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Title: Capture and Escape - A Narrative of Army and Prison Life
Author: Kellogg, John Azor
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CAPTURE AND ESCAPE


[Illustration: JOHN AZOR KELLOGG]


WISCONSIN HISTORY COMMISSION: ORIGINAL PAPERS, NO. 2

CAPTURE AND ESCAPE

A NARRATIVE OF ARMY AND PRISON LIFE

BY JOHN AZOR KELLOGG

COLONEL OF SIXTH WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY AND BREVET
BRIGADIER-GENERAL

WISCONSIN HISTORY COMMISSION
NOVEMBER, 1908


TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED COPIES PRINTED

DEMOCRAT PRINTING CO., STATE PRINTER



Contents

                                         PAGE
WISCONSIN HISTORY COMMISSION               ix

PREFACE                                    xi

CAPTURE AND ESCAPE: A NARRATIVE OF ARMY AND
  PRISON LIFE. _John Azor Kellogg_

  The Iron Brigade in camp                  1

  On the skirmish line                      4

  Captured                                 11

  En route to Lynchburg                    13

  Arrival at Lynchburg                     21

  Treatment at Lynchburg                   24

  At Danville                              28

  Removed to Macon                         29

  Prison pen                               33

  Tunnelling                               40

  Betrayed                                 43

  Prison life                              49

  Removed to Charleston                    52

  Escape from the train                    58

  Prisoners again                          65

  Confined at Charleston                   71

  Another tunnel                           73

  In the line of Union fire                81

  Daily experiences                        85

  A second escape                          92

  Fugitives                                97

  Two of us missing                       105

  A friend in the dark                    111

  Novel foot-gear                         116

  Interrupting a revival                  122

  Negro sympathizers                      126

  Hunted with hounds                      130

  Friendly blacks                         140

  Difficulties, day by day                148

  A cautious picket                       157

  The Home Guard                          160

  Among the Georgia Unionists             165

  A mountain wedding                      173

  Diplomacy                               179

  A start for our lines                   181

  Among comrades                          189

  The mystery solved                      195

  Again in the field                      198

  A belated report                        200



ILLUSTRATION


PORTRAIT OF AUTHOR, while Colonel of Sixth Wisconsin
Infantry                              _Frontispiece_



WISCONSIN HISTORY COMMISSION

     (Organized under the provisions of Chapter 298, Laws of 1905, as
     amended by Chapter 378, Laws of 1907)

JAMES O. DAVIDSON

     _Governor of Wisconsin_

FREDERICK J. TURNER

     _Professor of American History in the University of Wisconsin_

REUBEN G. THWAITES

     _Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin_

HENRY E. LEGLER

     _Secretary of the Wisconsin Library Commission_

CHARLES E. ESTABROOK

     _Representing Department of Wisconsin, Grand Army of the Republic_

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Chairman_, COMMISSIONER ESTABROOK

     _Secretary and Editor_, COMMISSIONER THWAITES

     _Committee on Publications_, COMMISSIONERS LEGLER, THWAITES, AND
     TURNER



PREFACE


John Azor Kellogg, author of the Commission's Original Narrative No. 2,
was born on the 16th of March, 1828, at Bethany, in Wayne County,
Pennsylvania, the son of Nathan and Sarah (Quidor) Kellogg. Nathan's
father was an American soldier in the Revolutionary War; he himself a
tavern-keeper, stage proprietor, and general contractor. The Kelloggs
moved to Wisconsin Territory about 1840, settling at Prairie du Chien.

John's early youth was spent in farm work, his education being confined
to three winters at a private school. When eighteen years of age, he
began reading law; at first taking a correspondence course with George
W. Woodward, later chief justice of Pennsylvania, but completing his
studies with S. S. Wilkinson of Prairie du Sac. Mr. Kellogg was one of
the founders of the Republican Party, being a member of the Madison
convention of September 5, 1855.

Admitted to the bar in 1857, in his twenty-ninth year, he opened an
office at Mauston. In November, 1860, he was elected district attorney
of Juneau County, but resigned in April, 1861, to enlist in the Union
Army. His earliest military experience was as First Lieutenant of the
Lemonweir Minute Men, an organization that became Company K of the Sixth
Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry--his commission being dated May 3. The
several companies composing this regiment were mustered into Federal
service at Camp Randall, in Madison, on the 16th of July, and twelve
days later left for the front. On December 18 following, Lieutenant
Kellogg was promoted to be Captain of Company I. He served actively with
his company until January, 1863; but was then appointed adjutant-general
of the famous Iron Brigade (of which the Sixth Wisconsin was a member),
holding that position until the following January, when he returned to
duty with his regiment.

Captain Kellogg participated in the battles of Gainesville, Second Bull
Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, and Gettysburg. It was during the great
Fight in the Wilderness, while the Iron Brigade was of the Army of the
Potomac, that our author was captured (May 5, 1864) by Confederates,
while he was doing skirmish duty on special detail. Imprisoned
successively at Lynchburg and Danville (Virginia), Macon (Georgia), and
Charleston (South Carolina), he escaped on October 5 by jumping from a
rapidly-moving railroad train while he and his fellow prisoners were
being transported to Columbia.

The story of his depressing experiences in Confederate prisons, and of
his curious adventures while a fugitive after the escape, is told in the
present volume. A man of acute intellect, resourceful, and courageous in
an unusual degree, Captain Kellogg's narrative is a document of great
human interest. His literary style is as vivid as his experiences were
thrilling, and the modest tale is certain to hold the attention of the
most jaded reader of war-time reminiscences. The Commission considers
itself fortunate in being able to include in this series so admirable a
paper.

While Captain Kellogg was absent in captivity, or before his safe
return to the Union lines at Calhoun, Georgia (October 26), he was twice
promoted--September 1, to be Major of his regiment; October 19, to be
its Lieutenant-Colonel. Soon after assuming the last-named office
(November), he was made Colonel of the regiment. Being assigned to the
command of the Iron Brigade in February, 1865, he led that redoubtable
organization in the battles of Hatcher's Run, Boydon Plank Road, Gravel
Run, Five Forks, High Bridge, and Appomattox. On the 9th of April he was
deservedly brevetted brigadier-general, "for highly meritorious service
during the campaign terminating with the surrender of the insurgent army
under General Robert E. Lee," and on July 14 following was mustered out.

Being appointed United States Pension Agent at La Crosse, General
Kellogg removed to that city in the spring of 1866, remaining there
until July, 1875, having resigned his position in April of that year. He
now settled in Wausau, successfully resuming the practice of his
profession, and in 1879-80 represented his district in the State Senate.
His death occurred at Wausau, February 10, 1883, in the fifty-fifth
year of his age. Married on October 5, 1852, to Miss Adelaide
Worthington of Prairie du Sac, he left three children of the five born
unto them.

General Kellogg published a narrative of the adventures herein related,
in a series of articles in the La Crosse _Leader_, between September 25,
1869, and January 15, 1870. In its present amplified and improved form,
the story appears, from internal evidence, to have been written in 1882,
a year before his death. We are indebted for our manuscript copy to his
widow, now living in Faribault, Minnesota. The portrait of the author,
given as our frontispiece, is from a photograph taken in Madison while
he was Colonel of his regiment--probably quite soon after his return
from captivity.

The purpose of the Commission is merely to select and publish such
material bearing upon Wisconsin's part in the War of Secession as, from
considerations of rarity or of general excellence, it is deemed
desirable to disseminate. Opinions or errors of fact on the part of the
respective authors have not been modified or corrected by the
Commission--save as members may choose to append thereto
individually-signed foot-notes. For all statements, of whatever
character, the author alone is responsible, whether the publication be
in the form of Original Narratives or of Reprints.

The Commission is indebted to Miss Annie A. Nunns, of the Wisconsin
Historical Library staff, for supervising the reading of the proof.

R. G. T.

WISCONSIN HISTORICAL LIBRARY
November, 1908



CAPTURE AND ESCAPE


_The Iron Brigade in Camp_

On the morning of the third of May, 1864, the Army of the Potomac
confronted the Confederates on the banks of the Rapidan.

The consolidated First and Fifth Army Corps was commanded by
Major-General George G. Warren.[1] To this corps was attached that part
of the Army of the Potomac known as the Iron Brigade, then under the
command of General Lysander Cutler, one of the ablest of our volunteer
generals. To this brigade was attached the Sixth Wisconsin, commanded by
Colonel (afterwards General) Edward S. Bragg. I commanded Company I in
this regiment.[2]

Fearing a repetition of the long, cold winter of 1863-64, the army,
under the immediate supervision of that thorough soldier, General George
G. Meade, had been re-organized, completely equipped, and fitted for the
stern duties of the next campaign.

The hills around Culpeper were dotted with the white tents and rude yet
more comfortable cabins of the patriot soldiers. All along the banks of
the Rapidan, at regular intervals, curled the smoke of the picket fires.
Beyond them trod the weary sentinels, whose watchful eyes and stalwart
arms had for twenty-four hours guarded their comrades in camp from
surprise and consequent disaster. But now the allotted time for relief
had come, and they stole an occasional impatient glance toward the long
blue column winding its way along the turnpike toward the reserve post,
knowing that it was the relief guard that was to take their place in
the tedious, irksome, and sometimes dangerous outpost duty.

In camp, here and there, might have been seen a regiment executing the
beautiful evolutions of battalion drill, and perhaps a camp guard being
mounted, the air meanwhile resounding with the martial music so
inspiring to the soldier. To the civilian all would have seemed
confusion; but to the soldier the scene simply represented an army at
rest; his eye could only see the monotonous details of camp life, the
every-day life of the soldier. Such had been the daily routine through
weary months of waiting, until all were eagerly anticipating the order
to move.

As the sun disappeared that night, behind the western hills, its last
beams shone upon an army whose banners floated from every hillside and
valley as far as the eye could reach; and as the camp fires came out in
the deepening twilight, they glimmered and sparkled like the lights of
some great city.

The camp guards paced their well-trodden beats. The confused murmur of
thousands of voices mingled together, conversing of home and friends;
occasionally a merry laugh would arise, as some wag related a droll
story, or, more frequently, perpetrated a practical joke upon a comrade,
until "taps" sounded, and the lights went out as if by magic. Gradually
all sounds died away, and the army was at rest. Dreams of wife,
children, and home blessed the sleeping hours of the patient, waiting
soldier, cheating him into a few minutes of bliss.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Although General Warren never did and probably never will be able to
arouse an army corps, in the middle of the night, from the deep sleep
that follows the exhaustion of a battle, build a bridge thirty feet long
over a brawling stream swollen by a twelve hours' rain, and march five
miles over muddy roads, in an hour from the time he receives the order,
it is quite doubtful whether more than one general officer could be
found in the United States who would require it or imagine it could be
done; and I assert that no more efficient and patriotic officer than
Warren ever wore a star.

[2] The Iron Brigade was at first composed of the Second, Sixth, and
Seventh Wisconsin, and the Nineteenth Indiana. In October, 1862, was
added the Twenty-fourth Michigan. The heaviest loss by brigades, in the
entire Union army, fell to this command.--EDITOR.


_On the Skirmish Line_

Hark! a horse comes galloping up to the Colonel's quarters, a few
hurried words are spoken, and then come the quick, sharp words of
command: "Adjutant, go to the commanding officers of companies; tell
them to have their commands under arms at once, and report them on the
parade ground in heavy marching order. Make no noise; no drums will be
beaten, nor alarms sounded."

Soon from out the darkness, upon the chill night, sounds again:
"Orderly, see that the company is at arms at once, in heavy marching
order!"

"Strike tents and pack knapsacks!" cries the orderly; and all along the
line is heard the busy stir and bustle of striking tents and packing
knapsacks, accompanied now and then by a suppressed yawn or muttered
curse from the sleepy soldier thus rudely aroused from pleasant dreams
and comfortable blankets to pack up his bed, tear down his house, and
travel he knows not, and in many cases cares not, where. The sun next
morning looked down upon a solitude where last evening a city stood. The
army is crossing the Rapidan.

Surprised at the celerity of the movement, the enemy made but feeble
resistance at the fords, and fell back to its retrenchments at Mine Run.

That night, weary and foot-sore, we lay waiting for the rising of the
morning sun, whose beams were to be obscured by the sulphurous battle
cloud.

Early on the morning of the 5th, we were aroused from our slumbers by
the command: "Turn out! Ten minutes to cook coffee and prepare for
marching!"

Staff officers and orderlies were galloping hither and thither, the
ammunition wagons were ordered to the front, general officers could be
seen inspecting the ground, and all those grim preparations were being
made that to the soldier were recognized as the precursor of battle.

Soon our line was formed, and the old soldiers scarcely waited for the
order to throw up breastworks. This done, we threw ourselves along the
ground, waiting for the enemy to show themselves. But, so far as I was
concerned, alas for human expectations! At this moment an excessively
polite orderly came up to me, and, touching his hat, said: "Captain,
Colonel Bragg directs that you report with your company to General
Cutler, for skirmish duty."

Around Colonel Bragg there was a group of officers, who were evidently
pleased that this unwelcome message should have come to some one besides
themselves. Concealing my distaste for the duty assigned me, I sent them
a cheerful "Good bye! I expect you fellows will all be wiped out before
I get back."

"Good-by!" was returned. "Better 'shake' before you go, for it's the
last we'll ever see of you."

"Shake them up lively, my boy!" said the Colonel.

"Never mind me," I replied. "Look out you don't get run over by the line
of battle, when they follow me in." And so the badinage went on. Major
Plummer and Captain Converse of that merry group were both destined to
fight their last battle that day.

Upon reporting to General Cutler, I found him pacing up and down before
his quarters, evidently laboring under some excitement. I had at one
time served on his staff, and we were familiarly acquainted. He invited
me into his tent, and extending his hand said: "Captain, your work this
morning will not be play. Out in front--I do not know exactly how far,
but probably within a mile--you will find the sharp-shooters deployed as
skirmishers. You will join them. Use your own company as you think best;
take command of the line, and advance until you raise the enemy and
bring on an engagement."

Just as I was leaving him, he added, "Take along plenty of orderlies,
and report frequently."

Those of my readers who have had actual experience in skirmishing, can
readily understand how distasteful it is to the soldier. It is a duty
that furnishes the best opportunity in the world for getting "wiped
out," with but slight chance of achieving military glory. It is a duty
that requires your best efforts, all of which are sure to be
overshadowed by the more momentous events to follow, and sure to be
forgotten in the official reports.

Somewhat reluctantly, I will confess, I obeyed the order, found the line
deployed, and immediately ordered an advance.

Our progress was necessarily slow, the ground being broken and heavily
timbered with a kind of scrub pine. After advancing about a mile, I
discovered a long line of "graybacks" moving slowly forward in line of
battle, without the precaution of throwing forward a skirmish line. My
men were immediately halted, and the command to commence firing given.

If ever a set of men were astonished, those Confederates were the men.
The nature of the ground was such that neither party saw the other until
within thirty-five or forty yards of each other. We had the advantage.
They were in line of battle, while my men were deployed and behind
trees, stumps, stones--anything that might afford concealment and
protection.

The rattling, scattered firing from my line told fearfully upon the
enemy, and they at once replied with a volley. Whew! How the bullets
sung and whistled around us! The only thing I feared was, that they
would discover our weakness and charge us, for my men were sheltered.
But the Confederates simply held their ground, replying to our skirmish
fire from line of battle.

Soon word reached headquarters of the position of the enemy, and a
cracking and roar at the rear gave notice of the advance of our line of
battle. Hurrah! Here they come on, double quick! "Cold steel, boys! Give
'em the bayonet!" I heard General Cutler say; and over us they came.

My own men caught the inspiration, and gladly obeyed the order to move
forward with the line. At the first shock the enemy's line was broken.
Two miles we drove them, and then the programme changed.

In moving a long line over broken ground at double quick, intervals are
bound to occur; connections to be lost. The enemy, taking advantage of
this, had thrown a force into our rear, and bullets began to come from
behind us. At first this caused confusion, then panic. Our line,
vigorously pressed in front and rear at the same time, became
demoralized. Officers made desperate efforts to rally the men, but it
was of no use; they could not endure the bullets coming from the front
and rear at once, and away they went.

About this time I had a sensation akin to being struck by lightning.
Upon recovering consciousness, I found myself with a badly-swelled head
and great confusion of ideas, and I was bleeding profusely from ears and
nose. On all sides were the maimed, the dying, and the dead. There was
no enemy in sight save those killed and wounded. This was consoling; but
unfortunately, if I had no enemies to fear, I was equally destitute of
friends.

Which way was north, south, east, or west, I was wholly unable to
determine. I was equally at a loss to decide which was front and which
rear. Hearing firing in one direction, I came to the sage conclusion
that by going in the direction of the sound I should at least be able to
determine where our forces were.

But what was the matter with the trees? They were cutting up all sorts
of antics--advancing, retreating, bobbing up and down, actually waltzing
about me. Around and around they went, until they made me dizzy. In
trying to catch one of them, the ground suddenly flew up into my face,
and, not satisfied with that, tried to roll me off; but I held on like a
tick, grasping the twigs with all my might. The exertion was too much,
and I fainted outright. Upon recovering my senses, I concluded to make
my way to the rear. I found it difficult to travel, however, because of
the giddiness and partial blindness caused by my wound. When I had
progressed about a quarter of a mile, I found myself looking down the
barrel of a musket.


_Captured_

A Confederate regiment, the Thirteenth Georgia, had, in the mêlée,
become detached from its brigade, and was lost in the dense forest. The
commanding officer had ordered the men to lie down in a thicket, and
unfortunately I had surprised them. Not being in the humor just then to
"surround them," like the Irishman, I surrendered at discretion, and was
immediately disarmed and conducted to the commander, when the following
conversation took place:

_Confederate Officer._ Captain, were you in the skirmish line out
yonder?

_Yank._ I am a prisoner, sir, and must decline to answer any questions
touching our position or forces.

_Confederate._ That's all right, Captain, but I would like to know
whether you have any skirmishers in there. Do you know where Gordon's
brigade is?

_Yank._ Gordon's brigade! Why, I don't know where I am myself.

_Confederate._ Then there are two of us in the same fix. To tell the
truth, I am lost. I got through an interval in your lines, I think; at
all events, I found myself in your rear without knowing how I got there,
and was trying to get back when you uns run over us. We just lay still,
and the Yanks passed us.

_Yank._ In which direction did they go?

_Confederate._ Out yon.

_Yank._ Then it strikes me that your rear is in an opposite direction.

_Confederate._ Well, yes, I reckon so. Corporal, take this officer to
the rear and find the Provost Marshal and report him.


_En Route to Lynchburg_

I found myself traveling toward Richmond in quite different company and
under less favorable auspices than I had ever imagined would be my lot.
After running about an hour we at length found the Provost guard of the
Confederate army, and to my chagrin about twelve hundred of my
companions in misfortune. Some, like myself, were wounded. Some
expressed impatience and mortification. Others evidently accepted their
condition as inevitable and determined to make the best of it,
expressing more concern for the success of our arms than solicitude for
themselves.

At a little distance from the prison corral were the badly wounded,
awaiting the ministrations of a surgeon. There, under a large tree, on a
blanket, lay the gallant Captain Converse, a prisoner, wounded and
dying; by his side, with one leg already amputated, Corporal Frank Hare,
with cocked revolver, kept at bay a couple of the enemy's surgeons who
were desirous of experimenting upon the yet breathing body of his
leader. The heroism of those two men was sublime. The Captain had been
shot through the body and both thighs. It was utterly impossible for him
to recover. He knew that his moments were numbered, and the end was
nigh. He only asked to be permitted to die in peace, but the surgeons
were desirous of experimenting upon him by what is known as the "hip
amputation."

Converse had overheard their conversation, and directed Hare to put his
hand in a certain pocket and get his revolver, which had been overlooked
when his captors took his side-arms, and, armed with this, to prevent
them from torturing him. Hare did as his officer directed; and when they
attempted to remove his Captain he cocked the revolver, and in quiet,
yet firm tones, warned them that he would shoot the first man that laid
a hand on him. Weapons were pointed at him, with threats to kill him if
he did not surrender the pistol. Hare only laughed at them, asking them
what they supposed he cared for life, with one leg gone?

Struck with admiration for his bravery, the guard was withdrawn. A
Confederate officer, standing near, filled with admiration of his
heroism, said, "I would like a regiment of such men!"

This aroused the dying Captain, who, his eyes flashing with patriotic
fire, told him that he had the honor to lead a hundred just such men,
and added: "The North is full of them. Sooner or later we shall triumph,
and your rebel rag will be trampled beneath their feet."

With these brave, prophetic words he breathed out his young life, a
willing sacrifice upon the altar of his country. At the instant he
expired the sun broke through a rift in the battle cloud, and glancing
down through the shimmering foliage of the forest tree, illumined the
face of the dead. I thought it the pathway of the angel that bore aloft
the released spirit of my comrade and friend.

I have seen men in the mad excitement of a charge perform reckless deeds
of bravery, facing death with apparent nonchalance, and admired them for
their soldierly bearing and courage; but this was something different.
It will be difficult to find an instance in either ancient or modern
history, of greater fidelity, love, confidence, courage, and fearless
patriotism than was displayed by these two wounded heroes. High up on
the list of those made deathless by heroic deeds, should be inscribed
the names of Captain Rollin P. Converse and Corporal Frank Hare.

Before I witnessed the death of Converse, I had felt despondent, but now
the sight of his calm courage determined me to bear my own lot with
philosophy. As a matter of fact, I was no worse off than thousands of
others, and vastly better off than many. Even then, I began to plan some
way for escape.

A short time only was allowed us to rest and recuperate. All able to
march at all were soon en route for Orange Court House, under the escort
of a strong guard. There were several hundred of us. Among others I
recollect Colonel Grover, a gallant officer of the Seventh Indiana.
Although the distance could not have been more than eight or ten miles,
perhaps less, it was about 10 o'clock before we arrived at our
destination for the night. During the march in the darkness several of
the prisoners made their escape, but I believe that all these were
eventually recaptured.

No rations had been issued to us, and many were ready to faint from
hunger and fatigue, but the "bitter cud" of our disappointment was all
we then had to chew. So far, we had been in the hands of soldiers, and
our treatment had been as good as we had any reason to expect. But upon
our arrival at Orange Court House we were turned over to a squint-eyed,
knock-kneed Provost-Marshal and his home guard, and with the change of
guard came a most decided change in our treatment.

