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Full text of "Adventures of an escaped Union prisoner from Andersonville"

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nass L Gil. 
Book. 



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ADVENTURES 



OF AN 



ESCAPED UNION PRISONER 



FROM 



ANDERSONVILLE. 



SAN FRANCISCO: 
H. S. Crocker & Co., Stationers and Printers. 

1886. 



Respectfully Dedicated 



TO THE MEMBERS OP THE 



GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC," 



BY THEIR COMRADE 



THOMAS H. HOWE, 



102 N. Y. Infantry. 



ADVENTURES 



Escaped Union Prisoner 



ANDERSONVILLE. 



The Annual Encampment at San Francisco, (Jal., of the Grand 
Army of the Republic has suggested to me writing the following account 
of my adventures on my escape from Andersonville Prison. I do so in 
the belief that it will prove of interest, not only to those, who like 
myself — still living — were so unfortunate as to have been cooped up 
in tliat horrible den, but also to many of the survivors of our great Civil 
War, now visiting San Francisco to celebrate the Annual Encampment 
of the Grand Army of the Republic— Thomas H. Howe. 



Although the ins and outs of Andersonville Prison 
have been fully described at different times, a few 
words of repetition here will not be out of place. 

The prison and grounds, with stockade, occupied 
twenty-five acres, two hills with a six-acre bottom 
intervening, through which streaked a sandy stream, 
in average five feet in width and five inches in 
depth; this stream constituted our water supply. 
The stockade was square logs twenty feet high, with 
a dead line twenty feet inside, composed of slats, 
bordering upon its surroundings. The prisoners 
were formed into messes of ninety men each, then 
into detachments composed of three messes or two 
hundred and seventy men. 



a 



'Plio writer, witli fiftoi-n others, was captured at 
tilt' same time and from the same regiment, 102 
N. V. v., at the battk> of Peach-tree Creek, before 
Athuita. .July 20, isch Kjolit of our l(.t diccl in 
Ander.sonville from tlie effects of scurvy, gangrene, 
exposure and starvation. What a friglitful story 
wouhl the complete history of that prison be, 
wherein tliirteen thousand men gave up their lives 
to the preservation of the Union. 

On the 3d day of November of the year that I 
was captured, the sick and dying j)risoners were 
informed that they were to be exchanged. This 
news nearly crazed us with joy ; but it quickly 
became known that the announcement was made 
merely to disiiel the ideas of those who thought of 
trying to escape. At sundown of that day, these 
feeble prisoners, together ^vith those who volunteered 
to care for them and were called nurses, of which I 
was one, were taken to the railroad station. Wlun 
about half way from the prison, on our way to tlic 
station, where a box train was awaiting us, T took 
one look back at what was called "Andersonville hull- 
pen," I muttered in my mind "Good-bye, grave- 
yard ; farewell, dead comrades, this is a resurrection 
for me if I can effect my escape ere they get us to 
Millcn (our destination), another prison in Georgia," 
We were huddled into a train, which had recently 
been used for cattle. There were seventy of us in 
each car, including sick and disabled. About half- 
past seven the car gave a jolt and moved on toward 
Macon, sixty miles away. Here we arrived compar- 
atively soon, being held over the balance of the 
night, weak, irritable and (juarrelsome, as we were 
})acked in like sheep. We started about nine o'clock 
the following morning for Milieu, distant one hun- 



dred and twenty miles. We made numerous long 
stops on side tracks. As night approached it hegan 
raining, and on inquiry I learned that we were only 
twenty miles distant from Millen. The moment 
has arrived, I said to myself, when I must endeavor 
to accomplish my purpose. Our Confederate guards 
covered the top of the train ; they had just ceased 
singing and yelling " the bonny blue flag, the flag 
with a single star, etc." Their legs dangled over the 
eves of the roof ; the sliding side door was ajar 
about a foot space for ventilation ; no Confederates 
were inside, it was no place for them. I consulted 
one or two of my comrades asking them to make 
their escape with me ; they would not think of it. 
Wm. Wolgar, of Kalamazoo, Mich., overheard me, 
and we soon determined there should be " No Millen 
for us." We made our way to the opening, stepping 
upon the poor fellows who were stretched out on the 
floor of the car, getting their blows and curses. 
Wolgar was before me ; it was dark and still rain- 
ing. I had barely reached the side door when I 
realized that Wolgar was gone, and without a second 
thought I jumped. When I "came to" (I had been 
stunned by the fall) I found myself on the banks of 
the railroad, no car in sight, nothing to be lieard, 
only the whistling of the wind through the high 
trees on either side. 

On standing up, I saw I had received no material 
injury. I was free and thanked God I would be 
among the missing at roll call in Millen. I went 
back toward Macon and in a brief time met Wolgar, 
who was dripping wet from head to foot. He had 
jumped into a culvert and had heard shots fired 
from our guards. We continued walking back in 
the hope of reaching Atlanta or Sherman's army. 



8 



Our tramp lasted l)ut a sliort wiiilo wlien we came 
across the trestle work over the culvert iuto which 
Wolgar had jumped. As far as we could see the 
water seemed to be two or three feet deep. We 
jogged along until we stumbled into the thick under- 
brush in the heavy forest. We were not over a ten 
minutes walk from the railroad when we felt that 
we must stop and rest, as w'e were weak both in body 
and in mind from the harsh treatment received dur- 
ing our prison life. How well we slept ! The pelting 
rain mattered not ; we awoke at daybreak. The glare 
of the sun through the branches enlivened us with 
renewed vigor. Our shelter from sight was a small 
skirting of timber near the white folks' house, and 
bordering upon a stream. The howling of hounds 
was very audible, so we concluded we had better 
''get." We soon crossed the stream on fallen trees, 
bringing us into big woods. Walking further on 
we struck a grassy lane, along which we were confi- 
dent no one would see us. When lo ! I saw and 
called to Wolgar to " look out there, you'll strike a 
'Johnny.'" And sure enough a big Johnny Keb 
was the cause of our scooting off into the woods 
again. Therein we felt somewhat more secure. 
The weather was frosty and cold, the sky being clear 
as a bell. We were of good cheer and felt confident 
of ultimately reaching the Yankee lines. What's 
this ? was remarked, as we discovered a small corn- 
field. Oh, ho ! Everything was lovely. In we 
went amidst the long standing corn-stalks (dry and 
hard), to seek some stray ears. Some few were soon 
found. We craved for food, and devoured as best 
we could what we termed our " morning meal." 

Continuing our journey, I spied a colored woman 
gathering sticks of wood, and out to our left was a 



9 

big open field, dotted with a plantation. As we 
approached, the colored woman dropped the wood 
and gazed upon us in utter amazement. We had 
on Yankee clothes, and she had never seen Yanks 
before. Tapping her upon the shoulder, I told her 
our situation. She then went out to the row of log 
huts, returning in half an hour with a large kettle 
of hominy. That hominy was acceptable, I assure 
you. It is needless to say it soon disappeared. A 
runaway slave — the colored woman's husband — 
showed himself, and "God blessed" every hair on 
our heads. He took us down into a ravine, built us 
a fire, gave us matches, and sat and talked with us 
all the afternoon. Every once in a while other 
negroes, of both sexes, would steal in to see us. 
We were Yanks ; they had only heard tell of them, 
and were great sights to behold. They kept feeding 
us during the balance of the day, and we ate inces- 
santly until night, our food consisting of roasted 
and boiled sweet potatoes, yams, potato pie, 'possum 
meat, rye biscuits, corn bread, ocre coffee, etc. At 
sundown one negro returned, and took us to his 
cabin, where we were soon seated before a big log 
fire, eating supper, consisting of corn cakes, sage 
tea, etc. 

As soon as supper was over we set to work to effect 
a disguise. We exchanged our Yankee garments 
for Southern homespun, woven upon the plantation. 
The transformation was complete ; only our tongues 
upon emergency must help the deception. Three 
hounds were brought to the cabin, and with them 
and our negro friend we were guided three miles 
through the swamps, to what he called the Mill- 
edgeville and Atlanta State roads. The hounds 
would not now bother our trail ; so we bade fare- 



10 

well to our guide, and very soon laid down in the 
brusii to sleep, until the sunlight again dazzled our 
eyes. Our bodies were emaciated, and we dare not 
travrl until dark. Sweet potatoes and corn bread ! 
this was high living, and we enjoyed a picnic life 
(witli a bath in a creek hard by) the balance of the 
day. Following the State road at night, we passed 
two Johnnies, the salutation being "good evening." 
About midnight we made the Ogeechee River bridge, 
and, ignorant as to its being guarded, walked over 
it and passed a sentinel-house. Nobody seemed to 
spy us, and the supposed guards must have been 
engaged drinking coffee or (fire) water, as we found 
out later. 

