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Title: Observations of an Illinois Boy in Battle, Camp and Prisons—1861 to 1865
Author: Eby, Henry H.
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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[Illustration: 1861.

                  A. LINCOLN.

_Columbia_: “Unless you, my son, save me, I will be ruined. Go and do
your duty, and if you save me I will be your generous friend and
protector as long as you live.”]

                     Observations of an Illinois
                       Boy in Battle, Camp and
                        Prisons—1861 to 1865

                           By Henry H. Eby
                            MENDOTA, ILL.


                    Published by the Author, 1910

                           Copyright, 1910
                           By HENRY H. EBY




The story contained in this book is a true one. It was taken from
letters, memoranda and memory. The author has in his possession
twenty-nine letters written by him while in the army, from 1861 to
1865, and sent to his relatives, who returned them to him at the
close of the war.

The memoranda were written soon after his return from the army. The
accounts taken from memory are reasonably correct, as the scenes
through which he passed, though here poorly portrayed, are of a
character not easily forgotten. They are indelibly stamped upon
the memory, and it seems, as time rolls on, that it renders the
recollection of them even more vivid and distinct. After revising
this story a number of times it is presented to the reader in its
present form.



                             CHAPTER I.
  Beginning of the Great Rebellion, April 12, 1861,                 15

                             CHAPTER II.
  Beginning of Three-year Service—Camp Butler and Bird’s
  Point—Night Trip to Belmont—A Reconnaissance into Western
  Kentucky,                                                         23

                             CHAPTER III.
  New Madrid, Point Pleasant, and Island No. 10,                    39

                             CHAPTER IV.
  Up the Rivers to Hamburg Landing, and Thence by Land to Corinth
  and Cortland, Ala.,                                               47

                              CHAPTER V.
  From Northern Alabama to Nashville, Tenn., and Its Occupation
  by Us—Fight at Lavergne and Many Skirmishes,                      55

                             CHAPTER VI.
  The Advance on Murfreesboro—Battle of Stone River—Occupation
  of Murfreesboro by the Federals—Cripple Creek and Tullahoma
  Campaign—Advance on Chattanooga and Chickamauga—Stuck in the
  Mud—Orders to Prevent Foraging,                                   65

                             CHAPTER VII.
  Battle of Chickamauga—Two Days of Fearful Fighting—The Federals
  Holding Chattanooga,                                              93

                            CHAPTER VIII.
  My Capture by the Confederates—Good-bye to My Faithful
  Horse—Introduction to Confederate Diet—Packed in Box Cars
  During a Journey of About Nine Hundred Miles—Fearful
  Suffering,                                                       119

                             CHAPTER IX.
  Entrance into Belle Island Prison Pen—Discouraging
  Outlook—Libby Prison, and the Smith Prison,                      137

                              CHAPTER X.
  Our Return to Danville—Many Sick with Smallpox—Smallpox
  Hospital, and Convalescent Camp,                                 155

                             CHAPTER XI.
  Escape from Prison—Much Suffering—A Number of Narrow Escapes
  from Recapture and Finally Taken In,                             163

                             CHAPTER XII.
  Our Recapture and Return to Prison—Four Days in County Jail
  Behind the Bars—Journey to Richmond, and Pemberton Building,     189

                            CHAPTER XIII.
  My Second Entrance into Belle Island Prison Pen—Intense
  Suffering from Cold and Hunger—Many Die,                         199

                             CHAPTER XIV.
  Under the Protection of “Old Glory” Once More—Caught in a
  Terrific Gale and Nearly Shipwrecked—Land at Annapolis,
  Md.—Stripped, Scoured, and Dressed in New Uniforms,              221

                             CHAPTER XV.
  My Return to My Company and Regiment, May 25, 1864,              233

                             CHAPTER XVI.
  Reminiscences of George W. Westgate,                             245

                            CHAPTER XVII.
  Letter from Calvin W. Hudson—His Escape, Recapture, and Escape
  the Second Time,                                                 249

                            CHAPTER XVIII.
  The Consequences of War,                                         255

                             CHAPTER XIX.
  A Chapter to the Boys and Girls,                                 263

                             CHAPTER XX.
  Birth of “Old Glory,”                                            271

                             CHAPTER XXI.
  The Consequences of Secession,                                   273

                            CHAPTER XXII.
  A Talk with the Comrades,                                        281

[Illustration: Then.]

[Illustration: Now.]

                              CHAPTER I.

  Beginning of the Great Rebellion in the United States of America,
                           April 12, 1861.

The “Star of the West,” a United States boat, was fired upon by the
rebel batteries in Charleston harbor on Jan. 9, 1861, which some
people claim as the beginning of the War of the Rebellion; but the
firing on Fort Sumter was the time when the war was really

Fort Sumter, a United States fort located at the entrance to
Charleston harbor, was fired upon by the Confederates, April 12,
1861, and Major Anderson, who was in command of the fort, was obliged
to surrender to them.

This caused great excitement throughout the United States. Soon after
a call was issued by President Lincoln for 75,000 three months’
troops, which was responded to in a very short time. Patriotism ran
high, and it seemed to most of us that the government should be
defended at all hazards. The fife and drum were soon heard on the
streets of Mendota, Ill., and throughout the loyal States. Quite a
number of young men, including myself, from Mendota and vicinity, at
once signed our names to the roll of enlistment. I was now 19 years
of age, and considered it my duty to help defend the flag.

By the latter part of April a company of about 100 was organized in
Mendota, with Capt. Rust as commander. We were drilled here for a few
days before leaving for Springfield. We were all rather green in
regard to military affairs and it was laughable to see the
performance. There was about as much awkwardness shown as there would
be in breaking a pair of young oxen. In a few days we started for
Springfield, Ill. On the day of our departure, which was April 19,
1861, the excitement in Mendota was beyond description. It was
probably as intense as when McClellan’s army left Washington for the
capture of Richmond. People came flocking into town from all the
surrounding country and villages, with flags flying, to see the
soldiers start off for the war. The streets were crowded with people
who came to bid us the last good-bye. Flags were unfurled and
speeches made in honor of our departure.

About 11 o’clock all who had enlisted were formed in two ranks in
front of the Illinois Central freight house, facing toward it, when a
Miss Davis, who stood upon a raised platform at the northwest corner
of the building, delivered an appropriate address, presenting us with
an elegant flag in behalf of the citizens of Mendota. This was
responded to in a happy manner in behalf of the company by L. B.
Crooker, a chubby farmer boy about 20 years of age, who had drifted
to Mendota for the purpose of studying law, and who had also

He afterwards served his country with honor during the greater part
of the war, receiving several severe wounds while serving as a
commissioned officer. At the expiration of his term of service he
returned home and studied law, which profession he followed for a
number of years, serving also in various offices.

[Illustration: Presentation of the Flag at the Freight House.]

About 12 o’clock we marched to the depot, and an immense crowd of
people gathered around us, bade us good-bye, and we boarded the train
and were soon on our way to Springfield, where we arrived the
following morning and met a number of companies from different parts
of the State. A few days after our arrival we were organized into a
regiment, which required ten companies. The Mendota company was made
Co. B, and the regiment the 12th Illinois Infantry, with Col.
McArthur in command, who was subsequently commissioned Major General.

The Mendota company contained more than the required number of men.
Among the surplus bone and sinew who found no place in the home
company were L. B. Crooker, James W. Larabee, William Eckert, George
C. Loomis, S. P. Whitmore and myself, who all determined to stick
together and stay in service. We immediately began looking about for
an opening large enough to hold these six husky farmer boys, and it
was at last accomplished by entering Co. H of the same regiment. This
was from Tiskilwa, and was commanded by Capt. Swain, who subsequently
lost his life at Shiloh. We remained together in the same mess until
discharged at the end of three months.

It was now imagined that we were going south to crush the Rebellion
at once, but, alas, we failed to realize what was before us. Little
did we think that it would require four long years to end the great
Rebellion. We remained here several weeks, passing the time in
drilling and running about town. On May 25 we were transferred to
Caseyville, Ill., about ten miles east of St. Louis, where we
remained a month or more. While here we received a good many
instructions in military tactics, and soon considered ourselves equal
to Napoleon or any other great general.

[Illustration: The Kicking Musket.]

The guns we received were of the old kicking variety, and could kick
equal to a mule. I can well remember having a very lame shoulder from
the effects of discharging one of these firearms. It reminded me of a
story I heard when I was a boy, about an Irish soldier in an Illinois
regiment during the Mexican War. One day during a small engagement
the soldier fired at the enemy with one of those kicking guns, which
knocked him over backward flat on the ground. His captain, thinking
that he was shot, said, “Mike, are you wounded?” He replied,
“Captain, it seems as though I had the wrong end against my

The latter part of June the 12th was transferred to Cairo, Ill. We
marched across the country from Caseyville to East St. Louis, then
got on board a steamer and went down the Mississippi, arriving at our
destination on the following day. The only excitement occurring on
the way down the river was caused by a man on the Missouri shore
waving a rebel flag at us while passing. We went into camp at Cairo
on the river bottom behind the levee, our camp being about ten or
fifteen feet below high water mark in the river. The levee was
constructed for the purpose of keeping high water in the river from
overflowing the city. This camp proved to be worse than any
experienced during all our subsequent three years’ service. While
here we received a visit from Gen. McClellan, who addressed us.

We remained here during the balance of the three months’ term, and
nearly all of us were sick, caused by the malaria of the river
bottoms and other causes. After the expiration of the three months’
term of service I enlisted for three years, in Co. C, 7th Illinois
Cavalry. L. B. Crooker, James W. Larabee, and S. P. Whitmore enlisted
in Co. I, 55th Illinois Infantry, William Eckert remained at home,
and George C. Loomis remained in Co. H of the 12th, became a
sergeant, and was twice wounded, losing his right arm at Altona. L.
B. Crooker received promotion as a solace for four wounds, and
Larabee was twice wounded, receiving the grade of sergeant, and
brought home a glorious decoration in the form of a Congressional
medal for gallantry, a proper reward for his splendid soldiership.

                             CHAPTER II.

   Beginning of Three Years’ Service.—Camp Butler and Bird’s Point.

The three months’ service ended in August, 1861, and I enlisted for
three years in Sept., 1861. Was discharged Oct. 15, 1864, serving in
all three years and about four months. The 7th was organized at Camp
Butler, near Springfield, Ill., in the fall of 1861, where it was
partly drilled. Prescott Bartlett, of Sublette, Ill., was chosen
captain of Co. C, John H. Shaw of Lee Center, Ill., first lieutenant,
and B. F. Berkley, of Sublette, Ill., second lieutenant. S. H.
Richardson was orderly sergeant, and James Henderson commissary
sergeant. The names of other sergeants were R. D. McCord and David S.
Porter, and the corporals I have forgotten. In November the regiment
was transferred to Bird’s Point, Mo., where it went into winter
quarters and remained until about March 1, 1862.

[Illustration: “Home sweet home.”—A Scene in Winter Quarters.]

The picture represents a camp in the idle days between the great
campaigns. The army has settled down to weeks of forced inaction, and
the men make themselves as comfortable as the means at hand will
allow. They have shown wonderful thrift and industry in housing
themselves. The tent in the foreground shows this. Its builders have
made a pen of logs neatly chinked with chunks and clay to keep out
the wind. They have built a fireplace of clay and used an old plow on
top of the chimney to assist the draft. The roof is made of pieces of
shelter tents and ponchos and at the entrance has been laid a
pavement of pork-barrel staves to keep mud from being carried into
the sleeping apartment. The other tents in the distance show similar
devices. The whole is as accurate a picture of a winter camp as the
camera could make.

The veteran in the foreground is a man whose love of music is so
strong as to be irrepressible. He has constructed a fiddle out of a
cigar box and such other material as he could lay his hands on. It
shows as much ingenuity as his tent. Probably the tail of the
Colonel’s horse has suffered to furnish hair for the bow. The music
made is far from that which could be drawn from a high-priced
instrument, but he and his boy listener enjoy it a hundredfold more
than the most cultivated listener ever did high-priced strains. And
he plays the tune that always went most directly to the soldier’s
heart, “Home, Sweet Home.”

While at Bird’s Point the 7th performed the ordinary camp and picket
duties, occasionally going out on a scouting expedition, making a
visit to the vicinity of the enemy. Every morning about daybreak four
men from the cavalry were sent out on the road leading from the camp
outside of the picket line for the purpose of preventing a surprise
by the enemy. One morning, some time after they had gone out as
usual, the four horses returned to camp riderless and with
blood-stained saddles. A force of the boys was immediately sent out
to investigate. After they had passed some distance beyond the picket
lines, the bodies of the four men were found lying in the road dead,
and almost riddled with buckshot, supposed to have been fired from
shotguns. It was evidently the work of bushwhackers, as there was a
large log lying within a few feet of the road and parallel with it,
and behind this in the soft ground were seen tracks made by a number
of men, and the conclusion was reached that these bushwhackers had
concealed themselves behind the log and awaited the approach of the
four men until they were very near. They then fired upon them,
probably killing them instantly.

Gen. Oglesby was in command of the camps on Bird’s Point, during the
winter of 1861–1862. I remember him well, as I was an orderly at his
headquarters a number of times while on the Point. Gen. Oglesby
appeared to me as being an officer who fairly well understood his
business, and attended to it. In some respects he appeared like Gen.
Grant, modest, kind, and thoroughly loyal to his country. Gen.
Oglesby was not of the aristocratic class, but appeared neatly
dressed, and was an officer who used good common sense in commanding
his troops.

Soon after our arrival here we began the construction of barracks for
winter quarters, which were built of logs in log house fashion. Co.
C’s building was a long, one-story structure, with bunks for beds,
which contained straw and made very comfortable sleeping places.

About Christmas time nearly all were supplied with good things from
home. I can never forget the luxuries we received. They were just
delicious. I received a box containing a roast turkey, a number of
pies, cakes, and other things too numerous to mention. We had just
moved into our new barracks, and stored away our delicacies for safe
keeping until wanted. Late one afternoon, when nearly all of us had
gone to water our horses, one who remained in camp lit a candle and
placed it under the bunk to aid him in searching for something he had
lost. The lighted candle immediately set fire to the straw in the
bunk and in a few minutes the whole building was in a blaze. When we
returned our good things had nearly all been destroyed by the fire.
Scarcely anything was saved, and thus our anticipations of grand
feasts and dinners were dashed away. We were obliged to be content
with hardtack, bean soup, and bacon.

The event of the day was falling in for soup, prepared by the cook on
detail for the day, in his open-air studio. It was an article that
would not pass muster at a fashionable restaurant, but it was hot,
there was usually plenty of it, the beans were abundant and as good
as Michigan or New England soil could produce, the pork was the
finest product of the Illinois pork raisers, and if the cook had been
mindful of his duty, had cooked the soup long enough, and stirred it
diligently to prevent its burning, it was very appetizing, went right
to the spot, and built fine locomotive apparatus for the future
marching and battling. If on the other hand he had been careless and
lazy, there was likely to be a summary court-martial, and he was
lucky if he escaped with nothing worse than being tossed in a
blanket. When one looks on the steaming pot, the words of the old
refrain rise at once to mind.

    “Beans for breakfast,
     Beans for dinner,
     Beans for supper,
     Beans, beans, beans.”

[Illustration: “Fall in for soup.”—A Scene in a Winter Camp.]

Our blankets and shelter being also gone, we were poorly prepared for
winter. But ere long we were furnished with tents and new blankets,
and were comfortable again.

George Westgate, George McKeen, William Orris and myself occupied a
tent together. It was a small one, and after lying down to sleep we
occupied all the floor space except about two feet of its length at
our feet. This was occupied by a small sheet iron stove, cooking
utensils, and a water pail. One evening after retiring Westgate began
tickling my face with a straw. He thought it a good time to have a
little fun at my expense, as I had been out on picket duty the night
previous and was very tired and sleepy. Having fallen asleep Westgate
began teasing, which of course awakened me. I insisted that he should
stop bothering me which he did until after I fell asleep again, and
then resumed his work of tormenting me. Finally I told him that I
would put him out of the tent if he did not stop, and becoming
impatient I jumped up and the scuffle commenced. After a few tumbles
about the tent, Westgate struck one foot among the cooking utensils
and finally stepped into the water bucket, which was full of water,
causing it to splash about the tent and into the faces of Orris and
McKeen, which roused their tempers and they yelled, “Eby, put him
out!” At this juncture of the performance Westgate was willing to
capitulate. He was in trouble, his foot being forced into the bucket
in such a position that it was a difficult matter to extricate it. I
had failed to put him out of the tent, but his unfortunate position
put an end to the scuffle. Our attention was now turned to helping
him out of his difficulty. The feet being of the largest kind used
for plowing corn in Illinois, and the utensil being only the regular
size, pretty near a surgical operation was necessary. The following
morning, the boys on hearing of our affair of the previous night,
declared that they did not believe impossibilities, as Westgate could
never have crammed a foot the size of his into a common water bucket.

A few days later quite a number of troops composed of cavalry were
sent out on a scouting expedition, down the Mississippi on the
Missouri side to a small town named Belmont (the scene of Gen.
Grant’s first battle), where a Confederate battery was supposed to be
located. This was about twenty miles from our camp, and we made the
journey mostly during the night. We found nothing of importance on
our trip except when we struck the river, near Belmont, where we
discovered a Confederate gunboat in very close proximity, but the
land battery was a hoax. It being in the nighttime, we were unable to
see the boat distinctly, but could see enough of it to satisfy us
that it was a dangerous concern. We kept quiet, and left that
neighborhood as soon as possible, going in the direction of camp. On
the way we came in contact with an enemy in the form of a small flock
of geese not far from a farmhouse. One of the men who was in advance
of us a short distance caught sight of them first. They hissed at
him, and he called out: “Boys, I have found a squad of rebels, and
they hissed at me. They should be made prisoners and taken along to
camp.” We immediately went to our comrade’s assistance and the
capture was soon made. Of course, according to the rules of war, we
were obliged to put them under guard and take them to camp. The
reader may guess what became of the geese. This being the day before
Christmas, these captures were appropriate, and after the manner of
Yankee soldiers were duly assimilated.

On the way to camp, the night being intensely dark, the proper trail
was missed and we became entangled in dense thickets. Hats were lost,
clothes were torn, faces were scratched and disfigured. The reader
can imagine the amount of patience required of us to keep a smiling
face on this occasion. As we rode through the thickets we endeavored
to keep in line or march in military order, that is by twos, and
follow the file leaders. The man who did not receive a severe whack
in his face, by a branch of a tree bent forward by his file leader
until it received a very high tension, then came back with tremendous
force against him, perhaps almost dismounting him, was considered out
of place. Some of the language fired off into the night air would not
be considered appropriate at a Sunday-school picnic. The man who
emerged from this affair with a smiling countenance was looked upon
as being a saint. We arrived in camp at Bird’s Point about noon the
following day, looking like a lot of Indian warriors with their war
paint on their faces, being scratched and battered by riding through
the thickets.

In January, 1862, an army was organized here for the purpose of
making a reconnaissance into western Kentucky. It was in command of
Gen. U. S. Grant, and Co. C, 7th Illinois Cavalry, was detailed as
his escort on this expedition. The troops consisted of quite a large
force of infantry and artillery from Bird’s Point and other places.
We were out six or eight days, but did not encounter the enemy in
large force. The weather a part of the time was very unfavorable, and
we rode for two days while the rain was pouring down. I was on
outpost picket during the night following the first rainy day. The
rain continued nearly all night, and the sergeant in command of the
relief failed to find my post on account of the dense darkness.
Therefore I was not relieved until morning, having stood in the rain
with my horse all night, keeping a good lookout for the enemy. When
arriving in camp, after daylight, the rain was still falling in
torrents. I was thoroughly wet, sleepy and tired, and the boys
accused me of being cross, which I dared not deny. Having just lain
down to take a little nap when the bugle sounded for boots and
saddles, I jumped up, feeling as the boys had accused me. All this
time the rain continued. The order soon came to move forward. We
mounted and started on the way back toward Bird’s Point, riding
nearly all day in a pouring rain.

Late in the afternoon the wind commenced blowing cold from the
northwest, and it began to freeze and snow a little. Just before dark
we were given orders to halt and go into camp in the woods, by the
roadside, which was obeyed. We cared for our horses as best we could
and proceeded to build fires. Co. C started a fire under a large log,
which soon blazed up sufficiently for us to warm ourselves. We had
some hardtack and bacon, which we proceeded to devour. After supper I
fixed up a sort of a bed near the log, by placing considerable
rubbish on the ground, in order to keep out of the mud, and covering
this with brush and leaves. I then pulled off my fine cavalry boots
and set them up near the fire, in order that they might dry out, and
then retired. When I arose in the morning and took hold of my boots I
found them brittle in some parts, having been scorched by the fire
during the night. When putting them on they broke, so that they were

After breakfast we again moved on toward Bird’s Point. During the
day, when riding along the road, two of our soldiers belonging to an
infantry regiment were discovered a few rods away who had just killed
and dressed a hog, and had it hung up to a tree. (As I previously
stated our Co. C was escort for Gen. Grant on this expedition.) Of
course the General also discovered the men and dressed hog, and
immediately gave the command to halt, which was promptly obeyed. The
General rode out of ranks and called to the men who had the hog. They
walked up near him and he proceeded to lecture them, as I well
remember, being within twenty-five or thirty feet and overhearing the
whole conversation. The first question the General asked was, “Where
did you procure that hog?” The answer was, “Foraged it.” The General
then spoke as follows: “Men, do you not know that kind of work is
strictly against orders?” He talked to them as a father would to his
sons. He then said, “Sergeant, take charge of these men under guard,
and report them to headquarters.” The order was then given, “Forward,”
and we rode toward Bird’s Point. I could not help thinking about that
delicious looking fresh pork, but it was a consolation to know that
the boys who came after us would not let it go to waste. I never
learned what became of the two soldiers nor the hog. I was too
bashful to tell the General about my craving appetite for some of it.

This was our first experience under the immediate command of the
great General Grant, and belonging to the escort I was in close
contact with him a number of days, and had an opportunity of studying
his character. Of course he was then comparatively obscure, but had
reputation enough in this part of the army to arouse curiosity. The
impressions of an immature youth, if not valuable, may be
characteristic of the time and place.

Gen. Grant had not the imposing stature that we in our then romantic
notions regarded as heroic. He was quiet, kindly and considerate
under all circumstances. He indulged in no parade and wore no fine
feathers, as the picture books had caused us to expect. His alertness
to see, and his fairness to correct all breaches of discipline, were
displayed in the incident above alluded to, while his gentle but firm
way of applying the remedy was impressive.

These characteristics are now a matter of history, but were then only
known to those in his immediate presence. While Gen. Grant, in this
our first experience in his presence, at first disappointed us in
lack of fuss and feathers, he impressed us with confidence that he
knew his business and attended to it, and we began to think that the
high stepping generals so implanted in our youthful minds were not so
much needed as practical ones of another mold.

I think we arrived in camp at Bird’s Point the following day,
remaining there during about all the month of February, doing the
ordinary camp, picket and scouting duties.

                             CHAPTER III.

            New Madrid, Point Pleasant and Island No. 10.

About March 1 the movement began down the Mississippi on the Missouri
side of the river to New Madrid, and later to Point Pleasant, where
the 7th went into camp, remaining there about three or four weeks,
doing ordinary camp and picket duties. The camp was located in the
woods, which contained some very large trees. One night a terrible
tornado passed through our camp, uprooting trees and blowing down
nearly all the tents. The trees crashed down among the men and
horses, killing two men and a number of horses belonging to our
regiment. Each company had one row of tents, and when the storm came
on nearly all were asleep. A large tree nearly four feet in diameter
came down with a crash, parallel and within a few feet of our row of
tents, but leaving Co. C uninjured. We congratulated ourselves on our
narrow escape. When our tent went down we jumped up and tried to get
out from under it as quickly as possible. I scrambled out through a
stovepipe hole in the upper part of the tent. I had some difficulty
in passing through this small opening and the boys were obliged to
come to my assistance. They extricated me, and then began laughing at
me, about jumping through the chimney.

The camp was located a short distance back from the river out of
reach of the Confederate batteries on the opposite side. They
occupied several small forts on the east side of the river, and
whenever we attempted to get water from it, or water our horses, they
would open fire on us with their siege guns. On one of these
occasions I saw an oak tree about fifteen inches in diameter which
was cut nearly off by a shot from the large gun. Thereupon we
abandoned the river, and procured water from a frog pond near the
camp. We did not hesitate to use water from the pond because it was
nicely covered over with a green scum.

Gen. Pope was in command of the land forces in this vicinity, and by
this time had concentrated quite an army. One night during the stay
at this place, one of the United States ironclads named Carondelet
ran the gauntlet past Island No. 10 and came down the river to Point
Pleasant without sustaining injury by the Confederate fire. The
following day it captured the small forts located on the east bank of
the river. I witnessed the whole affair, which did not continue a
very long time. A few days after this the Confederate forces on
Island No. 10 and vicinity surrendered to Gen. Pope.

General Pope, as I saw him, appeared to me like another one of those
sound minded, honest, patriotic and well informed soldiers. He loved
his country and his flag, and as he appeared to me and what I learned
about him caused me to believe that he understood his business and
attended to it. Gen. Pope, according to what I learned about him,
possessed the right conception of the American volunteer soldier. He
once said, “It is true and must in the nature of things always be
true, that in a free country and among a free people the real heroes
of every war are found in the ranks: men who have taken up arms with
the sole purpose to serve their country, and with intelligent
knowledge of the object for which they dare the perils of battle and

I had nearly forgotten to tell how well we were entertained a portion
of the time while camping in the vicinity of Island No. 10.

[Illustration: Bombardment of Island No. 10.]

[Illustration: Old Abe.]

There were in the river six large United States mortars and a number
of ironclad gunboats. The mortars were of very large caliber, capable
of throwing a shell as large as an ordinary water bucket, in diameter
I think twelve inches or more. The mortars were mounted on small
flatboats, one on each boat. During a period of about three weeks,
every half hour during night time as well as day, one of those large
shells from a mortar was sent over to Island No. 10, and exploded
with terrific force. Whenever one of those mortars was discharged it
would fairly shake the earth about us. During a few nights in the
beginning of the siege the noise made by those guns disturbed my
sleep, but I soon became accustomed to it. The gunboats also annoyed
the Confederates on the island, by throwing solid shot at them. While
we were in the vicinity of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, we
occasionally met the 8th Wisconsin Regiment, which carried by the
side of its regimental flag the famous war eagle (Old Abe), whose
photograph appears above. I well remember seeing this proud-appearing
bird a number of times, while it was being carried, sitting upon its
perch, beside Old Glory. It appeared to me about as large as a
fair-sized turkey, and it served through a three years’ campaign,
returning to its native State in safety, after passing through many
battles. When Gen. Pope’s command had finished its work in the
vicinity of Island No. 10 it went by steamers to Hamburg Landing,
Tenn., near the battlefield of Shiloh.

[Illustration: Map of Island No. 10, and Vicinity.]

                             CHAPTER IV.

  Up the River to Hamburg Landing and Thence by Land to Corinth and
             Jacinto, Miss., Tuscumbia and Cortland, Ala.

Gen. Pope’s army, of which we (the 7th) were a part, on April 18
embarked on steamers and moved down the river toward Memphis, Tenn.,
but after going in that direction some distance our fleet of steamers
faced about and steamed up the Mississippi River to Cairo. From
thence up the Ohio to the mouth of the Tennessee and up the Tennessee
to Hamburg Landing, Tenn., where we landed April 22. We were sent
there for the purpose of assisting the armies of Buell and Grant
(then under Gen. Halleck) who had fought the battle of Shiloh and
were now preparing to follow the Confederate army, which was
concentrating at Corinth, Miss.

