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´╗┐Title: An Account of the Escape of Six Federal Soldiers from Prison at Danville, Va.
Author: Newlin, William Henry
Language: English
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                              AN ACCOUNT
                                OF THE
                     FROM PRISON AT DANVILLE, VA.:
                        THEIR TRAVELS BY NIGHT
                       IN THE WINTER OF 1863-64.


                             W. H. NEWLIN,
            _Lieutenant Seventy-Third Illinois Volunteers_.


       Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,
                           BY W. H. NEWLIN,
      In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


The account contained in these pages was first written in 1866. Its
publication was delayed in the hope that we should learn something of
our two comrades who were left behind. After revising and abridging it
somewhat, it is presented to the reader in its present form. We were
compelled to rely on memory in preserving for publication the incidents
here narrated, as while on our trip we had neither pencil nor paper.
That reliance, however, was not in vain, as the scenes through which
we passed, though here poorly portrayed, are of a character not easily
forgotten. They are indelibly enstamped on the memory, and it seems
each year as it passes renders the recollection of them more vivid and
distinct. It is not needful to state the motives which prompted this
compilation. Much of the same character has been written and published,
but as this differs in one essential particular, at least, from all
that has yet appeared, we hope that fact will form a sufficient excuse
for introducing it to the public.

      W. H. N.

who were on the Escape, is on file in Pension Claim, No. 352,023.

[Illustration: After Seventeen Years Inquiry.]

From all the information ever obtained touching the fate of first
comrade left behind, the _reasonable_ conclusion is that he PERISHED
at or near the place where we left him, his remains being found and
decently buried near Blue Ridge Mountain. Whatever his _fate_ may have
been, it was _self_ decreed. His reasons for preferring to be left
alone were satisfactory to him, and were not _all_ disclosed to us.
One explanation of this last rather singular circumstance may be found
in the fact that the comrade was an Englishman, and had been in this
country but a few weeks before enlisting.

How much we should like to see the old "darky" to whom we said, "Put
your ear to the string-hole," and on his compliance with the request
we pronounced the word "_Yankees_." (See page 60.) "I'll git my
trowserloons on."

In the case of leaving the second comrade, as described on pages
72-76, there was no option or time for deliberation. The exigencies of
the hour compelled a separation. Mr. Tripp succeeded in escaping the
notice of our pursuers, though hid in their immediate vicinity, and
hearing their talk enumerating reasons for their failure to "_take us
in_." After several days and nights of wandering and hiding, and of
varied and interesting experience, Mr. Tripp was recaptured, sent to
Richmond, kept there until September, 1864, was paroled, exchanged, and
discharged. He is now living near Burlington, Kansas.

John F. Wood died June 20, 1864, "of wounds received in action."
Referring to this, Sutherland, in a letter written not long since,
says: "What a pity Wood had to die so soon after escaping prison. But
he might have died a slow and miserable death at Andersonville had he
not escaped."

Sutherland is living in Michigan, near Eagle Station. Smith resides
at Dundee, same state. Mr. Smith very narrowly escaped drowning at
Craig's Creek. Mr. Sutherland's opportune landing on the opposite bank
of the rushing stream barely in time to extend to Smith a helping hand
is all that saved him. In addition to all others, we had the perils by
"_Bogus Yankees_" to encounter or avoid. We _risked_ our lives to save
them, and saving them we _risked_ them again and again for our country.
Having been captured in our third battle, by escaping, at least two of
us, added to the three, thirteen more. But all this was better than
Andersonville. We _might_ have been numbered among the MARTYRS of the
nineteenth century. "I would not make that trip again," said Smith,
"for the whole state of Michigan," adding "unless I had to."

  DANVILLE, ILL., November 27, 1885.           W. H. N.


In those "stirring times," during the late war, when powder, and ball,
and the bayonet were the orders of the day, an escape from prison
and a secret, hidden march through the Confederacy, was accounted an
exciting, as well as a very lucky event. Even at this day, accounts of
such are not stale, but possess a thrilling interest, especially to
those who participated in them and to their friends. Our journey over
mountain and valley, over hill and dale, and across rivers, branches,
and rivulets almost innumerable, was accomplished mostly in the night

We had neither map nor compass to guide us. The north star alone served
us in shaping our course, and very often it was concealed by ominous
clouds. We took many needless steps, and made many needless and weary
miles in consequence of lack of knowledge of the country and of the
course we were steering. Sometimes the desolate hour of Winter's
midnight found us far from the public highway, and almost inextricably
involved in the brush and tangled mazes of the forest. At such times,
being almost at our wit's end, we would try to advance on a "bee line"
until the open country or some road was reached.

At one time, when much bewildered in the shadowy woods, in night
time, we began to despair of success. We sat down to contemplate our
condition and our cheerless prospect. Had an enemy been approaching
us we could have well-nigh welcomed him, so he brought deliverance.
At length the stillness and thick darkness of the night made our
loneliness oppressive, and we groped on. Soon we found a road, and
realized that the "darkest hour is just before day."

Knoxville, East Tennessee, was the point at which we first aimed, but
on nearing the line of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad we
learned Longstreet's forces were in Bull's Gap. We then bore northward.

On first setting out on our trip we were extremely cautious. During
the first nights and days, after starting, we talked only in whispers.
We passed houses with the utmost care, as dogs were at almost every
house, and their acuteness in discovering our presence was astonishing,
in view of the caution we exercised. Early in our trip, one night near
eleven o'clock, as we were nearing a house, a dog barked savagely at
us. Instantly the front door opened, and by the light of a fire in the
fire-place we saw a woman in her night clothing, watching us pass.
Late one night, after midnight, we met a citizen on the road. He was
on horseback, moving slowly along. He gave the road, at the same time
checking his horse slightly. When he had passed by, the way he made
his horse scamper was lively, to say the least. "He must be after the
doctor, the way he goes," observed Trippe. "He took sick mi'ty sudden,"
rejoined Wood. "The sight of us at this time is enough to make him
sick," put in a third. We were walking in Indian file, and had our
blankets drawn loosely over our shoulders and dragging almost on the
ground. Doubtless we were scary looking objects, especially as Smith
had his bed-quilt hung over him. Thinking the man had possibly gone for
re-enforcements with which to "gobble" us, we hurried forward.

The night of our discovery of the cavalry horses, being much wearied,
and feeling we were going to be "hard pressed" for food, we climbed
into a corn field to hunt for corn that might have been left on the
stalks. Each of our party followed two rows across the field and two
back, but not a "nubbin" could be found. Not finding a grain of corn on
two dozen rows, and the corn blades being also gone, we concluded, as
Taylor observed, "They gather their nubbins clean in the Confederacy."
"Yes," added Wood, "they can't hold out much longer."

Another night, at a late hour, after Taylor and Trippe had fallen by
the way, when in Craig or Alleghany county, we reached a point where
the road we were traveling crossed a pike. On reaching the pike we
halted, and a disagreement arose among us as to the course we should
take. We quarreled, words ran high, and we seemed to have forgotten
our safety depended on secrecy, as there was no lack of emphasis in
what we had to say. At last Sutherland ended the dispute by saying
to me, "Let's go on." We started immediately, leaving Smith and Wood
muttering. For more than an hour we steadily pursued our course, when,
discovering it was nearly day, we halted in the woods, near the road
side, to see if our comrades were coming up. Soon they came along the
road, and one of them said, "They'd better not advance too far without
support." "Yes," said Sutherland, "we are waiting for the reserves to
come up." Soon after we were hid for the day.

The Union people, the hardy mountaineers of Virginia, or those of them
with whom we came in contact, rendered us valuable assistance. Without
their aid, indeed, and the aid of the negroes, we could hardly have
escaped through the almost barren country of the enemy, especially in
the inclement season. We have heard from David Hepler, James Huffman,
and Mrs. Mann since the war closed. In a letter from Hepler, received
not long since, he says: "I have not forgotten the time I came to you
in the woods and found you all asleep."

We copy one of Huffman's letters in part. It was dated November 11,
1867: "As to information concerning your fellow-prisoner that was lost
the evening you came to my house, it was not the Botetourt Guards that
fired on your squad. It was the furnace company. I saw a lady, living
near the furnace, who saw the men returning. They said they neither
killed nor captured any of your squad. As to Paxton, he is living yet;
so are the people that had the boy hid under the bed."

Our latest information respecting Trippe is a report that he was
recaptured, taken back, and shot as an example. Of Taylor, nothing has
ever been heard, by us at least, and our painful conjecture is that he
never reached the lines. Of our three comrades who reached the lines,
Smith and Sutherland are living in Michigan, and Wood is supposed to
be a resident of the Key-stone State. Smith, of the Fourth Michigan
Cavalry, was present at the capture of the Confederate President,
Jefferson Davis.




The writer hereof was among the prisoners captured by the enemy in
the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, September 20, 1863. Others of the
regiment to which I belonged also fell into the enemy's hands. As we
had served together through all the vicissitudes of a soldier's life in
the camp, on the march, and in battle, we resolved to remain together,
and stand by each other as prisoners as long as circumstances would
permit. On the day after the battle, September 21st, we were placed
on board the cars at Tunnel Hill, and sent under a strong guard, by
a circuitous route, through Georgia and the Carolinas, to Richmond,
Virginia. We arrived in Richmond on September 29th, eight days having
been occupied in the transfer of prisoners from the battle-field.
We remained in Richmond through the month of October, and until
November 14, 1863, when we were removed to Danville, Virginia, which
is south-west of Richmond about one hundred and fifty miles, in
Pittsylvania county. The transfer was by rail, and each member of our
squad succeeded in getting aboard the same car. Near noon of November
15th we reached Danville, and were immediately introduced to our new
quarters. Our squad was allotted a space on the second floor of
Prison No. 2, a large frame building, where it remained unbroken until
December 15, 1863.

A short time previous to this date the small-pox had made its
appearance among the prisoners. On December 14th I was taken sick, the
usual symptoms of small-pox appearing in my case; and on the 15th I
was examined by the Confederate surgeon and sent to the hospital, in
company with three other patients from other prisons in the vicinity.

As I here separate from the six persons with whom I had been associated
since my capture, and with whom so much discomfort and inconvenience
and so many privations had been borne, I here give their names. They
were John Hesser and John North, of Company A, Seventy-Third Illinois
Infantry Volunteers, and James Kilpatrick, of Company B; Enoch P.
Brown, John Thornton, and William Ellis, of Company C. They were all
of the same regiment with myself, and the three last named were of the
same company. The two first named and myself were all of our squad
that lived through the term of imprisonment. My term, however, did
not last as long as that of the others, as the following pages will
show. If my information is correct James Kilpatrick died as a prisoner
under parole early in 1865, at Wilmington, North Carolina. E. P. Brown
and John Thornton died at Andersonville, Georgia, in September, 1864.
Brown died on the first anniversary of his capture, September 20th,
and Thornton died a few days before. William Ellis died at Charleston,
South Carolina, near the close of the year 1864. Hesser and North were
among the last of the Andersonville prisoners that were exchanged and
sent North.

On arriving at the small-pox hospital I was placed on a bunk in Ward
No. 1. I kept in-doors for the space of five or six days, at the end of
which time I was classed among the convalescents. On or about December
22d, three convalescents, of whom I was one, accompanied by only one
guard, went into the woods on the right bank of Dan River, in quest
of persimmons. We went some distance into the country, probably four
miles, and secured a quantity of persimmons, which we distributed to
the patients in Ward No. 1 on our return to it in the evening. While
out on this ramble through the woods, guarded by only one person, I
was favorably impressed with the notion of attempting an escape from
the Confederates at some future time, when strength would permit. The
idea was suggested to my mind by the carelessness of the guard, who
more than once set his gun against trees and wandered some distance
from it.

About Christmas a row of eight wall tents was put up on the hospital
grounds, to be used as quarters for convalescents. I was one of eight
persons assigned to tent No. 1, and, as I was a non-commissioned
officer, the hospital steward placed me in charge of the sixty-four
men occupying the eight tents. It is needless to recite here what
the duties were that belonged to my position, but I discharged them
as faithfully as I could, so as to keep out of the prison-house in
Danville as long as possible.

Sometime in the month of January, 1864, the nurses in each of the
three wards of the hospital escaped from the guards, and started for
our lines. This necessitated another detail of nurses for the wards,
and the detail was made from among the convalescents. The hospital
steward did me the favor to appoint me as ward-master of Ward No.
1, giving me the privilege of selecting those who were to assist me
as nurses in the ward. I selected those with whom I had become most
intimately acquainted as convalescents. Lucien B. Smith, of Company F,
Fourth Michigan Cavalry; William Sutherland, of Company H, Sixteenth
United States Infantry; Watson C. Trippe, of Company H, Fifteenth
United States Infantry, and John F. Wood, of Company G, Twenty-Sixth
Ohio Infantry, were the persons selected. After a short time, Robert
G. Taylor, of Company G, Second Massachusetts Cavalry, was added to
our force of nurses, to make the burden of labor in the ward a little
lighter on us. We attended the patients in Ward No. 1 day after day,
and night after night, as well as we could with the scanty supplies of
medicine and food furnished by the Confederates, until the night of
February 19, 1864. Very many of our fellow-prisoners came under our
care while we were acting the part of nurses. Many of them died, and
we saw their bodies carted away to the burying-ground and deposited in
their last earthly resting places.

By the 12th of February the small-pox had begun to abate. As a
consequence, the convalescent camp and Ward No. 3 were discontinued. A
day or two later and Ward No. 2 was cleared of patients and its doors
closed. Those who had been attending as nurses were returned to prison.
Two weeks, or three at most, could hardly elapse before the hospital
would be entirely broken up. In this event we should be returned to the
dreary prisons in Danville, whence escape was scarcely possible. To
be kept in prison many months, perhaps until death alone should bring
release, was an unwelcome prospect, and we looked upon it with feelings
of dread. We had friends and comrades among the prisoners, whom we
disliked to leave behind us, but as our presence with them could do
neither them nor us any good, we determined to improve the first
opportunity of attempting an escape from the Confederates, and avoid
the prison entirely.

February 19, 1864, was a cool day for lower Virginia, and we would
have deferred our escape for a few nights had we not luckily and
accidentally ascertained that we should be sent into prison on the
morning of the 20th. Our careful, though hasty, preparations for
slipping off from the guards were accordingly commenced just before
dark on the evening of February 19th. Before entering upon the detailed
account of our escape and subsequent trip to the Union lines, it
will be requisite to describe briefly the hospital buildings and

The hospital was situated one mile south-west of Danville, on the right
bank of Dan River. The river runs in a north-east course, consequently
the hospital was on the south of it. There were three wards at the
hospital, each capable of accommodating fifty patients. The wards were
numbered one, two, and three. There were also a cook-house, a steward's
office, and a dead-house. These buildings were constructed of undressed
pine lumber. Ward No. 1 was located on the top of a high round hill;
near its south-east corner, and almost adjoining it was the cook-house.
A few steps north of the ward, and equidistant from its eastern and
western extremities, stood the steward's office. At the west end of
the ward was the dead-house. About one hundred yards south-west of the
dead-house Ward No. 2 was situated, on the hill-side. At the foot of
the hill, nearly one hundred yards south-west of Ward No. 2, stood
Ward No. 3. Directly east of Ward No. 2, and south of Ward No. 1, was
the row of tents which had been used by convalescents. Still further
east, at the foot of the hill, was a considerable branch, coursing its
way northward to Dan River. Just across the branch, on its right bank,
was a large wall tent, in and near which all the clothes washing for
the hospital was done. The persons detailed to do the washing slept
in the tent. The Confederate surgeon in charge of the hospital had
his quarters in Tent No. 1 of the row of tents formerly occupied by
convalescents. His tent was nearest the cook-house and Ward No. 1.
The tent we occupied, when not on duty in the ward, stood just south
of the surgeon's tent, and so near it that the ropes supporting it
interlocked or crossed those which supported the surgeon's tent. In
Ward No. 1 was the receptacle or place of deposit for all clothing
that had been washed. Quite a lot of clothing, belonging in part to
patients in the different wards, but mainly to the unfortunate ones who
had died, was stored away for the use and benefit of those who might
be insufficiently clothed. Wards No. 1 and 3 had been whitewashed, but
Ward No. 2, which had been put up between them, at a subsequent date,
was not.

Near Ward No. 3, at the base of the hill, was a spring of water,
from which the hospital was supplied. Between the wards and other
hospital buildings, and all about over the hill-sides, stood tall and
straight pines. To the north of the hospital, about three-quarters of
a mile distant, was Dan River, with its swift, noisy waters, hedged
in by steep, rugged banks. To the south-east and south were cleared
lands, traversed by a branch and its tributaries. Still farther south
were heavy woods, with one point of timber projecting some distance
northward, into the cleared land toward the hospital.

During the afternoon of February 19th, William Sutherland and myself
were wheeling wood on a wheelbarrow from Ward No. 3 to Ward No. 1.
Having to wheel it up hill it was a wearisome task, and we occasionally
stopped for rest. Near four o'clock in the evening, while resting about
half-way up the hill-side, Sutherland said to me, "It looks to me very
much as if this hospital would be broken up soon." I agreed with him
in his opinion, and remarked that our lease of time at the hospital
was growing short. After a little further conversation, we resolved to
consult with the other nurses on the propriety of attempting an escape,
and get them to set out with us for our lines on the next night.

In less than an hour's time we had finished our task of wheeling wood,
and were resting on our bunks in the tent. Before either of us had
met with our comrades, Smith, who was off duty that evening, came to
us and informed us he had something to tell us that we would not like
to hear. We told him to acquaint us with his news, however unwelcome
it might be. We readily conjectured what it was that so interested
Smith, and our conjecture proved correct. He had overheard some of the
guards in their talking, and had learned that it was the purpose of
the Confederates to send us to prison in the morning. This news did
not surprise us, and we were heartily pleased to learn the intentions
of the Confederates, although they were not of an amicable nature. We
resolved to prevent, if possible, the carrying of these intentions into
effect. Smith was then told of the resolution we had formed an hour
before to set out on the next night for the Union lines. The sun had
already disappeared behind the hills. We knew our fate if we remained
at the hospital until its light should again break forth in the east.
Our purpose to attempt at least, even if we did not succeed, to leave
the hospital, the sick, the Confederate guards, and the Danville
prisons that night was immediately and firmly fixed.

Our preparations were at once commenced. We were obliged to exercise
the utmost caution in all our movements, as a few of the guards were
standing about over the hospital grounds; some of them were in the
cook-house. We wished by no word, or look, or act of ours, to lead them
to suspect our purpose of eluding them and striking for liberty.

Smith left Sutherland and me in the tent and joined Trippe, Taylor, and
Wood, who were on duty in the ward. Smith soon found an opportunity
of conferring with his associates, and telling them of the meditated
escape. Taylor and Wood were anxious to join it, but Trippe, who had
but recently recovered from the small-pox, was distrustful of his
strength; and as he had once before escaped, and got some fifty miles
away, only to be recaptured and brought back, he did not so readily
sanction the project. The nurses who were on duty in the ward now,
assisted by Smith, gave their exclusive attention to the sick; they
were even more attentive than usual. No one would have suspected from
their conduct that they would ever forsake the sick ones under their

Just before dark Sutherland suggested the propriety of determining on
a place of rendezvous for our party after the guards were passed, as
it was certain we could not all pass out at once without being seen.
I stepped outside the tent, and walked leisurely up hill, and stood
near the south end of the cook-house. Directly south of me, about a
mile distant, was a prominent point of timber, projecting northward
from the main body toward the hospital. This point of timber seemed
suitable for the purposes of a rendezvous, and on returning to the
tent I directed Sutherland's attention to it. He concurred with me as
to the fitness of the place for a rendezvous, and went to the ward to
call the attention of Smith, Trippe, Taylor, and Wood to it. As it was
important that our party should fix in the mind the place of rendezvous
before it was too dark to see, those who were engaged in the ward came
out, one at a time, and glanced across at the point of timber. By so
doing misunderstanding and delay, at the critical moment, would be
prevented. While Trippe was out taking a look he noticed two or three
guards approaching him. He walked on down hill in the direction of the
wash-house, as if going after clean bed-clothes or other clothing for

Near eight o'clock, P. M., Sutherland sought an interview with the
cook, but found the Rebels had not yet left the cook-house for their
own quarters; so he quietly withdrew from the room. The cook--who of
course was one of our own men--followed him to the door and asked if
any thing was wanted. As the Rebels were within hearing, Sutherland
answered, "There is a man in the ward who would like to have a little
soup, but I guess he can get along without it. If he must have some,"
continued Sutherland, "I will come back and let you know."

"All right," answered the cook.

Soon after the guards went to their quarters, which were situated near
the guard line, but little more than a quarter of a mile distant,
south-west of the cook-house. The cook was again sought by Sutherland,
and this time he was found alone, and just ready to retire for the
night. Sutherland lost no time in making his business known to him.
Six haversacks, the best that could be found in the deposit for clean
clothing, were delivered to the cook, who agreed to fill them with the
best provision the cook-house at the time afforded. Sutherland then
busied himself in selecting clothing for our party from the deposit of
clothing that had been washed and stored away. When he had selected the
number of garments required he carried them down to our tent. He and I
then took off the clothing we had long worn, and put on entirely clean
suits. We then went to the ward and relieved our four associates, who
immediately went down to our tent and put on clean suits also. The six
haversacks, which were filled with the best provisions the cook could
provide, were brought to the tent from the cook-house.

Near eleven o'clock, P. M., our arrangements for leaving were about
complete, or as nearly so as was possible with the means at command.
Taylor, Sutherland, and Wood, each had an overcoat and blanket; Smith
had an overcoat and a large bed-quilt. Trippe and I each had a blanket;
we had no overcoats, but we wore an extra shirt and blouse apiece.
For our feet we provided the best shoes that could be found about the
hospital, and took pains to secure long and strong strings for them.
During our attendance in the ward, patients about dying, or near death,
had in several instances presented the nurses with their overcoats.
These overcoats had been sold by the nurses to the guards for
Confederate scrip. In this way we had obtained near two hundred dollars
in scrip to carry with us on our journey. Taylor had a watch which was
in time-keeping order. He also had a canteen. Smith had a half-moon
tin bucket, which held about three quarts. The only knives we had were
made of sheet-iron.

We had watched in the ward, and perfected our arrangements for leaving
by turns, until near midnight. A little after eleven o'clock we waked
up two or three of the stoutest patients in the ward, and told them
our departure was near at hand, and that they must watch in the ward
for us, and keep the lights burning until morning. We then bid them
good-by, cast a last glance over the sick, and closed the door of the
ward behind us for the last time. We repaired immediately to our tent
and completed our final preparations for the trip.

As our tent was near that of the Rebel surgeon we were obliged to carry
on our conversation in a low tone. We put out blankets in a convenient
shape for carrying, and made every thing ready for starting. It was
settled, in the first place, that we should slip out from the hospital
grounds two at a time. Which two should go first was the next question
that came up for decision. Six small sticks were prepared, and we drew
cuts. These sticks were of three different lengths, and the two who
held the short ones were to pass out first. The two who held the sticks
next shortest were to follow in a given time, and the two holding
the longest sticks, in due time, were to bring up the rear. When the
drawing was over Sutherland and I held the short sticks.

As time was precious we placed our haversacks and blankets under our
arms and stepped outside the tent. We stood a moment at the tent door,
listening for the voices or footsteps of the guards. No sound fell upon
our ears save that of the wind blowing through the tops of the tall
pine-trees. On starting we went to the top of the hill and stopped
at the south-east corner of the cook-house, where we again listened
intently, but heard nothing. The moon, which had been shining at
intervals since night-fall, had become partially obscured by floating
vapor clouds. We kept our haversacks and blankets under our arms in
such a shape as to imitate closely a bundle of clothing. We then
walked slowly down the hill toward the wash-house. We followed the
path leading to the wash-house until we reached the branch. Instead of
crossing the branch on the foot-log we turned to our right and went
directly up stream, stepping sometimes on the ice and breaking it. We
kept close to the bluff, and stooped slightly, so that it screened
us from the west. To our left, on the east of the branch, was a flat
or bottom, covered with pine shrubs and other bushes, which hid us
from view in that direction. Unless the sentinel on duty had happened
to be near the branch while we were passing, we could scarcely have
done otherwise than escape unseen. At length we had proceeded, with
much caution, a sufficient distance in the direction of our appointed
rendezvous to feel light-hearted and secure. We pushed forward rapidly,
crossed two rail-fences and gained the shelter of the woods, where we
were to await the coming of Smith and Taylor, who had held the sticks
of medium length at the drawing a few moments before. Sutherland and I
laid our haversacks and blankets aside, and quietly, though anxiously,
awaited their approach.

While waiting, after the anxiety and excitement of the moment had
somewhat subsided, we found the weather quite cold. Our whiskers became
stiff and whitened with frost, and the winds penetrated our clothing.
The moon shone out brightly. The sky was without a cloud. Those which
had partially covered it, only a few moments before, had cleared
entirely away. Our patience was severely tried, as our comrades, so
anxiously expected, had not joined us. On getting quite cold in the
breezes of the wintery midnight, we danced about on our feet, and
extended our arms to quicken the circulation of the blood, and get
ourselves warm. In this manner we passed some two or three minutes,
when we stood still to listen for the coming of Smith and Taylor.
We listened anxiously, but the sound of their welcome footsteps did
not greet our ears. "Can it be that they have been caught?" we asked

"If they have been caught the Rebels will soon miss us, and be on the
alert, searching for us," said Sutherland.

"Perhaps we had better be off then," I answered.

We listened a moment longer, but heard nothing. We then gathered our
haversacks and blankets, and started westward through the woods. We had
gone but a few steps before we heard the noise of persons climbing the
fence. We halted and remained perfectly still, as we were not sure
the rebels were not on our trail. Soon we could distinguish the forms
of two persons in the moonlight. They were moving toward the point of
timber we had just left. We now knew they were Smith and Taylor, and
soon had the pleasure of hearing our names called in low, subdued tones
by their familiar voices. Our whereabouts was soon made known to them,
and they were soon with us. Smith and Taylor wished to know why we had
not stopped in the point of timber, as agreed upon. We told them we had
stopped there, had waited some time for them, and had given them up as
lost, and then started on our journey alone, getting as far as that
before hearing them.

We had not long to wait for Wood and Trippe. They had followed Smith
and Taylor more closely than the latter had followed Sutherland and
myself. When Trippe and Wood had joined us, we introduced ourselves as
Federals, and late nurses at the small-pox hospital near Danville, Va.
As the squads of two each had formed a junction, our party of six was
ready to move.

After adjusting our haversacks and blankets about us, so that we
could easily carry them, we set out through the woods in a westerly
direction. In the woods we found that the snow which had fallen a few
days before had not melted. We disliked to walk on it, as we left a
distinct trail behind. We pushed on, however, and soon struck a wagon
road, from which the snow had either blown off or melted away. It was
not a public road, but was used merely as a timber road, to get out of
the woods with loads of rails and wood. Its surface was very hard and
gravelly, and we followed it a mile or two in a southerly direction
without leaving many distinct foot-prints.

The railroad leading from Danville, Va., to Greensboro, N. C., was soon
reached, and we followed it in a south-west course: we walked on the
ties, and made very good time. Soon we had reached a part of the road
which ran over a high grading. On hearing a distant rumbling noise in
the south, we judged there was a train of cars coming. In a few minutes
more we saw the head-light on the engine as it came around the curve
made necessary by the hills. We quickly slipped down the side of the
grading into the bushes, and watched the train as it passed. But one
person on the train was visible to us, and that was a man standing at
the door of the last car with a lantern in his hand.

On regaining the top of the grade, we resumed our travels, walking on
the ties as before. We followed the railroad until we had gone about
five miles from our starting-point, when we came to a wagon road, which
crossed the railroad at right angles. This road had the appearance of
being much traveled; by turning to our right and following it, we went
north-west--the direction we wished to go. As we passed a house near
the road side, Trippe recognized the place as one he had seen when out
before, making his first attempt to escape. He also knew the road we
were following would lead us to the Seven-mile Ferry. This ferry was
so called from the fact of its being seven miles up Dan River from
Danville. We wished to gain the left or northern bank of Dan River
before daybreak, if possible, and we pushed on eagerly and rapidly.
The road was smooth. Its white sandy surface could be plainly seen.
Dense woods, with thick bushy undergrowth, closely lined it on either
side. The hill leading down to the ferry was at length reached. It was
a long, but not a steep hill. The road as it led us down the hill-side
was meandering in its course.

When we were but little more than half-way down hill, the thought
that there might be a guard at the ferry happened to suggest itself
to Trippe's mind. He proposed that we should retire into the brush
near the road side, and wait until he should go on toward the ferry
and reconnoiter. We assented to this proposal, and went a dozen steps
or more from the road and halted. Trippe went on down hill alone. He
was gone several minutes, a half hour almost it seemed to us in our
restless anxiety and concern. We became impatient for his return, and
quitting our places in the brush, walked down hill on the road. Near
the foot of the hill we saw Trippe slowly retreating from the ferry.
He had seen us, and removing the cap from his head, was excitedly
motioning for us to halt. We stopped immediately, and kept still.
Trippe also stopped, and turned around, looking anxiously toward the
ferry. He looked only for a moment, and then quietly rejoined us where
we had been waiting. He whispered to us, saying, "Let's go back up
hill." We turned about, and walked silently up the road. No word was
spoken until we had reached the hill-top. It was to us a moment of deep
and thrilling interest and expectancy.

