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Full text of "Camps and Prisons: Twenty Months in the Department of the Gulf"

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^im^ and |mons. 



TWENTY MONTHS 



IN THE 



DBFIRTMGNT OP THB «DLF. 



BT 



A. J. H. DUGANNE, 

AUTBOB.OV **A HISTOBT OF QOVBBNMnrTg ; " " FOOTPBINTS OT HISOISM ; " ** WAB 
n BUBOPB i** ** A OOKPBIIUUfSIVB SUMMABY OT HISTOBT ; " BTO. BTO. 



SECOND EDITION. 







NEW YORK: 
J. P. ROBENS, PUBLISHER, 

37 PARK ROW. 
1865. 



^s Co TO. on .-2 



i- 



/ HAr^VA.'^D 

j'ursiiv-.p.rjtTY 

I Llui^ARY 



TO 

R. E. FENTON, 

m APPBBCIATION OF ni8 

LOYAL LOVE FOR LIBERTY, AND HIS CARE FOR 
THE SOLDIERS OF OUR UNION, 

ABE BBBPEOTFULLT DBDICATBD BT 



INDEX OF OHAFTEBS. 



&FE1 


iR I. Sea and Land 


. • f 


11 


n. The Cresoent City 


1» 


li 


ni. Ordered to lafonrche • • 


. 26 


it 


lY. Tiifourche Crossing . . • • 


39 


<i 


y. Thibodeaux and Terrebonne 


. 49 


i« 


VI. Tigerville 


68 


it 


VJLL. Sporting in a Bayou 


. 69 


it 


VJil. African Descent • . . • 


76 


tt 


DC. Berwick Bay 


. 98 


it 


X. Brashear City 


108 


tt 


XT. Bebeis in the Bear .... 


. Jil6 


tt 


Xn. Sabbath at Tiafourche .... 


122 


It 


Xiii. Bayou Bceuflf . • . . .. 


. 130 


n 


XIV. Rebel Schemes . . . . ♦ 


139 


tt 


XV. The Capture of Brashear City . 


. 146 


ti 


XVL Twenty-four hours . • • . • 


• 154 


t« 


XVU. Captivity 


. 169 


i< 


XVm. A March to Shreveport • 


182 


ti 


XIX. A Bayou Ambuscade 


. . 191 


it 


XX. Franklin, on the Teche • 


• ^03 


tt 


XXI. Prairie Travelling 


. 208 


tt 


XXn. Crossing the Big Mary . 


215 


tt 


XXTTT. Entering Tezas .... 


• 220 


tt 


XXrV. The Galveston Surrender 


231 


tt 


XXV. Sabine Pass . , . 


. 243 


tt 


XXVI. Camp Groce 


251 


•t 


XXVII. Sabine Pass again 


. 258 


« 


XXVIII. life and Death at Camp Grooe 


269 



Chaftkb XXIX. Falling Leaves 277 



XXX. Exodus 

XXXI. Hempstead Hospital . 
XXXTT. Hospital Physiology • 
XXXTTT. Stage-Ck)ach Stories 

XXXIV. On the Boad . • 

XXXV. Camp Ford 

XXXVI. A Celebration 
XXX Vn. Bloodhounds . . 
XXXVm. Red River Advices . 
yyyTy. Immigration and Population 
XL. A Day at Camp Ford • 

XU. Oi)erations in Arkansas • • 
XLn. Prison Assodations • 
XTiTTT. Closing Days 
XUV. '* Exchanged' • • • 



282 
289 
301 
316 
323 
328 
338 
346 
358 
373 
380 
390 
398 
408 
416 



INTRODUCTION. 



The Writing and Publication of the following 
work result from a promise made by the Author to 
his comrades in ente as prisoners-of-war, to imbod j 
certain interesting occurrences of Camp and Prison 
life, in a form which might recall mutual experiences 
and friendship. A review of leading incidents and 
aflEapirs in the Depabtment op the Gulf, — during 
1863-'4 — becomes necessarily interwoven with the 
narratiye. Personal statements and actual obser- 
vations have alone furnished material for the book. * 



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10 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

the quarter, or haply doze through dream-land, from 
eight bells to dinner-time, and ^^ so to bed," as ancient 
Pepys hath it. In good time, at morning watches, 
" Uncle John," my color-captain, dog-ears Les Miser- 
ableSj and (not in good time) his cabin-comrade. Cap- 
tain T., blows bugle-blasts that make les miserablee 
of all of us. Meantime, perhaps, my burly chaplain 
spreads his ample base upon a corner of my wolf robe 
carpet, and anon comes Captain McL., of ^' Massachu- 
setts Fourth," brainftil of mathematic lore, to start 
conjecture as to the latitude of pirate Semmes and his 
ubiquitous Alabama. Suddenly ^^ Sail ho I " startles us 
into animation ; and the shrouds get presently black 
and blue with eruption of Sambos and sailors, crowd- 
ing and chattering, while bunks and berths give up 
their sleepers to share the new sensation. ^^ Two 
things," said Fanny Osgood : 

** Two things break the monotony 
Of an Atlantic trip ; 
Sometimes, alas ! we ship a sea, 
And sometimes — see a ship t '' 

But our nautical cousin turns out to be some harm- 
less merchantman, and no terrible ^^ 290 " this time ; 
whereupon, "Uncle John" and his lieutenant, "the 
Buffer," proceed to light their meerschaums, and the 
captains of hundreds, and their brave subalterns in 
command of squads and detachments, and all gallant 
adjutants, quartermasters, commissaries, and conva- 
lescents, take heart of grace, and descend to mess- 
tables, whence smell of savory sea-meats ariseth aroma- 
tically. 

Long since, on starboard quarter, we saw the crest 
of Abaoo Island sinkmg behind sun-tinted wave-comb- 



(S^m^z wd |m(m 



TWENTY MONTHS 



IN THB 



DBPIRTHBNT OF TIB GULF. 



BT 



A. J. H. DUaANNE, 

AUTHOB.Or " A HIBTOBT OF OOVlBNHnm ; " ** FOOTPRINTS OF B1B0I8M ; ** " WAB 
n BVBOPl ;" " A 00MPBIH1K8IV1 BUMHABT OF HIBTOBT ; " ITO. BTO. 



SECOND EDITION. 



4^^ 

u 



NEW YORK: 
•r. P. BOBENS, PUBLISHES, 

37 PARK BOW. 
1865. 



14 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

English commander, who had been the first European 
to toil from the Passes up thus far, and who, of course, 
deemed the country discovered for his British sove- 
reign. 

"Because," answered the crafty Frenchman, who 
had never been below this point at all, " because His 
Most Christian Majesty, Louis XIY., hath prior suze* 
rainty here, by right of discovery, and hath, moreover, 
divers fortresses above and mland to defend his right 
and ownership I " 

" Say you so, Monsieur Frenchman ?" quoth the Bri- 
, ton, quite non-plnssed by such bold rejoinder ; " then 
must I needs turn back, since our nations be at peace, 
and yours hath the prior claim of colony!" 

And so, this simple Englishman turned back, with 
all his caravels, through the river-channels which he 
had been the first to sound, and our shrewd Iberville 
kept his shallop and his camping-ground, and presently 
thereafter founded, just above, the town of New-Or- 
leans. Thus, by a " bluff" game, were the British sent 
adrift, and this river-bend, where Gaul and Saxon met, 
has been known from that day to this as " English- 
man's " or " English Turn." 

And now, a century and a half since those French 
brothers, Iberville and Bienville, planted their Crescent 
City in a curve of the Great River, and only half a 
century since Andrew Jackson levelled his rifles on 
British lines, and saved this Crescent City from spolia- 
tion, we range our war-ships and transports, our squa- 
drons and batteries, to fight once more the immemor ^ 
ial battle that the free must ever wage with despotism ^ 
Sleep calmly in thy Hermitage tomb, thou loyal-souled 
Old Hickory ! Be sure that the conflict will still 
go on, as if thou wert here, as of old, to lead it. • • • 



TO 

R. E. FENTON, 

(Sovattnoti ot the $iuU ot %6W ltt>t[hi 

IN APPBBCUTION OF HIS 

LOYAL LOVE FOE LIBERTY, AND HIS CARE FOR 
THE SOLDIERS OF OUR UNION, 

ABB BBSPBOTFULLT DBDICATBD BT 



16 TWBNTY MONTHS IN THE 

The flag which was once her pride and her protection, 
protects her still ; but alas I she hath now no pride in 
it. In her arrogance, she betrayed that banner, and it 
is now the sign of her abasement. So she sits in her 
ashes and sackcloth, for a space, till anon these mighty 
waters shall be stirred above her, and this river of her 
Biistenance will bring back to her bosom the offerings of 
other years — the freights of white-fleeced wealth, the 
treasures of com and of honey, whereon she waxed fat 
in her prime, ere the evil days fell upon her. Will she 
profit by the past ? Will she take warning from the 
present ? 

Thus musing, pacing with folded arms the quarter- 
deck, or leaning over taffrail, I behold the panorama of 
war-ships and gunboats and painted river-crafb, and 
the far-between piles of bales and barrels on the lev6e, 
and the still city-streets, and the fields and plantations 
above, abandoned and desolate, unrolling gradually be- 
fore me, till, at length, the mate's shrill treble rouses 
me from reverie, and I hear the sailors at the chains, 
and a sudden grinding of iron that tells of the anchor- 
fiiai. 

" This is CarroUton," observes my adjutant. " Are 
the men to disembark, sir ?" 

" I shall go ashore and report. We will await or- 
ders before landing the men." 

Dull and desperately muddy is this CarroUton, 
though, I am told, there are fine plantations still ex- 
tant in the neighborhood. A railroad track of seven 
miles connects the town with New-Orleans. Here are 
camps and depots ; and above, toward Lake Ponchar- 
train, some fortifications of increasing strength. A 
fine highway, called the Shell Road, intersects the vil- 
lage, and we new-comers are ordered to encamp on 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 17 

fields which border it. Meantime '^ the windows of 
heaven are opened " abruptly, and rain descends like a 
deluge. So, under ^' adverse circumstances," as even 
Mark Tapley himself might consider them, we disem- 
bark from transport, and go into camp joUily. 

Now ensue great strife of tent-pitching in mnd- 
Bloughs and on overflowed bottom-lands ; deep flound- 
ering of mules and commissary-wagons ; swift goings 
to and fro of quartermaster and sergeants ; terrible 
objurgations of truculent teamsters ; curtes, not low, 
of company caterers, over drenched '^ hard-tack '' and 
ruined rations, with no fires to cook them withsd. But 
at last, night-shadows fall ; '^ tattoo " is beaten, and 
somnolizing "taps" resolves our motley crowd into 
sheltered soldiers. At ten o'clock, no biped walks out- 
side the tents save rubber-blanketed sentinels, march- 
ing their lonesome rounds through wet and darkness. 

Sunrise, or the hour for sunrise, sees me stirring, 
seeking a more eligible site for permanent encampment. 
Here we are all afloat, and likely to remain so, if these 
pluvial skies continue over us. Beyond our lines I see 
a cavalry-camp, with horses picketed in pools and 
puddles. At our rear, the Massachusetts Fourth 
lies, somewhat fenced froxA fi^eshet by the higher 
ground it occupies. Just past the Shell Road, I dis- 
cern a camp of "regulars," the men in ragged garb, 
and worn by recent hardships. They are the remnant 
of our gallant border troops, sold out to Texan prisons 
by a traitor, Twiggs, two years ago, and just released 
by cartel from their long captivity. So much for Car- 
rollton camps seen through water-spouts. Positively, 
also, there is n6 prospect of our discovering a better 
camping-ground in all these flat lands ; so I must even 



18 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

componnd with necessity, and accept matters as they 
are till the rain ceases. 

I retrace my steps after long search along the Shell 
Road, past the dreary cemeteries, with their gloomy 
cypresses, heavy and weeping ; past the cities of the 
dead, with mausolea of marble and masonry, rising tier 
on tier, wherem are packed away the relics of mortality ; 
palace-honses for rich dead, high above swampy soil, 
and safe from diluvial desecration ; trenches and holes 
for poor dead, below the watery surfaces. As in life, 
so in death I Wealth to the high places — ^poverty to 
the low ones I 



DEPASTJIENT 07 THE GULF. 19 



OHAPTER II. 

TEnS GBBSCTBUSrr OITX. 

'. Cbeolbs, contrabands, coquettes, coffee-distillers. Of 
'* truth, chaos seems come again in this mart of all 
marts, the French market of New-Orleans. I am el- 
bowed by turbanned and bandannaed '^aunties," of 
ebony aspects ; ogled by coal-eyed demoiselles in silk 
aprons, and leered at by copper- colored cuisiniersj in 
cotton night-caps. I stumble over multitudinous egg- 
baskets, skirmish among itinerant orange-girls, tangle 
myself in labyrinths of nosegay venders. 

Thus explorative and perambulant, through stalls 
and over crossings, and around impassable trottoirSf 
this blessed Sunday morning of February, eighteen 
hundred and sixty-three, I scan with wondering eyes, 
these human hives, and mentally ejaculate : 

Is this an American city ? 

Peradventure not! Assuredly this market-place is 

of no narrow, autochthonic type, but polyglot, cosmO' 

politan, and carnival-like with. 

"Jewa, 
Turks, Tartars, Yankee Doodles, and IDndoos." 

Or, if Turk and Hindoo be wanting, and Tartars 
represented only by shrewish fish-wives, there is no 
lack, I aver, of as motley and outlandish moulds of hu- 
manity as ever wore turban in Stamboul, caftan in 
Ispahan, or sugar-loaf tile by the ghauts of Oanges. 

And here, clustering, chattering, chafiering; here, 
light-thoughted, mobile, effervescent ; the French and 
demi-French, the Creole, the Octoroon, the Quarteroon, 



20 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

the Mulatto, and the sable-skinned, meet and josile one 
another, as they have met and jostled any and every 
day during seven or eight-score years, since New- 
Orleans knew market-places. Here bubble into no- 
ticeable upper-light the real undercurrents of Crescent 
City alienism from Anglo-Saxon characteristics. Here 
congregate mercurial natures, perennially antagonistic 
to all plodding habitudes of Northern life — to all 
gauge and plumb-line methodism of existence. Shrewd, 
doubtless, these people, in their business ways — verita- 
ble bourgeoisie in trade instincts; but, nevertheless, 
more given to stock and cotton-gambling than to 
downright labor of merchandising, whereby our North- 
men grapple fortune whether she will or no. Some 
time in the future, when the lessons of this war shall 
have been conned over wisely, there will be mixing of 
Northern phlegm with subtle fluids of more tropical 
mind and matter, and thereafter, doubtless, much 
noteworthy vitality and strength developed in South- 
em trade as well as temperament. Till then, New- 
Orleans, like her Gallic market, must remain sui generis. 
Diverging, finally, from choked-up passages of traf- 
fic, and extricating myself from coils of muslin-capped 
"bonnes," and paper-capped "epiciers," and endless 
knots of Cubans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Peruvians, 
Brazilians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Irish, Dutch, and 
Africans — all jabbering, eating, drinking, smoking, and 
barg&in-making-^I cross the street, and drop presently 
mto the silence and «olitude of Jackson Square, with 
its fresh foliage inviting to shade, and its cooLturf 
tempting to repose. And here, with ancient recollec- 
tions rising, like ghosts around me, I may muse awhile, 
unheedfol of the din and clatter of market-places, un- 
mindful of restless crowds shut out from me by walls 
of fragrant greenery. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GtJLP. 21 

TUb massive monument before me, with equestrian 
Jackson reining his prancing war-horse on its capitals, 
wd that brave legend underneath, which stem Old 
]ffickor7's life exemplified — 

<* The Union — it must and shall be preserred !" 

How effigy and inscription both rebuke the shallow 
Treason and Rebellion that are crouching even now 
beneath this war-steed's hoofs I But yonder French 
market cares less about Jackson than about Third Bon- 
aparte ; possibly ready, this morning, to toss caps for 
Napoleon "Protector,^' as it did, one year ago, for 
Davis "President.^' 

This Jackson Square Was the Place d^Armes of the 
ancien regime, sacred to reminiscences of Gallic chiv- 
alry. The antique cathedral still overlooks it, flanked 
by prison and court-house ; and the bell that rang its 
founder's knell still tolls, each seventh-day sunset-hour — 
so I have heard — ^to call the priest below to offer mass 
for his poor soul who built it. Peace to his ashes I 

Here, on river-banks were fought impromptu duels, 
melodramatically, jndth music and by moonlight. Here 
were trod stately minuets, in hoops and &rthing£des ; 
and here were danced boleros, with tambour and ban- 
dolin. Here landed martial youths from France — ad- 
venturers in quest of fame or fortune, dreamers o%El 
Dorados, seekers for Golden Fleeces. The ancient no- 
biesse of those splendid courts which blazed around 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Lonio, were wont to send 
their scions to these shores, where they might pass 
novitiate of arms, in wars against the Indian khigs and 
werowances. Rude fields of knight-errantry vere here, 
in olden days, when Choctaws, Chickasaws, sun-wor- 
shipping Natdiez, and other red-skinned rangers of the 



22 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

wild, disputed, step by step, the white man's usarpa- 
tions. 

This venerable pile overlooking me — Cathedral of 
Saint Louis — and this Place d^Armes wherein I medi- 
tate — what stories they might tell of Jttes and gay as- 
semblages, and grand processions, in the hundred years 
gone by since New-Orleans was sold or given away by 
France to Spain. This mighty river, also, making cres- 
cent-curve within its yielding banks ; how might it speak 
of Ponce de Leon, seeking elixir of life, and of brave 
De Soto, finding draught of death ; and of stout La 
Salle, sailing down from his Fort of " Broken Heart," 
and claiming all these lands and lordships, from Niag- 
ara to the Mexic Gulf, as realms and sovereignties of 
Louis the Magnificent. 

Then came the brothers — ^Iberville, Bienville ; open- 
ing the eighteenth century with empire-founding on 
this crescent-curve, and wearing out their lives, and 
dying, at the last, heart-broken, like their predecessors, 
in the strife with iron destiny. 

Then Crozat waved his golden sceptre over the At- 
lantic, and would fain have mined for crown-jewels, and 
strewn them over thrones, and made Tiis only child a 
queen to walk on them ; poor Crozat, merchant-prince, 
who dreamed of rearing up an empire in the Louisian- 
ia# wilds that should be peer of France its mother ; 
ruined Crozat, who received the whole broad land by 
royal grant, and poured his treasures out like w^ter, 
for its nourishment, till it brought him misery, as his 
recompense. 

Then rose John Law, the indomitable Law, the very 
necromaftcer of all golden sleight-of-hand and sudden 
fortune ; his glittering image of Finance, with feet of 
clay, bedded in Mississippi banks ! To him was given 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 23 

the rained Crozat's fief of territory ; to him a royal 
bank charter ; to him the grand monopoly of a trading 
company, with power to swallow up and dominate all 
other companies in France ! Then loomed up in the 
eyes of men that giant bubble, that immense, unreal, 
but dazzling will-o'-the-wisp, the Mississippi Scheme, 
that promised to make every stockholder a Croesus, and 
to enrich the whole soil of France with auriferous 
alluyion from swamps of Louisiana. 

Truly, our Father of Waters hath had strange 
foster-children in his day and generation ! There is no 
lack of romance in the history of those years when 
Lotiisiana was a protege of princes. Some time here- 
after, when rebellion shall have been mellowed down to 
the amber atmosphere of legendary lore, those ancient 
chronicles of Mississippi realms will be delved for as 
classic myths. Then, possibly, the wars of France, and 
Spain, and Brit^, with the old Algonquin races, for 
this slime of bogs and bayous, will be harped upon by 
thirtieth century Homers, and embalmed in ballads that 
shall smell of nineteenth century, mummy-dust. 

Whether this place cParmea may then be bulwark- 
ed in by cotton-burdened levee; whether the sable 
helots that have toiled in field and ground in mill, 
to build up Crescent City grandeur, shall have stand- 
ing-room as men where now they cower as slaves; 
whether, at last, the gold of l&eedom, fused in alembic 
of bfttle-fire, and tried by subtile test of martyr-blood, 
shall shimmer, thrice-refined, before the face of na- 
tions — ^may be, or may be not, a Sphynx-riddle, to ex- 
ercise our skill at present-day divination. But, O Gali- 
leo! the world moves! The Mississippi flows to the 
Gulf — the Gulf-stream cleaves its ocean path; and 
neither stream nor river can return again one single 



24 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

atom of the dirt, the debris of a thousand banks 
washed in their watery courses. So flow the rivers 
and the ocean-streams of human progress, laving 
lands, and climes, and continents, and washing, mining, 
wearing off great banks of wrong, that nevermore can 
be brought back, while roll the waves of time I 

I walk, pensively, from Jackson Square, pausing a 
moment at the gate, to glance at gliding figures of de- 
vout French Catholics, that disappear within the dusky • 
portals of the old cathedral opposite — some maiden 
hurrying to early mass; some sinner to confession; 
some feeble grandame hobbling on her cane; some 
mother sprinkling little ones from font of holy water 
in the porch. Along the pavement, then, beneath the 
eaves of antique houses, I pursue my walk ; perhaps 
with inward marvelling at the open shops, so novel to 
our Northern eyes ; boiUiqices of jewellers, with flash- 
ing bijouterie piled behind plate-glass, and magazins 
of costly stuffs, for eyes of female sinners wending 
church-wise, and entrepots of fancy wares and tinsel 
gewgaws ; all displayed beneath the Sabbath sun, to 
tell a Yankee stranger that he sees New-Orleans. 

I ask myself whether the influx of Northern soldiers 
and society fresh from healthful restraints and thought- 
ful of ^' steady habits," may not speedily have influence 
on these looser customs of a demi-foreign city. I am 
answered by clatter of horse-hoofd and rattle of car- 
riage-wheels, as a cortege of gay-uniformed staff-officers' 
in saddle, and of light-robed demi-monde in cabriolets, 
whirls round the comer, and away — to Shell Road 
racing, and, anon, to Sunday orgie at Lake Pontchar 
train ! I speculate not much, therefore, on good ^%, 
amples brought with shoulder-straps. 

General Butler, in the past, I hear, was charged 



DSPABTMSNT OF THS GULF. 25 

with many sins by rebels and tbeir parasites. I doubt, 
however, if that democratic chief did ever entertain such 
masques of gold-foil folly as now revolve around our 
two-starred (I had almost written ill-starred) new com- 
mander. Such dazzling double coils of gilt cord and 
red tape ! such cyclopaedic volumes of the art of war 
off duty ! I think this Gulf Depar^^ment must have 
store of ^' rule or ruin " in its future, if headquarters 
and its soldier-dvio purlieus be prognostic of events. 
I fancy this Crescent City may, ere long, be a paradise 
for paymasters who, on majors' stipend, shaU get rich 
betimes; and that quartermasters here, on captains' 
pay, shall win their Golden Fleeces easier than Jason did* 

Meantime, the Sabbath wears; and St. Charles's 
Rotunda, prodigal of tinselled and dose-buttoned uni- 
forms, and atmosphered with light tobacco-clouds, 
looks down on jaunt of pleasure-crowds, and opens 
doors to welcome all who pay. Hotel and city — true 
coquettes of fortune ! Both beckon and embrace the 
Northern stranger, while both are rebel at the heart. 

But, thanks to Northern souls and arms, this great 
Rotunda is no more a slave-mart! Yon castaway 
block of stone, that once was pedestal for human 
statuary sold to highest bidders, will never bear its 
sable shame again. The padlock and the chain, the 
scourge, and yoke, and handcuff, and this idol-block, 
whereunto souls and bodies of a wretched race were 
sacrificed — thank heaven! they lie as rubbish now, 
cast out, with racks, and torture-wheels, and "ques- 
;tions *' of ihe past, to be accursed for ever! 



S6 TWENTY KONTHS IK THE 



CHAPTER III. 

■I 

OBDBBBD TO LAFOIJBCHB. 

An orderly dashes up to my tent, with missiye from 
Headquarters. " You will report immediately to Gen- 
eral Emory." 

I sally out at once, and lose myself in darkness of 
boggy fields and foot-paths lately submerged by the 
rain-deluge. Nevertheless, accomplishing the distance 
between the General's quarters and my own, I present 
myself before him with due alacrity. He is a stem- 
looking man, middle-aged, who in his youth, doubtless, 
was handsome. Engaged with an Adjutant, inditing 
orders Bud dispatches, he looks up as I enter, nods, 
and points to a chair. 

General Emory has a good record of past service 
before the war. He directed a military reconnoissance 
in Missouri and Califomia, publishing a graphic volume 
of Notes thereon, some sixteen years ago ; and his 
official reports to Government on the Gold Regions, 
and as historian of the Mexican Boundary Commission, 
are of interest and value in a literary point of view. 
So, waiting here for orders, I regard the physiognomy 
of my General sympathetically, both as soldier and 
author. 

Camp gossip gives General EmcH*y a reputation for 
rigor in discipline — ^painting him as a roagh and grufi^ 
bashaw-sdrt of commander ; but I fail to notice any 
traifs of martinetism in his serious lineaments. Curi- 
ously, however, an anecdote told by o^ir volunteer 



1^. 



'i^ 



^ 



DEPABTMSNT Of THE GULF. 27 

^^ boys " aboat the General crosses my mind at this 
moment. 

They had been demolishing fences, as nsoal, these 
brave boys, gathering furewood for coffee-boiling; and, 
as usual, likewise, those innocent sufferers, the ''s^ 
cesh " planters, had complained to the General of their 
grievances ; whereat a special order issued from head- 
quarters. It recited the enormity of " depredations," 
the necessity of ^'inflexible discipline," the duty of 
officers and men to respect the " rights of property." 
It concluded by restricting all wood-foraging in future 
to the " top-rails of fences." 

The boys found those top-rails very readily, we may 
imagine. In &ct, to quote their own vernacular, they 
'' couldn^t And any thing else but top-rails." 

" At what hour can your regiment march to-morrow 
morning, Colonel?" asks General JBSmory abruptly; 
whereat I collect myself, and reply pertinently : 

" At nine o'clock, sir ! " 

" Very well I I admire your promptness, sir I How 
many do you report for duty ? " 

" Seven hundred, sir." 

'* I shall send you where ' Yellow Jack ' may have a 
chance at them." 

" We shall be pi'epared to do our duty, sir, wher- 
ever we go." 

'^ I hope so 1 I have no doubt, sir 1 Yon will strike 
your tents and be ready to march as early as possible 
to-morrow morning, with two days' rations, sir." . . . 
A pause. 

" Any other orders, G;eneral ? " 

^Yoii wiU get them in the morning. Gk>od-night, 
sir." (Giving his hand.) " Gk)d bless you I " 

So saying, the General dismissed me, and I returned 






flS TWENTY 3rt>NTHS US" THl 

to camp from a first visit to headquarters, and a first 
interview with General Emory. Next momingi in a 
dispatch by him to General Banks at New-Orleans, my 
conomand was noticed for prompt and satisfactory re- 
sponse to orders. 

Great bustle of prepaCration that night among offi- 
cers and men of the regiment; much use of ''«trange 
oaths," I fear, in connection with tnud, rain, and dam- 
aged rations. Morning and nine o'clock come duly, 
but no orders yet. I dispatch my A^utant to report 
at headquarters our readiness tor march. Presently 

thereafter, Colonel N arrive! at camp flrpm the 

city, brmging orders for immedSutte inspection, pre- 
paratory to the making out of .^ay-rolls; a welcome 
intimation to the men of long-deferred disbursements. 
We hasten the ceremony, and get through famously ; 
BO that ^^ high twelve " sees uft» ready for the road ; 
whereon, rejoicingly, we bid good-by to Oarrollton, 
and presently depart, carrying much of its saffron soil 
away with us, on boots and breeches. 

Not off yet, however. Slow-dragging wagons, on 
miry roads, with much loading and unloading of regi- 
mental baggage, tents, ammunition, and the like im- 
pedimenta^ protract time wearisomely, till it is dusk be^ 
fore our transport casts off cable from the shore, and 
steams, with freight of soldiers, down the Mississippi. 
Algiers is our landing-place, there to re@mbark on cars 
for interior destination ; and, after tribulation at depot^ 
and great clamor for absent railway agent, who at 
length appears, sleepy and snappish, we stow ourselves 
miserably in freight-boxes, inch-deep with mud ancL 
molasses-drippings, and thereafter are lumbered away 
by a husky locomotive on special train of New-Orleans 
and Opelousas Railroad. 



I 




DEPABTMENT OF THE ftULF. Vf 

Algiers is opposite the Orescent City ; and this rait 
road, having eastern terminns here, must describe 
nearly a westerly, or perhaps sonth-westerly, course, to 
its otlier teimnus, at Brashear City, on the shore of 
Berwick Bay ; now the outpost of our military occu- 
pation westward. General Weitzel, with about four 
thousand Americans, holds Brashear City, fort, and 
camps ; while opposite, at Berwick City, rebel batter- 
ies are planted, with an unknown force of Louisianians, 
Texans, Arizonians, who maintain the Teche and At- 
takapas country, from Berwick Bay to Red River, 
This Opelousas Railroad is at present a misnomer, 
whatever it may promise in the hereafter of Southern 
stock-jobbing. Positive drubbing of rebels, and much 
provost-governing of Franco-Yankee parishes, must be 
accomplished, before Union arms and arts shall reclaim 
that garden of Louisiana which lies between the lakes 
and wealthy OpelousaiS. 

Leaving Algiers, and its closely-settled neighbor- 
hoods, we steam through leagues of fertile country, 
marked by rich plantation-lands, some desolate and 
weed-grown, others thriving still, with goodly surety 
for the future. We traverse parishes Jefferson, St. 
Charles, and Lafourche, stopping at stations guarded 
by blue-coated infentry from staid Connecticut, whose 
bayonets gleam at every bridge and platform. Here, 
between Raceland and 3ayou des AUemandes, the 
guerrillas attacked a train, some seven months since, 
killing and wounding several brave Vermonters. It is 
to foil the plots of bridge-burners and raiders from the 
rebel parishes above, that constant vigilance is oeces- 
sary on this Opelousas Railroad line. Whether such 
meagre squads as we have passed thus far, could be of 
much account against a rebel foray, may, at least, be 



80 TWENTY MONTHS INT THB 

doubted. Scarce one thonsand men, attenuated over 
eighty miles of rail, could hardly hold their ground 
against a stout attack from rebels '' to>the manor born," 
who know ea6h inch of vantage. 

Suddenly a halt, and then a slow adf ancing over 
bridge-timbers. We have reached our depot of des- 
tination ; and I look out of car- window on broad ex 
p3«ise of bayou-water, hemmed by levee-banks, oi 
either side of which are lower grounds, here cultivated, 
there a swamp or thicket. Near the railroad track are 
clumps of negit>-huts, the homes of '' contrabands," 
whose dark irruption presently fills up door and win« 
dow-frames, and overflows upon the fields and levee. 
Here, by the station, are dilapidated warehouses, a 
tenantless hotel, once ^^ fashionable," and, perhaps, a 
halfnscore straggling domiciles, fronting the bayou- 
bank. A quiet, dull, deserted-looking place, despite 
the transient animation of a train-arrival. But here is 
io be our camping-ground, and I hasten to reconnoitre. 

It is the railroad crossing at Bayou Lafourche, where, 
dumped from cars, amid litter of tents, deal-boards, 
commissary chests, and boxes filled with ball-and-pow- 
der stuff, my moiety of the regiment, called " Iron- 
sides," remains to guard the bridge and its approaches. 
Not unsupported, as it seems, however ; for just be- 
low the levee-banks are lines of tents, and the head- 
quarters-flag of Colonel H 's regiment flaps yon- 
der at an ample house-porch. 

Lafourche Bayou is one of those broad arms of the 
Mississippi, which stretch out from its giant breast, be 
tween the Red Biver and lower lakes. Effluent neai 
the '' ville" of Donaldson, and taking in its course three 
other ^^villes," Napoleon, Labadie, and Thibodeaux, 
it strikes this railroad-bridge a mile below the last- 



DEPAltTMENT OP THE GULF. 81 

earned town, and thence flows south and easterly, til] 
it debouches through Mississippi delta and is lost in 
the mighty Gulf of Mexico. Hard by its outlet, lies 
Barataria Bay, where pirate folk of old — La Fitte 
and others " o' that ilk " — were wont to rendezvous. 
Numberless are the secret coves, and hidden creeks, 
and intricate islet channels which fringe the gulf shores 
near these bayou-mouths ; and, indeed, such haunts for 
water gentry are patent to this coast, from Mississippi 
Passes to the Sabine bars -that shift on Texas shaUows. 
" There be land-rats and water-rats — water-thieves and 
land-thieves" — on all these bottoms and lagoons, in 
spite of our blockading squadrons ; and, if " contra- 
band '' tales be not all apocryphal, there are cotton- 
bales enough smuggled between Mobile and Galveston 
to purchase stores and ordnance for the whole rebel 
Confederacy. 

In peace times. Bayou Lafourche was gay and GaJli- 
can with pleasure-steamers and watering-houses. Then 
Thibodeaux, the parish seat, was a distingue town, 
holding its head up among rural districts; and its 
wealthy Creole residents and planters hereabouts could 
op their cafe and claret like " grands seigneurs," as 
they aspired to be. But, " Helas ! " as Monsieur says, 
with a shoiilder-shrug, '^ la guerre ! on a change tout 
cela I " 

Very true, my dear Planters ! This war has played 
the mischief with all your luxurious security ; but you 
have yourselves to thank for the change, and must 
needs make the best of it. That, at least, is the verdict 
of my cook George, yellow in epidermis and African 
in descent, who has lately emancipated himself from 
some Lafourche '^ owner,'' and is quite satisfied with 
his portion of the war-changes. 



32 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Half a century ago, this Lafourche couutry promised 
comfort and competence to a hundred thousand white 
men, who, settling here, with skill and toil, might 
build up homes for freebOrn families. But speculat. 
ing Capital came also to this treasury of cotton and 
sugar ; and thereafter the curse of '^ adding field to 
field " laid grasp upon the future. So, up to oar war- 
ady/eat, the soil had been monopolized and swayed by 
Landlordism, with its huge estates and negro-swarms, 
while ignoble " free labor " yielded acre after acre, and 
foot by foot, till it is now crowded back into the 
swamp-bottoms, squalid and ague-stricken. 

Li their day, the planters of Lafourche have lived 
like nabobs. None dashed it with a higher head or 
freer hand in St. Charles's rotunda or salons of New* 
Orleans than the cotton or sugar lord of this favored 
district. None lost or won his golden rouleauoi at 
faro, or sported his blooded horse-flesh at Metairie 
courses, or squandered his thousands on wine and 
women in the metropolis, with more abandon than 
your Creole planter from the rich Lafourche, who 
counted his slaves by hundreds, and his income by 
tens of thousands. This purple-and-fine-linen-clad gen- 
tleman has come to grief since rebellion days, and 
of his cash, cotton, and " contrabands " — " helas I " — 
^* the places that knew them know them no longer ! " 

Nevertheless, theire be notable landmarks left of the 
style in which this prmcely planter flourished. Yon 
white-wooled patriarch of ebon hue, whose rheumy 
eyes are watching me, might tell brave tales of ^^ Ole 
Mauss' Charles " and '^ Young Mauss' Henry " in the 
olden time. And yonder white-walled mansion down 
the bayou, bosomed in a grove of dark-green figs and 
myrtles, and bright-gleaming oranges, and dambered 




BEPABTHSNT OF THE GULF. 88 

over by a maze of hyacinths and sweet geranioms, and 
hedged with white japonicas, magnolia-clamps, and 
trelUsed jonquils, kissing a dried-up fomitain ; if its 
walls could speak — this lonely house — ^what secrets of 
luznrious Southern life mi^t I be master of I 

But the old drivelling slave, and the palatial dwell- 
ing which his life-long labor helped to build, are alike 
abandoned by their rebel owners. The maelstrom of 
secessioii — dread agency of Nemesis for myriad crimes 
and follies in the past — has gulfed the barons of 
this haughty Southland, and their 8er& alone remain 
to point out mouldering roof-trees of the ruined 
"masters." 

I leap into saddle and gallop about the grounds of 
this " Johnson place.'* The flowers are choking under 
grasp of rank weeds. The rare fruit withers on un- 
pruned limbs. The garden-walks are tangled, and a 
garden-roller, in my path, is overrun with wild honey- 
suckles. Grass grows stimq>-high on the once beauti- 
ful lawn. 

Out over the fields, with slackened bridle, I pursue 
the plttitation-road, passing through miles of rotting 
cane, decadence of ungathered crops. I reach the 
negro-quarter, with its compact hamlet, and pass the 
mill and sugar-houses, with their ponderous machinery, 
vats, and bagasse troughs. It is all bagasse now ; all 
refuse and rubbish ot the past. 

An liged black is sunning himself at a hut-door, and 
rises, with a polite bow, as I draw rein before him. 

" What is your name. Uncle ? ** (All old negro men 
are ^^ undes" in this coimtry.) 

"Antoine, sah." ' 

^ Do yoo belong to this place, Antoine ? " 

'* Yes, Bah— I stops har ! me an* de ole* Aunty. '* 



y84 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

" Did yon live long with Mr. Johnson ? " 

*^ Tes, mauss' — shore I did ! I lib'd har with Mauss' 
Johnsing— dat was 'fore he run'd away, sah ; 'fore de 
missis run'd away, sah I " 

" How old are you, XJnde ? " 

" Dunno zacMy, mauss." I'ze a berry old nigger — 
shore ! " 

" How many of your people are living here ? " ! 

^^ 'Clare I dunno zackly, sah I Dar's a heap 6* old 
darkies t'oder side de cane, sah P' 

I ride on, past the sheds and out-buildings. Doors 
are swinging from jambs ; roo& are filing in. Through 
broken window of the sugar-house I see huge vats, half 
filled with molasses — thousands of gallons — soured and 
crusted with dust. A plough, nearly- buried in sand, 
is climbed over by tough grass, like the garden-roller 
which I noticed near the '^ great house." All things 
smell of neglect. 

Another gray-wooled ji^egro approaches. He holds 
his hat in hand, discovering a wide forehead, strongly 
marked features, intelligent eyes. I inquire his name, 
and learn that he is known as ^^ Uncle Phil ;" that he is 
s plantation-preacher; that he was formerly a slave 
and overseer's assistant on the Johnson estate. 

'' You must know all about the place then, Unde 
Phil?" 

"Yes, sah!" (TJnde Phil speaks good English, 
with but little twang of negro pcttoia.) " I've lived in 
this Lafourche country sixty years, sah. It was a 
grand country for rich white people, sah ! " 

"You were an old servant of Colonel Johnson, I 
suppose." 

**I was one of his slaves, sahl" rejoined Uncle 
Phil in an impressive tone, as he looked up al me. 



DEFABTH£NT OF THE GULF. 85 

•* Was tlie Colonel a good master, Uncle Phil ? " 

/^ As far as slavery let him be, sah I " answered the 
old negro in his self-possessed way, that seemed t^o as- 
sert a conscious but suppressed power in the speaker. 
I began to get interested in my colloquist, and, beck- 
onmg a wooUy-pated urchin from one of the cabin- 
doors, threw the bridle of my horse to him, whUe I 
dismounted beside Uncle Phil. 

^' Ton are so well acquainted with the plantation," 
I said, " it would gratify me to walk about with you,'* 

Undo Phil touched his weather-stained palmetto hat,' 
and led the way through stacks of out-houses, from 
saw-mill to sugar-mill, displaying to my interested 
gaze the troughs, the coolers, vacuum-pans, and mighty 
iron kettles, the reservoir of syrup, piles of hogsheads, 
damp with mould, the .broken cane-wagons, the shat- 
tered '' carrier " that once bore its saccharine freight 
from field to engine-house. 

^^You understand this business well. Uncle Phil," 
I remarked, while listening to the negro's brief and 
lucid explanations of the complicated sugar-working 
process. 

^' I was sugar-maker here for many a year, sah," an* 
swered Unde Phil. 

^' Tou could carry on a sugar-plantation yourself," 
I suggested. 

*^ I think so," responded the old man, quickly ; *^ at 
least, so &r as sugar-making goes ; I understand thaC^ 
sah." 

I looked about me over wildernesses of weeds and 
parasitic plants that were invading the Johnson estate 
strangling its former life of bloom and fruitage. I sur- 
veyed the lonesome negro-quarters, the dismantled 
enginery, the fest-deoaying sugar-mill. I recalled the 



86 TWENTT MONTHS IN THE 

fact, that thousands of such broad plantations, with 
their wealth of soil and means of facile labor, were, 
like this one, given over to destruction ; while the toil^ 
ing people who had made them Edens of productive- 
ness, were cast out on the highways or compelled, ^e 
Uncle Phil, to eke out bare existence on the scanty 
promise of a stunted corn-crop. 

I hazarded another conjecture : that Undo Phil mi^ht 
manage a hundred of his fellow-laborers without using 
whip or stocks ; and that he could, peradventure, make 
as much sugar with them as his quondam owner did 
in '^ flush times " of Lafourche parish. 

The negro turned, and steadily met my ghmoe. ^^ I 
think, sah," he replied, '^ that a hundred men might 
do as much as a hundred slaves I " 

^* You suppose, then, that emancipated slaves could 
carry on the labors of these plantations now lying 
idle ? " 

^* Give us the chance, sah ! " cried Unde Phil, with 
sudden sparkle of eye and lifting of voice. *^ Give us 
the opportunity to do what we cem do, and do it for 
oursdves^ sah, and you'll know that free work is better 
I than chained work I All we ask, sah — ^all I want for 
my people, sah — ^is to be rid for ever of— mastebism I " 

It is impossible to convey by words the singular ex- 
pression, the peculiar meaning, mingling scorn and 
liatred, which that one word, ^^ masterism," seemed to 
bear, as uttered by this negro sugar-maker. For my- 
self I realized that a volume of abolition speeches might 
^ve less of pith and power. 

And here I opportunely recollect that Lafourche 
parish is one of the "excepted'* districts of Louisiana^ 
wherein ** slavery " is still extant and recognized bj 
Presidential proclamation; so Ihat Uncle Phil would 



DSFABTMBMT OF THB BVhF. 87 

■till be slave of Colonel Johnson, should thai gentle 
re^gee return and make his peaoe with our forgiving 
Government. 

Emergiog from the mined sugar-mill, I pass the 
n^ro4iuts again. A score of feeble and decrepit 
blacks look out at door and window. They regard me 
timidly, but smile and nod at Uncle PhU with obvious 
ddSnrence. He is th^ {Treacher, their leader, their ad- 
vocate, poor souls 1 who have no advocate or friend 
beside, in the great world of war and diplomacy. 

And here, in spite of plausible plea of conciliating 
planter interests — spite of kid-glove fingering of slav- 
ery-issues, whereby the Louisiana of General Butler is 
to be made the Louisiana of General Banks — I think 
I see in Uncle Phil, and such as he, the real sub-strata 
of an honest governmental policy. I discern the ^^ juste 
mUieu^^^ whereby these great estates, abandoned by 
their traitor owners, might be saved at once from 
greedy camp-followers and from perjured agents of 
their late proprietors. I imagine each broad planta- 
tion, with its vast machinery, confided to the hands 
which earned and paid for all the wide improvements. 
I fancy a " sugar-maker " like Uncle Phil still watch- 
ing over every reservoir, and — ^backed by wise authori- 
ty, assisted by selected men of science and of hon- 
esty — ^producing wealth for Government — large profits 
to the power that breaks his chain and gives him man- 
hood in exchange for slavery. I see a grand militia, 
armed and drilled upon these green savannas ; no long- 
er chattel-souls, but conscious of their strength and 
numbers, marching to the cane and cotton-fields by tap 
of drum, and guarding bridge or railway line with 
ready rifles, and with surer knowledge of the ground 
than ever can be gained by Northern regiments* 



88 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

Bat, this is day-dreaming ! Who will lift up these 
Uncle Phils to independent toil while speculators hoTer, 
like so many vultures, in our army's rear ? Who wiU 
drill these negroes into semi-military laborers on their 
old plantations, and make of them an '' army of occupy 
tion " for the soil which white men shall redeem from 
Treason's despotism ? I must suppress these fancies, 
lest I be accused of treason likewise^— treason i^ainst 
the policy of '^conciliating planters." 



BKPABTMXNT OF THE GULF. 89 



CHAPTER IV. 

LAFOimcHE pBossma. 

CjlBCPKd at Lafourche Crossing, I begin to look about 

me. Colonel H y of Twenty-third Connecticiit 

Volunteers, being senior field-officer of the troops 
guarding this line of railway, acts as Brigadier-Gten- 
eral of the two regiments. He occupies a snug man- 
sion, deserted by absconding rebel owners, and the 
tents of a couple of his companies are pitched around 
him. The Colonel is an active, efficient commander, 
comprehending his position and the people hereabouts, 
and placing as much &ith in ^' professed " Unionism as 
the actions of those professing entitle them to com- 
mand. He has a lively contempt — ^wherein I confess to 
share very heartily — ^for provost-marshals who hunt 
runaway negroes, for camp-followers who lease planta- 
tions, and for quartermasters who set up sutler-tents. 

This New-Orleans and Opdousas Railroad — con- 
ducted under governmental auspices, superintended by 
a Federal field-officer, inspected at divers points by 
captains and lieutenants, who demand your passports, 
and watched by pickets and sentinels, who '^ present 
arms" at the bridge-crossings — ^is an expensive 'public 
luxury in these times of non-production in freights and 
of free trjivel in soldier-dothes. Its eighty nules of 
well-constructed track connect Algiers with all the 
back plantations, and in peaceful days they drained a 
country rich in generous harvests, and mobile with busy 
traffic. Thibodeauxville, the shire-town of Lafourche, 



40 TWENTY MONTHS IN TH# 

was growing visibly before the war ; and even this dull 
** Crossing" was a famous summering-place, where 
steamboats, plying from Baton Kouge and New-Or- 
leans, were wont to fly their gay bunting, and where 
sporting gentry came to eat bulSEalo-fish and drink Bur- 
gundy, while alligators splashed the mud beneath their 
^rindow-sills. 

Two miles upon the road to Thibodeaux, I ride past 
broken gateways, despoiled shrubberies, and dismai^ 
tied outbuildings of an estate that was once a sump- 
tuous residence, owned by the traitor. General Bragg. 
Both northerly and southerly from my camp are man j 
noble country-seats ^iing to decay ; thmr owners ex- 
iles in their native land, wielding the rebel's sword, as 
generals, colonels, majors, in confederate armies, while 
then: fiunihes crave shelter in some district safer than 
their own from '' Yankee vandalism." Misled and mis- 
erable people ! their folly bears with it a fitting retribu- 
tion. Betraying the government which protected them, 
they dared not trust their families behind; and so, 
abandoning both home and country, they invited 
strangers to their hearths and plunderers to their pos- 
sessions^ Yet, notably, I have more respect for these 
self-exiled zealots in a wretched cause than for a class 
of time-servers who, by the easy mouthing of a ^ loyal 
oath,'* have kept their fine plantations unmolested; 
more politic knaves, who, when secession flourished, 
were foremost of the herd that swore by ^* Southern 
rights," and vowed eternal hatred to the ^^ty^nt 
North." Heartily do I despise, as I do most religiously 
distrust, such double traitors, who so loosely wear their 
sheep-skin of allegiance that the wolf snarls out be- 
neath it as they crouch. But ail these ^* oath-bound " 
patriots are to be *^ oonciliated" by the kid-gloved 



DSPABTICENT OF THE OXJhF. 41 

scheme of mild manipulfttioii now in &yor with our 
Golf authorities. These ^ Union men " are all to be 
^' attracted " back by sagar-gilt upon the pill of Fede- 
ral government. Unworthy policy, and doomed to be 
a fiulnrel The rebel viper must be grasped in iron 
gaantlet, and its sting extracted by a resolute hand, or 
burnt out, if it be necessary, by fiery caustic. These 
renegades, who buy impunity by an oath, are either 
true or fidse to the Union. If they swear truly, they cer- 
tainly require no new ^^ conciliation," since the govern* 
ment is of their choice. If they be not the loyal men 
they seem, but traitors who have sworn a lie, let them 
abide by it ; and if they will not, let them suffer for 
their double treachery. 

My quarters at Lafourche are in the old hotel ; a 
ventilated building, whereof no door hath complement 
of hinges, and no window-frame can boast a tally of its 
panes. But there are separate rooms — some dozen; 
and in each the wood-work of a once pretentious bed- 
stead ; so that myself and staff have shelter and retire- 
ment. 

Rearward of this palatial pile, the camp of my 
^ command " extends triangularly upon a plot of mea- 
dow, skirted by a little ^' collect " of the bayou oozings, 
just below the railroad grade. Beside this sluggish 
sluice the ^^boys ^ have raoged their tents, built cook- 
houses, and reared a flag-staff, whence the Stars and 
Stripes wave gallantly. Intrusive water-moccasins, and 
other serpents of the Southern slime, are rather trou- 
blesome to bed and board as yet ; but soldiers soon get 
snake-skin belts thereby, and speculate already on 
prospective boots of alligator^hide, contingent on the 
visit of some '^ cayman " from the neighboring swamps. 

Our surgeon^ careM and discreet, selects betimes his 



42 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

regimental hospital, locating it beyond the camp-lines, 
in that fine old mansion of the Johnson family. This 
Colonel JohnsoD, I am told, is nephew of the &mons 
*' Richard M.," who "killed Tecnmseh," as the ballad 
says. He is m service of the rebel government, and 
npon his " place " are only left those few poor negroes 
—driftwood, like old "Uncle Phil" — who have sur- 
vived their master's awful shipwreck. 

Other human fragments lie in limits of Lafourche, 
however — debris of the old-time "masterism;" scat- 
tered or huddled here about the " Crossing." Their 
rude huts near the track, that shelter scores of women, 
children, and disabled men, are likewise marked, like 
shops of pawnbrokers, with dumb mementoes of a 
ruined " upper class." Old damask-covered sofas, bro- 
catelle chairs, and rosewood bedsteads, tarnished now 
and broken ; cracked vases, fragments of rich glass 
and China wares ; torn linens and bedraggled silks, 
that once adorned the mistresses, now mocking misery 
in the hovels of their slaves. All shreds like these, of 
former luxury, may now be scanned and pondered over 
in this negro camp beside the railroad crossing. Men, 
women, urchins, huts, rags, wretchedness — ^the dust- 
heap of a worn-out " caste system " that never more 
will rise to rule again. 

Orders arrive from General Weitzel to detail a com- 
pany of my command for " provost-duty " in the parish 
of Lafourche ; and so I send to Thibodeaux that " free 
companion," Captain H — ^, with valiant Dutch Lieu- 
tenant K — — , to quarter on plantations in true provost 
fashion. Sundry scruples have I, nevertheless; be- 
cause this brave ga/rpon H bears reputation of truc- 
ulent " abolitionism," and I fear some outburst of his 
liberty-loving spirit may dash with shrewd " concilia- 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 48 

tion " plans of our chief General. But here a skeptical 
staff-officer wags his head and smiles at my anxieit j. 

"Colonel," he says, "you think our free-tongued 
Captain may be too outspoken for these slave-lords on 
plaoitations." 

" I apprehend his Northern principles and bold opin- 
ions on the slave-question may cause some rash ex- 
plosion." 

" My dear Colonel," quoth the staff-officer, laying 
hand upon my arm, "just wait a bit. Before the 
week runs out, our abolition Captain will be hand-in- 
glove with slave-owners, and as tender-toned upon the 
* divine institution ' as the smuggest dough&u)e of a 
Northern pulpit." 

^'^ You cannot mean that the Captain will abandon 
his avowed hatred of slavery I " 

" Wait, Colonel, and let time answer. If a provost- 
captain can be made from an abolitionist. Til wager 
that a tolerable pro-slavery man can be made from the 
provost-captain." 

And it turns out so. My courteous Captain pres- 
ently takes unto himself pleasant relationships with 
much-abused planters, and with widowed proprietress- 
es of elegant mansions and sugar estates, and with 
ladies whose husbands and brothers are rebel generals, 
colonels, and the like ; whereafter all awkward North- 
em prejudices concerning Southern institutions are 
gracefully waived in deference to that " good society " 
into which our provost-captain is post-prandially in- 
ducted, and the quondam "abolitionist" becomes 
vctre tree Jmmble sermteur to all the creole barons and 
baronesses who choose to smile on him. 

I do not overdraw the sketch, O freedom-loving 
friends of mine who read these pages I The entire 



44 TWUNTY MONTHS IN THE 

system of provost-marshal rule, with its detailed regi« 
ments and companies, its plantation-guards, its rebel 
passports and protections, not to speak of vile abuses, 
covering tyranny, and theft, and frauds, and traitorous 
collusions, has been fruitful of the worst results wher- 
ever exercised in unrestricted scope. And of what re- 
strictive power are written, sometimes verbal, orders, 
over oncers whose very office must be more or less an 
irresponsible one, based as it is on military absolutism, 
and liable to be wielded for the personal ends of him 
who holds its brief but potent tenure of authority ? 

Here comes to me from Thibodeaux — ^from provost- 
marshal of. the parish, ranking first lieutenant of some 
regiment, wherefrom he is " detailed on special duty " — 
here comes, I say, an order to deliver up a negro man 
or woman, servant of a captain in my regiment. The 
bearer of this order is a Creole planter, very red in 
&ce and fierce of speech, who vows that he will have 
his slave by provost-marshal dictate and authority, 
whether I will or not. Behind him march two blue- 
clad soldiers, with the number of my regiment upon 
their caps, but acting now as provost-guards, and sent 
by one of my own captains, acting now as provost-offl- 
oer, to *• enforce " this order for delivery of a negro 
to the person Who has claimed him as a skve. ^ 

*'I vill have my slave," says the oreole planter. 
*^ General* Banks makes one grand arrangement — one 
Labor Contract — wiz ze plantaire ! I sail keep my 
slaves, and ze yankee officier must return zem to my- 
self-— when zey run avay ; when zey hide in ze federal 
camp ! I comprehend it ver' well I I vill have my 
garden — ^my slave. Colonel ! " 

"Very well," I reply to this exdted gentleman, 
"what have I to do witii all this f '^ 



DSPABTHSNT OF THB GULF. • 45 

^ Ahl truly I you sail have me eearch of your camp 1 
I sail find my slave and take him. C#oie wiz me, 
guard!" 

*^ Not so fast, sir. I canuot allow ciyilians to pass 
within my oamp-linea/' 

^^Eh, well I Zen you sail command ae soldier to 
bring out my runaway," 

^^ Pardon me, sir, I am prohibited by law of Congress 
from returning any fugitive slave to servitude." 

^^Zea you sail permit ze provost^guard to go in ze 
camp, to seize ze tnechanty ze culprit." 

^^ I am forbidden by General Orders to allow any 
violence to be used in reclaiming a runaway.'^ 

*' But, begar / how sail I get back my slave. Col- 
onel ? " 

*^ Sir, I am forbidden by Special. Orders to oppose 
any obstacle to the return of a runaway. If you can 
induce your servant to go with you, of his own will, I 
shall mterpose no objection. But there must be no 
violence used, you understand." 

^^MiUea ionnerrea / Colonel I you vill tell me one — 
two— -three — several things I How can I see my gar^on 
if I sail not enter ze camp? How sail I induce him to 
go back wizout ze handcuff? How sail I make arresta- 
tion wizout ze guard to put zis mmuiit^ zis rascal, in ze 
stocks f How sail I m^e him not run away any more 
wiasQut ae floggiug ? Now you tell me, Colonel, no 
violence i Yhat you mean, sare, eh f " 

^^ I have nothing to do with your domestic affairs, 
or. My duty is to guard this railroad, and to meet the 
aiemy as a soldier.'* 

*' But, man dieuy Colond, I sail regard zis Labor 
Contract wiz se General Banks like one grand swindle 



46 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

of ie plantaire ! I sail make complaint ! I sail pro- 
test— vhat yOa call repudiate — zls Labor Contract I " 

My irascible Creole takes his leave, and the provost- 
guards go back to their captain. Afcer a few days, 
J. receive notice that a complaint has been made at 
headquarters. -General Weitzel writes to Colonel 

H — : — , and Colonel H writes to Colonel IST ^ 

and Colonel N writes to me ; requiring explana- 
tion and defence. I transmit, thereupon, a communica- 
tion to General Weitzel, wherein I assume my position 
to be that of a soldier and not a hunter of runaway 
negroes. I express my readiness to obey all lawful 
authority, but claim that a special act of Congress 
makes it a penal offence for any military officer to re- 
turn a fugitive slave to bondage. I adduce, likewise, 
certain orders of* General Bo wen, Provost-Marshal 
General, prohibiting the use of violence in the arrest 
6f alleged runaways. Finally, I ask for General 
Weitzel's opinion regarding my position, and soon af- 
ter receive an indorsement of it, under that gallant 
G^eral's order. 

But provost-authority, as exercised by venal or pre- 
sumptuous military subordinates, is continually as- 
serting new prerogatives. Here, one morning, comes 
a planter from Thibodeaux, and with him a man in 
civilian's clothes, to identify a laborer in the quarter- 
master's department, who is claimed as a runaway plant- 
ation-slave. The negro walks into the highway, feeling 
quite secure, because be sees no provost-guard, with 
musket, ready to arrest him ; but suddenly the pre- 
tended citizen throws off his coat, and shows a jacket, 
marked with sergeant's stripes. Then pulling out a 
pair of handouffii, with his left hand, while his right 
displays a pistol levelled at the negro's head, he bids 



BSPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 47 

the shivering ** contraband " to jump into a wagon 
standing near. I hear a yelling from the negro-camp, 
and in another moment, Colonel H , of Twenty- 
third Gonnecticut, makes hasty rash across the bridge, 
leaps down upon the provost-sergeant, and with voice 
and arm uplifted, flings him from his nearly-captured 
prise. A chorus of exalting exclamations breaks from 
sable throats, and is echoed by the shouts of sympa- 
thizing soldiers on the bridge ; while Monsieur Planter 
and his provost-guard " decoy " retreat to their close 
wagon, into which they hoped to drag the hapless 
•'fugitive." 

These visits of planters, provost-soldiers, or negro- 
hunting scouts, are of daily occurrence, and their strat- 
egies to snare the runaways are numerous. Occasion- 
ally a more high-handed measure is attempted. The 
levee breaks away, near Tbibodeaux, and a call for 
laborers to stop the dangerous "crevasse," is made 
upon this post. Our quartermasters, at the " crossing " 
are invoked, to send their able-bodied " hands " with- 
out delay ; so I direct a detail to be forwarded at once 
to the *' crevasse." Meantime, the parish road be- 
comes impassable, and planters rush about, complaining 
that their lands will all be devastated. At length a 
force of several hundred negroes grapples with the 
danger, and it speedily disappears. In four-and-twen- 
ty hours, the levee-banks are sound again. But it is 
now the turn of quartermasters to complain. Their 
laborers are missing, and reports arrive concerning 
squads of blacks, inveigled, kidnapped, and detained by 
planters, under provost-marshal's orders; while more 
squads are sent to jail, accused of anti-labor-contract 
contumacy. Here is another coil to disentangle. Pro- 
vost-authority backs itself on General Banks, and 



48 TWESVr HONTHS IN THS 

points to orders based on his agreement with the 
planters ; whereby every negro found upon plantations 
after date is held to have indorsed his owner's contract, 
and is henceforth bound to labor for a certain pittance, 
and forbidden to leave, on penalty of re-delivery to his 
master. So, then, these crafty provost-men and plant- 
ers — ^taking swift advantage of the presence of their 
quondam slaves, repairing a *' crevasse," — have pounced 
upon the helpless blacks, and driven them within the 
boundary of ^* plantations." And now the cry of 
quartermasters for laborers, and the wail of ^' contra- 
bands " thus kidnapped, unite their comment on the 
Labor Policy of General Banks ; a policy which, though 
it be well intended, neither satisfies the planter nor 
protects the negro ; which practically enforces thraldom 
worse than former slavery; which robs our army and 
our government of thou Ji who might win an/keep 
the rebel country by their own stout hands ; and which 
can never end in aught but profit to the speculating 
hordes that swarm about this Gulf Department, like 
voracious sharks upon the track of fever-ships. 



DBPABTM£NT OF THB' ftULF. 49 



OHAPTER V. 

THIBOBBAUX AND TERREBONNE. 

I jEODB along the banked-up margin of Lafourche 
Bayou, by acres of abandoned plantations, through 
miles and leagues of ruined com, and cane, and cotton 
fields. Some of the lands are still '' squatted " over 
by ebony representatives of squandered wealth ; gaunt 
effigies of wasted substance ; gnarled limbs and roots 
of the great bohan-upas that has brooded over all this 
clime, and bred beneath it slimy coils of treason and 
rebellion. They are left, these victims of the Past and 
the Present. God help them ! What shall be their 
Future? 

Last night a pair of worn-out '' man-machines " crept 
near our camp-fires — male and female octogenarians, 
waifs on the sable sea that beats incessantly upon the 
shores of Freedom. The man, with mumbling jaws, 
rehearsed his story. How he saw the sunshine first in 
Maryland ; was " sold into " Kentucky ; sent to field-work 
in his fifteenth year ; hoed com till thirty ; meantime 
fikthering some seven children ; sold again to Louisiana, 
with his " wife " — ^their children being dispersed through 
all the South ; then '' worked" on cotton fields ; there- 
after in the " cane," till fifty sunmiers more rolled by ; 
and then — ^a Northern bugle sounded through the old 
slave's soul, and he became a " contraband," or " fugi- 
tive," or "vagrant," as our General's "labor-contract" 
might describe him. Twice seized, and twice remanded 



60 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

to his " owner ;" twice flogged, and once more flying 
from his bondage — at length, last night, he fell within 
these lines. I do not think that provost-men can take 
this couple without " violence." 

These " short and simple annals of the poor " are 
better than statistics. I want no stronger witness of 
the bald injustice of all servile labor than the contrast 
of a master dwelling in his palace and the servant in 
his hut ; one reaping riches faster than his lavish hand 
can squander it ; the other drudging hopelessly from 
birth to death, with all his toil appropriated by an 
"owner," and with even the offspring of his loins "sold 
off" to swell that owner's hoards. This wretched 
slave of eighty winters — this withered pair who passed 
the hours of night in bathing mutual lash-wounds by 
the light of camp-fires — ^have little notion of political 
economy, and never heard of Adam Smith, or Malthus, 
or Ricardp ; but the " male " can tell you that, for fifty 
years, he never was presented with a solitary sixpence 
by his wealthy master, nor received a single suit of 
clothing, summer or winter, for his toiling body. His 
master understood " economy," and had read De BotjOy 
perhaps ; and so he made the slave's " affections " pay 
per centage, like his limbs, exacting, as the condition of 
the husband being allowed to see his wife, who lived 
upon a near plantation, that the wife should clothe her 
husband ; which she did for half a century. How ad- 
mirably were the interests of neighboring planters here 
combined! The owner of the "male" reduced his 
chattel's yearly " cost " to just the " bacon rations ;" 
while the master of the "female" counted all the 
children of his slave as so much thrift ; and " thrift is 
blessing, when men steal it not," said Shylock to Bash 
sanio. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP. 51 

But now these old slaves look after me, from camp, 
with &ith that I can keep them in their new estate of 
freedom ! Their rheumy eyes already bum with the 
strange light of emancipation. O Liberty ! incompre- 
hensible, divine abstraction ! I think it might lift even 
these worn-out "men-machines" high up among hu- 
nanities. 

I draw bridle in Thibodeaux, at headquarters of my 
politic captidn of the provost-guard. No simple tent 
of line-officer, fronting his company-street, but a gen- 
tleman's costly mansion, shaded by fragrant trees, with 
lawn and garden shrubbery, and " grounds," and out- 
buildings, and stables: for the "stud," which must be 
kept at call for provost-captain's service. Dismount- 
ing, stirrup held and bridle tended by a brace of unc^ 
tuous "contrabands," I enter the spacious hall, and 
thence upon a drawing-room, where lolls one mild lieu- 
tenant on silk-cushioned so&, and another thrums 
piano-forte, while their orderly mixes claret-punch 
in cut-glass goblets. The capt^n is on duty at the 
Court-house, where he occupies the Judge's bench, 
dispensing summary law on helpless sons of Ham, but 
listening graciously to "special pleading" of soft- 
spoken dowagers who " claim protection for their pro- 
perty." Meantime, the "provost-guard," a company 
of brave men, who enlisted for the battle-field, are 
quartered here and there upon plantations, to awe the 
blacks and hold them closely to the ^' labor-contract ;" 
to protect the " planter's interests," by hunting strag- 
gling recusants, and generally to act as " overseers " in 
pay of Federal treasury. How speedily the soldier 
sinks into the satellite ; how soon the guard becomes a 
jailer ; how certainly the life of ease and indolence de- 



62 TWENTY MONTHa IN THE 

moralizea and undisoipliiies thie mao, let army-liats de« 
tennine 

Thibodeanx haa its nnnoery and sebools for OatboUa 
young ladies, and its sable-cassocked priests, like any 
^' ville'' in France. I meet a singular procession near 
the church — a cortige of some twenty mounted men, 
escorting solenmly an open wagon, on which is borne a 
little coffin, decked with flowers^ They go to bury 
some petite en/ant in oven-tomb ; and as I turn o^ 
by the road to Terrebonne, I pass the c^»etery-<-<i 
weed-grown space, with brickwork graves, like tables, 
built above ground. Here are multiplied, in lay^s and 
shelves, those mouldering masonry indosmres that con- 
tain the dust of generations. The soil of Lower XjouIck 
iana is no soil for catiaoombs. We walk above no caves 
and find no grottoes in these bottom-lands ; we mine 
no tertiary veins of lead or ircm, quarry not for coal or 
marble— all the riches here is mud, aUuvion of lakes 
and bayous fed by fertilising Mississippi — ^theNile of 
all our South-west Egypt, whidi was a house of bond- 
age, likewise, for its laborers. 

Headquarters of the One Hundred and Seventy^ 
sixth are at Terrebonne Railroad crossing, which I 
reach by horseback ride of four miles from Lafourche 
via Thibodeaux.. The distance by the track is three 
miles, through a belt <^ woods and swamps, allowing 
laterally not even a bridle-path. Here Colonel M " " ' ■■■ 
has pitched, picturesquely, his camp, beside the railway 
grade, its rear abutting on the shrubberied grounds of 
an extensive sugar-grower of the past. I find the 
Colonel in his tent, with Adjutant, engagedr in ponder- 
ous correspondence on that never-ending theme, the 
rights of planters. Heire, in tiie regimental lettor-book» 



/* 



DSPABTMEKT OF THE GULF. 58 

already have aocmnnlated teeming folios fall of qnte 
tions for the future, between capital and labor, bond 
and free. I have more faith in war-gmis than in law 
canons for the ultimate adjudication of these knotty 
problems. 

