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´╗┐Title: Life in the Confederate Army - Being Personal Experiences of a Private Soldier in the Confederate Army
Author: Ford, Marion Johnstone, Ford, Arthur Peronneau
Language: English
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                            LIFE IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY


                                 BY ARTHUR P. FORD


                              BY MARION JOHNSTONE FORD


    COPYRIGHT, 1905

[Illustration: Arthur Peronneau Ford]


LIFE IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY                                  7

KENT--A WAR-TIME NEGRO                                       73

ROSE BLANKETS                                                88


TAY                                                         129



The following account of my experiences as a private soldier in the
Confederate Army during the great war of 1861-'65 records only the
ordinary career of an ordinary Confederate soldier. It does not treat of
campaigns, army maneuvers, or plans of battles, but only of the daily
life of a common soldier, and of such things as fell under his limited

Early in April, 1861, immediately after the battle of Fort Sumter, I
joined the Palmetto Guards, Capt. George B. Cuthbert, of the Seventeenth
Regiment South Carolina Militia. Very soon after, the company divided,
and one half under Captain Cuthbert left Charleston, and joined the
Second South Carolina Volunteers in Virginia. The other half, to which I
belonged, under Capt. George L. Buist, remained in Charleston. Early in
the fall Captain Buist's company was ordered to Coosawhatchie, and given
charge of four howitzers; and thenceforth for three years, until
December, 1864, it served as field artillery. I did not go with my
company, as at that time I was a clerk in the Charleston post-office,
and really exempt from all service. On April 2, 1862, however, then
being about eighteen years of age, I resigned my clerkship, and joining
the company at Coosawhatchie, with the rest of the men enlisted in the
Confederate service "for three years or the war."

About May 1st the company was ordered to Battery Island at the mouth of
the Stono River, where with another company, the "Gist Guards," Capt.
Chichester, we were put under the command of Major C. K. Huger, and
placed in charge of four 24-pounder smooth-bore guns in the battery
commanding the river, our own four howitzers being parked in the rear.
Cole's Island, next below, and at the immediate entrance of the river,
was garrisoned by Lucas' battalion of Regulars, and the Twenty-fourth
Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Col. C. H. Stevens. An examination
of a map of this locality will show that Cole's Island was the key to
Charleston; and this question has given rise to considerable acrimonious
discussion. But whatever the merits of the case may have been, the facts
are, that under the strange fear of the Federal gunboats that obtained
on the South Carolina coast at that period, it was believed that our
positions on Cole's and Battery Islands could not be held against an
attack from the gunboats, which then were off the mouth of the river;
and the islands were evacuated. On the 18th the Federals sent a couple
of small boats into the mouth of the river to reconnoiter, but they were
soon driven back by our pickets. On the next day, and day after, all
the guns were removed from both islands to Fort Pemberton, higher up the
Stono River--a very strong earth fort that had been built in preparation
for this move. A day or two after, while our men were still on Battery
Island, but Cole's Island having been deserted, several Federal gunboats
entered the river, shelling the woods and empty batteries as they
advanced. On their approach we set fire to the barracks and then
withdrew across the causeway to James Island. We had to make haste
across this causeway, because it was within easy range of the enemy, who
soon began to rake it with shells.

This was my first experience with shell fire, and I soon learned that at
long range, to men in the field, if the shells did not explode it was
more alarming than dangerous. But being quite fresh I thought it
unbecoming to appear concerned, and although at first, after crossing
the causeway, I had stood wisely behind a friendly oak tree for
protection, after the first shell or two I stepped aside and stood in
the open, foolishly thinking that this was more soldierly. I had not yet
learned that a soldier's common sense should prompt him to make use of
what protection there may be at hand and to avoid exposing himself
unnecessarily. But only when duty calls, to throw precaution aside and
face whatever there is. While we were standing on the James Island side
of the causeway a time-fuse shell fell near us, and one of our men, a
new recruit, ran up to it, and stood over it with the exclamation, "How
the thing does hiss!" Happily the fuse failed and the shell did not
explode. When I saw the fortunate termination of the affair I could not
resist calling out, "Surely the Lord protects drunken men and fools."

Our company fell back from here to a plantation about a mile inland,
where we made our camp. I was a very enthusiastic, energetic youngster,
and in pitching our large Sibley tent worked with such energy that I
attracted the attention of one of our men, Mr. H. Gourdin Young, who
jokingly said, "Ford, you are a splendid worker. If you were a negro, I
would buy you." He was very much my senior.

After remaining here for about two months, our men doing some picket
duty, we were transferred to Fort Pemberton, a very strong earthwork of
16 guns, on the Stono River, and garrisoned by Lucas' battalion of
Regulars, in which my brother was a lieutenant. Here we remained for
about three months.

Frequently the Federal gunboats would ascend the river, and there would
be interchanges of shots between them and the fort. On one of these
occasions an amusing incident occurred. Lieutenant Webb, of our company,
had just got a new negro man servant, who was inexperienced in warfare.
One afternoon, as a few shells were being thrown at the fort from the
gunboats, he was very much scared, saying, "Dem people trow dem t'ings
about yere so careless, dey won't mind until dey hu't somebody." Just
then a shell passed over the fort, and exploding in the rear, a piece
cut off a leg of Lieutenant Webb's horse. "Dere now; w'at I tell you!"
exclaimed Sam. "Dey done kill Mass Ben's horse."

During the early period of the war a great many of the private soldiers
in the Confederate Army had their own negro servants in the field with
them, who waited on their masters, cleaned their horses, cooked their
meals, etc. Attached to our company there were probably twenty-five such
servants. This system continued during the first year or two of the war,
on the Carolina coast, but later on, as the service got harder and
rations became scarcer, these negro servants were gradually sent back
home, and the men did their own work, cooking, etc. As a rule, these
negroes liked the life exceedingly. The work exacted of them was
necessarily very light. They were never under fire, unless they chose to
go there of their own accord, which some of them did, keeping close to
their masters. And they spent much of their time foraging around the
neighboring country. Although often on the picket lines, night as well
as day, with their masters, I never heard of an instance where one of
these army servants deserted to the enemy.

At this period of the war the Confederate Government allowed each
soldier a certain sum yearly for his uniform, and each company decided
for itself what its own uniform should be. In consequence, "uniform" was
really an inappropriate term to apply to the dress of various
organizations. At first our company was uniformed in gray woolen frock
coats, and trousers of the same material, with blue caps; next we had
gray cotton coats and trousers with gray cloth hats; then very dark
brown coats with blue trousers furnished by the government, and gray
felt hats; and finally the gray round jacket, also furnished by the
government, which assumed to provide also the hats, shoes, and
underclothing. The shoes, when we could get them, were heavy English
brogans, very hard on our feet, but durable. It was in the summer of
1862 that we received our first allowance for uniforms, and our
quartermaster applied to a tailor in Charleston to furnish them, but
there was considerable delay in getting them, and the tailor wrote that
goods were then scarce on account of the moonlight nights, but that in
about a fortnight, when the moon waned, they would be in greater supply,
and the uniforms could be furnished at $2 more per man than the
government allowed. So in due time we each supplemented the government's
allowance and got new uniforms of very inferior, half cotton gray stuff,
which served us for the rest of the year. Afterwards the government
tried to furnish the men gratuitously with the best it could, and we did
the best we could with what we got.

In July our command was removed to Charleston, under orders to go to
Virginia. These orders were countermanded in a few days owing to
aggressive movements of the Federals on the South Carolina coast. The
remainder of the summer and the fall were spent in Charleston encamped
for most of the time at the Washington race course, doing duty on the
lines of breastworks thrown up across the neck just above Magnolia
Cemetery. These breastworks were built to keep any enemy out of the
city, but the nearest enemy on land at that period was on Folley Island;
in Tennessee to the west; and Virginia to the North. And when Sherman
did come within 50 miles of Charleston nearly three years later our
troops were too much occupied in getting away to think of these
breastworks. The battalion then consisted of three companies, each armed
with four 8-inch howitzers, and all under the command of Maj. Charles
Alston, Jr., Capt. Buist having been promoted to major, and assigned to
duty near Savannah.

While encamped on the race course I witnessed the military execution of
a deserter. The man belonged to one of the regiments doing duty about
Charleston, and had been taken in the act of trying to desert to the
enemy; tried by court martial and condemned to death. On the day fixed
for the execution, some of the troops in Charleston were marched up to
the race course, and so formed as to make three sides of a square.
Immediately after followed a wagon, with the coffin, and seated on it,
the man with his hands tied, and under guard; the whole preceded by a
band playing the dead march; and followed by the detail of twelve men
selected by lot to shoot him. Half the rifles were loaded with balls
and half with blank cartridges, but none of the detail knew how his own
was loaded. As the procession halted the coffin was placed on the ground
and the deserter had his hands untied, and knelt in front of it facing
the twelve men who were to do the shooting, and were drawn up about
thirty feet in front of him. At the word of command "aim," the man,
seemingly in desperation, jerked open his shirt and bared his breast to
the bullets. Instantly at the command "fire" the detail fired, and the
man fell over dead on his coffin. It was the most terrible sight I ever
saw, far more dreadful than anything I ever witnessed in battle, and it
seemed a sad thing that a really brave man should be so sacrificed; but
such is one of the necessities of war, and it is necessary to deter
others from playing the role of traitor.

At this time the Federal gunboats were very annoying in Stono River,
coming as high up as possible daily, and shelling our pickets, and it
was determined to make a diversion. Therefore, in January, 1863, our
battery with Capt. Smith's and other troops were sent over to John's
Island, and ambushed at Legare's point place to cooperate with two
companies of Lucas' battalion and some other troops on James Island. The
design was to capture the _Isaac P. Smith_. This vessel was an iron
screw steamer of 453 tons, and carried eight 8-inch navy guns, or
sixty-four pounders, and a 7-inch thirty-pounder Parrott gun. She was
commanded at the time by Capt. F. S. Conover; and her crew consisted of
11 officers and 105 men.

The affair was completely successful. The gunboat in her daily ascent
was taken by surprise, and after a short fight at only 75 or 100 yards
distance, as she ran trying to escape, had her steam drum torn by a
shell, and had to surrender. She had twenty-three men killed and
wounded, while we lost one man killed. My howitzer was at a sharp bend
in the river, and as the gunboat ran past, her stern was directly about
100 yards in front of the gun I served. It put one 8-inch schrapnel
shell into her stern port, and I learned afterwards that the shell
knocked a gun off its trunnions and killed or wounded eight men. A prize
crew was put on board immediately and the vessel towed by a tug up the
river, and later on to the city. While the prisoners were being landed,
the U. S. S. _Commodore McDonough_ steamed up the river and opened fire
on us, but a few well-directed shots from our batteries soon made her
desist and drop back down the river. At nightfall, our command returned
to Charleston.

Our 8-inch howitzers were soon after exchanged for four twelve-pounder
Napoleon guns, and the battery ordered back to James Island. Here in
March we took part in a land affair near Grimball's place on the Stono.

Our battery was encamped about a mile from the river, and at daybreak
one morning we were aroused and hurried down the road toward Grimball's
plantation. Just before we were about to emerge from the woods into a
field, the musketry firing going on rapidly on our left front, and a few
shells from the gunboats falling into the woods, we were halted, and
told that just in front was a field reaching to the river, and as soon
as we passed out of the woods the order "battery by right into line"
would be given. Well, we started at a rapid trot. I was driver of the
lead horses of gun No. 2, and as we passed out of the woods, in
obedience to the command I swung to the right, gun No. 3 swung to my
right, and No. 4 to right of No. 3, while No. 1 kept straight on down
the road, and we all went forward now at a run into battery.

We galloped down to the edge of the marsh along the river, and swinging
into battery our guns opened on the U. S. S. _Pawnee_ out in the river,
the other two gunboats being farther down, and around a bend of the
river. We were engaged for about twenty minutes, when the _Pawnee_
dropped down the river, and the musketry fire on our left gradually

It seems that the Federals had advanced on the island with a force of
about 2,000 men, supported by three gunboats. They had been met, and
after sharp fighting, had been driven back by Col. Gaillard's
Twenty-fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, the Marion
Artillery,--a light battery,--and a Georgia regiment, while our battery
engaged the _Pawnee_. The Confederate loss was 27 men killed and
wounded, and the Federal, 45.

The artillery was under the command of Lieut. Col. Delaware Kemper, who
sat on his horse by our battery during the scrimmage. After the affair
was over he remarked to our captain, "Captain Webb, you have a splendid
set of young fellows there, but they need practice. They could not hit
John's Island if they had it for a target." As to our marksmanship, he
was mistaken, however, for we did put several shells into the _Pawnee_,
and she had to go to Port Royal for repairs.

In this affair, being a driver, my position while the guns were in
action was standing by my horses about 100 feet in the rear of my gun;
and it was trying to have to stand there quietly, inactive, and take the
shells and few rifle balls that passed by. It would have been much more
agreeable to be actively engaged about the gun.

Only a few moments after we had got into action, our little company dog,
a half-breed fox-terrier, "Boykee," who always stuck to the guns, and
seemed to enjoy the excitement, was struck in the neck by a piece of
shell, directly in front of where I was standing, and ran screaming to
the rear. This wound was not a serious one, and he soon recovered from
it. He was afterwards ignominiously killed by a snake in Florida.

In July, 1863, were developed the disastrous results of the evacuation
of Cole's Island in May the year before. As soon as we left that island
and Battery Island the Federals occupied them, and used them as bases
for operations against Charleston. From there they occupied Folley
Island, a densely wooded island where their operations could easily be
concealed. They advanced to the north end of this island, to Light House
Inlet, and under the concealment of the shrubbery built formidable
batteries, which at daybreak one morning were unmasked, and under a
heavy fire from their guns, an infantry assault in boats was made upon
our small force on the southern end of Morris' Island. After a severe
fight the Federals got a firm foothold upon this island, which for the
next two months or so was the scene of some of the most sanguinary
fighting of the war.

Immediately after this surprise by the Federals a detachment of our
company was placed in charge of Battery Haskell, on James Island,
directly opposite Morris' Island. The celebrated siege of Battery Wagner
then began, and we used to watch the fighting at about three-quarters of
a mile distance. The terrible bombardment and assault of July 18 was one
of the sights of the war. At daylight the bombardment of the fort began,
and continued without a minute's cessation all day. Occasionally as many
as four shells were observed in the air at the same time. The fort
itself was enveloped in a dense black pall of smoke from bursting
shells, and at times was completely hidden. As the afternoon wore on the
bombardment increased in intensity, and it seemed as if the very
foundations of our part of the world were being torn to pieces. The
garrison was kept in the bomb-proof, and not a shot was fired in reply.
At dusk the bombardment suddenly ceased, and almost immediately the guns
of the Confederates in Fort Sumter, trained on the beach in front of
Wagner, opened. Almost simultaneously we saw a mass of blue spring up
apparently from the earth, and advance on Wagner, and then the rattle of
musketry. As the dusk deepened into darkness the rapid flashes of
musketry looked at that distance like vast masses of fireflies, over a
morass. We saw that it was an infantry assault, and a desperate
hand-to-hand fight it was. But the result was very disastrous to the
Federals, who were repulsed with a loss of upwards of 2,000 men.

In August was begun the bombardment of Charleston, which was continued
steadily for a year and a half. On the night of the 21st, at 10.45
o'clock, General Beauregard received an unsigned note, brought to our
pickets, purporting to be from General Gilmore, demanding the evacuation
and surrender of Morris' Island and Fort Sumter under penalty of the
bombardment of the city within four hours after the note had been sent
by him. Two hours and three-quarters after this note had reached General
Beauregard's hands, at 1.30 o'clock on the morning of the 22d, the
Federal battery in the marsh on the edge of the creek separating Morris
from James Island, opened fire, and threw a number of shells into the
city. At about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 22d, seven and a quarter
hours after the bombardment had begun, General Gilmore sent a properly
signed note making the same demands. This note was immediately answered
by General Beauregard with an emphatic refusal, and some severe remarks
as to his firing upon a city full of women and children before he had
given them reasonable time to escape. As may be imagined, the terror of
the women and children in Charleston that night was extreme when it was
realized that the city was being bombarded. The distance in a direct
line from the Swamp Angel Battery, as it was called, to the city was
about 5 miles, and it had not been thought that any gun could shoot that
far. At first only percussion shells were used, but later on, in 1864,
time-fuse shells were also used, and were much more dangerous, as they
nearly always exploded. Battery Haskell, at which our company was
stationed, was nearly in line between the Swamp Angel and the city, and
constantly we watched the shells, city-bound, passing over our heads
high in the air. At night, when fuse shells were used, they looked like
slow meteors.

Frequently, when the tide was high, some of the Federal gunboats came
into the inlet in front of Battery Haskell, and about half a mile off,
and threw a number of shells into it. But no harm was done, as we could
easily see the shells coming, and dodged them. We were very seldom
allowed to reply. After the shelling was over, and the gunboat had
hauled off, it was my habit to go about and pick up the shells,
generally about sixty-pounders, and store them under my cot in my tent
until I could find time to unscrew the fuse plugs and pour out all of
the powder. As soon as I had gathered a wagon load I would carry them to
Charleston and sell them at the arsenal. This was such a period of
violence and bloodshed that the fearful risk of explosion did not
concern me, and what I am equally surprised at now, after the lapse of
many years, is that my officers allowed such a thing to be done in the
battery, or in fact at all.

Here I witnessed an occurrence that, according to the law of chances,
would not happen once in a thousand times. In the battery was a dry
well, about six or eight feet deep, and one afternoon, while our friend
the gunboat was throwing the usual shells at us, and we were dodging
them, I remarked to a comrade that "that old well would be a good place
to get into." The remark had scarcely been made before a shell dropped
into that well as accurately as possible. It was simply one of those
remarkable occurrences that happen in real life, but which writers dare
not put in fiction.

The picket line on James Island in this vicinity, together with Battery
Haskell, was then under the command of Maj. Edward Manigault, an officer
of very exceptional ability. During this summer our shortness of
rations began, and continued rather to intensify until the end. For one
period of about two months it consisted of only one small loaf of
baker's bread and a gill of sorghum syrup daily. For that time we had
not a particle of either fresh or salt meat. If we had not been where we
could obtain plenty of fish, we would have suffered seriously. The
quartermaster's department was as badly crippled as the commissary's and
most of us could get no new shoes, and several of our men were actually
bare-footed in consequence; but it being summer, and on a sandy coast,
there was not as much suffering as might have been otherwise. Scurvy,
fever, and other ailments were very general and several deaths resulted.
The battery was on a strip of land separated from the main land of James
Island by a marsh and small creek, over which was a causeway and bridge.
This causeway was watched from the Federal gunboats, and every time even
one man would go across it he would be saluted with a shell or two. On
one occasion I was ordered to drive several sick men to the city in an
ambulance, and as we struck the causeway a gunboat sent the customary
shells at us. The sick men were nervous, and one of the men called out,
"For God's sake, Ford, put down the curtains!"