[Illustration: "FOILED AT SEVEN-MILE FERRY."--PAGE 20.]

On reaching the upland we halted at the road side, and Trippe reported
the discoveries he had made at the ferry. He had gone very cautiously
down hill, and had soon stood where he could see the river plainly,
and also the ferry-boat. He had stood perfectly still until he had
assured himself that no guard was near. He could see nothing but the
forest-trees, the river, and the ferry-boat, in the light of the
brightly shining moon, which made the frost and waters sparkle. He
could hear no sound, save those of the swiftly running waters, and
these amply sufficed to drown any noise he himself might make. He
turned around and started back to us, to beckon us forward. Almost at
the same instant he heard a noise. Thinking he might have trodden on
a stick and broken it, thus making the noise himself, he proceeded
half a dozen steps further; when, still hearing something, he stopped,
and again looked in the direction of the ferry. A little to the right
of it, in the edge of the woods, he saw the sparks of a fire flying
upward. He watched the fire closely, and it sent up a blaze which shed
light far around. One Butternut cavalryman was first seen to stir the
fire, and then add fuel to it. Soon three others got up from their bed
and warmed themselves. Trippe stood still, and watched them, until
they laid down and covered themselves in their bed. He then silently
withdrew, feeling sure he had not been heard or seen. As he did so,
the horses of the cavalrymen neighed, and pawed the ground, as if
manifesting uneasiness. As we were sure the Confederates were not aware
of our presence, we felt glad we had escaped so well. Our escape was a
narrow one, however; had we arrived at the ferry ten minutes sooner, we
should most certainly have been recaptured.

Our disappointment in not getting across the river at the ferry was
great, as we could make no progress in the direction we wished to go
until we had gained its northern bank. We consulted briefly as to the
course we should pursue; and soon determined to retrace our steps until
we should find another road, or some path that would lead us up the
river. We started. As the weather was cold and morning approaching, we
hurried on. An obscure road, leading off in a south-west direction,
was soon found. We changed our course, and followed it. It led by some
plantation houses. We left the road and houses some distance to our
right, as we did not wish to alarm the dogs and set them to barking.

On returning to the road, we followed it directly up the river until
we had traveled five or six miles, from Seven-mile Ferry. It became
evident that day-break was at hand. A safe hiding-place for the day
next engaged our attention, and we halted. It was first determined that
one of our number should go a quarter of a mile further up the road,
to see if any houses were near in that direction. Sutherland went some
distance ahead, and on returning reported none. As we had passed but
one house since falling back from the ferry, we judged we were some
distance from any human habitation. The query then arose, shall we hide
in the open woods on our left, or in the inclosed woods on our right?
After a short parley, we concluded to secrete ourselves in the inclosed
woods. We could then get to the river without having the road to cross.
Any parties of cavalrymen that might be out scouring the country, were
also less likely to come across us in our retreat. Accordingly we
crossed the rail-fence, and left it and the road directly behind us. We
worked our way through the thickets of brush and briers until we were
fully a quarter of a mile from the road, in the direction of the river.
On a spot of ground entirely surrounded by pine-trees and bushes we
made our bed, and, lying down, soon fell asleep.

The weather being quite cold in the early morning, we waked up at
sunrise, on account of cold feet and general discomfort of body.
Trippe got up and took a partial survey of the adjacent woods. He
went northward, still further from the road we had left at day-break,
and found an open space where we could make our bed in the sunshine.
To this open space, which was covered over with tall dead grass, we
moved our haversacks and bedding. As we wished to rest well during the
day, we took pains to make a good bed. Quite a lot of dead grass and
leaves was first gathered. On the grass and leaves we spread the four
overcoats belonging to our party. On the overcoats we spread Smith's
bed quilt. Our caps, haversacks, and blouses were used as pillows, and
our five blankets were used as covering. In this manner we usually
made our bed all through our trip, varying it, of course, according
to circumstances. Having completed our bed, we laid ourselves down to
rest, and slept comfortably until late in the day. We made it a rule
for each of our party to sleep as much as desired during the day. We
did not require one of our number to keep awake as a watch for the
others during the day. If we had done so, we, of course, would have
watched by turns. The propriety of so doing was often discussed, but
we generally deemed it safest to have no watch, as the person watching
would have to sit or stand up, and would thus expose himself to the
danger of being seen by somebody who might be passing, and so lead to
our recapture.

It was near four o'clock in the afternoon of February 20th, when we
aroused ourselves from our first slumber as refugees from prison. We
got up and went down into a hollow near us, where there was running
water, and washed our faces. After combing our hair, we opened our
haversacks, and were about commencing to eat, when we discovered that
our corn-bread was frozen. Our matches--of which we had two small
boxes--which we had luckily procured some two weeks before, now came
in good play, as it was needful to have a small fire in order to thaw
our bread. We secured a small lot of dry pine limbs and twigs, and
built a fire in the hollow sufficient for our purposes; and soon we had
dispatched our first meal since leaving Ward No. 1. After finishing our
meal, we put our blankets and other baggage in traveling order. As it
was too early to set out, we engaged in conversation, laying plans and
expedients for effecting a crossing of the river. We resolved to put
ourselves across Dan River that night, or on the following day, at
almost any risk. As a final preparation for the night's marching, we
each secured a stout stick or cane. One of the boys alleged our canes
would be needed in case of attack. Taylor had a very large cane for a
man of his size. On being spoken to concerning it, he remarked that he
was going to cross the river on it. The evening wore away. The king of
day having sunk below the western horizon, we began to look for the
moon, whose light was to shine upon our pathway. It had not appeared
above the horizon; soon afterward, however, the moon arose, and began
shedding light. We felt a kind of loneliness on leaving the place which
had sheltered us during the day.

As Danville, Virginia, was within one mile of the southern boundary of
the State, and as we were at least thirteen miles south-west of that
place, we knew we were in the friendly brush and thickets of North
Carolina. On setting out, instead of going directly back to the road,
we traveled parallel with it for more than a mile. We then changed
our course and went back to it, thinking it late enough to travel it
without meeting any one. We had gone but a few miles on the road, and
passed but one house, when the noise of the river assured us it was not
far off. We then left the road and sought the banks of the stream. We
crossed an old field, in which we found much mud and water. The walking
was slavish and wearisome, as the wet, clayey soil adhered to our
shoes. The snow, which had recently melted, had swollen the branches.
We found it necessary to cross a branch or almost go back on our
trail. By means of a fence, a water gate, and some rails, we succeeded
in crossing it without much difficulty. It required time and close
watching, however.

On leaving the branch behind us we climbed a fence and entered
the woods. These woods were dense, and there was a thick, brushy
undergrowth, which greatly impeded our progress. We found it impossible
to go directly to the river. It was quite dark, for, although the moon
was shining brightly, its light penetrated the heavy woods imperfectly.
From the incessant roar of waters we judged we were near the river;
but we struggled on through vines and thickets for a full half-hour
longer. It was not a great while until we could see, ahead of us, quite
an opening; it was the course of the river through the forests. We
pressed on and soon stood upon the bank, against which dashed the angry
waters. Huge pieces of ice were borne swiftly down the swollen stream.
We had thought of constructing a raft of poles and rails, lashing them
together with bark and vines; but such materials were not at hand, and
the condition of the river forbade the attempt at crossing on a raft.
We longed to get across the river, but the prospect seemed all but

We pushed on up stream, hoping to find suitable materials for building
a raft and a place where the condition of the river would admit of
launching it. We had gone a mile or more without discovering any means
by which we could cross the stream; still we did not despair; hope
continued to struggle against reality. We must get across the river
that night, we thought, or venture too far and risk too much to-morrow.
The current of water became more rapid and impetuous as we advanced;
the roar of the river sounded much louder than before, and our chances
of getting across did not seem to improve. We soon came to a drift of
logs, slabs, and rails, but owing to the condition of the stream, the
quantities of ice and other obstructions in it, we concluded it would
be time and labor lost to make a raft and attempt a crossing there. Our
resolution to follow on up stream, keeping close to the water's edge
until morning, was then fixed. If we failed to find a canoe or other
means of crossing before that time we were then to resort to other
measures to get us out of our difficulties.

After our minds were fully made up as to the course we should pursue
we traveled about two and a half or three miles, when Sutherland
and I, who were considerably in advance, espied a canoe fastened
to the shore-with a chain and padlock. We were almost overjoyed at
the discovery. We could not wait for our associates to come up, but
followed back down stream to meet them. They were soon informed that we
had found a canoe, but they were almost incredulous. In a few minutes,
however, all doubts were removed, as they beheld with their own eyes
the object of our anxious and careful search. We felt as jubilant and
hopeful as if deliverance from all our troubles was just at hand; but,
in the excitement of the moment, we did not forget to exercise caution.
It was evident the canoe had not been used for several days; the oar
was lying in it, frozen in the ice, which had thawed but little; the
ice near the middle of the canoe, where the oar was lying, was about
three inches thick. In loosening the oar and breaking the chain which
secured the canoe, much noise would be made. It was necessary to have
two or three rails or poles. Smith and I went out some distance from
the river to procure them, and to see if any house was near. We found
an old orchard, inclosed by a dilapidated fence. On the southern
borders of the orchard we found two log huts, but they were old and

We returned to the river carrying with us three or four stout rails. As
we were satisfied we should not be heard we set to work regardless of
the noise we made. We found the canoe was locked or fastened in a large
slab of ice, which extended beyond it into the swift water. We first
used our sheet-iron knives and some sharp-pointed and sharp-cornered
rocks, and loosened the canoe from its icy bed. A passage-way for the
canoe was next broken through the ice to the current of the stream. We
then took our stoutest rail and broke the chain by prying on it. I took
a rail and placed myself in the end of the canoe farthest out from the
shore. Our haversacks, coats, and blankets were then placed in it, and
Trippe and Taylor came aboard. Trippe, with the oar in hand, launched
us out into the river. We found a swiftly rushing current, and were
compelled to row up stream. We kept bearing to our right, however, and
soon came in contact with the ice, which extended out from the opposite
bank. I took my rail and began breaking the ice. Soon I had broken
a narrow passage-way for the canoe, into which we thrust it, and it
became steady. I kept on breaking the ice and pushing the pieces aside.
The canoe was pushed nearer and nearer the bank. Soon I could reach the
low branches of a tree, which stood near the water's brink. I held on
to the boughs of the tree, and walked ashore on the ice. Taylor and I
removed our baggage from the canoe to the bank. Trippe went to bring
over our three comrades, who had been patiently waiting and watching.
He found some difficulty in entering the passage way as he neared the
bank upon which they stood. In due time our party was safely landed on
the shore, for which we had been anxiously striving the best part of
two nights.

The first great obstacle to our journey was surmounted. We felt freer
and safer. We were several miles from Danville--at least twenty. It was
past midnight. The sky above us was perfectly clear. The moon was high
in the heavens, and sent down rays of silvery light. Northward, in the
direction we wished to travel, the country appeared clear of timber,
and we had hopes of finding a good road before going a great distance.
When we were ready to leave the river this question arose: what shall
we do with our canoe--tie it up or allow it to float down the river?
We felt gratefully, even tenderly toward it. It had done us a great
service. We concluded to lash it fast to the tree, whose branches hung
low upon the bank. We did so; and left it and the river behind us.

We pushed due northward across the cleared fields. Some houses were
soon discernible in the moonlight, not far ahead of us. Turning a
little to the left, we soon reached a point directly west of the
houses. We heard much noise, and stopped to see if we could make out
what it meant. We approached a few steps nearer, and heard singing
and dancing. We thought it late for such exercises; but as it was
Saturday night all was explained, that night being known in Carolina
as negroes' night. As we had provisions enough for a meal or two, we
did not interrupt the exercises, or make our presence known to the
negroes. Nor did we tarry long, as we had no time to lose. We were in
Carolina, and had many miles to travel and many weary marches to make
through a bleak mountain country before our escape was made good. Our
circuit around the houses was continued at a safe distance, until we
struck a road running south-east and north-west. We turned to our left
and followed the road north-west a little more than a mile. As we felt
somewhat hungry, we halted among some bushes at the road side and eat
a few pieces of corn-bread. After eating, we pushed on, feeling much
refreshed. In a short time we came to a cross-road, when we changed
our course and went due north. In that direction we traveled until
day-break. A safe hiding-place for the day was next in order, and we
set about finding it. We went into the woods some distance to the
left of the road, where we found quite a cluster of cedar bushes, in
the midst of which we thought we could safely spend the Sabbath day,
February 21st. Our bed was at once made and we gladly laid ourselves
down to slumber soundly.

It was near three o'clock in the evening when we awoke. On looking
about us in all directions, and seeing nobody, we got up. We ventured
to a branch, nearly a hundred yards distant, and washed our faces. The
canteen and bucket were filled with water and brought near where we
had been sleeping. Our toilet was completed by combing our hair, after
which we sat down and eat the last of our provisions. How we should
procure another supply became the subject of discussion. Various plans
were proposed; one of which we determined to try. If it failed we were,
of course, to resort to another. The late hours of the evening were
passed in adverting to the good fortune which had attended us so far on
the trip. The possibilities and probabilities of the future were also
alluded to.

As we became deeply interested in our talk the time passed quickly. The
tall forest-trees cast long shadows over us. The sun was disappearing
in the west. The sky was cloudless. Our preparations for the third
night of travel were complete. Soon after dusk we emerged from our
hiding place, and in due time were upon the road. Our rest during the
day had been refreshing, and we walked briskly forward. We passed
one house early in the night. It was too early, we thought, to try
our plan for procuring food, and the appearance of the house and its
surroundings did not justify the belief that the occupants had any
food to spare. So we passed on. Near ten o'clock we came to another
house on our left. It was near the road, not more than twenty yards
distant. From appearances all inside were asleep. At least no light was
visible, and silence reigned. At most of the houses we had passed,
the dogs had barked at us. It was not so at this one. We went a few
yards beyond the house and halted in the road. Five of us were to lie
in wait, while the sixth went forth on the errand of necessity. Which
one of us should go upon the errand was a question for decision. It was
decided by drawing cuts. Taylor was chosen to attempt the experiment.
Taylor's overcoat was of a light-gray color, and had once belonged to
a Confederate soldier. Smith's cap was also of "secesh" antecedents.
Taylor donned them both, and was to play the Confederate soldier on
furlough. He was to go to the front door of the house and knock. When
the door was opened to him, if he was asked to come in he was to
decline on the pretext of not having time. He was then to apply for
something to eat, enough for himself and two comrades a supper that
night and breakfast the next morning, which would suffice for one meal
for our party. He was to insist on immediate compliance to the request
on the plea that he and his comrades were hungry and obliged to march
all night. If asked why so? he was to answer that they had been home on
furlough, that their time was nearly out, and that they must report to
the company by a certain time--we had anticipated many questions that
we judged would be asked, and had answers to suit.

After we had drilled Taylor for a few minutes at the road side, and
found him to be a hungry soldier, with nothing Confederate about him
except his overcoat and cap, he started to the house. Our eyes followed
him as long as he could be seen. We then retired from the road to
the fence and waited about twenty minutes, until Taylor returned and
made report. He entered the yard in front of the house and approached
the door. Before reaching the door his heart suddenly failed of its
purpose. He felt himself unequal to the emergency. He immediately
turned to his left to examine a smoke-house or other out-house, in
which he hoped to find something that would do to eat. The door was
securely fastened, which fact caused him to suspect there were some
provisions inside. The house was constructed of round logs, and Taylor
reached his arm through the space between them to see if he could
feel any meat. He examined carefully on each side, but his arm was
too short. He could feel nothing. In the mean time, his attention was
attracted to another out-building, and he went to examine it. He passed
the dwelling, leaving it between him and the road. His search was still

While examining the second out-house he noticed a stable or shed about
sixty yards distant. By going to it he would be still farther from
the dwelling, and he would feel safer while prosecuting his search.
As a last resort before going to the dwelling, he visited the stable
in the hope of finding some corn, upon which we would have subsisted
in preference to running too great a risk in procuring more palatable
food. He could find no corn in the stable, nor grain of any kind.
There was some hay or straw, and a lot of corn-blades tied in bundles.
In a shed adjoining the stable were six or seven horses feeding on
corn-blades. Taylor was impressed with the idea that they were cavalry
horses, and on farther examination a saddle or rig for each of the
horses was found. He then determined not to visit the dwelling at
all, as it was certain there was half a dozen or more men, perhaps
cavalry-men, inside of it, sheltering for the night. He then quietly
rejoined us at the road side. We had run a great risk; our escape had
been narrow. Had Taylor gone half a dozen steps nearer the house he
would have walked on some plank or slabs in front of the door; his
footfalls might have been heard by those inside, and his presence
become known. It was manifest that good fortune was still a companion
of our journey. Had the plan we had devised been followed our recapture
would certainly have ensued.

It was yet early in the night--near eleven o'clock--and we determined
to put several miles between those cavalry-men and our stopping-place
in the morning. Before starting, however, we held a short parley as to
the propriety of taking the horses and riding them until day-break.
On the question of taking the horses our party was about equally
divided. The views of those who opposed the project prevailed. The
chief objection to it was the great and necessary risk, at the time,
in getting the horses to the road without disturbing their owners,
and that in case we were retaken, and found guilty of horse-stealing
or other depredations, it might go hard with us. By the light of the
moon we discovered we had made numerous foot-prints in the road. We
could not obliterate them without taking time, and leaving even plainer
traces behind us. So we walked backward several yards on the road.
On the north of the road were open woods. We stepped aside from the
road a few yards and walked parallel with it, face foremost, through
the woods, where we could make no tracks. On going about a mile we
crossed to the opposite side of the road. In so doing we went south,
but left tracks in the road as though we had gone north. We walked
rapidly through the woods near the road until we had gone another mile,
which brought us to fields. As the walking was not good in the fields
on account of the moist clay, we took the road and hurried forward.
At short intervals we went on the double-quick. By midnight we had
traveled ten or eleven miles. More than one-third of the distance had
been gone over since we had found the cavalry horses. Our speed had
been accelerated by that discovery. We were much wearied, and halted
at a fence near the road side to rest. We were hungry, and would have
eaten something, but our haversacks were empty, and hanging loosely at
our side. Our rest was brief, but sufficiently long to stiffen our knee
and ankle joints.

Our journey was resumed, and we trudged on slowly at first, but soon
increased our speed. There were but few houses near the road, and these
we passed with cautious steps. A second attempt to get rations was not
made that night, as we were fearful of making a second failure, and
losing time besides. We resolved to wait until the morrow, and trust
to luck or Providence to feed us. The road improved as we advanced,
and we made good progress. It bore a little north of west. On crossing
a branch we halted and took up some water in our half-moon tin-bucket
and drank freely. We then filled our canteen and bucket with water and
carried it with us. We were exceedingly tired, and did not wish to
take the time and trouble to look out for a hiding-place convenient to
water. The gray light of morning was faintly appearing in the east,
and we knew our journeying must cease for a time. Our sense of hunger
had subsided, or been overcome by weariness. We left the road and went
some distance south of it into a heavy forest. When nearly a mile from
the road we halted, and quickly spread our bed upon the ground. We then
sank wearily to rest, and were sleeping soundly before sunrise.

It was on the morning of February 22d that we had thus sought repose in
the wintery forest of Virginia. We had got out of Carolina soon after
crossing Dan River, and had traveled almost due northward until we
passed Martinsville, Henry county, Virginia. We passed about two miles
to the right of Martinsville, and then bore a little west of north.
On February 22d we were hid not many miles--probably not more than a
night's march--from the southern boundary of Franklin county, Virginia.
It was the anniversary of Washington's birth. We remembered the fact,
and revered the memory of Washington, although his native State had
tendered us a very poor and meager hospitality, and was treating us
shabbily. The forest of Virginia, however, protected us from her own
and our country's enemies.



When the sun was nearly an hour high, we were aroused from our slumbers
by a loud and incessant racket in the woods. We did not uncover our
heads at first. A squad of cavalry-men was the first thing of which we
thought, but on uncovering our heads and raising up on our elbows, we
found it, was the noise of wood choppers that had disturbed us. We
looked all around us, but could see nobody. The chopping continued,
and from the noise we judged several axes were being used. We at once
concluded that a party of negroes were at work not far from us, and
that we would have an opportunity of procuring supplies. The prospect
pleased us. Had we known our conclusion was correct we should have been
in an ecstasy of gratitude.

About one hundred yards south of us was a high ridge extending east
and west. East of us, about seventy yards distant, was another ridge
or spur putting out due northward from the main ridge. We judged from
the sounds that the wood choppers were east of us and the ridge last
described. By consent of our party, Sutherland and I got out of bed
and walked eastwardly to the ridge, striking it not far from the point
where it was lost in the level ground. We then crept along on our hands
and feet, keeping close together so that we could talk to each other
and be understood without speaking loudly. Soon we got around the point
of the ridge to a thicket of brush, where we halted. We could see the
colored folks at work, plying their axes vigorously. We waited and
watched anxiously a few minutes, to see if any whites were with them.
We saw none, and were glad of it; we returned to our comrades and made
report. We were in a blissful state of mind, and comforted ourselves on
the cheering prospect before us. Our feelings no doubt were similar to
those of weary travelers in the desert on approaching an oasis.

Our determination to consult with the negroes, and make overtures for
food and such other assistance as they could give, was soon made. It
was agreed that Sutherland and I should go upon this delicate mission.
We went, and soon reached the point from which we had watched the
negroes before. We again watched them closely, and assuring ourselves
that no whites were near, we emerged from the thicket, and walked
briskly toward them. As we approached one of the negroes noticed us.
He immediately called the attention of the others to us. Instantly all
chopping ceased, and quiet succeeded. At the same moment we halted,
and Sutherland put his hand to his mouth and asked if any whites were
about? The negro nearest us answered, "No, sah; massa was heah dis
mornin', but he done gone home now." We then advanced to the fires,
around which the negroes had collected to the number of ten or a dozen,
large and small. Our wants were immediately made known to them. They
were quite willing, even anxious to respond to our call for food. They
offered to divide with us at noon, when "missus" brought their dinner
out. We told them they would not have enough to spare, as there were
six of us, and we were very hungry. The oldest negro or "boss hand," as
he was called, then sent one of the younger ones to bring us something
to eat. The negroes were all deeply interested in us, and were anxious
to learn where our four comrades were hid. We told them, and inquired
if that was a safe place. We were informed it was safe enough, but
there was a better place south of it, across the ridge. We told the
boss we would cross the ridge and look out a good hiding-place. He
promised to bring our dinner to us as soon as it was brought to him
where he was at work.

Sutherland and I then returned to our comrades and informed them it
would not be long until we should have something to eat. In accordance
with the advice received from our colored friends we gathered our
things and moved across the ridge. We had passed the summit of the
ridge and were going down its southern declivity when we came to a
bench or level place, where we concluded to stop and make our bed. We
had intended to go to the level ground near the base of the ridge, but
on reaching the bench we knew of no reason why we should not stop there
for the remainder of the day. We made our bed anew, and then washed our
hands and faces, using the water from our bucket and canteen for that
purpose. We then seated ourselves upon our bed, and quietly awaited the
approach of the "boss" with our dinner. We had waited a short time,
probably a half hour, when we saw him with a large bucket in hand
near the base of the ridge hunting for us. One of our party rolled a
small stone down hill toward him to let him know where we were. He
soon discovered us, and climbed the hill-side, and delivered to us our
dinner. We began eating immediately, and found we had been bountifully
provided for. A bucket full of eatables, consisting of fried ham, fried
eggs, boiled beans, and corn-dodgers, was furnished us. We had a keen
relish for such fare, and devoured it all. When we had finished eating,
the negro took his bucket and returned to his work; first telling us he
would see us again in the evening. Our appetites were fully satisfied,
and we covered ourselves in our bed and went to sleep.

We had slept but a short time before our rest was disturbed by a
considerable noise. It was the noise of cavalry-men, without doubt,
we thought, or of horses running at their utmost speed. We uncovered
our heads and raised them slightly. On looking southward we saw two
hounds pass near the base of the ridge. They ran swiftly, and were
hot in pursuit of game. They were closely followed by three or four
white citizens on horseback. The hounds and horsemen were soon out of
hearing, and we felt greatly relieved. Just then the excitement of
the chase was not agreeable to us. We were heartily glad we were not
the objects of pursuit. Had we gone to the level ground, at the base
of the ridge, before halting, as was at first intended, we would most
likely have placed ourselves directly on the trail. The result to us in
that case would have been unfortunate. As our hiding-place was on the
steep side of the ridge, almost surrounded by small trees and brush, we
thought it a safe one, and again gave ourselves over to rest. We slept
well until late in the day. When we awoke the first object almost which
met our vision was our colored benefactor sitting near us whittling a
stick. He informed us we should have another meal at dusk. We told him
any thing good to eat would be acceptable to us, and place us under
lasting obligations to those who furnished it. We told him, too, that
we had some Confederate money, and would buy as much provisions as he
could deliver to us at dark, if it was not more than we could carry. He
promised to see if we could be supplied, and told us to come up where
they were at work after sunset.

As the day was already far spent, we began to fit up for another
night's journey. On completing our preparations, we waited a few
minutes longer for the sun to disappear in the west. Soon it had shed
its last ray over us for the day, and we picked up our things and
started from our retreat. By the twilight we made our way through the
woods to the place where the negroes had been at work during the day.
Just before dark we reached them. They had ceased from their labors
and were expecting us. Some fruit pies fried in grease were furnished
us for supper. While we were eating, the negroes asked what kind of
provisions we could carry most of, or most conveniently. We told them
we could do best on meat, salt, and meal. Two or three of them then
went to bring us a supply of those articles. In due time they returned
with a ham of meat, a little salt, half a bushel of meal, and half a
dozen corn-dodgers. Wood had with him a clean pillow-slip, brought from
the hospital. In it we put the corn-meal. The ham was cut in pieces and
put in our haversacks. The salt was carried by one of our party in a
blouse pocket.

On setting out we had the corn-dodgers, for which there was no room
in our haversacks; and as, on account of their size, we could not
get them into our blouse pockets without breaking them, we carried
them in our hands until midnight. The ham had cost the negroes three
dollars a pound, and it weighed twelve pounds and a half. We paid
them thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents for it in Confederate
shin-plaster. For the meal, salt, corn-bread, and what we had eaten
during the day, we gave them twenty-two dollars and fifty cents. We
paid them sixty dollars in all. It was not necessary, they did not
exact it, but we had the scrip and were made no poorer by parting with
it. It was current there at the time, and was much below par in the
country we hoped to reach ere long.

We conversed briefly with the colored people before leaving them. We
learned from them that we had traveled twenty-three miles the previous
night, and that it was about forty miles to Rocky Mount Court-House,
in Franklin county. It was growing late. The moon had risen, and was
advancing in its course. Every hour of the night was precious to us and
must be improved. We expressed to our benefactors our obligations. We
thanked them heartily and sincerely. We told them they had no idea of
the value of the service they had performed. It was a service to us; it
was also a service to the cause in which we had struggled and suffered
much. We could not pay them adequately, but hoped in the end they would
have their reward in the results of the war.

We bade them good-night and left them, and sought the road immediately;
on reaching it we could but contrast our feelings with those we had
experienced on leaving it early in the morning. Our minds were at
perfect ease on the question of supplies, as our pillow-slip was full,
our haversacks were full, and each of us had a corn-dodger in his hand
besides. We thought we should make a long stride toward our lines
before our supplies should be exhausted. The meal in the pillow-slip
was carried by turns. As we had eaten a great deal during the day we
did not feel like walking rapidly. We put in the whole time, however,
until after midnight, when we stopped to rest and eat some bread. A few
minutes' rest sufficed, and we resumed our travels.

As no incident in our travels particularly interesting, or worthy of
record, transpired for two or three nights or days, we pass on to
the events of a subsequent date. We will say, first, that during the
interval of time over which we pass without noting every circumstance
of our journey, we were very cautious. In the night-time, while
passing houses near the road, we maintained the strictest silence. We
walked carefully, and even then the dogs often discovered us, and made
the night dismal with their howling. We made it a rule not to allow
daylight to find us upon the road; but before we go much farther in
our narrative we will give an instance in which it did so find us. The
first rays of the sun generally shone upon us in our bed asleep. During
our waking hours in day-time, when hid in the lonely woods, we were
careful not to talk, or laugh out boisterously, knowing the liability
to be heard at a distance. We did not stand up or walk about a great
deal. When we had supplies there was no occasion to incur risks, or
purposely come in contact with any persons, black or white. We always
hid, if possible, where water would be convenient to us. We had fire in
day-time with which to broil our meat and make mush. During the day we
prepared our midnight lunch. When we were in a secure retreat for the
day we generally prepared a quantity of mush, for fear our hiding-place
next day would be in a place too much exposed to admit of fire or
smoke. In all our movements we tried to exercise the utmost caution.
As the distance between us and our prison became greater we became, if
possible, more cautious. The farther we got from prison the greater
would be our disappointment in being caught and taken back.