Colonel N and myself mount horses for a trot be- 
low the camp, upon the road to Houma. Three miles 
from the rsHlroad is a large plantation, once inhabited 
by Major Potts, a brother of the Rev. Dr. Potts, oi 
controYorsial £uue. The Major, it is said, possessed 
the finest library in the State, outside of New-Orleans, 
and left it, with his broad domain — house, furniture, 
crops,^ stock, and *' people" — all to be the spoil of* 
squatters, provost-marshals, soldiers, and oamp-follow- 
e£s. The negroes tell us how the books were scat- 
tered, mutilated, and consumed as ftiel, long ago. A 
solitary volume of Hyperion — ^blue and gold — ^was 

found by Colonel N" in a deserted chamber — ^the 

last sad relio of that splendid private library. 
, A ^'company canal," now nearly dry and choked 
with weeds, extends from Thibodeaux to Bayous Black 
and Blue, and once sufficed as dhannel for the country 
trade in Terrebonne ; large flat-boats, piled with cotton- 
bales and sugar-hogsheads, penetrating what seem now 
but narrow ditches by the highway. The town of 
Houma, twelve miles from the railroad, was quite an 
enirejpbt of inland commerce; and the bayou banks 
and lake-shores of this parish were, at one time, lively 
with the tran^t of deep-laden wains. This whole allu- 
vial country is a planter's paradise. No richer lands 
are found upon the continent than are embraced within 
the water-bolts of Louisiana. 
The town of Houma — once a seat of aborigines, who 



54 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

lift their name to it — was noted, some months since, as 
the theatre of a cowardly massacre, by ambushed rebels, 
of some wounded Union soldiers, who were being 
transported in a wagon through the district. The vic- 
tims were thrown into a trench dug in the public 
street of Houma. But iron-handed General Butler 
speedily avenged them. He sent the gallant Colonel 
Keith, with men and guns, to cleanse this nest of trai- 
toi*s. Keith compelled the Houma citizens to disinter 
our murdered soldiers, and re-bury them in coffins and in 
graves made by their own reluctant hands. He then 
took measures of retaliation ; burned the houses, su- 
gar-mills, crops, and machinery of rebel sympathiziers ; 
hunted the guerrillas through woods and swamps, and 
levelled Houma jail to dust with battering-rains. Then, 
hoisting our "old flag" upon the court-house, he de- 
manded that the planters thereabout should pay the 
charges of his expedition ; then drove away some hun- 
dred head of confiscated cattle, and left Houma to re- 
cover at her leisure. So much for Butler's notable 
lex taUonis, 

We ride back, past decaying messuages, alight at 
camp, to drink a dish of coflee, and then, remounting, 
take the road to Thibodeauz, where the Colonel and 
myself propose to pass the evening at our provostr 
captain's quarters ; for I had caught a^ glimpse of books 
in that snug homestead of an exiled rebel, and desired 
to spend a leisure hour with them. Arrived and seat- 
ed, while our steeds are duly caried for, we get pres- 
ently engrossed by teeimng portefeuiHes of engravingf^ 
crayon sketches, and etudes^ that lie upon the par 
lor-table. Afterwards the library key is brought, and 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 55 

we are ushered to a pleasant side-room, lined with 
book-cases well stored with goodly volumes. 

Here is another revelation of secession folly and 
" midsummer madness." This is the private library of 
Squire Bush, a lawyer and a prominent States 
rights man of Lafourche. Surrounded here by every 
comfort, blessed with wealth, and more than commonly 
endowed with intellect; a wife and blooming family 
around his board ; this man became a leader of the 
wretched horde who clamored for disunion. I appre- 
hend ambition was his failing — that sin whereby the 
angels fell. I can recall his name, as noted somewhat 
in Know-Nothing annals; and doubt not that the 
" bubble reputation " lured on this husband, sire, and 
citizen, to stake his all upon the dice of revolution. So 
this night a Northern stranger moralizes amid the 
ruins of his household treasures, and the Yankee 
provost-soldiers stretch their legs upon his hearth- 
stone, unmindful of the lares and penates that 
should guard it. These shelves of tomes in divers 
tongues ; these desks, and maps, and globes, and study- 
lamps ; these red-taped rolls of manuscript, and pigeon- 
holes of pamphlets, journal clippings, club reports, 
and half-writ speeches ; all the opima apolia of a busy 
mental life, are left at last to alien scrutiny — abandoned 
to the forfeiture that tracks their owner's hopes and 
happiness hereafter. 

I grow melancholy over these relics of a peaceful 
past ; I wax indignant with the thought that all this 
ruin was a suicidal act. What grievance drove the 
lawyer of Lafourche to treason and rebellion ? What 
tyranny assailed his quiet home, that he should cast its 
comforts to the winds of civil strife? No chattel 



66 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

oouLd escape from all these labyrinths of swamps and 
bayons; no abolitionist might penetrate these par- 
ishes, remote from Northern borders. Why, then, 
must Lawyer Bush play Catiline to his country ? 

I solve . this problem at a later period of my South- 
em residence. I learn some time hereafter not to base 
this rebel movement on a negro issue only. I gain, 
with new experiences, an insight to the real cause that 
underlies all seenung motives of the South in measur- 
ing her strength against a government upheld by equal 
rights. 

Meanwhile, here sit we, hostile strangers from the 
North, amidst the dusty lumber of a Southern home. 
The family portraits rest against the wall, backs turned 
upon us. 

I handle many a duplicate of favorite auth^ors in my 
own home library. Here stand, in line, battalia of 
books, which show the classic taste of their collector. 
The British Poets muster, rank on rank, some ninety 
strong ; the British Essayists beneath ; and here are 
Dickens, Irving, Cooper, Bulwer, Thackeray; with 
hundreds, rank and file, of literary yeomen ; and brave 
historians — ^Bancroft, Alison, Guizot, Thiers, Lamar- 
tine, Macaulay, Prescott, Motley, Michelet, and costly 
books of plates; and Lamennais, Chateaubriand^ 
Bochefoucault ; with seventy volumes of Voltaire, and 
twenty of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and . . • 

I am alone among the living-dead, oblivious of the 
dead-alive, who feebly, in this age of feebleness, essay 
to wrestle with great truths, in cabinet or camp, kid- 
gloved and shod with silk. I fain would linger in the 
company of stalwart souls that smile out of these 
book-cases. I think I could lock door and curtain 



DEPABTHJCNT OF THE GULF. 67 

casement, sitting down' amid these ancient friends of 
mine, forgetful of aU outside drums and bugle-calls. 
How wiser had it been for Lawyer Bush, if he had 
barred his gates and ears against the treason that en- 
compassed him^ and remained ^^ at home," amid his 
.books and family, unmeddling with Rebellion's *^ peril- 
ous stuff." But he would not; and so it is th^t 
strangers tread his halls, whUe he must be an exile 
from them. So* it is that I, like him, quit home and 
quiet study for tie camp and hostile action. The sin 
and folly of this rebel, and of such as he, have sun- 
dered households over aU our land* 

This lawyer's reference-books, dust-covered, fill capa- 
cious wail-shelTes, and are piled on floor and ftimiture 
in an office which he occupied on Thibodeaux main 
street. In all their multiplex authorities, aU their pre- 
cedents, commentaries, and annotations, he found, it 
seems, not one small text to warn him of the penalties 
of treason. Peradventure, this man had been a better 
patriot with less of law and learning. Assuredly, he 
might be a happier husband and father to-day, in this 
peaceful mansion of his, with beloved faces round the 
hearth-stone, and his old flag of stars waving above 
the roof-tree« 



68 TWBKTT UONTHS IK THB 



CHAPTER VI. 

TLGERYILLE. 

Brxgadibb-Genbhal Wettzel stops one day at the 

Crossing, whispers into the ear of Colonel H that 

rebels are reported to be moving on the upper waters 
of Lafourche Bayou, and enjoins upon him to be vigi- 
lant here about the railroad ; whereat great preparation 
on our part ensues. We double guard, set extra pick- 
ets, station lookouts for the night. Some weeks ago, 
we underwent a midnight panic, when noctunial wan- 
derers in the shape of runaway horses '^ drove our pick- 
ets in,** and divers rounds of cartridges were burnt, to 
imminent peril of aU " stragglers." I have my own 
doubts now concerning the propinquity of rebels, but 
nevertheless take all precautions, and await develop- 
ments, on my soldier's pallet, lapped in dreams of home 
and happiness. 

" An hour passed on — ^the Turk awoke I " It is no 
marvel that he did so, if half a dozen voices rang in his 
ears, at once, as they do in mine; announcing foemen 
" thick as leaves in Vallambrosa. " I buckle on my 
sword and sally out, to find the camp aroused and 
onder arms. Our quartermaster, very deaf, is listening 
nervously for a charge of rebel cavalry, while he supplies 
ammunition from one door and distributes whiskey ra- 
tions at another. Shots rapidly follow one another from 
surrounding darkness, and gallant subalterns cry, 
Steady, boys, steady," and white-faced fellows circulate 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP. 69 

reports of " killed, wounded, and missing." Meantime, 
I light a cigar, and despatch " George " on horseback 
to Thibodeaux, to learn if provost-guard be still extant, 
and another messenger to Terrebonne, by rail and hand- 
car, to report the " alarm " to Colonel N" . I 

get my men in line upon the bridge and levee, ex- 
change a joke or two with others skeptical of danger 
as myself, and so the night wears on, and morning 
comes, and every body, glum and weary, goes to bed 
or breakfast, conscious of a quite unnecessary '^ scare." 
Such incidents, diversified by out-post visiting, oc- 
casional scouting on the bayou roads, impromptu slave- 
hunts, with a week or two of court-martials, whereat I 
sit in solenm dignity as president, to try some tipsy 
sentinel or poaching picket — such is service at the 
Grossing, melancholy and monotonous. 

At length, an order for removal. Guard-duty is to 
be divided on the road ; my regiment to form a line of 
posts from Terrebonne to the front, at Brashear City ; 
the Twenty-third Connecticut to hold all stations from 
Lafourche to Algiers terminus. I go to Tigerville. 

To Tigerville : a quiet, slumberous place, at conflu- 
ence of two sluggish bayous. Near the station-house, 
by railroad track, the section superintendent — for- 
merly a steamboat captain — ^pleased himself some time 
before the war, in modelling a dwelling after pattern 
of the river-craft he used to navigate. A stack of 
buildinga longitudinal, with bows, and stem, and mid- 
ships like a steamer ; with masts and flag-staf&, tower- 
ing over cabin-parlor, caboose-kitchen, and forecastle- 
cow-house; snug, unique, and pretty as a picture* 
Here the bluff proprietor drank his Bourbon like a 
lord ; a staunch upholder of the Union, save when, now 



60 TWENIT KONTHS IN TEQB 

and then, '^ inspiring, bold John Barleycorn ^ put words 
into his month which sounded strang^y like secession 
sympathy. Some said this worthy skipper's steam- 
boat-house not only owned two flag-staflb, but possessed 
two flags to hoist npon them, as occasion might demand. 
However this might be, no bnnting flew from them 
bat Stars and Stripes while I abode in 'Dgerville. 

I pitched my little camp npon a narrow cross-road 
leading from the railway to a freight-honse <m the 
bayou margin. Near this, the barred-up shutters of a 
single-storied, many-windowed building seemed to in- 
dicate the shell of what was once a warehouse ; but 
it proved to be a billiard-room, with table, balls, cues, 
chalk, and tally-board intact and tempting; whereupon 
my juniors quickly fixed their quarters in proidmity, 
and an ivory tiraillade soon scared the rats away. 

A wooden cot, or cabin of the ^^ poor-white " style 
with room for bed and board, hard by the camp, be- 
came headquarters, where I stretched a mattress, and 
arranged mosquito-net. ^^ Greorge " ensconced himself 
in kitchen out-building, '^ John " made his dormitory in 
a closet at the rear of mine, and so my new estabfish- 
ment was complete. 

The town of Tigerville was once, I learn, » busy s^et- 
tlement, with prosperous traffic gliding over its bayous, 
and radiating from the iron track which passes through 
its meadows. Two rustic bridges span the water- 
courses and the village stragglmg on each side of 
them. Left of the railroad, and between it and the 
V swamps, the bayous and plantations lie. A signboard 
on the Tigerville Hotel — now tenanted by sable 
squatters — indicates the public road to Houma, eas^ 
ward, and to Brashear- City, in a westerly direction* 



DXPARTHXMT OF THB GULF. 61 

Upon the right hand of the railway, there are opea 
fields hemmed in by grand old woods, through which, 
with many windings, the road to Ghickahoula, Terre^ 
Ixmne, and Thibodeanx condncts. From Thibodeanx, 
by the Ghickahoula highway, or by a more circnit- 
ouB route, tna Terrebonne and Honma road, all trayel 
from Lafourche once found its way to Tigeryille, 
and so to Berwick Bay and the Attakapas country. 
The railroad superseded bayou roads, of course, for 
purposes of transportation, to New-Orleans and the 
bay ; but these old highways, following the water-lines, 
with swamps, and forests, and broad belts of rich plan- 
tations as their background, are indispensable for in- 
terpenetration of the fertile parishes which stretch to 
the Misinssippi ^^ coast,'' and thence trend downward 
toward its seaward passes. 

A stone's throw from my qoarters, rises an Indi«i 
mound ; one of the ^^ high-places ^' where aborigines 
worshipped or made mausolea for their dead. It tow- 
ers above the roofs of manor-houses, and looks down 
upon the negro-hovels like a mountam in the dead level 
of surrounding marsh and swamp. Traditions daim 
ibis country as the hunting-ground of Choctaws. An 
old confederacy of red tribes once possessed the 
lower Mississippi lands, be^ning with the Houmas, 
near our present ** eoast," and numbering many dans 
whose very names are now forgotten. These nations 
built their forts from Bayou Boeuif to Red River, rang- 
ing across ti^ Teche and Atcha&laya, and through iJl 
the beautiful Attakapas. l%ey waged fierce war 
Against the French for neaarly a century before their 
remnants, broken and disheartened, migrated to wil- 
dernesses far beyond the Ifissisflippi^ and were ultimate- 



i 



62 TWENTY MONTHS IN SHK 

ly lost amid tlie predatory hordes which rove around 
the bases of Sierra Madre. 

I am speedily exploring the surroundings of Tiger*^ 
viUe. Cool hours of morning, before ten o'clock, and 
evening, before sunset, are allotted to a ride through 
neighboring plantations. Mid-day heats forbid all ojut- 
door locomotion, and at twilight rise the fogs and 
swamp malaria, laden with seeds of typhus and ague. 
A canter of ten minutes bears me to Bronson's mansion, 
long since abandoned by its owners in fee-simple— 
months ago denuded of its furniture by provost-mar- 
Aal's confiscation. A robust negro swings the court- 
yard gate wide open, and a dozen sooty urchins scam- 
per round my horse hoofs as I cross the lawn. The 
house is empty, doors and windows closed. Some old 
house-servants occupy the back-buildings, and are rais- 
ing vegetables in the kitchen-garden, as of yore. They 
have retained a few remains^ of former household com- 
forts in their keeping, white counterpanes and ^^ quali- 
ty" mosquito-nets, and pieces of choice china-ware. 

Across a bridge, upon the opposite bayou-bank, are 
negro-quarters, and the sugar-buUdiUgs, with theur rust- 
ing heaps of fine machinery. The slaves of this estate 
are mostly dwelling hereabouts, and working up the 
land ^^ on shares. " Left destitute by their owners, 
who abandoned every thing and fled before the march 
of our victorious expedition under Weitzel, these negro 
field-hands organized themselves in a rude "labor- 
phalanx," chose a leader, and took up the cultivation 
of their old domain, where " Massa Bronson " left it. 
They have now at least a moiety under cultivation, and 
expect to make alright smart crap." The chosen 
*^ overseer " — a thoughtful-featured xx)lored man, called 



\lA 



DBPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 68 

*^ Jim," rehearses all his hopes and fears to me. His 
" sociates " are " right smart" and " willing to work," 
and only want a " chance," but " Mauss Bronson, when 
he mn'd away to Tnckapaw, didn't leave no stock 
on de place, an dar's a oveseer o' ole mauss staid yer, 
an' h^% a'gin de black people workin' de place, unless 
dey give de craps to A»m.*' 

" But how do you work the place, if you have no 
stock, Jim ? " 

" Pze gwine to tell you 'bout de stock, Cunnil. Dar 
wasn't no critters on de place — mauss tuk 'em all 
away ; but de Linkin sogers 'lowed us tree bosses, and 
we skeer'd up some old mules in de swamps out yer* 
Den we sot about gittin' a crap, but it's mighty hard 
work, Cunnil, kase de ole white overseer am a'gin de 
black people." 

^^ But your master has run away, Jim. Government 
now owns this plantation. Your old overseer has no 
authority here. " 

^'D-dar'sde diffikil, Cunnil. De ole overseer's got 
all de pigs and de yerlin's, an' he sez de provost-sogers 
put him yer, to carry on de place, so dat we isn't no 
'count whatsomdever." 

I begin to have an adequate idea of the difficulties 
attending this ^^ free labor experiment " organized by 
negro Jim and his comrades. Subsequently I iiscer- 
tain all the points of their case. 

These contrabands, it seems, cast on their own re- 
sources through the treason and secession of their mas- 
ter, met together and deliberated in true democratic 
spirit on their situation. The result was, that they '^ or- 
ganized " for daily labor in ^e cultivation of a large 
plantation. They had no capital but their toil-hardened 



64 TWXNTY MONTHS IN THE 

hands. . They begged some .'* stock" of passing sol- 
diers, and a sympathizing cavalry captain gave them 
three unserviceable horses. To these they added sev- 
eral venerable mules reclaimed from wanderings iii the 
swamp. Thus aided, they essayed to carry on the 
<' government plantation ;" when an overseer, their for- 
mer driver under " ownership," ste^^d in with new 
authority derived from high permission of a provost- 
marshal, sub-lieutenant of some regiment he had not 
seen since it was ordered into service. Betimei^ our 
too-ambitious laborers of ^'African descent" discover 
that th^ owner's representative is still thdr ^ master," 
ordering tasks, appropriating hogs and kine and diick^ 
ens, and asserting generally his domination, as of 
yore. 

Here, then, a brace of ^' overseers," the white fluid 
black ; no great encouragement to present work, and 
promising small future compensation to the woi^ers. 

For my own part, I sympathize with Jim and his 
stout phalanx ; but beyond this I am powerless. The 
provost-marshals sway plantations, and are regnant 
in all labor-contracts. Possibly, if I were martial artn- 
ter of all this parish, or of this broad belt beside the 
railway, I might have a voice in ^' organization." I 
would say to Jim, one day, that he could guard this 
road at TIgerville as well as I can. I would bid my 
commissary serve out rations to the man, and to Us 
negro comrades, men like him. My quartermaster 
fthcoild supply them all with good substantial clothing, 
far their quondam owner has bequeathed them only 
rags. -My ordnance officer should give them hoes, 
carts, digging in^lements, and — ^muskets and cartridge- 
boxes. So then, UadkHddnned overseer, called *^ Jim " 



DEPABTliSNT OF THE GULF. ^ 

mr any other name^ with '' gang," or ^* squad," or " com- 
pany " of '' organized laborers," wbll-asmsd, might 
oonstitate a portion of as good militia as this Opelonsas 
road requires, for ^ home defence." I do not think the 
presence of their wives and children on plantations, 
worked and guarded by these men, would make them 
less efficient. I do not think a just or generous share 
in all the products of their toil would make them less 
desirous of protecting this fine country from the as- 
saults of rebels. I dare surmise that these abandoned 
cane and cotton-fields would thrive as well beneath the 
willing hands of black-skinned soldiers, armed with 
rifles and supplied with ploughs, as ever they could 
thrive under reluctant toil of black-skinned Helots, with 
no interest in the land they cultivate. What says my 
overseer Jim upon the question ? 

'^ Tes, Cunnil, we is mighty sharp to Pam — de black 
people is." 

>' Jim I. how many black men are there in TigerviUe, 
as strong and able-bodied as you are ? " 

^ Reckon dar's a heap, Ounn'L Mebbe dar's two hun- 
dred on Mauss Knight's place, an' de Hopkins place, 
and dis yer place whar we is, Cunn'L" 

«^ Very well, Jim, supposing those two hundred men 
could learn to lof^ and fire, like my soldiers, and were 
to have guns and powder a-plenty, and I should say to 
them, You sbaJl have half of all the crops you raise on 
the plantations you work ; but you must watch this 
railroad, as my men do, and keep the rebels from burn- 
ing bridges. Do you think you could do it, Jim ?" 

I wait £ar an answer, while the negro seems to pon- 
der thougfatfiilly. Presently he appears to oompreh^ad 



66 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

my entire meaning, for a big tear slowly gathers in his 
eyes, and his voice quivers, as he speaks. ^ 

"Cunn'l," says overseer Jim, "I'ze a poor black 
man ! ' We is all berry poor and berry low, kase we 
was in slavery all our bom days ; bat de good Lord 
'lightens de black man's mind, ebber since de Lin- 
kum sogers come, and " 

He brushed his coarse slqeve across his wet eyes, and 
stopped abruptly, 

'* Well, Jim r 

" Cunn'l, I'ze ready an' willin' to take de gun an' de 
sword, an' fight for de good cause. We is all ready 
an' willin' ; we pray to de Lord for a chance. " 

" Jim, there are nearly two thousand of your people 

in Terrebonne parish, aU strong men ; do you thmk, if 

you were well armed, you could keep the Tuckapaw 

^rebels from coming back and making slaves of you 

again ?" 

"Dunno, Cunn'l, de Lord only knows dat. But 
I'ze shore o' dis yer thing, Cunn'l, we'se all gwine to 
jes' die in our tracks 'fore dey make us slaves any 
more. De battle is not to de strong, Cunn'l ; but gib 
us a chance, an' we is cl'ar for you, Cunn'l. De black 
people is mighty sharp to I'am." 

I leave my overseer Jim on Bronson's place, and 
trot on toward the Hopkins mansion, to reach which I 
cross the bayou on a highway bridge, and, turning past 
a massive sugar-mill, ride in upon a spacious square, 
with well-built cottage-houses fronting on two sides. 
These are the negro-quarters — quite a little village; 
a picket-fence, with carriage gateway, separates the 
sqmare from a capacious lawn, on which the ^' great 
hause " stands ; a handsome structure of the Southern 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 67 

style, with broad piazza and a pleasant show of breeze- 
inviting casements. Here is more ^^abandonment." 
The lower rooms are void of furniture ; and an " over- 
seer " steps out to tell me so, and to inform me that he 
represents the " property." A few cadaverous negro 
children and a wrinkled yellow woman are the only 
representatives of ^' labor " that I see about the prem- 
ises. A few weeks subsequent to this, my first inspec- ) 
tion of the Hopkins place, a tall adventurer from Ten- 
nessee obtains it, on a lease, from Government, and sets 
in to make a sugar fortune. The situation of this Hop- 
kins place is very eligible for a speculation of the kind. 
Its works are close upon the bayou, which here broad- 
ens, flowing toward the BoBuff. A railroad platform is 
within a quarter-mile of it, and the highway deflects 
around its sugar-fields. The rebel Hopkins must have 
been a prosperous man ; and yet so bitter was he in his 
treason, that, as gossip says, he reared a gallows on his 
grounds, to hang the '^ abolitionists.'' His influence, 
doubtless, caused more moderate men, like Bronson 
and some others of his neighbors, to espouse the reb- 
el cause, and, in an evil hour, desert their fine estates 
and happy homes. So Tigerville plantations lie around 
these bayou-waters in " admired disorder," tempting 
speculation from afar. Already do the needy hangers- 
on at New-Orleans begin to snuff prospective wealth 
without necessity of personal work. Before the year 
runs out, there will be '^ masters " in profiision for these 
tenantiless mansions. What should deter our enterpris- 
ing sutlers, and " resigning " officers from easy ven- 
tures in the sugar business ? ^^ Security " is easily ob- 
tained, while Government contracts to furnish mules, 
and men to *^ stock " the lands, and even advances ^* sal- 



"68 TWENTY XOKTHS IN THE 

aries ^ for the p^triotio gentlemen who hope to make 
their fortunes in the business. 

And all the while, that great black human Force, 
whose life-long strength has been expended, for a hun- 
dred years, in servile toil, is reckoned in the '^ Isihor- 
dOntracts" only as the ^^stock,'* whose service is to 
multiply the gains of capital. N^o soimd, humanitarian 
plan for lifting up this ^' stock " to manhood ; no {nro- 
visions for a future self-respecting peasantry, whose 
souls and bodies now are in our hands, as clay, to 
mould them as we will ; no statesmanlike attempt to 
solve the mighty labor-problem of our nation's fiiture ; 
none of these grand questions are involved in ^^ labor- 
contracts '' and '^ plantation-leases. " This is the day 
of provost-marshals and omnipotent staff-officers in un- 
exceptionable styles of undress uniform. God help our 
oountry if no mbn come up, to take the place of girls 
and boys m office I 



PEPABXUENT OF THE GULF. 69 



CHAPTER VII. 

axoEZZKa m jl batou. 

Thbough tbe morning hoars» I haye been exploring the 
mysteries of a Louisiana morass ; penetrating regions of 
green gIoom» gliding into cayemons wilds of filamentous 
yegetation. Seated in a oanoe of primitiye fashion, the 
hollow of a log, tiiat paeks my sides and limbs in coffin^ 
like snugness, I haye ascended miles from camp, under 
gjtiOBtij cypress limbSt and through slimy mould of rank 
conferyaa. 

Balancing in my '*dug-out," I paddle slowly down the 
sluggish bayou. A summer sun rides near its zenith, but 
onljr straggling beams of heat can penetrate the oyer- 
spreading cypress boughs. The temperature is of delici- 
ous coolness ; for shadows lie all day upon these hidden 
waters. Profound quiet broods oyer marois and forest^ 
sometimes for hours, saye when the flutter of a bird awak- 
ing from its noontide dream, or the occasional plash of 
an alligator slipping off the bank, makes momentary rip- 
ples on the stillness. The grey Spanish moss droops mo- 
tionless in long festoons, or coils fantastically oyer pen- 
dent foliage, shrouding all the life beneath with sombre 
cerements. Fire-blasted cedar trunks, grim and pallid, 
look out like ghosts at intervals, uplifting spectral limbs* 
Small breaks of sunshine tell of openings in the timber, 
whence come gleams of emerald turf and glimpses of in- 
terior landscape ; loyely bits of light and shade, chequer- 
ed by wild yines, trellised oyer ancient oaks ; deep nooks 
of greenery and labyrinths of leafy arches, curtained with 



70 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

a ganze of pnrple haze ; and slombering pools^ bridged 
over by the cones of cypress bolls* 

An alligator's shining crest appears above the wMtr* 
scarcely two boat-lengths ahead of me. The reptile swims 
so noiselessly that no one could detect its presence by 
the ear. I level my revolver and send a bnllet at his 
waJke. The missile strikes, but glances from the monster's 
scaly hide as if deflected by steel armor. In a moment 
all the bayou is ^ive with saurian fugitives, startled by 
my shot. They show their gleaming vertebras here* 
there, and all about me. A black, corrugated head has 
risen close behind my crazy ''dug-out." I take quick aim 
at it, internally shuddering at the prospect of a sudden 
capsize into this "certain convocation'' of wide-jawed 
"swamp-angels." Whizz goes the bullet, and I plainly 
see it penetrate the alligator's fore leg, at the articulation 
of the shoulder. He sinks like a log. Meantime a score 
of ugly shapes have reached the bayou margins ; some 
are crawling over the muddy sedges to gain their "paths" 
to the remoter swamp. These paths or trails are well de- 
fined, and might be followed, were it worth the while to 
wade through slimy moralises. I empty my remaining 
barrels at the nearest marks, and paddle toward a cypress 
clump, to take an observation from some point that looks 
like vant-age ground. But here my flat keel "grounds" 
upon a ten-foot alligator that has wedged his long pro- 
boscis between roots and bolls. My "dug-out" oversets, 
as the monster flaps his huge tail, backing into deep 
water"", and I have a single moment left me, to spring up- 
on a log imbedded near the shore. Here, with useless 
paddle and discharged revolver, I remain a cast-away, my 
"dug-out" half submerged, pushed off some twenty yards 
bj the retreating alligator. 

I find# myself in awkward straits. I mentally repent 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 71 

• 

mj reeent "tronbling of the waters." The log which 
giyed me foothold sways like a Mississippi ^'sawyer." It 
is fieuit at one end, but beyond that end some twenty feet 
of morass separate it from terra firma. The cypress 
clnnip is only a little islet near the bayou edge, with 
sedgy mire between it and the banks. It behooves me 
to extricate myself, if possible, from immediate peril of 
•a plunge, neck-deep or lower, into Louisiana subsoil. 

My saurians have Tanished, and the bayou is lonesome 
as before. Its leaden drapery of swamp moss ; its wil- 
derness of motionless leaves; its unbroken shadows and 
nnrippled waters; all are lapsed into the lethargy of 
noon. I might stand shouting on this shaky log till mid- 
night, with no other answer to my voice than muffled 
echoes of the shrouded woods. 

Steadying myself with the paddle, I shift one foot and 
eautiously essay to plant it on a cypress boll. These 
curious vegetative freaks, the bolls, grow clustered at the 
foot of cypress trunks, emerging' from the watery ooze in 
conical shafts, shaped much like minie cartridges. It is 
said that engineers have found them useful as foundation 
piles, in road-making through swamps. However this 
may be, I vouch for one thing from my own experience — 
that to cross a bridge of cypress bolls in military jack- 
boots is no trifling effort of pedestrianism. Hindoo 
theurgy has a causeway narrow as a sabre-edge, for souls 
to walk over hereafter. I venture to declare that cypress 
bolls make causeways as precarious for bodily feet to lo- 
comote. I shiver to recall the slips and slides, the shakes 
and quakes, the knee-bows and baok-crookings which this 
journey over slimy cypress cones exacted of me' ere I 
reached a segment of the tree base that afforded solid 
standing. Hardly was the feat accomplished ere I heard 
a rustle overhead, and realizedi to my horror, that I had 



73 TWJfiNTS MOirroB in ths 

enemies to contend with, wane than alligatora or ttemtd 
that breeds 1&em« 

I had gained a ridge of spongy scnl elinging abeal the> 
eypfress roots. The gnarled tmnk was thick wiib aged, 
moss, which I grasped widi my i%ht hand, while my lefli 
held by the paddle, as a staff. The nisiling startled me^ 
and, glancing np, I spied the variegated body of a larg« 
snaike coiled about the tree^ not ten feet above me. And, 
looking down, I saw, so nearly in my path that a footstep 
forward would have trodden on it, another serpent, lyii^ 
in convolutions, and apparently asleep, upon the daafc 
green turf. A glance sufficed to tell me that it was ar 
moccasin-snake. 

I do not like to recollect tiie sickening fooling that for 
a moment came over me, as I noticed ^e two reptiles 
wilh what seemed a single eye-shot. I have a horror of 
the serpent tribe, and would raUier face a battery than • 
rattle-snake. But here was no retreat. I could not re. 
trace my steps upon the cypress-cones. To jump inta 
l^t gloomy bayou, and, perhaps, be presently entangled 
in the horrible subaqueous vegetation over which I had 
paddled my ''dug-out," or to encounter, at the miry bot- 
tom, objects of I knew not what impurity and venom, 
seemed no pleasanter alternative. I had no weapon but 
the paddle. I could not strike one snake, even the sleep- 
ing one, without causing the other to attack; and yet 
I could not pass around the tree, upon that spongy ridgs^ 
unless I over-stepped the moccasin. And I knew not 
whether this cypress-clump, with its base of mossy peat, 
might not be peopled by a colony of serpents. I had ^ 
heard of snake-dens in these bogs ; of breeding coverts, 
where the copperhead, hooded-adder, and 'moccasin min» 
gled' their horrid progenies. 

The time consumed wlule I stood motionless, supported 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 73 

by my paddle and the tree, was very brief, scarce com- 
putable ; yet in that instant these and many other thoughts 
gleamed through my mind. The sadden danger, prompt- 
ings to escape it, and regrets at having provoked it, were 
reflected simultaneously with thoughts of home and con- 
sciousness of present surroundings. The bayou solitude, 
its shadow and its quietude; the thickly-woven green 
fronds, upon the water ; the heavy grey moss on the trees ; 
and, more distinct than other things, the snakes coiled 
over head and at my feet — were pencilled by a single 
mental flash. Drawing my paddle from the water, with 
a cautious hand, I released my hold upon the mossy cy- 
press-trunk, and raised one foot to step across the snake 
before me. At this crisis something caused the other 
one to uncoil suddenly, and in an instant I beheld its 
glistening head and forked tongue thrust downward, while 
its eyes burned with a light like living emeralds. I felt 
a horrible attraction to return their gaze. I thought of 
stories that I had often scoffed at; tales of fascinated 
birds and children. I thought of Eve's temptation, and 
of Coleridge and the Lady Geraldine, and almost fancied, 
that those luminous eyes were set under a female fore- 
head, and the snaky coils beneath were silken folds of a 
lady's garments, wrought in ^Id and opalesque embroi- 
dery. This spell, if spell it could be called, was quickly 
broken, as I marked the serpent's tail abruptly flung 
around a limb above me, and its crest curved angrily 
over a coil of spiral rings. Involuntarily I shrank from 
the threatened spring, and, as I did so, the snake sud- 
denly depressed its body, darted out its head uneasily to 
and fro, then glided to a higher limb, and disappeared 
amid the maze of leaves and moss. Another second, and 
I heard a loud, clear voice, breaking the stillness, like a 
silver trumpet 



74 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

** De cane Is in de sogM-biler — 
de goold an' gllyer, massa ! 
Bar's a dollar comin' Christmas ; 
de goold an' sUver, massa 1" 

Plash, plash! a pair of paddles timed the mnsioal re« 
frain ; and close beside my sunken "dug-out" I saw an- 
other canoe glide noiselessly across the stream, propelled 
by an old negro, who was singing a plantation song. I 
hailed him lustily, and bade him take me from the cypress 
clump. 

The son of Ham was dwarfish, thin, and dried as any 
lierring, and I doubt if there was skill or harmony in his 
minstrelsy; but I never felt such pleasure in the Yoioe 
of Mario or Sontag as I did in hearing that grotesque 
boatman. Hardly had his paddle struck the cypress-bolls, 
when I stepped toward his skiff. 

"De gracious! massa Ounn'l, is you dar? Lef datyei 
cypress hole mity quick, sah ! Dar's snakes out yer ! Bar's 
mocassins yerabouts, mass' Ounn'l !" 

I took my seat in the skiff as steadily as was possible, 
stretching my legs out, with a sigh of relief. Then, tell- 
ing the negro to remain quiet a moment, I proceeded to 
re-load the revolyer, which I had placed in its belt-case. 
I levelled and discharged one barrel at the moss-grown 
boughs that concealed the larger serpent. I fired another 
at the tree-base, where reposed the moccasin. 

"Par's snakes yer, sartin, mass' Cunn'l!" said ihe 
negro; "dat's de cypress hole whar all de sarpints 
oome from, Hope some ob dem's done killed by de Lin- 
kum bullets, sah!" 

A notable responise to the darkey's remark wbb ob- 
servable in the cypress clump and its surroundings. 
The spongy pefat about the central trunk, and all the 
mass of tangled undergrowth which hemmed the water- 
ajorface, appeared at once in motion. Uverhead, both moss 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 75 

and foliage were agitated, as if shaken by a breeze. A 
hissing, spiteful and prolonged, pierced through the maa^ 
vegetation. I fired four charges more, in quick succes- 
sion, at the cypress hole. 

'*Dem sarpints done skeered, if dej isn't bit, mass* 
Cunn'l !" cried the old negro, encouragingly, as he pad- 
dled his skiff away from the horrible locality. I did not 
tell him how ''done sk^ered" I had been myself, a little 
while before, but listened quietly to his encomiums on 
my courage in exploring snake-haunts. 

''If dey'm one sarpint in dat cypress hole," said the 
citizen of African descent, "dey'm sartin shore tree or 
four million. I seed dem sunnin' darselves, sah, berry 
often, when de bayou's done dry, out yer by de bolls. 
Par's a ole gum tree toder side de cypress, whar dar'a 
more'n forty million !" 

I made some allowance for Uncle Bill's arithmetical 
mistakes ; but assented to the main fact, that there were 
"some snaix," as well as alligators, in that bayou. Uncle 
Bill earned a dollar, and I am quite sure that I realised 
the value of it in my reptile experience. 



76 TWEKTI XONTHS IN THE 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AFRICAN DESCENT. 

The stin sets, I have discussed the evening rations, 
and am sitting in my quarters, enveloped with smoke- 
clouds. My servant Oeorge kindles fire upon an iron 
shovel, in the doorway, thereby blinding human optics, 
in qrder to expel mosquitoes, that loom up in customary 
twilight cohorts. Mosquitoes, in this land of swamps, 
are not like our feeble insectorial phlebotomists of Long 
Branch or Cape May. In Louisiana they are the Mame- 
VAeu of flying tribes, charging at cavalry bugle-calls, and 
slinging dart and javelin with unerring skill into targets 
of epidermis. "Soon as the evening shades prevail," their 
sting is legion and their buzz abominable. Li camp, otlr 
only refuge, outside of mosquito-netting, is in the pungent 
smell and dense fame of dry and fibrous road-manure. 
Formerly, the people hid from sun-down to "sun-up,** 
under canopies and within walls of gauze ; not nets for 
beds only, but pendent, likewise, over tea-tables, and 
closely circumscribing chairs and sofas. Thus girt in by 
bars transparent, one may tolerate these sultry sununer 
evenings ; but to be exposed, under assault of countless 
and ubiquitous tormentors, is what np man with a cuticle 
not quite rhihocerine could endure without becoming 
frantic. 

" Some cullud gen'Pmen desires to speak to you, sah !" 
says Qeofge; emerging from his cloud-compelling ineao- 
tations. 



BEPABTMElirr OF THE OTJW. TI 

I nod permission, and the " colored gentlemen " pre- 
sently introduce themselves, with much shuffling at door- 
sill; five negroes from neighboring estates; all mani- 
festly gotten up for the occasion. Their cotton shirts 
are immaculately clean, the collars of great size. Their 
Kentucky jeans, of many patches, are glossy with 
recent soapsuds. 

"Good ebenin', Ounnl!— Is ye in, Cunnl?" inquires 
the spokesman, showing flashing rows of ivory, as he 
ducks his head. ** Cunn'l, we'm's a delegation ob — ob — " 
" Ah, indeed ! What can I do for you ?** 
'* We r'esents de cuUud popylashin, which am libin' 
yer abouts, Ounnl? We'se done heerd ob de proklashin, 
Cunn'l ! »' 

" Oh ! you have heard of the proclamation ! ** 
•* Yis, yis, Cunnl — de day ob fas' an' pray, sot apart. 
We*se all oPar Unum people, Cunnl, but las' y'ar we's 
all 'bleeged to keep de day ob fas' an' pray fur Jeffs'n 
Davis, /whe'r'o'no; now dis y'ar, we's gwine to keep de 
Lord's fas' day fur de Unum, 'oordn' to Mauss' Linkum's 
pro'lemashin, Ounn'l I " 

" How did you know about tke proclamation ? " 
"De Linkum sojers down in camps yer, tole us 'bout 
it, Cunn'l ; an' we done heerd one Linkum ossifer readin' 
it out ob de paper to dat yaller gen'l'man what cooks for 
you, Cunn'l!" 

"Very well, my loyal friends; I see nothing to pre- 
vent your keeping fa^t-day, if you desire. " 

"Dar's anudder suckumstance, Ounn'l, which we'm 
gwine to ax you a favor fur de cullud popylashin ; 'kase 
we'm a delegashin 'pinted fur dat same. You see, Cunn'l, 
we's got no house ob de Lord whar cullud pussons can 
'semble ; dar's no place fur to pray to de Lord, 'oept de 
cane an' de swamp; ftn' dar's a Lord's house ober de 



78 TWENTY ICONTHS IN THE 

bayou, Gann*l, shot up all de time, 'kase Secesh owns it, 
an' Secesh an't gwine to wush'p, 'kase dey'm 'bleeged to 
pray for lifass' Linknm an' de ole Unum." 

"So the 'Secesh' own that little church over the 
bayou ? " I inquired. 

" Yes, Cunn'l, sartin' ; 'kase dat yer church was 'roo- 
ted fur de maussas an' missys roun'bout yer ! I tell you 
de troof, Ounn'l, dey nebber let pore brack slabe gwo in 
dar, 'cep' fur to scrub ^e flure ; an' now de dure am 
close', an' dey nebber gwos dar demselves, 'kase mos' all 
de maussas an' missys done run'd away to Tuckapaw." 

•• The church is never used now, you say ? " 

** Sartin' not, Cunn'l. Dat ar' bresse^ Lord's house, 
nebber h'ar de voice ob pray an* praise any more dar. " 

** Well, go home to your people, and tell them they 
shall have the church on fast day, and on Sabbath days 
also, if they promise to keep the building in good order." 

** De Lord bress ye, Cunn'l ! you'm berry kind to ust 
an' we's nebber gwine to forget yer ! " 

''I shall attend church with you, on fast-day, my 
friends !" 

"De good Lord bress ye, Cunn'l! We'm obeijoyed to 
h'ar you say dat. Now, we's gwine to fas' an* pray, an' 
hab a joyful time in de Lord." 

Betimes, on fast-day, Tigerville appears alive with 
peripatetic black people. Much tribulation and suppres- 
sed bile in planterdom ; muttered maledictions, I fear, 
on galleries of great houses; scowls and evil glances 
under broad-brimmed hats of loungers on railroad plat- 
forma-^ali signs like these betoken under-currents of 
uneasiness in our small body politic. There is reason. 
Such shocking innovation on past conservatism as the 
opening of a meeting-house to negro worshipers, was well 
«akmlated to disturb the equilibrium of any parish town 



DEPABTKENT OF THE OULF. 79 

in I^ooisiana. But here, on Terrebonne territory; from 
old French times the bosom-soil of slaveholding oligar- 
chies; here, where the chattel-caste has been lashed, 
chained, branded, yoked in iron-toothed collars, filleted 
with steel-spiked garlands, shod with shackle-bars; 
burned, starved, hanged, drowned, and buried alive; in 
such a paradise of bondage as this parish used to be ; 
what cruel revolutions must have forced the way to such 
an outrage as is now contemplated — the worshiping of 
God by negroes, under roof-tree of a church, pursuant to 
''Yankee proclamation." 

But the blacks themselves are troubled very little 
with the chagrin of their quondam lords. This ''Lincoln 
Fast-Day," breaking over moss-hung swamp-forests, finds 
few workers on plantation grounds, within a half-score 
miles of Tiger ville. Black loyalty asserts itself, militant 
against "masterism" and reckless of "labor contracts," 
for this day, at least. The sable pilgrims to our unpre- 
tending wooden temple, on the bank of Bayou Black, are 
no solemn-faced sinners, sackclothed and ashy, creeping 
along with unboiled peas in their boots. Clean-shirted, 
shining, jubilant, they come ; in pairs and squads ; young 
Toms and Jacks, with dusky Phillises and Dinahs ; busk- 
ined and barefoot; capped, 'kerchiefed, and palm-hatted; 
hooped, ruffled, furbelowed, rainbow-hued ; a "Vanity 
Fair" of holiday negrodom, arrayed in smiles, grins, gri- 
maces, and serio-comic dignity, 

I don my uniform; forgetting not chapeau and silken 
sash; gird sword upon me; and attend, tot the first time 
in life, a negro church service. The scene is picturesque. 
A small but pretty edifice, whitewalled and ornamented 
with green blinds, retires a little from the bayou-road in 
cloistral seclusion. Its open windows are surrounded 
by groups of negroes, decked with the gayest treasures 



80 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

of their simple wardrobes. Beyond, are oven-tombs, 
receptacles of prostrate frames that once were clothed 
with flesh and moved erect within these temple pre- 
cincts. The mansolea are half-hidden under rank 
luxuriance of grasses, weeds, and clambering vines. 
Small clumps of violets and strawberry blooms are sprout- 
ing at their bases; green fans of dwarf palmettos, stiff 
and spinous, grow, hedge-like, round them. A back- 
ground of dense foliage — oaks and gum trees, heavy with 
moss— thickens into the semi-circling cypress-swamp; 
and far back stretch wildernesses of unbroken morase, 
widening ever, until swallowed up by sea-side marshes. 

The church is crowded; doors and casements choked 
with joyous black people. It is an epoch in their lives, 
this liberty to preach and pray, within church-walls, 
quite independent of an overseer. I sympathize with 
their blameless demonstrations ; for I have heard of the 
thorny paths wherein many walked, in years gone by, to 
life beyond the grave; of scourgings, chains, and pillories 
for black confessors of ImmanuePs name, who met in 
cypress-swamps and canebrakes, to exchange their lowly 
testament of Christian faith. I know that many of these 
poor worshipers belonged to masters who denied them 
even one day of rest in seven ; that most of them were 
once forbidden to meet for purposes of worship, lest that 
ever-present phantom. Insurrection, might arise between 
them and the owners of their souls and bodies. It is no 
marvel to me, then, this great "joy in de Lord," overflow- 
ing from humble hearts. The day of Fast is day of 
Jubilee for them; Feast of Purim, whereby they com- 
memorate a Great Deliverance of their Eace, 

Now arises, at the sacred desk, a patriarch of the plan- 
tations, bald and wrinkled, but bright-eyed. He has 
never learned to read the Word of Ood, but from his me- 



BEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 81 

mory of Scripture texts oollf cted daring a septuagint of 
years, 

** He wales a portion, with judidous care, 
And ' Let us worship God ! ' he says, with solemn air." 

I should fail to render, even with phonographic pen, 
the fervid language, much less the earnest manner, of 
this dusky preacher, holding forth to his fellows, with 
"spontaneous, rushing, native force." No rounded peri- 
ods, no flourishes of rhetoric, no well-culled flowers of 
diction, challenge admiration ; but the utterance of feel- 
ing, clothed in rudest words, is often more impressive 
than all grace of oratory. He dwells upon the sufferings 
of his people, their years of degradation, their martyrdom 
to servil^ toil. He counts their manifold wrongs, and 
calls to mind their timid hopes, glimmering like swamp- 
lights across the dark pathways of past endurance ; their 
feeble midnight longings, wherewith they evermore yearn- 
ed toward "sun-up;" their struggling faith in the com- 
ing Dayspring, which was to " olar 'way all de fogs f^om 
de marshes, " and " p*int de way out ob Slabery*s swamp, 
to de green field ob Liberty ! " 

" Bress de Lord for his mercy, brudd'rin ! " shouts the 
old man. "0, gib t'anks to de good Lord! Dis mighty 
Peliberance is done come yer at last ; an* do paff ob de 
poo* slabe am made straight; an* we*m marchin* out ob 
de wilderness! De Lord bress dese Yankee sojers! 
May de angel ob de Lord march 'long side ob dem, with 
His flamin' sword! poo' culled brudd'rin* an* sistem i 
nebber turn you' back on de Linkum sojers ! Run an' 
do all de errands fur dem; gib dem to shar' whatsomeb- 
ber you'm got fur to eat an' to drink ; nuss dem when 
dey'm done sick! pray fur dem ebbery day an' night, my 
poo' brudd'rin and sistem ! After all, you isn't able to 
pay half ob de debt you'm owin' dem ! Oh! you'm got a 



82 TWEinr months in the 

debt owin' to dese Yankee Bojers all you' libes. Dey is 
done fotched de blessin's ob liberty to yon an' to me, poo* 
darkeys! I is willin' to wn'k for dem! I is willin'JiO 
nnss dem! I is wantin' to pray to de Lord, all de time, 
dat he will stan' by de Yankees and gib dem de victory. 
I is willin' to die far dese sojers yer! Bress de Lord, 
we*m all willin* an* ready to lie down an* die far Ab*m 
Linkum an* his sojers, dat gib us our bressed freedom to 
wush*p in dis yer house ob de Lord, after we*m wu*k*d 
in de house of bondage all our days an* y*ars befo* !** 

Who could depict the energy and expression that ac- 
companied this exhortation ? Perspiration trickled from 
the preacher's every pore ; large drops beaded his swart 
forehead, glittering like a nimbus. His withered arms 
were flung out wildly; he bent his attenuated frame over 
the desk, as if to reach bodily and enclasp his hearers. 
Our soldiers, gathering outside the doors, were evidently 
much affected by the vehemence and sincerity wherewith 
divine protection was invoked for them. I write the 
preacher's words ; but I cannot more than indicate the 
chorus attending every effective pause ; . a curious mono- 
toned vocal s^^phony, which, like some long^-drawn con- 
gregational ''Amen!" responded in a sort of humming 
chant. The rhythmic melody of this low refrain of 
mingling voices cannot be realized without a hearing of 
it. It is not so much an audible syllablizing, as a sup- 
pressed hum, like inward singing. 

Preacher. Brudd'rin' an' sistem! we'mi gwine to 
praise de Lord for 'mancipation ! 

Congregation. Bress de Lord far 'mancipation! — 
U-m-m-m-O-m-m-m-O ! 

Preacher. We'm gwine to cross de Jordan, marohin' 
troo de Land ob Canaan! 



BEPABTMENT OF THE eULF. 83 

Congregation. Troo de Land ob Canaan. U-m-m-m- 
0-m-m-m-OI 

Preacher. Oh! we'm happy dis yer day! Oh! we'm 
joyful! May de Lord bress dis ossifer dat gib us de 
church fur wush'p in ! De Lord strengthen dat man's 
hand, an' stan' by 'm in de day ob battle, an' nebber, 
nebber leabe go ob him! 'Kase he'm de poo' brack man's 
friend, may de Lord bress 'm fur 't! May de Lord bress 
'm an' stan' by 'm ! 

Cong. De Lord bress 'm, and stan' by 'm! U-m<m-m- 
0-m-m-m-O ! 

Preacher. Sing a new song onto de Lord! Bress 
Ab'm Linkum ! Bress de Unum sojers ! Bress de Yankee 
people ! Olory, brudd'rin' ! flory, sistem ! Glory to de 
Lord ob Deliberance ! Oh ! glory hallelujah ! 

Cong. Olory, glory, hallelujah! U-m-m-m 0-m-m-m-O! 

And so the strange ritual of these blacks went on ; and 
the church, so long disused, so long without a preacher 
or a prayer, was thus reconsecrated to the God of Free- 
dom. I doubt if worship arose from any altar in our 
land, that day, more fresh and single-hearted than these 
orisons of lowly Christians, who were creeping out of 
darkness and dolor toward the sunrise of a future that 
shall know no bondage. 

The opening of this tabernacle to negro worshippers 
did not please some score of property-holders, who 
esteemed themselves the "public" of our small communi- 
ty ; but Sabtbath-days in Tigerville were observed, there- 
after, in spite of this futile jealousy. Meantime, my little 
camp began to have a history in plantation circles, and to 
be looked upon by the poor people as a kind of City of 
Refuge, for the oppressed among them. Many were the 
appeals whereof I presently found myself called upon to 



Si TWENT7 MONTHS IN THE 

be the umpire; moltitQdmoiis the questionfl I was ex- 
pected to arbitrate. Possessing no administratiye author 
rity beyond the pickets of my post, I could do nothing in 
a hundred cases where much good ought to be done, and 
much evil might be prevented under competent jurisdic- 
tion. There is no limit to the influence of white officials 
over these docile blacks, where once the latter*s confi- 
dence and respect are gained. The common cant of harsh 
or prejudiced men, that "negroes are worth nothing with- 
out the whip,'' is merely an excuse for ignorance or ty- 
ranny I have the word of masters, who formerly owned 
and worked their hundreds, that the slaves accomplished 
quite as much where neither lash nor manacle was used, 
as where these were the omy means of discipline. Our 
laborers of the south require not "mastering,^* but "con- 
ducting/* As a race, they are industrious, quick witted, 
and faithful, where they feel themselves protected. Ex- 
ceptions to this rule are not more noticeable in black- 
skinned peasantry than in white. 

An old man comes to me, one morning, mounted on a 
decent pony. He has his tale to tell. His "missus," 
whom he had served for half a century, "got skeered*' 
when General WeitzePs forces marched through Terre* 
bonne parish, and she proposed a "labor-contract** to her 
nearly-superannuated bondman. There being no use for 
him at home, he was allowed to "hire out" to a neighbor- 
ing planter, on condition that a portion of his earnings 
should be appropriated for the clothing of his wife and 
children, who were to remain in service with the "mis- 
sus." '* Ole missus drawed a writin", said this simple 
black, "an* tole me fur to make my mark agin it — *' 

But how did you know what the writing was, uncle ?** 
Ole missus say its all right fur ine an* my ole ooman, 
fifth. Ole missus say she dunno whedder de yankees 






BEPABTMENT OF TH]B GUXiF. 85 

gwine to make de cuUud people 'mancipate, or whedder 
we*s to *tay whar we is — She say, she Afraid we*s gwine to 
be sot free, an' I'se berry ole niggah, so I*s better go hire 
out wi' Dutch massa, an' s'port myself, 'kase times is hard." 

*' You agreed to that, uncle !" 

** Tes, sah ! I thought I mought ^am sometin' fur de pore 
chil'n — so I'se glad, massa, fur to do Inos' ennyt'ing ole 
missus tell me. Den I 'gree wi' de Dutch, up dar on 
Houma road, fur six dollar a mont'. I'se wu^k faithful, 
sah, summer an^ winter, de good Lord knows dat ; an' 
I'se done 'arn'd sebenty tree dollar, 'sides draw'n' seben 
dollar fur de chil'n. Den ole missus come, an' try fur 
ter git all de money, 'kase she say she make 'noder 'gree- 
ment wi' Dutch massa. She say he done 'bleege to gib her 
all de wage, 'kase de niggers not 'mancipate in Tarbonne." 

"Where is the writing you signed ?" 

** I gib dat ar' writin' to my ole ooman fur safekeep, 
an' de missus done took it back ag'in, sah ! Ole missus 
say dat writin' no 'count, 'kase de yankee 'gineral gwine 
to lef all de massas an* missys hab de slaves back agUn, 
jes* likc/ole times 'fore de war.'' 

I begin to see through the difficulties under which this 
"person of African descent" is laboring. His politic 
mistress, anticipating the worthlessness of property in 
slaves, had shrewdly bound her septuagenarian chattel 
to an agreement whereby she could keep his wife and 
grandchildren in her service at the old laborer*s expense; 
but being subsequently assured that no immediate emanci- 
pation was to be apprehended in Terrebonne parish, she 
repudiated this "labor contract," and claimed the earnings 
of her too-confiding servant. 

Next day, a sallow white man, assuming to represent 
the mistress of my client, arrived at camp, intent on "ex- 
tradition.'* He laid claim also to the old man's pony^ 



86 twbnt; Moin^Hs in the 

averring that the animal was stolen. I called np the fii- 
gitive, for cross-examination ; but his previous story re- 
mained uncontradicted. It was, moreover, acknowledged 
on the part of ''the prosecution,** that the pony had been 
given, while a sickly colt, to the negro, by his "young 
massa,** now an officer in the Confederate service. ''Young 
mass* reckoned de colt *ud die ; but I jes* nuss^d it, an* 
^tended it, an* de pore leetle oretur* done got well ; *kase 
I buy *m de doctor stuff wi* my own money, what I done 
•am*d mysef, sah ? I wu*k*d for dat colt, an* I wu*k*d for 
de chil*n; an* dat ar* leetle boss was gib me by young 
mass* — an* dar nebber was nobody on de place dat did 
n*t know de pony *s my pony ! De Lord b*ar me witness, 
sah, fur de troof what I say, sah.** 

So asseverates the "contraband.** But as "a negro has 
no rights which a white man is bound to respect,** my 
sallow-faced Caucasian claimant continues to assert pro- 
perty in both man and beast, and presently blusters about 
provost-marshal authority, threatening thereunto to ap- 
peal ; whereat I call a sergeant, of somewhat decided 
abolition sentiment, and quietly abandon the case into 
his hands ; the result whereof appears, next day, in the 
addition of a new negro cook to one of our messes, and 
the purchase from that cook of a handsome pony by one 
of my officers. Meantime, the "disputed wages** remain 
in trust of "Dutch massa,** to await ultimate develop- 
ments of our concilijation policy. 

My servant John, a sable valet, brought from home 
with me, presents himself one day, with aspect of deep 
import. John is intelligent, and has improved some op- 
portunities of instruction. He is big now, with an edu- 
cational project , He would establish a school. He will 
give lessons in spelling and reading to plantatioxi ohil- 



« 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 87 

<ireii. He is confident of his ability to teach all he knows 
himself. 

I inquire into the matter, and find that John has re- 
ceived liberal offers from heads of families. A class of 
twenty scholars is promised, and each colored father is to 
contribute the sum often cents weekly for teacher^s salary 
and expenses. Will I give permission ? John thinks he 
can do "a heap of good.** He has collected a dozen spel- 
ling books, besides some copies of Soldiers* Hymns. 
Where did you obtain the spellers, John 1** 
O, sir, a good many colored ladies on the plantations 
saved up all the spelling-books their young masters used 
to study." 

'' But they could not read them, John, and were for- 
bidden to learn.** 

" Yes, sir — but you know, they 'spected to learn some- 
time, sir! They say they always *spected us Yankees 
would come along, some day, and learn *em to read — so, 
you see. Colonel, they saved up all the spellin*-books and 
bibles they came across, sir !** 

** Oo, and try your skill at teaching, John ! I have no 
objection.'* 

A few days after this, in passing by a ruinous ware- 
house, near the freight-depot, I hear a hum of voices 
through an open door-way. John has his school in ses- 
sion. He sits in glossy dignity, with a white paper 
shirt collar stiffening his ebony neck; a book in one hand, 
and a rod in the other. Under his vigilant eyes two 
rows of seats extend ; occupied by sooty urchins, woolly 
locked and barefooted, of every tender age, from three 
year-olds to youths and maidens in their teens. All wear 
a serious air. Eesponsibility rests upon each laboring 
brow. I^ese children of the bondman race, with ragged 
ffpeliing-books; iius sable teacher, but a child in years 



88 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

himself; those toil-marked sires and mothers, bowing in 
yonder fields, beneath a midday southern sun, to earn the 
pittance that shall win their little ones a glimpse into 
the realms of knowledge which have made the white men 
kings and masters of this earth; — all have their mute 
significance for me ! To doubt that Providence is open- 
ing up a better future for the American Helot, is to 
doubt that Providence exists. 

From the summit of an Indian mound, within a stone's 
throw of my camp, I overlook the rail-track, curving out 
from eastern woods and winding into western morasses. 
White tents, in two rows, with a street between, are 
flanking the station. From a tall flag-pole, our banner 
of stars is shining in Louisiana sunshine. Sentries are 
posted on the bridge, at intervals along the rail, and on 
the edge of yonder timber belt, wherefrom the Chicka- 
houla road debouches on these Tigerville plantations. A 
hundred of my men are at skirmish drill, between this 
mound base and the road, and I hear the ring of Captain 
Cutter's orders — "Rally by fours! Take intervals!" No 
other sound disturbs the heavy stillness of a sultry day. 
All things seem as sluggish as the bayou, covered with 
its green slime of vegetation. Planter K — nods in his 
arm-chair on a balcony of the dwelling-house just under- 
neath me, and planter K — *s score of black-skinned field- 
hands are bending backs in surrounding sugar furrows, 
while a yellow "mistress of his halls and heart" sits in 
the porch shade, gorgeously arrayed in gown of red and 
saflron turban. This favorite queens it shrewdly over 
old man K — , so gossip prates; and our soldier boys, 
who often witness loud "intestine broils" between these 
''high contracting partners," are accustomed to make com- 
ments fiur more apt than elegant. This planter^s human 



DEPABTMENT OF THE OULF. 89 

chattels had their private revolation only a few months 
since, when Weitzel marched through Tigerville. Some 
glimmer of "northern light** had penetrated that osseus 
opacity which Pritchard builds about the negro pia mater; 
and these rogues began to preach, in their rude way, the 
democratic heresy that "all men are, and of right ought 
to be, free and independent.** The apparition of Yankee 
bayonets in Lafourche and Terrebonne soon brought about 
a "strike,** and presently a "compromise,** whereby wool- 
ly-headed Labor made pact with panic-stricken Ownership, 
agreeing to serve as formerly, on promise of a fractional 
share in the proceeds of the crop. It was a bold experi- 
ment on the part of negro proletarians ; but I dare p^ 
phesy that "masterism" will gladly compromise with 
"chattelism** whenever challenged in a similar spirit. 
Shut up these vassals and their lords together in a popu- 
lous slave district, and let "non-intervention** be pro- 
claimed by all the outside world, and I venture to pre- 
dict that Ownership will soon "negotiate** for its very to- 
leration on the soil. Black diplomacy, supported by 
black courage, and enlightened by contact with bayonets 
that have learned to think, might settle all "labor con- 
tracts" on a sounder basis than our General's conciliation 
scheme. Nevertheless, I fear, under present auspices, 
that "ole man K — " will get the whip-handle in his grasp 
again, unless timely measures, such as strong-handed 
Butler knew how to inaugurate, shall once more dominate 
the labor question. Here comes to me Lucy, one-armed 
"griffe" girl, with dismal story of a night's experience. 

"Ole mauss' tole me to mind de birds in de corn-field, 
luuse he ses he got no use for me in de house. Den ole 
mauss' lick me, 'kase I isn't able to hoi' de hoe wi' dis 
yer lef arm. Den I hollered, an' old mauss' done put mo 
in de 'tooks aU las' night." 



90 TWENTV MONTHS IN THB 

"How did you lose your arm, Lucy ?" 

"Done broke dis yer arm in de mill, sah. O^e mausB* 
hired me out yer to wu'k, an' de bones was all done 
mashed in de 'sheenry. Den ole mauss' got tousan' dol- 
lar damage fur dis yer arm I done lost off. After dat 
he cuss me, an' sez I aint wuff nuffin' no more, 'cept to 
mind de birds in de com." 

"Well, Lucy, it is not hard work to watch the birds. 
You can do that, certainly." 

"Ole mauss' druv me out in de rain, an' tole me hoe 
com, or I gits nuffin' to eat; an' den I try to hoi' de hoe- 
handle in dis yer arm, an' de hoe done slip down. Ole 
mauss' seed it dar, an' he cuss me for foolin', an' lick me 
till de blood run ; and I done got de rheumatiz, sah, 'kase 
de rain come down on de 'tocks." 

"But your master has no right to put you in the stocks, 
Lucy." 

"Ole mauss' carpenter, Joe, done fixed up de 'tooks. 
He sawed, 'em out ob gum plank." 

"Well, Lucy, go back and tell your master that I say 
he must let you alone. He must neither flog you nor 
put you in the stocks. And you, Lucy, must mind the 
birds as well as you can. Sergeant D — *-, go with this 

woman, and say to Mr. K that I allow no stocks or 

whipping.posts." 

Sergeant D takes the "g^iffe" in charge, conveying 

her, witii my message, to planter K ; whereat that 

Southern patriarch waxes warm, and denies that stocks 
have been erected on his place. As for whipping, he 
claims to hold authority from a provost-marshal, to flog 
his slaves whenever they are refractory, and threatens to 
appeal to this high official for an endorsement of his 
right. So reports Sergeant D— — : 

"Mr. £l says that the Provost Marshal has autho- 



BXPABTMEMT OF THE GULF. 91 

rized him to chastise his slaves, and if they venture to 
resist, to send for him, and he will see it done/' 

"And you foand no stocks on the grounds. Sergeant?" 

"Old man K denied they were there, sir; but I 

looked around and found the institution." 

"Report that fact to the officer of the day. Sergeant." 

"If you please, sir " Sergeant D , formerly a 

lawyer, and always the gentleman in his manners, makes 
a military salute, and looks at me with a smile. 

"Well, sir." 

"Thought it would save troulle, sir; cut the stocks 
down, myself." 

A humorous eye-twinkle accompanies this speech of 
the non-commissioned officer. I compress my lips. "You 
exceeded your orders. Sergeant," I remark. "£eport 
what you have done to the officer of the day." 

Sergeant D goes out, with no. very deep conscious- 
ness of having offended his commander through stock 
operations. Stout fellow! the present is not his first 
iconoclastic experiment with Southern idols and fetiches; 
for his New England hatred of oppression has more than 
once made him the champion of maltreated humanity in 
our camp neighborhoods. 

My orderly now reports himself at the rear, presenting 
a newly-arrived fugitive from "service or labor." It is 
a fine-looking type of the field slave — sable-hued, stalwart, 
and full-eyed. His arm hangs in a sling, and his broad, 
naked breast and massive throat, his sable torso gleaming 
under a tattered shirt, are models of statuesque contour. 
There is something of self-reliant energy in the aspect of 
this man ; in the curved upper lip and steady eye ; in the 
firm though respectfal repose of his attitude. 

"Colonel," says my orderly, "this poor fellow nui away 



92 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

from his old man, and got a ball put through the shoulder. 
He stopped at Lafourche hospitd, and Dr. Willetts took 
the lead out. iVe given him some old clothes of mine, 

and if youVe no objection, he can help around the stable, 

• If ■■ ' 

sir. 

"What is your name, my boy?" I inquire of the "con- 
traband." 

"Toussaint, sah," replies the black, with a French 
accent. 

Toussaint! The name recalls a chronicle of the man's 
race — a history whereof, haply, this poor fugitive is utterly* 
ignorant, but which dwells in books and traditions among 
the records of heroism and endurance. My thoughts 
traverse the tropic waves Ibetween these greeil bayous 
and Cape Francais, to rest for a moment on that wonder- 
ful slave who made himself the leader of three hundred 
thousand liberated bondmen ; that brave negro, of whom 
his Spanish opponent, the Marquis d'Hermona said: "If 
an angel descended on earth he could not inhabit a heart 
apparently more good than that of Toussaint L'Ouver- 
ture !" Here, before me, is another Toussaint, courageous 
and intelligent, strong and patient, who might ask only 
favorable surroundings to become, likewise, a chief of his 
enfranchised comrades. There is manifest material in 
this sable man before me to constitute a hero, give him 
but heroic opportunity. 

I subsequently discover that my Louisiana Toussaint 
is already a hero, in his way. Slave of an arbitrary 
master, whose tyrannic behests were cruelly seconded by 
a brutal overseer, this negro has sufifered many stripes 
and tortures, for espousing the cause of fellow-chattels 
feebler than himself. He has dared to defy oppression 
and brave suffering, from the promptings of as generous 
a spirit as that which nerved his namesake in the Hay- 



DEPABTICENT OF THE GULF. 93 

tien isle. Defending his fellow blacks, he inonrred the 
fear and hatred of those who held his life and limbs at 
their mercy. After years of endurance, he fled to the 
swamp. Abandoning his wild life there, because a 
woman whom he loved remained in bondage, he returned 
to his master's estate, on the promise of "amnesty for the 
past." The promise was only kept till a fitting moment 
appeared for breaking it. The black was ordered to per- 
form some impossible task, and refused. Again the over- 
seer's lash menaced him ; but Toussaint's manhood re- 
Yolted once more. He grappled with the white man, and 
flung him to the ground, whence he rose foaming with 
rage. At this juncture, the master galloped up, and, with 
furious imprecations, ordered the overseer to scourge his 
rebellious chattel. 

"Don't come nigh me!*' said Toussaint, quietly, his 
black eyes kindling with deep resolve. 

"Knock him down! brain him!** was the owner's 
savage command to the overseer ; who, whirling his heavy 
whip, merciless as an ox-goad, sprang forward to execute 
vengeance. 

Toussaint was ready, and met his enemy with a blow 
that stretched him again upon the earth at the foot of the 
master, and in presence of half a hundred field hands at 
work around them. Such an outrage would have invoked 
death upon the perpetrator on any plantation. The owner 
drew his revolver, and spurred his horse forward, to make 
an end of the slave at once. Toussaint awaited the bound, 
seized his master's steed by the head, and, with main 
strength, forced him up, and back, throwing horse and 
rider together, beside the prostrate overseer. The white 
man had only time to flre a single shot, but that had 
strack the slave, lodging in his shoulder. Toussaint felt 
himself wounded, and broke for the woods which skirted 



94 TWENTY MONTHS ik 



'I' HM 



the plantation. His master, extricating himself from the 
stirrups, discharged the remaining larrels of his reyolyer 
after the fugitive, but without effect. Toussaint gained 
the swamp. 