Toward the fall of 1863, after the evacuation of Morris Island by the
Confederate troops, our company was withdrawn, and returned to the old
camping ground at Heyward's place near Wappoo Cut.

As it seemed that we would remain here all winter, as we really did, I
obtained permission to build a log cabin for myself and my mess. One
day, as I was building the chimney, I saw Maj. Edward Manigault and his
brother, Gen. Arthur Manigault, who was spending the day with him,
walking toward me to inspect the guns parked near by. As they approached
I jumped down off the scaffolding and saluted them. They returned the
salute, and then the Major said: "We have been admiring your chimney,
Mr. Ford. It is as well built as if a mason had done the work." The old
man, whenever on the few occasions he spoke to me, strange to say,
always addressed me, a private soldier, as "Mr." Ford. I never could
account for it, unless it was that he knew all about me and my people.
He had been a West Pointer, but had resigned from the U. S. Army a good
many years before. Thus he was a strict disciplinarian, and on that
account at that time not popular with the men; but I always liked him,
and approved of his discipline. Later on, as the service became more
exacting, and really active, the men became devoted to him, as they
realized his ability as an officer.

On December 23 our company, then having four 24-pounder Parrott guns,
started off for John's Island, where an attempt was to be made to
capture a small body of Federals that were near Legareville, and also to
sink or capture a Federal gunboat that was off that place. Our company
was to have been supported by a Virginia regiment. On Christmas day at
daylight we opened fire from our masked battery upon the two gunboats,
for there were two on hand instead of one, but the infantry remained in
the background, and failed to attack the Federals near Legareville as
designed, and we had to bear the whole brunt of the fight. It was a
sharp affair, and we soon had to get out of it as best we could, with
the loss of several men and a half dozen horses.

In this affair I had a very narrow escape, and another man lost his life
in my stead. I had been lead driver on gun No. 2, and when we started on
this expedition I was transferred to cannoneer's duty, and young Heyward
Ancrum given my horses. Well, in the fight a shell from the U. S. S.
_Marblehead_ passed entirely through the bodies of both of my horses,
and took off Ancrum's leg at the knee. He fell among the struggling,
dying horses, but was pulled out, and died soon after. He was certainly
killed in my place.

It was about this time that I saw that celebrated torpedo submarine
boat, the _Hundley_, the first submarine boat ever built. As I was
standing on the bank of the Stono River, I saw the boat passing along
the river, where her builder, H. L. Hundley, had brought her for
practice. I watched her as she disappeared around a bend of the river,
and little thought of the fearful tragedy that was immediately to ensue.
She made an experimental dive, stuck her nose in the mud, and drowned
her entire crew. Her career was such an eventful one that I record what
I recollect of it.

She was built in Mobile by Hundley, and brought on to Charleston in
1863. She was of iron, about 20 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 5 feet
deep--in fact, not far from round, as I have seen it stated; and
equipped with two fins, by which she could be raised or lowered in the
water. The intention of her builder was that she should dive under an
enemy's vessel, with a torpedo in tow, which would be dragged against
the vessel, and exploded while the _Hundley_, or "_Fish_," as some
called her, rose on the other side. She was worked by a hand propeller,
and equipped with water tanks, which could be filled or emptied at
pleasure, and thus regulate her sinking or rising. The first experiment
with her was made in Mobile Bay, and she went down all right with her
crew of seven men, but did not come up, and every man died, asphyxiated,
as no provision had been made for storing a supply of air.

As soon as she was raised, she was brought to Charleston, and a few days
after her acceptance by General Beauregard, Lieutenant Payne, of the
Confederate Navy, volunteered with a crew of six men to man her and
attack the Federal fleet off Charleston. While he had her at Fort
Johnson, on James Island, and was making preparations for the attack,
one night as she was lying at the wharf the swell of a passing steamer
filled her, and she went to the bottom, carrying with her and drowning
the six men. Lieutenant Payne happened to be near an open manhole at the
moment, and thus he alone escaped. Notwithstanding the evidently fatal
characteristics of this boat, as soon as she was raised another crew of
six men volunteered under Payne and took charge of her. But only a week
afterwards an exactly similar accident happened while she was alongside
the wharf at Fort Sumter, and only Payne and two of his men escaped.

H. L. Hundley, her builder in Mobile, now believed that the crews did
not understand how to manage the "_Fish_," and came on to Charleston to
see if he could not show how it should be done. A Lieutenant Dixon, of
Alabama, had made several successful experiments with the boat in Mobile
Bay, and he also came on, and was put in charge, with a volunteer crew,
and made several successful dives in the harbor. But one day, the day on
which I saw the boat, Hundley himself took it into Stono River to
practice her crew. She went down all right, but did not come up, and
when she was searched for, found and raised to the surface, all of her
crew were dead, asphyxiated as others had been.

After the boat was brought up to Charleston, several successful
experiments were made with her, until she attempted to dive under the
Confederate receiving ship _Indian Chief_, when she got entangled with
an anchor chain and went to the bottom, and remained there until she
was raised with every one of her crew dead, as were their predecessors.

No sooner had she been raised than a number of men begged to be allowed
to give her another trial, and Lieutenant Dixon was given permission to
use her in an attack on the U. S. S. _Housatonic_, a new gunboat that
lay off Beach Inlet on the bar, on the condition that she should not be
used as a submarine vessel, but only on the surface with a spar torpedo.
On February 17, 1864, Lieutenant Dixon, with a crew of six men, made
their way with the boat through the creeks behind Sullivan's Island to
the inlet. The night was not very dark, and the _Housatonic_ easily
could be perceived lying at anchor, unmindful of danger. The "_Fish_"
went direct for her victim, and her torpedo striking the side tore a
tremendous hole in the _Housatonic_, which sank to the bottom in about
four minutes. But as the water was not very deep her masts remained
above water, and all of the crew, except four or five saved themselves
by climbing and clinging to them. But the "_Fish_" was not seen again.
From some unknown cause she again sank, and all her crew perished.
Several years after the war, when the government was clearing the wrecks
and obstructions out of Charleston harbor, the divers visited the scene
of this attack, and on the sandy bottom of the sea found the hulk of the
_Housatonic_, and alongside of her the shell of the "_Fish_." Within the
latter were the skeletons of her devoted crew.

This submarine torpedo boat must not be confused with the surface ones,
called "Davids," that were first built and used at Charleston in the
fall of 1863. These "Davids" were cigar-shaped crafts about 30 feet
long, and propelled by miniature steam engines; and they each carried a
torpedo at the end of a spar in the bow. There were several of them at
Charleston and points along the coast.

In March, 1864, I had the only violent illness I had during my service,
until at the end, a year later, and being given a thirty-day furlough
went up to Sumter, where I had some near relatives. Here I stayed a
couple of weeks, and then went over to Aiken, where my parents and
sisters resided. Although the distance from Sumter to Aiken was only
about 135 miles, the railway trains took seventeen hours to make the
distance. It is hard to realize now the delays and discomforts of travel
in the South in 1864. With worn-out tracks and roadbeds, dilapidated
engines and cars, it is remarkable that the railway trains were able to
run at all. On this occasion, which was typical of travel then, I left
Sumter at 10 o'clock p. m., and just before reaching Kingsville the
engine ran off the track from a worn-out rail. Two hours or more were
spent in prying it back. Then shortly after the train stopped in a piece
of woodland, and the fireman and train hands took their axes and spent
an hour cutting wood and putting it on the tender. So it was full
daylight when we reached Kingsville. From there all went well until
after passing Branchville the engine broke one of its connecting rods,
and we had to wait until another engine could be got from Branchville.
Some miles farther up the road the train again stopped, and the hands
went into the woods and cut wood for the engine. Finally, at about four
o'clock in the afternoon I arrived at Aiken. Here I remained for a
fortnight, and then joined my command, which had just been ordered to

Early in the spring the Federals made an advance into Florida from
Jacksonville, and a number of troops were sent from South Carolina to
oppose them. Among them was our battery of artillery. We reached the
section of the State threatened the day after the battle of Olustee, or
Ocean Pond, and were then ordered back to Madison, where we encamped,
and during our stay there of a couple of weeks were most hospitably
treated by the ladies of the town.

This battle of Olustee was a very severe fight, and a bloody one, in
which the Federals under General Seymour were routed by the Confederates
under Gen. Pat. Finnigan and Gen. A. H. Colquitt. In this battle the
Federal loss was about 1,900 men and the Confederate about 1,000. The
obstinacy of the struggle may be appreciated when it is observed that,
out of the total of 11,000 men engaged, the casualties amounted to
2,900, nearly 27 per cent. As I have said, our battery reached the scene
after the battle, so we made no stay near Olustee, but retired to
Madison. The wounded were all cared for at the wayside hospitals, and
the dead white men of both sides buried; but the dead negroes were left
where they fell. There had been several regiments of negroes in the
Federal force, who as usual had been put into the front lines, and thus
received the full effect of the Confederate fire. The field was dotted
everywhere with dead negroes, who with the dead horses here and there
soon created an intolerable stench, perceptible for half a mile or more.
The hogs which roamed at large over the country were soon attracted to
the spot and tore many of the bodies to pieces, feeding upon them. This
field of death, enlivened by numbers of hogs grunting and squealing over
their hideous meal, was one of the most repulsive sights I ever saw.

About the beginning of March our battery was ordered to Baldwin, about 9
miles from Jacksonville. Here we remained for nearly a month, and
strange to say had a very uncomfortable time as far as food was
concerned. The surrounding country was barren, swampy, and very thinly
settled, so there was very little private foraging to be done and we had
to suffer from the very scant rations served out by the commissary.

This department was in a very disorganized condition, probably because
of the sudden massing of troops at an unexpected point; but the fact was
that our men seldom got enough of even the coarsest food. Our battery
horses were supplied with corn and forage, and on several occasions
after going twenty-four hours without any food I made use of some
opportunity to steal the horses' corn, and parched that for a meal.

The bacon served out occasionally was of the most emphatic character,
and very animated, but when fried and eaten with eyes shut, and nostrils
closed, did no harm. Once in a while some of the men would go into the
swamp and still-hunt wild hogs, and we would get some fresh pork. This
hunting was against orders, and the officers tried their best to stop
it, and occasionally some man would be caught at it and punished, but
the men were really too much in need of food to remain quiet when game
could be had. These hogs had once had recognized owners, but since that
section of country had been deserted, had run wild, and lived in the
swamp. It was by no means easy to shoot them, as they were very wary,
and however quiet the hunter might remain behind his brush blind would
often detect his presence by their sense of smell, and could not be
decoyed within range.

My company was soon ordered back to South Carolina, and our route lay
over the Albany and Gulf Railroad, now the Atlantic Coast Line, from
Quitman to Savannah. This road, like all others in the South, was in a
terribly dilapidated condition--rails and trestles decayed, and
rolling-stock worn out. The engine that drew our train, containing only
our battery, was unable to do the work, and several times when we
reached the easy grades on that generally very level road, the men would
be compelled to get off and assist the engine by pushing the train up
the incline. When the train was got up to the top of the grade it would
go down the other side by its own impetus, and on level stretches the
engine got along fairly well. We made the distance of 170 miles in about
sixteen hours, a little over ten miles an hour--fairly good speed in the
South in 1864.

Our battery was stopped at Green Pond, on the Savannah and Charleston
Railroad, and we spent the summer of 1864 doing picket duty at Combahee
Point, and along the Ashepoo River.

At Combahee Point we were stationed on Mr. Andrew Burnett's plantation.
The camp was located on the edge of the abandoned rice field, while the
picket post was in front on some breastworks on the river's edge. The
old rice fields were more or less overflowed, the banks having been
broken for two years or more, and in them were numerous alligators, some
of considerable size. At night the noises made by these amphibians, and
the raccoons in the adjacent marsh, would have been interesting to a
naturalist, but were annoying to us. But the most serious disturbers of
our peace were the mosquitoes. These were of such size and venom and in
such numbers as to cause real suffering, and necessitate the use of
unusual schemes to protect ourselves against their attacks.

Accounts of these mosquitoes must seem incredible to any one who has
never spent a midsummer's night in the rice fields; and very few white
people have done this since the war. During the day the comparatively
few that were about could be driven off by tobacco smoke and other
means, but when night fell, and the myriads came up from the fields and
marsh, then the situation became serious. When we were on sentry duty,
walking post, many of us wore thick woolen gloves to protect our hands;
and over our heads and necks frames made of thin hoops covered with
mosquito netting. And when we wanted to retire to our small "A" tents,
we had to make smudge fires in them first, and then crawl in on our
hands and knees, and keep our faces near the ground to breathe, until
finally we got asleep. And, moreover, we dared not let our faces or
hands touch the sides of the tent, for immediately the mighty insects
would thrust their probosces through the canvas and get us. I feel
dubious about the advisability of recording such a statement, but as I
am stating only facts as I experienced them, this must go on record.

In this rice field section our men suffered greatly from fever, and
there were several deaths. I was the only man in the company of 70 who
persisted in taking three grains of quinine daily, and one other of our
men and I were the only two who did not have a touch of fever.

While on duty here, early one morning four negro men came to our picket
bringing two Federal officers, and turned them over to us. Upon inquiry
it seemed that these two officers, one of them a Captain Strong of the
Regular Army, and the other a Volunteer lieutenant, had been captured in
Virginia, and were on their way to prison in Georgia, but had escaped
from the cars on the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, and had tried to
make their way to the Federal fleet, but were simply starved out, until
they had to appeal to the negroes for help, and they promptly brought
them in to us. I was detailed as one of the men to guard and carry them
to Green Pond, about 15 miles off, and deliver them to the authorities.
On the way we stopped for a moment at Mr. Benjamin Rhett's plantation,
who, as soon as he learned what was up came to the wagon and with the
consent of the sergeant in command, invited the officers into his house.
There, as soon as they had made some ablutions, he carried them in to
breakfast, and entertained them for an hour; at the same time sending
breakfast and genuine coffee out to us. Captain Strong spoke to me very
pleasantly, and said that he was a graduate of West Point; and learning
that I was from Charleston, inquired about several people there whom I
knew, among others of Col. Sam. Ferguson, who he said had been a
classmate of his at the Academy, and who I told him was at that time
with the army in the West. I recollect that he was interested at hearing
of him. He seemed also quite struck with the youthfulness of our men,
and remarked on it.

Late in the fall our battery was removed to a point on the Charleston
and Savannah Railroad, south of Green Pond, and put in charge of a
battery there, as the Federals had advanced up from Port Royal, with the
evident intention of attempting to seize the railroad. It seems that
this really was the aim of the movement, conducted under the command of
Gen. Guy V. Henry. And this movement was suggested by General Sherman,
who, when he determined upon his march through Georgia, stated to the
government at Washington that he expected to reach Savannah about the
end of December, and suggested that the railway between Charleston and
Savannah be destroyed before he got there. The Federals made several
advances, but never could get nearer than about half a mile of the
railroad, and in their efforts to do so were defeated and driven back in
two or three affairs, notably in a serious fight at Tulafinny, in which
the cadets of the South Carolina Military Academy, mere boys, were

In these infantry affairs we had no part, as they occurred at some
distance from our position. Our company at the time was serving as heavy
artillerists, and, as I have said, had charge of a battery commanding
the railroad. The Federals had, however, established a battery of field
pieces about 700 yards in our front, and there were frequent artillery
duels, but without serious injury, certainly to our side. There was a
short section of the railway track in an open piece of country, of which
the enemy got the range, and every time a train passed in the daytime
they would open on it with their guns. When the engineers approached
this section they put on all the speed attainable, which was not very
much at best, with the dilapidated engines they then had, and there was
considerable interesting excitement in being on a flat car and running
the gauntlet in this way. I do not think, however, that a train was ever

About December the field pieces were taken away from our company and
Capt. Porcher Smith's, and both were turned into infantry, and armed
with old-fashioned Belgian rifles, probably the most antiquated and
worthless guns ever put into a modern soldier's hands. But they were all
our government had. These rifles could not send a ball beyond 200 yards,
and at much shorter range their aim was entirely unreliable. This our
men felt hard to stand, as they knew that at this period the Federal
soldiers were being generally armed with breech-loading Springfield
rifles, weapons which thirty years later were reckoned very formidable.
We soon after were ordered back to James Island, where with Captain
Smith's company we were again under the command of Maj. Edward
Manigault. We were at once put on very arduous picket duty along the
lines on the southwestern part of the island. The weather at this time I
well recollect was unusually cold and wet, and with an insufficiency of
food and clothing, our sufferings were severe. Men had got very scarce
then, and the same relay had to be kept on picket week after week
without relief, and the men would often have to stand guard on the
outposts eight or ten hours on a stretch.

On one occasion while another man and I were on sentry duty on the lines
in the rifle-pits, at the break of day we saw the two Federal sentries
on the other side of the intervening marsh desert their posts, and
unarmed walk quickly toward us. When they got within about ten paces we
halted them, and called our officer. As soon as he came up we turned
them over to him. I always had a loathing for a deserter, and said to
the men, "If I had my way I would have you given thirty-nine lashes each
and sent back under flag of truce to your command, so you could be shot
as you deserve." One of them twiggled his fingers on his nose and
replied, "Ah, but you hav'n't got no say in the matter."

While on duty on these outpost lines, the Federals frequently shelled us
from their gunboats in Stono River. We did not mind the Parrott shells,
but the shells from the Cohorn mortars on a mortar schooner were very
trying. They would fall, apparently from the sky, and there was no
dodging them. But fortunately none of them fell directly in the
rifle-pits, but all exploded harmlessly in the field. All old soldiers
know that mortar shells take a very mean advantage of a man.

One of the outposts on these lines which was manned only at night was
out in the marsh, and I had it one night, and it was about the most
disagreeable night I ever had on picket. I was placed on the post at
dark, with orders to keep in the marsh, at the edge of the tide as it
went down, and to come in at the first daylight. I was all the time up
to my insteps in mud, by myself, with the rain falling all night. I
stood out in that marsh from dark until daylight, in the drenching rain,
for about ten hours. Like most of the men, I had no oilskin, or any
protection against the weather, and of course was thoroughly drenched
early in the night, and the steady rain all night kept me saturated. The
best I could do was to try to keep my ammunition and gun-lock dry. It
was certainly the worst night I ever spent.