Cowards are always tyrants, and this redheaded commander of the home
guard was no exception to the rule. The enlisted men were separated from
the officers and driven into a dirty back yard, where they bivouacked
quite comfortably, for they had their rubber and woolen blankets and
could on ordinary occasions sleep as well without shelter. But they were
aroused at an early hour in the morning, and under the directions of the
squint-eyed Provost Marshal systematically robbed of their blankets,
both rubber and woolen, also their knapsacks. One poor fellow, indignant
at such robbery, tore his blanket into strips. This act being observed
by the delectable specimen of Confederate chivalry, he sprang upon him
with a club and knocked him down, striking him several blows while he
lay on the ground, senseless and bleeding. Some of our officers
remonstrated against such plain violation of civilized warfare, and were
coolly told they had better keep their sympathy to themselves, as they
would probably need it all for home consumption.

On inquiry we learned that no rations could be obtained, but were kindly
permitted to purchase from a sutler a corn-dodger and cup of coffee
each, for which we paid two dollars apiece, in greenbacks. Soon after
breakfast, we were formed in column for marching, and started for
Gordonsville.

If some of us had been with our commands, instead of being prisoners, we
probably would not have thought we could endure the march in the hot
sun. My head was badly swollen and pained me greatly; this, together
with the heat, insufficient food, and depression of spirits consequent
upon the situation, almost unmanned me. Keep up with the column I could
not. Finally, two or three of us cripples were permitted to fall behind
under the guard of one man, and never in my life did I feel the need of
money so badly, for if we could have raised only fifty dollars in
greenbacks we had reason to believe our guard's cupidity would have
easily overcome his sense of duty. But alas! The money was not to be
commanded; so, a few rods at a time, we continued our march.

Just as it was getting dark we reached Gordonsville. Although the
distance traversed was comparatively short, yet I venture to say the
day's march will be remembered by that little squad of cripples longer
than many another of double the distance. One of the things that
discouraged us was the reports concerning the battle of the day before,
received from Confederate sources. We were informed that our forces were
in full retreat to Washington, that our loss was about one-half our
effective force, and the like.

Immediately upon our arrival at Gordonsville we were corralled in a
railroad excavation and closely guarded. The next morning we were loaded
upon freight cars, and to our surprise found that Lynchburg, not
Richmond, was our destination.

Upon this slight foundation we immediately began to build great hopes.
If we had lost the battle, what was the reason we were not shipped to
Libby and Belle Isle? We had not then heard of a great man's famous
expression, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all
summer." The celebrated flank movement that placed the army south of
Richmond and bottled up the Confederate army, existed only in the
prolific brain of the greatest soldier of the age.

The Army of the Potomac had so many times marched up the hill, only to
march down again, that we began to look upon this performance as the
regular thing. We did not realize that this army was then under the
guidance of a man who knew no such word as fail; who, if whipped on one
day, only fought harder the next.

Our trip to Lynchburg was relieved of its monotony by one circumstance.
The bottom of one of the cars was mined, a plank was cut out, and when a
halt was made to take on wood and water, one or two adventurous fellows
crawled through and dug the dirt from between two of the ties, so as to
allow them room to escape collision with the bottom of the cars, lying
there while the train passed over them. The ruse was successful, so far
as escaping from the train was concerned; but unfortunately the
fugitives were discovered as soon as the train passed by, and
recaptured. The attempt was a foolish one, but indicative of the general
disposition to attempt any manner of escape that had the slightest
chance for success.


_Arrival at Lynchburg_

The next morning we arrived at Lynchburg, and were taken from the cars.
Here occurred a ludicrous scene, that, notwithstanding their situation,
furnished our boys a hearty laugh. Some philosopher has said, "Man is an
animal that laughs." Man is the only animal that laughs. This, as
distinctly as speech, marks the distinction between reasoning beings and
brute instinct. Show me a man who never laughs, and I will show you one
whose instincts are brutish and cruel. These thousands or more
prisoners, surrounded by enemies, cut off from all that makes life
endurable, deprived of liberty, laughed heartily, and it did them good.

A militia company had been improvised to act as our guard and escort us
from the cars to the prison. They were not uniformed, being dressed in
everything from swallow-tailed coats and slippers to home-spun
butternut, and armed with everything that could shoot, from a carbine to
a flint-lock musket. The members were of all ages, from school boys to
decrepit old men. They were commanded by a young fellow in a nondescript
uniform. His sword and scabbard were the only really soldierly things
about him, and were handled about as awkwardly as we had handled ours,
when first transformed from citizens into officers, two or three years
before.

This amateur officer wanted the prisoners formed into four ranks, faced
in the proper direction, but how to do it was a problem to him. After
several abortive attempts, our folks obeying every order strictly, which
only demonstrated the fact that his orders failed to convey his meaning,
he at last lost patience and roared out: "G---- d---- it! I want you
Yanks to git in four ranks, faced yon way!"

This direction, though not in strict accordance with military parlance,
was at least intelligible; and after much pulling and hauling, the
desired result was accomplished, every man merrily repeating the order,
and pushing and pulling his fellows. Then he attempted to form his guard
on either flank of the column. He had great difficulty in bringing this
about, for our boys insisted on obeying every order given to the guard.
At last, out of patience with us, he exclaimed: "See here! I want you
Yanks to stand still, when I give orders! I'm speaking to the company,
not you uns!"

When at length he had formed the order of march, he commanded,
"Forward, march!" The guard started, and we stood still. This was not
observed until about half of the guard had passed us. This necessitated
a halt, and he then explained that now he wanted us to "git up along
with the balance."

Thus, laughing and jesting, we passed up the street and into our first
prison pen, an old tobacco warehouse situated on the principal street,
but rather small for the company it was expected to entertain. Here we
commenced our prison life.

Attached to the building was a small yard, which at certain hours we
were permitted to visit, for the purpose of supplying ourselves with
water, washing clothes, exercise, etc. Our prison proper was a room
about twenty by fifty feet. Into this space were crowded nearly two
hundred officers; for prior to this time the enlisted men had been
separated from us, while additions of officers from other sources had
been added to our squad.


_Treatment at Lynchburg_

The floors of the building were filthy, and the ceilings swarmed with
vermin. The only ventilation was from two windows at one end of the
room. The building was only a fit habitation for the rats that infested
it. Very few of us had blankets, and none were issued to us. At night we
were obliged to lie on the floor, so closely packed that every inch of
space was occupied; and if necessity required one to leave the room
during the night, he was compelled to travel over his comrades to
accomplish his purpose. Before morning the air would become almost
poisonous, through lack of ventilation.

Our rations here consisted of bread and a small quantity of meat. They
were good in quality, although rather limited in quantity; but our
experience as soldiers, sometimes on short rations, would have
accustomed us to such hardships, if we could only have divested
ourselves of the intense longing for liberty. Compared with other
Southern prisons, our condition here was quite tolerable.

The officer in command of this prison was humane. Only once did he show
any temper, and that was one night when we all began to sing patriotic
songs, ending with "Old John Brown." When we got to


     "We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree."


he came into the room and ordered us to stop singing; but we only sang
the louder, telling him that our tongues were our own, and we should
sing if we wanted to.

"Well," he replied, "_sing_, if you will, but you shan't eat, for I'll
stop your rations."

This had the desired effect. Our sonorous chorus soon sank to a feeble
quaver and faded away. Some of us consoled ourselves with the memory of
one occasion when the Iron Brigade entered Warrenton, every man singing
"John Brown," the column keeping time to the music. But we did not sing
any more on this occasion.

For a time we kept up our courage by cheerful conversation or practical
jokes. Sometimes an amusing incident would serve to break the monotony,
and was eagerly seized upon and made the most of. Many obtained
nick-names, such as "Lengthy," "Shorty," "Whitehead," etc. One, a
Lieutenant Wetterville, obtained the nickname of "Rats" in this way: One
night, after all had retired, and the cheerful snore began to enliven
the sleepless hours of the restless, this young officer was roused from
his slumbers by a huge rat gnawing his toes. He sprang to his feet in
affright, and ran the length of the room, shouting: "Rats! Rats!"
arousing all the sleepers, to the indignation of some and the mirth of
others. The scene ended with three cheers and a tiger, for "Rats." This
light-heartedness was but the foam on the surface, and only ill
concealed the troubled under-current that was gradually mining away the
better feelings of our natures.

The mind of man is so constituted that he cannot be deprived of his
liberty for any considerable time, without there being generated an
inordinate desire to be free. Actual physical ills become secondary to
this acute desire:


     "The wish which ages have not yet subdued,
     In man to have no master but his mood."


This feeling at length becomes morbid, the gay laugh becomes hollow and
forced, the eye loses its fire, and a hopeless expression settles over
the countenance like a pall.

The novelty of our situation had not yet worn away. We had been
comparatively well treated, and, besides, we were planning an escape.
Some negroes had contrived to communicate with us, and through them we
had concocted a scheme for crossing the river. We had started a tunnel
out of the yard from a closet, and were to be harbored by a negro family
until we could procure some Confederate clothing. Two of the prisoners
had formed the acquaintance of some women by talking through the fence,
and through them had secured a suit of Confederate clothes. Clad in
these, they had boldly walked out past the guards in open daylight,
escaped across the river, and never were recaptured.


_At Danville_

Before we had perfected our tunnel, we were removed to Danville. There
we were confined in a two-storied brick building that had been used as a
prison for deserters, and was filthy beyond description. The floors were
covered with dirt and grease, and literally swarmed with vermin. Our
rations here, consisted of pea soup and corn bread. Such bread, and such
soup! The very recollection is nauseating. Guards were stationed around
the building, with orders to shoot any person seen looking out of the
windows. The first knowledge we had of the existence of such an order
was, by a bullet whistling through the room, and grazing an officer's
head. The official in charge of the prison apologized for this
occurrence, telling us that he had forgotten to notify us of the
standing order given the guard, a slight omission that might have proved
fatal to some of us.


_Removed to Macon_

We remained here but a few days, when we were again packed in freight
cars and started for Macon, Georgia. Every change in our place of
imprisonment thus far had been for the worse, yet we hailed this news
almost with rapture. We thought, poor fools! that anything was better
than our present situation. Alas! We had not yet tasted the dregs of the
bitter draught before us. We had not conceived the idea that such a
brute as "Hog Winder" could exist, or that men wearing the human form
could be so debased as to serve as the willing agents of such a demon.
We had not even heard the names of Tabb and Wirz. We were then
miserably dirty, covered with vermin, and half starved; but we had yet
to learn the horrors of starvation.

Happily ignorant of the future, we gladly started for our new
destination. A rumor of an exchange in progress filled us with new hope,
and although standing room was scarce and a chance to sit down at a
premium in our crowded cars--seventy-five men being packed into each
small-sized freight car--once more the song and jest went round. We
could even laugh, as we told and retold each other that we should
certainly be exchanged now; the more sanguine being sure that we were
even then on the way to a general rendezvous established on the coast
for that purpose.

While the train halted at Augusta to take on wood, a crowd gathered
around to see the show--among others a boy about twelve years old, who
carried a large market basket filled with sandwiches. We looked
longingly at the food and tried to purchase, but he refused to sell to
"Yanks," and the guard seemed highly pleased at his spirit, allowing
him to approach near to the train.

Ours was the last car, and he lingered around the rear of it, talking
with us, always in the most defiant manner; only it seemed to me that
his countenance did not denote him to be the ferocious rebel his
language seemed to indicate, and I could not help thinking it strange
that he should refuse to sell to the guards, who tried to buy of him. At
last the train began to move. He waited until we were fairly under way,
then tossed the basket to us and ran back into the crowd.

In the basket was a note from his mother, a Union woman, filled with
brave, hopeful words, saying that she trusted to the native shrewdness
of her son to secure to us her offering. The note was handed round, and
many a thankful heart blessed that woman, not so much for the timely
offering of food, as for the words of sympathy and kindness that
accompanied the gift.

After a long and exceedingly tiresome journey, we arrived at Macon. I
can not even now repress a shudder as I pronounce that name. It is
associated in my mind with suffering, misery, starvation, death.

Near a beautiful grove of trees, about twenty rods from the railroad,
was an enclosure of about five acres, nearly square in form, surrounded
by a fence constructed of pine boards twelve feet long, fastened
perpendicularly to rails in the same manner we sometimes see
tight-board-fences made in the North. Four feet from the top, on the
outside, a walk was constructed. On this sentinels were stationed at
intervals of about fifty feet. Near the entrance, on the outside, was
the office of the commander of the prison, a small wooden structure.

Upon our arrival we were passed into the office, one at a time, and from
there into the prison yard. We could not imagine why so much caution
should be used in passing us in. Some suspected that the Provost Marshal
wanted to examine our passports. At length my turn came, and I passed
in. Before me stood a thing in uniform. I cannot describe his personal
appearance. Imagine, if you can, an excessively vicious baboon, dressed
in gray, half drunk, and you have him--Captain Tabb!

Upon my entrance he looked me over and observed to a subordinate, "No
pickin's here!" Then he walked up to me, and with the dexterity of an
expert pickpocket inserted his hands in my pockets. He seemed
intuitively to know the exact location of each one. If my life had
depended on keeping silence, I could not have refrained from telling
him, as I did, when he found nothing to reward his industry, that
another thief had forestalled him.

I expected that he would be very angry at hearing this, but he only
laughed, remarking: "I kind o' reck'ned from your looks that you'd been
cleaned out. You can git." Filled with indignation and disgust, I left
his presence, and was ushered into the Macon prison pen.


_The Prison Pen_

What a sight! Who were these gaunt skeletons, clothed with rags, covered
with dirt, who crowded up to the gate, yelling, "Fresh fish! Fresh
fish!" Long skeleton fingers were already inserted into our haversacks,
eagerly searching for the crumbs at the bottom; wild, eager eyes were
peering into our faces--eyes from which had departed all expression
except that of hopeless misery.

One pressed through the crowd and called me by name, and listlessly held
out his hand. I looked at him in astonishment. There was not a feature
that I could recognize. His hair and beard were long and neglected, he
was barefooted, a coarse blue shirt and a pair of overalls were his only
clothing. The expression of his face, like that of his companions, was
indescribable. It mirrored the soul of a man from whom hope had forever
departed.

"I don't know you!" I cried in horror.

He laughed a bitter, mocking laugh. "I used to be Captain Rollins," he
said.

"Can it be possible!" I exclaimed.

I thought of the last time I had seen him, on the first day of July,
1863, at the battle of Gettysburg, a man noble in appearance and in
character, a lawyer by profession, who had formerly served on General
Cutler's staff, and who had been my own intimate friend. He had been
captured on that day, and this was the sequel.

"Who are these men around you? Who and what are they?" I asked.

"Old Libby prisoners," he replied. "Officers, all of them. We only
arrived a few days since. No hope of exchange, I suppose?"

I told him of the rumor we had heard on starting from Danville. He
laughed. "That's an old ruse," said he. "We are always told that when
being moved, to prevent our trying to escape."

My heart sank within me. Hungry and tired, we began to look around for a
place to sleep, or at all events to lie down and rest. There was a long
frame building in the yard, that had formerly been used for a fair
building. Three or four wooden sheds had been erected, open at the
sides, but everything in the shape of a building was already crowded to
its fullest capacity.

At length a few of us dug a hole under the structure first described,
and burrowed there. We were fortunate, for the larger proportion of our
comrades were compelled to camp in the open air, without either fire or
blankets, subjected to the heavy dews at night and the scorching sun by
day.

On the inside of the pen, about ten feet from the high fence already
described, was a picket fence, about five feet high. This was the "Dead
Line." All were forbidden to approach within three feet of it, under
penalty of death, and the sentinels were judges as to distance.

A small stream ran through one corner of the pen. Over this were the
sinks, and by the side of it the spring, from which we obtained water.
This spring was about ten feet from the "Dead Line." There were two or
three trees scattered through the yard, that, for a favored few,
afforded shade from the sun's burning rays, and a partial protection
from the dew.

There were about twelve hundred old Libby prisoners in this pen when we
arrived, and with the accession of our squad it was crowded to its
fullest capacity. It was easy by the expression of their faces alone, to
distinguish the "Fresh fish" from the old prisoners. Those of the latter
had a starved, hopeless look, that must have been seen to be realized.
Long confinement and starvation have the effect of deadening all the
finer feelings. They are brutalizing. All the selfish propensities are
developed. The mind becomes gangrened. Long brooding over the deplorable
situation, with hunger constantly gnawing at the vitals, gradually saps
away all that is noble and God-like, leaving active only the animal
nature.

I saw two Lieutenants belonging to the regular army, snap, snarl, and
actually fight over the distribution of a tablespoonful of corn meal;
yet these men were educated gentlemen, and under ordinary circumstances
would have resented as an insult the imputation that they could ever be
guilty of such conduct. I looked at them, and wondered if we too would
become like the pitiable objects around us.

With these thoughts came visions of the longing, waiting hearts at the
North. These men represented homes, scattered through every loyal State,
in which sat the patient wife or mother, anxiously watching for tidings
of husband or son. In the reports she had read with sinking heart the
fearful words, "missing in action," or "wounded and missing," and the
cry had gone up from quivering lips, "Oh God, let me not be left a widow
and my children fatherless!" Then had commenced the long agony of
suspense, of waiting, waiting, waiting--how drear an ordeal, only those
who have passed through it can tell.

I thought of a certain little cottage home, wherein was gathered my own
little flock, and pictured to myself the anguish they were then
enduring. I had been reported killed, as I had ascertained from an
officer captured later. For the first time I realized the full horror of
the situation.

Appetite was already clamorous, and we began to make inquiries about
rations. We were told that these would be issued in the morning. That
would be twenty-four hours without food.

Slowly the first long night in our new prison passed away. Early in the
morning we were turned out for roll call. Captain Tabb had appeared with
his guard, a line was formed across the centre of the yard, and we were
all driven to one side of it, and then commenced the roll call, or
rather the count. One by one we were passed through a particular part of
the line and counted, Tabb making a practice of heaping upon us every
insult his debased mind could invent. How our fingers itched to get hold
of him as we passed!

The count over, came the issuing of rations. These consisted of a pint
of corn meal and a teaspoonful of salt to each man, and once in two or
three days a slice of bacon, or a handful of black peas in lieu of the
bacon. This was to last us twenty-four hours. Ought we not to feel
grateful to our Southern brethren for the sumptuous manner in which they
entertained us? We no longer wondered at the starved, cadaverous look of
the old prisoners; we only wondered that they were alive.

Our former prisons had been comfortable, in comparison with this. We
realized that long confinement in this situation meant slow but certain
death by starvation and exposure, and we began to cast about us to see
if there were no hope of speedy release.

An exchange became the topic of conversation. It was last in our
thoughts at night, and first in the morning. Every morsel of news with
reference to it was eagerly discussed and repeated; but with us, as
with the old Libby prisoners, came the conviction that a speedy exchange
was not to be hoped for. We were tauntingly told by Tabb that our
government would not exchange us unless their government would exchange
the negro troops, and that we were thus placed on a level with the
niggers by our own government, and that this was all that stood in the
way of exchange.

I thank God that I can truthfully say, that not a corporal's guard of
these starving men could be found, who did not say that if that were the
case, and we could by our own votes determine the question, rather than
that the government should abandon to their fate any of her soldiers who
had worn the blue and fought under the stars and stripes, be they black
or white, they would stay there and starve.


_Tunneling_

With the death to our hope of exchange, was born the hope of escape.
Various plans were discussed and abandoned. An organization was
attempted to revolt--overpower the guard, and fight our way through to
our lines with such weapons as we could capture from the guards. But
when we came coolly to reflect upon the project, and considered the
desperateness of the attempt on the part of fifteen hundred unarmed,
unorganized men, to overpower about an equal number, well-armed and
supported by a battery, we abandoned the project.

Then we planned to escape by tunneling out. We found that prior to our
arrival a party had been organized for this very purpose, and that a
tunnel had already been started. After considerable finesse, a few of us
were admitted to the confidence of the conspirators, and permitted to
participate in the digging.

The greatest secrecy was observed in this enterprise. Not more than
twenty or thirty of the prisoners knew of the tunnel's existence, and
they were by a solemn oath bound not to reveal their knowledge. One
would suppose that there could have been no danger from the prisoners
themselves; but subsequent events proved that these precautions were
only too necessary.

This tunnel was started in one of the sheds, under a bank, about twenty
feet from the Dead Line, and it had progressed about ten feet when I
first transformed myself into a woodchuck.

Our mining tools consisted of a strap hinge, fastened to a stick about
two feet long, a tin dipper, and some sacks. The manner of digging was
to lie upon the side, and with the hinge work out the hard clay. This
was loaded into the sacks by means of the cup. A confederate, holding a
cord attached to the sack, would draw it back and empty it, and then
crawl back to the digger, who by this time would have another sack of
dirt ready.

After getting about thirty feet from the mouth of the tunnel, the air
became so bad that a candle would not burn for a second, and the number
of diggers who could endure this atmosphere was reduced to two or three.
The sensation on first getting back to the mouth end of the tunnel, was
that of suffocation; the perspiration would start from every pore; but
after a few moments this would partially pass away. It was, however,
nothing unusual for the digger, after his work in the tunnel, to faint
away upon getting to fresh air.

The natural inquiry will arise: What became of the dirt? The negroes
took care of it for us. Every morning the ground in the pen was nicely
swept up, and the dirt hauled away by negroes. We piled up the dirt
taken from the tunnel, and when the negroes came with their cart, they
would take great pains to put the red dirt on the bottom of the cart,
and cover it with the black. They knew what we were doing, by the
appearance of this fresh earth; but when they came to one of our red
piles, it was only by a wink of the eye or a broad grin that they
indicated their knowledge.

We had progressed about ninety feet with our tunnel, and were outside
the guards. We only needed to make thirty feet more to come out behind a
brick wall across the street.


_Betrayed_

We had then been working on it for about a month but at this juncture we
were betrayed by one of our own men, a Lieutenant of a cavalry regiment,
by the name of Silver.

The first intimation we had of our betrayal, was one morning at roll
call. I think it was on the first day of July, after we had been driven
to one end of the pen, after the custom I have described. We saw the
Confederate officer and a guard inspecting the ground in the vicinity of
the tunnel. This they did by stabbing a bayonet into the ground, as no
one could detect the existence of the tunnel by the eye, the mouth being
covered and dirt swept over it, so as to make it resemble the surface.