While here considerable skirmishing was done. One day during the
latter part of April, 1862, Co. C was ordered out, with Capt.
Bartlett in command, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of
Corinth. We moved out through a timbered country interspersed with
considerable underbrush. When out a number of miles from the river,
in looking across a small field to the opposite side, some horsemen
were discovered through the open spaces in the brush, which on close
investigation proved to be a line of Confederate cavalry. They had
seemingly discovered us and were in line of battle and ready. Some of
the boys did not wait for orders, but left the ranks and started
toward the enemy, when the captain called out, “Keep in line,” “Get
back in line,” but before they would get back some others would start
out. The object of the Captain was to get all in line and then make a
charge. While we were fooling in this manner the Confederates gave us
a volley, mortally wounding one of our number named Dick Springer, of
Sublette, Ill., who died a few days later. Just then the Confederates
started to retreat and we charged on them as fast as horses could
carry us. The excitement was intense, for it was a race between us
and the enemy with the advantage on our side. We occasionally gave
them a shot when opportunity afforded. In the pursuit several of the
enemy were killed, a number wounded and a few taken prisoners. Some
of their horses and saddles were also captured, and those of the
enemy who remained ahead of us were chased into a swamp and there the
pursuit was given up, it not being prudent to venture any farther.
When the swamp was reached I looked about and counted and to my
surprise there were only seven of Co. C together at the end of the
chase. The remainder were strung out behind for a distance of nearly
a half mile. A laughable and yet dangerous incident happened to one
of our men in this chase. A large oak tree had fallen to the ground,
and one of its branches projected out over the road unobserved by the
rider who was going at full speed and came in contact with it. The
horse ran under the branch, which caught the saddle, pulling it from
the horse which passed on; the saddle stopped and the rider tumbled
over the limb upon the ground. At the time of this reconnaissance a
young attorney from Mendota, named William E. Beck, was visiting the
company. He insisted on going out with us and the Captain furnished
him a horse and some firearms. Although he was not an enlisted man he
did as good service as any of us. This man became a leading lawyer
and died a member of the Supreme Court of Colorado. We came out of
this skirmish with the loss of one man, while the enemy’s loss was
five or six killed and wounded and quite a number of prisoners.

Soon after this a part of the regiment went out on another skirmish,
in which I did not participate on account of being on other duty.
This proved to be quite an affair, as there were some infantry troops
engaged and the enemy used artillery. Sergeant Porter (later captain)
of our company had his horse killed under him by a cannon shot, but
he was uninjured. The country between Hamburg Landing and Corinth was
mostly timbered, having a great deal of underbrush. I noticed some of
this brushy land had been farmed at some time in years past.

The whole army now slowly moved southwest toward Corinth, skirmishing
along the way. Our regiment occupied a part of the line of battle,
remaining in this position four days and nights, standing by our
horses’ heads except while trying to sleep, or feed and water our
horses. At night we endeavored to get some sleep and rest in the
following manner: Alternately one man would hold two horses by the
bridles while the other attempted to get some sleep by lying down in
front of his horse, but this generally failed on account of
occasional firing in close proximity, which would cause some of the
horses to jump and thereby disturb us. When we were relieved at the
end of the four days we were “played out,” as the illustration shows.

[Illustration: Played Out.]

When the army arrived in front of Corinth, and was preparing to
capture the place, we were surprised on the morning of May 29 to find
that it had been vacated during the night, the Confederates having
gone southward. Our regiment went to Booneville, where it remained
several weeks. Then it was sent to Jacinto, Miss., a small town where
we camped about a month, doing the ordinary military duties. While
there everything seemed to be quiet, with no enemies to disturb us
except millions of woodticks and swifts. This tick is a small
gray-colored insect. They stuck on our horses in such a manner that
we were obliged to scrape them off, or they would probably have
tormented them nearly to death. The swift is a small four-footed
animal formed like a lizard and the color of a frog. At night when we
retired they would hop about us by the hundred. They are a noisy
creature. One night after we had about all fallen asleep a swift
jumped into one of our boy’s open shirt bosom, and scrambled about
over his bare body, and he thinking it was a snake jumped up, yelling
like a demon, arousing nearly the whole camp.

On July 20, 1862, the 7th broke camp and moved eastward into northern
Alabama, to a place by the name of Tuscumbia, where we found one of
the largest springs of water that I ever saw. It poured forth from a
cavity in the rocks with such volume that as it flowed down over a
bed of gravel a stream was formed almost knee deep to the horses, and
twenty-five or thirty feet wide. The water was very clear, and so
cold that the horses sometimes refused to drink it. We camped there a
few days, and then part of the regiment moved on eastward to
Cortland, Ala., where we found a most beautiful camping place, on the
banks of a fine stream, along which were many springs of good water.
The country in the immediate vicinity was quite fertile, and foraging
was good, as not many of the enemy had passed through here previous
to this. Peaches and small fruits were quite plentiful. One day some
of the boys brought in a nice lot of fine peaches. The sight of these
put me in the notion of making some peach pies. The commissary had
previously issued some flour. My shortening for the pie-crust I
procured by frying some bacon. (The bacon-flavored shortening was
substituted for nutmegs and other flavorings.) I proceeded to mix the
material for the crust which was a new experience for me. After the
dough was made I looked about for a rolling pin, with which to
prepare the crusts. I found one of those long champagne bottles,
which answered the purpose very well. I placed the lower crust on one
of our tin plates, and on this the prepared peaches, with plenty of
sugar, and then put the covering on and placed it in a cast iron
bake-oven. We built a fire around it, and occasionally took the lid
off to inspect the process. The baking was soon completed, the pie
taken out, and pronounced well done. After eating it we called it
good, and I was congratulated on my success. Of course, you know, a
soldier in our position would call anything good that could be eaten.
But some of the boys declared that I had put the shortening in
lengthwise. I thought if I was spared to get home I would try and get
a position in a first-class hotel as baker.

Nothing of an exciting nature occurred during our stay at Cortland,
except that we received a report one morning that the Confederates in
small force were encamped in a village a few miles away. A squadron
of our cavalry, in command of Capt. Bartlett, was immediately sent
out in the direction of the village, to take the Johnnies in out of
the wet, as we supposed. We moved along cautiously until arriving in
the vicinity of the village, when we halted and formed to make a
charge into the town. When all was ready the Captain gave the command
“Forward, charge,” and away we flew into and through the town with
drawn sabres, and found nothing to run against. Not a solitary
“Johnny” was to be seen. It was like kicking against nothing. We were
somewhat disappointed, but as I thought the matter over I concluded
to be willing to be thus deluded.

                              CHAPTER V.

 From Northern Alabama to Nashville, Tenn., and Its Occupation by the

Early on the morning of Aug. 28, 1862, the bugle sounded for boots
and saddles. About fifty or sixty of Co. C, including myself, mounted
and prepared to move, thinking that we were going on a scouting
expedition some distance from camp. Therefore our blankets and small
trinkets were left, with the supposition that we would return in the
evening. We moved out, and after riding quite a distance, perhaps
eight or ten miles, we met Gen. Palmer and staff, with a division of
infantry and artillery. He was on his way north, to Nashville, Tenn.,
a distance of over one hundred and fifty miles. Co. C was employed as
escort for the General on the journey, and we never returned to
Cortland, losing our blankets and other things.

We were on the way a number of days, occasionally seeing a few of the
enemy in our front and having a skirmish with them. During the fore
part of the journey a scene was witnessed which I considered very
aggravating. A short distance north of Pulaski, Tenn., we passed a
cotton mill by the roadside. It was a two-story frame building, with
quite a number of windows on the side next the road, and from each of
these windows there peered many heads of women. As we were passing
they hissed at us, and called out, “Run you cowards.” “They will
catch you before you get to Nashville,” and many other insulting
phrases. Gen. Palmer halted in front of the factory, and after
listening to them a few minutes he said: “Ladies, do you know that
these soldiers carry matches in their pockets? This building would
burn nicely.” They took the hint and all was quiet.

One day when three of us were on advance guard we occasionally
started forward on the gallop, and left quite a distance between us
and the main force. When in the vicinity of Columbia, Tenn., my horse
had gained some distance on the other two, and the road winding
through the woods, I was unable to see whether the others were in
supporting distance. I continued riding until the business street of
Columbia was reached, when I halted and looked back, but could see
neither of the boys. I waited, momentarily expecting their arrival.
At a little distance I saw a small group of men in citizens’ dress. I
rode up near them and ordered them to disperse, which they did. Why
this was done I hardly know, unless because I thought a bold front
would intimidate them, and cause them to believe that reinforcements
were very near at hand. I felt somewhat uneasy, as previous to this
we had found Confederate soldiers dressed in citizens’ clothes, and
therefore had good reason to suspect some of the group as such.

I remained here on my horse in suspense, with carbine in hand, a
minute or more before the arrival of my two comrades. The minutes
seemed long on account of being in doubt. We waited here until the
main column arrived, then passed on through the town, skirmishing
with a few of the enemy during several days as we advanced, arriving
at Nashville the 12th of September. Gen. Palmer was in command of the
troops composing his division, and Gen. Negley, being senior, was in
command of the district. Communication with the North and other parts
of our army was entirely cut off, and we were unable to receive mail
or supplies of any kind. The main part of the Union army in this
vicinity had gone into Kentucky in pursuit of Bragg. The commissary
stores were scant, and we were obliged to go out foraging sometimes
in order to get enough to eat. While here we experienced a number of
exciting incidents by way of skirmishing and small engagements with
the enemy, who were continually lurking about our picket lines. I was
now detailed as orderly at Gen. Palmer’s headquarters, in which
position I served until Sept. 20, 1863, when I was made a prisoner of
war at the battle of Chickamauga.

After being at Nashville some time Gen. Negley was informed that a
force of Confederates, consisting mostly of infantry, to the number
of several thousand, were encamped at Lavergne, Tenn., about thirteen
miles from Nashville. The generals immediately laid plans for the
capture of this camp. One night they sent out a brigade of infantry,
which marched by a circuitous route to the rear of the Confederate
camp, arriving there a little before daylight, but did not disturb
the enemy until we attacked them in front. Our forces who made that
attack were composed of Gen. Palmer and staff, Co. C, and a small
force of infantry and cavalry; also several pieces of artillery.

At first we merely attacked their pickets, which drew the enemy’s
attention toward us. At the same time the infantry assaulted them in
the rear, causing their surrender to us, with the exception of their
cavalrymen, who escaped. The Confederates had one piece of artillery,
a four-pounder, which was disabled after firing a number of shots.
This fell into our hands along with their entire camp equipage,
including a large quantity of new uniforms which they had just
received. We also captured a brigadier-general. During this
engagement I witnessed something that I had never seen or heard of
before. As I was looking directly at the Confederate four-pound
cannon, which was perhaps eighty or one hundred rods from us, it was
discharged and the instant that I saw the smoke issue from the mouth
of the gun a small black speck was seen coming toward me and in a
second or two it crashed into a rail fence close by. After it had
struck the fence I was satisfied that the black speck I had seen was
the ball from the cannon. Soon after this I heard a rattling noise to
the left. I turned and looked in that direction and saw brick rolling
down over the roof of a residence which was in close proximity.
Evidently a ball from the Confederate gun came in contact with the
chimney, causing a confusion about the house. While looking that way
a man came out of the house and looked up at the chimney, apparently
surprised at the condition of things. I concluded that the people in
the house were in a perilous condition.

While this small engagement was in progress Gen. Palmer was busily
engaged with his telescope, viewing the battlefield and directing the
movements of troops. He stood upon a small strawstack in good view of
the enemy, giving directions as composedly as if talking to pupils in
a schoolroom. After the firing ceased we rode into the Confederate
camp and found that we had captured many wagon-loads of property,
which was loaded and hauled with us to Nashville.

The reader can comprehend to some extent (by the former descriptions
of battle scenes) the hardships and desolation that people are
compelled to undergo in countries where armies pass through in time
of war. I often felt grieved for people in the South when their
stock, grain and fences were appropriated for the use of the army. Of
course a commander will not allow his soldiers to starve. If his
trains cannot keep up with the troops he will order the commissary to
gather provisions from the country through which they are passing (of
course citizens were not allowed to starve), and when an army is on
the march and goes into camp in the evening, the soldiers have not
time to chop down trees for fuel, but take fences, and thereby the
country is more or less desolated, generally more. I can remember
when orders were given to the soldiers allowing them to take only the
top rail off a fence for fuel, but each rail in turn became a top
rail and in a few minutes the whole fence would disappear.

An exciting chase and skirmish.—One afternoon Lieut. Shaw of Co. C
was ordered to take a squad of Co. C, some ten or twelve in number,
and go outside the picket lines to see what he could discover in
regard to the location of the enemy. After riding some distance
across the country, Charles Evitts, William Orris and myself, who
were advance guard, arrived near the top of a hill, and looking over
its brow discovered three Confederates seemingly on outpost picket
duty. We thought they were performing their duty in a very careless
manner as they were dismounted. We fired, and of course the instant
they heard the report of our guns they mounted their horses and rode
away as fast as they could, one of them leaving his gun leaning
against the fence. We immediately started to follow them at full
speed. As we passed the picket station I slowed up and grabbed the
gun which the Confederates had left and destroyed it (by throwing it
down upon the stone road, which broke the stock off), so that it was
of no further use to the enemy, and it would have been of no use to
Uncle Sam. Then I followed on at a fast gait, overtaking the other
two boys.

During the chase one of the three Confederates fell from his horse
and we made him a prisoner; he having been shot through the arm by
our first fire. We pushed on after the other two Johnnies, who gave
the alarm to their reserve force which numbered probably fifty or
sixty, who were just cooking their suppers beside the road in a
ravine. As soon as the alarm was given of our approach they all
mounted their horses and rode up the opposite hill in confusion,
leaving their suppers cooking. Some of them even left their saddles
which they had removed from their horses. The fun this time was on
our side. It was laughable to see the Confederates hustling up the
hill in such confusion with us, perhaps less than one-fifth of their
number, in pursuit. The roads being very dusty at this time, and no
wind blowing, the trail of dust we left behind us caused them to
believe that there was a large force in pursuit, thus causing their
hasty flight.

In this little skirmish we captured one prisoner, a fine
double-barreled shotgun, a horse, some saddles and numerous other
small articles, and returned to camp after dark in the evening.

Attacking the Confederates behind a stone wall.—Some days later while
at Nashville we went out on another reconnoitering expedition into
the enemy’s country, with a small force consisting of Co. C, Capt.
Bartlett in command, two pieces of artillery and several companies of
infantry, with Gen. Palmer in command of the whole. After marching
some distance from camp we discovered a small force of the enemy,
which gradually fell back before our advance until they reached a
farmhouse, where a thick stone wall was found, used as a fence
between the house and barn. The Confederates thought the wall a good
stronghold, and took a position behind it, not being aware that we
had artillery with us, and therefore considering themselves safe
behind the wall. They opened fire on us, but we did not like to
attack them with our small arms while in their fortified position.
Therefore the general ordered the artillerymen to open fire on them.
The first or second shot passed through the wall, and another one
through the barn, which caused quite a commotion among them. The
house also received a number of shots from the rifles. They
immediately took to flight and we went down to inspect the barn and
wall. I found one large hardwood timber in the barn nearly cut in two
by a shot from our artillery. I do not remember of any one in our
command being seriously injured during this engagement. We returned
to camp, performing our military duties as usual. We experienced a
number of skirmishes similar to the above during our stay at

Nov. 7, 1862, brought good news to us. The Federal army from Kentucky
arrived at Nashville, which opened communication once more with the
North and our homes. We had not received any mail for about three
months and were very glad indeed to receive letters from home, some
of which had been on the way two or three months. The army was now
being thoroughly reorganized, and named Army of the Cumberland, with
Gen. Rosecrans in command; and preparations were made for the advance
on Murfreesboro. We remained here at Nashville until Dec. 26, 1862.

                             CHAPTER VI.

     The Advance on Murfreesboro—Battle of Stone River—Occupation
     of Murfreesboro by the Federals—Cripple Creek and Tullahoma
           Campaign—Advance on Chattanooga and Chickamauga.

The announcement was made on Christmas night, 1862, to the Army of
the Cumberland, to prepare to march the following morning, with three
days’ rations in the haversacks and cartridge boxes well filled. The
reveille sounded loudly throughout the camps about Nashville early on
the morning of the 26th, and all was alive, with thousands of busy
soldiers preparing for the advance. The morning dawned drearily, with
threatening clouds overhanging the sky, but preparations to move
forward went briskly on. After breakfast the order came to strike
tents and prepare to move soon. Regiment after regiment filed out on
several different roads leading toward Murfreesboro, with fifes and
drums playing inspiring music, which cheered the soldiers to a high

But alas! How little did we know how many of our number, now so
cheerful, would be laid low within a few days by the enemy’s bullets
and that 9,700 of our number would be killed or wounded within eight
days on the battlefield of Stone River.

The whole army was soon on the move, and outside of the picket lines.
A skirmish line was pushed forward, and did not march many miles
before the skirmishers of the enemy were met, who gradually retired.
We continued to advance, sometimes meeting quite a force of the
enemy, who repeatedly withdrew. This continued until we reached the
vicinity of Stone River, Dec. 30, 1862.

During the march of the Army of the Cumberland from Nashville to the
vicinity of Murfreesboro, which continued from Dec. 26 to the 30th,
rain fell in torrents nearly every day, which caused the roads to
become almost impassable. After thousands of horses had passed over
the soft and water-covered roads, the mud was fearful, from four to
six inches in depth and in some places half knee deep, and of the
consistency of cream or very thick paint ready for use. The reader
can judge by looking at the illustration whether it was a pleasure
for the soldiers to tramp all day on a road in the above-mentioned
condition, while the rain was pouring down.

[Illustration: The Army Marching Through Mud and Rain.]

The soldiers were loaded as mentioned, following: First a knapsack,
containing extra garments, underwear and blanket; also any trinkets
that a soldier chose to have; second, a haversack, containing three
or four days’ rations; third, a gun, a heavy belt with cartridge box
containing 40 rounds, and last but not least, a canteen full of
water. The cavalry and artillery fared but little or perhaps no
better than the infantry on those muddy roads, as the tramping of the
horses caused the mud to splash in such a manner that both horses and
riders became literally plastered with it, which gave them a job of
cleaning up. It requires grit and a good constitution to march all
day on a slushy road with rain pouring down, and then go into camp at
night and lie down to sleep on the muddy ground with rain-soaked
clothes. It also requires ironclad patriotism, to keep a smiling
countenance under these conditions.

The haversack and canteen were as essential to a soldier of the War
of the Rebellion from 1861 to 1865 when on a long march as a tender
is to a railroad locomotive. The locomotive when running would soon
become powerless if the tender did not accompany it to supply fuel
and water with which to create power to enable it to travel.

That was also the fact with the soldier. If he did not have the
indispensable haversack and canteen well filled, attached to himself
when on the march, he could expect that his locomotive power would
fail in a short time and he would become unable to march. The
haversack generally contained the following articles when filled for
the march: First, a quantity of the genuine, indispensable,
hard-as-a-rock-Uncle-Sam-hardtack, sometimes animated hardtack; a
slice of bacon, sometimes animated; a small package of browned
coffee, a small quantity of sugar tied up in paper and tucked away in
a corner, and last but not least, a pinch of salt. But why was salt
needed? The bacon was salty, and the hardtack did not need salt, and
it would not have improved the coffee. The salt appears to be a
mystery, but perhaps it was not a mystery to the soldier. Some people
may not understand the meaning of the words, “animated hardtack.”
Therefore we will explain. Animated hardtack was that which was
inhabited by the larvæ of flies, a footless insect or grub, but
plainly speaking, a maggot. The soldiers of the war from 1861 to 1865
were occasionally treated to a few rations of animated hardtack and
animated bacon also, perhaps by mistake. In such cases the soldiers
were liable to find a portion of their rations escaping.

The canteen generally contained water, but there were occasions when
it did not contain water; perhaps milk, if a cow could be found, and
the finder chanced to be an expert milker, capable of milking into
the small mouth of a canteen. The haversack was not a thing of
beauty, nor was it ornamented, especially after it had been in use
during a considerable length of time. It was generally constructed of
heavy canvas, and of course after the greasy bacon had been stored in
it and carried on those long marches in that broiling Dixie sun, and
on dusty roads, it became a slick-appearing object as the canvas
became saturated with grease from the bacon and then a coat of dust
adhered to it, which, after considerable wear and several alternate
coats of grease and dust, made it as polished as a looking-glass. A
story was circulated during the war about some remarks that a
southern lady made when a number of our regiments were passing. She
said, “There are the proudest lot of Yanks that I have seen. Every
fellow has a looking-glass hanging to him.” She evidently mistook the
glossy haversacks for looking-glasses.

Now after marching all day loaded, as previously described, the
soldiers would receive orders to halt and go into camp by the
roadside in their order of march. The camping place sometimes was in
a muddy cornfield or cottonfield, and other times in the woods. After
each regiment and company were assigned to a place to be occupied
during the night, arrangements were made for the purpose of procuring
fuel and water, and if sticks could be found the proper size the pup
tents were erected, after which the boys would proceed with the
preparations for getting supper, which were generally not very
elaborate, as the cooking utensils during a long march were few,
consisting of a tin cup, in which the coffee was boiled, and a small
branch of a tree fifteen or eighteen inches in length and pointed at
each end. One end was stuck in the ground at an angle of about 45
degrees, and a slice of bacon hung on the other end near enough to
the fire to make it broil and also make it palatable. The coffee was
next in order. The butt end of a gun was substituted for a coffee
mill on these occasions. The coffee was boiled in a tin cup, or a
very small coffee pot if the soldier chanced to have one, until it
became strong enough to float an iron wedge (as the boys termed it).
When supper was ready they would sit on the ground in small groups
and gnaw at their hardtack and bacon. If the weather happened to be
cool they would sit in a circle around a small campfire and eat and
talk until they became sleepy or taps sounded for lights out. Then a
sleeping place was prepared. If their camping place was in a
cornfield a few cornstalks or other rubbish would be gathered and
placed on the ground for a bed, and when about ready to retire they
would perhaps be surprised by the orderly who called their names for
extra picket duty, perhaps to go on outside picket. They go out to
their post of duty and perhaps about the time that they are posted
rain begins falling. A long, dreary night is spent by watching for
the enemy. Morning dawns and the rain still continues falling. The
men are called in off their post of duty. When they arrive in camp
the bugle sounds to fall in ready to march. Then another call forward
when they begin their march for the day without breakfast or making
their toilets. But after marching some distance hunger begins to
gnaw, and a few hardtack are found at which they begin to nibble as
they march. Hungry, sleepy, and tired, they continue to march all day
on the muddy roads, while rain is pouring down, for $13 per month for
the purpose of perpetuating our glorious government.

On the morning of Dec. 31 the memorable battle of Stone River, or
Murfreesboro, began. At daylight Gen. Bragg, who was in command of
the Confederates, made a furious attack upon the right wing of the
Federal army, and drove it back, but at a fearful cost. A temporary
panic followed immediately on our right wing, mostly among the army
wagon teams and runaway horses, and horses from which riders had been
shot. All these came rushing back at a furious rate. I witnessed a
portion of the above scene and have no desire to see another like it.
I well remember seeing a six-mule team with army wagon attached
running at full speed over a rail fence, brush, rocks and logs. At
the same time I saw wounded soldiers covered with blood, horses
perhaps in a similar condition, all with a mad rush making their way
toward the rear. The above was only a sample of other such scenes.

After the right was driven back the Confederates concentrated their
forces upon our center and the right of the left, which were composed
of Palmer’s and several other commands, who repulsed the Confederates
with great loss. Our artillery swung into line on the run, and poured
forth its deadly missiles into the enemy’s ranks.

Nothing in war is more exciting than to see a battery go into action.
It has been drilled incessantly for months, perhaps years, for just
such a crisis—for the moment when it can gallop directly into the
very hell of the battle and throw all of its terrific power into a
few minutes of awful work in deciding the contest. Day in and day out
men and horses have been unweariedly drilled for a few moments of
intense action at a critical time. Time and fatigue have been
disregarded, to train them thoroughly as parts of a great machine of
destruction. They have become such integral parts that they go
through their duties automatically, as if they were second nature.

[Illustration: Going Into Action.]

Nothing deranges the perfect operation of the terrific machine. They
will dash into the midst of the fight, where the shells are spreading
wild havoc and the deadly rifle balls patter like rain, without a
thought of their surroundings, and open their volcano on the enemy
without making a blunder or missing a motion. A man is torn to
fragments by a shell and another instantly steps into his place; a
horse is shot down, he is immediately cut out and another hitched in
his place. The guns bellow uninterruptedly, no matter what havoc the
enemy’s missiles are creating around them. It is the grandest yet
most awful spectacle that war affords.

The Confederates made three or four desperate attempts to break this
portion of our line, but failed and were repulsed each time, and
remained nearly all the balance of the day under cover. During the
day the shattered divisions of the Union army from the right were
reorganized and were soon ready for action. The day was now far spent
and the firing about at an end. The troops were mostly concealed in
the woods or behind knolls, so as to be out of reach of the enemy’s
fire. Shortly before the sun disappeared in the west I rode out into
a small open space where my curiosity led me. Near by was a long line
of infantry lying behind the crest of a knoll flat on the ground.
When I was within a couple of rods of them two of the men looked
around at me and one of them said, “You better get away from there.”
He had hardly spoken the words when several bullets from Confederate
sharpshooters, who were concealed in a cedar thicket, whizzed
uncomfortably close to my ears, and I took the hint, and in a very
short space of time I was out of sight in the woods, where a portion
of our troops were posted.

The day’s battle was now ended and everything seemed to be quiet
along the lines. Darkness soon settled down over the battlefield and
we proceeded to get something to eat. This was New Year’s eve, and
the army held watch-night, but not in the same style that we do at
home. A good portion of the soldiers slept upon their arms. I
distinctly remember that night, the moon shone brightly the fore part
of the night and all was quiet in our front. All that could be heard
was the rumbling of the ambulance wheels rolling over the
battlefield, hauling the wounded to the hospital.

The morning of Jan. 1, 1863, dawned drearily upon us, but before noon
it cleared off and the sun shone and Nature smiled lovingly upon the
field of the previous day’s carnage. The day passed without a general
engagement, but the lines of the army were being reformed and
preparations were made for another battle the following day.

[Illustration: The Lull in the Fight.]

The illustration is full of the spirit of war. It represents the lull
which comes after one attack has been repulsed before another is
made. The men behind the rude, hastily-constructed but quite
formidable defenses, are having a brief respite. They know that it is
only a respite, but are making the most of it. They will get what
comfort they can in the meanwhile. It is probable they will be
attacked again soon, but while they are ready and willing to meet it
they are borrowing no trouble about it. They feel that they can
repulse it as certainly and easily as they did the other. If the hour
has any comfort in it they are going to enjoy it. The squad of
prisoners in the foreground is very eloquent. It shows how the
Confederate conscription was forcing into the ranks “all classes and
conditions of men.”

The capture of prisoners had become so common a thing that the squad
hardly excites a ripple of interest among the men. They hardly look
up from their cooking or their game to observe the new captures, who
simply go to swell the tens of thousands already in our hands.

Jan. 2 opened with some firing along the line, and late in the
afternoon became a general engagement on our left, which resulted in
a complete defeat of the Confederates. About the time that this
battle of Jan. 2 fairly began, Lieut. John H. Shaw, of Co. C, 7th
Illinois Cavalry climbed a tall forest tree for the purpose of
locating the enemy and directing the firing of our artillery, which
he did with good success. And while he was up in the tree, sitting
upon a limb four or five inches in diameter, viewing the enemy with a
large telescope, a cannon shot cut the limb off about 7 or 8 feet
from where he was sitting. The Lieutenant told me that it was quite a
nervous shock to him, and he scrambled down from that tree faster
than he went up.

During this engagement Gen. Palmer sent me on an errand, and on the
way I was obliged to pass through a line of our artillery posted on
the west bluff of Stone River. On my return trip, when riding through
the line and within ten or fifteen feet of one of the guns, I saw the
axle cut from under it by a shot from the enemy. The beautiful brass
gun tumbled to the ground. The battle was raging fiercely, causing
havoc all about. Shells were exploding and shrieking through the air.
Solid shot was plowing the earth and throwing the ground in showers
around us. It seemed as if the whole Southern Confederacy had broken
loose upon that spot. Rifle and musket balls were doing their share
of execution also. After passing the line of guns I found myself
among the artillerymen and horses, where an alarming confusion was
found, caused by the fearful execution of the enemy’s fire, which
appeared to be concentrated right on that place. When near one of the
artillerymen, on his horse, I saw the upper part of his head
disappear. A cannon shot did the work, and he fell from his horse a
corpse. By what I have just mentioned the reader can judge in regard
to the condition of things during a battle, as this was only a sample
of many similar scenes.