The early morning of February 24th found us upon the road, which led
through an open country. Cleared and fenceless lands bordered it on
either side. We pushed on, in the hope of reaching woods, until broad
daylight. At length the rays of the rising sun began to illuminate the
face of Nature. We were then obliged to leave the public highway. The
road had led us northward the last two nights, and still led us in that
direction. We looked to our right, where the lands were hilly or a
little broken. We went in that direction, thinking we could hide behind
a knoll, or rising ground. Soon we gained a point or crest, from which
the ground sloped gently to the east. A hundred yards or more ahead
of us we saw the tops of scattering trees projecting above a bluff.
We pressed on, and soon stood upon a precipice, and looked beyond it,
over a narrow wooded valley. We clambered half-way down the precipice
to hide among the rocks. We had laid our blankets, haversacks, and bag
of meal aside. We were going to make our bed, but found the space in
which we stood was not large enough for all of us. We would be hampered
by the rocks. Smith and I had unrolled our blankets; Sutherland, Wood,
Trippe, and Taylor had gone a little farther down among the rocks to
find more room. About the same time we saw a smoke rising through the
trees in the valley. We were sure a house was there, although we could
not see it. It was south-east of us, apparently half a mile distant.

We were about beginning the preparations for our daily rest when the
noise of an ax resounded in our ears. The noise was so unexpected and
so near us that we were startled, and at first looked around wildly,
and in amaze. We soon recovered from the shock of astonishment and
surprise, and peered cautiously around the rocks and looked below us.
Not more than a hundred yards from us, in the woods near the base of
the precipice, we saw a single white man wielding his ax. His dog was
near him. On account of the dog we lay low. If he had got a glimpse of
us his master would have become aware of our presence. We could not
make our bed; we could do nothing but keep still. Smith and I had near
us all the blankets, and all the provisions belonging to our party.
Our comrades were about thirty feet below us, almost under us. Smith
ventured to drop their blankets to them, after which we all kept quiet.
We slept but little. As long as the ax was used we felt no fear of
being seen by the man, but every half hour we peered out from the rocks
to see if the dog was near him.

About noon, or a little later, the man ceased chopping. We thought we
should have a short respite while the man went to dinner, and would
embrace that opportunity to eat our own. We looked out to see him
leaving. We were greatly disappointed. A woman--his wife perhaps--had
brought his dinner to him, and he was eating. She was accompanied by
another dog. The two dogs then pranced and prowled about in the woods,
and we watched them closely. We were fearful they would go around, and
get above and behind us, but they did not do so. We were in a very
restless and impatient mood; each moment seemed an hour almost. We
would have parted with jewels, if we had possessed them, to have been
away from there. When the man had finished eating, the woman took her
bucket and went away, followed by the dogs. We were highly pleased
to know the dogs were gone, for they had annoyed us greatly. The man
resumed his toil unconscious of our presence. As he chopped almost
incessantly, and could, therefore, look around but little, we felt
a little safer. Smith and I opened our haversacks and took out some
meat. We cut off a few thin slices and sprinkled them with meal. On raw
meat and meal we made our dinner. While eating, Smith and I exhibited
ourselves to our comrades below us. They looked up wishfully, and
signified their desire to eat. As Smith and I had all the commissary
stores we continued eating, to tantalize our comrades. At length we
put some meal and a chunk of meat in a haversack and dropped it to them.

The day had been a long one to us. Our rest had not been refreshing.
We were in constant apprehension and suspense. The loss of sleep and
comfort, in consequence of having no bed, had its effect upon our
bodies. We felt chilled and sore, and we longed for the approach of
night. Near four o'clock, P. M., the wood chopper ceased from toil
and went off with his ax on his shoulder. Erelong the sun went down,
and, as soon as we got every thing ready, we climbed the precipice
and went directly to the road. Early in the night we found we were
about entering the suburbs of a town. It was Rocky Mount Court-House,
Franklin county. We approached it on a road which bore a little west
of north. We fell back a few paces and began our circuit around the
place. On leaving the road we first climbed a fence and went across the
corner of an inclosed tract of timber lands. We then climbed a second
fence and entered open fields, in which we continued until the road
north-west of the place was reached. In making our circuit we were
guided by the lights in the town, which were yet burning. Near midnight
we halted and eat some meal and meat, upon which, with an occasional
swallow of water, we made a respectable supper.

On the morning of February 25th, as on the previous morning, we were
in an open country. At daylight we looked ahead of us on the road, but
saw no woods. A house, however, was discernible in the distance. As we
dared not pass it, we left the road which had been leading us westward.
South of the road, about half a mile, we saw a space of ground covered
over with numerous rocks, large and small. To it we directed our steps,
in the hope that the rocks would afford us shelter for the day. We
soon reached the place, but did not much like it, and were loath to
remain in its inadequate protection. But as the sun was up, we could
not look for a better or more secure hiding-place without incurring
even greater risks than there would be in making our bed, and keeping
it during the day, where we were. We cleared the small rocks from a
space sufficiently large for our bed and spread it upon the ground. We
then lay down to sleep. Our heads were near the base of a large rock
which was between us and the road we had left a few moments before,
and it hid us from view in that direction. To our right and left and
at our feet were many rocks of smaller size, which partially concealed
us as long as we lay low. On lying down we looked all around us, but
scarcely a tree or bush was visible. Nothing but a waste of barren
ground with an undulating and rocky surface could be seen. South of us,
perhaps a little west, and nearly a mile distant, was higher ground.
Beyond and above it, a few of the topmost branches of the tallest trees
projected. The chief feature of the country immediately surrounding us
was barrenness and nakedness. We could not resist the impression that
our hiding-place was poorly chosen. A feeling of insecurity crept over
us. The primeval forest of Virginia, with only the exception of the
previous day, had hitherto protected us from the view of the rebellious
citizens of the State. Near three hours of undisturbed repose was
granted us.

Near ten o'clock, A. M., we were awakened by a clattering noise. Taylor
looked out cautiously and discovered it was made by a wagon passing
over a stony road. It was not on the road we had left in the morning,
but on one just west of us, which crossed or intersected it. It was
nearly two hundred yards from us. The man in the wagon was driving
north-east, having come on the road from the south-west. On stopping in
the morning we had not noticed the road, as the surface of the ground
was a little broken, and many rocks and knolls intervened between it
and ourselves. It had washed and worn considerably below the level
of the ground. On finding we were so near a public highway, we felt
uneasy, and still more dissatisfied with our hiding-place. We did not
leave it yet, however, as the wagon had passed on out of hearing.

We again essayed to sleep. We fell into a kind of dozing sleep, from
which we were soon aroused by the hum of voices. We looked westward and
saw several persons, mostly women and children, walking on the road.
They were a great while passing, it seemed to us, and were disposed to
loiter by the way. We felt in an exceedingly disagreeable and unsafe
position. At length the hum of voices died away and we tried to feel
at ease, but could not. Very soon another rattling on the stony road
disturbed our equanimity and patience. We looked and saw a cart on the
road driven by a negro. It was a one-horse concern, and was followed
by a white man on horseback. We judged we were not far from town,
and resolved to flee our hiding-place, for fear some strollers, or
home guards, or somebody should come upon us and report us, and take
measures to recapture us.

We waited and watched until nearly noon, when, concluding there
would be no passing on the road, we put our things in convenient
shape for our first day-time traveling. Just as we had completed our
preparations, we looked westward and northward to see if any persons
were upon the road. We saw none. We immediately started southward,
bearing slightly to our left. We did not run, but walked rapidly,
without looking behind us. When we had gone about a mile, we reached
a point from which we could look down an inclined plane into woods.
We halted and looked all around us, but saw no one. We judged we had
not been seen, and deemed our movement a successful one. We were glad
to see woods once more, and pushed on until we stood in the midst of

We sat down on a large rock to rest and watch awhile. We were on a
wooded hill-side, which sloped gently to the south-west. Trippe got
up from his seat and went in a south-east course on the hill-side, to
look for a place in which to hide. He was gone some time, and we became
impatient for his return. We did not wish to leave the place where he
had left us until he came back, as he would not know where to find
us. Nearly a half hour passed before we saw Trippe returning. He was
walking slowly and hesitatingly. He occasionally looked back in the
direction he had gone. Before he reached us we discovered something
wrong had happened; or if nothing wrong, something at least which we
would rather had not transpired.

Trippe was vexed and almost spiritless. He had been recaptured once,
and now he thought his time had come to be caught again and taken back
to prison. He told us the cause of his discouragement. He had gone
south-east of us, an eighth of a mile, or more, along the hill-side.
He had turned directly south to go down hill, when he saw a man clad
in "butternut" coming up hill. Trippe thought, and hoped, he had not
been noticed by the citizen, and stood still to see if he would pass.
The citizen came on up hill. His foot slipped, and he caught hold of
a little tree to keep from falling. In getting around and above the
tree his head turned slightly, and he noticed Trippe, about twenty
steps from him. As soon as he recovered from his surprise he approached
Trippe, and asked what he was doing there. Trippe said he was just
looking through the woods a little. Other questions were asked, and
answered by each party. Trippe tried at first to equivocate, but found
it useless, as his uniform was plainly that of a Federal soldier. He
told the citizen he had been a prisoner at Danville, and with others
was trying to make his way to the Union lines. He also told him where
we were, and how many there were of us in all. The citizen feigned
sympathy with Trippe, and expressed a hope that he would get home all
right. Trippe had very little faith in him. He advised Trippe not to
fight any more against the South, and at the same time offered his
hand. Trippe took the hand in his own with not the slightest confidence
in its possessor. The Rebel pledged to Trippe his word and honor not to
lay a straw in his path, and immediately turned and went directly back
on his trail. Trippe watched him, and soon saw that he hurried himself,
as if suddenly imbued with a new purpose.

When Trippe related the circumstance to us we became intent on getting
away from there, as quickly and as far as possible. We placed no
reliance in the promise of the Confederate not to lay a straw in
our path, but thought he would take measures to interpose greater
obstacles in the way of our progress. Our things being already in
compact marching order, we started immediately. The meal in the
pillow-slip, though not heavy, being more than two-thirds used, was all
the surplus thing we had to carry. All else was in our haversacks. We
went south-east, and soon reached the spot where the citizen had been
encountered by Trippe. We then turned to our right and went south-west.
On reaching the base of the ridge we found we would emerge from the
woods and cross cleared lands, in a narrow valley, or change our
course. There was no time for debate, and we pushed ahead.

Near the outskirts of the woods two little boys and a little girl were
playing. As we passed, the largest boy cried out, "Uncle Jim has gone
for the guards to catch you uns with." We hurried forward, scarcely
taking time to thank the children for the information. If we had to
be hunted we were glad to know it. A short distance ahead of us was a
house. We passed near it, leaving it a little to our right. When we
were just opposite the house, a woman came to the door and exhorted us
to hurry. She said her brother-in-law was a "mean man," and had gone to
report us to the home guards. As time was gold to us just then, we did
not halt, but heeded the exhortation so earnestly given. As we crossed
the branch which traversed the narrow valley we heard the woman say her
husband had been killed in the war. She talked on, but we were soon out
of hearing.

As we approached the upland, on the opposite side of the valley, we
began to think about obscuring our trail. We noticed where a hollow, or
ravine, entered the valley from the wooded hill-side. We got into the
hollow and followed on its rocky bed, where we made no tracks, until we
got some distance into the woods. A portion of the time we went on the
double-quick, and sometimes, when on level ground or going down hill,
we went even more rapidly. It was two o'clock, or a little later in the
day, when we first halted to listen for "Uncle Jim" and his guards. We
did not hear them, nor did we wish to; so we pressed on. We had so far
traveled three miles or more, mostly in a western direction.

A point had been reached from which we could look across fields and
open country in all directions, except south, south-west, and east--the
course we should take in retracing our steps. As we did not wish to
cross fields, or go back on our trail, we turned southward. In that
direction we proceeded until we had gone over a mile, when we turned
to our right, and again pushed rapidly westward, through a heavy wood.
Soon we came to a branch of clear running water. As we were tired we
concluded we would wade in the water, following the stream down, and
thus obscure our trail. As we had made tracks in the wet soil near the
branch on approaching it, we pushed on across it, going some distance
until the solid ground was reached. We then got back to the branch,
walking on scattering rocks, sticks, and logs, so as to leave no traces
behind us. If the guards were on our trail, we hoped, when they reached
the branch, they would cross it, and push on westward as speedily as

We followed down stream in a south-west course for more than a mile.
When in the water we traveled at a moderate gait, as the branch
traversed a very narrow, thickly wooded valley, and we could not be
seen at a distance. A point on the branch was at length reached where a
road crossed it. The road had the appearance of being traveled a great
deal, and we looked up and down it to see if any body could be seen.
On seeing no one we crossed to the south of the road, still wading in
the water. After getting a short distance into the woods, south of the
road, we left the branch and pushed rapidly westward. Our feet had
become wet, and we resorted to brisk walking to get our socks dry.
We would have taken time to take our socks off and wring the water
from them, but, should the guards come upon us, we did not wish to be

Our flight was continued until sunset. We had intended traveling on a
line parallel with the road, but found it necessary to bear southward
occasionally to avoid crossing open fields. When the sun had gone
down we called a halt. The country was very rough and broken where we
halted; heavy woods and brushy undergrowth were all around us on all
the hill-sides. We took refuge in a thicket, near a considerable bluff.
No sounds of pursuers could be heard; every thing was still. We rested
well, and slept a little. Our feet were worsted by the wetting they
had received and our subsequent rapid walking. On a few scraps of meat
dipped in meal we made a scanty supper. We dared not build a fire after
dark or we would have made some mush and taken a fuller meal.

Before the moon arose it was very dark. We waited half an hour or
more for its appearance above the horizon. At length its light shone
dimly through the woods. The sky was a little clouded and the woods
were dense, but the moon served to guide us upon our course, if its
light did shine imperfectly and at intervals. We gathered our things
and started. We steered northward. When obliged to turn aside, or
vary from that course, we varied to the west. Many difficulties beset
us. Our hurried march in the day had considerably taxed our powers of
endurance; our rest at dark was brief, only, long enough for our limbs
to stiffen; our feet were sore; we were hungry; our hasty meal at dark
had not sufficed. It was the first we had eaten since midnight of the
night before, on getting around Rocky Mount Court-House. The country
was hilly; we got over and down one hill only to begin the ascent of
another; the woods were dark, and logs and brush obstructed our pathway
and impeded our progress. We persevered, however, and pressed on. One
of our party went in advance and pushed the brush aside; the other five
of us followed just behind him, in "close order."

Fully an hour passed before we emerged from the brush and woods into
more open ground. We climbed a fence and crossed a field. On getting
out of the field we struck a road running east and west. We followed
it at a moderate gait until we had gone a mile, when we reached a
cross-road. We then turned to our right and went due north. On going
two miles or more we called a halt. We were much fatigued; nearly worn
down, in fact, and, besides, we were faint and hungry. The road we
were following seemed not to be much traveled. We had passed no house
since dark. We had stopped on the road, where it was winding along the
side of a ridge, which was heavily wooded. We determined to look for a
retreat where we could rest awhile, build a fire, and make some mush.
We left the road and went up hill west of it. Soon we gained the top
of the hill or ridge. We then went down the hill on its western slope,
and in the bushes near the foot of it we halted. The noise of rippling
or running waters could be distinctly heard. Two of our party took our
canteen and bucket and went to fill them. While they were gone we
built a fire. A blanket was unrolled and spread on the bushes above the
fire to partially conceal its light. Our bucket was then made three
times full of mush. Small, thin slices and bits of meat were cut off
and put in the mush as it was cooking. Soon our hunger was appeased,
and our weariness hung not so heavily upon us. We put up our things,
scattered our fire, sought the road, and resumed our journey.

Near midnight, and just after we had crossed a branch, we were startled
by hearing a solitary shot in the woods. We immediately halted.
Seemingly the sound of the shot came from a point not very far ahead
of us, but some distance to our left. Our first conjecture was that we
were in the vicinity of a cavalry bivouac. Two or three of our party
thought the home guards had been posted on the roads, and were about to
hem us in. There was no time to be lost in parleying, and we determined
to go on slowly and slyly. Before going two hundred yards we came to
a turn in the road. The road had been leading us northward, but on
going around the turn it led us west. We again halted, thinking it was
possible there was a guard on the road, as it led in the direction
from whence the sound of the shot had proceeded. Trippe proposed going
on a few paces to see. He did so. We followed him at the distance of
fifty or sixty paces. In this way we advanced fully half a mile, when
we reached a point where the road passed between fields. Trippe waited
until we came up, when he pronounced the road clear, as far as pickets
were concerned.

We then pushed on, and discovered we were about passing a house on the
left of the road. We checked our speed and passed the house with care
and celerity. When we had got about twenty steps beyond the house,
and just as we were becoming careless again, the dogs began a lively
barking. We proceeded a dozen steps further when we noticed the sparks
of a fire flying upward. The fire was about twenty steps ahead of us,
on the left of the road. It was near the corner of the rail-fence,
where the lane terminated. We stopped instantly, but said nothing. We
watched the fire closely for a moment. The dogs kept up their howling.
In the light of the fire, which soon blazed up, we distinctly saw
several covered wagons ahead of us near the road side. We knew, or
thought at least, that we were about running into a supply train. We
hardly knew what to do. The dogs continued barking furiously, and
would soon arouse somebody, to see what disturbed them. We could not
go forward, as the guards, or teamsters, with the train would discover
us. We did not wish to go back by the house, as there was danger of
being observed by persons within, or about it. There was no time for
deliberation. We climbed the rail-fence to our right on the north of
the road. We were careful not to make any noise; although the dogs made
hubbub enough to drown any noise we should make.

We had left tracks on the road, and found on getting into the field
that its surface was moist and impressible. We determined to make a
trail that would mislead any person who might have the curiosity to
follow us. On reaching a point in the field about a quarter of a mile
due north of the road we turned east. In that direction we traveled
half a mile. We then turned south and crossed the fence at the corner
of the field. On getting into the road we followed it east nearly a
quarter of a mile, when we went some distance in a south-east course.
By so doing we got into thick woods where the ground was covered with
leaves, where we could leave only very indistinct traces behind us.
We then turned and traveled directly west, keeping parallel with the
road, and a little more than a quarter of a mile south of it. The dogs
at the house still kept up their howling; and as the train and those
with it were just at hand, we kept off at a safe distance. The shot we
had heard an hour before, we judged had been fired by some one with the

When we had gone far enough, in a western direction, to reach a point
directly south of the house, where the dogs were still barking, we bore
considerably to our right, and went north-west. We continued in that
direction until we struck the road some distance west of the wagon
train. After going something more than a mile further on the road, in
a direction a little north of west, we halted. It lacked an hour or
more of being daylight, but as we were very tired, having traveled
many miles in the last twenty-four hours, we determined to look out
for a secure hiding-place for the day. We accordingly left the road
and penetrated some distance into the woods on the north of it. Just
after crossing a small branch we halted, and made our preparations for
a refreshing sleep. We fell into a sound slumber immediately on lying
down on our bed.

About mid-day we awoke and found ourselves very stiff and sore all
over. We felt very little like moving about. We had pulled off our
shoes on lying down, and on getting up we found our feet were so very
sore that we could hardly get them on again. The sky was overcast with
clouds, threatening snow. Our stock of provisions was getting very
low, and other circumstances seemed to conspire in making the woods
around us and the prospect before us quite cheerless. That we had not
fallen into the hands of the home guards was the only circumstance
that afforded us consolation. After getting our shoes on, we set about
building a fire. We went to the branch near us and washed our hands
and faces; afterward feeling some better. Our vessels were filled with
water at the branch, to be used in making mush. When we had dispatched
our dinner we had some meal left, also a little salt, but no meat.
The meal was emptied from the pillow-slip and made into mush, which,
with the exception of the last bucket full made, was put into the
pillow-slip. The last mush made was left in the bucket. When the mush
became cold it sliced off nicely, and was ready for our midnight meal.

Shortly after noon one of our party wandered out northward from our
hiding-place some distance, and spied a man engaged in plowing in an
old field. It was early in the season, we thought, for plowing, but as
we had seen plowing near Danville in January, we knew it was nothing
unusual for that country. Sutherland and I went out and lay close to
the fence which inclosed the field, to watch the man who was plowing,
and see if we could determine whether he was white or black. It so
happened that he did not plow on out to the fence near which we were
hid, as a strip of sod or grass land intervened between him and the
fence. We were somewhat disappointed, as we could not make out at that
distance whether the man was white or black. If we had been assured he
was a black man, we would have made an effort to procure more food.

Near the close of the day we went to the branch and bathed our feet
thoroughly, hoping, if it did not improve them, it would keep them from
getting sorer than they were already. We then lay down and slept about
an hour, and on waking we found that our blankets and the ground were
covered with snow to the depth of an inch. We got up and shook the
snow from our blankets, and put every thing in order for the night's
marching. Awhile before sunset the snow ceased falling, the clouds
began to clear away, and the weather was perceptibly cooler. No clouds
obscured the sun as it shed its last rays over us for the day, and sank
from view in the west.

Just at dark we left our hiding-place and went directly to the road.
It was quite dark, as the moon had not appeared; but as our feet were
sore, we could only advance slowly any how, and we pushed on. In the
road, where there were no leaves, the snow had melted, making the
walking slippery and slavish. When the moon arose we walked at the
side of the road, and got along some better. Early in the night Taylor
began to fall behind. Sore feet, we judged, was the cause of his slow
progress. He fell behind several times, and we waited as often for him
to come up. We asked him no questions, only supposing that his feet
were sorer than our own. About ten o'clock, or a little later in the
night, we struck a pike running north-east and south-west. The road we
had been following did not cross it. As we had to change our course,
and as Taylor was some distance behind, we waited for him to catch up.
When he had caught up we waited awhile longer for him to rest.

On renewing our travels we followed the pike in a north-east course
toward Lynchburg. Before going very far on the pike, we passed one
house on the left. We went nearly half a mile beyond the house, when
we discovered an obscure road leading westward. We changed our course,
as we wished to reach and cross the Blue Ridge Mountains as soon as
possible. Taylor had kept up with us while following the pike, but
again fell behind on leaving it. The road was a poor one. Its clay
surface had been considerably moistened by the melting snow, late in
the day and early in the night. Before midnight the mud began freezing,
and it stuck tenaciously to our shoes. The country was rough and
broken, and the road led us over a succession of ridges and hollows.
In breaking the frozen crust of mud our feet were continually slipping
backward or forward, or sideways, as we went up and down the hills,
making our march extremely fatiguing and wearisome. We were obliged
to keep the road on account of the trees, logs, and brush near it on
either side. Our way, however, was plain before us, as the road looked
black in contrast with the snowy woods.

We trudged on in the difficult and lonely way, and, though our progress
was slow, Taylor had fallen far behind. Near midnight we were on the
point of stopping to eat some mush, but concluded to move on slowly
for awhile, and give Taylor a chance to catch up with us or gain on
us. We slackened our pace considerably, and, on going half a mile, we
halted at the road side. Taylor had not caught up with us, neither was
he in sight or hearing. We sat on a log, and waited patiently for his
approach. Several minutes passed while we were waiting. We took the
mush from our bucket and cut it in slices ready for eating. While so
doing Taylor came dragging himself along the road. We called to him,
and he turned aside to join us in the woods. He was lame and weary.
On reaching us he sank almost exhausted to the ground, sitting in the
snow and placing his back against the log upon which we sat. We made no
inquiries of Taylor as to the cause of his lameness, supposing he could
not tell us more than we knew already.

One or two observations were made respecting the bad condition of the
road, after which we began eating our midnight lunch. When we had
finished eating we gathered our things and started. Trippe and I were
ahead, and had reached the road and gone on it a few steps. Wood and
Sutherland were closely following us. Sutherland looked back and saw
Smith coming, but did not see Taylor. Sutherland then asked, "Smith,
where is Taylor? an't he coming?" Smith answered, "I thought he was
following me;" and then looked behind and called aloud, "Come on,
Taylor." Smith not understanding Taylor's reply, went back to him. On
being asked why he had not started, Taylor said he was unable to go any
farther, as his broken leg had failed him. Smith at once called to us
to come back to the place where Taylor was. We did so. It was painfully
apparent that he could go no farther that night. We learned for the
first time that he had been wounded in the leg, and had one of its
bones broken. He was not a Chickamauga prisoner, but had been wounded
and captured at or near Leesburg, Virginia, in a cavalry engagement,
early in July, 1863, at the time of the battles of Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. During our four or five weeks' association with him it so
happened we had not learned of his wound.

We at once concluded that our travels for that night were at an end,
and began looking around for a place in which to lie over until the
following night. When Taylor heard our determination he objected,
saying he felt sure he would not be able to travel by the following
night, and might not be able to renew the journey for a week. He would
not consent that we should remain with him until the next night, unless
he knew he would be able to go on with us by that time. We insisted on
waiting with him as long as that, as we should lose only three hours'
time by so doing. Taylor still objected, saying he would not detain us
a single hour, and if we failed in reaching the lines, it should not be
laid to his charge. We determined to remain, when Taylor assured us he
could not travel for at least three or four nights, and was unwilling
to feel himself responsible for the consequences that might ensue
from so long a detention of our party. We then offered to divide our
party, to leave two with Taylor, and let the other three go on. But he
objected to this proposal also, saying he would not delay a single one
of us, and probably be the cause, immediate or remote, of the return
of that one to prison. He would rather take his chances of ultimately
reaching the lines alone, and feel clear of responsibility for any
accident or disaster that might overtake us than to do otherwise.

[Illustration: "LEFT ALONE."--PAGE 53.]

We had offered fairly, as we thought, and concluding Taylor knew
the nature and extent of his disability much better than we did, we
determined to leave the case to him. If he said remain, we would
cheerfully do so; or if he said for us to go on and leave him behind,
we would do that regretfully. Taylor then said for us to lose no
time on his account, but to push on to the Union lines, and make our
escape good. It required but a few moments to arrange for resuming
our journey, and to advise Taylor as to the best course to pursue;
to say to him the parting good-by, and leave him behind. The mush in
the pillow-slip, all the provisions we had, except a little salt, was
then taken out and divided into six parts. The largest part was given
to Taylor. The other five parts were put in our haversacks. Nearly or
quite half of the scrip on hand was given him, as he was going to tarry
awhile in the Confederacy, and might use it to advantage. A portion of
the salt was also given him. The canteen which had been used by our
party so far on the trip, and which belonged to Taylor, was left with
him. He had a watch and a supply of scrip to barter for food, or for
the services of a guide, to conduct him to the lines, or both. With
these, and with his canteen and haversack, we left him alone in the
woods, wrapped in his overcoat and blanket. It was a sad and melancholy
scene we witnessed in parting from Taylor. It was painful and trying
to us to shake his hand, and say to him "good-by." Our feelings
were similar to those occasioned by the fall of a comrade on the
battle-field. We had left Taylor, and were getting into the road when
we heard him say, "Company G, 2d Massachusetts Cavalry," giving his
address, and asking us to write to him if we reached the lines. We each
of us then gave him the name of the company and regiment to which we
respectively belonged, so that he might write to us if he got through
all right.

The substance of the advice we gave to Taylor was to remain where he
was until daylight, at which time he could move to a better or more
secure hiding-place, if able to do so, where he could command a view
of the road, and see persons that might pass upon it. The first negro,
or party of negroes, he saw passing, if no whites were with them, he
was to hail, and beckon them to him and make his condition known,
and get them to harbor him, or take him to some house where he could
be harbored until he was able to renew his journey. If he saw no
person pass during the day, he was to go in the evening in search of a
habitation where assistance might be given him. When able to travel,
he was to secure, if possible, the services of a guide, to conduct him
to some point within or in the vicinity of the pickets or outposts of
our army. He could reward his guide, if fortunate enough to secure one,
with his watch and Confederate money.

It was the night of Friday, February 26, 1864, that we left Taylor
behind. We left him within six miles of the Blue Ridge Mountain, at a
point between eighty and one hundred miles south-west of Lynchburg,
Va., and nearly three miles west of the pike leading to that place. We
must have left him somewhere near the boundary line between Franklin
and Bedford counties, Va., in the north-west corner of one, or in the
south-east corner of the other. If it was trying to us to part with
Taylor and leave him, it must have put his resolution and self-denial
to a severe test to persist in being left alone in his crippled and
almost helpless condition. On stopping he was warm, as the road was
bad, and he had exerted himself to catch up with us. By sitting down
in the snow, he cooled suddenly, and his lame leg became stiff and
useless. His condition was critical and unenviable, as he was unable
to move about with ease or comfort, and his supply of food was small
in quantity and poor in quality. No house was near him. We had not
passed a house since leaving the pike. The weather was cold, as the
snow and mud was freezing. He was in a bleak mountain country alone. No
friend was near him. We had been his friends and comrades, and were his
friends still, but had forsaken him. His prospect was cheerless. His
desponding heart had little on which to predicate a hope. He dreaded
to meet a man of his own color, for fear of meeting an enemy, and in
the mountain districts the blacks were few. The woods around him were
dreary, although the ground was covered with snow, and the moon shone
brightly. The trees with their leafless branches and skeleton shadows
could be dimly seen, but were poor companions for a maimed and wearied
traveler in an enemy's land. It was a touching, but a necessary or
unavoidable incident of our journey to leave Taylor behind in the
Winter, and in the wilderness, as a lonely and solitary sentinel in the
silent watches of the night. But we could do no better, as our supply
of provisions was nearly exhausted, and we could not recruit it, or
seek assistance for him without jeopardizing his safety as well as our
own. So we left him to whatever fate might fall to him in the merciful
dispensation of Providence.