Imagine our feelings as we saw them approach the mouth of the hole. That
tunnel, to us, was the door to liberty. It was the telescope through
which we could see wife, children, and friends. Men who never prayed
before, prayed now that it might not be discovered.

But alas! these prayers were vain. All our labor and our suffering in
this direction had been for naught, and I am not ashamed to say that
some of us wept like children over our disappointment. We did not then
know by what means the enemy had discovered our plan of escape, for we
could not imagine that we had been betrayed. At first we were disposed
to lay the blame upon ourselves, believing that in some way the guard
had discovered something suspicious from the fact that a day or two
before unusual excitement had, for the following reason been manifested
by those interested in the scheme.

It had been agreed between the parties engaged in digging, that while
engaged in work during the daytime, we would submit to the follow
regulations: Each should perform an equal amount of labor in the tunnel,
and in case the authorities came into the yard, or if from any cause
there should be danger of discovery, the watchman should immediately
_cover the mouth of the tunnel_. The person digging should submit to
this necessity, and take his chance for life. What that chance was, may
readily be inferred, from the fact that with the mouth of the tunnel
open, air of any kind was a scarce commodity, and the quality nothing to
boast of.

It so happened that while I was busily engaged at work in the tunnel
that day, the air was suddenly darkened, and a rattle at the mouth end
notified me that the emergency had arrived, upon which we had agreed to
risk life itself. I was buried alive.

To attempt to describe the sensations of a person at such a moment, is
simply impossible. Within a minute from the time the mouth of the tunnel
was closed, the air was exhausted. And here let me describe the manner
of closing it: First, about four inches from the surface, a flange or
offset received a covering of boards; over this an old shirt was spread,
to prevent the dirt from sifting through the cracks, and over this about
three inches of dirt were placed. Then a few whisks of the brush broom,
and the eye could detect nothing to denote the existence of a cavity
beneath.

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. I was not ready to
die just then; to live, I must have air. To attempt to get back to the
mouth and open it, even could I succeed in doing so, would betray the
existence of the tunnel, and forfeit a solemn pledge.

All this flashed through my mind with the rapidity of lightning. As by
an inspiration, the means of preserving my life was suggested to me.
Rolling upon my back, I commenced boring for air. Inserting the point of
the hinge in the roof of the tunnel, and turning and pushing it with the
energy of despair, I worked at the hard clay two feet or more above my
head. Slowly but gradually, inch by inch, the improvised drill worked
its way to the air and life. Just as I thought my very last energy
expended, and when the handle of the drill lacked an inch of being
inserted its entire length, the end broke the surface of the ground over
my head, and air, blessed air, came rushing into the aperture.
Withdrawing the drill I placed my mouth to the hole, and breathed. Oh,
the ecstacy, the supreme comfort of that moment is indescribable! I was
saved.

In the meantime, on the outside, I had a friend--not in name only, but a
friend in deed--one of the noblest men the sun ever shone upon: L. G.
Billings, Paymaster in the United States Navy. Billings and I were among
the very few who could bear the bad air in the tunnel. He knew I was in
there when the mouth was closed, and it took the united efforts of the
initiated to keep him away from it. As soon as the investigating
officer had left the yard, he tore open the mouth of the tunnel and
plunged in.

I heard my name called, but I kept quiet, thinking I would see what he
would do. Hearing no response, and believing me dead, I heard him groan,
"My God, he is dead!" and then he commenced crawling to where I was. I
waited until he had nearly reached me, but when I heard him sobbing like
a child, I could hold out no longer.

"Billings, my friend," I said, "I am all right, thank God."

"Thank God!" he rejoined; "but how did you live?"

"Look here," I said, pointing to the hole I had drilled.

Therefore, when our tunnel was discovered we thought that the excitement
caused by my imprisonment in the ground had led to our detection. But
the following morning one of the negroes, while loading the dump cart,
informed us that "Massa Lieutenant Silver told Massa Captain all about
it." We immediately organized ourselves into a detective force for the
purpose of ascertaining the facts, and in a short time became convinced
of the truth of this statement. But while we were contriving ways and
means to procure a rope, the Confederate authorities intervened and took
Silver out of prison, and that is the last we ever saw or heard of him.
What price was paid for his treachery we never knew. We realized only
the fact that we were again hopeless prisoners.


_Prison Life_

By this time our clothing was ragged, and it was only by the greatest
care that it could be kept even tolerably clean.

Our rations I have before described. Oh, ye epicures, think of it! A
pint of corn meal to last you twenty-four hours! As you sit down to your
tables, covered with substantial food, imagine it swept away, and in its
place a pint of mush, or in lieu of that a corn dodger, but little
larger than your two hands, to last you twenty-four hours. There were at
this time about fifteen hundred officers confined in this pen, literally
starving. It was only a question of time. The result was as certain
death, eventually, as it would have been had we been entirely deprived
of food.

One day, by some means, a cat got into the yard, and caught a rat. When
I saw the feline, she had the rat, and the idea immediately struck me
that there was no great difference between a rat and a squirrel. I
remembered also the customs of the antipodal Chinese, as related and
illustrated in old school geographies, and immediately gave chase. As
good fortune would have it, I succeeded in capturing the cat and the rat
before my companions in misery had got the idea through their heads that
rats were fresh meat. Like a fool, I let the cat go, and commenced
skinning the rat.

A hungry officer, looking on, instantly caught the idea, and made for
the cat. Good gracious, how foolish I felt! The cat was so much larger
than the rat, and although poor and skinny was much the more valuable,
for there was more meat there. But I was too late.

I felt fortunate in securing my share of the spoils, and immediately
cast about for the best method of serving my dainty dish, so as to make
it go the furthest. After long consideration I determined to have a
soup. I looked over my stock of peas and found I had about two-thirds of
a cupful. Many of them, probably about a half, were wormy. If I threw
these away, there would not be enough left, so I concluded that if the
worms could stand it I could. I then recollected seeing a beef bone that
had been thrown away by some officer who was so fortunate as to have
enough money to purchase it and had used it once. I picked it up, and
found, on close inspection, that the marrow was still left almost
intact. I washed the bone and cracked it. I also found some dried onion
peelings, and with these, the peas, the bone, and the rat, I made my
soup. Oh, ye gods! How I feasted!

But rats were scarce. We were starving. We must be exchanged, escape, or
die. We had lost all hopes of the first. The most of us did not feel
prepared for the last, and so a few of us concluded to start another
tunnel. This time we decided to limit the membership of the tunneling
party to a select few, and these were sworn to secrecy. We started
operations under the bunk of Colonel O. H. La Grange,[3] and succeeded
in sinking a shaft to a depth of about five feet, whereupon we commenced
tunneling.

FOOTNOTE:

[3] Afterwards General. In after years General La Grange became the
Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, and died in California in
188-, universally mourned by the community in which he lived, and to
which he had endeared himself by his high character and winning
personality.


_Removed to Charleston_

Before we had progressed more than six feet, we were informed that six
hundred of our number were to be sent to Charleston, to be placed under
the fire of our own guns. This news at once changed our plans of
operations. A secret society was started, called the "Council of Ten,"
the object of which was to capture the train when we arrived at the
Pocotaligo River, and to make our way to our lines at Port Royal.

Our leader was Captain David McKibbin, of the Fourteenth Wisconsin
Infantry, a good, cool-headed man. Although the scheme was a failure, it
was through no fault of his, as subsequent events demonstrated.

While we were perfecting our plans for the capture of the train, and
awaiting the order for our removal, time, which waits for no man, again
brought around the anniversary of our National Independence. The Fourth
day of July, 1864, is a day that will never be forgotten by the inmates
of that prison yard.

The sun rose that morning, clear and bright. The leaves on the forest
trees that lined our prison were sparkling with bright dewdrops, which,
shaken by the morning breeze and falling to earth, seemed weeping over
our misfortunes. The air resounded with the musical voices of feathered
songsters, vying with each other in chanting their morning hymns of
praise to the Great Giver of all Good. In imagination we could hear the
church bells pealing at the North, calling the people as of yore, to
celebrate the Nation's natal day. Suddenly the prison gates were thrown
open, and the voice of a Confederate officer rudely awakened us from our
pleasing day dreams, with "Turn out, Yanks, for the roll call!"

As we passed through the line of our jailors, we discovered a group of
officers, seemingly a good deal excited. Upon approaching them we
discovered that one had constructed a miniature national flag. It was
only about four by six inches, but it was the stars and stripes, the
national emblem. How dear that old flag is to every man who deserves to
be called an American, can only be appreciated by one deprived of its
protection. How the eye of a traveler in a foreign land will sparkle and
his bosom heave, when the stars and stripes unexpectedly meet his eye,
flaunting proudly to the breeze! To the soldier and sailor, that flag is
the representative of his and his country's honor. On the battle field
he will defend it with his life. When defeated and flying, at the sight
of his ragged colors he will rally, and under its folds do and dare all,
and even die for its protection.

To us that little flag was the emblem of the cause for which we were
then suffering imprisonment and facing death, and for which our comrades
were then struggling on the field of battle; and for which so many poor
fellows had already rendered up their lives. As one by one we gathered
around it, manly tears were dropped from eyes unused to the melting
mood. With hands clasped we sang the "Star-spangled Banner," and then
one of our number (a chaplain) raised his voice in prayer. A stillness,
like that of the grave, settled down on the whole vast assemblage,
broken only by the voice of the man of God, asking Heaven's blessing
upon us and the flag.

When he had finished his prayer, all joined in singing "Rally 'round the
Flag," ending with three times three cheers for the Union and the
President of the United States. Speakers were called out and responded,
and better speeches I never heard in my life.

The excitement became intense. The Confederates, alarmed by the unusual
stir, doubled the guard, manned two pieces of artillery bearing upon the
camp, and then advised us to desist from further demonstrations. But
notwithstanding this order, we kept up our celebration until nearly
dark, and as we composed ourselves to sleep that night, it was with
intensified feelings of loyalty to our country.

A few days later six hundred of our number were selected to be sent to
Charleston. Afterwards, all the Macon prisoners, myself included, were
added to the number. It was amusing to see the anxiety displayed by the
prisoners to go to Charleston, for the purpose for which we were sent
was well understood. Any onlooker might have supposed from the eagerness
exhibited by the prisoners, that they expected to be exchanged at once,
rather than to become targets for our own gunners to shoot at. Yet in
this anxiety I fully shared; not that I was particularly anxious to be
shot, but because I had made up my mind that we would capture the train.
I had full faith in our ability to do so; and still believe that we
should have succeeded, had not our plans been suspected by or become
positively known to our captors.

The plan was this: The means of transportation used, was common freight
cars. From sixty to seventy of us were loaded into each. There were
usually four guards stationed inside, and about five on the top of each
car. We had it so arranged that from eight to ten of the Council of Ten
should be apportioned to each car, under the command of an officer
selected by ourselves. When the designated point should be reached, at
a signal from Captain McKibbin, who was in the first car in the rear of
the tender, we were to seize, gag, and bind the guard on the inside,
while the party in the Captain's car would stave a hole through the end
and uncouple it. When the train stopped, we were to rush from the train
and overpower the guards on top of the cars, and with muskets force our
way to the coast. But


     "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
     Gang aft agley."


Just before we reached the designated point, the guards were all
withdrawn from inside the cars, and about thirty of them placed upon the
top of the Captain's car, with instructions, at any unusual noise, to
fire through the roof. By this arrangement we were deprived of the
chance to capture four muskets inside each car, and besides incurred the
certainty of having many men killed or wounded by the guards on top.
Under these circumstances, our leader became convinced that the attempt
would be a failure, and did not give the signal.


_Escape from the Train_

As soon as we became assured that our plan had failed, six of us
determined to attempt to escape by leaping from the train. It required
but a few moments to perfect our arrangements. The night was not quite
so dark as we could have wished, there being a bright moon, only
occasionally obscured by a passing cloud. But, waiting until the train
was running on a down grade, at its maximum speed, we sprang from the
car.

As good fortune would have it, we struck in a soft sand bank. The train
passed on without our being observed by the guard, and none of us were
injured. The place was near Adam's Run, about twelve or thirteen miles
from Charleston. We were without compass or map. A council was called,
and all the pros and cons of the situation discussed. We concluded that
by traveling east, we would, at all events, strike the coast, and if we
failed in finding our troops, we might possibly run across one of our
vessels.

Calculating our direction by the moon and stars, as near as we could, we
left the railroad and plunged into a South Carolina swamp. Of all the
doleful places on the face of God's green earth, I do not think there is
another so hideous. The timber is a species of cypress, from which hangs
a gray moss, from three to twenty feet in length. When it is high tide,
the water is from two to six feet deep. At low tide the surface has the
appearance of solid earth; but in fact there are only a few inches of
soil, supported by the cypress roots, which spread over, or rather just
under the surface, and form a network, through which the unwary traveler
is liable to break at any moment, and find himself unceremoniously
seated on a root with his feet hanging either in water, or in space
below, as the case may be. Every few rods there is a bayou, or slough,
frequented by alligators. All kinds of vines and hanging plants
interlace the spaces between the trees, and render it tiresome and
difficult to penetrate. Several kinds of birds with mournful cries, and
myriads of frogs, make night hideous, while the air is fairly alive with
mosquitoes and gnats, and every tussock of grass seems tenanted by the
poisonous moccasin snake. Occasionally a huge alligator will flop into
a neighboring slough with a splash, and the snap of his hungry jaws can
be heard for rods.

Altogether, the traveling is neither pleasant nor swift; but through it
all we toiled on. Starvation and imprisonment were behind us, and
liberty and the dear old home to the front. Our progress was necessarily
slow, and before we were fairly started, the sun began to gild the east
with his rosy beams. As nearly as we could calculate, we had traveled in
the neighborhood of five miles since leaving the railroad. By the rise
and the fall of the tide, we knew that we could not be far from the
coast. We had no provisions; we must either reach the shore or starve.
Safety dictated that we should seek a thicket and hide during the
daytime, but necessity commanded us to travel while we had strength, and
so we toiled on.

At length we came to a ridge running through the swamp, at about a right
angle to our line of march. While crossing it we suddenly saw two
horsemen moving leisurely along over what we discovered to be a
well-traveled road. Fortunately seeing them before they saw us, we threw
ourselves on the ground among the scrub pines. They proved to be a
Confederate officer and his negro servant, and passed within perhaps
three or four rods without discovering us. It was a narrow escape. We
carefully reconnoitered the ground, crossed the road, and again plunged
into the swamp.

After traveling a mile or two farther, we again met with an obstruction
that compelled us to come to a halt. We had reached an outpost of the
enemy. Peering through the underbrush we reconnoitered the ground.
Before us, in a ridge running through the swamp, was a squadron of
Confederate cavalry. There was but one thing for us to do, and that was
to keep quiet until night.

Throughout the whole long summer afternoon we lay in a thicket, within a
quarter of a mile of the enemy's cavalry. Occasionally the
long-drawn-out note of a horn was heard, followed by the baying of
hounds. We had read of the famous "negro dogs," and had been told by
friends who had escaped and been recaptured, that they were used by our
enemies to hunt down fugitives, so that these sounds did not serve to
lessen our disquietude, or to render our situation more pleasant.

The sun at length disappeared, however, without our being discovered,
and darkness almost immediately followed the setting of the sun.
Unfortunately, the night was cloudy. The moon and stars, which had been
our guides the night before, were obscured. We could only guess our
course by the direction of the wind, and an occasional glance at the
heavens through a break in the clouds. We were nearly exhausted by
fatigue and want of food.

The enemy's pickets were in our front, and must be passed that night or
never. Watching, crawling, now through quagmire and slime, now over
fallen trees and through creeping vines, our eyes blinded by the stings
of poisonous gnats and mosquitoes, we toiled on.

Hark! What is that? A human voice in our front! It must be the picket
line. No chance to pass it here. The ground is dry, and the snapping of
a twig might betray us. Back--silently, stealthily, and then by the left
flank, to the swamp. Wading out into it, we found a slough. Getting
into the middle of that, we waded down in the direction of the picket
line. If we made an occasional splash, we knew it could do no harm;
alligators were plenty, and the noise might be attributed to them.

Silently, scarcely breathing, we trudged through the water--stagnant and
poisonous with malaria, among the alligators, lizards, frogs and
snakes--and at last, thank God! past the pickets. Then working our way
through a mass of tangled vines, we were again out on a dry ridge, with
the enemy behind us, and Old Ocean and Liberty not far distant.

A few moments of rest and whispered congratulations, and then again on.
On--yes, but in what direction? The wind had ceased to blow, thick
clouds obscured the sky, we had no guide to direct us. A few moments'
reflection convinced us that the attempt to travel farther that night
would result in the useless expenditure of our little remaining
strength. So, crawling into a thicket, we huddled together like swine,
to save a little warmth to our bodies, while as patiently as we could,
we waited for daylight.

Morning at last, and no clouds to obscure the sun. At our feet, all
around us, glittering and sparkling in the dewdrops, kind Providence had
provided us with a breakfast--whortleberries by the handsful. Eagerly
gathering them, we satisfied the cravings of appetite.

Refreshed and invigorated by our breakfast, with our direction secured,
and with renewed energy we again pushed on to the coast. It was past
noon. We knew that we must be within a few miles of the ocean. Hark!
What is that? Away back of us, at regular intervals, came the
long-drawn-out yell of a pack of hounds. For several minutes we looked
in each others' faces, and listened. Were they after us? The sound came
from last night's camp. A short time sufficed to make our fears a
certainty. The hounds were on our trail.

Now again for the bayou! A half-mile would take us to the swamp again.
Can we reach it in time? Now, boys, keep together if you can! Like
greyhounds, away we started. Our intelligence was matched against brute
instinct. Which would succeed?

We had heard that water would baffle the keen scent of the dogs. The
friendly bayou was at last reached, and into it we plunged, now
unmindful of the lazy alligators, quite regardless of the dangerous
moccasin snakes that infested it. We floundered along, now in mud and
mire, now stumbling over logs, for perhaps a mile. Then, fainting and
exhausted, we left this morass and started on our course. Ever and anon,
however, we could hear the baying of the hounds, sometimes farther,
sometimes nearer.


_Prisoners Again_

Would our ruse be successful? Could the beasts follow us through the
water? At intervals we stopped and listened. We could easily tell when
they struck the bayou. For a short time there was a cessation of their
regular bay, and then it broke out again, accompanied by the sound of
horses. Nearer and nearer they came. They were following our trail
through the bayou.

Billings had that courage that never failed. He had been the life of the
party. When it became evident that we must be overtaken, he selected
the feeblest of us, directed them to crawl through a thicket of willows,
one after the other, himself bringing up the rear, leaving but a single
track for the brutes to follow; and then, under his direction, we armed
ourselves with clubs and awaited the attack. Imagine, if you can, the
feelings of that group of officers.

We had all been reared at the North, in a land of schools and churches.
We were men of ordinary intelligence, accustomed to mingling in the
society of our fellows, men who at home or in the army were qualified by
education and character to be called gentlemen, and possessed at least
the ordinary feelings of manhood. Yet there we were, run down and
standing like brutes at bay, to defend ourselves from a pack of hounds.
One glance at the faces of my comrades revealed more of their feelings
than could printed pages.

With noses to the ground, on came the dogs, at a slow gallop, once in a
while lifting their heads to emit their infernal howls. Behind them were
a few cavalry men. At last the thicket was reached, and one after
another the bloodhounds plunged in. Now could be seen the wisdom of
Billings's plan. The dogs were compelled to follow each other in single
file, for the track we made was but wide enough to admit one at a time.

With our clubs firmly grasped, standing on either side of the path, we
awaited the appearance of the leader. Before his head appeared in sight,
however, we were discovered by the hunters, who comprehended the
situation at a glance. One or two sharp toots of the horn, and the dogs
stopped.

Bringing his carbine to bear on us, the fellow called out: "Well, Yanks,
do you surrender?"

We were unarmed, surrounded. "We can do nothing else," we replied.

"Throw down your clubs, then."

"But how about the dogs? We do not surrender to them. If they attack us
we shall defend ourselves."

"I won't let the dogs bite you," he replied.

With this assurance we threw down our clubs, and were again prisoners.
The dogs paid no further attention to us, except to smell about, acting
very much like other hounds.

"Would those dogs have bitten us, if you had not called them off?" I
asked.

The fellow grinned as he replied: "I reckon they might; right smart,
too. I've seen them hounds eat niggers, and I reckon they wouldn't know
the difference atween them and you uns. You uns wuz green to take to the
bayou," he again remarked.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, if you traveled there for fun, it wuz all right; but if you did
it to throw the dogs off the scent it wuz d----d green, for dogs will
follow the scent in stagnant water as well as on dry land."

"How would it be in a running stream?" I asked.

"Well, ef you are in a running stream, ef you travel up and the dogs are
close on your trail, they kin foller; but ef you travel down, they
can't. But," he added, "ef you go down, and the dogs is throwed off the
scent, then I kin foller, fer then I know you've gone down."

"How about rain?" I asked.

"A rain gits us," he replied. "It kinder washes out all the scent."

"Are you a soldier?" I asked.

"I suppose so," he answered. "I draw pay as a soldier; but my business
has allers been catching niggers, and that wuz the business of my father
before me. Me an' the dogs has done nothin' but hunt niggers, deserters,
an' sich, ever sence the war."

"What pay do you draw?" I asked.

"Oh, just common pay," he said. "Pay don't amount to much anyway; but I
draw a ration for each of them dogs."

"What kind of a ration?"

"Just the same as a soldier's. But I sell the rations and feed the dogs
mostly on alligator meat an' scrapin's. I tell you, stranger," exclaimed
he, waxing enthusiastic, "them dogs has catched more niggers an'
deserters than all the Provost Marshals in South Carolina."

"But," said I, "have you no compunctions about making a business of
hunting down human beings this way?"

"To be honest," said he, "it does go agen the grain to hunt white men,
but I do as I'm ordered."

"Then the Confederate government recognizes the use of hounds for this
purpose as legitimate warfare, does it?"

"Certainly it does, or how could I draw rations for the dogs?"

I looked the brutes over--sixteen four-legged Confederate soldiers,
regularly mustered into the service.

"Well," said I, "you Southerners need not say anything more against the
North employing negroes for soldiers, when you use dogs. I had rather
fight by the side of a negro than a bloodhound."

"That's jest as a feller is raised," said he. "I think niggers is more
ornery than dogs."