After extricating myself from the confused mass I made my way back to
headquarters and reported to Gen. Palmer, and considered myself
extremely fortunate in running the gauntlet of the enemy’s fire
without injury to myself or horse.

Soon after making my report to the General the famous charge took
place across Stone River by Gen. Negley’s division and other troops.
Negley’s division formed the principal part of the charge. The men
waded through water several feet deep, some of them waist deep. A few
were shot while wading and fell into the water. The battle raged
fiercely for a short time and the Confederates were repulsed with
great loss. Gen. Rosecrans then ordered an advance and our soldiers
obeyed with a cheer. We soon heard continuous cheering, and the
Confederates were routed and on the run. Gen. Palmer was so elated
over our success that he fairly stood up in the stirrups of his
saddle and said, “The boys have got them on the run, the boys have
got them on the run,” and swung his hat above his head. “Pap Palmer,”
as he was called by some of the men, was loved by his soldiers, and
as a consequence Palmer’s division nearly always held its line of
battle, and did not know defeat.

[Illustration: Negley’s Charge Across Stone River, Jan. 2, 1863.]

The day was drawing to a close, and the Confederates were falling
back, leaving the battlefield in our possession. Thus ended the
battle of Stone River. Just as it was getting dusk the General and I
rode down across a portion of the field which had been occupied by
the Confederates during the heavy firing from our artillery and
musketry combined, and where Breckenridge’s corps lost 1,800 men in
less than a half hour. We found the ground strewn with their dead so
thickly that our horses could hardly pass through. It was a fearful
sight to behold. The battle of Stone River proved to be a very
hard-fought battle. The Federal loss was about 9,700 killed and
wounded, and the Confederate about 10,000. The Federal army soon
afterward occupied Murfreesboro, going into camp south and east of
the town. The Confederacy had received another blow, but at a fearful
loss of life. The Federal army was now being replenished with
ammunition and other supplies, and remained in this vicinity during
the winter months performing the ordinary military duties. Gen.
Hazen’s brigade of Palmer’s division was camped 9 miles east of
Murfreesboro on a high knob, where a signal station was located, and
we received messages by signals from this station.

In the spring of 1863 Gen. Palmer moved his headquarters and a part
of his division five or six miles east of Murfreesboro to Cripple
Creek, where we remained until the latter part of June.

              The Execution of a Spy and Bounty-jumper.

While camping at Cripple Creek we witnessed the execution of a spy
and bounty-jumper.

The troops were drawn up in line on three sides of an open field in
military order and facing inward. The criminal was escorted around on
the inside of the square passing in front of the troops, and his
coffin was carried in advance.

When the prisoner reached the open side of the square or field he was
halted and placed near his coffin in a standing posture, blind-folded
and shot to death. The executing party was composed of eight or ten
soldiers (the exact number I have forgotten). Their guns were loaded
by outside parties in order that the executioners could not know
which of them fired the fatal shots, as one-half of the guns were
loaded with powder only.

On June 24 we again took up the line of march in pursuit of the
enemy. It was then reported that Gen. Bragg, in command of the
Confederate army, would offer battle at Tullahoma, Tenn., but he
failed to do so, retreating in the direction of Chattanooga, south of
the Tennessee River. On these marches we experienced much rainy
weather, during which I had some experience of sleeping on a rail
during a very rainy night. Three or four rails were used under me
with some rubbish on top of them. My saddle for a pillow, rubber
blanket for a cover, and hat over my face. This rail bed kept my body
out of the water.

[Illustration: Sleeping on a Rail.]

Part of our army, including Gen. Palmer’s command, moved southward,
and when it was found that the Confederates were crossing the
Tennessee River Palmer’s division went into camp at Manchester,
Tenn., where it remained about a month. At the battle of Stone River,
as the regiments of our division were about to be attacked by the
enemy, Gen. Palmer rode along the line to speak words of
encouragement to the men, and when he came to the 6th Kentucky he
said: “Sixth Kentucky, you have work to do, stand up to them and you
may steal for six months.” This last sentence was spoken in a sort of
joking manner. But some of the boys had not forgotten it nearly six
months later. When on the march from Cripple Creek toward Tullahoma,
and rations were scarce, one evening before they went into camp many
of the men dropped out of ranks for the purpose of foraging, which
was contrary to orders. Soon after camp guard was established the
General gave orders to the captain of the guards to arrest all
foragers as fast as they came in and escort them to his headquarters.
They soon began to arrive, some loaded with fresh beef, others with
dressed hog, calf, and other articles of food. As fast as they
arrived, the General ordered them to lay their meat on a pile near
his tent, and afterward ordered it to be divided by the commissary.
Among these foragers was a very small man, a German, belonging to the
6th Kentucky, who was brought in sweating, loaded down with the half
of a hog. At the General’s orders he threw his load down on the pile,
and the General said to him: “Who gave you leave to break ranks and
go out and steal?” “You did,” he said. The General replied: “You
lying rascal, I never authorized you to steal.” The man again said,
“You did.” A crowd of the boys were standing around enjoying the
scene. The General then said: “When did I authorize you to steal?”He
replied: “At the battle of Stone River you ride up and you say, ‘Stand
up to them, 6th Kentucky, and you may steal for six months,’ and the
time is not up, we have one more day.” The General then remembered
the occasion and the crowd roared with laughter. The next man
interviewed by the General belonged to the 41st Ohio. He had the half
of a calf he had found and killed. The General told him to throw his
meat down on the heap, and he did so. He stood very respectfully for
a few minutes and then said: “General, aren’t you going to let me
have my meat?” He replied: “No, you break ranks and go out and rob
the people and expect to have the result of your robbery?”Soon the
tears ran down the man’s cheeks. The General said to him: “You great
overgrown booby, are you crying about a thing of this kind?” The man
replied: “General, I have had nothing to eat since yesterday
morning.” His orderly sergeant was sent for who confirmed the
statement. Gen. Palmer gave him his veal and some salt, and then
said: “My authority has been subverted, I have been laughed out of
the hog and cried out of the calf.”

In the fore part of August Gen. Palmer with his division moved
eastward and crossed the Cumberland Mountains into Sequatchie valley,
where we spent a number of days in slowly moving down the valley
toward Chattanooga, striking the Tennessee River west of the city,
where we arrived about Sept. 1. On these marches I often slept in my
pup tent, or without any shelter.

[Illustration: Pup Tents.]

A few of us crossed the river in a canoe, leading our horses, who
swam along beside us, there being no bridge or ferry at this place. I
do not remember at what places the army crossed, but they probably
crossed somewhere on a pontoon bridge, or ferry, constructed by
themselves. I think they found a crossing at a place called
Shellmound. We had not been on the south side of the river very long
before we saw the brigades of Gen. Palmer’s division also on that

We were now in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain, where a portion of
us camped and remained a day or two. A part of the army went up on
top of the mountain, the summit of which is 1,700 feet above the
Tennessee River. It appeared to me almost perpendicular at the end
next the river, there being just room enough between the mountain and
the river for the railroad and wagon road. When Palmer’s division
began ascending the mountain, Lieut. Shaw and myself were sent on an
errand by the General, going by a circuitous route, and were obliged
to climb the north side of the mountain, following a footpath. We
dismounted and led our horses, having hard work to get the animals
up. After accomplishing this difficult feat of climbing the steep
mountain-side we found the General and his troops already there. We
marched eastward to the end of the mountain, where I walked out on a
projecting rock.

A small town named Summertown, or Summerville, was here entered, and
the road extended down the mountain on the south side, on which the
troops descended. We were then within three miles of Chattanooga, and
again moved forward in a southerly direction, or rather a
southeasterly direction, leaving the town to our left, and went into
camp a short distance from Rossville, Sept. 9, and the following day
moved forward as usual in a southeasterly direction. We found that
the city had been evacuated by the Confederates. On our way between
Chattanooga and Ringgold, Ga., we found a patch of the finest sweet
potatoes I ever saw. Whenever I hear the song, “Marching through
Georgia,” containing the lines,

    “How the turkeys gobbled, which our commissary found,
     How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground,”

I am reminded of that sweet potato patch away down in Georgia.

[Illustration: A Projecting Rock on Lookout Mountain.]

We were getting in the vicinity of the enemy again, and now moved
forward in a southerly direction but without encountering the enemy
in large force until after passing Ringgold, Ga. I distinctly
remember camping there one night, only a few days prior to the battle
of Chickamauga. While there some of the Co. C boys got into a drug
store, which seemingly had been abandoned, where they procured
something to drink that was stronger than water; so much so that
several of them became intoxicated. They were quite hilarious, and
one of them became almost sick in consequence, and another, who also
had unwisely imbibed, procured a bottle of medicine from the store
with which he tried to treat the man, whom he claimed as his patient,
and who was lying down. He opened the bottle and tried to pour some
of its contents into the mouth of his patient, who refused to
swallow, and soon his face was besmeared with the stuff, which was as
black as tar. His face presented a ridiculous spectacle. The division
surgeon was sent for, and was told to hurry up as we had a very sick
man in our camp. He soon arrived, and found the man lying on a
blanket with his eyes closed, his face being rather pale excepting
where it was besmeared with the black tarry medicine, and presenting
a comical appearance. The doctor made a brief examination of the
patient, stepped back and smiled, saying to the boys, “The man will
be all right in the morning,” and rode away. The following day we
went in the direction of Lee and Gordon’s Mills, Crawfish Springs,
and the upper Chickamauga. We remained in this vicinity a few days,
watching and skirmishing with the enemy, then retraced our steps,
going slowly in the direction of Chattanooga. Some firing continued
with the enemy, which was Sept. 17 and 18. By that time Rosecrans’
army was concentrated on the north bank of Chickamauga Creek and the
skirmishing became more general.

                             CHAPTER VII.

               Beginning of the Battle of Chickamauga.

Major General Rosecrans commanded the Army of the Cumberland at the
battle of Stone River and also at Chickamauga. What I saw of Gen.
Rosecrans, and also what I learned about him otherwise, convinced me
that he was brave in battle, and capable in command of a small army,
and patriotic. But he possessed a passionate gallantry, which we saw
displayed on battlefields by a few of our generals. A commander
possessing these qualities will generally become easily discouraged,
and relinquish a contested battlefield with but slight occasion for
doing so.

Brig. Gen. Hazen commanded a brigade in Palmer’s division. I
delivered messages at his headquarters often, during a period of more
than a year, and had an opportunity to learn his character to some
extent. I considered him to be a fine soldier and a gentleman. He was
always at his post of duty, and enforced discipline with his
soldiers, and was always ready to see that they were properly
supplied with rations, clothing, and everything they were entitled

[Illustration: Hazen’s Brigade.]

[Illustration: Grose’s Brigade.]

Col. William Grose commanded a brigade in Gen. Palmer’s division. I
delivered messages to Col. Grose as often as I did to Gen. Hazen, and
had as much opportunity of studying his character. I considered him
to be a gentleman, and a good and patriotic soldier. He did not
enforce discipline as readily as Gen. Hazen, but held his command
fairly well in hand.

[Illustration: Cruft’s Brigade.]

Brig. Gen. Cruft also commanded a brigade in Palmer’s division, and I
delivered messages to him the same as I did to Gen. Hazen and Col.
Grose, and learned his character about as well as I did theirs. I
formed a good opinion of Gen. Cruft. He appeared to me as very
kindly, and pleasant to his companions. He apparently knew his duty
and did it.

Sept. 19, 1863, dawned with the enemy in close proximity, and
apparently moving toward our left, threatening to cut our
communications with Chattanooga. During the day heavy fighting
occurred along different parts of the line. Of course we also moved
toward our left which was in danger of being flanked by the enemy. By
the evening of the 19th the battle was well under way, and during the
night many changes were made in our lines. Gen. Palmer’s division
took position in the woods, on a long, low ridge extending north and
south, and a short distance east from the famous Kelly field (perhaps
twelve or fifteen rods), which also extended north and south.

Accompanying is a photograph taken in 1907, faintly showing the
position occupied by Gen. Palmer’s division at Chickamauga on Sept.
20, 1863, with Reynolds’ division on his right, and Baird’s and
Johnson’s on his left. The line is marked by monuments, showing the
place occupied by each regiment. But the monuments do not appear
distinctly in this photograph, on account of its having been greatly
reduced in size. The above battle line extends parallel with the east
line of the Kelly field and faces to the east. Near the southeast
corner of the field can be seen a pyramid of cannon balls, which
marks the spot where Col. E. A. King, commanding a brigade in
Reynolds’ division, was killed, Sept. 20.

[Illustration: Photograph of Kelly Field—East Side.]

I closely inspected this part of the battlefield in September, 1906,
and found its location almost exactly as I remembered it from 1863.

During the night of Sept. 19, 1863, a line of temporary defenses was
constructed with old logs, trees and stones, or anything that would
answer the purpose. These breastworks were from two to three feet in
height, making very good protection for the infantry while they were
lying down.

During the morning, when the battle was momentarily expected to open,
Gen. Palmer was standing in rear of the temporary defenses,
inspecting them, and the infantry were lying on the ground behind
them awaiting the attack, when some of them were peering over the top
of a log which composed the upper portion of the defenses looking in
the direction of the enemy, trying to discover their position.
Everything was as still as death, when an enemy’s bullet struck the
log, knocking off a large splinter and sending it whizzing through
the air. The General, seeing what happened, cried out, “Down with
your head, my man, you have got only one head and you may want to use
that in a minute.” In an instant several more bullets came over,
passing through the folds of the General’s pants. One of the boys
seeing what took place looked at the General and said: “General, down
with your legs, you have only one pair of them and you may want to
use them in a minute.” In an instant all was confusion, and the
bullets were coming over almost as thick as hail, and I think there
was use for heads and legs.

During the evening of the 19th, as the members of Co. C were sitting
around a small fire, Lieut. Shaw made the remark: “Boys, tomorrow
will be the hardest fought battle that we have seen”; which
subsequently proved to be true. One of the members, named William
Buchan, folded his arms and said in a sort of joking way: “I wish I
was at home with mother.” Poor boy, it would have been well for him
if he had been there, for he was hit by a shot the following day
while serving as orderly for Lieut. Shaw, and lived only a short
time. When he was struck they were obliged to retreat, with the enemy
not far away. They halted, took him from his horse, laid him down,
and the brave boy spoke and said: “Lieutenant, go on or you will be
captured; do not stop for me, in a few minutes I will be done.” He
then shook hands, saying, “Tell Scudder (my chum) to tell my folks
how I died.”

This incident about Buchan I did not witness, but it was related to
me later on by my comrades of Co. C. Comrade Buchan was a sample of
whom the majority of the army was composed. Dear reader, think of the
unselfish patriotism displayed by him in his dying hour. He was
willing to be left alone on a dreary battlefield to die, in order
that his comrades might escape capture and therefore be able to
assist in the restoration of the Union, that future generations, in
fact all mankind, might enjoy the blessings resulting from a united
country and the best and most righteous government on earth.

About two months later, after the Federal army had been reinforced
and the enemy driven back, a large party of Federal troops, including
some of Co. C, went out to the battlefield of Chickamauga to bury the
dead who had been left there unburied after the battle. I was
informed that they found more than one thousand unburied bodies. A
number of members of Co. C proceeded to the portion of the
battlefield where they had left Buchan at the time he was killed, and
there found his remains. There was not much remaining except the
skeleton, but they identified him by his curly hair, and a certain
peculiar ring on his finger, which was removed and sent home to his

The boys removed and buried him, and marked his grave. Later his
remains were removed to the National Cemetery near Chattanooga,
Tenn., which I visited in September, 1906, and with a kodak
photographed the grave, which is shown in the illustration.

He was a good boy and loved by all. On the day that the remains of
Buchan were found and buried by the Co. C boys, many sad scenes were
discovered by them on the battlefield of Chickamauga, which battle
was fought two months previous. The marks of the fearful strife were
yet visible. Here and there were lines of hastily-constructed
defenses, the ground was strewn with knapsacks, fragments of harness,
haversacks, canteens, pieces of clothing, tin plates, bullet-pierced,
round shot and unexploded shell. And there were also found straps,
cartridge boxes, old socks, old shoes, letters rotting on the
decaying bodies of once brave soldiers, all sad signs and telling
their silent story of the great fight at Chickamauga. What a crowd of
sorrowful memories! Where is the soldier who wore that belt? Where
the one who wore those shoes? Is he cold in death? If so what eyes
have been dimmed with tears at his sad fate? What hopes have been
destroyed, what affections crushed, what hearts wrung with anguish
never more to brighten? But sadder sights than the above were
discovered by our boys as they moved over the battlefield. The
unburied remains of hundreds of Union soldiers lay full length here
and there, and again some had been partly buried, and others so
slightly covered with earth that they were rooted out by the swine
and lay scattered about in promiscuous heaps. And another sight was
beheld. A deep well was discovered, filled to the surface with Union
soldiers. Fellow citizens, do we appreciate what we enjoy, which has
been secured by such sacrifices?

[Illustration: William Buchan’s Grave.]

Soon after the time that Buchan was killed by the enemy’s shot I was
inside of the line of the Confederate army looking for a place to
escape. Sept. 20, 1863, was a day which will remain fresh in my
memory as long as I live, on account of its terrible battles, the
loss of William Buchan and many others, and myself being made a
prisoner of war. The battle in our front began in the morning about
nine o’clock, and raged fiercely at intervals during nearly the whole
day and along Snodgrass Hill until after dark. The Confederates
charged Palmer’s front repeatedly, but were as often repulsed. Some
parts of the Union lines were broken by the enemy during the day and
our prospects for success appeared rather discouraging.

On one occasion during the forenoon, when the Confederates charged on
Palmer’s and Baird’s positions, they approached so near that those in
advance came inside of our temporary defenses and were made
prisoners. I well remember seeing them after their surrender.

[Illustration: Chickamauga Map.]

The Confederate loss in our front was fearful, because whenever they
came in sight our artillery poured forth grape and canister, which
literally mowed swaths through their ranks. And if they approached
within rifle or musket range, a dazzling sheet of flame would burst
forth from our long lines of infantry.

This each time compelled them to fall back in disorder. During the
day, while Gen. Palmer and myself were riding from one part of the
line to another, his horse was struck just over one eye by a bullet,
which stunned him and he fell to the ground. The General, being in a
hurry to reach another part of our line, asked me to let him ride my
horse, to which I consented and remained with his, which soon
recovered, regained his feet, and apparently was all right again. The
General returned and gave me my horse, and we mounted and rode away
to another part of the line, where he wished to give some directions.
We remained here for some time to watch the progress of the next
attack, which was looked for soon to come. The infantry were lying
behind their low breastworks, and the gunners of the artillery were
alert near their guns awaiting the attack. The General had just
dismounted in rear of the line of battle, and I was on my horse near
by waiting for orders, when the enemy made another terrific movement
on our line. Immediately our artillery bellowed with a deafening
roar, sending forth its terrible missiles of destruction among the
enemy, who when coming within rifle range received also the fire from
our infantry, from whose long lines burst forth a sheet of flame; and
the Confederates were repulsed with heavy loss. Their bullets came
over at a fearful rate; at times it seemed as though they came as
thick as if one would take a handful of shelled corn and scatter it
broadcast. The roar of firearms from friend and foe was deafening,
and it seemed as if the earth trembled beneath our feet.

The General was standing, talking to some of the officers. He turned
toward me, saying: “Eby, you should not expose yourself
unnecessarily. You would better dismount and step behind a tree while
you are waiting for orders.” I immediately obeyed the General’s
suggestion with a good will. It was now some time after noon, but we
had not stopped for dinner, as there seemed to be some objections on
the other side. The firing in our front ceased at times, but we could
hear the incessant roar of musketry and artillery off at our right
and rear, we being on the left. It seemed to move off farther and
farther, until it sounded as though it were a mile away. Then in a
few moments it would begin again nearer to us, and again roll off
gradually in the distance. And now after these forty-five years of
time have passed when I think about it I imagine that I can hear that
same roar of firearms.

Thus the afternoon wore slowly away, we occasionally receiving some
news from other parts of the army in regard to the progress of the
battle, sometimes favorable and at other times unfavorable. I well
remember when the news came that Gen. Granger’s reserve corps was
coming to assist us. We felt very much encouraged and felt like
cheering with perhaps many others. During the day, the exact time I
do not remember, the General with part of his staff (including
myself) was riding down the line quite a distance when we met several
generals, among them Major Gen. Thomas.

They halted and so did we. The generals immediately began talking
very briskly, and seemed to be holding a council of war. I well
remember Gen. Thomas. During their conversation I noticed by their
manner that something was not going right in regard to the battle, as
Gen. Thomas shook his head several times in a way that indicated
trouble. After the generals finished their talk they rode away to
their respective commands.

[Illustration: John M Palmer]


  _Palmer, Shutt, Drennan & Lester,
  Attorneys & Counsellors at Law.
  Springfield, Illinois._

  _John M. Palmer.
  William E. Shutt.
  John G. Drennan.
  Andrew J. Lester._

  Sept. 16, 1896.

  Henry H. Eby:—
      Mandotta, Illinois.

  My dear Eby:—

  Am obliged to you for your letter of the 11th inst. and for the clip
  you furnished me containing the names of the old comrades who were
  present at the Re-union and who answered roll call. I trust you
  tendered all who assembled my kindest regards.

          Yours truly,
          _John M Palmer_

[Illustration: Eastern Slope of Snodgrass Hill, Chickamauga.]

General Thomas was a model of good and noble character, who solicited
no praise for himself and was sparing of praise to others. He declined
all the numerous gifts of houses, lands, money and bonds tendered him
by his grateful countrymen. When he declined gifts offered to himself,
he urged his proposed benefactors to provide out of their abundance
for the wants of the widows and orphans of those who died for their
country. General Thomas was one of the most resolute men. He did not
possess the passionate gallantry that we have often seen displayed on
fields of battle, but his sure-footed, reliable judgment did not allow
him to fall into a mistake. The victories he won speak louder than

After returning to our division I saw a fine horse lying upon the
ground dead with its head almost severed from the body. We were
informed that it belonged to Gen. Cruft, who commanded a brigade in
Palmer’s division. The horse had been struck by a cannon shot.

Late in the afternoon the heaviest firing seemed to be shifting toward
that part of the line of battle adjacent to Snodgrass Hill, where the
enemy was concentrating its best forces, trying hard to turn our right
flank and get possession of the road leading to Chattanooga. They
could thereby sever our communications with the latter place and the
North, and they came very near accomplishing their object. They
attacked Gen. Thomas’ line repeatedly and as often were repulsed with
heavy loss, Gen. Thomas holding his position.

[Illustration: Snodgrass Hill, with Stable.]

The battlefield of Chickamauga is now owned by the United States
Government. Monuments have been erected marking the places where each
command was stationed during the battle, and cannon are in position in
the same places where the cannon of the opposing forces stood during
the battle. The above illustration, made from a photograph taken by
the author in 1906, represents a portion of Snodgrass Hill (which was
occupied by Federal troops during Sept. 20, 1863), showing the old
Snodgrass log stable partly fallen down, and also one large tree which
was shot nearly to pieces by the Confederate artillery during the
battle of Sept. 20, 1863. As can be seen in the illustration, the
limbs of the large tree were nearly all cut off by the Confederate
cannon shot. Their guns being located down in the valley they were
obliged to elevate them when firing, and the tree being quite a
distance back on the summit, as a consequence they could hit the tree
only on its upper portion. The tree is dead and apparently has been
since the battle, or at least has been for a number of years.

[Illustration: Portrait of Gen. Thomas.]

The tree standing near the stable was alive when photographed, in
1906. Its top was entirely cut off during the battle, but it remained
alive and formed a new top, as shown in the illustration. The Federal
troops occupied Snodgrass Hill until the battle ended in the evening
of Sept. 20, 1863.

The last desperate effort to dislodge Gen. Thomas’ command was made by
the Confederates just at nightfall, and they were repulsed with the
usual result. They then ceased the combat and withdrew their forces.
The road to Chattanooga remained in possession of the Federals. Gen.
Thomas then also withdrew his troops from the battlefield to
Rossville, several miles in the rear, where they remained until Sept.
22, when they leisurely marched into Chattanooga. Thus closed the
fearful battle of Chickamauga. The enemy’s loss according to reports
was about 19,000 killed and wounded. The Federal loss was about
16,000. It is claimed by many that the great battle of Chickamauga was
a victory for the Confederates, but I think differently. Chattanooga
was the objective point in this campaign. The armies met ten or twelve
miles south of the place, where a general engagement occurred for the
possession of the city, in which the Confederate loss in men was
greater than the Federal. The Confederates gained possession of the
battlefield, but ceased the combat before the Federal army vacated its
last line of battle. The Federals took a new position several miles to
the rear, near Rossville, which they occupied until Sept. 22 without
being molested by the Confederates during the 21st and 22nd, then took
possession of Chattanooga and held it.

[Illustration: Trading Between Lines.]

It was immaterial whether the fighting for the possession of
Chattanooga occurred ten miles away, or within a mile or two of the
city. The Federal army accomplished its object at the battle of
Chickamauga. The Confederates gained nothing that was of any benefit
to them, but lost several thousand good soldiers in excess of the
Federal loss.

This picture represents a scene which lives in many a veteran’s
memory. A truce to the murderous picket firing has been established,
and the men have met to exchange the things they may have for others
that they want more. The rebels bring tobacco, rebel newspapers, and
sometimes corn-bread and fresh meat, but mainly tobacco. The Union
soldiers bring coffee, hardtack, papers, knives, combs and similar
articles, but mainly coffee. The rebels wanted many things which were
plentiful enough in the Union camps, but they wanted coffee more than
anything else. They and their “women folks” seemed half crazy for
“Yankee coffee.” They would swap anything except their muskets for it.
A pound of Yankee coffee was the most acceptable present one of them
could send back home to his mother or sweetheart. It was not often
that one of them had the self-denial to do this. He wanted it too
badly himself. From the way the Union soldier in the foreground is
displaying his stock of coffee, he must be expecting to buy up
everything the Confederates had in that section of the country.

[Illustration: The Historic Balm of Gilead

Johnson Farm, Waterloo, N. Y.

Leaving his scythe hanging in this tree Wyman J. Johnson enlisted and
was mustered into service at Elmira, N. Y., November 15, 1861; and
became member of Company G, of the 85th N. Y. Volunteers. He served in
15 engagements; was promoted to Fourth Sergeant April 13, 1863; was
wounded at New Burn, N. C., and died in the hospital, Raleigh, N. C.,
May 22, 1864.

The young sapling has now grown to be a massive tree, enveloping
nearly all of the scythe, and becoming indeed, a living monument of
the dead.]

                            CHAPTER VIII.

                   My Capture by the Confederates.

I was made a prisoner of war at the close of the battle of
Chickamauga, Ga., Sept. 20, 1863. Being a mounted orderly on Gen.
Palmer’s staff, my duties were to go where ordered, carrying messages
from one part of the army to another. Gen. Palmer’s division held its
position during the last day of the battle, and just about the time
that the battle closed, which was near the close of the day, it was
withdrawn. A short time before its withdrawal Gen. Palmer and staff,
including myself and two other members of Co. C, rode away from the
line of battle across the Kelly field toward the woods beyond. But
before reaching the woods we came to an old-fashioned rail fence, and
just as the fence was reached a heavy artillery fire was opened upon
us. As near as I could ascertain it came from the extreme left of our
army, some distance north of the Kelly field, beyond a patch of open
woods, where I saw the smoke roll up from some cannon about a quarter
of a mile away. The shots struck nearly lengthwise of the fence,
cutting and splintering the rails and throwing the pieces about us in
every direction, frightening our horses so that we were prevented from
crossing the fence as soon as we desired.

