligencer, Washington, D. C._

Our own country has never before been so fairly or fully represented in
any Cyclopædia. America, her resources, her literature, her politics, and
her representative men receive in this work, at least, their full share of
attention.--_Post, Boston, Mass._

To enumerate one half of its excellences would require far more space than
newspaper columns afford. To the professional man and the laborer, the
citizen and the farmer, it is invaluable as an epitome of all useful
knowledge.--_Leader, Cleveland, O._

There is no conceivable topic which is not here discussed as fully as most
persons would care to find it.--_American Agriculturist._

It should be in every family, for in no other shape can so much useful
information be obtained as cheaply. As a book of reference, it is
invaluable.--_Indiana Sentinel._

It is, without doubt, the most complete work of the kind ever published.
To prepare it, the publishers have called into requisition the talent of
some of the best men our country affords.--_Pennsylvanian, Philadelphia,

There can be no doubt that, at least for the use of American readers, and
in some respects wherever the English language is spoken, the Cyclopædia
will GREATLY SURPASS, in its value as a reference book, any similar
compilation that has yet been issued on either side of the
Atlantic.--_North American Review._

Take it all in all--for the strict purposes of an Encyclopædia; for a
clear survey of all the departments of human knowledge; for embracing
every important topic in this vast range; for lucid and orderly treatment;
for statements condensed yet clear; for its portable size--not being too
large or too small; for convenience of reference, and for practical
utility, especially to American readers; _it is incomparably the best work
in the English language_.--_N. Y. Evangelist._

It is a most extraordinary effort of genial scholarship and of _multum in
parvo_ erudition. We commend it as a book which the world has long wanted,
and which will exert an incalculable influence in Europe as regards
creating respect for solid American learning.--_Telegraph, Harrisburgh,

It has been truly said that almost every man of note who ever lived and
died, of whom there is record, has in it a place; every country, province,
race, and tribe; every sea, river, lake and island; every science,
religion, and, in short, almost every noun in the language, is
descriptively illustrated in the most complete shape in which the
information could be condensed.--_Blade, Toledo, O._

The various subjects are not treated according to the mere routine of
technical details, or in the settled formularies of professional science,
but, while the information is full, thorough, and accurate, it is given in
a genial and attractive style.--_Tribune, Mobile, Ala._

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