All that day, and far into the night, white men, with 
horses and dogs, were summoned from neighboring estates, 
to hunt the runaway negro. But Toussaint, wounded as 
he was, contrived to distance or baffle pursuit, and ten 
days afterward reported himself at the quarters of our 
surgeon, near Lafourche Crossing. He had heard of the 
regiment, and inquired for its commander. He asked 
for nothing, but to have the bullet extracted from his 
arm, which was soon done by our skilful surgeon. Then, 
declining repose, he took a few morsels of food and set 
out on a fifteen mile march to my camp at Tigerville. 

"What do you want to do now, Toussaint ?" • 

"Anything you have to do, sah, till my arm's done 
cured ; after that, work or fight, jes' as you say, sah !" 

I reflect, as I look upon this determined fellow, with 
his massive frame, his alert manner, that a thousand such 
fighting men would not disgrace good leadership. For 
the present there is no fighting to be done by blacks ; so 
I turn Toussaint over to the charge of his friend, my or- 
derly. An hour afterwards, I see him swinging a heavy 
bucket of water with his unhurt arm, while the other 
hangs in its sling. Again I see him currying a horse, or 
carrying fuel to the mess-room. "Toussaint," I remark 
to him, "you must let your wound get well. You must 
rest !" 

"Thank you, sah ! but I reck'n it'll git along, sah ! I'd 
rather wu'k, sah, if you please, sah !" 

I do not know many white soldiers who would not 
prefer a furlough under Toussaint's circumstanoes. Very 



DEPABTMEKT OF THE OULF. 95 

few, certainly, would report for fatigue duty, with a bullet 
hole through the shoulder. 

Toussaint, black as a Nubian, was blessed in a wife, 
who might have been a queen of the Amazons. Of ma- 
jestic figure, with straight, glossy hair, oriental eyes, fea- 
tures regular, and complexion more Indian than Afric, 
the beloved of my brave freedman had been a quadroon 
beauty in her day. She might easily attract notice 
among the slip-shod female followers of our negro ser- 
vants, and it was not long before I observed her, tete-a- 
tete with Toussaint, on the steps of the kitchen quarters. 
''She takes up with me,'' was the black's quaint manner 
of revealing their conjugal connection, and I congratulated 
Toussaint upon his taste. 

A tropical-natured woman must this have been, in her 
day of strength and comeliness, upon a Louisiana sugar 
domain. Her features, now marked by the ridges of 
smallpox, her expressive eye, whose dilating pupil and 
tawny iris are rimmed with latent flame, have, in past 
days, doubtless, been eloquent of feeling and afifection, of 
wrath and passion. She is but a ruder type, however, of 
a myriad of her race and sex whose blood claims nearer 
kindred with purer tides; whose attractions, impulses, 
and aspirations, were moulded to a like fullness with 
those of the blue-veined dames who bought and sold such 
beings as mere chattels. This wife of Toussaint is but 
one of a hundred thousand, perhaps, whose lineaments 
assimilate with Caucasian traits, but whose unhappy 
destiny has precluded all other claim to Oaucasian sym- 
pathy than that which is founded on the transmission of 
their own vices with those of their masters, to offspring 
as unhappy as themselves. 

The mother of this quadroon was the favorite of her 
mastfur, and the mother of several of his children. This 



96 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Wife of my freedman has kindred white aa any creole 
lady in Lafourche ; a sister, yet a child, beautiful and a 
slave, who endures the torture of her servile life and the 
imminence of that fate which has befallen all her sisters, 
rather than leave her mother, who yet clings with strange 
affection to her master's fortunes. This mother, once in 
her anomalous life, was nursing a child at her breast, the 
offspring of her owner, when that owner's lawful wife be- 
came a mother likewise. The fragile mistres^s either 
could not or would not give her infant nourishment, and 
the master called upon his slave to take the mother's 
place. He took her own child from the wretched woman, 
locked it in another room, and went his way. The slave- 
mother was forced to suckle the babe of her mistress, 
with the cries of her own neglected one ringing in her 
ears, and she unable to reach or rescue it. Half dis- 
tracted, she implored the master to permit her to have 
her own child; but the inhuman white man laughed, and 
told her that the "brat might die ; he could afford to lose 
it I" The little starveling's cries grew weaker till they 
ceased in death. The slave-mother suckled her master's 
white child, while her own perished with hunger. 

Does this story seem improbable ? I have been con- 
vinced of the truth of more unnatural deeds perpetrated 
on the unoffending and helpless. The wife of Toussaint, 
and sister of the murdeved negro babe, is now at the 
north, and can tell of darker doings on that plantation 
where her youth was passed. 

Not she alone, but others, witnessed the murder of a 
young mulatto boy, for his refusal to be witness to a 
sister's wrongs in the house of his master. The youth, 
who was a house-boy, fled to the plantatipn, and asked to 
be permitted to perform the hard labors of a field hand. 
His master remanded him to the mansion, whence he 



DEPABTMENT OF THB GULF. 97 

again eloped, to take his place among the negro gangs. 
Then his owner tied him by the wrists to a tree, and 
flogged him, till his flesh hung in rags — till his limbs 
were marked with one continuous bloody weal — till fatal 
wounds had been inflicted on the most delicate organs 
of his body — and the boy fainted from pain and loss of 
blood. He was conveyed to his pallet, never to rise 
again. He lingered till the next morning, when his 
master approached, and professed to be repentant for 
having so cruelly abused him. "Massa," murmured the 
dying slave, **I forgives you; but I'ge feared you is too 
wicked for God ebber to forgive you !" 



98 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 



O xl iV P JL £4 R IX* 

BERWICK BAY. 

• 

Long before break of day, one snltry morning in M^j, 
I am awakened to receive a special order from Brashear 
City. The commandant of that post sends word that he 
expects the rebels ; I am invoked to march with rein- 
forcements — all that can be mustered ; to take cars at 
once. A train of contrabands and cattle, from the Teche, 
in charge of Colonel Chickering, is threatened by a force 
of Texans, Arizonian Indians, Louisianian guerillas ; four 
thousand strong, the bruit goes. Subsequently, I lose 
this special order, with plundered papers generally ; or it 
might now recall, in print, the precious panic which in- 
spired it. 

Col. Nott, who has been during many weeks lying ill 
of fever, remains at my quarters, an invalid, attended 
by nurse and surgeon. I take my leave of him ; and, 
having mustered our effectives, some five hundred men, 
all full of spirits at the prospect of field-service, we set 
out cheerily* At ten o'clock A. M. — after taking up de- 
tachments on the road, we reach Brashear City, and I 
report to the commandant. Awaiting orders, I learn that 
a messenger from Col. Chickering has arrived ; that his 
train is safe ; that no immediate attack of rebels is to be 
apprehended. So, presently, instead of encountering 
enemies, I find myself invited to meet friends, at Col. 
Walker's headquarters, where an ample dinner tempts 
and satisfies our destructive appetites. Thereafter, taJdng 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 99 

saddle, I cross the Bay in a ferry steamboat, to see the 
cattle and contraband train, last instalment of spoils, 
resultant from raid of General Banks through the Teche 
country, on his way to Port Hudson campaigning. I land 
on the shore of Berwick City. Here be materials for a 
Hogarth; life, action, incongruity; a panorama, a kalei- 
doscope of curious shapes and varied hues. Two thousand 
beeves, involved in sinuous labyrinth ; crowding, leaping, 
rushing hither and thither, their horny fronts now lifted 
now depressed, their ceaseless roaring sounding like the 
wind-lashed sea on a lee shore : three thousand mules, 
rampant, venting hideous screeches ; plunging, rearing, 
flinging out heels like battering rams : a thousand wagons 
in coil that seems inextricable, be«ridden by a thousand 
teamsters in a thousand rages : a din of lowings, bellow- 
ing, brayings, threats and maledictions : a Gordian knot 
of brutes and brutish bipeds, bristling bayonets, brand- 
ished whips, artillery mud-locked, cavalry cart-crushed; 
and, in the whirl of all, in the way of all, overtramped, 
and driven and cursed by all — the Negro I 

A spectacle for the ethnologist, a problem for the 
statesman, a theorem for the Christian: six thousand 
curly -headed, dusky-skinned, immortal«souled humanities ! 
I know not what ganglionic difference there may be 
between this crisp-wooled poll before me and my own 
straight-haired cerebrum ; I care n(^t to investigate the 
mysteries which Nature hides in seed and generation; 
I only see six thousand men, women and children, lying 
in mire and dust, after their weary marches ; men, giant- 
thewed, with brawn like steel ; mothers, giving suck from 
sound breasts; light-hearted, bright-eyed youths and 
docile children; resting here by the waters of Atchafalaya* 
as another enfranchised slave-race rested, forty centuries 



100 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

ago, on Jordan^s banks, after Exodus from Darkness and 
Bondage. 

They are black, these people — these humanities ; but 
the horse I bestride is likewise black, and I see, not far 
from me, a score of lusty oxen sable-skinned. I do not 
remark the instincts of white ox or white horse pitting 
him against his fellow of a darker hide. It is left for 
Man to learn those loftier prejudices which regard the 
hue of his poor clay, ere it returns to dust. I know not 
what gradations of skin-honor could be enforced in a 
world's congress of ambassadors from every human claii. 
The etiquette of cuticular priority, with Anglo-Saxon 
pigment for its high-color mark, might not be tolerated, I 
think, by a large majority of tribal representatives ! 

Here, now, six tiiousand integers of that great sun- 
scorched race which multiplies in African tropics, are 
cast up, by a tidal wave of war, upon this jutting pro- 
montory of Freedom. They lie, helpless and imploring, 
on the strand of an enlightened Civilization. And by 
other war-billows, on other sands and reaches of Liberty, 
uncounted multitudes, besides these thousands, find 
themselves this day flung up before the face of Man, 
and in the sight of God, to challenge a superior race 
which has, until now, ignored their kindred. Yain is 
sophistry against the argwnentum ad verecundiam of 
these mutely-eloquent waifs of Eebellion, appealing to 
our large-heartedness, our great-mindedness, as a nation 
and a people. Unenviable ca8^ist is he who, in the light 
of that dread hand-writing which is now declaring the 
doom of Southern oppression, shall attempt to cheat his 
conscience with the cry of Cain — "Am I my brother's 
keeper?" The question of the day and generation must 
be grappled with, or woe to posterity I That question 
pleads for solution in the myriad anxious eyes peering 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 101 

flp to US out of ignorance and slavery, but not less does 
it plead, could we but recognize it, in the glorified regards 
of heroes and martyrs, who look back from heaven to the 
Freedom for which they suffered. 

These children of the fetter, newborn from the throes 
of a mighty Eevolution, are children indeed, upon the 
threshhold of a new existence. " The world is all before 
them I** They are hardly recovered yet, from the intoxica- 
tion of their first sweet draught of freedom. The future 
in their eyes is rose-colored. There is a degree of novel 
pleasure for them even in the jeers and blows of brutal 
teamsters, who must have a customary vulgar fling at 
"niggers," as they pass. That bright, wonderful presence, 
Liberty, is all around them; and in their rude joy of her, 
they seem to "walk on thrones.'* Poor children! manly- 
limbed and strength-endued, but very infants in experience 
of life ! . . . I would to God, that some great, loving Heart 
could be intrusted with your destiny; that some wide 
Intellect could inform the sympathies of our nation with 
your few wants and many capacities ! Heaven, I have 
faith to believe, will, in its own good season, raise up 
the merciful Avenger of your history. Happy our Re- 
public, if its Eulers shall appreciate, in time, the mutual 
need of Black and White, to recognize a kindred of in- 
terests in our National Future ! 

The coil of men and brutes, of soldiers and freedmen, 
of warrmunitions and transportation-means, at length 
evolves its meshes, and Col. Chickering reports his con- 
voy from the Teche country. Thereafter, I am ordered 
to cross the Bay, with my battalion, and march to a point 
opposite the upper extremity of Brashear City, protected 
by the guns of Fort Buchanan. Nightfall finds us en- 
camped on spacious grounds belonging to Dr. E , an 

Sn^shman, who has lived here as a planter many years, 



102 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

and professes neutrality, as between the North and South. 
He occupies a handsome dwelling-house on the bay shore. 
His well-fenced lands and substantial sugar-works give 
evidence of wealth and thrift. Greeting us with friendly 
salutation in the twilight, he tenders bonntiful store of 
sweet potatoes to the hungry. I ride out, to inspect the 
vicinage, make points of observation, set guards and 
pickets, get a personal lodgment and staff-quarters, and 
thus establish an out-post for Brashear City. 

Next day, receiving an order as commander of the 
176th Eegiment of New York Volunteers, to relieve the 
commandant of Brashear City, 1 present the papers to 
Colonel Walker, who is, by the same despatch, directed 
to report with his regiment at Port Hudson. Shortly 
afterward, the senior officer of troops upon the railroad, 
Colonel Holmes, arrives at Brashear City, from Lafourche. 
His regiment and commission entitle him to priority of 
post command, and 1 report to him as superior officer, in 
pursuance of supplementary orders from New Orleans. 

Day by day, now, the shores of Berwick Bay become 
gradually relieved of their entangled lines, animal and 
vegetable. Contrabands and cotton-bales are hurried off 
upon railway-flats. Shrewd cattle-brokers, after swarm- 
ing about the quarter-master's doors, drive off their bar- 
gains of beeves. Mules are trotted away to army markets 
or plantations. Carts, chaises, family coaches, saddles, 
harnesses, debris of Attakapas ''confiscation'', are invoic- 
ed, via rail, to New Orleans auction blocks. The bay-side 
hospitals, where sick and wounded soldiers have been 
* quartered, give up, day by day, their convalescent occu- 
pants. At length, comparative quiet reigns upon the 
Berwick City water-front. Ferry boats make less fre- 
quent crossings. A few stragglers only linger daily upon 
the strand, where we encountered, a week ago, Buoh 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 103 

troops of black and white. As I ride now, from the 
ferry -landing to camp, along a mile of road, with scattered 
houses, mostly vacant, on one side, I seldom meet a 
wayfarer. Yet some of the abandoned buildings were 
abodes of ease and elegance two years ago. Below our 

guarded lines resides a brother of my friends, the L s 

of New York ; in whose interesting family are two deaf 

mutes, intelligent and amiable children. Dr. R 's 

household is likewise a refined and agreeable one. These 
resident owners have had opportunities of comparison 
between the rebel troops and ours ; as all this bay-shore 
was occupied, until about two months since, by forces of 
the enemy. Surveying one another, vis-a-vis, from oppo- 
sing fronts, of Erashear and Berwick cities, the bel- 
ligerents were accustomed to exchange artillery compli- 
ments almost daily, and many of the buildings hereabout 
bear marks of shot and shell. 

Dr. S sets plates for my officers at his hospitable 

table, but I content myself with a single dejeuner , and a 

chat with Madame P , well known in former seasons 

as a patroness of Newport, where she occupied a cottage 
omee. Still handsome and stately, this widow, with an 
ample fortune in sugar lands and their concomitant living 
chattels, dwells luxuriously upon a romantic bend of 
Bayou Teche, above the town of Franklin, in St. Mary's 
parish. She professes staunch loyalty to the Union, and 
assures us that her negroes were so much attached to 
her that they voluntarily returned to labor after having 
dispersed to the woods and swamps,' or mingled with the 
advancing army of General Banks. I could easily divine 
that this sparkling lady might find it for her interest to 
remain the chatelaine of her own castle. With affability 
and tact, to say nothing of good business knowledge, as 
her Amazonian weaponry, she would be able, doubtless, 



X04: TWENTy MONTHS IN THB 

to keep her household gods and goods inTiolate under 
martial surveillance of both red and white roses. Too 
much a clever woman of the world to cry "A plague on 
both your houses," she might give smiles as subsidies, 
and purchase safeguards by soft words for North and 
South alike. Much easier is this, and far more politic, 
than the usual abandonment of house and lands to ''tender 
mercies" of remorseless confiscation boards. 

It was on the simple negro servants of pleasant Madame 

P that sundry graceless scamps of our "grand army" 

played divers pranks of knavery. Our forces bivouacked 
near her lands, in passing up the Teche ; and, shortly after 
they had marched away, the lady one day noticed that her 
sable handmaids were busied with great washing of gar- 
ments and bleaching of cotton and fine linen to unwonted 
snowiness. Lawns were bestrewn with lawn ; every bush 
had a rag on it; the hedgerows were festooned with all 
fibrous particles of apparel that could be whitened by the 
power of alkalies. From morn to night the blacks were 
in hot water at wash-tubs. Kitchen tables smoked with 
heaps of unmentionable articles, glossy under calender 
and smoothing-iron. What could this sudden storm of 
cleanliness import ? The mistress marvelled, and a con- 
fidential tire-woman at length enlightened her. 

"You see, missy, we's gwine to hab our white robes all 
ready when de messenger come." 

**Who is the messenger, Lucille, and why must you 

have white robes ready?" queried Madame P , with 

I know not how many visions of Millerite preparations 
suggested to her fancy. 

"Why, missy, dar am a high ossifer gwine to come yer 
to Tuckapaw, from Massa Abe Linkum hissef, missy. 
He'm gwine to write de cuUud people in de great book." 

^'What nonsense are you telling me, Lucille V* 



BEPABTHEIST OF THE GULF. 105 

**It am rale troo, missy; no mistake dis yer time. 
We's all done got de stiff-cats." 

" Got what, Lucille ?" 

" Got de stiff-cats, missy, wid Massa Linkum's picter 
ob Hisself on dem. We's shore to git de goold an' silber 
back, when de high ossifer done come to Tuckapaw.*' 

•• Gold and silver back I What do yon mean, Lucille ?" 

"0, missy, you know we's- done Emancipate dis yer 
minit, but we isn't gwine to leabe Tuckapaw. We is pre- 
fer to stay wid our kind missy." 

•* Well, tell me about the gold and silver, and why 
you are washing all these clothes, child.'' 

•"Kase it am ordered to be, missy. We's to gwo all 
'rayed in white robes, like de lambs, an' 'tan' all togeder 
ott yer by de bayou. Sartin shore, missy, de high 
ossifer am gwiuQ tc come up in de biggest ribber boat, 
wid all de flags flyin', and we is to holler out rite smart 
for de Unum— — " 

•* And the gold and silver, Lucille P* 

** 0, we's gwine to hab all de goold an' silber done paid 
back agin, and ebery cullud pusson am to git a house an' 
garden, and dar 'm not gwine to be no more workin' fur 
oberseers, only jes' fur reg'lar wages — " 

** Indeed ! But what do you mean by getting your 
gold and silver back, child V^ 

** Lor* sakes, missy, I isn't tole you 'bout dat yit; an' I 
declar' I isn't done showed you'de Linkum stiff-cat." 

•* No, indeed, you have not, Lucille." 

" Dar, m'm, de stiff-cat. De Linkum sogers gib us all 
one, 'fore dey done marched away." 

Saying this, the maiden drew from her dusky bosom a 
scrap of paper. It was creased and discolored, but 
Madame P contrived to decipher the printed con- 

tents. It wa9 simply a square of pictured tissue paper, 



106 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

bearing a lithographed head in one comer, and a soap- 
maker's advertisement following — in fact, the common 
imitation of a bank certificate, which we often see pasted 
on the lid of a fancy soap box or at the end of a match 
package. 

*' Dat yer's de rale picter of Massa Abe Linknm,'* cried 
Ijucille, with dancing eyes. " De sogers done gib us all 
sti£f-cats like dat yer." 

** And you gave the soldiers your money for this, Lu- 
cille?** queried Madame P . 

" Sartin, missy. De sogers done tell us dat Massa 
Linkum want to borry all de goold an' silber in Tuckapaw» 
jes* for three months, till de high ossifer done come up 
de bayou. Den, Lor bress you*s dear heart, missy, we is 
gwine to hab all our names took down in de book for 
Massa Linkum, an' we is gwine to be 'clar'd 'mancipate 
for ebber an' ebber. Den we's git back all de goold an' 
silber, an' de high ossifer — spec' he must be Massa Lin- 
kum's own chile — he gibs all de cullud people de houses 
an' de gardens — " 

" Well, Lucille, how much money did you all give to 
the soldiers ?" 

" Done gib dem all our sabin's, missy — all what we 
sell de chickens fur, an' all we done git fur de moss, 
long 'fore de war." 

"Lucille, you are a great goose, and neither you nor 
your silly people will ever see your money again." 

**Lor* bress you heart, missy, we'se got de stiff-cats!" 

" Well, child, you have been cheated with your pre- 
cious * stiff-cats,* as you call them. I suppose Anne has 
one." 

" Yes, missy, an* Molly, an* Cassy, an* Phemy, an' 
eberybody. We is all s'kure." 

But poor Lucille learned, to her great chagrin, and 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 107 

that of " eberybody," among the simple-minded commn- 
nity, that they were all the ** yietims of misplaced confi« 
dence.** Their white robes were never called into requi- 
sition, and they waited vainly for the advent of a ^* high 
ossifer** with greetings from ''Massa Linkum." The 
whole thing was a wicked swindle of the poor blacks by 
some vagabond Federal soldiers, who had succeeded in 
obtaining upwards of eight hundred dollars in specie. 

The outpost established by my regiment, on Berwick 
shore, was one which should have been maintained and 
strengthened. I here mounted a score of my young men, 
daring fellows, who delighted in scouting sorties upon the 
road toward Pattersonville. These could have been kept 
always advanced, as vedettes, and would have been alert 
to discover any indications of hostile approach. During 
my brief occupation of this position, several rebel scouts 
were brought into camp as prisoners, securing for us 
items of intelligence regarding the enemy, which fore- 
shadowed his intentions. But ** coming events" were not 
to be averted through foresight or watchfulness on our 
part. In a short time, we received orders to fall back 
over the Bay, and pitch our tents at Brashear, 



log ' TWBNT7 HONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER X. 

BRASHEAR. CITT. 

The administration of military affairs at Brasbear City, 
during three week^ of June, 1863, exhibits, on a small 
scale, the ruinous results of neglect by superiors and 
mismanagement by subordinates. Withdrawn from the 
outpost on Berwick City shore, my regiment is now 
encamped at Brashear, about a quarter-mile from the 
rail -road depot, and on the shore between that point 
and Fort Buchanan. Behind us extends the camp of the 
Twenty-Third Connecticut Volunteers. On either side' 
are other camps, occupied variously by cavalry squads, 
convalescents representing every regiment in the Depart-- 
ment, and straggling soldiers, assumed to be detached 
for all sorts of purposes. In round numbers, there are 
probably a thousand privates, more or less able to do duty, 
who, under nominal supervision of surgeons or sergeants, 
pass their days in lounging and card-playing, without or- 
ganization, drill, or duty. Probably, a hundred camp- 
followers and civilians might be added to the number of 
this idle population. For defence of the place, there are 
six companies of the One Hundred and Seventy sixth 
New York Infantry, under my command, as Lieutenant- 
Colonel; the Colonel being confined to his quarters by 
sickness ; two companies of the same regiment, acting as 
garrison of Fort Buchanan; several companies of the 
Twenty-Third Connecticut Infantry ; a detachment of the 
21st Indiana Artillery, commanded by Captain Noblett, 



DEPABTMENT OP THE OtJLF. 109 

and a few squads of cavalry and infantry, detailed for 
provost duty, or in charge of government property ; an 
effective sum total of perhaps^six hundred rank and file. 
This is my computation of the force, at the time our oc- 
cupation of the Berwick shore is discontinued. At this 
date, Col. Walker has just been relieved by Col. Holmes; 
and within a very few days subsequently. Col. Holmes 
being attacked by fever, the command of Brashear City 
devolves on the Lieut. Colonel of the Twenty-Third Con- 
necticut Volunteers. 

Here we begin to snuff a breeze of danger. Previous 
to our recrossing the bay, my scouts, as has been mention- 
ed, captured several rebel stragglers, through whom we . 
gained intelligence of a Confederate force concentrating 
on the Teche. Now we hear daily rumors of their pre- 
sence and increasing numbers between Pattersonville 
and Franklin. At daybreak, one morning, I receive 
abrupt orders to report my regiment at the steamboat 
wharf. The boys jump into line with alacrity, and 
" double-quick" to the spot. There I encounter the post 
commandant, looking very perplexed and flurried. He 
orders a crossing to Berwick City; presently counter- 
mands the order ; again commands the regiment to em- 
bark; finally directs a retreat to camp and breakfast. 
In a few hours afterwards, our brass field pieces at the 
depot begin to play upon the Berwick shore. Somebody 
has asserted that rebel cavalry are dodging in Berwick 
woods. A score of shells must be sent over the water, 
by way of Yankee cards. 

The coming night develops general nervousness in 
and around post head-quarters. Quartermaster at the depot 
sneers about pusillanimity. Officers in knots gossip con- 
cerning telegrams, said to be despatched every hour to 
New Orleans, asking for aid and comfort Distrust of 



110 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

head-quarters competence shows itself among rank and 
file, as well as officers. 

Presently, another official panic vSends us, at double- 
quick, to the steamboat wharf again. This time, we cross 
the ferry. I leave Major Morgans at Berwick City, in 
con^mand of detachments from our own and the Connecti- 
cut regiment, and then, placing a howitzer on another 
ferry-boat, steam up the bay, and drop some shells into 
an old sugar-house, to dislodge an imaginary force of 
lurking rebels. Maj. Morgans patiently holds his ground, 
with a brass piece commanding the road, till I reinforce 
him, after supper, with whiskey rations for our arid 
troops. Thereafter, with Surgeon Willets, very daring 
and quite skeptical regarding proximity of foemen, I ride 
to the '*front'' ; gallop a couple of miles over a moonlit 
road, outside the pickets, and return unscarred to the 
ferry. Infantry and artillery then get home to camp again. 

Shortly after this midnight campaign, our lieutenant- 
colonel-in-chief begs Gen. Emory to relieve him of that 
military nightmare which oppresses him in the shape of 
his post-command. Accordingly, General Emory, without 
apparently troubling himself to inquire concerning the real 
necessities of Brashear City, deputes a Napoleonic young 
lieutenant-colonel, who has been doing display duty at 
New Orleans during the season, to take command of our 
beleagured outpost. Subsequently, I learn particulars: 
how, when a fortieth or fiftieth telegram had reached 
Headquarters of the Defences of New Orleans, the Gen- 
eral had remarked : 

" This commandant at Brashear seems uneasy. He is 
determined to resign, and asks me to send somebody to 
relievo him. I know iof nobody here." 

This is said in presence of a young attache, lately pro- 
Tost-marshal at ,Thibodeauz; one Lieutenant Kingsley; 



DEPABTMENT OT THE QULF. Ill 

who opportunely interposes, with the suggestion : " Gen- 
eral, here's Lieut.-Col. Stiokney, of my regiment, the 
Forty Massachusetts. He is doing nothing." 

" WeU, let Stiokney go r 

So Lieut.-Colonel Stickney is relieved from the duty 
of attending puhlio school festivals, in fall dress, with 
the band of his regiment ; and, presently, he comes down 
to assume command of the Bay and its surroundings. 
Beporting at his quarters, I encounter a pragmatic young 
gentleman, of apparently feminine nerves, who starts at 
the fall of a hook, entreats me to remain up all night with 
him, and thereupon, forgetting the request, lies down for 
a nap on the sofa. Meantime, he has signalized his mili- 
tary genius by ordering my regiment, under command 
of the major, to go and keep guard at the railroad depot 
till morning. 

A new military broom now begibs to sweep. Vigilance 
and discipline cavort under double check-rein. 

Lieut.-Col. Stickney blooms into Acting Brigadier 
Stickney, and appoints our quondam provost-marshal 
Kingsley his aid-de-camp. Adjutant Whiting, of Twen- 
ty-Third Connecticut, rises to post-adjutant's dignity, 
therewith getting sleepless days and nights in prospect. 
Now begins the reign of real military excellence at last • 
nine months martineti«m on dress-parade. Our post-com- 
mandant becomes ubiquitous; riding on a black steed to 
my tent, at tattoo, to order the extinguishing of a lantern, 
lest rebels at Berwick City should take it for a target ; 
gallopping on a white courser to the fort, with orders for 
the gunners to look well to their pieces. "^ Post-orders 
indeed multiply hourly. Now, a squad of twelve . men 
most report at head-quarters; now a company; now a 
lieutenant and twenty; presently the regiment is sum- 
moned to duty. I am directed to have a drum at my 






112 Twenty months in test 

pillow, for instant beating of the long roU^ to cause the 
men to keep awake all night ; to make them ** sleep on 
their arms/' No light must appear in camp; no gun 
be discharged, however foul. My men are "exercised" 
day and night ; marching to railroad depots, or dumped 
at stations, to fight mosquitos in darkness. Drilling gets 
chronic under a midsummer sun; expeditions, with the 
gunboat and ferry steamers, make sorties to tiie bay 
shores and river-mouths; descents are ordered on Ber- 
wick City ; a place which might be held, with three com- 
panies of infantry, a couple of howitzers, and a mud fort, 
against the whole rebel army. Bombardment of this 
tenantless town, and the lonely shore above it, goes on 
incessantly. A bunch of pendent moss can hardly stir 
in the breeze, on that Berwick side, but straightway 
Fort Buchanan launches its thunders, and our shore bat- 
teries pound at it. Occasionally a rebel spurs his mus- 
tang through the woods, or leisurely draws bridle on the 
beach road. Brashear City then becomes ludicrously 
militant. Cannons blaze, musketry rattles, convales- 
cents rush to the "front," with tobacco pipes in their 
mouths. A hundred missiles shower around the rebel, 
who dodges them easily, and rides off, laughing at us. 

Meantime, what is done to make Brashear City defen- 
sible, should a rebel assault be indeed threatened? 
Fort Buchanan, commanding the Bay and the Atchafalaya 
mouths, with heavy siege guns, is yet entirely open to a 
rear attack. No line of earthworks, not even a rifie-pit, 
stockade, or block-house, defends the city from approaches 
by the railroad or the belt of woods that intervenes be- 
tween us and the labyrinth of lakes, accessible at any 
time by a rebel force from above. Pickets are thrown 
out nightly some mile or less behind the fort ; and a gun- 
boat, patrolling the bay, is supposed to tiUke occasicmal 



DEPABTMENT OF THE aULT. 113 

cognizanee of the water approaches from that direction. 
Beyond this, Brashear City is entirely exposed to sur- 
prise from its back country. 

But, here are a thousand, more or less, experienced, 
serviceable stragglers ; convalescents waiting to be ordered 
to their regiments. These men, drawing daily rations, 
and consuming them, are lying useless about their camps. 
Why are they not placed under efficient officers, organ- 
ized into companies, supplied with arms and ammunition 
from the mass of stores that have accumulated here ? 
These men are nearly all veterans. Brigade them with 
our regiments, and we shall have a force of two thousand 
men at Brashear City and the railroad stations. Add to 
these, two thousand negroes, who can be mustered in twen- 
ty-four hours, to dig and fortify the approaches to this 
post ; and who shall say that Brashear City is in danger ? 

I think General Emory, before experimenting with an 
important outpost through a post-commandant who wears 
out the energies of our few organized companies by extra 
duty, should have come here and examined matters for 
himself. Had he done so, we might now be occupying 
days and nights more usefully than in making Quixotic 
forays on the railroad line. 

But our acting brigadier is chief, and on him must 
devolve responsibility. So, when a captain and lieuten- 
ant of my regiment venture to suggest an organization of 
our loose forces — and get themselves snubbed, for their 
pains — I have no more to do about the administration of 
military affairs than simply to obey orders. 

But, finding myself rudely reprimanded, one morning, 
on account of a certain number of pieces being foul at 
guard-mounting in my regiment, I remark to the post- 
commandant, that he might have ordered my officer of the 
guard to report to me. 



« 
«c 



114 TWJfiNTX MONTHS IN THE 

" You are to blame, sir — you I" exclaims the acting 
brigadier, fulminating from his saddle, on mj devoted 
head,* as I sit at breakfast, in front of my tent. 

"I beg pardon, sir. According to regulation, I in- 
spected every piece in the regiment, no longer ago than 
last Sunday. The muskets that are dirty must belong to 
the pickets which were out, sir.". 

*' It is your fault, sir ! Consider yourself under ar- 
rest, sir I" 

" Consider myself under arrest ?" 
Yes, sir!" 

Very well, sir I'* I reply, saluting. And my supe- 
rior officer (by virtue of a month's priority of date in 
commission) rides o£f, at a gallop. I finish my breakfast 
and wait for the post-adjutant, or some other officer, to 
come and demand my sword ; but nobody appears. 

Towards evening, I walk over to Col. Nott*s quarters, a 
house near one of the flanks. The Colonel is convales- 
cing from his late illness, but yet too feeble for duty. I 
relate to him the last exploit of our acting-brigadier, in 
placing me under arrest. To Col. Nott the affair appears 
ridiculous. ** Did he take your sword ?*' 

" No, sir ; nor has he sent for it.** 

'* It looks like a joke," remarks the Colonel, laughing. 
But I assure him it is no joke ; and we presently con- 
clude that I had better return to my tent, lest the post- 
commander should order me into close confinement. 

Next day, another vital expedition is ordered up the 
river in steamers, and on the Berwick shore. It achieves 
a sight of several rebels, and makes display of skirmish- 
ing ; with the loss of one man of my regiment, who shoots 
himself, accidentally, on board the steamer. Our war- 
worn soldiers return at dusk, and are ordered to ** sleep 
on their arms.*' Next morning, another expedition is re- 









DEPABTMEKT OP THE GULF. 115 

ported on the tapis ; but the men are Allowed a little 
needed rest. Just before sunset, as I sit at my tent en- 
trance, Col. Stickney ri4es up to me, with a salute. 

" Col. Duganne I you will consider yourself released 
from arrest after dress-parade, this evening V^ 

" Very well, sir !*? I reply, saluting. 

The acting-brigadier turns his horse^s head. Then, 
with a smile— ' 

" But those guns were very dirty. Colonel !" 

'' You might have ordered the officer of the guard to 
report that fact to me, sir.^' 

Col. Stickney smiles faintly. 

" You will report for duty to-morrow morning. Colonel." 

" I fear, I shall not be able, sir I" I reply. During 
the day, I had been attacked with a prevailing disorder. 

"Very well; as soon as you are able!" rejoins the 
post-commandant, and rides o£f. It is the last I see of 
our Acting Brigadier General. I hear, subsequently, that 
he behaves with courage and discretion at Lafourche 
Crossing, where, with my regiment, under its brave 
Major, and some companies of the Connecticut volunteers, 
he succeeds in repulsing a rebel force of two thousand 
cavalry. The quality of gallantry redeems many errors 
that arise from inexperience ; and it may be, that Lieut. 
Col. Stickney, under other circumstances, might have ac- 
complished more than he did at Brashear City. But I 
cannot reject the conclusion, to which every one conver- 
sant with our military administration during the month 
of June, must arrive, that, had the time mis-spent, in 
daily and nightly forays, been properly devoted to or- 
ganization and defence, there would have been another 
ending to this campaign than the disgraceful capture of 
Brashear City and its railroad line to New Orleans. 



116 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 



CHAPTER XI. 

REBELS IN THE BEAK. 

* 

I HEAB. myself called at midnight, on the nineteenth of 
July, and recognize Major Morgans^ yoice at my cot-side. 
He has just received an order from Col. Stickney, to 
march with our regiment to the railroad. My stout Major* 
is wearied out by late exertions, and would gladly have 
a respite. He inquires if I can take command, but I 
have not yet reported for duty. Both of us suppose that 
this nocturnal expedition, like all previous ones, will 
bring up at some rail road station, or, perhaps, get no 
farther than Erashear depot. "I shall report in the 
morning,^* I remark; **and then you may have a rest, 
Major P* Unfortunate alternative for me! Major Morgans 
goes off, with our men, to fight the battle of Lafourche 
Crossing; I remain, to march in another direction, toward 
the dreary goal of a Texan prison. 

Early next morning, I ride to headquarters, expecting 
to find Col. Stickney, and report to him. He has gone, 
with the troops, and left Major Anthony in command of 
the post. With Major Anthony I have no acquaintance, 
but learn that he is a cavalry officer, sojourning tempo- 
rarily at Brashear City. I ride in various directions, 
endeavoring to meet him, without success. 

Meantime, a train of cars loaded with stores, which, 
pursuant to orders from Col. Stickney, had followed him 
at a later hour, returns with alarming intelligence. The 
communication with Lafourche is cut off. A rebel force. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 117 

of cavalry and artillery, oocnpies Terrebonne station. 
Ideat. Lyons, of my regiment, posted in a small stockade 
at that point, has been made a prisoner. 

Presently, I enconnter Major Anthony. "Major! I 
learn that you are in command of the post. I am senior 
officer here, bnt not having been able to report for duty 
before Col. Stiokney left, I suppose I cannot, relieve you 
without orders." 

" I wish you could, Colonel," replies the Major. "Col. 
Stickney, it is likely, leffb me in command because you 
had not yet reported." 

"Well, Major,^' I rejoin; "we need not differ, on the 
point of rank. I will, if you please, go to Bayou Boeuff, 
which has now become the front, and make dispositions 
to receive the enemy." 

"I shall be glad if you will do so. Colonel. I can give 
you an infantry company, to add to the force at Bayon 
BcBuff!" 

" If you will give orders to collect some thirty or forty 
of the horses that are ranging on the conmions, I will try 
to muster riders, and make a cavalry squadron, for duty 
at the front." 

I will attend to that at once," answers the Major; 
and have the horses reported at your quarters." 

I ride back to camp, and begin to look about for cavalry 
recruits. Most of my young adventurers (and the "Iron- 
sides" regiment can boast a goodly proportion of youthful 
and dashing braves) are with the main body, under Col. 
Stickney. Of the remaining rank and file, a majority have 
been on picket for three days, and I see no prospect of 
relieving them. A few, beaten out, and some really sick, 
are in camp. Out of these, I muster fifteen, ready to take 
saddle for scouting duty. Captain Coe, though on the 
Bick-list» volunteers to lead them. 






X 



118 TWENTY HOllTHS IN THE 

Blunders and delays regarding the horses, prevent us 
from getting off. Mayor Anthony fails to organize the 
promised infantry company. The day wanes, and nothing 
is done toward organizing convalescents or strengthening 
our defences. 

Here, then, is the condition of Brashear City. Left, 
during months, without personal supervision by those 
charged with the responsibility of defending New Orleans, 
this outpost is, at last, cut off from its base. While in 
daily expectation of an enemy in front of the fortifications, 
we find ourselves suddenly menaced from the rear. All 
the country above Berwick Bay is actively hostile. The 
approaches to bur railroad lines, wrested from rebel occu- 
pation by hard fighting two months ago, when General 
Banks marched, via. the Attakapas district, to Port 
Hudson, have lapsed into the possession of our enemies. 
Forced back behind the water front of Brashear, and 
attempting to occupy, with less than one thousand effect- 
ive men, the whole railroad between this point and Al- 
giers, we now find our small force split in twain by an 
invading army of rebels; 

A month has been wasted in useless daily explorations 
of the bay shores ; in bootless expeditions, by night, upon 
the railroad. Our convalescents, many of them veterans, 
have been' allowed to shirk the simplest duty, instead of 
being brigaded and drilled for defence. Aimless and de- 
sultory, the military operations, during weeks past, have 
left us at last in a condition which invites attack by ^ 
alert and well-informed foe. 

The camp of my regiment is located about midway 
between the depot and Fort Buchanan. Separated from 
our front by the bay's breadth only, Berwick City lies 
completely under range of our batteries. At a point op- 
posite our ferry wharf, stand a few large vacant buildings. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 119 

used as hospitals while we held that side of the water. 
Along the Berwick front, likewise, are several detached 
dwelling houses and other structures, some tenanted, but 
the greater number without occupants. On our own 
shore, in front of the camps, which are pitched thickly 
for the space of half a mile, along the roads, are posted 
three field pieces, guarded by reliefs of infantry. A line 
of sentinels and pickets is thrown along the water-xoad to 
points beyond the fort. 

Such is the military condition of Brashear City, on the 
evening of the day when Lieut.-Col. Stickney, leaving 
his post, takes with him all our effective infantry. Two 
companies of the 176th J^. Y. Volunteers, supporting the 
Indiana batteries at Fort Buchanan, together with strag- 
gling squads of my own and the Connecticut regiment, 
detailed as provost-guards, or on picket duty, constitute 
the defensive establishment of this important outpost of 
New Orleans, while its late commandant finds himself at 
Iiafourche Crossing, thirty miles distant, cut off from his 
base by a rebel force, several' thousand strong, which has 
struck the railroad station three miles in his rear. 

A fitting interlude of the child's play, whereby a ixionth 
has been frittered in sham sorties, which might hav^ 
been vitally employed in local organization; a fitting in- 
terlude, between past folly and the retribution that is to 
come, transpires, this night, in the burning of Berwick 
City. 

Of ooursOt we have been battering that forsaken local- 
ity, as a diurnal recreation, since our evacuation of it. I 
know not how many tons of ammunition have blazed against 
the stupidly-silent place during thirty days past ; but it 
has seemed a customary relaxation for the controllers of 
government shot and shell, to drop those gentle missiles 
on Berwick whenever the whim seized them. I am hardly 



120 TWENT7 MONTHS IK THE 

prepared, however, for a wanton firing of tlie lonely 
town ; and trust that no one is prior to it but the naval hero, 
commanding our solitary gnnboat. He it is who distin- 
guishes himself by this vandal deed. Three days hence, 
he will perform another exploit, in shamefully abandoning 
Brashear City at the very outset of rebel assault upon it. 

War is revolting, even in its best aspect. Stripped of 
plumed helmet and glittering armor, Bellona appears in 
no very charming light, as a truculent woman ; and the 
soldier in rags and filth becomes no hero to the eyes of 
romance. Grand and beautiful is patriotism struggling 
against foreign invasion; and liberty breasting tyranny 
is sublime, whether clothed in peasant homespun or ar- 
rayed in knightly panoply. But divest war of all ab- 
stract merits, and it is resolved at once into craft and 
violence. Coarse strength and sharp cunning achieve 
victory ; the heaviest artillery decides conquest ; the 
richest exchequer assures possession. 

Nevertheless, no one doubts that war, like thunder and 
lightning, freshets and tornadoes, may have necessity, « 
utility, and beneficence. The end, though not always 
justifying, will often be found to excuse the means ; and 
it is not to be denied that radical diseases call for radical 
treatment, in politics as well as therapeutics. Thus, we 
accept our present national conflict as the result of a po- 
litical, perhaps a moral, exigency, requiring medical in- 
terposition of the heroic school, to save national life. We 
recognize design brooding over the chaos of our troubles, 
and anticipate renewed order, to be evoked out of ele- 
mentary disintegration. 

The " inexorable logic of events'* overrides qualm- 
ishness in military men; nevertheless, I deprecate all 
acts, which, like the firing of Berwick City, and kindred 
abuses of power, can be justified by no necessity. 



DEPABTMENT OF THB GULF. 121 

I am seated under an oak, before my tent. The evening 
is dark, and no lights are allowed Iq camp. Suddenly, a 
bright light shoots up &om Berwick shore, and I have 
hardly time to walk from my quarters, past a half-dozen 
company streets, to the flank, when a blaze, wide and 
fierce, as if of an hour's duration, appears upon the water 
front opposite. 

Berwick City is on fire. From wall to roof, from gar- 
den-fenoe to out-building, from hedge-row to orchard 
trees, a devastating flame sweeps along the shore road. 
Broader and higher the blaze grows momently, throwing 
its baleful glow on the waters of the bay, and up against 
the back-ground of forest and clouded sky. I never saw 
a conflagration spread more rapidly or more devouringly 
than this. The fiery tongues dart from casements, doors, 
and eaves, licking up the dry woodwork, like stubble* 
Boofs, corridors, galleries, are ignited, and the red ele- 
ment extends and mounts, right and left, in lurid wings. 

Augmenting in volume till midnight, it is not until 
near morning that the fire becomes exhausted, for lack of 
materials to feed upon. The wooden buildings which 
served us for hospitals and warehouses, with many dwell- 
ings and detached edifices, are consumed — Cleaving the 
lower portion of Berwick City a blackened waste. 



122 



TWENTX KONIHS IN IHI 



OH AFTER XII. 

SABBATH AT LAFOURCHE. 

I 

The rebels choose favorable seasons for .their ad- 
venturous descents. General Banks, with the main 
strength of his department, is encamped before Port 
Hudson. He has made repeated assaults on its stout 
defenses, with no results but the decimation of " forlorn 
hopes.** Thousands of his gallant men have perished, by 
disease more than from wounds. Meantime, the enemy 
rallying immediately on the track of our late Federal 
raid, have repossessed themselves of the back country, 
from Vermillion and Teche bayous, to Atchafalaya and 
Mississippi rivers. They pour down from the Texan 
border ; they swarm on western banks of the Father of 
Waters. 

Thus it occurs, that, on the eventful Saturday which 
Col. Stickney selected for his expedition to Lafourche 
Crossing, a rebel force of about three thousand cavalry 
comes charging down the upper waters of this very La- 
fourche . Dispatched by Louisianian General Mouton, under 
command of Col. Major — West Point graduate in Con- 
federate service — a raid of wild riders dashes down the 
bayou banks, discomfits a handful of Americans at Plaque- 
mine, scours through Napoleon and Labadie, and swoops 
upon a brace of feeble companies at Thibodeaux. The 
astonished Federals stay not for compliments, but make 
good use of horse legs, mule legs, and legs generally, to 
cover the four mile road, between Thibodeaux and La- 



BEPABTMENT OF THB GULF. 128 

fourohe Grossing, in the shortest running time on record 
except the run from Bull Eun. A race indeed — along 
that narrow bayou road, with double-barrelled shot-guns 
and border rifles cracking like champagne corks ; our 
fugitives lassoed by twos and threes, till half a hundred 
or more find themselves turned to the right-about toward 
Thibodeaux jail. Six hundred rebel horsemen, riding 
and yelling like Cumanches, pursue our flying provost- 
marshals, dispersed plantation guards, and suddenly-re- 
lieved pickets, almost to the mouths of Lafourche bat- 
teries. A discharge of twelve and thirty-two pound guns 
turns them back, but only to meet and merge in Major's 
main body, which, to the number of two thousand, rapidly 
brings up their rear. For an hour or two, they deploy and 
reconnoitre, in the manner of Arabs, and then take cover 
in the dense woods and close plantation-fields which bor- 
der Lafourche bayou. 

Not wholly idle, however, are these half-starved and 
half-naked Bedouins. Thibodeaux boasts several groce- 
ries and a few sutler shops, Thibodeaux harbors num- 
bers of rebel sympathizers, on fine estates and in suburban 
chateaux. Thibodeaux ** secesh^' damsels are pretty and 
numerous, and its orchards luxuriant and tempting. 
Thibodeaux counts hundreds of negroes, mak and fe- 
male, easy to "gobble," and of clear money value. So 
the rebels break over that quiet *'ville," with most charm- 
ing varieties of looseness. While dashing cavalry officers 
lend gold-braided arms to interesting plantation widows 
and their dark-eyed Creole daughters, just out of the con- 
vent day-school; while improvised provost-marshal men 
take note of captured "Yanks,"' and consign them to un- 
derground cells of the stone prison ; while scouts and 
patrols whip in reluctant darkies to new masters; the 
rank and file of raiders begin to solace themselves for 



124 TWEKT7 MONTHS IN THB 

long abstinence, by the discussion of fat beeves, TTnited 
States brand flour, real " Lincoln" coffee, and (that prize 
of all prizes for rebels) United States commissary whis- 
key. Canteens, bottles, flasks, and gourds are quickly 
filled and replenished; pint-dipperfuls are lost in rebel 
gullets, till half the force get staggering drunk, and the 
other half wait for a chance to be. 

Confederate commanders rule their ragged cohorts 
with iron authority, but are careless concerning discip- 
line, so long as no immediate attack is apprehended. 
Manifestly the rebel officers know with what small num- 
bers they have to deal, and that Col. Stickney, who con- 
trols some five hundred Federals at Lafourche, Crossing, 
will not be likely to trust them from the shelter of his 
railroad-grading defences. The capture of Thibodeauz, 
they know, commands two roads diverging from it, to the 
two crossings at Lafourche and Terrebonne ; these roads 
describing a scalene triangle, with the railroad for its 
hypotheneuse. A small circular earthwork, stockaded 
and ditched around by our New York boys, at Terre- 
bonne Crossing, contains a company of less than thirty 
men, left there to defend it. Col. Major, after chasing 
the Federals from Thibodeaux to Lafourche by one leg of 
the triangle, sends a troop of his screeching butternuts 
to attack Terrebonne by the other leg. Headlong they 
gallop towards our stockade, and hoist a white flag, 
Lieut. Lyons goes out to parley. A demand for sur- 
render is made. Lyons replies that the stockade was 
not built for that purpose; whereupon a revolver is 
drawn upon him, and a big oath or two. At this junc- 
ture, up steams a train from Lafourche, bringing orders 
from Col. Stickney to evacuate, which our stockade-men 
obey, en masse^ escaping to the cars. In another moment 
a whistle shrieks, the engine is reversed, and away 



depabucent ov the gulf. 126 

speeds the train for Lafourohe agun. Onr yoncg com* 
mander, Lieut. Lyons, is left on the ground, with a white 
flag above, and the rebels advancing to capture him. 

" You are my prisoner, sir ! Go with me, or I'll blow 
jou brains out!'* cries a rebel officer, presentiDg his re- 
volver at Lieut. Lyons. At the same time, his mounted 
followers charge up the railroad track, fire off their pis- 
tols and shot-guns at the retreating steam-engine, and 
then draw bridles, to vent maledictions upon " Yankee 
treachery.*' So, my unlucky sous-officer of the ** Iron- 
sides'* is compelled to see his brave company receding 
towards safety, while his own feet must measure the road 
to Thibodeaux jail, and thereafter march painfully to a 
Texan prison-pen. 

During Saturday night, the rebel camp at Thibodeaux 
presents a scene of hilarious triumph. Commissary and 
sutlers' stores are without money or price, and whiskey 
rations call for no quartermasters' vouchers. The " bonny 
blue flag" gets bluer than ever ; for at least a dozen bar- 
rels of " red eye" are mixed with the grey-backed clay 
of rebellion, till every '* sans-culotte " of them can lay 
claim to a ''brick in his hat." 

Sabbath is not religiously kept in Thibodeaux parish 
next day. There are more stores to ransack, niggers to 
''lick," Yankee prisoners to bedevil, and the whiskey 
jollification continues. Scouting parties, scouring the 
roads, at full gallop, and clattering over bayou bridges 
like ^d huntsmen ; yeHs that make the owls hoot at 
midday in Bayou Blue swamp woods ; cheers for Jeff. 
Davis, uid a choral refrain about capturing New Orleans 
to the tune of " Dixie ;" with such little dalliances as 
eating, smoking, and drinking whiskey, make up the order 
of rebel discipline in and about the captured " ville," 
widle down Lafimrahe bayou sweeps oavalxj in twos and 



i 



126 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

foars, maMng sudden onsets on Federal pickets, and 
wheeling in and out of our lines, for pure mischief and 
bravado. 

The rebel commander, however, means more than me- 
nace to the Yankees. Towards sunset he begins to bestir 
himself. Bugles sound along his lines, ragged cavaliers 
take loving swigs at whiskey cans, and swing themselves 
into saddle ; and before dusk the entire force, consisting 
of Major*s, Phillips' and Pyron's regiments, with addi- 
tions from Mouton's Creole levy sets off from Thibodeaux 
for a dash at Lafourche Crossing, to carry the bridge at 
once, and bag five hundred "Yanks" by supper-time. 
Such a roaring, leaping, riotous set never galloped before 
to a battle-field. Every man is more or less intoxicated, 
and some so drunk that, if they were not Texans and 
born riders, they could never keep their saddles. The 
afternoon was showery, and as this motley array gallops 
down the bayou banks, a terrible thunderstorm^ breaks 
over head, discharging torrents of sheeted rain. I never 
saw the water come down in greater volume than it did 
that day on the Opelousas Eailroad line — ^flooding the 
fields, raising the water courses, making roads like lakes, 
and bridle-paths impassable. Major and his rebel horde 
seem to exult in the elemental war above them. They 
charge down the road, and up against' the embankment 
behind which our American batteries are posted, with 
resolution worthy of a better cause than treason. Per- 
haps they anticipate an easy victory ; perchance they ex- 
pect to send our five hundred Yankees flying like chaff 
before their mustang ponies. Never were traitors more 
suddenly brought to a realizing sense, however. Their 
columns are permitted to gallop within a hundred yards 
of our position, when, from the big thirty-two, and the 
three twelve-poimder howitzers, leaps oat a withering 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 127 

fire of grape and canister, flanked by steady volleys from 
our infantry, who stand up to the work like Teterans. 
Then it is that our " Ironsides" major gives an example 
of coolness inspiring to his men. Discarding all instruc- 
tions of Casey, as to firing by file in line of battle, the gal- 
lant Morgans sings his orders out as if at musket drill. 
" Men," he had whispered, while the enemy were yet at 
a distance, ** you know my voice. Now don't fire a gun 
till I give the order. BecoUect, men !" And when the 
rebel front comes nigh, and the word is passed to our can- 
noneers, and grape and canister hurtle over the levee, 
both sides can hear — rebels no less than Federals — a loud, 
clear voice Vbove the din of strife: " Ready ! aim I fire ! 
Bear rank, ready ! aim ! fire ! Front rank, ready ! aim 1 

fire ! Bear rank " 

And our brave boys stand up to the drill as if at dress- 
inspection. They bite off cartridges, and load, and ram 
down, and half-face to a ready, and take aim, and — their 
deadly fire tells the rest of the story ; till rebel horsemen 
reel, and their steeds, with loose bridles, break before the 
Yankee hurricane. That voice, giving orders like a drill- 
master; those volleys, regular as rifle practice ; surely, 
no ninf months' discipline is here, our enemies say ; and 
ihey tell us afterwards that they thought our troops were 
"regulars," so cool did they show themselves under a 
Texan charge, with all its yells and aboriginal devilry. 

But, though recoiling from the deathful greeting which 
met their first charge, the rebels are soon rallied by their 
officers. Forming a second line of battle, they advance 
again, with headlong determination, stopping not for grape 
or canister ; resolved to ride down both our guns and 
gunners. But that ringing order peals again — "Bear 
rank, ready! aim! fire!**—- and again leap out the respon- 
sive folleys from our in&ntry Imes. A score of saddles 



128 TWJfiNTX HDKTHB IS THE 

are emptied, a score of horses careering oonfnsedly while 
yet forty yardjs from our batteries. They retreat, in dis* 
ordered ranks. Voices of officers, sounding out of the 
melee, vainly urge them to the fiery parapet. The second 
charge rolls back repulsed. Our American soldiers bare 
breathing time again. 

Colonel Major little expected such an obstacle. His 
march from the Sabine had thus far been a mere pleasure 
excursion ; but Lafourche Grossing shows a lion in his 
path. Here are two or three thousand Texan "inyinci- 
bles" filing back from a mud bank, like so many Mexican 
** greasers.*' Scores of these dare-devil cavalry lie dead 
or dying under the levee, within a hundred feet of tibe 
Yankee lines. Those batteries must be carried at all 
hazard. West Point Major forms his line for a third 
charge. 

More swigs at whiskey cans ; a sounding of bugles; a 
quick, sharp order, "Charge!'' &om centre to flanks; and 
the rebels are riding on again. This, indeed, is a 
desperate onset, almost achieving victory. Bowels are 
driven into the horses ; a fierce war-whoop rings from 
front to rear, and the charging squadrons bear do¥m like 
thunder-clouds, with a lurid flame from the muzslea of 
their guns marking the line of advance. Well for our 
brave men that, under previous charges, they stood up 
to their drill exercise so coolly. Again listening for 
Morgans'' trumpet voice, the gallant New York and Con- 
necticut boys remain steady, like veterans, while our 
artillerymen sight their cannon against the black, advanc- 
ing masses that come sweeping through torrents of rain. 
Up the embankment this time; up to the cannon mouths; 
yes ! over howitzers and into infantry ranks, the rebels 
sweep like a tornado. They drive back gunners and mus- 
keteers, they leap from their saddles, dosing upon our 



DIPABTHENT OF THB GULF. 129 

bayonets, bestriding our field-pieces with yells of triumph. 
Bat the Americans answer with an American hurrah, 
and when that ceases, the steady emphasis of Morgans* 
tone is heard — "Rear rank! ready! aim! fire!" A terrible 
Volley and a fierce charge of our infantry repulse the foe a 
third time, strewing his dead upon the bayou road, as 
thick as falling leaves in November. In vain the Texan 
chiefs dash hither and thither; in vain they roar com- 
maads till their throats grow hoarse. The rebel spirit 
is broken, for the day, and even whiskey cannot bring 
ihem to time again. They scatter to the roadside, disperse, 
and rally in close order, and then, turning bridles for 
ThibodeauXy are lost in the shades of advancing night. 
* One desperado only lingers where the rebels pierced our 
lines. Maddened by alcohol, he charged upon a howitzer, 
and sprang from his saddle, at its muzzle. Here, unable 
to keep his legs, he falls forward on the gun, clasping it 
with both arms, and yelling, with an oath, " Surrender, 
Yank! this piece is mine!" 

''Take it!" replies the Yankee gunner* with a sword- 
ihrust that pierces the rebel's midri£ 

This ends Texan "charging" on Lafourche Grossing. 
A hundred dead rebels are left upon the field, and the 
sum oi their wounded reaches doable that number. 



]d(^ TWJUTy HONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XIII. 

BAYOU B(SUFF. 

Sabbath morning brings flying rumors from all- quar- 
ters. We hear of fighting, at Lafourche and Thibodeaux; 
of rebel advances on the railroad line. In the afternoon, 
Lieut. Bobens, of my regiment, Deputy Provost Marshal, 
stationed at Tigerville, reports at camp. Erom him, I 
glean several items of intelligence respecting the condi- 
tion of affairs upon the railroad line. As far back as 
Thursday last, this young officer received hints concern- 
ing the rebel advance, which he communicated to the 
Provost General by letter. A person, who represented 
himself as a Union fugitive from Alexandria, brought 
news that "Dich Taylor" was moving down the Teche, 
with fifteen thousand men; and that his main object was 
the recapture of New Orleans. On Friday, a negro woman 
sought protection from a mistress, who had cruelly whip- 
ped her, while her master, standing by, boasted that 
his friends would soon drive the Yankees frdm Terre- 
bonne, when he should be able to take the ''airs out of 
his niggers" once more. On Saturday, the negroes crowd- 
ed into Tigerville, bringing exaggerated accounts of rebel 
forces, and more credible statements regarding the sym- 
pathy with which their appearance was greeted by treach- 
erous white men who had pretended to support our cause. 
My poor black loyalists at Tigerville are eager to make 
a stand. They demand arms, declaring that they will fight 
to the death, rather than return to bondage. 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 131 

Gapt. Bailey, D eputy Provost Marshal at Houma, arrives 
at Brashear, this Sabbath day, reporting rebels to be 
in large numbers on the road between Houma and Tiger-' 
ville. A locomotive reconnoissance, upon the railroad, 
returns toward evening, with information that rebel horse- 
men were encountered near Chickahoula. During the 
afternoon, a violent thunder storm breaks over Brashear; 
and pluvial showers descend upon our camps. Toward 
dusk, having mustered my small force, I take cars for 
Bayou Boeuff, leaving the horses to follow by the wagon 
road. Steaming through rain and darkness, we reach the 
front, and disembark in mud and water. This dreary and 
drenched camp at Bayou Boeuff offers scant shelter..^ I 
find a single company of my regiment, under Lieutenant 
Kirby ; some thirty effectives ; bivouacked beneath pro- 
tecting eaves of a decaying sugar-house roof. The ground 
about them is shared by a detachment of the Twenty-First 
Indiana Siege Artillery, under Lieut. Sherfy, who, with 
Lieut. Kirby 's men, lately garrisoned Fort Chene, a harbor 
fortification some miles below Brashear City. These 
conibined commands had received orders from Col. Stick- 
ney, to evacuate the fort, destroy its defences, and report, 
with its heavy, pieces, three in number, at Bayou Boeuff. 
Accordingly, they are here, and I dig my way, through 
yellow mire, to their flank, where Lieut. Kirby contrives 
to seat me in a dry comer of his narrow quarters. 
Therefrom, after hearing some reports, I seek lodging in 
a neighboring hut, and sleep the sleep of weariness, till 
morning. 

Monday opens a day of activity. Beoeiving reports 
and property accounts from Captain Sanford, of the Twen- 
ty-Third Connecticut Volunteers, who, with three com- 
panies of his regiment, has occupied the post, I assume 
eommaii4, and prepare to get our defensive materiel in 



132 TWENTY MOirrHS IN THE 

working condition. Much to my surprise, on inspection 
of the siege-pieces, I find them planted on the Brashear 
side of Bayou Boeuff ; a weak position, if assaulted by 
any force capable of flanking movements. Slight earth- 
works have been thrown up, on the levee, and a cannon is 
mounted near the bridgehead, on one side of the railroad 
track, in line withiwo others, which command half a mile 
or more of the opposite shore and highway approaches 
from Tigerville. A signal tower, erected by General 
Weitzel, for observation of the surrounding country, has 
been demolished, as I learn, under the same sagacious 
orders which caused Fort Chene to be abandoned and its 
cannon brought to this place. Is this another manifesta- 
tion of that military genius which denuded ^ashear City 
of effectives, and left the Opelousas railroad to be sev- 
ered by a sudden dash of rebels into Terrebonne ? 

I mentally ask this question ; but have no time to 
speculate further. This railroad crossing, at Bayou 
Boeuff, is now the point to be defended, and it only re- 
mains for me to make the best of defensive facilities. 
The land is low on both sides of the railroad ; only on 
the levee banks, or on the track, can our artillery obtain 
a proper range. I order one siege-piece to be elevated 
to a position on the grade ; but my judgment convinces 
me that we are on the wrong side of the bridge, for an 
effective defence of this post. 

The rebels are known to be in force at Terrebonne, 
twenty miles distant by the rail, and their advance may 
be looked for hourly. Could I have time to erect a line 
of earthworks, at the other bridge-end, to stretch from 
the bayou-bank to the timber which crosses the roads, we 
might hold the Boeuff against an enemy with hopes of suc- 
cess ; for our flanks would be difficult to molest, unless 
approached by heavier artillery. A fort, of earth and 



0XPABTMENT OF THE QVLF. 138 

cypress logs, upon the other bank, well-Tiotoalled and 
supplied with ammtinition, would be better still, and 
with it I could keep the enemy at bay effectually. 

Such are my reflections in surveying the position ; but 
tiiere is no time for " change of base," with rebels in a 
half day's march of us. To learn the ground, and com- 
prehend its approaches, becomes my first concern, and I 
lose no time in mustering a dozen of my hard-riding 
** Ironsides'' boys, to go " on scout" and gather information. 

Noontime arrives, and with it a locomotive, in charge 
of Lieut Stevenson, of my regiment, dispatched for a 
'* reconnoissance'* upon the railroad. It carries a twelve- 
pound howitzer, mounted on a freight-car, fenced by planks 
and timber buttresses ; with sharp-shooters behind, to 
pick off rebel pickets, should they show themselves. 
Our Brashear gun-boat now steams up, and fastens to the 
bridge, and her valorous captain counsels me to pull that 
structure down, to keep the rebel cavalry from charging 
over it. I decline the loan of his hawser for such pur- 
pose, however, and only make use of the war vessel, to 
send on her some dozen sick men to our Brashear hospi- 
tal. So the gunboat steams off again, and in an hour or 
more the reconnoitring train comes back, with all its 
armament and sharp-shooters intact and bloodless. 

Nevertheless, this rail road battery has visited Terre* 
bonne, and the howitzer has discoursed with rebel artil- 
lery. Our iron-horse vedettes made a dash through 
Tigerville and Chickahoula, and then bore on, with loco- 
motive at the rear, until they neared the open fields of 
Terrebonne, where Winder's rich plantation skirts one 
side of the rail road, and Tanner's sugar-groiuids hem in 
the other* Here they saw rebels tearing up rails, and 
rebels burrowing in earthworks, and rebel cavalry cavort- 
ing over neighboring roads and meadows. So, they 



134 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

stopped, and bowled a shell upon the enemy ; whereat a 
rebel battery opened on them ; and thus, satisfied with re- 
connaissaTtce, and exchanging one or two more shots with 
rebeldom, they reversed the engine just in time to escape 
a dash of cavalry, and are here safely to report the result 
of a railroad excursion. So much I learn through the 
reconnoissance, that the enemy had not yet left' Terre- 
bonne, and I mentally resolve on breaking ground for a 
fort on the opposite levee. It is evident, that the rebels 
are in force at Thibodeaux, and not to be doubted, that 
they will soon advance upon the Boeuff. But could time 
be left me, to throw up defences, on the eastern bridge- 
head, so that roads and plateaus, leading to the railway, 
might be thus commanded, while musketry and howitier 
prevent attempts at crossing from the lakes, or the upper 
bayou — I have confidence in my ability to hold the 
Boeuff, until our Brashear garrison can be relieved by 
way of the Gulf. 

Thus encouraged, I at once send out a squad as pickets, 
on a hand-car, with orders to repair to Tigerville, some 
twelve miles distant by the highway, and by rail road 
seven. They are instructed to organize a horse and foot 
patrol of certain blacks, selected from plantations on 
their route, and known to me as bold and trusty partisans 
of ours. Then, strengthening the pickets near our camp,, 
and sending scouts to scour the various roads, with orders 
to be vigilant, I see the sun set on my first day of com- 
mand at Bayou Boeuff. 

No repose yet, however. I must talk with anxious 
citizens, who bring reports of rebel scouts, and claim 
protection as good Union men ; and I must question wide- 
mouthed contrabands from Bayou Black estates, who 
"seed a rebel" here and there, behind a hundred bushes. 
Primary care of all, I must dispatch a messenger to work 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 135 

his way throngh rebel lines, and reach Lafourche; for 
there, perhaps, are "acting-brigadier" Stickney, and my 
regiment; and there, in that case, is the telegraph still 
safe, connecting with head-quarters at New Orleans. So 
I pen a hasty note, reporting my position, and forthwith 
provide a saddled horse for Sergeant Lewis, who volun- 
teers to ride, walk, crawl, or swim his way to our lines 
at Lafourche Grossing. "Heaven speed my messenger!*' 
I mentally pray, as he rides away though the twilight. 
He can make thirty miles to night, on the road toward 
Houma, and to-morrow he may take the swamp, and so 
pass from Bayou Blue to Lafourche, unnoticed. 

Lieut. Kirby has pitched a tent for me to-day, and my 
cook George ought to be getting supper, but has not yet 
returned from Brashear, whither he went, this morning, 
for our rations. Toussaint, my groom, arrives with the 
horse, " Black Ebman." John remains in camp, at Bra- 
shear, with our baggage. So I must accept my lieute- 
nant* s xoffee and hard bread, or lie down supperless. 

I throw myself upon a blanket, but am aroused im- 
mediately. A scout brings intelligence of boats seen 
crossing at Lake Pelourde. It is a movement which may 
threaten some design on Brashear City. A force from 
Pelourde might strike the rear of both Bayou Boeuff and 
Brashear. It is from Brashear that such a force must 
be reconnoitred or repelled. I look around, for a mes- 
senger, and Lieut. Robens, of my regiment, opportunely 
presents himself. I direct him to mount and ride at once 
to Brashear, report what I have learned to Major Antho- 
ny, and have him take the speediest measures for de- 
fence. Presently, I hear the lieutenant gallopping from 
camp. It is now nine o'clock. He should reach Bra- 
shear City between ten and eleven. I lie down again. 

From unrefreshing sleep I rise early. It is Tuesday, 



136 TWESHY MONTHS IN THE 

the twenty-third day of June, a balmy morning, redolent 
of summer sweets. I hear the wheels of a hand car on 
the railroad. It is the Tigerville picket, ordered to report 
to me at sunrise. A steam whistle shrieks from i^e 
woods west of us. That must be the train from Brashear 
City. Major Anthony promised yesterday that con- 
stant commuidation should be kept between our camps. 
I hope this train brings Oeorge, with rations. 