I had no objection to rails but preferred to have them remain in the
fence. The General and staff managed to cross the fence in advance
just about the time that the battery opened fire upon us, and rode
into the woods, where we lost sight of them. Two other comrades and
myself were yet at the fence, trying to cross and follow the rest of
the group, which was our duty to do. We finally succeeded, and also
rode into the woods in search of the General but he had gained some
distance on us and we failed to find him. We continued the search
until, becoming somewhat discouraged and night closing in upon us, we
stopped and held a council of war as it was called, trying to
determine in which direction to go in order to find the General or his
division, but we failed to agree. My proposition was to go in the
direction where our division (Palmer’s) was located during the day,
thinking that we would find it and by this means also find the
whereabouts of the General, I being unaware that the troops had been
withdrawn from their position. My two comrades started off in a
different direction from the one taken by myself, and reached the
Union lines in safety. I went in the direction in which I expected to
find Palmer’s division, thinking that I would be all right. After
riding through the woods a short distance I came to a deep ravine, and
after passing down into it I found many wounded soldiers, who called
to me asking for water, which I was unable to give them, as my canteen
was empty, I having been without water nearly all day myself, and did
not know where to find any. This was a trying time for me, as I heard
these poor wounded comrades groaning and calling to me for help, which
I was unable to give. I rode up the opposite bank of the ravine and
some distance beyond. It had now become quite dark, and I soon arrived
at the place where I expected to find Palmer’s troops, and suddenly
came to a long line of stacked guns, which could be seen by the aid of
some small camp-fires beyond, and on approaching them saw some men
between myself and the fire, near the guns. Some were standing, some
sitting and others lying on the ground.

[Illustration: Crossing the Rail Fence on the Kelly Field.]

These I thought might belong to Palmer’s division. Riding up close to
them I asked one of the men the number of his regiment. He replied “The
16th Mississippi.” He of course had not discovered that I was a
Federal. I was a little doubtful in regard to these troops. Thinking
that there might be some misunderstanding between us I rode down the
line a short distance and inquired again. The answer came “This is the
20th Louisiana.” I was then satisfied that they were Confederate
troops, but they had not yet identified me and perhaps thought that I
was a Confederate. As the fires beyond the line of guns were not
sufficient by which to distinguish my uniform, I still had hopes of
reaching our lines in safety. I saw some small fires in different
directions which apparently had just been started. As I subsequently
learned I was now inside the main line of the Confederate army.

My opinion was that the Federal troops had withdrawn from their
position during the evening and these Confederates had come in there
and stacked arms. The next thing for me to do was to contrive some
plan to make my escape from inside the enemy’s lines. The first thing
I thought of was to get away from these troops before some of them
would identify me. I immediately rode away, perhaps fifteen or twenty
rods, thinking that I might escape unnoticed. While riding through the
woods without a friend except my faithful horse (that had done good
service for Uncle Sam for two years), I thought of many things in a
few seconds. A difficult task was before me (that of reaching the
Union lines in safety). One great difficulty was that I did not know
in which direction to go. It being nighttime I was unable to see
distinctly what was before me and my reader can imagine my
predicament. As I proceeded on farther a voice near me called out
“Halt!” which I obeyed.

I was able to see some object just ahead of my horse, but was unable
to tell what it was. In a few seconds I discovered two men near my
horse’s head. One called out, “Surrender, here, get off your horse”;
which I proceeded to do, as they had the muzzles of their guns
uncomfortably close to my face. And now my goose was cooked.

I never obeyed orders more promptly, and did not stop to argue the
case with them nor ask whether their guns were loaded. By the light of
a few fires which had been started in the vicinity, these Confederates
were enabled to identify me by my uniform, and I could also
distinguish them as we were now so near together. The Confederates
could see me more distinctly than I could them on account of my being
on a horse and they on the ground. There was not the smallest chance
to escape, as I now found myself surrounded by quite a number of the
enemy, about ten to one. The two Confederates who captured me
quarreled, each claiming my sabre and revolver. My sabre was one we
had captured from a Confederate lieutenant at the battle of Stone
River, and was a beauty.

[Illustration: My Capture.]

Little did I care which one got them, I was a prisoner of war under
guard and obliged to comply with all orders, no matter what they were.
I cannot describe the state of my mind just then, but guess I felt
some like the boy, after getting a good whipping which he did not
deserve, very despondent. In a few moments I was conducted under guard
to some commissioned officer’s headquarters for inspection. Before
starting I took my pup tent from my saddle, hung it over my shoulder,
and bade good-bye to my faithful horse, rubbing my hand down over her
honest face as we parted. But now at our final separation came over me
a more piercing sense of the loss of my honest four-footed friend,
that was always so willing and ready to do her duty. We had endured
together the perils of the battle, the scout, the outpost picket, and
the skirmish; also the hardships of the march through mud and slush,
the courier service, and many gripings of hunger which we had shared
together. Now at last our paths separated, I was retired from actual
service to become a prisoner, and she bore her new rider away to
battle against her old friends. It was a sad parting.

We immediately started and marched some distance through the woods to
the headquarters of an officer. I judged him to be a colonel or a
brigadier general, who asked a number of questions and called me such
names as are not to be found in a dictionary, and caused me to think
that he was not very polite in speech. One question I distinctly
remember was, “What did you come down here for and what are you doing
here?” I said, “To lick you folks into the Union.”He replied, “That is
a h——l of a way,” and appeared as cross as a bear with a sore head.
But I thought that he was excusable, because they had suffered
severely along this part of their line which was in front of Palmer’s,
Reynolds’, Baird’s and Johnson’s divisions. Judging by what I could
see and hear during the evening after my capture, I was convinced that
the Confederates were severely punished in front of our part of the

When this sauce-box had gotten through with me, I was conducted a
short distance farther where five more of my comrades in misfortune
were met, who had been captured during the day and were fellow
prisoners with me. We were here allowed to rest but not to eat or
drink, for good reasons. It was now between eight and nine o’clock in
the evening of Sept. 20, and there was a little time for reflection. I
felt a trifle hungry and very thirsty, having had neither dinner nor
supper, and no water all day. The dust, smoke and heat, combined, made
me feel as though I was about perishing. I turned my attention to my
haversack and found it as flat as a pancake, containing only a few
crumbs of hardtack which remained after a scanty breakfast. After
eating those, which amounted to nothing in satisfying my hunger, I
felt even more hungry than before. We soon lay down to rest and sleep,
and I realized that I was about worn out from the effects of the two
days’ battle. I slept but little, but thought more about what might be
our fate in the near future. I probably felt like a criminal under
death sentence on the night previous to execution, as we considered
confinement in southern military prisons equivalent to a death
sentence. I feared that I could send no letters to the folks at home,
and if ever a person had the blues I had them that night of Sept. 20,
1863. Being made a prisoner of war was something that I had never
thought to experience.

Early on the morning of Sept. 21 found us on the march to some point
unknown to us, without anything to eat. About ten o’clock we were
joined by 1,500 of our boys who had met with a similar fate, and were
also on their way to some southern prison pen. About three o’clock in
the afternoon we arrived at Ringgold, Ga., where a brief halt was made
and the Confederates wrote a list of our names. When this was
accomplished the march was resumed in a southeasterly direction until
evening, when we halted and camped for the night. On the morning of
Sept. 22 we drew the first rations from “Uncle Jeff’s” commissary,
consisting of one pint of unsifted cornmeal for each man, which was
our day’s allowance, but was hardly sufficient for a half a meal. I
think the Confederates were short of rations themselves and had none
to spare for us. We had now fasted forty-eight hours, and a pint of
cornmeal appeared rather small to subsist on for the next twenty-four
hours. My cooking utensils consisted of one pint cup, and with it full
of meal how was I to cook my mush? I took part of the meal out of the
cup and put it in my haversack, mixed the balance with water, set it
on the fire for a short time, and named it mush. But now another
difficulty arose. How was I to eat the stuff without a spoon? Well, it
has been said that necessity is the mother of invention, which was
true in this case, as I combined a small stick with the mush, to
assist me in licking it out of the cup, in dog fashion. I then cooked
the balance of the meal and ate it also. After finishing our breakfast
of mush, we were called up in line by the Confederate officers in
charge, who searched us for firearms, but failed to find many, as
there were but few in the crowd.

When the search was finished we resumed our journey, and walked until
night, when Dalton, Ga., was reached, a small town on the Chattanooga
and Atlanta Railroad, where we camped until the morning of Sept. 23.
During the night rations were issued the second time by the
Confederates, which consisted of about a pound of flour or dough to
each man. I well remember that it tasted bitter, and appeared to me
like flour that had been wet in the sack, and formed into chunks,
which were mouldy and bitter. Something had to be done with the stuff,
to fix it up in some way that could be masticated, because I had eaten
nothing except a pint of very inferior mush during sixty-eight hours,
and to tell the truth I was beginning to feel a trifle hungry. I built
a fire, and determined to try and bake my lump of flour, which was
performed in a way. We were camped in the woods where some large trees
had been chopped, and there we found some clean chips. I took one of
them, pasted my ration of flour upon it, and set it near the fire to
bake, at an angle of about forty-five degrees. When I considered it
baked I took it off the chip and found it baked only a little on the
surface, and that it had not “raised”a bit. Some of the boys declared
that the “raising” had been put in upside down. It was about as tough
as a piece of rubber. I attempted to eat some of it but it was hard
work and it seemed to stretch and contract alternately. The more I
chewed the stuff the bigger and tougher it seemed to get, and it did
not want to go down. I viewed it and it appeared very sad, but my
condition was much sadder. It was a very serious affair indeed. I
thought of lockjaw, and many other misfortunes that might befall me in
my attempts to swallow some of the rubbery bread-stuff. It was swallow
or starve. It is natural for a person to think of remedies in a
strenuous case like this. I thought if the stuff did unfortunately
stick fast in my throat we might apply the leather whip-stock remedy,
which I remembered was applied to a cow when choked with a turnip. A
dog would have turned up his nose at the offer of some of the
above-mentioned bread.

It was now sunrise, Sept. 23, and we received orders to get on board
the cars, which were promptly obeyed. They were ordinary freight cars,
but we were thankful to ride on any kind of a car. The train moved
southward and we arrived at Atlanta, Ga., in the evening of the same
day, and were transferred to a pen inclosed by a high, tight, board
fence, where we remained until Sept. 25, when orders were again
received to get on the cars. They were common freight or box cars, and
they packed us in almost as thick as sardines in a box. This was the
worst experience that I ever had in railroad traveling. We were
obliged to stand up or sit on the floor, and fold up like a jack-knife
with our hands clasped around our knees to keep our backs from
breaking, and we suffered all the tortures imaginable. I felt as if
every joint in my body was coming apart. It was about as severe as
being fastened in the stocks. We were eight days on this journey by
rail from Dalton to Richmond, Va., but lay over in Atlanta one day and
two nights, and were unloaded two different nights after leaving
Atlanta, in order to allow us to straighten our weary limbs and sleep.
But the other three nights we spent on the cars, in torment. It was
hard to endure, but I suppose it was as well as the Confederacy could
do for us.

As I stated before, we were ordered to get on board of the cars at
Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 25, when we started on our journey toward Augusta,
Ga., located on the banks of the Savannah River, which was reached the
following evening. We were here unloaded and transferred to a
churchyard to rest during the night, which was found to be a very
pleasant resting place. We had drawn rations at Atlanta, which
consisted of about a pound and one-half of hardtack and a small
quantity of bacon. Two and one-half pounds of hardtack and bacon for
each man to subsist on for six days were small rations. From Augusta
we went by rail into South Carolina, running down within about twenty
miles of the city of Charleston to a small place named Branchville.

On our way we passed through some swampy country. The train stopped at
a place where a large ricefield extended close to the track. The rice
was out in head and I was anxious to get some of it, so the guards
permitted me to get off the car and procure a few heads.

I now discovered Captain Muhleman, of Gen. Palmer’s staff, on the
train, he being also a prisoner of war, captured about the same time
that I was taken. I was surprised to see him, not knowing previously
that he had been taken prisoner. I talked with him, and he appeared to
be very much discouraged in regard to our condition. At Branchville we
turned north, and soon arrived at Columbia, S. C. (the capital of the
State), where the train halted for a short time, but we were soon on
our way again northward, passing through some country which appeared
to me extremely poor. The soil had the appearance of red chalk, and
here I heard a good many remarks made by the men about the country.
One said, “The ground is so poor that they could raise nothing but a
rebellion and the d——l, and would be obliged to fertilize it before it
would make brick.”

I was of the opinion that birds flying over that country would be
obliged to carry haversacks, because they could find nothing there to
subsist on, and that the hogs we saw in the woods were so thin that
two of them were required to make a shadow. Many other similar remarks
were made by the boys. We passed on northward, finally reaching the
borders of North Carolina, the land of tar, pitch and turpentine.
Passing on, most of the country was found to be heavily timbered, but
of course we saw only a portion of it, as some of our journey was made
after night.

Our next stopping place of importance was Charlotte, N. C., where we
arrived Sept. 27, left the cars, and camped for the night in a nice,
grassy field. I rested well here. We began thinking about our rations,
which were getting low, and I proceeded to eat some of mine, and
relished them after fasting for some time. While eating some of the
bacon a peculiar flavor was noticeable, and I remarked to one of my
comrades that I thought the bacon had a peculiar taste, and he said it
tasted of the Southern Confederacy. We arose in the morning feeling
quite refreshed, and after eating a light breakfast were again put on
board the train and started eastward, arriving at Raleigh, the capital
of the State, some time during the day. The train stopped here for a
short time, but soon moved on through the city northward, toward
Virginia, nothing of importance transpiring on the way.

The next place of importance was Petersburg, Va., where the train
halted quite a long time. We were now not far from Richmond, Va. After
all was ready the train moved on toward Richmond and Belle Isle, where
we arrived Sept. 30, 1863. Between Augusta and Richmond we spent three
nights in the cars, which almost tormented the life out of us.

I had now been a prisoner of war ten days, and began to feel the
effects of it seriously, as during the journey from Atlanta to Belle
Isle, which was a period of six days, we had only a pound and a half
of hardtack and a small piece of bacon to subsist on. I have not
forgotten how carefully those scanty rations were guarded by me. I
prized them as highly as I would the same weight in gold, and perhaps
they were of more value to me than gold, for my life depended upon the
little morsel. Economy was practiced by me to the utmost degree as I
ate only a very small quantity at a time. Whenever hunger pinched me
hard, I could not keep my hand out of the haversack. It seemed as
though the little morsel was magnetized. I would take a few bites of
my bacon and hardtack (the bacon I was obliged to eat raw as I had no
way of cooking it), and after eating just enough to aggravate me,
would be obliged to stop or have none left for the following two or
three days.

During our journey from Atlanta to Belle Isle we saw many curious
crowds, that collected at the stations where our train halted. They
came to see the “Yanks,” and would ask some funny questions in regard
to the war. Some would ask, “What did you-all come down heah to fight
we-uns for?” “You-all were captured this time”; and many other curious
questions, too numerous to mention.

                             CHAPTER IX.

                Entrance into Belle Island Prison Pen.

On Sept. 30, 1863, we arrived on Belle Island, which is located in the
James River, in front and a little above Richmond, Va., then the
capital of the Southern Confederacy. The train stopped on the south
side of the river and we were ordered to alight and were conducted
down to the bridge and across it to the island. The Confederate iron
works were located on the island, near the bridge, it was now getting
dark and as we passed them they seemed to be all aglow from the light
of the fires within, and one of the boys remarked in a joking way:
“Here are the iron works, and the next place will be h——l.” I guess
the prison pen on the island, into which we were placed a few moments
later, about filled the bill.

We soon arrived at the place where we were to be confined, and found
it to consist of several acres of ground, surrounded by a ditch about
two feet deep and three feet wide, with the soil thrown up on the
outside, which formed the dead-line. Outside of this the guards paced
back and forth. Any person stepping upon this line would be shot down
without a moment’s warning. There were 7,000 or 8,000 prisoners
confined on this small area of ground. Nearly one-half of them were
without any shelter whatever, and many had no blankets or overcoats.

We arrived at our new quarters in the evening, and after partaking of
a scanty meal looked about for a spot large enough to lie down upon to
sleep. I found a place that reminded me of the garden beds we used to
make at home, it being slightly raised, with a path around it.
Probably this had been made by some of the prisoners, to keep the
water off in case of heavy rains. We now made preparations to retire,
which were very simple. As many as could crowd upon this small space
of ground lay down, in spoon fashion; that is, all lying with our
faces turned in the same direction, and fitted together as one would
spoons in packing them away, in order to have sufficient room and keep
as warm as possible. We had nothing under us except the cold, bare
earth, and nothing over us except a pup tent (a piece of muslin six
feet square) and the blue sky, which was rather light covering. We had
advantages on the island in some respects that we did not possess at
home, we were not obliged to open the windows to air our beds. My
outfit of clothing consisted of shirt, pants, cavalry jacket, boots
and hat. I used my hat in place of a nightcap, to keep my head from
coming in contact with the ground. I generally felt quite chilly
during the night, and did not sleep soundly. Got up in the morning and
found that the surroundings looked very discouraging. Did not see a
soul that I knew, but saw many prisoners, some of whom had been
confined here for months. These appeared ragged, dirty, and
discouraged to the last degree. Rations were very small, and we were
hungry continually, but had plenty of river water to drink. From Belle
Isle a fairly good view of the city of Richmond was had. We could
plainly see a building in which Jefferson Davis, the president of the
Southern Confederacy, resided, and also some of the large brick
buildings in which were confined many Union soldiers. The famous Libby
Prison, in which was a large number of Federal officers, stood very
close to the James River, in plain view from the island.

I remained here six days, and was then transferred to the city of
Richmond. On arriving there I, in company with other prisoners,
entered Libby Prison through the wide door at the northwest corner of
the building.

We were introduced into Libby for the purpose of being searched, were
formed into line, and then the search commenced. It was bossed by a
man named Dick Turner. We were closely searched, and everything of
value taken from us and confiscated. I possessed but very little
property at that time. A two dollar greenback and a one dollar
Confederate bill was all the money in my possession. I had also an old
dilapidated pocketbook, but it was of no value and therefore was not
confiscated. My two dollar greenback they were unable to find. I
bought bread with it later on. Bread sold at enormous prices, and a
man could easily eat in one day what he could buy for a dollar

[Illustration: Libby Prison, West Side.]

From Libby we were transferred to and confined in a large four-story
brick building, called the Smith Prison. It had formerly been used as
a tobacco factory, but was now a prison for Federal soldiers. I was
confined on the third floor, with about three hundred other prisoners.
This was a large room, but after lying down at night the floor was
about covered with men. There was scarcely room enough for a person to
walk through between the rows of men. Here we were well sheltered, but
suffered another extreme, being nearly suffocated on account of not
having proper ventilation; not even being allowed to open a window
wide enough to admit sufficient fresh air to supply the number of
prisoners within.

[Illustration: Libby Prison, Northeast.]

One day while I was standing near a window, two of my comrades stepped
upon the window sill and pulled the window slightly down, to admit
some fresh air; when immediately a shot was fired by the guard
outside. The ball passed through the window at an angle of about
thirty degrees, fortunately missed the boys who opened the window, but
passed up through the floor above us, which also contained a large
number of prisoners, and unfortunately the ball passed through one of
them, severely wounding him. He was carried downstairs, passing
through our room, and outside, I suppose to some hospital.

There were about three hundred of us confined within this room, for a
term of about two months, and during all that time we were hardly
allowed to draw a breath of fresh air. What I mean by this is, air
that was not contaminated by the foul air of the prison. This and
starvation, together, weakened us to an alarming degree. Our rations
were issued once a day, and we generally devoured them at one meal,
and still felt hungry. It was really just enough to make one meal a
day. The order to draw rations generally came in the following manner.
The Confederate orderly would enter the room and cry out: “Sargin ob de
floor, four men and four blankets.” This announcement in the southern
dialect soon became a proverb among the boys. The “sargin ob de floor”
would then detail four men and four blankets (blankets were a scarce
article but generally enough were found to carry the rations) to carry
the rations to our room. They would hasten down the stairs, and then
those left behind anxiously crowded around the windows, pale, hungry,
and each one eager to catch the first glimpse of the returning four
men and four blankets with the morsel of bread, and soup (the soup
being carried in buckets). This was composed of small beans, some
being black and others red, and nearly every one was hollow and
contained several black bugs enclosed, with hard shells. When the
beans were boiled the bugs separated from them, and became mixed all
through the soup, and while eating it we were obliged to grind the
bugs between our teeth, which made me think of chewing parched corn or
grinding coffee. The ingredients of the soup except the beans and bugs
were unknown to us. Some declared that there was mule meat in it,
judging from the bones found in the soup. I was almost famished for a
meat diet, but did not care to have it in bug form. The bread rations
consisted of brown bread, which tasted good to me, but we could not
tell of what it was composed. The quantity was so small that it failed
to satisfy our hunger. Part of the time while in this building we
received corn-bread instead of the brown bread, and occasionally a
small piece of meat, the quantity being too small to be mentioned. The
soup was named by some of the men “bug soup,” and it was a very
appropriate name, as the bugs seemed to make the biggest show.

Our beds consisted of the bare floor. For covering I had my
indispensable pup tent. We remained in this building during the months
of October and November, and during that time there was no fire in the
room, but any quantity of foul air, which at times was so terrible
that I believe it was poison to us. The closet was located at or in
one corner of the room. It was nothing more than a space about six or
eight feet in length and several feet wide, and extended down to the
basement to the depth of twenty or twenty-five feet. It was enclosed
on three sides, and the side which opened into our room or prison had
no door. It remained open all the time that we were confined in this
place. I do not know whether there was sufficient water at the bottom
of the closet to carry away all the refuse or not, but by what we saw
I think not. The condition of the atmosphere was simply horrible
beyond description. At times it seemed as if we would certainly
suffocate. In this condition about three hundred of us lived, slept,
and dined, for a period of about two months in the room just
mentioned. We usually became quite chilly during the night, while
lying on the cold floor. Our clothing was thin, as we were captured
during warm weather and therefore were not prepared for winter.

While in the Smith Prison I formed an acquaintance with a number of
the boys, with whom many good talks were enjoyed about our homes and
friends so far away, and those we had left several years before,
perhaps never to see again. My most intimate friend while there was a
“Doc.” Davis who belonged I think to the 55th Indiana Infantry. Davis
and I bunked together, as we called it. Each possessed a pup tent,
which we doubled for a covering at night. Davis was not feeling well
here. He would arise in the morning, sometimes groaning with pain,
caused by lying on the cold, hard floor all night. He died soon after
his return from prison.

I also formed acquaintance with a man named Scott, and another named
Seaman, both members of the 21st Wisconsin, and very fine boys they
were. Both of them died in prison. We nightly dreamed of getting
something good to eat, for this idea was uppermost in our minds, and
we were constantly reminded of it by the gnawing hunger endured. Many
times I dreamed of being at home and eating of the luxuries to be
found there. Oh, what a disappointment on awaking from such happy
dreams, to find myself in such a wretched condition as we were. Many
of the men soon became weak and disabled, from the poisonous
atmosphere created by the breathing of the several hundred men
confined here, and the horrid stench from the closet. The starvation
and feeling of utter despair to which they gave way was also a factor.
They became so emaciated that many were unable to stand up during roll
call. This was usually called once a day by a spry little man named
Ross. The boys named him “Jack of Clubs.” I well remember his
countenance. Whenever he came in to call the roll, and any of the boys
did not get up quick enough to suit him, he would go to them and abuse
them in a brutal manner. Those who were sick and unable to rise he
frequently left for days and weeks before reporting to the hospital.
He always came in accompanied by a large man, carrying an old musket
barrel in his hand. Three or four guards also accompanied him. The man
with the musket barrel generally helped to get the boys in line by
cuffing them. Roll call took place early in the day, after which we
would begin “skirmishing for graybacks” (as we called it) of which we
all had a good supply.

This occupation helped us to pass away some of the long, tedious hours
of our confinement. Some perhaps do not understand what is meant by
the word “grayback,” which I will now explain. A grayback is a small,
carnivorous insect—or plainly speaking a louse—which infests the inner
garments of a person who is unable to change his clothing frequently,
which was the case with us in the prisons. In fact we never changed
our garments while in prison. It was not stylish to do so, and if it
had been we could not, as we possessed only what we had on our backs
and they changed themselves. Some were obliged to wear their shirts
until they literally wore off, or were kicked to pieces by the
graybacks and fell from their backs. I will now explain what is meant
by skirmishing. It was taking off our shirts, turning them inside out,
and carefully searching for and killing the graybacks, which were
sometimes very numerous, and tormented us in such a way at night that
we were scarcely able to sleep.

[Illustration: Skirmishing for Graybacks.]

The mode of killing these graybacks was as follows: As stated before,
the garment was turned inside out, and then the game was soon found,
overtaken and slain. Our weapons consisted of our thumb nails. The
hands were placed near each other in about the position that a person
would hold them when knitting with knitting needles, with the upper
part of the thumb nails nearly touching. When in operation the
movement of the hands was about the same as it would be when knitting.
This work might properly have been called “knitting,”because nits were
more numerous than graybacks. In the work mentioned above the results
depended upon the amount of labor performed; the faster we worked the
more we accomplished. These pests had become so numerous that it was
all a well man could do to keep them within a reasonable limit. These
miserable tormenters were always hungry like ourselves, because they
had poor pasture feeding on our bodies. Sometimes when things in
prison were reasonably quiet many of those insects would venture out
on the vacant spaces of the floor, and it was amusing to us boys to
watch their maneuvers. A number of us would sometimes be sitting in a
row on the floor, with our backs to the wall, and suddenly our
attention would be turned to a number of these pests in groups about
the floor. Of course the boys would make remarks about their
performance. Some would say: “Hello, the graybacks are going on dress
parade.” Others declared they were foraging parties, looking for
provisions, and would call out: “Look out, boys, they are looking you
fellows over to find out which one of you has any meat left on him,
and then they will go for you.”Those men who were weak and helpless
were nearly eaten alive by these millions of parasites. It did not
seem unreasonable when one of the men declared that he had seen a dead
man with quarts of graybacks upon him. No doubt but that the days of
these poor sick boys were materially shortened by these insects.

I used my boots for a pillow at night, while trying to sleep, by
placing them together in a way that would locate the most congenial
part of the boots next to and in contact with my head. I found a
contrast between my pillow and one composed of good goose feathers,
but the boot pillow was a decided improvement over the hard floor, and
it was also the best that could be done under the circumstances, as we
could get no rubbish of any kind to place under our heads, and I did
not dare to take off my jacket to use as a pillow, or I would have
chilled. The boot pillow was a severe test on the phrenological organs
of the head. Some of my comrades feared that we might receive fatal
injuries from the effects of our hard pillows, and others allowed that
it would improve our fighting qualities by an enlargement of that
organ. I was not the only one who endured the pangs of a hard pillow.
Nearly or quite all suffered the same, in common. There was no
partiality shown in this; the hardships were as free as water for all,
and the hard pillow was not the only torture, when we tried to sleep
in the Smith Prison. As I stated before, our clothing was thin, and
what meat was left on us also thin. And when lying on the hard floor
at night, trying to sleep, it seemed as if our bones were determined
to punch holes through our grayback-eaten hides. Some thought if we
ever got out of prison Uncle Sam would be obliged to patch us up, like
a person would patch an old torn garment.

My opinion was that there would be but very few of us left that would
be worth patching after the Southern Confederacy was through with us,
and I think now that I was correct. No person can comprehend the
extent of the intense suffering endured by the men in prison except
those who were confined in them. We suffered a dozen things at the
same time, that made us miserable. They occur to me as follows:
Starvation, cold, bad ventilation, tormented by graybacks, filthy
clothing, no opportunity for bathing, bad sanitation, close
confinement, food of poor quality, soreness caused by sleeping on the
bare floor, the sight of so much misery all about us, and the thought
of being domineered over by a cruel keeper. I had the pleasure (?) of
enjoying (?) with hundreds of other comrades all the hardships just
mentioned, which was a great combination of torments and as I thought
a severe dose.

Trading with the guards became an extensive business considering the
amount of capital invested. Capital with us was very small, on account
of our having been closely searched by the Confederates before
entering prison. All money and valuables that could be found on our
persons were confiscated, but they were unable to find all the
greenbacks that the boys had hidden in their clothing in various ways.

When starvation began to take effect they used this money to purchase
bread from the guards, at enormous prices. Some of the guards were
very clever fellows, and would do favors for us when the officers were
not about. Sometimes they furnished us with the Richmond papers, which
was against the orders of the Confederacy. Thereby we were enabled to
get a little of the outside news.

Sometime in November we received some rations from Uncle Sam, which
were sent through the Confederate lines to us. This partly supplied us
for about a week, after which we received no more during our
imprisonment. Some days later I read an order in a Richmond paper as
follows: “No more rations or clothing shall be allowed to come through
the Confederate lines to prisoners of war in our possession.”Signed by
those in authority in the Confederate government. They claimed that it
was a disgrace for them to allow our government to feed us. The famous
Confederate commander of cavalry, John Morgan, came into our prison
one day in November. He seemed to be looking for some person or
persons, as he passed through the room, but I never heard whether he
found the one he was searching for. I well remember his looking us
over very closely.