A year or two since this negro hunter, Davis, exhibited his pack of
bloodhounds in New York City, and among those who attended the
exhibition was my friend L. G. Billings. I should have supposed his
curiosity would have been gratified in South Carolina. For my own part,
although I am fond of dogs and of hunting, I confess that it makes all
the difference in the world to me, which end of the dog is toward me
when the hunting is being done.

We were taken by the negro hunter back to the camp of the Second South
Carolina Cavalry, which was on outpost duty, and were placed in an
inclosure that had evidently at one time been a hog pen. There a guard
was thrown around us, and we were kept on exhibition until nearly dark.
Some spicy, italicised conversation here took place between the
prisoners and their captors, which finally resulted in our being removed
to a log building used as a medical dispensary. By giving our parole not
to attempt to escape during the night, we were relieved from the
surveillance of a guard, and furnished with a good supper. Next morning,
on extending our parole to our arrival at Charleston, we were escorted
to the cars by the First Lieutenant, in whose charge we had been placed,
and who finally accompanied us to Charleston.


_Confined at Charleston_

Upon our arrival in this latter place, we were confined in the
Charleston jail and yard. The members of our party were placed in the
jail for a few days, as a punishment for attempting to escape, although
our right to do so if possible was not seriously questioned. On our
release from close confinement we found our old companions in misery, in
the jail yard.

This jail was a stone structure, two stories in height, situated very
nearly in the centre of the city. On one side was the workhouse, wherein
were confined a large number of the prisoners; on the other was the
Marine Hospital. The jail yard was in the rear of the building; the
fence surrounding it was about sixteen feet in height, and its top
bristled with iron spikes. Both outside and inside the walls was
stationed a line of sentinels, although for several days after our first
introduction to the interior I did not discover the fact that there was
a guard outside. Inside the walls was a well, a cistern, and a sink. Six
hundred of us were confined here and within the building.

Our situation was not as comfortable as at Macon. The height of the wall
prevented a free circulation of air, which circumstance, together with
the atmosphere generated by the sink, did not precisely furnish us with
the air of Araby the Blest. The water was brackish, and unfit for
anything but washing and culinary purposes. The cistern furnished a
limited supply to quench our thirst. Taking it altogether, it was
neither pleasant nor salubrious.

While a change from the everlasting corn meal, our rations were light,
and not the most palatable to Northern stomachs. They consisted of rice
and lard. Just what use we were expected to make of the lard, we never
found out.


_Another Tunnel_

Here again another tunnel was projected. Our shelter consisted of wall
tents. The one assigned to Lieutenant Brooks and myself was located near
one of the walls. The soil was loose sand, easy to dig. The walk of the
sentry was between the tent and the wall of the yard. An officer whose
name has escaped me, possessed an air bed that could be inflated. We
took him into the scheme, on condition that he would allow the party to
use the bed to float down the river. Our plan was to mine out under the
wall, and make either Cooper or Ashley River, and float out to our
shipping in the harbor. It will be recollected that at this time the
Union forces were in possession of the coast, had erected batteries that
commanded the city, and were engaged in shelling it.

As before, the naval officers were taken into the secret of the mine,
especially my friend Billings and Lieutenant Commodore Austin
Pendergrast. These officers had been captured at the time the "Water
Witch" was surprised and taken by the enemy in Ossabaw Sound, Georgia,
June 3, 1864. Better nor braver men never lived. Billings, in
particular, although strictly a non-combatant, was said by the
Confederates to be the bravest man they ever fell in with. He was one of
the first officers who succeeded in getting on deck when the vessel was
surprised. Twice knocked on the head, and afterward being cut down on
the deck, he refused to surrender until he had emptied his revolver,
killing and wounding several of the enemy. Pendergrast--"the old man,"
as the sailors called him--was a large man, weighing, I should judge,
in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds, and he stipulated with us
to dig the hole large enough for him to crawl through.

The shaft was started in the tent. It was sunk for about six feet, then
deviated until we struck the wall; then it ran almost perpendicularly
beneath the wall, and rose again at an acute angle towards the surface.
According to the best observations we could make from the inside of the
yard, the building situated on the grounds adjoining the prison wall had
the appearance of a private residence, and we did not imagine that the
outside of the wall was guarded. So one night, all things being ready
for our leave-taking, we concluded to set out on our journey.

I went ahead and broke a hole through the surface of the ground, and
stuck my head through to reconnoitre. The first view I obtained was
somewhat limited, for I discovered the muzzle of a musket about two feet
from my face. I did not delay for any further investigations, but made
the very quickest time on record, back through the tunnel under the
wall and into my tent, and from there across the yard to the quarters of
Commodore Pendergrast.

The Commodore was fastidious, and possessed all the hauteur and
exclusiveness of old naval officers. But covered with dirt as I was, I
crawled in beside him.

"Cover me up quick!" I cried.

"Ugh! D---- it! You are all sand!" he protested.

"Never mind the sand. Keep still! They are after me," I answered.

Just then there was a commotion in the yard. The reserve guard was
called in, and the tents were inspected. Of course our tent was vacant,
and the hole in plain sight, but both occupants had completely vanished.
Brooks had concealed himself somewhere, and I was under the protection
of Commodore Pendergrast, for by this time the "old man" had taken in
the situation and had taken pains to turn upon his side, telling me to
snuggle up to him as close as I could.

Soon the searchers entered the tent and commenced.

"Hello there!"

"Who in hell are you?" responded the "old man."

"Beg pardon, Commodore, but there has been an attempt to escape here,
and we want the parties."

"Well, what do you want here? Do you think I can fly?"

"No. But this attempt was by mining under the wall."

"Well, do you suppose I am a woodchuck? It is bad enough to sleep here
on the ground, without being disturbed in my first sleep. Get out of
this!"

And with a grunt the "old man" settled himself again as if for sleep.

"See here," said the inquisitive official, "this won't do; we must
search the tent for form's sake, if for nothing more."

"Search away, then," said Prendergrast; "but be quick about it."

"All right, Com.," said the man. "We'll not disturb you more than we can
help."

Entering the tent he looked it carefully over. I was on the opposite
side from the searching party, and if ever a man shrank into small
compass, I did then. I crept as close as I could to the huge mountain of
flesh that overshadowed me. Even then I shook with laughter, for the
Commodore fairly shuddered at feeling me, covered with dirt as I was, in
close contact with his spotless undress uniform.

At last, with an apology, the Confederate left the tent. Nothing was
said for about an hour, but Pendergrast was actually suffering. At last
he whispered:

"Say!"

"Umph?" I responded.

"I've stood this as long as I can. I'm grit from head to foot."

"Never mind, Commodore. I dug that hole large for your especial
benefit."

"Yes, I suppose so. But what has become of it?"

"I left it right there, and a fellow looking into it with a musket. Am
glad it was crooked," I said reflectively.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because if it had been straight, he might have sent a bullet after me,"
I replied. And then I told him all about it.

As soon as daylight made its appearance, I decamped. The old fellow
generously divided his blankets with me, however. But I was homeless,
for neither Brooks nor myself dared to claim the tent for several days,
and then we applied for it on the score that the tent where we were
located was overcrowded. Our request was granted, but we were ever after
regarded with suspicion. It may be asked how we concealed the dirt and
obtained tools to dig with. The dirt we dumped into the sink, or packed
on the bottom of the tent. We dug with clam shells, the soil being soft
sand. The most serious mistake we made was in taking the Marine Hospital
for a private residence; for, unknown to us, it was crowded with
prisoners at the time, and more closely guarded than the jail yard, and
I had broken ground almost under the feet of a sentinel. If he had
realized the truth, no doubt he would have put an effective stop to all
further mining operations as far as I was concerned; but very likely
his surprise at seeing the ground yawn at his feet and a queer looking
animal show its head, saved me.

Some few days after this occurrence, when the yard had resumed its
tiresome monotony, our captors proposed to us that if we would give our
parole not to attempt to escape while we were held in the city of
Charleston, they would provide us with comfortable quarters in the city.

This offer caused a good deal of discussion among us. At first many were
disposed to reject it. But we reflected upon the almost utter
hopelessness of the task of attempting to escape from Charleston. It is
a city built upon a point of land lying between the Cooper and Ashley
rivers; the land side was securely guarded, and the only chance for
escape was by the sea, with not more than one chance in a hundred of
getting past the picket boats constantly patrolling the harbor. Added to
this was our miserable condition, and our longing for restoration to a
more civilized manner of living; so the offer was a greater temptation
than the most of us could withstand. All but two of the prisoners
accepted the proposition--Colonel La Grange of the First Wisconsin
Cavalry, and the Colonel of a Pennsylvania regiment, whose name I have
forgotten. These gentlemen refused the offer, not so much because they
thought there was a chance to escape, as because they believed it their
duty to hold themselves in readiness to do so if an opportunity
occurred. We appreciated their motives, although we felt that they were
mistaken in their ideas of duty.


_In the Line of Union Fire_

Shortly after this compact was entered into, we were removed from the
pestilential atmosphere of the jail to comfortable quarters in the Roper
Hospital buildings and grounds, and relieved from the immediate
surveillance of the guard. Because now, at every turn, we failed to meet
the watchful eye of a grey-coated sentinel, we were none the less
prisoners. We were bound by invisible bonds, stronger than the combined
forces of Lee and Johnson--a breath of air; a mere sound that ceased to
vibrate almost as soon as spoken: We had pledged our honor that during
the time we were confined in Charleston we would not attempt to escape,
and that we would not pass certain defined limits. That pledge stood
instead of bolts and bars. Our honor stood guard over us, and from its
requirements we could only be relieved by ourselves; a part of the
stipulation being that the parole might be dissolved at any time, by
giving reasonable notice to that effect.

The reader will recollect that the avowed object of the Confederate
government in removing us from Macon to Charleston, was to place us
under the fire of our own forces, which were bombarding the city, and
thus force a cessation of the siege. The jail was situated in a portion
of the city not yet visited by any messages from the "Swamp Angel," as
the heavy advance battery located about five miles from the city was
called. We discovered, however, that our new quarters, while more
healthfully located so far as air, water, and agreeable surroundings
were concerned, were unpleasantly near that portion of the city
occasionally visited by Union shells. We were uncharitable enough to
ascribe motives not altogether disinterested, in this assignment.

We had no more than got quietly settled, when a cry arose of, "Look
out, boys, there she comes!"

On looking up, we saw a small white cloud suddenly make its appearance
over our heads, followed by a dull, reverberating sound, and a piece of
exploded shell came screaming over us. Strange as it may seem, the sound
of that missile was inspiring. We realized that we were within shot of
friends; that five minutes before, that piece of iron had been handled
by "boys in blue," under the protecting folds of the stars and stripes.
Such expressions as these, were heard from all parts of the house and
yard: "Good for you, old fellows! Hurrah! Hurrah! Uncle Sam is feeling
for us. Give us another!" As another burst in an adjoining street,
scattering big pieces of iron in every direction, it was greeted with
hearty cheers from the prisoners.

It must not be inferred from this that we were so foolhardy as to court
danger, or that we really enjoyed being under fire; but we were under
the influence of excitement, and zealous to impress upon the
Confederates around us, that we should not aid them by making any
request to our government to suspend operations on our account. We also
took into consideration the fact that a city was a large thing to shoot
at, and the chances of being hit or injured not alarming. We took the
precaution, however, of establishing a watch for shells, and I have no
doubt that every man had his place of refuge picked out, in case of
actual danger.

From our point of view, the sight of the bombardment at night was
exceedingly fine. A dull, heavy report would be heard, and almost
simultaneously something that looked like a shooting star would be seen
moving with great rapidity toward the zenith, until it reached its
greatest altitude, when it would fall to the earth almost
perpendicularly, usually bursting in the air at an elevation of from
fifty to a hundred feet, scattering fragments in every direction.

Only once, during our stay of nearly a month, were we in real danger.
One day, about noon, when the most of us were in the building, a
fragment of shell came crashing through the roof and two floors, on its
way down passing through a table surrounded by a party eating dinner.
Fortunately, only one man was hurt, and he but slightly. From the
jocular manner in which the strange visitor was greeted, one might have
supposed it was a mere piece of pleasantry, arranged for our special
benefit.


_Daily Experiences_

Our rations in this prison were good in quality, varied, and plentiful.
Daily we drew corn meal, flour, salt, fresh meat, rice, sugar, molasses,
and beans. Besides this, those having money were permitted to purchase
milk, sweet potatoes, shrimps, and other luxuries from the hunters, who
were principally negroes. In short, we were now treated humanely, as we
were entitled to be by the laws of nations and the customs of civilized
governments. This change in our treatment, we were informed, was due to
the humanity of General Sam Jones, who commanded the department.

Our surroundings at this place were as pleasant as we could expect. The
yard and grounds of the Roper Hospital were laid out with care and
taste. Beautiful flowers bordered the well-kept walks; orange and lemon
trees perfumed the air; two large fig trees dropped their fruit at our
feet, and furnished magnificent shade from the fierce rays of the sun.
It was a very paradise of Confederate prisons. The officials, too, were
gentlemanly and courteous, and seemed really desirous of making our
condition as comfortable as was in their power.

Here, too, for the first time, we received mail from home, which came to
us by flag of truce. It is almost impossible to describe the longing all
felt for news from home: to hear from wives and families, and, not
least, to hear from friends in the army. We had written many letters,
which we were assured would by flag of truce be forwarded by our
captors, but we had as yet received nothing, and the "Stale fish" Libby
prisoners had received no mail since leaving Richmond in the previous
spring. Imagine, then, the commotion caused by a voice loudly bawling,
"Yankee mail! Turn out for letters."

Every man, regardless of rank, crowded to the front of the building.
There in the yard, were several mail sacks. Three or four of our number
were selected as temporary postmasters, and several others as temporary
policemen, authorized to keep the crowd back. Then the distribution
began.

The officers selected for this purpose, commenced calling out the
address on the letters. As a name was called, the eager "_Here!_" would
be heard, were the person present. Sometimes the response was heard,
"Sent to Columbia (or Salisbury)," as the case might be; and often,
after a mournful pause, would come the melancholy answer, "Dead!"

I shall never forget one poor fellow, a Second Lieutenant of a New York
regiment. As his name was called, he eagerly pressed forward to receive
the longed-for letter, and before it reached his hand, cried out: "Hurry
up! Hand it over! Hurrah! I knew mother would not forget me."

When it reached him he was so excited that he could scarcely hold the
envelope. Hastily opening it--there was no seal to break--he glanced at
the contents; and then, such a groan of concentrated disappointment and
misery I never heard before and hope never to hear again. No words were
spoken; no tear stained his cheek; quietly working his way back out of
the crowd, he sought his quarters and temporarily passed out of my mind,
and in a moment was forgotten by the eager, anxious crowd.

When the excitement was partly over and I had read the long-expected
letter from my wife, I sought him out. He was sitting upon a box with
his head resting on his hands, a picture of despair.

"You seem to have had bad news," I said.

His reply was to place the letter in my hands. It was evidently from a
stranger, and in a few words informed him that his mother had died
shortly after his capture, and when on her death bed had asked the
writer to convey her blessing to her boy.

"I am the only child," he cried; "and my mother was a widow."

Attempts at consolation were useless. I did not try. The poor fellow
never rallied from the blow. He was removed to the hospital and died a
month later. His capture had killed his mother, and her death killed
him. Only two of the thousands of victims offered up on the altar of the
country! One more family destroyed--a sacrifice to the unholy ambition
that drew the South into a rebellion whose brilliant commencement was
only equalled by its inglorious ending.

In the latter part of August or the first of September, yellow fever
made its appearance in Charleston. To a Northerner there was something
terrifying in the thought of being penned up there, to meet this
pestilence. We had endured famine, but this was worse. We knew that
there had been one or two cases in the prison, and all had been exposed,
or might have been. The patients had been removed under the care of the
Sisters of Charity, God bless them! Having been brought up a Protestant,
I had imbibed a prejudice against everything pertaining to Catholicism;
but since experiencing their gentle ministrations in Charleston, where
they literally obeyed the Scriptural injunction: "Sick they ministered
unto us, in prison they visited us, and naked they clothed us," I have
learned a broader charity. I have learned that neither creed nor sex
make the Christian or the hero. I never now see their distinctive
costume without a feeling of gratitude and respect.

While we were at Charleston, the Andersonville prisoners were moved to
a place near Charleston, passing through the city on their way to camp
on the race track. My pen falters when I attempt to describe the passage
through the streets of that sad column. Starvation, nostalgia, and
disease, together with brutal treatment, had reduced these gallant Union
soldiers to half naked savages. I saw many with not enough clothing to
cover their nakedness. Starvation was stamped on every face. Hundreds of
the poor fellows died after reaching our lines, and thousands more died
in prison. Why, in the name of common decency, our government has not
passed a law granting them pensions, I do not know. If pensions are ever
granted to discharged soldiers, it should be to them. Better lose a leg
or an arm in battle, than to have suffered the living death of
Confederate imprisonment. I sometimes wish a sleek, well-fed congressman
might experience a short term of this same imprisonment, that he might
realize precisely what it was.

To the credit of the people of Charleston, and especially to the Sisters
of Charity be it said, they obtained permission to aid these
Andersonville prisoners with donations of food and clothing, and helped
them to the best of their own limited means. Nourishing soups were
provided, and clothing enough to cover their nakedness. Although
Charleston was the scene of the inauguration of hostilities, there is a
warm spot for it in my heart, since my imprisonment there in 1864.

About the first of October the Confederates became anxious to rid the
city of us, for fear the fever should spread and become a pestilence
that might sweep them all off. It was therefore decided to remove us
again, this time to Columbia. Immediately upon hearing this news, some
of us began to look about us for means to facilitate an escape, and a
long march across the country.

Five months previous, an officer of General Sherman's staff had been
captured, who had in his possession, carefully preserved, topographical
maps of South Carolina and Georgia. These had been copied by Captain
John B. Vliet, Captain Henry, and Lieutenant Dahl, until there were
several duplicates of them. I had been fortunate enough to secure one of
these charts. I was also in possession of a small night and day
compass, presented to me by Commodore Pendergrast when he was
exchanged. A short time previously I had conversed with several of my
comrades, and found four ready to join me in attempting a trip across
South Carolina and Georgia, on the "underground railroad." The party
consisted of Captain John B. Vliet, Captain Henry Spencer, Lieutenant
and Adjutant Gough of the Tenth Wisconsin, Lieutenant Hatcher of the
Thirteenth Ohio, and myself.

At length dawned the morning of the fifth of October, 1864, a memorable
day for us. For several days there had been rumors of an exchange about
to take place, the old story that we had heard every time we were to
exchange prisons. Just where we were to be transported, was not stated;
we thought Savannah our destination, but Columbia was actually the place
to which they were taking us.


_A Second Escape_

No notice that we were to leave at any particular time was given, until
we were ordered to pack up and fall in line. This was to prevent any
special preparation or saving of rations, the intention being to
discourage any attempt of escape, by reason of lack of food. But they
did not by any means relax their vigilance in guarding us. An entire
regiment, the Thirtieth Georgia Infantry, was detailed to guard us, and
we filed out of prison between long lines of grey-coated soldiers warily
watching our every movement. Once more the long precession marched
through the streets of Charleston to the railroad station.

Our party managed to keep together, and were assigned to the same car,
located near the centre of the train. As usual, the transportation
furnished was freight cars, each car being crowded to its capacity. The
side doors were thrown open to furnish air, and we secured a place
between the open doors. Four guards were stationed on the inside, and
from five to six others on the roof of each car, with orders to shoot
any of the prisoners attempting to escape. The guards inside our car
took their station beside each corner of the open doors.

At length, everything being in readiness, the whistle sounded, the
wheels began slowly to revolve, and we were off.

Our plans were soon formed. We decided to wait patiently until night,
and then, selecting a time when the cars were running down grade, at
their maximum rate of speed, jump from the train. It was necessary that
the cars should be moving rapidly, for otherwise the guards would have
little difficulty in riddling us with bullets. As they passed
successively by, the guards on each car would have a chance for a shot
at us at unpleasantly short range: for the same reason, our chances
would be better in the dark. We easily calculated that at the usual rate
of progress, the train could not reach Columbia until after midnight; so
that these two very essential concomitants to success were not beyond
the bounds of probability. The route selected was to make the nearest
practicable point in the lines occupied by Sherman's command, between
Atlanta and Chattanooga.

A careful inventory was taken, of stock belonging to the party. Shoes
were more essential than any other article of clothing. A man may travel
without hat or coat; he can dispense with undergarments; he may even
travel _sans culottes_, but he must have his feet protected.

With the exception of Lieutenant Hatcher, each of the party was provided
with something in the shape of boots or shoes. Hatcher had a pair of
boots, but they were nearly minus the soles, and it was evident that
they would last but a few days. Captain Vliet had a pair of long-legged
army boots that I made up my mind would furnish leather enough to make a
pair of moccasins for Hatcher, and still leave enough to serve a useful
(if not ornamental) purpose to their owner. Our other clothing was
nothing to boast of. We each had coat, shirt, and pantaloons, but
neither hat nor cap. There was but one blanket in the party, and a new
linen sack or bag. We had a kettle that I had made out of an old paint
keg, while in Roper Hospital. Spencer had about a quart of flour, in
addition to the one day's rations furnished us at starting, and I had
saved a small piece of salt pork. We had two maps and the compass.

There was yet to overcome one difficulty. Four armed men were present,
to prevent our escape. We knew that at the first movement we should be
fired upon. Even were we not hurt, the shot would give notice to guards
on the succeeding cars that something was wrong. This would result in
attracting vastly more attention to ourselves, personally, than we were
ambitious for just at that time. We must therefore either disarm the
guards or render their muskets temporarily useless.

This we accomplished. "Familiarity breeds contempt." At first our
jailors were on the alert every moment; not a movement of the prisoners
was made, that they did not narrowly watch; but after a while they
became interested in our conversation, and fell to laughing at our
jokes. At first perhaps a little nervous at being in such close
proximity to fifty or sixty "Yanks," even though the latter were
unarmed, this passed away, and we were soon conversing together like old
acquaintances. As it began to get dark, tired of standing on guard so
long without being relieved, they set their muskets on the floor of the
car and seated themselves at the ends of the open door, with their feet
hanging outside, their bayonets leaning against the top of the doorway.