But it is a locomotive only ; and Conductor *' Billy** 
reports, that — " The rebels are shelling Brashear." 

*'Ah ! they are at Berwick then ! But where are your 
cars, sir?" 

''I thought I would come and report, sir. The rebels 
are in great force opposite Brashear." 

** You had better go back, and couple on the commis- 
sary train, if danger be threatened." 

The Conductor sprang on his engine. ^ I cannot tell 
what may have happened," he remarked. "For fear of 
accident, I shall make a signal when I return — two 
screams of i^e steam-whistle, with a pause between 
them." 

The locomotive rattles away, and I turn, to hear the 
report of my railroad picket. '' All right at Tigerville, 
Colonel !" 

'*Have you seen nothing of the enemy, sergeant?** 

''No rebels about, Colonel. I had fifty darkeys on 
horses and mules, scouting all night, sir. Not a reb to 
be seen this side of Chuckahoula.'* 

*'Did you leave any of your squad at Tigerville?" 

'' No, sir ! I was ordered to report to camp at sunrise." 

'*Take another squad — a relief — and go back, for the 
day. I desire you to remain with them, sergeant.** 

"Tes, sir!" And my sergeant, who like most of the 
non-commissioned officers of Co. I, can be tmsted for duty 



DEPABTMENT OF THB GVLF. 137 

and discipline at all times, goes out to detail the day- 
picket for Tigerville. In a few minutes, I hear his hand* 
car rumbling over the rails again. 

But the non-arrival of a train, with George and i^y ra- 
tions, BVLggests&uoiker jour Tnaigrej and I must forage 
for breakfast presently. Meantime, a cup of coffee — ^un- 
failing matinal stimulant in this sultry clime — ^restores my 
equipoise. Toussaint saddles '* Black Roman,'* and I ride 
to the earthworks, musingly. It is a brilliant morning, 
and the broad bosom of Bayou Boeuff flashes back golden 
sunshine. I look over the placid landscape; over woods 
rocking in green luxuriance ; over quiet waters laving the 
levee banks ; over peaceful cottages bowered in fragrant 
orchards. Who would dream that foes are threatenipg 
discord and conflict? that black-mouthed cannon are 
needed here, or that fire shall menace ruin to these home- 
steads? 

The rumble of a hand-car, upon the rail-track, recalls 
me from reflective mood. Tigerville pickets return, with 
a report, that rebels in force are within ten and eight 
miles of this position. Their main body of cavalry is 
advancing from the Chickahoula road, through Tigerville, 
and must soon reach Bayou Boeuff. Already, a stream 
of black fugitives from Terrebonne plantations begins to 
flow into camp. 

It is the twenty-third day of June. At this hour, our 
comrades at Lafourche Crossing, being reinforced from 
New Orleans, are marching upon Thibodeauz, to find that 
place evacuated by Colonel Bfajor and his rebels. But 
this movement is yet unknown to me; jastas the im- 
minent peril of Brashear City remains undisclosed to its 
late* post-commandant. 

Imminent peril, indeed ! Suddenly, I hear the signal- 
whistles of Conductor '' Billy;" and the crash of a brace 



138 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

of locomotives shakes the track, as they rush into the 
station. " Billy** springs from the leading engine. 
** Colonel! Brashear is captured by the rebels!" 
" Captured !" 

**They Ve got it, sir! Came in from the woods, at onr 
rear! It was a complete surprise, sir!** 

"Where is the train of cars you were to bring in?" 
<'I could not hitch on this engine to it, sir; as the 
other was between me and the cars ?** 

"Why did you not "hitch** the other one, then?** 
" That was not strong enough to draw the train.*' 
I do not, at this moment, ask the Conductor ^^hj he 
failed to make both locomotives fast to our train of stores, 
and bring its valuable freight out of the Brashear City 
depot. Of little account are questions of any sort, at this 
stage of events; since I have learned the main, dis- 
astrous fact, that our base of supplies and safety is now 
in rebel possession. Cut off and- isolated; my feeble 
post menaced in front and rear ; I am now to consider 
the immediate peril of my own situation. 

Very soon I get definite accounts of the morning's oc- 
currences at the Bay. My Quartermaster, Lieut Kimball, 
reports ; bringing wagons containing his own effects, with 
some regimental property, and a few trunks. Toussaint, 
George, and John, my servants, arrive next, and present- 
ly, numbers of fugitives, soldiers and non-combatants, 
flock in by highway and railroad. The loss of Brashear 
is confirmed ; and the details thereof take shape under 
voluble narration of a hundred tongues. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 139 



CHAPTER XIV. 

BEBEL SCHEMES. 

G-ATHEBiNG on the Louisianian borders, from Eed River 
regions above Shreveport, far down to Sabine banks, and, 
lower still, to the pine-woods and marshes that trend 
upon waters of the Golf, the rebel hordes, under various 
leaders, ranged over prairies and timber bottoms. Gen- 
eral ** Dick Taylor," son of old " Rough and Ready," 
commanded the Texan mounted infantry, which, in regi- 
ments, *' legions,** and partisan bands, had crossed the 
Sabine at Niblett's Bluff, and occupied extensive open 
tracts lying between the rivers Calcasieu and Atchafalaya. 
General Mouton, brother to a former governor of Louis- 
iana, collecting all the refugees from New Orleans and 
lower regions of the Mississippi ; all the Creoles and 
''Cagians" who could be coaxed or conscripted, from 
bayou-banks and swampish lands ; made his rendezvous 
at Alexandria, and thence co-operated with Taylor's bat- 
talions. Both armies, it is true, fell back before the ad- 
vance of General Banks, when that Federal commander- 
in-chief made his rapid march from Brashear City up the 
Teche, ascending to Alexandria, and thence diverging to 
Port Hudson. But when, I say they fell back, I say all 
that can be said. They were neither dispersed nor de- 
moralized. Town by town, they contested our progress 
through the Teche country ; abandoning Franklin after a 
hard-fought battle ; evacuating New Iberia after destroy- 
ing their flotilla and defences ; retreating from Alezan- 



140 TWENTY MOlirrHB IK THB 

dria, only when Admiral Porter's guns and mortars had 
rendered it untenable. But the numerical damage which 
they sustained was slight, and their war-spirit seemed to 
wax rather than wane before our advancing stars. No 
sooner did General Banks wheel his army Mississippi- 
ward, than this war-spirit blazed behind him. Partisans 
and guerrillas sprang up on his flanks ubiquitously. 
Nomad horsemen hung about and harrassed his wagon- 
trains, made sorties on his rear-guard, captured his strag- 
glers, ambushed his scouts. In Lower Louisiana, we saw 
them following Col, Chickering*s caravan of cattle and 
contrabands almost to the guns of Brashear; and had 
they been as enterprising as our escort was actually 
feeble, they might have retaken the ** spoil,'* and 
"bagged" its custodians. In Upper Louisiana, at the 
same time, they were dashing down from the Arkansas 
lines, to attack Eichmond and Lake Providence ; while 
General Banks, re-crossing the Atchafalaya, abandoned 
all the lately-captured territory, to find his resources 
barely equal to the close investment of Port Hudson. 

Such was the aspect of afB&irs, when Generfi *' Dick 
Taylor," from his camps between Vermillionville and 
Franklin, on the Teche, and General Mouton, from his 
headquarters near Opelousas, flung out their advances in 
the shape of cavalry and light artillery, under command 
of chosen leaders, charged with no less a design than to 
open the way for a combined assault on New Orleans. 
General Taylor had planned, and General Mouton ordered, 
that Col. Major, with his brigade, should cross the Atcha- 
falaya, at Morgan's Ferry, proceed down Bayou Gros 
Tete, to Plaquemine, strike ofl* to Bayou Lafourche, and 
then descend ibe banks of that water course to the rear 
of Brashear City. We have seen how Major fulfilled his 
mission ; when, after burning a half-dozen steamboats «fc 



DEPABTMENT OV THE OUUP. 141 

Plaquemine, and chasing our provost-guards out of Thi- 
bodeaux, he oharged against stouter stuff at Lafourehe 
Crossing, and fell back with a loss of some hundreds. 
That was the hour when he should have been followed up 
by strong reinforcements from New Orleans. That was 
the moment i^en a couple of gunboats and another regi- 
ment ought to have arriyed, by way of sea, to the succor 
of Brashear City. Why these things were not done, or 
whether, in reality, there was force enough at New Or- 
leans to have accomplished either, has never transpired 
through official sources, and, therefore, the good public 
must remain profoundly ignorant upon the subject. 
But, if the Crescent City was actually so denuded of 
strength as to be unable to cover her approaches, or pro- 
tect her outposts, then it must be concluded that Port 
Hudson was, at that time, of more importance than New 
Orleans, and that the former, instead of the latter, had 
properly absorbed the attention of our generals and their 
soldiers. 

There is no flippancy in this remark; for it cannot be 
denied, that New Orleans was vitally endangered by the 
concentration and descent of rebel armies upon its rear 
and flank ; thus giving to our foes the occupation of a 
great railway means of transportation, a country able to 
subsist their largest force, and a population in sympathy 
with their cause. 

While Col. Major was performing his share of tfie work 
allotted to subordinate rebel leaders. Gen. ** Tom. Green," 
proceeded down the Teche to Pattersonville, and thence 
started his '^ musquito fleet'* for operations against 
Brashear City. The "musquito fleet" was a unique 
armada, consisting of improvised transportation, in the 
shape of "sugar-coolers," which are long coffin-like 
wooden boxes^ used, as die name implies, on plantations, 



142 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

as receptacles of the syrup daring the process of its 
manufacture into sugar A multitude of these vessels, 
capable of conveying one or two men, with the addition 
of such rafts as could be constructed, and a fiew akiSb, 
made up the flotilla, whereby some three hundred armed 
men were enabled to cross the Atchafalaya, navigate 
Grand Lake, and debouch through Lake Pelourde and 
Flat Lake, to the rear of Brashear. 

Thus matters stood on Monday, the twenty-second of 
June. The contemplated assault, planned by General 
Gi^een, is to be made in conjunction with an anticipated 
advance of Major, with his force, upon the railroad 
stations still held by our American soldiers. Communi- 
cation is open, across the back country, between Major 
and Green ; and the latter knows the force and intentions 
of his coadjutor. Green does not yet know that Major 
has been repulsed at Lafourche Crossing; nor is he aware 
that the dashing cavalry-chief has evacuated Thibodeauz, 
and is hurrying with his ragged riders, from Terrebonne 
to Chickahoula, believing himself pursued by reinforce* 
ments of Federals from New Orleans. Green does not 
know, and, unfortunately, our troops at Lafourche Cros- 
sing, and the commandant at New Orleans, do not know, 
that Col. Major deems himself cut off from retreat by way 
of Thibodeauz, and relies solely on the success of an 
attack on Brashear, to enable him to make his way out of 
the dangerous trap into which he begins to fear that he 
has ridden too hastily. Had this fact — for it is a fact — 
been suspected by Lieut.-Col. Stickney, at Lafourche 
Crossing, or by my brave Major Morgans, who, about this 
time, is getting ready for a dash, with our gallant '* Iron- 
sides" boys, into Thibodeaux, I am sure they would 
have profited by the occasion, and lost no time in bring- 
ing a few regiments from New Orleans, by rail, to hang 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 143 

npon the rear of Major and his mustangs* But, they fail 
to learn, or to benefit by, the terror of their late assailants, 
and, in their turn, as it subsequently appears, become 
the victims of a panic, which sends them to the '* right- 
about,'* in the direction of Algiers. 

All designs being matured by " Tom Green," for his 
project against Brashear, the assault is fixed fpr day- 
break on the morning of Tuesday, twenty-third of June. 
Green demands two hundred and fifty volunteers for 
secret and hazardous service. Over three hundred 
respond, and are placed under command of Major Hunter, 
an officer who has seen rough service on the western 
frontiers of Texas. Major Hunter comprehends the work 
that is expected of him. He is to paddle his ''mus- 
quito fleet," at dusk of evening, through the chain of 
lakes that penetrates behind Brashear City. He is to 
land secretly near a previously-reconnoitred point, in the 
rear of that timber-belt which makes a back-ground for 
Brashear, as Berwick Bay makes its fore-ground. He is 
to approach to the edge of that timber, whence he can 
overlook the Federal camps and batteries. He will wait 
in that position, till Green, from the opposite bay-shore, 
shall begin the assault by a bombardment. Then, when 
the attention of Yankee officers and men shall be ab- 
sorbed by the attack in front. Major Hunter is to lead 
out his braves from their cover, and, with Texan yells, 
dash down upon and capture Brashear City. 

How well the crafty rebel commander, " Tom Green," 
advised by numerous spies concerning our weakness, our 
disorganization, and our carelessness, adapts his plans 
to insure their complete success! Neither Maj. Hunter, 
nor any member of his '* forlorn hope " has been informed 
regarding the feeble condition of Brashear. It is for 
them to obey orders, and to essay what they deem 



144 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

a desperate enterprise^ I have the Vord of many rebels, 
who were of the number of that " musqui to-fleet " force, 
that they never expected to return alive, unless as paroled 
prisoners-of-war. Starting in their crazy water-craft, 
about three hundred strong, at least fifty gave out, either 
on the lake, or in the toilsome march which followed their 
debarkation. Hiese were the men and boats reported to 
me, as having been seen, about sunset, crossing a section 
of Lake Pelourde, and whose appearance and suspected 
design, I had, in turn, reported to Major Anthony at 
Brashear City. From my post, at Bayou Bosuff, there 
was no means of reaching or opposing them. I knew not, 
at that time, but that their design was to threaten my 
own position, by effecting a landing at some point above 
me, on the Boeuff; I learn, long afterwards, while, a 
prisoner in Texas, that the original plan of approaches 
proposed an attack, in conjunction with Major's expected 
force, first upon my slight defences, and afterwards upon 
{he rear of Brashear. 

But whatever may have been the expectations of Gen- 
eral Green, it is certain that Major Hunter's men, creep- 
ing under darkness, through swamps, up to their belts 
in mire, for several miles, toward the edge of timber 
which commanded Brashear City, were not inspired with 
very sanguine hopes of victory over Yankees. It is posi- 
tive, moreover, that these rebel raiders, having at last 
reached, about midnight, a point whence they could look 
out, over open fields, and spy what appeared to be the 
encampment of a large army, were suddenly impressed 
with a panic quite as sensible as that which, about the 
same time, was urging Col. Major into a gallop from 
Terrebonne to Chickahoula. Those white tents, stretch- 
ing along the bay-shore, like a great town of canvass ; 
the fort, at their right, which they knew to be heavily 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 145 

mounted; the silenoe brooding over all, giving their 
hearts space to b^at audibly against their lean ribs ; all 
combined to make our rebel adventurers feel lonesome 
and uncomfortable. They had anticipated the hour when 
" Tom Green" was to fire his signal-guns. They heard 
no sound of co-operation from the Berwick shore. The 
dread of being '* trapped'* took possession of them, and 
in spite of Major Hunter's commands and entreaties, they 
abruptly broke and fled back, through woods and swamps, 
till they gained once more their '* musqui to-fleet." There 
the chagrined commander succeeded in getting them to 
halt and listen to him. There, as I have been <;redibly 
informed, that bold Hunter made use of some tolerably 
big oaths, in the way of illustrating his harrangue to them. 
" We may all be shot," he cried, imploring them to re- 
trace their steps. ** Not one of us may get back to the 
brigade ; but, gentlemen, we'd better just fall down in 
our tracks than go back disgraced, and have old Tom 
Green tell us sol'* AH stronger words of the rebel 
leader, I leave to be imagined; but the result of his 
speech was, that the *' forlorn hope,'* minus a few strag. 
glers, returned with him, and struck the timber, long 
after Green's howitzers had begun their barking from 
the Berwick shore. 



146 TWEKTX MONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XV- 

THE OAFTUBE OF BBASHEAB CITY. 

« 

Daybreak on the twenty-tliird day of Julj, 1868, wm 
ushered upon Brashear City by the roar of those rebel 
howitzers which " Tom Green" had promised his *' forlorn 
hope" should announce his presence upon the Berwick 
shore. Our startled garrison of Fort Buchanan hurried 
from tents to bomb-proof magazines, and a brisk exchange 
of shot and shell soon opened the battle in earnest. But 
little apprehension was felt by the Americans of aught 
beyond a cannon»bout being intended by the enemy ; for 
it presently become apparent that the assaulting force 
was not numerically strong, while the calibre of its artil* 
lery was much inferior to that of our heavy siege-pieces. 
No means of transportation appeared at hand, threatening 
any design to cross Berwick Bay ; and such an attempt, 
indeed, under the range of our cannon and musketry on 
land, and a flanking fire from the gunboat, would haye 
been hazardous, if not impracticable, to a much larger 
hostile army. 

But, as I have stated previously, the crafty rebels had 
found means of transportation in another quarter, and 
were at this hour advancing stealthily on Brashear City 
through th6 woods and swamps at its rear. Meanwhile, 
Oeneral Taylor, at his headquarters near Pattersonville, 
and Oeneral Mouton, at Gibbons' Point, opposite Fort 
Buchanan, were awaiting the success of Greenes cannon- 
ade, to advance the bulk of their forces toward Berwick 



DBPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 147 

City. General Mouton's immediate strength consisted of 
two Texan regiments, and an Arizonian battalion, most of 
them sharp-shooters, who were posted so as to command 
the Federal fort and direct their fire upon its artillery 
men. About a mile below, sheltered by woods and by a 
mound near the shore, " Tom Green" brought his two 
batteries (Yalyerde and Nichols) to bear upon the Bra- 
shear camps, while his own regiment, the Fifth Texas, 
and a battalion of Louisiana cavalry under Col. Walker, 
supported the guns with their small arms. 

The first rebel shot was launched at our gunboat, 
mounting two twelve-pound howitzers, and. commanded 
by a person named Ryder, who, in the words of Admiral 
Farragut's subsequent report, " is not represented to 
have been any more vigilant than the rest, and backed 
down the bay.*' 

That gun-shot was the alarum of our little garrison. In 
a brief space the grey of mom became illumined by a 
blaze which leaped from opposing shores of the bay. 
From the blackened walls of burned buildings at Ber- 
wick landing, far up to Gibbons' Point, where a thousand 
rifles were cracking, the rebel side delivered continuous 
volleys of bullets and discharges of shot and shells ; 
while, on our part, we were not backward in pouring iron 
and lead from the fort and lower batteries. The screech- 
ing and whistling of various missiles, the barking 6f sin- 
gle muskets, the rattle of volleys, and the boom of great 
pieces, soon brought every sleeper out of his bunk or 
bed, and the water-front of Brashear was speedily alive 
with defenders. Few showed themselves, indeed, in the 
range of rebel fire ; but there were plenty of " coigns of 
vantage," in the shape of big trees, cook-houses, walls, 
and embankments; and from behind these points of 
shelter our brave fellows plied their shots effectually ; 



148 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

till, after two hours' interohange of courtesies "between 
infantry and artillery of both sides, the rebel fire began 
to slacken, and their pieces were more th^n once driven 
from position. 

It was at this moment that a yell arose, in the rear ; a 
mingling of Indian whoop and wolf-howl ; the charging- 
cry of Major Hunter and his ragged desperadoes, break, 
ing cover from the woods behind our camps ; advancing 
at double-quick over the open fields that intervened be- 
tween shore and timber. 

Their line of battle was an irregular one ; a sort of 
involuntary echelon, perhaps the result of unequal march- 
ing, perhaps caused by the inequalities of ploughed ground 
and stubble which impeded them. But the flanks of 
their different companies were separated by wide gaps, 
and their ranks were broken in som^ places by intervals 
wide enough for skirmishing. On they came, scarcely 
two hundred and fifty men, armed with shot-guns, rifles, 
and a few revolvers. One solid company of United States 
dragoons could have ridden down and dispersed them 
like sheep. One hundred determined infantry-men, 
under a resolute commander, meeting them in line of 
battle, might have scattered th^ motley crew by a couple 
of well -aimed volleys. Had there been common militia- 
organization ; had a tithe of fho able-bodied idlers of 
various camps been thrown upon the flanks of this rebel 
rabble, with our howitzers trained upon their front, they 
must have bittep the dust, or surrendered, every one of 
them, before they could have gained our camp lines. 

But the attack meets no sustained resistance. Before 
our straggling and unofficered squads can be brought into 
any line of defence, the left flank of rebel advance reaches 
the cover of an orange grove near the almost vacant tents 
of the neth New York (" Ironsides") and 23d Connecticut 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 149 

regiments, while its right extends toward Fort Bnohanan. 
Dashing into the rearmost comnany streets, they discharge 
their pistols into our canvass walls. From the thick 
orange-growth they deliver sharp and sadden volleys 
of slugs and bullets. An officer of my regiment, Captain 
Thomason, endeavors to rally a small detachment, between 
our camp and the one at our rear, now filled with rebels. 
He brings them into some order, and fires a brace of 
volleys, which have little effect upon the scattered foe.. 
Col. Nott, rising from his invalid's couch, shows himself 
to 'the men, mounted, and orders them into line, but the 
command comes too late for organization. Our brave 
fellows, ma^ifying the numbers of the invaders, and be- 
wildered by total lack of preparation and the complete 
surprise, begin to drop back, doggedly, firing single 
shots, as they seek the shelter of neighboring buildings. 
Fbr a few minutes, this sort of skirmishing is kept up ; 
the rebels, meantime, occupying themselves in ransack- 
ing the tents in their possession. Col. Nott calls upon 
those nearest to follow, and rides toward the depot, where 
the locomotives are fired up, intending to run one to 
Bayou Boeuff, and, perhaps, escape from that point, by 
means of the gunboat. But his long illness and inactivity 
have rendered him feeble, and, on reaching the door of 
our hospital, about two hundred yards distant, he falls, 
fainting, from his horse. It is a fortunate accident, for 
bullets now begin to fly thickly on the road, and a negro 
woman is shot in front of the hospital, just as our Colonel 
sinks exhausted. 

In the meantime, desultory fighting goes on at various 
points. Two companies of the " Ironsides'* regiment, 
garrisoning Fort Buchanan, becoming apprised of an inva- 
sion from the timber, get impatient to take part as in- 
fiuitry in the contest. Stoat and gallant boys, from Mad« 



150 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

ison county, they comprebend that, when an enemy is at 
hand, some immediate resistance is called for. They 
have been working steadily, during two hours, at the 
siege-guns, directing all attention to the Berwick shore 
foe, and little anticipating a fire in their rear. Now, 
aware of the new peril, and conscious of the exposed posi- 
tion of the fort to a land attack, they expect to be led at 
once against the rebels. But to whom shall they look 
for orders ? Captain Noblett, artillery chief, with the 
ostensible design of procuring more ammunition, has long 
ago mounted his horse and ridden to the depot. At this 
moment, just as the rebels show themselyes in the 
orange grove near our camps, this artillery commander 
rolls from his steed, the animal being shot, and makes 
the best of his way — not back to his command at Fort 
Buchanan — but to the refuge of our hospital. Perhaps 
he deems it madness to attempt the running of a two 
mile gauntlet of sharp-shooters, in order to rejoin his In- 
diana battery boys. Very possibly, like other officers, ho 
comes to the conclusion that *' all is lost but honor,^* and 
that **sauve qui pent y is the motto for everybody. 

Left to hia own discretion. Lieutenant Wellington, of 
the "Ironsides,** tries to make some dispositions for 
defence. The large guns of Fort Buchanan, mounted en 
barbette, are too ponderous to handle, for the purpose of 

• directing them to the rear. With great exertion, one 
piece is dislodged from its position, warped to the rear, 
by means of ropes manned by our soldiers, and brought 
into range upon the land-side. It is about this juncture 

! of affairs that Major Anthpny appears at the fort, and 
begins to take some direction of them. He has galloped 
under a shower of bullets from the railroad depot. He 
has seen his valiant cem/rere, Captain Noblett, dismounted, 
by the fire that left him scathless. He has marked the 



DEPABTMENT OF THE aULF. 151 

>ebel force advanoing, in its irregular fragments. Now, 
if ie will rally our Madison boys, and the artillery men, 
at least a hundred in all, perhaps more, he may make a 
flank movement upon the exultant rebels, and form a 
nucleus for our sciEittered squads to rally upon. Lieut. 
Wellington assures him that his men are ready and eager ; 
that they demand to be led against the enemy. But 
unfortunately our Major's view of the proper policy is a 
different one. Very likely, if he saw around him a 
hundred, or less, of troopers in their saddles, with sabres 
drawn, and pistols in holsters, our gallant major-com- 
mandant of Brashear City would have given the word for 
a dash upon the rebels, were they double the number 
opposed to him. But, there are no cavalry at hand; no 
rough riders to follow his bright sabre and ringing voice. 
So, Major Anthony adopts the role of Fabius rather than 
that of Marcellus. He orders the heavy gun to be trans- 
ported out of the fort to a point about half-a-mile lower, 
upon a road*, leading to our camps and the railroad. Here, 
placed in position, and worked by our willing men, it 
launches some telling shots against the rebels, who have 
possession of the camps and are approaching the main 
street and water front of Brashear. 

While these dispositions were made at the upper part 
of the city, some show of defence continued near die rail- 
road depot. The rebels, swooping down upon our conval- 
escent camps, made short work of the few who ventured 
opposition. Few indeed were diese ; for even had Uie 
able-bodied of our convalescents been disposed to fight, 
they had neither arms, ammunition, nor officers to direct 
them. Two or three lieutenants and sergeants, with 
small squads, attempted to rally the hundreds who were 
flying to and fro, seeking cover; but their efforts could 
not» at Biieh a atage of panic, ecnnbine the materiali that 



152 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

had been allowed to remain disintegrated during months. 
Pozens of men were shot down by the rebels unresisting- 
ly. In so wild a melee, amid yells and the rattle of 
musketry, and encompassed by clouds of smoke, the foe 
could hardly discriminate, even were he desirous of so 
doing, between the sick and well, the armed and un- 
armed. 

One of our "Ironsides" captains, who has been con- 
fined to his quarters by sickness, sallies into the street, 
and essays to get a body of stragglers into order. He 
succeeds in bringing ten or fifteen together in line, when 
a rebel company- charges upon them, with the bayonet. 
Captain Cutter, a cool and bold man, gives the signal to 
fall back, to secure a better position ; but the enemy is 
close upon them, and a Texan summons him to give up 
his sword "I never surrender I" answers Cutter, in 
his deliberate way; whereupon he is immediately shot 
through the head, and falls dead ; yielding up as gallant 
a soul as ever made Liberty the goal of ambition. 

While these events were transpiring, a stand had been 
made by Lieut. Stevenson, *' of ours,*^ commanding the 
provost-guard of Brashear City. This brave officer had 
charge of a twenty-four pounder, which, after doing good 
service against Green's batteries, over the bay, was 
wheeled into position for operating against the " surprise 
party" at our rear. With Lieut. Stevenson, at this post, 
remained Sergeant Peming, of his company, a young 
private named Newlan, and two other members of my 
regiment. These resolute fellows stood to the gun, till, 
completely environed by foes, they became a target for 
bullets. Four out of the five, including the lieutenant, 
were shot down, before their piece was captured. 

But such isolated and desperate endeavor ; such frag- 
mentary struggles of indignant courage against the fate 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 153 

which no wise foresight had anticipated, and no prndent 
preparation provided against, could only serve to protract 
suspense. The first panic of our feeble and disorganized 
regimental remnants had decided victory in favor of the 
daring foe. Well must the crafty Green have calculated 
upon our demoralization and incapacity. Gruel was the 
neglect, wherever its responsibility may lie, which left 
our little garrison to meet the brunt of a hostile assault, 
backed by at least ten thousand rebels, under competent 
generals. 

Flushed with his triumph, Q,chieved at small expense, 
and promising brilliant results in plunder, Major Hunter 
presents himself presently before our own Major at the 
upper batteries. The post-commandant is summoned to 
surrender Brashear City. It is a superfluous demand, 
doubtless, on the part of the Texan, since he can see for 
himself that no further resistance is contemplated; but 
he asks, furthermore, that our post-commandant shall 
surrender fleet as well as army ; our notable gun-boat, as 
well as our convalescents and runaways. Major Anthony 
casts his glance down the bay, and beholds the war- 
vessel's black smoke streaming backward toward Bra- 
shear, as her engines propel her with all speed out of the 
harbor. He remarks forcibly to the Texan Major, that 
he wishes the recreant gun-boat could be caught by him, 
with the wretched poltroon who commands her. 

And, after this ebullition of spirit, the prelii&inaries of 
peace are adjusted, and the city of Brashear, with its 
appurtenances, passes once more into rebel possession. 



Wi TWENTX HONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XVI. 

TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. 

In the homely vernaoular of our boys, this Jnne 
morning, " Brashear City has gone up !'* Fugitives con- 
tinue to pour into my lines. Our Quartermaster, nervous 
and timid, asks me, a dozen times, if there is no way of 
retreat ; if the gun-boat may not be expected ; if I think 
the Federals at Lafourche can send us succors. Negroes, 
arriving by the Brashear roads, bring incoherent stories, 
concerning a massacre by the rebels of many hundreds 
of the blacks. A report comes that the bay gun-boat has 
been seen in the Boeuff, and may be expected here 
during the day. Numberless rumors, regarding the 
force and designs of our enemies, reach us continually. 

I make up my mind to the conviction that an. advance 
of rebels may be apprehended immediately from the bay. 
I already know what is to be looked for by the approaches 
from Tigerville; a column of cavalry, with artillery to 
back it. Here, now, the precarious and indefensible 
condition of this post becomes yet mor-e apparent. My 
three siege-pieces and a brass howitzer must not only 
defend the bridge against enemies on the opposing 
bayou-bank, but are required to withstand whatever force 
may be sent from Brashear City against us. I have one 
outpost only intervening between the bay and my camp. 
Captain Hopkins, of the Twenty-Third Connecticut Vol- 
unteers, is stationed at Bayou Ramos, three miles from 
the Boea£f, and nearly six miles this side of Brashear 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 165 

• 

The rebels mast cross a -bridge at Bayou Ramos. Captain 
Hopkins may be able to oppose them at that point. 

Rapidly reflecting upon our situation, I conceive and 
as quickly dismiss various plans of defence. There is a 
narrow water-channel crossing the railway, about two 
miles below the Boouff. Woody swamps extend on either 
side of this '* Alligator Bayou/* rending it inaccessible 
save by the railroad or in boats. Could I reach and 
fortify the bridge-crossing of this bayou, and secure 
supplies of rations, I might hold the point against any 
force. Or, with flat boats for transportation, I might 
retreat up the Boeuff, and there fortify in the swamp. 
But the lack of means to transport artillery over the rail* 
or by water, admonishes me that both these schemes are 
impracticable, in the face of an advancing enemy. Neither 
have I provisions of food or medical stores. The men of 
my own regiment here possess scarcely one day's rations. 
The Connecticut men have a larger supply, but not 
sufficient for many days, if shared with all, including 
hundreds of refugees, white and black, now within my 
lines. Now I appreciate the consequences of leaving our 
train of cars, loaded with commissary and quartermaster's 
stores, on the track at Brashear City. Had the locomo- 
tives, in their flight, brought off that store train, how 
amply would I now be furnished with rations and 
facilities for transportation. With two locomotives at 
my command, a dozen oars, and sufficient supplies to last 
through a siege of months, I would have the choice of 
attempting a dash upon the rail toward Terrebonne, with 
the hope of cutting my way through to our lines, or I 
might select some point to fortify, and defy the efforts 
of rebels to dislodge me. But speculations of this sort 
are now futile. There are no cars, no supplies, withiii 



156 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

my reach ; and all the fiat-boats on the Boeuff, save one, 
were towed to Brashear, last Monday, by the gun-boat. 

I have, then, no adequate means of removal firom this 
indefensible place, and can only hope to make a brief 
stand against the enemy. On this stand, however, I 
determine, at once, whatever it may result in; and 
proceed, thereupon, to make the best dispositions in my 
power. Pispatching some of my wild-riding boys to 
neighboring plantations, with orders to impress spades, 
picks, and log-chains, I proceed to mark out a line of 
intrenchment on the Brashear side of our little camp. A 
simple crescent of rifie pits, with obstacles and abattis 
to flank the^, is all that I can hope to interpose against 
an hourly expected advance from the bay. Two siege- 
guns commanding the bayou, may remain as they are, 
and the remaining one is already in position on the rail- 
road and pointed in the direction of Brashear. Present- 
ly, amid great shouting, my "Ironsides'* boys return, 
accompanied by a gang of blacks from the plantations, 
who, with picks and spades, have volunteered for fatigue 
duty. Ground is broken instantly, and in half an hour, 
I get a well-defined line of rifie-trenches from fiank to 
flank. Leaving the negro-reliefs to dig, under supervision 
of a few of our Connecticut sergeants, I set other gangs 
to cutting down and hauling orange-trees from a grove 
near by, and dragging such timber, old iron machinery, 
and other lumber, as can be found around the sugar house, 
to serve as defensive impedimenta for our flanks. The 
single brass piece I place in our rear, so that it can be 
readily shifted to either right or left of the rifle-pits. 
These immediate dispositions made, I take saddle for a 
reconnoissance of "the situation." 

On the wide, open fields, between the opposite bayou- 
}evee and a timber-belt that makes their back-ground, 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 157 

stood a capacions sugar house, once the depot and store- 
room of an extensive plantation. This buildijig and its 
surrounding sheds was now filled with armj-supplies, 
officers* trunks, and extra baggage, arms, and military 
appurtenances of all kinds, that had been stored under 
their shelter when General Banks moved his army across 
Berwick Bay, for its march through the Attakapas coun- 
try. The estimate^ value of articles here deposited, 
under orders from Head Quarters, was, at the least, a 
half million of dollars. It may have been much more ; as 
the trunks, boxes, desks, and such receptacles contained 
sums of money, watches, jewelry, and other valuables, 
left behind, for security as well as convenience, by our ad- 
vancing troops. The regiments to whose members the 
private property belonged were now at Port Hudson. 
They had never been enabled to reclaim their extra 
baggage, and it consequently remained at Bayou Boeuff, 
or at Algiers, where was another depot of the kind. 

I rode to an open door of the sugar-house, dismounted, 
and entered. A few enlisted men, detached from different 
regiments to guard the property, were lounging round 
the purlieus. Bales of clothing, muskets, and revolvers, 
were piled to the ceilings of the lower rooms. Trunks, 
marked with the names of various officers and regiments, 
were coUected in ponderous piles. Some of these ap- 
peared to have been roughly handled; many, doubtless, 
had been tampered with; for their locks were broken 
and lids shattered. Several were quite open, their 
contents exposed, in the shape of fine linen, new dress 
coats, and luxurious articles generally. I had time only 
for a cursory glance at the interior, but I could readily 
see that this sugar-house depot contained most valuable 
*'aid and comfort'* for ragged rebels, might they be so 
fortunate as to secure possession of it. 



158 TWEinr months in the 

But Bach a result I resolved should not be my fault. 
I did not intend that another prize, in public and private 
plunder, should be added to the pillage over which rebe^ 
oapturers were now exulting at Brashear City. From a 
million to a million and a half dollars worth of rations, 
tents, ammuniiion, small arms, artillery, and medical 
stores, is the estimate made of the prize secured by sur- 
prize at Brashear, and I am not willing that another mil- 
lion dollars' worth, or thereabouts, in yet more accepta- 
ble supplies, shall be gained through the seizure of this 
sugar-house. So, with a sigh over the necessary sacri- 
fice, I mentally devote the baggage of brother officers, 
and all government stores in connection therewith, to the 
flame of a Federal bonfire. Giving orders at once for the 
evacuation of the buildings, I mount and ride down the 
bayou-bank. 

Straggling negroes are coming in from different quar- 
ters. They report the rebels within three miles of the 
BoeufF, at a plantation on the lake. I gallop to the doors 
of negro huts and houses of poor whites upon the bayou 
borders, giving notice to the inmates that our lines will 
be drawn in immediately. Some request shelter in my 
camp ; others conclude to " take their chances^' with the 
rebels. I can easily detect the concealed sympathy 
which many feel for the invaders. Of one fellow I de- 
mand a gun which I spy on his premises — a United 
States musket — and he rather reluctantly yields it. 

But, finding myself a mile or more from camp, and 
suddenly remarking that I have left my revolver behind, 
I deem it prudent to retrace my course rapidly. A com- 
mander " gobbled'* by rebel scouts, so far from his men, 
might add another item to the report of rebel surprises. 
So, cantering back, loaded with the musket and its cart- 
ridge-box, I reach and cross the bridge again. 



DEPAETMENT OP THE GULP. 159 

Work IS progressing, under direction of our Connecti- 
cut captains and the artillerists. The rifle-pits are grow- 
ing deeper, fatigue squads are drawing materials for frai^ 
defenses, and I find the gunners posted at their batteries* 
under direction of Lieut. Sherfy, their officer. I send a 
message to Captain Hopkins, who has reported the ap- 
pearance of a force at his front, on Bayou Ramos. He 
has been called upon to surrender his post to General 
Oreen, and has replied to the Texan chief, that he has 
no time^to do so. I direct Capfain Hopkins to hold his 
ground as long as possible ; but if there be danger of the 
enemy flanking him, to bum the bridge and fall back to 
my lines. 

The day wears rapidly. I am incessantly active ; most 
of the time in the saddle ; now inspecting the rifle-pits, 
again overseeing our flank-arrangements, taking note of 
everything, without allowing myself opportunity to dwell 
upon the darker features of our situation. When noon 
arrives, I give up any hope that the gun-boat will appear. 
I see no loop-hole of retreat or escape from the Boeuff, 
and console myself simply with the sullen resolution to 
make as long resistance as possible, in view of the bare 
possibility that assistance may arrive from New Orleans. 
K my courier, Sergeant Lewis, shall succeed in gaining 
our lines, at Lafourche, there is still a faint hope of 
succor from that quarter. I wish to hold Bayou Boeuflf 
while a chance of ultimate relief can inspire me. Such 
are my cogitations, while riding up and down, without 
food during the entire day, yet wholly unconscious of 
hunger, because absorbed by the responsibilities of my 
command. When the rifle-pits are deep enough, I muster 
the men, to assign them their positions and commanders. 
In yesterday's momiilg reports, about two hundred and 
fifty rank and file were represented to be fit for duty; 



160 TWENTY MOKTHS IN THE 

but only thirty-seven files now present themselves on the 
line of the rifle-pits. Are these seventy-two infantry- 
men the force with which I am to defend Bayou Boeuff ? 
But there are forty artillerists ; ten men to each piece ; 
not sufficient for a necessary relief. I direct search for 
stragglers and skulkers; but this results in a small 
accession only. Apparently, I have not much numerical 
strength to back my determination to hold out to ex- 
tremity. 

After assigning stations and immediate commands, I 
ride to the battery. Lieut. Sherfy stops me, near the 
large gun which is posted on the track. "Colonel!*' he 
says. — "Here is one of my sergeants, who desires to 
speak a word to you, sir I*' 

The sergeant salutes, and approaches. He is a bluff, 
Saxon-looking man, who has apparently made up his mind 
to talk bluntly. 

"Well, my lad, what do you wish to say to me?** 

"Colonel!** responds the gunner, sinking his voice. 
"I want to ask your liberty to leave!** 

"To leave, sir! What do you mean by that?** 

"I mean*' — in a still lower voice — "I*d like to get 
away — ^me and my mates. — You see. Colonel, we were in 
the secesh service, when Orleans was captured, and we 
'listed under the Feds. If the Eebs catch us, sir, all is, 
they'll hang us! — So we'd like to leave this place, Colo- 
nel—** 

I look at the man steadily, without speaking, and he 
proceeds-p" You see, sir, of course, we know there *s no 
chance here ; it*s got to come to surrender — ** 

I interrupt further parley. "Who told you, sir, that 
we shall surrender! This place is to be held, sir! You 
will keep your post, to defend it. If you leave, it will 
be with a bullet in your back!" 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP. 161 

1 speak warmly; for the man's apparent Inkewarmness 
is linnoying. My earnestness seems to please him, never- 
theless ; for he steps back to his place by the gun, crying 
out, with rather an impressive oath — **If it's fight, Colo- 
nel, 1*11 stick by, any way !" A hurrah from the gunner 
and his comrades cheers me, as I gallop off; but, in spite 
of this manifestation, I cannot repress the reflection that 
this poor fellow is fighting with a halter about his neck; 
that he was morally right in desiring to escape a conflict 
so hopeless as ours threatens to be, and fraught with 
such peril to himself personally. 

But I have not yet done with my artillery-men. An 
hour afterwards, a gunner comes to me, as I ride near, 
with a report that his piece will be unserviceable. An 
important implement has been lost; a '^rimmer,'* used to 
increase the calibre or bore, of shells, by making its cir- 
cumference larger, when necessary, so that a different 
fuse can be inserted. The man affects to explain that 
the burning of his shells cannot be graduated, because of 
the loss of this simple instrument. It is desirable tp get 
a range upon the opposite shore, to cover a battery which 
the rebels are bringing into position near the Boouff. 

''Do you tell me, that our defence must stop, because 
you have lost a thing like that, sir ?'* 

You see. Colonel! we can't *' 

I see that all you need is a common augur, or some- 
thing of the kind, to make that bore larger! Is there no 
snch tool in camp ?" 

"We could n't find any, sir!" 

I get indignant at the apparent stupidity or indifference 
of the fellow. Seizing a musket near me, I wrench away 
the bayonet, and, by a smart blow, break off its glittering 
point. A tri-edged, augur-sort of instrument remains, 
which I hand to the gunner, ordering him to test its 



<c 

« 



162 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

utility as a "rimmer." It ia inserted in the fnse bore, 
and perforates the substance that forms the shells* rim 
without difficulty. A "rimmer'' is provided, and our 
gun rendered serviceable once more. 

But I mentally doubt whether the gunners will be as 
''serviceable" as their pieces, if such slight difficulties 
as this last one can be made the foundation of despon- 
dency. It becomes rather problematical to me whether, 
with my thirty-geven files in the rifle-pits, and my grumb- 
ling artillerists out of it, I can depend on a very resolute 
defence of this '* Castle Dangerous'* of ours. 

But evening approaches, and other affairs require at- 
tention. The rifle-pits are made ; shallow trenches, with 
a heap of earth in front, scarcely waist high. Our flanks 
are barricaded with old wagons, lumber, and the abattis 
of orange trees. We have cleared a large space of the 
growing grain in front of our lines, so as to get range for 
musket-fire. I now order the demolition of some sheds 
in the range of our artillery, and cause fire to be set to 
other buildings, which may serve to shelter an advance 
of rebels during the night. 

Our last piece of fire-works is to be the sugar-house oa 
the opposite bayou shore. But, before applying our 
torch to this structure, I have a word with "Billyh' and 
the engineers, concerning their locomotives. 

The rebels have secured several trains of cars at Bra- 
shear City, but no engines. The two in our possession 
would be invaluable prizes to them ; by aid of which they 
might transport their forces and supplies upon the road, 
as they advance on New Orleans. These locomotives 
must not fall into their hands, in a serviceable condition ; 
and both conductor and engineers assure me that they 
can be destroyed. " It is only necessary,'' says one, " to 
burn out the fire-chest. It will take them a month to 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 163 

repair them." Another says, "There's a single pin 
which I can remove, and which cannot be replaced. 
That will prevent the use of the engine.*' I have an 
idea, myself, that the best way to place the locomotives 
hors du combat will be to run them into one another, and 
then blow them up with gun-powder. But I am satisfied 
to leave the plan of destruction to our " experts." They 
only await orders for the work, and these I give them. 

Dusk approaches, and I direct that the iron and planks 
of the bayou bridge shall be removed. The work is com- 
menced, and in a short time a section of rails and several 
cross-trees are torn up and flung into the BoDuff. The 
passage of the bridge by cavalry is thus effectually pre- 
cluded. 

I now call a trio of my ''Ironsides** youths, and dis- 
patch them to the sugar-house on incendiary business. 
They cross the bayou in a skiff, and shortly thereafter I 
get ocular evidence of their work. A. cloud of light 
smoke appears, which gradually darkens, and increases to 
dense volumes. I hear exclamations running through 
the camp, as our soldiers discover the vapor and pres- 
ently catch sight of flames. '* The sugar-house is gone 
up !'* ** Good bye to Uncle Sam's commissaries I" An 
officer comes to me, and asks if the burning is accidental, 
and I assure him that it is not. 

About this time, the Connecticut company, under Cap- 
tun Hopkins, stationed at Bayou Kamos, arrives in my 
lines, having fallen back, after a brief skirmish with the 
enemy. Oeneral Tom Green is at Bayou Kamos, but as 
Captain Hopkins fired the bridge before leaving, the 
rebel advance will be somewhat retarded. They may 
attack us during the night, however, or at daybreak, to- 
morrow ; and it behooves us to be on the qui vive. I 



164 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

proceed, therefore, to post sentinels and pickets, and send 
scouts toward Bayou Ramos. 

There are hundreds of able-bodied negroes in the camp, 
with their families ; a multitude of women and children — 
refugees from the plantations on both sides of Bayou 
Boeuff. In making a stand, the blacks can be serviceable ; 
so I muster a few scores, distribute muskets and ammu- 
nition to them, and get them speedily in line and under 
drill. Several enlisted men, of the " Corps d'Afrique,** 
have come in among the fugitives from Brashear, and £ 
select a few of these to act as sergeants. 

This nocturnal drill presents a singular spectacle. I 
have the negroes before me in two ranks, and exercise 
them in the manual of arms. They are awkward, but 
eager to learn, and appear to be of good soldier-stuff. I 
do not find my officers entering cordially into the scheme 
of arming and drilling negroes ; and for this reason I do 
not commit them to it. I give the black recruits my 
personal attention, taking the responsibility of conse- 
quences. The drill proceeds noiselessly, orders being 
given with " bated breath.'* It is dusk evening, and very 
calm. The sky is somewhat overcast, but we have a lurid 
illumination from the sugar-house and other buildings on 
fire. The Boeuff casts back a ruddy reflection of flame, 
and bright flashes of light quiver on neighboring orange- 
groves, and make the surrounding fields, and our camp, 
with its watchful soldiers, distinctly visible Drill con- 
cluded, I detail a few of my black volunteers for picket 
service, and despatch them to the outskirts of camp and 
verge of surrounding timber, with instructions to lie con- 
cealed, keeping strict watch, and should the enemy ap- 
proach, to bring me a report at once, without alarming 
the Camp. 

As evening wears on, the blaze of our burning sugar- 



DEPABTUENT OF THE OULF. 165 

house augments in breadth and farj. The dry buildings, 
the immense piles of tents, with their supports, the quan- 
tities of clothing, the trunks, and a mass of other com- 
bustibles, combine to furnish fuel for the devouring flame. 
A roar like low thunder unflertones the crackling of burn- 
ing wood, the explosions of powder, the reports of guns 
and pistols incessantly discharged by the heat. This 
conflagration is, indeed, a grand and costly piece of Fed- 
eral fire-works. Better, howeyer, that the elements re- 
gain their constituents, than that rebel hordes find an- 
other commissarial/ 

Toward nine o'clock, "Billy," the conductor, his rail- 
road employees, and several citizen refugees, send a 
committee, to ask permission to make their escape fjrom 
the camp. These men are convinced that all defence 
must be abortive, and, as many of them are individually 
obnoxious to the rebels, they are prudently apprehensive 
of personal peril should they be captured with the rest. 

That tall planter, Mr. S , who has been "running*' 

several government plantations near the Boeuff, during 
the last year, and who has solved the question of free 
labor value very efiectually, is one of the refugees here. 
fie has already begged to be enrolled as a private in one 
of our companies, so that he may thus escape scrutiny, 
and obtain parole as a soldier But his coUossal propor- 
tions would render it difficult to conceal his identity, 
should there be neighboring secessionists about ; so Mr. 
S. unites with "Billy" and the rest, in requesting leave 
to attempt their escape. I readily grant the permission, 
as these non-combatants can be of no use to us ; and soon 
after, furnished with a written pass, and stowing them- 
selves in a capacious boat, which they have procured, 
these men, to the number of seventeen, set quietly out, ' 
through darkness, to descend the Bcouff. 



166 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Night darkens, with the fading of flames around ns. 
The discharges of loaded fire-arms in the sugar-house be- 
come less frequent, and at length cease. Silence, utter 
and oppressive, falls over camp. I walk out to the rifle- 
pits ; linger a moment among prostrate forms of sleep- 
ing soldiers ; peer out through the gloom, across the 
bayou and toward the sombre woods hemming us on the 
Brashear side; then return, and sit before my tent, ab. 
sorbed in reflections upon our desperate situation. At 
last, weary but yet wakeful, I lie down, to court a brief 
repose. 

Very brief, indeed, are my slumbers ; for at midnight 
Captain Coe rushes into my tent. '* Colonel ! the rebels 
are reported in the woods!" 

Housed abruptly, I catch but the import of these words ; 
and, springing from my pallet, with a single exclamation, 
'* Up !" I hasten to our rifle-pits, and get the men speed- 
ily at their stations. The enemy are reported to have 
advanced from Bayou Ramos, and to be in force at our 
front. They may make an assault at any moment. Dur- 
ing two hours we remain in suspense, our infantry resting 
on their arms, in the rifle-pits, our batteries double- 
shotted and ready to open upon a foe. Long after this, I 
learn that it was proposed to Oeneral Green to attack us 
at this hour. Had the rebels attempted it, they would 
have found us prepared for them, and, though they might 
have overwhelmed us by force of numbers, the success 
would have cost them dear. 

put we were not to be molested, and after remaining 
in line till two o'clock in the morning, I directed the men 
to lie down near the pits and sleep again. I resumed 
my own vigils in front of the tent, where I was presently 
addressed by Captain Hopkins, the brave officer who had 
been compelled to retreat from Bayou Bamos. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 167 

''Ooloneir* said tb» Captain, "I would like to speak 
to you for a moment, if you will excuse me.*' 

" Certainly! I shall be glad to listen to you, Captain.*' 

'* It is the opinion of most of our officers and men, sir, 
that this post cannot be defended without great sacrifice 
of life, and resistance can be made only for a short time. 
Would you object to calling the officers together, and 
hearing their opinions upon the subject ?'' 

" Of course not, Captain ! I will call a council of the 
officers, if they desire it.*' 

** I assure you, sir, that they wish it." 

" Very well, Captain ! I leave the matter to yourself. 
You may notify our officers to report at my quarters !'* 

Captain Hopkins departs on his errand, and in a few 
minutes the commissioned officers present themselyes at 
my tent. We retire from observation and hearing of 
the men, to a flank of our barricades, and proceed to dis- 
cuss "the situation." I state to them, frankly, my view of 
the difficulties which environ us, and declare that I hold 
myself ready to be governed by the opinion of the coun- 
cil. After other remarks, I submit the question, as to 
whether we shall negotiate or fight, to all present, begin- 
ning, as in courts-martial, with the youngest in rank. 

Lieut. Peck, of the Twenty-Third Connecticut Volun- 
teers, is our junior. He says he will do as his seniors 
decide, fight or not. All the remaining officers declare 
for negotiation, considering a defence to be uselcis; and 
resistance only calculated to involve a wi^te of life. My 
judgment endorses the correctness of this unanimous 
verdict, although I repine at the necessity which con- 
strains it. It is decided that, if the enemy attack us 
during the darkness, we shall resist, but that at morning 
we will consider terms of surrender. This course of 
action agreed upon, a flag of truce is given in charge of 
Lieut. Kirby, to display from our post at sunrise. 



168 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

The conncil disperses, and I throw myself npon a stool 
before my quarters. Now, for the first time, do I feel a 
reaction of my energies. Yesterday, I was from day- 
break to dusk in the saddle, or occupied in labor, swal- 
lowing scarcely a morsel of nourishment, When aroused, 
at midnight, by the report of a rebel advance, my nervous 
strength remained intact. But, since the decision of our 
council of war, I feel every symptom of exhaustion. 
My faculties are no longer alert, my mind has lost its 
composure, and my limbs are feeble. The tension of 
responsibility, which braced my system, is now relaxed, 
and I feel like casting myself upon the ground to sleep 
or to weep like a child. 

But the die is cast. We have agreed to negotiate, and 
negotiation can end only in surrender. A tumult of 
conflicting emotions disturbs me, as I look up to the 
American flag, which still waves from its staff, over our 
camp. I almost pray that the rebels may suddenly dash 
upon us, that we may be spared the bitterness of lowering 
those beloved colors. I yearn to the "Old Flag,'* this 
hour, as to a mother whom I may see no more. Gh>d 
bless the emblem of our '* Liberty and Union — one and 
inseparable P' Its freedom cannot be restricted by our 
captivity; its giant power will not be impaired by the 
loss of pygmies such as we are. It will again lead the 
march of victorious armies, over these bayous. It will 
flame like a meteor on the skirts of flying foes. Perhaps, 
it may follow us, a messenger of enfranchisement, to the 
gates of the prison-house to which we must render our- 
selves. Qt)d bless the Old Flag! whatsoever fate shall 
be ours, who no longer can hope to defend it successfully. 
God grant that we shall, some time, behold it again, 
waving over a Restored Union and a Free Bepublio! 



PEPABTMENT 07 THE QULF. 169 



CHAPTER XVII. 

OAPTIVITT. 

As the dark, slow night-hours wane gradually, I think 
of the thousand unhappy negroes, men, women, and 
children, who have sought refuge in this camp. Hard is 
their fate, to be returned to slavery, after having tasted 
freedom. The condition and prospective fate of these 
people embitters for me the pain of surrender. 

More then once, I find myself inclined to make a des- 
perate stand, arming blacks and whites, to live or die 
together. But reflection tells me that the attempt can 
only end in a massacre of the negroes, perhaps, of ^my 
own comrades ; and the responsibility of such a result 
must rest on me, if, reversing the council's decision, I 
command a conflict which can have no result beyond the 
sacrifice of life. 

But there is one duty I owe to faithful men. My 
servants must not be left to rebel mercies. John, my 
valet, came with me from home. Oeorge and Toussaint 
are both attached and zealous followers. I resolve to 
give them a chance to escape ; so, calling them to my tent, 
I briefly explain matters. Oeorge, sanguine Creole, is 
sure he can get through the rebels. Toussaint, brave 
fellow ! hangs his lip. He would like to have a blow at 
his old oppressors. But, they are all agreed to make 
the efibrt to escape capture ; and I give each of them a 
revolver, with good store of ammunition. To John I 
intrust a message for my wife. Then, wringing the hands 



170 TWENTY MONTHS IN THS 

of my sable henchmen, and feeling more then one tear 
drop upon my wrist, I bid them "Good speed,'* and 
watch their dusky figures disappearing among surround- 
ing shadows. ^ 

The approach of day-break finds me still seated in 
front of my tent, absorbed in sombre reflections. But 
there are precautions yet to be taken. Our poor blacks 
must not be found by the enemy with arms in their 
hands, as it might jeopardize their lives, in yiew of Jeff. 
Davis's recent proclamation, declaring oar negro corps 
and its officers outlawed from military consideration. I 
order the recall of our ''contraband*' picket:^, and a 
muster of their armed comrades. Bringing them into 
line, they are directed to stack arms, and are then dis- 
missed to their quarters. I adopt this quiet method of 
disarming the brave fellows, lest they may endanger their 
own safety and that of my white soldiers by any rash 
desire to defend themselves. I dismiss likewise SQveral 
negroes who were placed last night as a guard over 
supposed spies brought into camp. 

The sergeant, whom I dispatched on Monday night, as 
a courier to our lines at Lafourche Crossing, has returned, 
without effecting his object. He reports the roads 
beyond and about Tigerville completely blocked by 
rebels, to the number of several thousand mounted men, 
who are advancing on Bayou Boeuff. Day now dawns, 
and shortly afterwards, I am notified that a flag of truoe 
from General Taylor at Brashear, has appeared, and that 
the bearer wishes to see the commander of this post. 
Galling Lieut. Kirby to accompany me, I mount a hand- 
car, and proceed about a quarter-mile on the railroad, to 
meet the rebel messenger. We encounter a young man, 
armed with a rifle, who announces himself to be an officer, 
and demands the surrender of what he terms ** the fort/' 



DEPABTICENT OF THE OULF. 171 

ScmtiniziDg the youth's somewhat dirty and dilapidated 
appearance, as he stands between a brace of apparent 
subordinates, not more tattered than himself, I ask whose 
authority he represents. 

'*! represent General Taylor, sir!'' he replies loftily. 

" What is your rank, sir ?*' 

'* I am an officer, under Oeneral Green's command, sir ! 
I am Captain McNally, sir !" 

"But you have nothing about you to distinguish your 
rahk, sir. How am I to know that you are an officer?" 

** My honor, sir !" exclaims the young rebel, with a 
melo-dramatic slap of his breast with the right hand, 
while the left brings his gun to an emphatic order. 

" Well, Captain, I suppose I must take your word for 
it ! And now, as you represent General Taylor, let me 
ask what terms he proposes to us. I will remark, that I 
have no desire to sacrifice life in a defence of this post, 
but, nevertheless, we can give you a good fight here, if 
we choose to resist." 

"It will be useless, sir!" responds the young rebel. 
"General Green is determined to reduce this fort, no 
matter what it may cost. He is resolved to bring his 
whole force against you, sir, and if you resist, it will only 
be the worse for you !'* 

"That may be. Captain! But what terms are you 
authorized to offer?" 

"General Taylor orders me to demand an unconditional 
surrender, sir!" 

*^What do you mean by that? Are we not to have the 
usual conditions allowed to prisoners of war, sir ?" 

''Your men will be allowed to keep their knapsacks, 
and your officers their private property." 

"Well, Captain! I shall return to my officers, and 



172 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

state to them Oeneral Taylor^s proposition. If they 
agree to accept, I will notify you !" 

**I give you ten minutes, sir, to decide." 

**It is not time enough!^' 

"Well, sir! it*s all I can give! K you send no an- 
swer within that time', we shall open fire !'' 

"Very well, sir! Let that be understood! And, on 
our part, sir, if we do not accept your terms, you will see 
yonder white flag come down, and our Union flag go up 
in its place. Good morning, Captain!" 

Thus leaving this assumptions young rebel, after sub- 
stantially, if not literally, the foregoing colloquy, I roll 
back on the hand-car to camp, and call my officers to- 
gether. There is a general demur to the summary and 
insolent demands of General Taylor's shabby messenger. 

"Very well, gentlemen I'* I say to them. " Say but 
the word, and our flag of truce shall give place to a bat- 
tle-flag." 

But here Lieut. Kirby, of my own regiment, interposes. 
" Colonel I" he remarks, " The men are dispirited, since 
they saw our flag of truce up, and they won't fight'* 

" Well,^' remarks Captain Sanford, of the Connecticut 
regiment. "Let us take our time, and if the rebels 
choose to open fire, we can return it.** Other officers 
express themselves similarly ; and the result is, that we 
discuss the subject, not ten minutes only, but a half-hour, 
at least, without hearing any more from the enemy. But 
there are no more cheering auspices for us this morning 
than there were at our nocturnal council ; and the. finale 
of this last conference is a decision to accept General 
Taylor's terms, of protection to the private efiects of offi- 
cers and men. This finally settled, I appoint Captain 
Coe and Lieut. Kirby to meet Captain McNally again, and 
then repair, heart-sick, to my quarters. 



BEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 173 

But scarcely has the hand-car rattled off, with our en- 
Yoys, than another flag of trace is displayed on the oppo- 
site shore of Bayou Boeuff. Col. Major presents himself 
at the dismantled bridge, and snmmons us to surrender, 
in the name of General Mouton. A short parley ensue s» 
succeeded by the entry to our lines of the cavalry colonel 
and his staff, who cross oyer our broken bridge planks. 
Mounting " Black Eoman,^' I proceed to the railroad, in 
season to see rebels coming in upon us from all sides. 

061. Major is a fine-looking officer, with the manners 
of a gentleman. He accosts me courteously, with an ob- 
servation about the fortune of war, and expresses regret 
that he had not arrived in time to receive our capitula- 
tion, for General Mouton instead of General Taylor. He 
promises, however, that the terms made shall be strictly 
respected, and remarks that we have done well to avert 
a conflict. 

** You had no chance at all !'* says Major. ** I supposed 
you had at least a thousand men, with ground well in- 
trenched and fortified. But I intended to cross, above, 
and charge down the bayou bank on your flank, with 
twelve hundred !" 

*' We should have given you a reception from those 
double-shotted guns,'' I said. 

" If we attacked your front, you might have given us 
something to do; but your few men never could have 
stood a charge on the -flank here. What were you burning 
last night, Colonel !*' • 

I pointed to the ruins of the sugar-house, yet smoul- 
dering and smoking, and replied : ** An old store depot !*' j 

** We thought it was the railroad bridge,^' said Col. 
Major. '^ It would have been the worse for you, if you 
had destroyed it. General Mouton wants all this roadt 
for aa advance on New Orleans." 



174 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

"You think yon will get there this time, Colonel ?*• 

"We shall be in New Orleans by Saturday night, sir. 
Nothing can stop us. We've driven your troops below 
Lafourche, and shall follow them to Algiers.'' 

Col. Major was not frank enough to tell me how he had 
been repulsed, with all his force, at Lafourche Grossing, 
on Sunday night; but he added, to his last words, the ad- 
mission that our "Yankees" at Lafourche had made a 
stout fight. 

"We shall meet in New Orleans, Colonel!*' said 
Major, with a laugh, as he turned away to inspect our 
camp. 

" Shall I be permitted to retain a horse, for transpor- 
tation. Colonel 1" I inquire* 

" Certainly," answers the Confederate officer, without 
hesitation. " Have you other horses here, that you will 
lend to my orderlies for the present ? We cannot cross 
our own over the bridge.** 

" I will order a servant to saddle my other two horses," 
I respond, quite satisfied, as well as surprised, with the 
good-nature of our captors thus far. At this juncture, 
my quartermaster, Lieut. Kimball, comes up, to prefer a 
request. " I have a wagon of private stores and other 
property," he says, addressing the Confederate chief — 
" Will it be respected, like the rest? A few bottles of 
wine, some cigars, and the like." 

Our worthy quartermaster is very deaf. I hint this to 
Col. Major, whereupon' that afifable enemy takes the trou- 
^ ble to raise his voice, in consoling assurance to Lieut 
'Kimball that his "small stores,'* being " private effects,*' 
will be sacred from seizure. I begin to suspect that our 
new friends are a trifle too generous in promises ; but 
the quartermaster, much elated, gets out a box of superb 
Havanas, and commences a liberal distribution thereofl 



DIPABTMEKT OF THE GULF. 175 

Col. Major delicately declines to receiye the luxury, 
pleading that he is no smoker; but subsequently con- 
sents to pocket a couple of bundles for his friends. 
Lieut. Kimball then proceeds to supply every interesting 
rebel, who has a grey cap, or a bit of gilt braid about 
him ; and not a few of our own boys come in for a treat in 
the difficulty of distinguishing recipients. So opens 
our intercourse with Texans, of whom we conceive quite 
a favorable first impression. 

But we are destined, I apprehend, to discover a re- 
verse to this pleasant morning picture. Presently en- 
countering my young vis-a-vis of the hand-car negotiation, 
Captain McNally, I inquire to whom I shall deliver the 
sword which still swings by my saddle. The rebel offi- 
cer makes a courteous salute, and says, " Please to wear 
it, for the present. Colonel ! You can resign it to Gen- 
eral Taylor I'* 

At this moment, another Confederate officer advances, 
and demands my sword ; adding, superciliously, to the 
young Texan captain. " You need not trouble yourself 
with authority, sir! I am commander here V* 

This important gentleman, who wears a distinguishing 
quantity of gold braid about his grey suit, is Lieut.-Col. 
Phillips, a cavalry officer. I respond to his demand for 
my sword, by unhooking it from the belt which confines 
it to my side. 

** I believe the belt goes with the sabre, sir !" remarks 
the chivalrous rebel; whereupon, unclasping belt and 
shoulder-piece, I hand over both. Lieat.-Ool. Phillips 
eoolly adjusts them to his elegant waist, and I take the 
opportunity to ride away from him. I have the satisfac- 
tion, long afterwards, of learning that he gets himself 
killed by t Yankee sergeant, at Donaldsonville, a few 
days subsequent to my capture^ and that my sabre re* 



176 TWENTI 1I0HTH8 IN THE 

verts to loyal possession, being awarded to the brmve fel- 
low who shoots its temporary custodian. 

KetamiDg to my tent, I find that it has been entered 
and ransacked by some of the rebels who are prowling 
abont camp. My watch, gauntlets, and other articles, 
have disappeared. I look after my Inggage brought from 
Brashear City, and find that one box, containing books, 
correspondence, and papers generally, has been broken 
open, and its contents scattered over the ground* I se- 
cure a trunk of clothing, and a few other personal effects, 
aud get it, together witb a trunk belonging to Ool. Nott, 
placed on a mule-cart that holds our officers' bag^ 
gage. This accomplished, I remove the saddles from 
" Black Roman*' and another of my horses which a rebel 
has hitched near by. These saddles, one of them quite 
costly, immediately attract the admiration of our Texan 
rifle rangers. Several cluster about my tent, eager to 
''trade** for the articles. " Colonel,'' says one of them, 
confidentially. '* Yer bettej^ sell me that ar* saddle ! VU 
give yer a right smart trade for U P* 

I reply, that Col. Major has promised that I shall 
keep one of my horses, for transportation, and I will need 
a saddle with it ; that I cannot just now say which I may 
keep, but will let them have one or the other at Brashear 
City." 

" Now, Colonel,** says the rebel, " Yer better let us 
boys have the saddles. Officers gets everything, and 
thar*s no show for us. Yer better trust us than Uiem. 
1*11 give a hundred dollars for one o* them hides !*' 

I decline immediate traffic, but tell the " boys" they 
may look in again, after I see Col. Major. They retire, 
casting longing looks back at the saddles. I am now 
summoned by a sergeant to go out to Col. Major. I find 
him in company with one of the late engineers or firemen 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GTJLF. 177 

on the railroad, who, as I afterwards learn, has been 
accused of destroying the locomotives. Col. Major is in 
a towering rage, and accosts me in a high tone. ** Do 
you know who ruined those engines, sir? They have 
been made useless, sir !'* 

I perceive that the subject is a delicate one; and 
reply diplomatically — *' I suppose that must have been 
done by order, Colonel!*' 

"Did you order it done, sir?*' 

"I ordered the engines to be run off the track, sir!** 

''It is an unwarrantable military offence, sir, to destroy 
transportation, when the poet could not be held. It is 
against all rules of war. I would hang the man that 
destroyed those engines, sir!'* 

Here, turning upon the railroad man, who — ^brave fellow 
that he was — did not seem to blench at Major's menace — 
" If you don't put those engines in order, I'll hang you 
as sure as there's a heaven! Will you do it?" 

"I don*t know th&t it can be done, sir!" replies the 
engineer, looking our exasperated rebel full in the face. 

"1*11 make you know, sir. Here, take this man offl" 
cries Major, to a guard. "It he don't put those engines 
in repair, hang him!" 

The man is led away. I do not recall his name, if I 
ever knew it; but he is evidently a bold fellow, and a 
true one ; for, if he had been craven, he would probably 
have sought to 'exculpate himself by casting the responsi- 
bility of the order on me. I am convinced that CoL 
Major feels this, likewise; for the rebel officer well 
knows that the engines could not have been destroyed 
without my priority, as commandant. I get proof of this 
fact very soon; for the Texan colonel presently returns 
to me, and, with manifestly-strained politeness, expresses 
his chagrin that I must give up all = my horses. " An 



178 TWENTY HOKTHSIN THE 

order hi^s come from General Taylor, to that effect/' be 
explains. '* Your General Banks or Bowen has ordered, 
all registered rebels to leave New Orleans, and has 
restricted even delicate ladies to fifty pounds of baggage. 
In retaliation for this outrage, General Taylor orders 
that Yankee officers shall Jiave no privileges allowed 
them." 