I have never heard from or of Taylor to this date, December, 1869.
Whether he got able to travel, and succeeded in making his escape from
the Confederacy, or whether he was recaptured and returned to prison,
is not known to me. He may have perished from starvation where we left
him, on account of inability to get away from there.



Having parted with Taylor, our travels were resumed through the later
hours of the night. Once or twice in traveling the distance of four, or
four and a half miles, we almost concluded to return to him, but feared
disaster might come upon us if we turned back. It soon became evident
that daybreak was at hand, but we proceeded a mile farther before
turning into the woods. The sun was just rising when we began making
our bed, for the 27th of February, in a place surrounded by woods and
brush. On lying down we fell asleep. We awoke about the middle of the
afternoon. Shortly after arousing from our slumbers, we eat the last
of our mush. A little salt was all we had left of the supplies we had
received from our negro friends in Henry county. When, where, and how
our next supply of food should be secured we did not know. We judged we
should cross the mountain during the approaching night, and determined
to give ourselves no concern on the score of rations until the valley
on the other side was reached.

The sad event of the previous night formed the subject of our
conversation for the evening. "It wouldn't surprise me a bit," said
Wood, "if Taylor should beat us to the lines yet."

"He may," said Trippe, "if he lives through the first night or two,
does well, and is lucky enough to secure the services of a good guide
to take him through by the short cuts."

"Our lines will be down this way some of these days," said Smith.

"The only difficulty with Taylor," remarked Trippe, "will be in
avoiding Rebel citizens and finding a true Union friend to care for him
a few days."

"He must have nothing to do with any body but a negro," said
Sutherland, "or he's a goner." "Boys," he continued, "supposing it
should become necessary for us to separate into two squads, how'll we

"Draw cuts," answered Wood.

"If it should become necessary for us to separate," remarked Trippe,
"it will most likely be under such circumstances as will forbid drawing

"Yes, boys," answered Wood, "we'll have to draw cuts now, and have the
thing understood."

Five small sticks were accordingly prepared. They were of two different
lengths. It being understood how the division should stand, we drew
cuts. It was decided that Smith, Wood, and Sutherland should go in one
direction, while Trippe and I should go in another. We determined,
however, never to separate unless no other alternative would answer,
and to push on and endeavor to reach our lines together.

At sunset we began arranging our things for journeying. As soon as it
was dark we sought the road, and on reaching it we heard voices. We
retired a few paces into the bushes and waited until a half dozen or
more persons, mostly if not all colored, had passed by. "Now, boys,"
whispered Wood, as the women and children were passing, "here is a
good chance to get something to eat." But we had decided to cross
the mountains before looking after food, and allowed the opportunity
to pass. We then set out on our ninth night of travel, and had gone
but little more than a mile when we came to a considerable branch.
We crossed it with but little trouble, and soon after passed near a
house on the road whose occupants had not retired for the night. We
got by the house without attracting attention, or at least without
exciting curiosity. On following the road a little further, we found
it commenced its winding ascent of the mountain, passing through a
gap near the boundary line between Franklin and Bedford counties, Va.
We had heard before leaving prison that the Blue Ridge Mountains were
infested with bush-whackers. We had a wholesome dread of these, and
advanced cautiously up the road, hoping, if there were any, we should
hear or see them before they should hear or see us.

In little more than an hour's time we reached the highest point in
the gap, over which the road passed. We met with no one to dispute
our progress, and the descent of the western slope was immediately
commenced. We had followed the road but a short distance down the
mountain-side, when, on making a turn in the road, we saw a light
ahead, apparently about one hundred yards distant from us. Judging it
to be the light of a torch, or small fire, we halted, and, on doing so,
we heard voices engaged in conversation. Trippe at once proposed going
ahead alone a few yards to see what might be seen. We consented, and he
did so. A few minutes of intense anxiety to us passed, as we imagined
the reports concerning bush-whackers were about to be verified. Before
Trippe returned we heard a door shut, the fire or light at the same
time disappearing. We then knew there was a house, or hut of some kind,
near the road, not far from us; but of the number and character of its
occupants we were not so well informed.

On coming back to us Trippe reported a house down there, and the
light we had seen was the light of a fire in the house. Trippe said,
further, that some one was just leaving the house, and, as soon as that
person had started off down the road, the conversation ceased, and the
door of the house was closed. We waited a few minutes for the folks in
the house to get to sleep, and for the person on the road ahead of us
to get out of our way, when we again started forward. On coming to the
house we found it a very small one, situated within a few steps of the
road. Passing it without discovery, we slowly walked on, and in due
time reached the valley below.

Near the foot or base of the ridge was what appeared to be a
considerable stream of water; but on reaching it we found it to be
more wide than deep. We went a short distance down stream and found
four foot logs, from sixteen to twenty feet long, extending across
the stream. On these we crossed, and on reaching the opposite side we
halted for awhile to rest before proceeding to the road.

"If we only had some meat and bread," said Smith, "now would be a good
time to eat it."

"This would be a good place, too," added Sutherland, "as water is

"I guess we wouldn't be particular as to the place," observed Smith,
"if we only had something to eat."

Being reminded of the fact that we were out of rations we resolved
to try our luck at the first house that came in our way. We were not
long in reaching one, probably not more than half an hour. As we had
crossed the mountain without difficulty; as we felt glad we had not
met with guerrillas--felt considerably hungry, and were, withal,
much emboldened, we were not overcautious in our movements. Each of
our party of five entered the yard through the gate in front, and on
reaching the house--an old two-story frame house, unpainted--we rapped
violently at the front door. There was no answer from within. We called
and rapped repeatedly, but with the same results. We then passed around
the house to its south side, where we found another door. Sutherland
knocked loudly on it, but no response came. He then put his mouth to
the string-hole and asked, "Is any body at home?"

A man inside answered, in a tone of voice indicating fright, "I guess
there's somebody about."

"Why don't you get up, then?" asked Sutherland. "Nobody's going to hurt

"What do you want?" inquired the man.

"We want something to eat, and want you to get up and set about getting
it forthwith," said Sutherland. He refused to even get out of bed,
whereupon Sutherland demanded, "Shall we burst your door down?" and
Wood added, "and come in and burst your noggin?"

The man said, "That rests with you," and inquired, "Who are you, and
where are you going?"

"We are soldiers going to Rocky Mount Court-House," Sutherland answered.

"Go on over the mountain, and you will be fed in the morning," returned
the man.

Preferring to risk our chances at the next house to doing any very rash
or violent acts, we left this one, telling the man he showed a very
poor quality of patriotism.

"If it was any other time, if it twas daylight, I might do something
for you."

"We don't have to stand picket in the night-time; we don't have to
march, skirmish, and frequently fight in the night-time, I suppose?"
retorted Sutherland, in a very unamiable voice.

"And skedaddle in the night-time from such rusty Butternuts as you
are," added Smith, in a tone just loud enough not to be heard by the
man, as we were withdrawing from the yard.

We passed out of the yard through the gate to the road as quickly as
we could, intending to hurry on our way. As Sutherland closed the gate
he threatened the man with, "We shall report you when we get to Rocky
Mount, mark that."

On starting forward on the road Wood observed, "We commenced too heavy
on the gentleman: we got him so badly scared he didn't know what to do,
or how to do it."

We kept up our conversation, dwelling chiefly on the causes, real and
supposed, of our failure in procuring food, and of the method to be
resorted to in supplying our necessities. It was agreed that Wood and
I should try our hands at the next house. It was after midnight, and
should we not reach the next house soon we decided not to disturb its
inmates, as we must have time to get out of reach after so doing before
hiding for the day.

In a few moments we halted in front of a house on the south of the
road at a distance of sixty or seventy yards from it. Wood and I
entered the yard and approached a door in the one-story part of the
house, supposing the darkies slept there. On knocking slightly at
the door, and hearing no answer, we jerked the latch string once or
twice. A voice inside--which was undoubtedly that of an elderly white
person--remonstrated strongly against being disturbed at so late an
hour. Wood seeing the smoke-house a few steps to his left, went to
examine it, and proceeded from thence to the yard south of the house.

At the same time I stepped upon the porch in front of the two-story
part of the house, and walked on it until I discovered a pair of steps
or stairs. On going up the steps I found the porch had a second story
also. Just at the top of the steps was a doorway to the second story of
the main building. I found the door fastened, when I called out, asking
if any one was inside. A voice, plainly that of a negro, answered there
was. I told him to get up, and come out doors, as there were some folks
at the road who would like very much to see him. The negro declined,
saying, "You can't come dat game on dis chile: Ise not coming out dar."

"Get out of bed and come to the string hole," said I, "I want to speak
to you." He did so, when I said, "Put your ear to the string-hole."
He complied; and in a loud, distinct whisper, I pronounced the word
"Yankees." As soon as the negro could draw on his clothing, the bar of
the door came down and he and I descended the steps into the yard.

On seeing us, Wood approached, saying to the negro, "Where did you come

"Ise from Knoxville," was the answer.

"But just now, where did you come from just now?" asked Wood.

"From up in the loft," was the negro's reply.

"Come out to the road, old fellow," said I, "there's some more Yankees
out there."

"Lord, massa! golly! dat so?" ejaculated the astonished negro.

We then went to the road accompanied by the negro. On rejoining Trippe,
Smith, and Sutherland, at the point where we had left them, the last
named, on seeing the negro, remarked, "You don't expect us to eat that
fellow, do you?"

We lost no time in telling the negro what was wanting; that we were
hungry and had no provisions. The negro said the cellar and smoke-house
were locked, and the old master had the keys. We asked him how soon he
could get something for us to eat. He replied, "In the mornin', 'fore
massa and mistress gits up."

"How about the keys; don't the whites get up and unlock?"

"No, sah; we gits de keys, onfastens, and gits breakfast 'fore de white
folks gits out o' bed," replied the negro.

On ascertaining beyond doubt that provisions would be furnished us in
the morning, we had the negro conduct us to a safe hiding-place for
the day, which was near at hand. He took us to a secure retreat in
the midst of a large grove of heavy oak timber situated about a mile
from the house, on the north of the road. In all directions from our
hiding-place for the day--Sunday, February 28th--were open fields.
The woods or grove we were in covered three or four hundred acres of
land. Our camp for the day was close to a rivulet, and was immediately
surrounded by tall dead grass; and a little further from us were
numerous small trees and bushes. The negro told us he would fetch us
breakfast by ten o'clock, and then hurried home.

It was an hour or more before day when we made our usual preparations
for sleep. Soon after lying down we were lost in slumber. Near nine
o'clock, A. M., we awoke from our slumbers and got up and washed our
faces at the rivulet. Our toilet completed, we had not long to wait for
the appearance of our negro friend, with a small basket of eatables, a
pitcher of milk, and a mug of molasses. We fared sumptuously on wheat
cakes, fried bacon, potatoes, molasses, and milk. When we had finished
our meal the negro took the molasses and milk pitchers in his basket
and went homeward. While eating we learned from the negro that we were
in Roanoke county, and that the nearest town on the road we expected
to travel was Big Lick, a station on the East Tennessee and Virginia

Shortly after noon the negro came out and talked quite a while with
us. He wished to know when we would have another meal brought out. We
expressed our willingness to receive another meal at any time before
sunset. We asked the negro how much provision he could furnish us to
carry with us. He replied that he had not a good chance in day-time to
get at the meat, flour, and potatoes, without being seen by his master
or mistress, and at night he had no chance at all to secure any thing,
as the cellar and smoke-house were always locked at dark by the whites,
who kept the keys until morning.

The man on whose provision we were subsisting was named Schooler, or
Schuyler. Being an original secessionist, he left Knoxville, Tennessee,
and settled in Roanoke county, Virginia, where he would be less
troubled with Federal troops. The negro had also lived in Knoxville,
and had before seen Yankee soldiers. When he left us he went home, and
soon returned with another supply of food for our present consumption.
While we were eating, the negro informed us that Schooler, his master,
had seen the man at whose house we had attempted to get rations on the
previous night. The man told Schooler of the demonstrations we had made
at his house before leaving it to go on over the mountain. Schooler in
turn told the man that he, too, had been interrupted during the night,
but the disturbers of his sleep had done no harm, and gone on, he knew
not where.

Our supper finished, we had an understanding with the negro as to the
place where we should receive the corn and meat. He then left us, and
we rolled up our blankets and made other needful preparations for our
tenth night's travel. Just at dark we started for the point designated
to receive what provisions our negro host could provide for us. As we
found him there with the corn and meat, we were not long delayed. We
were told it was seven miles to Big Lick, and that Salem Court-House
was nine miles west of that place. I gave the negro one of my blouses
as a slight compensation for his services to us, and as a token of
remembrance. We thanked the negro heartily for befriending us in
the hour of need, and then put the corn, which was shelled, in our
haversacks, and the meat in our pillow-slip, and started for the road,
accompanied that far by the negro.

On reaching the road we bade our negro friend farewell and left him.
We found the road better than we expected, and pushed forward rapidly,
hoping to get around Big Lick by midnight. We had thought of bearing
to our right and passing east of the place. As soon as we thought we
had gone six miles we saw a few small houses not far ahead of us, and
concluded to pass them before commencing our circuit around the town.
When we were just opposite the first house, Wood supposed it to be
the domicile of a negro family, and went to the door, opened it, and
asked how far it was to Big Lick. "You are there now," was the answer
given. Closing the door without asking any more questions, Wood hastily
rejoined us at the road.

On finding we were in town we pushed on through it, walking silently
and briskly. Near the railroad depot we halted, and after consulting
briefly concluded to leave the road, so as to elude pursuers, fearing
the man we had inquired of might be a white Rebel, and might collect
a party to look after us in the morning. After leaving the road we
reached in a few minutes' time the railroad bridge. We passed under
the bridge, walking partly in the waters of the little stream which
it spanned until we gained the woods north of the railroad. We then
traveled due northward until the sky became cloudy, when it grew much
darker, and we found great difficulty in making our way through strange
woods, with no road to guide us.

Before morning it began raining, and the night became black and dismal
in its last hours. We could scarcely proceed, but we kept on the move.
Just at daylight we came to a road running east and west. It seemed to
be a very public one. As it was raining hard we thought we should not
be seen, and we crossed the road and pushed on northward something more
than a mile, when we halted in the midst of a considerable forest of
pines. Through this forest was a string of rail-fence, and as it was
raining hard, so that we could not make our bed down on the ground, we
placed rails across from one panel to another, on which we sat with our
coats and blankets disposed about us so as to shed the water off as
much as possible. In this manner we occupied two corners of the fence;
three of us in one corner and two in the other.

Near noon we were compelled by the severity of the storm to seek
shelter. We started and kept close to the fence on its north side,
going in an easterly direction. In a few minutes we came to another
fence, running north through open fields. We changed our course, and
followed it until we came to a branch running in a south-east course.
As the ground was much lower near the branch we could follow it and
at the same time be screened from view. Soon we came in sight of a
lone building to our left a short distance, in the edge of the woods.
We went directly to it, and found it to be a tobacco-house. In it we
found shelter from the rain, as the roof was good. We then took off our
coats and blankets, and wrung the water from them. As there was a lot
of corn-blades tied in bundles stacked in one corner of the room, we
soon had a good resting-place. A small lot of tobacco leaves, hanging
above our heads, soon attracted our attention, when the following
conversation took place:

"There's some tobacco," said Smith. "I'll bet there will be somebody
out here before night to look at it."

"Not while it rains this way," said Trippe.

"Well, let them come," said Wood, "it belongs to nobody but a darkie,
any how."

"And when he comes out here we'll only have him to furnish us with more
rations," said Sutherland.

"I'm only afraid he won't come," added Trippe.

There was no floor in the tobacco-house, and we cleared the corn-blades
and straw from the center and built a fire. For fuel we used tobacco
sticks, of which there was a large quantity piled up in a corner of
the building. After burning enough sticks to make sufficient coals
and ashes for the purpose, we went to parching corn. This we did by
scattering the corn near the fire and raking hot ashes and coals over
it. When the corn was parched sufficiently, we raked it from the ashes
with small sticks. After eating all we wished of parched corn and
broiled meat, we parched a lot of corn for future use.

The rain continued falling, and the day was far spent, when we came to
the conclusion we should be compelled to lie over for the approaching
night--February 29th. At dark we stretched our blankets on sticks
around the fire, for the twofold purpose of drying them and concealing
the fire. Soon we were obliged to allow the fire to go down, as its
light shone against the roof and through the cracks of the building
between the logs. We had seen but one house during the evening from
where we were, and that was away some distance to the north of us. But
for fear somebody would be passing, and see the light of our fire, and
thus discover us, and publish the fact of our presence in the vicinity,
we put it out entirely. Becoming reconciled to the necessity of
stopping over for the night and following day, we thought we would make
the best of it, and rest, and recuperate as much as possible in that
time. So, taking time and pains, and a goodly quantity of corn-blades,
we made us a good bed. A roof over our heads and the pelting rain-storm
without were conducive to sleep, and the night was passed in quiet and

We waked up shortly after daylight in the morning, but did not get
out of bed until about eight o'clock, A. M. The rain had ceased, but
clouds still overspread the sky, causing us to feel doubtful about
getting off even that night. We went out one at a time to the pools
of water, and washed our hands and faces. Soon after we built a fire
and began parching corn, and broiling meat for breakfast and dinner.
While thus engaged, Sutherland, looking through a crack between logs,
espied an old negro approaching. As he was alone he gave us no concern,
and we were not averse to his coming. Approaching nearer and nearer
the building, the old negro finally came upon our trail and noticed
our tracks. He followed them a few steps, when, discovering they led
to the tobacco-house, he came to a halt. He watched the house closely
for a moment or two, when hearing or seeing us, he turned to go back.
Sutherland opened the door and said, "Hullo, old man! that'll never do;
come in here, we'll not hurt you."

The old man turned about, and after further entreaty approached the
house and entered it. He had come out to examine his tobacco. He was
well stricken in years, being ninety years of age, having children,
grandchildren, and great grandchildren. On account of his age he was
slow of speech and comprehension. We had trouble in getting him to
understand who and what we were, and the situation in which we were
placed. He did not seem, at first, to correctly understand the meaning
of the term Yankee, but soon came to it, inquiring, "Is you uns some of
them fellers that's penned up in the 'backer-houses in Richmond?" We
answered that we were. We found it necessary to impress on his mind the
necessity of keeping secret from the whites the fact of our presence
in the country. Our need of procuring provisions from time to time was
also explained to the old man. We urged the old man to either bring
or send us some meat of some kind, if nothing else, and to have it at
the tobacco-house by sunset. He promised to do so, and shortly after
examining and arranging his tobacco, he went slowly on his way home.
We finished our breakfast, and continued parching corn for awhile. A
little before noon we laid-ourselves down, and slept until about three
o'clock in the evening.

On getting up we finished parching corn, and then all the provisions
we had with us were ready for eating. When we first got up the sky was
partially clear, and by sunset it was cloudless. Just after sunset
the old negro arrived with some six or eight pounds of meat, mostly
boiled beef, the remainder being a small piece of side meat. A couple
of corn-dodgers were also furnished us, which we set apart for our
midnight meal. Having got our baggage, quartermaster and commissary
stores, ready for the trip, we expressed our obligations to the aged
negro who had befriended us, and bade him good-by. He then started
home, and soon after we set out on our eleventh night's journey, March
1, 1864.

Finding the ground soft and well saturated with water, we thought we
should do well if we trudged through eight or ten miles that night.
On reaching the road, which had been pointed out to us by the negro,
we found the walking much better than we expected, as the water
could not so easily penetrate its hard surface. In a short time we
passed the house where lived the owner of the plantation to which the
tobacco-house in which we had been sheltering belonged. The house was
near the road, and the lights in it were burning brightly. While we
were passing the house the dogs began a lively barking, and kept it up
until we had gone some distance, and crossed a creek, when we heard no
more of them. Near midnight we halted at the road side amid a cluster
of small trees, and eat some beef and corn-bread.

We soon resumed our travels. As we could not walk very rapidly, owing
to the condition of the road, we put in the whole time until day-break,
so that we could have it to say that we were at least eight or ten
miles nearer our goal than when setting out. The road we were traveling
bore northward in its general direction, but as the country on either
side was covered with unfenced woods, it frequently deviated from its
general course. At length day-break came, and we went to the left of
the road in search of a secure hiding-place for the day, March 2, 1864.

The distance gone over during the night had not been more than eleven
miles, or twelve at the furthest, but we were that distance further
north, which was a gratifying feature of the night's journey. The
ground being yet very damp, we were compelled to seek an open space in
which to make our bed, and a quantity of brush and leaves on which to
make it, so that our bedding should not get damp or muddy. A suitable
hiding-place having been found, we collected leaves and brush from the
adjacent woods, and made our bed on them, and retired to sleep for the
day. We went about a mile from the road before locating our camp. It
was further than may have been necessary, as the road was not a very
public one, judging from appearances, and the country was very sparsely

Some time in the evening we awoke and got up, finding the sky clear,
and the weather mild for the time of year. We found we had not stopped
convenient to water, but on looking around a little we found water not
far off sufficient for our needs. As we had no use for fire we built
none, but made a meal on parched corn and beef, and quietly awaited
the approach of night. The evening was spent in conversation, dwelling
chiefly on our trip, past and prospective. We talked of things that
had taken place, which, if we had them to do over again, we should do
differently; of some fork of the road or cross-road, where, if we were
only there again, we would take a different course. Sometimes we would
imagine certain things to happen us, and decide in our minds what we
should do, should the event actually transpire. Our minds seemed always
occupied, either with thoughts and reflections on the journey, so far
as completed, or with plans and expedients for the journey yet before

At dark our luggage was fitted up in readiness for starting out on the
twelfth night of our travels, being the thirteenth night out. In a half
hour's time we were on the road, wending our way northward. We found
the road had improved under the day's sunshine, and we were enabled to
make better progress than we had made on the previous night. On coming
to a cross-road near midnight we stopped a few minutes to eat a little
and consult as to the course to take, north or west. It was evident
that, no matter which course we took, we should soon reach the first
ranges of the Alleghany Mountains. As we had previously determined
to travel in day-time across the ridges, gorges, valleys, and barren
wastes of those mountains, we thought we would turn west and reverse,
as soon as possible, the order of our times of sleep and travel,
sleeping at night and traveling in day-time. We accordingly turned our
faces to the west. By so doing we did not reach the mountains as soon
as we should have done had we continued in the northward course.

We spent another night and day, March 3, 1864, in the valley between
the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains. Nothing deserving of particular
notice transpired during that day. An hour or more before day, on the
early morning of March 4th, we came to a considerable stream, washing
the base of one of the principal ridges of the Alleghanies. We had
been traveling the greater part of the night over a very rough and
hilly road, and were getting tired and sleepy. As we expected to begin
traveling in day-time over the mountains on the day then approaching,
in accordance with our previous programme, we determined not to cross
the stream that night, or morning rather, and followed the road back
a short distance to where the woods bordered it on the south. We then
left the road and entered the woods, going in a south-east course a
little more than a half mile. In a spot surrounded by small trees and
bushes, where the surface of the ground was covered with rock large and
small, we halted for the day, March 4th. We cleared the rocks from a
small space, sufficiently large for our bed. We then made it and went
to rest for a few hours.



Near nine o'clock, A. M., March 4th, we were awakened by the rumbling
noise of a wagon running over a rough and stony road not far to the
east of us. We supposed this road intersected the one we had been
traveling during the night, but we had not noticed the point of
intersection. On finding we were near a road upon which persons would
be passing during the day Smith cautiously ventured in the direction
of the road to a cluster of cedar bushes, from which, while concealed
from observation, he could see any one passing. Soon another wagon
was heard coming down the road. Smith watched in the bushes until the
wagon passed, when he returned to us, reporting that the wagon was a
common army wagon, and that the driver had on a blue overcoat. "Can
it be," said Smith, "that Averill's cavalry are on a raid through
here?" As we knew the Confederates wore blue coats whenever they got
possession of them we did not comfort ourselves with the hope that
Union troopers were in the vicinity. We rather concluded there was a
squad of Confederate military in the neighborhood, and thought best to
look about us a little.

Smith, having been out east of us and taken a survey of the road
and adjacent woods, thought he would take a look to the south and
south-west of us. Keeping under cover of the brush as much as possible,
he went out south of us, intending to be gone only a few minutes.
Fully a half hour passed and Smith had not returned, and, finally, we
suspected something wrong, and quietly, though quickly, folded our
blankets and got ready for a "skedaddle." We did not, however, intend
changing our location before Smith returned, or until it was certain
he would not return at all, unless somebody else came upon us in our
present retreat. We had but a few minutes to wait before we saw Smith
approach from the south in a brisk, though cautious walk.

"What does this mean?" asked Smith, on noticing we had torn up camp,
and were looking as though we were about ready to fly.

"It means that we had given you up as lost or captured," answered

"Well," said Smith, "I think it will be policy for us to shift from
this place."

"We have been in momentary expectation of a summons to surrender,"
added Trippe.

Smith had gone south of our camp but little more than a quarter of a
mile. He was bearing considerably to the west, when he noticed to his
right, and just beyond a bluff or ledge, a smoke curling upward. Not
hearing or seeing any one, he walked up to the edge of the bluff and
looked over and saw a woman engaged in boiling sugar-water. As he was
endeavoring to gain the shelter of the bushes the woman noticed him
shying off and asked, "What are you afeared of?"

"O nothing; only I was afraid you would be scared if you saw me,"
answered Smith.

While conversing briefly with the woman Smith found she thought it
nothing strange to have met a man dressed in blue. Just as he was on
the point of asking if there were Federal soldiers near he happened to
see four or five men approaching a log cabin, which was situated in the
center of a cleared space of ground. Two of the men were dressed in
blue; the others were clad in butternut. The cabin was quite a quarter
of a mile distant to the south-west. Smith observed to the woman,
"There is a company of soldiers not far from your house."

This remark was made in such a tone and manner as led the woman to
believe that Smith was acquainted in the vicinity. As it was also half
inquisitive, the woman answered that there was a company of soldiers
not far off, and asked, "An't you one of 'em?"

Having gained the information desired, and seeing the opportunity of
deceiving the woman, Smith replied, "Of course I am."

"Well," said the woman, "I thought it curious if you wasn't."

"O, yes," returned Smith, "I'm a soldier."

As there was a horse tied to a tree near the woman having a man's
saddle on it, Smith expected a man--perhaps a soldier--would be there
presently, and started off, observing as he left, "Well, I must go back
to camp."

On leaving the woman, Smith went in a direction contrary to that
which he expected to take on getting out of her sight. He soon after
approached our hiding-place from the south, as before mentioned. On
hearing Smith's narration of facts, as given above, we gathered our
things and started eastward. On reaching the road on which the wagons
had passed, we walked backward across it. We went through the woods
some distance further east, and then we turned north. We soon came to
the road over which we had passed during the night, and crossed it,
walking backward. We continued in a northern direction until we had
gone something more than a mile from the road, and had reached heavy
woods with a thick bushy undergrowth, in which we halted for awhile.
After a few moments' rest and consultation, we retraced our steps a
short distance to a branch we had crossed, and in it we washed our
hands and faces. We then eat the last of our provisions, and had
nothing left to carry with us to subsist on.

Near three o'clock, P. M., having got every thing ready, we started on
our travels in daylight, in accordance with previous arrangement. We
made our way through the woods and brush with some difficulty, in a
western direction, until we had gone about a mile, when we noticed an
opening not far to our left, where the timber had been cleared away. We
approached this cleared land, in order to avoid the thickets of brush.
On reaching it, we saw a small log cabin in the edge of the woods, on
the opposite side of it. As we saw no one, we went along near the brush
and woods, going toward the stream we had encountered at day-break,
before we had found our place of refuge for the day. When within two
hundred yards of the stream, having gained a point directly north of
the cabin, we looked toward it, and saw a woman standing near its
south-west corner. As she was not looking at us, we judged she had not
noticed us, and as she was almost half a mile distant, we deemed it
unnecessary to change our course on her account. On reaching the bank
of the stream, and before going down to the water's brink, we again
looked toward the cabin, and saw that the woman was just disappearing.
Almost at the same instant we heard the loud, shrill, blast of a horn
or bugle. Not knowing for what purpose the bugle had been sounded, we
thought it boded us no good at least. When we reached the margin of the
stream we removed the shoes and socks from our feet, then putting our
shoes on, we waded the stream. Wood and Trippe had reached the opposite
bank, and Smith, Sutherland, and I were nearing it, when looking to
our left we saw a man on horseback coming down the road that passed
between the stream and the ridge of the mountain. He came toward us
rapidly until he saw us plainly, when he wheeled suddenly about, and
dashed back up the road with great speed. He was bare-headed, and when
he turned about in the road, displaying his long locks of hair, and
the cape of his overcoat, with its brass buttons glistening in the
sunlight, we at once realized our situation, and the necessity of
getting away from there as quickly as we could. We took time, however,
to put on our dry socks; then putting our shoes on, and lacing them
securely, we left the bank of the stream and the road directly in our
rear, and pushed up the mountain-side as rapidly as the nature of the
ground would permit.