Shortly before daybreak, we were awakened l)y 
some slave driving cows to pasture, and singing for 
dear life a Georgia coon song. I went to the edge 
of the timbers which sheltered us, and as I drew 
his attention toward me, he appeared amazed. 
Some negroes are very suspicious in different sec- 
tions of (jcorgia, where strangers are seldom seen. 
I fixed it all right with him, however, and allayed 
his fears ; so that he provided me with nearly two 
days' rations. We pushed onward, invarial)ly at 
night, fed and advised by slaves. We found it the 
wisest policy to follow the railroad, as we should be 
likely to meet less white ])C0})le. In a limited time 
we made the Oconee River, a large stream, the 
water of which, on either side of its banks, reaching 
far into the timbers. How should we get across ? 
The bridge, including the trestle work on the oppo- 
site side of the flooded surroundings, was a mile 
long. On account of the guards, we must find 
some slaves, who might be cognizant of some canoe 
near at hand. We were fortunate enough to dis- 



11 



cover the right class. It was near dark ; but he 
would come back, and take us to his cabin to 
supper. About nine o'clock, when everything was 
quiet, we were seated, enjoying a feast of roast pork, 
etc., the best we ever tasted. The room which shel- 
tered our colored friend was small, but beautifully 
clean, and his very black wife seemed only too glad 
to do anything for us. She actually knelt down, 
and thanked the good " Lawd " that we were good 
people ; we had no horns, and we were the colored 
race's friend ; the bright star would be a beacon 
ahead, and lead us to glory. After supper we were 
escorted to a gin-mill, and ascending a ladder, dis- 
covered the second and top floors packed with loose 
cotton. In we crawled upon our hands and knees, 
to hide until we awaited the result of our colored 
friend's endeavor to secure a canoe. We laid en- 
sconced and fed in our deep and w^arm cotton-bed 
for three days, as no canoe could be had. We then 
determined to wait no longer, so went down, and 
screened ourselves by the brush very close to the 
Oconee River bridge. We could see a guard high 
above us (as we were then in a ravine), pacing to 
and fro before the sentinel quarters. Six o'clock a 
train would be along, when a man would come to 
tell him when he could leave for supper. Then 
would be our chance to run the guard. He would 
be absent about half an hour ; so we awaited coming 
events. In due time, a long train came booming 
along, and we could discern many " Johnnies " on 
its car-tops. They were a rough, ill-looking set. 
We must keep a sharp look-out. That fellow seemed 
a long time coming to give notice to that poor devil 
of a guard about any supper. But there he comes ; 
we were too impatient. They disappear upon the 



12 

otluM-sidoof tlie railroad. "Are you ready, Wolf^ar ?" 
(t(. my comrade.) "Wait a minute." "All right!" 
Ami u[) we climbed the liigh embankment to the 
bridge. In haste, we were soon on tlie other side, 
running on planks upon a continuous angle over a 
long distance of trestle work. We thought of 
hounds when we made terra firma, and did not 
mind walking in a sandy stream for a long time to 
prevent them from tracking us. These dogs were 
very plentiful in Georgia, and a night never passed 
that we did not liear their howling and yelping. 
Every plantation seemed to have both them and 
men on guard duty ; and the dogs were so taught 
that they could scent a trail or a strange footstep 
immediately. Woe betide tlic wanderer ! The dogs, 
the whij)-poor-will and the owl were our company 
at night. 

We could tell by the s(|uare, white painted mile 
post how many miles we had walked a day ; so by 
daybreak we discovered we had traveled over twenty- 
live miles since leaving the Oconee. We took to the 
wood (as usual) for a hiding place and slept a good 
sleep ; })erchance dreaming of home and our arrival 
there, and when it would be. We had a hard, long 
journey before us. We finally discovered we were 
in close proximity to Macon on the Ocmulgee, gar- 
risoned, as we were informed, by some five thousand 
Confederates. We must now circumnavigate all 
places and towns along the railroad, as we would a 
plantation which oftimes stood across our path or 
course, perchance it would be in the timbers, when 
near and sudden barking of the dogs would give us 
fair warning. When a plantation would be dis- 
cerned we would have to get around pretty lively. 
jNIeantime we endeavored to waylay some slave on 



13 



the outskirts, even sometimes if we had to wait 
until daybreak. While they were at work or going 
to and fro on different chores, we would wait our 
chance in hope of getting something to eat and 
information. We saw it would be good policy to 
give Macon a wide berth, therefore went nine miles 
up stream in the cane brakes and came across a ^^lace 
called Low's Ferry, It was midnight and we dis- 
covered a canoe chained to a stake. The moonlight 
shone upon the rippling water. The ripples as they 
dashed against the canoe were the only sounds audi- 
ble, and occasionally the fluttering of some disturbed 
bird or the hooting of an owl would break the 
monotony. It was as if we were in a dream, that 
death-like calmness over all, but in reality a romance, 
an adventure to save ourselves from death, or 
what was worse, Southern prison life. The deep 
forests on either side, with their thick foliage droop- 
ing heavily over the stream, made us feel as if we 
were in some weird grotto. By persistent efforts we 
loosened the stake, and embarking in our frail ship 
I commenced paddling across the Ocmulgee, then 
let it float as it would down stream. After landing 
a considerable distance below our embarkation, we 
struck across the country on an angle with the 
Macon and Atlanta railroad, which we discovered 
about thirteen miles from Macon. We reached the 
railroad about three o'clock in the morning. We 
tugged along the road until I said " Wolgar, excuse 
me, no further this night, let's seek a hiding place." 
He was the stronger and had more endurance and 
encouraged me to " brace up." I walked like a lame 
horse, my feet being badly swollen and blistered. 
About a half mile further settled it. We struck into 
the pine timbers to our left and found, as we sup- 



14 



posed, a pretty good hiding place. You can wager 
I was tired. 

Daybreak came on, we were obliged to go deeper 
into the pine forest for safety. I batlied my aching 
pedals in a creek, which was wonderfully soothing 
to them. At nightfall two white men passed within 
four feet of us ; tliey seemed to be hotly engaged 
in some domestic affairs ; on they went, innocent of 
our close proximity. We watched and followed them 
a mile when they came upon a plantation. Just 
what we wanted to find, one upon a larger scale 
than any we had yet discovered. This was Dr. 
Winn's plantation, two miles from Crawford Station 
(or Howard) and fourteen miles distant from Macon. 
It was now quite dark and we were pretty well 
back of a boarded row of slave cabins ; back of 
these still, in a pine timber grove, was a lone log 
hut. As it grew darker we approached tliis from 
the rear. We heard no noise and nobody was in 
sight. We took our chances ; there was a dim light 
within ; we knocked on the shutter. 

" Who's that ? " (the old boarded blind opened) 
" Who's that, I say," was demanded by a big, fat, 
but kind-hearted black woman named Kachel, as 
she thrust her ]iead through the opened window. 
Matters were explained to her, and we found out 
that she lived there alone. She took observa- 
tions and returned to tell us to come around to the 
front door, wliich we entered by walking upon a 
plank at a forty-five degree angle ; we were soon 
inside. Supper was prepared for us and as we 
devoured the meal, Rachel sat smoking her pipe, 
sending great wreathes of smoke up into the room, 
while breathing heavily. She seemed to be in a 
deep study. All of a sudden she broke the silence 



15 

with the remark, " I will go out honeys but I will 
be back soon ; you can sleep in de bed all night." 
Going out, she muttered something about leaving 
the house in our care, and she knew where she could 
stay. We ate a good round corn-meal cake and 
some roast sweet potatoes, the room being lit up by 
a big blazing pine log. The room was not over 
capacious, the bed taking up half tlie floor. It was 
now nearly ten o'clock ; the door squeaked upon its 
hinges, and upon looking up we found Rachel had 
managed a surprise for us. Having informed her 
confidential associates of our presence they were all 
anxious to see us, and were willing to do what they 
could for us wonderful Yankees. Up they came in 
single file, and as they entered in turn their names 
were made known to us. First came Sally, a tall, 
fine-featured knowing wench ; a sprightly looking 
mulatto was Massa, and Tom a darkey in every 
respect ; Annette, a tall, long-haired, prepossessing 
mulatto. How glad they were to see us, to be per- 
mitted to talk and gaze at us ; how many questions 
they might have asked had we kept on answering. 
At last all was still. The white folks (we two) and 
all the black ones were sound asleep. 