"This is hard, Colonel Major,'' 1 reply. "I have 
lately been ill; and can hardly stand a march on foot 
for any distance !'* 

"I know it's hard, sir! I belonged to the old army, 
and we were accustomed to do things in better shape ; 
but I cannot order anything here, against the General's 
will! If those engines had not been ruined. Colonel,, 
we might give you transportation on tlje railroad, you 
know." 

In spite of Col. Major's assumed courtesy, I could 
detect latent malice in his last observation. I was to be 
promptly punished for the loss of those locomotives to 
the rebels. I mentally pray that it may be found impos- 
sible to repair the damage. 

" If I must give up the horses, may I retain my sad- 
dles, Colonel ? They are private property^ purchased by 
myself." 

"I regret to say, the order is peremptory to take sad- 
dles also," answers Major. "I am very sorry. Colonel!" 

I bow, and Col. Major turns away, laughing, perhaps, 
at this "retaliation," which leaves me the prospect of a 
long tramp, in what direction I know not. Bitterly do I 
regret, now, the confidence that I had placed in r^ebel 
assurances. I have seen opportunities of escape during 
all the morning, which I now wish heartily I had im- 
proved. Once over the Boeuff, I might have profited by 
my knowledge of the country, and of several plaoes of 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 179 

shelter, to elude pursuit for some days, and, possibly^ 
make my way to Lafourche or to the coast, at Grand 
CaiUou. But it is now too late. Hardly do I regain 
my tent, before a guard oomes for my saddles — thereby 
dissipating all hopes of the ** trade" promised by rebel 
rifle-men. I perceive, likewise, that a guard is. posted 
at the rear of my tent, near the rifle-pits ; an obvious hint 
that I am under surveillance. 

To-day I have only tasted a cup of coffee and a hard- 
eracker. My lips are parched and skin dry and hot. It 
is evident that fever threatens me. During the forenoon 
no intimation of what is to be done with officers or men 
has been given. It is nearly two o'clock in the after- 
noon, when I get a hint that we are all to report at Bra- 
shear City. Pending an order to march, the prisoners 
are collected in a field, at the other side of the railroad, 
and obliged to remain there without refreshments, and 
exposed to the fierce sun, for several hours. 

I see no more of Confederate colonels. About sunset 
we receive orders to get in column of march. We walk 
about four abreast, the officers in front. On either side 
ride cavalry, to the number of four score or more, armed 
with rifles, Enfield muskets, and pistols. The captain in 
command is an earnest, resolute-looking man, and con- 
trols his motley riders efficiently. After a few miles of 
process, Ihe fatigue of , marching affects my enfeebled 
system sensibly, but I continue to keep up with my com. 
iftdes, till we get to Bayou Ramos. The bridge at this 
place, burned by Captain Hopkins, is passed, with diffi- 
culty, on its string-pieces. A Confederate steamer lies 
at the levee, filled with rebels. General Green has fixed 
lus quarters in a capacious dwelling-house on the Bra- 
shear side of this bridge. We get sight of the old Texan 
campi^gner ; a tall, plain, furmer-like personage, in home* 



180 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

spun, with no insignia of rank. We are halted here, 
while our rebel captain accepts an invitation to sup 
Most of us are hungry, but nothiDg is offered to eat ; and, 
we content ourselves with a rest upon the damp roadside, 
while a drunken trooper rides out from a neighboring 
oamp, swearing horrible oaths, and threatening " Tanks'* 
with all imaginable vengeance in future. This fellow, 
however, is solitary in his denunciation, and, failing to 
provoke a quarrel, finally rides off; while one of our 
Texan lieutenants remarks, apologetically, '* That ar' cuss 
is a coward, 1*11 swar* — ^as well as a drunkard. Nobody 
but a coward would insult prisoners !*' This assuring 
verdict is endorsed by several of our rough guards, and 
we begin to have a better opinion of them. 

When the order to resume our march is given, I find 
myself staggering as I attempt to walk, and, after proceed- 
ing a mile, am forced to fall out of line to the roadside. 
The captain of cavalry orders one of his men to dismount, 
and I take his place in the saddle, though so weak as 
scarcely to be able to keep my seat. The fever is gain- 
ing upon me ; my sensea wander. So confused become ^ 
my faculties, that I ask the guard to give me a switeh, 
while a handsome riding- whip, that I have been carrying, 
falls unnoticed from my hand. Dr. Hershey, a surgeon of 
U. S. Volunteers, who escaped from Brashear City only 
to be captured below, gives me a large dose of quinine, 
which spmewhat revives my strength; and thereafter, 
elinging to my pony's mane with nerveless hands, I man- 
age to ride slowly in the line, till we reach Brashear. 

We are delayed at the depot an hour, and Dr. Henley 
plies me with more quinine. Then, getting orders to 
march two miles further, to Fort Buchanan, I essay to 
walk with the rest. Arrived at our hospital, a moment's 
halt 18 made, and I take the opportunity to inquire. 



D15PABTMENT GT THB GULF. 181 

througb the gloom, if Dr. Willets is there. A fiimiliar 
voice responds, and I am presently greeted by the valiant 
surgeon himself, who informs me that Col. Nott, Lieut. 
Stevenson, and others of our regiment, are in the build- 
ing. I accompany him up stairs, and the Confederate 
surgeon, remarking my nearly-disabled condition, invites 
me to remain at the hospital. But I am not permitted to 
accept this humane offer. Our Texan captain outside has 
orders to deliver his prisoners to Fort Buchanan, and he 
is a literal constructionist of all superior orders. Go I 
must, he -says, to the fort, if I am to be carried bodily. 
The considerate rebel surgeon offers to procure an ambu- 
lance or carriage, but the captain is in a hurry ; he must 
return this night, to Bayou Boeuff ; so I climb once more 
on a pony, and thus finish the march to Fort Buchanan. 

It is nearly midnight when we arrive and are deliv- 
ered into custody of another commander. Our cavalry 
captain rides away, with his troop, and we are ordered to 
make ourselves as contented as may be possible on the 
bare ground. Dr. Hershey notifies the post-surgeon of 
my illness, and I am visited by the rebel doctor, who 
kindly shares with me his bed, my blankets having been 
left upon the baggage cart. Our couch has no canopy 
save heaven ; but the surgeon furnishes me with a cover, 
and administers an opiate, whioh ere long stupifies me 
into slumber. 



182 TWENTY MONTHS IN THS 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

▲ MARCH TO BHB.EVEPORT. 

I AWAKE in a high fever, my senses wandering to an 
extent that renders me almost oblivious of past and 
present. I see figures moving about me, without caring 
to distinguish them. Toward noon I begin to recall 
events, but an acute headach bewilders me still. I me- 
chanically swallow a dose of quinine tendered me by a 
Confederate surgeon. One of our captured officers enters 
the tent, and hands me a pocket-revolver, with a request 
to preserve it, if I can, as he is about to be marched away. 
I afterwards discover this pistol on my pillow, where it 
is seen, likewise, by my rebel doctor, to whom I deliver 
it« I faintly recollect that I murmur a few incoherent 
words of thanks to this surgeon, for his attention to me, 
and that I give him a bundle of cigars. Nearly all the 
day is a blank, save my gratefvil consciousness of kindness 
at the hands of a sergeant of the Indiana Volunteers, 
who brings me a bowl of tea and some toast. Next 
morning, I am less feverish. I hear that rank and file 
are paroled, but that our officers will be sent to the 
interior. The surgeon decides that I am too ill to under- 
go the hardship of a march, and must remain at the 
hospital. To the hospital, I am conveyed, toward eve- 
ning, in an open cart, which passes through our old camp. 
I get a glimpse at my own tent, 'with several articles of 
furniture strown about it. 

Arriving at the hospital, sick and sad, I meet CoL Nott, 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP. 183 

onr two surgeons, and Lieuts. Stevenson and Sherman. 
Lieut. Stevenson is wounded in the foot, a bullet having 
passed through heel and ankle. He is the gallant officer 
who made that last stand at Brashear, defending a field 
piece. Col. Nott is in excellent spirits, and jocosely noti- 
fies me that no long faoes are allowed in the mess. Besides 
our officers, there are two citizen-prisoners quartered in the 
room where I now find a cot. The surgeon of our regi- 
ment, Pr. Willets, and his assistant, Dr. Throop, not being 
held as prisoners, mess with their medical brothers, the 
Confederate doctors, and assist in consuming the choice 
*' sutler'* stores that were captured with this post. 

Here commences the routine of hospital prison-life. 
There are seven of us in this apartment, our beds occu- 
pying the greater portion of floor. Two negro-women 
wait on us, bringing our meals twice daily; meat, rice, 
bread, coffee, and soups — well cooked. No one molests 
ns, and we have the range of the hospital, visiting our 
wounded boys in other wards. A balcony, in front of our 
two doors, looks upon the street and Berwick Bay. We 
bave light, air, and good food, and are altogether as 
comfortable as could be expected. Col. Nott and myself 
reclaim our trunks. I have lost my blankets, wolf skin, 
and many other articles, but console myself in the pos- 
session of necessary clothing. 

We remain at Brashear till the Fourth of July. Mean- 
time, our enlisted men receive their parole, and are 
marched in the direction of our lines. Our captured 
officers depart, under a rebel guard, on the day suc- 
ceeding my own transfer to the hospital. Several come 
to take leave of us. Their destination is supposed to be 
Texas. General Taylor has ordered that only such bag- 
gage shall be allowed them as they can carry on their 
persons, together with their blankets. The stipulation 



184 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

of "protection for private property," is thus adroitly 
eyaded, and our officers are obliged to abandon every- 
thing they cannot themselves carry. After journeying 
with knapsacks and packs about twenty miles, they get 
some relief; the lieutenant in charge contriving to im- 
press an old lumber-wagon, with a couple of wretched 
mules; thus securing transportation for such extra weight 
as the more provident captives may have been able to 
stagger under thus far. MarcJiing progresses at the 
rate of from fifteen to twenty miles each day; the pri- 
soners walking between files of mounted guards. The 
roads are heavy with dust, the sun scorching; and thus, 
weary and faint, those Yankees plod through their hard, 
dusty journeys, and sink at night to sleep in their gar- 
ments, loaded with dirt and saturated with perspiration. 
No opportunities occur for washing of clothes, and scarcely 
for ablution of person, so that, before reaching New 
Iberia, they find themselves in a pitiable condition. 
There they are delivered to Lieut. Fuller, of the Con- 
federate army, who is a bitter hater of "Yankees.^' 
Under control of this officer they are marched all day 
without rations. Indeed, the chances of getting adequate 
food grow quite precarious. Detailed men are sent in 
advance of the "coffie,^* to obtain and cook com meal 
into "pones.'* A prisoner's ration, distributed at the 
evening halt, consists of a junk of bread four inches 
square, and a slice of bacon an inch thick. To secure 
his share, a man must be alert; and woe to the wight 
who, weary or sick, neglects to attend the distribution! 
He must go supperless, or beg from some reluctant 
comrade. It is a spectacle alike curious and humiliating, 
to behold our half-famished " Yankees" rush about the 
"commissary," at his order: "Prisoners, fall iirfor your 
rations!*' True it is, that no other than prison-life can 



D15PABTME19T OF THE GULF. 185 

disclose so frightfallj the selfish nature of man. Such 
crowding, pushing, and cursing of one another; such 
swinish struggles for precedency in a throng of hungry 
men ; are never, it is to be hoped, encountered outside of 
prison-gangs. 

The diurnal march begins at seven o'clock, A. M., 
continuing till noon; and, after a halt during the "heated 
term,'' it is resumed at four o'clock, P. M., and protracted 
till tho "cooking place" is reached. Often, when en« 
camping at meridian, on the grounds of some "secesh" 
planter, our ''Yankees'' are forbidden to approach the 
shelter of a tree, and sometimes denied access to a tank 
^ water. Occasionally, they are regaled with a gratuitous 
concert of songs by rebel ladies, and must listen, with 
the best grace they can summon, to the "Southern 
Avenger," ** Bonny Blue Flag" and similar affecting 
ditties. While in the yard of a rich planter, on the 
Teche, a bevy of fair traitresses requested songs from 
our officers and One of the dear creatures expressed 
particular anxiety to hear a celebrated "National air," 
the name of which she could not recollect. She was 
certain that it was neither our " Star Spangled Banner," 
"Hail Columbia," "Red, White, and Blue," nor any other 
patriotic effusion, which the gallant officers mentioned ; 
and at length a wag of our party, Lieut. Page, suggested 
to the southern maiden that the "National air" she 
wtoted might be *'01d Bob Ridley." The intelligent 
damsel joyfully exclaimed that it was; and "Old Bob 
Ridley," being loudly called for, was presently given with 
miction, to the evident satisfaction of an appreciative 
southern audience. 

•But other interludes, differing from these roadside 
voluntaries by rebel ladies, were met by our officers on 

\vt weary march. Once they witnessed that "peculiar'* 



186 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

tropical sport, the hunt of a runaway negro, and saw th6 
"game" hrought down by bloodhounds, that, with gory 
jaws, and venting fierce yelps, leaped around and snap- 
ped at their naked victim. 

Below Alexandria, our prisoners suffered much from 
thirst; the Teche water, rank with vegetable slime, 
seeming to aggravate rather than diminish the demand for 
drink. Once, when nearly sinking from fatigue, they 
were halted near the mansion of a planter on the bayoa ; 
but the " lady'^ of the house refused all access to her 
water-tank, exclaiming — " There's the bayou — good 
enough for any (here the gracious female used a word 
profane) Yankee to drink!" This woman claimed to be of 
an '* upper class ;" but had Mungo Park, the traveler, 
encountered her, he would, doubtless, have rated her far 
below those Africans of her sex whose native hospitality 
he extols so highly. 

The Fourth of July passed by our prisoners was a 
gloomy and wet one ; but when the march was over, and 
they reached the shelter of an old negro hut, the brave 
boys did not forget to give three rousing cheers in cele- 
bration of our national birth-day. The rebel guard could 
claim no share in such patriotic rejoicing. They turned 
away from those loyal captives, and, with customary 
southern taste, sought out the more attractive company 
of ladies in the negro quarters. 

The arrival of our '* Yankees" at Alexandria called out 
the population of that city, some to denounce, others 
to laugh at, and a few, perhaps, to pity the way? worn pri- 
soners. At this point, Lieut.-Col. Clark, Confederate 
provost-marshal, assumed direction, and permitted our 
officers and citizens to remain exposed, under a fierce 
sun, without food or water, during the entire afternoon, 
while groups of delighted young ladies — ^inoluding tM^ 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 18T 

daughters of General Dick Taylor — amused themselves 
with a survey of the '* dirty Yankees,^' from a balcony at 
Head Quarters* 

Late in the evening, the exhausted prisoners were 
marched to the upper loft of a building ; an apartment 
seventy feet long by fifteen wide ; and there, to the num- 
ber of nearly two hundred, they were confined till morning. 
Besides our captured Federal officers, there had been 
brought from Brashear City about one hundred railroad 
laborers and a few other stragglers. These men were 
held as *' citizen-prisoners,*' in retaliation, as was claimed, 
for the detention as hostages of southern citizens residing 
on the Teohe, who had been arrested by General Banks, 
in his advance through the Attakapas country. A com- 
mon belief among the '* secesh** seemed to be, that these 
poor fellows were "Northern planters," employed by 
Banks to work abandoned sugar estates ; and it was almost 
diverting to witness rebel bitterness as displayed in their 
comments on the miserable fortunes of such ''vandal 
speculators.'* 

On the morning after their arrival at Alexandria, the 
half-famished prisoners were served with food, and per- 
mitted, under a strong guard, to wash themselves in the 
river. Keturning to their quarters, they learned from 
rebel deserters (one hundred and fifty of whom were 
confined in a room below) that our forces under General 
Grant had taken Yicksburg. It was a morsel of news 
worth glorification; and o^ar "Yankees" testified their 
joy over it by making their prison-house ring with Union 
salvos. This brought down maledictions on them from the 
rebel commandant, and at noon they were abruptly or^ 
dered to get ready for a journey up to Shreveport. 
Thereafter, having been marched through various streets. 



188 twent; kgsthe m the 

** a show to all the populace," they were driven on board 
a boat, and found themselyes ascending Red River. 

The passage to Shreveport was accompanied with daily 
and nightly suffering. One hundred and seventy-eight 
persons were crowded into a small flat-boat, with scarcely 
room to lie, or even stand, without a portion being thrust 
against engine and boiler. The heat became suffocating ; 
the stench was stifling. A rebel officer, named Lieut. 
Dean, of the " Crescent Guards,** was now in command, 
and showed himself a cold-hearted tyrant over helpless 
prisoners. Rations had been cooked in advance for the 
voyage. They consisted mainly of corn-bread, destitute 
of salt, and were placed in two piles of ** pones" afb of the 
boiler. The boat had been last used for the transporta- 
tion of beeves and mules. The accumulated filth on its 
deck was supposed to have been removed, when a shift- 
less negro had seemed to shovel it off. But no fastidious 
imagination was necessary to discover what had preceded 
the corn-bread upon that deck. The passage from Alex- 
andria to Shreveport occupied five days, but the '* ra- 
tions" became disgusting before half the distance was 
accomplished. The stench from them grew intolerable. 
Our men sickened with fevers. Even the strongest 
turned from 'their filthy food in disgust. It was no relief 
to drink the warm, red, river water. That only aug- 
mented thirst, and induced nausea and dysentery. 

Both officers and men, thus suffering, grew reckless of 
danger. One night, a rebel, claiming to be an adjutant 
general of Oeneral Steward-ra Prussian, and Lord somor 
body — presented himself on board, and began a series of 
deliberate insults. The outrage was borne till "forbear- 
ance ceased to be a virtue," and then, suddenly, one of 
our brave boys ordered the poltroon to leave the boat, and 
so resolutely did our " Yankees" second this command. 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 189 

that the Confederate retreated precipitately. Had he 
delayed a moment, our officers would have flung him bo- 
dily into Ked River. 

Our prisoners arrived at Shreveport on the day that a 
rebel legislature was commenced. As usual, crowds of 
citizens gathered to gaze at the " Northern planters.'' A 
litde boy, brought by his father to see the spectacle, 
innocently inquired, '*if they were members of the 
Legislature ?" 

Assigned quarters in an old building in Texas street, 
the " Yankees'' found themselves as badly situated as 
ihey had been at Alexandria. Their food, it is true, was 
better and more abundant, but the place of their abode 
was a place of torment. The yard of their prison-build- 
ing, enclosed by a high wall, was one vast sink, full of 
abominations. The air which invaded their windows was 
loaded with noisome and poisonous exhalations. Every 
breeze from the south brought deathly effluvium into the 
crowded apartment, where one hundred and seventy men 
were forced to mingle their food, their drink, and the 
breath of their nostrils, in an atmosphere already charged 
with noxious gases. At night the vapors became dense, 
impeding respiration and banishing sleep. 

Shreveport was the headquarters of Lieut.-General Ev 
Kirby Smith. The rebel general's offices were located 
in the upper part of a small brick building, the lower 
story of which was devoted to those southern institutions 
a faro-bank and a liquor bar. 

The routine of prison existence at Shreveport was 
dreary indeed. But in a few weeks, our Federal officers 
were notified that they were to be sent to Tyler, in Texas. 
On the morning of their departure, the " Northern plant- 
ers" were separated from them, as, likewise, were two of 
their fellow officers, Captain Allen and Lieut. Page, both 



190 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

of the Corps d^Afrique^ who, after an examination, were 
placed in ohains, and, as was then reported, " reserved 
for execution." The parting from these apparently- 
doomed men was a painful one, as there appeared little 
hope on either side of another meeting. 

The march from Shreveport, under guard of " Richard- 
son's Texas Rangers," made our " Yankees'' slill better 
acquainted with the " tender mercies*^ of traitors ; for 
their new custodians let slip no opportunity of exhibiting 
their malignant hatred of Americans. Arrived at their 
destination, and confined in an ancient courthouse, the 
effects of hardships and ill-usage soon became apparent 
in a general prostration. Olosely packed, as before, and 
denied exercise, the majority became feeble and hopeless, 
and many were ready to succumb to fatal disease. But, 
fortunately for their lives, thjey were at this juncture, on 
the 27th of August, removed to Camp Ford, four miles 
from Tyler ; where, in the open air, and with daily oppor- 
tunities of movement and ablution, they speedily gained 
in health and spirits. Leaving them thus situated, let us 
return to Brashear hospital, where, with my fellow-pri- 
soners, I am waiting an expected order to follow our oom- 
rades toward Texas. 



JOPABTMEMT OF THE OXTLV. 191 



CHAPTER XIX. 

▲ BAYOU AMBUSCADE. 

Dat at Brasliear hospital begins, by each of us, except 
Lieut. Stevenson, making ablution in our common wash- 
bowl on the balcony. Breakfast discussed, the smokers 
indulge in cigars, and those who have books read them. 
Acquaintances call on Stratton and Parse, citizen prison- 
ers. The former of these was lessee or agent of a plan- 
tation, the latter a hotel-keepier. Stratton has a wife, who 
brings him occasional luxuries, and is endeavoring to 
procure his liberation. 

I visit our wounded soldiers in other wards. Some 
are badly hurt. The poor lad Newlan was shot throng 
head and body, and his arm is fractured. He bears up 
nobly, and, clasping my hands, whispers — ^*'Tell my 
eaptain that I tried to do my duty.*' 

"You have done it well, my brave boy!" I respond; 
and the gallant youth sinks back, with a smile on his 
pallid lips. 

Sergeant Doming, in another ward, is more oomforta- 
ble, and in good spirits. Both he and Newlan were 
wounded, while defending'the gun, with Lieut. Stevenson. 
hi another room lies an interesting young man, belonging 
to the Connecticut regiment. He is of slight frame, and 
has features delicate as a girl*s« Quiet and gentle, he 
lies reading his bible ; or occasionally talks of his home 
and 'his mother. But the signet of death is on the 



192 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

beautifal forehead of this poor boy. He will neyer see 
his mother's cottage in New Hayen again. 

One of our attendants is the wife of my servant George; 
a fat, good-humored damsel, who gets a mosquito-net for 
me, and thereafter forages successfully for a tin wash- 
basin. She is claimed, as a "fugitive" by some planter 
on the Teche. Some of these captured "contrabands" 
appear to take their fate philosophically, while others 
bewail At bitterly. A free negro old man, who came out 
from New York, as steward of the William Woodbury, 
the transport which brought me to New Orleans, is now 
detained as a hospital servant. We hear that many 
blacks were murdered by the rebels during their littaok 
on Brashear City. 

The town bears marks of thorough sacking. Rebel 
steam-boats are constantly conveying plunder away. 
Trains of captured negroes, mules, and horses, are 
daily crossed to Berwick, thence to be convoyed to 
upper Lousiana and Texas. The rebels claim to have 
gained sixteen hundred prisoners, and three million 
dollars' worth of quartermaster and commissary stores, by 
their raid, thus far. They boast, likewise, of capturing 
twenty-three flags« Our ** Ironsides'* regiment has lost 
a stand of costly colors, which I had sent, previous to 
my going to the Boeuff, to Col. Nott's quarters, for safe 
keeping; a precaution that I now regret; for if I had 
taken them with me, the enemy should never have cap- 
tured them. I would have buried or burned them first; 
but Col. Nott yielded them to rebel possession, in the 
somewhat fastidious belief that, as our regiment had not 
been able to defend its colors, the enemy were entitled 
to demand them. I should not, I confess, have been so 
scrupulous ; for, in point of fact, our regiment was not 
responsible for the loss of its flags ; the greater portion of 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 193 

onr braye rank and file being at Lafourche Crossing, 
when Biashear City succumbed to surprise. 

Our surgeon, Dr. Willetts, makes himself actiyelf 
useful, in attending both foes and friends, who need hi^ 
skillful services. His zeal and discretion render hita\ 
quite a favorite with professional "confreres" of ''secesh" 
persuasion. Our assistant Surgeon Throop is paroled, 
and proceeds to the Federal lines, in order to settle the 
question of stattis regarding captured medical men, who 
claim to be "non-combatants,'' and, as such, entitled to 
their immediate liberation. 

On the third day of July, wo lire notified by Dr. 
Hughes, post-surgeon, to get ready for a move on the 
morrow. Mrs. S , haying failed to effect the libera- 
tion of her husband, volunteers and receives permission 
to accompany him. Our arrangements for transportation 
being finished, we celebrate the "glorious Fourth,** by 
embarking on a river steamer for our journey inland. I 
provide myself with a present supply of " Confederate 
money,** for which I pay cent, per otfnt. in Federal cur- 
rency, and then, after bidding farewell to our wounded 
and paroled who remain^ proceed, with my fellow- 
prisoners, to the point of embarkation. Confederate Dr. 
Hughes shakes hands, gives me a parting "grip,** donates a 
full flask of our quartermaster's "Bourbon,** and then 
introduces me to a "jolly flat-boat** sort of skipper, who 
repeats the "grip** aforesaid, can espressume, as your 
music-teacher might say. Finally, after sundry delays 
and difficulties, we get ourselves embarked — with Lieut. 
Stevenson comfortably bestowed on a saloon settee— and 
before sunset steam away from Brashear City, and up 
through the Atchafalaya. Stratton and wife are allowed 
a 8tate*room, and treated to coffee and a luncheon; and 



\ 



194 TWENTY MONTHS IN THX 

presently the boat-captain, approaching us mysterionslj, 
beckons me to a comer of the cabin. 

''Colonel,*' he whispers, *'IVe got just one state-room 
left, and IVe kept that for youP\ — ^Thereupon, opening a 
door, he disoloses a couple of spacious berths, with white 
oounterpanes and musquito-nets. I thank the rebel 
skipper heartily, and return his courtesy, in a like *' fra- 
ternal spirit," by tendering a draught of my "Bourbon;'^ 
whereof, I must add, he shows excellent appreciation. 
Then, after exchanging intelligent glances, and a few 
words of friendly chat, we part for the night; our skipper 
to his steering-house and myself to tender a share (^ the 
'* state-room*' to one of my captured comrades. Gol. 
Nott is already ensconced near the couch of our wounded 
officer, Stevenson ; so Lieut Sherman secures the extra 
berth and musquito-bar; and we are thus made com- 
fortable for another night, at least. 

The Atchafalaya, bordered by green woodlands, with 
glimpses, over intervening marsh-land, of lakes and forests 
that extend behind Brashear City, cannot fail to recall 
an earlier incident of this year's campaigning — ^the 
fight of our guD-boat Diana. In this narrow channel, the 
beleaguered steamer sustained a fj&tal conflict, till forced 
to strike her flag to the enemy. 

^ It was in the latter days of March, 1863, before the 
first advance of General Banks through the Attakapas, 
that a little fleet of gun-boats steamed in Berwick Bay 
and its contiguous waters, under Commodore McKean 
Buchanan. There were the Diana, Kinsman, andEstrella, 
the flag-ship Calhoun, and, if I remember well, the 
Sachem. Brashear City had been captured by this 
armament during Butler^s closing days, and about the 
middle of January our gun-boats met two rebel steamers, 
called the Cotton and Hunt, and chased them up the 



DBPABTMENT OP THE GULF, 195 

Tecbe. A daily sea-engagement, thereafter, with a dog- 
ged inarching forward of our infantry on land, resulted 
in a blowing up of the Confederate steamer Cotton, at a 
heayy price for us — the death of poor Buchanan. He 
was shot in the moment of victory, and left his name to 
that fort which was afterwards finished on the Brashear 
shore. Our troops fell back, the rebels followed, and 
regained their ground; and so the month of February 
passed ; we occupying one shore of the beautiful Berwick 
Bay and the Confederate forces freely ranging on the 
other. In March we drew back to the Bayou Boeuff, a 
channel penetrating from the bay to lakes and water- 
sheets which intersected the marshes in rear of Brashear 
City. Our outpost forces still remained at Fort Bu- 
chanan; and, about the twenty-seyenth of March, one 
gun-boat, the Diana, was dispatched upon a sugar specu- 
lation. I doubt if this fact be recorded in official reports, 
but it is certain that our stout little gun-boat, with her 
two thirty-two pound broadside guns, her Parrot and her 
Dahlgreen brass-pieces, and her crew of ninety, officers 
and men, steamed up, one pleasant morning, to the 
widow Oochrane's sugar-house, on the Atchafalaya, with 
two capacious barges towed behind her, and a document 
in somebody's hands, which purported to be a bill-of-sale 
for all the widow's sugar. Whether there was playing 
at cross-purposes or not has never come to light, but our 
good *inadame made a great outcry about her sugar, and 
declared the bill-of'Sale a fraudulent one. Meantime, 
Captain Peterson remarked that rebel scouts were swarm- 
ing round our pickets, stationed on the lady's grounds. 
Sharp skirmishing succeeded, and it soon became ap- 
parent that Confederate plotting lurked behind this 
sugar ipeculation. Some twenty hogsheads had been 
rolled on one of the barges, when our gun-boat captain 



196 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

« 

prudently resolved to wash his hands of the a£fair. The 
sugars were re-lai^ded, all hands piped on board, and the 
Plana steamed for Brashear City. Widow Cochrane 
saved her saccharine wealth from "Yankee vandals,*' 
and our gun-boat sheered off just in season to escape a 
well-concocted ambuscade. 

The bill-of-sale, a bait flung out to greedy quarter- 
masters through 'the rebel spies who lurked within our 
lines, had failed to compass the Diana's capture for that 
day, at least ; but the Confederates confidently counted on 
another visit of the gun-boat to secure the sugap which 
had nearly been her prize. So reckoned Colonel Gray, 
the rebel officer in command, and he prepared his am- 
buscade. Some hundreds of selected riflemen were sent 
down to lie in wait below the widow Cochrane's pre- 
mises; the Valverde Battery, of five brass pieces, took 
position to deliver a raking fire across the bayou. Ca- 
valry detachments, under Major Eoon, a Texan Banger, 
waited under cover of the woods that fringed the water. 
Every favorable point was made a cover for some squad 
of sharpshooters, supporting six-pound howitzers. Thus 
snugly ambushed, the Confederate trappers waited for 
their game. 

Meantime, unconscious of this scheming. Gen. Weitzel, 
as our fate would have it, sent an order from his head 
quarters at Bayou Boeuff, to make an armed reconnois- 
sance of Grand Lake. The despatch was conveyed by 
one of Weitzel's aids. Lieutenant Allen, who was also 
charged to bring back a report of the reconnoissance. 
The Diana was detailed, and detachments of infantry were 
send aboard of her, as eharpshooters. Young Allen was 
a gallant officer. I dined* in company with him, in our 
camp, the day before he started on this fatal expedition. 
Captain Jewett and Lieutenant Eirby, of the 160th 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 19T 

New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Buckley and Lieute- 
nant Laurie, of the Twelfth Conneoticut infantry, and as 
braye a complement of officers and crew as ever manned 
a gun-boat, accompanied Lieut. Allen. 

Grand Lake, as we know, is an expanse of water at the 
north and rear of Brashear City. With Flat Lake, Lake 
Pelourde and ather aqueous sheets, it bears the general 
name of Ghetimaches Lake. Into these water-beds the 
Atchafalaya, flowing from Bed Eiver, disembogues its 
tide, and out of them debouches, to form Berwick Bay, 
and lose it volume in another lower bay, to which it 
gives its name. Fort Buchanan's guns, at Brashear City, 
commanded the mouths of both the Atchafalaya and the 
Teche, which thereabove unite ; and near their junction 
is the town of Pattersonville. A swampy island, bisecting 
its waters, shapes two channels for the Atchafalaya — one 
through Grand Lake, and the other curving by the shore 
of Pattersonville, so that a steamer may sail up into 
Grand Lake on the Brashear side, and, passing round 
the island, may return by a channel on the Berwick side. 
The Diana started on her reconnoissance, with Fort Buch- 
anan thus upon her right. She ' steamed through all the 
navigable waters back of Brashear City, saw no sign of 
rebels in their swampy range, and might as safely have 
retraced her course without encountering enemies. The 
ambuscade prepared by Colonel Gray was on the other 
channel. There the rebel gangs had lain in wait all night, 
expecting the Diana to revisit widow Cochrane^s sugar- 
house. In the morning they beheld our gun-boat steam- 
ing up, but, to their chagrin, she was headed for the f 
Grand Lake channel. Peering from their skulking-places 
all along the shore, from Pattersonville far down toward 
Berwick City, they could look across the woody island, 
and discern our steAner^s smoke as she moved hither and 



198 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

thither, reconnoitering the lakes. Hoar af]«r hour they 
watched, wondering what occupied the Yankee gun-boat, 
and venting divers maledictions on her crew, until at 
length, as the day wore, they gave up every hope of get- 
ting her within their toils. 

But Destiny was -spinning her own web of mischance 
for the Americans. Our gun-boat had accomplished her 
reconnoissance ; her head was turned toward Brashear; 
when, in an evil moment, some one said : 

** Supposing we go round by Patterson ville, and give 
the rebs a shell or two: " 

'''And stop at widow Cochrane's, *' added some one» 
laughingly. 

The proposition was relished, it is probable; by all; 
for this monotonous duty of exploring niuddy bayous 
had been wearisome enough. There were several hours 
of sun yet left, and they might give the enemy a "big 
scare " meantime. So Captain Peterson and Lieutenant 
Allen laid their heads together for a consultation, and 
the upshot was that they ventured to take the other chan- 
nel. Discretion might demand that, having finished the 
duties of their trip, they should report without delay ; but 
an adventure, with some dash of danger, tempted them, 
and so they turned the boat toward Pattersonville. 

Merrily whirled the wheels, and our Diana dashed 
out of Grand Lake, and into the upper Atchafalaya, with 
flags flying, and guns all shotted, ready for the rebels. 
To run past Pattersonville and through the Teche mouth, 
bid good day to widow Cochrane, and, perhaps, have a 
? flying skirmish with rebels and "bag** a few — these were 
incitements to freshen one's spirits ; and so our gallant 
gun-boat was headed for a rebel ambuscade, and our brave 
sailors and soldiers rushed, unknowingly, into the toils 



DBPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 199' 

which an adherence to their simple duty would haye ren« 
dered harmless. 

Meantime, the oyerjoyed Confederates followed, witJi 
their eyes, the coarse of the Diana. They watched her 
progress from the lake, her turn into the Teche, and her 
swift descent toward Berwick. Their cavalry could not 
restrain themselves, but dashed along iha shore. Then 
a blue puff of smoke rose from our gun-boat's deck, a loud, 
metallic bark shivered the air, and half-a-dozen rebels in 
a group were stretched out, dying, on ^eir dying horses. 
The survivors fled into the timber. A shell now curved 
in a sharp arc, and dropped amid the woods; a point- 
blank shot crashed through the thickets. No response 
was made from the rebel rifles. The Diana was allowed 
to come within short range before a shot was fired at her. 
Then, from long lines of hidden marksmen, and from all 
the brass artillery pieces, shot and balls were poured 
upon our doomed Americans, in an unbroken shower. The 
rebel cavalry, dismounting, crouched behind trees and 
bushes on the bayou bank, discharging their revolvers as 
fast as they could load them. No human force jnight 
stand up under such a hail of lead and iron as beat upon 
the Diana's decks from every quarter. Her cannoneers 
were driven from their pieces in the casemates; they 
seareely fired a dozen times. Her infantry were power- 
less, exposed in mass to raking fires. They gave the 
rebels a few volleys^ and then sought sheker between 
deokSk 

Now the exultant rebels grew frantic. Their yells 
and. shouts mingled with the clap of howiliers and the 
oraek of rifles and revolvers. The gun-boafs tiller ropes 
were shot away from both wheels. Hie etgineers stood 
by their engines^ working the boat by veibal orders, in 
de£Milt of steering apparattuk One noisent her head 



200 TWEKTY HOirrHS IN THE 

was pushed to starboard, the next to larboard, to avoid 
encountering a bank. The channel was narrow, and rapid 
headway was impossible. Forward, the machinery was 
covered by defences ; abaft, no part could be protected. 
The positions of Confederate batteries and sharp-shooters 
were changing constantly, to keep their sweep of the 
Diana. " There was no moment,'* said a rebel witness 
of the scene, '' that a galling fire of six-pounders and 
Hinie rifles was not poured into that boat." While one 
section of artillery* sought some new position, in advance, 
another section hurled its shells and round shot without 
pause. Rebel rifles swept the decks of living combat- 
ants, while rebel howitzers crippled the craft. 

Caption 'Peterson beheld his men driven from their 
guns, and rallied them repeatedly. The gallant fellows 
followed him to their posts, but only to be shot down 
mercilessly. The fight had lasted thirty minutes when 
the captain fell, struck by a round shot in the breast, and 
died instantlv. Lieutenant Dolliver shared the fate of 
Captain Peterson. Lieutenant Allen was shot down 
soon after. Two infantry lieutenants sank beneath their 
wounds. Captain Jewett was stricken next. Lieutenant 
Hall commanded till he fell. Dead and dying strewed 
the decks. A plunging shot, penetrating double case- 
mating, crashed through the pilot house, and Enfield bul- 
lets perforated the iron sheathing. A fireman had one 
leg cut smoothly off ; a boatswain's mate received a shot 
which tore the bones of both his legs completely out. 
McNally, one of the engineers, was killed by a fragment 
which came crushing through the engine-room from a 
shell that hai exploded in the wheel-house. These 
strange freaks of violence were noted amid clouds of 
scalding steam that filled the space below, to which all 
living men wer# fleeing for shelter. 



\ 



DBPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 801 

So the fight went on, for nearly three hoars, our de* 
voted gun-boat making two miles down the crooked bayou* 
Three officers directed successively — Lieut. Harry West- 
ern the last ; and, during half the running of that terri- 
ble gauntlet, this gallant young commander strote to 
save his boat, refusing to surrender. When the pilot 
and an engineer had swum ashore, and all the working of 
the engine devolved oni Lieutenant Mars ; when the ez- 
haust-pipe had been severed, and the engine-room was 
choked with vapor — steam at one hundred and twenty 
pounds pressure, and the boat unmanageable ; when, in 
fine, all efforts to escape were plainly futile, then stout 
Harry Western gave the signal of surrender. It was time. 

Rebels on the banks were wild with joy. Our steamer's 
boats had all been riddled, or shot from their davits, and 
the Confederate officers came aboard in sugar-coolers. 
One delirious ranger could not wait for transportation, 
but leaped into the bayou and swam off to the Diana. 
He was a Texan, and pealed out an Indian whoop. Then, 
spying a violin belonging to the chief engineer, Lieute- 
nant Mars, he clutched it, jumped again into the water, 
gained a bank, and, mounting on a caisson, played and 
danced the tune of "Dixie.^^ Then his comrades pad- 
dled out in sugar-coolers, and began to swarm upon our 
gun-boat. 

But, in such a gun-boat as it now ' appeared, no one 
might recognise our trim Diana. The scene, above and 
below, was ruin refined upon. The upper works were 
riddled like a sieve from stem to stem. Every berth 
was cut in splinters. Chairs, tables, knives and forks, 
books, broken glass and china, shattered panels, blood- 
wet beds and pools of gore — and the dead and wounded — 
were everywhere. 

Snob was the Diana's fight — ft desperate and stubborn 






208 TWENTT HORIHB Of THB 

effort to escape from overwhelming force and nnmbers. 
Had the odds heen less unequal, or a chance left for re- 
sistance, those galknt youngsters who survived would 
have come off victorious, or sunk, with their vessel. 
But an ambuscade in Louisiana bi^ous! one mi^t as 
well fight the air as attempt defence against a £9e as im- 
pervious as ubiquitous. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE OULF. 203 



CHAPTER XX. 

FBANKLIN, ON THE TECHB. 

On the fifth of July we awake to discover ourselyes at 
Franklin, on the Teohe. Farting from my friendly steam- 
boat captain, I follow the negro lad who shoulders my 
trunk, and soon find myself, with the other prisoners, at 
a spacious hotel; or what had formerly been one, but 
was now devoted to surgeons, nurses, and sick and 
wounded rebels. Lieut. Stevenson is placed in a lower 
ward of the hospital, and my fellow-officers, with Stratton 
and wife, are conducted to a rear gallery, on the second 
story, overlooking a quadrangular court. Three rooms 
opened from one side of this gallery, and Col. Nott, 
Sherman, and myself were assigned the middle one. Our 
married couple flanked us in one apartment, and the other, 
as we speedily learned, was occupied by two Federal 
surgeons and a Massachusetts officer, captured at Bra- 
shear City. 

Our change of quarters had not been for the worst. 
Here we were comfortable and quiet; though strictly 
guarded, night and day, by half a dozen rebel rangers with 
loaded muskets, who patrolled, by turns, the gallery. 
They were civil fellows, however, bringing us water, and 
accompanying us, with cocked pieces, when we stepped 
beyond the gallery. Their unsophisticated back-woods 
traits were evident, and I amused myself with classifying 
them. One was a gay ''Lothario," Russen, who skir- 
mished continually, on the gallery, with "seoesh" dam- 



i 



204 TWENTY MOKTHS IN THE 

sels; another, "O'Neal/* was a Vidocq in watchfulness. 
If one of us .turned over, in the night, this alert sentry 
would click his gun-trigger at the window. ** Miller," a 
German, was inclined to Unionism, but the corporal, a 
polite youth, was rebel to the spine. 

Our fare, at this hospital, was excellent; coffee being 
brought us at daylight, and a bountiful breakfast served 
by a negro waiter about nine o'clock. Between four and 
five, P. M., an ample dinner was brought up — cloth and 
table being set, and coffee following the meal. A courteous 
young Parisian, attached to some staff, as a lieutenant, 
was very attentive to Col. Nott, whose acquaintance he 
had made ; and sundry bottles of choice Falkirk ale, with 
other dainties, were consequential kindnesses thereof. 
Opportunely, likewise, one day, a present of fresh butter 

arrived from Madame P , the lady whom I had met 

at Dr. R s house, on Berwick Bay, and who was an 

acquaintance of Col. Nott's father-^a captain in the staff 
of General Bowen, in New Orleans. This lady's plan- 
tation was near Franklin, on the Teche. Altogether, our 
fortnight at Franklin — apart from its close confinement — 
was no unpleasant interlude of the prison-drama. 

On the 19th of July, we left this hospital, for a march, 
in charge of Lieut. Duncan, of Speight^s battalion, and 
nine guards. We parted from the two Yankee surgeons, 
who were to be immediately parole, but took with us 
their room-mate, Lieut. Humble, of the Fourth Massa- 
chusetts Infantry. Outside of the hospital, we joined a 
batch of Union prisoners, captured at Brashear Cily and 
on the Lafourtihe bayou. They consisted mainly of 
citizens, but there were three Federal officers, one of 
them a fellow New Yorker, Captain Fred. Van Tine, of 
the 181st New York Volunteers, and the other two 
Lieutenants Basset and Wilson, of the 48th Massachusetts 



DEPABTMENT OF THX GULF. 205 

Infantry. They had been captured near Donaldsonville, 
on the Lafourche, and from them we received the wel* 
come intelligence that both Vicksburg and Port Hudson 
were ours. It was glorious news, to inspire us for the 
march, and enabled us to step out quite manfully. 

Port Hudson surrendered on the 8th day of July, and 
immediately afterwards troops were dispatched down the. 
river, to Donaldsonville, which the rebels, who had 
captured Brashear City and the railroad, were then 
threatening in heavy force. Capt. Van Tine's regiment, 
the 131st New York Infantry, arrived at Donaldsonville, 
on the 12th of July, and on the ^ame day marched, with 
remnants of several regiments, in a brigade of about 
fifteen hundred, to drive the rebels down Bayou La- 
fourche. Skirmishing and desultory fighting commenced 
at once, continuing through the day and night; and on 
the following morning our young captain was sent to the 
front, in a skirmish line of about fiifty men extended a 
half-mile, on one side of the bayou — General Dudley and 
Col. Martin, with another brigade, being on the opposite 
bank. It was while engaged in a brisk skirmish with 
the enemy, at the front, that Captain Van Tine found 
himself suddenly charged by a heavy mass of cavalry, 
which, getting between the feeble and attenuated skirmish 
line and our main, body, drove the latter back to Donald- 
sonville, and swallowed the former up bodily. Our 
captain and his brave boys fell into the hands of rebels 
of a scurvy character, who robbed them of watches, rings, 
and otfier valuables, beat the feebler ones with their 
sabres, and finished by marching the enlisted men within 
a few miles of our lines, where they stripped them of all 
remaining property, administered a hasty parole, and 
left them to find their own way to liberty. • Captain Van 
Tine, and two Massachusetts lieutenants, were conveyed 



JI06 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

to Thibodeaux jail, and thence to Brashear and Franklin, 
whence they joined oar party, for a tramp across the 
prairies. 

Oar " coffle** was a straggling one. The rebel guards 
on horseback rode in front and rear, and our motley gang 
of prisoners tramped the dusty road between. We 
marched fifteen miles that day, and camped about dusk 
at a sugar-house, sleeping in wagon-bodies, which we found 
under the sheds. We had one large wagon, drawn by 
BIX, mules. In this vehicle were carried our baggage and 
rations. It was an ambulance, also, though a rough one, 
for our wounded comrade. Lieutenant Stevenson, a couch 

and six for Mrs. S and an occasional stage for such of 

the prisoners as gave out on the road. Our rations con- 
aisted of flour, coni-meal^ and bacon. Bread was cooked 
for us by negroes, at the halting-places, and our bacon 
toasted at the camp-fires, on a forked stick, gave a savory 
relish to the meaL 

Starting next morning at daybreak, we halted, for din- 
ner, on the banks of the Teohe, where our corn was 
cooked at a planter's house, in the shape of hot '* pones," 
which we sweetened with " syrup.*' Here we met a 
pleasant French physician, who examined Lieut. Steven- 
son's foot, and declared that its condition did not war- 
rant our wounded officer to continue his journey beyond 
New Iberia. Eesuming our travels, I began to take 
note of the "citizen-prisoners." Besides Stratton, the 
"Northern planter," and Faroe, the publican, there was 
an old man, named Holliday, who had been the lessee of 
a plantation near Brashear City, and was one of the most 
garrulous and truculent of veterans, denouncing rebels 
without stint, whenever they were out of ear-shot. He 
showed himself a stout pedestrian, and kept amongour fore- 
most. Clark and Ejiowlton» who had been assistants of 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 207 

Stratton on his government plantation, a young fellow 
named Emerson, accused by the rebels with having twice 
deserted their service ; a couple of old Creoles, charged 
with having favored Federals, a negro who was said to 
have shot a rebel sergeant, and a noisy nondescript, who 
formerly sold newspapers in our Brashear camps — and 
was, doubtless, a spy — with] Haley, a clerk, made up 
our civilian party on the march to New Iberia. There 
had been another prisoner brought with the citizens, to 
Franklin, but he had escaped on the night before our 
departure, by descending a rope from the window. This 
man, named Thomson, had been arrested at his home, on 
the Teche, for having, as was said, displayed a Union 
flag when our troops marched up the bayou. The rebels 
at Franklin expressed much anxiety to recapture and 
hang this '' Lincoln sympathizer." 



208 TWENTY MONTHa IN THE 



CHAPTER XXI. 

PRAIEIE TRAVELING. 

I AM resting in the wagon, after a tramp of ten miles, 
and we are nearly in sight of New Iberia, when, crack! 
bang ! pistols and rifles explode, and the air is suddenly 
thick with clouds of dust. Roaring, shouting, and a 
plunging of mules, confuse our senses, for a moment, and 
in the next we become witness of a general stampede 
among guards and prisoners. A vicious bull has broken 
from a drove of cattle near by, and, careering, madly, down 
the road, carries terror into the ranks of bipeds. Officers 
and citizens ingloriously disperse, tod two or three over- 
vigilant guards, apprehensive of an attempt to escape, 
send bullets flying after the fugitives. From our ram- 
part, the wagon, a few of us enjoy the sport ; but for a 
minute or more, there really seems danger to the foot- 
farers. But the bull is brought to bay, our guards 
resume position, and we soon after enter New Iberia, 
and are halted in front of the Provost Marshal's office. 
Here we become a mark for rebel citizens, home guards, 
and such gentry, who make us aware of their rather 
unamiable disposition toward us, by significant remarks 
about hanging, shooting, and other summary modes of 
dealing with Yankee prisoners. We proceed thence to 
an old saw mill, near the river, where, having cooked our 
rations, we endeavor, in a heavy shower of rain, to get 
ourselves sheltered till morning. Lieut. Stevenson, who 
has suffered severely from his wound, during two days 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 209 

of tedious wagon-jolting, is here remanded to a hospital, 
and will remain, under care, till restored to a better 
condition for journeying. I spread my blankets on some 
boards in the saw-mill, and the rest dispose themselves 
as comfortably as possible, when an abrupt order arrives 
from the provost-marshal, requiring us to move. An 
ass, in the lion-skin of authority, named Brien, notifies 
Lieut. Duncan that no Yankee prisoners will be permitted 
to remain within the town-limits. Our Texan and his 
men are exercised not a little by this order, and visit no 
light maledictions on this Louisianian provost-marshal, as 
well as on Louisianians and provost-marshals generally. 
"If I had a hundred Texans, instead of nine," cries the 
bold lieutenant, "I*d clear out this one-horse town of 
all the mean *Cagians in it!'' But swearing is no help 
for us ; so we load up, in the rain, and, with much grum- 
bling of everybody, get started for another location. 

Our provoked commander is determined to go no 
farther then compelled, this night; and we halt, about a 
quarter of a mile from our first location, at an old sugar- 
house just beyond the "Newtown" precincts. Here, 
unloading once more, in wet and darkness, we bivouac 
under the eaves of sheds, and, after a contest with fleas 
for possession, resign ourselves to the slumber of wea- 
riness. 

At six o'clock, next morning, we have breakfasted, and 
are on the march, with lively remembrances of provost- 
marshal Brien. The day is hot, but we proceed twelve 
miles before halting, when we enjoy, a good meal and 
noontime siesta at a farm-house pleasantly shaded with 
orange-trees. Turning off, then, from the Teche high- 
way, we strike off toward the prairies, and after a tramp 
of seven miles, • reach a roadside house of entertainment, 
called ihe " Texas Hotel,'* lyhere we get an excellent 



210 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

supper, at Li^ut. Duncan's expense, and take shelter 
from a night-squall in beds that, despite the fleas, prove 
decidedly welcome. 

Five o'clock A. M. finds us moving, next day ; crossing* 
Vermillion Bayou at the outset, and pursuing our march 
toward another stream, call d **Queice'tortue'* or *' Turtle- 
tail bayou.*' On this day, I ride a few miles on a pony, 
loaned by one of the guards, and have the luck to discover a 
bunch of onions hanging in a deserted hut on the prairie. 

These guards of ours are good-hearted fellows ; always 
ready to accommodate, and, like their officer, inclined to 
favor us as much as possible. ''Gentlemen,*' remarks 
Lieut. Duncan to the Federal officers — " I shall consider 
you under parole, and place no guard about you« We 
must watch these yer citizens, and if that deserter thar 
tries to run, 1*11 put a ball through him right smart; but 
you all, that are officers, may just consider yourselves 
under parole of honor. That's enough between soldiers, 
gentlemen !" 

So we get on very amicably. Corporal Wiggins, or 
" Corporal X," as his comrades caU him, is our dashing 
cavalier, who makes wild rushes off to right and left, 
visiting houses in the timber. He is a capital rider, like 
all Texans, but I would not back him as a sharp-shooter. 
I think he discharged five barrels of his revolver at a 
chicken, within eight feet, this morning, without any 
effect but a crow of derision from the feathered biped. 
We have another corporal, Handkomer, an honest, 
genial fellow, and his brother, of the same stamp ; " Bill 
Clowes," a ranger, full of "yams,'* who rides a silken- 
hided mare, with the pretty name of " Red-bird ;" 
Caspar, a German, who likes to grumble ; John Weed, in 
green goggles, who keeps a sharp look-out for straggling 
citizens, but is a simple, warm-hearted man ; Weldon and 



I^^IWMHki 



DEPABTMENT 01* THE GULF. 211 

Chapman, young Texans; and a curious nondescript 
naifted Bell-air, whom the rest of them call a " 'Cagian/^ 
and who has acquaintances among all the French Creoles 
on our route. 

I must here explain that a '' *Cagian^' is one of those 
dwellers on prairie or bayou-marge, whom we find com- 
posing a large portion of the population of Lower Lou- 
isiana. Many possess small plantations on lands re- 
claimed from the wilderness, or near a '* timber-island,*' 
or the banks of a stream, which in rainy seasons over- 
flows, and in droughts becomes a bog or shallow. The 
*' 'Cagian^s'* isolated dwelling, '* la cassine,'* often gives 
name to the small water course in its neighborhood ; and' 
he dwells with his family in almost patriarchal simplicity 
and primitive seclusion. Often, in traversing an exten- 
sive prairie, you will find the dwelling of one of these 
planters, encompassed with orange or peach trees, and 
surrounded by ploughed fields ; his wife and black-eyed 
daughters engaged in spinning or lariat-twisting; his 
stout soi)S attending to herds of cattle on the prairie. 
Here the more, thrifty ** 'Cagian" passes his days, con- 
tent with simple comforts, and coveting no luxuries be- 
yond his swift ponies and giant-horned oxen. The poorer 
** *Cagian'* builds his cabin in swamps or pine-barrens, 
and makes a precarious living by fishing or hunting. 
But neither the very comfortable planter, with his brace 
or more of slaves, nor the sallow-cheeked habitant of an 
isolated cabin, has much affinity with nabobs of wealthy 
Louisianian parishes ; those sugar-lords who number their 
human stock as our cattle-breeding " 'Cagian** counts his 
yearlings. The dogmas of " recession*' and " state rights" 
have no charms for these independent denizens of forest 
and prairie, whose ranks have furnished, in other days, 
the Bed Biyer ^voyagtwr'^* the bee-hunter, and the 



212 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

trapper. Therefore, we find these people loth to follow 
rebel-lead, and often in conflict with the military forces 
which striye to drag them from their humble homes as 
conscripts, 

"But what is the " *Cagian?*' and why is he called by 
this name T* I am asked ; and reply, that, to the best of 
my belief, he is the descendant of those original French 
settlers who, under tempting promises of French prime 
ministers, or magnificent scheming of Scotch John Law, 
came out to New World colonies, to die of hardships and 
poverty, and leave a like fortune as heritage for their 
children. The wide-spread French possessions, reaching 
from the St? Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, were once 
knoWn as "Acadie," and their Creole inhabitants de- 
scribed as " Acadiens." An ancient French pronuncia- 
tion is still retained in the corruption, " 'Cagians,** used 
indiscriminately by Texans, to designate the poor Creole 
Louisianians who dwell on prairie and bayou between 
the Sabine and Mississippi. 

Our third morning's march from New Iberia was a hot 
and weary one, and we were glad, indeed, to reach, near 
noon, a prairie " ranche,'^ as the Texans called it, occu- 
pied by a ** *Cagian," who spoke excellent French, and 
informed us that the spot was called " Tasso^s grove." 
The Creole himself, who entertained us hospitably, on 
rich milk, hot bread, and peaches, and accompanied us 
several miles on our way, was an intelligent man, add 
had a picturesque face, which, as if in conformity to the 
name of his residence, resembled much our portraits of 
Torquato Tasso. From this pleasant resting-place, we 
proceeded, after dinner, to a piece of timber known as 
Peach-tree point, where was situated the house, or ** la 
cassine,'* as our " *Cagian** said, of one Miles Wells, for 
whom our Texan commander had a message from some 



DEPABTMENT OF, THE QXTUT. 218 

rebel comrade. Here we replenished our canteens, but, 
finding no corn for the mules, pushed on toward another 
camping-place. * 

Bill Clowes had lent me his •* Red-bird," for a "lift" 
upon the road, and I was jogging on, with the guard, 
when we ' were suddenly drenched by a heavy thunder 
shower. Striking into a gallap, with " Corporal X," we 
speedily made our way to a *' ranche'* which lay to our 
left, on the prairie, and, reaching it, found a deserted 
log-house, quite roomy and dry, with a contiguous cottage, 
likewise vacant, but containing a bed and other furniture. 
I proceeded to select a spot whereon to bivouac, discov* 
ered a shallow feed-trough, which I appropriated as a 
cradle, and therein spread my blankets, under a shed 
that sheltered the porch. Meantime, "Corporal X,*' 
"prospecting" for whatever might be "lying around 
loose," extracted an old wooden saddle-tree out of a dry 
water-cask, and presented it to me, as earnest of future 
" transportation." The wagon, with our supplies, pre- 
sently came up. Stratton and his wife soon mad^ them- 
selves comfortable in a "furnished cottage," and, after a 
light supper, we all bestowed ourselves snugly. 

The next day saw me "mounted." Corporal Hand- 
komer had brought with him from Franklin a fine Ameri- 
can horse, of great size and strength, which had been led, 
thus far, for lack of an extra saddle. But my prize on 
the night previous, in the shape of a wooden tree, of 
Spanish pattern, was speedily turned to account by our 
clever guards, who at once interested themselves in get- 
ting up an *' establishment" for me. " Corporal X" man- 
ufactured a pair of tough stirrups out of a strip of ox- 
hide ; Bill Clowes furnished pack-strings; Handkomer 
supplied blanket and girth ; and in a short time I found 
myself once more of the " equestrian" order. I shall 



SBbi TWKNTV MONTHS IN THE 

not Tenttire to boast of the figure which I cut, after 
olimbing to a perilous altitude on the top of saddle, 
great-coat, and blankets ; let i^ suffice that I realized an 
agreeable change from the weary foot-work, in jack-boots 
of previous days. Gayly enough, I trotted ahead of the 
wagon, that moruing, and pushed or briskly to a roadside 
"inn,** where I ordered breakfast for the party, and 
awaited their coming, like an independent traveler. We 
obtained a fresh and bountiful meal, at this place, paying 
for it the reasonable sum of a dollar per capita in Confed- 
rate currency ; whereafter, ascending once more to mj 
camel*B hump, I continued the journey rejoicingly. 



DBPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 216 



OHAPTEB XXII. 

CBOSSINQ TH£ BIG MAEY. 

1 SHALL never forget my journey over those Louisi- 
mnian prairies that stretch between the Teche country 
and Sabine river on the Texas border. It seems to me 
that I can still behold the long, long miles of sun-burnt 
road extending to a timber island, and the green, cool 
shades on reaching oqc ; the isolated ranches and dis- 
mantled log-huts ; the continuous line of telegraph-posts, 
decaying in their sockets ere a wire was fixed to them ; 
the herds of cattle and wild horses; the short, stunted 
herbage; the low water-courses, dried-up springs, and 
■liry bogs, that in the rainy season swell to freshets — all 
these features of the route are stamped on memory as if 
branded by hot iron. Every foot of arid ground was 
measured by the tread of weary prisoners, marching 
through the parching hours, depressed, home-sick, and 
hopeless. 

I cut a grotesque figure, very likely, when mounted on 
« mammoth horse, the ^loan of my indulgent guard. La 
Hancha's errant knight would have been '* nowhere'* m 
my company, and Ichabod Crane^s dread charger, "Gun- 
powder," was but a mustang-pony to my steed colossal. 
I had my naked saddle-tree bound on the courser^s spine, 
above a blanket, with the piece of lariat. An ancient 
overcoat served for saddle-cloth, and gave my seat a 
level with the horse^s ears. No bridle had I, but a lariat 
noosed around the under lip and jaw of my poor barb 



216 TWENTY MOKTHB KM I'HJS 

r 

kept him in prompt subjection. Stirrups I boasted. 
They were loops of ox-hide, pendent by two cords of 
cotton from the saddle-tree,^ Thus mounted, and "ao* 
coutred as I was," in dusty shirt, blue trousers, and 
jack-boots, with hat slouched over my brows, I might have 
seemed a melodramatic brigand going to execution, or a 
jayhawker led out to be " lynched." 

Lieut. Duncan was always a companionable fellow, 
though ** secesh^* to the backbone ; stern, when he chose 
to be, and ready to draw revolver on a fugitive, but 
oourteojis withal, and genial, in his way. He looked at 
me with curious gaze, when first I met his eye, thus 
mounted and caparisoned. A merry twinkle answered 
my "Good morning.*' "1*11 bet you,*' said he, "that 
your own wife would not know you." 

"Maybe not, lieutenant," I replied, "I wish I were 
at home to try her, however.*' 

"I'd like to send you thar," rejoined the Texan, "and 
write your wife to keep you thar," he added. 

So we jog on gently ; for a trot or gallop would be 
fatifl to my. equilibrium, perched upon this pinnacle of 
horse-flesh. The lieutenant and I make detours on the 
prairie, while our wagon, and the line of prisoners on 
foot, and Texan guard on ponies, keep the half-obliterated 
stage-road. In an hour we find ourselves a mile or two 
behind, my fellow cavalier shooting several prairie-hens 
and other wilderness game. We presently arriye at a 
wide bog. 

'' Big Mary !*' says the lieutenant, who has crossed this 
prairie more than once before. " I swum my horse yer, 
when I travelled this range the last time." 

"What! swum that mud-hole ?" 

"I reckon 50," returned the Texan. "There was right 
smart 0* water yer abouts the day I forded it" 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GUIiF. 217 

This, then, I mentally repeated, is the "Qrand Marie," 
marked on old Louisiana maps as a broad-flowing river. 
I looked around upon the muddy bottom, and could see 
wide hollows, where some shallow pools of water were 
yet lingering. But no trace of a great river-bed was 
visible. 

"You*d hardly believe it,** added the lieutenant; "but 
'twas a heap harder fording this yer Big Mary than Ver- 
million Bayou, that we've passed, or yonder *Monteau 
river. The water out yer riz a right smart freshet in 
the rains. Here we are right on to whar the ford was. 
Thar's a heap o* mud yer. I'll pick out a trail.'* 

So saying, the lieutenant pushed his pony in advance, 
and crossed a sort of causeway, sinking fetlock deep in 
mud. I followed in his track, my heavier animal getting 
almost mired in the first steps. The Texan rained his 
steed on the solid prairie, and looked back upon my 
slipping charger. 

" Try a small piece to the right ! I reckon thar^s a 
better place to cross !" he called to me ; and, following 
his directions, I drew hard upon my horse's under jaw 
with dexter digits. In another moment we were floun- 
dering in the bog, my boot-tops sunk below the mud 
level, and thick, adhesive mire half swallowing steed 
and rider. 

Well it was for the man, that neither lariat girth nor ox- 
hide stirrup failed in tough tenacity. Quite fortunate 
for the horse, that he was strong and resolute, or perhaps 
Big Mary had become a Yankee grave that day. 

The brave lieutenant, who at first waxedr merry over ; 
our deep wallowing, grew presently quite anxious for the 
safety of bis prisoner. 

"Hold on right smart!'* he halloed. "That's a great 
animal under you ! Give him the spur, right smart !'* 



,1 



21& TWENTY KOKTHB HI THB 

But I <M>ald not give him the " spur^" not being pro- 
vidi>d vith those knightly appendages. I dag my heels 
mu> hi» flanks " right smart/' however, and held on with 
bent toes and thigh bones tighter than the Old Man of 
the Sea clung to Sinbad^s shoulders. Meantime, the 
poor beast, strong and gallant as he was, and struggling, 
as he did, most vigorously, was sinking deeper with each 
plunge, and I began to think of " dying in the last ditch,'* 
when, providentially, one giant effort lifted us to firmer 
ground. I felt the horse's forelegs planted, while he 
strained the veins and muscles of his neck, until thej 
looked like ropes. I spoke to him in cheering tones, 
and with a noble leap he rose completely from the bog, 
and we were safe again. I glanced at our condition : 
mired from head to heels ; my jack-boots half drawn off; 
my breeches showing a mud-line nearly to the waist- 
band. I expected momentarily to hear a horselaugh 
from the Texan. But his voice was quick and •arnest 
when it reached me. 

" Look yer I" he shouted. 

I looked as he pointed, and beheld an alligator, huge 
and ugly as any fabled dragon, slowly crawling throu^ 
the mud, a rod or two beyond the spot where I had been 
" bogged." He was a monster, more than twelve feet 
long, with epiderr::.is like an iron-clad gun-boat. He 
stretched his monst2t)us flappers out, and dragged his 
horrible hind legs and vast tail deliberately toward us* 
He evidently was hungry. His great upper or vertebral 
jaw was lifted from the lower one, showing such a cAe- 
: veaux de/rise of tusks as might have erumbled a small 
man easily. 

"Keep quiet!" said the lieutenant. *'I reckon that 
jer alligator would ha' liked a lunoh off your pony. But 
^ i. ' I'll fix Ai» flint sure !" 



DEPABXKENT OF THE GULT. 219 

He leveled a revolver, as he spoke, at the ponderous 
head which was advancing. His arm and hand appeared 
rigid as a bar of iron. Not less steady was the red In- 
dian pony which he bestrode, and which seemed to be 
eyeing the big reptile with a glance as cool as the lieute- 
nant's. Then a flash darted from the pistol, and I heard 
a bullet whizz beside me. It struck the alligator fairly 
in one eye, whic^h jetted out a stream of blood. The 
saurian made a wild plunge forward, and began to lash 
the inud with long sweeps of his tail. 

*' I think that bullet has got into^ his head,*' I remarked. 

"I reckon so,'* rejoined the Texan, with his usual em- 
phasis upon the little adverb. ** Til go another eye on 
him, this yer shot.'* 

He loaded again, and fired. A second crimson gush, 
straight from the other eye, attested the consummate ac- 
curacy of the Texan's aim. I quietly reflected that a 
runaway prisoner might stand • little chance of escaping 
scatheless out of a stern-chase, with this frontier marks- 
man following him. 

Our big alligator soon was quiet. After a few more 
flounderings> and a shot that broke one flapper, he lay 
wallowing, with short, dying gasps, in tlie bloody miro. 

We rode on briskly, to rejoin our wagon. I mentully 
rscalled my recent struggle in the inud, with suclha 
neighbor as the twelve-foot alligator in striking distance. 
Never more am I ambitious of oroMing the ** Big Mary." 



220 TWENTX MONTHS Hi THB 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

ENTERING TEXAS. 

Grossing the Mennonteaa riyer, we encamped on a 
timber elevation, near Indian Bayou. Here wo were 
oyertaken by a Confederate officer, going Home to Texas 
on furlough. He brought news regarding our regiment; 
haying been captured at Thibodeaux, and, as he said, 
paroled, by Major Morgans, of the " Ironsides." Another 
day's march brought us to the Calcasieu riyer, a broad, 
deep-flowiug, and picturesquely-wooded stream, which 
we crossed, upon a horse-boat, at " Clendenning^s. Perry." 
We then entered upon "Piney Woods," losing the line 
of telegraph-posts, which had marked our prairie high- 
way, but finding a shaded and sylvan road for miles 
aloDg the river banks. 

The Calcasieu is navigable for small steamers, one of 
which we saw upon its waters. Twelve miles below the 
ferry which we crossed, is another, at St. Charles Lake. 
At that point several steamers and small sailing-craft 
were captured by adventurous Federals, who penetrated 
the marshy river-mouth in launches. We encamped, this 
night, under pine-trees; after "Corporal X" had made 
prize of a mule, which he "lassoed,'' in true Mexican 
style. Musquitos here were legion, and I mentally 
thanked the fat wife of my servant George, whose good 
nature had provided me with a gauze shield against our 
ubiquitous torment. 