The ridge near its base was thickly covered over with pine and cedar
bushes, but as we neared its summit, the bushes were more scattering.
The side of the ridge was covered over with rocks, large and small,
and it was impossible to make a footprint on its stony surface. Near
the top of the ridge, and on its summit, were innumerable rocks of
large and massive size. Trippe having been recaptured once and sent
back to prison, was determined to avoid, if possible, the recurrence
of an event fraught with such calamitous consequences. On the first
appearance of danger he had hurried his preparations for leaving the
stream, and had started out in advance of the other four of us. We
only aimed to keep Trippe in view, and allow the distance between him
and ourselves to grow no greater. Trippe was within two hundred yards
of the summit of the ridge when he stopped to rest. As soon as we saw
he had halted, we did the same, although we were not much wearied.
But we wished to husband our strength as much as possible, knowing
we should be hunted and pursued. Smith, Sutherland, Wood, and I kept
near together, that we might consult each other as we hurried forward,
for we recognized the value and importance of concerted action in the
expected emergency.

We had rested a very few minutes when we looked up the mountain and
saw Trippe hurrying to the top of it. Supposing from his extraordinary
exertions that he had seen pursuers from his more elevated position,
we cast a glance below us. At first glance we saw no one, but thought
we could see the tops of the bushes moving near the base of the ridge.
We watched for a moment only, and then saw five or six bare-headed
Butternut gentry appear in sight, as they emerged from the bushes,
about two hundred yards below us. They had guns, with bayonets
attached, but were minus their cartridge-boxes. We pushed ahead at a
moderate run for the top of the mountain, occasionally looking behind
us to see if the Rebels were gaining on us. On reaching the summit of
the ridge we followed it, as Trippe had, in a north-eastern direction.
Soon we came to a deep chasm, or gorge, through the top of the
mountain. On the sides of this chasm were many large rocks, and a few
scattering trees or bushes. Should our pursuers fire on us, we thought
we could make it very difficult for them to hit us, by constantly
dodging about, and disappearing behind the huge rocks.

As Smith, Sutherland, Wood, and I were going down the south side
of the chasm, Trippe was hurrying with might and main up its north
side. Just as our pursuers reached the chasm, on its south side, we
gained the top of the ridge on the north of it. Should the Rebels all
commence to cross the chasm at once, we should be out of sight before
they got over; so they divided their squad, two remaining to watch our
movements, while the others crossed in pursuit of us. Just as we had
gained the top of the ridge north of the gorge, the two Rebels on the
south side of it cried out, "Halt! halt! you d--d Yankees, you, or
we'll shoot you." Having little fears of bullets at such long range,
and feeling sure they had but one round of ammunition with them, we
paid no attention to their threats. No shots were fired at us, but
threats to shoot were repeated as long as we were in hearing.

Although we had hurried considerably, we discovered Trippe was out of
sight, and we increased our speed, as much to get a view of him as
to gain on our pursuers. We had gone but a few yards after so doing
before we came to Trippe lying on the ground, near a large crevice
or opening in a huge rock. He was completely exhausted, and unable
to speak or make himself understood. We scarcely halted on reaching
Trippe, as three or four of the Confederates had gained the top of the
ridge north of the gorge, and were yelling at us to halt and surrender.
They were not more than a hundred yards distant, but many rocks of
huge proportions intervened between them and ourselves. Trippe at this
moment motioned to us with both arms, and then began crawling into the
opening in the rock near him. What he wished us to do we did not know,
and had no opportunity of ascertaining, as we were obliged to flee for
our own safety. He attempted to speak but could not.

We left Trippe to his fate, and hurried on without stopping, until we
were entirely out of hearing of the Rebels. When we were beyond the
immediate reach of the enemy, it was a question with us whether we
should pause for a few moments, to see if Trippe had escaped their
notice, or push ahead. We halted and listened for a few minutes, but
heard nothing. We concluded the enemy had found Trippe, and were now
looking among the rocks for us, and determined to push forward. We kept
on the top of the ridge for the distance of nearly two miles, when we
came to a gorge leading down the western slope of the mountain into the
valley. We followed down this gorge until we were fully half-way to
the valley. In a place entirely surrounded by cedar bushes, we halted
to rest. The sides of the gorge were high and rugged, and huge rocks
projected from them, and hung almost directly over our heads. No sound
fell upon our ears; not even of the wind gently blowing, or of running
water's low murmur. It was truly a place of solitude. The unfortunate
event of the evening, the loss of our comrade, made it doubly sad
and solitary to us. As we had made very few, if any, foot-prints, we
knew the enemy could not easily trace us; and though sorrowing and
dejected in spirit, we felt safe in the loneliness and seclusion of
the place. We felt deeply the loss we had sustained in our separation
from Trippe, as we had hitherto deferred to him in all the straits and
critical situations in which we had been placed. It was the second time
he had been recaptured--if really recaptured this time--and foiled in
his attempts to escape prison, and on that account we felt sorry for
him. We called to mind the reluctance manifested by him to starting
with us on the trip to the lines; also his great discouragement when
he came across the citizen in the woods, about ten days previously.
We conjectured the Rebels had certainly found Trippe. We conjectured,
too, that Trippe, in motioning to us, had intended to be understood as
directing us to hide, as he was doing; that the Rebels would question
him as to where the rest of us were, and that he would answer that we
were hid among the rocks somewhere near; that they would look for us,
and, failing to find us, would accuse him of deceiving and delaying
them in their pursuit of us until we were out of reach. Taking this
view of the matter we feared the Rebels would become exasperated at
Trippe, and would treat him cruelly, if they did not murder him.
Whatever the result of the fray might have been to Trippe, we knew we
were yet free. Knowing it was entirely beyond our power to rescue or
protect him, we sadly realized the extent of our loss, and began to
look out again for ourselves.

To this date, February, 1870, I have never heard either from or of
Trippe, and know nothing as to his fate. He was about thirty-four
years of age, was a man of good judgment, and possessed many excellent
qualities of mind and heart. I think he had been at one time Orderly
Sergeant of his Company, Company H, 15th United States Infantry. He
enlisted at Columbus, Ohio, in the year 1861. He was never married.



We rested in the gorge for the space of half an hour. Soon after
leaving it we reached the valley. We crossed the valley, and
immediately began the ascent of another ridge, and on gaining its
summit we could see a town in the distance to the west of us. We
ascertained, late in the day, that the town was New Castle, Craig
county, Virginia. We went down the mountain-side into another valley,
and then changed our course, and followed up the valley in a direction
a little east of north. In passing through a dense thicket we came to
a dilapidated rail-fence. We crossed the fence, and soon emerged from
the thicket into more open ground. We were bearing considerably to the
east, following around the thicket, when we suddenly came upon a hut.
Three or four children were at play near the door. They saw us and ran
into the house immediately, when two women appeared at the door and
gazed at us in apparent amazement. As it was growing late, the sun
having gone down, we knew the women could bring no harm upon us, and we
approached the humble dwelling and entered it without waiting for an
invitation. We took seats, and opened the conversation by telling the
women to set before us, on the table, what they had cooked, as we were
hungry, and had nothing to eat. The women complied, setting out a few
slices of cold boiled meat, a couple of corn-dodgers, and four bowls
of milk. We sat around the table and eat all that had been placed upon
it. After eating we told the women that was the first milk, with one
exception, we had drank for many months, and that was the first bread
we had eaten for two days.

The women seemed very much astonished, and inquired who we were, and
where we were from. We told them we had been prisoners at Danville,
Virginia, and were now trying to make our way through the mountains to
the Union lines. They then apologized to us for the scantiness of the
meal they had given us, saying they thought we were Confederate guards
from New Castle. We also apologized to them for ordering them, in so
abrupt a manner, to set out supper for us, saying we thought they were
"Secesh." The women then called for "Jim" to come out from under the
bed. "Jim" immediately came forth. On our approach he had hid under
the bed, thinking we were Confederate home guards. Jim was a deserter
from Buckner's army in East Tennessee. We told these Unionists of the
event of the afternoon; of our being pursued, and of losing one of our
number in our flight. They seemed to manifest much anxiety on account
of the lost one, and asked us many questions concerning him.

We inquired if there was any good Union man living in the valley of
whom we could procure provisions to carry with us. We were told that
"Jeemes" Huffman lived four miles up the branch, and could furnish us
with provisions. A path was pointed out to us that led up to Huffman's
house. Just at dusk we bid our Union friends "good evening" and set
out, intending to give Huffman a call. About half the distance had been
gone over when darkness fully set in. After dark our progress was much
slower in following the strange and devious pathway. Near nine o'clock,
P. M., we saw the light of a fire, shining dimly through Huffman's
window. We crossed a fence and followed the path a short distance up
the mountain-side to the house. The door was standing open, and we
entered and stood before Huffman and his wife. They were not a little
surprised, and seemed doubtful as to the manner in which they should
treat us. We were soon seated before the fire, however, and began to
acquaint Huffman with our condition and necessities. Having heard with
interest our narrative of the facts in our case the woman asked if we
would have supper. We answered in the affirmative, and she went to
work, and by ten o'clock, P. M., we sat down to a table bountifully
supplied with food.

While eating we learned from Huffman that he lived two and a half miles
from New Castle, Craig county. We learned, also, that the home guards
at New Castle searched the premises of the mountaineers every two weeks
for deserters from the Confederate army. When we first entered the
house Huffman supposed we were home guards from New Castle, and the
hesitancy on his part to avow, at first, his Union sentiments, was the
result. Huffman said it had been two weeks since his house had been
searched, and he was in hourly expectation of the guards. As Huffman
was engaged in shelling corn, we asked of him the privilege of shelling
a few ears to carry with us to eat on the morrow. This favor was
readily granted, and some three or four dozens of Irish potatoes were
also furnished us.

Near eleven o'clock on that night of March 4th we were ready to set
out again on our travels. Huffman gave us directions how to get across
Craig's Creek, and how to avoid a certain house, which he described,
where a Rebel family lived, and where the home guards sometimes
stopped, when out on their semi-monthly rounds. After bidding Huffman
and his wife good-night, we left them, and followed, as well as we
could, the directions we had received. It had become very dark and
cloudy, and before we reached Craig's Creek it began raining, and we
found it impossible to follow the directions Huffman had given us. But
we pushed on in the darkness, and in the course of an hour we reached
the stream. We found we were considerably off the track, having missed
the crossing Huffman had described. We spent half an hour or more in
wandering up and down the creek, looking carefully for the crossing,
but failed to find it. We spent another half hour in procuring a stout
staff, or stick, apiece, to be used in the stream while wading it.
Having supplied ourselves, we plunged into the waters of the creek,
steadying ourselves against the swift current with our sticks as best
we could.

It was very dark, and the rain continued falling. To add to the
difficulty of crossing, we found that the bed or bottom of the creek
was very treacherous, being full of rocks and holes. We found the water
very cold, and the current strong and swift. We stumbled often, and
came near falling into the water, but finally got safely across, with a
thorough and cold wetting. All our clothing was wet, and dripping with
water, as we stood upon the bank. We took off our blouses and wrung the
water from them. After re-arranging our things, we set out again in a
northern direction, following up the valley. We found it necessary to
walk briskly before morning, in order to excite warmth of body to dry
our clothing. As we had not crossed the creek at the point where we had
expected to do so, we had avoided the house which was the rendezvous
of the Rebel guards. A road was soon reached, on which we walked with
much energy, and the clothing next our bodies soon became dry of the
dampening effects of the plunging and stumbling in Craig's Creek.
Daylight having broke upon us, we began looking for a hiding-place.
Owing to the ill luck attending our first day's travel, we were induced
to fall back on the old plan of lying by in day-time. As there were
home guards in the country, we thought we should feel safer in trusting
ourselves to the friendly shelter of the woods during the day.

Day-break found us on the road where it passed between two high ridges
of mountains. There was no alternative but to hide far up in the side
of the ridge east of the road. We began the ascent of the ridge, and
were not long in gaining its summit; and on its eastern slope we halted
for the day, among the huge rocks. In a short time we cleared a space
sufficiently large for our bed. Our bedding was a little damp; but as
we had lost much sleep in the last twenty hours, that circumstance did
not hinder us from sleeping soundly. We slept until late in the day,
when we made a fire preparatory to parching corn and roasting potatoes.
We eat as much as we wished of the potatoes and corn, and finding we
did not much relish such fare, since the excellent though late supper
at Huffman's the night before, we determined to have something better
to eat the next day, if possible. We resolved that the first house
we came to, after setting out, should be the scene of an attempt, at
least, to get some provisions. The time of starting having arrived,
and all being in readiness, we crossed the summit of the ridge and
descended to the road in the valley. We walked leisurely along the
road, not wishing to reach the first house too early in the night. Near
nine o'clock we came to a house on our left, a short distance from us.
We heard music as we halted, and questioned the propriety of entering
the house; but finally concluded not to forego our resolution to try
our hand at procuring supplies. We crossed the rail-fence a few steps
from the house, and went to the door. We opened the door, entered the
house, and took seats without waiting to be asked to do so. Four or
five children were seated before the fire. The oldest, a boy about
fifteen years old, had been playing the violin. As we entered the house
the mother of the children stepped out the back door, but did not close
it entirely. The mother held the door slightly open, and listened to
what we had to say to the children. On finding we talked kindly, she
came into the room, and then we made known the object of our call at
such a time. The woman represented herself as being very poor, with
a sick husband and five children to provide for. She pointed to the
bed in the corner in which her husband lay. On looking, we saw the
unfortunate man, and conversed with him. We learned he had lost his
health while serving in the Confederate army under Buckner. On account
of disability, he had been discharged from service, and allowed to
return to his family. He now belonged to a home guard company. In the
course of the conversation, the sick man claimed he was really a Union
man, but had been obliged to yield to the pressure of public opinion,
and had been conscripted into the army. He now belonged to the home
guards, to keep from being again sent to the front. He said he would
gladly give us something to eat, but as it was beyond his ability to do
so, he could only direct us to a man who could provide for us. After
giving us particular directions how we should find the home of William
Paxton, he said no more. We bade the sick man and family "good-night,"
and left the house. Before we had reached the fence, one of the
children opening the door called out to us to wait a minute. We waited,
and the boy brought us one corn-dodger. Taking it, we expressed our
thanks, and went on our way.

On getting some distance from the house, we debated as to the propriety
of seeking Paxton's aid. We feared Paxton was a Rebel. It seemed
strange that a late follower of Buckner, and a Confederate home guard,
should give directions to escaping Federals; but as he had given us
bread from his limited supply and had told us just how to avoid and get
around a certain house where Confederate guards often met, we concluded
to follow his directions, if possible, and if we found things as
represented, we would go to Paxton's.

It was seven miles to Paxton's house, which was situated on the road as
it passed over a mountain. After going some four miles on the road, we
came to the house where the Rebels congregated. It was near the road,
and lights shone from all the windows. We passed some distance south of
it, but near enough to hear the noise of revelry. At a point nearly
two miles west of this house, we should have gone on the mountain;
but owing to the indistinctness of the road, and the darkness of the
night, we missed our way. When we found we were off the right track,
we retraced our steps for over a mile. As it was near morning we began
a careful search for the point where the mountain road led off to the
left from the other, and found it just at day-break. We could now do
nothing but look out for a hiding-place for the day, Sunday, March 6th.

According to the account of the sick man, we were hid but little more
than a mile from Paxton's abode. Our retreat for the day was close to
a spring, where we could wash and get water to drink. In the evening,
fearing ramblers would come to the spring, we moved further from it.
Having eaten our corn-dodger the preceding night, we were obliged to
resort for subsistence to the remnant of roasted potatoes and corn left
over from yesterday's fare. The day seemed long, but it wore away, and
we took up our line of march, near nine o'clock, P. M., for Paxton's
house. In less than two hour's time we came to a house answering the
description we had received. We passed through the gate in front and
approached the door. We rapped gently, and were invited by an old
man to come in. As we were being seated, one of our party asked the
old man if his name was Paxton. He answered that it was; and wished
to know how and where we had learned his name. We told him, and he
seemed much surprised, as our informant had been considered by him as
a disunionist. All had retired to sleep at Paxton's excepting himself.
We told him we wished something to eat, and he immediately called his
two daughters to get our supper for us. Paxton knew we were Federals,
and made no attempt to conceal his Union sentiments. While waiting
for supper, we conversed on war topics, on prison life, and our trip
since leaving prison. When supper was announced, we sat down to a
table bountifully supplied with food. While we were eating, an old man
stopped at Paxton's, who had been out from Fincastle, where he lived,
to take a woman to her home in the country. This new-comer did not seem
to notice us until we had finished supper and taken seats before the
fire. As I was sitting next him, he took hold of my pants at the knee,
and inquired rather roughly, "Where do you belong?" Not knowing what
answer to make, under the circumstances, to such a question, I merely
turned my head, and glanced at my three comrades, who in turn looked
immediately to the old man Paxton, who very quickly spoke up saying,
"They belong to the 22d, which you know is stationed at the bridge."
Paxton immediately added, "They have been home on furlough, their time
is up, and they are now on their way to the bridge." The old Fincastle
man seemed satisfied with Paxton's explanation. One of our party soon
after observed, as he was rising from his seat, "Well, boys, we must
be off now; we must put in an appearance at the bridge as soon as
possible." We then gathered our things and went out of the house. As we
passed out, Paxton was seating the Fincastle man at the supper table.
That done, he opened the door, and said to us, "Boys, you'll find it
cold traveling over the mountain to-night."

"Yes," said Wood, laughing, "but we'll only walk the faster and get to
the bridge sooner."

Paxton then came out, closing the door behind him. He told us the old
fellow at the supper table was a notorious Rebel. As Paxton wished to
get in the house as soon as possible, to attend to his Rebel guest,
thus keeping down suspicion, he told us where and how to find the house
of Robert Childs, who lived eleven miles from there. Childs, he said,
was a good Union man, and his wife was a true Union woman, who would be
glad to help us on our way. On getting over the mountain, and reaching
a point about seven miles from Paxton's, we were to turn to our right,
and go north four miles to another road, on which Childs lived.

We then set out anew on the night's travel. In two hours' time we had
traveled, as we thought, about seven miles, and we called at a house
and inquired of a negro how far we were from the road leading north to
the mill. We were told it was half a mile east of there; and without
delay we hastened back on the road a short distance, and began looking
carefully for the turning off place. We soon found it, and also found
much difficulty ahead of us. The road, it seemed, was a new one, having
been cut but recently through a heavy wood. We made slow progress;
we stumbled often over stumps and rocks. The moon was shining, but
its light scarcely reached our pathway, as the dense woods closely
hedged it in. We trudged slowly on, and reached Childs's Mill before
day-break. The mill was near the point where the road we had been
following intersected another running east and west. Although it was
not yet day, we concluded to call on Childs at his house, tell him our
wants, and ask him to show us where we could stop for the day and be

We halted opposite the house, and Sutherland went into the yard and
rapped at the door, but no answer came. He next attempted to raise
a window, but a woman's voice protested against it. Sutherland then
inquired if Childs was at home, and the woman answered that he was not.
The woman's tone of voice plainly indicated that she was considerably
frightened; so we determined to seek a hiding-place in the forest.
When we had found a suitable place, we made our bed and lay down on
it to sleep. Morning was faintly appearing when we lay down, and we
heard chickens crowing in the distance. In about two hours' time we
awoke, and found the sun shining brightly. We consulted briefly as to
what we should do, and determined that one of our party should go back
to Childs's house, to see if he had got home, and to get something to
eat, as we had brought nothing with us from Paxton's on account of the
presence of the Fincastle Rebel. Each of us was anxious to perform the
errand, and we drew cuts to see which of us should go upon it. It fell
to my lot, and I at once started.

As it was early in the morning, I encountered no persons upon the road.
On reaching the house I rapped moderately at the door. Mrs. Childs
first looked at me through the window, and then admitted me. I first
told her I was one of those who had called at the house before day. I
then asked her if her husband had got home. She answered that he had
not. I asked when she expected him. She answered that he would be at
home by ten o'clock in the day. She then inquired what business we
were on, and what we wanted with her husband. I told her we had been
prisoners of war at Danville, and had been trying for over two weeks to
make our way through the Confederacy to the Federal forces. I told her
of our stopping at Paxton's, and of his directing us to Robert Childs.
At this Mrs. Childs seemed surprised, and remarked that Paxton would
better be in other business than giving aid to Federals. Mrs. Childs
talked very much like a Rebel, and though I could hardly understand the
situation, I felt no uneasiness. After further talking I asked her if
she could furnish us something to eat. She said she supposed she could,
but wasn't in the habit of feeding roving squads of soldiers. She then
asked me to sit up to the table and eat with her; but I declined,
telling her if she would allow me to carry a dishful to the woods, and
share it with my comrades, I would be thankful. Mrs. Childs and her
children eat their breakfast, while I sat by keeping up the talk with
her. Shortly after finishing her meal, Mrs. Childs gathered what she
had left on a large dish and gave it to me. I thanked her, and told
her there must be a mistake somewhere, as we had found things very
different from what Paxton had represented.

"Paxton don't know every thing," said Mrs. Childs.

"Time alone will settle the matter," said I. I told the woman where we
were hid, and asked her to send her husband to see us when he returned.
She answered that she would do so.

"If you will," said I, "we shall have a friendly talk with him, do him
no harm, and send your dish back to you."

I then returned to our retreat in the woods. On the way I felt, from
some cause, that Paxton was not mistaken in his opinion of Mrs. Childs,
and that some recent development had made necessary her avowal of
disunion sentiments. We found the provisions furnished by Mrs. Childs
very acceptable, whether she was a secessionist or not. After finishing
our meal we spent the time in conjecturing the cause of Mrs. Childs's
strange conduct, if she was really a Union woman. We became satisfied
that, for some reason yet to be explained, she had only pretended to be
a devotee of the Confederacy.

Near noon Robert Childs came to us in the woods. He approached us with
extreme caution, and looked as if he would rather not see us. We talked
with him an hour or more. During the whole conversation he upheld the
Confederacy. He could not imagine how Paxton got the impression he was
a Union man or a disloyal citizen. We asked Childs if he should take
any steps to recapture us. He replied that he would do nothing either
to help or hinder us. To this we replied, that we could ask no more
from a "Secesh." He started home when we gave him the dish, and told
him we were grateful to his wife and to him for what we had received
from them. We urged Childs to call on us again before night. He said he
would if he had time, and then went homeward.

Near four o'clock, P. M., he came out again to see us, and remained
with us until near sunset. The tenor of his conversation was the same
as in the morning. He had no word of encouragement to give us, and, of
course, offered us no assistance. It was growing late, and we began
getting ready to travel. We continued talking with Childs, however, and
Smith said to him,

"I suppose you haven't reported us, have you?"

"I've seen nobody to report to," he answered.

"Hasn't any one been to mill?" inquired Smith.

"O, one or two," answered Childs, "but they were in a hurry, and didn't
stay long?"

"You didn't say any thing about us, then?" asked Wood.

"I didn't say a word about you to any body," said Childs.

Sutherland then said, "I'll be switched if I don't believe he is a
Union man after all."

Childs manifesting some uneasiness, then said in an emphatic manner,
"Don't fool yourselves about that, boys."

Sutherland then asked, "Did you ever see or hear of any Yankee
prisoners escaping through here before?"

Childs said he had heard of a squad passing through about six weeks

"How many were there in the squad?" Smith inquired.

"Only two, I believe," was the reply.

"I'll bet," said Smith, "they were Davis and Tige; they left the
hospital about two months ago."

Childs seemed to evince unusual interest in this remark of Smith's.
Sutherland then said, "I wonder where Davis and Tige are by this time?"

"O, they've got through before now," I replied.

"Unless they've been caught and sent back," added Sutherland.

Childs then inquired rather anxiously who Davis and Tige were. We
told him who they were, where we had known them, and described them
particularly. Davis had been steward at the hospital near Danville, and
Tige had been a nurse. Childs then recanted his secession doctrines,
and confessed he was a Union man, and had harbored Davis and Tige for
three or four days. He also explained in full the reasons for his
conduct toward us in pretending to be a Rebel.

It seems the Confederate commander in that district--General Echols,
I think it was--had adopted a plan of ascertaining who were aiding
Federal prisoners in their efforts to escape. He had dressed small
squads of his men in tattered Federal uniforms, armed them with weapons
concealed about their persons, and had sent them over the country to
such persons as were suspected of Unionism; to whom they would apply
for food and other assistance in making their way to the Union lines.
These squads were called "bogus Yankees" by the Union people, who
learned to keep continually on the guard against falling victims to
their deceptive practices. Many true Union citizens of the South were
made prisoners by the "bogus Yankees," taken from their homes, and
imprisoned at Richmond, Atlanta, and other points, for many months.

Childs thought we were "bogus," and was glad enough to help us when
he found the contrary was true. Paxton had not yet learned of the
"bogus Yankees," and Childs had only been put on his guard a day or two
before by hearing of the arrest and carrying off in irons of one of his
Union friends, who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the
impostors. Childs said he would take it upon himself to go and see his
friend Paxton, and warn him of the danger of playing into false hands.
Robert Childs, in treating us as he had, only thought he was evading
arrest and a hopeless imprisonment. He first assured himself of our
genuineness; then, knowing our actual need of assistance, he did not
withhold it. It was purely accidental--perhaps Providential--that our
real character became known to Childs. The allusion to Davis and Tige
was the merest accident in the world, but proved sufficiently powerful
to dispel the mystery we had been unable to solve.

The day, March 7th, was drawing to its close. It was time for us to
resume our secret march. Before we set out Childs went to his house
and brought us enough provisions for one meal, which was all that we
required, as he then gave us particular directions as to how we should
find the house of David Hepler, another good Union man, only eight
miles away. We then parted with Childs, who had so recently proved our
friend, in a better mood than we had anticipated an hour before. We
were sorry we could remain no longer with him after he had found us
also true, and of the number in whom he could confide.



It was near sunset when we separated from Childs. Just before dark we
felt uncertain as to whether we had not got off the route to Hepler's.
As there was a house a short distance to our left, we concluded to
inquire the way, as we preferred risking a little to getting bewildered
in the darkness. We found one young woman and two older ones at the
house. On seeing us they seemed badly scared, and were about to forsake
their dwelling as we entered it, leaving us in full possession. After
some entreaty on our part, the young woman came in cautiously and
deferentially, and was followed by the older ones. Our inquiries were
principally addressed to the young woman, the older ones standing near
gazing in mute astonishment. In the course of the talk we had occasion
to acknowledge that we were Yankees, when one of the old women blurted
out, "I'd say! I thought they had horns."

"We do have, sometimes," said Wood, "but not lately."

On gaining the information desired, we resumed our journey. By eight
o'clock we had traversed the rough, broken country lying between
Childs's and Hepler's house. We found Hepler on the look out for false
Unionists; but as Childs had told us Davis and Tige had been befriended
by him--Hepler--we found no difficulty in proving our genuineness to
him. Near nine o'clock we took supper at Hepler's table, and after
a two hours' talk, we were comfortably lodged in his house. After
breakfasting the next morning, having got ready to set forth again on
our journey, we bade Hepler's family adieu, and he conducted us to
the top of a lofty range of mountains, at the base of which his house
stood. Having reached the highest elevation in the mountain, Hepler
pointed out to us another range upon which the home of William Lewis
was situated. The exact locality of Lewis's house was pointed out,
although we could scarcely see it, and were eight and a half miles
distant. Hepler told us we could go to Lewis's in day-time without much
risk, but it would be impossible for strangers to go over the route
by night. He also informed us that it was probable we could get Lewis
to guide us a portion of, if not all, the way to the Federal lines.
On hearing some further instructions to enable us to find our way
more easily, we bade our friend adieu, and left him. It was fully ten
o'clock in the day when we set out on our journey to Lewis's house.
We crossed two ridges, as many valleys, and many small rivulets of
the mountains before reaching our objective point. On commencing the
ascent of a third ridge, we found a path of which Hepler had spoken.
We then knew we were on the ridge upon which we would find the house of
a friend. We took the path as a guide, and followed its devious course.
When little more than half-way up the mountain side we met two men and
a woman and child. The men were on foot. The woman, with her child
in her arms, was on horseback. The largest man was carefully leading
the horse down the mountain path. No word was spoken at this meeting,
each party maintaining silence and casting suspicious glances at the
other. Soon after we gained the top of the ridge, and came in sight
of Lewis's house, situated in a bowl-shaped depression in the top of
the mountain. We did not wish to go to the house while it was yet day,
for fear of finding some Secessionist there, and thus placing Lewis as
well as ourselves in an embarrassing situation. We went aside from the
path nearly two hundred yards, and hid in the brush. We found we had
stopped in a place from which we could watch the house. Our position
also commanded a view of the path we had just left, and of persons that
might pass upon it.