We were to remain in the cabin until Sherman's 
army came along ; they were on their way to Macon, 
which was not far away. They informed us of this, 
and more they had been told by some soldiers of 
Wheeler's Confederate cavalry, which had been 
causing much excitement all day. Great heavens, 
what startling news to us ! But we must keep quiet. 
Information and good meals would be brought to us 
at every opportunity offered. 

While quietly awaiting the realization of this 
good news, numerous thoughts of a pleasant nature 



If) 

passed through my mind. Sherman's army ! Saved ! 
Home, mother ! The deep, soft bed at home seemed 
so inviting. I was rudely awakened from these 
pleasant dreams by a strange noise outside. I 
arose, peeked through the keyhole, when, ye gods ! 
what did I see but a Johnnie Reb coming up the 
l)hink. I motioned to Wolgar to keep quiet. " Mum 
was the word." A mighty hard rap sounded upon 
the door. " Open the door in there ! " was repeated 
again and again. " Excuse me," thought I ; " not 
much." He muttered some incoherent oaths as if 
he did not know whether to knock in the door or not, 
then finally strode away, (lolly ! I felt much better ; 
not so much either when I gazed through the key- 
hole once again, and saw that the whole plantation 
was strewn with Wheeler's Confederate cavalry. It 
was no i)leasant sight for us. We would much 
rather have been out in the woods. They were a 
good looking lot of healthy Southerners, and were 
bent on plundering, for they were helping them- 
selves to skillets, spiders and all sorts of cooking 
utensils from the slave cabins. Some two hundred 
and more came under our sight. They were in and 
out of one place and then another, and no few of tlicm 
stalked close by under our very noses as we peeked. 
Finally, we heard a tap on the rear shutter. It was 
Rachel. " Unlock the door, and get under the bed," 
she hastily remarked. There was a lot of cotton 
under the bed, making it a good hiding place. It 
is unnecessary to add that we obeyed her command. 
We laid there, and awaited coming events. In 
came three .lohnnies. " How d'ye do. Aunty ? 
haven't you got something for us to munch on ? " 
To the last question she replied, " Reckon not ; was 
waiting to get some meal from white folks." Wolgar 



17 

and I did some thinking. What if they shouhl pull 
out some cotton beneath the bed, just to see what 
might be in it ? It would not be an unlooked for 
move, as it would look suspicious so much cotton 
under a big bed ; but they went sort of easy on 
"Aunty," much to our relief, and took their depar- 
ture after a little confab. In came another, and 
still another, merely to make a few remarks to 
"Aunty." The Johnnies finally mounted their 
horses and marched off to one side, departing for 
no one knew where. 

We had stopped in Rachel's cabin one week, and 
still no Sherman's army put in an appearance. In 
point of fact, neither a white nor black person in 
this neighborhood of Georgia seemed to know ^i^y- 
tliing of its whereabouts. In other words (as we 
afterward discovered), the people were fooled all 
along the line of the Macon & Atlanta Railroad as 
to Sherman's movements. We must pursue our 
journey, and perhaps be fortunate enough to en- 
counter Sherman's troops. We were well rested, 
had new undergarments, two pair of -socks (luxuries), 
and many other little comforts. No little commo- 
tion was manifested on our leaving. A jubilee was 
held in our temporary home on the eve of our 
departure. Through the generosity of good old 
"Aunty," Sally, Massa, Annette and a few others, 
we had a great feast. One brought this and the 
other brought that. An old Confederate haversack 
was given us, filled with four days rations and a 
good supply of tobacco and pipes. The start was 
to be made about nine o'clock ; two negroes were to 
run away from the plantation, and accompany us to 
the Yankee lines. Their names were Wash and 
Arnold, and they were posted about the country as 



IcS 



far as Atlanta. As we departed many a prayer went 
np to the good Jjord to miide and preserve us. We 
walked all niolit, and were deserted l)y our two 
Itlaek friends at daylneak. 'I'liey lost their courage, 
and returned to their nuisters. A hanl rain-storm 
caiue on, and the day })roved dark and dismal, yet 
we passed it somewhat comfortahly, with a good 
rest in a deep guleh, where the foot-j»rints of uuin 
had seldom, if ever, heen. At dusk we eommeneed 
our usual night's tram]) on the railroad. About 
eleven o'elock we started to go round a )>laee called 
Barnesville. 

I sliall never forget the eventful night. On mak- 
ing a circuit we suddenly encountered in the woods 
sentinels to the number of tlii'ee or four, gathered 
about a fire which was fast dying out. Upon being 
discovered we made a rapid exit with them in 
hot pursuit. Under these circumstances we were 
pretty fast runners, and came across a swamp 
with Wolgar in the lead. It was pitch dark, but on 
we ran as we could distinctly hear the crackling of 
twigs under the feet of our })ursuers. They were 
nearing the swamp too. I was becoming exhausted, 
and had a severe pain in my side. All at once 
Wolgar cried out " lookout," and as he jum])ed over 
a ditch (and such a ditch) / went clean into the 
middle of it. I stood there like a tree stump waist 
deep in mud and water. I was apparently stuck 
fast, but 1 kept very quiet. Oh ! if 1 could only get 
out and catch up to Wolgar, but no, he was out of 
sight. It seemed about ten minutes ere I got out of 
the sticky, slimy mud, and no Wolgar nor pursuers 
in sight. On 1 went, as best I could, into the woods 
only to hear, at last, the faint whistle of my comrade 
die away. One could not see his hand before 



19 

his face. I tried hard to attract his attention by 
whistling, but coukl catch no sound in reply. My 
God ! we were separated ! I stumbled against a rail 
fence ; I listened ; no noise of any kind. I decided 
to stop in the first thick brush I came across and 
await day-break, for I might do wrong by going 
on, as my comrade would not, in all probability, 
be inclined to widen the gap between us, but 
might adopt the same course as I had. In fact, he 
might be lurking near to see if he could not discover 
me in the early morning. Yet, I felt we would not 
meet again. After one month's experience of es- 
caped life together, fraught with danger and trials, 
I was completely overcome with emotion. I sat 
down on a rail fence and boohooed for an hour. (I 
have never seen poor Wolgar since.) I must now 
paddle my own canoe. Let come what will, anything 
would be preferable to prison life. 

I slept a very restless sleep that night, and was 
astir at early dawn. I did the best searching that I 
ever did in my life to trace my missing comrade, 
but I was doomed to disappointment. In my search, 
however, I came across a coal-black slave, named 
George Westley. He was posted as to the move- 
ments of Sherman's army, which was far away from 
us, and had gone through Milledgeville, and had 
made a feint at either Augusta or Macon with his 
cavalry, and had run over the Georgia troops at 
Griswoldville, and thence to Savannah. I now con- 
cluded to push on as best I could, get around Atlanta, 
cross the Chattahoochee River, and so on to the 
Federal troops who were stationed at Dalton. West- 
ley, whom I called West, would go with me. He 
was acquainted with the country and its roads for 
many miles around. I saw his determination with 



wliich I was well plciiscd. IK- would steal away at 
niu;lit, obtain some provisions, and we would soon 
leave his j)lantatioii far behind. 

Su(di was the case. Next nii:;ht we started to go 
around Gritfen, sixty miles from Atlanta. At day- 
light, when half way around, I discerned a slave 
about half a mile away plowing on a side hill. We 
ventured on until we got close to him, and attracted 
his attention to my presence in the woods close at 
hand. As he came tow^ards me. West came out from 
the brush. The understanding was, that he would 
bring us a dinner when he returned from his cabin 
at noon. As we indulged in our noonday meal, he 
told us he would leave work a little after sun down, 
it would then soon grow dark ; we should watch him, 
start a short time after he did, then to go to a cer- 
tain skirt of woods which we supposed he had pointed 
out correctly. We should there find a gin house, 
and should wait until he came ; we were, however, 
not to become uneasy, as he might be detained in 
cooking something for us. Darkness began to hover 
over all, and we advanced to a timber belt, after 
penetrating the same we heard the howling of blood 
hounds, shortly they were close on to our heels, upon 
our trail. We espied a wagon house at a short dis- 
tance ahead, into which we scampered, and no sooner 
had we placed ourselves behind an old wagon than 
four hounds stood directly in the doorway, which 
was very wide, and there they howled for dear life. 
We were in a nice fix, those hounds were bad ; such 
yelping, and such exhibition of teeth was all but in- 
viting. We soon heard some one remark " come on 
out of there." I told West to stop where he was and 
keep quiet, while I would see what was up. Stepping 
out, I felt who ever demanded our jiresence (which 



21 



I supposed was what they wanted,) would go a 
little easy and stop the howling of the hounds. But 
no such spirit was manifested. Seeing a Johnnie, 
I saluted him with a " good-evening," and I actually 
did not care as much for the gun in his hands as for 
those never-let-go hounds. How hideous they were 
in their fury ! 