One of our party was stationed near each sentinel, and getting into
conversation with him quietly raised the hammer of the lock from the
tube, with his thumb, while with the little finger the cap was worked
off the nipple. All this, without attracting attention. Within twenty
minutes of commencing operations, every musket was uncapped. Meanwhile
we were nearing Branchville. It was quite dark now, and we were only
waiting for the train to get under full headway.

At length we reached a thick wood. The train was moving through it at
the rate of twenty miles an hour. The pine forest through which we were
passing, added to the darkness. The time for action had arrived. Quietly
notifying my companions to be in readiness, I grasped the bag before
described, in which I had deposited the kettle and pork, gave the
signal, and sprang from the car out into the darkness.


_Fugitives_

It is difficult to describe one's sensation in jumping from a
rapidly-moving to a stationary object. It is very much as one might
imagine it would be in jumping from a stationary object upon a large
and very rapidly-revolving wheel. You do not fall, but the earth comes
up and hits you; and then, unless you hold fast to something, you roll
off. I struck first upon my feet, then upon the back of my neck, and
then, as it seemed to me, I rolled over several times. In fact, before I
had fairly settled in one position, the train had passed me. Some idea
of the rapidity with which the train was moving may be gained from the
fact that five of us jumped, one after another, as rapidly as possible,
and yet from where I landed to where the last man struck the earth was
at least twenty rods. Fortunately the ground was smooth, though very
hard. Although terribly jarred and shaken up, none of us were seriously
injured, and in a few moments we were standing together on the track. We
knew that an alarm would be given, and that we should probably be
pursued. Even while we were talking, a musket was discharged from the
train, and we heard the whistle sounded for "Down brakes."

We at once plunged into the forest in the direction of the coast,
exactly the opposite of our true direction. After traveling for about a
mile, we doubled on our track, crossed the railroad within a quarter of
a mile of the point where we had left it, and taking a northwesterly
course commenced our pilgrimage toward Sherman and Liberty.

Our object in apparently wasting precious time in making a false start,
was to puzzle the pursuers, whom we knew would be on our track in the
morning. We had hardly left the railroad when, in the thick brush ahead
of us, we heard men's voices, and the barking of dogs. Hist! Lie down!
Which way are they heading? Straight for us. Shall we run? No, that will
not do, we should be heard and followed. Crouching upon the ground in a
thicket, scarcely breathing, we awaited their approach. Soon they were
near enough for us to understand their conversation.

"Wondah what dat shot foh?" said a voice.

"Do'no. Reck'n it war a geard on dat train. Hey, Cæsar, you rascal! Wat
de mattah now, ole boy? Dat dog smell somet'in'."

"Coon, I reck'n."

"Dat no coon. See de way he growl and show his teef. Heyar, Cæsar! Come,
Cæsar! Hunt 'em up, ole boy! Wat ye got, dat scars ye so?"

By this time we could distinguish two forms in the darkness, and could
see the dog smelling around our track. It was a perilous moment.
Evidently the men were negroes, probably out hunting for coon or
opossum. If they discovered us they might prove our betrayers. We
thought the best way was to keep still and await the dénouement.

"Wondah wat dat is," said one. "Don't act like coon. Reck'n we bettah
let dat alone."

"Reck'n so, too. Come on, Cæsar!" and whistling off the dog, the negroes
passed on, greatly to our relief.

As soon as they were fairly out of hearing we started on through the
woods, taking a northwesterly direction, occasionally stopping to
consult the compass and reassure ourselves as to direction. Through the
brush, over fallen trees, now in quagmire, now on the ridges, among the
pines, we made our way. At length we found a road running in the
direction of our march, and struck into it with an accelerated pace that
amounted almost to a double-quick, with hearts cheered by our successful
escape from the train, and with high hopes of final success. On and on
we traveled. No words were spoken above a breath, and only the whispers
were such as the leader thought actually necessary to guide those in the
rear.

With body half bent, the leader, listened intently to every sound, and
strained his powers of vision to their utmost capacity. When any unusual
sound attracted his attention, he halted those following, with a low
"Hist!" while he went forward, carefully reconnoitering the ground. At
the word "Again forward!" we flitted like spectres over the lonely road.
So eager were we to get on, that daylight found us somewhat unprepared
for a halt. We were in a cultivated country--cornfields on both sides of
us, a house in plain sight. On our left, in a field, was a thicket, with
a cornfield on one side running quite up to the thicket. Leaving the
road, we struck across the fields and gained the thicket, fortunately
without discovery save by a house-dog that barked furiously at us until
we were out of sight, and then, with a growl, regained his kennel.

Selecting the densest part of the thicket, we spread our coats on the
ground. After consulting our compass and map, and guessing at our
location, and finding that we had traveled, as far as we could judge,
about twenty-five miles, we drew our blanket over us and were soon sound
asleep, with the exception of the one detailed to stand guard.

Our slumber was of short duration. As the sun came up, the horns, on all
sides, calling the negroes to their labors, the crowing of the cocks,
and all the customary sounds on a Southern plantation, warned us that we
might accidentally be discovered at any moment. Our anxiety precluded
the possibility of sleep, until we had become somewhat accustomed to our
peril. It was only the knowledge that we must sleep to be able to keep
awake at night, when the friendly darkness should again shield us from
sight, that induced us to even try to secure this much-needed means to
recuperate our exhausted physical powers.

Thus, watching and dozing by turns, the long day at length came to an
end. As soon as it was dark, we were fortunate enough to find some corn
and beans, not yet hard. Building a small fire, shielded from
observation by surrounding it with a screen made of our coats and
blankets, we boiled this food in our kettle and ate heartily of the
nutritious succotash. Thus invigorated, we again started on the journey
towards our lines. Passing through the cornfield, we again reached the
road, our hearts light and courage redoubled. It was evident that we
were not pursued; if we had been, we would have been overtaken during
the day, and we intended before morning to put a good thirty miles more
between ourselves and our starting point.

We had been on the road for about an hour, when ahead of us, apparently
in the road, a light was discovered. A halt was called, and this
phenomenon discussed in all its bearings. Why should a fire be kindled
in the road? Was it an outpost of the enemy's cavalry? Were the negroes
building a fire for fun? Was it a guerilla party out on a scout? Or was
it that the country had been notified of our escape, and that the
inhabitants were out looking for us?

Without arriving at any definite conclusion, we decided, at all events,
to flank the danger, whether real or imaginary. Acting upon this
decision, we left the road and took to the brush, in the following
order: myself, followed by Spencer, Hatcher, Vliet, and Gough, one
following the other in single file. We had thus progressed perhaps forty
rods, when our onward course was arrested by something moving through
the brush in our front.

I immediately halted, and by a low "s-sh!" notified those in the rear of
danger ahead. Throwing myself on the ground, I cautiously crawled
forward to reconnoiter. I soon discovered an object, apparently a man,
cautiously picking his way through the brush towards us. Occasionally he
would stop and apparently reconnoiter, and then cautiously advance. It
was just opposite the fire in the road, distant from it by perhaps
thirty rods. Could it be that there was a picket line here, so far away
from the contending forces? At all events, he was so near us that he
must have heard our movements. Was he watching to get a shot at us? I
could feel the hair rise on my head as I contemplated this probability,
for he was not more than a rod away. What was it best to do?

After thinking it all over, I decided upon the desperate plan of
suddenly attacking him, and trusting to Providence for the result.
Slowly and carefully, I raised to my feet, and with a silent prayer for
success, dashed upon--an overgrown hog, peacefully following his
legitimate business of gathering acorns. It is difficult to determine
whether the relief afforded by the discovery of his hogship was adequate
compensation for this sudden letting down from the feeling of
desperation to which we were wrought but a moment before. We were too
frightened to laugh, too relieved to be angry.

Only a moment was lost in contemplation of our situation. I gave the
signal to advance, and started. I heard my companions following. Safely
passing the fire that had at first alarmed us, we soon regained the
road. I may as well say here, that we never discovered what that fire
did mean, or for what purpose it was kindled. We only know that, be the
purpose what it may, it resulted disastrously for our little party, as
the sequel will show.


_Two of Us Missing_

Upon reaching the highway, it was discovered that two of the party were
missing. Vliet and Gough were gone. What could it mean? Had they been
intercepted and taken prisoners? Or had they voluntarily cut loose from
us, and taken this method of doing it?

There was one circumstance that pointed that way. Early in the evening,
Vliet had both compass and map. Just after we discovered the fire, he
had returned them to me, with the remark that should we get separated he
could get along better without the compass than I could. But, in justice
to my companions and myself, let me say that this thought found no
lasting place in our minds. We knew both Vliet and Gough too well to
believe that they would pursue such a course. If they had, for any
reason, concluded to divide the party they would have manfully told us
of their plan, and not have deserted us.

It was at once decided to institute a search. We dared not halloo, or
make any unusual noise to attract their attention. It was therefore a
still hunt. So two of us retraced our steps and searched the bushes and
thickets thoroughly, but could discover no trace of our missing
comrades.

After spending at least two hours of precious time, we were compelled to
abandon the search as hopeless, and returned to our companion in the
road. He too had watched closely, but had failed to discover anything,
and we were obliged to face the thought that our party was broken, that
we were separated. Shall we ever meet again? If we do, will it be under
the Stars and Stripes, or within the walls of a prison pen? With
saddened hearts, our party of three--Spencer, Hatcher and myself--again
started on our lonely journey, but doubly lonely now.

Ruminations upon our unfortunate separation so occupied our minds, that
we became less watchful of our own immediate surroundings than had been
our custom, or than safety required. The results of this might have
proved disastrous, had we not rudely been aroused from our useless
regrets by the sudden need to exercise all our faculties for our own
protection.

An abrupt angle in the road had concealed from us the approach of a man,
until suddenly, without warning, we were standing before him, face to
face. He immediately halted. So did we. There was no time for concert of
action, and for a moment I was at a loss what to do, when Spencer took
the initiative by asking: "Where are you going?"

"Ober to Miss Clemen's plantation," was the reply.

The dialect disclosed what the darkness had concealed, the fact that he
was a negro. The reader will recollect that we were in the interior of
the enemy's country; that every white man, almost without exception, was
an enemy, who would not only esteem it a duty but a privilege to kill us
at the first opportunity; and we did not then know that the negro could
be trusted. Stories had been industriously circulated among us by
Confederates to persuade us that the negroes would be sure to betray us
if we attempted to escape. So we had started out with the determination
to trust no one, white or black. Notwithstanding this, it was a great
relief to us to find that our new acquaintance was a negro. However, we
pursued the conversation but little further. Cautioning the fellow not
to be caught out again so far from home without a pass, we started on
our way, and he on his. As soon as he was fairly out of sight and
hearing, we left the road and plunged again into the woods.

When we had placed a safe distance between ourselves and the highway, a
halt was called, for the purpose of holding a consultation over our
movements. We had met one negro; and while we had not trusted him any
further than we could help, yet from his manner we were all of the
opinion that he distrusted our being Southerners. Our speech, of itself,
was sufficient to betray us. We had seen enough of negro shrewdness to
realize that if the news of our escape from the train had been
circulated, as we had every reason to believe it had been, he would be
at no loss to guess that we were Yankees.

After discussing the matter, we decided to take the first road running
in our direction, and run the chances of the negro's betraying us. We
resolved, further, that in case we came across another, we would tell
him freely that we were Yankees--this, of course, to depend upon whether
we should have reason to believe the man our friend.

Consulting our maps and compass, and assuring ourselves of the proper
direction, we traveled on through the woods for perhaps five miles. At
length, finding a road running in the direction of our line of march, we
pursued our journey without further adventure, until the near approach
of daylight warned us again to seek the shelter of the friendly woods,
where we could find a thicket sufficiently remote from roads and dense
enough to afford us shelter from observation by any passing wanderer. We
were successful in finding the desired haven, and throwing ourselves
upon the ground were soon sleeping soundly.

So ended our second day's, or rather night's, march. We had traveled
only about fifteen miles that night. Thus far we had been traveling in a
northwesterly direction, through the parishes of Orangeburg and
Lexington, nearly on a line with the railroad running from Keyesville to
Columbia, about ten miles from the railroad.

We had as yet selected no particular point in Sherman's line as our
goal. We were, indeed, at a loss to know what place to select. When we
last heard from our forces, Sherman had taken Atlanta; Hood had
succeeded Johnston in command of the Confederate army, and had commenced
his celebrated movement to flank Sherman out of Atlanta, and in reality
out of Georgia; so we were left to conjecture what the result of the
movement would be.

Atlanta was the nearest point, but we were not by any means sure that
Sherman still occupied that place. We finally concluded to make for the
nearest practicable point on the line held by Sherman between Atlanta
and Chattanooga. On our approach to what was Sherman's lines on the
second of October, we would gather such information as we could from the
negroes, and be governed accordingly.

As nearly as we could calculate, we were about twenty or twenty-five
miles southwest from Columbia. We now concluded to make our course a
little north of west, so as to head off some of the streams running into
the Saluda River, until we should strike the Savannah.


_A Friend in the Dark_

On the approach of darkness we started out on our third night's march.
Nothing unusual occurred until about three o'clock in the morning. We
had traveled on a turnpike road, part of the time through a cultivated
country, and partly through a forest of stunted pines, the second-growth
of timber on abandoned plantations. We had just passed a large
plantation, when we came suddenly upon a pedestrian wending his way in a
direction opposite to our own. Before we saw him we were too close to
avoid his observation, and we therefore boldly approached him. To our
joy he proved to be a negro.

By this time we were both hungry and faint. The last crumbs of our
rations had been eaten hours before. When and how we were to procure
more, was a problem difficult of solution. We had tried several
cornfields, but were unable to find anything except perfectly hard corn.
Gathering some of this, we had determined to boil it and do the best we
could. Naturally, then, when we discovered the race of our new
acquaintance, our first thought was to ascertain from him if there was
any prospect of supplying our larder with something more palatable than
hard corn--always providing he should, upon further acquaintance, prove
to be our friend. Notwithstanding our desperate situation in the matter
of food, and the fact that we had deliberately determined to trust the
first negro that we should meet, our intercourse would, to a looker on,
have seemed strangely cautious on both sides. Our conversation, as my
memory serves me, was substantially as follows:

_Yankee._ Well, boy, where are you traveling so late at night?

_Negro._ Been ovah to see my wife, massa.

_Yankee._ Where does your wife live?

_Negro._ Down about a mile from Ninety-six.

_Yankee._ Ninety-six. Let's see! That's on the railroad, isn't it?

_Negro._ Yes, sah, reck'n it is.

_Yankee._ Whose boy are you?

_Negro._ Massa Gen'l Haygood's.

_Yankee._ That's his plantation about a mile down this road, isn't it?

_Negro._ Yes, sah. Dat's Massa's plantation whar de big house is.

_Yankee._ Well, boy, what do you think of the war now going on? Your
master's in the army, I suppose?

_Negro._ Yas, sah. Massa in de ahmy. I do'no jus' what I does tink
'bout it.

_Yankee._ You know that the Yankees are trying to make you blacks all
free, don't you?

_Negro._ Wal, I hab heard dat dey were.

_Yankee._ Would you rather be free or would you rather be as you are--a
slave?

_Negro._ Wal, Massa, I don't zac'ly know. Spects ebery man like to own
hissef.

_Yankee._ Now, supposing you found a man on his road to liberty, that
had been a slave or prisoner, would you help him, or would you betray
him?

_Negro._ Who is you, Massa? Wat for you asks such queer questions?

_Yankee._ Suppose we tell you; suppose we put our lives in your
hands--will you betray us?

_Negro._ No, sah. I reckon not. But who is you?

_Yankee._ We are Yankee officers, and have been in prison. We are now
trying to get through to our lines, and want you to help us.

_Negro._ 'Fore God, Massa! Is dat so?

_Yankee._ Yes, that is so! We've started for the Yankee lines in
Georgia. Now you won't betray us, will you, when you know we're trying
to help you and your people, and to give them their liberty?

_Negro._ 'Fore God, Massa, if you is wat you say you is, I'll do
eberyting for you. Wot ken I do?

_Yankee._ The first thing is something to eat; and next, we want to know
whether you have heard that any Yankees escaped from the train when we
were being taken from Charleston to Columbia.

_Negro._ Yes, sah. I hab heard all about it, an' dey has been hunting de
country all ober for you--an'," taking a tin pan from his head, "my wife
hab made up some biled bacon an' greens for me to take home wid me, an'
you's welcome to dat, if you want it."

We stood upon no ceremony, but seating ourselves upon the ground,
greedily devoured the poor fellow's bacon and greens with a relish that
an epicure might have envied. It was astonishing the rapidity with which
we stored away six quarts of greens and bacon. And yet, truth to tell,
the supply was not equal to the demand.

Had there been another panful, I venture to say it would have followed
the same downward road traveled by its predecessor, without any extra
effort on our part.

Having swallowed the man's dinner and obtained from him all the
information it was in his power to impart, we again started on our way,
with thankful hearts and renewed courage and physical vigor.


_Novel Foot-gear_

But the night was not to pass away without our experiencing a reverse,
almost commensurate with our good fortune. As will be remembered,
Hatcher was, when we left the cars, almost destitute of boots. The old
pair he started with had become almost useless, and the soles were
nearly or quite gone. They were better than none when traveling through
brush; but when on the smooth road he could do better barefoot, and when
we met the negro he was carrying the boots in his hands. Strange to say,
when we again started on our journey, he left them lying beside the
road where we had eaten our nocturnal dinner, and failed to discover his
loss until many miles stretched their weary length between us and the
forgotten property. It was so near daylight when the loss was
discovered, that we did not dare retrace our steps for fear of being
seen. Poor Hatcher was discouraged. To attempt to travel barefooted
across two States, looked like an impossible task. If we had only had
Vliet's long boot-legs, the problem would not have been so difficult of
solution.

Hatcher must be supplied with boots, or something to cover his feet. To
attempt to obtain them from the negroes, we knew to be hopeless. A pair
of shoes was among them something to be hoped for, prayed for, and when
obtained, preserved with the greatest care. Even the whites were driven
to extremities for clothing of every description, and shoes were
especially difficult to obtain at any price. What should we do? I say
we, because we had started out with the agreement that we would keep
together, under any and all circumstances. If anyone fell sick, the
others were to remain with him, giving the best care we could under the
circumstances, until he was able to travel, or died. We had also agreed
that we would under no circumstances give ourselves up, or voluntarily
abandon the attempt to escape, so that the misfortune of one was the
misfortune of all.

Something must be done. An inventory of stock was taken. I had a pair of
badly-worn shoes. Spencer had a boot and a shoe. Jointly, we had the
kettle made from the paint keg, and the new linen sack. Here were the
materials from which a pair of shoes were to be constructed, and the
feat was accomplished. An inventory of tools disclosed a needle and a
jack-knife. A close inspection of the sack showed that it was strong,
new, and that the ravelings could easily be converted into stout thread.
There was leather enough in Spencer's one boot leg to furnish the soles,
and material enough in the sack to make the uppers. It was amusing to
see the rapidity with which Hatcher's face shortened up, as one
difficulty after another was met and overcome.

It took the combined mechanical skill of the party to fashion and fit
this novel foot-gear; but before night they were finished. Hatcher now
had by far the best pair of shoes in the party; and if we had only been
better supplied with rations, we should have started out that night in
better condition for a night's march than at any time since we jumped
from the cars.

But the fact was, we were hungry, and after an hour's march found that
we were getting faint. Provisions must be had in some way. Leaving the
road, we struck into a plantation, in hope of finding either corn or
sweet potatoes. We were fortunate enough to secure some hard corn, and a
quantity of a species of bean, which I have never seen in the North.
They are called peas by the natives, but there is nothing about them,
either in growth or appearance, that resembles a pea, and they do not
taste like a bean. Be they what they may, they are nutritious if not
palatable.

Building a fire in a hollow, and then making a screen of our blanket and
coats, to prevent the light from being seen, we proceeded to cook our
corn and beans. We soon discovered, however, that while it is an easy
matter to cook beans in this way, hard corn has a perverse inclination
to remain hard corn, however much it is boiled; so while our supper
served a very useful purpose, it was nothing to boast of as a palatable
meal. We lost at least three hours in finding, cooking, and eating our
supper, and made our jaws ache in our effort to masticate it. Hence,
daylight found us only about eighteen or twenty miles from our shoe shop
of the day before.

We now knew that the people had been notified of our escape, and that in
all probability there were even then parties searching for us. We knew
that they had not as yet been able to get upon our trail. Every
consideration of prudence demanded that we should remain concealed in
the daytime, and we fully intended to observe this caution; but as the
long day slowly dragged to a close we became impatient, and concluded to
risk a start before dark--traveling away from any road, and thus making
up for lost time. We were also anxious to find a negro, if possible, and
procure something more palatable to eat than boiled corn.

Taking our course by the sun, we left the road and hurried into the
woods. After traveling perhaps four or five miles in this way, we were
somewhat shocked at hearing voices not far from us, and hastily
concealed ourselves in a thicket. What was our astonishment to see two
white men pass, not more than a rod from our place of concealment. After
they had passed, we discovered that we had been traveling nearly on a
parallel line with a well-traveled road, and probably had not been out
of sight of it for a mile back. Here was a dilemma. Had they discovered
us and gone on, making no sign, with a view of getting arms and
returning for us, or had we been fortunate enough to escape observation?

It was evident that in case they had discovered us, our only safety lay
in immediate flight. So, taking an entirely new direction, we started
again with beating hearts and greatly accelerated speed. A mile,
perhaps, on our new direction, and we came to an open, cultivated
country. Beyond a field in our front, we could see a wood; we determined
to risk crossing the field, and then change our course again. Skulking
behind the fences and crouching along behind thickets, we at length
succeeded once more in reaching the friendly shelter of the woods.


_Interrupting a Revival_

At the corner of the field, near the woods, was a cross-roads, and
nearby a church. We could see neither the church nor the roads until
reaching the fence, and then it was too late to return. We were in full
view of the church, situated to the left of our line of march.
Notwithstanding that by our reckoning it was not Sunday, it was filled
with people, and some kind of religious services were being held.

Only a few rods farther and we should be out of sight, but we were not
fortunate enough to escape observation. We could see fingers pointed at
us. As soon as we were out of sight, our careless, measured walk changed
to a brisk run. Leaving the road, we struck into the woods again, and as
good fortune would have it happened to discover a negro cutting brush,
and immediately told him who we were and of our dilemma.