An Ohio boy, whose name I cannot recall, did some trading with the
guards with the intention of procuring a Confederate uniform. The
place where the trading was usually done was at the foot of the lower
stairway, where a door opened into a reception room, which also had a
door opening into the street or on to the sidewalk. A guard was
stationed at the foot of the stairway, and another at the door which
opened from this room into the street. This constituted a double

A number of Confederates who were not on duty would enter this room,
bringing with them some articles of food, and any prisoner who was
fortunate enough to have some greenbacks could purchase, at enormous
prices. This Ohio boy, mentioned, first traded for a Confederate cap,
next a coat, and third, a pair of pants which were of the grey
Confederate uniform. He did not procure them all the same day. He
brought them upstairs into our room and took off his blue suit and put
on the grey. He then walked down the stairway and commenced trading
with the Confederates who were standing about the room. While they
were busy trading he passed the inner guard and into the reception
room unnoticed, and then walked leisurely about the room, talking to
the Confederates, not being particularly noticed by them, and finally
walked past the outer guard into the street. The guards no doubt
supposed him to be one of their own men on account of his being
dressed in a grey uniform. He walked leisurely up the street to a
bakery, where he purchased some bread, and then retraced his steps,
walking back past our prison, which was the last time we saw him Some
time later we learned that he had made his escape to the Union lines.
He certainly was a shrewd boy.

                              CHAPTER X.

Our Return to Danville—Many Sick with Smallpox—Smallpox Hospital, and
                          Convalescent Camp.

On the morning of Dec. 9, 1863, the order came for us to go to
Danville, Va., located on the North Carolina line a distance from
Richmond of about 150 miles in a southwesterly direction. We started
before daylight in the morning, going by rail. I remember my surprise
as we marched out into the street. My limbs were very weak, and some
pain in my knee joints and other parts of the body caused me to
stagger a little as I walked. We were escorted to the railroad station
and crowded into freight cars, and arrived at Danville in the evening
of the same day. We were then unloaded and confined in a building
similar to the one we had left, received nearly the same kind of food,
and enjoyed about such privileges as we did in Richmond, being
continually hungry, filthy, crowded and chilly, and also irritated by
the industrious graybacks, which seemed determined to keep us company
without being invited, and which caused the most of us to be rather

The smallpox made its appearance here about Dec. 13, but I was not
aware of it until about eight days later, when I became very sick, and
was lying upon the cold, bare floor for a number of days without any
attention whatever. On Dec. 24 a doctor came in, looked me over, and
informed me that I had smallpox, but I was feeling so very sick that
this information did not make much impression on me. I did not seem to
care what I had or what became of me. Late in the afternoon they came
with a two-wheeled dray, upon which I was loaded and hauled about a
mile to the smallpox hospital, while the wind was blowing almost a
gale from the northwest, and cold for that locality. On arriving at
the hospital, about sunset, I found it to be quite a comfortable place
compared to where I had been staying. It contained cots for the sick
such as we used in our own hospitals. I was placed upon one of these,
and on either side of me were those who appeared very sick. The one on
my right died the first night I was there.

This being Christmas eve, my thoughts were of course of home, and the
happy times we always enjoyed on such occasions. I felt very gloomy
when realizing my condition and the place in which I was confined,
hardly possessing the necessaries of life, and being a prisoner of
war, sick and in the hands of an enemy. This Christmas eve seemed very
long and tedious. The pustules were then beginning to break out on me
and my head seemed to me as large as a bushel basket. There were no
pit marks left upon me from the effects of the smallpox, as I had
previously been dieted, by the kindness of the Southern Confederacy,
which was expert at dieting its prisoners of war.

The days and nights wore slowly away, and in a few days I began to
feel better and was able to watch the proceedings about me in the
hospital. Some new patients were being brought in continually, while
others died and were carried out to the dead-house. This was a log
house near by, where the dead were stored until ready for burial, and
was generally well occupied, as many died and were buried here.

I had now been here a number of days, and to my surprise, one day Doc.
Davis, who was my chum in Richmond, came into the ward in which I was
confined, and told me that he had been detailed to be hospital steward
of the smallpox hospital. The news of Doc. Davis’ presence cheered me
up wonderfully. Of course he did all he could for us sick boys. The
weather for this latitude was extremely cold during the latter part of
1863 and the beginning of 1864, but of course not as severe as in the
northern States. Yet we suffered greatly on account of not being well
prepared for it. About two weeks had been spent by me in the hospital,
and my health was greatly improved. The authorities were talking of
putting us in the convalescent camp, which they did about the second
week in January.

This camp was very well located, and was composed of tents, having
chimneys made of mud and sticks, with a fireplace. We were quite
comfortably housed, and were allowed to have wood for fire if we
chopped it, and those who were able did so. Three of us convalescents
were quartered in one small tent. Here I became acquainted with my
tentmates, William Herrick, of Co. F, 30th Indiana, and Calvin W.
Hudson, of Co. D, 65th Ohio. We soon became quite intimate, and had
many friendly chats together about home and friends, and laying plans
for our escape from prison. We had bunks fixed up, made of boards, so
that our beds were not on the ground. We had now secured woolen
blankets from Uncle Sam, and had one apiece.

This camp was guarded by North Carolina troops. Their guard line, on
which the guards paced to and fro, was about ten or fifteen feet from
our row of tents. The cookhouse was located in the southeast corner of
the camp, in which the rations were cooked for the sick and
convalescent. By this time our appetites had become the largest part
of us. It seemed to me that I could eat anything, from a dog to a
sawhorse, which was an indication that my health was improving.

One day when outside our tent near the cookhouse window, I discovered
some turnip and potato parings lying on the ground, which had been
thrown out of the cookhouse window. I gathered them up, and while
doing so also discovered an old beef bone, which I picked up, and put
the bone parings and some water together in an old tin can. I placed
it over the fire and allowed the morsel to boil for quite a long time.
This formed a sort of soup, with a little grease from the bone
floating on the top. I stirred it well, and as soon as it was cool
enough ate it with great relish, thinking it the best soup that I had
ever tasted. I was extremely hungry, and could hardly refrain from
tasting it while stirring. I probably acted like some little child
would when there is a prospect for something good to eat. I ate the
soup and eagerly wished for more, and would have given a small fortune
(had I possessed one) for some more of the same kind. No man can
realize what a torture it is to be starving, unless he has had the

The days wore slowly away, and one day Doc. Davis came to our tent and
surprised me by saying: “Eby, there has been a small box received in
camp, addressed to H. H. Eby, Co. C, 7th Illinois Cavalry.” I was so
elated over the news that I could hardly be restrained, and of course
immediately set about to procure my box, which contained a loaf of
bread, some crackers, a small quantity of cheese, a few onions, a
small piece of pork, butter, pepper and salt. If I remember rightly
the box was brought to me by Doc. Davis. It was sent by my brother
Moses, who at that time lived near Mendota, Ill. He died at Freeport,
Ill., July 10, 1909. My receiving this box was a mere accident, as
thousands of them were sent to others which never reached their
destination. For a day or two my two comrades in my tent and myself
had quite a feast from the contents of this box. Oh, what a luxury it
was, as since our confinement we had had very little food that was

We now began thinking seriously about making our escape from prison to
our lines, because the food in the box would furnish us with a few
days’ provisions to start with. William Herrick, of Co. F, 30th
Indiana, concluded to start with me. Hudson was too sick to make the
journey with us. Each of us possessed a haversack, which we filled
with some of the eatables from the box, and now our commissary stores
were ready for the journey. What eatables were left in the box were
given to Hudson, who remained in camp. A day or two previous to our
departure Doc. Davis came to our tent, and wanted to know if I would
divide some provisions with him, as he was going to attempt his escape
that night, and I replied in the affirmative. He returned to his tent,
and we learned the next day that he had made his escape. I never saw
him afterward, but heard after I returned to our lines that he finally
reached the Union lines in safety. Poor fellow, he was not well, and
had a hard time getting through to his regiment, and lived only a
short time afterward. I sincerely hope that he is receiving his
well-earned reward. The second night after Davis escaped, Herrick and
I passed the guard line and succeeded as far as getting out of the
clutches of the guards.

                             CHAPTER XI.

About eight or nine o’clock in the evening of Jan. 22, 1864, our light
was extinguished, and Herrick and I each put on a haversack, well
filled, and bade farewell to Hudson, who was yet sick. Now came the
critical moment, as the guard line must be passed without being
detected. Near our tent was a depression in the ground, crossing the
guard line. We selected this place through which to make our escape.

The forward movement was now about to begin. We left the tent, and
crawled down through the depression across the line without being
discovered by the guards. It seems that good luck favored us, as the
guards were passed without being disturbed. We walked quietly down the
gully which farther on merged into quite a ravine. This was followed
on down by us as hastily as we could, a distance of eighty or one
hundred rods in a southerly direction, where a high rail fence was
reached. Here a brief rest was enjoyed, as we were nearly exhausted.
Our being weakened by sickness, and the excitement of passing the
guards had some effect upon us, and we were in a very poor condition
for the perilous journey. I put my arms over the top rail of the fence
and hung on it, to support myself and rest. This attempt of making our
escape was, as we discussed later on, a foolish undertaking when in
such a debilitated condition, as we were to start out through an
enemy’s country in the winter season. But the love of liberty was
strong within us, and we thought it better to perish in trying to
escape than to die in the filthy prison pens.

The evening of Jan. 22, 1864, I shall never forget. To our best
knowledge in regard to the location of things we were now over one
hundred miles from any Union troops. This distance was through an
enemy’s country, full of rivers and small streams which we were
obliged to cross, as well as hills, mountains and many other obstacles
which must be encountered and overcome. This had to be accomplished
mostly at night, for fear of being seen and recaptured by the
Confederates. After being rested somewhat, we left the fence and
started in a westerly direction, finally turning to the northwest, in
which direction the Union lines were located.

We journeyed on slowly during a part of the first night, through the
woods and brush, over rocks and ravines, crossing small streams of
water by placing sticks across to walk upon, making slow progress
until two or three o’clock in the morning. We then began looking about
for a place to conceal ourselves during the following day, and also to
rest and sleep. While passing through a grove we came upon a large
white oak tree, which had been cut down during the summer or fall
while the leaves were on its branches, and on that account the leaves
were still remaining. This made a good comfortable hiding place for us
during the following day, as the leaves were very dense. We concluded
this would be as good a place as could probably be found, to conceal
ourselves. By crawling under the tree and gathering some leaves a bed
was prepared, placing them under us, and Herrick spread his blanket
out upon the leaves. We took off our haversacks, which contained our
supply of provisions for several days, and lay down upon our bed,
using my blanket for a covering. After lying down we found ourselves
extremely tired from our night’s journey of eight or ten miles. I
remember being very uncomfortable after retiring, as it was a cold
night and we were chilly. After becoming a little more comfortable we
fell into a sound slumber. On awakening the next day hunger appeared,
and we began partaking of the contents of our haversacks. After eating
our breakfast we felt much revived from our fatigue, and contented
ourselves during the day by talking over the prospects ahead of us and
also the dangers that were awaiting us by being overtaken by the
prison guards, as we were now only about eight or ten miles from

As near as could be ascertained we were now in the vicinity of the
line between North Carolina and Virginia, probably in North Carolina,
as Danville prison was about on the line. I knew that we were at least
as far south. Another fear now came over us, that the Confederates
would put some of their bloodhounds on our trail; so we remained in
the tree top the greater part of the day, and about sunset rolled up
our blankets and prepared to move.

We ate our suppers and began to look about to see what was ahead of
us, and as soon as it was thought safe resumed our journey for the
night; this being the evening of Jan. 23. As soon as the stars could
be distinguished we looked them over and by them were guided. Our aim
was to go in a northwesterly direction, but when the Dan River was
reached were obliged to go directly west, and in this direction we
journeyed until sometime during the night when a cedar thicket was
passed on the south bank of the river. The Dan River was found to be
quite a wide stream, and the problem now was how to cross it. We
followed along the bank of the stream during the night until we were
very tired, failing to find a way to cross it, and then looked about
for a hiding place in which to conceal ourselves the following day.

As we passed along we found the bank of the river to be mostly covered
with cedar thickets, in which we made our hiding and sleeping place
for the latter part of the night and during the next day. We crawled
into a large bunch of cedar brush, and prepared our sleeping place
similar to the night previous, went to bed and slept until sometime
the following day. On awaking we found the sun shining brightly. This
was Sunday morning, Jan. 24, and I must confess that I felt homesick.
After eating breakfast we made preparations to find a place for
crossing the river. We were unable during the night to find a
crossing. There being no houses in this immediate vicinity that could
be discovered, and the country being heavily timbered, we considered
it safe to some extent to travel during the day, which we did, in
order to enable us to find some means of crossing the river. We
continued walking westward along the south bank of the stream for some
distance, when open woods were entered and we discovered a man riding
along in a buggy. I remember we made a number of remarks about him.
Herrick made some which were rather comical, but we were very
uncomfortable all this time, for fear we had been seen by the man in
the buggy, and would be reported. We soon struck another cedar
thicket, and also the river, passing along the bank still searching
for some means by which to cross. So far we were unsuccessful, and by
this time had become nearly discouraged on account of not finding a

It was now nearly the middle of the day, and we were still passing
along the river, when suddenly we met a colored boy about ten or
twelve years of age, and as they were generally our friends and we
could trust them, we made known to him our wants. I asked him whether
he could tell us where we could cross the river. He answered by
saying: “Just a little ways down thar is a black man, with a canoe,
playing with it in the river; maybe he will take you across.” I
thanked him, and we passed along in the direction indicated by the
boy, and to our great joy saw the man in the canoe near the shore, and
also saw a house not far away. On arriving at the spot I motioned to
him to come to shore, which he did. I then asked him if he would take
us across the river in his boat. He answered in the affirmative. I
said to him, “I will pay you if you will hurry and take us across.”All
this time we felt very uneasy because we feared that we might be seen
by some one who would report us to the Confederates and cause our
capture. All the money that I possessed was a Confederate dollar bill,
which was worth about ten cents in U. S. money; having used my two
dollar greenback to purchase bread. I drew it from my pocket, opened
it out and presented it to the man, saying: “I will give you this if
you will hurry and take us across the river.” He took the money and
said, “All right, jump in.”

We got in the boat and he soon landed us on the north bank of the
river in safety. Dan River where we crossed is about forty or fifty
rods wide. As we were getting out of the boat and looking back across
the river to the place where the boat was entered, we saw six or eight
persons standing on the bank of the river, looking in our direction.
This caused quite an excitement in our camp, and we immediately issued
marching orders and started for the woods, which were a short distance
away. After reaching the cover of the woods a council of war was held
to decide what was best to do under the circumstances as things
appeared to us rather perilous.

[Illustration: Crossing Dan River.]

It was decided that we must have been seen by the group of people, who
we thought might report us to the Confederate authorities. It was
uncertain whether the persons we saw were black or white. Now that the
woods had been reached we started on the run, in order that we might
get as far away as possible in a short time and find a safe place to
secrete ourselves until night. We arrived at a deep ravine, where a
small stream of water was discovered, which appeared to come from a
spring, and we thought this a good hiding place. We sat down to rest,
which was badly needed, as we were weak and exhausted, and proceeded
to eat some of the luxuries from our haversacks. After eating we
talked of the prospects before us, which were not very encouraging. We
sat there on the cold, damp ground, not in a cheerful mood but the
opposite, tired, unnerved, and in a deplorable condition. Late in the
afternoon we began to look about us in order to ascertain the
condition of the surrounding country before dark. About sunset we
started out on our night’s journey, in a northwesterly direction as
near as we could tell, being guided by the stars when they were
visible. We journeyed on over hills and dales, rocks, swamps and small
streams, keeping as quiet as possible, speaking only in whispers,
sometimes traveling in the road a short distance when it was thought
safe to do so. Then again over fields, hills and the usual
difficulties, being careful to avoid going near houses, which would
arouse the dogs, which were quite numerous in that rough country.
Sometimes we were very much discouraged, being in an enemy’s country,
in the dead of night, in the winter season, weakened by sickness and
nearly exhausted, stumbling over stones, rough ground and through
brush and briers, not knowing what the next moment would bring forth.
We might be attacked by a pack of dogs, and our whereabouts made known
to the enemy, to be found in all parts of this country.

It was now nearing the time of night to begin to look about us for a
place to secrete ourselves, for sleep and rest. This time, was as
stated before, in the latter part of the night. We found a good place
in a thicket in the woods, where we made our bed, retired as usual,
and slept until sometime the following day, Jan. 25. After finding
some water we made our toilets and proceeded to eat some breakfast,
which was rather thin, as our commissary stores were getting low. We
had just about enough in our haversacks for breakfast. This was the
last of our provisions which I had received from my brother. After
eating breakfast the remainder of the day was spent in resting,
talking and planning for the following night. It was now necessary to
contrive some plan to replenish our stock of provisions. Sometime
before dark we started to spy out the country, cautiously moving along
the edge of the woods, looking for slave cabins, as we were afraid to
approach white people for fear of being captured. Just as darkness
began to appear we saw in the edge of a small field a one-story log
cabin, which afterward proved to be a slave cabin. We stopped at the
edge of the woods to investigate, after which Herrick said to me:
“Eby, if you will go to the cabin I will stay here and hold the fort
until you return.” I started, feeling a little timid as it was not
quite dark, and I feared discovery by some one who might be the cause
of our being taken in.

When arriving at the cabin I was met at the door by an aged colored
man. I told him who we were and that we would like to get something to
eat; would like to procure enough to supply us for several days if
convenient. He informed me that they had but very little cooked or
baked as their family was small (only himself and wife) but if we
would wait long enough they would bake a corn pone for us. I said, “All
right, you will find us at the gate posts,” and returned to my comrade
at the edge of the woods where the gate posts mentioned were in
position. But we did not remain there as I said we would, but hid in
the brush a number of rods away for the purpose of deceiving him in
case it would have been made known to the enemy that we were hid at
the posts. We could easily have been found, but being hid in the brush
we would have had a chance to escape. We waited several hours for the
return of our colored man and finally heard the footsteps of one
person walking in the direction of the gate posts. The noise he made
in walking over the dry leaves enabled us to tell whether there was
one or more persons. When near the posts he stopped. We were then
satisfied that it was our colored friend, bringing us something to
eat. We made our whereabouts known to him and he soon came to us,
bringing a good supply of food, consisting of one of the largest corn
pones that I ever saw and a quantity of cooked meat. The nice large
pone was yet warm and its odor was delicious to a hungry man. It
appeared to me as large as a full moon. The pone and meat supplied us
with food for several days. We were very grateful to our colored
friend and thanked him over and over. He then returned to his cabin
and we proceeded to refresh ourselves with some food. We broke our
fine large corn pone, and ate our suppers from it, after which we felt
much revived.

The next thing in order was to prepare for our night’s march. We were
obliged to break our corn pone in several pieces in order to get it in
our haversacks. After packing up the remains of our victuals we
started on our fourth night’s trip, which was quite exciting. As usual
we walked on in the darkness, feeling our way cautiously and quietly
along, not speaking above a whisper for fear of being heard by people
or dogs who might get on our trail. As I stated before, we were guided
by the stars when they were visible. Our aim was to travel in a
northwest direction from the prison because we knew that the outpost
pickets of the Union lines were located in that direction. We were now
walking upon what appeared to be a wagon road and in a westerly

This part of the country seemed to be a small valley, and was quite
level. About eight or nine o’clock in the evening we saw a house ahead
of us at some distance, on the left-hand side of the road. The night
was not very dark so that we were able to see quite a distance. Before
reaching it a small building was discovered, made of logs, on the
right-hand side of the road, perhaps ten or fifteen rods from the
house, and even with the road fence, having a door which opened into
the road. As we afterward discovered, this proved to be a one-story,
log horse-stable. When arriving within a short distance of it we saw a
man enter the door with a lighted lantern in his hand. After he passed
to the inner part of the stable we could see the light shining between
the logs. I was of the opinion that the man with the lantern was a
colored man, as he appeared so to me. I said, “Herrick, I am going to
get some information from that darkey.” We walked on, and arriving at
the stable I stepped up into the doorway and was suddenly surprised by
seeing a white man, dressed in a Confederate uniform, going in between
some horses to feed them, as it appeared to me. It immediately flashed
through my mind that this was a quartet of Confederate cavalry, in
search of escaping prisoners, who had put up there for the night. I
asked no questions but quietly stepped out of the door, motioned to
Herrick to come on, and we lit out for other parts as lively as we
could. After going a safe distance from the stable we stopped and
congratulated ourselves upon our narrow escape from being captured. It
was supposed that we had not been seen by the man in the stable but we
were not certain.

After quieting down to a normal condition, and deciding what course to
pursue, our journey for freedom was resumed, going in the usual
direction. We left the road again, as it was feared that we might be
overtaken if remaining on it. Therefore we struck out for the woods
and hills where we considered it more safe. Our progress was slow as I
have stated before. The greater part of our journey was over a rough
country, and we found it discouraging to travel.

We pressed forward through the woods and brush as rapidly as possible,
which I guarantee was not at a high speed, until nearly tired out,
when we were obliged to rest in order to be able to go on again. After
being rested sufficiently to be able to move on, we took fresh
courage, thinking that we might as well perish in trying to make our
way to the Union lines as to be recaptured and taken back to the
prisons to die. We were hungry to see the good old Stars and Stripes
once more, knowing that if the protection of “Old Glory”could be
reached we would be all right. Therefore we risked much to gain its
friendly cover. Wherever “Old Glory” floats in air people look for
righteous protection, and therefore every citizen should assist in
keeping it waving.

During the night we became partially lost in the dense woods, being
bewildered in regard to the compass so we could not tell north from
south. It seemed that Fate was against us. Herrick was not very well,
and complained bitterly, which had a tendency to discourage me, but I
tried to keep up my spirits, and trusted in a Higher Power. The woods
were dense and dismal. Nothing could be heard but the barking of dogs
in the distance and the whoo-whoo of some of those large hoot owls up
in the tops of the tall trees, which made the night seem yet more
hideous. As to the dogs we feared them, because they were liable to
get on our trail.

When I heard the owls I was reminded of a story which I had heard
about an old maid who went out into the woods to pray to the Lord to
send her a husband, and while praying one of those large owls in a
tree near by began his whoo-whoo. She, thinking this an answer,
replied, “Anybody, good Lord.”

We could not tell which way to go on account of having lost the right
course, but did not give up in despair, and concluding to camp for the
night, made our bed in the leaves and were soon asleep, as we were
very sleepy and tired. Jan. 26 we awoke, and to our surprise found
that about an inch of snow had fallen while we were asleep. We were
covered over with a blanket, face and all, and therefore the snow did
not interfere with our sleep. As usual we looked about for the purpose
of ascertaining in regard to our safety. Finding ourselves fairly well
hid, we prepared for breakfast, which did not require a large amount
of labor. We could not make very elaborate toilets, as we had no
water, and did not think it safe to venture far away in search of it
in the daytime. On opening our cupboard, or as I should say,
haversacks, we found quite a large supply of the provisions which had
been furnished us by the old colored man a day or so previous, and for
which we were extremely thankful.

Our breakfast was soon prepared and eaten, and then came a lonesome
day for us. We dare not move about for fear of being seen, and
therefore were obliged to sit on the wet ground and shiver with cold
until near night, when we began to look about us in order to procure
information in regard to the surrounding country. We heard some one
chopping in the woods a short distance from us, and we concluded to
crawl near enough to him to ascertain whether he was white or black.
We found him to be a slave, and very friendly toward us, and he gave
us some information in regard to the surrounding country. After
talking with him for some time, we returned to our hiding place.
During the day the snow had melted. After eating our suppers we
prepared to move on. It was now after sunset and we started out,
encountering the usual obstacles on the way. We traveled on for an
hour or two and then came in sight of a number of lights twinkling in
the darkness, and only a short distance ahead of us. This we afterward
learned was a small town named Henry. We immediately changed our
course to the right, flanked the town, and passed it without being
discovered. We soon struck a road leading in the direction we wanted
to go, and followed it for some distance, when we found it quite
narrow, and fenced with an old fashioned worm rail fence about eight
or ten rails high.

While walking along in this lane for a short distance we heard a
gunshot, perhaps forty or fifty rods from us. We stopped and listened,
and a few seconds later we heard a horse galloping toward us
apparently as fast as it could come, and in a second all was
excitement with us. Something had to be done immediately or there
would be trouble. Herrick said, “Let us get inside the fence as
quickly as possible.” We scrambled over the fence, and dropped down on
the ground as flat as a pancake, and in a second a horse with a man
upon it galloped past within ten or twelve feet of where we lay. We
did not know what it meant, but supposed the gunshot was a signal
among the Confederate home guards that we had been seen by some one,
who gave the alarm by discharging the gun, and thought he would catch
us in this lane by coming upon us so suddenly that we would be unable
to escape.

After the horseman had gone past us a short distance he stopped, and
we could hear several persons talking, while Herrick and I were
shivering with excitement behind the fence, hugging the earth as we
never did before. If their object was to capture us here they failed,
but if we had remained in the road a few seconds longer our goose
would probably have been cooked. We lingered inside of the fence for a
short time, and kept very quiet, and again heard some persons talking
not very far away. Later in the night, everything being quiet, we
crawled out of our hiding place and prepared to move on, but were very
cautious and struck out for the woods, groping onward through a
strange land, with the usual difficulties. We journeyed on during the
balance of the night without anything of an excitable nature
transpiring except the barking of dogs, which caused us a little
uneasiness at times.

Just a short time before looking up a place in which to hide and
sleep, we passed down into and through a small valley and up a steep
hill or mountain, on the opposite side on which we found a good place
to hide and make our bed and sleep during the morning. We retired and
soon were asleep. This was now Jan. 27, and some time during the
forenoon we were awakened by hearing some one talking near by. We got
up and began an investigation. We found ourselves on the summit of a
small mountain, in a good hiding place, and near a small precipice. I
crawled near the edge of it and looked down into the valley below and
saw a man doing some kind of work with a team. He was only a short
distance away but could not very well see us. Herrick and myself sat
and watched him for a short time, and having now become quite hungry
proceeded to investigate our store of provisions. We found some of the
corn pone and ate our breakfast from it. After completing our meal we
found that our commissary stores were getting low or nearly exhausted,
and before we could eat another meal we would be obliged to do some
foraging. The balance of the day was spent in our hiding place on the

Shortly before dark we investigated the surroundings, as usual, and
prepared to start out on our night’s march, but thought we would like
some supper first. On reflecting we remembered that our haversacks
were about empty. We went without supper for the same reason that Jack
did. The problem now was how to procure some more provisions. Herrick
not being very well proposed going to a house to get a warm meal, to
which I strenuously objected, fearing that we would be discovered by
the enemy. We finally started out on our night’s trip without any
supper, thinking that perhaps we might find some slaves who would
supply us with something to eat. This being a mountainous country
there were but few colored people to be found, and this fact compelled
me finally to consent to Herrick’s plan of going to a house to procure
a warm meal.

We were now moving along through the woods on a sort of road, and it
was about seven or eight o’clock in the evening. Hunger began to pinch
us severely, and we had not gone very far when a light was discovered
some distance ahead of us, apparently in a house. We continued to move
on toward the light, and when near enough began to investigate the
surroundings. We found it to be a one-story log house, located close
to the road and nearly surrounded by thick woods. It being well
lighted, we could see that it was occupied by white people. We now
held a council of war for the purpose of determining how to procure
something to eat. Herrick proposed having a warm meal if they could be
persuaded to prepare us one, and to this I finally consented. We then
approached the house, knocked at the door, and the man of the house
came out and our wants were made known to him. He objected at first to
our request, saying he feared it would become known to the Confederate
authorities that he had fed us and they would deal harshly with him.
He finally consented to our request, and his folks prepared a good
supper for us. When the meal was ready he called us in and said,
“Please get through supper as soon as possible. There is danger of you
being seen here by outside parties who might report you to the
Confederate authorities, and thereby get us and yourselves also into
trouble.” We sat down and ate a very hearty meal, thanked them kindly,
and passed out. The host went out with us, and accompanied us on our
journey quite a distance, giving us information about the surrounding
country. When he left us we again thanked him, and journeyed on in the
usual direction, being satisfied that we had met with a Union man
because he had treated us so kindly. Of course people were afraid to
feed us, because there had been what were called “bogus Yankees”
through that part of the country. A “bogus Yankee” was a Confederate,
dressed in a Federal uniform, pretending to be an escaping Union
prisoner of war, and he would come to these people throughout the
country for the purpose of ascertaining whether they would harbor and
feed escaping prisoners, and if they were found guilty would have them
arrested and confined in prison. We traveled in the road as long as we
deemed it safe to do so, and then struck out through the woods,
encountering the usual difficulties.