They only moderated their howls when I moved 
closer to my Johnnie acquaintance, an old bitter 
Secesh patroler ; one sociable dog having hold of my 
pantaloons all the while. 

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" 
was asked me. " Well," said I, "you'll excuse me, 
I am lost. I belong in Griffen on guard duty." 
" Lost eh ? I guess you are some d — m Yank, and 
have been hiding and feeding upon these premises." 

Just at that moment, he fell like a log. " Master 
Thomas," was uttered by West, " come quick." We 
followed a road down a small hill, at the bottom of 
which was a sandy stream, wliich we followed for a 
long distance in great haste, to prevent the hounds 
from tracking us. We never heard more of the man 
than that his name was Turner, nor did the hounds 
bother us again. 

While in concealment in the wagon house, West 
overheard all the conversation between us, and sneak- 
ing out unseen he stole up from the back and knocked 
Mr. " patroler " senseless with a club, a weapon 
we always carried. By break of day we had traveled 
quite a number of miles. We then lay down to rest 
near to, but hidden from the railroad, to start again 
at night-fall. When near mid-night, we discovered 
ahead to our right a log cabin, it stood alone on the 
banks of the railroad. There was a brilliant light 
within, West jogged along slowly while I continued 



90 



tramping to see wliat I could do toward getting us 
something to eat, as we had been sometime without 
fo<)(h Up I climbed to the top of an embankment 
and listened. T was luiahlc to make out the occu- 
pants (although there was distinct conversation 
taking place within), whether they were white or 
black folks, as many of the whites talked very similar 
to the negroes. Suddenly the front door opened. 
I took the party for a mulatto woman, and upon 
approaching her was invitccl in, and to my conster- 
nation what did 1 Ixliold but two white men and 
their wives. It was a pretty " cold night," and I 
must make the best of it. One fellew was a rebel 
officer and stood with his back to the fire, the other 
was the most knowing and communicative one, and 
was seated with ease in a large arm chair. 

" Good evening," was remarked by all hands 
round. I went up to the fire and pretended to be 
very cold, saying at the same time, that I was going 
to Atlanta to see my folks, now the Yankees had left. 
I was asked the name of my people, and upon an- 
swering, was informed that they <lid not know any 
family of that name, although Atlanta was a large 
city. I then asked if it was " good walking along 
the railroad." No ! Sherman had torn it all up, and 
the preference would be for the State road. 1 kept 
up the deception, as 1 thought (being disguised), 
pretty well. 

Just as I was about to take leave of them, the party 
in the arm chair exclaimed " hold on ! you are a 
Yank." I replied in the negative, and asked him 
what had put that into his head, that there was no 
Yank about me as far as I could see. Now I knoiv 
you are a Yank. With that I satisfied him I vxts, at 
the same time prej)aring to bolt out the door, when 



23 



I heard one of tlie women remark, " are you an es- 
caped prisoner ? " I made an affirmative reply, 
when lo ! my friend in the arm chair says, " young 
man don't be at all alarmed. Jam a Northern man 
by birth, but have been in the Confederate army for 
three years, and now^ thank God I am out of it. I 
have been fighting against myself long enough. I 
was once well-to-do in Atlanta. Now look at my 
predicament, I'm poverty stricken, this is my wife, 
this is officer so and so and his wife. What am I 
going to do ? Fight for this damnable cause and 
lose my life with no provision made for the support 
of my family ? No ! no more ! " Hereupon he took 
a bandage from olF his head and showed where the 
bushwhackers had fairly broken in his skull with 
the butt of a gun, because he would not become one 
of them. He was sorry for any prisoner who had 
been confined in '' Andersonville bull-pen." Well, 
to tell you the truth, readers, we sympathized with 
one another, and tears came to my eyes when I saw 
him rally the true flag. I sat down to eat some hot 
corn bread and drink what was called coffee, made of 
burnt corn bread crusts. All this had been gotten in 
readiness whilst I was engaged in conversing with 
the injured man. I thought of West and took some 
bread away with me. I was wislied a God-s})eed. 
They thought I had a hard road to travel and there 
were few negroes in the country. Those who had 
not gone with Sherman while in Atlanta refugeed 
with their masters. The surrounding country was 
pretty Avell devastated, even the railroad tracks were 
bent and twisted into various shapes. Some of them 
represented army badges under Sherman. I realized 
we had better make as quick time as possible as we 
might not be so fortunate as to meet with more 



'24 

negroes. West <U'v<»iired luy scanty sii])j)ly of ])rt)- 
visions with but little ceremony. We left nuiny 
miles behind us ere early dawn. 

About ten o'clock I concluded to take chances of 
getting around Atlanta by daylight, as we could not 
depend upon finding any negroes, on account of the 
general exit with Sherman's army. We now found 
great difliculty in finding sufficient shelter, and we 
also realized that four Johnnies were in close prox- 
imity. Where they had sprung from we knew not. 
Quickening our footsteps and gaining a curve in the 
road we incontinently took to the brush. They soon 
distanced us ; we were not sorry to part company 
with them. On we toiled, until I became so con- 
fused I knew not whether we were upon the road to 
the Chattahoochee River, or otherwise. We soon 
came across an old man and an attendant engaged 
in the questionable pursuit of picking up old dis- 
carded Yankee clothing scattered along the line of 
Federal breastworks. I put on a bold front as I ap- 
proached them to help my disguise. But the old 
man gazed at me with evident misgivings. My 
features were not of a Southern type, and no doubt 
my accent proclaimed me a Yank by birth and edu- 
cation. I told this hot blooded " Confed " (which 
he proved to be,) that " I was lost, belonged in At- 
lanta, serving as guard." He wanted to know if I 
had come in yesterday with (!o. " F." " Yes, that's 
my Company," said I. " Ah, ha ! that's it, is it, well, 
how came you so far from it then?" T r«'})lied, 
" out of curiosity, to take a view of the fortifications 
which one could discern for miles around." He in- 
formed me that the road running parallel with the 
breastworks (which I was now in) would lead me into 
Atlanta, three miles distant. He looked to be a good 



25 

smart old farmer, and again scrutinized me from 
head to foot. I took it upon myself to curse the 

d Yanks, Avhereupon my friend was not at all 

backward in calling them sons of something 

or other (Hem). 

" Do you see that spot over yonder ? asked he." 
" Well. I've helped take care of many of our poor 
boys there, that's where the old hospital once stood. 
Nothing now remains to tell the tale but those 
ashes " (the hospital had been burnt to the ground.) 
I gratified him by cursing the Yanks harder than I 
ever imagined myself capable of. In case of emer- 
gency I trusted to West's assistance. Of course the 
old fellow was not far from the truth in his suspicions 
as to my identity, but West and I were not to be 
captured easily. I learned he lived near the great 
burnt bridge over the Chattahoochee River. Good 
news ! After he having promised me to call upon Co. 
" F " on the morrow, I jumped over the breastworks, 
followed the road around the bend and struck into 
the brush to find anxious West. We lay in hiding 
for awhile then followed closely upon his heels until 
we made Peach Tree Creek. 

I was now at home with my surroundings, cross- 
ing a ravine I was on the very spot where I had 
been made prisoner nearly six montlis ago, and 
wdiere fifty-six killed and w^ounded of the same regi- 
ment fell. Here I lay down 'midst the graves of 
those poor unfortunates, whose fate had been far 
sadder than my own. After the night's rest, we re- 
sumed our journey to the Chattahoochee, arriving 
there about nine o'clock. To our dismay we dis- 
covered rebel pickets on the opposite side of its 
banks. How to get across without detection was the 
next consideration. To cross upon a rait that rapid 



i><; 



current would be certain capture, us it wouM lake 
us too long to navigate ourselves across, in this 
case speedy action meant safety. 

Three days and nights we remained on th<' hanks 
of the stream searching uj) and down for a long 
distance in hopes of finding a canoe. Alas ! no boat 
of any description could be found. We were raven- 
ous with hunger, and after searching a long time 
for something to eat we discovered two dried pig's 
ribs hanging upon a discarded rebel cavalry tent 
pole. Upon those two ribs and a dish of wild per- 
simmons M^e were destined to dine for some time. I 
could not decide upon swimming across that freezing 
stream, knowing, as I did, that I should have no 
clothes to protect me from the bitter cold — it being 
December — besides I should be obliged to separate 
from West, he being unable to swim. And, let me 
assure you, readers, a second separation from a com- 
panion would not inspire me with ho[»e and forti- 
tude which was all that was kee})ing my s})irits up. 
What should I do? There was no certainty that the 
Yankees were stationed at Dalton, so even had I 
crossed the stream I may have only met with a 
disappointment. I did not relish being a wanderer 
in (leorgia, so T iinally decided to go back. With 
bowed heads and lionie-sick feelings we tugged along 
feeling more reckless than ever, owing to our misery. 
Where should we go ? Happy thought. Winn's 
plantation, where the slaves were so precautious, 
and had done so much for poor Wolgar and myself. 
I wondered where lie might be now. Yes. 1 would 
go back nearly a hundred miles into Georgia and 
take my chances as to being cared for by them once 
again ; or else live in the woods to learn perhaps of 
some favorable news of the closing: of the war. 