It was near four o'clock, P. M., when we halted. We kept our eyes at
intervals on the house and its immediate surroundings, but saw no
person during the evening. One dog, a calf, and a few chickens, were
the only living objects visible. The doors of the house were closed,
and we concluded Lewis and his family had gone from home; but as smoke
was issuing from the chimney, we hoped they would return by dark. We
feared the man we had met leading the horse was Lewis with his family,
going with a friend to make a visit. If so, we should be delayed, we
thought, in our journey, and be compelled to push on without seeing
him. We decided to wait until dark in our hiding-place, and see if
Lewis would return. Just after sunset the man we had met on the
mountain, leading the horse, went along the path to Lewis's premises.
He was leading a horse, and was accompanied by two other men, each
leading horses. They first put their horses in the stable and fed
them. They then chopped some wood at the wood-pile and carried it to
the house. Darkness came on, and we saw sparks flying from the chimney
top. Feelings of joyous gratitude heaved our bosoms as we felt certain
we should soon meet Lewis and enjoy the company and consolations
of a native thorough-bred Union man. We were destined to meet with
disappointment, however, and to experience difficulties from which a
mere allusion to Davis and Tige would not relieve us.

In less than an hour after dark we left our position in the thicket and
went to the house. We knocked three times before we were told to come
in. With a show of reluctance on the part of the three men, we were
furnished seats near the fire. Wood, addressing the largest of the men,
asked, "Your name is Lewis, I suppose?"

"No, but Lewis is a brother-in-law of mine," was the answer.

"Well, this is Lewis's house, is it?" Wood asked. "We were told it was."

"Where is Lewis?" inquired Sutherland.

"I don't know," said the man, "he hasn't been at home for several days."

"What's your name?" continued Sutherland.

"My name is Hepler."

"Are you akin to David Hepler?" Sutherland asked.

"Yes, David Hepler is my father," replied the man, at the same time
turning very pale.

Judging Hepler was fearful some great calamity had befallen his father
through the agency of "bogus Yankees," I said, "You think we are
Rebels," and Smith immediately added, "We have not harmed a hair of
your father's head."

We assured Hepler we were real Union soldiers, honestly endeavoring to
make our way from prison to our lines.

"I don't know so well about that," said Hepler, "but as for myself, I
belong to the Confederate army."

We then told him we knew he belonged to the Confederate army, and knew,
too, that he was a Union man, having been informed of those facts
by his father. David Hepler had told us how his son, in the earlier
months of the war, had hid himself among the rocks and caverns of the
mountains for more than eighteen months, and how at last he was caught
by the Rebels and conscripted into the army.

We spent some time, two hours at least, in trying to convince young
Hepler we were not "bogus," but all in vain. He said he knew what he
was, and supposed we knew what we were, and was going to have nothing
to do with Federal prisoners, unless it would be to catch them and take
them to Jim Crow's. As he spoke thus he directed our attention to a
stack of guns in the corner.

"There's as many of us as there is of you," suggested Wood, "when it
comes to that."

"Jim Crow's" was a small town a few miles distant, as we afterward

We became satisfied that our efforts to procure assistance, or
derive information from young Hepler and his associates would prove
unavailing, as they refused to answer our questions as to the roads,
the streams, or the nature of the country west and north of us, and
refused us the shelter of the house until morning. We, however,
understood the situation perfectly, knowing that the only difficulty
with us was our inability to furnish satisfactory proof of our
genuineness as real "Yankees." Hepler having been absent in the
service, knew nothing of Davis and Tige, or of the aid his father had
rendered them, and our telling him of them was of no avail. We could
not establish our character as escaping Federals to the satisfaction of
those who, we knew, would have been our friends could we have done so,
but were compelled to leave them under the impression we were really
soldiers of the Confederacy.

Near eleven o'clock that night, March 8th, we left the house of
Lewis not a little discomfited. Where we had expected assistance and
encouragement we met only with disappointment and defeat. We felt our
defeat more keenly in consequence of the certainty we felt that Hepler
and his associates would have been quite willing, even anxious, to
aid us on our way had they been assured beyond a doubt as to our real

[Illustration: "TROUBLE AT LEWIS'S HOUSE."--PAGE 93.]

After we had gone out of the house we halted at the fence, a few steps
from the door, and consulted briefly as to the course to pursue. Our
situation was critical in the extreme. We were in Alleghany county, in
the midst of the rugged and barren mountains, where the country was
thinly inhabited. We had no supplies with us, as we had left David
Hepler's expecting to get food at Lewis's. We soon determined to return
to David Hepler's, tell him of the situation at Lewis's house, and see
if he could give us other directions to follow. Smith suggested that
young Hepler might be willing to go with us to his father if we should
wait until morning. Smith called to him to come out, saying, "We wish
to talk with you."

Hepler did not come out; but on being called the third time he came to
the door and said, "Kill me in the house if you want to; I sha'n't come
out there to be killed."

We were trying to assure him that we would do him no harm when he
closed the door in our faces and barred it. We then started away from
the house, going about a mile east of it. Near the mountain top we
halted until daylight of March 9th. The sky was overcast with clouds,
threatening rain, when we stopped, and we felt very much disheartened.
Our hopes were exultant before going to Lewis's house. We expected
to get assistance there, and possibly a guide to conduct us on our
way; but all had failed. We felt we had been turned empty away from
the house of a friend, and Nature it seemed was about to frown on
us. We came near regretting the start we had made from prison. One
consolation, however, was left us; if there was any change in our
prospects it would be for the better.

We made preparations for sleep, but there was little sleep for us that
night. Before day rain commenced falling, and we were obliged to fold
our blankets, to keep them as dry as possible. We leaned against trees,
and so disposed our coats over our shoulders as to shed most of the
rain off until daylight. As soon as we could see our way plainly we set
out on our return to David Hepler's. We had a very disagreeable time
in walking over the mountains in a drenching rain shower. We reached
Hepler's just at twelve o'clock. We found him at home. He was very
much surprised, even astonished, at seeing us again. He even dreaded
to see us, as he at once concluded his time had come to surrender
himself a prisoner into the hands of sham Yankees, his country's worst
enemies. We soon explained to him the reason for our return, telling
him all that had transpired since separating from him the morning
before. He immediately conjectured that Lewis had fallen a victim to
"bogus Yankees," and said he would go to-morrow to see his son, with
whom we had met at Lewis's house, and ascertain what had become of him.
After taking dinner with Hepler's family we went some distance up the
mountain-side and hid ourselves among the rocks. The rain continued;
but we could not shelter under Hepler's roof, as it would not do,
either for Hepler or ourselves, to be found there by Rebel citizens.
Near night our suppers were brought to us by Hepler. Soon after dark
we took refuge from the storm in a small log hut near the road, which
passed through Hepler's premises. Early in the morning of March 10th
we breakfasted at Hepler's table, and soon after hid for the day among
the rocks of the mountains. At noon our dinner was brought to us by
Hepler's wife and daughter.

At night Hepler brought our suppers out, and reported the information
he had received from his son concerning Lewis. As had been conjectured,
a squad of Confederates had called at Lewis's house, and solicited his
services as a guide to conduct them to the Union lines. As they were
dressed in blue, and represented themselves as Federal prisoners trying
to escape, Lewis consented to conduct them as far as Greenbrier River.
After the necessary preparations, he started with them from his house,
and, when only a few hundred yards away, these "bogus Yankees" suddenly
presented their revolvers and made him their prisoner. His captors
conducted him to White Sulphur Springs, and from that place he was
sent, in company with three or four others, under a strong guard, to

David Hepler's son was a brother-in-law of Lewis. At the time we were
at Lewis's house, young Hepler and those with him had come there to
get the household goods belonging to the family, intending to carry
them over the mountain on horses the next morning. It was young Hepler,
with Lewis's wife and child, accompanied by another person, that we had
met on the mountain. Mrs. Lewis and her child, and the plunder, were
moved to her father's house, to remain during her husband's captivity,
or longer if he died. Had young Hepler known we were not "bogus," and
not trying to deceive him, we could have had all the provisions we
desired when at Lewis's house, and could have been sheltered there
until morning. But, unhappily, we had been unable to convince him of
our honesty of purpose, and as he was determined to avoid the calamity
which had befallen his brother-in-law, he felt obliged to deny us all
"aid and comfort."

In the evening of March 10th the rain ceased and the weather became
cooler. On the morning of the 11th the mountains were covered with
snow. During the day the snow melted away, and the mountain streams
became swollen and almost impassable. While waiting for the waters to
subside, we mended our shoes and other clothing, and washed our shirts.
The pegs and other materials for cobbling were furnished by Hepler. We
parched a quantity of corn, to carry with us on going forth anew on our
journey. During our stay Hepler tried to procure a guide to conduct
us to the lines, but failed. One man whom he tried to enlist in our
behalf, although a good Union man, refused to have any thing to do with
us, alleging we would yet prove spurious. Hepler would have guided us
as far as the Greenbrier River, had not his aged parents, who were in a
feeble condition, been under his care.

On the morning of March 12th we took leave of Hepler and his family. In
our most cheerless hour of adversity we had found with them a harboring
place. They befriended us when we were encompassed by enemies and
suspected by friends. During the days of rain and snow, and swollen
streams, we incurred a debt we can not easily repay. We are under
lasting obligations to them. Having been provided with sufficient food
to last us two days, we set out for the lines afresh. Hepler could send
us to no one who could direct us on our way, and we went westward until
we came to Lewis's house. We reached it before three o'clock in the
evening. We watched in its vicinity for over an hour, and saw no one;
not even the dog, the calf, or smoke curling from the chimney, could
be seen as when we had watched it before. We went to it, and finding
the doors securely fastened, we judged there was something inside
worth looking after. We thought we might get a supply of provisions
that would partially compensate us for the disappointment of our first
visit to the house. We entered it through the window, and levied on
all we could find that would do to eat. A small sack nearly full of
meal, a cup of salt, a part of a ham of meat and a ham of venison, were
obtained as the fruits of our seizure. We got out of the house with our
commissary stores, taking an iron pot with us, and went west about a
mile into a gorge through which ran a small stream of water. Here we
halted, built a fire, and made mush by the quantity. After eating to
our satisfaction, we had enough left for breakfast the next morning. By
ten o'clock that night we had made our arrangements for a comfortable
sleep. We rested well.

With the first dawning of morning light on the 13th, Wood and
Sutherland returned to Lewis's house and got four case-knives, one for
each of our party, a file, and a tin cup. The file we thought would be
of use in loosening canoes or in opening smoke-houses as a last resort
in procuring food. We completed our preparations for the day's travel,
and were on our way shortly after sunrise. The country traversed was
very rough and mountainous, being little more than a barren waste. It
would have been impossible for us to have made our way over it in the
night-time. We saw no person during the day. When following high ridges
we occasionally saw huts and houses in the valley on either side below
us. Sometimes we could see smoke when the house or chimney from which
it came was concealed. Just after sunset we halted in a depression of
the ridge we had been following, prepared our suppers, and made ready
for the night's rest. As near as we could estimate, we had traveled
during the day about fourteen miles in a north-west course. The night
was passed in quiet sleep.

On the morning of the 14th we awoke before day. On getting up we
rebuilt our fire, and hastily prepared our breakfast. Soon after we
were equipped for our day's journey. We were in excellent spirits. We
could but contrast our feelings with those we had experienced in the
early morning, after our signal disappointment at Lewis's house. Then
we were discouraged and baffled, now we were cheerful and hopeful. The
sky was clear, the air was pure and bracing, and we made good progress.
We traveled quite fifteen miles in a direction a little north of west,
over the ridges, valleys, and streams of the mountain districts. At
night we halted in the valley, where water was convenient. After making
a fire, we spent an hour or more in preparing and eating our suppers.
Our sleep during the night was refreshing.

Before sunrise on the 15th we had finished our breakfast. Our
provisions were not yet exhausted, and there was no need of running
any risks in replenishing our stock. We traveled only about six
miles before discovering that the country became more open and more
thickly settled. It was prudent for us to go no further in day-time.
We accordingly looked about for a safe retreat for the residue of the
day. After finding a place in the woods in which we thought we could
trust ourselves, we devoted the greater part of the day to sleep, as
we expected to travel at night. Just at dark we were ready to move.
The first thing necessary on setting out was to find a road on which
to travel. Our journeyings of the past three days had been off the
roads, across mountains and valleys, in a rough, broken country, almost
inaccessible to travelers except on foot or on horseback. We found much
difficulty in finding a road that would lead us aright. We kept on the
move, however, taking care that our steps should be toward the goal we
wished to gain.

A little after midnight we halted, as the sky became cloudy, and we
could not see our way plainly before us. We went some distance north
of the last road we had been following, and made our bed in the woods.
Very soon after lying down we fell asleep. On waking up on the morning
of the 16th, we found the ground covered with snow. Getting up we
found the air very cool. We set about collecting suitable material
for building a fire, but on searching for our matches we found we had
lost them. As it was too cool for comfort without briskly exercising
ourselves, we determined to set out in a northern direction.

After getting our things in readiness we started through the woods. We
had proceeded but little more than a mile before we reached an open
space. In crossing it we noticed not far to our left, just beyond the
crest of a hill, a small log cabin. Smoke was issuing from the mud and
stick chimney and curling gently upward. After a moment's deliberation
we concluded we should hazard little in visiting the tenants of this
humble abode and warming at their fire. We did so, and found the two
women and one boy whom we found there to be friendly and disposed to
make us comfortable. While waiting half an hour for a warm breakfast
we learned we were in Greenbrier county, and within three miles of the
Greenbrier River. Having ascertained that the folks were Unionists, we
questioned them concerning the people in the surrounding country. We
learned that the Rebel element held sway and that the few Union people
were obliged to keep their sentiments to themselves.

Breakfast over, we set out again on our travels. Before leaving the
cabin we discovered that snow had commenced falling. We had not gone
far until the large flakes almost blinded us as they fell. We felt
certain no one would be out on such a wintery day, and we thought we
should incur but little risk in pushing forward to the river. Near ten
o'clock we reached it, and began looking up and down the bank for a
canoe in which to cross. After the snow had almost ceased falling, we
were passing through a sugar-camp and came suddenly to two women, who
were turning the troughs over. As they had seen us plainly, we being
within a few yards of them when we first noticed them, we did not try
to avoid them. We approached nearer the women, and one of our party
made some observation on the state of the weather, and Sutherland
added, "It's a bad day to be out." One of the women, smiling, answered,
"I'll guess you are out a good piece from home."

On being questioned further, we told the women who we were, where we
were from, and the point we were aiming to reach. They told us their
"men folks" were in the Kanawha Valley, which was within the Union
lines. We were not long in assuring ourselves that the women, as well
as their "men folks," were strong Unionists. We were invited to the
house. We accepted the invitation, and were soon seated before the
fire, where we remained for a few minutes. Just before noon the women
told us they were poor and unable to furnish us a meal, but Mrs. Mann,
who lived about a mile back from the river, was not only able, but
willing to keep us over until the following night, if we wished to stop
so long as that. The eldest woman had already gone to Mrs. Mann's to
see if any Secessionists were there. She soon returned, accompanied by
two of Mrs. Mann's little boys, who were to conduct us by an obscure
way to their mother's house. As no one was at Mrs. Mann's, we started
immediately to her house, her boys leading the way. These boys were
quite young--aged about nine and eleven years--but seemed to understand
perfectly the necessity of our keeping out of sight of the Rebels.

We arrived at the house of Mrs. Mann by one o'clock. A little after two
o'clock we took dinner. The dinner reminded us of the days gone by, and
made us think we were almost home again. After dinner we conversed at
length with Mrs. Mann and her family, treating mainly of the war as it
affected the Union people of the South. Mrs. Mann had been despoiled
of much property during the war by Confederates; and soon after the
breaking out of hostilities her husband had been arrested because he
would not forsake his Union principles. He had been imprisoned at
Richmond, where, after lingering a few months, he died.

In the evening a man was seen approaching the house. When he was near
enough to be recognized it was ascertained that he was a Rebel, and we
were sent upstairs forthwith, to remain there until he should leave. We
were detained nearly an hour upstairs, when the "Secesh" having taken
leave, we were permitted to come down, and were interrupted no more
that evening.

A little after dark we had supper. Soon after supper we began our
preparations for setting forth on our way, but Mrs. Mann urged us
to stop until the following night. As we were considerably worn and
fatigued, we decided, after a short consultation, to do so. We passed
the night of March 16th in Mrs. Mann's haymow. We could not stop in the
house for the reason that a Rebel doctor from Frankfort was expected
there that night to see a sick child. On the morning of the 17th,
after the doctor had gone, we returned to the house for breakfast, and
remained there during the day. When any one was seen coming we went
upstairs, being very careful not to leave any caps behind to excite

About four o'clock, P. M., a young man called at Mrs. Mann's, who
belonged to a Union family west of the river. He offered to conduct us,
after dark, to a man who would guide us some distance on our way, and
give us directions to follow which would lead us to Gauley River. We
eagerly accepted the offer. Our delay of twenty-four hours, it seemed,
was going to prove profitable. We had supper just at dark, and soon
after our preparations for the journey were complete. Our haversacks
were filled with food sufficient to last us two or three days. We
tendered our sincere thanks to Mrs. Mann and family for generous
treatment received, and bade them farewell.



Our volunteer guide mounted his horse and started to the ford, some
distance up the river, to cross it, while we were conducted to a point
below, where there was a canoe, by Mrs. Mann's two boys. On reaching
the river, and being told by the boys to fasten the canoe to the
opposite shore, we said "good-by" to them, and set about crossing.
In about twenty minutes, after running aground two or three times,
and being compelled to get out into the water to set the canoe afloat
again, we landed on the opposite bank. After securing the canoe, we
took our shoes and socks off, drained the water from our shoes and
wrung our socks dry. We then put on our socks and shoes, and laced the
latter securely, and hastened to join our guide at the point previously
agreed upon. We were soon on the way, our guide on horseback going some
distance in advance on the road. In little more than an hour we reached
the home of our guide. We waited close by for a few minutes while he
put his horse away. He then conducted us on foot to a point within a
mile of James Alderman's house, and then he returned homeward.

Following instructions we had received, we soon reached the house of
the man whose services as a guide we expected to secure to conduct us
on our journey. As we approached it the dogs set up a furious barking.
Mrs. Alderman soon succeeded in quieting the dogs, and we entered the
house. On seeing no one but the woman, we asked where Alderman was.
The woman said he wasn't at home, and she didn't know exactly where he
had gone. We made known our object in calling at such a late hour in
the night, it being near midnight. Mrs. Alderman was evidently alarmed
at our coming. She wished to know how we learned that Alderman lived
there. We told her a young man named Gillilan had piloted us to the
foot of the ridge, and directed us how to find the house. We told her
further that the young man had informed us her husband would conduct us
a portion of the way to the Union lines. The woman's fear seemed to be
allayed on hearing this, and she stepped out the door and called her
husband. Mr. Alderman soon made his appearance, but acted as if he was
not sure we were there on an honest errand. When his dogs commenced
barking he had hurried out of bed, and gone to the woods to secrete
himself--as he had often done before--from the Confederate guards, who
were on the watch for him to impress him into the service. Our business
was soon made known to Alderman, and he consented to conduct us as far
on our way as we could travel by four o'clock the next day.

It was after midnight when we made our bed on the floor of Alderman's
cabin, to rest until the light of the 18th dawned. By sunrise we had
breakfasted, and were on the way, Mr. Alderman going ahead of us
several steps. Alderman carried his flint-lock gun with him, saying he
"might shoot something before he got back." We suggested the risk in
traveling by daylight, but Alderman said he would take us over a route
where we would be seen by none but good Union people. By one o'clock
we reached a house where lived a family named Ramsey. We took dinner
with them. Shortly after two o'clock we set out again on the way. One
of the Ramseys gave us a letter to be left at a point twenty miles east
of Gauley Bridge, known as the Twenty-mile House. By four o'clock we
had reached the small stream called Cherry Run, where we halted under a
temporary shed which had been erected by hunters for shelter. We had no
matches, and Alderman struck fire with his knife from the flint of his
gun and kindled a fire for us. After receiving from Alderman particular
directions how to find his brother-in-law's house, on the north side of
Gauley River, he left us, saying he "must be at home by midnight."

We had traveled twenty miles, and had stopped for the night in a dense
forest, several miles from any house. In all directions from our
hiding-place the ground was deeply marked by narrow paths made by deer
going back and forth for water. We made our supper on the supplies
brought from Mrs. Mann's. We were in a place where we would not be
likely to be seen, and we kept our fire burning until late in the
night. Being surrounded by dense and darkening woods, with nothing to
break the almost perfect stillness of the night but the murmurs of the
little brook near us, we felt very lonely, more so than we had felt
before on our travels. By ten o'clock we were soundly sleeping.

We awoke at the break of day on the morning of March 19th. We
breakfasted early and were on the way by sunrise. We had only to follow
down Cherry Run to its mouth at Cranberry Creek, and then follow down
Cranberry Creek until we came to a road crossing it and running on its
west side to Gauley River. The ford on Cranberry Creek was reached
before three o'clock in the evening. We secreted ourselves in the
woods south of the road and east of the creek until after dark, when we
could travel the road in safety. The greater part of the evening was
passed in sleep. On waking we snatched a hasty meal, and made ready
for further travels. Soon after dark we were on the way. In due time
we were wading Cranberry Creek at the ford, having first taken off
our shoes and socks. We found the water very cool, and a little more
than ankle deep. As soon as we got on our socks and shoes we set out
on the road for Gauley River. The road led to a ferry on the Gauley,
near the mouth of Cranberry Creek. It lacked nearly two hours of
daylight when we reached the ferry. We went up Gauley River until we
came to Cranberry Creek. We then partially stripped ourselves and waded
Cranberry Creek to its east side. We found the water much deeper and
the current stronger than when we had crossed it early in the night.

After dressing ourselves, we went on up the river nearly a mile
further, and halted in the woods to await the dawn of day. We had not
long to wait. As soon as we could see our way we started on up the
river. Soon we noticed a smoke over the river, rising through the
woods, and a few more steps brought us to a point from which a house
could be seen. We gave two or three loud hallooes, and a man came out
of the house and toward the river. A few moments more and he was in
his canoe and half across the stream. As he neared the shore on which
we stood we asked, "Are you a brother-in-law to Alderman?" He said he
was, and we exclaimed, "All's right," with feelings of exultation. We
were soon set across, and the sun was just rising when we sat down to

After breakfast we went to the woods north of the house and hid away
for the day, March 20th. At noon we returned to the house for dinner.
Our host stood in the yard while we were eating, to notify us of the
approach of any one, so we might slip into the brush adjoining the yard
and hide. We were not molested, however, and after making arrangements
with our host--whose name we can not now recall--to furnish us at our
hiding-place enough food for two or three meals, we left the house.
Just at sunset, according to arrangement, we received supplies. Our
host informed us that his house was forty-eight miles east of Gauley
Bridge, and twelve miles from Summerville, the county seat of Nicholas
county. We were also told that the road leading from the ferry ran
down Gauley River, through Summerville, and by the Twenty Mile House,
to Gauley Bridge, where the nearest Union pickets were posted. Our
things having been put in readiness, we started out just at dark on
our travels. In a half hour's time we were upon the road, and making
reasonable progress in a western direction.

A little after midnight we reached the suburbs of Summerville. No
lights were anywhere to be seen. Every thing was still. We stopped
and listened carefully for a few moments, when, hearing nothing, we
advanced briskly through the town on the main road. We kept a keen
lookout on either side of us as we passed through the place. The town
seemed fully half burnt down. On reaching its western borders we again
halted and listened, but all was quiet as before. We supposed the place
might be, at least, a harboring place for scouts. On starting we pushed
forward rapidly, traveling four miles, if not more, by day-break.
During the last hours of the night the weather was quite cold, and the
early morning was frosty.

At daylight, on the morning of the 21st, the road was leading us
through an open country. Ahead of us, over a half mile distant, were
woods, through which the road passed. We intended halting for the
day as soon as we gained the shelter of the woods, and we pushed on
briskly. Just ahead of us, inside an inclosure and beyond a turn of
the road, were a few scattering trees. Among the trees were two or
three hay-stacks. After getting around the turn of the road, and just
as we were leaving the stacks in our rear, we discovered an aged man
pitching hay to his sheep. As he was staring at us, we accosted him
with, "How are you, old fellow?" The old gentleman was an Irishman,
and it was only with close attention we could understand what he said.
We luckily found him strong in his attachment to the Union, and too
old, as he said, to change his principles. He evinced much interest
in our welfare, and readily answered all our inquiries. He told us
it was only twenty-eight and a half miles to Gauley Bridge, and that
Captain Ramsey's Union Scouts were patrolling the country between that
place and Summerville on both sides of Gauley River. He assured us it
would be perfectly safe to travel the road that day provided we did
not stop short of the pickets at night. Rebel citizens would make no
attempt to capture us in day-time, we were told, but should they see us
hiding for the night they would most likely collect a party and take us
prisoners. We decided, after consulting briefly, to push on, at least
to the woods, now only a quarter of a mile distant. As we started the
old man said, "Go on to the bridge, boys, and you'll be safe; don't
stop outside the pickets." We did not suspect the old man of intending
to get us into trouble, and his last injunction fully established our
faith in his Unionism.

On reaching the woods we stepped aside from the road to consider
further upon the propriety of going on. We dreaded to be retaken on the
eve of entering the lines, and we determined to avoid such a calamity,
if possible. We had twenty-eight miles to travel before our safety
would be assured. Since we had already traveled twenty miles without
rest or sleep, the question was, Can we reach the picket-post by dark?
Our resolution to push on, and reach the goal for which we had been so
long striving, was soon formed. We immediately started, and in little
more than a half hour's time we came to a house on our right. As it
was near the road we went to it and asked for breakfast, thinking we
needed something in addition to what we had to strengthen us in view of
the journey to be accomplished that day. We were denied breakfast at
first, and had started away from the house. As we were passing out the
gate one of our party observed, "That's a pretty way to treat prisoners
that's been half starved." The old lady overheard the remark and called
us back. She first assured herself we were escaping prisoners, and then
set before us what she had cooked. She apologized for refusing at first
to give us a breakfast, saying she thought we were some of the scouts
from Gauley Bridge, who too frequently applied for meals. We were
informed it was not uncommon to see "blue coats" passing, which caused
us to feel less uneasiness, as we thought we should not be molested on
our way.

On finishing our breakfast we set out again, having only five miles
to travel before reaching the Twenty Mile House. We arrived at the
place by ten o'clock. We called at the principal house and left the
letter we had brought from Greenbrier county. The lady to whom it was
addressed happened to be in the house, and was exceedingly well pleased
to receive it. Many questions were asked us concerning the affairs
and people in Greenbrier county, but as our information was limited
we could answer but few of them. After learning the time of day and
receiving a biscuit apiece, we went on our way. We had eight hours or
more in which to travel twenty miles, and we pressed on with exultant
hopes. The soles of our shoes had worn considerably, and were too thin
to afford adequate protection to our feet in walking over a stony road.
As a consequence our feet became very sore. Smith once concluded he
would be obliged to stop, and more than once fell far behind. On coming
to a stream of water, Sutherland, Wood, and I, while waiting for Smith
to catch up, removed our shoes and socks from our feet and waded it. We
found the cold water improved our feet wonderfully. Smith soon came up
in any thing but a pleasant mood, and was much disheartened besides.
He thought we "must be in a hurry, keeping so far ahead all the time."
We answered we were in no hurry, and Wood added, "We had forgot a
cavalry-man couldn't stand marching." We told Smith to pull off his
shoes and socks and wade the stream. He complied, but his feet were so
very sore he occupied several minutes in crossing.

[Illustration: "OUT OF THE WOODS."--PAGE 107.]

On getting our shoes on we again pushed forward slowly. At the first
house we came to after fording the stream, we inquired the distance
to Gauley Bridge. "Five miles and a half," was the answer given us.
The sun was more than two hours high, but now the journey seemed
more doubtful and difficult of accomplishment than the journey of
twenty-seven miles had seemed in the morning. We pressed on, however,
and in the course of an hour we met a man of whom we asked, "How
far is it to the pickets?" "Nearly three miles," was the reply.
Our feet were sore, our limbs were weary, but our flagging spirits
revived, and we persistently urged ourselves onward. The sun had
almost run its daily course. The distance to be gone over, before our
twenty-four-hour's march was accomplished, was gradually growing less.
At length the picket-guard was reached, and our goal won; but the sun
had gone down and the stars were appearing. As the twilight was passing
into night we approached the sentinel in the road who came out to meet
and welcome us. Giving each of us a hearty shake of the hand, he said,
"I know where you are from; will you have some coffee?" We replied that
we could not object, and were assured there was plenty of it at the
Company quarters.

Although we were nearly worn down, almost exhausted, in fact, from
the effects of twenty-four hours of constant wakefulness and travel,
we felt an indescribable but silent ecstasy of joy and thankfulness
for our deliverance from the rigorous and pinching destitution of
Confederate prisons. But in the height and fullness of our heart-felt
rapture, we did not forget Taylor and Trippe, the early companions of
our journey. We thought it possible they had perished, but hoped they
had been more fortunate than ourselves. Very soon after passing the
pickets we went, in company with two or three soldiers of Companies
I and H, 5th Virginia Infantry, to their quarters in the old town of
Gauley Bridge, where supper, consisting of bread, meat, and coffee, was
provided us. After supper we visited Captain Dixon, of Company I, 5th
Virginia, in his quarters, he having sent for us.

Companies I and H, 5th Virginia, under command of Captain Dixon, were
stationed at Gauley Bridge as an outpost from Camp Reynolds, which was
below the falls of the Kanawha. We remained at the quarters of Captain
Dixon during the night of March 21st. We did not retire for sleep until
a late hour. From Dixon we first heard the particulars of the battle of
Mission Ridge, in which our Companies had participated. We told Dixon
of the number and condition of the prisoners about Danville, and of
the strength and disposition of the Rebel garrison there.