We were very much refreshed by the good meal we had eaten in the
evening, and were able to make good progress. Nothing transpired
during the night to cause any special excitement only the occasional
barking of dogs. Some of them had a peculiar bark, which sounded like
those large bloodhounds which were used in the South for the purpose
of catching runaway slaves and escaping prisoners of war, and caused
us some uneasiness. We moved on until our usual hour for retiring, and
then found a place which was deemed secure, where we made our bed and
retired as usual.

We awoke some time during the following day, this being Jan. 28, and
wanted to eat our breakfast, but had none, and dare not venture out in
search of food in daytime for fear of being taken in. We saw some
chestnut trees near by in the woods, and went to them, hoping to find
a few nuts among the leaves to appease our hunger to some extent, but
our search was in vain. A house was discovered at a distance, out in
the open country, but we were afraid to venture to it. We remained the
balance of the day in our hiding place, and as early as we thought it
safe to do so started on our night’s journey. The weather was quite
clear and pleasant, but things were not so pleasant with us, as we had
been without food during the past twenty-four hours, and had no
prospect of procuring any provisions during the evening. Our journey
was through a broken country, where the opportunity of procuring food
was limited, but we still moved forward, thinking that we might come
across some colored people who would supply us. It seemed that luck
was against us. We had spent a good part of the night, walked a long
distance, and were getting very weak from hunger, and walking became
burdensome for us, especially while passing through such a maze of
tangled underbrush.

The night was now nearly spent and we stopped to consider what was
best to do and concluded as we were so nearly worn out it was best to
select a resting place and make our bed. We found a place in the woods
beside a large log, and as we supposed a good hiding place. We
prepared our bed and went to sleep as usual, as we were so extremely
tired from our long journey. We slept very soundly until about
sunrise, when I was awakened by a clattering noise and some one
talking. I carefully raised my head high enough to enable me to look
over the top of the log, and to my horror saw four Confederate
cavalrymen riding past within six or eight rods of us.

I carefully awakened Herrick and told him what I had seen. Then he
also peeped over the log and saw the Confederates as they were
disappearing. We kept quiet, though much excited over our situation,
and remained here for a short time.

[Illustration: Sleeping Behind a Log.]

We had now fasted for about thirty-six or forty hours, and felt as
though we could stand it no longer without food, and would be obliged
to procure some in some manner. We crawled out of our hiding place and
cautiously moved through the woods in search of a house where
something to eat might be secured. After walking a short distance we
saw an open field to the eastward from us, and also a house near the
edge of the woods, which was found to be a two-story dwelling of fair
size. It appeared to us to be occupied by white people. Starvation
will compel a person to risk almost anything for the purpose of
procuring food. We decided to go to the house and ascertain the
prospect of getting something, as we could not fast much longer.

                             CHAPTER XII.

                 Our Recapture and Return to Prison.

On Jan. 29, 1864, early in the forenoon, we went to the house
described in the former chapter. It was a bright, sunshiny morning,
and walking around to the east door of the house (which appeared to be
the one most used by the family), I knocked and the proprietor opened
the door. I made known to him our wants, and he replied, saying “We
will give you something to eat,” and invited us in. The door opened to
my left as I passed in. I looked in that direction, and to my horror
saw two Confederate soldiers sitting in that end of the room, one of
whom afterward told me that he was a captain, and they had their side
arms with them. As soon as we were fairly inside the room they smiled,
and one of them said: “Boys, I guess you are our prisoners, as it is
our duty to hold you as such.”

We failed to return the smile which on our part was not very polite,
but under the circumstances I think we were excusable. You can imagine
the state of our minds just at that moment. I felt like sinking
through the floor into the earth and out of sight, and of course poor
Herrick felt likewise. After risking our lives in escaping from the
guards, and facing the dangers of passing through an enemy’s country
until within thirty-five miles of the Union lines, and then to fall
into a trap like that, was almost too much to endure. But what could
we do? We were obliged to submit, and there was no use arguing the
case with them.

[Illustration: Recapture.]

After the excitement abated, the women folks prepared breakfast for
us. As soon as it was ready we were asked to take seats at the table.
Before doing so the host looked at us and said: “Boys, you look
poorly,” seeming to sympathize with us. He handed us a bottle of peach
brandy, saying, “This will be good medicine for you in your weakened
condition.” We each took a few swallows, and it did seem to stimulate
us for the time being. While eating breakfast we had quite a chat with
the men folks, and found them to be gentlemen, and they used us as
well as we could have been used among our own people. We were kept
here until the arrival of some new guards, whom they had sent for.
When dinner time came we were invited to take dinner with the family,
and strange to say we did not refuse. During the forenoon we men folks
went out to the east side of the house, where it was quite
comfortable. The host asked whether we would like to crack some
walnuts. I replied in the affirmative (of course we would not refuse
anything that could be masticated, and would assist in filling us up),
and we sat down on a log together and cracked and ate walnuts. While
engaged in this I happened to be sitting beside the host, the guards
being a short distance away. We became engaged in conversation in
regard to secession, during which he frankly remarked to me that the
State of Virginia did not secede by the voice of the people, but was
forced out by the intrigue of State officials. I believed him to be a
loyal man at heart. He did not tell me so but his actions and
conversation proved it.

The new guard arrived about the middle of the afternoon and we were
soon on our way toward Rocky Mount, where we were placed behind the
bars of a county jail. We had not traveled very far before night
overtook us, and we lodged at a farmhouse that night, where they had
an immensely large dog which was supposed to be a bloodhound. They
cautioned us in regard to it, saying, “Do not venture outside the
house after night as you would be in danger of being attacked by the
dog.” A bed was prepared for us, and we retired soon after supper. The
guard also slept in the house. Herrick and myself talked over the
possibilities of making our escape from that place, but finally
concluded that it would be futile to attempt it on account of our
weakened condition, the danger of being attacked by the large dog and
the house being secured and locked.

We rested quite well until morning, Jan. 30. We were given breakfast
and the guard was soon ready to conduct us on our way to Rocky Mount,
arriving there during the day. On our journey toward that place we
stopped at a farmhouse for the purpose of procuring a drink of water.
The man of the house came out, being a man of perhaps sixty years of
age, and on learning who we were appeared to be terribly enraged. He
called us all sorts of new names not to be found in a dictionary, and
I well remember one thing he said: “You killed my son and you ought to
be killed.” He had a son in the Confederate army who had been killed
in battle, and seemed to blame us for it. The guard looked at us and
smiled, as much as to say, “The old fool, let him talk.” He appeared
as though he would like to give us a good dressing down, as he shook
his fist at us repeatedly, but I was not alarmed; we had seen things
more dangerous than a man’s fist. We arrived at the jail Jan. 30, and
were placed in a room in company with two deserters from the rebel
army. Apparently we were the only inmates of the jail except an insane
man, who was confined in another room. As the saying is, we were now
“behind the iron bars.”

I had now been a tramp, begging for something to eat, and also a
prisoner behind the bars of a county jail. This would have been
disgraceful if I had been myself to blame, but under the circumstances
I did not feel guilty. We were confined in this jail four days and
nights, and our treatment here was at least fifty per cent better than
in the military prison pens, and we therefore voted unanimously in
favor of remaining here, but were counted out.

February 4, in company with the two deserters, we were conducted to
the railroad station some distance away, and were put on board the
cars (cars having seats), and permitted to sit down during the
journey. We were soon on our way, as they told us, toward the prisons
in Richmond. This news had a very depressing effect upon us. The train
moved on in a northeasterly direction, arriving at Lynchburg, Va., in
the evening, nothing of importance transpiring on the way. We were
placed in the guardhouse, where the night and the following day were
spent. While here we discovered that the place was infested with some
of our former prison companions, the graybacks, and as a consequence,
during the night our clothing became inhabited with the insects, which
was to us quite a torment, as we had been clear of them since entering
the convalescent camp at Danville. We were fed on very scant rations
at this place, on account of coming under the prison discipline again.

We remained here until the evening of Feb. 5, and shortly after dark
were called out under a strong guard, when we met a small number of
other prisoners bound for the same place that we were. A line of
guards surrounded us, and as we started for the train the captain of
the guards yelled out: “Guards, shoot the first man who offers to
run.” This expression, of course, was uttered to intimidate us
prisoners. We boarded the train and were soon en route for the city of
Richmond, riding all night and until some time during the day of Feb.
6, when we arrived in the city, and were soon transferred to a prison
called the Pemberton Building. This was a large, four-story brick
building. In it we found confined a large number of Federal prisoners.
The Pemberton Building was located on the opposite side of the street
from Libby Prison, and about one hundred feet farther to the
southeast. The street between Libby and the Pemberton Building
extended southeast and northwest. From the windows of our prison we
had a good view of Libby and its surroundings. I remained in this
prison six days. While there, on the night of Feb. 9, over one hundred
of the officers confined in Libby made their escape through a long
tunnel, which had previously been made by them.

This extended from the cellar under Libby, through under a street at
the east end of the building; its exit being under a one-story wooden
shed, on a vacant lot just across the street from our prison. The
prisoners came out of the tunnel under this shed, and made their
escape under cover of the darkness of the night. The following morning
I saw quite a number of Confederate officers and guards walking about
in the vicinity of Libby apparently more or less excited. We could
look from our windows and see what was going on about the streets. The
news of the escape of the Federal officers soon reached our prison,
which caused no little excitement among us. The Confederates still
continued their search about Libby, but did not seem to discover the
whereabouts of the tunnel until late in the afternoon, when I saw them
digging a hole at the east end of the prison. I supposed they were in
search of the tunnel. Nearly one-half of those who escaped through the
tunnel were recaptured and brought back to prison the following day. I
saw a number of them as they marched back into Libby. Poor fellows,
they seemed to be downcast, and I could sympathize with them, having
just been through a similar experience. We remained in the Pemberton
Building until Feb. 13, when we were transferred to the prison pen on
Belle Island.

[Illustration: Snodgrass House, on Snodgrass Hill, Chickamauga

                            CHAPTER XIII.

   My Second Entrance into Belle Island Prison Pen, Feb. 13, 1864.

The day that I entered the island the second time, Feb. 13, a
Confederate preacher delivered a very long sermon to us, and tried to
convert us to the Southern Confederacy cause, but with poor success.

We could not be converted to an institution that tried to freeze us
and starve us. He was listened to attentively for a long time when he
remarked before closing that he didn’t know as he was doing any good
talking to us, it was like casting pearls before swine, and he would
close his remarks. One of our boys told him that he might have stopped
long ago if he had wanted to, as we would have had no objections

On entering the prison pen on the island, for the second time, my
spirits sank to zero, for the prospect before me was certainly a
gloomy one. This was a low and barren island, over which the cold
February winds swept from up and down the James River, making it very
uncomfortable for us, exposed as we were to the elements of the
weather. I could now see a great change in the appearance of the
prisoners since my short stay of six days here, in October, 1863, and
not for the better, but very much worse. Many were nearly destitute of
clothing, and had been so starved and exposed to the severe weather
that they were mere skeletons, slowly moving about. Some of them were
being fairly eaten alive by graybacks. From lack of proper means of
keeping clean, and only the icy river water in which to wash, many
were nearly as black as negroes. Some indeed were too weak to keep
themselves clean, and too discouraged to care. I was informed that
there were about 8,000 of us on the island at this time, and a large
number, perhaps several thousand, including Herrick and myself, were
without shelter of any kind, although we were more fortunate than some
of them. During our stay here we received no fuel for fires. I saw a
few sticks of wood, which were being whittled into splinters and small
fires made with them, around which hovered the poor, shivering, almost
lifeless human forms, sitting upon the frozen ground. This wood being
pitch pine, produced very black smoke, which blackened the faces of
the poor fellows who tried to warm over the little fires and caused
them to appear still more hideous. Those of the prisoners who were
without shelter contrived different ways to keep from freezing at
night, while trying to sleep. I slept in a shallow rounding ditch in
the ground, in which I lay also in the daytime, when becoming tired of
walking about, standing or sitting on the frozen ground. This
protected me to some extent from the cold, piercing winds which blew
over the island, but it was very uncomfortable during a rainstorm, of
which we experienced several during our confinement there. During a
rainstorm the sand and ground about me would become saturated with
water, and keep my clothing wet for days, and I would become so
chilled and numbed that I would be scarcely able to get up. One cold
night, while trying to sleep, my toes were frozen so that the skin
peeled off sometime after. While we were here in this condition the
water in the river froze over nearly the whole of its surface. I saw
ice over three inches in thickness.

A day seemed to me as long as a month. Rations were very small,
consisting almost entirely of unsifted cornmeal, stirred up with
water, and often without salt, as salt was a scarce article with the
Confederacy. This was baked in cakes about the size of a brick, only
about one and one-half inches thick. One-half a cake of this size was
given each man for a day’s ration, and nothing else with it, with the
exception that two or three times while on the island we received
beans or meat. This was generally entirely devoured at once, leaving
nothing for the other two meals, and yet we remained nearly as hungry
as before eating. Our drink consisted of icy river water, which did
not warm a person very much, thoroughly chilled as we were.

Days and weeks passed slowly on, with nothing to cheer us, but
everything to depress our spirits. Cold, hungry, and discouraged with
the sight of so much misery all about us, little wonder that some lost
their reason. Our main topic of conversation was the comforts of home,
and the subject of something to eat, especially as this was most
forcibly impressed upon our minds. I well remember receiving as a part
of one day’s rations some small beans (called here cow beans). Some
were red and others black. I placed them in my left hand and counted
them, and found that there were just fifteen. These were all the beans
that I received while on the island, and as I had no means of cooking
them I ate them raw.

At another time I received a piece of boiled beef, about the size of a
black walnut, which was all the meat I had to eat while on the island.
After a short stay in this place I began to fail rapidly. On arising
in the morning I would ache all over, and could scarcely straighten
up, and it appeared to me that even the marrow in my bones was
chilled. Occasionally I would take a walk down to the water’s edge, in
order to start circulation and get a little warmth into my shivering
body, in which I generally failed. In order to get to the water we
were obliged to pass down through a narrow lane, fenced on each side
with a tight high board fence, and plenty of guards on all sides.
Through this we passed to procure water, and to wash our hands and
faces if we washed at all. We were not supplied with washbasins, and
therefore when washing would use the river as a basin, which did not
improve the water for drinking purposes, where several thousand men
washed within a space of 30 or 40 feet in length. The closet was also
located very near where we obtained our drinking water. This was at
the lower end of the island where there was no current to carry away
the filthy water.

Our clothes could not be washed because the weather was too cold. We
were in the same predicament as the man who possessed only one suit
and was obliged to go to bed while his garments were being washed. But
we were not so fortunate as he because we had no beds to go to and not
even what a person would call a suit.

During some of these walks I saw most horrid sights as I walked
through the camp. I remember one day of seeing several boys or young
men who had become so weakened and emaciated by their treatment here
that they were unable to stand erect while walking but were obliged to
bend over like old men of eighty. Their clothing on the outside, under
their arms, was white with graybacks and nits, and as I stood looking
at the poor boys I wondered what must be the condition on the inside
of their garments. But I was helpless as far as giving them relief.
They were only a sample of hundreds of similar cases. As I stated in a
previous chapter, we who were able would take off our shirts, turn
them inside out, and kill (between our only weapons of defense our
thumb-nails) all the graybacks we could find. During this operation we
would keep our coats (when we possessed any) closely buttoned around
our shivering bodies. But many poor fellows had become unable to do
even this much toward their own comfort, and there were hundreds and
thousands in the same wretched condition. At other times, when passing
through the prison, I saw squads of prisoners who were such objects of
pity that I am utterly incapable of describing them. The memory of
them will remain fresh in my mind as long as I live. Some were mere
skeletons, scarcely able to move, barefooted, pants worn off halfway
to their knees, shirt or coat sleeves worn off nearly to the elbow,
their long matted hair and whiskers which had not been cut for months
hanging over their dirty, emaciated faces. Add to this, in many
instances, perhaps sore and frozen feet. They were objects calculated
to enkindle pity in the heart of a tyrant. Again, I saw some who were
unable to walk, lying on the ground with no better clothing than those
I have just described, and no other protection from the bitter cold.

To these death soon came as a welcome relief. Nearly every morning a
number of dead were carried out to some burial place. All these scenes
did not have an inspiring effect on us. The craving for meat had
become so intense that one day as Lieut. Boisseux, commander of the
guards, came strolling through the prison pen with his pet dog
following him, the dog was enticed into a tent by some of the
prisoners. They caught him, cut his throat, dressed him and prepared
the meat for cooking, which was soon done, and he was devoured by the
hungry men. I did not see any of this transaction, but learned of it
through other prisoners. One day I met one of the prisoners who
possessed a small brass kettle. He showed it to me and said, “This is
the kettle in which we cooked the dog.” I wondered where they could
procure fuel enough to cook a dog, as it was a very scarce article on
the island. The dog was probably cooked a few days before my arrival
on the island.

As the days passed on, the suffering from cold and hunger increased at
a rapid rate. I could notice that I was failing and growing weaker
every day, and would sometimes almost despair of ever getting out of
that place of torment alive, but did not give up the struggle for dear
life. One day as I was strolling through the prison, to my great
surprise and delight I met two members of my own company, Alonzo Fish
and John Stevenson, who were captured and brought to Belle Island
during my confinement in the Richmond prisons. Of course we were
greatly rejoiced, but sorry to meet under such conditions.

The death rate among the prisoners was becoming more alarming, as it
seemed the strongest of them were succumbing to the rigors of the
weather and starvation. The time was now near spring and the cold was
abating somewhat, but yet the suffering was intense, from different
causes. I never have read of such an amount of intense suffering at
any place (except at Andersonville, Ga.) as I experienced and saw here
in this dreadful place. The only hope I had was that the weather would
become more mild, and the suffering in that respect might abate.

It was now about March 10, and they were and had been transferring
prisoners from the island to Andersonville, Ga. Every alternate day
they called for 600 prisoners, marched them out through the gate and
across the bridge near the iron works to the south bank of the river,
and generally across the long bridge to the city, where they were
loaded into cars and sent south. We could see the trains passing over
the long railroad bridge below the island. One day when they called as
usual for 600, my chum, William Herrick, who had escaped with me from
the Danville prison, went out with them, and the last time that I saw
him was when they marched along just outside the dead line, on their
way to Andersonville. The poor man ended his life there, as I
afterwards learned.

The majority of us who were confined here were men who had seen
several years’ service in the front of the army, and had often slept
on the cold ground in our rain-soaked clothes, but this place was many
degrees worse. We were helpless to assist our poor sick and dying
comrades, because we could get nothing to help them with. We could not
get as much as a few leaves or weeds to place between their emaciated
bodies and the cold ground, in their dying hour. The surface of our
prison pen was as bare as though it had been swept. Not a leaf, straw
or anything of the kind could be found, that might be used in making
some sort of a bed.

Being starved down, by receiving less than one meal per day, and that
of poor quality, with not a spark of fire by which to warm our chilled
bodies, scarcely able to straighten up, our garments on the inside
infested with vermin, dirty in the extreme, no change of clothing and
with long matted hair; all this made us feel indescribably miserable,
and made the place a hell upon earth. Our farmers would build a roof
over their hogpens to shelter their swine from the rain and snow, and
give them straw for a bed and enough to eat, but we possessed none of
these comforts. If a farmer would treat his stock as we were treated
he would not expect them to live many months. One day while standing
in the midst of the prison, looking over the mass of thousands of
human beings—most of them in a deplorable condition—I saw some of them
aimlessly moving about, seemingly not knowing where they were going.
Of course we were all in suspense with regard to our future treatment,
not knowing how long our misery would continue to increase or how or
where it would end.

What a contrast between these men in prison and when they left their
homes! There they were patriotic and industrious boys and young
men—youths in their first flush of manhood and a life of honor to
themselves and usefulness to the community. Boys precious in the
affections of home, of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and
sweethearts, their minds aglow with high aspirations of a bright
future were sent into this hell, to be sacrificed here for their
country. Is it any wonder that we dreamed every night of our homes and
friends? Scarcely a night passed that I did not dream of being at home
and getting something to eat. Then on awakening from such happy dreams
what a disappointment it seemed!

[Illustration: “HE KNOWS ME, THE CHERUB.” Dream of Home and Wife.]

Dear reader, think of it, what it cost to save this great government
from destruction. Many a patriotic young man could have saved his life
and health by going out of prison on parole, and working for the
Confederate government, as they offered us an opportunity to do. But
the boys refused to do this. They told them they would rather rot in
prison than work for them. This was genuine patriotism, when death was
staring them in the face. They refused to do anything to save their
own lives which would in the least reflect upon our flag.

Thus many brave and good boys passed from this life while in these
prisons, in a most wretched condition. I am at a loss to decide what
words to use, in order to express to the reader in a mild form the sad
scenes witnessed in some of our comrades’ dying hours, in the prisons,
during the winter of 1863 and 1864. The condition of our sick and
helpless comrades I partly described in former pages, and here I will
merely describe a scene in my unvarnished language, which will
probably cover hundreds of cases. One day while I was walking through
a crowded part of the prison pen I saw a fellow-prisoner—apparently a
young man—lying on the ground. He appeared to me as if he were in a
helpless condition. His face was pale where it was not black from
prison filth, hair long and matted, clothing thin and torn, arms bare
nearly to the elbows, and other parts of the body exposed, caused by
worn-out clothing. He looked more like a skeleton than a living man.
He was lying upon the bare ground, which was perhaps slightly frozen.
As I stated before, the prison pen was entirely destitute of anything
which could be placed between his poor, chilled body and the ground.
We were all helpless, as far as making him comfortable. This boy was
undoubtedly of the class mentioned in former lines, honest, patriotic,
and loved by his home relatives and friends. He was now in a destitute
and dying condition, with no mother, father, sister or brother to
comfort him, to soothe his fevered brow, and to whom he could
communicate his last dying words. In some instances similar to this
case the last feeble words of the dying man to a comrade would be:
“Tell my folks that I died for my country”; and in a feeble voice give
the last good-bye.

Who was responsible for the intense sufferings and destruction of
Union soldiers confined in southern military prisons during the War of
the Rebellion from 1861 to 1865? is a question sometimes asked. I am
not able to answer that question fully, but can give only my opinion
in some respects, and certify to what I saw and know in regard to it.
I believe that a large majority of the people of the South would not
have permitted the cruel treatment of our soldiers in their prisons,
if they could have prevented it, but they were powerless. The men in
authority in the Confederacy were many of them responsible for our
cruel treatment.

Of course the South was nearly destitute of some things for which we
suffered during our confinement in their prisons. But they possessed
plenty of fresh air, fuel (in coal and wood), good clean water, and
material with which we could have built shelters for ourselves. If
they would have supplied us with the above mentioned four articles,
our sufferings would not have been one-half as great as they were.

Some people censured the United States government for leaving us in
prison so long a time, claiming that the government would not consent
to an exchange of prisoners, because the Confederates in our prisons
in the North, if exchanged, would have been able to enter their army
as soon as exchanged. But our men from southern prisons would not, on
account of being disabled for service. I know we were disabled nearly
all of us for a lifetime.

Our faithful endurance in southern prisons was a very large factor in
bringing the war to a successful close, but it was a barbarous and
cruel manner to use soldiers. If it is true that the United States
government would not exchange, it does not excuse the men in authority
in the Confederacy, who were responsible for the most of our
sufferings while we were confined in southern military prisons.

The truth of our cruel treatment was corroborated by many southern
people at the time of our confinement in their prisons, and they
petitioned the Confederate authorities, praying for the betterment of
our treatment. But the Confederate authorities turned a deaf ear, and
would do nothing to relieve our sufferings.

It was now near the middle of the month of March. The weather was
beginning to grow mild. The frost seemingly was nearly all out of the
ground, and there were small patches of green grass springing up
outside the dead-line. One day while going down to the river after a
drink I espied a small patch of green grass outside the line. I stood
and looked at it, and longed to have some of it to eat, as my appetite
seemed to crave some vegetable or something green.

The transfer of prisoners from the island to Andersonville still
continued. Every alternate day they called for 600, who were taken to
the city, put on board the cars, and shipped south. By this time the
crowd on the island had been considerably reduced. On Saturday, March
12, the usual call was made for 600. Sunday morning, March 13, broke
over us with a bright and beautiful sky. Soon after sunrise the
officers in command of the prison called for 400 men, to go out and
over to the city of Richmond. As this was a different number from
their previous calls, and made on an odd day (as the former calls were
made every alternate day), this caused me to believe that they were
going to a different place than Andersonville. I was standing by a
comrade of my company, Alonzo Fish, and we were looking out over the
dead-line toward the cookhouse, which was located just a few rods from
the dead-line. We saw some of our boys who were doing the baking of
the corn-bread, and who had blankets, were rolling them up and seemed
to be preparing to leave. I said to Fish, “Let us try and go out with
this squad, I believe they are going to our lines, as the indications
appear that way to me.” The gate soon opened, and the commander of the
prison stood beside it and counted the men as they passed through.
Fish and myself were soon ready, as all we had to do was take our
places in line, and we marched out with the 400. As soon as the count
was finished the gate was closed, and we were now really outside the
prison pen, but yet under guard. As a consequence we were considerably
excited over the prospect before us. We marched to the bridge leading
from the island to the south bank of the James, and across it, and
then down to the big bridge spanning the river and leading to the

We were soon across the river, and marched down the street past old
Libby Prison and into a large brick building. All this time I felt a
little nervous on account of the uncertainty of our destination, as I
thought our lives depended on whether we were exchanged or sent to
some other prison.

We were now inside the large building, discussing the prospects before
us. Some time during the day some Confederates came in with paper, ink
and pen, and told us we were going to be paroled, and asked us to sign
our names on a large sheet of paper, telling us that it was a parole.
This caused an intense anxiety among our men. We all signed it without
any urging, and you may believe there was a great change in our
spirits. Oh, what a happy hour was that, to think that we would once
more see the glorious Stars and Stripes.

    “The hollow eyes grew bright,
     And the poor heart almost gay,
     As we thought of seeing home
     And friends once more.”

But yet it was almost too good to believe, as we had on several
occasions been told by the Confederates that we would be paroled and
sent to our lines, but were merely transferred from one prison to
another, and sadly disappointed. Thus far we had signed a parole but
were yet uncertain as to our fate.

We spent the night of March 13 in the building mentioned, and I well
remember that many of us were so elated that we slept but little
during the night, but spent the time in talking about what we would do
when reaching our lines, and if we finally got home. The morning of
March 14 came at last. There was no change in the news about going to
our homes. During the day we heard that there was a Confederate
steamer coming up the river, to take us to a place where the United
States flag of truce boat would meet us. From the windows of our
prison we could see down to the boat-landing on the river, the
distance being fifteen or twenty rods. We could see that the boat had
not yet arrived, but were anxiously watching all day for its arrival.
About the middle of the afternoon the little steamer hove in sight,
and soon made a landing at the wharf, and you can imagine the
excitement ran high.

We immediately marched out and down to the landing, and were soon on
board the boat. In a short time it pulled out and steamed down the
river in a southeasterly direction. We were yet uneasy as to our
destination. The boat steamed slowly down the James, and somehow news
was received that we were destined for a place called City Point,
where we would meet a United States steamship to receive us, but were
yet unbelievers, like doubting Thomas. We said, “Until Old Glory is
seen floating above our heads we will not believe.”