On Sabbath day July 26th, we found ourselves, near 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 221 

noon, at the ''ranche'* of an ex-postmaster, Mr. Escobas, ^^ 
who onoe kept a wilderness store, now closed and empty -y 
of goods. This intelligent Creole possessed a comfortable 
dwelling-house, with several slaves, and was notably 
" secesh" in his proclivities. But I availed myself of his 
permission to boil some "Lincoln coffee," which our 
provident Lieut. Hnmble had purchased from the thrifty 
surgeon of his regiment, before leaving Franklin. An 
ancient negress, at the kitchen-outhouse, prepared a deli- 
cious beverage for us, in her French " biggin ;'* furnishing 
milk and sugar, ad libitum^ and imparting her confidential 
prayers to us that '^Massa Linkum" might sometime 
" clar* out'* the rebels "round yer." Poor old soul! 
with sixty winters of slavery on her back, she endeavored 
to lighten their weight by the never-dying hope of en- 
franchisement. 

Leaving West-Fork Post-office, as it was called, we 
rode a mile or two, halted for a chat with *' old man 
Lyons,'* a Baptist, who dwelt with his family in the next 
ranch, and thereafter sought out a "camping ground," 
under the giant-pine-trees. Having enjoyed a good > 
dinner that day, I made my supper on some dried, 
or *' rassoed," beef, which Mr. Ex-Postmaster Escobas had 
presented to me. 

We were on the road, next morning, before sunrise. 
Passing a Baptist church, secluded in the forest like a 
hermitage; halting at a roadside "tavern," noisy with 
Confederate travelers ; and getting sight of a pine-woods 
school-house of rough logs, full of frightened urchins; 
we reached, about meridian, a small rebel camp, and 
shortly afterwards debouched from the " Piney Woods," 
and found ourselves at Niblett's Bluff. 

Hardly were we fairly disposed, for rest and refresh- 
ment, in an old oamp-ground, where Confederates had 



3S2 * TWSNTT HOm^HS.IK THB 

left traces of their presence, by brash shelters, and in a 
big tree, where they had " hung a nigger," than we- were 
welcomed by a sadden thunder-storm, which, " fierce and 
fast, in ponderous rain, shot down, a sheeted flood." I 
had built a shed, with some pine-boards, and attempted 
to screen myself by crawling under it, upon my rabber- 
blanket. But the shower was too much for pine eaves ; 
and I was glad to follow the rest of our party, who had 
retreated toward the riyer-bank, and taken refuge in a 
dilapidated shanty once used as a '* guard-house." 

Lieut. Duncan had hoped to reach Niblett^s Bluff in 
time for embarkation on a steamer, which, it was under* 
stood, left twice or thrice a week for Beaumont, to con- 
nect with cars that ran to Houston City. But there was 
no boat visible when we arrived, and none to leave for 
forty-eight hours, or more. We proceeded, therefore, to 
make ourselves as comfortable as possible, under the 
circumstances. 

Niblett*s Bluff is a muddy, barren, disconsolate village, 
of a dozen straggling huts and a steamboat landing. It 
is on a bank of the Sabine river, in Louisiana, and has 
served as a sort of poijtt cTappui for Texan expeditions 
toward the Mississippi. Outside' of our guard-house 
shelter, was a platform, where bales of cotton and hogs* 
heads of sugar were ** dumped,*' awaiting transportation ; 
and both guards and prisoners were soon as busy as beee 
collecting sweets from the saccharine deposits. With a 
broken cask of the "best clarified*' at their door, one 
could hardly blame our Yankee boys for "foraging on 
the enemy." 

Morning, at Niblett's Bluff, was inaugurated by a good 
breakfast at the "tavern," at the cost of $1.50 ill Con- 
federate paper. The landlady was a " host*' in herself, 
and consented to let her sable laundress wash clothes for 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 223 

wimeofus, at the rate of $1,00 per dozen. "Yer kin 
pay that ar' price jest as well as yer kin pay a dollar a 
glass for whiskey!" said this reasonable female, and I 
agreed with her. 

I was shocked to see, in an ante-room of the tavern, 
a young yellow girl extended on the filthy floor, sick 
with fever, and apparently dying. Scarcely sixteen years 
old, this unfortunate child had been married to our 
major's servant Albert, while they were with me, at 
Tigerville. She had left her mistress, Madame Turner, 
of Terrebonne, to follow the fortunes of a northern hus- 
band. But Albert, accompanying his master to La- 
fourche, could not protect his bride ; and she became the 
prey of some Texan speculator, who had brought her to 
Niblett*s Bluff. Recognizing the poor girl, I stooped, 
and called her by name. She turned her wandering eyes 
toward the ' voice, and appeared to know -me, but re- 
lapsed immediately into painful apathy. I never saw 
her afterwards. 

About dusk, that evening, the steamer Clotilda arrived 
from Beaumont, and we were ordered aboard of her. 
Spreading our blankets on the deok, we slept comforta- 
bly, and, at. five o^clock, A. M., the following morning, 
found ourselves descending the Sabine. Toward even- 
ing, we reached the Sabine Lake, and came in sight of 
the " Pass," that scene of more than one disaster to our 
Federal forces. While threading the bay-channel^ we 
grounded several times ; and two negroes were con- 
stantly occupied in taking soundings. ** Three and a 
quarter — scant I'* and "five feet — large I*' chanted mo- 
mentarily by our dusky pilots, attested the shallowness 
of this intricate passage. Had our steamer drawn more 
than three feet, she must have struck fast in many places. 

At twilight we reached Beaumont, a small, scattered 



224 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

village, the terminus of a worn-out track called the New 
Orleans and Texas Kailroad. Here we encamped under 
trees ; and, after an excellent supper at the " hotel," for 
which I disbursed $1.50 (Confederate), I slept soundly, 
as usual, and awoke refreshed. 

Rejoicing, moreover, in the good fortune of another 
substantial tavern-meal, I felt prepared for sumptuous 
railway travelling; but my expectations were soon mode- 
rated in considering the choice offered us by the surly 
conductor — either to ride in a negro-car, already half 
filled with blacks of questionable purity and unquestiona- 
ble odor, or to climb the car-roofs, and take our chance of 
holding fast thereon. Good air, and a prospect of " seeing 
the country'* carried the day, of course ; so we mounted 
the car-roofs, where we found, much to our satisfaction, 
that some freight, in the shape of several covered cabrio- 
lets and gigs, had preceded us. I lost no time in 
bestowing myself on the cushioned seat of one of these 
vehicles, and, being nicely sheltered by its silk-lined 
top, came quietly to the conclusion that this was an 
improved mode of outside transportation. 

At Beaumont, there was a general dispersion of our 
guards; all receiving short furloughs, which they were 
to improve by making hasty visits to their homes. In 
parting from some of these kindly foes, I gave them a 
few tokens of remembrance ; to Handkomer my pocket- 
compass; for this quiet but sterling young man had 
acted as my " orderly" more than my guard, on the march. 
Indeed, I acknowledged good offices' at the hands of all ; 
many an early cup of coffee tendered to me, and many a 
cheering word or entertaining "yam," that whiled the 
tedium of the road. Man is man, the world over; and 
these Texans, doubtless, would have proved loyal Union 
men, had their homes been north instead of south of our 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 225 

Potomac lines. Even Lieat. Duncan, who, like officers 
generally, displayed more rebel animus than the privates 
do, was more mistaken, as I conceived, than criminal ; but 
the glamour of state pride and class arrogance prevented 
his intelligence from- comprehending his error. I left 
him the bugle-firontlet of my cap, as a trifling mark of 
my appreciation of his courtesy toward all of us ; and he 
seemed gratified, like a child, with the gift ; remarking 
that it was the first present he had ever received in his 
life. 

Forty miles of slow steaming brought us to Liberty, 
a small town on the railroad. Here we saw the last of 
our guards — " John Weed" — startingi)ff over the prairie, 
toward his " ranch'* in the " timber. " Lieut. Duncan was 
to accompany us to Houston. Another stage of travel 
brought us to the San Jacinto; where we discovered that 
a section of the railroad bridge had been burned, by 
accident, on the previous night, and was impassible. 
Nothing could be done but cross the passengers on foot, 
or by boats, leaving cars and baggage to await repairs, 
which were progressing. The majority of "first-class" 
Texans and their retinues went down the bank, toward a 
ferrying place, but the prisoners mostly, myself among the 
number, essayed to pass the obstacle. Never do I desire 
to attempt another such a feat. The bridge wus a half- 
mile in length, at least, withouti planking, and the cross- 
trees were so far apart as to oblige a wide step over each 
intervening chasm. Encumbered with my heavy knap- 
sack and bundle of blankets, weak in frame and giddy, 
and certain that a mis-step must precipitate me fifty feet 
into the rocky river-bed, I found that crossing of the 
Texan Rubicon almost as perilous as Santa Anna proved 
it. It cost me as much ** balancing" as did my memor- 
able passage over cypress-cones in the swamp of Bayou 



236 TWENTY MOKTHS Dl THS 

Tiger; but, at length, it was happily over, and I threw 
myself— exhausted and grateful — on the other bank of 
terra firma. 

Near this bridge is the old battle-ground, where Sam 
Houston and his little army defeated tiieir Mexican 
invaderi, capturing that wooden-legged hero who had led 
them across the entire breadth of Texas, from the Rio 
Grande, to get himself taken prisoner by the fugitives whom 
he was chasing. The ** league of land," on whidi Houston 
encamped, was owned by an Irish virago, who, deeming 
her soil trespassed on, sent a peremptory order to the 
general, to "move off;" which, it is said, "Old San Ja- 
cinto" declined to*do, till he had whipped the Mexicans. 

Poor Sam! I shall learn soon whether he is really, as 
we have heard, a rebel, like the rest of these erasy 
southern leaders. I dierish my own doubts still; and 
would have almost guaranteed his loyalty at the begin- 
ning of Secession. Little, indeed, did 1 fEincy, on re- 
ceiving a last friendly letter from him, just before the 
war, that I should so soon look upon the field of San 
Jacinto, and under such circumstances as the present 
were. **K ever you come to Texas,** wrote the old hero 
to me — "you will always find my latch-string out!" But 
as a prisoner-of-war, I must be greeted by another kind of 
latch, with the string quite out of my reach, I apprehend. 

Leaving our baggage with the impeded train, and making 
** squatters" of ourselves on flat cars, drawn by another 
locomotive, we accomplished the remainder of qur jour- 
ney — twenty miles— before sunset. Arrived at Houston, 
ve were detained at the railroad depot long enough to 
attract the notice of a violent old woman, who denounced 
us unsparingly. ** Come here, you little dears !'* cried 
this sad termagant ; addressing — ^not us, but — a number 
of little children who were gazing timidly ; " come, «iid 



^ 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 227 

bs^ the murderers of your fathers and brothers I . . . . ! 
if I only had the hanging of ye I ... . Don't get too nigh 
the sarpints, children I They^ll prison ye alll. . . . Come 
away! they'll be hung sartain I — 01 the Yankee murder- 
ers I" And, with her rheumy eyes revolving, and her 
yellow fangs snapping, the wretched beldame backed 
away, with the children, while we shouldered our baggage 
and followed Lieut. Duncan across a bayou-bridge, and ' 
up the main street of Houston, till we reached a block of 
buildings in which was located the provost-marshal's 
office. Here we were left standing on the walk, while 
our custodian reported his prisoners; and here we were 
speedily surrounded by a crowd of inquisitive Texans. 

A bluff, off-hand sort of man addressed me at once, 
asking about our capture, and informing us that he Tfas 
Capt. Conner, of the Texan navy, who had taken a noted 
share in the re-capture of Galveston from our troops some 
six months previously. The bold captain was anxious to 
show hospitality, and proposed to treat our party to 
refreshments at the hotel opposite ; an offer which we 
should all have been willing to accept; but when per- 
mission was asked of Lieut. Duncan, who rejoined us 
with a deputy-provost-marshal, at this juncture, we were 
told that he had no longer disposition of us. So, with 
suppressed anathemas against the new jack-in-office, who 
gruffly ordered us "forward!" we bade "good-night'* to 
Captain Conner, and shook hands, in parting, with our 
pleasant Texan lieutenant. 

That night, for the first time, I felt the consciousness 
of jail-incarceration. We were all thrust together into a i 
ground-room of the stone court-house, its massy door 
locked upon us, while, in dingy gloom, we endeavored to 
dispose our blankets on the rough floor. We brushed its 
thick dirt aside, as well as we could, bought a few loaves 



228 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

of bread from the guard, at four bits apiece, and, wash- 
ing them down with water, accommodated ourselves to re- 
pose. Next morning I was awakened by the earliest 
sunbeams striking through a grated casement. Break- 
fast, of bread, meat, and rye coffee, was brought by onr 
guards, and we were gratified with the assurance of being 
speedily sent to a camp of prisoners in the interior. 

The court-house at Houston was unfinished, but sub- 
stantially built and having fine interiors ; a^t I learned, 
from being permitted to use pen and paper for a few mo- 
ments in the supreme court-room, a handsome' and spa- 
cious hall, filled with cushioned seats. About nine 
o'clock, A. M., we were marched from this citadel, to a 
depot of the ** Houston and Navasota Eailroad," where 
we were kept waiting in the street, under a hot morning 
sun, for an hour or two. It appeared, at first, as if we 
were to undergo hard usage in our day's travel; a filthy 
cattle-box being pointed out as the only unoccupied 
means of transportation. But, fortunately for us, the 
conductor was a gentleman, and we heard his clear voice 
soon ordering up an ** extra car for the Federal prison- 
ers.'* An extra car, accordingly, was furnished us ; for 
which we were grateful to a considerate Northern man, 
and a former lieutenant-governor of the " Old Bay State*' 
herself ; now transferred into an official of this Texas rail- 
way, but, 1 doubt not, with many a yearning in his soul 
toward the soil of loyal New England. Throughout that 
day's journey, as we rode in comfortable seats, and looked 
out, unmolested, upon the Texan prairies, we exchanged 
many pleasant words with our genial conductor, H. W, 
Benchley, of Massachusetts. 

In the afternoon, after stoppages at several roadside 
stations, wo reached "Camp Groce," our destination; 
having left at Houston one of our number, the alleged 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 22d 

deserter, Emerson. Several of the citizen-prisoners bad 
been previously left, upon the Teche ; and our party, on 
arriving at " Camp Groce," consisted of Col. Nott and 
myself, Captain Van Tine, Lieutenants Sherman, Hum- 
ble, Bassett and Wilson, six citizens, Holiday, Parse, 
Haley, Knowlton, Clark and Stratton, and the wife of 
the latter. 

At Camp Groce,I unexpectedly met old acquaintances, 
in Lieutenants Hayes, Dunn, and Curtiss, officers of tl^e 
176th Kegiment of New York Infantry, who had been 
fellow-passengers on our transport from Fortress Monroe 
to New Orleans. Lieut. Hayes busied himself at once 
with the rites of hospitality, providing me with a bunk, 
and a seat at his mess-table. The other new-comers 
were likewise soon comfortably cared for, and we speedily 
found ourselves ** at home" in the prison-barracks. It 
was Saturday afternoon ; the air was pleasantly tem- 
pered ; there were numberless questions to be asked and 
answered-; and, after refreshing ourselves with an ample 
meal, we sat on a bench, outside, and passed a couple of 
hours in retailing ^' later news.'* Thereafter, as if to 
recall us to the present fact of captivity, we were called 
upon to accompany a sad procession of the prisoners, es- 
corting to its grave the body of a lately-departed sailor. 

We were introduced, that evening, to many who were 
to be henceforth our prison-comrades; and who had 
already passed weary months in various guard-houses 
and prisons. Here were officers of the Harriet Lane, 
captured in Galveston harbor, on the first day of the 
year, and of the Massachusetts Forty-Second Infantry, 
their partners in misfortune. Here, too, were officers and 
sailors of the Morning Light, blockading ship, taken by 
rebels at Sabine Pass, in January. A half-year of *' dur- 
ance vile*' had rendered these brave men accustomed, 



280 TWKNTK KOKTHS IN THB 

though hardly reconciled, to their exile from home and 
service. Their eagerness to learn the prospects of ** ex- 
change,*' gave us a foreshadowing of prison-anxieties 
that had not yet definitely weighed upon us. 

Col. Burrell, of the Massachusetts regiment, was ex- 
pected daily to arrive from Huntsville, where, until 
lately, most of these Camp Groce prisoners had been 
confined, in the State Penitentiary. The Colonel, who had 
remained behind under an attack of fever, was now con- 
valescent, and .would probably join us during the next 
week. As the story of his capture involves that of a 
majority of our Camp Groce officers, I will devoto the 
*eu8uing chapter to it* 



PffiPARTMENT OV THB ikVUF. 2S1 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE GALVESTON SURRENDER. 

In reviewing the ** index ecqnirgatorius'^ of historical 
chapters relating to South-western operations during 
1863, that mysterious episode which inaugurated the 
year — the surrender of Galveston — must not be for- 
gotten. Like other events transpiring after the recall 
of General Butler from New Orleans, our loss of this 
key city of the Gulf was glossed over with such official 
nonchalance as to completely hoodwink people into a be- 
lief that it was one of the inevitable casualties of warfare. 
Many of my fellow prisoners, however, involved in the 
catastrophe of this Galveston drama, are still living to 
relate, as they did to me, the real facts pertaining to it. 

On Christmas day, Col. I. S. Burrell. with three com- 
panies of the Massachusetts Forty-second Infantry, finds 
himself landed on the wharf at Galveston. Commodore 
Benshaw, commanding the harbor, assures our Bay State 
Colonel that himself and his small force are protected by 
gun-boats, and he requests him to quarter his men in a 
large two-storied warehouse, under cover of protecting 
fire, in case the enemy should attack. What is this 
enemy ? Let us go back.* 

Three months •before, an expedition had left New Or- 
leans, the flagship Westfield in advance, with Captain 
Benshaw in command; the Clifton, Sachem, Harriet 
Lane, Owasco, and some others following. Arriving at 
the rebel port of Galveston^ the town was summoned to 



232 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

surrender. No answer being retamed, beyond a single 
gun, our fleet ranged broadside-to, before the city front. 
A flag of truce arose ; a rebel boat appeared, and boarded 
Captain Kenshaw^s ship ; and, twenty minutes afterwards, 
our sailors heard that their commodore had given the 
town authorities four days of grace. All that day, and 
during following ones, Galveston was alive with business. 
Steam-whistles shrieked, wagons rumbled, cars rattled 
over the long bridge, and steam and sailing craft plied 
ceaselessly upon the bay. Meantime Confederate flags 
were flying gaily. Truce having expired, the rebel col- 
ors disappeared, and Commodore Kenshaw landed on 
Galveston Island. The town had been deserted; every 
article of valife carried off, comprising guns and steam- 
engines and public stores — whatever could be serviceable 
to treason. With pompous ceremony, then, our Commo- 
dore hoisted the Stars and Stripes upon the Custom 
House, and hauled them down some thirty minutes after- 
wards. A few poor Union men, who remained in the 
city, gave three cheers, and so Galveston fell into our 
hands, after its rebel population had been suffered to 
strip everything of value from wharves and houses. 

Here, now, this island city was our own. Its bay, and 
sandy shore, and web-work of lagoons, that interpenetrate 
the coast, on either side, to the mouths of many Texan 
rivers, required but fortifications to become a point 
(Tappui for inland operations. Where bold Lafitte once 
built a stronghold, darting out through covert channels 
from his island ambuscade, it might be thought our well- 
appointed fleet could easily make a nucleus for future 
victories. Houston City and the thriving Brazos Valley 
were in radii of fifty miles, and all the coastwise towns 
and settlements seemed within our grasp. 

But Commodore Benshaw, after capturing the island, 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 233 

having seized a wooden gun, propria marie^ exhibited 
his genius furthermore by mounting it on the Westfield, 
and then sailed in pursuit of further glory to the bay of 
Matagorda. Anchoring off Indianola he ran aground ; 
coasting southwardly, and coasting back again, he occu- 
pied ten days or more in "armed reconnoissance,*' mean- 
time exploiting on sand-bars three or four times diur- 
nally, so that a jest ran round his fleet that '' Renshaw 
kept the Clifton as a tug to drag the Westfield off her 
soundings." So the month passed, and its last day saw 
the flagship fire some four or five score shells at a small 
mud fort near Lavacca, and, in doing this, burst her cost- 
liest rifle-gun. Thus ended Benshaw^s naval expedition 
irom Oalveston. 

The residue of hostile execution on that Texan coast 
was summed up daily, in gun-boat logs, by entries such 
as "lying on and off the bar at Ghtlveston.'* No guns 
were landed for shore batteries; no earthworks thrown 
up; not a shot fired at the enemy *s fortified camp, which, 
filled with active rebels, strengthening its defences, 
seemed to laugh at us beneath its still defiant flag. A 
railroad bridge two miles in length connected Galveston 
with the main land, and afforded ingress from the rebel 
rendezvous continually. Hordes of enemies were swarm- 
ing in from interior Texas. Not a gun was trained upon 
the railroad bridge; not a section of its timbers shot 
away. The town was left to be a daily resort of our 
plotting enemies, while boats plied every hour between 
the shore and fleet, and rebel spies, disguised as wherry- 
men and farmers, were constantly supplying fish and fruit 
in exchange for Yankee greenbacks, and collecting scraps 
of information to subserve Confederate purposes. On 
the flagship Westfield all was gay and festive. Rebel 
officers came off to dine and wine at Captain Renshaw*s 



284 TWENTY mtm^EB m ths 

inyitatioB. Convenient flags of truce were reikdy to sheU 
ter everything, whether it were the passage of rebel 
soldiers, with arms and ammunition,' to their camp Stt 
Virginia Point, or the convoy of rebel officers to Captain 
Kenshaw's cabin, for a jolly carouse at his mess table. 
So the year waned, till a transport, with the Massachu- 
setts troops, arrived on Christmas Eve, and Col. Burrell 
next day landed at the long, wharf and took quarters in a 
wooden storehouse. 

Here, then, Galveston City was occupied at last. Since 
October 8d — three months of dolce far niente — a fleet of 
serviceable war vessels had gambolled " on and off the 
bar,*' while rebel riflemen and cannoniers were making 
disposition of their forces in full view and unmolested. 
All this time a messenger-boat' could bear dispatches 
twice a week between the island and New Orleans ; but 
not till Christmas day does a small force of scarcely a 
dozen score infantry appear upon the wharf at Galveston. 
More troops are promised; Col. Burrell's other companies 
will shortly follow their commander and his little van- 
guard. Thus is this *' nine months' " force doled out by 
piecemeal to possess Galveston. 

And how possess it? Shut up in a warehouse on the 
wharf; four gun-boats lying near; in nightly expectation 
of surprise. Three companies of raw troops, staunch and 
brave, but inexperienced, are kept continually on duty ; 
every day marched through the city, to be drilled and 
exercised, their picket lines thrown out to distant squares 
by day, and drawn around the wharves at night; some 
cautious recounoitering indulged in, but to small account, 
because no adequate force can be detached beyond the 
narrow city limits. All the week, reports come in, of 
rebel preparations for attack. Three companies alternate 
in guard duty, day by day. Mounted scouts of the enemy 



nSPABTBIENT 0» THE dVUF. 295 

are, meanwiiile, scouring the inland shores. Cavalry 
squads h^ver in view of the town. The last day of 1862 
finds all the Massachusetts men on guard, in three reliefs. 
These poor fellows, harrassed and worn, are hoping for 
the arrival of their comrades, to reinforce th expose. Cap- 
tain Wainwright, of the Harriet Lane, comes ashore, and 
with Colonel Burrell looks out, through field-glass, from 
a cupola, Tipon.the rebel camp five miles away. "I will 
send a boat up from the Lane to-morrow, and shell those 
gentlemen !" remarks the naval captain. Night sets in, 
and Captain Proctor, with Lieutenant Newcomb and some 
sixteen men, dividing, make an expedition through the 
oity streets, to look for rebel cavalry that are skulking 
tiiereabout. They meet with frightened Union people, 
who assure them that the town is to be fired that night. 
The mayor of Galveston asks permission to ^remove his 
family out of danger. The moon now rises on the scene, 
dear and resplendent. 

Thus matters are progressing in the town on New 
Y^r^s Eve. The fleet is quiet at anchor. The Clifton 
lies above Galveston wharves ; the Sachem, and a little 
schooner called the Corytheus, just below ; the Sachem 
undergoing repairs. The Harriet Lane swings close to 
shore, some two miles lower than the Clifton ; and the 
Owasco anchors by a coal-barge, nearly midway. Cap- 
tain Eenshaw, in his flagship, occupies a sand-bar near 
tke point called Pelican's Spit. Our flagship is aground, 
as usual. The moon rides high in midnight heavens, her 
beams flashing on that quiet bay, on the fleet at anchor, 
on our soldiers watchful upon the wharf, on the rebels 
gathering at yirg^nia Point, and stealthily advancing 
from all other points. 

There are sharp eyes on the gunboats as well as on 
land; and at two o'clock a Clifton look-out passes the 



236 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

word that a couple of rebel steamers are appToaching the 
channel roads above. Their dark hnlls and smoke can 
be seen distinctly in the moonlight. The Clifton signals, 
''The enemy afloat!'* and presently is answered by a 
summons from the Westfield, to drop down to Pelican's 
Spit, and tow her from the bar. The Clifton's captain 
grumbles, as he well may. This channel, cropked as a 
ram's horn, is hard to navigate even by day ; and now 
the moon is sinking to her setting. But at three o'clock 
the Clifton warps a cable-tow alongside of our grounded 
flag-ship, and about the same time the moon dips, and 
rebel guns are heard, beginning their play upon Galveston 
city. Captain Law asks leave to take his vessel back, 
which Henshaw grants, but will not let his pilot go. So 
the Clifton gropes through darkness, trying to retrace 
her channel grounds a dozen times or less, and does not 
reach Fort Point, two miles below the city, till broad 
daylight. There she encounters a battery, which the 
rebels have erected during the night. She shells and 
drives them out of it in twenty minutes' time, and there- 
after steams up beyond the town-point, shelling as she 
passes. 

Colonel Burrell, meanwhile, when the moon goes down, 
begins to find things looking dark about his little camp. 
The gun-boat signals are suspicious, and he calls his 
Massachusetts officers together, for a council. The gun- 
boats Clifton and wasco are three miles away, the Sa- 
chem cannot help them much, and there is no other ves- 
sel, but the schooner Corytheus, nearer than the Harriet 
Lane, two miles above them- Prudent Colonel Burrell 
gets his companies in readiness to make their own de • 
fence as best they may, should danger threaten. Pre- 
sently, Lieutenant Newcomb brings report of a rebel 
battery erected at the market-house. The gun-boats 



DEPABTMEKT OF TBE GXTLF. 287 

ought to be notified of this ; but no one can commnnicate 
with them. Suddenly, at half-past three o'clock, the 
pickets fire their guns, and fall back to our barricades. 

Those barricades of planks, some twenty inches wide, 
lying one upon another, had been opportunely piled breast- 
high, through Colonel Burrell's forethought. They stood 
his men in excellent stead on New Yearns morning. 

Now began to ripen, very fast, the fruits of rebel plot- 
ting under guns of a Federal fleet and at the mess-tables 
of a Federal officer. Magruder's time had not been wasted 
during Benshaw's farce of occupying Galveston. His 
forces had been marched through the deserted city, 
night after night ; piloted across that railroad bridge so 
courteously left for their accommodation in the transit 
to Virginia Point. His heavy siege-pieces had been 
transported on that bridge to points which covered all 
the anchorage. His railroad ram^ armed with an 8-inoh 
Dahlgren gun, and mounted on a flat, was pushed across 
that bridge upon the rails, until it bore directly on the 
Harriet Lane. His cotton-bales, for breast- works, were 
conveyed by the same track. That railway bridge, 
which half-a-dozen Federal shells c.ould have demolished 
at any hour, became a rebel highway toward the re-cap- 
ture of Galveston. 

When the moon went down, on New Year's morning, 
the scheme of politic Magruder sprang out to execution. 
While our fleet lay at anchor, its flag-ship hard and fast 
on a sand-bar ; while BurrelPs handfull of infantry, with 
pickets compassing some two or three squares, were hud- 
dled in their quarters on a single barricaded wharf; the 
rebels had already, despite of all Yankee vigilance, suc- 
ceeded, under cover of night, in bringing down their 
heavy guns and field-pieces into the very city streets, as 
well as to commanding points above, below, and on a 



S88 TWENTX HOMCTB IN THI 

watei^base of two miles and a half. This was our '* cap- 
ture '* of GalvestoD ; which permitted rebel armies to col- 
leot under Federal guns, while their officers dined at flag- 
ship tables, and the bitter sneer was common among our 
sailors that '* Magruder knows better than Eenshaw the 
number of men and guns we have !" This was our " oc- 
cupation" of the Key Oity, which held, during Christmas 
week, a wharf four hundred feet in length, 'while all the 
streets, and squares, and wharves, behind, to t^e right 
and left, were undefended, and left to become, at last, a 
deadly ambuscade of rebel rifles and artillery. 

So, when the fight began, under grey obscurity ci star- 
light, Magruder had six companies of dismounted dra- 
goons, under Pyron, lying in wait with rifles, while a 
regiment of artillery with field-pieces took position on 
their flank at Fort Point. Further up, toward the city, 
and within its limits, other batteries were posted on the 
wharves. Six field-guns occupied the Centre Wharf; the 
railroad ram was placed upon the Upper Wharf; a bat- 
tery was planted right in front of the barricaded wharf 
that sheltered Burrell and his men. This battery was to 
cover an attempt to ptorm the barricade ; a project in- 
trusted to five hundred rebels, commanded by artillery 
Captain Cook. 

These dispositions had been made since sunset of the 
previous day ; so well concocted were the rebel plans, so 
actively the fellows worked, inspired by earnest treason. 
Af half-past three o'clock, the centre gun was fired, as a 
signal, by Magruder* Eebel pieces then began to blase 
along the water front. A simultaneous shower of rifle- 
shots was poured upon the barricaded wharf and at the 
warehouse used as quarters for our infantry. 

Well was it for Colonel Burrell and his men that he 
had formed their line upon ^e wharf so promptly. Fire 



DSPABTMENT 09 THE GULF. 239 

was directed againgrt the warelionse incessantly. iThe 
rebels believed that all our force was under cover of 
that building, and they riddled its walls and casements. 
When the fray was over, there could not be found a spot 
of two feet square which was not perforated with bullet 
holes. 

But the Bay State boys, under their gallant officers, 
were safe behind the barricade planks. After Lieut. 
Stowell had burned certain signals, as agreed upon with 
Captain Wainright, to indicate that rebels held the town, 
the colonel ordered all to lie down on the wharf. Our 
vessels now responded to the rebel fire. The gun-boat 
Sachem and the Harriet Lane delivered shot tipon the 
town, but fired too high, their missiles crashing through 
the roofs of buildings. A tempest of balls and bullets 
now came dashing over the wharf, and presently the rebel 
storming party hove in sight, wading through water to 
assault our barricade. They carried scaling ladders, and 
advanced in dark masses ; their sharp-shooters deployed 
to the right and left. Colonel Burrell ordered bayonets 
to be fixed in preparation for a charge. His men stood 
up with pieces at a ready. They peered into the gloom, 
but could perceive only a waving shadow on the water. 
At that shadow fhey hurled a bright blaze, sending volley 
after volley from their muskets, fast as they might load 
and fire. The rebels could not stand that leaden hail. 
but broke for cover of the neighboring buildings. 

At this point of the conflict our enemies were repulsed 
everywhere. While Burrell drove them from before his 
barricade, the Clifton and Owasco had been silencing the 
lower batteries. Fort Point was evacuated, and the can- 
non on the different wharves were dragged off at a gallop 
under charge of (General Scarry. Galveston become too 
hot twt rebel quarters. 



240 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

Here it was that Leon Smith, "qaartermaster-admiral,** 
came steaming down the harbor with his brace of cotton- 
boats, the Neptnne and Bayou City. Heading for the 
Harriet Lane, they ran into her on either side, and 
poured a murderous fire upon her decks. Four hundred 
rifles and three hundred double-barreled shot-guns swept 
the vessel's deck from stem to stem As Wainwright 
could not promptly cut his chains, he fought the ship at 
anchor like a hero. Such guns as might be brought to 
bear upon his foes did instant execution. The Neptune 
was quickly sunk, and the Lane's bows were turned upon 
the other boat, carrying away its larboard wheel-house by 
the shock. But overwhelming numbers, pouring un- 
broken sheets of musket flame upon the Federal .vessel, 
from behind a cover of cotton bales, were not to bo with- 
stood. Gunners fell at every piece on board the Lane. 
Bold Wainwright, foremost of her staunch defenders, 
sank beneath a rifle shot. His first lieutenant, Lea, was 
killed beside him. Then the rebels swarmed over their 
cotton-clad batteries, and our men, unable to make fur- 
ther head, surrendered. 

It was a crisis of the battle. At every other point the 
rebels had been beaten. Even here, with Wainwright 
dead, and his fine vessel taken, it needed but a dash of 
our remaining gun-boats to have saved the £[arriet Lane 
and gained a victory. His Neptune sunk, his Bayou 
City grounded, Leon Smith was master of the Harriet 
Lane, but he was still at the mercy of her consorts. Had 
the Clifton then attacked him he must have been lost. 
The Owasco did indeed salute him with a passing broad- 
side, but beyond this, no attempt was made against the 
rebel commodore. 

It was not strange now that Magruder, foiled at every 
other point, withdrawing from the town front,, and. re- 



DEPABTMEirr OF THE GULF. 241 

treating under fire of our brave infantry, should hail fiie 
lucky stroke of Leon Smith as his salvation. Broad day- 
light now revealed the state of everything, and rebel 
strategy succeeded rebel ambuscades. White flags were 
run up on the Harriet Lane, and Smith dispatched two 
officers to Henshaw's stranded flag-ship, demanding a 
surrender of the fleet, and giving three hours' time to 
treat upon the proposition. The boat conveying this in- 
sulting message visited our other gun-boats likewise ; and 
an interchange of visits, under flags of truce, consumed 
an hour or two ; while half the time a fire of sharp-shoot- 
ers was kept up on the barricaded wharf, which Burrell 
valiantly defended till he saw himself abandoned by the 
fleet, when he displayed a white flag also, and gave up 
resistance., 

So the battle of Galveston was tricked away — " won 
half by blunder, half by treachery ;'* while that fool or 
knave, flag-officer Benshaw, fired not a single long-range 
gun, allowed not one of his eager men to volunteer on 
board another ship, and ended by capitulation as dis- 
graceful as it was entirely needless. The Clifton and 
Owasco, at a word from Benshaw's lips, might have out 
out the. Harriet Lane, with Smith and all his horse-ma- 
rines. Instead of being permitted to do this, our gun- 
boats, with their gallant crews, who muttered curses 
neither few nor choice, were ordered from the port, and, 
as a noble tar expressed it, in my hearing, '' sneaked away 
with white rags flying." But the* retributive hand of 
justice reached the wretched Benshaw ere his shame was 
fully consummated. He had given his men free access « 
to the liquor-room, and then set fire to the Westfield, in- 
tending to escape in a boat which lay alongside, with 
Lieutenant Zimmerman and several sailors, ready to cast 
o£f« Whether the boat delayed till it could hail the 



242 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Clifton as she passed, or whether it was kept to take the 
recreant commodore ashore, can never he known. But 
as our other vessels, in retreating, steamed just abreast 
of their late flag-ship, she blew up, and Renshaw perished 
with her. He was not permitted to survive the sequel of 
his cowardice or treason. 

Thus we lost Galveston — ^thus we lost noble Wain- 
wright and the brave young Lea, whose rebel father was 
a major on Magrud^r's staff that day, and came on board 
the Harriet Lane in time to kiss his dying son. Thns 
Burrell and^ his officers were consigned to nineteen 
months' captivity in dungeons and corrals. And, above 
all, thus the entire Texan coast was lost, the rebel , 
cause inspired and strengthened, and a rebel army or- 
ganized at once from crowds of volunteers. Thus old 
Tom Green, Sibley, Pyron, Scurry, Majors, Leon Smith, 
Magruder, Baylor, and a dozen other leaders, were en- 
abled to inflate the Texan mind with overweening pride 
of state and personal superiority. The gate of the Con- 
federacy was thus left open, as it had been during the 
war, for food and clothing, arms and men, to pour from 
Mexican borders, over Texan highways, and through Lou- 
isiana rivers, to the Mississippi banks, and thence upon 
our loyal frontiers. Weak and disastrous as our subse- 
quent campaigns against the Texans have turned out to 
be, their miserable results may be traced back to that 
unhappy New Yearns day of 1863, when, in the language 
of a gun-boat officer, took place " the most disgraceful 
and cowardly action upon record." 



DEPABXMENI OF THK OUU>. 243 



CHAPTER XtXV. 

SABINE PASS. 

OuB, quarters at Camp Groce were upon the railroad 
line, removed about two hundred yards from the road. 
The "camp" consisted of four stacks of barracks looking 
from three sides into a rhomboidal area. Beyond these 
buildings, a tract of wild country, wood, swamp, and 
prairie, stretched for miles around. The barracks were 
built upon grounds a little higher than the railroad grade, 
and, behind the particular stack of sheds appropriated to 
prisoners, a slope, covered with shrubbery and stunted 
trees, conducted to the timber-belt which formed a boun- 
dary for our rear. Another line of barracks running 
nearly parallel to ours, at a distance of one hundred 
yards or more, was occupied by the guard, a company of 
siKty or eighty militiamen, under command of a fat officer 
known as Captain Buster. Two deep wells supplied the 
post with water, which the prisoners brought for their 
own use from one of them, over a space of from six to ten 
rods, according to the locality of tlieir quarters in the bar- 
racks. 

One end, comprising less than a third of the barracks, 
was apportioned to the officers, and the remaining sheds, 
divided by three partitions, to enlisted men of army and 
navy. A large number of the sailors were men captured 
at Sabine Pass, on the 21st of January, who had, since 
then, shared the fortunes of their commander. Captain 
Dillingham, and the Federal officers previously taken at 
Gklveston. 



SM4 * TWBNT7 KONTHS IN THS 

Oaptain John Dillingham, in command of the sloop-of- 
war "Morning Light/* had heen ordere.d to Sabine Pass 
in November, 1862. He had then with him two schooners, 
the Bachel Seaman and Yelocity, and an old steam-scow 
called the Dan. The latter, being unseryiceable, was 
soon after sunk and abandoned. While cruising at the 
Sabine mouth, Capt. Dillingham received several parties 
of refugees, whom he subsequently sent ta New Orleans 
on board the gun-boat Owasco; by which vessel he first 
obtained news of the re-capture of Ghdveston by the re- 
bels. About this time, he gained intelligence through 
Union men on shore, that an expedition was in prepara- 
tion, with the design of seizing his own ship, the ** Morn- 
ing Light.'' On learning this, he at once dispatched the 
Velocity to Commodore Bell, his flag-officer, informing 
him of the fact, and asking for the assistance of a gun- 
boat. To this statement, a reply came from Oom. Bell, 
directing the maintenance of a strict blockade at the 
Pass, and ordering the "Bachel Seaman" to Pensaoola, 
for repairs. Complying with these instructions. Captain 
Dillingham remained at his post near the Sabine channels. 

In the meantime, the rebels under Magruder, flushed 
with the success of their attack on our vessels at Gal- 
veston, were making new dispositions for another exploit. 
IVIajor Watkins, Assistant Adjutant General, was assigned 
to the command of *' all the land and naval forces opera- 
ting on the Sabine Biver,*' and proceeded to improvise 
materials tor an expedition. Two river-boats, the Ben 
ami the Bell, were converted into gun-boats, by providing 
two 12-pounders, with some grape shot, {oat the fonner, 
and an 8-inch Columbiad, bored as a 6-inch rifled piece, 
for the latter. Infantry, with rifles and shot-guns, were 
supplied to each of these terriffio war-vessels, and, thus 
equipped and manned, and panoplied with ootton4>ale8. 



DEPABTMEKT 09 THE GTJLF. 245 

thej steamed through Sabine Lake, and down toward the 
Pass, where Captain Dillingham lay quiescent, with his 
ship of one thousand tons, on a sea as calm and glassy as 
the breezeless air might slumber on. 

On the 20th of January, our Yankee captain descried 
his cotton-clad adversaries coming down the Lake, and 
not feeling inclined to await them, got under weigh and 
dropped out with the current. At daylight on the follow- 
ing morning, he found himself pursued. The Texan ar- 
gonauts, assured by their easy victory at Galveston, that 
Federal fleets were not "inyincible armadas," bore down 
upon our "Morning Light^' with a directness that mani- 
festly meant mischief. Captain Dillingham bewailed the 
calm. His ship could be manoeuvred only sluggishly, at 
best, while the steam-engines of the rebels enabled them 
to choose positions. The enemy opened with his rifled 
gun when about two miles and a half distant from our 
ship, which returned the fire with a broadside. 

The battle now began, and continued during an hour 
and a half, the rebel steamers gradually nearing our ves- 
sels. A rifled howitzer on the ship's poop deck .exploded 
at the first discharge. The rebel craft, presenting their 
cotton-armored bows to Yankee missiles, offered but a 
narrow target, whilst their pieces, though handled awk- 
wardly enough, were enabled to get a more effectual 
range as they approached. Our metal, though heavier, 
failed to keep them at a distance ; and at length, arrived 
within one thousand yards, they poured a hail of musketry 
upon the decks of ship and schooner, which speedily 
cleared them of defenders. According to rebel accounts, 
the engagement was "concluded out of sight of land in the 
Gulf, and about twenty-eight miles southwest from Sabine 
Bar." The steamers ranged upon both sides to board our 
frigate; and, thinking to destaroy one, at least, Captain 



246 TWENTY MOKTHS IN THE 

Dillingham veered ship, and discharged a broadside, at 
musket-range, with no more execution than if it had 
struck the iron ribs of a monitor. The other rebel boat 
then rounded, and began a murderous fire ; when, deem- 
ing further resistance useless, Captain Dillingham ceased 
fighting, and surrendered. 

It was a gallant prize for the rebel cotton-boats; though 
they were obliged subsequently to abandon and bum the 
ship, from inability to get her over the bar. The Morning 
Light had been formerly a clipper in the merchant ser- 
vice. She mounted, whenjsaptured, eight long thirty- 
twos, and a rifled Butler gun, and her consort, the 
schooner Velocity, carried two brass 12-pound howitzers, 
with boat and land carriages. About 1^0 stand of small 
arms, and 109 prisoners, were taken with the^ vessels. 
Such was the battle of Sabine Pass, in which Captain 
Dillingham lost ship and liberty. How much of his dis- 
aster is due to the neglect which left a wooden ship to be 
surprised, during a calm, by cotton-clad steam-boats, must 
remain, with other secrets, in possession of Commodore 
Bell and the Navy Department. The exploit, however, 
raised Texan pride and ambition to fever-heat, and the 
Confederate President at Bichmond addressed a letter 
of laudation to General Magruder for his "noble enter- 
prises'' against the Yankees; whereat the classic Ma- 
gruder made proclamation to the "army of Sabine," as- 
serting his belief that it was destined " to astonish still 
more their enemies and the world, by such evidences of 
skill and audacity, as shall make Texan a better word 
than Spartan.'' 

The "Morning Light*' officers and men, were speedily 
transferred from the scene of their capture to a prison, at 
Houston, where our Federals, taken at Galveston, were 
Still lingering. Eleven wounded, two killed, and twenty 



DEPAETMENT OF THE GULP. 247 

• 

slightly hurt, comprised the casualties of this Sabine fight, 
on this ourside ; while the rebels boasted that they lost not 
a single man. 

At Houston, the Galveston prisoners had not been 
rigorously treated. Our officers enjoyed parole and 
liberty to walk the streets. The Federal loss in battle 
at Galveston comprised seventeen killed and wounded of 
the infantry, and sixteen of our naval force. The earlier 
days of captivity were marked by sundry courtesies from 
citizens, and our Yankee officers ''fared sumptuously" on 
roast-pig, turkey, and occasional invitations to outside 
dinners. In a short time, however, the lines were drawn 
more tightly, and a oonsolatary leader, in the Houston 
daily journal, suggested the amiable experiment of hang- 
ing Yankee prisoners. 

Houston, at that happy epoch, was a jubilant city. 
Magruder had made a triumphal entry, and been honored 
with a public reception ; on which extraordinary occasion 
a sword was presented to the hero, and a procession 
moved, consisting of about twenty-five horse-marines, on 
ponies, and seventy-five rangers, carrying shot-guns in 
every position. Pending this ceremony, our Federals 
were ordered into close confinement, which was soon 
shared by their newly-captured comrades from Sabine 
Pass. About this time, they received a definite account 
of the blowing up of the Westfield and asserted death of 
Oommodore Kenshaw. Kumors likewise reached them 
that our Federal troops in Arkansas had captured sev- 
eral thousand Texans at Arkansas Post, and that our 
army had suffered defeat at Murfreesboro, with a loss of 
10,000 captured and a like number killed and wounded. 
About the close of January, Sailing-Master W. F. Mon- 
roe, of the '* Harriet Lane,'* who had been shot in the 
face, after surrender, at Gulveston, died, from lack of 



248 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

proper care and treatment. He was buried with military 
honors ; eight officers^eing permitted to attend the fu- 
neral, and a rebel escort of sixteen firing a volley over his 
grave. 

At Houston, our officers were visited by a noted rebel, 
Captain Chubb, of Galveston, who was recognized by a 
Massachusetts captain as a man who broke jail at East 
Cambridge, in 1837. About this time, the Fiederals were 
notified of JefP. Davis's proclamation against Butler^s 
officers, and it was intimated that several gentlemen would 
probably be handed over to the civil power for trial and 
punishment. But, though these and other unrefreshing 
scraps of news were doled out to them, our officers en- 
joyed occasional gulps of air and smacks of liberty (under 
guard) in tours of exercise and ball-sport, which were 
vouchsafed them. 

Most of the Forty-Second Massachusetts regiment's 
rank and file received parole, and were forwarded soon 
to Laton Eouge Their officers, however, with many 
sailors, remained in prison at Houston, till the last of 
April. During their sojourn. General Houston visited 
the city, and achieved a speech to the assembled popu- 
lace; and an Indian delegation from the Plains, all plumed* 
and war-painted, held powows in the public square. At 
last a long-expected order came to march our Yankees to 
the Penitentiary at Huntsville ; and, after being relieved 
of their watches, money, and such valuables, they were 
transferred on the Navasota Eailroad. to their new and 
narrow State Prison quarters. 

Our Federal officers protested ; dispatching Dr. Cum- 
mings, of the " Forty-Second," (who, being a surgeon, 
enjoyed parole,) to General Scurry, praying redress* 
Meantime, for a day or two, they learned to relish cold 
corn-bread and water. But the Penitentiary Superin* 



DEPABTMEm? 07 THE QULF. 249 

tendent was an old Sam Houston man, and, moreover, a 
gentleman. He ordered hot meals to be prepared for our 
officers in his own house, gave them the privilege of ex- 
ercise in the yard from eight o'clock A. M., to noon, and 
from one to five P. M. ; and otherwise sought to lighten - 
their annoyances. 

In this Penitentiary 168 convicts were confined at 
labor. The first Sabbath saw our prisoners marched to 
ohapel at eight o'clock, A. M., to attend service, with these 
convicts. On week-days the latter were called to work 
at five o'clock A. M., and relieved at six, in the evening. 

The cells of this State-prison were not inviting dormi- 
tories, being overrun with cockroaches, and overbrooded - 
by musquitos Their dimensions comprised eight feet by 
five. The yard in which our prisoners were allowed to 
pass the day, was two hundred feet square. 

Various local entertainments assisted the time to pass. 
On one day, a convict would be placed in the stocks ; 
another morning ushered in some negro, accused of at- 
tempting to kill his owner, while the latter was flogging 
him. Once, General Houston came — (he resided near 
the Penitentiary) — and talked " secesh" to our officers. 

But Col. Caruthers, the Superintendent, did not keep 
our Federals in convict quarters very long. He fitted up 
a large upper room, eighteen by twenty-five feet in floor 
area, with cots and mattresses, and gave our officers pos- 
session of it. 

About the close of May, after encountering centipedes 
in their quarters, hearing news of General Hooker's de- 
feat^ with a loss of 30,000 Federals, and receiving a part- 
ing visit from General Houston, who was about going, for 
his health, to Sour Lake ; a message arrived from QoY' 
emor Lubbock, the Texan executive, expressing fears 
that the presence of our Yankees at Hontsvillo might 



250 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

attract a Federal expedition againt that important place. 
The brave Governor said the Yankees must be removed. 
The manufacture of 5,000 yards of cotton-cloth per diem, 
with sundry other items of Texan fabrication by Peni- 
tentiary machinery, must not be jeopardized through 
Yankee Jonahs. So, presently it transpired toward 
the end of Jui^e, that our prisoners were led out of 
Huntsville prison, and thence deported to Camp Groce, 
on the Navasota Railroad. More rumors, through rebel 
sources, accompanied their march ; that Grant^s army had 
been wofully routed in front of Yicksburg ; that Banks 
had been driven from Port Hudson, with a loss of 7,000 
men and three gun-boats ; and that ** exchange of prison- 
ers** wad totally stopped for the future. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 251 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

CAMP OROCE. 

Shortlt after my arrival in Texas, I learned of the 
death of General Houston. He had passed from the 
scene of his triumphs and trials — his labors and strifes. 
It is yet a mooted point whether the old hero ever com- 
mitted himself fully to the rebel cause. Certain it is, 
the ultra Secessionists never trusted him, while men of 
Union proclivities stoutly maintained that " Sam was only 
'playing possum,' till a change come.'* In truth, Houston 
was a diplomatist, and his strategy had been learned in 
the lodges of red men. He was an ''Indian fighter" in 
politics, and his personal nature had many aboriginal 
traits. lican understand very well that he might haye 
appeared to favor the dominant feeling in Texas, with a 
latent design of recovering ground for a dormant Union 
sentiment. He held out nobly against the first billows 
of disloyalty, and it was not till the increasing tide had 
swept the gubenatorial chair from under him, and he saw 
himself about to be submerged and drowned by the fierce 
waters of reJ)ellion, that we find " Old San Jacinto*' ap- 
parently bowing before the storm, and content to abide 
its devastations. It was full time for Houston to com- 
promise ; for no man had mote bitter enemies than he ; 
and one more crime, though it involved the life of him 
who had been the saviour of their state, would have been 
a trifle to the traitors who usurped authority in Texas. 
Houston wisely stood aside. He had been wiser, per- 
haps, had he remained wholly reticent upon the question 



252 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

at issue; but it is difficult to comprehend his entife 
position. His household and many old friends were 
divided against him. He saw himself overthrown by 
triumphant rivals, and beset constantly by their seorel 
plots. Already, too, it seemed that Southern Inde« 
pendence was un fait accompli. Reconstruction of the 
Union appeared impossible. What was the old Indian 
fighter to do ? He must either become a traitor to the 
Federal Union, or permit himself to be deemed one. 
There are many stanch Union-men in Texas who main- 
tain that " Old Sam** only feigned disloyalty, and I would 
rather believe their impressions to be correct than to 
denounce Houston as a sympathizer with Secession. 

Doubtless, as identified with Texan history, Houston 
shared largely in State pride. Perhaps -he^ight have 
halted between loyalty VLtd treason, and, accepting Texan 
independence as his compromise, cast off, at once, from 
North and South. The "Lone Flag*' would have been 
his stand-point, yet, who knows but that, be]^ind it, he 
might have still kept folded the ** old flag" of our nation, 
to be run up to the staff-head whenever a breeze should 
blow favorably. 

Houston *s old foes were active and wily, even after his 
retirement from public life. Two of these, whose names 
I do not now recall, prepared a scheme which they 
thought might entrap the old chief. It was when o^e of 
the first rebel regiments had been raised, and a stand of 
colors was to be presented to it. The two plotters pro- 
cured an invitation to be sent to General Houston, to 
make ** a speech to the soldiers." They anticipated a 
refusal, and hoped to make this a pretext for denouncing 
Sam as a ''Union sympathizer.*' But to their astonish- 
ment, the invitation was promptly accepted. Houston 
promised to be present at the review. 



DEPABTHSMT OF THE GULF. 2S3 

The day of oolor-preseiitation arrived, and General 
Houston stood in front of the rebel regiment. The boys 
cheered him lustily, and everybody waited breathlessly 
to hear what he should say. The hero of San Jacinto 
straightened his tall form, and began : 

"Boys !" he cried, in his trumpet-tones, " Eyes Bight!" 

The command, uttered with soldierly distinctness, was 
•promptly obeyed. Every eye was obliqued to ,the right. 

*' Boys !" shouted the General, with a voice like Sten- 

tor, " Do you see anything of ^— in your 

ranks ?'* He named one of the two men who had plotted 
to get him invited to speak. 

A response of " No !" came from several soldiers in 
the line. 

"Very well,** said Houston — ^•'Now, if you please — 
Etes Left'" 

The soldiers shifted their regards to the opposite direc- 
tion, and Houston thundered : 

" Boys I do you see anything of _— in 

your ranks ?" reciting the name of the other enemy who 
had sought to entrap him. 

" No ! No !*' answered the *' boys," who began to guess 
the meaning of Houston's orders. 

"No!" echoed the ez-Govemor. "And you never 
will see either of those fellows there !*' 

This sally of " Old Jacinto" against men who were 
known to be ancient opponents of his^ and who, withal, 
were not personally over-popular, was received with 
shouts of laughter. When the merriment had subsided 
somewhat, the General's voice was heard again, in his 
tone of military command : 

" Boys !" he shouted, " Do you see anything of Youno 
8ak Houston in your ranks ?" 

Yes ! yes ! yes * Young Sam's here !" were the rapid 



<i 



254 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

responses which ran along the regimental line ; for the 
soldiers all knew that Hoaston^s son had enrolled him- 
self a few days previously. 

"There I leave him with you!" said "Old San Ja- 
cinto/* turning away from the soldiers, amid cheers and 
shouts which made the woods ring, and showed what a 
hold Sam Houston still maintained upon the people. 
The malignant traitors who would have entrapped him, 
did not venture to show themselves on the field that day. 

General Houston, though fallen from power, preserved 
a great deal of Roman dignity in his obscurity. On one 
occasion, while traveling through some portion of the 
State, a military official of the Confederacy demanded his 
pass-port. *' Pass-port !" echoed Houston, drawing hinw 
self up, and fixing his eagle eye upon the man — '* my 
pass-port, sir» is San Jacinto !" He was not challenged 
again. 

But Houston has passed away. His last conversations 
regarding our troubles were held with Federal prisoners, 
at Colonel Caruthers' quarters, in the Penitentiary of 
Hunts ville. Many of these, whom I met at Camp Grooe, 
claim still that " Old Sam" died a Union man. 

Col. Burrell and Captain Sherive arrived at our bar- 
racks a few days after I had become initiated and joined 
the " Forty-Second Mess.'* A few extracts from ifiy Diary, 
at this time, will show the routine of our prison-life. 

" Sunday, August 2d, 1863. Hot and dry. Aocom- 
pahied Lieut. Hayes to the woods, about a quarter-mile 
from barracks, where we bathed in a sluggish "brook/* — 
Held religious exercises in barracks. Col. Nott read the 
Episcopal service, and I assisted. — ^Another poor fellow, 
one of the 42d Massachusetts enlisted men, was buried 
to-day; burial service of B. C. Church, read by Lieut. 
Hayes. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 255 

** Monday, Aug. 3. Join 42d mess. — Corn coffee at 7 
o'clock A. M. 'Today purchased a hammock, for $15.00, 
Confederate currency. — Slight attack of the prevailing 
summer complaint . . Assisted in digging new sink for 
officers. 

"Tuesday, Aug. 4. Suffering in head and bowels. 
Poctor attributes symptoms to change of water. 

"Wednesday, Aug. 5. Today, we get rumors, from 
Houston, that a new cartel is to be soon opened. " Ex- 
change stock" rises in consequence. My sickness con- 
tinues. 

" Thursday, Aug. 6. KEiiny . A dismal day. 

"Friday, Aug. 7. Still rainy. Showers heavy, pene- 
trating our roofing, drenching our bunks and bedding. 
Col. Burrell and Capt. Sherive, of the 42d Mass. Reg. 
arrive from Huntsville. Col. B. is a tall, middle-aged, 
wiry-looking soldier. 

"Saturday, Aug. 8. Weather clear again. Colonel 
Terry left camp, with the balance of his regiment ; many 
having deserted. Col. Terry is the Confederate officer 
who brought our officers to Camp Groce from Huntsville. 

" Sunday, Aug. 9. Religious services today. Preached 
a (Sermon to the officers, which appears to be well received. 
We shall have services regularly every Sabbath now. At 
request of officers, I have promised to conduct them. 

" Monday, Aug. 10. Report that all exchange is stop- 
ped. We are annoyed by myriads of flies." 

Such is a sample of the, monotonous life we were now 
leading, varied only by the fluctuations of hope and des- 
pondency attendant on occasional rumors, regarding " ex- 
change.^* Incide&ts there were of domestic interest, also, 
but not such as served to content us with our situation. 
Puring the month of August^ fifteen officers, out of the 
iliirty-five who composed our number, were prostrated by 



•■» 



866 TWENTY MONTHS IH THX 

siokneBS at the same time ; and among these were our two 
surgeons. Dr. Cummings, of Col. BurrelPs regiment, ana 
Dr. Sherfy, of tke ** Morning Light." About the middle 
of this month, three sailors escaped £rom camp, in com- 
pany, it was said, of some " Mexican*' militia-men, who 
deserted. Lieut, Bartlett, of the Massachusetts officers, 
died at one o'clock A. M. of the 22d of August, and we 
buried him at 6 o'clock P. M^ the same day; the burial 
service being read by Col. Burrell. Lieut. Bartlett was 
much esteemed by his brothers of the regiment. ]£s 
disease was Typhus flux, which had become &tally pre- 
valent among prisoners. 

Our treatment by the rebels in charge of this camp 
was not, at this time, irksome, beyond the strict guard 
maintained. We were permitted to visit the neigjhboring 
woods, to procure fuel and brush for our verandahs, and for 
bathing purposes. Negroes and hucksters were allowed 
to bring us extra provisions, and commissions were exe- 
cuted for us at Houston and other places, whereby vtre 
procured Java coffee at $10 the pound, in Confederate 
currency, soda (for our bread) at $5.00, and tea at $20.00 
the pound, molasses at $5.00 the gallon, and vinegar at 
fifty cents. Our corn-meal rations were also occasionally . 
changed for flour issues, and we could buy sweet potatoes, 
eggs, butter, milk, and poultry, at comparatively reason- 
able prices, in Confederate money. 

Thus the summer-months wore on. In September, we 
received " rebel news" that Meade's army, 20,000 strong, 
had been captured entire. We had already ** chewed the 
quid" of such sweet morsels as the ** capture of Wash- 
ington," the " capture of Philadelphia," and the ** Confede- 
rates marching on New York;" so we quietly digested our 
"latest Southern victories," with our customary diet of 
«oni-bread. In the first weeks of September, however, 



DEPABTHENT 07 THE GULF. 257 

the frequent passage of rebel troops, with munitions and 
artillery, on the railroad in sight from our. barracks, 
betokened military activity in this quarter ; and we soon 
after were gratified with reports regarding the appearance 
of a Federal expedition off the coast at Sabine Pass. Six 
gun-boats and twenty-six transports, filled with "Yankees,** 
were said to be near the bar, and an invasion of Texas was 
considered imminent. 

It is not to be supposed that we remained emotioflless 
waiters on the "impending conflict.'* But no one who 
has not known captivity can realize the absorbing interest 
with which, for two days and nights, we weighed every 
item of report, every scrap of rumor, that reached us, by 
the railroad, or through hints of friendly guards. On the 
third day, however, arrived news which did not comfort 
US much. Our expedition had been repulsed, our gun- 
boats captured, our Federal soldiers and sailors made 
prisoners by the rebels. 

We had been attending the funeral of a brother officer. 
Dr. Cummings, and were returning to our quarters, when 
these ill-omened rumors took shape and substance in a 
telegraph message received by the - rebel post-com- 
mandant, notifying him to get ready for the reception 
of two hundred prisoners. The details of our new Fede- 
ral jdisaster were communicated speedily enough, there- 
after, by its victims, who became subsequently our part- 
ners through many weary months of exile, Tp those 
details I must devote a chapter. 



258 TWENTY MONTHS IN THS 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

SABINE PASS AGAIN. 

The year 1863, though marked by many brilliant suc- 
ocsses, was not a year of fortune for our Union. ,We 
boasted the capture of Yicksburg and Port Hudson, and 
the victories of Murfreesboro and Gettysburg, but we 
were forced to acknowledge, on the other hand, our re- 
verses at Chickamauga, at Winchester, in Louisiana, and 
on the Texan coast, as well as the more vital perils of 
rebel invasion and sanguinary domestic riots. When the 
whole story of warlike operation and military councils 
shall be digested by unprejudiced chroniclers of another 
generation, then, and not till then, will many hidden 
things be brought to light and many suppressed chapters 
of facts beeome accessible to public scrutiny. In such 
a truthful resume of history the true story of Sabine 
Pass will not be the least astonishing disclosure. 

I have before me the " official reports,'* as well as let- 
ters of "correspondents on the spot," concerning the 
disastrous finale of that expedition to the Sabine^s mouth, 
which, directed by General Banks, and commanded by 
Generals F/anklin and Weitzel, appeared upon the Texan 
coast, only to be driven off disgracefully, with the loss of 
two war-vessels and several hundred men captured by 
the enemy. From the " reliable correspondence" pu- 
blished in leading New York journals, claiming to give 
the account of an eye-witness, we obtained some curious 
and romantic ideas : 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 259' 

1. That, ''considering the number of the force en- 
gaged, it is doubtful if any affair of the whole war can 
compare with the battle of Sabine Pass, in obstinacy of 
fighting, loss of life, and the amount of public interest.*' 

2. That, '' to the Union forces it was the opening battle 
of a most brilliant campaign." 

3. That "the enemy's loss has been undoubtedly 
without precedent in the annals of war." 

4 That '*the enemy will tremble at a repetition of 
the attack." 

5. That "the loss of the enemy was undoubtedly 
enormous.*' 

6. That '* a combination of those unfortunate accidents 
which no human foresight can prevent or overcome, 
turned victory into defeat." 

7. That " the result of the entire affair will probably, 
and with justice, be ascribed to those accidents w*hich so 
often determine the fate of armies as well as nations.*' 

The foregoing seven propositions furnish a fair sample 
of the special pleading by which common sense was insul- 
ted, and a disgraceful failure, that should have been pu- 
nished by prompt court-martial, was magnified into a gal- 
lant struggle against overwhelming odds. It is the same 
studied glozing of facts which deceived public opinion, 
though all the mishaps of Oulf affairs, from the loss of 
Gktlveston, on New Yearns day, 1863, to the expulsion of 
our grand army from the Red River, and from all west- 
em Louisiana, before New Yearns day, 1865. Yet of such 
mendacious statements, history, or, as General Sherman 
remarks, "what is called history," will be made up by 
those who must rely on contemporary authorities for the 
data where on they build their ponderous folios. 

I think that, of all the "interest involved" in the pro- 
jected capture of Sabine Pass, we poor Union prisoners 



260 



m 



TWENTY M OllTHB IN THS 



who were, at that time, confined at Camp Oroce, seventy- 
five miles from the Pass, had our ample share. With 
anxious hearts we had waited confidently for a different 
result ; since none knew better than we had learned, the 
defenceless condition of Texas, and the certainty with 
which an ordinary Union army could, in one month, over- 
run the sea-board and lower counties, from Houston to 
Austin and from Sabine Rivpr to the Rio Grande. Lo- 
cated as we were on the railroad line, which brought and 
carried every rumor from the west and the interior, as 
well as from the eastern border and the coast, we had not 
only become apprised of events as they transpired, but 
we could form correct estimates oi the amount of prepa- 
ration and degree of resistance which a Yankee invasion 
might expect in Texas. Some of us were in daily contact 
wi^h guards whose sympathies were neither chary nor 
doubtful. Qo(M Union men, in rebel homespun, and with 
Confederate arms in their hands, were daily whispering 
to us words of cheer; and when, in that first week of 
September, we had heard of a Federal force of six war 
steamers and twenty-six transports being off the bar at 
Sabine, it is no wonder that we had met each other with 
hopeful faces, and counted the hours which might elapse* 
ere we should look upon our *'01d Flag" flying over 
Camp Groce prison-yard. 

' Miserable was the reaction of our feelings, when, re- 
turning one evening from the Masonic burial of Surgeon 
Cummings, we heard the first report, scarcely credited 
by even the bitterest rebels, that our fleet ancl army had 
been beaten off, and several gun-boats captured at the 
Pass. I looked in the eyes of a Masonic brother, (honest 
Union man, though in rebel uniform,) for something which 
might deny the fearful rumor; but he shook his head, 
fiance as troubled as my own. We found oar 




DEPABTBEEHT OF THB etJIiF. 281 

worst fears verified. The American sqaadron and army, 
with its brave sea-captains and skillful generals, had re- 
treated from the coast ; not exactly 

'* Foiled by a woman's hand before a batter'd wall/' 

bnt quite as shamefully driven off by forty-two Irish 
militiamen in a mud-fort with six pieces of artillery! 
!rhe details, as I have said, we learned through the 
recital of prisoners like ourselves, fresh from the scene 
of their defeat, and burning with indignation against the 
authors of it. 

They had come, those brave gun-boat-men and their 
gallant officers — those chosen sharp-shooters from the 
New York 76th and 161st regiments — ^to be flung ashore, 
into the enemy's hands, and devoted to long imprison- 
ment, hardship and privation. Pioneers of the Yankee 
fleets that were to follow, skirmishers in front of the 
Yankee army of six thousand men, in twenty-six trans- 
ports, hugging the Sabine bar, these new prisoners — 
some four hundred in number — ^^arrived a few days after- 
wards, to tell us the story of Sabine Pass, not "officially,'' 
or in the choice language of "special correspondents,'* 
but with plain, rough emphasis, such as men use when 
they feel that their lives and honor have been trifled with 
by those who should have cherished both. 

In this wise, I gathered details concerning that Fede- 
ral expedition of invasion. From log-books of naval 
officer, from yams of man-of-wars-man, from recital of 
service-striped sergeant, I became possessed of truer in- 
formation regarding this, as well as other afiiurs, than I 
could have gained out of all the red-tape documents at 
head-quarters. 

Full of expectation, after re-conquest of Brashear City, 
the stout gun-boat Clifton, flag-ship of Captain Crocker, 
with her consort, the Sachem, Captain Johnson, steamed 



201 TWENTY S0NTH8 Sf Tflk 



.#►• 



cat of ihe Atohafalaya's moath, on the morn of September 
6th, and, with the gun-boat Arizona and a dozeif or more 
transports, proceeded to the mouth of the Sabine. Here 
they stood off and on, a while, no coast-guard being in 
yiew. Propitious moments these for blockade-runners; 
as never a Federal ''warder*^ heaves in sight that day 
or night, it seems. Next day flag-officer Crocker, stand- 
ing on and off amidst the fleet, sends Johnson, with his 
Sachem, to the Pass; and on his way the latter skipper 
overhauls our missing blockade-steamer Granite City, 
quietly returning from a trip off Calcasieu. That day 
(the 7th) sees nothing further done; but on the 8th a 
council is convened on board the transport Suffolk, where- 
at Generals Franklin and Weitzel, and their naval con- 
freres, captains of the gun-boats, settle on a plan for 
capturing the rebel fortress. Friendly shore-scouts have 
assured them that no more than five or sis: hundred rebels 
can be mustered in the fort or at Sabine City, and that 
all the border force consists of two or three thousand con- 
scripts. So it is decided to attack the place at once. 
General Weitzel and flag-captain Crocker go ashore in a 
small boat to reconnoitre for a landing-place ; the spot is 
selected; the details of disembarkation are agreed upon; 
nothing remains but to carry out the programme. 