On February 10, 1865, we had our first serious infantry fight, as
infantry. We were doing picket duty at this time on the lines near
Grimball's causeway, with our right extending to Stono River. At about
daylight that morning the Federals began to shell our lines from four
gunboats and a mortar schooner, whose masts we could see over the trees;
and soon after we could see a large force of their infantry assembling
on Legare's plantation on the other side of the flat and marsh in front
of our lines. Our entire force along this part of the lines consisted
of 52 men of our company and 40 men of the Second South Carolina
Artillery and about 20 cavalry, together with 7 officers--all told, 119
men. Just before the Federal infantry advanced, a section of artillery
took position at about 600 yards in front of us, and shelled our line,
but did no damage. The Federal infantry engaged, as I learned a few
months afterwards from one of their officers, were the Fifty-fourth and
One Hundred and Forty-fourth New York, white; and the Thirty-second,
Thirty-third, and Fifty-fifth U. S. negro troops, altogether about 1,500
men, and one section of artillery. We were assaulted directly in front,
but held our ground until the enemy were within 30 feet of our line; in
fact, some of their men were actually into our trenches, and having
hand-to-hand fights with our men. So close had they got that I had
ceased firing, and had just fixed my bayonet, and braced myself for a
hand-to-hand fight, when Major Manigault, who was standing only a few
paces to my right in rear of the line, gave the order to retreat. To
this moment not a man had flinched, but at the order to retreat we broke
for the rear, a few of the men reloading, turning, and firing back as
they retreated. We halted at a ditch about 300 yards in the rear, where
we found the battalion of cadets of the South Carolina Military Academy,
and a company of the Second Regiment South Carolina Artillery,
altogether about 185 men. We who had come out of the affair, feeling
strong with this support, were anxious to return and try to drive back
the Federals, but we had no such orders. And probably it was well we did
not do so; for about 700 of the enemy were white men, and, as I
afterwards learned, more than half of them Irish; and for about 267 men
to tackle in open fight nearly three times their number, of that class
of men, was too serious an undertaking to be attempted. Of course as to
the 800 negroes the odds would not have been counted.

In this affair, of the 119 Confederates engaged, we lost 2 officers, of
whom one was the gallant Major Manigault, severely wounded, and 37 men.
The Federals lost 88. Our loss, as is shown, was about 33 per cent, of
our force engaged, and this large mortality shows the heavy fire to
which we were subjected. General Schimmelpfennig was in general command
of the affair, but the assault was led by Colonel Bennett, who, mounted
upon a sorrel horse, was a mark for several shots from our wretched
rifles, but escaped unhurt.

The point where I was, just about the center of our line, at the
causeway, was assaulted by a regiment of negro troops; and as they got
near to us I distinctly heard their officers cursing them. I heard one
officer say, "Keep in line there, you damned scoundrels!" and another,
"Go on, you damned rascals, or I'll chop you down!" I saw the line waver
badly when it got to within fifty yards of us, and on this occasion at
least it did not look to me as if the negroes had the spirit to "fight
nobly." I know it is a catch phrase elsewhere that the colored troops
fought nobly, but I testify to what I saw and heard.

As to these negro troops, there was a sequel, nearly a year later. When
I was peaceably in my office in Charleston one of my family's former
slaves, "Taffy" by name, came in to see me. In former times he had been
a waiter "in the house," and was about my own age; but in 1860, in the
settlement of an estate, he with his parents, aunt, and brother were
sold to Mr. John Ashe, and put on his plantation near Port Royal. Of
course, when the Federals overran that section they took in all these
"contrabands," as they were called, and Taffy became a soldier, and was
in one of the regiments that assaulted us. In reply to a question from
me, he foolishly said he "liked it." I only replied, "Well, I'm sorry I
didn't kill you as you deserved, that's all I have to say." He only

On February 17, James Island was evacuated by the Confederates. Captain
Matthews's company, formerly artillery but now infantry, was added to
our two, and the battalion known as Manigault's, or the Eighteenth South
Carolina Battalion. Major Manigault being wounded, and a prisoner, Capt.
B. C. Webb, of Company A, was in command. Our line of march was through
St. Andrew's Parish, across the bridge at Bee's Ferry, and along the old
State road past Otranto across Goose Creek bridge, which was burned as
soon as the last troops had crossed. Our men had started on this march
with as much baggage as they thought they could carry, but they soon
threw aside their impedimenta, and each settled down to his one blanket
and such clothes as he actually wore. This march across the Carolinas
was a very hard one. Our feet soon became blistered and sore, and many
of us had no shoes, but trudged along in the cold and mud bare-footed as
best we could. As I have already said, this was a cold winter, and it
seemed to us that it rained and froze constantly. Not a particle of
shelter did we have day or night. We would march all day, often in more
or less rain, and at nightfall halt, and bivouac in the bushes, with
every particle of food or clothing saturated. Within a few minutes after
a halt, even under a steady rain, fires would be burning and quickly
extend through the bivouac. If a civilian should attempt to kindle a
fire with soaked wood under a steady rain, he would find his patience
sorely tried, but the soldiers seemed to have no trouble.

After the fires were kindled we had to wait for the arrival of the
commissary wagons; and it was not uncommon for a detail of men to be
sent back in the night to help push the wagons through the mud; weary,
footsore, hungry, in the dark, up to the knees in mud, heaving on the
wheels of a stalled wagon! It was often late at night before the wagons
were got up and rations could be obtained.

The men, of course, had to take turns in the use of the two or three
frying-pans carried for each company, and when worn down by marching
from early dawn until dark it was disheartening to have to wait one's
turn, which often did not come until eleven o'clock at night. Frequently
the men, rather than wait for the frying-pan, would fry their scraps of
bacon on the coals, and make the cornmeal into dough, which they would
wrap around the ends of their ramrods and toast in the fire. When the
rations were drawn they consisted of only seven ounces of bacon and one
pint of cornmeal to the man per day; and on several occasions even these
could not be had, and the men went to sleep supperless, and with nothing
to eat during the next day. The commissary department of the corps
seemed to be unequal to the occasion, but this fact is not surprising
when the rapidity of the march and desolation of the country are
considered. Nevertheless, on several occasions the writer's command
passed forty hours without receiving any rations, and once fifty hours,
so that we were glad of an opportunity to beg at any farm-house for an
ear of corn with which to alleviate our hunger.

All along the line of march large numbers of men were constantly
deserting. Nightly, under cover of darkness, many would sneak from their
bivouacs and go off, not to the enemy, but to their homes. But those of
our men who remained were in good spirits.

The most influential cause of desertions was the news that reached the
men of the great suffering of their wives and children at home, caused
by the devastations of Sherman's army. Wherever this army passed from
Atlanta to Savannah, and from Savannah through Columbia, Camden, and
Cheraw, into North Carolina, a tract of country 30 miles wide was
devastated. Farm-houses, barns, mills, etc., were all burned. Farm
animals, poultry, etc., were all ruthlessly killed, and the women and
children left to starve. This was most especially the case in South
Carolina, where Sherman burned every town in his path--Walterboro,
Barnwell, Midway, Bamberg, Blackville, Williston, Orangeburg, Columbia,
Camden, and Cheraw. His cavalry leader, General Kilpatrick, attempted to
burn Aiken, but was quickly beaten off by General Wheeler. When the men
learned of the suffering of their women at home, many of them not
unnaturally deserted, and went to their aid.

This terrible strain on the integrity of the men was the cause of a
pitiable execution that took place on the line of march one day. A
sergeant in the First Regiment Regulars, upon being reproved by his
lieutenant for justifying and advising the desertion of the men, in a
fit of temper attempted to shoot this officer. The line was immediately
halted, the man was carried before a drum-head court martial, tried, and
condemned to be shot on the spot. He was led out, tied with his back
against a tree, and shot to death. It was an awful sight. I recollect
that while awaiting death, the chaplain spoke to him, and offered to
pray with him. His only reply was, "Preacher, I never listened to you in
Fort Sumter, and I won't listen to you now."

All of the Confederate troops in South Carolina were under the command
of Lieut.-Gen. T. J. Hardee, one of the ablest corps commanders in the
Confederate service. He was nicknamed by the men, "Old Reliable." Our
battalion, known also as the Eighteenth, with Major Bonneau's Georgia
battalion, the battalion of Citadel Cadets, and the Second Regiment
South Carolina Heavy Artillery constituted Brig.-Gen. Stephen Elliott's
brigade, which, with Col. Alfred Rhett's brigade, constituted Maj.-Gen.
Taliaferro's division. About March 1 we reached Cheraw, which we left
two days after. As we left the town Sherman's army pressed us closely,
and my recollection is that there was a sharp cavalry skirmish at the
bridge, which we burned as soon as our troops had got across. I think
Gen. M. C. Butler was the last man to cross, and galloped across it
while it was actually in flames. At the State line the Citadel Cadets
left us, and returned to South Carolina.

The route of the army lay through Fayetteville, N. C., where we crossed
the Cape Fear River about a week later. After our men had crossed the
bridge I was detailed from my company as one of a number to guard it,
until all the wagons, etc., and the last of the cavalry had got across
and it was burned, and when the bridge had been burned, one of the
cavalrymen let me ride a led horse until I caught up with my command
some distance in front. I remember his telling me of a very remarkable
scrimmage that had just occurred on the other side in Fayetteville. It
seems that before all of our wagons had got across the bridge, and our
own cavalry had come up, a troop of about 70 Federal cavalry rode into
the town to cut our wagons, etc., off from the bridge. General Hampton,
with two of his staff officers and four couriers, in all only seven men,
instantly dashed themselves against the Federals, and in a hand-to-hand
fight killed eleven of them, captured as many more, and ran the rest out
of town, and all without the loss of a single man. A very remarkable
affair. I also heard that Hampton had caught a spy, who would be hanged
when the army halted. I never heard anything more about it, as I had
other things much more personal to engage my attention, and presumed he
was strung up according to military usage.

But it seems that the man was not hanged. Wells, in "Hampton and His
Cavalry in '64," gives the particulars of this wonderful affair, and
states that the spy's name was David Day, and that he was turned over to
some junior reserves for safe keeping and escaped. And there was an
interesting sequel.

Thirty-one years after this fight, Hampton then being United States
Railway Commissioner, and in Denver, Colorado, a stranger called upon
him and explained that he was the David Day, the spy captured in the
affair, dressed in Confederate uniform. Hampton congratulated him and
said he was "glad the hanging did not come off." "So am I," replied the
other, laughing.

At Fayetteville a few of the men of our company, I among them, procured
Enfield rifles in place of the old Belgians we had, and also got
ammunition to suit. The Enfield was a muzzle loader, but really one of
the best guns of the day of its kind, and fairly accurate at 600 yards.
About half of the company, however, had only the worthless Belgians to
the end.

We were now so closely pursued by Sherman that on March 16 General
Hardee, having about 6,000 men, determined to make a stand near
Averysboro, between the Cape Fear and Black Rivers, where at daylight
Taliaferro's division was attacked full in front by the Fourteenth and
Twentieth Corps of the Federal Army, and Kilpatrick's cavalry,
altogether about 20,000 men, General Sherman being personally on the
field. The fighting was stubborn, at very close quarters, along the
entire line. Twenty men, of whom I was one, were detailed from Elliott's
brigade and attached to the left of Colonel Butler's First Regular
Infantry, of Rhett's brigade, and there I served through the fight. We
held our position in the open woods without protection for about three
hours, and repulsed repeated assaults, until the left of the line,
resting on a swamp along the Black River, which had been thought to be
impassable, was turned by a heavy force of Federals, which had made
their way through the swamp. This force, I afterwards learned, was
Colonel Jones's regiment of Indiana cavalry, fighting as infantry, and
armed with Spencer magazine carbines. Our whole force then fell back
about 400 yards to a line of breastworks manned by McLaws's skeleton
division, and which the Federals later in the day unsuccessfully
assaulted. The Confederate loss in this battle was 500, and the next day
some of Kilpatrick's cavalrymen, who had just been captured, told me
that the Federal loss had been about 2,500. The Confederate forces
engaged in this fight were Rhett's and Elliott's brigades, two artillery
companies, and McLaws's division; and it was not the intention of
General Hardee that Taliaferro's division should make such a stubborn
stand-up fight. It was the intention that they should engage only as
skirmishers, bring on the fight, and then fall back gradually into the
breastworks, where the real fighting was to have been done. But
Elliott's and Rhett's men had previously done only garrison and
artillery duty on the coast, and this was their first experience in
infantry fighting in the open, and they knew no better than to stand up
and fight it out. Sherman in his report to the U. S. War Department of
this affair expressed his surprise at the tenacity with which our men
held their ground.

It was on this occasion that Col. Alfred Rhett was captured. It seems
that a Captain Theo. F. Northrop, of a regiment of New York cavalry, was
scouting with a few men at early dawn on the morning of the battle, and
just in front of our lines came unexpectedly upon Generals Hampton and
Taliaferro, with a group of aids. He and his men promptly made
themselves invisible, and withdrew, and a few moments after Colonel
Rhett rode up on them. He put his pistol in Colonel Rhett's face and
said, "You must come with me." Colonel Rhett replied, "Who the hell are
you?" and drew his pistol to fight. Instantly the men with Captain
Northrop put their carbines to Colonel Rhett's head, and he, seeing how
the case stood, gave up, and was carried to General Slocum, who sent him
to General Sherman's headquarters. Captain Northrop has stated to me
that Colonel Rhett told him that when first accosted he thought he was
dealing with one of General Wheeler's men, and he would have shot him
for his insolence. And he was always satisfied that if Colonel Rhett had
realized at the very first that they were the enemy he met, he would
have fought and tried to get away, although he would have probably been
killed in the attempt.

Captain Northrop took Colonel Rhett's sword and pistol. The sword was
lost some years ago in a railway train, but he has the pistol still,
with Colonel Rhett's name engraved on it.

The fight took place in a piece of pine forest, and there were many
trees that afforded protection to the men on both sides. The lines were
very close together, so close that I could at times clearly observe the
faces of the Federal soldiers opposite. At one time I was protected by a
good pine tree and felt quite comfortable as the bullets thwacked
against the other side of it; but within a few feet, to my left, was an
old stump-hole full of dry leaves, and the bullets striking in those
leaves made a terrible racket. I stood the racket as long as I could,
but finally could stand it no longer, and contrary to common sense
abandoned my friendly tree and stepped a few paces to the right, away
from that noisy stump-hole. There I stood unprotected in the open, but
not many minutes before I was struck full in the middle of my body and
knocked down to a sitting posture. My blanket was rolled in a tight
roll, not over three inches thick, and being of course on my left
shoulder, and across my body downwards to the right, had saved my life.
The ball had passed through the roll, and striking a button on my jacket
had stopped, and as I dropped it fell down, flattened out of all shape.
I lay on the ground for a few moments, paralyzed by the blow, and I
recollect hearing a comrade, who received a bullet through the brain
only a few moments afterwards, call out, "Ford's killed." I gathered
myself back into a sitting posture and replied, "No, I'm not. I think
I'm all right." But the pain was intense, as every boy knows who in a
boxing bout gets a lick in "the short wind." In a few moments I was back
again on my feet, and resumed my place in line, although suffering
considerable pain and nausea. For some time after I carried on my body a
black and blue spot the size of a dollar.

I recollect noticing the conspicuous coolness of Maj. Thos. Huguenin, of
the First Infantry. During the hardest of the fighting he walked slowly
immediately behind the line in which I was, smoking his pipe as calmly
as if he had been at home.

Here an incident occurred that showed how, under the most serious
condition, with death and imminent danger all around, a soldier's mind
is often diverted by the most trivial thing. It is a strange phase of
the mind which I have heard old soldiers, who have seen much hard
fighting, comment upon. During the sharpest of the fighting, a hog
started from the swamp on my left and ran squealing and terrified
directly down the front of our line, presenting quite a ludicrous
spectacle, and I heard a number of men, as he passed along the line,
whoop at him and call out, "Go it, piggy!" "Save your bacon, piggy!"
etc. But piggy had not got more than a hundred feet past me when he
turned a somersault, kicked a moment or two, and lay still. He had
evidently stopped a bullet.

An incident showing the same phase of mind was told me by a member of
the Fourteenth South Carolina Volunteers, as occurring during the great
battle of Gettysburg. As Kershaw's brigade, on the second day, was
advancing to the assault of Little Round Top, a company of the
Fourteenth was among those thrown forward as skirmishers, and as they
advanced across the field toward the Federals, they came to a large
patch of ripe blackberries. The men with one accord immediately turned
their attention to the ripe fruit which was in great abundance on every
side, and, stooping down, kept picking, and eating berries, as they went
slowly forward, actually into action. And so much was their attention
distracted by the blackberries that they were actually within 50 yards
of the enemy's advanced line before they realized their position, when
they rushed forward with a yell, and got possession of a slightly
elevated roadway, which they held until the main line came up.

During the assault on the breastworks, Capt. S. Porcher Smith, who was
standing just behind me, was shot through the face and fell. The
litter-bearers picked him up, and as they were carrying him to the rear,
one of them was shot and fell, and Captain Smith rolled headlong out of
the litter. I well remember this incident.

We held our position until about midnight, when we fell back to a place
called Elevation. This night's march was a very trying one. The road was
terribly cut up by the wagons and artillery, and as the rains had been
frequent it seemed as if the clay mud was knee deep. We floundered
along for about six hours, and at daylight on the 17th halted and were
given some rations. Most of us had not had a morsel of food since the
night of the 15th. It happened in this way. On the night of the 15th we
cooked our cornmeal and bacon and ate our supper, saving half for the
next day. At the early break of day on the 16th, as I was warming my
bacon and corn pone in a frying-pan before eating some of it, the
Federals attacked us, and we had to fall into line instantly. So I had
to leave the frying-pan with all my food as it was on the fire and go
through that day's hardship, and until the next day at Elevation,
without any food whatever. It had been General Hardee's intention to
give us two or three days' rest at Elevation, but it having been
ascertained that the Federal army was pushing toward Goldsboro, Gen.
Jos. E. Johnston, then only recently put in command of the Confederate
troops in North Carolina, ordered General Hardee to hurry forward and
intercept Sherman near Bentonville. So about 3 o'clock on the morning of
the 19th we were aroused and hurried on toward Bentonville, where we
arrived a little before three in the afternoon, having made the 20 miles
in rather less than 12 hours.