As we floated down the river nothing of great interest was seen as we
passed along. Our conversation was mostly on the subject of our
exchange. Night was coming on, many of us were lying on the upper deck
of the steamer, and after dark I think the majority of us fell asleep,
at least I did. Some time during the night the boat reached City
Point, and ran in beside the United States steamship. I was asleep at
the time, and of course was not aware that the boat had stopped, and
was in the presence of the United States boat. I awoke during the
latter part of the night and discovered that the boat was lying quiet.
I investigated the surroundings, and saw something beside our boat. On
close examination I found it to be a steamship, with tall masts
reaching to quite a height above the boat. Everything was quiet, no
one seemed to be moving, and it being yet dark I lay down and went to
sleep. Ere long daylight began to appear, and as soon as we could see
plainly enough to distinguish the old flag, it seemed nearly all the
prisoners awoke like magic, and all that could began cheering for “Old
Glory,” which was floating from the head of the United States ship;
and, dear reader, you can imagine what the sight of the old flag
brought forth. Continuous cheering came from all those who were able,
but some, alas, were not, having been carried on board the boat by
their comrades, and these could express their intense love for the
Stars and Stripes only by extending their naked bony arms in its
direction, and many were so overjoyed that they shed tears.

One of our number died on the way down the river. I never had been so
elated in my life before as now, by the knowledge that we were
released from a death sentence. We found ourselves under the
protection of the old flag at last, and it appeared to me better, ten
times more beautiful, with brighter colors and stars than it had ever
appeared before, and I was overcome by an inspiring sensation which
made me feel like singing the good old song: “Oh, wrap the flag around
me boys.”

I suppose many of the boys felt as I did and wanted to sing, but did
not have vitality enough to sing a song. We were then believers,
because we saw “Old Glory” floating above us.

[Illustration: In God’s Country at Last.]

Our release from prison may well be compared to the release of a
person from a death sentence. Many of our number wept like children.
The next thing we saw was some Confederates on board the United States
ship. I walked up near enough to enter into conversation with one of
them, and asked him how they had been treated in the North. He
replied, “Very well.” I said, “Did you receive enough to eat?”(This
thought appeared to be uppermost in our minds.) He said they did, and
I was satisfied from their appearance that they had received good
usage while they were held as prisoners of war in Uncle Sam’s hands.
They appeared healthy, and some of them had received new clothing
during their imprisonment, and as far as I could see were well
clothed. But yet they had undoubtedly suffered great hardships, as
that is a consequence in military prison life, which is torture at its
best. Some of the Confederates who were confined in northern prisons
complained of hardships, and I have no doubt but that it was hard to
endure, but it was no comparison to our sufferings in southern

                             CHAPTER XIV.

            Under the Protection of “Old Glory” Once More.

During the forenoon we were transferred from the Confederate steamer
to Uncle Sam’s boat, and the Confederates were taken to the
Confederate steamer. Now, as the boys termed it, we were once more in
“God’s country.” Soon after our arrival on board the boat coffee was
prepared for us. It was made in a large barrel, by steam. Oh, but that
sweet odor from the coffee was delicious. It testified that we had
passed from a land of starvation to a land of plenty. We had not
smelled coffee for about six months until now, and were receiving our
first meal from Uncle Sam since our exchange. It consisted of a
tin-cup of good coffee, a slice of bread about as large as my hand, a
slice of boiled pork about the size of one finger, a piece of onion,
and two apples. We had fasted so long that in our debilitated
condition the consequence would have been serious if we had been given
a full meal. We were now safely on board of Uncle Sam’s ship, and were
soon to move out of the harbor.

Late in the afternoon the boat started in the direction of Fortress
Monroe. On the way down we passed a monitor. I was informed by one of
the boat crew that it was the one that had defeated the Merrimac. We
also passed a very large man-of-war which looked like a great fort,
and I thought it was until informed differently. When we arrived near
Fortress Monroe the boat halted for a short time, and then passed near
the Fortress and out into Chesapeake Bay, and started on our journey
toward Annapolis, Md.

Darkness soon came on, and also a tremendous gale began blowing from
the northeast, which made things lively on the boat. In a short time
it began to rock violently, and for some time the storm seemed to
increase in fury. This made the ship rock to and fro so that we were
unable to stand up. About four hundred of us paroled prisoners were
lying on the floor of the ship. I made several attempts to stand up
but could not, and then decided to remain down and keep quiet, but
also failed in that. Then many buckets were placed on the floor in
different parts of the boat. I was curious to learn why that was done,
but had not long to wait until I learned more about it than I had any
desire to know. The reader can guess the rest.

The night wore on slowly, the storm beating against the boat and
tossing it first one way and then the other, and it seemed to move in
a half dozen directions at once, which made things interesting. At one
time the boat tipped to one side so much that I thought it would not
straighten up again. The captain of the boat called for the deck
hands, and they were soon at their posts of duty, and began turning a
windlass which was attached to the side of the boat, to which was
fastened one end of a large rope and the other end to a small iron
car, which stood on a track extending crosswise of the boat. By this
means they drew the heavy car to the high side, by winding the rope
around the windlass. They also rolled barrels of sand from the lower
to the high side. By these the ship was balanced again, and saved from
overturning. Occasionally a wave would strike the side of the boat,
causing a very loud report, and making the ship fairly tremble. At one
time during the night I thought to myself, perhaps now we will be
shipwrecked and drowned, after passing through all our hardships and
troubles, when within a few hours’ ride of our destination.

But, thank the Lord, we landed at Annapolis the following day. The
storm ceased some time during the morning, and we soon came in sight
of the place of landing. They were now beginning to get us ready to be
transferred from the boat to the shore, at Annapolis, Md., where we
arrived March 16, 1864. All those who were able to do so got up and
walked out on shore. After landing I stepped to one side of our group,
and turning toward it I beheld the most sorrowful picture of human
beings that I had ever seen, except when on the island. Those scenes
seem to be permanently stamped upon my memory.

I again joined the group or crowd, as there were almost too many of us
to be called a group. We were certainly awful-looking objects of
humanity. We had not been barbered for six months, and some of the
group for eight or ten months. Our faces were dirty and disfigured
with prison grime, shaggy whiskers, shrunken cheeks and lips, long,
matted hair on our heads, stooped shoulders, and long, bony hands and
fingers, which made us appear like a lot of apes and monkeys. I am
certain if Mr. Barnum, the noted showman, had caught sight of us,
Uncle Sam would have been minus a few so-called soldiers, because we
would undoubtedly have been corralled for his shows. The buzzard that
feeds on carrion would have blushed and been offended, if we had been
offered to him for food.

But many of us thanked Providence for our miraculous deliverance from
almost certain death. From the best information that I could procure
during recent years, I learned that our squad of 400 was the last one
that was paroled during the spring and summer of 1864, and therefore
if we had not been permitted to go out with these 400 the majority of
us would now be numbered with the dead at the prison pen. I heard of a
number of ex-prisoners returning to their homes so changed in
appearance that their own parents were unable to recognize them. We
were asked to get in line and march over to a large building, which
was new and apparently constructed for the purpose for which it was
used. It was divided into three large compartments.

In the first room we passed into they clipped our hair and whiskers
closely. We were then ordered to strip off every rag from our bodies.
If I remember rightly they handled our filthy, lousy garments with
pitchforks, after taking them off, and I considered it an insult to
the forks. We were then told to pass on into another very large room,
in which were twenty or thirty bathtubs, containing plenty of warm
water. Then each received a piece of soap and a towel, and was told to
take a good bath, which we did and greatly enjoyed. Those who were not
able to do so were bathed by assistants.

After being purified in this manner we were shown into a third large
room, and given a new outfit of clothing, consisting of shirt,
drawers, pants, socks, shoes, coat, hat and blanket. Imagine the
change in our appearance, and also in our feelings. I did not weigh
very heavy when we landed, but I imagined that I weighed several
pounds less after taking my bath. Some of the boys intimated that
Uncle Sam could sell fertilizer after we had all finished bathing.

After being dressed in our new suits we were transferred over to the
new barracks, which were found to be very nice and clean. The day was
now about gone, and a supper was prepared for us. After eating we
retired to our bunks, and I am utterly unable to describe how well my
rest was enjoyed that night. Oh, such a sweet rest as it was; knowing
that we were once more clean, and that our clothing was not infested
with graybacks who would dance about on our bodies and torment us
during the night. To think that we were no longer under control of a
cruel prison-keeper, and that those hideous prison days were a thing
of the past was a blessed relief. Our transfer from the prison pens to
the new and clean barracks, may well be compared to a release from the
infernal regions, and a transfer to the land of everlasting bliss.

But yet we were reminded of our comrades left in prison, who were yet
suffering and did not know how much longer they would remain there. We
tarried in Annapolis about ten days. While there we were well cared
for by Uncle Sam. There was such a contrast between this treatment and
our treatment in prison that I kept thinking that it was too good to
continue. Some of the boys remarked as follows: “How long is this
thing going to last?” We had been tormented during such a long time
that we could not make ourselves believe that we would henceforward
have enough to eat, and that we were in a land of plenty. And it
really seemed to us a strange thing to have humane treatment.

March 26 we received orders to go to St. Louis, Mo. We went by steamer
from Annapolis to Baltimore. All the western boys were there
transferred to the cars on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and left
Baltimore March 27, 1864, passing through Harper’s Ferry, the scene of
John Brown’s insurrection. On this road we were taken as far as
Cincinnati, Ohio, where we rested one day, and on March 30 were
transferred to the cars of the Ohio and Mississippi railroad on which
we were taken to St. Louis, Mo., arriving there on March 31. Nothing
of any consequence transpired on the way, except that I was sick
during the latter part of the journey. When our train crossed the
Illinois Central railroad in southern Illinois, it was nighttime and
the train halted for some time. It was not very dark, and I was able
to look out and see some of the Illinois prairies, which made me feel
homesick. I felt as though I wanted to get on the Illinois Central and
go north to my home at Mendota, a distance of several hundred miles.
But according to army regulations I was not allowed to go. I never
received a furlough during my service of three years and four months.
Our train rolled on toward St. Louis, arriving there, as stated
before. We got off and were soon in our temporary home, the
convalescent camp at Benton Barracks.

I among many others was placed under the doctor’s care for the
treatment of scurvy and general disability. Our lodging place was in
the barracks, and we reported to the doctor every morning. At times I
felt quite sick and was under treatment several months. At the end of
this time I had gained considerable strength, and was much better but
not entirely well.

In the latter part of May we were transferred from here to Memphis,
Tenn. We went by boat, steamed out from the landing, and started down
the Mississippi. A short time after leaving the landing quite an
exciting incident occurred. There were several hundred of us
ex-prisoners of war on board. We had taken our places in a comfortable
part of the boat. The lower part of it, where the boilers were
located, was partly occupied by fat cattle en route for the army. A
captain with a number of guards had charge of us, and was to conduct
us to Memphis. The captain came to us and said, “Boys, you must go
down to the next floor.” We refused to go, as we were more comfortable
on the upper floor, and told him that we would like to remain above;
that we had been dogged about long enough. He insisted on our going
down, seemed to be of the aristocratic style, and finally drew his
sabre and attempted to strike one of our number who stood at the
stairway leading below, at the same time ordering him to go down,
which he refused to do. He being a tall, active fellow, struck the
captain with his fist, and sent him sprawling on the floor, his sabre
flying out of his hand. He got up and called to his guards to come and
assist him, which they did not do, as there were only five or six of
them, and seeing fire in our eyes they concluded it was best not to
interfere. The captain was very angry, and went to the captain of the
boat and ordered him to land us on the Missouri side of the river. We
disembarked and waited quite a long time, and finally another boat
came along and took us on board, and we were soon again on our way
down the river.

If it had been necessary for us to go down to the lower part of the
boat we would have gone. But there was plenty of room on the second
floor, where we could be comfortable, and we knew that; therefore we
did not propose to be imposed upon by an aristocratic captain. Nothing
of interest transpired during the remainder of the trip, and we landed
at Memphis, Tenn., the following day, where the crowd was divided,
some going to their company and regiment, and others again to some
convalescent camp. I was transferred to a convalescent camp situated
on a bluff of the Mississippi, not far from it. When I entered the
place the weather was very hot, and the wind blowing almost a gale,
which filled the air with dust and fine dry sand, covering the bunks
and everything about us with it. This made it very unpleasant. I did
not feel very well at this time, and the effects of the unpleasant
surroundings did not improve my feelings any. Learning of the
whereabouts of my company and regiment, the 7th Illinois Cavalry, I
decided to make my way to it if possible. No one was allowed to leave
this camp without a pass from the one in charge. It was enclosed by a
tight board fence. After being confined here several days, I concluded
that as long as I remained here my health would not improve, so I
issued orders to the effect that Eby might return to his company and
regiment, and made preparations to leave the place immediately. They
would not give me a pass, but I looked about, and finally made my
escape by a means which did not conform with military rules.

After being outside of the camp I immediately started in search of my
regiment, which I learned was encamped only a few miles distant from
the city. I made inquiries occasionally as I moved along in regard to
the location of the regiment, which assisted me in finding it. I
accomplished my task on the same day of starting out. I did not think
it proper to remain in convalescent camp at Uncle Sam’s expense, when
I could just as well be with the regiment and do a little service and
get well.

                             CHAPTER XV.

        My Return to My Company and Regiment on May 25, 1864.

I found the boys of my company, and a happy meeting it was. They
surrounded me and treated me royally, asking many questions in regard
to my capture and prison life. Oh, how glad I was to get back among
them once more! But alas! some of the number were missing, never to
return. Some had died, others been killed in battle since I had last
been with them. Our camp was located in a pleasant grove of tall
trees, with a well of good water near by. Our captain thought I was
not yet well enough to do duty, and therefore did not issue any
firearms to me.

A few days later part of the company was sent out to reconnoiter, and
I concluded to go with them for recreation, and thought it would be of
more benefit to me than medicine. I procured a sabre and carbine from
one of the boys who was not able to go with us. We went out quite a
distance from camp, to see what we could ascertain in regard to the
enemy, but failed to find any. We stopped at a farmhouse where we
bought some milk and a few biscuits, which tasted delicious.

We returned to camp without any special excitement, and I felt quite
refreshed. It was now the early part of July, 1864, and time passed
away as usual, with the ordinary guard and picket duties, and
occasionally going outside the lines on scouting expeditions. My
health still continued to improve slowly. Nothing special occurred to
create any great excitement until Aug. 21, 1864, when in the morning,
about three o’clock, we heard firing on the picket line, which was
more than ordinary skirmishing. The firing awoke some of us
immediately, and in about a minute all was alive and bustle in our
camp. The regimental bugle sounded “boots and saddles,” which meant
get your boots on and saddle your horses. And then another call came
to mount and fall in, which meant get in line, ready to march, and we
proceeded to do this as quickly as possible. Before we were able to
form in line we heard the enemy galloping toward the city on the main
road, within thirty or forty rods of our camp. As it was not yet
daylight we were unable to see them. They proved to be quite a large
force of Gen. Forrest’s cavalry. They came to the picket line, fired a
few volleys, and broke right through with their main column, and fired
into a regiment of infantry which was camped a short distance inside
the picket line, killing several of their number. As there were not
many troops camped inside the city, the Confederate cavalry had almost
a clear road to the center of the city. Their object was to capture
the General in command, rob the postoffice, and any other mischief
they could do. They nearly accomplished their object. The General in
command of our troops here had his headquarters in a house, and the
Confederates came to the front door so suddenly that he had only time
to get out of bed, grab his clothes, and escape through a back door.

Some of the enemy got upon the steps of the postoffice, but were
driven away by a squad of infantry who fired on them from across the
street. While this was going on in the city, twenty-five of Co. C, I
being of that number, were detailed to move out toward the picket line
to ascertain what was there, and whether or not there was any
considerable force of Confederates. Before reaching the place where
the picket line was usually located, we discovered a long line of
cavalry standing quietly, and at first were unable to tell whether
they were friend or foe, on account of its not being quite light
enough. We moved up within a short distance of them, and found them to
be Confederate cavalry, which had been left there as a reserve, as we
learned later. They did not fire upon us, as they no doubt supposed
that we were some of their own men returning from the city. We
immediately faced about and moved toward the city and our camp, and
soon found ourselves in a bad predicament, with a long line of the
enemy in front and another in our rear. As I stated before it was
scarcely light enough to distinguish objects at a long distance, and
we were within four or five rods of the enemy’s line, which was just
returning from the city, before the discovery was made that we were
enemies to each other. Then firing commenced and we immediately saw
our dangerous position, being threatened in front and rear with a
force of the enemy more than ten times our number, and we knew what
our fate would be if we remained there a moment longer—that we would
be made prisoners. Our only means of escape were some small spaces
open on the flanks. We struck out for these, every man as fast as
horse power could take him. In this little skirmish our force of
twenty-five was nearly annihilated; one being killed, several made
prisoners, some slightly wounded, and a number injured by their horses
falling into washouts, which were plentiful in this section. The
balance were scattered in different directions in order to make their
escape. I escaped without injury, receiving only bullet-holes through
my right trousers leg, but they did not cause me any pain. Two of the
horses belonging to our party became unmanageable. The rider of one,
William Orris, was carried through between two Confederates, who had
their guns in position to shoot when they saw him approaching them.
They both fired, just as he was within a few feet of them, and both
missed him, but one fired so close to his head that his hair was
singed. He was carried safely through the lines to our forces. The
other one, Elmer Hunt, was carried by his horse through the
Confederate forces, and also arrived in our lines in safety. The
balance of our number that were left got through, some one way and
some another. When the Confederates saw that we were determined to get
away they started to follow us, and as I was riding up a hill along a
fence I heard them coming toward me, shooting and yelling, “Halt,
halt, you Yank!” but Yank wouldn’t halt worth a cent. I had other
business just over the fence in a cottonfield. It seemed to me that I
never was in such a big hurry to go somewhere in my life, as I was
when riding up that hill, and I did not heed the Johnnies’ advice, who
were trying so hard to persuade me to stop. As the saying is, a person
could have played checkers on my coat tail if I had possessed one, but
I had on a cavalry jacket. I was riding an extremely tall horse of
several colors, an Arabian, spotted something like a giraffe. He was
owned by Uncle Sam, and when riding up that hill he appeared to be
about seventy-five hands high, especially when I fell off at the
cottonfield. I must have presented a comical spectacle when going up
that hill. I don’t wonder that the Confederates followed me so

When I reached the cottonfield my horse made a short turn at a fence
corner, and the saddle girth being quite loose allowed the saddle to
turn and I found myself on the ground, in a second, badly scared. As
the saying is, “I might as well have been shot as to have been scared
to death.” I was determined that they should not again make me a
prisoner. So I jumped up, and as quickly as possible ran through under
the fence into the cottonfield, and up between two rows of cotton,
which were about four feet in height and quite bushy, and by stooping
down I was enabled to keep out of sight. After running some distance I
lay down in the row and remained there, awaiting results. The enemy
did not follow me into the cottonfield, but after remaining there
perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes I heard horsemen coming up through
the field, and in a few moments a large number of the Confederate
cavalry rode past me, in the second or third row from where I was
lying and expected every moment that they would call me to get up, and
I would be their prisoner. But they passed by without discovering me.
If they had but stopped and listened, they might have heard my heart
beat, but they would undoubtedly have mistaken it for a bass drum. All
sorts of visions of the horrid prison pens passed through my mind in
these few moments. Soon after the Confederates passed out of my
hearing I quietly arose to see what could be discovered. The enemy had
now all disappeared, and I looked around and saw one of my squad,
Giles Hodge, who was in a similar predicament as myself, and had just
risen out of the cotton about twenty-five or thirty feet from me. We
looked at each other and exchanged congratulations on our good fortune
in escaping capture by the enemy.

It was at once discovered that the Confederates had all passed out of
our immediate vicinity and that our troops were preparing to follow.
Hodge and myself then walked back to camp, where we found our horses,
to our surprise and joy. Comrade Hodge is now living in Lee Center,
Ill., and Comrade Orris in Triumph, Ill. Comrade Hunt I believe lives
in Davenport, Iowa.

During the morning engagement, James Coss, of Co. C, who remained with
the main portion of the 7th, chased and captured a Confederate
lieutenant. During the chase Jim’s hat fell to the ground, which he
could not pick up, as he was obliged to keep his eyes upon his
prisoner, and therefore escorted his captive nearly two miles, to the
General’s headquarters, bareheaded. The General congratulated Jim and
presented him with a hat.

After procuring our horses, we readjusted the saddles, mounted, and
also went in pursuit of Gen. Forrest’s forces. After catching up with
our company and regiment the boys began laughing at us, on account of
our peculiar way of making our escape. While Hodge and I were lying in
the cottonfield the ground appeared to be as attractive as a magnet,
and we were about as flat as a hardtack. And about the time that the
Confederate cavalry was passing by us I imagined that the old
Confederate prisons were almost in sight. It did seem as though I
thought of a thousand things in one moment of time. I was almost
certain that if I was captured then and taken back to prison it would
end my days, as I was yet in rather a poor condition of health from
the effects of my former imprisonment.

We followed the Confederates some time, when we met Gen. Forrest with
several of his command carrying a flag of truce, and of course,
according to the rules of war, we were obliged to halt until the party
returned to its command. I never learned the object of the truce
party, but I had a good view of Gen. Forrest on this occasion, and
well remember his form. He was a large man, and wore a broad-brimmed
hat, but I did not see his face. After their return we again resumed
the pursuit, and continued until late in the day, and then returned to
camp. Everything remained quiet about the camp until I think some time
in August, or the early part of September, when we received orders to
move our camp a short distance east of Memphis to a place called White
Station, located on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

While camped there I had a slight experience with bushwhackers, while
on outpost picket duty. On a bright moonlight night in September, as I
was sitting on my horse in the shade of a large forest tree, in the
woods and close to the road, keeping watch of things in front, my
attention was suddenly attracted by something glistening in the
moonlight, a short distance beyond a patch of underbrush and
apparently very near the road. I kept my eye peeled, as the saying is,
and soon saw some object quietly and slowly moving about in the
vicinity where the glistening object had been seen. I immediately held
a consultation with myself and very soon rendered a decision, as
follows: I decided that if what I saw was a person or a number of
persons with good intent, who wanted to come into camp, they would
come along the road without hesitation or trying to keep so quiet, nor
would they be prowling about in the brush so near the picket post. And
I further decided that what I saw was one or more bushwhackers, trying
to discover the man on outpost and shoot him, as they did sometimes
when opportunity afforded. But they did not see me because I was hid
behind and in the shade of a large tree. I finally fired at what I
supposed to be bushwhackers, and the report of my gun brought the men
composing the reserve picket out to ascertain the trouble. They rode
outside the picket line some distance, but could find no bushwhackers,
but found fresh tracks of three men in the dusty road in the vicinity
of where the moving object had been seen. In a short time all was
quiet again and I resumed my watch.

We remained at White Station until some time in October, when a number
of us whose three years’ service had expired were sent to Springfield
to receive our discharge, which we received Oct. 15, 1864, and were
now free citizens, and immediately returned to our homes. I had now
served Uncle Sam three years and four months. The war was fast drawing
to a close. When I arrived at home the majority of my boy companions
were yet in the army, many of them never to return, having been killed
in battle or died in hospital or prison.

                             CHAPTER XVI.

                 Reminiscences of George W. Westgate.

In the fall of 1862, while camped at Nashville, Tenn., Company C went
out on a scouting expedition, with Lieut. Shaw in command. John
Houston, Giles Hodge, Frank Fuller, and George W. Westgate were
advance guard. They were traveling on a piked road, covered with a
gray dust, and their uniforms became covered with it. So much so, that
on approaching two Confederates, who were on outpost picket, they
allowed our boys to ride very near to them, thinking they were their
own men; and the two Confederates were made prisoners, and were left
with the company.

The boys again advanced, across to another pike which led back toward
Nashville. They saw ten Confederates in front of them, pursued them
and captured one, and left him in charge of Houston. They followed the
other nine men until they were cornered in a pasture, surrounded by a
high board fence. Hodge was left at the gate, while Fuller and
Westgate with excited horses, uncontrollable, advanced into the
pasture in close proximity to the Confederates, who were busily
engaged in tearing down the fence, in order to make their escape.
Westgate was unable to stop or guide his horse, which was carrying him
in the direction of the enemy. To save himself from becoming a
prisoner or being killed, he jumped from his horse, throwing all his
weight on the left rein, which caused the horse to whirl half way
around. Just at that moment one of the enemy fired at Westgate, two
buckshot striking him in the hip. His horse ran to the gate, where
Hodge caught it. In the meantime Fuller opened fire with his carbine.
It seems that the buckshot riled Westgate’s temper; because, after his
horse left him he retreated backwards, loading and firing his carbine
as fast as possible at the enemy, until they got the fence down and
escaped. What undoubtedly saved the boys from capture was that the
Confederates momentarily expected Westgate, Fuller, and Hodge to be
reinforced by the company.

When camped near Memphis, Tenn., in 1864, a portion of our regiment
went out on a scouting expedition and was out all night. In the
morning, Albert Scudder, Rube Lewis, Daniel Towner, and George W.
Westgate, received permission to take a little scout of their own to
get a square meal. They were only partly successful. Each got a ham
and decided to go back to camp. As they were riding on a pike across
some bottom land, at the edge of which was a large bridge between them
and camp, Scudder and Lewis being about ten rods in advance of
Westgate and Towner, without warning eight or ten Confederates rose up
out of the brush with their guns pointed at Scudder and Lewis, and
within a few yards of them, demanding their surrender, to which they
reluctantly assented. Westgate and Towner immediately realized their
critical situation and started for the bridge; but when nearing the
Confeds, and seeing almost certain death staring them in the face,
they wheeled so quickly that they imagined they could hear their
horses’ tails snap like a whip, and retreated with such tremendous
speed, that they were almost unable to distinguish objects along the
wayside. They were obliged to retreat through a country infested with
bushwhackers, encountering several squads of them before reaching
camp. They finally reached camp, themselves and horses thoroughly
exhausted, and I believe that the report came that the boys through
all their narrow escapes, clung to the hams which they had purchased,
until they arrived safely in camp. It was also reported that they
intimated their willingness to avoid looking after square meals in the
enemy’s country for some time to come. Scudder and Lewis were taken to
the prison pen, poor fellows. Scudder returned from prison with health
ruined, did not enjoy a day’s good health afterward, and died in the
winter of 1905. Lewis returned with broken health also.

                    At the Battle of Stone River.

On the morning of Dec. 31, 1862, Lieut. Simmons, of Gen. Palmer’s
staff, and George W. Westgate, of Company C, were sent on an errand by
the General, and when they returned and reported, the enemy’s
sharpshooters opened on them, and Westgate was shot through the right
arm, which laid him up during several months. He was ordered to the
hospital. Soon after this Lieut. Simmons was wounded by a piece of
shell, breaking several of his ribs. A few days later Simmons and
Westgate received permission to go to their homes in Illinois. They
started down the Cumberland River on a steamer, and after passing some
distance down stream, the boat was captured by the Confederate General
Wheeler’s cavalry. Simmons and Westgate, with others, were ordered by
the Confederates to leave the boat and it was destroyed by fire. The
wounded, including Simmons and Westgate, were then transferred to
another boat loaded with wounded on their way north. Westgate remained
at home until his wound healed, then returned to his company, which
was escort for Gen. Palmer. Westgate afterward participated with us in
the battle of Chickamauga, and other engagements.

                            CHAPTER XVII.

The following is a letter written by the Ohio boy who occupied a small
tent with William Herrick, and the author of this narrative, in the
convalescent camp at Danville Prison:

                                  Columbus, Ohio, August 26, 1864.

  My Friend Eby:—

  I was very glad to receive a letter from you, for I had come to
  the conclusion that you must be in rebeldom yet, as I could hear
  nothing from you, but here it is at last. As I know how _liberty_
  feels by this time, I can heartily congratulate you upon your
  relief from rebel tyranny.

  Since you request me to give a history of my escape, I am obliged
  to use a foolscap sheet, and after it is full the half is not told.
  I was sick for two or three weeks after you left; recovering very
  slowly, and was quite weak when I attempted to execute your plan
  of informal exchange. I started in company with another Ohio boy,
  with whom I became acquainted while convalescent together, from
  Danville smallpox hospital, on the night of the 15th of February,
  for the Yankee lines. We received five days’ rations from the
  steward, and consequently had plenty to eat without calling on
  rebs, until we had got quite out of reach of Danville guards. We
  traveled southward, toward Newburn, N. C., thinking that route
  more unguarded than the course you took. We passed within five
  miles of Raleigh; flanked Goldsboro and Kingston, and succeeded in
  getting down within six miles of our lines at Newburn, when we were
  captured by rebel cavalry pickets while trying to get something to
  eat at a darkey hut.