On March 22d we went to Camp Reynolds, where we remained two days,
during which time we were furnished by the soldiers and their officers
with entire suits of clean clothing. In the evening of March 23d
each of us wrote a letter to our respective homes, to let the folks
know we were alive, and once more within the Union lines. Our feet
having recovered from their soreness, we went next day, in company
with three or four soldiers who were going home on veteran furlough,
to Charleston, Virginia. On the 25th we got aboard a steamer, the
"Victress No. 2," and went down the Kanawha to Gallipolis, Ohio,
arriving there on the day following. On the 28th, having stopped over
Sabbath in Gallipolis, we boarded the steamer "C. T. Dumont," and went
down the river to Cincinnati. At ten o'clock, A. M., March 29th, we
landed at Cincinnati, and immediately reported at Post Head-Quarters,
Colonel Swayne, 99th Ohio, commanding.

After a brief talk with Colonel Swayne, and other officers at
Head-Quarters, we were told to go to the Soldiers' Home and get our
dinners, and then return. We started, and had got but a few steps from
Head-Quarters when the sentinel at the door called out to us to come
back, that the Colonel wished to speak to us. Sutherland, Smith, and I
waited on the street, while Wood went to see what the Colonel wanted.
Swayne asked Wood if he would like a furlough, and Wood answered he
would. The remainder of our party were called in from the street, and
asked the same question, to which we answered in the affirmative.
Furloughs were immediately filled out, signed by the Post commander,
and forwarded to Columbus, Ohio, to be approved by General Heintzleman,
the department commander. We went to the Soldiers' Home, got our
dinners, and by two o'clock reported again at Head-Quarters, where we
received orders to report at Lytle Barracks. Each of us was furnished
with a pass good for five days and nights, giving us the freedom of the

On reaching Lytle Barracks we gave Colonel Swayne's order to the
Captain commanding. The order required him to admit us to the barracks;
to issue us the full allowance of rations; to issue us clothing, if
we desired it; and allow us to pass in and out at all times of day and
night until nine o'clock, P. M. On the afternoon of the 29th we made
out partial descriptive lists, and drew new clothing, a full suit each,
the next morning. On the 30th, after washing and dressing ourselves, we
went out into the city. On the morning of the 31st our furloughs came
from Columbus, approved. With our furloughs we received transportation
papers. Early in the day, Wood took the train and was off for his home
in Western Pennsylvania. Wood, although a resident of Pennsylvania,
had enlisted in the 26th Ohio Volunteers. Later in the day, Smith and
Sutherland left together for their homes in Michigan. On being left
alone of our party, I went to H. H. Hills's drug store, and remained
there over night with a friend, from whom I learned for the first time
of the sad losses my Company had sustained in battle at Chickamauga. On
April 1st I took breakfast at the Indiana House, and very soon after
was aboard the cars and homeward bound. I arrived home in Georgetown,
Illinois, Sunday evening, April 3, 1864, and found my letter written
at Camp Reynolds, Virginia, had not been received. My visit was
unexpected, and the first intimation my father and folks had received
for many weeks that I was yet alive, was when I entered the old home.
The letter came the next morning, April 4th.



As a conclusion to the foregoing imperfect sketches, we will briefly
narrate an incident which happened after our arrival within the lines.
On March 23d, at Camp Reynolds, while we were writing letters home, a
soldier named Gasper came into the quarters where we were. As soon as
we were at leisure he asked,

"Are you the boys that came in from prison two days ago?"

One of our party answered we were. Gasper then said he had just been
writing a letter to an old friend in Cincinnati, whose son was supposed
to have been killed at Chickamauga, and hearing we had been captured in
that battle, he thought he would inquire if we knew any person among
the prisoners named Jack Phillips.

"Jack Phillips," repeated Smith, "certainly, I know him."

"Is it possible!" said Gasper.

"He was in the same prison with me, and in the same mess," said Smith.

"He lived in Cincinnati, did he, and belonged to Company ----
---- Regiment, Ohio Volunteers?" asked Gasper. (I have forgotten the
Company and Regiment to which Phillips belonged.)

"Yes, sir," said Smith, "we are talking of the same Jack Phillips."
Smith went on, and described Phillips as to size, height, appearance,
and general characteristics.

"Same fellow," said Gasper, "but his captain reports seeing him fall in

"No doubt of that," said Smith, "I have heard Jack tell how he was
stunned by a ball grazing his forehead, cutting the skin, and leaving a
small scar after healing."

"The captain said Jack's forehead was bleeding when he saw him fall,"
remarked Gasper.

Gasper concluded Smith's former fellow-prisoner and messmate was the
son of John Phillips, of Cincinnati, to whom he was just writing, and
said he would finish his letter by giving the old man the information
Smith had furnished concerning his son. Gasper then left us, but
returned in the course of an hour, saying he had not yet mailed his
letter. He wished us to promise to call on Mr. Phillips if we passed
through Cincinnati. We told him we did not know that Cincinnati would
lie in our route, but should we get there, in our travels, we would
call on Mr. Phillips if he would give us some clew as to where we
might find him. Gasper did not know the street on which Mr. Phillips
did business, but thought it was somewhere near the Public Landing. He
had also forgotten the street on which Mr. Phillips's residence was
situated. We, however, promised Gasper to inquire for Mr. Phillips
if we visited Cincinnati, and if we happened to learn either his
residence or place of business, to call on him and corroborate the
statements made in the letter to him. On leaving us Gasper said he
would put in a postscript, telling Mr. Phillips of us, and of our
promise to inquire for him if we visited Cincinnati. Gasper was seen
no more by us, and we gave but little thought to the errand with which
he had charged us, as we had no idea what route we should take in
rejoining our commands.

It was the 30th of March, after we had dressed ourselves anew,
when Smith came to me in Lytle Barracks, saying, "Where's Wood and

"Gone to the city," I answered.

Smith then said, "Suppose we go into the city, look around, and make a
few inquiries for the old man Phillips."

"Agreed," said I; "there is one chance in a thousand that we may find

We then went into the city, passing up one street and down another.
Wherever sight or curiosity led us we went. We had wandered over the
city, or a great portion of it, going into many shops and stores, with
scarcely a thought of Phillips; but at length we came to a corner from
which the river and many steam-boats lying at the wharves could be
seen. Smith stood still until I came up, when he said, "Here is the
Public Landing."

"It looks much like it," I replied.

Smith then asked, "Didn't that man at Camp Reynolds say that Phillips
did business near the Public Landing?"

"I believe he did," said I, after reflecting. "Suppose we go in here
and inquire for him."

We stepped in at the first door. It was a confectioner's establishment,
and there were several men in the room. We looked into the show-cases
and at other objects of interest, when presently all left the room
except one elderly looking man and ourselves. Just as the old man was
filling the stove with coal I approached him and asked, "Is there a
person doing business anywhere in this part of the city named John
Phillips?" As the old man set his coal bucket down he said, "My name
is John Phillips." It was the first inquiry we had made and would
have been the last, as we were anxious to get back to the barracks for
dinner. After our surprise had subsided somewhat the old gentleman
wished to know what we wanted. We told him of our promise to a man at
Camp Reynolds, Virginia, and asked if he had received a letter from a
man by the name of Gasper. He answered that he had not. After telling
him we had been prisoners of war, and had come into the lines at Gauley
Bridge about a week before, Smith went on to tell him all he knew about
"Jack Phillips" as a prisoner at Danville, Virginia.

On hearing Smith's account of Jack, the old gentleman, bursting into
tears, said he had long since given his son up as dead, and could
hardly hope or believe he was yet alive; at least he should not tell
the news to his family, for fear the man we spoke of might be another
of the same name. Smith thought there could be no mistake, as it would
not be likely to happen that two of the same name should enlist in the
same regiment from the same city. "Strange things sometimes happen in
this world," observed Mr. Phillips. The old gentleman wished us to
eat some cakes and pies and drink some wine, of which there seemed to
be an abundance in the room. We consented, as it was noon, and would
save us a walk to the barracks for dinner. Just as we had finished
eating, a man entered the room holding several letters in his hand, two
of which he handed to Mr. Phillips. On opening the first letter Mr.
Phillips found it to be the one Gasper had written at Camp Reynolds,
Virginia. The coincidence caused Mr. Phillips to conclude his son must
yet be alive, and he determined to acquaint his family with the news
he had received. The letter coming to hand, telling about us, while we
were present to answer for ourselves, and our addressing our first,
last, and only inquiry for Mr. Phillips to Mr. Phillips himself, in a
great city, where there were thousands of people, seemed strange, and
forbade the suspicion that our report was untrue. Mr. Phillips invited
us to call on him each day during our stay in the city. We called on
him the next day, March 31st, which was our last day in Cincinnati. I
have since learned--though indirectly--that "Jack" afterward died as a
prisoner, either at Danville, Virginia, or Andersonville, Georgia.

Historical Memoranda.



Enlistments in the company dated from July 12, 1862, to April 11, 1864.
One hundred and four names appear on the company roll. All members
who enlisted on or before July 23, 1862, were sworn in, the first
time, by John Newlin, J. P., in West's pasture, village of Georgetown,
Vermillion County, Ill. On the same day, July 23d, Patterson McNutt,
Mark D. Hawes, and Richard N. Davies, were elected captain, first and
second lieutenants respectively.

July 24th, company transported in wagons from Georgetown to the "Y," a
point on the T. W. & W. R. R., near the site of Tilton. Taking the cars
at the "Y," company reached Camp Butler early next morning.

By August 1st company organization was completed, by appointment of
the following named as sergeants: Tilmon D. Kyger, first sergeant; Wm.
R. Lawrence, second sergeant; David A. Smith, third sergeant; Wm. H.
Newlin, fourth sergeant; Robert B. Drake, fifth sergeant; and by the
following named as corporals, in their order: David McDonald, John
W. Smith, Carey A. Savage, Wm. M. Sheets, Samuel W. Sigler, Wm. O.
Underwood, John V. Don Carlos, William Henderson. Pleasant B. Huffman,
fifer; William B. Cowan, drummer; and Amacy M. Hasty, teamster.

Time, at Camp Butler, was spent in drilling, guarding prisoners,
and other duty. Some pay and an installment of bounty was received
by each member of the company. Twenty-five dollars bounty was paid
by Vermillion County to each married man and ten dollars to each
unmarried man. To hasten the muster in of regiment, Company C loaned
to Company E--also enlisted in Vermillion County--fourteen men, all
but three of whom were re-transferred to C. Regiment was mustered into
United States service August 21, 1862.

August 24th, left camp Butler, going by rail via Danville, Ill.,
Lafayette Junction, Indianapolis, and Seymour, Ind., to Louisville, Ky.
Went into quarters at Camp Jaquess--named for our colonel--south-west
of the city. At this camp some guard duty was done, without arms, other
than clubs and revolvers; all the clubs and nearly all the revolvers
being soon discarded.

About August 30th regiment was supplied with muskets--Austrian or
Belgium pattern--and ammunition for same. Muskets were of the _kicking_
kind. From July 24th company had been in receipt of government rations,
and was becoming inured to service in this respect.

September 1st or 2d moved to Camp Yates, three or four miles south-east
of the city. Other regiments were at this camp, and a Division was
formed, the Seventy-third and One Hundreth Illinois, and Seventy-ninth
and Eighty-eighth Indiana Regiments making one brigade, commanded by
Colonel Kirk. Lieutenant Hawes and Sergeant Lawrence were detailed for
duty at Kirk's head-quarters, and a very _ludicrous_ mistake was made,
in _supposing_ there were two vacancies created. Accordingly there was
an advance along the line; Davies being promoted first lieutenant,
as was thought; Orderly Kyger to second lieutenant; D. A. Smith to
orderly, and Corporal John W. Smith to second sergeant, the latter
being promoted over the writer. The joke fell heaviest on Kyger, as he
incurred the expense of the purchase of sword, belt and straps. J. W.
Smith resumed his place as corporal, much to the gratification of the
writer, who did not like the idea of being "jumped."

Before the middle of September an inspection was ordered, requiring the
command to march to Louisville, taking all luggage, accompanied also by
wagon-train. The number and variety of articles thrown out of knapsacks
and train was _amazing_ to the _old_ soldiers. This inspection was for
the purpose of reducing luggage and baggage to articles of necessity.
Directly after this the defeat of Union forces at Richmond, Ky.,
occurred. A rapid advance of a day's march was made by the command
to assist in covering the retreat of those forces. Following this
defeat came the invasion by Kirby Smith's Confederate forces, menacing
Cincinnati and Covington. To meet this emergency the command was
ordered at once to the latter place, going via Jeffersonville and
Seymour, Ind., and Cincinnati, Ohio. The marching of the Seventy-third
in the streets of Cincinnati excited comment, and inquiry was made if
it was an old regiment. There was a fine engraving produced about this
time representing the regiment, marching in column, on to the pontoon

Fears of invasion subsiding, the command was ordered back to
Louisville, returning via Indianapolis. Buell's army having reached
Louisville, a general reorganization of all forces--old and new--took
place. The Forty-fourth and Seventy-third Illinois, and Second and
Fifteenth Missouri Regiments formed the Thirty-fifth Brigade, Eleventh
Division of reorganized army.

Bragg's army, which had followed Buell's into Kentucky, was gathering
much strength and material in its march in the interior, and on October
1st the Union army was put in motion and started in pursuit. A dozen or
more members of the company were left sick at Louisville. Army caught
up with the enemy October 8th. Regiment was placed in and withdrawn
from an exposed position, just in the "nick of time," a position within
easy range of Confederate battery. Being withdrawn, as above, and
resuming position in main line, regiment was actively engaged in battle
of Perryville, nearly two hours, the casualties to Company C being as

  Josiah Cooper, wounded,        Died Oct. 31, 1862.
  Samuel Boen, wounded,
  David W. Doop, wounded,        Discharged Feb. 9, 1863.
  John S. Long, wounded,         Discharged Jan. 13, 1863, died.
  Francis M. Stevens, wounded,   Discharged Dec. 5, 1862.
  Zimri Thornton, wounded,       Died Oct. 30, 1862.
  James E. Moore, wounded,       Discharged March 17, 1863, lost foot.
  John Murdock, Co. E, wounded,  Died, Oct. 9, 1862.

The last named enlisted in C, but had been one of the fourteen men
"loaned," as before mentioned. Several members of Company C, who had
been left at Louisville, came up Oct. 9th and 10th.

Followed to Crab Orchard, marching from there, via Danville, Lebanon,
Bowling Green, and Mitchellsville, to Nashville, Tenn. At Bowling
Green, Rosecrans relieved Buell. Arrived at Nashville Nov. 7, 1862,
encamping first at Edgefield, then at Mill Creek. Nov. 20, 1862, Second
Lieutenant Richard N. Davies, resigned. Nov. 28th, First Lieutenant
Mark D. Hawes resigned. These resignations, the losses resulting from
the action at Perryville, the loss by death of the following named
members: Samuel W. Blackburn, John C. Sheets, Thomas Millholland,
Israel H. Morgan, John and Alex. Gerrard, and William Henderson; and
the following named discharged for disability: Thos. T. Ashmore, John
Trimble, and Wm. O. Underwood, discharged, Oct. 9, 1862, made a total
loss to company by Jan. 1, 1863, of eighteen men. Three of these, viz:
David W. Doop, John S. Long, and James E. Moore, were discharged after
Jan. 1st, on Feb. 9th, Jan. 13th, and March 17th, 1863, respectively.
Nov. 25, 1862, Kyger was mustered in as first lieutenant, and Dec. 6,
1862, Lawrence was mustered in as second lieutenant.

Dec. 26, 1862, started on movement to Stone River. Regiment not
engaged until Dec. 31st, was then engaged fully one-third, and under
fire two-thirds of the day. Seventy-third was in Second Brigade, of
Sheridan's (Third) Division, Twentieth A. C., and associated with the
same regiments as before. The change in number of Brigade and Division
occurred when Rosecrans assumed command. At Stone River Company C
suffered casualties as follows: John Dye and James Yoho, killed; John
J. Halsted, wounded, discharged Feb. 23, 1863; three or four others
very slightly wounded, and Lieutenant Lawrence and Daniel Suycott,
captured. Lawrence and Suycott were exchanged in the following Spring,
returning to the Company in May. About Jan. 7, 1863, a detail from
company, Lieutenant Kyger in charge, sought the bodies of Dye and Yoho
and buried them. The writer saw both these men expire; they were near
together, and died at about the same time.[A]

[A] NOTE.--The latter part of January, or early in February, the
company, in pursuance of general orders from Rosecrans, chose a man
whose name should be inscribed on a "roll of honor." Through some
unaccountable circumstance, or accident, or perhaps through compromise,
the choice fell on the writer hereof. Though conscious of having tried
to do my duty at Stone River, I knew this honor was undeserved; that
there were others more entitled to it. As the honor was bestowed by
comrades who had passed with me through the smoke and fire of that
eventful day I will cherish it to my dying hour as a precious legacy,
one that I would proudly transmit to my children if possible. Having
mentioned the foregoing, I must not fail to record another scrap of
history equally important in its outcome, as placing me under a weight
of obligation to the company.

Some time in May, 1863, I was on picket duty as sergeant at outpost,
from which guards were sent out every two hours to relieve those on
the line. Guards at this outpost were expected to, and usually did,
turn out and present arms to the officer of the day, or other officer,
when he came around. On this particular day a cold, drizzling rain
was falling, and the officer wore a gum coat, concealing insignia
of office, or special duty. Four of the boys were pitching quoits
(horse-shoes), as a means of diversion, when the officer on horseback
was observed in the distance through woods. The quoit pitching ceased,
and the boys made ready to "take arms" and "fall in." But the horseman
either did not see, or pretended that he did not see the outpost, until
he got well past a point in our front, then quickly turning, dashed
upon us. As I was satisfied the officer was playing a "smart Aleck"
game, I had said to the boys, "never mind; pay no attention to him,"
and only two or three turned out. Arriving at the outpost, reining his
steed, and bowing up his neck with a self-satisfied air, as though
he thought himself "autocrat of all the Russias," officer demanded,
"Where's the corporal or sergeant in charge?" I responded "Here."
Officer inquired my name, rank, and regiment. Noting the information
I gave him, officer rode away, without giving his name, or business,
as requested. The latter I learned next day on returning to camp. An
order from Sheridan had been received by the company commander to
"reduce Sergeant Wm. H. Newlin to the ranks; fill vacancy, etc." An
investigation was had; those who had been on duty with me the past
twenty-four hours and myself, were summoned, and all the facts were
stated. The general's order was complied with--that had to be done--and
an election was ordered to be held at nine o'clock next morning, to
fill vacancy thus created. The hour for election arrived, and as there
was no candidate against me I received a _unanimous_ vote, and was
elected--not appointed--to "fill vacancy." Division head-quarters was
notified, "Order complied with; Wm. H. Newlin reduced, and vacancy
filled." And that was the end of it, except that Lieutenant Kyger
cautioned all the boys not to say any thing about the matter in writing
home, adding, "What if news of that should get back to Georgetown?"
But I didn't care where the news went to, whether to Georgetown or
Damascus, so all the facts were given.

Were in two different camps at Murfreesboro, first Bradley, then
Shafer--named for our brigade commander killed at Stone River. From
Jan. 1st to June 30th, 1863, inclusive, the company lost members as
follows, in addition to the three already noted, viz:

  John W. Smith,          Discharged, Jan. 3, 1863, disability.
  Carey A. Savage,        Discharged, Feb. 6, 1863, disability.
  John V. Don Carlos,     Discharged, May 10, 1863, disability.
  Enoch Braselton,        Discharged, March 12, 1863, disability.
  William Cook,           Discharged, Jan. 28, 1863, disability.
  Robert W. Cowan,        Discharged, Feb. 9, 1863, disability.
  Lawrence Dye,           Discharged, Jan. 28, 1863, disability.
  Benj. F. Edmonds,       Discharged, Feb. 10, 1863, disability.
  Wright Madden,        Transferred to gun-boat service, April 16, 1863.
  Jacob Martin,           Died at Murfreesboro, Feb. 21, 1863.
  William McEntyre,       Died at Nashville, Jan. 15, 1863.
  Thomas Elwood Madden,   Discharged, Feb. 20, 1863, disability.
  Joshua T. Nicholson,    Died at Nashville, Jan. 18, 1863.
  Christopher C. Shires,  Discharged, May 28, 1863, disability.
  John M. Thompson,       Discharged, Feb. 20, 1863, disability.
  James F. Williams,      Discharged, March 26, 1863, disability.
  George Miley,           Died at Nashville, Feb. 3, 1863.
  Robert B. Drake,        Discharged, June 30, 1863, disability.

In all, twenty-one men, making a total loss to July 1, 1863, of
thirty-nine men.

Started June 23, 1863, on Chattanooga campaign. First injury to member
of Company was the wounding of Alex. C. Nicholson, at Fairfield.

Followed on, passing Manchester and Estill Springs, wading Elk River,
and passing through Winchester to Cowan's Station. Halted at latter
place, July 3, 1863, hearing next day the news of Gettysburg and

A few days later passed through Cumberland Tunnel, and on to Stevenson,
Alabama. At Stevenson there was a delay until Sept. 2d, when the
command pushed on to the Tennessee River, at Bridgeport, crossing on
the 3d, and going over Sand Mountain, and on down to Alpine, Georgia.
When company left Stevenson I remained, with others, in consequence of
chills, having had medicine prescribed for breaking same about August

Captain Patterson McNutt resigned July 29, 1863, and First Lieutenant
Tilmon D. Kyger was mustered in as captain of company, Sept. 4th,

[B] NOTE.--On morning, Sept. 3d, we followed company to Bridgeport,
arriving just as command was starting to cross the river. Being wearied
by the tramp, James T. Maudlin, Henderson Goodwin, William Martin, and
myself were again left in temporary hospital. Next morning, feeling
much refreshed, concluded to apply for passes to go on to company. We
were disappointed, myself in particular, as that date, Sept. 4, 1863,
marked the end of my twenty-first year. About noon, a long wagon train
began crossing the river, and while at dinner we conceived the idea
of getting across, under the guise of train guards. So, striking the
train at a little distance from the river, we distributed ourselves
at intervals, among the wagons, loading our luggage, except gun and
bayonet. The scheme worked; and on getting across, we repossessed
ourselves of our luggage, and passed ahead of the train. We diligently
pressed forward until sunset. We then located a camp, got roasting-ears
from a field to our right, an iron pot, and water at a house to our
left, and in due time feasted, chatted, and retired for the night, not
knowing how near we might be to enemies, or how far from friends. After
midnight a terrible racket, to our front, awakened and frightened us.
Imagining the commotion was produced by a dash of the enemy's cavalry,
we arose in great haste, scattered our fire, gathered our traps, and
hied us away to the brush. The disturbance ceased, our excitement
subsided, and we resumed our former position. After breakfast next
morning we started, and on going one-fourth of a mile we came to a
lot, of say three acres, in which were a dozen or more horses, colts,
and cows. Up to nearly noon at least, we attributed the racket to the
stock. Keeping steadily on, and not meeting or overtaking any troops
or trains, and the road showing less indications of any having passed,
we began to feel lonesome. Just before noon, after passing a house on
our left, we stopped, and sent one of our squad back to inquire if any
troops had passed that morning. Comrade soon returned with information
that a small body of cavalry had passed, going south, about two hours
before. Signs in the road, and on either side, seemed to confirm the
report, but as our scout had failed to ascertain the character of the
cavalry, he was sent for further information. In answer to question as
to whose, or what cavalry had passed, our man was told it was "we'rn."
Further inquiry established a probability that it was a detachment of
Roddy's Confederate cavalry. For certain reasons we did not go back
past the house, but kept straight ahead, as though it was our business
to overtake that detachment. Fifteen minutes later we were following
a road in an easterly direction. Going at a "quick" gait, and being
about to pass a bunch of pigs, averaging about sixty pounds weight, we
concluded we wouldn't pass all of them. It was very quickly done, as we
dare not fire a gun, or allow a pig to squeal much. The choice parts of
the pig were appropriated to our own special purposes. After dinner we
pursued our way, and soon discovered intersecting roads, and evidences
of the passage of troops and trains. Later our suspense was ended, and
before dark, of Sept. 6th, we had reached the company.

The movement to Alpine, by Thomas' and McCook's corps, having forced
Bragg out of Chattanooga, next came the hard marching necessary to
concentrate the Union forces, before the reinforced enemy should turn
and crush Crittenden's corps.

Arrived in vicinity of Chickamauga battlefield, late September 18th.
Got nearer next day; was under fire, but not engaged.

Saturday night, September 19th, company furnished a corporal, R. J.
Hasty, and two or three guards for duty at Sheridan's head-quarters.
McCook, Crittenden, and other generals, were at head-quarters in
course of the night. Sheridan was restless and dissatisfied, and
altogether indications, as interpreted by our corporal and guards,
were unfavorable as to our prospects for to-morrow. Bradley's brigade
(Sheridan's third), had been very roughly used in the afternoon, and
his first and second brigades would probably "catch it" to-morrow. We
were in the second (Laibold's brigade.) The night was dark, the weather
was cool, and fire was forbidden. Our position was in heavy woods; the
noise and racket in our front, whether made by the enemy or by our own
troops, sounded and resounded terribly ominous in our ears. Daybreak
came, and with it orders to move; we were out of rations, or nearly
so, and not allowed time to draw a supply. Lytle persisted in drawing
rations for his (the first) brigade, notwithstanding orders to move
immediately. Moved two miles or more to the left; took position, and
awaited further orders.

Before noon orders came, and we "went in." Of this memorable battle
history tells; it has been "fought over," and "wrote up," many times.
As within an hour from "going in," we had, with others, surrendered,
and passed to the rear of five lines, two ranks each, of Confederate
troops, we will not attempt a description of the small part of the
battle we witnessed. For the first time we viewed the situation amid
and to rear of the enemy. Doubt and uncertainty seemed to have place
among the Confederates, although they were advancing. Officers were
busy gathering up stragglers and hurrying them forward. Too many wanted
to guard prisoners. Swords were drawn, and wildly flourished, and much
ado made, probably because of the presence of so many "Yankees." Rope
lines and traces, and other rope rigging to artillery, and sorghum
stalks, sticking in haversacks of Bragg's men, attracted our attention.
We saw Gen. Longstreet with an immense escort following him. We saw
Gen. Hood lying under the fly of a tent, wounded; later he had his
leg taken off. After one o'clock enemy's right fell back, and our left
advanced. We saw several solid shot, skipping over the ground, which
had been sent by Crittenden's batteries. We had many companions in our
new and strange experience, and formed many new acquaintances, most
of them of short duration. Some fourteen hundred of Gen. Sheridan's
division, and many from other commands, had been collected in one
place. Hesser and North, of Company A, and Brown and myself, of Company
C, were one little squad of the Seventy-third that did not scatter
much. We encountered no other members of our regiment until reaching

Up to this point we have given facts, in the history of the company,
of which we had personal knowledge. What few incidents or accidents
in its history, from Chickamauga up to opening of Atlanta campaign
here given are vouched for, my information touching the same being
derived from reliable sources. The losses sustained by company in
battle of Chickamauga were as follows: David A. Smith, Enoch Smith,
and Artemas Terrell, killed; Wm. R. Lawrence, John R. Burk, Henderson
Goodwin, Nathaniel Henderson, Henry C. Henderson, Austin Henderson,
Jehu Lewis (color bearer), and John Bostwick (discharged May 27,
1864), wounded; and all the following named were captured, viz:
Enoch P. Brown, Wm. H. Newlin, John R. Burk, Wm. F. Ellis, Austin
Henderson, and John Thornton. Of those that were captured, Burk and
Lewis were soon exchanged, being seriously wounded; Burk, however,
went to Richmond; losing an arm, he was discharged June 9, 1864. Lewis
was exchanged on battlefield. Austin Henderson was exchanged late in
1864. John Thornton, Enoch P. Brown, and William F. Ellis, died in
Andersonville prison, in order named: September 16th, 20th, and 23d,
1864, respectively. Number of Brown's grave, 9,350; Ellis', 9,703.
Number of Thornton's grave not given. Wm. H. Newlin was never either
paroled or exchanged. Nearly every member of company was struck by
balls, or fragments of shell, or trees, in some part of the body,
accoutrements, or clothing. At nightfall only three of the company were
present at call of the captain. During the night a dozen or more others
rallied upon this feeble remnant. Chickamauga was a dreadful strain
upon the strength and powers of endurance of the soldier, and September
20, 1863, is, and will ever be, a memorable day in our country's
history. By September 22d, some twenty or more of the company had
reached Chattanooga, and were beginning to assume at least a defensive
attitude. Early in September commissions for Lawrence and Smith, as
first and second lieutenants, respectively, were sent for, but neither
were ever mustered in on them; Lawrence resigning, November 24, 1863,
as second lieutenant, and Smith having met his fate as already noted.