It was on the march this day that an amusing incident occurred. I had
not owned a pair of socks since I left James Island a month before, and
my shoes were in such tattered condition that I could keep uppers and
soles together only by tying them with several leather strings, but
most of my toes stuck out very conspicuously. I had read of the
importance that great generals attached to the good condition of
infantry soldiers' feet, and hence the aphorism, "A marching man is no
stronger than his feet," and I determined to keep mine in good condition
if possible. I knew that frequent bathing prevented blistering;
therefore, every night before going to sleep, and often on the march
during the day I would bathe my feet, so that they were never blistered,
and I kept well up with my company in marching. On this day as we
crossed a little stream, according to my custom I stepped aside, and
pulling off my shoes soaked my feet in the running water. General Hardee
and his staff rode by at the moment. He checked his horse and called
sternly to me, "You there, sir! What are you doing straggling from your
command? I suppose you are one of those men who behaved so badly at
Averysboro." (A few men had been guilty of misconduct there.) I sprang
to my feet, and saluting him said, "Excuse me, General, but you are
speaking to the wrong man, sir. I have never misbehaved, and never
straggled. I am only bathing my feet to prevent them from blistering.
There is my company right ahead there, sir, and I always keep up with
it." My injured tone and evident sincerity struck the old man, and he
saluted me with the words, "I beg your pardon, sir," and rode on. He was
a courtly and knightly soldier, and a great favorite with the men.

We reached Bentonville at about 3 o'clock p. m., only a short time after
the battle had begun, and as we marched hurriedly along the road in the
direction of the firing we passed a number of wounded men coming to the
rear; and then several operating tables on both sides of the road, some
with wounded men stretched on them with the surgeons at work, and all of
them with several bloody amputated legs and arms thrown alongside on the
grass. The sight was temporarily depressing, as it foreshadowed what we
had to expect. But we hurried on, and our division halted for a few
moments on the ground from which the Federals had just been repulsed,
and there were quite a number of their dead and wounded lying about. One
of the Federal wounded, a lieutenant, begged us for some water, and I
stepped from the line and gave him a drink from my canteen. Others
begged me likewise, and in a few moments my canteen was empty. I knew
that this might result seriously to me, in case I should need the water
badly for myself, but I could not refuse a wounded man's appeal even if
he was my enemy; and one of our men, a thrifty fellow, who always
managed to have things, produced a little flask of whiskey, and gave a
good drink to a Federal who had his leg badly crushed. The blue-coat
raised his eyes to Heaven with, "Thank God, Johnnie; it may come around
that I may be able to do you a kindness, and I'll never forget this
drink of liquor." We were not allowed to remain long relieving the
suffering, but soon were called to "attention," and received orders to
create it, by an attack upon the enemy from our extreme right. At this
moment Maj. A. Burnett Rhett, of the artillery, rode along the line and
called out that news had been received that France had recognized the
Confederacy and would send warships to open our ports immediately. The
men cheered, few of us realizing that the end was so near. We were
blinded by our patriotism. There was Lee with his 30,000 men that moment
surrounded by Grant with his 150,000. Here was Johnston with his 14,000
trying to keep at bay Sherman with his 70,000, with the knowledge that
Schofield was only two days off with 40,000 more. And this was about all
there was to the Confederacy; and they talked of recognition! Oh, the
pity of it!

As we stood in line ready to advance my next comrade remarked, "Well,
boys, one out of every three of us will drop to-day. I wonder who it
will be?" This had been about our proportion in our two previous
infantry engagements, and it was not far short of the same here, for out
of the twenty-one men the company carried into the fight five were left
on the field. At the word the line advanced through a very thick black
jack-oak woods full of briars, and then double-quicked. We ran right
over the Federal picket line and captured or shot every one of the
pickets. One picket was in the act of eating his dinner, and as we ran
upon him he dropped his tin bucket, which, strange to say, had rice and
peas boiled together. Our lieutenant grabbed it up, and carried it, with
the spoon still in the porridge, in his left hand in the charge. We went
through the bushes yelling and at a run until we struck a worm rail
fence on the edge of an old field. I sprang up on the fence to get over,
but when on top could see no enemy, and so called out to the men, a
number of whom were likewise immediately on the fence. Just at this
moment the officers called to us to come back, as a mistake had been
made. Our division had not gone far enough to our right. The line was
again formed in the thick bushes, and we went about two hundred yards or
so farther to the right, and during this movement the lieutenant ate the
captured porridge, and gave me the empty tin bucket and spoon. I
attached the bucket to my waist belt, and kept it for about a month,
when in an amusing encounter with Gen. Sam Cooper, of which I will tell
farther on, it got crushed. The spoon I have kept to the present time.

Our line was soon again halted just on the inside edge of the dense
woods, and concealed by the brush, and I could see on the other side of
the field, about 300 yards distant, twelve pieces of artillery
glistening in the sun, and behind them a dense mass of blue infantry
evidently expecting our attack, and ready for us.

As we stood there for a few minutes and saw the work cut out for us, one
of our men, one of the few who had been of age in 1860, said in a
plaintive tone, "If the Lord will only see me safe through this job,
I'll register an oath never to vote for secession again as long as I

At the word "forward" our brigade left the cover of the woods at the
double-quick, and the men reopened with their yells.

As all veterans of the great war know, in a charge the Confederates did
not preserve their alignment, as the Federals did. They usually went at
a run, every man more or less for himself. There was also an
inexplicable difference between the battle cries of the Federal and
Confederate soldiers. In the assaults of the Federals the cries were
regular, like "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" simply cheers, lacking stirring
life. But the Confederate cries were yells of an intensely nervous
description; every man for himself yelling "Yai, Yai, Yi, Yai, Yi!" They
were simply fierce shrieks made from each man's throat individually, and
which cannot be described, and cannot be reproduced except under the
excitement of an assault in actual battle. I do not know any reason for
this marked difference unless it was in the more pronounced
individuality of the average Confederate soldier.

As soon as our line charged out into the open field the Federal
artillery opened on us with grape shot, and the infantry with their
rifles. My eyes were in a moment filled with sand dashed up by the grape
which struck around. I wiped them with my hand, and keeping them closed
as much as I could, kept on at a run until I suddenly realized that I
was practically alone. When I looked back I saw that the brigade, after
getting about half way across the field, had stopped and was in
confusion. In a moment it broke and went back in a clear panic. It is
needless to say I followed. Our line was reformed in the woods, and I am
glad to say of my own company, and I think Captain Matthews's, they both
rallied at the word to a man. Every man was in place except those who
had fallen. This was more than could be said for some of the other
commands of the brigade, some of whose men never rallied, but went
straight on home from the field, and were never heard of again.

Our line was again moved forward to the position from which we had first
driven the Federal pickets, and our company was sent to the edge of the
woods from which we had made the last charge, and deployed as pickets,
two men at each post. It was now about dark, and, while the Federal
infantry had ceased firing, the wretched pieces of artillery never let
up on us and kept throwing grape shot, and occasional shells into the
woods where they knew we were, making a terrible racket through the
tree-tops, tearing off branches, etc. At about eight o'clock that night
our lieutenant came running along the line calling for "Ford." As soon
as he came to my post he told me that he had brought another man to take
my place and that I was relieved, and at 12 o'clock must go directly to
the rear and get some rations that were expected, and cook them for the
company. I begged to be let off, but it was no go. He said he knew I
could cook, and must go. So I laid down where I was, with instructions
to my comrade to awake me at 12 o'clock, and in an instant was sound
asleep, oblivious to the shells, etc., that the enemy kept meanly
crashing through the trees and brush, and worse still to the groans and
cries of the wounded that still lay in the field in front where they had
fallen. After dark the occasional screams of some wounded horses lying
in our rear were particularly distressing. Early in the afternoon
Halsey's battery of flying artillery, attached to Hampton's cavalry, had
held a gap in the line, until the arrival of our division, and in
advancing I saw probably a dozen horses lying dead or wounded where the
battery had been. To this day I recall the piteous expressions of two or
three of these wounded horses, as they raised their heads in their
suffering and looked at us as we passed between them. They were
perfectly quiet, but it was only after dark that in their loneliness
they uttered any sounds.

About midnight our picket line was withdrawn and the whole division
moved off in Egyptian darkness somewhere, I never did know exactly
where, or really care either, for at that moment I was suffering from
fever which afterwards developed into a serious illness. At daylight in
a cold rain we halted somewhere in the woods on the edge of another
field, and threw up breastworks, as we were threatened with an attack,
which, however, was not made. On the afternoon of the 21st we were
hurriedly ordered to hasten across to the extreme left of Johnston's
army to support the troops there who were severely pressed by the
Federals. I was now so sick that I was ordered to the rear, but begged
off, and a comrade offered to carry my gun for me, so I kept up. When we
reached the place our line was formed with our company on the extreme
left resting on the edge of Mill Creek. I was really so ill that I could
not stand in line for any length of time, and requested permission of my
lieutenant to lie down in ranks, so as to be in place when the assault
came. He ordered me to the rear, but I succeeded in begging off again,
and lay down in line. I was asleep instantly. The next thing I knew I
was being dragged by the feet, and heard some one say, "What are you
going to do with that dead man?" "Going to throw him in the creek," was
the reply. I opened my eyes and said, "I am not dead, but only sick.
What is the matter? Where are our men?" Looking around I saw that it was
early dawn, and the place was deserted except by two of our cavalry
videttes, one of whom said, "If you have life enough left you had better
skedaddle, for the Yanks will be here in five minutes. We are the last
of the cavalry." I picked myself up, and got across Mill Creek bridge
just as the Federal troops began to appear.

I believe I was the last infantryman to get across it, and it was the
only bridge across the creek. As I went across I noticed a lot of
Wheeler's cavalry on the north bank of the creek, evidently to hold the
bridge, and I could see the Federals in the distance, just on the top of
the hill on the south side. I suspected what was coming, and, as I had
received no invitation to an early morning entertainment, kept on my
way. The road on the north side of the bridge inclined sharply to the
left, so I was soon out of the line of fire, but heard the scrimmage as
the Federals assaulted Wheeler's men and endeavored to capture the
bridge. They were repulsed, but not before three of their color-bearers
had fallen within fifty feet of the Confederate line.

It seemed that Johnston's army had retreated during the night, and in
the darkness my comrades had overlooked me asleep on the ground. At
about noon I caught up with my command where it had halted about two
miles from the creek. In this battle of Bentonville, Johnston with only
14,100 men, all told, fought Sherman with about 40,000 the first day,
and 70,000 the second. The Confederate losses were 2,400 and the Federal

I had become so ill now that I could hold out no longer, and reported to
the surgeon, and at eight o'clock on the morning of the 23rd was driven
in an ambulance to a railway station and put with a lot of sick and
wounded men on a train for Greensboro. I had had nothing to eat since
about noon the day before, and when we got to Raleigh I got off and went
to a near-by little cottage, where I saw a woman at the door, and told
her that I was really very sick, and very hungry, and begged her for
something to eat. I had not a cent of money. She told me pathetically
that she had fed nearly all she had to the soldiers, but had a potato
pie, and if I could eat that I would be welcome to it. I took it
gratefully and it was the nicest potato pie I ever saw, before or since.
We reached Greensboro at dark, making about 90 miles run in ten hours,
very good for the speed of railway trains at that time. At Greensboro
the court-house was used as the hospital, all the benches, desks, etc.,
being removed. We had no mattresses nor bedding of any kind, and about
200 of us were laid off in rows on the floor, with only our own blankets
that we brought with us. After looking over the accommodations I
selected the platform inside of the rail, where the judge's desk used to
be, for my place, and went out into the street and begged an armful of
hay from a wagon, and with two bricks for a pillow made my bed. Here I
lay for about three weeks with fever, and at times really very ill.
Three times a day the ladies of the town came and brought us food, and
were devoted in their attentions. I got to be very weak, and on April
14th I told the surgeon that I was certainly getting worse, and
believed I would die if I stayed where I was. His cold reply was, "I
believe you will." I then asked to be allowed to go home. He said, "You
will die before you have been out of the hospital twenty-four hours," to
which I replied, "It is all the same with me. I would as lieve die in
the bushes as here. Only let me make the attempt." Thereupon he gave me
my furlough, and at daylight the next morning I put my blanket around me
and walked right out into a drizzly rain. The railroad was torn up
between Greensboro and Salisbury, so I walked along the track, and the
next day reached High Point, and at that place met one of my comrades,
who was in the hospital there. He smuggled me in and gave me a night's
lodging under his blanket, and shared his scanty supper with me. The
next day I struck out again, and after three or four more days walking
reached Salisbury, about thirty miles farther, where I again found
another comrade in the hospital at that place. With the exception of the
night I had spent at High Point, it was my habit, when night overtook
me, to step aside into the bushes and sleep until morning. What food I
got was only what I begged at the farmhouses on the way.

At the Yadkin River I found that the bridge had not been burned. It
seems that the Federal General Stoneman had been raiding that section of
country and had attempted to burn this bridge, but had been driven off
by a Confederate force under General Pettus, and some cavalry. Just as
I approached it, President Jefferson Davis, with quite a party, came
riding by. He was sitting gracefully erect on his horse, and courteously
returned our salutes. This was the one occasion on which I saw the

We were quite a large number of men along the roadside, and one of the
President's party, a captain, rode up to my group and asked if we were
willing to go on across the Mississippi and continue the war there? Many
of us, I among them, volunteered to go, but we heard nothing more of it.
It seems that this really was Mr. Davis's plan, and he was so much set
on it, that as late as April 25 he suggested to General Johnston that
instead of surrendering to General Sherman, he should disband his
infantry, with instructions to them to rendezvous at some appointed
place across the Mississippi, and to bring off his cavalry and all his
horses and light pieces of artillery. As is well known, General Johnston
fully realized the absolute hopelessness of the struggle and
deliberately disobeyed his instructions, and surrendered to General
Sherman the next day. When one looks back upon the condition of things
then as they must have been known to the highest Confederate
authorities, it seems almost incredible that such an impracticable idea
as continuing the war across the Mississippi could have been entertained
for a moment.

At Salisbury a comrade, who had been also for three years my messmate
and chum, joined me, and we traveled from there as far as Chester, S.
C., where our ways parted. Strange to say, it seemed to me that I began
to improve from the moment I left the hospital. I had a strong fever on
me, but was bent on getting home. At Salisbury an amusing event
occurred. This was about April 19. Lee's army had been surrendered ten
days before, and the first lot of his men, probably 300 or so, now came
along, and learning that there was a Confederate storehouse here with
supplies of food and clothing, determined to help themselves. I joined
the crowd to get my share. The warehouse was guarded by about a dozen
boys of the home guard, who protested violently; but they were just
swept one side, and the door was broken open, and every man helped
himself to what he wanted or needed. I got a handful of Confederate
money, a pair of shoes, some flour and bacon, a pair of socks, and a
small roll of jeans. This roll of cloth I carried clear home across my
shoulders, and when I reached Aiken, in May, exchanged it with the baker
for one hundred bread tickets, which provided our family with bread for
the rest of the summer.

The railway for a short distance from Salisbury was intact, and here we
discovered an engine and two box-cars waiting for President Davis and
the Confederate Cabinet. The crowd of soldiers determined to seize this
train, and we told the engineer that he must either carry us as far as
he could, and then come back for the President, or we would put him off
and take the train ourselves. He yielded to force, and carried us about
20 miles. We then got off, and he went back. This led to an amusing
experience a couple of days later. There was another section of torn-up
track, and then another place where another engine and one box-car were
in waiting again for the President and Cabinet. The crowd had dwindled
down very much now, so comparatively only a few of us were on hand.
These, I among them, at once clambered up on top of the car, and sat
there. Presently I saw Gen. Sam Cooper approaching with a squad of about
a dozen boys, home guards as they were called. He halted them within a
dozen paces of the car, and then gave the orders, "ready, aim," and we
had a dozen old muskets pointed at us. Then shaking his finger at us he
said, "You scoundrels, you are the men who stole that train day before
yesterday. If you do not drop off that car I'll blow you to hell." We
dropped. In jumping down, my tin bucket, captured at Bentonville, was
crushed against the side of the car. The spoon was in my haversack, and
I have it still--1904. I thought to myself, however, "Old cock, I'll get
even with you. I have a scheme you don't know about." Going off a few
steps I said to my chum, "Just let's wait here until the Cabinet
arrives. I bet that we two at least will get back on that car." We
lounged around for an hour or two, and presently the wagons appeared
with the Cabinet. I knew that Mrs. Geo. A. Trenholm, the wife of the
Confederate Secretary of the Treasury, was along, and being a
Charlestonian, who knew my family, I felt sure that when I made myself
known she would help me. True enough, as soon as I made myself known to
her she spoke to General Cooper, and four of us were given permission to
ride on top of the car, one at each corner, with our legs dangling over,
for the top of the car in the middle was smashed in. Mrs. Trenholm also
kindly gave me a half loaf of bread and the half of a chicken.

We jolted along in this way over the good section of the road, until we
came to the next break, when we got off, and after tendering our thanks
plodded along on foot again.

Gen. Sam'l S. Cooper was Adjutant-General of the Confederate Army, and
the senior in rank of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and was a Pennsylvanian. He
ranked Lee in the Confederate service; and in the Federal Army before
the war he also ranked the great Confederate commander, he having been
Adjutant-General of the United States Army.

At Chester I parted with my companions, as our routes diverged. I walked
from that town to Newberry, where I met one of my comrades, whose family
lived there. He took me to his house, and I stayed there two days. Upon
my departure he saw that my haversack was well filled with provisions.

The railway was intact from Newberry to Abbeville, so I got a lift that

While making my way through the country I was always treated with much
hospitality by all the people along my route. There was only one
exception. This was in Chester County, when one day, with my haversack
empty, and hunger calling impatiently, I stopped at a farm-house and
asked for some food, offering to pay for it. The respectable-looking man
whom I addressed asked me what kind of money I had. I said, "Only
Confederate money." He replied, "I won't take anything except gold or
silver and have no food to give away," and shut the door in my face. I
inquired of some negroes, as I walked off, and was told he was a very
well-to-do man, and a preacher!