27 

I'shall never forget when, one night in going back 
we stood beside a shed alongside the track. I was so 
tired I knew not what to do. On the other side of 
this shed, and right ahead of us, was a big bonfire, 
lighting up the fronts of four large buildings a short 
distance back from the railroad. West wanted to go 
around, but I insisted upon going straight ahead. 
We need not say anything and would soon escape 
the light cast by the fire. We could then strike off 
to one side in haste, and after reaching a secure 
place, and sufficiently distant from the fire, we could 
lie down the rest of the night, and resume our jour- 
ney in the morning. So I argued, until I gained 
my point. 

On we stalked, and we felt pretty sheepish wdien 
we discovered five Johnnies standing back of the 
fire. We were saluted with a " Hello ! " " How are 
you, boys ? " I answered. They ajjpeared to imagine 
we would stop, but still, somehow or other, we were 
inclined to keep right on. West taking the lead as 
we penetrated into the darkness again. We gazed 
backward and discovered that they had left the fire, 
and two of them were coming our way in no little 
haste. Suddenly leaving the railroad we ran across 
the field ahead of them, until with a plunge I heard 
West go head foremost into a deep ditch. It was 
pitch dark. As tired as I was, I could picture his 
plight, and was obliged to give vent to my feelings 
with a hearty laugh. I have no better simile of his 
appearance (when I did manage to see him,) than 
the big and famous seal " Ben Butler," when he 
emerges from the water flipperty flop, on top of seal 
rocks at San Francisco. 

We proceeded a few miles into tlie tangled woods, 
stopping to rest a little before sunrise. At mid-day 



28 

we came across a fine grove of i)ersiinnion trees, Hiey 
looked beautiful, and were as large as good sized lady 
apples. We luid uot lasted food for quite a while, 
so began to lill u]) on tliein. Being satiated, \\v Idled 
our haversacks. A heavy rain-storm set in about 
sun-down. We were now nearing Griff en, being 
exactly upon the opposite side from that which I 
took when going around it on my way to Atlanta. 
Suddenly we came in contact with a log hut. How 
it did rain ! We were cold and soaked to the skin, 
and covered with mud up to our knees. We thought 
how we should like to be ensconced inside, as we 
stood beside its mud-dripping chimney. But no ; 
the sounds of loud-talking white men caused us to 
reconsider our wish, and to move on. No rest for 
the weary that night. Yet, we were thankful we had 
escaped all danger so far, and for my improved health 
and powers of endurance. 

Next morning the sun burst forth in all its 
grandeur and dried our clothes while we slept under 
the clear blue sky all that day. Nothing of any par- 
ticular note transpired until going around Forsythc, 
when West and I came to an understanding. lie 
was to go to one Joseph's plantation, at Forsythe, 
while I would continue on to Winns. Perchance 
we might meet again, l)ut in all probability it was 
farewell forever. On I tugged as usual, through 
startling scenes and changes, to lind myself com- 
paratively soon an inmate of Sallie's boarded cabin 
(Winn's plantation) ; the last one in the row con- 
sisting of four, these being the abodes of the high- 
toned slaves, while there were numerous other cabins 
scattered about. After Sallie's came in rotation 
Lucy's, Ann's and Massa's, with their separate fami- 
lies. Sallie had seven children, Eliza, John, Walter, 



29 



Lucy, Dora, Paralee, and a four or five year old 
youngster as black as ink, called James George 
Thomas Beauregard. In several instances the sur- 
names of the slaves on other plantations were of 
different parties though of the same family, they 
would bear the family names of others, as Robert E. 
Lee, etc., might be a son of Sallie Winn's. They 
would name their off-spring after whomsoever they 
pleased, as long as it was not that of a Union man, 
as they no doubt should have been pleased to do had 
they dared. Sallie was intelligent, and knew all the 
movements of the overseers (George and Jamison 
Winn.) Her family with the exception of Dora, 
Paralee and Beauregard lived in other cabins. 

Sallie sheltered, fed and clothed me in her cabin 
nearly four months, and was never betrayed. How 
many slaves knew of my presence there ? I never 
could tell, yet, Sallie was very particular as to who 
knew and who did not. Still, I imagined many 
knew of it, especially the last two months of my 
secretion there. There were one hundred and twenty 
slaves owned by this plantation, and all but seventy- 
eight were hired out upon the railroad. My hiding 
place or screen was behind the head of a bedstead, 
and under it, which stood in the left hand corner of 
the cabin, as one entered the door from the front. 
In the front of the cabin, in the left hand corner, 
was also a bed. In the center was a large old- 
fashioned hearth, with blazing logs and a kettle over 
the fire. In another corner was a bench with wash- 
basin and generally a bucket of cold spring water, 
these, together with a cupboard and table comprised 
the furniture of this particular cabin. The bed- 
steads were old-fashioned and high-posted with cur- 
tains around the lower portions ; the space beneath 



30 

tliem l)eiujT about a foot and a lialf fi'oiii tlic floor. 
Tlie head oi" the' bed, bidiind whicli 1 was phiced for 
security, liad a string stretelied across the posts and 
over this was thrown a sheet. Tlie IxmI was drawn a 
suilicient distance from tlie wall to admit of a cliair 
upon wliich 1 sat screened from view. There still 
remained an aperture, and had it not been for a 
press standino- inimcMliately in front of it 1 could 
have l)een seen by those entering the door. This 
l)ress was far enough away from the bed to allow one 
with dilticulty to squeeze through, this space being 
lef"t to avoid suspicion. 

These close cpiarters were to be my abode for 
nearly four months, not a very pleasant contoupla- 
tion, think you. But much jdeasinter than running 
the risks of recapture. The next preperation made 
was that of an exit for myself in case of emergency ; 
this was done by loosening a board from the floor- 
ing, leaving a space large enough to admit me to 
crawl through. The cabin stood upon stone pillars 
two feet and a half from the ground. I would often 
satisfy my curiosity by peeping out from my secluded 
nook, as T had tlic advantage over those entering the 
door, they being unable to see me. T invented a 
window by knocking out a knot in one of the ])oards 
alongside of me, through which I could take obser- 
vations of what might be taking place between the 
white folks house and the l)arn. This " hole in the 
wall " afforded me consideral^le amusement ; while 
there it certainly was a big bonanza. There was so 
much to be seen which relieved my mind in its 
solitary confinement, to watch the overseers at this 
or that task, and the slaves who were always active, 
starting away, and returning each occu[)ied with dis- 
similar avocations, which centred in and aliout the 



31 



big barn and its surroundings. Yet, no one, ex- 
cepting Sallie was cognizant of a Yank ever behold- 
ing the entertainment that so mucli helped to kill 
his monotonous existence. 

One quiet night, about eight o'clock (during my 
first week's sojourn,) Sallie kept a lookout while I 
was to be treated to a very nice supper. I was not 
aware of the programme, however, just yet. Dora, 
Paralee and Beauregard were clasped tight in the 
arms of Morpheus, so tight, in fact, that they were 
snoring. I was moping over the log fire, when in 
came Annette, the well-dressed and fine looking 
Creole, with long black waving hair, with a tray in 
her hands piled up with edibles. Such a supper ! 
A feast for the Gods. When we parted I was given 
to understand that this would l)e my fare each night, 
provided the coast was clear. Annette did the wait- 
ing at table at the Winn's, in consequence of which 
I was oft-times provided with the best luxuries in 
the way of eatables. 

Two or three days later I was seated in my corner 
gazing through my minute window, when I suddenly 
saw George Winn stop immediately in front of me, 
he was telling a negro named Wilson what he was 
to do. I had a good view of him now, and made 
myself familiar with his every expression. I thought 
to myself, if he only knew I was sizing him up for 
all he was worth, I, a fellow aw^ay from New York 
and an Andersonville prisoner at that, what a time 
there would be. He and Jamison were rank Secesli, 
but had twice deserted the Confederate forces. Be- 
hold you ! h§ looks right up at the knot-hole. I 
imagine I am seen. It does not take long for me to 
slip underneath the bed should he come in to discover 
what suspicious eye he had seen glued to that knot- 



liolo. I was prepared to o;ot iinderneatli the liouse 
tliroiigh my subterranean passage if needs be. But 
thank my lucky stars lie did not detect anything, 
and sliortly after strolled away. 