  We doubtless would have got through, if we had not unfortunately
  gone inside a terrible swamp, to get outside of which we were
  compelled to beat a retreat. We were in the swamp two days and
  one night, and came near starving. We afterward learned that it
  was ten miles wide, by twenty long, and was a rendezvous for wild
  beasts. We were treated very kindly by the guards, but unmercifully
  by the officers. We were sent to Wilmington, N. C., where we were
  ensconced in an old speculator’s slave dungeon two days, and were
  then sent to Salisbury, N. C., and thrown into a prison where were
  about a thousand men, consisting of rebel conscripts who would
  not fight, Yankee hostages, and Union citizens who had been taken
  by Lee in Maryland and Pennsylvania. While at Salisbury I became
  acquainted with two young men, belonging to the Potomac army, who
  had also endeavored to make their escape, but were recaptured
  after a tedious march of 150 miles somewhere in the region of the
  Blue Ridge Mountains. We hitched teams at once, and commenced
  digging tunnels, but all to no purpose—for after digging three
  tunnels from eight to twenty rods in length, we were obliged to
  abandon the idea of ever getting out in that way, as they began to
  make daily searches for tunnels.

  We had been at Salisbury about two months when they notified the
  regular prisoners of war that they must be ready for transportation
  to Georgia at any moment. We immediately provided ourselves with a
  caseknife, filed teeth in the back of it, and prepared to make our
  escape while en route for Georgia. We were put on the train about
  6 o’clock, the 27th of May, in box or freight cars as usual, with
  four guards in each car. The car we were in luckily had windows,
  or holes for them, near the ends, and so saved us the trouble of
  sawing out. We jumped out of the window in quick succession as soon
  as it was cleverly dark, not far from Charlotte, without either
  of us receiving any serious injury. The cars were running at the
  rate of about twenty miles an hour—in fact that was about the only
  time we could jump without being seen by the guards. I jumped last,
  and the cars were running on a grade of twelve or fifteen feet in
  height which caused me to make several revolutions before I came
  to solid earth. I soon gathered up my loose property, comprising
  blanket, haversack, and walking stick, but the other two boys
  were on hand—and after a jolly laugh over the whole affair, and a
  consultation as to the route to take, we set out for the land of
  the living again—resolved to fight to the bitter end, rather than
  be captured again. We traveled by starlight altogether, and slept
  by sunlight. We usually called at a house between dark and bedtime
  for something to eat. We succeeded very well in imposing upon the
  credulity of secesh, and passed for rebel prisoners who had been in
  the Yankee lines so long that they had given us clothes to cover
  our nudity. We stole some, begged some, and traded everything away
  for eatables, and finally came into our lines at Strawberry Plains,
  Tenn., after traveling in eighteen days over 320 miles.

  I tell you, Henry, it was an eventful era to us, replete with
  amusing incidents, hairbreadth escapes, and dangerous expedients.
  I should like to see you and give you a verbal relation of some
  funny things. We were all very much worn out when we came into our
  lines—but we found a home and thanked Providence for his goodness.

  The boys were from the State of Michigan and one of them found his
  brother in the 10th Michigan Cavalry, then at that place. We of
  course stopped to visit with him. The other, and myself, reported
  at Knoxville, and were sent to Chattanooga, where I received a
  furlough from Gen. Thomas and came home, he getting transportation
  for Detroit City. I have had a good time at home since I got able
  to enjoy myself. After my furlough expired I reported at this
  hospital, where I am on duty in the dispensary. I do not know
  whether I shall go to the regiment or not, probably not. My health
  is good, and I am fat. This is not rebel treatment—Oh, Henry, I am
  obliged to you for those eatables you left me. I think I should
  not have recovered so soon without them. You have the thanks of
  our whole family. If you should hear from Dr. Davis, please let me
  know, and give me his address, and give him my regards. I had a gay
  time with the girls, as you may suppose. (Aside) I came very near
  being eat up. I have just read a memorial from the prisoners, to
  the President, setting forth their sufferings. They are analogous
  to those we endured at Richmond, etc. Please favor me with another
  letter, and oblige,

  Yours respectfully,
  Calvin W. Hudson, Co. D, 65th Ohio.

  Address Seminary Hospital, Ward 4, Columbus, Ohio.

  H. H. Eby, Esq.

[Illustration: Illinois Monument on Orchard Knob.]

                            CHAPTER XVIII.

The author, having set forth in the preceding pages of this narrative,
by many incidents of the war, some of the cruelties which war imposes
upon people of a nation involved in it, will now proceed to narrate
some of the consequences of war, which he has seen and experienced. It
is hoped that the suggestions in the following pages may be seeds from
which will spring good and lasting results in regard to the mode of
adjusting disputes between nations and people, and thereby prevent
cruel and destructive wars.

War is cruel at its best, and a calamity to any nation engaged in it.
It is as General Sherman termed it, “Hell.”

War should be avoided whenever it can be by honorable means, but when
good and noble principles, peaceful and honest people, are assailed
and are in jeopardy, there being no hope of adjusting trouble by
peaceable means, then the aggressor should be crushed as speedily as
possible by the employment of all proper methods and enginery that can
be secured. All the noble principles that “Old Glory” represents
should be sustained at all hazards. Every citizen should rally in some
manner for the purpose of defending those principles.

War is often a destroyer of beautiful and prosperous countries. It
takes from their homes men of robust constitutions, ruins their
health, and many are maimed for life; also many die and never return.

War takes men from their business, and many from their families, who
are often neglected and suffer on account of not having the
necessaries of life. It demoralizes the finances of a government,
which in turn destroys industries and business in general. Many
million dollars of war debts accumulate, which is often a very heavy
burden upon a people and requires many years to extinguish it. It has
been estimated that less than one-third of the amount expended by the
United States Government for the purpose of crushing the great
rebellion from 1861 to 1865 would have been sufficient to pay for the
macadamizing of all the public country roads in the United States. The
statement of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of the
amount of money expended for all purposes necessarily growing out of
the War of the Rebellion, from 1861 to 1865, brought down to Jan. 1,
1880, amounts to the enormous sum of $6,189,929,908, an amount almost
beyond belief; but yet it should not be discredited, as it was
computed from a copy of an itemized statement of the Secretary of the
Treasury of the United States. In addition to the $6,189,929,908,
about $3,000,000,000, paid to soldiers as pensions from 1880 to 1909,
brings the entire cost of the war up to the immense sum of

The following figures give the number of lives lost in the Union
armies of the United States during the war from 1861 to 1865:

  Killed in battle,      67,058
  Died of wounds,        43,012
  Died of disease,      199,105
  Died in prisons,       30,156
  Total,                339,331

War is expensive, and should be avoided whenever it can be without
relinquishing noble principles. The country traversed by large armies,
both friend and foe, in time of war, is a great sufferer on account of
the destruction of property, not maliciously, but as a natural
consequence of war. When an army has been defeated by another it will
retreat and destroy everything in its rear that would be of any use to
the enemy pursuing it. Roads and railroads are destroyed for the
purpose of delaying the pursuing enemy. Stock, provisions and anything
needed to supply an army are generally appropriated for its use, if
regular supplies can not be furnished by transportation. Fences are
used for fuel by the soldiers when on the march and at the close of a
day’s journey ordered to go into camp by the roadside. Fuel must be
secured from some quarter, and generally fences are the only supply,
and as a consequence large tracts of country are laid waste.

Citizens of a country where war is in progress are generally in a
perilous situation as can be learned by the following pages. A country
frequented by opposing armies is generally infested by scouting
parties from both armies, who are continually passing over the
country, and frequently meet unexpectedly in close proximity to a
dwelling in which people reside, and firing begins, which occasionally
results in the passing of a stray rifle ball or cannon shot through
the house. Of such incidents the author of this narrative was an
eyewitness on several occasions.

Enough has been said in former pages of this narrative, in regard to
the cruelties of war and their consequences, so that people who are
willing to inform themselves on this subject, and are not prejudiced,
may readily comprehend the enormous blessings that would be bestowed
upon humanity if nations would come to an agreement, abolish war from
the earth, and establish a new era of affairs. The question now
confronting us is how can war be abolished by the nations of the
earth, and this new era be brought about? Like other great reforms a
beginning would be necessary on a sound basis, and perhaps also on a
small basis, which would probably grow and become a large
international arbitration court, by which many cruel and destructive
wars could be prevented. We suggest for a beginning of an
international organization, that Uncle Sam issue a call to
each civilized nation and urge each to furnish and send two
representatives, including two from the United States, to some point
where they would convene and organize a temporary international court,
in addition to that already formed, for the purpose of organizing a
permanent international arbitration court, which would be endowed with
power to adjust and settle difficulties between nations represented by
such court. The international arbitration court mentioned would of
course be only in its infancy for some time after its organization, as
it would require much time and labor to complete and make it capable
for its task, after which great good could be accomplished by it by
way of arbitration, and enlightening people of the different nations
in regard to the ballot box, its importance in many ways, its
sacredness, and the important duty of every person to honestly abide
by its decisions.

The ballot box should be considered to be the ark of our national
covenant and safety. It is certainly the ark of safety when its
decisions are obeyed, and they always should be. The great War of the
Rebellion from 1861 to 1865 was caused by the disobedience of a
portion of the people of the United States to the decision of the
ballot box in 1860, which elected Mr. Lincoln to the presidency of the
United States. Some decisions by ballot may not agree with our views,
but nevertheless we should obey them, as it is an evident fact that it
is dangerous to disobey them.

Many people will undoubtedly hoot at the idea of abolishing war from
the nations. They will argue that there always have been wars between
nations and of course there always will be. But arguments do not prove
that war cannot be abolished. Difficulties between nations have been
satisfactorily adjusted in recent years, by arbitration and the giving
of good advice, which proves beyond doubt that disputes can be settled
without war. Perhaps a settlement of difficulties between nations by
arbitration would not be entirely satisfactory in every case, but it
would be a great blessing to humanity in general, and more
satisfactory than a settlement by war. Considerable time would be
required in arbitrating difficult cases, but on that account much good
could result, as during the period of delay the anger of the
disputants would undoubtedly abate, and with the addition of good
advice from the arbitration court, pointing out the errors of the
disputants, a satisfactory settlement would probably be the
consequence. We imagine that some people will call the foregoing
foolish and silly talk. It may appear to some people as such. Perhaps
the pessimist will say that there is no use in trying to reform the
people of the nations, because everything is growing worse, and he has
no faith in progress. We have great faith in the work of reforming the
nations of the earth in regard to warfare. Some people may say that
nations cannot succeed without war, but we say they could prosper much
better without it. We have faith in reformation, we being to some
extent optimistic, believing in progress and advancing toward better
things. We have confidence in the work of trying to abolish wars from
the nations, which has already begun, and will as we think succeed,
because people are rapidly becoming educated to new ideas, and in many
lands becoming more Christianized by missionary work. Men and women in
their moral characters are the real world powers. A few years ago
Turkey, a powerful nation, declared war against Greece, a nation much
inferior in strength, had entered Greece with a powerful army, and was
ready to crush the little army of Grecians, when just in the nick of
time several nations combined, forming a substitute for an arbitration
court, and requested Turkey to stop. The request was obeyed, and the
beautiful little country of Greece was rescued, the difficulty
adjusted, and peace again smiled upon the once combatants. In this
instance, with only several governments combined to interfere, a
nation was saved from ruin.

Other instances could be cited where in the past very great good has
been accomplished by arbitration. It is sincerely hoped that the good
work will progress rapidly.

                             CHAPTER XIX.

                   A Chapter to the Boys and Girls.

To the boys and girls, especially to the boys, and probably it would
not be injurious to men and women of all ages if read by them.
Millions of girls and boys are wanted, and needed, possessing the
following mentioned good qualities: Honesty, industry, frugality,
temperate habits, and everything that assists in upbuilding a good and
noble character.

Character is like an inward and spiritual grace, of which reputation
is or should be the outward and visible sign. Millions of boys and
girls are needed to become noble men and women, for the purpose of
perpetuating the noble principles represented by the United States
flag—the flag that was sustained in bygone years by the sacrifice of
several hundred thousand lives, and the expenditure of an immense
treasure; and the flag that cheered us and gave us new life when we
saw its friendly folds waving over us on our return from southern
military prisons. If there are any of our boys and girls or others who
do not possess the good qualities spoken of in former lines, they
would be much benefited by acquiring them, which would be the means of
forming good and substantial characters, worth more than gold. By the
possession of a good and noble character you can be happy, and enjoy
life, and you will be needed and wanted to fill offices of many kinds,
from President of the United States down to school director.

Boys, each one of you has an opportunity of becoming President of the
United States or filling any office from that of President down to the
lowest. Dear boys and girls, work hard for the attainment of the
highest character, as millions of such are wanted and needed, and they
will always be in great demand to fill good positions. Millions are
also needed as good citizens of the United States. If all our citizens
were of the first class our country would be a very pleasant place in
which to live. Some of you may say or think that you cannot cultivate
your habits in order to build a good character, that you do not know
how. If you will try and persist, you can succeed. Study the Bible
intelligently, and it will enlighten you on the subject. Leave off bad
habits and practice good ones, and then you will soon enjoy success.
There will always be a good demand for your services. You will be
wanted as ministers of the Gospel, school teachers and other officials
by the hundred thousand.

Uncle Sam also needs thousands of young men of the good qualities
spoken of for the mail service, and other occupations too numerous to
mention. None need apply unless they are of the best habits.

Last, but not least, millions of boys and girls of unblemished
characters are needed to become noble men and women, as good citizens
of the United States. A nation’s destinies are determined ultimately
by the ideals of its people. The good and righteous men and women
influence our whole people, and the rulers of our government. Men and
women of pure and noble character in a community may be compared to
beds of beautiful roses in a lawn. People love to congregate about
them, and enjoy their sweet and pleasant countenances, that speak for
the soul, which like the beauty and fragrance of the rose permeates
soul and body.

Dear boys and girls, and all: We have a most cheering consolation in
the fact that we are living under the protection of a banner (“Old
Glory”) which guarantees equal rights to all. The humblest child has
an equal opportunity with the one in a high station of society, for
education and the attainment of the highest position in our
government. It is true that many of our best government officials,
from the President down, were men who attained their official
positions by their own hard labor and study, who when boys were poor
and in humble station of life, but were honest, industrious, frugal,
and were workers for good attainments. Some of them, while attending
school, by strenuous efforts, earned enough money by doing odd jobs to
complete a moderate education. Boys and girls, be true to yourselves
and every person you meet. Be honest, temperate, industrious, and
frugal and become noble citizens of our land. Do not waste precious
time in idleness while you are young and able to do something, for the
time may come when you will not be able to work. What you learn in
your childhood days will not depart from you. Do nothing that would be
detrimental to your character while you are boys and girls, with the
intention of reforming after you have become men and women, because
habits that are formed when you are young are hard to reform. Build
good characters while you are young, and do not allow them to decay;
then good will follow.

Of course these exhortations do not signify that you should not take
any time to play. A certain amount of play is necessary, but it should
be in moderation. People strive for enjoyment in this life, and some
people employ a dishonest method which they imagine will bring them
enjoyment, but instead brings sorrow. For example: A young man who
held a good position in a bank imagined that if he could come in
possession of a large amount of money it would give him great
enjoyment during his lifetime. He escaped with a large amount of money
belonging to the banking house of which he was an employee. He went to
a foreign country, and there used a small portion of his dishonest
gain, which he did not enjoy, as he subsequently confessed. He was
captured and brought back to face his acquaintances, and was sentenced
to the penitentiary, which is a very common consequence in such cases.
If this young man had obeyed the exhortations of the Scriptures, he
could have had enjoyment, but by his one dishonest act he committed a
great sin, which ruined his character and enjoyment. He could reform,
but the faint marks of his dishonest act would remain.

The work of reformation is child’s play to that of making your friends
believe that you have reformed. Boys and girls, resent every
temptation to commit a disreputable act. If you want to enjoy life
fully, take the Bible for your guide, then you can enjoy this life and
the life to come. Be kind to the poor and unfortunate, especially
those who are mentally not your equal. The most cowardly and mean act
that any one can commit is to impose upon a person who is deficient
mentally, who needs our kindness instead of imposition. A person
guilty of such a crime should be punished.

Educate yourselves in a way that will make you capable of dealing
honestly with your fellow men. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Luke
10: 25–37.) Who is my neighbor? some person may ask. Our neighbor
includes any one of the human race with whom we may come in contact,
without regard to place of residence; whether he or she resides in the
vicinity of our home or far from us. Generally speaking of those
people who reside near our homes, we speak of them as neighbors
because we meet them frequently, and generally treat each other like
the Good Samaritan treated the man who fell among thieves, which makes
us neighborly. How can I love my neighbor as myself? may be asked. The
answer is, by having the love of God in your heart. When you have that
you will be in a mood to treat your neighbors as you wish them to
treat you, and will love to see them prosper as well as you desire to
prosper yourself, and will cultivate your disposition in a way that
will cause you to have a desire or inclination to assist those who are
in distress, and jeopardize your own life for the sake of saving your
neighbor’s, For example: You see a fellow man standing upon the
railroad track near you, and a fast approaching train is about to
strike him, you would at the risk of your life try to pull him off the
track and save his life. A person doing the foregoing mentioned good
deeds in the right spirit, is obeying the command, “Love thy neighbor
as thyself.” And you will also be in a mood to pay your debts; a duty
that is sadly neglected by some people. Romans 13:8: “Owe no man

[Illustration: Large Section of National Cemetery.]

                             CHAPTER XX.

                        Birth of “OLD GLORY.”

“OLD GLORY,” the stars and stripes, was born on the 14th of June,
1777, on which day Congress patriotically resolved: “That the flag of
the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; the
union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new
constellation.” It has never been known to what influence we were
indebted for the selection of the stars and stripes in our flag. Some
have thought that the stripes were of Dutch origin, for they occur in
Dutch armorial bearings, while others suspect that they were
introduced as a compliment to Washington, on whose coat-of-arms both
the stripes and stars appear; but there is no tangible evidence that
either supposition is correct.

The Father of his Country, nevertheless, had much to do with designing
the first stars and stripes. It was he, assisted by a committee
appointed by Congress, who directed the preparation of the first
design. They called upon Mrs. Elizabeth Ross, in Philadelphia, some
time between May 23 and June 7, 1777, with the request that she should
prepare the flag. Her house, 239 Arch Street, is, we believe, still
standing at this writing. Washington had a rough draft, in which the
stars were six-pointed. Mrs. Ross proved that five-pointed ones would
look better, and her suggestion was adopted. She had the flag finished
by the next day, and it was received with great admiration wherever
displayed. She was manufacturer of flags for the government for many
years, her children afterwards succeeding to the business.

                             CHAPTER XXI.

                    The Consequences of Secession.

                  Henry Clay, Senate Chamber, 1842.

Mr. President: I must take occasion here to say that in my opinion,
there is no right on the part of any one or more of the States to
secede from the Union. War and dissolution of the Union are identical
and inevitable, in my opinion. There can be a dissolution of the Union
only by consent or by war. Consent no one can anticipate, from any
existing state of things, is likely to be given, and war is the only
alternative by which a dissolution could be accomplished. If consent
were given—if it were possible that we were to be separated by one
great line—in less than sixty days after such consent was given war
would break out between the slaveholding and non-slaveholding portions
of this Union—between the two independent parts into which it would be
erected in virtue of the act of separation. In less than sixty days, I
believe, our slaves from Kentucky, flocking over in numbers to the
other side of the river, would be pursued by their owners. Our hot and
ardent spirits would be restrained by no sense of the right which
appertains to the independence of the other side of the river, should
that be in the line of separation. They would pursue their slaves into
the adjacent free States; they would be repelled, and the consequence
would be that, in less than sixty days, war would be blazing in every
part of this now peaceful and happy land.

And, sir, how are you going to separate the States of this
Confederacy? In my humble opinion, Mr. President, we should begin with
at least three separate Confederacies. There would be a Confederacy of
the North, a Confederacy of the Valley of the Mississippi. My life
upon it, that the vast population which has already concentrated and
will concentrate on the head waters and the tributaries of the
Mississippi will never give their consent that the mouth of the river
shall be held subject to the power of any foreign state or community
whatever. Such, I believe, would be the consequence of a dissolution
of the Union, immediately ensuing; but other Confederacies would
spring up from time to time as dissatisfaction and discontent were
disseminated throughout the country—the Confederacy of the Lakes,
perhaps the Confederacy of New England, or of the Middle States. Ah,
sir, the veil which covers these sad and disastrous events that lie
beyond it is too thick to be penetrated or lifted by any mortal eye or

Mr. President, I am directly opposed to any purpose of secession or
separation. I am for staying within the Union, and defying any portion
of this Confederacy to expel me or drive me out of the Union. I am for
staying within the Union and fighting for my rights, if necessary,
with the sword, within the bounds and under the safeguard of the
Union. I am for vindicating those rights, not by being driven out of
the Union harshly and unceremoniously by any portion of this
Confederacy. Here I am within it, and here I mean to stand and die, as
far as my individual wishes or purposes can go—within it to protect my
property and defend myself, defying all the power on earth to expel me
or drive me from the situation in which I am placed. And would there
not be more safety in fighting within the Union than out of it?
Suppose your rights to be violated, suppose wrong to be done to you,
aggressions to be perpetrated upon you, can you not better vindicate
them—if you have occasion to resort to the last necessity, the sword,
for a restoration of those rights—within, and with the sympathies of a
large portion of the population of the Union, than by being without
the Union, when a large portion of the population have sympathies
adverse to your own? You can vindicate your rights within the Union
better than if expelled from the Union, and driven from it without
ceremony and without authority.

Sir, I have said that I thought there was no right on the part of one
or more States to secede from the Union. I think so. The Constitution
of the United States was made, not merely for the generation that then
existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual
posterity. And every State that then came into the Union, and every
State that has since come into the Union, came into it binding itself
by indissoluble bonds, to remain within the Union itself, and to
remain within it by its posterity, forever. Like another of the sacred
connections in private life, it is a marriage which no human authority
can dissolve or divorce the parties from. And if I may be allowed to
refer to some examples in private life, let me say to the North and to
the South, what husband and wife say to each other: We have mutual
faults; neither of us is perfect; nothing in the form of humanity is
perfect; let us, then, be kind to each other—forbearing, forgiving
each other’s faults—and above all, let us live in peace and happiness

Mr. President, I have said, what I solemnly believe, that dissolution
of the Union and war are identical and inevitable; that they are
convertible terms; and such a war as would be following a dissolution
of the Union! Sir, we may search the pages of history, and none so
ferocious, so bloody, so implacable, so exterminating—not even the
wars of Greece, including those of the Commoners of England and the
revolutions of France—none, none of them all would rage with such
violence, or be characterized with such bloodshed and enormities as
would the war which must succeed, if that event ever happens, the
dissolution of the Union. And what would be its termination? Standing
armies and navies to an extent stretching the revenue of each portion
of the dissevered members, would take place. An exterminating war
would follow, not, sir, a war of two or three years’ duration, but a
war of interminable duration—and exterminating wars would ensue until,
after the struggles and exhaustion of both parties, some Philip or
Alexander, some Cæsar or Napoleon, would arise and cut the
Gordian knot, and solve the problem of the capacity of man for
self-government, and crush the liberties of both the severed portions
of this common empire. Can you doubt it?

Look at all history—consult her pages, ancient or modern—look at human
nature; look at the contest in which you would be engaged in the
supposition of war following upon the dissolution of the Union, such
as I have suggested; and I ask you if it is possible for you to doubt
that the final disposition of the whole would be some despot treading
down the liberties of the people—the final result would be the
extinction of this last and glorious light which is leading all
mankind, who are gazing upon it, in the hope and anxious expectation
that the liberty which prevails here will sooner or later be diffused
throughout the whole of the civilized world. Sir, can you lightly
contemplate these consequences? Can you yield yourself to the tyranny
of passion, amid dangers which I have depicted in colors far too tame
of what the result would be if that direful event to which I have
referred should ever occur? Sir, I implore you, gentlemen, I adjure
them, whether from the South or the North, by all that they hold dear
in this world—by all their love of liberty—by all their veneration for
their ancestors—by all their love of liberty—by all their regard for
posterity—by all their gratitude to Him who has bestowed on them such
unnumbered and countless blessings—by all the duties which they owe to
mankind—and by all the duties which they owe to themselves, to pause,
solemnly to pause at the edge of the precipice, before the fearful and
dangerous leap is taken into the yawning abyss below, from which none
who ever take it shall return in safety.

Finally, I implore, as the best blessing which Heaven can bestow upon
me upon earth, that if the direful event of the dissolution of this
Union is to happen, I shall not survive to behold the sad and
heartrending spectacle.

                            CHAPTER XXII.

Comrades: After reading the foregoing patriotic speech made by Henry
Clay in the Senate chamber in 1842, we feel inspired by the thought
that the Union is not dissolved, but was restored by the great and
glorious things that were accomplished by the Union armies during the
war from 1861 to 1865. Soon after our return home from the war some of
us began at times to ask ourselves the following question: What has
been accomplished by our three or four years of hardships in the army?
And sometimes we would almost arrive at the conclusion that our work
had been in vain. But as years have passed we were cheered by the
brightening of the skies. The war debt was being rapidly paid off, and
many of our former enemies were becoming convinced that it was a very
great blessing for all the people, North as well as South, that the
Union army was successful and the Union restored. A few years ago,
while I was in conversation with a gentleman from the South in regard
to National affairs, he frankly remarked as follows: “The southern
people should thank the Grand Army men for the great and good work
which they accomplished by restoring the union of all the States.”
Within the last ten or twelve years the author of this narrative has
been encouraged in regard to our National affairs, because of the fact
that the hard work which we did during the war has been manifested in
recent years by good results.

Comrades, we can now see some of the fruits of our labor. Our
government is on a sound basis, and is one of the most prosperous on
the globe. It is the government which was sustained by the faithful
soldiers of the war from 1861 to 1865, guided by the hand of
Providence. And it is a government endowed with the best and most
humane laws in existence. It is a government that has been and is
merciful, and since it has become of sufficient strength has removed
the yoke of oppression from the people of some of the islands of the
sea, and diffused among them liberty and freedom. It is also a
government that is taking the lead in the good work of adjusting
troubles between nations by arbitration.

During the war from 1861 to 1865 rulers and people of foreign nations
looked upon the probability of our success with suspicion, because
they believed and said that a government by the people, or a
republican form of government could not survive a great war like the
Rebellion. But they were surprised and taught the lesson that a free
people fighting for such principles as “Old Glory” represents, are
capable of surviving almost anything. By the success of our faithful
soldiers Uncle Sam has been enabled to grow up to a good-sized boy, or
we had better say a man, and we think that he is good and kind,
understands his business and attends to it.

The good principles which were sustained by many hard fought battles
from 1861 to 1865, and are represented by our good old banner, are
being diffused not only among the people of our own country but to
some extent among the people of almost every nation on the globe.

We sincerely hope that the good work will continue to go forward. But
what would be the condition of our country and ourselves if the
Southern Confederacy had been successful? The consequence would
undoubtedly have been as Henry Clay said in his speech. It would have
been the extinction of this last and glorious light, represented by
“Old Glory,” which is leading all mankind, who are gazing upon it in
the hope and anxious expectation that the liberty which prevails here,
sooner or later will be diffused throughout the whole of the civilized
world. Comrades, we have the consolation of knowing that our work was
not in vain. It resulted in the diffusing of more good to mankind than
all nations ever before accomplished.

No proposition is better supported by history, than that “righteousness
exalteth a nation,” “but the wages of sin is death” to a nation.

Dear comrades, many of us were permitted to return from the war to our
homes with our lives, but many with broken health, caused by the
fatigues of the march, the wearisome camp, the heat of summer, the
frosts of winter, and the awful ecstasy of battle. We now love to meet
each other at the post meeting, at the campfire, and above all, at our
reunions. But while we thus enjoy ourselves to some extent we are
thinking of the fallen. With a soldier’s generosity we wish they could
be here to share in our hard-earned pleasures. Possibly they are here,
from many a grave in which we laid them. Many of them died in the
darkest hours of the Republic, others in the early dawn of peace while
the morning stars were singing together. We should meet at every
reunion possible. I trust that we will meet in a reunion where there
will be no parting. Farewell. From the author.


Transcriber’s Notes:
- Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).
- Blank pages have been removed.
- Silently corrected typographical errors.

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About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.