In striking contrast was the treatment by a poor farmer's wife the same
day. I stopped at a small farm-house by the roadside, and in response to
my call a woman opened the house door, and looking out cautiously asked
who I was. I replied, "I am a Confederate soldier trying to get home. I
am sick, and want something to eat." She called out, "You got smallpox?"
"No," I said. Again she asked, "You got the measles?" "No, I've got only
fever, and only want to rest; and if you have anything to spare,
something to eat." She then told me to come into the house, and showing
me into the back porch, spread a comfort on the floor with a pillow, and
said, "My husband got back from the army just yesterday, and went to
town this morning. I am sorry, but there's not a scrap of meat in the
house, only some veal which he killed this morning. Now you just lie
down and take a rest while I cook you some veal, and corn bread." I laid
down, and was soon asleep. After a while the good woman aroused me, and
led the way to the table, where she had prepared some veal chops and
corn bread for me, which I ate with relish. She refused to receive any
pay, as she said she "could not receive pay from a soldier." So giving
her my warm thanks I resumed my route toward Newberry.

At Abbeville I went into a drug store and invested $30 in a toothbrush.

I had chosen this route to avoid the section devastated by Sherman. From
Abbeville my route lay through Washington and Augusta, Ga., to Aiken,
where my family were, and which I reached early in May. When passing
through Augusta I went to the quartermaster's department and drew my
pay, amounting to $156. This was the first pay I had received for a
year, and of course it was absolutely worthless, but upon my arrival at
Aiken I found a man who accepted $50 of it for a bottle of very crude
corn whiskey. The remainder of this pay is still in my desk.

On April 26, 1865, General Johnston's army was surrendered to General
Sherman near Durham Station, N. C.. thus putting an end to the war
within the limits of their respective commands. At that time General
Johnston had 26,000 men on his roll, as many of the remnants of the Army
of the Tennessee and others from Wilmington had joined his command. Of
these, 2,000 had no arms of any kind. General Sherman had 110,000 men
effective. Johnston's army had consumed their last rations when it was
surrendered, and General Sherman, when informed of its condition,
ordered 250,000 rations immediately distributed, or about ten days'
rations to each Confederate soldier. General Johnston in his
"Narrative" says that if this had not been done great suffering would
have ensued.

The great war was at an end, and the following figures show the fearful
odds we fought against.

During the four years the United States put about 3,000,000 men in the
field, of whom 720,000 were foreigners. They lost in killed, in battle,
and from disease, 366,000, or about 12 per cent.

The Confederate States had only about 625,000 men, all told, from first
to last. Of these there were killed in battle, and died from disease,
349,000, or about 56 per cent.

At the close the United States had 1,050,000 men in active service, and
the Confederate States 139,000. We were fighting odds of over 7 to 1.

The day after my arrival at home the first Federal troops arrived from
Charleston to garrison the town of Aiken. They were a company of
negroes, commanded by a German captain, who spoke very broken English. I
soon learned that it was a part of the force that had assaulted us on
James Island and from the officers I heard their side of the affair.
This was the beginning of that era of reconstruction which, for eleven
years, was a course of negro domination, corruption, robbery, and
outrages; and which steadily increased in intensity until in 1876 it was
overthrown by the general uprising of the white people. But this is
another subject.



[Illustration: Marion Johnstone Porcher]


"An African Morgan--a citizen whose name we shall not mention, although
many readers know and will recognize the case--was surprised some days
ago by the entrance of a good servant, who was supposed to be, if living
at all, in Yankee hands at Knoxville. This servant went cheerfully, of
course, or he would not have been sent, to wait on 'Young Massa,' who is
under Brigadier-General Jenkins, in Longstreet's corps.

"In the retreat from Knoxville, he was accidentally wounded, and
necessarily left behind.

"When taken to Knoxville, he was questioned by General Foster, well
known for his connection as engineer with Fort Sumter, which has done
more than he desired or expected for the defense of Charleston.

"Being asked his master's name, the man replied, when General Foster
condescendingly said: 'Oh, yes; I knew him when I was at Sumter. You
know that you are now free and have no master.' We need not report
the further conversation, or the conduct of the servant. Suffice it to
say he did not--like some of our gossiping friends in uniform--talk to
everybody about his intention, but at the first promising opportunity he
took French leave of Yankee friends and freedom in Knoxville, and not
knowing then where to find or reach his 'Young Master,' he struck,
according to his best information, for the 'Old Master' and the 'home

"He was compelled to walk over one hundred and fifty miles, and in great
part over the route travelled lately by General Morgan, and succeeded in
reaching a railroad, which gave him a lift toward this city.

"We would have more such cases if opportunities could be found."

--_Charleston, S. C, Courier, January 19, 1863._

       *       *       *       *       *

This Kent was not of blood royal, as his name might indicate; he came of
a dusky African brood, but his loyalty and faithfulness would have done
credit to any race. How he got his name I do not know, but it was a
relief to the ear after those his mother had chosen for his
brothers--"Cully" and "Hackless." Whether the latter was intended for
Hercules, neither Martha, their mother, nor any one else knew.

Kent was the flower of his flock as regarded his appearance, being tall
and slender, with shiny black skin and unusually high features for a
negro. He seemed to justify his mother's boast that she was "no
low-blooded negro, but was of a good family in Africa." And she really
had some foundation for this unusual pride among her race, for our
grandmother, who died at a great age many years ago, was fond of telling
among the incidents of her childhood, that once when a shipload of
Africans was brought to her native city for sale, her husband went to
purchase some for his plantation, and among several he brought back
"Katura," Martha's ancestress. After the usual process of shutting them
up until they could be induced to wear clothes, she, with the others,
was sent up to the plantation. When they arrived there and began to
mingle with the other negroes, one of those that had been bought some
time before, at the sight of "Katura," rushed forward and prostrated
herself at her feet with every mark of affection and respect. She could
speak English and explained to the astonished onlookers that this was a
princess in her country, who had been sold by her uncle to the
slave-traders. It seemed a barbaric romance. Katura, however, took
kindly to civilization, and soon settled herself in her new position
with no undue repining. In time she was comforted by a partner, and
brought into the world numerous progeny, who were noted for their
integrity and fidelity unto the fifth generation, which brings us to
that of Kent.

When the great war broke out, and all the men and youths were joining
the army, our hearts were heavy, and we felt full of sad forebodings at
Otranto, our country home, where parting and sorrow had never come. We
were a large band of girls, with one young brother, the idol of our
hearts, and the apple of our parents' eyes. Like everybody in those
days, we were very patriotic, but when it dawned upon us that Harry must
shoulder his rifle and go to Virginia we felt that love of country cost
us dear. Harry completed his sixteenth year the April after the
secession of South Carolina, and as there was no doubt that his college
days were over, as he would not study, we were not surprised when the
day after his birthday, he galloped up the avenue, dashed into the room
where we were sitting, upsetting a chair, and exclaimed:

"How soon can you get me ready, girls? I joined the Hampton Legion this
morning, and we are off to Virginia,--Hurrah!"

"Hush, Harry!" exclaimed our eldest sister; "pick up that chair; don't
you see mother is faint?"

"No, it is past," murmured our mother, trying to smile, as we all turned
to her. "God bless and keep you, my boy. I expected you to enlist; you
could not do otherwise, and now," stifling a sigh, "I must think of your
outfit, and you must take a servant too. I wonder which will be best."

"A private with a servant seems an anomaly," laughingly said Harry. "But
I believe several of the boys have men, and anything to ease your mind,
mother dear."

"Our minds must learn to do without ease, as well as our bodies, I fear,
in the days that lie before us," she answered, stroking his curly head
as he knelt by her chair; "but we must act, and not think now."

The days that followed were busy ones. The difficulty was not what was
needed, but what could be carried. It was an exciting novelty to pack a
knapsack, and its small capacity was a constant check to our zeal.
Harry's constant reminder, "I will have to march with that on my back,
nobody knows how far," brought a pang to our hearts. It was decided that
he should take a "body-servant"--the old-fashioned Southern rendering of
the French term "valet." After much deliberation and, I fear, heart
burning among the servants, for in this, as in other instances, the post
of danger was also that of honor, Kent was selected, much to his own and
his mother's gratification.

The day appointed for the company to which Harry belonged to join the
Legion in Virginia came all too soon. He shouldered his knapsack, and
tore himself from us, followed by his colored attendant, with whom we
all shook hands and whom we urged to "take care of Mas' Harry."

"Yes, Missus," he responded, looking preternaturally solemn.

Of course Harry left a great gap behind him, but we tried to excel each
other in efforts at cheerfulness, and bright prognostications as to his
future career as a soldier. We succeeded only tolerably in these
laudable efforts, when Martha waddled in--she was our cook, and a
decided character in her way. I believe, next to our mother, she thought
herself of first importance among the feminine part of the household.
She gave a keen glance at our mother, whom she idolized.

"Well, Missus," she said, dropping a little curtsy, "I come to see how
you gettin' on. You all looks pretty blue, but I 'clare to gracious
there's no 'casion to fret. Nuttin' gwine to hu't Mas' Harry w'en Kent
gone to tak' care ov him. Missus, you dunno how smart dat boy is; an' I
jus' tell him, 'Mas' Harry tinks he's a man and a soger, but you know he
ain't nuttin' but a baby, an' a ma-baby at dat.' An' I jus' tell him he
need not to come home if he let anyt'ing hu't Mas' Harry. So don't you
fret, Missus."

"But how could Kent prevent Harry's being wounded or hurt, Martha?" I

"Now, Miss Sallie, don't you go for to talk nonsense," responded the old
woman. "An' your ma always says w'ere dere is a will dere is a way.
Well, dat's what I tells Kent, an' I tells Affy, de gal he's courtin',
it's no use for she to fret, fur 'less Kent brings Mas' Harry back safe,
dere won't be no weddin' fur him."

"Oh," I said, "he is courting, is he? That is why he looked so serious
when he left."

"It looks so, Missy. He tell me to look sharp at her, an' see if she
notice anybody while he is gone. An' I will--an' let her know, too, if
she do," she muttered as she left the room.

Harry saw much active service, was in many battles, and fortunately
escaped with only one wound. He told us in his letters of Kent's
faithful following, and attendance on long marches, and after a battle
he always found him looking anxiously for him, with something to eat as
nice as he could get. Indeed, he was a wonderful provider, but Harry was
by no means sure that Kent could have made good his claim to many of the
eatables he set before him, for his conscience was an elastic one as to
the rights of property in food. So long as he got what he wanted for
Harry, he stopped neither to buy, beg nor borrow, but helped himself.
His kindness of heart, ready wit, and readiness to lend a helping hand
to any one in need made him a general favorite in the company, where he
was noted for the care he took of his young master.

The years of the war sped on, and brought privations and sorrows which
each year seemed to intensify. Our home was no longer the bright place
it used to be, for we had lost many friends, and self-denial was the
order of the day. We were very busy, too, and that helped to keep us

There were new accomplishments to acquire. We learned, and taught our
maids, to card and spin the home-grown wool, and when that did not
suffice for the extraordinary demand we had supernumerary wool
mattresses ripped up; the ticking was considered to make handsome
frocks for the servants, and the wool when dyed and woven made excellent
homespun suits for ourselves, that were not to be despised for
durability and warmth. There was quite a rivalry as to who could make
the prettiest dyes for our dresses, but after a time black was most
worn. Then we had our old light kid gloves to ink over carefully, so
that we might not go barehanded to church. We thought those gloves a
great success when we first dyed them, but when we came to wear them,
the ink never seemed to dry, and would soak through, and dye our hands
most uncomfortably. Our greatest achievement after all, I think, was the
piles of socks we knitted by the lightwood blaze at night. Our
old-fashioned butler always placed a candle--a tallow one, or still
worse, a home-made myrtle wax one--upon the table, but we considered it
an extravagance to light it unless there was something urgent to read. I
am surprised now that we did not mind the heat of the blaze more in
summer, but I do not remember our thinking of it. There was one great
spasm of patriotism when every worsted curtain in the house was cut into
soldiers' shirts. Some of these were of brilliant colors and patterns,
and I cannot but think might have served as targets for bullets. We even
undressed the piano and converted its cover into a blanket for a
soldier. We were chagrined afterwards to hear from some of our friends
who had done the same thing, that the latest advice from the field was
that the soldiers found the garments, so improvised, very
unsatisfactory, and begged the ladies not to sacrifice their belongings
so recklessly.

There were no plum puddings or mince pies in those days, according to
the accepted recipes, but we made Confederate fruit cake with dried
peaches and apples instead of raisins and currants, with sorghum for
sugar; and potato pones and puddings were very frequent, and both dishes
had the merit of a little going a long way, especially after the supply
of ginger gave out.

We never had any use for the potato, peas, ground-nut, or any sort of
mock coffee, but we drank orange leaf, or sage tea in preference to any
other home-made beverage. We managed to keep a little store of genuine
tea for medicine, and when our mother pronounced any of us ill enough to
need a little coddling, what a treat it was! The invalid never would
consent to partake, unless it was a family tea party. What enjoyment
those occasions gave!

In the latter part of '63, we were distressed to hear from Harry that he
was ill in the hospital in Tennessee. He wrote: "I think we are falling
back. Kent is ill with pneumonia, and the worst of it is that if we fall
back I have no means of transportation for him; it will be hard to have
to leave him."

Dire was the distress that letter brought us. We waited anxiously for
further news. Harry brought it himself. He had been ill, and was sent
home on furlough. He looked worn, and very unlike the bright boy who had
left us.

"What of Kent?" we asked.

"I had to leave him," he said. "I could not help it. We were falling
back rapidly. Many were left in the hospitals, and are now prisoners. It
was only through my captain being such a friend of father's, and
stirring himself to get me a place in an ambulance, that I was not left.
I dragged myself to see the good fellow, although I could scarcely walk.
He was very sick, and distressed to part with me. I told him the enemy
would be in town that night, and he would be free. He said, 'Mas' Harry,
that is nothing to me; if you don't see me home, you will know I am
dead. Tell Missus, and Ma, and Affy so.'"

Martha was given the message, but our conscientious mother added: "But,
Martha, if you do not see him you need not be sure he is not living; but
you must not count too much on seeing him, for if he gets well he will
doubtless be tempted to stay, and try a new experience."

The old woman twirled the corners of her apron, as she said sadly:
"Missus, it is five generations since my fam'ly come from Africa, and
Mausser's from France; we's been togedder since dat time, an' been
fait'ful togedder; for once w'en times was hard wid Mausser, he mout hab
sold us, but he didn't. He kep' us all togedder, an' you tink Kent such
a fool as not to know dat, an' be happy 'mong strangers? He got to work
w'erebber he is, an' nobody gwine to consider him like you all. No,
ma'am, if he alive I'm lookin' for him, w'atever it seems like to you,
ma'am." And she bobbed her curtsy and walked off, leaving her mistress
feeling quite small.

Harry remained with us for some weeks. It was pleasant to see his
enjoyment of home fare, even in its pruned condition. Everything seemed
luxurious after the camp life; but he did not linger after he was well
enough to return to the army. There still was no news of Kent. Harry
refused to take another servant in his place, although urged to do so.
"No," he said, "I could not find any one to fill Kent's place; and it is
a demoralizing life. I do not know if even he could stand the restraints
of civilization again."

Several months passed after Harry's departure, and we had given up any
idea we might have had of hearing any more of Kent. Martha mourned him
as dead, and induced her preacher to preach his funeral, she and Affy
attending as chief mourners. Affy in a black cotton dress of Martha's
which swallowed her up, and Martha with her very black face muffled in a
square of black alpaca, from which, as she peered out, her teeth and
eyeballs looked dazzlingly white.

One freezing night in December, as we were trying to summon resolution
to leave the warm chimney corner and go to bed, we were startled by a
rap at the door. Everything was startling in those days. Our father
opened it, and the light fell on a tall figure clad in a United States
uniform, surmounted by Kent's smiling countenance.

"Why, where do you come from?" we exclaimed.

"Well, I tole Mas' Harry if de Lord spare my life I'd come home, an'
here I is, sir, and Missus, an' mighty proud," he added, as my mother
extended her hand to him, and said:

"You are a faithful fellow. Your mother knew you better than I did."

We soon dismissed our returned wanderer to his rest. Martha's and Affy's
delight may be imagined, and the speed with which they doffed their
mourning was marvelous. The next morning we were anxious to have Kent's
adventures, which he was pleased to narrate. His comfortable attire
looked very spick and span beside the faded garments of those around,
and his excellent shoes were a source of undisguised envy to his

"Well, Miss Sallie," he said, when I remarked on his appearance, "I
thought I'd better get myself the best I could while I was w'ere dey was
plenty, as I could give ole Maussa one nigger less to clothe. You see,
ma'am, w'en Mas' Harry an' our people lef', I felt pretty bad. That
night, sure 'nuf, as Mas' Harry tole me, the Yankees came booming into
town, an' it wasn't long befo' all our mens, who was in the hospitable,
was took prisoners; but they seemed very kind to them. W'ile they was
sick they give them everything. It was a cur'ous t'ing, w'en General
Foster come through w'ere I was, he noticed me, and asked me w'at I was
doin' there, an' I tole him how I had been wid my young Maussa, an' w'en
I tole him w'ere I come from an' Mas' Harry's name, 'Oh,' say he, 'I
know his father well. I was stationed at Fort Moultrie befo' de war, an'
I have eaten many a good dinner at the old Colonel's.' I tole him, 'Yes,
sir, Maussa had the bes' of everything, an' my ma was a splendid cook.'
So then he say: 'If you come from them you knows your business, an' w'en
you are well, I will take you into my service. You is free now, you
know.' So they kep' me in the hospitable, an' give me nice things to
make me well, an' w'en the hospitable discharged me, de General took me
an' was rale kind. I had good greenback wages and plenty of everything,
an' not much to do, an' rale coffee, as much as I wanted, too; but
somehow I couldn't diskiver to be settled. I had been in de Soudern army
so long, w'en they talked of beatin' it, it made me oneasy, an' w'en I
studied on Mas' Harry back in de army wid nobody--for I know he wouldn't
take nobody in my place--an' wid not 'nuf of even corn bread an' bacon,
widout me to perwide," he added, with a grin, "I jest kep' studyin', but
I never said nuttin', an' every day dey tole me how lucky I was to be
free. I jes' made up my mind, an' I got the General to let me draw all
de clo's I could, an' a overcoat an' shoes an' blankets on my wages,
an' den I ask him for a month's wages in advance, an' he seem a little
surprised, but he was very kind, an' he give it to me; so w'en I got
everything I could, one night I waited on the General fust rate, w'en he
was goin' to bed, an' fixed everything very nice, an' he said I was a
rale good servant an' a treasure of a boy; but I jest took my things an'
watched my chance, an' jest slipped off in the dark, an' dodged about
until I got out of their lines an' into our'n. I had to walk a hundred
miles befo' I got to our regiment. An', Mis', they jest gave me three
cheers w'en I tole them how I come back; an' I took de liberty to bring
a bottle of whiskey, an' I treated Mas' Harry's ole mess. Dey tole me he
had jine another regiment. I had to walk a good piece more to de cyars;
but one of our officers give me a letter to the conductors on de cyars,
so I jest come through without payin' a cent. An' mighty glad I is to
git home," he added, drawing a long sigh of relief.