When Hallie })ut in an a})i»earaiu'e, I directcil hci- 
to go around and try the experiment of noticing me 
at my window. She came close \x\) to it before she 
could discern my eye, and said no one could ever 
possibly make out if they were unaware of my lacing 
there. 

Annette continued supplying me with my very 
much appreciated supper, and one night asked me 
if I did not wish to take some exercise by walking. 
Tt was just what I needed, as I had had but little of 
that much needed article of late. I droi)i)ed under- 
neath the house. It was a bright moonlight night, 
so I met her back of the well-remembered Aunt 
Rachel's cabin. We stalked into the deep pineries; 
were free from sight and to talk as we would, with- 
out fear of being overheard. On we rambled to the 
song of the whip-poor-will and the scami)ering of 
some disturbed and harmless lizzards about our feet, 
different species of which were numerous in Georgia. 
The beautiful tall pines and the moonlit path as we 
strolled across the shadowed land, reminded me of 
descriptions of paradise. We seemed to have walked 
about two miles, and, feeling somewhat fatigued, sat 
down beneath a large pine and told of each other's 
history. I learned more about slave life that night 
than in all my career before, my informer being a 
very intelligent person for her rank. We separated 
at a late hour, and returned to the plantation by 
way of Aunt liachel's. Everything was serene, and 
as I crept into bed I could only hear the stentorian 
breathing of the occupants of our cabin, all being 
in Morpheus' oft sought arms. 



A few days later, while seated in my corner, Lucy 
(our next-door neighbor) came running in and ex- 
claimed, " Sail, Master George is comin' !" Sallie com- 
municated this piece of news to me. As I kept my 
eye on the front door, I saw him enter, and thought 
I to myself, what's up, but imagined it was only 
for a little chat with Sallie that he owed this visit. 
He came directly across the room and sat down upon 
the bed which hid me from view. It is unnecessary to 
tell you readers that I remained as still as a church 
mouse, as all he need do was to turn his head and 
look back to discover my situation. During my stay 
upon the plantation I was in this predicament at 
least twenty times. Sometimes his manner and 
conversation were such that I was almost positive he 
would look back of him, if for nothing else than for 
the sake of making it appear he was of an observing 
character. Ofttimes I would cautiously creep under 
the bed to be in readiness to "scoot" from under- 
neath the house should he manifest having any 
knowledge of my presence. 

I shall never forget the sensation created by an 
act of a unit of the family. Winn was engrossed 
in some subject with Sallie, when young Beauregard 
(the unit above mentioned) came to the head of the 
bed and shook his little fist at me — the wretched 
black imp! as much as to say, "Ah, ha! I've got 
you now, if I want to act false to my teachings." 
Oh, thought I, if I could only get a hold of that 
little black piccaninni I would hurl him clean over 
the tree tops. Yet I suppose he was conscious his 
actions would not betray me, as luckily it turned 
out he was not observed. He merely took advantage 
of the chance to show how important he was to my 
remaining concealed in my corner. After George 



34 



Winn took his departure, I searched for "Master" 
Beauregard, hut he was a little too wise; he no douht 
thought it policy to ahsent himself until my mind 
subsided into its normal condition, if it wei'e jxtssi- 
ble. Upon relating the coincidence to Sallie she 
immediately found Beauregard, whom she sent to 
me and called him to account for his misdeeds, with 
no little jiunishment in the shape of a taste of the 
cat-o'-nine-tails. 

My monotonous existence was somewhat relieved 
(about one week after the above episode) in a novel 
manner, in the form of a jubilee gotten uj) by Sallie. 
A few slaves were invited from another plantation 
to join in a scuffle, which I was to observe unseen 
by those participating in the festivities. The jollity 
started in shortly after dark with a very old and 
inky black slave, who enlivened the guests and got 
them under way with the continuous repetition of 
one tune. As ten slaves, five of each sex and abreast 
of one another, met to return and fall back in line, 
with scuffling or dancing continually kept up to the 
song of " I likes puddin', I likes pie, I likes pretty 
gals around the body, fol, dol, diddleilum, fol, dol, 
da," etc. Then, after a little, another would start 
up with, " You talk about your cotton, you talk 
about your land, I'd rather be a niggah dan a poo' 
white man," etc. 

This hilarity continued upon the increase until 
close upon daybreak, when they desisted and took 
their departure. Their scuffling could be heard 
miles around. (I never made mention of good old 
Sallie's husband being on the other side of the di- 
vide whence no traveler returns.) Jamison Winn 
never made it a practice to visit the slave cabins. 



35 

I continued to take my evening- ramble in the 
pineries, often accompanied by faithful Annette, 
who never neglected to provide for me, when she 
could, the same luxuries in the way of food which 
were indulged in by the white people. She even 
taught me how to knit socks. I completed two pair, 
but had considerable trouble to get through my 
obstinate brain how to turn the heel. Between 
Annette, Sallie and Massa, I was provided with a 
new suit of clothes woven by them. 

Matters progressed without any stirring events 
until witliin the last month of my sojourn, with the 
exception of having been compelled to seek the 
woods two or three times, owing to the presence of 
patrolers in search of George and Jamison Winn, 
the deserters of the Confederate army, who would 
always, however, receive due notice of their approach 
and evade their searchers. At the last moment 
Sallie or Massa would notify me of the approach of 
the patrolers which would just allow me time to va- 
cate the premises. They generally searched all the 
cabins. During the last month of my visit on this 
plantation, I hid myself in the woods through the 
day and returned to the cabin at night when all was 
quiet. I pursued this course as I feared too many 
knew of my presence and might possibly betray me. 
I had a secluded nook deep in a gulch beside a rip- 
pling stream. No one but Annette knew of my 
whereabouts, not even Sallie, who shared every con- 
fidence of Annette. 

I enjoyed my romantic position immensely, ex- 
cept when the heavens wept, which would put a 
damper upon my spirits. The latter were soon raised 
again by an article provided for me by Annette in 



:',{) 



tlic I'oi'iii ol" a drau^lit IVoin (lie l)otllc <if rvc wliiskcy, 
the juirc wliito article distilled on the plantation, 
where I was l)eeoiiiinfT, as I feared, too well known. 

Most invariahly when the snn was in its zenith, 
the pervadini:; silence would he hroken hy the crack- 
ling of some twig or the snaj)ping of a sa))ling due 
to the approach of Annette with a heart}' meal. 1 
often imagined she had other reasons for admii'ing 
me tlian that of my heing a Yank. She would 
always remain with me until the last moment. I 
often think of my ahode amidst the deep foliage 
with faitliful Annette as a companion, listening to 
tlie singing of the nniny-hued hirds so })lentiful in 
(leorgia in the spring of the year. 

One afternoon the rain came down in torrents. 
rt was ahout four o'clock. When, hehold ! There 
came Annette with a calico dress and a sun bonnet 
shing over her arm. T wondered what it could 
mean. My curiosity was soon satisfied, for when 
she reached me she said, " C'ome, i)ut this dress and 
bonnet on." The slaves were returning from their 
day's labor, and I had a chance to reach the cabin 
in this disguise, as I should be taken for one of them, 
and would soon be sheltered from the storm in my 
secluded corner behind the bed. I did not like the 
idea of dressing in imitation of a wench, and so said, 
" Annette, will you do me a favor ; that is just to 
please excuse me." To make the story short, I was 
not listened to, and was made to get into that dress 

without further })arleying. The d 1 himself could 

not have recognized me in it. 1 thought to myself 
that this was a nice state of aH'airs. hut then we had 
no time to lose, and went on boldly. We did not 
mind being in sight now, but struck out boldly and 



37 



fearlessly into tlie open country, Imrried on nntil we 
overtook and mingled with the slaves on their return 
to their separate cabins. 

I thought of my poor lost comrade (Wolgar), who 
no doubt imagined me stiff and cold ere this, as no 
communication of any kind had reached liim about 
me. While nearing the cabins I l)egan to feel some- 
what nervous. What if they should discover me 
now? 

The rain kept pouring down, for which I was in 
a measure thankful. The negroes concluded they 
would all jump over a rail fence and cut across lots. 
Such clambering! I never saw its ecjual before, and 
never expect to witness it again, not even in a cir- 
cus. One slim wench said, " Look out dar, I'se 
comin','' and away she went. Such a muddle! She 
was so excited that she tri}>ped on the top of the 
fence and floundered in the mud on the other side 
like a turtle. Another said, " See me, see me; lawda, 
honey, here / goes!" As she got astride the fence 
she became entangled in some briars. I enjoyed 
the situation hugely, and was laughing loudly, for- 
getful of my female attire, but was soon recalled to 
my senses, and discovered I liad almost exposed my 
identity. Fortunately my back was turned and the 
others were so far in advance of us that they were 
not positive as to whom the hilarity owed its bois- 
terous outpour. I changed my tactics very abruptly, 
and assumed a very feeble manner, getting through 
the fence under the lower rail. 