"You git in de brush ober dar," said he. "Dere is a big meetin' goin'
on, an' lots ob white folks on de roads. Mighty dang'rous runnin' 'way
to-day."

"But suppose they come after us now, won't they find us?" I asked.

"Golly, Massa, I reckon I ken fool dem if dey do--ef dey don't go after
de dogs, an' dey aint no nigger dogs less dan eight mile, an' it's mos'
night now. Reckon you uns mus' be hungry, aint ye? Looks as t'ough you
didn't have nuffin to eat for a week--S-st! Mars, git in dat brush
quick! Dere's white folks comin'!"

The warning came not a moment too soon. In the road, not more than a
dozen rods from us, we could see persons moving. Throwing ourselves on
the ground, we crawled into a thicket and awaited the denouement. The
negro caught up his axe and commenced cutting brush industriously. Soon
gathering an armful of it, he started towards his cabin, situated on the
road, in sight of our retreat in the thicket. He had so timed himself as
to reach his cabin about the time the parties on the road passed it. We
could see them in conversation, and soon after we saw them pass on, and
the negro go into his hut.

It was now nearly dark. Our suspense can be imagined, during the time
we were waiting for his return. Would he be true to the interests of
three unknown men, simply upon the statement that they were Yankees?
Would not the education of a lifetime of slavery teach him to side with
the strong against the weak, as a matter of policy? Were he to deliver
up to the whites three Yankee officers who had escaped from prison, he
would win a local notoriety for fidelity to his master and his master's
interests, that would make him the hero of the neighborhood, at least
among the whites, and probably insure a reward that to him might be
riches. Or would he be faithful to his race, by succoring their
recognized friends? For it is a fact that none of his people were so
ignorant that they did not know that the result of the war was to be to
them either freedom or perpetual slavery.

The action taken by the black man was to us a question not of capture
and imprisonment, but of life. We had fully determined that we would not
be recaptured. If necessary we would die; but be recaptured while we had
life or reason--never! Little was said by either of us, but our
thoughts were pictured on our faces.

About an hour after dark we heard footsteps stealthily approaching our
hiding-place. How anxiously we listened! Was there more than one
person's step? Yes, there were two of them. We could hear voices. What
should we do? Run now, while we had a chance, or wait and fight? If they
were after us, they would of course be armed. Now they were coming
again. We could hear them breathe.

"Say, Joe! I tell you dey was just de patroles foolin' ye, boy. Dey
warn't no Yankees--dey's just tryin' to see wot you'd do ef dey was
Yankees, an' dey'll gib you de debbil."

"I know bett'n dat. Didn't I talk wid dem, an' didn't dey talk Yankee?
'Sides, two ob dem had on blue coats. Tell ye I know dey was Yankees,
an' I'se goin' to find dem an' gib dem someting to eat."

Our fears were gone, our unjust suspicions removed. We would have been
ashamed to have that faithful fellow know how unjustly we had dealt with
him in our thoughts. We left our lair and joined them at once. A hearty
clasp of the hand and fervent thanks from all of us in turn, soon
convinced them that we were indeed Yankees.

A generous loaf of corn bread and some sweet potatoes, nicely baked, in
quantities to suit the demand, soon filled our empty stomachs. Say what
we may, there is a very close affinity between one's stomach and that
state of mind we call courage. Poorly fed and overworked troops will not
and cannot fight with the courage of fresh troops with well-filled
stomachs.


_Negro Sympathizers_

Our prospects, which a few moments before looked so dark, were now
rose-colored. It was not altogether because we had satisfied the
cravings of hunger and thereby invigorated our physical powers, that we
felt renewed courage to endure the hardships before us; we now had
evidence of the fidelity of the negroes to us as representatives of the
great element of Freedom, then in combat with Slavery. We were now
persuaded that we could trust the negroes as a class--not because of
any sympathy they had for us personally, but because they appreciated
the vital interests of their race in the struggle. The difficulties of
the long and dangerous road before us seemed vastly lessened and to a
great extent shorn of their terrors, for the majority of the inhabitants
along our route were friends--ignorant, it is true; prisoners at large,
so to speak--but nevertheless our friends, who would shield us so far as
lay in their power, and, to the best of their ability, aid us on our
journey.

These faithful friends also told us how our first friend had contrived
to mislead the persons whom our unfortunate appearance at the church had
put on our track. He managed to meet them on the road with his load of
brush, and upon their inquiring if he had seen any strangers pass along,
replied that he had, and that they had crossed the field and gone off in
a direction opposite to our place of concealment. Believing his
statement, they had followed the direction indicated by him.

We were warned, however, that they would probably get the dogs and put
them on our track, and this did not serve to make us feel over secure;
we therefore determined to make the greatest possible efforts in the way
of traveling that night. Securing the remnants of our supper, and an old
coverlid furnished by the negroes, we again started on.

As ill luck would have it, early in the evening we again incurred the
risk of capture, by reason of what seemed to us the extraordinary
religious excitement prevailing among the inhabitants of this region. We
were traveling along the road, using, as we thought, all due care, when
suddenly we came upon a private house, situated near the road, where
there was another religious gathering. The door was open, and several
persons were gathered around the outside. We passed along the road
without attracting any particular notice, as we then thought; but we
felt that our appearance then, coupled with our presence near the church
the day before, might serve to put the hounds on our track. We pushed
on, with beating hearts and accelerated speed. As we were passing the
house, I heard for the first time the plantation hymn,


     "Dere's nobody knows de trouble I see."


sung in melodious negro voices. There certainly never was a musical
number more appropriate to the occasion.

We made a good night's march, of at least twenty miles. At daylight we
again sought the cover of a thicket and were soon asleep. It would seem,
that after our experience of the day before, we ought to have been
satisfied to remain quiet that day; and probably we should have been,
had it not been that about noon we heard the baying of hounds. Were they
after us? We listened. They certainly were trending in the direction of
our trail. What should we do? Remain and test the question as to whether
the dogs were after us or other game; or should we risk traveling by
daylight, and, if they were indeed after us, give them a long race. We
decided on the latter course, and, taking our direction from the
compass, we started on through the forest, running where the ground
would admit of it, and again plunging through the most impenetrable
thickets, to delay horsemen should they attempt to follow us.

About four o'clock in the afternoon, we came into the open, cultivated
country. Here the greatest caution was needful. We were beside a fence,
with a cornfield on one side and on the other an open, uncultivated
space. Skulking, so as to keep our heads below the top of the fence, we
were passing it.

We had nearly reached the end of the field, when on our right, in the
cornfield, in a hollow that had concealed them from our sight, we came
upon about twenty negroes of both sexes, two white men and one white
woman, engaged in husking corn. They saw us about the same time we saw
them; so, straightening ourselves up, we walked by them, trying to look
as unconcerned as possible.


_Hunted with Hounds_

We passed the field and on into the woods beyond. At the first
opportunity we halted, and one of our number skulked back to see what
effect our sudden appearance had had upon the people in the cornfield.
It took but a moment to satisfy ourselves on that score. They had
scattered like a covey of quails at the approach of the hunter; all were
running, some in one direction, some in another. It was very plain that
the whole country would be aroused, and we should have the hunters upon
our trail, if they were not already following us.

Now then, for it, boys! We must gain on them all we can. A short run
brought us to a stream of water, and into it we went without a moment's
hesitation. Turning our heads down stream, we floundered along--now over
huge boulders, then into holes up to our chins, now through shallow
rapids, and again through deep, still water. We were profiting by the
lesson taught us by the South Carolina man-hunter in the swamps. The
stream was rapid most of the way, and would carry our scent down with
its turbulent waters.

We must stick to the stream as long as possible. Stop. What is this? A
bayou putting into the stream, and overhung with willows on its banks.
Here is our refuge. Wading out into the bayou and behind the willows, we
are at least safe from observation. We have left no track since reaching
the stream, and unless the hounds are sagacious enough to catch the
scent from the air or water, they will be baffled. At all events, it is
our only safety.

Hark! Do you hear it? Listen! Yes, here they come! Away up the creek, at
regular intervals, the baying of the hounds can be distinctly heard. Now
then, for it! Will they be able to discover our retreat? Listen. Do you
hear them? No. They have ceased their infernal howl.

A long pause, and then the notes of the horn. Soon a noise along our
side of the creek is heard. The hunters are upon us. The bayou is
reached and crossed. On and on down the creek, out of sight and hearing.
Thank God! Thank God! We are safe.

Hark! Not so fast! They are coming back. Nearer and nearer the sounds of
the hunters come, on the other side of the creek, going up again. They
have passed us, and again the sounds of the chase die out, and are heard
no more.

We remained in the water, shivering until night, and then, exhausted as
we were by cold, hunger, and excitement, traveled through the entire
night, this time making twenty-five miles.

Just before daylight it commenced to rain: not a drizzling mist, but a
regular, pouring rain, as though the clouds had a day's work to perform,
and meant to get the most of it done before noon; a rain that not only
wet to the skin, but gave you a good pelting besides. The reader will
recollect that this was in October, and even in South Carolina the
weather was not as warm as it might be. The nights, especially, were
cold and unpleasant. It was no pleasing prospect, that of crawling into
a thicket and lying down in the beating rain, with neither shelter nor
fire; but, disagreeable as it was, we hailed the storm with rapture. We
remembered the lesson of the man hunter in the swamps: "The rain gits
us; dogs can't keep the scent after a smart rain." We knew, beyond a
reasonable doubt, that the hunters would be able to get on our track in
the morning; without this merciful rain, sent, as it seemed, by kind
Providence, we should probably be overtaken before night.

Shivering, and nearly exhausted by fatigue and want of food, we crawled
into a thicket, some twenty rods from the highway along which we had
been traveling. Throwing ourselves down, we drew over us our one blanket
and the old coverlid obtained from our black friend, and sought, by
lying close to each other, to preserve enough of the natural heat of our
bodies to prevent perishing from the cold. How we did suffer! It
required all the force of will of which we were possessed, to prevent us
from stirring around. It was only by keeping constantly before our minds
the fact that if we attempted to travel or even to move among the wet
bushes, it would be a very easy matter for the hounds to get our scent
again, that we could keep still. So, with aching bones and chattering
teeth, we lay there in the rain and waited.

The sun was up, but his rays could not penetrate the dense rain cloud.
What a blessing to have been, if only for a few moments, warmed by his
beams. We had the material to build a fire and relieve our sufferings;
but to build a fire would have advertised our exact locality for miles
around. Thus the tedious hours slowly passed.

About noon we were rewarded for our self-denial by seeing two horsemen
and five hounds pass along the road. It required no stretch of
imagination to determine their business. The men were armed with
carbines, and were evidently searching for somebody, and we were
strongly of the opinion that we knew who it was.

In the afternoon the sun came out once more, and, throwing off our wet
blanket, we sunned ourselves in his cheering beams. But still we did not
dare to stir around much. Our only safety consisted in keeping down the
scent. If we started on then, through the wet bushes, we could easily be
followed, for after our impromptu bath of the day before and our
subsequent thorough drenching from the rain, it would not require a very
sagacious dog to find us. We were nearer the road than we thought
thoroughly safe; but we were afraid that if we attempted to put more
distance between us and the road, we would run more risk of creating a
scent that could be caught by the dogs than if we remained where we
were.

About five o'clock in the afternoon we saw the same men and dogs
returning. As they were about opposite us, one of the dogs, probably the
leader, stopped, threw up his head, and snuffed the air for a moment as
though there were some game near. Fortunately, the men did not notice
him. After snuffing around for a while, he dropped his head and
followed the other two brutes on horseback--on, and out of sight.

Hurrah! We were saved! Not by any skill of our own, but by the merciful
interposition of Divine Providence, in sending the rain, and thus
depriving our enemies of their only means of tracing us.

We had now been without food for about twenty-four hours. Our bodies
were cramped, and our joints stiffened, by cold and exposure to the
rain; yet we hailed the friendly darkness that closed around us,
shielding us from observation, with feelings of gratitude to the Great
Giver of All Good. We could endure hunger and fatigue vastly better than
we could our forced inaction.

At the earliest practicable moment, therefore, we were again upon the
road. Our greatest need just then was food. We were growing weak, and we
knew that unless we could soon get relief our strength would entirely
fail. We also knew that it would not do for us to attempt to visit negro
quarters to procure supplies--the country was roused, and undoubtedly we
were watched for. The negro quarters would of course be placed under
surveillance.

We therefore concluded, to supply our pressing need, to depend upon our
own resources, or rather upon our ability to forage upon the resources
of the enemy. It was late at night, however, somewhere in the
neighborhood of twelve o'clock, before we reached a plantation.
Reconnoissance was made, and the location of the house and of the negro
quarters ascertained. Avoiding the dwellings, we commenced a search for
food. Sweet potatoes are usually abundant on Southern plantations at
this time of year, but we were unable to find any. We found plenty of
corn, but it was as hard as flint. We also found a quantity of the peas
before described; and this was all that we could raise in the way of a
supper. Skirting the plantation, we finally reached the highway beyond
it. A consultation was held, and all the pros and cons of the situation
discussed.

After due deliberation, we decided that it would not be safe to build a
fire, as the light would betray us. We must do the best we could, with
the raw material. So, dividing it between us, we munched the dry corn
as we walked. We were our own millers, cooks, and bakers, but while our
primitive repast served to maintain life and to a certain extent relieve
us from the cravings of hunger, I cannot recommend it as a steady diet.
It is open to very serious objections: first, want of variety; second,
difficulty of mastication--one can grind corn with his teeth for an hour
or two, but after that one's teeth get sore; thirdly, although
hygienists tell us that to preserve health we should eat slowly, the
process of masticating corn is altogether too slow for comfort. In fact
one must eat all the time or go hungry, and if the mill be ever so much
out of order, the grinding must still go on, or the baker and cook will
be out of employment.

We were now near Savannah River, about two miles south of Abbeville,
South Carolina. Since our adventure at the church, detailed above, we
had been obliged to devote all our energies to saving ourselves from
recapture. We had necessarily made many divergences from our line of
march, so that while we had traveled a long distance we had gained but
little, so far as reaching Sherman's lines was concerned. But we again
took up our regular line of march, and there was but one obstacle in our
way that caused us much uneasiness. The Savannah, a deep and rapid
stream, was to be crossed. But two of our party could swim--Spencer and
myself. Hatcher must be got over the stream in some way, but how? We had
studied upon this difficulty for several days, and concluded, if we
could do no better, to make a raft and float him over, provided we could
find the materials with which to construct one. We did not dare take a
boat, because if we left it on the opposite shore from which we got it,
the enemy would certainly get on our track; while if we turned it
adrift, after crossing, the fact that the boat was missing would serve
the same purpose. After our success in getting rid of the hounds, we
were determined not to have them again on our track if we could avoid
it.

Slowly the long night passed away. I say slowly, because we were getting
wretchedly tired and faint. Long exposure and excitement were beginning
to tell upon us. It was only by the stern exercise of will that we were
enabled to move at all. Under ordinary circumstances none of us would
have believed himself capable of marching an hour. Daylight at length
admonished us that we must again seek shelter for another twelve hours.
It so happened that daylight overtook us in an open, cultivated country,
and the best we could do was to crawl into a thicket in the midst of an
open field, where we lay all day, alternately dozing and munching corn.


_Friendly Blacks_

At length darkness again closed around us. Exhausted, footsore, and
almost disheartened, we once more started upon our tedious journey.
Discovering a road not very well traveled, and evidently neither a
turnpike nor a public highway, but running in the direction we wished to
go, we concluded to follow it. This road, unfortunately as we then
thought, led us to a plantation, and directly through the negro
quarters. The planter's house was but a short distance from the
quarters. It seemed a fearful risk to run, to attempt to pass at so
short a distance from the house and through the quarters, so early in
the evening. If we had not been so nearly exhausted, we certainly
should not have attempted it; but to make a detour would have involved
additional travel through the forest. We were just in that state of mind
and body that, rather than incur any extra travel and add to the bruises
and scratches on our already blistered feet and lacerated limbs, we
preferred to take the extra risk, so we boldly pushed on. It was Sunday
evening, and the cabins of the negroes were all closed, with one
exception, and no one was stirring without. In passing the last cabin, I
saw, through the only open door of the row, an old negro, apparently
alone, sitting before the fire. Instantly I determined to appeal to him
for help, and whispered this intention to my comrades. They hid in an
angle of the fence while I boldly entered the cabin, closed the door,
and locked it.

Those familiar with the construction of negro cabins, will at once
understand how this was done. To those who are not, I will explain.
Nearly all of the cabins are provided with a wooden bar, running across
the door; so all that I had to do, was to take the bar standing near
the door jambs, and drop it into the hasps.

The sudden apparition of a gaunt, unshaven man, clothed in rags, with
famine stamped in every lineament, thus abruptly entering his hut,
evidently startled the old man. Rising to his feet, he exclaimed: "Who
is you?"

Walking up to him, I placed my hand on his shoulder and looking him in
the eye, asked: "Old man, if I place my life in your hands, will you
betray me?"

I shall never forget the appearance of that man as I asked this
question. He was, I should think, between sixty and seventy years of
age, and his head white as snow. In his prime he must have been a fine
specimen of a man, physically. Straightening his tall form he looked me
over from head to foot.

"Who is you?" he asked again.

"I am a Yankee officer, escaped from a Rebel prison, and I am trying to
reach the Yankee army," I replied; and again I asked, "Will you betray
me?"

_"No, sah, and dar ain't a nigga in Souf Car'lina dat would betray
ye!"_

I have seen some of our most gifted and celebrated orators, when they
have seemed almost inspired; but never in my life did I see more dignity
of deportment or a countenance display more nobility of soul, than did
that old man's as he uttered this sentence.

While we were talking, a young negro woman, who had been lying on a bed
at the back part of the room, and whom I had not observed before, got
up, unbarred the door, and left the cabin.

In less than ten minutes, the room was filled with negroes of both
sexes. Notwithstanding the assurance of the old man, I became uneasy.
"For God's sake," I said, "don't let any more in."

Some one inquired, "Why?"

"I am afraid some of you may betray me," I replied; "and I would rather
die than to be recaptured."

It was evident that the girl had told them who I was, from the remarks
dropped by one and another.

"I'd jes' like to see the nigga as would do dat," said a young,
stalwart negro.

"Pears to me dat you do'no who your frien's is," said another.

It took but a very few minutes to convince me that I had nothing to fear
from that party, at all events. I then told them of my companions in the
fence corner, and they were called in.

"Now, den, Massa," said the old man, "jest you tell us wot we can do for
ye."

"We want something to eat, and we want to cross the Savannah River," I
replied.

One motherly old woman, after peering into our faces, asked: "W'en did
ye hab anyt'ing to eat las', honey?"

We told her.

"De Lord bress ye, honey, ye mus' be mos' starved!" she cried.

Here the old man broke in. He had evidently been revolving the matter in
his mind.

"See here, Bob, you an' Jim take dese men out in de cornfield an' hide
'em. Mary, you go an' made dem some brof an' chicken fixin's. Ole Massa
may come down heah, an' de debbil 'd be to pay, 'fore we know it. Den
we'll see 'bout crossin' de ribber. I tell ye de Lord sent dese men heah
to be took keer of, an' we're gwine to do it."

Following the directions of the old man, we were taken out into the
middle of a large cornfield, where we remained while these good friends
were preparing our supper.

Soon the old woman appeared, bearing a kettle of nourishing broth.
Seating herself upon the ground, she commenced feeding us.

"Only tiny bit, Massa. Jes' tiny bit at a time. Lor' bress ye, honey,
take yer time, dar's 'nough of it. I went an' killed some o' ole Massa's
chickens, purpose fur ye. Specs he'd swear awful ef he knowed dat you
uns was eatin' dem. When ye gits filled up wid some brof, I got de meat
heah, an' sweet taters, an' hoe cake."

All the while she was talking, she kept the spoon busy, first ladling
out the broth to one, and then to another of the party. At last she
consented to let us have more substantial food, and the way the corn
bread, sweet potatoes, and boiled chicken disappeared was wonderful.

"Ki-ki! 'Pears like ye was holler all de way down, don't it, honeys?"
exclaimed the kind old woman. "Does me good to see ye eat. You'll feel a
heap bettah when ye gits yer stomachs full. Ya-ya!"

But even our appetites were at length satisfied. Meanwhile, three
stalwart negroes reported for duty. They were detailed to ferry us
across the river, distant only about a mile. When ready to start, young
and old gathered around us, and with a hearty grasp of the hand and a
fervent "God speed!" they bade us good-bye; but not before furnishing us
with cooked rations sufficient to last us five days.

Upon reaching the Savannah, a ferry-boat was stolen, and we were safely
landed on the Georgia side. While crossing, I asked one of the negroes
what would be the result to them, if it were known that they had
assisted us in this manner.

"Golly, Massa, dey'd hang us to de fus tree!" was the reply.

These faithful fellows were not only ready to feed and shelter us, but
they willingly risked their lives for us. We also obtained from them
accurate knowledge of the movements of Sherman's troops only five days
previous; and this, too, a hundred and fifty miles from the scene of
action. How they obtained it they would not tell; but it was plain they
had means of conveying intelligence in some way, probably from one
plantation to another, by means of runners.

In truth, traveling by the underground railroad, as we did, associating
with and depending upon slaves, we were enabled to judge of them with
far greater accuracy than it would have been possible for us to do under
any other circumstances. After the lapse of eighteen years, I may be
credited with speaking dispassionately when I say that in my opinion
they were, as a class, better informed of passing events and had a
better idea of questions involved in the struggle between North and
South, than the majority of that class known as the "poor whites" of the
South. In this opinion I venture to say that I will be sustained by
seven-eighths of our soldiers who had opportunities for forming an
intelligent opinion. They were faithful to every trust imposed upon them
by us, even to the imperiling of their lives. They were not only willing
to divide their final crust with us, but to give us the last morsel of
food in their possession. May my right hand wither, and my tongue cleave
to the roof of my mouth, when I forget to be grateful to that people, or
fail to advocate their cause, when their cause is just!

With our hearts overflowing with gratitude, we shook hands with our
sable ferrymen, and bade them good-bye.

"Take keer ob yousel's, Massas; an' wen you comes back wid de army,
don't forget Jake an' Tom, an' de res' ob us."

These were the last words we heard from the lips of our friends. We have
not been able to hear anything from them since; but let the
circumstances be what they may, those men and women who succored us in
our great peril are my friends, and will be met and treated as such,
wherever found, though their skins be darker, and their hair curl
tighter than my own.