"But did you not feel bad at robbing the kind officer who employed you?"
I asked.

"Well, Missy," he answered, "seems like Mas' Harry has the bes' right to
me, an' he was robbin' Mas' Harry ob me." And, turning to our mother, he
said: "Please, ma'am, I would like a week at home to marry Affy, an' den
can't I find Mas' Harry?"

It is needless to add that Kent's wedding was as festive as it could be
made. It was a holiday on the plantation, and dancing was kept up to the
sound of the rhythmic stick beating, from morning until night. The
bride was proud, happy and dusky in white muslin; the groom a marvel in
his attire, and with all the airs of a traveled man.

After the surrender Kent followed his young master home, and he and Affy
settled on a pretty part of the plantation, declaring that they would
live "faithful togedder" for the remainder of their lives.


In the busy rush of to-day it is sometimes a relaxation to pause for a
moment and let memory carry us back, far back, to the peaceful,
uneventful days before the Civil War. Life seemed to go slower then. We
had no cables to tell us, and often harrow us, each morning with the
events all over the world of the preceding day. And (inestimable boon)
our only ideas of war were time-mellowed Revolutionary anecdotes. There
was in these days no more beautiful place in all the luxuriant low
country contiguous to Charleston than Hickory Hill. The plantation
consisted of rice fields which bordered Goose Creek on both sides. The
massive brick dwelling, built in Colonial days by the pioneer of the
family which still dwelt there, stood beyond the rice fields in view of
the creek; venerable moss-crowned live-oaks stood sentinels around. The
approach was through an avenue of similar trees, whose branches formed a
beautiful arch over the luxuriant sward beneath. These trees were the
admiration and pride of the countryside.

Years had only added beauty to the rugged old house, for ivy and
climbing rose vines had dressed its walls and framed many of its
windows. In the springtime it was a veritable bower. At the time of
which I write it was a "maidens' bower." From my earliest recollections
three unmarried sisters, Miss Martha, Miss Joanna and Miss Mary,
composed the family. My parents lived on an adjoining plantation, and
although our dwelling houses were some distance apart, there was a short
cut along the rice field banks, and a happy child was I when any pretext
afforded an excuse for a visit to the ladies. Their individuality had a
great charm even to my childish mind. When I first remember them they
must have all been past their sixtieth birthdays, and were counted
ladies of the old school. Miss Martha was the eldest. She took life very
seriously, was very tall and thin, was the housekeeper and head, besides
being considered "the clever woman of the family." She could be very
tragic on the smallest provocation. Her drop of good Scotch blood made
her hold her head very high, and also made her a rigid Presbyterian.
When she was not hemming a pocket handkerchief she usually had one of
Scott's novels in her hands. Miss Joanna, the second sister, who was as
genial as her sister was severe, used to say she "did not know what
Martha would have done if Scott had never written; he had really
diversified her life by his novels."

Miss Joanna had the cheeriest old face imaginable, bright blue eyes,
rosy cheeks, with high cheek bones, her gray hair waved becomingly, and
she always wore a lavender ribbon in her cap. She was the social one of
the sisters; that is, she performed the social duties. Miss Mary, the
youngest, was at sixty the spoiled darling, having been considered the
best looking, and delicate in her youth. All the airs of a beauty, and
the privileges of an invalid still clung to her. Indeed, her very white
skin and black eyes were very impressive. Her sisters always gave her
the tenderest consideration and never failed to be affected by her
gentle melancholy and pathetic sighs. They were all much given to
charity, but Miss Mary was more lavish than wise. Whole families of
beggars, not only preyed upon her, but tyrannized. There was a tradition
that Miss Mary had been rescued in her youth from a runaway carriage by
a lover who was anxious to marry her; she had inclined to him, but had
been deterred by the fear of parting from Miss Joanna, who usually
directed her affairs, and sometimes made up her mind for her.

The sisters were accounted quite wealthy. They owned a handsome
residence in the neighboring city of Charleston, where they betook
themselves when fear of country fever drove them from their beloved
country home. The yearly exodus was a great trial to Miss Martha, who
was supposed to manage the plantation. The neighbors said the negro
foreman, Boston, managed the place and the ladies also. They would
never employ a white overseer, as they said "a hireling could not make
allowance for the negroes as they did." Indeed, their negroes were a
terrible care to them; they had large retinues of house servants, both
in the city and country, both having a sinecure during their absence.

Miss Martha frequently complained that she was "hard worked in finding
something for the servants to do." The young ones grew up so rapidly,
and to put certain families to field work was not to be contemplated.

That the ladies did not suffer more from their reckless management was
providential. They had the affection of all their servants, but the
women were lazy and the men great inebriates. Their idol, and coachman,
Billy, was a terrible case. Their lives were often in peril when he was
on the box. After some hair-breadth escape Billy would be summoned
before the trio and Miss Martha would say tragically, "Billy, you will
be the death of us." "Fore de Laud, Missis, I wouldn't hurt a hair of
yore heads," would be his rejoinder. That he did not was not his fault,
but his good fortune, for on one occasion, having been sent to meet Miss
Martha and Miss Mary at one of the wharves, he was so far gone that he
drove carriage and pair over them, knocking them down as they approached
to get into the carriage. Miraculously they escaped with only bruises.
Their black silk dresses were kept as curiosities, as the iron shod
hoofs of the horses had left their impress in several places. On another
occasion, having met them at the theater with the carriage, he drove
them several miles up the road toward their country home at 11 o'clock
at night before they could induce him to turn. These episodes, combined
with the very apparent fact that their friends had ceased to borrow
their carriage, which they enjoyed lending as much as using, sealed
Billy's fate. To soften his downfall, they told him he could give
Cuffie, his successor on the box, some "hints on driving," and they
would be glad to fill his molasses jug when it was empty, and if he must
drink, to take molasses and water. He could employ himself by sweeping
the yard. Billy never said what he drank, but died shortly after of
delirium tremens.

Joe and Romeo, the butler and his assistant, were quite as harassing.
Romeo's besetting sin was indolence. He had been known to shed tears at
the prospect of one of the little tea parties in which the old ladies
delighted. On these occasions their guests were their contemporaries,
"the girls," of whom there were a great many in maiden state in the
quiet old city. The handsome rooms were always lit by candles in tall
silver candlesticks. Miss Martha would never consent to the introduction
of gas, which the more progressive Miss Joanna advocated.

"No," decided Miss Martha, "candles are much more lady-like." What would
she have thought of electric lights?

On these occasions Joe handed a waiter with tea, Romeo followed with
delicate cakes, and then bread and butter, while a boy followed in the
rear with a tray "to catch the cups" as they were emptied. Ice cream
followed at "last bell ring," ten in summer and nine in winter, when the
party broke up. Any more substantial refreshment would have been deemed
"very unrefined" by the whole assembly.

There was a rumor that on one of these occasions both Joe and Romeo had
been very unsteady as they handed their waiters. Dire was their
mistresses' mortification. Miss Martha always seemed to feel responsible
when her servants misbehaved. She would exclaim, "A single woman has
great need of strength of mind." Miss Mary's unfailing rejoinder would
be, "Thank God, you have it, sister." One evening Joe brought especial
obloquy upon himself. He must have shared Billy's molasses jug, for he
had not drawn the tea as directed.

Miss Martha, in consideration for some of "the girls" who were growing
feeble, always accompanied Joe on his rounds. As he paused before a
guest she would hold a lump suspended in the sugar tongs as she would
say, "Green tea and black; dear, which will you have?" On this occasion
Joe took advantage of her deafness to mumble, "Both made in de same
pot." The guests were quite diverted, but did not enlighten Miss Martha
as to Joe's confession, and their progress continued until they reached
Miss Mary. When she overheard Joe's assertion, she looked at him with
mild indignation, but only said, "Sister, you had better sit down. I
will explain later my asking you to do so." Miss Mary's suggestion of
any course of action to Miss Martha seemed to call for explanation.

The next morning, when she told of the duet she had interrupted, Joe was
summoned. Miss Martha told him he had brought disgrace upon them and
would further bring their gray hairs in sorrow to the grave. He of
course expressed great penitence, and was vociferous in promises of
amendment. His mistresses tried to feel faith. Miss Mary, however, had
to take a great deal of orange-leaf tea before her nerves recovered the
shock. Kindly Miss Joanna said privately, she had known nothing of what
was occurring, but she was glad the girls had something to amuse them;
she had thought them very merry, and though Joe had failed in his
demeanor he had shown a wonderful regard for truth. Had the ladies and
many of their generation lived to see emancipation they would have
parted with many "an old man of the sea."

One April morning I set out to take a bunch of May roses over the rice
field banks to Hickory Hill. These roses were especial favorites with
the sisters, and I was pleased to have the earliest blossoms to carry.
Miss Joanna kept a rose jar. Miss Martha was famous for the rose water
she distilled. I only expected to see Miss Martha, for I knew Miss Mary
had been drooping, and Miss Joanna had taken her to visit a friend, who,
although long past her youth, had recently married a Northern gentleman,
with whom she lived on her beautiful plantation near the city.

Miss Joanna and her sister had left only the day before, so I was
surprised to see the carriage at the door and Cilia, the maid, removing
their shawls and trappings. "Why, Cilia!" I exclaimed, "are the ladies
back already?" "Yes, missy," she replied, grinning and dropping a
curtsy, "Miss Joanna an' Miss May, an' Miss Burton had a kine uv
upsettin', an' so we come home." Wondering what was amiss, I hastened
in. I paused as I entered the sitting-room, for I saw the ladies were
much perturbed (small excitements were very usual with them, but their
demeanor betokened something serious); Miss Martha sat very erect, with
her most judicial aspect, the needle with which she was sewing
suspended. "Come in, child," she said as she saw me; "if my sisters make
fools of themselves you may as well know it as the rest of the world."

Miss Mary and Miss Joanna sat with their bonnets on. Miss Mary with the
air of a culprit, Miss Joanna decidedly ruffled, and her cheeks redder
than usual. She said: "Don't jump too quickly to conclusions, sister; it
does seem queer for us to return so hastily, but when I tell you about
it quietly, you will, I am sure, see that we were not entirely to blame.
You know Caroline's husband is rather abrupt in his manner."

"He has no Southern suavity," interrupted Miss Mary.

"The evening we got there I was feeling rather dull, and he really made
me nervous by shouting in my ear several times, 'Cheer up, Miss Mary.' I
jumped every time."

"He no doubt meant it kindly," said Miss Joanna, "but I dare say it
prepared you for what followed."

"We had a pleasant evening on the whole, although I thought Mr. Burton
did express his Northern views of slavery a little more than was called
for, especially as he did not seem to object to Caroline's owning a
great many. She was in high feather and seemed delighted to see us. At
bed-time she accompanied us to our room, where there was a bright fire,
and Cilia awaiting us. After Caroline left us Cilia begged leave to go
to a dance at the negro quarter; she said it was in her honor, and she
seemed in haste to be gone. So I promised to do what Mary would need and
sent her off. After I was undressed I was standing by the fire brushing
my hair. I saw Mary fumbling about the bed and asked her if she was
ready for me to tuck her in. Instead of answering, she came, as I
thought, mysteriously up to me and whispered, 'Negro.'

"Of course I thought there was a man under the bed. I remembered our
watches, Mary's diamond pin, and how far we were from Caroline and Mr.
Burton; for we were in the company wing. I screamed for help as loud as
I could; the more noise I made the more distressed Mary seemed. Caroline
and Mr. Burton came running, in most indescribable costumes," the old
lady continued, with a look of amused retrospection. "There stood Mary
in her bed-gown and curl-papers; I in my wrapper, and Mary staring at me
as if she thought me crazy.

"'What is the matter?' they both exclaimed.

"'Oh,' I said, 'Mary says there is a negro under the bed.'

"We'll soon have the rascal out," said Mr. Burton, poking under the bed
with a big stick.

"'Oh,' said Mary, 'I never said anything of the kind, Joanna. I meant,'
she said, turning as red as a beet, 'that there were not rose blankets
on the bed, but blankets without the rose embroidered on them, and I
call those negro blankets. Joanna made such a noise I could not explain
what I meant,' and she burst into tears. Mr. Burton bounced out of the
room, muttering something. Caroline was very angry. She said that if she
had had any idea that we girls could behave in such a way she would
never have invited us to visit her. She had wished to give her husband
an agreeable impression of Southern ladies, but she did not like to
think what his impression must be; and as to rose blankets, we never
could understand when things were out of date. Those were beautiful new
blankets, bought in New York when refurnishing their guest-room. And in
fact she was so angry," concluded Miss Joanna, "that I do not like to
remember all she said."

"But I must tell you, sister," put in Miss Mary, "she said she knew I
was always a fool, but she had thought Joanna had a little sense, and I
agree with her, Joanna, that you ought not to have made such a noise. I
never felt worse in my life than when you began to scream. And I never
slept a wink all night, as you know. Now, Sister Martha, which do you
think the most to blame?"

"I cannot say," said Miss Martha, "but I know I will never go to visit
any friend with either of you. I don't wonder Caroline was angry, and
what an impression you have made on her husband."

"Oh," said Miss Joanna, "we know he was furious. We had a most
unpleasant time at breakfast the next morning. I tried to make a joke of
the whole episode, but failed. They were too angry; so as Mary was
feeling so shaken, and had taken all her orange-leaf water with no
benefit to her nerves, I thought we had better come home; and I am
delighted to be here; and too thankful neither of you are married," she
continued, with a return of her genial smile. "For I nearly exhausted
myself trying to mollify Mr. Burton."

"Yes," said Miss Mary, "with no success. I do not envy Caroline her new
acquisition, and I am sure rose blankets are the best."

Such were the agitations and events of these tranquil lives. Their days
glided by in peace and kindly ministrations. They were fortunate in
following each other in quick succession to the old Scotch churchyard
where their fathers slept in the "City by the Sea."


OTRANTO, November 20, 1864.

I have not written to you for some time, as we have been moving about a
good deal, and have had some interesting and funny experiences. Last
summer we were tired of refugeeing, and decided to go back to
Charleston, and lived in a house on Mary street, as we thought well out
of shell range; our own residence on South Bay being in the grass, and
glass-strewed district. Our family consists only of my mother, sister
and myself, our mankind being in service, as you know, except father,
who is in the home guard. My mother spent most of her time visiting the
hospitals and devising comforts for the soldiers; my sister and I knit
socks, and rejoiced when some of our soldier relatives could snatch a
breathing-space from arduous duties at Sumter or on the islands to visit
us and partake of the best we could bestow on them.

The sound of the shells with their sharp, rasping, hissing sound before
they exploded was familiar, the interest being to venture into range
sometimes and discover the last place hit. There was a method in
Gilmore's management of his "Swamp Angel." We always noticed the shells
came quicker at church time on Sunday, and at ten to eleven at night. To
add to our troubles, yellow fever broke out this year, the only time
during the war. It was not a violent epidemic, but there were some
deaths. We thought we were immune, but in September my sister took it.

One evening early in September my sister was better and a friend of mine
(whose house we faced in their rear) begged me to come to tea. I went
over at dusk, and with her and another guest were enjoying a cup of real
tea and a bit of toast--quite a feast, when there was a tremendous
explosion apparently just at hand. We all sat quiet, tea cups in hand.
The negro boy rushed in, rolling his eyes, with the announcement that
the opposite house in Aiken's row was struck, and they were moving out.
The lady and her daughter were both ill with fever, and both died
shortly in consequence of the fright and removal.

In quick succession several houses in Aiken's row were struck. As I look
back now it seems strange to me that we all sat quietly in the
drawing-room waiting our turn to be hit. The man servant returning at
intervals to report that another of the houses was hit. I welcomed my
father, when at nine, he came for me. Nothing ever overcame his sense
of humor. He brought a large cotton umbrella, which, he said, he had
brought to please my mother, as a shell might spare its hideousness.
When I got home I found my mother and sister anxiously awaiting me. I
had a little cot in a corner of my sister's room, and my mother, being
anxious, lay on the bed by her. I went to bed and was soon asleep, the
shelling apparently having ceased, but they had only paused to try a new
gun. The first shells always going farthest, I was awakened by the
horrible familiar hiss and plaster and glass falling over me. The shell
cut the corner of the house and passed so near me that the glasses of
the window near by my bed were broken, and the plastering above fell on
me. The monster buried itself in our yard, making a horrible deep pit,
but not exploding. A few more inches and I would have been buried with
it. It shows how accustomed we were to shocks that I do not remember
feeling any terror, but remarked quietly in the dark to my mother, "I
think we are hit." To my astonishment she broke forth in ejaculations of
thanksgiving. The noise and crash had been so great she thought the side
of the room with me in it had been taken away. That was the longest
range shell that fell in Charleston. In a few days we went to the
up-country to be with friends, and then last week came down to Otranto,
where we are now.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTRANTO, January 15, 1865.

I have not written for some time, but we all are really so troubled and
depressed that, as mother says, we have to be physically active to keep
from thinking, so little writing have I done this winter. I suppose you
know father has gone with his company of reserves to Summerville. They
are all men of over sixty, but we hear that Summerville is pleased to
have them. Aunts Anna and May became so tired of refugee life in Camden
that they decided to join mother, Annie, and me on the plantation. With
father and our brother away we are very lonely, but Aunt Anna's eighty
odd years make us anxious to make her comfortable. She is better off
with us, for the terrible scarcity of provisions has not touched us
here. We have enough of home provisions, but mother gives every morsel
she can spare to the hospitals and soldiers' wayside homes in
Charleston. The aunts say that despite the enormous board they had to
pay in Camden they had only fresh pork and biscuits, not even milk, as
so many of the cattle have been impressed for the army.

Christmas was certainly a very gloomy day. The news that Sherman was in
Savannah struck us cold. Our three cousins got leave of absence and came
up for a few hours. Mother had a turkey and we did our best, but I think
they feel very grave over the state of things. We are in terror lest
Charleston will have to be abandoned. Hal begged mother to return to the
up-country, but she says she went away three times and will not leave
again. She manages the plantation, you know. The negroes are very good,
but there is a spirit of restlessness perceptible. Hal was shocked when
he heard that we never locked up the house at night.