On nearing the plantation, whom should I see but 
George Winn standing before the barn. I had to 
pass close by him, otherwise it would look suspicious, 
as the only way to steer clear of him was to leave 



88 



the laiK' we were t raiuj)iiiii:. ;il<>n<:; which was the 
shortest route and the best j)ath leading toward the 
cabins. No bars were taken down from the inclosure 
unless for the passage of teams to the barnyard, conse- 
quently each one got over or uiidci' the fence. Close 
by stood George \V. I don't suppose anybody made 
better time getting through that fence than your 
humble servant without showing their pedal ex- 
tremities, for had Winn even got one glinpse of my 
feet I should have been a " goner." 

My mind often wanders back to that lime. I felt 
so desperate, that had auytliing occurred, T was per- 
fectly prepared to tight, swim or travel. Every ste}) 
onward counted. I was finally ensconced in my 
little observatory, where I partook of a good dram 
of rye and gazed out of my knot-hole window with 
no little relief. 

The following inght ! was notiiicd that two ne- 
groes by the name of Wash and Arnold wished to 
see me. "All right," said 1; 'Met them enter, Sal- 
lie, and keep an eye open for new-comers." In they 
came, the very ones that had accompanied my com- 
rade, Wolgar, and myself when we first left the })lanta- 
tion to find our way to join the Yankee army, then 
on its way towards Savannah. 

My visitors had known of my being in their midst 
a long time, and it was owing to their shrewdness 
that Sallie obtained the information she from time 
to time imparted to me. Thus 1 had two unknown 
friends all this time, to whom I was greatly indebted. 
They bade me be patient, that I should be within 
the Yankee lines shortly ; Wilson's cavalry was 
coming down to Macon, Ga., from Selma, Alabama. 
This certainly was startling news. They also saw 



39 

that I received a Macon paper occasionally, which 
kept me posted. A negro brakeman would throw 
one from the Macon train every morning as the rail- 
road extended through the plantation grounds. The 
result was, I was in receipt of a paper about three 
times per week, which often afforded me gratifying 
news of the approach of Union cavalry. 

Shortly before my departure from the life amidst 
the faithful blacks, while one day returning from 
the woods to my cabin, a confidential slave in my 
company, I discovered much commotion going on 
about the plantation. The white people were unusu- 
ally active. Something evidently had occurred to 
disturb their calm. I imagined it to be caused by 
the approach of the Yanks. When near Sal's cabin, 
Arnold who was in advance, stepped back suddenly 
and told me to go to Massa's house (the other end of 
the row,) that my supper would be brought to me, etc. 
The place was all lighted up by a blazing bon-fire, 
and the blacks seemed to be about half wild. Arnold 
accompanied me in a half circuit around the back of 
aunt Rachel's cabin, and so on around to Massa's. 
When Arnold discovered an opportunity for me, I 
walked into the cabin. My supper stood waiting 
for me. I ate by candle light in a little front room, 
while Massa remained outside on guard. I was 
just beginning to enjoy the well-prepared meal, 
when in ran Massa almost breathlessly exclaiming, 
" Massa Thomas ! quick, get under dat bed ! " I had 
no sooner obeyed, than in walked a captain of the 
})atrol guard. Massa immediately blew out the 
candle, when the captain said, "What's up, some- 
body's hidden in this house ; I shall search it." He 
went out to obtain a couple of his patrolers, and 



40 



sceinii,- llircc of them at (lie Imck (jf the ea])iii lie 
coiinnenccd talking to them. 

While he was thus engaged I took my cliances, 
and ran out of the front door rapidly, and })roceedod 
right u[) to the white folks front door. It seemed to 
be the only and best alternative. They would per- 
haps take me for one of his overseers (whom they 
were after.) I made a feint as if to enter, thinking 
they would come to search this place for mo, as I 
afterwards learned they did. But instead of going in 
I scooted as fast as my limbs would carry me, and 
was soon half-way across a ploughed lot. After my 
dodging out of the door and getting beyond the glare 
of the light from the bon-fires, I was taken with a 
severe pain in my side, and could scarcely manage 
to walk. If they had pursued me, all they would 
need to have done, would have been to tap me upon 
the shoulder. I could have offered no opposition as 
I was so exhausted as to be unable even to speak. 

I dragged myself along a little farther, until 1 
reached a rail fence, where I laid down to rest for 
a little while. Feeling much better after my rest, I 
vaulted the fence and found myself on the State road 
which 1 followed but a short distance, when I 
imagined the })atrolers were in pursuit, hearing con- 
fused conversation close behind me. Nearinganold 
negro church I passed through the unlocked entrance, 
hurried between the benches until I gained the pulpit , 
behind which I hid. It struck me as being a pretty 
good place to be discovered in. I heard several 
horsemen go by, but was loath to take my de})arture 
until an hour afterward, when I made my exit by 
jumping from the back window. 



41 

I then passed through three miles of woods until 
I reached what was called the lower plantation. A 
hut for the negroes, a crib for grain, and a shed for 
tools; these constituted the buildings on the planta- 
tion. The surrounding land was under cultivation. 
The remainder of the night was spent by me in the 
woods. At sundown upon the following day I de- 
tected Wash among the other slaves leaving their daily 
toil. I managed to attract his attention, and he 
came to my place of concealment, told me how they 
had taken me for George Winn, had searched the 
house, and being unsuccessful, had left in pursuit of 
him. He said we could go back to together, and 
when near Sallie's he would see if the coast was 
clear for me to pass unnoticed into the cabin. My 
safety was secured again, and I sat down to enjoy a 
hearty meal before a crackling log-fire about ten p. m. 
Delmonico's was nothing in comparison to that 
meal in m^/ estimation. My enjoyment of this meal 
was coupled with a treat of a Macon paper, which 
was handed me by one of the numerous slaves now 
dancing attendance upon me. 

Blacks unheard of and unseen by me before now 
came to my side to congratulate me. I wondered at 
the cause of this friendliness, and soon discovered 
it in reading the paper, which announced that the 
Yanks were not over forty miles away, and were 
heading towards Winn's plantation. The negroes 
rapidly became more impertinent and daring, and 
their masters became less exacting. Why? The 
Yanks were coming! Aye, it seemed heaven to 
them, and mucli discussion was indulged in by all 
hands. 



42 



My >\vv\> that lULjlit was exceedingly restless. 
"Coiuiiiij; events cast their shadows before," they 
say. I knew not how soon I should hear the 
Federal bugle announcing the a[)])roach of our 
brave boys in blue. Daybreak found nie wide awake 
studying every movement that came within range 
of my knot-hole. And, readers, make a little allow- 
ance for me if I say I was well nigh delirious with 
joy over much good news. I thought of the reunion 
with mother, home, sister and brothers, who no 
doubt thought me beneath the sod of the South. 
For just lliiiik, here it was April, '65, and I had 
been captured in July, '04. What pleasure to look 
forward to! J should in a measure reseml)le the res- 
surrected, as Fd never been heard from, with the 
exception that I had been reported missing after the 
battle of Peach Tree Creek, before Atlanta. I re- 
ceived news that George and Jamison Winn were 
preparing to flee. My place of seclusion seemed 
now to be considered headquarters. I did not think 
the Winns had need of any apprehension, as in all 
}>robability they would not be molested. 

During the afternoons the slaves would not work, 
and fre(|U('iitly we would bear of the ^'anke(■s being 
at such and such a place, so much nearer, etc., etc. 
All news was communicated to me as soon as it \vas 
learned. Finally there were so many assembled 
in Sallie's cabin that they began to scuffle and 
chant. Never had they been so over-charged with 
hilarity before ; some became so excited over coming 
events that they could only give vent to their feel- 
ings by repeated and hideous yells. As night 
advanced bonfires were built all around the cabins. 



43 

the scuttling still continuing. As one stepped out 
wholl}^ exhausted, another took his place. 