There are two channels debouching from the mouth of 
Sabine Kiver — a western one, called the Texan, and an 
eastern one, known as the Louisiana channel. They are 
separated by a shallow bank of shifting sands, horse-shoe 
shaped, within the hollow of which a vessel striking 
would be grounded. The channels, as well as the sand- 
shallows dividing them, are commanded by the river 
banks, so that a battery on the Texan side can sweep the 
river to the Louisiana side. The Texan bank is curving, 
and behind a rounding point are built the rebel earth- 



DBPiBTldBtRr dF TtE GULF. 8^^ 

worbi with a front of a hundred yards or more. Tl^e 
Clifton is to follow up this hank, and run the batteries, 
so as to hring her guns upon the rebel rear, which is not 
fortified. The gun-boat Sachem takes the Louisiana chan- 
nel, the Arizona following, while our blockading steamer 
Granite City remains below, to cover a landing of the 
troops. 

Well-planned thus far ; and^ to insure a prompt disem- 
barkation, the boats belonging to both the Clifton and the 
Sachem are borrowed for the use of our soldiers. They 
are to be lashed, side by side, between the Granite City 
and the beach ; so that our troops, marching from their 
transports over the gun-boat decks, may cross the bridge 
of small boats and step dry-shod upon land. 

All preparations made, two companies of our gallant; 
New York boys (from the 161st), and another detachment 
from the veteran 75th New York Infantry, being sent on 
board our gun-boats as sharp-shooters, a signal from the 
Clifton, ''up anchor,'' sets both upon the onset. Stout 
Sachem-captain Johnson stands on his quarter-deck, while 
the little war vessel that he has trodden in many a perilous 
pass, ploughs up the Louisiana channel — ^the Arizona 
steaming in her wake. At the Sachem^s .bows her pivot 
gun points toward the enemy's forts, however devious her 
passage. Her broadside thirty-two's are ready for busi- 
ness, but her Parrott speeds first across the quiet waters. 
Meantime the Clifton, separated by sand-shallows, bears 
up through the Texas channel, close to its winding bank, 
and presently her nine-inch pivot sends a shell mid-air 
and drops it plumply upon the rebel earthworks The 
fort makes no reply. An ominous silence continues be- 
hind those rude defences, and our brace of gun-boats, 
dashing head on, gaining length after length, already 
threaten to run by the enemy in Farragut's good oI3 



264 TWEMT7 M OlffiSSI 19 TH8 

style. The Sachem's bold commander, looking back, be- 
holds the Clifton in the opposite channel, striving to in- 
crease her speed. Flag-Captain Crocker is determined 
to run by those batteries ; Sachem-captain Johnson mnst 
not fall behind. So his little gnn-boat heads westward a 
bit, while the Arizona lags in her track. 

There is a stake at yonder beach point, opposite a 
carving prominence of the Texan shore-"— a suspicions 
water-mark to Yankee eyes. Q^he Sachem's crew dis- 
cover it first, and the Clifton's lookouts note it as their 
vessel rounds the land point The Sachem steams towards 
it, amid a crashing fire of all the rebel guns, which now 
have opened in good earnest. Six heavy pieces play at 
once upon our little steamer. For twenty minutes s 
shower of shot and shell rains down upon her deck. At 
last her bows are opposite the stake. A moment's pause 
is noticed in the rebel fire, and then a ball comes crush-' 
ing through the gun-boat's boiler. A fierce explosion 
follows, and the hiss of liberated steam succeeds. White 
clouds of burning, stifling vapor drive our soldiers from 
their stations. Shrieks and groans resound from stem to 
stem. Thirty-four gallant men are killed outright, or 
scalded well nigh unto death, by that one terrible stroke 
of fate. Fear-stricken sufierers leap wildly overboard; 
dismal confusion ensues ; the gun-boat swings around, 
disabled. 

Not long are the rebels in discovering howxnruelly that 
last shot told upon one opponent; and, leaving her to 
drift with her dead and dying, they turn their guns upon 
the newer foe. At this moment the Clifton, rounding 
that point which hid the rebel guns, appears resolved to 
force her passage upward. She advances swiftly, inter- 
posing between the rebel batteries and her crippled con- 
sort. She receives and returns their direct fire, and then 



DEPABTHENT OF THB GX7LF. 265 

essays a short turn for her ganntlet passage. ^ But the 
Clifton's fortunes reach, at length, a turn as short as any 
channel-bend. Striking a sand-bank, she grounds, and 
lies unmanageable under the rebel batteries. A storm of 
rebel iron pours down upon her. She cannot bring her 
broadside into play. Its battery is pointed toward the 
Louisiana border. Only her bow-gun could be used with 
effect; till her 32-pounders, being whirled about, their 
shot plunged through her opposite bulwarks, speeding on 
the enemy. The fort, at this time, was within three 
hundred yards of our doomed gun-boat, and a rebel mis- 
sile soon crashed into her steam-ehest. « Her rudder- 
ohains were parted. Sh6 no longer answered her helm. 
Escaping steam scalded the sharp-shooters on her hur- 
ricane-deck. From this moment the rebels were masters 
of the channel. Our two gun-boats struck their colors. 
The enemy boarded them, in sight of our army and its 
generals. Three hundred gallant soldiers and sailors 
were suffered to be carried away prisoners, without a 
shot being fired in an effort to rescue them. 

Why were they abandoned ? Why were six thousand 
Federal troops, with arms and ammunition, with every- 
thing requisite for a successful assault of earthworks, 
permitted to remain on ship-board without an attempt t6 
land them, /or the dislodgement of our foes ? 

Why were the Clifton and Sachem deprived of their 
small boats, with which their sharp-shooters might have 
effected a landing, even after the gun-boats were placed 
hors du combat 1 

Why were not the small boats used as a bridge from 
the Granite City to the beach, whereby our federal troops 
could have been landed to support the gun-boats ? 

Why did not the Arizona, largest of these boats, make 



266 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

fast to the Sachem, and haul her from her perilons posi- 
tion, after the perforation of her boiler ? 

Why were not our soldiers landed from the transports, 
and marched, as they might have been, from their point 
of disembarkation, lo the rear of the fort (a mile or two 
only), and thus thrown into position to compass and as- 
sault the earthwork on its undefended land side ? 

Will it be credited that our attacking gun-boats were 
captured, their consorts driven off, and the whole expedi- 
tion turned back, discomfited, by the resistance of forty- 
two men, working six guns, behind an earthwork ? 

Yet such is the case. We, who waited so full of anxi- 
ous hopes, in our gloomy barracks of Camp Groce, know 
well the panic of rebels, suddenly threatened by invasion, 
and their wonderful transition from despair to triumph, 
when the astounding news came— of a victory at Sabine 
Pass. 

I met the Confederate officer who arrived in charge of 
the Federal prisoners from our gun-boats ; an intelligent 
Marylander, who had known me several years before. He 
was frank and honest in his admissions. 

"Never were men more disappointed in tha result 
than we ourselves," he said to me. " I fully believed 
that it would be my fate to march a prisoner, with my 
fellow-rebels, rather than to come to this post in charge 
of Yankee prisoners." 

" You had no expectation of making a successful re- 
sistance, then ?" I remarked to the lieutenant. 

" We had made up our minds that every one of us 
must be captured, either at the fort or in Sabine City," 
he replied. "What other hope could we have — a raw 
company of Irish militia — the Davis Guards — attempting 
to resist your fleet and army V* 

" Did you expect that a landing would be made ?*' 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 267 

"We expected that, of course, and had no means of de- 
fbflding ourselves against it. Two hundred soldiers 
marching up to flank the fort, must have obliged us 
either to run or surrender. There could have been no 
alternative but to die in the fort, uselessly fighting.'' 

"What did you think, lieutenant, when you saw our 
gun-boats apparently disabled and grounded ?** 

" We thought it was a strategem, at first. It appeared 
to us as if your two vessels were put forward, like pawns 
in a game of chess, to be taken easily." 

"Did you expect to get possession of the gun-boats 
after you discovered their disabled condition ?" 

** We began to have a little hope of escaping ourselves ; 
but if a landing had been even then made by your troops 
we should never have ventured to board those gun-boats." 

" Could not your armed steamers on the Sabine have 
aided your defence ?*' 

The lieutenant smiled. "Your batteries," he said, "were 
stronger than ours, and in the hands of experienced ar- 
tillerists. We had no reinforcements nearer than Beau- 
mont, and you would have«gained Sabine City and all the 
Louisiana coast for your base. We were lucky on our 
side, and you were — " My Confederate friend paused, 
abruptly. 

" Well, lieutenant, what do you honestly think of our 
side ?" I inquired. 

"Excuse my answering," said the rebel officer, "You 
are a prisoner-of-war, and I have no wish to say anything 
unpleasant to you." 

This significant response satisfied me, for the moment, 
concerning the opinion of our enemies regarding the affair 
at Sabine Pass. I asked only one more question : 

" What was your loss, lieutenant ? You know ours.'* 

"We lost not a man," answered the rebel. 



268 TWENTY KOKTBB IN THE 

Haying obtained this snm of information relative to 
that famous expedition of invasion, I parted from my re- 
bel acquaintance, and went back to my quarters, to 'make 
a note of Uie conversation which is here reproduced. 
Bitter were my reflections, in common with all our de- 
spondent prisoners, new and old. Freedom had been al- 
most within our sight ; a Union victory had appeared to 
be an assured event. Texas might have seen the old flag 
streaming over all her hills and prairies. Instead of this 
— we could only bite our lips. 



DEPABTMEMT 09 THS GULF. 269 



CHARTER XXVIII.. 

LIFE AND DEATH AT OAHP OROCE. 

The " bad news from Sabine '* reached us, as I men* 
tioned, on our retam from a Masonic burial of Surgeon 
Oummings of the Massachusetts infantry. The ceremony 
was an impressive one, and had been fraternally partici- 
pated in by many Masons belonging to our Confederate 
guards. Together, with white aprons, and bearing willow 
wands, the men of North and South walked solemnly be- 
hind the. bier; together they surrounded the grave, and 
listened to the beautiful ritual of burial ; together, then, 
they cast the " ashes to ashes, and dust to dust," and, 
dropping sprigs of evergreen upon the dead, as types of 
an immortal resurrection, together they uttered the solemn 
adjuration — "Amen! So mote it bel*' In this Masonio 
interchange, war and strife were for a brief space for- 
gotten,^and charity lovingly united the hands and hearts 
of those who had been created one family by the Sub- 
lime Architect of souls. 

The preliminaries of the funeral had been arranged at 
a meeting of free-masons, called by one of our guards who 
held high rank in the fraternity ; and the following reso- 
Intions were adopted and signed by all. 

Oamp O&oce, near Hempstead, Texas, 
September 10, 1863. 

To the Worshipful Master Wardens and Brethren of 
Washington Lodge, Boxbury, Mass., Greeting;. 
At an informal meeting of the Masonic Brethren at 



270 TWENTY HOirrHS ZN THB 

this place, Bro. A. J. H. Duganne, of Metropolitan Lodge, 
New York, being chosen chairman ; Henry W. Washburn, 
of Union Lodge, New London, Oonn., chosen Secretary; 
the following resolutions were read and adopted : 

Resolved. That we attend in a body, as Masons, and 
giye our Deceased Brother, Ariel Ivors Oummings, of 
Washington Lodge, Roxbury, Mass., a Masonic funeral, 
as nearly as we are able so to do, and that Brother A. J. H. 
Duganne conduct the ceremonies. 

Resolved, That a scroll, containing name, age, etc. be 
buried with our deceased brother, and that a copy of the 
same be forwarded to Washington Lodge. 

Resolved, That we, as Masons, deeply sympathize wiflk 
Washington Lodge, and believe its members have lost ft 
most worthy and well-beloved brother ; one who had the 
welfare of the Order at heart, and, to the best of our 
knowledge, always carried out the principles of Christian 
Masonry. 

Resolved, That we hail the Masonic sympathy which 
characterizes this occasion of our deceased brother^s fu- 
neral, at which lodges from the North, South', East and 
West are most harmoniously represented, as another il- 
lustration of the fraternal spirit which is continually ad- 
ding strength to the foundation and beauty to the arches 
of our well-beloved Order. 

Resolved t That we condole with the widow of our de- 
ceased brother, in the bereavement she has sustained, and,, 
through Faith, hope that the Grand Master of all will, 
with Charity, uphold and protect her, until they meet in 
realms Above. 

A. J. H. Duganne, Chairman. 

Henrt W. Washburn, Secretary. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 271 

/ 

The first instalment of rebel captures at Sabine Oity 
reaohed Camp Groce in the bodily shapes of two hundred 
and thirty one soldiers and sailors, who were consigned 
to a vacant portion of our barrack line. Shortly after 
their arrival, ctur guard, under Captain Buster, were re- 
lieved by a company of conscripts, and ordered to Gamp 
Lubbock, near Houston. We heard no more from the 
Federal fleet, and rebellion-stock in Texas grew obviously 
higher day by day. About the middle of September, we 
began to get acquainted with that peculiar visiter of this 
latitude known as a ** Norther." 

A "Norther** gives little premonition of its coming. 
Noon may be fair and cloudless skies may seem to pro- 
mise a balmy evening, when suddenly a low wind sin|;s 
through the woodlands, whistles accross the prairies., and, 
then, swelling into strength and fury, lashes the forests 
like a flail, and sweeps with a roar toward the coast; 
sometimes drj and cold, and freezing the marrow in one's 
bones, and sometimes charged with gusty rain that de- 
luges the country — swelling the rivers, flooding £he 
marsh-lands, and making the roads almost impassable. 
Woe to the forlorn traveller who is overtaken by a winter 
Norther while crossing a wide prairie. Horsemen have 
been found in the saddle, chilled to death by this icy 
wind ; beef cattle and even herds of swine have perished 
under the arctic cold of a December norther in Texas. 

The routine of camp-life had been wearisome enough, 
even if perfect health could have been assured us. Bi^t 
with the sick and dying constantly in our midst, nightly 
watches were rendered necessary, and a mental despon- 
dency began to prey upon many who were not physically 
ill. Once a week, at least, we were called upon to fol- 
low the pine-coffin of some poor captive, and our rough 
burial ground in the timber grew apace with graves of 



272 TWEimr hostths in thb 

Federals, marked by wooden headboards, on wbicb Lien- 
tenant Eddy, of the "Forty-Second/* was aconstomed to 
paint the name and age of the departed. The poor lien- 

N tenant was also an invalid, and sometimes obliged to prop 
himself on a pillow in his bnnk, while he. traced the sad 
record of death, in " silver-white" paint, kept carefully 
for such occasions by our provident and useful Oaptain 
Proctor, of the same regiment* I attended at our funer- 
als, and usually read the service, sometimes making a few 
remarks befitting the solemn moment. The little mounds 
accumulated fast, and, one day, with some stout tars of 
the "Morning LighV' and *' Harriet Lane,'* and a few 
privates of the 75th New York regiment, Oaptain Van 
Tine and myself contrived to get a rude log fence con- 
structed around our little *' God^s acre*' of prison-dead. 

Our Sabbath-day exercises continued; and we solaced 
ourselves occasionally with singing in our quarters ; there 
being several excellent voices among the "42d'* officers. 
Our militia-guards, who had replaced Captain Buster's 
company, were not all so friendly as their predecessors. 
We had occasion to note this fact a few evenings follow- 
ing their advent, when one of them deliberately fired at 
a sailor-boy, whose offence was, in the excitement of 
sport, pursuing a runaway ball to the guard-line. With- 
out challenge or caution, the cowardly fellow drew up his 
gun, and discharged it at our sailor lad; and the bullet, 
whizzing past the latter, sped toward our barracks in 
dangerous closeness to the ball-players. 

In the first week of October, Dr. Sherfy, our indefatig- 

^ able surgeon, reported one hundred and twenty prisoners 
on his sick-list. We had fears, at this time, that our 
camp-fevers might be developed to a more malignant type, 
as Yellow Fever was said to be rife at Houston, and w« 
were told that, on previous visits of this epidemie^ the 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULP. 273 

neighborhood of Camp Oroce had been fatally ravaged. 
But we were happily spared from such aggravation of our 
condition. About this time, the citizen-prisoners who re- 
mained with us were notified that they would be speedily 
liberated. One of them, Holliday, had already succeeded 
in negotiating a "ransom," by paying some hundreds of 
dollars in specie to a Houston lawyer. Upon the fifth of 
October, we were abruptly ordered to make room in our 
quarters for the Federal officers captured at Sabine Pass, 
who arrived that evening by the railroad. This neces- 
sitated a general " doubling up" in our bunking arrange- 
ments, but we succeeded in accommodating the new-com- 
ers, who, at ten o^clock, P. M., appeared to be snuglj 
bestowed for the night. 

But rebel authorities are like their negroes — '' mighty 
uncertain;" a truth which we experienced very soon; 
for, before midnight, an officer and file of men invaded 
our slumbers, with orders for all the ''Sabine Pass'* 
officers to vacate the premises, and repair to other dormi- 
tories. The post-commandant, it seemed, had overlooked 
an order from Houston, which required him to confine the 
new prisoners by themselves, and to allow them no in- 
tercourse whatever with the old ones. 

So our later comrades in misfortune weTe now suddenly 
routed from their comfortable quarters, and obliged to 
tramp, in darkness, to some vacant sheds upon the rising 
ground that lay between our barracks and the railroad. 
There they were left, upon a floor of broken boards, to 
make themselves as contented as pdssible till daylight, 
l^ext morning, they were permitted to receive, through 
the guards, such rations as we could cook for them ;* and 
this arrangement continued until Uiey succeeded, several 
weeks afterwards, in building chimneys and fireplaces to 
their dilapidated stack of sheds. Meantime, we heard 



274 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

various reasons assigned for the close confinement of these 
offieers; among others, that they had thrown overboard 
the small-arms from their gun-boats, and that they had 
concealed a large amount of Federal money, which had 
been in custody of the Clifton's paymaster. Doubtless, 
the suspicion of a secret correspondence between these 
officers, who had so recently come from Houston, and some 
Union men lately arrested in that city, was the true cause 
of the "non-intercourse** orders; for, on a Sabbath morn- 
ing, about twelve days after the separation, our barracks 
were abruptly entered by detachments of the guard, and 
onr persons, trunks, and bunks searched rigorously. All 
papers that appeared suspicious, together with all our 
money, whether specie, "greenbacks,** or Confederate 
currency, were taken from us, and we were notified that 
henceforth we should be allowed to purchase " extras,'* and 
pay our "washing** or other bills, only through drafts 
npofi our funds, which were to be held in trust by the 
rebel post-commandant. Colonel Bates. 

The "citizens** left camp early in October; it being 
supposed that they would be sent from Houston, across 
the state, to Mexico, and thence allowed to find their 
way to the United States. But they were hardly absent 
a week before we saw them returned to us ; there being 
no means of overland transportation, and the wife of 
Stratton being, of course, unable to make a foot-journey. 
We now lost another of our officers, Lieut. Kumsey, of 
the 175th New York Volunteers. He had been lingering 
long, under dysentery and pneumonia, and was wasted to 
a mere skeleton. Shortly after poor E,umsey*s death, we 
were called upon to lament the sudden loss of another 
officer of the same regiment, Lieut. Hayes, a favorite with 
all of us, and to whom I had become personally attaohed, 
attracted, by his many amiable traits of character. We 



BEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 275 

had latel}^ formed a small mess together, and I ean never 
forget his attention and kindness to me, daring dajrs of 
indisposition; nor the bright smile with which he was 
wont to awaken me, at morning, bringing to my bunk a 
cup of "Lincoln coffee/' that he usuitlly prepared before 
our regnlar breakfast. He had been complaining of illness 
two or three days, bat oar sargeon did not sappose the 
least danger to be apprehended; deeming, as others did, 
that the yoang officer was only worn oat with attendance 
apon others ; for Lieat Hayes had been anremitting in 
his care of sick comrades at all times. Bat the inexorable 
messenger, who had summoned so many of our number, 
came likewise to my little mess, and divided its mates. 
Lieut. Hayes lay down, at night in my hammock, which 
he preferred to his cot-bed, and, in the morning, when 
Lieut. Stone went to awaken him, the heart of our brother 
was stilled forever. I know not if he had felt presenti- 
ments of death ; but a few days previously he had related 
to me a dream, which I recalled to memory while following 
his remains to their last resting-place. 

" I thought I was at home," he said, "and that a crowd 
of visitors were calling on me.* They came by carriages- 
full, and stepped out on the iiralk before die house as 
naturally as if it werft reality ; and they were all living 
people ; but their faces were the faces of dead friends 
and relatives. Then I thought I fell asleep, and that my 
eyes opened, it seemed, upon another world, where there 
were thousands of angels floating in the air ; and I saw 
the Virgin Mary, with a halo round her head, and her 
face and garments shining brighter than sunlight. She 
seemed to look smilingly down, as if calling me.*' 

Lieut. Hayes was a devout Roman Catholic, and his 
faith, doubtless, gave color to his visions. But as I re- 
ealled his blameless character, his amiable demeanor, 



ji76 TWENTY UORTHB IN THS 

and the fine blending of serionsness and hnmor whieb 
made his society pleasant, I could not but bope that his 
dream would merge into reality, and that the Queen of 
Heaven might be indeed smiling upon him at that hour, 
far up beyond all clouds which overhung our dreary pri- 
son-house. 

The low Texan forests were bending and sighing under 
the first blast of a *' Norther,*' as we walked, in sad pro- 
cession, two by two, to bury the remains of our genial 
comrade — the honorable, brave, and dutiful soldier; whose 
sudden death had fallen upon each of us like a personal 
bereavement ' 

Two by two, we followed the mule-cart, which con- 
tained a coffin of rough yellow-pine. The wagon-wheels 
jerked heavily over stumps and hillocks on the road that 
led through recently-cleared land to that small elevation, 
where we were accumulating graves, ranged side by side; 
the tablets of our captivity. The negro driver sat at one 
end of the coffin; we walked close behind it, and our 
ever-present guards, with loaded muskets, marched on 
either side. Climbing to the grave, that had been digged 
by the sailors of our company; standing at the edges, 
upon red clumps of earth; looking into the hollow, as the 
coffin was lowered down ; listening to the rattle' of the 
clods upon the pine boards ; so proceeded the burial of 
our friend and comrade. A brother-officer of the dead, 
Lieut. Dunn, read the burial servicci and we turned back, 
guarded by scowling rebels, in the face of winds that 
now came howling from the prairies. How we prayed, in 
our hearts, for a " Nokther" that might sweep this rebel 
oountij like a tornado ! 



f 

;■ ■ 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 27? 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

FALLING LEAVES. 

The rebel "powers that be" are becoming vi^lant. 
Post-Commandant Bates rides up and down on inspection 
tours. Lieut. Ool. Barnes visits our quarters periodi- 
cally. Negroes are hauling posts, and digging a trench 
around our camp-ground, for a future "stockade." Mean- 
while the leaves are falling. The tree-limbs are swept 
by raging "northers," that now blow more frequently, 
laden with rain and hail. We look forward to a dreary 
hibernation. We give up hopes of "exchange," and in- 
voke patience to be our comforter. There is little oc- 
curring to break the monotony of our captivity. We get 
rebel journals from Houston, and hear the gossip of 
guards, and note the passage of trains daily, sometimes 
freighted with rebel troops and artillery. So the days 
creep by. Occasionally we are visited by people from 
Hempstead, curious to have a look at "the Yankees." 
Among these come a few loyal souls, to sympathize with 
us, as friends, and whisper low words of encouragement. 
A couple of kind ladies have brou^t little comforts for 
the sick, and books for the well. To one of these ladies, 

Mrs. E , of Hempstead, I loaned « volume of my 

poems which I had preserved in my trunk. It contained 
a silken marker, wrought with the " old flag " The lady 
was 80 forgetful of rebel surroundings, as to open my un- 
fortunate volume in the cars. A Confederate officer, be- 
hind her, peeped gallantly over her flhould6r,_aad read» 



278 TWENTY MOirrHS IN THB 

» 

perhaps, some sentiments not wholly in accordance with 
Southern predilections. He deemed it his duty to " re- 
port'' the lady to General Magmder ; and, the same night, 
many wakeful ones of our camp were startled hy the ap- 
parition of a locomotive crashing past at midnight. Next 
day this unusual incident became a subject of much spe- 
culation. We conjectured, that some new conspiracy 
might have been discovered at Houston, or that con- 
scripts had risen in some rebel camp. Long afterwards, 
I learned the truth; that a special train had been dis- 
patched from Houston to Hempstead, and that luckless 

Mrs. E , arrested by a provost-marshal's order, had 

been taken from her bed, at midnight, and carried off for 
examination by Gen. Magruder ; her husband being per- 
mitted, as a favor, to accompany her. Gen. Magruder 
was speedily satisfied, however, either that my volume of 
poems was no infernal machine, to blow up the Confede- 
racy, or that the lady who borrowed it was not ap in- 
cendiary ; for he ordered Mrs. E to be restored to 

her home, and my book, containing the "Union marker/* 
to be returned to its " Yankee" author. , 

But the winter days have come. Loud howls the " nor- 
ther*' over our barrack-roofs. There is no fuel in camp. 
Who will volunteer as " hewers of wood" to-day ? cheerily 
sings the voice of Captain Dillingham, whilom of good 
ship "Morning Light," and now chief skipper of our 
prison hulks. Anon, the lumbering ox-team, dragging a 
wagon, and urged on by goading whip of a negro-driver^ 
creeps across our prison lines, and we fall in, guarded by a 
rebel ** detail," to our work of "log-rolling." Down, past 
the well, where captive tars and land-lubbers are waiting 
turns to draw their bucket-fuls of water for their break- 
fast meal ; shivering wights, snuffing the keen north wind 
that whistles through their ragged garments; slapping 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 279 

their half-numbed hands together, and dancing on the 
cold turf, to impart some circulation to the chilled blood 
in their naked feet. A white frost clings to the grass 
and rimes the bushes with its glittering lace. The sun 
has not yet climbed those greyish clouds that race ath- 
wart the orient, and '*it is a nipping and an eager air" 
which Vhips them seaward. 

Down by the oaks and pecan-trees ; under moss-laden 
cypresses, and through the scrubby mulberry and tea 
bushes; skirting that sombre hillock where we bury our 
dead, and following the cattle-path until we penetrate 
"the timber.'' Our ox-cart crushes through tangled 
yincB and oyer rotten stumps, wheels round a fkllen ce- 
dar, and is headed to the north again ; the rebel guards 
squat here and there, with rifles on their knees ; while 
we, with ringing axes, make short work of Texan timber- 
growth. Down surge the youthful oaks; in scattered 
fragments fly the limbs and trunks of sturdy hickory ; we 
emulate the woodmeii of Yirgilian pastorals, whose toils 
are scanned in schoolboy couplets : 

««Tre68 on trees o'erthrown, 

Fall crackliog round us, and the forests groan.'* 

Then "comes the tug;" to "pack" our heavy spoils; 
huge logs uplifted over wheels, and piled upon the wain ; 
such loads as once we might have deemed Titanic bur- 
thens, now tossed lightly on the towering fuel-heap. 
Thereafter we march prisonward, to barracks, with our 
appetites well sharpened for the tough beef and "corn- 
dodgers." 

In-doors the bunks are cold and damp. This keen wind 
searches through their gaping crevices. Our cook-house, 
with its stoves, allures a knot of icy -blooded invalids to 
oower beneath incumbent pots and pans of grumbling 
stewards. The barracks boai9t no stoves, but we have 



280 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

• 

digged two fire-places below 6ar flooring line, at either 
wing, and pierced some apertures in the wooden roof, to 
•erve as smoke-holes. So, like Hottentots in kraab, or 
Esquimaux in snow4ints, we hibernate beneath continual 
clouds of pungent yapor, eye-blinding and lung-choking. 

Presently the whistle of the north-wind rises to a howl 
around the barracks. Thick hurricanes, driying hills of 
dust and banks of leaves before them, scud across the 
railway cuts. Ere long, chill drops of heavy rain plash 
down upon our roofs. The Dry Norther has passed, and 
the Wet Norther comes roaring in^his wake, with the 
'* noise of many waters." Plash, splash, dash! The yel- 
low sands become wide pools of muddy rain. The blast 
careers through bending tree-tops, wrenching knotty 
boughs away, and threshing off their wet leaves as the 
chaff is flailed from com. 

*<A11 hands to caulk ship!" cries a watchM man-of- 
war's-man, who, half cook, half caterer, chalks his number 
in our officers, quarters. Timely call, ancient mariner ! 
A score of leaks make known their whereabouts by dis- 
mal percolations, drenching berths and blankets. All the 
roof, of shrunken pine boards, soon begins to ooze with 
miry moisture. Kivulets of trickling rain wind down 
from ridge poles. Streams descend into the bunks and 
through their soaking contents. Lakes are mapped upon 
the muddy floor. Meantime, les miserables patch up ne- 
glected holes, dam off inoursive water-courses, mop up 
embryo ponds, and shelter clothes and blankets wilh 
what canopies they can command. 

Rain, rain! through all the hours! Our hearth-fires 
smoulder under incubi of smoke. Our greasy banquet- 
boards of pine, that occupy the space between opposing 
rows of bunks, are dripped upon incessantly. We snatch 
our m<»iels out of dishea sprinkled on from juicy rafters* 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 281 

Oom-dodgers/are dough, our beef half boiled, our soup 
soup^maigre. So we shiver through the daylight, and at 
night crawl into damp repose, night-mared by water- 
sprites — all giim-haired Kuhleborns and no sparkling 
Undines. 

Sorry nights, these ; dim, dismal, dolorous nights, for 
wretched ones on beds of pain and sickness. I hear the 
poor consumptive's dying cough ; I listen to the broken 
words of fevered sufferers; I catch the feeble sighs of 
manhood lapsing into infant weakliness. 

How wearisome this night-watch with the sick, and yet 
how rife with healthful thought to one who ponders ! My 
single candle scarcely penetrates the shadows which en- 
compass me. The barracks are profoundly still. All 
sleep, except the dying. 

A faint voice calls for water, and I wet the lips and 
forehead of a youth, who has confronted danger in a dozen 
battle-fields, and risen from the ranks to wear a captain's 
sword. I doubt if flaming batteries iii his path have ever 
appalled him; yet he lies here now as tremulous and 
fearful as a girl. I scan my watch, and steal from cot to 
cot, with medicine to be administered at the midnight 
hour. I lift a comrade from his bed, as you would lift a 
baby. Three months ago this man might have wrestled 
with the strongest of us. Three days hence, we shall 
walk behind him, to the prison-graves. 

I step out of our barrack door. The rain has ceased, 
but there is yet no starlight. The wind has lulled. The 
air is raw and clammy. A rebel sentry tramps on the 
dead-line. 



282 TWENTY MONTHS IN THS 



CHAPTER XXX. 

EXODUS. 

The monotone of prison-existence was broken by a few 
outside rumors during the month of I^^ovember. We 
heard of Federal operations threatening the Texan coast; 
of Union plots detected at Houston, and the consequent 
arrest of sundry implicated citizens ; among others of 
Dr. Peebles, and Judge Baldwin, whose loyalty to the 
"Old Flag^' was well known to many of our prisoners, 
with whom they had conversed at Houston. We learned, 
also, that some of our escaped comrades had arrived safely 
within Federal lines ; and we received occasional encou- 
ragement regarding a new cartel being agreed upon. 
About this period, two privates of an Illinois regiment, 
the brothers Smith, were brought to Camp Groce in irons, 
charged with an aggravated attempt to escape ; the aggra- 
vation consisting in an appropriation of horses and sad-, 
dies, wherewith the young adventurers made good pro- 
gress from Houston to San Antone, before they were ar- , 
rested. Horse-stealing is a capital offence against the 
Texan code of morals, which very seldom takes cognizance 
of murder by pistol or bowie-knife ; so, it was decided 
that our two Smiths should be handed over to the civil 
authorities for trial, on the horse-theft charge ; with a san- 
guine expectation, on the part of bitter rebels, that they 
must both be convicted and hanged. The two boys were 
kept a few days under close guard at Camp Groce, and 
then dispatched to Houston, to stand their iaiaL We 



DEPABTIIENT OF THE GULF. 283 

felt, of coarse, great Bjmpathj for them, as well as in- 
dignation at the rebel commanders who had transferred 
their examination to a civil court, in which their lives 
were sure to be jeopardized bj a prejudiced jury ; but 
we were powerless to interpose, and could only witness 
with sorrow the departure of our poor comrades, under a 
strong guard, and still manacled, for embarkation on the 
cars. 

The stockade about our camp was now rapidly progres- 
sing; and we had mUde up our minds to close incarcera- 
tion during the winter, when, on the 16th of November, 
after most of us had retired to our bunks for the night, 
Colonel Burrell came to our barracks from his own quar- 
ters, in a separate shed with Dr. Sherfy, and electrified 
all hearers by a brief and eloquent address: '* Gentle- 
^menl" (cried this bringer of "glad tidings,'*) " I have 
good news for you ! We are all to be paroled and sent 
to our homes as soon as the papers can be made out I" 
It may easily be conceived that this anuouncemant caused 
a general turning-out of slumbering prisoners. In a few 
moments the line of barracks was " all alive" with excite- 
ment. Officers embraced each other, exchanging mutual 
hopes and gratulations ; Colonel Burrell traversed the 
men's quarters, repeating his little '* speech" to hilarious 
audiences ; cheers and shouts made every shed-roof ring ; 
bonfires were lit, and the sailors sung patriotic songs till 
long after midnight. Very little slumber visited Camp 
Groce that joyous night. But on the next morning our 
happiness was somewhat tempered by supplementary ad- 
vices. We were assured that the paroling officer might 
be expected immediately, but that we should be obliged 
to march several hundre'd miles to Shreveport, in Upper 
Louisiana, and there descend the Bed Biver. No trans- 
portation Goold be provided for baggage. Hence, we 



284 TWENTY MOin^HS IN THE 

should be able to carry only the garments diaft we might 
wear, and such other ** traps,** as we could pack in bags 
or knapsacks. We were counseled by tiie camp-com« 
mandant to sell off whatever property we possessed, in 
order to free ourselves of all incumbrance upon the march. 
But special orders were now reported in favor of foiur 
officers, survivors of the Harriet Lane's disaster; Lieut. J. 
A. Hannam, acting-master; Lieut. C. H. Hamilton, who 
had been wounded; and two engineers, Lieuts. Plunkett 
and Stone. These gentlemen were to be forwarded to 
Shreveport by stage, and were to set out immediately. 
With the departure of Lieuts. Stone and Plunkett, who 
belonged to my mess, I was left alone ; my kind mess- 
mate, Lieut. Hayes, having been called away by death. 
Another modification of the " exchange news*' now dam- 
pened our hopes to some extent; the paroling-officer in- 
forming us that his orders directed him to parole only 
enlisted men. We began to entertain doubts regarding 
a speedy liberation. 

One of our citizen-prisoners, Mr. Parse, died on the 
23d of November. He was an elderly man, who had kept 
the hotel at Brashear. He had been a quiet, uncomplain- 
ing sufferer, during most of the time since our arrival at 
Gamp Groce. 

News of the capture of Point Isabel and Aransas Pass, 
by a Federal force which had landed on the coast of 
Southern Texas, about the close of this month, gave us 
some indication as to the progress of American arms. 

Our sick-list remained heavy; though diminished some* 
what by the prospect of parole among the men. We be- 
gan to experience much hardship in our barracks, from 
excessive cold ; and were obliged to keep our fire-holes 
heaped with burning wood, which necessitated the endu- 
raace of smoke in stifling fumes. Meantime, daily, our 



DEPABTHENT OP THE GULF. 285 



/ 



camp presented an appearance of great commercial ac- 
tivity. The prospect of a long march, with no wagons, 
had stimulated a desire to rid ourselves of all '* impedi- 
menta/' and the rebel guards, with "outside customers/* 
were anxious to relieve the ''Yankees" of any superfluous 
clothing or other articles. Hence the guard-line became 
a sort of "Kialto/' on one side whereof our sailors and 
soldiers displayed their "goods*' upon the sand, while 
rebels clustered eagerly on the other, to cheapen and buy 
at " bargains" whatever was exposed for sale. I amused 
myself often in watching the varied groups engaged in 
these fancy-fair and rag-mart operations. Military and 
naval clothing, shirts, trowsers, gloves, stockings, boots, 
caps, needles, pins, thread, silk ; with all kinds of knick- 
nacks,were ranged upon handkerchiefs along the line, the 
traders of each side on their haunches, buying and selling, 
while a guard, with his musket on both shoulders, sauntered 
up and down between the groups ; occasionally making a 
bid himself, when some tempting Yankee ''trick** attracted 
his attention. Competition brought out quantities of these 
"tricks," from Yankee trunks, valises, knapsacks, and 
bundles; and the market fluctuated like all markets. 
Sly "bulls*' and "bears*' were pitted on that guard-line, 
as on Wall or State street. The rebels, though coveting 
all our "tricks," were disposed to "fight shy," as our 
' boys said ; knowing that if an order to march should ar- 
rive suddenly, every thing for sale msst be sacrificed. 
Our Federal' tfaders, on their side, affected corresponding 
"stiffness," and "held on" for good prices. But the 
principal business soon became concentrated in the hands 
of a ''heavy broker." Sergeant Wentworth, of the 42d 
Kegiraent, a shrewd and intelligent "Yankee," of the 
Massachusetts species, whose vocal abilities, and powers 
of entertainment generally, had lightened many a weary 



286 TWENTY MONTHS IN THS 

prison-hoar, became, about this time, the very Mercury of 
merchandizing. Armed with a "special parole/* which 
his *' sweet charming" had obtained from Lit. Col. Barnes, 
the camp-commandant at this time, our bold Sergeant 
passed freely in and out of the guard-lines, lunching with 
rebel guards and officers, booking orders for "Yankeie 
goods," selling on commission^ with a handsome per cent, 
profit, and ultimately '* commanding the market", to the 
general convenience of prisoners and no little profit \o 
himself pecuniarily. Thousands of dollars, in Confederate 
currency, changed hands under his skilful prestidigitation, 
and, before the ides of December, our captive officers and 
men discovered themselves lightened of the greater por- 
tion of such little property as they had saved from previ- 
ous forays. 

Orders arrived to pack for the march, about December 
7th ; at which time I found myself prostrated by an 
attack of low fever that had been, during some weeks, 
threatening me. I had already made preparations for 
travel, in getting the promise of a pony, at the current 
price of three hundred dollars in confederate funds, or 
sixty dollars in gold. I had secured a bridle, and was 
in moderate hope to get a saddle ; and had been relieved, 
through Sergeant Wentworth, of trunks and other ''plun- 
der," as a western man calls his baggage. But, when 
the day arrived for marching, I was lying, nearly deliri- 
ous with pain and fever, on a cot in the shed which had 
been occupied by the citizens. Prostrated and helpless, 
my nerves unnaturally excited by Dover's powders, my 
stomach scarified from ** heroic" doses of " Croton oil," 
I marked, with bewildered sense, the dispositions for de- 
parture, and was pronounced by the Confederate surgeon 
to be unable to travel, even in a carriage, which had been 
chartered by Colonel Burrell, and wherein a place had 



DEPABTBCBNT OF THE GULF. 28T 

been secured for me. One by one, mj fellow-officers 
seemed to fade into obscurity, as the fever grew more 
intense ; and at last, when Colonel Nott stooped over my 
Got, in parting, and remarked that he was compelled to 
leave me, now, as I had been obliged to leave him, at 
Tigerville — on a sick bed — I scarcely knew the purport 
of his words, and shortly afterwards sank back into an 
utter unconsciousness of aught beyond the fact of suffer- 
ing pain. 

Meanwhile, the march of our officers, and of the paroled 
enlisted men, proceeded ui^der rebel orders. The sol- 
diers and sailors started in advance, some forty hours, 
under a strong guard of cavalry ; the officers and citizens 
following, under another escort, with a brace of army 
wagons provided by the Confederates, and two farm- 
wagons hired by those who still held property in "bag- 
gage." Five officers were mounted on hired mules, and 
four more, with Stratton and his wife, rode in the hired 
coach. On the first day of travel, they proceeded fourteen 
miles, and accomplished the distance to Anderson, nearly 
fifty miles, in three days. They continued at an increased 
average of miles, per diem, keeping the highway, but en- 
camping generally outside of towns : m this manner pas- 
sing through Huntsville, crossing the Trinity river, and 
reaching successively the Texan towns of Crockett, Pal- 
estine, Kickapoo, and Tyler. Camp Ford, the place of 
their destination, as it appeared, was gained after about 
twelve days' marching ; and, just before reaching it, they 
overtook and bade farewell to our enlisted men, who, 
with light hearts and light packs, were pursuing their 
road to Shreveport, and, as they fondly anticipated, at 
that time, to freedom. 

At Camp Ford, our Camp Groce exiles received a 
warm greeting from the sixty five Federal prisoners who 



M 



288 



TWENTY MOITTHS IN THE 



were there dwelling Id huts, enclosed by a high stockade 
of split pine timber. Forty-five men, under one Captain 
Davis, constituted the rebel guard. At this post, the 
citizen Stratton was paroled and permitted to proceed 
with his wife to Shreveport. Winter now began to make 
itself felt, in fierce Northers, accompanied by snow, sleet, 
and rain, and the task of making themselves comfortable, 
by building new huts or repairing old ones, became an 
arduous one to our weakened and despondent emigrant 
prisoners. Leaving them for a space, at Camp Ford, 1 
return to my personal fortunes. 



DEPABTMSMT OF THE GULF. 289 



OHAPTEB XXXI. 

HEMPSTEAD HOSPITAL. 

Lifted from the desolation of our evacuated quarters 
at Camp Groce, I am conveyed to the Confederate mili- 
tary hospital, at Hempstead. Here my symptoms speedily 
develope into an attack of latent Typhoid; and I am 
placed in a large room, containing twenty beds, occupied 
by other patients in low stages of sickness. During sev- 
eral days I remain in a very precarious condition, and 
my sufferings are of the most acute nature. For days and 
nights alternating between hopes of life and fantasies of 
death, I at length, under judicious treatment, emerge 
from immediate peril, and gradually struggle out of the 
vague idea of " life in death'* characterizing this type of 
febrile disorder. At length the fever is declared broken. 
Slowly I resume my comprehension of surrounding things. 
I dream, one morning, that I am free ; that I am in my 
camp, and stand before my regiment at dress-parade. The 
banners gleam; drums roll; the ranks divide in *'open 
order;" the men and officers "present arms !" My eyes, 
meantime, are fixed upon the central flag of "stars and 
stripes." All other objects fade to indistinctness, while 
that flag grows larger in my sight, still larger, till it seems 
to fill the sky from zenith to horizon — till the very at- j 
mosphere appears a luminous medium of stars and glit- 
tering stripes, encompassing me. I awake from this ce- 
lestial vagary, but still the stellar imagery fills my eyes. 
At length, by slow degrees, it takes a definite shape — no 



290 TWEHTT MONTHS IN THE 

heaven-absorbing flag, indeed, but, nevertheless, the old, 
familiar emblem of our Union ; in an inch-square painted 
brooch, upon the bosom of a female at mj bed-side. 

For a momemt I forget that I am in a rebel prison ; 
that the cots surrounding me are occupied by men who 
betrayed and have stricken down our glorious banner. 
My eyes begin to overflow ; I try to lift my feeble hand 
in salutation of that symbol of my country; I move my 
lips to bless it; then lapse into bewilderment, and sink 
back, fainting, on my bed of straw. 

Next day I learn that the lady visiting my cot was the 
hospital matron, a Northern woman, holding her position 
simply because she is necessary to th^ rebels. Occupy- 
ing the premises as her dwelling before the government 
appropriated them for hospital purposes, she was solicited 
to remain as a female superintendent, though known for 
firm attachment to her people in the Northern states. 
She performs her duties as a Christian woman, oaring for 
the sick and wounded, with an ever-active zeal, and in a 
spirit of kindliness that is worth more than medicine. 
She claims one privilege only as her own ; to wear l^e 
brooch that I had seen upon her breast ; that plain en- 
amelled impress of the " Stars and Stripes" which, gleam- 
ing over the poor prisoner's bed, had been transfigured 
through his dream and made to fill the heavens of sleep 
with rays of loyal glory. She wears that emblem of her 
country openly before the surgeons ; and I well believe 
that many a dying Tezan, loyal at his heart, although 
compelled to march in treason's ranks, has had his suffer- 
V ing soothed, his soul made glad, as mine wus, by the 
sight of that " old flag" above his pillow, to bless his clos- 
ing eyes and give his parting soul the hope that God 
would pardon a repentant rebel. 

I thought it marvellous at this time that such m oraa* 



DEPARTMEOT OF THE GULP. 291 

ment should be permitted to be worn by any person in 
the Texan country; but I learned some stranger facts 
than even this, before I left the hospital. Of course, an 
order from the surgeon might oblige the matron to con- 
ceal her brooch, but she would have resented it at once 
by resignation of her charge, and this they cared not to 
provoke. They rather chose to ignore the harmless 
" whim," though, doubtless, had a man presumed to "show 
his colors" thus, the nearest "black-jack" would have had 
him dangling from it. 

I said this worthy matron was a faithful ministrant to 
rebel sick ; but that was in her line of duty, though im- 
pressed with every mark of kindness. It was easy to re- 
mark her deeper interest in Federal prisoners, as I had 
occasion to acknowledge for myself. There were two 
Northerners with me — a soldier and a sailor boy. The 
first, a Massachusetts man, sank very soon^ the other 
lingered several weeks. Poor lad ! I crawled out of my ^ 
cot, at his request, to write his little will, bequeathing 
some few garments to the nurses, desiring that his mother^ s 
likeness should be sent back to " God*s country!" as he 
fondly called the North, and praying that her parting 
present, a pocket Bible, might be buried with him, on his 
breast. 

Poor Tweedy ! Only twenty years of age, he has yet 
served through all the war — two years a soldier and the 
residue a gun-boat boy ; a light-hearted youth, with few 
transgressions on the logbook of his simple life. He is a 
living shadow, lying on his cot, from which the nurses are 
obliged to lift him ; for he cannot even torn without as- 
sistance. These rude nurses have taken a fancy to the 
" little Yankee,*' as they call him, and they humor him as 
if he were a child. He has "willed" his little "kit'* of 
clothing to them, to be distributed after his death. 



292 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

" Tweedy," I say to him, "are you prepared to dio?" 

" If it's the win of Qod," answers the poor boy, with 
quivering lip; " but I'm young yet. It's hard to go !" 

He closes his eyes awhile, remaining silent; then 
whispers, feebly, "Do you think I'll be dying for my 
country if I die in a hospital, sir ?'* 

" Surely you will, my boy," I reply; "as surely as if 
you fell in battle." 

** I think I suffer as much," he rejoins^— in a low tone. 
Then, after a pause, "I shall see my mother, sir, if it's 
the will of God." 

One morning I hear Tweedy*s voice just after I awake. 
He is talking with the matron, who sits by his cot. I hear 
her ask him about his family, and he tells her that he has 
been in the navy a year, and that his mother died four 
months after his enlistment. 

*' You have neither father nor mother V* 

"No, ma'am," answers Tweedy; "and. my sister is 
married, so she doesnU belong to me any more. Vm all 
alone in the world, ma'am.*' 

I feel my eyes moisten, as the sailor boy^s pallid lips 
murmur these simple words ; but I am not prepared for 
the burst of grief which comes from the hospital matron. 
The kind woman seems literally to " break down" with 
her feelings. She bows herself over the dying ** Yankee,*' 
and sobs with such vehement grief as I have seldom seen 
exhibited at the bed of death. " Poor child ! poor child! " 
IB all I can distinguish, in the intervals of her sighs and 
floods of tears. 

It is a touching and curious spectacle to me, a prisoner : 
this Northern widow weeping over a Northern orphan. 
Stranger to her, his only claim is, that he is motherless. 
How much of long pent sorrow for her own beloved 
dead; how much of yearning for her native land beyond 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 293 

the Mississippi; how many thoughts, fears, hopes, bound 
up with loyalty and Union, may have mingled with this 
Northern matron's tears and sobs.— ^He only knows who 
reads all bosom secrets. I turned my forehead to the 
wall, while one who occupied the nearest cot — 9, ranger 
of Tom Green's command — called softly over to me, "She's 
got a mother's feelings for that little Yankee !** 

May heaven take sweet account of all such tender 
hearts I The '* Jlittle Yankee" sailor boy is dead. I gave 
his Bible to the nurse, to be deposited within his coffin, 
and I placed a shred of his brown hair within the cover 
of his mother's ambrotype, to be transmitted to a sister 
in New York. Let them be comforted, who loved the lad. 
His latest hours were soothed by kindly cares, and his 
last breath was drawn so peacefully that none might say 
when his young soul passed upward. 

A solitary tallow candle, fixed m an old tin sconce and 
hung upon a post, throws a feeble glimmer through the 
ward-room, where I occupy a cot among twenty others, 
each the bed of suffering. December winds howl savagely 
around the hospital — a large old building, once the prin- 
cipal hotel of Hempstead. A glazed door at my head, 
loose-framed and creviced, gives ingress to the chill blast, 
which, after whistling over the verandah, seems to moan 
at this casement like a dying man. But there are real 
moans of dying men within. A miserable conscript lies 
some feet from me, in mortal agony. He has drawn his 
knees to his chin, and is rocking up and down, muttering 
incoherent words, and occasionally venting shrieks that 
make our blood curdle to hear. This conscript has been 
dying — so the doctors tell us — during forty hours. " He 
cannot last till morning !^' they say, and, God forgive us, 
we hear the announcement wiih'grim satisfaction; for the 



294 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

poor man's constant cries and frenzied utterances have 
driven sleep from as by night and day. It may be that 
remorse is mingled with delirium in this case ; for the 
man rehearses, in his fevered way, continual memories of 
fights and struggles. ** Don't murder me V* he implores. 
" Don't hang me yet!'' and then calls men and women by 
their Christian names — ** O save me ! save me !" — " Give 
me a knife — a knife !'* 

In yonder comer a Texan soldier, of Waul^s Legion, is 
passing away. Three days ago, I heard him dictating a 
letter to his wife. He yearns to see her ** and the chil- 
dren," before he dies; watching the door with fixed gaze, 
Eis eyes glassy and eager. The nurse approaches to ad- 
minister a powder or draught. The patient mechanically 
swallows, and then in a piercing whisper asks, " Do you 
reckon she'll come ? — ^Do you reckon I'll live jes' to see 
her ?" Poor fellow ! he passes away in a day or two, his 
wife's name the last upon his lips; and a letter, arriving 
afterwards, informs our surgeon that the widow is lying 
near to death. Heaven help the orphans of this poor 
Texan soldier, sacrificed, like his deluded comrades, up- 
on the bloody altar of treason, which he hated; for he 
was a " Sam Houston man" in old times, and voted against 
secession. 

The crazy soldier near me dies at last, and is carried 
out on his mattress, to be stripped and placed in a pine 
box, rattled away in a lumber-wagon by mules, under 
whip of omnipresent " negro,'* and dumped finally among 
hundreds of other bodies of poor soldiers, in the populous 
grave-yard devoted to hospital victims. No prayers to 
be said ; no hymns to be sung ! but clay to clay, as you 
toss out ashes on your dust heap 

Just after our gaunt tallow candle is lighted and hung 
up,' I hear a monotonous sound of talk from the wooden 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 295 

settee near our stove. A Baptist conscript, detailed as 
a nurse, is mooting doctrinal questions with old Doctor 
Eastman, the Ward Master — a man of weighty arguments 
and deep quotations. These Tezan conscripts and militia 
men are much addicted to ethical discussions. I have 
heard a brace of them disputing by the hour on " in&nt 
baptism/' ''free grace/' and other dogmas. Old Doctor 
Eastman assumes to have the power of Boanerges in de- 
bate upon religious points. He tells us that his "spe- 
cialities'' are — 1st, consummate knowledge of the science 
of medicine; and, 2d, a perfect comprehension of the 
Scriptures. Professional jealousy prevents a proper re- 
cognition of the first of these " good gifts," so that he is 
only ward master, instead of being chief surgeon. As 
for the other gift, he displays it in nightly fulminations 
of spiritual thunder which confound both doctors and 
patients. 

** You see — I know all about this war, and how it's goin' 
to end,^* he drawls, in his deliberate manner, while the 
nurse, a big-boned bee-hunter, opens his mouth to swal- 
low every word of inspiration. 

''I'd like right smart to h'ar tell about that ar p'int," 
says the nurse. 

" Search the Proverbs of 'Zekiel« and read Daniel and 
Revelations," pursues Doctor Eastman. "Alexander 
the Great was the Little Horn. You see there's to be 
periods, you understand — a time, and times, and half a 
time. That^s Scripter ! — Understand ?" 

" Sartin 1" says the nurse, very much overpowered. 

" The kingdom of Alexander was one time, and Napo- 
leon Bonaparty's empire was another time^rou under* 
stand ?" 

The nurse appeared quiet overwhelmed, and could only 
answer : " Edzactly — 'nuther time !" 



296 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

"Well, now, I'll make it perfectly clar, so as a oHld 
can understand it. Bonaparty ended the 'times,' and 
now we're in ' half-a-time.' This war is goin' to last till 
1866, three yeai^s longer, and then fere's to be a gineral 
war I — you understand ?" 

''Sartinl*' says the bee-hunter; ''a gineral war! All 
the ginerals is a-goin' in to fight." 

** No, not that. I mean a gineral war — a universal 
war — in Europe and Ameriky. I*m not quite clar where 
the great battle of Armageddon is to be fought. Some- 
times I think it's round the city o' Washington, and then 
ag^in I reckon it's to be in Italy. The blood, you know, 
is to flow stirrup-deep for six hund'ed furlongs, and that's 
about the space round the great city of Borne — old Ba- 
bylon, 'cordin to Scripter. You understand ?" 

'* Clar as a bee-gum !" asserts the nurse, professionally ; 
and Doctor Eastman goes on with his lucid interpreta- 
tions, till they drive me to sleep, and wake me up again, 
three hours later. 

This old " expert'* has written several books upon me- 
dicine, which are familiar in Western New York and 
in Illinois and Ohio. He has a ponderous manuscript 
volume of personal revelations, though he scoffs at spirit- 
ualism. This manuscript is filled with prophecies of his 
own, concerning 'the second Advent, which he expects to 
see, and the New Jerusalem, whereof he intends to be 
a citizen, reserving, perhaps, the Southern right of ** se- 
cession.*' He is keeping his book to print in the " good 
time coming,** as publishers of such light literature are 
. now very, scarce in Texas. Nevertheless, he tells us 
complacently that the work will probably revolutionize 
religious opinions throughout Christendom, and threatens 
some day, when I get strong enough to bear it, to bring 
down a few hundred pages and read them to me. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 297 

Among the rebel convalescents in hospital is a young 
man, twenty-eight years old, named Brock, a Missoarian, 
who belonged to Sibley's brigade. Six years ago he quar- 
relled with and shot or stabbed a cousin of his, in St. 
Louis, and was forced to leave his home, to escape trial 
for the crime. The breaking out of the rebellion found 
him on the Mexican frontier, and he soon afterwards en- 
Ibted in a partisan troop, commanded by one Damrell, if 
I recollect aright — a Yankee renegade. 

Damrell was a guerilla of the Quantrell stamp, odious 
to friends and hideous to foes. He had picked up more 
than fifty reckless followers, numbering among them horse 
thieves, smugglers, and outlaws of the border. They 
ranged between San Antone and Austin City, were well- 
mounted and armed, and signalized themselves by hunt- 
ing down suspected Unionists. Prowling around settle- 
ments and attacking isolated ranches, they scrupled net 
to murder and plunder wherever the weakness or unpo- 
pularity of victims promised them impunity. One of 
Damrell^s gang, known as a dissipated and desperate man, 
was accused of murdering his own brother, by shooting 
him through an open window of his house, as he sat by 
the fire, fiddling, with his wife next to him and his child- 
ren playing before them. The assassin was tracked 
through the timber by a squad of neighbors and the trail 
followed up to a remote ranche, where Luther (this was 
the guerilla's name) had put up for the night. The pur- 
suers arrested him, but he denied all knowledge of the 
bSbit, It was impossible to fix the deed upon him, though 
all believed him guilty, knowing that he had quarrelled 
with his brother six months before. They contented 
themselves with warning Luther to leave Travis county 
within twenty-four hours and never return. He promised 
to do 80| and was permitted to ride o£ That very night 



298 TWEinr months in the 

the yillain was detected in entering the house of his slain 
brother, by means of an opening he had made in the roof. 
He t^ad climbed upon an ox-cart to the chimney, which, 
as is the case with log-hoases generally^ was built out- 
side. Seized by one of the neighbors, who had tracked 
him in the morning, he attempted to lie himself out of 
trouble by asserting that he had some specie concealed 
in the loft. A few other neighbors arrired, however, and 
next morning Luther was discovered dangling firom a 
pecan-tree in front of the gate. Nobody professed to 
know how he came there, and no questions were asked 
or answered about the matter. 

When Damrell, the guerrilla, heard of this piece of 
summary justice, he swore vengeance. Before a month 
passed, several citizens, never suspected of Umonism, 
were shot on the highway, and the houses and bams of 
others set on fire. These outrages were laid to the guer- 
rillas, and Captain Hunter, of the Texan Bangers, was 
bold enough to charge Damrell with the fact. The parti- 
san leader heard of it, and gave out that he would have 
satisfaction of Hunter. In the course of a week he made 
several threats, and at last rode into Captain Hunter's 
camp, his person bristling all over with weapons. He had 
a six-shooter stuck in each of his riding-boots, two in his 
holsters, one in his belt, and curried one in his bridle 
hand. Besides these, a bowie-knife was at his side, and 
a double-barrelled shot-gun lay across his saddle. 

Captain Hunter was on foot, when Damrell rode up and 
demanded, with a farious oath, what the Banger had said 
about him. Hunter took his pipe out of his mouth, ap- 
parently to reply, but instead of doing so, he dashed its 
lighted bowl at the head of Damrell's horse, causing the 
animal to rear. This allowed him time to draw a pistol, 
with which he shot the guerrilla captain throng his groin. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 299 

Damrell fell from the saddle and was dragged several 
rods on the ground. He never spoke again. 

Another member of the gang assaulted Hunter, two 
days after this, and fired two shots at him. The Ranger 
then took deliberate aim and killed the fellow. 

This is life — or death — in Texas ! 

So much for Major Hunter. I return to Brock, who 
had been one of DamrelPs band, subsequently a ranger 
under Hunter, and afterwards a soldier of Sibley's bri- 
gade. He was rather an intelligent young man, and ap- 
parently of good judgment, though uneducated ; but there 
was a wolfish expression in his eyes that indicated the 
evil of his disposition. Muscular and well-proportioned, 
his complexion darkened by exposure, his hair black, 
glossy, and redundant, he was a fair type of the conven- 
tional bravo or dashing guerilla. 

Brock had been present at the battle of Fort Craig, 
where the Yalverde Battery was captured from our sol- 
diers, and where Lieut Alexander McKae was slain. That 
battle lasted all day, and was far more disastrous to rebel 
life- and limb than our official accounts have ever been able 
to report. Brock related to me ho^ the gallant McKae 
stood to his gun. 

" We just wanted to save that ar' Fed.,'* said the Banger. 
" He fou't like a painter. It warn't no use ; but he toed 
the line till all wor blue, Yank! He never guv in. He 
wor cPar blood I'* 

I inquired if McHae had been offered any terms before 
surrender. 

" Surrender I** echoed the Missourian. "Gineral Sibley 
would ha' guv his best boss to save that Yank's life. You 
see we picked off them battery chaps like as if they wor 
stuck up at a turkey-shootin'. An* thar stood that Yank, 
McBae, sightin' his guns, an' never mindin' grape nor 



800 TWEITTY MONTHS IN THE 

shell nor bnllets, moreen you'd mind a dose o' quinine fur 
fever an* agur. Thar he wor, when we'd killed every man 
of his command, and thar he wor when we charged on to 
him. 'Surrender, captain!' says Oineral Sibley. *Yon 
are a gallant man. I want to save your life !' 

''Then we seen him jes' smile, an' he ris his head up, 
an' p'inted to his breast an' body, that wor kivered all 
over with shot holes, and bloody as a bullock. 

" 'It's too late !' wor all he said ; and then he reeled 
an' fell across his gun. We lifted him up, but it ww no 
use. There wor a dozen mortal wounds, if there wor one, 
in that ar' Yank." 

Such was the account which I received firom this wild 
Missourian, concerning the death of that noble Union sol- 
dier, Lieut. Alexander McEae, of the regular army. He 
defended his pieces to the last — till all who had served 
them were killed or wounded — and then he sank down 
himself, the last victim upon an altar of sacrifice. Oen. 
Sibley's victory was dearly bought, though he took the 
six pieces that have since served the rebels in a hundred 
fields. But who shall say how much we lost in losing 
brave McEae ? Peace to the loyal soldier's ashes ! Un- 
dying honor to his memory! 



DEPARTMENT OF THE ttULF. 301 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

HOSPITAL FHYSIOLOOT. 

FoRTUNATB was it for me that, in a Confederate hospi- 
tal, I fell under skillful treatment and kindly care. Dr. 
W. H. Gantt, the chief surgeon, recalled to my memory 
that we had met, many years before, when he was a young 
disciple of Hippocrates in Philadelphia. I found in him 
a scientific physician, and a gentleman, who treated me 
more as a friend than as a prisoner. Dr. O. W. Neely, 
assistant surgeon, was likewise a sympathetic man, and, 
indeed, among the different surgeons and nurses, I re- 
member no one who, whatever might have been his poli- 
tical bias, ever manifested toward me aught that savored 
of bitterness or rancor. The nurses, principally invalid sol- 
diers detailed for hospital duty, were civil and attentive, 
and to the good lady of the house I was indebted for many 
kindnesses, that I shall always dwell upon with pleasure. 

Mrs. E , who had lent books from her library to my 

fellow-prisoners at Camp Ford, visited the hospital ward 
several times, and kept me supplied with mental pabulum, 
being not forgetful, in her goodness, to tender an occa- 
sional morceoM of more material food, in the shape of a 
bit of chicken or other delicacy. As I progressed in 
convalescence. Dr. Oantt permitted many indulgences to 
returning appetite ; and, as the hospital larder, furnished 
by contributions from a large neighborhood, was by no 
means an empty one, I cannot class my sojourn at Hemp- 
stead among the "jours maigres" of prison life. Here 



302 TW|an?Y MONTHS m THE 

was black tea in store, sufficient, as the matron said, to 
last for two years ; white bread was received ifrom Hous- 
ton once or twice a week; flour, sweet potatoes, beans» 
sausages, poultry, and eggs were brought in by farmers, 
anxious to make favor with surgeons, who might be called 
upon to pronounce as to the physical condition of con- 
soripts ; and finally, there were " medical stores" of whis- 
key and wine, which, at intervals, and by spoonfuls, 
tempted our convalescent lips, in the disguise of egg-nogg. 
The patients were representatives of various military 
and social classes. In the ward-room, where my bed was 
located, there were nineteen other pallets, each with its 
occupant, until a discharge, by death or surgeon's order, 
made a brief vacancy, to be filled by some new-comer. 
Soldiers from nearly all the regiments or brigades of 
Trans-Mississippi Confederate troops were either received 
for treatment, or transiently reported, at tiiis Hempstead 
hospital; and it was my custom, when able to rise, to 
mingle familiarly in conversation with all who appeared 
sociable. The death of my two fellow-prisoners, Parker 
and Tweedy, left me a solitary Federal among the rebels; 
and when, at dusk, as was my habit, I crept, blanketed 
and capped, to a settee behind the stove, my presence 
soon collected a group of other invalids, who liked to 
hear the " Yankee officer" talk, and were glad to ask and 
answer many a question. With these soldiers, who had 
seen service from the Eio Grande to the Mississippi; 
who had marched and fought under Generals Green, and 
Sibley, and lAagruder, and Price, and Waller, and Waul, 
and Kirby Smith ; who had hunted recusant conscripts 
in swamps, foraged with QuantrelPs guerrillas ; ranged 
the borders with Major and Pyron, and kept the coast 
with Leon Smith and his amphibious cow-boys; among 
these wild fellows, now stranded, like myself, on hospital 



DEPAETMENT OP THB GULF. 803 

cot-bed, I held many a ohat, mingling whiffii of tobacoo- 
smoke, and exchanging divers items of fact and specu- 
lation. 

' They were genial fellows, in the main, my rebel com- 
rades of this ward-room ; and their brief stories, shrewd 
observations, and unvarnished opinions, afforded me a 
clearer insight to the internal workings of rebellion, than 
I could ever have gained by other means. Clustered 
around our iron stove, into which we thrust great clumps 
of fuel, fetched by attendant blacks, we whiled long hours, 
often from early candle-Iignt to midnight, in comparing 
views upon " secession,'* its causes, its merits, its effects, 
and its prospects. It would require double the number 
of pages that must suffice for the limits of this book, to 
rehearse one half the matters of interest that formed the 
topics of our prison converse ; and the relations of per- 
sonal histories and adventures which I heard might con- 
stitute a volume of frontier romance ; but my chief en- 
joyment was in drawing out the real feelings of these 
rebel soldiers, regarding what they termed their " cause." 
Need it be added that I felt, at times, repaid for evejy 
hardship or peril that I might endure, when, in the dim 
light of that hospital ward^room, I read the glow of honest 
loyality on some dark Texan visage, and felt the grasp of 
a hard but warm hand, and listened to the low-breathed 
whisper — " Ooloael — ^I was always a Union man — I'm for 
the Union still! — ^May Qod speed the day when I can 
openly declare it !" 

This from a rebel soldier; with the brown rags of Con- 
federate clothing on his stalwart limbs; but having a 
heart beating under them for that " old flag" which Be- 
bellion had trampled under foot in Texas. And it was 
not from a single mouth, or on one occasion only, that 
wishes and prayers for the restoration of our government 



30A TWENTY MONTHS IN TBS 

over the land, cheered my heart in a prison-hospital. I 
have looJced abont upon a dozen, and counted a score, of 
enlisted soldiers in the Confederate service, with whom 
I felt that I could trust my tongue to talk of Union — ^and 
of Freedom — as freely as I could speak of them on my 
own northern soil. Many a time has my sympathy re- 
sponded to a simple but touching recital, like the fol- 
lowing — 

''Colonel! I wor ag*in this secession, from the start! 
I wor an old whig, and a Sam Houston man, when he run 
last ; but when he caved in, what wor I to do ? I stuck 
out, to the last, and voted ag*in the state goin' out; but 
I'm a poor man, and poor men can't stand the pressure 1 
I had to make up my mind to volunteer, or be conscripted. 
My hogs would have been seized, and the old woman 
turned out of doors, if I'd held back. Colonel! So, I jes' 
' played possum,' and j'ined the army." 

"But, could you not have left the state?" I inquired. 

" Whar to go, Colonel ? . . . . Wife and three young crit- 
ters are jes' like a ball and chain for a poor man. I own 
a piece o' land, with a hog-range in the timber clus' by. 
S'po^' I'd undertook to make tracks out o' the state, 
who'd bought my log-pen ? who'd paid me a cent for hogs 
or ye'rlin's? No, sir! run or swing on a black-jack limb, 
would ha' been my choice ; an' I tell you. Colonel, a feller 
can't run far nor fast, without money, and with a wife and 
three helpless young 'uns hangin' onto him, sir !" 

I could not but confess the truth of this remark; but 
I proceeded with my questions — 

'' How does your wife get along without you, the child- 
ren being helpless, as you say?" 