All the white men are in the army and some women are nervous, but we do
not feel so. This intensely cold winter makes us wretched about our poor
bare-footed soldiers. Mother can knit a pair of socks a day. Maum Martha
spins the wool. I can do only one sock a day. We are fortunate to have
so much lightwood. It is the only source of light we have, but we can
manage our knitting and Annie even reads sometimes, but the paper is so
bad that it is hard to read the printing on it.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTRANTO, February 1, 1865.

I fear you are really having a dreadful time. The high price of
provisions is certainly dreadful on people with fixed incomes.

We had quite an adventure last Wednesday. Father luckily came over from
Summerville to dinner. It was a bitterly cold day. We were just sitting
down to the luxury of calf's head soup, for father wished some veal to
carry back to camp, when Quash came in with a rattled and rather
bothered air, and said there was a Yankee soldier outside who wanted to
give himself up. We all were thunderstruck, and followed father, who
gave vent to great displeasure.

At the door stood a miserable looking creature, shivering in a tattered
blue uniform. He was tall, thin, and white as a ghost, and his feet
looked particularly white. I never saw a more abject object. Father
tried to be very severe, but you know how kind-hearted he is, and while
he was scolding the man I overheard Quash say aside to him, "Nebber min'
what he say, Maussa doan' mean it. He is one ob de kindest mens in de

It seems that the man was a prisoner who had escaped from the cars on
his way to prison some three months ago and was trying to make his way
to the coast, hoping to get through our lines. He had been living among
the negroes, sleeping in their houses by day and traveling by night; but
the wretched existence had worn him out and he came to give himself up.
He was an Englishman who was impressed on his arrival in New York and he
begged father to ask the authorities to let him take the oath of
allegiance and fight for us; but father said there had been enough of
that and such galvanized Yankees had done more harm than good.

This poor wretch is the first enemy we have seen, and we could not help
feeling sorry for him, although, as father says, no doubt he has been
demoralizing the negroes. He gave him a good dinner and turned him over
to Daddy Paul to take care of until the next day, when father took him
to Charleston and delivered him to the authorities. Mother found him an
old jacket and pair of shoes and socks, which she gave him. Surely she
had never expected to give a pair of her socks to one of the enemy.

Maum Martha thinks our kindness misplaced and told us he talked very
different to them from the way he talked to us, but she told us this
only after he had left, although it would have made no difference. We
may have "heaped coals of fire," etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTRANTO, February 15, 1865.

I have not heard from you for some time, but I know in these dark days
you think of us. There is no doubt we live in dreadful times. We may
soon be in the enemy's country, or rather our troops may have to retire
from the coast.

Yesterday Annie and I determined to drive over to Summerville and dine
with aunt, as she and Cousin Sue have begged us to do so. Mother did not
want us to go. She feels the perilous times and all the sorrows she has
had make her very anxious. But at last she consented to our going, much
to Aunt May's disappointment, who thinks we should sit down and say,
"Good Lord, deliver us," all the time.

We had a pleasant drive over, as you know it is only nine miles. Daddy
Moses drove us and mother insisted that Cully should go as an outrider.
He rode Lamb, and went ahead. It showed that mother was nervous, but
Annie and I were amused, as we did not know what he was expected to do.
We found aunt and Cousin Sue delighted to see us and we enjoyed our
day. We left at 5 o'clock, as we could not get off earlier. Father dined
with us and tried to start us earlier. Aunt is delighted to have him in
Summerville as she says she "never felt so safe, because she knows he
will fight."

Our drive home was gloomy and we did not reach there until 7 o'clock. As
we drew near we met several of the negroes on farm horses looking for
us, and at the avenue gate our maid Fanny peering for us in the dark.
Mother and the aunts were wretched about us, particularly as Uncle Pete
had come up from the city full of bad news. Charleston is to be
evacuated, as Sherman's movements have made that necessary. He was
horrified when he heard that we had taken so long a drive, as he says
the woods are full of stragglers and escaped galvanized Yankees. I do
not know what is before us, or when you will hear from us again.

       *       *       *       *       *

OTRANTO, February 20, 1865.

Charleston is being evacuated and our army is passing all the time, and
we reconcile ourselves to being left in the enemy's lines by the hope
that our army, strengthened by the coast troops, may defeat Sherman.
This letter will go by the last of our troops. The army has been passing
for five days and many of the men come up to the house, where we give
them everything we can for them to eat. They are full of courage and
their appearance gives us renewed hope. They hate to leave us behind.
Henry spent last night here. He got leave of absence with difficulty,
but will rejoin his regiment at Strawberry Ferry. He begged mother to
retire into the interior; but we mean to stay. He left us this morning.
The captain in command of the rear-guard at Goose Creek Bridge has just
come to bid us good-by, and he took two letters, which he promised to
carry into our lines--one to papa and the other to aunt, which we knew
would be the last tidings they would get from us.

This may, or may not reach you, but it is a comfort to write. The worst
has come, or I hope it has. After my last letter we awaited the approach
of the enemy with indescribable feelings. We tried not to think, and I
must say I was afraid of being frightened out of my wits and was too
thankful when the Yankees came. I was too angry to be scared. We tried
to keep up each other's spirits and were very busy hiding things. We
took only Paul, Jack and Martha into our confidence and they helped us

Tuesday passed in quiet. Mother, Annie and I took our usual walk in the
afternoon and met one of the negroes, who told us that our men had not
burned the bridge, and we determined that if this was the fact, we would
do it ourselves; but as we approached we were glad to see it blazing in
the distance. We felt then that we were really cut off from our own
people, but at the same time had satisfaction in knowing that if our
army was pursued the enemy would here meet an obstacle.

At 5 o'clock Wednesday afternoon as we were again getting ready for a
walk, a man was seen riding rapidly up the avenue. I called out, "The
Yankees are here. I know them by their blue legs!" and you may be sure
the family assembled quickly. In the mean while the man dashed past the
house and rode quickly around it, evidently expecting some one to run
out; finding no one, he returned to the front of the house, where we
five ladies stood together on the piazza. By this time we saw many
others coming up the avenue.

"Where is the man of the house?" demanded the man in an insolent tone.

Mamma replied, "He is not at home," and Aunt May added, "He is a
gray-haired man."

He gave a leer and said, "But not too old to be in the Rebel army." This
could not be denied, so we were silent. Then, with an expression of
triumph he said, "You have never seen black troops, but you will soon
have that pleasure; they are advancing now."

Mamma said, "I suppose they are not different from other negroes; we are
accustomed to them and never have feared them."

This calm reply was evidently a disappointment, as he had hoped we would
have been overcome with fear.

He turned off and said, "I must get some poultry for the General's
supper," and went to the fowl-house, where about a dozen of his men
joined him. In a few moments the cart, which just at the moment was
coming up with a load of wood, was seized and filled with our fowls,
turkeys, geese, etc., and driven off.

I happened to turn my eyes toward the western entrance from the main
road and saw the negro soldiers rushing in.

To my latest day I will not forget their brutal appearance. They came up
brandishing their guns with an air of wildness hard to describe, and in
a short time were scattered over the plantation, committing every
conceivable havoc. Their commander, Lieutenant J----, of New York, rode
up to the house, accompanied by several white officers, and while we
stood still and calmly upon the piazza he called out, "Where is the man
of the house?"

Mother replied as before, when he said, "He is a Rebel," and turning to
her said, "I am come to liberate your people," to which she quietly
replied, "I hope you will be as kind to them as we have been." This
visibly angered him and he exclaimed, "That is a strange reply to make
to a Northern man, and an officer of a colored regiment." To which she
replied, "We will not discuss the question."

He turned and said something to Quash, our waiting-man, and in a short
time we heard him and the other officers upstairs in our bed-rooms.
Mamma and Aunt Anna followed quietly and found that he had summoned our
two maids, Rachel and Fanny, and was exhorting them to disclose where
everything of value was concealed, saying, "Don't lie; that woman
(meaning mother) is very bad," and a great deal more in the same strain,
trying to incite them against us. They spoke to these servants as
"Madam," and of mother as "that woman."

The two girls were very frightened, but behaved remarkably well and
assured them that no valuables were hidden, and only the ladies' clothes
were in the rooms. However, they ransacked our wardrobes and bureau
drawers, throwing our things out all over the floor, and when they came
downstairs took all the cold meats out of the larder.

While mother and Aunt Anna were upstairs helplessly following Lieutenant
J---- around and witnessing his shameless conduct in our bed-rooms, Aunt
May, Annie and I remained downstairs. A quiet-looking officer was
standing in the piazza.

Aunt May, who never can control her curiosity, said to him, "We heard
some heavy firing in Charleston this morning. Has anything occurred
there?" "Good Heavens, Madam," he replied, "have you been so long out of
the Union that you have forgotten Washington's birthday?"

At this moment about twenty rough-looking men came charging up to the
house, evidently intending to enter. I confess that, for the first time
I was alarmed, and calling to the officer said, "For Heaven's sake,
protect us; don't let those men enter." He said, "I will do what I can,"
and placed himself in the doorway.

The men seeing him come forward as our protector, stopped in the piazza.
By this time Lieutenant J---- and his party had returned from searching
our bed-rooms, and calling to his men said, "Boys, take what you want."
These acted like long-pent-up animals suddenly let loose. All our stock,
horses and mules were driven off, our cattle, sheep and hogs were
killed; the barns and smoke-house were broken open, and all their
contents scattered, and all our vehicles of every kind, tools and
implements were broken in pieces and thrown into the creek or burned.

It was awful to hear the screams of the cattle and hogs as they were
chased and bayoneted, and the scatter and terror of the sheep was
terrible to see. Even my pet calf, which you know papa gave me, and I
took so much pleasure in raising by hand, was killed; and dear old
Aaron, our house cat, was cruelly run through with a bayonet, right
before my eyes, as he tried to escape under the house. Such brutal
scenes I never had supposed I would ever have to witness.

While all this was going on mother said to Lieutenant J----, "If you
take from us all means of subsistence we will starve." He turned, and
with much satisfaction said, "You are being punished for what you have
done;" and going out, mounted his horse and rode off among the negroes,
proclaiming to them their freedom and incessantly asking for "the man of
the house." They could only say that he was absent, when he said, "He
may not be here, but he has left a----rebel of a woman, who is as bad as
a man, and the house ought to be burnt." The negroes were very much
alarmed, and entreated us not to talk to the soldiers as they hated us
so and said such awful things.

It was now quite dark and the excitement and confusion were truly awful.
We all withdrew to the parlor, and closing the door sat in the dark, not
knowing what the next moment might bring forth; but the faithful Quash
brought in a candle and placed it on the table with his accustomed air.

He had scarcely brought it in when the front door was opened and in
walked General Potter, followed by his aids. Not one of them had the
decency to make the least salutation, or take any notice of the five
ladies seated in the room. But the General immediately seated himself,
while Lieutenant J----seized our candle, and opening mother's bed-room
door called out, "General, this will be a comfortable room for you," to
which remark the General assented. Lieutenant J----, then looking around
said, "I take possession of this room for General Potter." After this
the General made repeated attempts at conversation with us, but as we
had that afternoon seen such wanton destruction of our property, and
were constrained to see our enemies occupying the rooms in which it had
been so often our pleasure to entertain our friends, you may imagine we
were in no mood for conversation.

We all soon went upstairs, where Quash brought us some tea. As it was
then near midnight we decided to go to bed, and mother said she would go
down in the morning and request that a written protection be furnished
us, as this had been suggested by the quiet-looking officer, our
protector of the afternoon before. Therefore, as early as possible she
did so, but General Potter received her very shortly, and only replied,
"Your husband is in the Rebel army." She replied, "It was our desire
that he should leave us, and I am glad he is not here, for if he had
been I suppose he would have been shot."

He replied, "You talk like a fool when you say that," and turned off;
when mother said, "If that is your opinion, I have the more need of

As the General was about to go out to mount his horse at the door,
Lieutenant B---- came to the rescue, saying, "General, with your
permission, I can write a paper addressed to the officers and men of the
United States army, saying that it is your desire that this house and
its lady occupants be unmolested."

The General only answered, "You may if you wish," when a paper to that
effect was written, and its influence was certainly beneficial. We felt
that we owed our safety largely to Lieutenant B----, who conducted
himself in every way as a gentleman, and on leaving thanked mother
courteously for his night's accommodation and politely bowed to all of

It was near midday before all of the officers had left the house, and
we, much jaded, were able to have breakfast. The house was now kept
strictly shut up, as the lawn was still studded with the tent flies of
the regiment encamped there. If a door was opened for a moment, a
soldier would walk in, and it was as much as mother could do to get him
out again.

We kept almost entirely upstairs, taking all of our meals there, and in
constant dread of making any noise. One man said to mother, "The General
thinks that your husband is hidden; he does not believe that he is not

In this extremity a kind-looking Irish soldier came to our aid and
promised that we should be protected if it "cost him his life," and that
he would bring a friend with him, who would spend the night in the shed
room, "to be handy, if needed." This kind friend, McManus, proved his
Irish blood by bringing the most villainous specimen of a man we had yet
seen, and whispering to mother that "sure he had no confidence in him at

We were much taken aback at McManus's friend's appearance, but relieved
when the chaplain of the regiment came up and asked to be allowed to
sleep in the house.

Our servants behaved admirably and themselves provided and served our
meals with unfailing regularity, and managed to give us many little
treats, which we suspected came from the United States commissariat.
Mother hopes that she may be able to get us to the city in safety, for
our position here is very unprotected and we wish to get possession of
our house in the city before it falls into the hands of the Freedmen's

I place this letter in the hands of ----, who promises to get it through
the lines, and I trust it will reach you.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARLESTON, March 14, 1865.

I hope my last safely reached you, and I know you feel anxious about us,
so I will get ---- to smuggle this through the lines. You will be
relieved to know that we are once more in our house in Charleston.

By dint of mother's representations of our unprotected condition on the
plantation to the officer in command, and her frequent reminders that by
their confiscation of all our animals and destruction of our vehicles we
had been deprived of all means of transporting ourselves to the city,
she obtained transportation.

As soon as the Northeastern Railroad was put in running order, which was
within a few days after Charleston was evacuated, the major informed us
that we might ride down in a box-car. He also gave us permission to
carry in the car whatever household goods we could.

It was hard to choose from the accumulation of years what furniture to
take with us, as we knew that all that was left would be stolen, our
presence only having kept out the vagrant negroes and camp followers,
who, we heard from the servants, complained very much that our house had
not been gutted as had others in the neighborhood. We had a very short
time for choosing, as we had notice only in the afternoon, that we must
be off in the morning. Mother had a time among us, as each had something
very untransportable, which, to quote dear Aunt Anna, "it would be
sacrilege to leave."

I fought hard for all the books and the old sofa, which had been in the
house since the Revolution, and was said to have been Washington's
favorite seat when he visited the plantation in 1791; but I had to
content myself with only the books that I could get into a trunk, and
when our friendly Irish soldier, McManus, who volunteered to help us
move the things, seized our valued sofa to hoist it into the car, it
proved its antiquity by breaking in pieces. I could have cried over the
loss, but mother said, "This is no time for sentiment; it has served
from one Revolution to be wrecked in another."

The last night we spent at the plantation was truly forlorn. The
servants warned us to expect an attack from some vagrant negroes, who
had come from the up-country, and were roving about, as Maum Martha
expressed it, "free till dey fool," robbing and destroying, unchecked by
the authorities.

We asked the officer in command to give us a guard for the night, but he
refused; so mother decided that we must spend the night together in the
parlor. The men servants promised to watch outside, and both Fanny and
Rachel begged to be allowed to stay with us in the house. You may
imagine that it was a weary vigil, as none of us slept, and we put out
the light, fearing lest it might guide some evil-doer.

Paul, Quash and Jack walked around the house by turns all night; and I
am sure that it was owing to their faithful watchfulness that the dawn
found us unmolested.

At an early hour Maum Martha brought in a nice breakfast, and with some
pride told us that one of the officers had seen her preparing it and had
expressed surprise; but she had told him that she was from an old Congo
family herself, an' no upstart free nigger; for since Maussa's family
came from France, and hers from Africa, they had been together for five
generations. "An' so long as I's in de kitchen I knew what's proper to
be sent in de house, even if I hab to scurry to get it."

Quash, Fanny, and Rachel came with us to the city, but Maum Martha and
Paul were left behind in their home.

With difficulty we got in to the dirty box-car, and Aunt May had quilted
into her skirts many papers for safe-keeping and around her shoulders
had her valuable cashmere shawl sewed under a black one, all of which
weighted her down so that she fell, and frightened us much by her
inability to rise.

We picked her up and were thankful that she was not hurt, and had been
kept from getting up only by her entourage.

At the station in Charleston we first heard of the burning of Columbia
and while we were waiting for a carriage the officer in command of the
guard kept dinning into our ears that General Hampton had burned that
city, which assertion mother firmly contradicted, persistently saying
that General Sherman had done it.

We were much afraid that we would find our house taken by the Freedmen's
Bureau, or by some officers for a residence, but happily neither was the
case. But we found that nearly all the furniture had been stolen, and
were thankful to have the few pieces that we had brought from the

As it was on Saturday that we came down all of our things had to be left
in the station until Monday, and then when Quash went for them he found
that the military gentry (?) had taken from among them whatever they

All the furniture that we found in the house was an old table and a very
large book-case, and my only bed thus far has been a mosquito net spread
on the floor.

On Sunday afternoon mother and Aunt May went to see Cousin M., who is
very ill, and while Annie and I remained with Aunt Anna, who was resting
on her mattress on the floor, Rachel came rushing up stairs, saying,
"Oh, mam, some officers say they want this house and have come to take
it; they are coming up into the dining-room now."

I at once said, "We must go down and meet them," and calling to Annie to
put the few spoons that were out at once in her pocket, we each gave
Aunt Anna an arm and went down, followed by Rachel.

I must say I felt much agitated at the thought of what we might
encounter, and dreaded for our old aunt, who seemed much unnerved.

As we entered the dining-room by one door a naval officer came in by the
other, advancing with a calm air of possession.

I was just going to speak when Aunt Anna astounded us by saying, in the
kindest tones, "Why, Edmund! how is your mother?"

We thought her bereft of reason, but the effect upon the officer was
instantaneously overwhelming. He staggered and exclaimed, "Good God!
Miss J--, is it you? You shall not be molested," and turning quickly,
left the house without giving her a chance to say another word.

It seems that Aunt Anna had instantly recognized him as the son of an
old and dear friend in New York, and upon the return of mother and Aunt
May the unlooked-for occurrence was fully discussed.