Suddenly all commotion ceased for awhile to hear 
more news, as an old slave called Uncle Gabriel 
(who belonged to the plantation but lived in a log 
hut which stood north on a hill), put in an appear- 
ance. He had seen the Yanks, the glittering of sabres 
and the rapid advance of the Blue-coats on their 
fiery steeds, just at sundown. Great commotion pre- 
vailed again. He was almost out of breath, and 
they still kept plying him with questions ; but he 
kept them somewhat in suspense for awhile, he be- 
ing pretty nearly fagged out and had become so 
excited. As soon as he had discovered the Yanks 
he started on a run and came pell rnell to impart 
his news. I could see his every movement from my 
observatory and reminded me of a horse with the 
heaves, he was so winded. When Massa asked him 
what was the cause of his derangement he burst 
forth with ''Oh! doan' you bodder me, Yankees 
right in yer mouf, right in yer mouf ; I say dar, 
colored folks, a pile of Yanks comin' suah." On 
went the scuffle, including old Gabriel, who was not 
to be outdone by any common negro. 

While this was progressing Ann came rushing in 
with a "Massa Thomas, Yankees right on de road 
hyar." This caused me to show up suddenly from 
beneath the bed, to the surj^rise of no few negroes 
who were unaware of my existence, much less my 
presence in that room. Just as I was in the act who 
should enter the front door but George Winn. It 
was the first time he had ever caught a glimpse of 
me and then only for a moment, as I had soon dis- 
appeared under the house. Sallie having stooped 



44 



down :is if to si'urc'li I'oi' the wliitu f;icc, l>ut in rcalily 
to ri'plac-e my trap-door, so to speak. So before 
GeorL^e Winn took measures to discover me, tlie sup- 
posed phantom had disappeared, aye, "vanished 
into thin air." 1 was hiter informed tliat he imag- 
ined me to be some disguised negro wlio was increas- 
ing the prevailing excitement. 

After getting free from the house 1 hurried towards 
the woods, not forgetting to bid old aunt Rachel 
farewell on my way thither. I then went to the State 
road but failed to hear sounds of any description, 
not even the Confederate Gen. Wheeler's cavalry, 
who were suj)posed to be scampering anywhere and 
everywhere ahead of the Yanks. It was now about 
seven in the evening, and until nearly eleven I 
patiently waited the coming of some troops, but to 
be disappointed, so went back to a ravine a short 
distance from the road, where I felt I could take 
good observations should any one ])ass by. Soon 
footsteps could be heard approaching ; it was Wash 
and Arnold in search of me to bear me this news: 
They had seen the Yanks too ; while thus engaged 
in conversation we were startled with the approach 
of cavalry. Whether it was the Rebs or Yanks we 
knew not, so I told Arnold to inquire of them if the 
)7r»A-.s' were coming ; at all events we would be on 
the safe side in putting the ([uestion thus. Tie w^as 
to communicate their reply to me further down the 
ravine. 

While awaiting the result of his inquiry, I heard 
the clattering of arms, and the greatest consterna- 
tion imaginable. It was the Union Gen. Wilson's 
conquering band. I started for the troops, and by 
the time I reached the road the regiment of cavalry 



45 

had passed, excepting a member thereof who was 
anxiously awaiting me. He had been told of me 
and my being an escaped Andersonville prisoner. 
He said if I could ride he would take me on his 
horse behind him. Around about him there ap- 
peared to be about twenty-five or thirty slaves who 
had assembled there hurriedly to catch a glimpse of 
the Yank, and as I broke through the brush into 
their midst, they raised their voices with one accord, 
" Oh ! its Massa Thomas. Good-bye Massa Thomas, 
good-bye, we'll never see him no mo', etc., etc. 
He am safe in de Yankee lines at las', we so happy," 
and such similar remarks were heard around me as 
I leapt upon the horse behind my comrade. I bade 
them all farewell. Just as we were galloping off I 
perceived some one running after us. It was good 
Annette. I asked him to check his horse a little to 
enable me to speak to her. I bade her farewell, and 
" God blessed her," and then we separated forever. 
Our horse was very balky, and at intervals would 
commence bucking, and owing to the same I was 
taken with severe pains in my side, Resulting no doubt 
from my long and close confinement. At all events 
I would not get off the horse, as I was bent for the 
Yankee regiment, which we found in camp two miles 
ahead. It proved to be the 4th Indiana cavalry, un- 
der command of Col. La Grange, being the advance 
guard ahead of the column. I was introduced to 
Brigadier-Gen. McCook, having proved myself to be 
an escaped Yankee prisoner from Andersonville. A 
captain was then requested to take care of me, to 
see that I had a good place to sleep, etc. This cap- 
tain was the most unsociable chap I was ever un- 
fortunate enough to meet ; he made Init little of me. 



46 



I suppose lie had sonic misgivings as to my j)roven 
identity on account of my rebel clothes. He how- 
ever, procured an India rubber blanket and laid it 
beneath a tree and bade me lay down there beside 
liiin. That was the sum and substance of (nir c(tn- 
versation. I presume he was very much fatigued, 
for he soon slept soundly. 

I must have falU'n into a doze al)Out thi'ce a. .Nf., 
to be soon awakened by a sense of oppression, and 
upon opening my eyes, and gazing upward, discov- 
ered a large white horse standing directly over me. 
T did not appreciate this close j^roximity to tlie 
animal kingdom in my position, and concluded to 
sit up against the tree, and remain awake the rest 
of the morning, as I wished to be prepared to start 
with the rest at early dawn, which they frequently 
did at very short notice. As daylight began to 
assert itself, considerable commotion was a})parent 
on the part of the early risers in camp. The first 
object which drew their attention was your humble 
servant, in his peculiar garb, squatting right in 
their midst ; a pe*rson they had no idea of, a })Osi- 
tive stranger sprung up from no one knew where. 
My presence was soon explained to them, when I 
immediately became a very welcome guest. What 
a treat this was for me to be once again among such 
men, making me feel so at ease (a sensation that had 
been a stranger to me for many a day). The only 
thought which annoyed me was how was I to pro- 
cure a horse. The bugle would sound, and tliese 
men would be off in a few minutes, bent for Macon. 

I decided to seek (leu. McCook. I soon found his 
headquarters, introduced myself as the party who 
had proved himself a Yank the j»revious night, and 



47 

asked to have a horse, if such a thing were possible. 
It resuhed in my being presented with a planta- 
tion mule, saddle and bridle. When everything was 
in readiness the command, " Forward, march," was 
given. This induced me to mount my mule. I 
would have felt very well satisfied had it not been 
for some of the men who had an eye on me, as 
though they mistrusted me. Some there were who 
mistook me for a Yankee scout; but none felt as 
happy as I did, I'll warrant, in all their glory. As I 
took a survey of the 4th Indiana regiment I consid- 
ered tliem to be the finest lot of able-bodied men that 
I had ever seen assembled together in my life, and 
thought they had few equals to withstand the on- 
slaught (so far as their appearance was concerned). 
The whole cavalry division was soon in line, which 
numbered some 14,000 strong. 

As I jogged along whom should I encounter but 
my old slave friend, West, who had fallen in with 
the troops the day before at Forsythe. It was a very 
gratifying meeting. I had never seen a negro so 
overcome with joy as this fellow was at recognizing 
me; so to give vent to our gratification, we took to- 
gether a (God bless you) good dram of Old Rye, 
which he had in his possession. This was the 20th of 
April, 1865. I was informed the war had closed 
April 9th. This, indeed, was a surprise to me. 

The troops continued on their rapid journey 
toward Macon, not being fully satisfied as to the 
rumors of peace being true ; besides which, their 
destination was Macon, at all events. We arrived 
at Macon in a comparatively short time, to see it 
surrendered, under the Confedrate Gen. Cobb, of 
Georgia, to Gen. Wilson. After the surrender, we 



48 

went into camp, where I lUiule the acquaintance of 
a Yankee, who presented me with a Union outtit, 
which was the cause of my commanding more re- 
spect. I met a Southerner, who immediately rec- 
ognized tlie merits of my })hintation mule, and 
offered to trade me for a horse and twenty dollars in 
gold coin to l)oot, wliidi I accepted very readily. 

I remained with Company L,4th Indiana cavalry, 
for four or five weeks, then ohtained transportation to 
the North. Arriving in New York, I was honorahly 
disehaiged .June 2r)th, 1805. I now made r:i}»id 
strides toward my home, where anxious ])arents did 
not expect me for a week to come, in Greenville, 
N. J., now in the limits of Jersey City, where can he 
ol)serve(l on tlie l)ay of New York the linest lilierty- 
pole on its shores in honor oi" my safe return. 

Ahout one month after this event I was called 
upon to he a witness in the trial of Wirt/., the keeper 
of Andersonville, who received his deserts on the 
gallows in the old Capitol prison yard, in Washing- 
ton, D. C. Thus ended my adventures as an escaped 
prisoner. Your ol)edient servant, 

Thos. H. IIowk, 

Geo. H. Thomas Post, 

S. F. Cal.