Following Chickamauga came the siege of Chattanooga, and with it very
scant supplies, and hard picket and forage duty. The "cracker line"
being often disturbed, and foraging not yielding, or "panning out" very
heavily, the supply of rations, provender, for man and beast, was far
short of ordinary demands. November 25th the battle of Missionary Ridge
occurred, in which Company C fortunately suffered very few casualties,
the most serious one being the wounding of Stephen Newlin. After
Missionary Ridge company and command went to the relief of Burnside at
Knoxville. On this winter campaign much hard marching and great fatigue
were endured. Some one or two, or more, of the company, not starting
with the command, followed up later with squads and detachments. In one
or more instances the enemy's cavalry attempted to "gobble up" these
squads. During its stay in East Tennessee, regiment encamped for a time
at Haworth's Mill, near New Market, and also at Lenoir's Station. From
latter place, it is said, some members of company made frequent visits
in the country east of river, and it is further alleged, one or more of
them got married. Dandridge, I believe, was the farthest point eastward
to which command penetrated in the Knoxville campaign. Capt. Kyger
was very sick at Knoxville, in course of winter, and on recovering
sufficiently was granted leave of absence.

Winter breaking, and time for opening of the Atlanta campaign
approaching, the regiment returned to vicinity of Chattanooga,
encamping at Cleveland, at which point we rejoined it, on our return
from prison. April 11, 1864, Wm. R. Cook was mustered in, as a recruit
to company, being last name entered on company roll.[C]

[C] NOTE.--Soon after capture were placed under a strong guard, our
partners, being Brown, Hesser, and North. Jos. C. Squires, an attachee,
before capture, of Gen. Rosecrans' staff, "stood in" with us a day or
so, until catching sight of Col. Von Strader. We dropped our extra
ammunition in Chickamauga Creek. Passed Ringgold, Sunday evening, about
eight o'clock. Four miles farther on, halted until morning. Arrived
at Tunnell Hill about noon, September 21st. A morsel of bacon issued
to each man, a piece four inches long, could have been drawn through
a half-inch augur hole, without squeezing out much grease. Boarded
railroad train about three o'clock, P. M., and started on tour of
Confederacy. Rode on top of car part of time; came near rolling off.
Reached Atlanta night of September 22d. Put up at Barracks. Next day
were marched past a clerk at a table; gave clerk our name, company
and regiment. Drew rations, September 24th. Started early; arrived
at Augusta before night. Bought a huge watermelon; all we could do
to carry it; cost fifty cents. Were guarded closely in court-house
enclosure. Got away with melon by calling neighbors. September 25th,
took an early train for Columbia. Cars crowded as usual; excitement
subsiding; novelty of trip wearing off. Reached Columbia morning of
26th. Were delayed three hours. Finally got started northward, the
direction we wanted to go, if we didn't stop too soon. Rode all day
up to three o'clock. Stopped at a little station near line between
the Carolinas. Lots of sweet potatoes on the platform; we let them
alone. Many people were there, mostly women, young and old. An old lady
delivered an off-hand address, giving advice to the "Yankees." She
wanted to know why we "couldn't let the South alone. We're not meddlin'
with your affairs. You all go back North and stay on your farms, and
in your factories, and work-shops. Yes, go back to your homes and
make shoes for us." Reached Charlotte late in the day. A few of the
boys got away, and trouble and delay were occasioned in getting them
to train again. Next day, Sunday, September 27th, arrived at Raleigh.
Were viewed by many people, mostly colored, while waiting. Got under
way again, traveled all night, arriving at Weldon next day. Dismounted
from cars; were guarded near railroad; drew rations. Invested one
dollar and a half in extras. Boarded train early on September 29th, and
dismounted no more until arriving at Richmond. Put up at Libby about
eleven o'clock the night of 29th. Paid Dick Turner twelve dollars next
day under protest. He said he would pay it back when we were paroled or
exchanged. Was never paroled or exchanged, so the twelve dollars ain't
due yet. Went to the Rosser (tobacco) house late on the 30th. We were
guided around to it. Stayed one night with Rosser, then went to Smith
and Pemberton houses, October 1st. On the way fell in with Ellis and
Thornton, of Company C. Stationary for quite a while; had a diversity
of pastime, read Testament, played checkers, fought vermin, but never
carried any rations over from one day to next. Kilpatrick--Jesse
D., not James, as we have it on page 10--joined our Seventy-third
delegation; his credentials were from Company B. Got our share of the
sugar. Stopped one night at Scott House; next day, November 14th,
took train for Danville, Va., arriving November 15th. Our delegation
generally agreed, worked and voted as a unit on all questions.
Consisting of seven members, we settled things among ourselves in
committee, before going to the full house. Attention was occupied a few
days considering a plan for a general break; plan never fully matured,
i. e. in the full house; killed in committee, no doubt. December 15th
we seceded, withdrew from prison No. 2, on account of small-pox, and
went to hospital. In time recovered, and was variously employed up to
February 19, 1864. Formed new acquaintances; organized a new alliance;
seceded again, the night of date last mentioned.

In issue of _National Tribune_ of November 16, 1882, my comrade L.
B. Smith, criticises my narrative, in a manner complimentary to it,
however. He says, "Many important points are left out; all he has
written is true, and much more." Have supplied one of those "important
points" on page 4, the very _important_ one to comrade Smith. I refer
to his rescue, by Sutherland, from drowning in Craig's Creek. Another
interesting, if not "important point," left out, is that which includes
the proposal, from a mulatto girl of some fifteen Summers, that we
should leave Smith with herself and parents as a "hostage," security
that we, after getting through, would send a squad of cavalry after the
whole family. Other interesting points were some of our discussions
as to feasibility of things proposed, such as the taking of the
horses, the third night out; which road to take--this, that, or the
other; and the project of unearthing money said to be hid in a certain
portion of a river bank. Another important and interesting point in
Mr. Smith's life did not come within the compass of my narrative,
viz.: his standing guard for a few minutes over Mr. Jefferson Davis,
immediately after, or within a day or two of his capture. Mr. Smith
became twenty-one years old in February, 1864, while on our trip. The
cut--upper left corner--represents Smith as he appeared at about the
age of thirty years. Another interesting point was the management,
making a friend, by Sutherland, of Huffman's dog. So skillfully did
Sutherland get on the "good side" of the dog that he never barked
once, or gave his owner the slightest intimation or warning of our
approach. Comrade Sutherland, I believe, was connected, in or about,
the despatching of Maj. Ross' dog in Richmond. Mr. Sutherland is, and
has always been a farmer; is now fifty years old; cut--lower right
corner--represents him as he appeared probably ten years ago. Other
interesting points left out are those in the experience of comrade
Tripp, after his separation from our party, March 4, 1864. Did not
know until November, 1881, that Tripp had survived these experiences.
Visiting him last November I learned the particulars of his singular
and somewhat protracted wanderings after we left him. Want of space
forbids any thing like a record of them here. His loneliness,
immediately following his misfortune in being left, must have been
oppressive; hungry and foodless, the shades of night closing around him
amid those rugged mountains, his feelings can scarcely be imagined.
With reluctance and fear he called, hoping his recent companions, or
some belated pursuer, might hear him; but there was no answering voice,
nothing but distressing silence, and his disappointment was very great.
Mr. Tripp is now fifty-seven years old; cut--lower left corner--shows
him as he appeared for some months after his discharge in December,
1864. Wood and Taylor are accounted for on page 4. In Wood's case the
information is direct and official; he was about twenty-six years old
at time of his death. In Taylor's case the information is indirect and
circumstantial, but his fate is probably correctly indicated on page 4.
He was about twenty-seven years old at time we left him.

The engravings herewith, "The Ferry Scene," and "Left Alone," are
reasonably accurate and true to the reality. "Out of the Woods" is
intended to represent the general idea of escape, our troubles behind,
our persevering, unremitting efforts ended, and our safety assured.
Though as uniting, bringing together, two or three separate scenes,
"Out of the Woods" is also a faithful picture. Conceding that Taylor's
fate, as the principal figure in "Left Alone," was that, which all the
information suggests, indescribably sad, and gloomy must have been
his last hour. Nothing of hope or comfort in his anticipations of the
future, his busy thoughts must have drifted away from his surroundings
and recent events, and sped across the sea, and dwelt upon his father
and mother there, who were ignorant of his fate. This brings us to the
events mentioned on page 109. At Georgetown, while on furlough, we met
Capt. Kyger and P. B. Huffman, of Company C. Furlough soon run out.
The rocks and hills about Georgetown seemed very small. Separated from
home and friends once more, and started in company with Huffman for the
front. This was in the latter part of April. Encountered my escaping
comrade Sutherland in Indianapolis, and accompanied him the greater
part of the way to Chattanooga. Arrived in camp at Cleveland, May 2,
1864, just at sunset. Had to talk nearly all night, and then get up
next morning and start on the Atlanta campaign.

From June 30, 1863, to July 1, 1864, the total loss to company, from
all causes, was fourteen men, including Amos Bogue. Transferred to
Invalid corps, August 1, 1863; Clark B. Brant, discharged November 12,
1863; Merida Thornton and Aaron Willison, transferred to Invalid corps,
January 15th and February 1, 1864; James T. Slaughter, transferred
to V. R. C., May 1, 1864; Charles W. Cook, permanently detached as
blacksmith to Bat. G., First Mo. Art., August 26, 1863; and James
W. Trimble, transferred to V. R. C., April 10, 1864, the other seven
already noted; making a total loss to date of fifty-three men.

Moved from Cleveland, May 3, 1864, with command, first brigade,
second division, fourth army corps. Under fire first time, on Atlanta
campaign, in the vicinity of Catoosa Springs, May 5. At Rocky Faced
Ridge, May 9th, was again under fire, but not engaged. Sharpshooters
from the regiment did good work here; Company C being represented by
John P.

Jones, Alex. C. Nicholson, and James T. Maudlin. Was engaged at
Resaca, May 14th. Wm. D. Bales struck by piece of shell. Was engaged
at Adairsville, May 17th. Up to, and including Adairsville, Company
C was in my charge, there being no commissioned officer present.
On this date Capt. Kyger arrived at the front and took command of
company. At Kingston there was a delay of three or four days. Pursuant
to orders, all vacancies in line, and non-commissioned officers were
filled, or selections made with that object in view. May 22d, Company
C attended to this duty. The company was entitled to a lieutenant,
and an election was held. Candidates were voted for, for orderly
sergeant, with the understanding that the successful candidate should
be commissioned first lieutenant. Election resulted in my favor by
a small majority--four votes, I believe--which, considering all the
circumstances, my long absence, and the fact that my competitor had
been present all the time, was a No. 1 soldier, none better, I regarded
as extremely flattering, and was therefore very thankful for the

My commission was sent for; it bears date June 9, 1864. The list of
non-commissioned officers being filled, stood as follows:

  WM. M. SHEETS, orderly sergeant.
  JAMES T. MAUDLIN, second sergeant.
  JEHU LEWIS, third sergeant.
  ROBERT J. HASTY, fourth sergeant.
  ALEX. C. NICHOLSON, fifth sergeant.
  WESLEY BISHOP, first corporal.
  JONATHAN ELLIS, second corporal.
  AUSTIN HENDERSON, third corporal.
  SAMUEL HEWITT, fourth corporal.
  ALFRED E. LEWIS, fifth corporal.
  GEORGE W. MARTIN, sixth corporal.
  STEPHEN NEWLIN, seventh corporal.
  GEO. HOLLINGSWORTH, eighth corporal.

It was at this time and place that A. E. Lewis notified Ellis of his
appointment as corporal; adding, "and your commission has gone on to
Washington for approval." All of the above were mustered out June
12, 1865. The list does not contain one of the original sergeants or
corporals; except that Orderly Sheets was one of the first corporals.

Recommenced active operations about May 25th. June 18th John Braselton
was wounded. By June 25th the actions at Pine and Lost Mountains,
Dallas, New Hope Church, and preliminary battles before Kenesaw
Mountain had taken place, without inflicting serious damage to company.
Capt. Kyger was sick, a week or more, up to and including June 27th,
the day of the assault on Kenesaw. This assault was the first heavy
battle occurring after my muster in as lieutenant, and owing to the
formation of each regiment preparatory to the assault, and the absence
of my seniors, I was placed in command of two companies, C and H,
forming the third or middle division of regiment. Two lines, of two
ranks each, were in front of, and two lines, of two ranks each, were in
rear of companies C and H. Owing to nature of ground these companies
came off well, suffered less than any of the others. From point of
starting in, the ground sloped considerably to line immediately
without, or in front of the very elaborate, systematic obstructions in
front of enemy's works, and from this same line the ground covered by
these obstructions was gradually ascending to line of fortifications.
Pending the heaviest fire of enemy, companies C and H were on the
lowest ground, all the other companies, whether in front or rear, being
on higher ground, so that fire of enemy was comparatively harmless
to C and H, there being only four or five slight wounds received in
the two companies, and these inflicted while getting back to position
from which they started. Of the regiment, three were killed, and some
twelve or fifteen wounded. There were several cases of overheating,
the weather being extremely hot, and the assault, from some cause, not
being made as early as intended. The casualties to regiment, seeming so
few, in an assault of such magnitude, it is proper to state that number
of men in regiment that day, present for duty, did not exceed three
hundred. In our front, too, were very heavy earth-works, feebly manned;
but for the arrival of reinforcements we could have effected, at least,
a _temporary_ breach in the enemy's line.

Early July 3d it was found that the enemy had fallen back. Followed
up immediately; regiment lost one man, killed, July 4th. There was a
delay of a week at the Chattahoochie River. Command took position,
near river, above Vining's Station. July 9th division marched to
Roswell; destroyed some mills or factories, and crossed and recrossed
the Chattahoochie while gone, returning on the 12th. Writer was not
with company on Roswell trip; but owing to depletion of strength was
favored; left behind in charge of regimental camp, and those who had
been excused from duty. July 13th, crossed Chattahoochie River on
pontoon bridge. While crossing, writer was taken sick, and was obliged
to drop behind soon after getting across the river. In attempting to
reach the upland and overtake company, was prostrated, the result of
over-heating or partial sun-stroke, and have no recollection whatever
of events occurring after the crossing of the Chattahoochie, up to the
crossing of Nance's Creek, July 18. There had, however, been a delay
at Buck's Head, and also a general inspection. Late on the 19th there
were two or three severe skirmishes along the line of Peach Tree Creek,
one of which approached the dignity of a battle, and several prisoners,
including a general officer, were captured by our forces. Crossed Peach
Tree Creek at ten o'clock, P. M., of the 19th.

About noon, on the 20th, brigade was assigned position in line, and
hastily built slight breast-works of logs, limbs, and rails. This done,
was ordered to make reconnoisance to front. In execution of this order,
the enemy was found in force, and we came back at a double-quick,
to find our temporary works occupied by other troops. Took another
position, further to right, the Seventy-third holding the extreme
right of fourth corps. There was a gap of two hundred yards or more,
between right of fourth and left of twentieth corps; so the right of
Seventy-third was retired, swung back a little in order to cover this
gap. The battle immediately opened, giving no time for construction
of works, however slight, and continued about an hour, with two
casualties to Company C--William Martin and the writer, wounded.
Sampson McCool, of Company E, was also wounded. Sampson and William
McCool, and John Murdock, the latter killed at Perryville, being the
three loaned by Company C to Company E, that were never retransferred
to C. Of regiment, one man was killed, and several others wounded. My
wound, being slight, healed entirely by August 1st, but I was detained
at division field hospital until August 16th, on account of general
physical debility, resulting from the sunstroke of 13th. Command was
not in the battles of July 22d and 28th, so my hospital and prison
experience, covering in all eight months, deprived me of participation
in only one battle--Missionary Ridge--and one campaign--the East
Tennessee--in which the company engaged.

The latter part of August, started on the flanking movement to
Jonesboro and Lovejoy station. September 1st, engaged in tearing up
railroad, burning the ties, and twisting the heated rails around trees.
Arrived at Jonesboro too late to accomplish more than the capture of a
hospital and a few hundred prisoners, as the battle there was closing.
Night of September 1st, Company C stood picket out north-east of
Jonesboro, and toward morning the rumble of Hood's artillery and trains
could be heard, as they were passing hurriedly on a road still further
eastward, retreating from Atlanta. Later, the explosions at Atlanta
were distinctly heard. Followed on to Lovejoy's. Were under fire, but
had no good opportunity of returning it. Withdrew from enemy's front
at Lovejoy's the night of September 5th or 6th, returning to Atlanta,
arriving on the 8th. Went into quarters with some expectation of
remaining inactive for a longer time than we did. Writer, however, saw
the exterior of the barracks, the interior of which he had seen, as a
prisoner, just a year before.

About September 26th to 28th, were ordered to Chattanooga, going by
railway; and from thence marched down into Alpine valley again, about
October 18th, returning the latter part of October, via Chickamauga
battle-ground, to Chattanooga. On this return march from Alpine, quite
a number of recruits of Fifty-first Illinois fell behind, "straggled,"
and no wonder, as most of them wore overcoats, and carried knapsacks
packed full; one of them carried his bayonet fixed, instead of in
scabbard, whereupon Corporal Lewis (who had just awakened from a short
sleep at roadside, where company was resting) cried out, "Halt, halt,
you Fifty-firster; I want to know WHERE YOU GOT YOUR GUN SHARPENED."

About November 1, 1864, went by rail to Huntsville, Alabama, and from
there marched to Athens, and from thence, via Lynnville and Pulaski, to
Columbia, Tenn. Here a part of twenty-third corps met, and reinforced
the fourth corps. Hood's rebel army was becoming very troublesome
and apparently impatient for large results, and was pressing ours
very _closely_. Considerable skirmishing took place about Columbia,
in which Company C bore its full share. Under pressure of enemy our
forces crossed Duck River the night of November 28th, the Seventy-third
standing picket the balance of that night on north bank of river. Next
morning, the pressure being great, there was no time to relieve us,
and being already deployed, we fell back, first as flankers, then as
skirmishers, in the direction of Spring Hill, arriving there about four
o'clock in afternoon of 29th. We were to the right, or south-east of
Pike and of Spring Hill. The part of the Seventy-third in the action at
Spring Hill was to assist in resisting a cavalry dash by enemy, just
before sunset. To do this we were only compelled to shorten our line a
little, and deliver a brisk fire for the space of about ten minutes.
Heavy fighting was going on near us, in which enemy's infantry was
engaged, pending which, night fall ended the contest, luckily for our
forces. There was great confusion, one result of which was, our being
compelled to stand picket all night, as on the preceding night. We must
have been VERY CLOSE indeed to enemy's pickets, though we did not see
or hear them; but could distinctly see the enemy at a little distance
around his camp-fires. Our trains were hustling the whole night
through, and got well on the way before morning toward Franklin.

Daylight of November 30th came, and we were still on the picket
line. By sunrise we began falling back, deployed as skirmishers, and
skirmishing began, and was kept up with more or less severity to
within one mile of Franklin, when our brigade was relieved. Very soon
after skirmishing began in the morning we crossed to the left of the
road, and when but little more than half way to Franklin, Capt. Kyger
being sick, was unable to remain longer with company, and was taken
in charge by Surgeon Pond, and we saw him no more until arriving at
Nashville. Being relieved, as before mentioned, by passing within, and
to rear, of skirmish line, which had been thrown out, the brigade,
Opedycke's first brigade, second division, fourth army corps, formed
and marched in column, with little delay, to Franklin, passing on the
way a brigade which must have been the third brigade of our division,
posted some distance in front of a temporary line of breastworks, which
had been hastily built, extending from a point above to another point
on the river below the town. These works, scarcely a mile in length,
semi-circular in form, and covering, not only Franklin, but also the
bridge across the Harpeth, were filled with troops; so our brigade
passed on to the rear, and took position behind Carter's Hill. This was
at about 3:30 o'clock, P. M. The men at once set about preparing coffee
and something to eat, being greatly fatigued from loss of sleep, and
almost constant duty since evening of 28th, on crossing Duck River. All
the trains, and the first division of the fourth corps, were north of
the Harpeth.

Dinner over once, we should probably have followed and taken the
advance, having assisted two days in covering the retreat. But no; not
all of us were permitted to finish dinner before Hood had martialed his
forces, swept up suddenly, driving in the brigade, posted in front, as
before stated, in its wake, and under cover of same crushing in, making
a fearful breach in our main line. Heavy firing began, clouds of dust
and smoke arose, hundreds of rebel troops were thrust into the breach
which they had made, and beyond; singly, and in squads, small and
great, our men began flying from the front, throwing away their guns;
pieces of artillery and cassions, with horses attached, came thundering
down; confusion and consternation indescribable had been wrought in
five minutes or less time.

The Thirty-sixth, Forty-fourth, and Seventy-third Illinois, and
Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, five
regiments, composing Opedycke's brigade, were instantly on their
feet, anticipating orders, seizing their guns, which had been stacked
on one line, made a simultaneous, irresistible rush to the front,
carrying every thing before them at the point of the bayonet, capturing
thirteen battle-flags, nearly one thousand prisoners, and restoring
and strengthening our line, so that it was broken no more. Stung to
desperation at this sudden turning of the scales in this important
battle, the infuriated enemy _charged_, and CHARGED _again_ and AGAIN,
carrying his reckless resistance right up to, yes on to, our slight
works, to the very muzzles of our guns. But we were there to stay,
at least until getting ready to leave of our own accord; but it took
maintain our position. How it was done I can scarcely hope to describe.

On arriving at the point from whence our forces had been driven,
there were too many troops to operate to advantage, and afford all a
semblance of protection. Fortunately, the ground, beginning at the
works, was gradually declining to the rear. Company C, with a few
soldiers of other companies, was posted between, and to the front of,
two pieces of artillery. All were either lying on the ground or in a
low, stooping posture. Immediately at the works was a strong line of
men, with barely elbow room, who did nothing but fire; in rear of this
line were two or three tiers of men, who were busy loading pieces and
passing them forward; to rear of these were still others, who were
cleaning guns, breaking open boxes of ammunition, and distributing
cartridges to the loaders; others still further back, carried up the
boxes of ammunition from a point where left by ammunition wagons.
There was _work_ for all, and all WORKED. There was a full half hour
of desperate fighting, perhaps equalled at some time and place, but
scarcely ever, if ever, surpassed. For several fearful minutes, as a
result of combined, sturdy, heroic effort on the part of all, from end
to end of our line, the small arms volleyed; there was no determining
of intervals between volleys; it was as one. The cannon thundered;
the shell shrieked; the smoke rolled; the earth trembled; the heroic,
reckless, desperate, enemy surged, and _surged_ again and AGAIN, right
up to our line, and recoiled as often, _recoiling last_, before the
merciless tempest of death.

Darkness came on, and shrouded the scene; there was a lull in the
fight; a great calm after a great storm. Many of our soldiers had been
slain, but for each one, from three to five of the rebels had bitten
the dust. Very many on both sides were wounded, the few mortally, the
many slightly. Did those who had not finished dinner, now finish it?
No. Was supper prepared? No. Was there time for coffee? Not much. The
foe, threatening and defiant, was right there, within sixty feet,
waiting to pounce upon us. Guns were put in order, ammunition in
abundance was got ready at hand, and all precautions taken. Nor had
we long to wait until the first night assault was made; right up to
our works they charged, coming within space measured by the flashes
from our rifles. But before our galling fire the enemy quailed and fell
back. Our fire slackened some; but within an hour two or more assaults
were made, with like result.

After the last assault we kept up a heavy fire for some minutes, until
some person, some officer perhaps, between the lines, but nearest ours,
yelled out: "Cease firing, cease firing;" repeating the command several
times. Amid the smoke and darkness it could not be told who or what
he was, whether Union or rebel. In a few minutes the firing did, in a
great measure, cease; later it ceased almost entirely. At same time a
burning building in the suburbs of Franklin fell in, making a great
light, by which we saw several, as many as a dozen, standards raise
along enemy's line. He was preparing, no doubt, for a last desperate
effort to break our front. Brisk firing immediately opened from our
side, increasing in volume and ceasing not until every battle-flag on
enemy's front was laid low. This ended the contest; quiet succeeded;
and by midnight our weary forces had withdrawn from the field; crossed
the Harpeth, and were slowly wending their way to Nashville.

The loss to Seventy-third, in this battle, was nine killed and two
wounded that died soon afterward; one of the former being Adjt. Wilmer,
and one of the latter being Major Motherspaw; the loss to Company C
being one killed, Zenas Fulton, and one wounded, Joseph A. Allison,
who died in enemy's hands. There were three or four others of company
wounded, including the writer; and there were several others of the
regiment wounded; but nearly all of these were slight wounds, excepting
that of Captain Jonas Jones, and one or two others. Some two or three
years ago writer saw a statement from Gen. D. S. Stanley, who commanded
the fourth corps, until wounded, in this battle; which statement,
published in a Philadelphia paper, asserted that the fourth corps used
ninety wagon loads of ammunition the afternoon and night of November
30, 1864. It is reasonable to suppose that much of this ammunition was
destroyed; wasted in other ways than in "wild firing," the enemy's
losses, all told, being about five thousand five hundred, or three
times our own.

Col. Opedycke was breveted brigadier-general, and merited praise was
bestowed in congratulatory orders, for the part borne by his brigade in
the battle of Franklin. Any other brigade that was there would probably
have done as well, under the same circumstances; but as three-fifths of
the brigade were Illinoisians we take a pardonable pride in making this
imperfect record of its most conspicuous achievement.

Arrived at Nashville at one o'clock, P. M., December 1, 1864. We were
a very tired, sorely-taxed, and dirty lot of soldiers. Sleep was
imperatively demanded; and most of us, as soon as halted, or assigned
camping space, dropped on the ground and slept until sunset; by which
time Capt. Kyger had found us, and was anxiously ascertaining how
we had fared. Hood followed up immediately, taking position in our
front; and on December 3d, James Ashmore, of Company C, a faithful
soldier, was shot dead while standing picket. His body was buried in
the cemetery at Nashville. This was the last loss which befell Company
C, except in case of two or three members who were mustered out a few
days in advance of the regiment at hospitals, and one recruit--Wm. R.
Cook--transferred to the Forty-fourth Illinois. About this time we
received notification of the death of three members of the company
in Andersonville prison, as before noted, viz.: Brown, Ellis, and
Thornton, with whom the writer had spent three months as a prisoner.
How fortunate had we been, not only in escaping prison, but in passing
comparatively unharmed through twelve battles, since separating from
prison comrades, and standing now upon the threshold of the thirteenth,
destined to pass safely through that. Fortunate indeed we were, and
thankful, very thankful we are, and ought to be.

On December 15th and 16th, 1864, occurred the battles of Nashville,
in which command performed the part assigned it both days; in the
afternoon of the 16th joining in the grand, majestic charge, which
was the finishing stroke to the rebellion in the west. Casualties
to Company C, none to speak of, and to regiment very few, only one
man killed, and probably a dozen wounded. Enemy hugged his works so
closely that his fire passed above our heads. On our reaching the
works, those of the enemy who did not surrender fled with precipitated
haste. With utmost enthusiasm our troops pursued the flying enemy,
until darkness closed the race. Started early on the 17th, but our
cavalry took the job off our hands, pursuing Hood so closely that he
crossed the Tennessee River, with only a few shattered and broken
fragments of his late offensive army. We followed to Pulaski, Tenn.,
at which point, a day or two before Christmas, we heard, for the last
time, the whiz of an enemy's bullet.

Leaving Pulaski we took up our line of march for Huntsville, Ala.,
arriving January 5, 1865. Here we remained until March 28th; then
going by rail to Blue Springs, East Tennessee. While at Blue Springs
the war closed; Lee and Johnston surrendered, and Abraham Lincoln was
assassinated. News of the latter produced the wildest frenzy among
our troops. The latter part of April were ordered to Nashville. Going
by rail, we arrived in due course. Hostilities having ceased, the
excitement incident thereto having subsided, we led a quiet camp life
up to middle of June. The regiment was mustered out June 12, 1865,
starting a day or two later for Springfield, Ill., to receive final
payment and to disband.

We give name of each member of Company C that was present for muster
out June 12th, except where already noted; see list of sergeants and
corporals and remarks below on page 126, which with the fifty-three men
dropped from the roll by July 1, 1864, and the following dropped since,
or mustered out in advance of the regiment, make the one hundred and
four men, with which company entered the service: N. Brady and I. W.
Ward, transferred to United States engineer corps, July 20th and August
21st, 1864; E. P. Brown, Wm. F. Ellis, and John Thornton, died at
Andersonville; James A. Allison and Zenas Fulton, killed at Franklin;
James Ashmore, killed at Nashville; Nathaniel Henderson, mustered out
May 4th; William B. Cowan, May 17th, John Braselton, June 2d, and
Daniel Suycott, June 8, 1865; Samuel W. Sigler, transferred to Veteran
Reserve Corps, January 10, 1865, and William R. Cook, transferred to
Forty-fourth Illinois, June 12, 1865, fourteen in all.

  TILMON D. KYGER, deceased.
  DAVID BRANSON,[D] deceased.
  JAMES S. PECK, deceased.

  In all,                                           24
  Add five sergeants and eight corporals,           13
  Previously dropped from all causes as indicated,  67
    Total,                                         104

DANVILLE, ILL., September 4, 1886.

[D] On detached service in rear, full term.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
possible, including obsolete and variant spellings, inconsistent
hyphenation, and other inconsistencies.

Obvious punctuation errors and minor printer errors repaired.

Frequent use of 'eat' in place of 'ate' kept as printed.

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