Aunt was much commended for recognizing him and we hope that her
recognition will stand us in good stead, as we know that Lieutenant
Henry is a gentleman, and on account of the warm friendship that has
existed for so many years between our old aunts and the elder members of
his family he will probably use any influence he may have with the
authorities in our favor.

The next day another naval officer called at the house and asked to see
mother, whom he told that he had had the pleasure, previous to the war,
of serving with those of our family who were then in the navy, and
although he had been blockading Charleston for many months he had
promised our cousin, Lieutenant----, who remained in the United States
Navy, that if he ever got into Charleston he would look us up, and
gladly do what he could to help us.

Mother felt that in our present defenseless condition she should not
refuse any offers of aid, and thanked him. He then produced a copy of a
morning paper, which contained a general order that any citizen who
desired protection must put a United States flag on his house, and that
no outrages would be punished that were committed on premises that did
not contain such flags.

After reading this order he drew from his pocket a small flag, which, he
said, with our permission, he would tack to the piazza.

Mother politely declined his offer, but our aunts made such a point of
the advisability of accepting it that she was induced to yield. He then
asked me to hold the little staff while he tacked it to the post; but I
could not touch it, and called to his assistance a little negro girl, as
more appropriate, who stood staring in at the gate, and she held it for

Annie looked on quietly and said nothing, but at night, after we were
gone to bed, said, "I cannot stand it. I cannot breathe with that flag
there." She only expressed my own feelings, so we quietly went down in
the dark, and pulling it down, secreted it.

We determined to keep our own counsel, as we had heard only the day
before of the arrest and imprisonment of a lady for pulling down a
similar flag, and had no desire to be martyrs, only we did not want it
there. The next morning, while we held our peace, we were much amused at
the excitement of our aunts over the disappearance of the flag, and
their insisting that they knew it had been stolen, for they had seen "a
man going down the street with one just like it."

The house now remains as heretofore, undecorated.

Captain Mayo, our naval friend, has just come to inform mother that
orders have been issued by the commanding general that we all must go up
King street tomorrow morning, and take the oath of allegiance to the
United States. She positively refused, but Captain Mayo says that in
case of noncompliance we will all have to leave the city at once. I am
at a loss to imagine what grounds the authorities have for fear of us,
as helpless a party of five ladies as can be found, the eldest being 81,
and the youngest 16; but we must decide to-day, and unless you see us,
if we are actually turned out, I will write you of the result in another

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARLESTON, March 17, 1865.

Day before yesterday Captain Mayo returned and informed us that the
orders had been modified, so that if we desired, only the oath of
neutrality would be required.

We had never before heard of such an oath being required of helpless
women, but we were willing to compromise under the circumstances. So as
there was not the smallest chance of our ever being of any service again
to the Confederate cause, we announced our willingness to declare
ourselves neutral if the United States Government thought it important.

Aunt Anna said her 81 years rendered her utterly unable to walk as far
as the provost marshal's office and asked if the commandant thought her
neutrality of importance would he send an officer to the house to
administer the oath? This was done.

Aunt May, having in view the new regulation, which prohibited the
delivery of letters through the post-office to any one who had not taken
the oath of allegiance, and having her daughter in New York, from whom
she was anxious to hear, said tremblingly that she would take the oath
of allegiance.

Captain Mayo's manner to her immediately changed, and became very
cordial, as he said he would go and notify the provost marshal and come
back for us, whom he had already offered to accompany.

We retired to our room to make ourselves presentable for the streets, as
we had not been out of the house since we came down from the plantation;
and Annie and I changed our homespun dresses for our black and put on,
with lurking feelings of satisfaction, our bonnets, for which we had
paid the milliner, only a few months before, $150 each. We felt that our
enemies would be impressed with the fact that we were quite within the
circle of the fashionable world, and really when we appeared Captain
Mayo seemed quite struck; but we did not then imagine the reason.

He courteously offered his arm to Aunt May, who took it with a deep
sigh, and we, leaving Aunt Anna to Rachel's care, followed them to the
provost marshal's office, where we had reason to be glad of Captain
Mayo's escort, as the sidewalk in front of the office and the doorway
were thronged with idle negroes, who would have made themselves very
offensive if they had not seen us escorted by a United States officer.

As we entered, Captain Mayo said to us in a low tone, "The oath will be
administered to you ladies by a member of one of the best families of
Boston," to which Annie replied, "Don't you think that he might be
better employed?"

Of this the captain took no notice as he led the party to the middle of
a room, where we stood the attraction of many curious eyes. The officer
at the table came forward and asked which of the ladies desired to take
the oath of allegiance, whereupon Aunt May, looking very conscious,
moved forward and tremblingly held up her hand, but she was so agitated
that she could scarcely murmur her assent and sign her name to the
iron-clad oath.

When she had finished Captain Mayo congratulated her upon her renewed
loyalty, but much to his chagrin she replied, "I only did it so that I
could get my letters from the post-office; but I had not idea that the
oath contained such dreadful sentiments; please let me scratch out my
name and take the oath of neutrality instead."

At this the provost marshal remarked, "Madam, do you not realize the
sanctity of an oath, or do you desire to take all the oaths?"

Mother and Annie calmly took oaths of neutrality, and when my turn came
and I stepped forward to swear neutrality to the United States, it
appeared to be the crowning farce of the day. The officers present
seemed to be impressed with the absurdity of the thing and could not
control their countenances, and smiled as I stood before them.

As we sadly walked away we passed several Northern women and observed
that they all wore bonnets not much larger than our hands, while our
bonnets that we had thought so much of, with their lofty fronts, could
be compared to nothing more truly than the tower of Pisa. We could not
resist the idea that the oddity of our appearance must have led them to
imagine that we had just come out of the ark.

Upon our arrival at home Annie and I at once set about cutting down our
bonnets and drawing in and changing the shape of our skirts, but mother
was very unsympathetic and said she could not imagine why we wished to
look like Yankee women.

Annie and I witnessed a sickening sight yesterday when we were out on
the street for a few moments. A handsome large dog was being chased by
some negro soldiers, one of whom dashed out its brains with the butt of
a rifle almost on to our skirts. We were dreadfully agitated, and upon
mentioning the matter to Captain Mayo, he informed us that all dogs must
have licenses or be killed. I was much distressed at the danger of
losing my pet Cora, but Captain Mayo offered to obtain a license free
for her if I would accept it, and as we did not have $1.50 to pay for
it, we accepted his kind offer, so Cora is now protected.

Yesterday mother received notice that a war tax had been levied upon all
real estate, and that it must be paid within thirty days. Our tax
amounts to $180, and for our lives we cannot conceive where the money is
coming from to pay it, as we have only one gold dollar among us, but
little provisions, and only two of our cows that were smart enough to
escape into the woods when the others of the herd were slaughtered at
the plantation by General Potter's troops.

Mother was greatly troubled about the necessity of raising the money,
and seeing an advertisement in the paper that old china and handsome
pieces of glass would be bought by a Bostonian for relics, sent an
answer to the address and this morning took from the trunk some of our
best pieces we had saved and set them upon our only table in readiness
for the purchaser.

While we were at dinner two very unattractive citizens of Boston
presented themselves, who after looking at the articles, declined to
purchase and instead offered themselves as boarders, saying that they
had come to Charleston to open a grocery house and would be willing to
pay their board in provisions. Of course this arrangement was promptly
declined, but we were very much disheartened that our first effort to
raise the money for the tax had proved such a failure.

I give you a copy of the oath of neutrality I had to take; it is such a

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Headquarters Northern District Department South.
     "Provost Marshal's Office, No. 35 King Street,

     "Charleston, S. C, March 15, 1865.

     "I do hereby certify on honor that on the 15th day of March, 1865,
     at Charleston, S. C, the oath of neutrality to the United States of
     America was duly taken, subscribed and made matter of record of by
     Miss Marion Porcher.


     _Captain Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers,
     Provost Marshal, N. D. D. S_"


One day some time ago, while turning over the contents of an old trunk,
which had been mine since childhood, had followed me in innumerable
moves, and contained the odds and ends full of associations as life goes
on, I came to a pair of half-moon earrings; they were very large, and of
old gold. "Oh!" I exclaimed, as I looked at them, "these bring Tay back
to the life."

My little girls, who had been looking on, eager-eyed, for mamma's old
trunk had always possessed a mysterious charm for Floy, and Grace,
enhanced since some years previous, when, after I had given up the idea
of having new cloaks for them for the winter, I chanced to see an
advertisement for Confederate bonds, and succeeded in finding enough of
these in my old trunk to supply the needed cloaks, and also other

"Who was Tay?" they both exclaimed. I felt a sense of self-reproach at
the question; and I am sure to Tay herself the idea that one of her
"chillun's chillun" could have reached the mature age of ten years and
never had heard of her existence would have seemed incredible. It was
not from any lack of kindly recollection of the old woman that I had not
told the children of her; but my life had been a busy one, with many
invalid times, when the reverses of life pressed heavily, and I shrank
from speaking voluntarily of my childhood days, which had been so
different from theirs; and besides the children of the South to-day,
whose mothers were half-grown girls at the time of emancipation, belong
to a new order of things, and are out of sympathy with their parents on
many subjects. They do not understand their elders' feelings toward the
negroes. They regard them with very impartial eyes, and see them as they
are to-day. And as the succession of careless, ignorant cooks and
housemaids come and go they cannot understand the kind allowances made
for their faults by those who remember the tender nursing of the dear
old maumas. But to return to Tay.

"Who was Tay?" I repeated. "Why, one of the best of women; and it is
high time you should hear about her, and love her memory. So if you will
get your knitting and sit very quite I will tell you her story.

"Her name was Kitty, but we children always called her Tay. When your
grandmother was married Tay was given to her as her maid; and a most
accomplished one she was, besides being a skilled seamstress, and clear
starcher. A younger woman had taken her place as maid when I first
remember her, and she was the upper servant, always carrying the keys,
and taking charge of the household, when your grandmother was ill or
absent. She was at least six feet tall; her waist claimed nearly half
her length, or looked as if it did. She was quite light-colored, with
large black eyes that looked as if a millstone would be no obstacle to
her vision. I assure you her appearance was calculated to inspire awe in
our breasts. Her great height was of itself impressive, and made more so
by her costume. She usually wore a black frock with a very tight body,
and full skirt; and an enormous bustle, such as was not worn in those
days; a white hankerchief over her shoulders, pinned across her bosom; a
white apron; and to cap the climax a very stiffly starched white turban
(all the worn muslin dresses of the family went to keep up the supply).
She always tied her turbans on a block to shape them, and stuffed a
newspaper in the top to keep the shape; and when she finally put one on
her head the effect was tremendous. Her pride in gold earrings was
great. She always wore them, and kept them as shiny as could be. With
the basket of keys on her arm, she would look like a person not to be
trifled with, nor did we ever so venture. Her devotion to us all was
very great--'Miss, Maussa, an' de chillun' bounded her horizon. Her idea
was to economize; 'for Maussa,' she would say, 'is so freehanded, an'
six chillun is a houseful.'"

"To us children she showed her regard by great sternness of demeanor,
but compensated by the beautiful tucking she did on our dresses--the
only sewing she ever did. And your grandmother had no respite until she
supplied the material Tay thought necessary. Your grandmother was so
sure of her trustworthiness that she never interfered with her
management. We never thought of remonstrating, although she mortified us
sometimes by her treatment of our friends. She had no patience with too
many visitors, and always presided at our tea, serving us with our cups
of milk, and bread and treacle. We had some little friends who were very
apt to run in just at the tea hour. Once, when they came steadily for a
week, we saw clouds gathering on Tay's brow, and were not surprised
when, one evening after she had helped us all, she turned to our friends
and said: 'To-morrow, take yo' supper befo' you come. Maussa cyan't
affo'd to support two families.' This broke up our tea parties.

"Tay had a husband as remarkable in his way as she was in hers. He was
taller than she, slim, and very black; and was a very prosperous negro.
He belonged to two maiden ladies, and lived a very independent life,
free from care. He was a cooper by trade, and in his own shop plied his
calling on his own account, only every quarter bringing his owners his
set wages. And whenever illness or trouble of any kind overtook him, to
his owners he came for care or protection. He finally concluded to buy
his freedom, and asked your grandfather to become his guardian, as
required by the law, if he could accomplish his purpose. He also asked
him to be so kind as to ask his owners what they would take for him.
Your grandfather saw the ladies, who fixed as moderate a price as they
could; and when he told Daddy Sam the result of his negotiations,
instead of being gratified, he was angry, and said: 'My mistresses has
no idea how valuable I is. I t'ought dey would ask 'bout $300 mo'. Dey
can't affo'd to part wid me fer less, an' I means to pay it.' The ladies
were not obdurate, and no doubt had an increased idea of Daddy Sam's

"This worthy pair had no children; and Daddy Sam died not long before
the war, leaving Tay quite a little sum of money. He had offered to buy
her freedom for her, but she did not desire it. I remember that when he
died she took off her turban when she went to church, and donned a
gigantic crape veil. One day she came home very angry. She had met some
sportsmen going hunting, who had begged her to go along with them as a
ramrod, as they had lost theirs!

"When the war began she was very unhappy. There is no doubt that at that
period there was a feeling of expectation and disaffection among the
negroes; but Tay was of a thoroughly loyal nature, and had no sympathy
with the negro character, and understood it entirely; and their meaner
traits were revolting to her.

"One day in the early part of 1861, she came as usual after breakfast to
consult your grandmother about the marketing that had been sent home.
She had such a funny way of describing the pieces; she always
involuntarily touched the part of her frame she was supposed to be
designating, of mutton, or lamb. I was a light-hearted child then, and
many a hearty laugh have I had at Tay's expense, as she would touch her
leg, or shoulder, or even her head if a calf's head were in question.
But to return to this day. She must have heard some talk among the
negroes, for after she had got through her business, she lingered and
said to her mistress, 'O Miss, I've had an awful dream,' Your
grandmother spoke kindly to her, and asked her what it was. The faithful
creature sat on the floor, and looking up into our faces she said:

"I dreamed we was all in confusion an' dere was a big crowd, an' Maussa
was sick, an' you all looked very sad, an' you all was dressed common;
but dere was heaps of niggers 'round, but dey was all a-runnin' 'round,
an' a-kickin' up a noise; an' deir arms in deir kimbos, an' not one
a-workin'; and you all called for some water, an' not one went to git
it, but I ran for it, an' I said, 'O Miss, you has been a good frien' to
me, an' sometimes a bottom rail is more use dan a same quality one; an'
so long as Kitty is here dere will always be somethin' between you an'
the groun.' And she burst into tears and left the room.

"Your grandmother said, 'She has had no dream. She wished to show us
what is in her heart.'

"Ah, children, those were dreadful days, and when in December Port Royal
fell, flight, confusion, and distress were the order of the day on the
coast. By all this there was many a young life cut short, as truly as
though a bullet had stilled it; and it was not only the men who laid
down their lives, many a gentle girl was also a victim. Your grandmother
sent my two sisters and me to relatives in the interior of the State.
She remained in Charleston to look after our affairs, intending to go to
a hospital as a nurse, if needed. We had been in the up-country but a
few days when your Aunt Lucy, as lovely a young girl as the sun ever
shone on, was seized with fever. Her illness was fatal, and she died
before her mother could reach her.

"When we left your grandmother she had been obliged to go to our country
place on Goose Creek, where she had remained alone--the colored driver
and other negroes being the only people on the plantation. Tay had
always lived in the city of Charleston, even when we were all on the
plantation; and she always had the care of the city house. When the
direful news of your Aunt Lucy's illness reached Charleston, Tay
hastened up to the plantation to your grandmother, saying:

"'I wants you to let me come an' live here, for anybody c'n do what I
does in town; but der is a lot of talk 'bout de whole low country will
be took by de Yankees. An' de negroes will have to go inside, up
country, an' make bread while deir masters is fightin'. Now, Miss, let
me stay up here, an' keep an eye, an' if dere is anythin' I c'n do to
keep things straight, I'm here; an' if we has to leave, I will go wid
dem, an' keep dem all steady.'

"Your grandmother consented with, 'God bless you, Tay,' and at once left
to go to your ill aunt. Tay remained on the plantation the whole winter
and spring. Your grandmother could not return; but never had there been
as much poultry and eggs produced, lambs saved, or butter made as was
done under Tay's management. And the quantity of vegetables raised
proved invaluable in those war times. And all was owing to the
faithfulness of this devoted creature who remained to encourage the
other negroes.

"When the summer of 1862 came your grandmother wrote her that she must
leave the plantation, as she was unacclimated to that malarial country;
but she begged to stay a little longer, as she knew she was of service,
and was quite well. Then came the news that she was sick. She had sent
to tell her young master, who was a naval officer on duty in Charleston
harbor. He at once went to see her, and rebuked her for having remained
so long in that unhealthy climate. He got her to promise to leave the
next day. Finding that she had not arrived in the city, he obtained
leave of absence and again went after her, but found her evidently near
her end.

"'Ah! Massa Paul,' she said, 'I got up three times to go, as I promised
you I would, an' de buggy was at de door, an' Martha here to go wid me,
but I fainted; an' as it was de three times I know it is de Lord's
will, I'll never leave dis bed. I hope He will say. 'Kitty, you done
what you could, an' been a faithful servant.' I never did want to be
nothin' but a servant. Dere's plenty of dem in de Bible your Ma gave me;
and if I c'n just jine dem I'm happy. An' now here's what I want you' Ma
to have. It's Sam's little savin's. I always kep' dem by me; an' when I
seen these war times, an' such curious-lookin' money buy so little, I'm
glad I got it. I kep' it for a pinch; an' fixed it so nobody would
suspicion it. But I thank de Lord you come to take it befor' I go.' And
with great effort she brought from under her pillow a curious-looking,
homespun undergarment, into which was literally quilted coins of gold
and silver; a little fortune in Confederate money, besides various old
trinkets and watches which Sam had invested in.

"'My earrin's is dere,' she said. 'I never wore dem since Miss Lucy
died; dey looks too bright. Now give this to you' Ma with Kitty's duty.
I wish she could ha' closed my eyes. I know she would ha' done it. But
she an' de young ladies will be sorry, I know, when I'm gone.'

"And then with the flash of her usual animation she turned her eyes on
her attendant, Martha, and said: Martha have my three trunks of clo'es;
she must give them to Miss'. Dey will keep her house servants decent for
a time; an' yo' Ma does hate a sloven, Martha knows. I will walk at her
if she takes anythin' out befo' Miss comes. Lord help me!'

"A faithful soul gone home."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life in the Confederate Army - Being Personal Experiences of a Private Soldier in the Confederate Army" ***

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