_Difficulties, Day by Day_

It was long past midnight before we were fairly upon our road again; yet
we felt better able to travel twenty miles before daylight, than we did
to travel five before finding friends and a supper. How changed our
prospects from a few hours before! We were now buoyant and happy;
difficulties that had seemed insurmountable had been met and conquered.
We were invigorated with good food, and had enough more provided to last
five days.

We were now in the county of Elbert. Shaping our course so as to flank
the village of Elberton on the south, we started on in the direction of
Carnesville. We had learned from the slave "telegraph line" that Sherman
still held his lines between Atlanta and Chattanooga, but that our
troops were falling back towards Tennessee. We made up our minds to
strike the railroad at the nearest practicable point between Dalton and
Atlanta.

A glance at the map will show the reader one of the many difficulties
that beset our way. The country through which we were passing is well
watered. Numerous small streams rise in the mountains and empty into the
Savannah and Appalachicola rivers. Many of these were not bridged. Even
when they were, we dared not attempt to use the bridges, for fear they
might be guarded. Many of the streams are deep and rapid, and it was by
no means pleasant fording them, for the nights were cold and frosty,
even for that time of year. So, in shaping our course, we endeavored to
keep as close to the heads of the streams as possible, without greatly
increasing the distance to be traveled.

We were determined to use the greatest caution, to run no risks of being
seen by a white man, and never again to get the hounds on our track, if
we could possibly avoid it. We were satisfied that we had successfully
baffled them this time, but our escape would be only by the merest
chance should they again scent us. We also determined to husband our
provisions, and, if possible, make them last us through. In fact, we
were in such buoyant spirits over our good fortune in securing them and
getting across the big river, that it seemed as though all difficulties
were now cleared from our path; as though all we had to do was to march
ahead in order to succeed--another evidence of the close affinity
existing between the mind and stomach.

The time lost in the society of our black friends necessarily made our
journey that night a short one. We had made no more than ten miles, when
daylight again compelled us to seek safety in a thicket. The next night
we traveled twenty-five miles, as nearly as we could judge, without an
incident worthy of mention. The same may be said of the two or three
nights that followed. We averaged about twenty-five miles a night, until
we reached the vicinity of Gainesville.

On reaching this point, we were in something of a dilemma in regard to
crossing the Chattahoochee River. The stream was about eighteen rods in
breadth at the point where we desired to cross. We could see that it was
rapid, but we had no means of determining its depth. We were anxious to
reach the river before daylight, so as to have the advantage of the
light in reconnoitering and finding a safe place for fording; but
daylight overtook us while still about five miles from the stream.

We were in a very dense forest, with heavy undergrowth. We again
concluded to risk traveling to the river by daylight, and, if possible,
selecting a crossing place. Pushing forward, we reached the bank of the
stream without accident. Here we found several wild-grape vines, loaded
with fine fruit, and differing from any other species I ever saw, in
that the grapes grew singly instead of in clusters. They were large and
luscious, although the skin was thick and tough; otherwise, there was
nothing in the appearance or taste to distinguish them from the largest
varieties of cultivated grapes. We soon stripped the vines, and
converted Confederate grapes into a Yankee dinner.

We felt somewhat discouraged at the prospect facing us. The river was
evidently too deep to ford at this point. We could discover no boat on
our side of the stream. Opposite, a house was in sight; on our side,
near us, a plantation. As far as the eye could reach, up and down the
river, the country was under cultivation. We tried to find driftwood
with which to construct a raft, but were unable to do so.

At night, we were no nearer accomplishing our purpose than we were in
the morning. We concluded, however, to push on up stream, in the hope
of finding either a boat or a landing place; so, following the bank, we
came at length to a place where a road led into the river, suggesting a
ford, and made up our minds to attempt a crossing. Taking off our
clothing, we started in.

Whew! But the water was cold! If the place was in reality ever used as a
ford, I must say that the people who used it were not very particular
about having a bottom for a good portion of the way; and where there was
bottom, it was shockingly rough. The water averaged five feet in depth,
varying from one foot to eight. Taking it in the night, with no
knowledge of the river, was not only very unpleasant, but highly
dangerous.

We hoped to save our clothes from getting wet, but in this most signally
failed. In fact, each of the party, at different times, was under water,
struggling for life; but we crossed at last. Wringing the water from our
clothing as best we could, we dressed ourselves, and started on.

We had proceeded but a few rods, when lo! here was another river right
before us. We consulted our map and compass. We were not mistaken in our
direction. We wanted to go west. The map laid down only one river,
running south. We had crossed from the east to the west bank; and yet,
going west, we were confronted with another river, running north. What
could it mean? I do not think I was ever so puzzled in my life. We
retraced our steps to make sure we were not mistaken as to the direction
of the first stream. There was no mistake; the river laid down on the
map was the Chattahoochee. We had passed that; still within sixty rods,
was another of about the same size, running north. Simple as was the
solution of the problem, I do not believe any circumstance during the
entire trip caused me more uneasiness for the time being. I began to
distrust map and compass. We soon discovered that the river at this
place merely ran in the shape of an ox bow. Afterwards we had many a
hearty laugh over the matter, but at the time our perplexity was far
from amusing.

It will be observed that our general direction was northwest; yet
actually, for various causes--traveling in the night through a strange
country, divergences when pursued by the dogs, and occasionally losing
our way--the route we actually followed was crooked and erratic. The
distance we traveled was in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty
miles.

It would be tedious to narrate each day's experience; therefore I will
confine myself to incidents that seem to me to be of special interest.

The provisions furnished by our black friends at the time we crossed the
Savannah, were at length exhausted. We concluded again to recruit them
at the first opportunity, but for some reason this seemed long in
coming. However, early one morning, after crossing Etowah River, and
secreting ourselves in the brush, we heard voices, and soon afterwards
footsteps, which we discovered to belong to two young negroes. We at
once made ourselves known, and asked them to supply our wants. This they
promised to do during the day, and just at dark they appeared with some
provisions, sufficient to fill our empty stomachs, and begged to be
permitted to accompany us. This request we dared not grant, for this
would unquestionably have put the man-hunters again upon our track. If
caught under such circumstances, we would be treated to a speedy
passage to the celestial regions, without calling into practice the
services of judge or jury. Selfish reasoning this, no doubt, but quite
sufficient for three feeble and well-nigh exhausted fugitives.

We were now within some sixty miles of where we supposed our lines to
be, and concluded to divide the distance that night, so as to be able to
reach the army the following night. But after traveling until three
o'clock in the morning, the supper of the evening before had served its
purpose. We were like the nightingale in the fable of the "Nightingale
and the glow-worm," beginning to feel the keen demands of appetite.

During all this time Spencer had saved a few spoonfuls of flour. We
thought we should never need it more than we did just then. My old
kettle was brought into requisition, a small fire kindled, and the flour
converted into gruel. This consumed, we went on.

By the map, we were nearing Jasper, the seat of Pickens County, about
forty miles from Calhoun, the point at which we were aiming to strike
our lines. As we were winding along the side of a hill, at a turn of
the road, there stood within a couple of rods of us a man with a gun in
his hand. It was just in the grey of the morning.


_A Cautious Picket_

A man was the last object we wished to see just then, unless he happened
to be clad in Federal blue, and this fellow was in Confederate grey. If
we could, we would have avoided his acquaintance. In truth, we could not
have encountered a more startling object. Under such circumstances men
think quickly. Avoid him we could not. If we ran, he would shoot, and it
struck me quite forcibly that the gun was a thing to gain control of, so
I jumped for him. To my astonishment, he exclaimed in startled tones:
"Who is you, Mars?"

In appearance he was a white man; his dialect was that of a negro.

"Who are you?" I inquired.

"I'se Mars Jackson's boy."

"You don't pretend you are a slave?"

"Yes, Mars."

"What are you doing with that gun?"

"Mars tole me I might go out coonin'."

I knew negroes, as a rule, were not to be trusted with a gun for such
purposes; this, together with the color of his skin, which was as white
as ours, caused us to distrust his story, and we began to quiz him:

"See here. You don't look like a nigger. You're a white man. What do you
want to deceive us for?"

"I'se not tryin' to deceib you. I'se tole you uns the truf, shore."

"Whose gun is that?"

"Dat gun? Dat--dat's Mars Jackson's gun."

"How long is it since your master trusted you with a gun? That story
won't hold water."

"Sho' as you lib, Mars, dat's Mars's gun; he tole me to take it an' come
out heah an'--an'--look fer coon."

"Yes, and you found three of them, eh?"

The fellow grinned. At length he asked, "Is you Jordan's men?"

We had heard of Jordan, a Confederate guerrilla said to infest the
country near this point.

"No," I answered. "Are you?"

"No, Mars Jordan don't want no niggas in his band."

"Who do you belong to, then? Come, you might as well tell the truth!"

"I tole you, I'se Mars Jackson's nigga."

It would be tedious to follow out a conversation that occupied the
better portion of an hour. Suffice it, that after a time the man
convinced us that he was in reality a slave. Then we told him truthfully
who we were. At this he seemed filled with terror, and evidently did not
believe us. Finally we sat down and talked with him until we convinced
him of our character. We showed him the compass, but he could comprehend
nothing of its uses; it excited his curiosity, but nothing more. Then we
showed him our map, and explained to him how we used it: showed him our
route from Branchville, and at last, when we came to the place where we
had crossed the river (Etowah), he laughed outright.

"Golly, Mars! De ribber is more'n so fah from heah," marking on his
finger-nail the space indicated on the map.

We explained to him that the map was drawn on a certain scale,
representing certain distances, etc. After a while we told him that just
before we had left Charleston, Spencer had received a letter from his
home in Wisconsin. This letter Spencer read rapidly aloud. The negro,
for such he really was, pondered on this for awhile, and finally said:
"I blieb you couldn't make up dat so fas' as dat."

At last convincing him of our truthfulness, we began to question him as
to the road, the chances of getting provisions, etc., when he said: "Ef
you uns is Yankees, you is all right, foh it's jes a little way to the
camp of de Home Geards."


_The Home Guard_

Supposing that this was of course a Confederate organization, I asked
how we should get past them.

"You doesn't want to git past 'em," he replied. "Go right in dar, and
dey'll gib you somet'ing to eat. Dey's Union men, dey is, an' has got a
camp an' geards, an' all dat. Dey's fightenin' Jordan's men ebery day
mos'."

This information was startling, and it took the sentinel, for such he
proved to be, a long time to convince us he was telling the truth. At
length we agreed to the following conditions for accepting his guidance:
One of us was to carry the gun, the two others were to carry clubs, and
he was to pilot us to the camp of the Home Guards. On the first evidence
of his having deceived us, we were to kill him.

To this he assented, and under his leadership we started forward. Soon
we reached a log house, and he went to the door and knocked. There was
considerable delay about opening the door; so much, that our suspicion
was aroused. At length the door was partly opened, and a woman's face
appeared. She recognized our guard and he briefly informed her who we
were. She hardly trusted him, but after a brief parley we were admitted.
We told her frankly who we were, and she supplied our wants as well as
she could from her own limited resources, at the same time informing us
that her husband was in the house when we arrived, but that he had
hastily taken himself to the brush. We afterwards learned the cause.

We had proceeded but a short distance from the house when we discovered
in the road ahead of us, a mounted picket, dressed in Confederate grey.

To describe our feelings at the sight, is impossible. My first impulse
was to turn and fly. I grasped my club with fierce energy, with the
mental vow that if that negro had betrayed us into the hands of our
enemies I would send him to his long home, if my life paid the forfeit.
Not a word was spoken until the picket challenged, "Who goes there?"

"Friends," replied Spencer.

"Advance, friends, and give the countersign."

"We have no countersign," I replied.

"Who are you?"

My voice trembled as I replied, "Escaped Union prisoners."

"All right. Come in."

"Wait a moment. Are you a Union man?"

"I just am that. I belong to the Home Guard."

"Well, who are the Home Guard?"

"Union men, belonging around here. Come along. We will take care of
you."

"All right," we replied, and under his guidance we moved forward.

We soon reached the camp, more properly the rendezvous, of the command.
We found perhaps a dozen men, all armed, in and around a small but
comfortable log house. The guard reported us to one whom he saluted as
Major, who immediately put us through a thorough questioning. We told
him who we were, and the rank and regiment of each. We showed him our
letters, and, among other things, our compass and map.

After undergoing a rigid examination, we were successful in convincing
our new-found Union men that we were in very truth Yankees and escaped
prisoners, and we were permitted to go where we pleased, being
cautioned, however, that it was highly dangerous to stray far from camp.
Immediately after our examination was closed, one of the men came up to
us and said, "Did you uns stop at a house back here, this morning?"

"We stopped there, certainly," I replied; "and the woman gave us a good
breakfast. Why do you ask?"

"I only wanted to be sure that you were the ones stopped there. That was
my house. I made tracks out of the back door and took to the brush,
when you went in at the front."

"Why did you do that? Why were you frightened at our approach?"

"Well," said he, "I'll just tell ye. We're mighty scary 'bout strangers
comin' to our houses, jest now. 'Taint more'n a month since one of
Jordan's Band came to the house of my neighbor, not more'n a mile from
heah, an' let on he was a Union man, an' wanted to join the Home Guards,
and his wife sent to the bush an' had her husband come in. But afore he
got clar into the house a dozen of Jordan's men come out'n the bush, an'
they just took an' tied him hand an' foot, mutilated him in the most
horrid manner, an' then, bleeding as he was, they hung him to a tree
right in sight of his own house. I tell ye, stranger, it stan's a man in
hand to look out for himself these times. If I'd knowed who you was, I
wouldn't have run into camp, as I did."

While we were talking, a little group of men gathered around us,
listening to the conversation. Our looks must have expressed
incredulity. In fact it was hard, soldiers as we were, used to scenes
of blood and brutality upon the battlefield, to believe it possible that
such hellish deeds could have been enacted in a Christian land.

"Reck'n that's a pretty tough yarn to believe, now, ain't it?" said a
tall, gaunt specimen of a North Georgia man. "But I tell you it's true,
every word of it. I seed it with my own eyes. I helped to cut him down
and bury him--and he ain't the only one that's been served that way."


_Among the Georgia Unionists_

Looking around, a little later, we saw in the field at a short distance,
three or four men at work digging sweet potatoes--_each man with a
musket strapped to his back_.

I had read in histories of the early settlement of the Eastern States,
and of pioneering in the West, incidents corresponding in some respects
with this. There was, however, one radical difference between the cases
of our pioneers and the Georgia Unionists. The former were compelled to
defend themselves against the North American savages, in a war
prosecuted without regard to the laws governing civilized nations; but
this was in the interior of Georgia, one of the older States, in the
noon-tide of the nineteenth century. These men were not warring with
savages, but with their fellow men of the same race, with their
neighbors, their former friends and acquaintances.

Here were about a hundred men banded together for mutual
protection--Union men, who had voted against secession, who had refused
to join in that fratricidal step, and who were in sympathy with the
North in desiring to maintain and preserve the Union. When conscripted
into the Confederate army they fled to the mountains, and were there
hunted like wild beasts, and when pressed like them, stood at bay. Their
wives and little ones had tilled the soil, and managed to raise enough
corn and sweet potatoes to maintain life, and to send to the hiding
places of their husbands and fathers and brothers, supplies from this
meagre store, as occasion required.

To this class were added those who were so unfortunate as to have been
captured--forced into the Southern service by conscription, and who had
subsequently escaped and returned to their homes. So soon as they were
in sufficient numbers to warrant it, they had left their places of
concealment and formed an organization for mutual protection. They were
armed with muskets, carbines, revolvers, shot-guns--anything that would
shoot.

They had made one or two raids on the planters in the lowlands, known to
be prominent Confederates, and had supplied themselves with provisions.
The exigencies of the Southern cause had compelled that government to
put into the field every available man. The theatre of activity being so
far removed from here, however, had, to a certain extent, protected
these mountaineers from attack by any detachment of the Confederate
army.

There was, however, a guerrilla company, known as Jordan's Band, used by
the Confederates as scouts, whose business it was to give information of
the movements of Sherman's forces, which were located on the railroad.
They waylaid foraging parties, bushwhacked pickets, etc. Well armed and
mounted, they outnumbered the Home Guards nearly two to one. With this
band the Home Guards were constantly fighting. It was a war of
extermination between them. No prisoners were taken by either side. When
we arrived in camp they were momentarily expecting an attack. The men
were stationed where they could overlook the different roads, with
orders, if attacked, to fall back slowly to camp, sending in information
to the commander, Major McCreary, so that he might put his men in the
best possible position to receive the enemy.

The Home Guards were outside any regular military organization, but were
most desirous of entering the United States service. They were not so
anxious for the pay they would then be entitled to draw, as they were to
procure good arms and clothing, and to be entitled to the protection of
the government, as regularly-organized soldiers. They begged of us to
represent their case to our government, and see if this could not be
accomplished. I may as well state right here, that information
concerning their case was promptly filed in the War Department, but I
could never learn that it was acted upon.

With few exceptions, these were rough, unlettered men, without even the
rudiments of an education. But they were generous, hospitable, brave,
and Union men to the core; men who would suffer privations, and death
itself, rather than array themselves in strife against the Stars and
Stripes, the emblem of the country they loved. All the power of the
Confederate government could not compel them to fight against it.
Uneducated though they were, under their homespun jackets beat hearts
pure as gold, and stout as oak.

These were the men to whom Providence had directed our steps. We were
invited into the house, and after eating a good dinner and enjoying the
luxury of a bath--more strictly speaking, a good, thorough wash from
head to foot--we were provided with good beds. What a treat! Soft, clean
beds, for men who for six months had thought a blanket a luxury, and who
for the last twenty days had turned day into night and slept in the
woods, with no kindly covering but the sky--depending upon the rays of
the sun for warmth; all the time with a sense of danger hovering over us
that would only permit brief and troubled rest, liable to be broken
should a leaf fall, or a twig snap. Throwing ourselves into bed, we
were soon lost in quiet, refreshing sleep, from which we did not awaken
until long after daylight the next morning. We now felt like new men,
and after a hearty breakfast were eager to take the road as soon as
circumstances should permit, certainly by the time darkness should again
make it prudent.

Our new friends would not for a moment listen to this proposition. We
must stay and rest, they said, and when fit to travel some of them would
accompany us to Sherman's lines. The roads were scouted during the night
by Jordan's men, and the chances were two to one in favor of our being
recaptured. They could not go with us that night, and perhaps not the
next, because they were expecting an attack. So soon as the emergency
had passed, and it was safe to proceed, they promised to take us on our
way.

It was hard to act upon this prudent advice. Our patience was sorely
tried. Only forty miles separated us from our lines, and from
telegraphic communication with wife and home. One night or two at most,
would finish the journey. It was hard to wait, but discretion and the
urgent advice of friends prevailed. We consented to remain, provided
they would furnish us with any kind of arms, and permit us temporarily
to volunteer in the Home Guards, and in case of a fight to participate
in it. To this proposition they gave a cordial assent. I was furnished
with a revolver, and Spencer and Hatcher with other weapons.

That night, word was brought in that some of Jordan's men had been on a
certain road, and the probabilities were that we should be attacked
before morning. The Major immediately took the necessary steps to put
his force in the best possible position for defense. His plan was to
ambush the enemy. Two mounted scouts were sent out, with orders to
ascertain the Confederate strength, and then, after showing themselves,
to fall back and if possible to draw them into our trap. We waited
patiently for several hours, and at length the scouts returned. They
reported having seen the enemy, who prudently refused to follow them in.
It being apparent that no attack would be made that night, the usual
precaution of posting pickets was taken, and all returned to camp.

The next morning, one of the men asked to see "that little thing" I
showed the Major when I came into camp. It was some time before I could
make out what he meant. I finally asked him if it was the compass; and
he reck'ned it was. I took it out of my pocket and showed it to him.
Finding him ignorant of its uses, I explained them as well as I was
able, saying among other things that the needle always pointed to the
north, unless attracted by some more powerful magnet. I took a piece of
iron, and caused the needle to traverse by attraction. Some of the
questions he asked, would have puzzled old Doctor Benjamin Franklin to
answer. It is hard to believe that at this age of the world, in a
civilized country, a man could be found so utterly ignorant of the uses
of a compass.

Here could be seen the difference between educated freedom at the North,
and uneducated slavery in the South. Without any system of free schools,
the poor whites were unable to procure the means to educate their
children. It was not to the interests of the slaveholders, the
aristocracy of the South, to educate the masses. Slavery naturally
created an aristocracy, to maintain which it was necessary to keep both
negroes and poor whites in ignorance. There were no common interests
between the rich and the poor whites, to induce the former to tax
themselves to educate their neighbors' children. The result was, that
while the children of the aristocrats were, generally, educated above
the common standard at the North, the masses were left in deplorable
ignorance.

By this time we were becoming impatient to resume our journey, and urged
our friends, with all the eloquence of which we were possessed, to make
the attempt to reach our lines that night. But the Major, although
plainly desirous of accommodating us, was firmly convinced that the
attempt could not be made with safety, and wisely, no doubt, overruled
us. Much against our inclination, we abided by his decision, and
concluded to remain another night. During the course of the day, we
received an invitation to attend a wedding.


_A Mountain Wedding_

One of the members of the Home Guards was a reckless young fellow, a
deserter from an Ohio regiment. Wild, yet generous-hearted, he had, he
said, been grossly abused by his Captain, and had therefore left his
command and joined the Home Guards. In less than a month, he had
succeeded in captivating one of Jasper's fairest maidens, and we were
invited to witness the ceremony that should make the twain one flesh.

We more than suspected that the desire to witness this ceremony had
influenced, if not the Major, at least a large proportion of his men, to
delay our journey. We put the best face on the matter, however, and
inasmuch as we were compelled to wait, decided to attend.

Just before the time arrived for the invited guests to assemble, Major
McCreary made a detail of a sufficient number of his command to secure
us from surprise, and posted them upon all the approaches to the place;
the balance attended the wedding in a body, taking with them their arms
and equipments.

Like a majority of the homes of Georgia mountaineers, the house in which
the ceremony was to be performed was about sixteen feet square, and
constructed of logs. A large fireplace, extending nearly across one end
of the building, was piled with wood that crackled and roared as the
ruddy blaze encircled and devoured it. It sent back into the room a
delightful glow, lighting up the dusky nooks and corners of the old
cabin, now flickering up to the ceiling and again dying away, leaving
the inmates in the dancing shadows. A bed occupied the opposite side of
the room. Opposite the only entrance was one small window. The other
furniture consisted solely of a rough pine table and a few chairs.

The assembled company composed a group that if faithfully drawn would
insure to any artist the reputation of a first-class caricaturist. The
guests, numbering between thirty and forty persons of both sexes, filled
the room to overflowing. Immediately in front of the fireplace stood the
bride and groom, hand in hand.

The costume of the bride was not such as Paris would have prescribed for
such an occasion. Durability and comfort rather than a desire for
artistic effect, had evidently been the ruling considerations in its
selection. The material was calico, bright colors predominating, and it
was made up without any of the furbelows and jimcracks called
"trimmings." No unsightly hoops (then everywhere in vogue) concealed the
outlines of the girl's well-developed form. Upon her feet were worn
good, substantial leather shoes and woolen stockings. Her "waterfall"
was made up of her own luxurious hair, held in place by a horn comb. No
ornament of any kind or description, not even a sprig or flower, was
permitted to relieve the chaste simplicity of her costume. Standing
there by the side of her chosen husband, she looked substantial and
durable, rather than beautiful.

The groom, resplendent in all the glories of a white shirt and clean
homespun jacket and trousers, seemed to be as happy as is often
permitted to mortals.

Grouped around the room, in various grotesque attitudes, were the
members of the Home Guards. Some were standing, resting their chins upon
hands folded across the muzzles of their muskets; others were standing
in the position of a soldier at ordered arms; others were squatted on
the floor, with their guns lying across their laps. Sitting on the bed
and on the few chairs, were some of the women, while others mingled
with the soldiers, quite regardless of appearances.

Everything being in readiness, the clergyman took his place, and in a
few words pronounced the marriage ceremony--which, whether performed in
palace or hovel, is so fraught with good or ill, to both the parties
concerned.

For a moment after he had concluded, all were silent. The grave
deportment of the minister combined with the peculiar circumstances
attending upon the marriage, acted like a spell upon the audience,
compelling even the most reckless to yield to its influence. The silence
was rudely broken by the young husband, who, taking his bride by the
chin, by this means getting her face in position, gave her a rousing
smack on the mouth, exclaiming: "Well, Mary, how do you like gitt'n'
married?"

"I like it fust rate. I wouldn't mind gitt'n' married every day," was
her reply.

The scene that followed beggars description--such pulling and hauling
and kissing of the bride; such kissing of everybody who would submit to
being kissed, and of some who wouldn't; such screaming and laughing;
such jostling and mixing, surely never were seen before.

For an hour or more the carnival continued. At length they were tired
out by their wild play and boisterous mirth. Quiet was restored. Songs
were called for. Spencer, a good singer, gave them the song, "Who will
care for mother now?" I followed with "Old Irish Gentleman" in my best
style, my music resembling the notes of a jay bird alternated with those
of a wild goose, with an occasional note resembling the filing of a saw.
The songs, however, were received with applause about equally divided,
although I heard a pretty widow remark that she thought Spencer the
better singer, and I could not dispute her taste.

When the bride remarked that "It must be gitt'n' moughty late, hard on
to one o'clock," the company dispersed; some to their homes, others to
the picket line to relieve the guard and learn the signs of the night.
Spencer, Hatcher, and I betook ourselves to the headquarters of the
Guards, where we were soon soundly sleeping.

The next morning the Major despatched men in every direction to
ascertain the whereabouts and movements of Jordan's men. We were urgent
in our request to start that night.

"Wait until I hear from my men," he said. "I sha'n't run the risk of
having you recaptured, nor of unnecessarily sacrificing my men. I am
just as anxious as you are to have you reach your lines in safety. We
are in need of ammunition and supplies, and you can assist us in getting
them. You can also establish the fact that we are Union men, and that we
can be trusted. I want to accompany you myself, and we will start just
as soon as it is safe to do so; but you must wait until that time comes.
We have repeatedly tried to make your people understand our position,
but they do not seem to trust us."

There was altogether too much good sense in the Major's reasoning to
gainsay it, and we perforce submitted with the best grace possible.


_Diplomacy_

In the course of the day, two members of Jordan's Band came into camp
under flag of truce. Their ostensible object was to enter into a compact
with the Home Guards, by the terms of which the private property of
each should be respected. Major McCreary evinced good diplomatic ability
in the conduct of the negotiation. He insisted upon the restitution of
property taken by Jordan's men prior to the formation of the Home
Guards. He detailed with great clearness and force the manner in which
the houses of his men had been plundered by the guerrillas; how they had
not only appropriated articles of value, but had destroyed furniture and
clothing, with no other motive than that of revenge.

"When you restore to us the full value of what you have destroyed," he
said, "less the value of what we have taken from you, then we will enter
into an agreement to respect private property."

He greatly exaggerated his numerical strength, and I think was
successful in impressing upon the minds of the envoys that in position
and men he was far stronger than he really was. He also succeeded in
worming out of them information of the utmost importance as to the
location of the Band at that time.


_A Start for Our Lines_

When the interview was ended, the Major informed us that the news he had
obtained, if substantiated by the scouts when they came in, would enable
us to start that night. A little later we were told that the attempt
would be made.

Ten men, under the command of the Major, were selected as an escort, and
we started out in a state of high exhilaration. Our horses were fair
roadsters, we were armed; and judging by our feeling at that moment,
nothing less than a battalion would have seemed a formidable obstacle in
our path. In fact, I believe some of us would have rather enjoyed the
prospect of a skirmish that night. The Major had occasion to check our
rather noisy demonstrations more than once during the first hour of our
ride. The night was intensely dark. The rain came down steadily, and as
our clothes became saturated, our exuberant spirits toned down to the
level of reasonable men.

Once more, at a distance of about four miles from our starting point, we
came to the outpost of a guard. He reported that just before night he
had discovered a man skulking in the bushes beyond.

The Major immediately detailed one of his men, with orders to
reconnoitre a certain by-road, at a point known to be a rendezvous for
Jordan's men when they were in that vicinity, and to report to us a few
miles farther on. He then informed us that if we were attacked at all,
it would be near the point where he had ordered his man to report.

The scout put spurs to his horse and in an instant was lost to view in
the darkness. It was curious how suddenly our desire for a fight
evaporated, when the probability arose that our wishes might be speedily
gratified; especially when the chances were so decidedly in favor of an
enemy lying in ambush, from which we should be compelled to dislodge
him.

Quietly and unostentatiously the Major communicated his plans to his
men, and everything being in readiness we resumed our march. When within
a mile of the point where the scout had been ordered to join us, we
heard a crackling and snapping in the brush at the side of the road. We
halted and breathlessly listened.

Somebody on horseback was coming our way. If it was the scout, all was
right; if not, it was certain the enemy was on the road. Silently we sat
on our horses and listened. At length the Major challenged, "Who comes
there?"

No answer. Again the Major challenged. I cocked my revolver, and the
click-click running along our line sounded ominous.

"Halloo, boys, is that you?" came out of the brush.

We recognized the voice in a moment; it was the scout's.

"Why didn't you answer when I challenged?" demanded the Major.

"I reck'ned I'd just wait and see who you was, fust," was the cool
reply.

"You ran a mighty narrow chance of being fired into."

"Yes, I calc'lated on that; but I thought I'd take the risk. It's mighty
onsartain 'bout hitt'n' a feller in the brush, dark as it is now; and
I'd ruther be shot at than fool along into Jordan's hands."

"I say," said Spencer to me, _sotto voce_, "that fellow is a cool one!"

And so he was. Think of a man's calmly calculating, rather than make a
mistake and thereby raising a false alarm, the chances of a dozen shots
being fired at him at a distance not exceeding ten rods--from a point he
all the while intended to advance toward, until near enough to recognize
voices. He was a specimen of the kind of men that made up the Home
Guards.

The scout's report was favorable. He thought there had been no enemy
around the old rendezvous for several days. This intelligence
corresponded with that already obtained by the Major. Coupled with the
state of the weather, it seemed nearly certain that we should have only
the elements to contend with that night. Again we were off.

"We must push ahead, now, at double quick. We have no time to lose,"
said the Major.

Putting our horses into a gallop, we rushed into the darkness. Splashing
through the mud, now fording creeks, now floundering through quagmires,
our little band flitted like spectres. Every hour lessened the distance
between us and the boys in blue. Daylight would find us within sight of
the stars and stripes, if no misfortune overtook us. Our horses were
reeking with perspiration. Up hill and down, on and on we galloped. At
last a house appeared in sight.

"Halt! Dismount!"

"What is this, Major?" I asked.

"The house of a friend," was the reply. "We are within five miles of
your picket lines."

Could it be possible that only five miles divided us from our old
comrades--from the "boys in blue," from telegraphic communication with
wife and children? Only five miles to liberty? We could hardly restrain
our feelings within reasonable bounds. My heart fluttered and my limbs
shook with excitement. My voice trembled so that I could scarcely
articulate.

"Why do you halt?" I querulously asked the Major.

"We must wait till daylight. It is not safe to approach the picket line
at night."

"But, Major, is there not another house nearer the line? Must we stop
here? Would it not be safer to get as near the line as possible? Is
there not a possibility that we may be attacked even here?"

I poured these questions out without giving him a chance to reply. It
seemed as if I could not stop.

"It seems like you were gitt'n' mighty uneasy just now. I reckon we'll
have to stop a time, anyhow. You might as well come in and make
yourselves comfortable. We will get warmed up, have something to eat,
let the horses blow awhile, and then perhaps we will go on to the Widow
H----'s. She lives right close to the line, but she's a Reb clean
through, and I don't like to trust her any longer than is necessary."

The Major's cool, matter-of-fact way of disposing of the matter, made me
ashamed of my excitement and petulance. I felt the more chagrined at the
display of my feelings, because Hatcher and Spencer had exhibited so
much more coolness and self-restraint, and I determined that thereafter
I should act with more discretion. So, hiding my impatience as best I
could, I dismounted and followed my companions into the house. We found
the family asleep, but a good fire burning on the capacious hearth was
a welcome sight to the drenched and shivering troopers.

The noisy summons of the Major aroused the sleeping inmates. When they
found who we were that visited them at such an hour, they extended to us
a hearty welcome. Fresh wood was piled upon the fire, around which we
gathered in a steaming semicircle. The Major took our host aside. A few
brief questions were asked and answered.

"It's all right," he said as he joined us. "The whelps have been around,
but left yesterday. I reckon we'll stop awhile, get a bite to eat, and
then shove on to Widow H----'s."

It was yet two hours or more to daylight, and our friends could not be
blamed if they preferred their present comfortable quarters before the
fire, to muddy roads, darkness, and pelting rain. As for myself and two
companions, we were the very pictures of suppressed impatience. When our
hospitable host passed around some food and home-made coffee, we were
far too excited to partake. The sight of Major McCreary and his men,
coolly stowing away the bread and coffee, fairly made me grate my teeth
with impatience.

At length the Major, taking pity upon us, rather than following his own
better judgment, as I am firmly convinced, gave the order to remount. We
were the first to obey.

The night was still very disagreeable. The rain continued to come down
with pitiless violence, accompanied by a cold northeast wind, which,
combined with the pitchy darkness, rendered traveling the reverse of
pleasant. We were, however, too much excited with the prospect to mind
the unpleasant state of the weather. We were living on anticipation. Our
brilliant hopes overshadowed the uncomfortable present to such an extent
that even now I look back to that night's ride as one of the most
delightful episodes of a not altogether uneventful life.

An hour's ride brought us to the house of Widow H----, within half of a
mile of our picket line. It was still very dark, and altogether unsafe
to attempt to approach the pickets. We must wait for daylight. So, when
the order to dismount was given, we acquiesced with the best grace
possible.

Fastening our horses, we approached the house. A resounding
_rat-tat-tat_ brought the widow to the door. Finding the party headed by
the leader of the Home Guards, she seemed the reverse of pleased, and
was not inclined to accede to our moderate demands for shelter until
morning; but finally, with a repugnance she took no pains to conceal,
she permitted us to enter. We soon built up a good fire, and under the
influence of its cheering warmth forgot the inhospitable conduct of our
hostess. With many a jest and story we beguiled the tedious hour till
daylight.


_Among Comrades_

At the earliest dawn we were again on the road. Ahead of us, upon either
hand, as far as the eye could reach, could be seen the blue smoke of the
picket fires. We were traveling leisurely. I was conversing with
Spencer; when suddenly, upon an elevation not ten rods from us, appeared
a soldier dressed in blue, who in short, crisp tones commanded, "Halt!
Who comes there?"

The Major answered, "Friends!"

"Halt, friends! Advance one, without arms, and give the countersign."

The Major dismounted and advanced. A few moments' conversation took
place between him and the soldier, which the distance prevented us from
hearing. We soon after heard the order given by the outpost guard to
fall in, and then came the order, "Dismount! Advance, friends!"

Dismounting, we advanced, leading our horses. Upon reaching the outpost
guard I thought I recognized a familiar face. "What regiment do you
belong to?" I asked.

"The First Wisconsin Cavalry," was the reply.

"Give us your hand, old fellow!" I exclaimed, with the tears running
down my cheeks. "Let me hug you. Hurrah, boys! Do you hear that? First
Wisconsin Cavalrymen!"

Hatcher and Spencer were dancing about, crying and laughing. In fact, we
were all of us fairly crazed with joy. Our new friends did not seem at
all proud of their demonstrative guests. In truth, they rather drew back
from our demonstrations of affection.

"Who are you, anyhow?" one of them sourly asked.

"Escaped prisoners," we replied.

"Where did you make your escape?"

"Near Charleston."

"You don't pretend to say that you have come all the way from
Charleston, right through the Reb country?"

"Yes, we do pretend that very thing."

"Well, it may be so, but I don't care about being hugged"--glancing
towards us with a look expressive of mingled incredulity and disgust.

This rebuff had the effect to cool us down a bit, and when we came to
look ourselves over, we could but confess that so far as personal
appearance was concerned we were nothing to boast of. We were unshaven
and unshorn, our rags barely sufficient for decency, barefooted or
nearly so, bareheaded, and most miserably dirty. No wonder a well-clad
Union soldier resented our familiarity!

We were disarmed, placed under charge of the guard, and marched to the
headquarters of the Brigade, then commanded by Colonel Lampson, of an
Indiana regiment.

After some delay we were ushered into the presence of the Colonel. He
listened attentively to us, reducing each of our statements to writing.
After he had finished, he sat a few moments in meditation.

"You have got this thing pretty well fixed up," he finally said.
"Hatcher and Spencer each belong to regiments now mustered out of
service; and you," turning to me, "belong to the Army of the Potomac. We
have been deceived too often by you fellows."

"Who, in God's name, do you take us to be?" I asked.

"Starved-out bushwhackers or spies, or perhaps both," he answered
curtly. "Orderly, call the officer of the guard."

"Colonel, the First Wisconsin Cavalry is camped here, is it not?" I
asked.

"Yes. Do you know any of the members of that regiment?"

"I hardly know. Where is Colonel La Grange?"

"La Grange is in Wisconsin. Did you know him?"

"I did. We were in prison together. Where is Captain Clinton?"

"Captain Clinton is here. Orderly, go and say to Captain Clinton that I
desire him to report to me in person, immediately."

Clinton had been engaged with me in our tunneling enterprise at Macon,
and was one of my most intimate friends. He had been exchanged but a
short time before we left Charleston.

In a few moments I heard him speak to the Orderly in an excited voice:
"Get out of the way and let me in! I'll bet it's Captain Kellogg!"

Almost at the same moment he opened the door. I stood facing him as he
entered.

"I told you it was him! It's Kellogg! It's Kellogg!"

By this time we were in each other's arms, both of us sobbing like
children. Then leaving me, he first caught Spencer and then Hatcher.

"There--there!" broke in Colonel Lampson; "you appear to know these
men."

"_Know them?_ I should rather think I did. _Know them?_ Didn't Kellogg
and I dig tunnels together? Didn't we starve together in Rebel prisons?
I should rather think I do _know them_!"

"Well, then, take them and take care of them," said the old Colonel,
swallowing hard and trying to keep his eyes from overflowing. "I beg
your pardon, gentlemen," he said, turning to us; "but we have been
imposed upon so often, and"--here his voice became thick and husky.
Turning savagely to Clinton, he exclaimed: "Take them, I tell you, and,
d---- you! feed them well, and see that they have some decent clothes.
God bless my soul! I--I like to have sent them to the guard house!"

Under the guidance of Captain Clinton, we left the quarters of the
Colonel, men once more.


     "Out of the jaws of death,
     Out of the gates of Hell."


Our first care was for our true friends, the Home Guards. We represented
to General McCook, commanding the division, the facts of their case, and
before leaving Calhoun had the satisfaction of seeing them on their road
back to Jasper, with a government wagon loaded with commissary and
quartermaster's stores--clothing, arms, and ammunition--escorted by a
squad of cavalry. What became of them afterwards, we were never able
definitely to ascertain. Spencer informed me some time since, that the
Confederates, shortly afterward, came upon them in force and that the
most of them were killed. But I most sincerely hope that his information
may not have been reliable, and that they are living in peace in the
homes they so gallantly defended.

The Home Guards taken care of, the telegraph was brought into
requisition, and messages to our homes and friends were soon flashing
along the wires.

Then the First Wisconsin Cavalry took possession of us. We were invited
into the quarters of Major Henry Harnden. We went in dirty, ragged, and
barefooted; we came out, a half hour later, once more clad in the noble
livery of the United States army. We were supplied with every necessary
in their power to grant us, money not excepted. One day only, we
remained with our hospitable entertainers, and then took the first train
for Chattanooga.


_The Mystery Solved_

Only one thing marred our perfect happiness--the mysterious
disappearance of Vliet and Gough. Had they been with us, our cup of
happiness would have been indeed full. What their fate had been, we
could only conjecture. It seemed certain that they had not reached our
lines; if they had, the newspapers would surely have published the
tidings. In imagination we could see them toiling along on their weary
way, without compass or map; or perhaps recaptured, and again the
inmates of a prison pen, all their toils and struggles for freedom in
vain.

We arrived in Chattanooga about dark, and were compelled to lay over
until morning, before taking the cars for Nashville. There were two
hotels in the place, both of which were crowded with guests. We found a
place on the bar-room floor of one, on which to spread our blankets, and
were soon soundly sleeping.

Early in the morning a soldier came into our hotel, and commenced to
tell of two escaped prisoners who had arrived the evening before, and
who were stopping at the other hotel.

We listened to him with bated breath; then we started thither on a run.
I am sure that the bystanders must have thought us either intoxicated
or crazy. Upon reaching the hotel we forced our way through the crowd
that filled the office and bar room, until we reached the counter.

"Where are they?" I pantingly asked.

"Where are who?" asked the landlord.

"The escaped prisoners--the two men that came last night."

"There's a good many came last night. How do you suppose I know which
two men you mean?"

"The men we want are escaped prisoners of war--came in last night with a
picket guard."

"Oh, yes. Now I know who you mean. Here, Jake, show these gentlemen up
to No. 19."

We followed the waiter up to the room. The door opened in answer to our
rap, and--Glory Hallelujah! there were Gough and Vliet! To describe the
scene is simply impossible. I never was so happy before, and I never
expect to be again.

When we had become calm enough to talk, the mystery of our separation
was solved. At the time we halted in the brush to investigate the noise
made by the hog, Vliet, as the reader will recollect, was followed by
Hatcher. It so happened that Hatcher stopped near a white stump. When
Hatcher started on, Vliet mistook the white stump for him, and thus did
not notice our forward movement or follow us.

After a considerable time, while he waited in silence, he discovered his
mistake. The two then started after us, as nearly as they could guess at
the direction we had taken, and unfortunately missed us. When we went
back to look for them, we must have passed each other in the brush. They
had taken a more northerly direction than we followed, and reached our
lines at Chattanooga one day after our arrival at Calhoun.

All the members of our party were together once more. Our desperate
attempt had been successful. We had traversed over three hundred miles
in the heart of the South; pierced the Confederate egg, from shell to
shell. Our trials were over, and we were on our way home.


_Again in the Field_

Receiving orders to that effect, I proceeded at once to my home in
Wisconsin, made a short visit there, and went thence to Madison. There
I obtained an order from the War Department assigning enough drafted men
to fill our regiment to the maximum, and with them proceeded to the
field, then lying on the Jerusalem Plank Road, near City Point. Here I
found many changes. The regiment was commanded by Major Kerr, who was a
Lieutenant when I left. Nearly every officer on duty when I left the
regiment the previous May, was either promoted, killed, or mustered out.
It seemed lonesome.

I presided that night at dress parade. When it was dismissed, there were
many anxious inquiries by the men, who wanted to know who "that
white-headed old fellow" was, that was commanding "our regiment?" Six
months of Southern prison life had turned my head white, and reduced my
weight from a hundred-and-seventy-five to a hundred-and-fifteen pounds.

In the following February (1865), General Bragg having been ordered to
Washington with a portion of his command, the balance of the Iron
Brigade was reorganized by adding to the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin an
independent battalion of the Second Wisconsin, and the Ninety-first New
York Heavy Artillery, under command of Colonel Tarbell; the brigade thus
numbering about thirty-five hundred men. I was assigned to its command,
and had the satisfaction of participating in the last campaign,
witnessing the final ending of the War of the Rebellion, at Appomattox,
on the ninth of April, 1865. Among the troops laying down arms at this
surrender, was the Thirteenth Georgia, the same regiment that had
captured me on the fifth day of May, 1864.


_A Belated Report_

During my absence from the army, General Cutler had again been wounded,
and placed in command of a recruiting camp in Michigan. I did not have
the pleasure of meeting him again until the war was over. Happening, one
day, to be in the office of General Lucius Fairchild, then Secretary of
State, I found that the latter was temporarily absent in the Governor's
office. When he returned and saw me, he seemed somewhat excited, and
told me that there was a man in the executive office, inquiring for me.

The reader will recollect that the last order I received from General
Cutler was, "Take plenty of orderlies and report frequently."

On entering the Governor's office, I saw General Cutler, who advanced
toward me with his hand extended and eyes suspiciously moist. He tried
to speak. His usually stern face became more stern, his chin quivered,
he grasped my hand more firmly. At length he blurted out: "_You've been
a terrible long time reporting!_"

In which opinion I have no doubt the reader will share, applying it to
the long story now happily ended.





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