'' badly enough. Colonel. The poor woman has to do 
everything herself; though I did leave right smart o' 
hog*s meat an* meal in our log-pen. But, my cattle — ^I 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 805 

had fifteen head — ^they're all stampeded ; and the old wo- 
man couldn't 'tend to markin* the ye'rlin's! Besides all 
that, thar*s a mean cuss of a neighbor, a desarter at that, 
who's been muddyin' our spring, so my wife can't git 
water, without going three mile for it. — Blast him, if ever 
I get him, there'll be one less cowardly reb. in the JLone 
Star State !*' 

The story of this soldier might serve for hundreds of 
his class. Men with families of young children, dwelling 
on some wilderness farm ; which they had purchased and 
cleared; owning perhaps, ten or twenty head of stock, 
and some hogs ; striving, by honest labor, to earn a home 
for later years ; such men are the saddest victims of the 
wretched delusion which has ruined our Southern states. 
The wealthy notables, whoso ambition begot, stimulated, 
and precipitated the unholy strife, have been compara- 
tively unharmed, as yet, by its effects. The two orders 
of citizens who really suffer, at the South, and more espe- 
cially in the Gulf states, are, on the one hand, the wealthy 
and honest enthusiasts for State rights, who plunged into 
the contest with a self-sacrificing zeal which would have 
sanctified a less atrocious cause, and who abandoned homes, 
professions, station, and even their families, in order to 
give service, money, and life itself to the Confederacy ; 
and on the other hand, that immense class of non-slave- 
holding, laboring,, and producing Southerners, who never 
really sympathized with Secession, but who were drawn 
in under the ** pressure" of various influences, to become 
the bulk of rebel armies and the victims of every battle- 
field. A majority of the ancient members of whig and 
American parties, and a very large proportion of even the 
Democratic party of the South, who were either small 
land-owners, or artisans, cattle-drivers, and proletarian 
operatives generally, had no more interest in the issues 



306 Twzmr Moirass in thb 

whereupon iihe Southern orators were blatant, than thej 
possessed in the stock of banks or railroads. On these 
poor men — ^forced by the accident of birthplace or loca- 
tion to cast their fortunes with Rebellion — the hardships 
and horrors of war have borne with crushing weight To 
this class a majority of Texans belonged; but it is a truth 
not now to be denied, that this majority never voted 
for the secession ordinance which carried the Lone Star 
State out of the Union that had done so much for her 
welfare ; that had incurred for her protection a war with 
Mexico, replenished her bankrupt treasury, fostered her 
growing institutions, and defended her from savage foes. 

** What is the reason," I one day asked, of a young 
Texan, who belonged to Waul's Legion, and whose Union 
proclivities were known to me — ** What is the reason that 
you, who have no family to encumber you, do not make 
your way to the Federal army ?" 

*' Well, Colonel," answered the ranger, with a humorous 
expression in his fine eyes that announced a jest he was 
about to utter — '^to speak candidly, IVe never had a 
chance to get near enough to the Fed's. They were al- 
ways running away from us Texas boys !" 

I smiled at the retort, but could not help wincing under 
it; for it is a lamentable fact that our troops have invari- 
ably encountered reverses in their several expeditions 
against the Texan coast and borders. It is no marvel 
that those rough-natured, courageous men, who compose 
seventy or eighty regiments which Texas has raised for 
service beyond her frontiers, should have become vain 
and self-glorious concerning their invincibility, or that 
the nourishment of their local pride should prove a 
potent aid to rebel leaders in their discipline and hand- 
ling of conscript masses. Mankind is the creature of 
gregarious affinities ; and camp life, coupled with victori- 



DEPABTUENT OF THE GULF. 307 

ous associations and mutual experienoeSy may mould an 
army of men who entertained very incongruous sentiments 
into a military homogeneity that must soon eradicate all 
dividing lines. K more than half the people of the South 
were Union-men when the Rebellion Jbroke out in South 
Carolina, so, at various stages of the war, Unionism has 
pervaded Southern armies, or has been seemingly crushed 
out entirely, just as the barometer of success or reverse, 
of hardships or hopes, has indicated the future to be for or 
against the principlerof Secession. 

Discussing facts like these, with rebel volunteers, in 
Hempstead hospital, modified many former views which 
I had harbored regarding Southern Secession. I, a pri- 
soner, alone in the heart of a seceded state^ discovered 
secret friends in men who might have before encountered 
me in deadly conflict, or might do so in the future, and 
yet whose hopes and sympathies were akin to my own. 
This poor Oerman soldier, who shares with me the white 
bread and savory sausage brought by his good wife from 
their little farm, some twelve miles distant; brought in 
a basket upon horse-back, by that good wife, through sleet 
and snow of a January norther ; this poor fellow, whose 
eyes gleam when I speak to him, is no more a rebel in 
heart than I am ; but he must, nevertheless, shoulder a 
Confederate musket, and march out, from the little home 
which he has built up by hard toil, to brave the perils of 
battle and suffer the pangs of disease, for a quarrel that 
must make him poorer day by day, and which, if success- 
ful in its quest, could never insure him a jot or tittle of 
property in the future. This rude but kindly nurse, who 
wishes that he could go with me to the North, when I 
shall be exchanged, and who shows me a letter from home 
that tells a story of privation and struggle, would fervently 
hail the return of peace and government, under that 



308 TWENT7 MONTHS IN THE 

grand banner which can alone secure their permanence 
This ranger, who smokes his pipe on my right, and whose 
little property has been eaten away by rebel tithes, would 
gladly, as he says, give all that is left to him, if Union 
could be restored, and the Nation keep step, once«more, 
to the old, beloved music. And this intelligent cripple — 
a Methodist preacher who became a military wagon-master, 
and lost his leg under car-wheel on yonder railroad — ^has 
too much judgment to share in the illusive dreams of a 
baseless, friendless, and hopeless Southern Confederacy. 
These men are only types of the great family of loyal 
men whose hands are wielded, not by their own volition, 
but by an extraneous power, born of folly, and strength- 
ened with arrogance, but inevitably, doomed to perish, 
and become 

— " A thing 
O'er which the raven flaps its funeral wing," 

Abruptly on one of the latter days of January, 1864, 1 
receive orders from the post-surgeon — Dr. Gantt being 
temporarily absent — to pack up and get ready for travel. 
The nurses congratulate me on a prospect of speedy lib- 
eration ; the rebel invalids, and convalescents, with whom 
I have been familiarly domiciliated, crowd around, and 
tender hearty wishes for my future health and happiness. 
I grasp several rough, warm hands, but the locomotive 
whistle hurries me, and I must call out, in parting, that 
"I wish I could shake hands with all of you, boys !*' and 
so, after brief adieus to our kind matron and Dr. East-, 
man, I find myself hastening to the railroad, with many 
a Texan "God bless you. Colonel !'* lingering in my ears. 

A rebel lieutenant, who has charge of Camp Groce, 
meets me at the cars, and says that I am remanded to 
that post, instead of being, as I had hoped, permitted to 
proceed to Shreveport, where I suppose my fellow-officers 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 309 

to have preceded me. A few minutes of steam-travelling 
conveys me to the well-remembered stockades, within 
whose unfinished lilies are our desolate barracks, that re- 
call to me many melancholy reminiscences of sickness 
and death. 

But I am not to be confined in the old buildings. The 
lieutenant stops at the sheds once occupied by our Sabine 
Pass officers ; and I am ushered into one of them« where 
a fire-place is roaring with great hickory logs a-flame, and 
where some half-dozen guards are watching a huge pot 
of beans that boils before them. Here I am at once fer- 
vently greeted by the welcome tones of ** Yankee" voices, 
proceeding from the brothers Smith, whom I had feared 
were still in chains and jeopardy. But the brave boys, 
still Wearing Federal uniform, seemed in excellent heart 
and bodily condition; and speedily made me quite at 
home in their quarters, which they shared with a good- 
humored set of rebel conscripts. I took my stool in their 
circle, and discussed some palatable bacon, sausage-meat, 
and biscuit, with an appetite that gave warrant of return- 
ing digestion. 

The Smith brothers had been looking for my arrival, 
in hopes that it would announce their own speedy parole 
and transfer to Shreveport. They related to me the in- 
cidents of their trial by the civil authorities at Houston, 
on a charge of horse-stealing. It appeared that they found 
friends and sympathizers in quarters where they expected 
harsh usage. The sheriff, in whose custody they were 
placed, and whose duty it was to empannel the jury, had 
shown them especial favor ; and they had been ably de- 
fended by a volunteer counsel ; while the court, instruct- 
ing the jury, had declared them amenable, as Federal 
soldiers, to military law alone. ** When these prisoners- 
of-war escaped from their guards;," said the Texan judge; 



310 TWENTI MONTHS Dff 



"the J became at once hostile belligerentf, and possesaed 
the right, as such, to take np arms against ns. It was 
Uieir duty, moreover, to rejoin their regiment as speedily 
as possible, and to make nse of every means to escape 
from an enemy's country. They exercised their right, as 
military belligerents, to appropriate horses or arms of an 
enemy, in order to facilitate their own return to the 
government which claimed their allegiance. If they are 
to be punished for this, the punishment must be inflicted 
by military law." 

Under such sensible ruling our Smith boys were acquit- 
ted of civil offence, and remanded to the military autho- 
rities, by whom they were sent to Camp Groce, where I 
now encountered them. So these brave fellows have 
contrived to see a great deal of Texas at rebel expense. 
Captured at the prairie-edge, near Yermillionville, in 
Louisiana while out on a foraging jaunt, they were, at 
first, taken to Houston and incarcerated in a guard-house. 
Escaping thence, they helped themselves to a couple of 
horses from a roadside barn, which was sentineled by a 
sleeping dog, obtained a saddle for one from a farm-house 
porch, where slept another mastiff, and borrowed two 
bridles and a second saddle from some other neighborii^^ 
ranch. Thus mounted and caparisoned, they kept the 
public road, without money, and in Federal uniforms, 
stopping at rebel houses, and passing for Confederate 
Boldiers on furlough, till they traversed the entire distance 
between Houston and San Antone, across the heart of 
Texas. They supped with the families of rebel officers, 
dined at the tables of rebel parsons, and told rebel '"news" 
to everybody who questioned them. Had they succeeded 
in getting beyond San Antone, they might have escaped 
to the Mexican border; but, just before reaching that 
city, they were so imprudent as to make themselves known 



DEPARTIJCENT OF /THE GULP. 311 

to some Texan wagoners whom they overtook, and who ap- 
peared to be favorable to the Union. These men betrayed 
them, and they were arrested in the streets' of San Antone, 
oast into prison and chains, and subsequently, as we have 
learned, returned to confinement in Houston. But they 
were full of pluck and determination still, and assured 
me, in a whisper, that tney were not the boys to be kept 
long in any rebel prison. 

But our sojourn at Camp Grooe, with the queer perso- 
nages whom, by courtesy, we called our guards, was quite 
unlike imprisonment. We were our own masters, to a 
great extent, being allowed to range quite freely over 
surrounding localities. Many a tramp about the old bar- 
racks, and within the woods, and over to the Federal 
graves, did I have, in company wit^ some sociable con- 
script, or with the Smith boys ; and we felt no galling of 
a " captive's chain*' either in or out of our quarters. The 
Smiths and myself occupied a shed, with one or two con- 
scripts, and we read, played chess, or sunned ourselves, 
or gossipped by the fire, like favored guests in the rural 
districts. 

The conscripts were all characters. We had our Mis- 
flourian cattle-driver; a very Fallstaffof a man; with that 
venerable swash-buckler^s traits of morality improved 
upon ; a salacious old dog, who smacked his lips over the 
recital of scapegrace adventures, with as much unction as 
Sir John, when he vapored with Shallow about **St. Cle- 
ment's inn'* and the ^'bona robas." Many a quaint tale 
did this strange, white-bearded sinner relate, while his 
ponderous paunch shook witii deep quakes of laughter. 
We had a sober citizen, on the other hand, ^ho never 
smiled, but vented the most mirth-provoking expressions 
without a single grim muscle being softened by them. 
Then we had our disputative conscript ; our growling con- 



312 TWENTY MOliTHS IH TBM 

script; oar Jeff. Dayis-hating conscript; our substantial 
conscript; and onr conscript with no substance at all; about 
a dozen, perhaps, in all, coming and going, during our 
stay of three or four Sabbaths ; and I must do them the 
justice, to say, that a better-natured, merrier set of grum 
bling foemen I never wish to encounter. There were good 
Union men among them, moreover ; and a few with minds 
and cultivation much above the average of the conscript- 
class. With the loyal -hearted ones, I could talk freely, 
on loyal themes ; and it thrilled my heart more than once 
to hear the earnest expression of hopes and longings for 
the Union that had been flung away by reckless political 
gamesters. " Would to God !" cried one of these men, to 
me — "that Lincoln could hurl a million of men on this 
accursed Confederacy, and blot every traitor from the 
face of its earth!" These were the words he uttered; 
and, as I recall them, I can almost see the man, as he 
stood before me, with indignant look, and hands clinched, 
as if to emphasize his adjurations. How I wished, then, 
for a regiment or two at my back, as a nucleus for ten 
thousand such gallant Union Texans as this, to rally 
around. How I mentally anathematized the folly or 
supineness which had left such men to be segregated, 
dispirited, hunted, and conscripted to rebel service, when 
they burned to organize and strike for the rights which a 
bullying minority had wrested from them. 

It was by conversation with Texans of this stamp that 
I learned the fact, studiously ignored or suppressed by 
Secessionists, that less than half the actual voters of the 
State cast ballots when their "Lone Star" was obscured 
by treason's red eclipse ; that less than sixty men and 
boys constituted a " Convention" which had drafted the 
Secession audience; and that only a "Beign of Terror** 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 313 

had dragooned the people into their mute acquiescence 
with Rebellion. 

Some stout hearts held out against threats of death and 
under actual persecution and imprisonment. Judge Bald- 
win, a leading citizen, Dr. Peebles, a wealthy and influential 
gentleman, Attorney-General Rosenbaum, Judge Whit- 
more, and other members of the Legislature ; with many 
more gallant souls, of all conditions and positions; kept 
their testimony of faith in our Union through all perils 
and temptations. May they be recompensed and rewarded 
in the "good time coming I'* 

The few weeks of my second stay at Camp Groce were 
marked by genial Spring weather, which recruited my 
energies rapidly. Two mails came to me, one day, and 
my heart throbbed, for a moment, in anticipation of ** home 
news ;'* for I had received but one letter from my wife 
since the capture of Brashear ; but the epistles were both 
postmarked in Texas. One was from Col. Nott, at Camp 
Ford, giving me items concerning his new prison, and 
dissipating every hope that I had cherished xiegarding the 
exchange or parole of our fellow-officers. The other was a 
courteous note from Mr. Cushing, editor of the '* Houston 
Telegraph," conveying a kind tender of service, and ac- 
companied by some New York papers, which were richly 
acceptable. This unlooked-for attention from a stranger 
was, I need scarcely say, very grateful to a prisoner, as 
were the friendly words which prefaced it: "Kecognizing 
your name as that of one whose writings I have in times 
past admired, I obtained permission from Gen. Magruder 
to send you a newspaper, and also to tender you any as- f 
sistance it may be in my power to render, consistent with 
the relations that exist between us. Should you wish for 
money, I can advance you a limited amount at any time, 
subject to the approval of the Provost Marshal General." 



314 TWXNTT KONTHS IN THB 

I hasteDed to procure a sheet of writing-paper, and a 
well-worn pen from one of our " guards ;" and lost no time 
in acknowledging Mr. Cushing's polite offer; telling him 
that, though I was personally provided with funds for 
economical use, at present, I would not hesitate to ayail 
myself of his libe^ity, should a long extension of cap- 
tivity render it necessary, for myself or comrades. I ad- 
ded a small literary contribution for his journal, and soon 
afterwards received a welcome reply, in the shape of 
another instalment of '* Yankee*' newspapers. 

Meantime, our Smith boys, getting restless under delay 
and inaction, were projecting another attempt to escape, 
from which I succeeded, however, in dissuading them. 
Our quarters were often visited by Texan volunteers, 
who, intending to take the cars at this water-station, 
would present themselves in camp, mounted upon fine 
steeds, and accompanied by negroes who were to go back 
with their masters' horses. Sometimes, one or two of 
these cavaliers would '*bunk" with us; leaving their 
animals, with saddles and bridles, tethered in a shed at 
the rear, and often hanging up their pistols, or depositing 
their guns, within reach of our " Yankee*' hands, till 
morning. The brothers Smith were sorely tempted by 
such opportunities, and I think that, if I had not discoun- 
tenanced the venture, those brave garcons would have 
improved a moonlit night by riding away once more» <m 
"borrowed" chargers, with rebel arms and haversacks 
slung at their saddle-bows. 

But, at length, one morning, just after I had returned 
from a long stroll, with Mr. Kowe, an intelligent and 
agreeable ** chum" of mine, the train from Houston rattled 
up, and a snuffy-looking Hessian Confederate reported 
orders from Head Quarters. The Federal prisoners were 
to be at once removed to Camp Ford. The TeuUmie 



DEPABTBOEBrr OF THE 0X7LF. 816 

gentleman, of drill-sergeant aspect, was to take charge of 
ns, and we were expected to get ready while the cars 
waited. 

Short leave-takings were necessary; much bustle to 
get " trickle** together; resulting in my bestowal of several 
cumbersome ** traps" on our guards, as k«ep-sakes ; induc- 
ing, also, the relinquishment, on my part, of a costly 
military cloak, to the Hempstead telegraph operator, in 
consideration of some three hundred and odd wretched 
Confederate dollars ; and thereafter, with my comrades, 
the Smiths; and a fresh half-dozen of Federal sailors from 
Houston, who were consigned to Shreveport, for parole, 
I found myself whisked over the railroad, some twenty 
miles, to Navasota. 

At that place steam-transportation ended, and we were 
to finish our journey in stage-coaches. I purchased a 
pound of '* Lincoln" coffee, at fifteen dollars — ^last token 
of abandoned civilization ; and then, at the word of our 
custodian, orderly sergeant and brevet-lieutenant of pro- 
vost-guards, I took seat among six, in the coach, and was 
rolled away to Anderson, the capitol of Orimes county, 
where we tasted a frugal supper of fat bacon and hard 
bread, rations carried with us on the coach. 

That night we passed on the road, toiling slowly throng 
heavy mud, and making but pne stop, near midnight, to 
ehange horses and swallow some coffee at the moderate 
price of one dollar and a half a cup. 



316 TWESTY MONTBB IN THB 



•i- 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

STAGE-COACH 8T0&IES. 

The stage-coach, lumbering heayily over rats and 
ridges ; dragged by laboring horse-flesh, night and day ; 
that vehicle almost obsolete for Northern transportation ; 
is still the principal public means of travel in south- 
western regions. I sat beside the driver during much of 
my Texan transit, and was thus enabled to look out and 
over points of interest. Our first Jehu was an admirable 
"whip,^* and manifestly plumed himself thereon. His 
lash, describing aerial battle-fields by segments, tangents, 
arcs, and curves, could lasso gadflies on his* leaders' ear- 
tips, or fire a fusilade of snapper-cracks with such rapid- 
ity as Lonjoumeau's renowned postilion might have en- 
vied. He was literally an " old stager;" for he had driven 
his " four-in-hand'' upon the Blue Kidge and through Ca- 
lifornian canons, over western corduroys and in the south- 
ern cypress swamps. He had ** run a mail" via northern 
Texas and the Indian trail, until his fellow-drivers were 
all shot or tomahawked by Camanches ; and he '* drove 
express" through western Louisiana till the Federals en- 
tered New Iberia, and he was obliged to rattle off his last 
coach at " double quick" in advance of the rebel couriers. 
"Full of strange oaths, and bearded," this roving chari- 
oteer now made Texas his curriculum, and rejoiced as 
an "exempt" from military service. His conversations 
were on '* hair-breadth 'scapes" and imminent highway 
perils, that would read, if printed, like a yellow-covered 



DEPABTMB5T OF THE GULF. 317 

i 

novelette. He knew the legends of a hundred wayside 
melees, with ball and bowie-knife, and pointed out, on 
our journey, here and there, the spots which murders, 
lynchings, or waylay ings had made historical. 

" Down yander cross-pike, thar" — he indicated with his 
whip-handle a narrow turning from the road, through 
sombre woods — *' old man Larew was sot on for his money, 
nigh on to a mouth ago. Some say it wor jay hawkers 
got him ; but I reckon 'twor the sojers. Thar wor a heap 
0* conscripts in the timber, skulkin', and old man Larew 
wor used to keep right smart o' plunder in his log-pen/' 

" You say they killed him ?" 

" Dog-on if they didn't — cut and shot the old man or- 
ful; sot fire to his log-pen; and the body mought ha' 
burnt too if the niggers had|i't woke up just in time. The 
varmint got the old man, shore, a|id got his specie, I've 
heern." 

We rode a mile or' two, and passed; a belt of woodland, 
bordering on a prairie. The driver pointed to a clump 
of timber at a little distance. '' Thar's the place," said 
he, "they hung a chap for waylayin* two travelers in a 
wagon. He shot 'em in the back, and tried to cachi thc'r 
bodies underneath them red oak yander. But the boss 
an' wagon wor his ruination ; for a nigger seen him driv- 
ing an' the county raised and hunted him. They got 
sign o' the varmint past Trinity river, an' treed him in 
the Big Thicket with dogs. He wor fetched back yer, 
to them dientical oaks, an' hung right over whar he got 
the men. His carcass is buried out yer, jas' whar he dug 
the grave, and tried to cover his trail, you see, but he 
couldn't; 'cause murder'll out, shore's shootinM'* 

He touched up his nigh leader, and indulged in sundry 
resonant lash-crackings, which startled woodland echoes 
all about us. Stage-wheels began to spin, andj steady- 



"•« 



818 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

ing myself upon the precipitous box-seat, I had only time 
to oast a parting glance across the murderer*s grave be- 
fore we whirled into a hollow. But, arrived at the nex)^ 
hill, and slowly climbing it, I ventured to inquire if these 
assassinations were as common now as formerly in Texas. 

" Tm not clar as to that," the driver answered. ''Pve 
heem o* right smart shootin^ an* cuttin* when them Be- 
golators and Moderators fou^t agUn one another so long 
'go as MurrePs gang — that *ar cussed nigger thief *an 
land pirate. Talkin' o* nigger thieves, jes* look yander, 
through the oak*openin,' an* youUl sight a blazed siump — 
out yer, whar the road forks.*' 

I glanced in the direction indicated, and beheld the 
charred remains of an oak-trunk, with its extended limbs, 
like skeleton arms, blackened by fire, which had probably* 
consumed the upper branches. 

" That wor the spot whar a nigger thief and Linkin 
spy wor burnt,** quoth the driver. 

"Burnt alive I** I ejaculated. 

•* Hide an* hapj** returned my matter-of-fact coUoquist. 
*' Yer sec, the committee diskivered a heap o* brimstone, 
kreosote, an* strichnine in that chap's log-pen, hid in a 
bar'l; an* thar'd been right smart o' well-p'is'inin' an' 
cabin-burnin' goin' on roun* Trinity Timber ; so the cit- 
ieens jes* up an* got this man, some whar' 'bout this yer 
range. He wor a Baptist preacher, an' a sort o* doctor, 
an' allowed it wor a sin to lick niggers ; and so the people 
jes* sot on his case, an' fetched him guilty o' p'is'inin' 
wells, an* house-bumin', an' spyin* for old Abe Linkin. 
Some said hang and some said shoot; but the majority 
wor fur burnin' the cuss ; an* out yer*s whar they kerried 
the sentence into execution, you see." 
. "It was a mob, I suppose ?" , 

*^ Yes, it wor a mob, shore ; an* the sheriff 0* the county 



DEPAB!i;BCEirr OF THE GULF. 819 

wor at the head. That's nigh on to a j*si ago, an* I 
heern nothin- about Linkin spies roun* sence that *ar bum- 
in*. Clar*d *em out, shore I*' 

** Are there no regular courts and juries, driver ?" I 
asked. 

"Mighty skerse, you bet What wor that you axed 
me, about these yer killin^s^ — if they wor common yer- 
abouts ? Now 1*11 jes* tell you what wor told me by an 
old Texan ; an* he*s lived in these yer diggins, map an* 
boy, nigh on to sixty y*ar. We wor a-talkin* oonsarn- 
in* 8hootin*8) an* cuttin*s, an* sioh things, an* sez he — 
* Wor you ever in Mexico ?* an* I told him I wor, menny 
a day. ' Then,' sez he, ' you know, when a murder*8 
trailed down thar, an* they git sign o* the body, they jes* 
stick up a wooden cross to p*int out the place whar the 
job wor done !* *I know all about that,* sez I, *for I*ve 
sighted a heap o* them crosses/* 'Well, then*, sez this 
old Texan to me, sez he, ' if you wor to stick up a cross 
in Texas for every murder an* killin* as hez been done 
yer, thar'd be wooden mileposts all the way from Sabine- 
town to Brownsville !* That*s what an old Texan said, 
stranger.** 

" No doubt *tis true !** I responded. 

"Law an* gospel, shore I** rejoined the driver, "I 
heern a squire down in Crockett say he didn't know a 
single cussed town in all Texas whar thar hedn't been a 
murder, or shootin', or killin' o' some sort — an' he didn't 
know only one case whar anybody was hung for it, an' 
that wor only an old Mexican woman which p'is'ined and 
robbed a soger down yander at San Antone. G-e-t up, 
yer lazy critters I" 

Passing rapidly through Huntsville, capital of Walker 
County, and the seat of that State Penitentiary, wherein 



■« 



320 • TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Col. Bnrrell and his fellow-officers had been incaroenWd, 
we rode all day through a well-timbered oountiy ; get- 
ting sunshiny glimpses of rolling lands, devoted to tii^ 
culture of com, tobacco, and cotton. We erossed the 
Trinity river, after about fifty hours' travel from the ml? 
road line ; and, having stopped to dine at a tavern, I no- 
ticed, when the stage rolled on, that another passenger 
was added to our "deck-load;" a venerable old gentle- 
man, whose face bespoke intelligence and whose garb 
betokened comfortable circumstances. 

The talk was upon that never-ending theme — the war. 
A heavy-headed, beetle-browed Confederate officer was 
my vis-a-viit and a saturnine secessionist, who wore a 
threadbare coat, was helping him to curse the " Yankee 
tyrants." Not caring to embroil myself with either of 
these worthies, I turned my eyes and thoughts upon sur- 
rounding scenery, and only caught a word, occasionally^ 
till the name of *' Mr. Lincoln," uttered by the elder pas- 
senger, attracted my attention. 

" I knew him very veil. We were young men and 
boys together .... I recollect a curious circumstance — " 

The old man paused, but it had been sufficient. All 
other conversation ceased, and our curiosity waited for a 
story. 

" We were young men together, and I bring to mind, 
as if it were but yesterday, how several of us — ^Abraham 
Lincoln with the rest — were one day listening to a strol- 
ling fortune-teller, who pretended to predict our destinies. 
To some of us were promised wealth, to others station ; 
and others were to have more checkered futures ; to be 
crossed in love or placed in dangerous straits. * The only 
one who seemed to take no interest in the matter was 
young Lincoln. He was not a beauty, then, no more than 
now, and hardly calculated to be marked for special favors ; 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP. 321 

SO he kept witl^^ the background, while the rest <of us 
were sharing fortune, good and evil. At length, how- 
ever, some one pushed him forward. ' Here, tell us this 
one V fortune,' cried we all; and Lincoln, laughing quietlj 
at the joke, held out his hand. 

" The scrutiny was long, and amused us yet more with 
its seeming earnestness. The lines upon the young man's 
hand were studied over, and his face perused as if it were 
a book. At last the fortune-teller spoke : 

** 'Yours is a mighty destiny !' We all laughed outright 
at these words, but that did not prevent the seer from 
going on. 'You will be raised to honor and renown! 
You will be President of the United States !' 

"The fortune-teller stopped and seemed to hesitate. We 
laughed the louder, calling out, ' Go on 1 go on !' 

** *I see a river of blood I There will be war — a terrible 
war between the North and South — while you are Presi- 
dent; and — ' 

** 'Nonsense — that's enough I' cried Lincoln, turning off 
abruptly; and, in merry mood, we left the prophet of our 
fature to himself. 

" Years after this, I heard the incident recalled by Abra- 
ham Lincoln, as a folly of his early days. We were then 
middle-aged and sober men, but both laughed heartily as 
we dwelt upon the recollection." 

The old man finished his relation, and a silence followed 
until some one muttered : 

"What a pity r 

It was the saturnine secessionist. 

"What is a pity?" asked the elder passenger, mildly. 

" That yon didn^t let your fortune-teller finish that pre- 
diction, sir," said the saturnine secessionist. " He might 
have told Lincoln how long the war would last, and who^d 
be whipped*" 



322 TWENTY KOKTHS IN THB 

We all laughed at this sally, and otir driver tonchedup 
his horses with a doable crack of the whip-lash. Shortly 
afterwards, we came in sight of the town of Crockett; and 
the old friend of Abraham Lincoln alighted at a respect- 
able mansion by the roadside. 

And as I looked back, from the stage-top, scanning the 
Texan country that stretched far away beneath the high 
hill we had crested ; as I caught a parting glimpse of the 
ancient traveller, who had related his story about Lincoln, 
in hearing of a "Lincoln prisoner," I pondered upon the 
mysterious sequences of events which had brought us to- 
gether on this Texan highway. Is there, really, a 
Destiny, in mortal lives ? was th^ ** star'* of Napoleon a 
real planetary indication of his wondrous fortunes ? and 
has our Dlinois back-woodsman a "star" likewise? 

**Qit along, yer lazy critters!" said the driver^ oraok- 
inghis whip. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE OITIiF. 323 



CHAPTER XXXIV, 

ON THE ROAD. 

Spring in Texas gives a promise of beauty whicli Sum- 
mer fulfils abundantly. Wide prairies and broad hill- 
slopes, sprinkled with a charming variety of early flowers ; 
grand parks of woodland, peopled by herds of wild deer; 
grazing-ranges, resounding under the flight of cattle- 
droves; live-oak groves; cedar-clumps, and "timber- 
islands" of every description; meet the well-pleased eye 
on either side, as the coach lumbers on, over hills and 
through valleys. 

The Texan Flora is magnificent. Dahlias are indigenous 
to the country about Camp Oroce. Oeraniums grow wild 
in all quarters. The blue passion-flower, (passiflora 
ccBnUea^ and the fringed-leaf variety, (passiflarcH^ilicUa) 
are discovered by the roadsides, and the ever-blooming 
rose, (rosa-semperflorenSy) and modest primrose, which 
Linnaeus called Primvla veris, the " firstling of Springs" 
peeps out from the green meadows, in tints of lila^ aai 
red. The sweet-jonquil, (Nardsstis odorus,) the oriental 
hyacinth, and our Northern lilac (^syringa vulgaris) 
flourish in the low wood-lands, while water-lilies rise drip- 
ping from the swamps, and the shrinking sensitive plant 
(mimosa sensitiva^) expands its delicate petals under tlie 
first kisses of Aurora. All these, and an infinite variety 
of other flowers, regale the wayfarer's senses as he jour- 
neys amid half-reclaimed wildernesses; while mocking- 
birds trill their oratorios, the Southern oriole and Uaok- 



824 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

bird tune their cantatas, and the whippooi*will joins its 
. plaintive refrain, as the twilight shadows darken. Our 
sailor-prisoners were ever on the alert to snare the rich- 
toned mock-birds, and they caged many beautiful speci- 
mens of the red-bird, to bear home to their Northern 
friends, as trophies of Southern captivity. 

But it would require pages to touch upon the wonder- 
ful insect-life of forests and prairies ; wild honey-bees, 
hiving in hollow-trees, and amassing great stores of mel- 
liferous sweets, to tempt the roaming '' bee-hunters ;" 
wasps, building fortresses on high oak-limbs; striped 
spiders (JSaltictcs scenicusi) hunting their prey on the 
leaves below ; green wolf-spiders {lycosa saccata,) darting 
from swamp-pools on '* the small gilded fly;'* tarantulas, 
hiding their hairy ugliness under rotten stumps ; scor-, 
i pion-tribes burrowing in the sands ; black piJl-beetles, or 
muck-bugs, (an American type of the Egyptian Scarabeus 
sacer,) rolling their dirt-balls before them, under super- 
vision of some gorgeous king-beetle, in a steel-blue coat- 
of-mail, green, purple, and violet wings, golden-crowned 
head, and silver antennae; with multitudinous families of 
bright-winged Lepidqptera; from the little gold-dusted 
moths and tortoise-shell butterflies — through all brilliant 
reflexes and quartcrings of azure, vert, argent and or — up 
to the royal enrichments of full-armored chrysalides, ri- 
valing the cuTcvMo rcgalis of Brazil, whose scales of sap- 
phire, emerald and ruby, are like " an illumination of all 
gems." 

But, I could never weary in recalling the innumerable 
living-jewels of Texan woods and fields, whereof I caught 
but transient glimpses, during brief snatches of liberty 
in wood-land walks. Doubtless, my condition as a priso- 
ner made me more eager-sighted and receptive of at- 
tractive imagery in flowers, birds, insects, and even 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 325 

leaves ; yet I cannot but remember many of these objects 
as the most carious that I over noticed. I am sure that 
Texas must be a mine to the naturalist, wherein, by 
" glow-worm lamp/' he may explore new worlds of painted 
and breathing beauty* 

Looking out, &om stage-coach top, into vistas of Texan 
woods, or over stretches of prairie, I could not refrain from 
reflections on the folly which now constrained the aban- 
donment of plough-furrows for cannon-ruts, and the peace- 
ful germs of harvest«field-life for fiery seeds of battle-field 
death. Here, by the hedges, and clambering on the trees/ 
as far as one^s sight may reach, are leagues of vines, put- 
ting out bulbs which are to swell into myriads of grapes, 
that shall yield their purple wine only to sun and earth ; 
while the owners of them are pouring out richer wine in 
the life-waste of a doomed and desperate cause. Here 
are buried treasures of com, that must fructify for idle 
decay; here are herds of wild cattle that may perish 
before a drover shall claim them; here are hundreds of 
square miles that must bear no usufruct for years to 
come ; and all because a few demagogues have undertaken 
to reverse the laws of nature, and to declare that Slavery, 
instead of Freedom, shall be the comer-stone of our Be- 
public. 

But the stage rolls on. We halt at Crockett, the capi- 
tal of Houston county, for a night's rest, and I there be- 
come a cynosure for the eyes of inquisitive Texigas, who 
have been apprised of my "Yankee'* antecedents. Here, 
after sound slumbers in a bed whereof ray Hessian 
guardian occupies the '* outside'* half — in order, as he 
says, to "protect his prisoner with his life'* — I rise to 
devour, with good appetite, a substantial breakfast; and, 
thereafter, bid farewell to my comrades, the Smiths, who 
arc to pursue the highway to Shreveport, while I must 



886 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

diTttrge toward Tyler and Camp Ford. So, the light- 
hearted brothers give me a parting hand-shake, and roll 
o£^ in an exira-ooach, to the Louisianian border, there to 
abscond suddenly, (as I subsequently learn,) and make 
good their escape into Federal lines upon the MississippL 
Meanwhile, with my Teutonic conductor, and another 
traveler, I find myself in another 8tage» on the road to 
Palestine. 

Our new companion is a Confederate colonel, on de- 
iachad service. We speedily strike up a free conversation, 
and I discover my coUoquist to be intelligent and agree- 
able ; but it is not till we spend some twenty-four hours 
in company, that he becomes enlightened as to my mili- 
tary status. 

"To what command are you attached, sir?** inquires 
the gentleman, during some chat which renders his 
question a pertinent one. "Are you in General Kirby 
Smith's armyl" 

" No, sir," I reply, quietly— "I belong to €ten. Banks's 
department *' 

The Confederate looked at me, with a puzzled expres- 
sion of countenance. "Gen. Banks !" he repeated. 

" Yes, sir," I rejoined, with a smile, at the same time 
unbuttoning a shaggy over-coat, and disclosing my Federal 
uniform-coat — ''I belong to the other side! I am a pri- 
«oner-of-war, travelling on parole, at present." 

We joined in a laugh, and the officer remarked, quickly, 
that he hoped he had not, unintentionally, made any re- 
mark calculated to wound my feelings, while ignorant of 
my position; to which I replied, that I had noticed how 
singularly free his discourse had been from anything which 
could give offence ; and, with this mutual and somewhat 
Pickwickian understanding, our converse proceeded as 
Bociably as before. 



DEPABTMENT OV THE OVLSF. 827 

The rest of my journey, through Palestine, the capital 
of Anderson county, and by way of Kickapoo and other 
towns, to Tyler, was rapidly and pleasantly accomplished. 
At Tyler, I was presented to the Provost-Marshal, a young 
gentleman in spectacles, who looked like a Yankee school- 
master, an<l who generously informed me that Oonfederate 
armies were annihilating Federal armies, in all quarters/ 
and that it was very probable that Lincoln would soon 
sue for peace to Jeff. Davis. From this entertaining 
gentleman, my brevet-lieutenant guard obtained a wagon 
to transport us the four miles which intervened between 
Tyler and Camp Ford ; and, parting from my stage-coaob 
acquaintance, the Confederate colonel, who promised to 
write to me, I was bowled away, on a rough board seat, to 
the stockade that was to become my future quarters in 
Texas. 



I 



328 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

CAMP FORD 

It is 4usk, when I enter the wide gates of the prison- 
corral. I have parted from my Hessian, who promises to 
send me a badge which belonged to valiant Capti^ Wain- 
wright, killed at Galveston. This little Teuton seemed 
shrewd enough, but is a desperate rebel ; a thankless dis- 
,tinction for any alien to the soil ; since it is a fact that. 
" Know Nothing" prejudices are still quite rife in Texas. 
"That ar* Dutchman," says a guard to me — "aint o' much 
•count yerabouts. We got no uoe for Dutch or any other 
furriner in this yer fight.*' 

Stumbling under knapsack and blankets, I pass several 
ten-foot-log structures, which, from the hill above, where 
I reported at Head Quarters, appeared to be pig-pens, 
but which I now see inhabited by Federal officers. Ar- 
riving at the hut of Col. Nott, I find its bunks all occu- 
pied, and thereafter perambulate in divers quarters, seek- 
ing shelter, till at length, I get lodgings in a demi-sub- 
terrene " shanty," whereof Lieut. Peck, of the Twenty- 
Third Connecticut, v^hom I last saw at Bayou Boeuf, is 
co-proprietor with Lieut. Root, of the Seventy-Fifth New- 
York volunteers. 

Next morning, after being invited to mess for the pre- 
sent at the " Fifth Avenue Hotel," tenanted by Messrs. 
Nott, Dillingham, Crocker, Johnson, Dane, and Dana; a 
snug coterie of six ; I look about me, on the " corral,'* 
and " prospect" for personal aooommodation in the future. 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 329 

Land is not all appropriated, though huildings are ; so I 
presently " preempt** an eligible site for improvement on 
a lot upon the *' Avenue/' opposite that principal hotel 
at which I take my meals. Thereafter, I make a build- 
ing contract with " Dawo and Hicks" from Kansas, who 
bear the reputation of having erected the best h(^use in 
town, and who agree, in consideration of one hundred 
dollars, legal tender in Confederate currency, to rear me 
a palatial mansion twelve feet by ten inside, with a good 
stone fire-place, and a substantial clay chimney., So, 
then, relieved of anxiety as to shelter, I prepare to adapt 
myself once moro to gregarious prison-life. 

There are many old friends to greet, and new acquain- 
tances to make. Here are my fellow-officers of the •* Iron- 
sides," eleven of them ; our quarter-master, Lieut. John 
F. Kimball, having died on the 3d of September, last 
year ; and an ex-lieutenant. Fry, having been discharged 
as a citizen. Poor Kimball declined rapidly upon reach- 
ing Camp Ford, as a prisoner. He yielded his life, after 
long suffering, and was buried, near sunset, under sombre 
clouds, sprinkling their tears upon the mournful proces- 
sion which followed his pine coffin to a grave that, loyal 
' hands had hollowed at the base of a branching oak. But 
as our comrade's dust was mingled with Southern earth, 
the last beams of departing day broke forth in a flood of 
splendor;' cheering survivors with golden promise, not 
only for the spirit which had passed away, but for our 
beloved country, toward which every prisoner yearned 
continually. 

The death of Lieut. Kimball was followed, later in the 
fall, by another and very sudden summons of a prisoner to 
eternal enfranchisement. The prison-grounds had not at 
that time been stockaded, and our Federals either bivou- 
aoked under trees, which grew thickly, or slept in a small 



330 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

barrack-stack, within their allotted limits. Bnt the ap- 
proach of winter stimulated an effort to house themselves 
more comfortably, and details were formed for the work 
of cutting and drawing timber. Under supervision of 
guards, outside-details were allowed to go beyond the 
grounds, and drag or ''back'' their wood to the guard- 
line, where other details received the loads and trans- 
ported them to the sites of log-cabins. A private, of the 
Twenty-Sixth Indiana regiment, named Thomas Moore- 
head, was, one day, near the guard-line, waiting for wood, 
when he was abruptly commanded to fall back. The 
Federal soldier was aware that an order had been pro- 
mulgated, forbidding prisoners to approach within three 
paces of the line ; and he had halted, therefore, at a dis- 
tance much greater ; nevertheless, in compliance with the 
sentry^s command, he was turning back, when the brutal 
rebel, whose name is remembered as "Frank Smith,*' 
deliberately fired at Moorehead, the shot passing through 
the latter's body, and shattering the arm of another priso- 
ner who stood behind him. Moorehead, fatally hurt in 
the bowels, died the same night ; the wounded man was 
left without surgical assistance, other than could be 
afforded by a hospital steward, captured soon after. 

This cruel and unprovoked murder exasperated the 
Federals beyond measure, and they threatened to rise, 
massacre the small guard, and sack the neighboring town 
of Tyler. Happily, the counsels of Lt.-Col. Leake, of the 
Twentieth Iowa regiment, calmed an excitement which 
might have resulted in a rash outbreak that could only 
end in the destruction of all. 

The temper of Camp Ford custodians, at this period, 
was bitter in the extreme. " Kichardson's Guard," a 
company of partisans, who had never known real icervioe, 
but had signalized themselves as kidnappers of conscripts. 



IJBPABlHSin? OF THE OTTLF. 931 

bore no good feeling toward the Federals under their 
charge; and the assassination of Moorehead was succeeded 
by repeated attempts to " shoot a Yankee.*' One morning 
a sentry suddenly levelled his piece at a soldier, who had 
merely looked at him, and the Federal only escaped by 
falling flat on his face, and letting the bullet whistle over 
him. But the boy was plucky, and gained his feet with 
a heavy fragment of stone clutched in his hand ; and the 
next moment there was a rebel knocked down, while our 
Yankee fled among his fellows, and could not be recog- 
nized when the guard turned out to arrest the delinquent 
Lieut.-Col. Leake, here mentioned, was one of the most 
genial and intelligent ofllcers that I met at Camp Ford, 
He was captured at the battle of Morganza, or Fordoche, 
which took place on the 29th of September, 1868. Pre- 
viously to this engagement. Col. Leake commanded an 
advanced guard of Gen. Herron's force, the Second Divi- 
sion of the 18th Army Corps, which had landed at Mor- 
gan's bend, two miles below Morganza, on the 17th of 
September. Gen. lierron, after throwing out reconnois- 
sanoes which satisfied him that the enemy occupied the 
Atchafalaya banks, in a force of about five thousand, re- 
mained near his transports, while Col. Leake, with 208 
Lidiana infantry-men, Lt.-Col. Rose, of the 26th Ind, 
Volunteers, with 241 more. Major Bruce, wi^ 150 caval- 
ry, and Major Montgomery, with 25 mounted infanti:y ; 
besides a section of the 1st Missouri artillery, with 34 
men ; the whole forming a detachment under command 
of Ool. Leake» took possession of Norwood's plantation 
grounds, at the junction of Bayou Fordoche road widi a 
road leading to the Atchafalaya river. Ool. Leake's in- 
structions were to engage the enemy's attention, in order 
to mask operations on the river. Obedient to these, the 
colonel occupied his little force in teconnoissances, send- 



332 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

ing liis cavalry to annoy the rebels^ and advancing his 
infantry and artillery into positions which might attract 
their fire. Sharp skirmishing took place daily, and the 
Confederate out-posts were frequently driven in. After 
holding the junction about a week, Col. Leake shifted his 
position some three quarters of a mile to the Sterling 
plantation, Botany Bay, leaving his cavalry pickets still 
at Norwood^s. From this point, the colonel made divers 
demonstrations, driving rebel pickets on several occasions, 
and skirmishing, more or less, daily. But Oen. Tom 
Green, was in command of the Confederates ; and though 
Col. Leake succeeded in arousing the old fighter to action, 
he could not conceal from that fox -like foe the weakness 
of Federal defences. Of this weakness our Iowa colonel 
was too well aware himself, and so demonstrated to Gen. 
Yandeveer, who visited his camp about this time. But he 
was ordered to remain at his post, and did so ; the conse- 
quence whereof was the sudden pouncing down upon him 
of crafty Gen. Green, with all his rebels; who, crossing 
the Atchafalaya, and filing through woods and swamps, in 
their customary Indian manner, appeared- abruptly, one 
morning, within a mile of Leake's head-quarters. By a 
detour through timber-lands, the rebel cavalry cut ours 
from their base ; and, about noon, the men of Speight's 
Brigade, 900 strong, under Harrison, broke out through 
cane-fields, and advanced upon the Federal reserves. Col. 
Leake, forming his lines behind fences, received the 
Texans with a withering fire, which drove them back. 
They then attacked his right flank, but, soon changing 
front, our gallant lowan met them there with equal suc- 
cess. * They then charged on his left flank, where the 
little battery was stationed, but another rapid change of 
front again drove back their lines, discouraged. At this 
moment, a body of cavalry appeared, advancing from the 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 333 

front* Tkeir uniform was blue, and the cry rose that 
these were our Federal pickets falling back to reinforce 
the post. But that report was false. It was Gen. Green, 
with his Texan rough riders, clothed in the spoils of 
Brashear City. Heeding them not, Leake was moving 
on Harrison's retreating ranks, when another rebel bri- 
gade, posted under th& levee, suddenly showed levelled 
arms, and demanded the Federal surrender. Col. Leake 
then looked about him, to discover his post completely 
surrounded. His cavalry pickets, under Montgomery, 
had taken the " back-track** of escape, through canefields, 
without notice of discontinance ; his infantry pickets had 
been flanked by the rebel march, and our Federal com- 
mander now found himself hors du co?nbat. The fight had 
lasted more than two hours, under a drizzly rain, and re- 
sulted in a loss of 14 killed, 24 wounded, on our side, 
while the rebels owned from 45 to 75 killed, and from 
120 to 145 wounded. The prisoners, upon surrender, 
were marched across the Atchafalaya, and thereafter 
found their way to Camp Ford. Thus, through agency 
of the same rebel forces — comprising brigades under 
Green, Major, Speight, and Mouton, Col. Leake and myself 
were introduced to prison-relation ship in Texas. 

The industrial resources of Camp Ford, or *'Ford City," 
as we called it, are turned to notable account. With a 
half-dozen axes and hatchets, three spades, a dull saw, 
and our jack-knifes, we contrive to multiply tools, erect 
machinery, and establish manufactures, agriculture, and 
the mechanical arts. Supemutnerary knife-blades are 
forged into chisels; a stray file is sharpened into a centre- 
bit ; lathes are built, with foot-boards and hand-wheels* 
In spite of all obstacles, Yankee ingenuity finds means to 
assert itself, and the long hours of our imprisonment are 



834 TWENTSC ICONTSB IN THS 

whiled ftway by many shrewd workers, with no small re- 
tarns of peooniary profit to themselves. 

Here, near the great gate, under most dexterous digits 
of Master's Mate Fowler, a sea-genius, who knows the 
forest trees as well as he does the cross-trees, we have 
basket-weaving out of peelings of ash wood, and chair- 
making from grape-vines; not to speak of table-mats, 
drinking-cupa, and chess-men, carved with a pocket-knife. 
Not many paces off, sign-marked by upright frame-work 
of a wooden ash-filterer, our chemical laboratory is seen, 
where Citizen Haley, much travelled and Spanish-talking, 
beguiles captivity by charitable soap-making por los pch 
bres. Yonder, by "Big Mess" kitchen-house, Lieutenant 
Woodward, always busy and useful at his foot-lathe, is 
turning chess-sets, which are models of artistic taste. 
Stout Sachem-Captain Johnson, of "Fifth Avenue Mess," 
is meantime fashioning a splendid arm-chair for his naval 
brother, Captain Crocker, of the Clifton ; while Lieute- 
nant Mars, just opposite, is stringing his new banjo, 
wrought from ash and hickory. Another famous lathe, 
revolved by wheel and crank, is wrought at skilfully, by 
Engineer Johnson, a Diana man, who scans his work with 
a single eye, ('tis all the rebels left him,) while he deftly 
turns a goblet out of holly-wood. Down yonder street, 
the potters mix a reddish clay, which constitutes our sub- 
soil, and shape bowls, plates, coffee cups, and smoking^ 
pipes. Pipe-carving, out of various materials, is quite a 
favorite employment* Eich asd intricate designs, quaint 
forms, and really beautiful workmanship, give value to 
these tokens passed from friend to friend. Our half-breed 
Cherokee, Hicks, a nephew of John Boss, the noted ohie^ 
displays his aboriginal handicraft on a handsome calumet, 
delicately traced with flowers and tomahawks t» reUevo^ 
which he gives to me. The elegimt omamentatioa of our 



DEFABTBiEK7 OF THE GULF. 835 

cbes8-men, made with knife-blades, is marvellous to see. 
Two exquisite sets, carved by Lieutenant Morse, as pre« 
sents for his family, look like Oellini models done in 
wood. 

Thus wears on the time, eaptivity cheated of much irk- 
someness by hours of well-spent labor. So our log huts 
have been built, their chimneys stacked with clay and 
strips of oak, their chinks and bases plastered up with 
mud, which hardens like adobes. So hoes, rakes, axe- 
helves, tubs, doors, • dining-tables; bunks, and bedsteads 
have been wrought by skill and industry from literally 
nothing; for the rude materials were first to be "packed" 
in from distant woods, to which we could have access 
very seldom, under pass of the commanding officer and 
a guard of rebel riflemen. Sometimes lines of eager 
prisoners stand waiting for hours at the great gate, with- 
out obtaining the desired permission to go out for timber. 

I must not forget our newspaper — ^not press-printed, 
but written in minute and legible Boi^an letters by that 
general genius. Captain May, who draws with pencil, as 
with fiddle-bow, to excellent conceit. **The Old Flag" 
is a popular sheet, the organ of American opinion at Camp 
Pord. Its advertising columns show the thrift and pro- 
gress of this loyal city in extreme Secessia. Doubtless, 
if we felt ourselves located here for the duration ci a 
Trojan war, we should find means to build a press and 
cast or cut out types, like Eaust and Outtenberg. I ven- 
ture to affirm that it would not surprise our rebel guards 
if we built paper mills and steam-presses, and set up a 
daily paper in our corral. Thoy tell us now, with open 
mouths, that our Yankee armies have "Hght smart 'o sol- 
diers that kin git up sich thicks." 

The entours of our camp — those free surroundings out- 
of stoekades — consist ot prairies, interspersed with 



336 TWENTY HONTHS IN THE 

timbered hills. The north gate of our prison yard, or 
"corral/V gives egress on an open plain, where sheep and 
hogs are herded, where the deer and wild fox rove, luid 
cattle crop scant grasses. On the east are woods axid 
cultivated lands. The west is hilly, crowned with scrub- 
by oaks and ash. A rebel camp of cavalry and the huts 
of conscripts hide behind those eminences. Upon the 
south a hill abruptly rises, with a streamlet at its base, 
which flows within our southern stockade, and is called 
"the spring.'* The rebel commandant's headquarters — 
two or three log-houses — look down upon our corral from 
that hill. A gate stands midway of our western stockade, 
and is usually open, guarded by a sentry. Just outside 
this gate, the rebel guard-houses are situated, with some 
cabins used as quarters for the guard. One frame of logs 
is called the "wolf-pen." There offending Yankees are 
confined on com and water. There, usually, some dozen 
rebel conscripts, apprehended for desertion, are immured. 
There, also, several citizens accused of "Union sym- 
pathies** await removal to the provost prison of Tyler, or 
to Houston, where they can be tried for "treason" to 
the "Southern Confederacy." We Federals have an 
unsuspected method of communicating with those "Union 
men.'* Our boys take turns in being late at roll-call, or 
transgress some other rebel rule, and so are ordered " to 
the guard-house." This is our "police telegraph,*' and it 
works admirably. 

Our " spring" is a wonderful one. It gushes out of 
the clay-bank, cool and orystaline. It is impregnated with 
iron and sulphur, and the water is a perpetual tonic. We 
have several wooden reservoirs, to which the prisoners 
resort for washing purposes. The upper one contains our 
drinking water. This single stream supplies the wants of 
near six thousand men, comprising prisoners and their 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 337 

guards. It threatened failure onoe, but Northern inge- 
nuity sank the reservoirs and guarantied perennial sup- 
plies. Shrewd Captain Johnson, a notable mechanical 
and scientific genius, was our ''Commissioner of Aque- 
ducts.'' He trod the Sachem's decks, her bold com- 
mander, on the salt sea, but has proved himself as useful 
here in "fresh water" matters. To him we owe our ear- 
liest turning-lathe, and he inaugurated chair-making, 
which now supplies the camp with seats of every pattern — 
Crothic, rustic, cane-backed, willow-woven, grape-vine- 
wrought, and oaken-ribbed. 
So "Yankees" lead the "march of improvement." 



338 TWENTY MONTHS JLN THB 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

A CELEBRATION. 

I ARRIVED at Camp Ford about the middle of February, 
1864 ; at the time a caravan of wagons^ forty-five in num- 
ber — ^filled with negro families, was passing the stockade, 
while its migrating owners, on horseback and in coaches, 
led their chattels into exile. I had encountered many 
oliher corteges and coffles on the road ; for this Lone Star 
State has become a general refuge for rebels now, as in 
former days it was a refuge for malefactors of all descrip- 
tions. The corral, at this period, was not so densely pop- 
ulated as it afterwards became, and I soon grew familiar 
with its bounds and inhabitants. 

The latter were as varied in character as they were 
motley in appearance; A hundred officers, who had abdi- 
cated all pretensions to rank, as they had worn out all 
insignio of it; a score of Kansas privates and Louisiana 
" citizens;" and a couple of venerable mules, the property 
of two gallant sea-captains ; these constituted the popu- 
lation of Camp Ford Borough, as it was called in the 
local newspaper. 

Does not a newspaper follow a Yankee march every- 
where ? So, of course, Camp Ford possessed its journal ; 
though we boasted neither types nor printing-press; so, 
notably, we discussed our prison-affairs in editorial col- 
umns, and trumpeted the merits of our small wares in 
flaming advertisements. > 

Captain May, of the Twenty Third Connecticut regi- 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 339 

incnt, who had been "gobbled" by rebels at his sick- 
quarters in Terrebonne; Captain May, whose musical 
skill brought to us "Sounds from Home" through the 
deftly-fingered chords of his violin ; Captain May was 
our publisher, printer, and general advertising medium. 
For this accomplished captain acted as " admirable Crich- 
ton" in the entertainment-line. He could write a sensa- 
tion-story, and illustrate it with his pencil ; and he could 
print a mezzotinto in writing-fluid or imprint a newspaper 
with the steel-pen. So, betimes, we presented our Con- 
necticut "confrere** with a fiddle; purchased notably 
from speculating guards for a hundred Confederate dol- 
lar-promises. So, moreover, we furnished paper-stock, 
to the bulk of a half quire, or less ; and, on the score of 
literary antecedents, I was myself impressed as a contri- 
butor to the "Old Flag*' columns. 

Thus I became, very speedily, one of the leading citi- 
zens of our Federal "borough." My "real estate" en- 
titled me to be classed among men of substance, though 
corn-bread diet lamentably failed to make me personally 
substantial. But it is sufficient that I became a house- 
holder, and, after inaugurating my "log-pen" by Sabbath- 
services at the door, settled down to the monotone ex- 
perience of prison-life. 

But " public men have public duties," we are told ; and 
one of mine, presently, was to figure in that peculiarly 
American entertainment — an " order of exercises." The 
Twenty-second day of February drew near, and, as duti- 
ful scions of a patriotic stock, we resolved to " celebrate" 
the birthday of our Pater Patrie, I need not dwell upon 
the momentous preliminaries to this great event. Are 
they not written and published in a fac-simile edition of 
the " Old Flag," whereof Captain May hath copyright ? 
Let it suffice that I extract from that enlightened organ. 



340 Twenty months m the 

(From the ** Old Flag** of March Ist, 1864.) 
THE CELEBRATION. 

** At about eleven o'clock, A. IC, of the 22d of February, the buildingi and 
iquares about Fifth Avxnuk and 42d Street, were literally blu§ with the 
** Tanks" assembled preparatory to some remarks from Lnut. Col. T« B. Liaki 
and an original poiM, flrom Liiut. Col. A. J. H. DnoANira. 

In the remarks made by Lt. CoL. LiAUt was exhibited and communicated 
through the entire assembly a flow of pure patriotism that was virtually a 
powerful appeal to all to imitate the glorious example slrawn in the life of 
Oen. GEORGE WASHINGTON ; to remain, In the hour of trial and darkness 
for our Good Cause, firm and true to the principles of our Government and to 
its administrators— placing ftiith in the moral power of the Union for final and 
complete success, till its restoration shall make the nation mightier than it 
ever was before. It was no elaborate and prepared Oration, yet lacked 
nothing in interest or delivery from the fact of its being extempofe, 

** At the conclusion of this address, Lf . Ool. A. J. H. Duqaiinb aroae a»d 
delivered the following Foiii : 



Who bids me ring ? What theme my boqI dilates?— 
A captive whispering to its captive mates I — 
Oan Glory's raptues thrill the fettered thralls 
Whose flags are trophies now, on Treason's walls? 
Oan Valor's story nerve the shackled hands 
Whose broken sword-blades rust in rebel sands — 
Or lifted, mnrderoos, threat with omel strife 
Onr Nation's Union and our Freedom's life? 
In vain my harp the charms of home would sing; 
Qoiok-gathering tears from answering eyelids spring; 
And aU the heart's deep fountains, softly stirred^ 
O'erwhelm onr manhood, at that one dear word: 
HombI where the Wife sits, numbering, day by day, 
The long, long hours that steal her hopes away; 
With low-drawn sigh, and voiceless prayer, to wait 
The step that gomes not to her lonely gate I 
Home ! where the children, prattling War's acclaim. 
Through mimic trumpets lisp their father's name^ 
But, wondering, pause, to note, with childish fears, 
The eyes that watch them dimmed with sudden teazs^ 
And, trembling, ask, of Ups that must be dumb, 
Why Mother weeps ?— why Father wiU not come ? 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 341 

Dear Home I sweet Home 1 how many a warm heart beats — 

How many a lip the loved one's name repeats — 

Where Mains exults, on stormy Ocean's brim, 

And Hamfshibb lifts to Heaven her mountain hymn; 

Where Masbaohusetts sits, like matron free, 

And fiftir Bhodb Island slumbers at her knee; 

Where dwells Ck>NNEGTiouT, midst emerald vales, 

And where Manhattait spreads her snowy sails, 

And rolls her iron chariot-wheels, and shakes 

Her golden gamers o'er the Northern lakes 1 



€k>d bless our Homes 1 from East through boundless 
The hallowed shrines of all the heart loves best; 
From blue Ohio to Colobado's marge, 
And over Iowa's prairies, green and larger 
And where the winding Illinois outflows. 
Or Indiana, with silvery harvest glows. 
And fiftir Abeansas skirts the Indian land — 
And where the Bed Men's loyal wigwams standi 
There sleep our Homes, where tender hearts, like devest 
Brood o'er the memory of their absent loves 1 

Awake, my Harp ! Thy song to Heaven aspires! 
A Nation's memories climb thy 'sounding wires 1 
Awake, my Harp ! and thrill with loftier sway: 
A Nation's Father bends from Heaven this day; 
From Heaven's high hills, where Freedom's angel waits, 
Closest to God, within the eternal gates — 
Where Freedom's martyrs, wing'd with crimson soaoi^ 
Gleam through the azure fields of endless stars 1 
From Heaven the Hebo comes !— his awful mien 
Troubled, yet calm, and sorrowing, but serene. 
With trembling glance his kingly shade I mark 
Break through the storm and cleave the midnight dttk: 
O'er ice-browed Andes leans his sworded hand— 
His rushing footfedl spurns Padfio's strand: 
His helmet gleams o'er Alleghanian snows— 
His lifted shield o'er hushed Atlantic glows; 
His breast I see, beneath celestial wings — 
And there— O! there— my bleeding Oountiy olfai0K 
. dings as a mother to her first-bom son— 
Her Heto-Ohild— her god-like WAsmNOTOv t 



842 TWEKTY MOirrHS IN THB 

Land of the Kobth I where lond Niagara's roll 
Voices to Heayen a free-bom Nation's soul ! 
I^d of the NoBTB ! where wild Atlantic waves 
Baptize for Freedom* s faith the souls of slaves I 
From all thy plains, on all thy breezes borne, 
How swells the exalting song this sacred mom 1 
Where Manhood's shont and Childhood's lisping sweet 
The dear-loved name of Washtnoton repeat 
By tranqail Hndson's sunlit waves they kneel. 
Where Washington first tnmed the invader's steel; 
On Tbbmtom's plain and Monmouth's field they pray, 
Where Washington retrieved the eventftd day; 
And roll their hymns through Schnylkill's whitry go xgp. 
Where cmce aiose ms prayer— from Yaluez Fobos I 

And thon, imperial West ! whose sylvan tongue 
Hymned onto God while Satom yet was yonng; 
From voicefol symphonies of waving woods* 
And solemn calms of silent solitudes; 
And low, soft melodies of breezes bland, 
And rolling harmonies of rivers grand: 
Thou Nurse of Empires 1 at whose fostering heart 
All nations drink, and all have equal part; — 
Enthroned on harvests-^girt by gamers wide— 
Thy wealth our wonder, and thy power our pride I 
Majestic WzstI thy millions kneel, this hour. 
To praise the Eternal for their Freedom's dower: 
By Mississippi's shores their anthem flows. 
And where Missouri laps her mountain snows; 
And where the Ohio, nursed by crystal rills, 
Leaps to thine arms from Pennsylvanian hills; 
There shalt thou kneel, O ! mightiest Wbbt, and teB 
Where Washington survived and Braddock fell — 
When the young hero jarred, with mailed hand, 
The mystic gates that sealed our sunset land I 

Land of the Soua-H I whose glorious life distils 
Balm from thy vales and odors from thy hills I 
Thy brow all sunshine, and thy heart all fire^ 
Thy breath a vintage, and thy voice a lyre; 
Land, where the air with wildering fragrance SWOOM^ 
And all the woodlands thrill with goldennmes; 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULP. 843 

Land, where the Mom with neotar'd kisses woos; 

And where the soft Night weeps ambrosial dews ' 

O, qaeenly Southland I crowned and gemmed with flowers; 

Thy silken dials, that mark the year's sweet hoors; 

Lilies, whose silvery moons no tempest mars, 

Boses like sans, and violets like the stars 1 

Thy throne the summer, and thy realm the soul. 

Whose charmed senses own thy soft control: 

All-beauteous South I thy heart must share and daim 

Our Father's kindred and our Hero's fame 1 

Thy myrtle blooms his radiant brows to twine— 

His name, his heritage, his birthplace— thine I 

We yield thee this, bright Mistress of the Sun I— 

Thy bosoming flowers first cradled WiSBiNaTov I 

YiBGiNul f^om whose breast the milk outran, 
That nursed with godlike strength the immortal man; 
Whose sacred groves enshrine the hero's clay, 
Where wondering pilgrims pause and patriots pray: 
Virginia I underneath whose trampling heel 
Sceptres lie crushed, and crownless tyrants kneel; 
From thee, from thine, he drank his impulse brare; 
For thee, for AiiL, this broad, free land he gave I 
From thy blue hills his soaring sense he caught: 
They share his feune— but all the world his thought I 
Thy gates the portals whence his soul outspeedih-^ 
But all the earth a temple for his deeds I 
Thy hero-chiefb the priesthood of his shrine^ 
That all mankind might learn hisfedth divine: 
The fEdth that shatters thrones and sunders ohaiiu^ 
And floods with Freedom's tide the bondman's Teini^ 
And shapes from freemen's souls the Almighty's ham I 

0, proud "^brginia! loftiest was thy trust— 
His grand example, and his peaoefal dusi 
Thou wert our Mecca, thou our Delphic gvound, 
Where kneeling seers were awed by voice profound. 
Thee clustering round, uptowered the mhitA^^ng Stafteib 
And young Bepublios kept thy sunset gates I 
From Northern mountains and from Sonthecn Uaa, 
From orient hwidUmds and from westaring mmh 



841 TWENTY MONTHS IN TQ^ 

Each gladsome breeze new fireighte of bleosings W01I9 
For OiJ> YzBonix^'- Norse of Washdvoton ! 

And o'er ihy hills it stoops, O, pexjnred land 1 
Through Vernon's shades, and by Potomao's strand; 
And o*er thy Tales it broods— that form of mighti 
Parting the Storm, and towering through the Nigbtl 
That awful Presenoe, moying from above; 
GMef on its biow, but in its glanoes— Love 1 
From Heaven it oomes— through Vernon's gloom desoendi^ 
And where my mournful Country kneels, it bends; 
And sofQy murmurs sheltering her head — 
**Whatail[| thee. Mother? Are thy ohildren dead f 
She hears his voioe, and wakes firom swooning tranoe^ 
Her ebbing life-tides swayed beneath his glance. 
That mailed breast, that soaring helm she sees, 
And the strong hand that lifts her from her knees. 
And now she speaks, whilst all my fluttering breath 
Waits for her voioe, but hears no word she saith; 
For muttering winds upswell, and thunders roll. 
And the wild tempest frights my listening soul: 
I only hear— around Mount Vernon's <tolhi — 
The roar of cannon and the crash of shells; 
I only hear— upon Virginia's air— 
The drum's wild rattle and the trumpet's blare; 
While charging armies shake the shuddering meads^ 
And the hills reel with mingling men and steeds. 
And the wide land with mortal wound outbleeds 1 
I only hear the shout, the curse, the groan; 
I only hear a low, sad, shivering moan, 
Where sinks my Country's hear^ where droops her heftd. 
And the great Voice demands, in whisper dread, 
What ails thee. Mother? Are thy children dead T 



•I 



Dead? worse than deadi The child is worse than dead 
Who scorns the fount where first his fondness fedl 
0, worse than dead I whose heart, untouched with ruth. 
That mother hates who watched his tenderest youth I 
Dead I worse than dead 1 the impious fmd unblesti 
Who tears the mantle from his mothez^s breast— 
Who spurns the matron crown that mother wore^ 
And leaves her sorrowing for the sons shtf bore 1 



BEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 345 

And whence the gain ? What heritage snrr^yes 
O'er wasted treasures and o'er sqnandered lives ? 
Are Hatred's heirlooms, hurled from sire to son, 
More dear than Loves, that linked all hearts as one ? 
Oan sundered hearthstones gleam with ruddier blaze 
Than the old fireside of our fathers' days ^ 
Oan alien halls the old, old Hon replace, 
Or alien births our kindred's graves efikce ? 
In vain Bebellion strives I Would Balaam curse? 
His trembling lij^s Ood's blessings still rehearse 1 
Would Korah rule ? The earth driilu Korah's oriea^ 
And plagties descend where Israel's rebels rise. 
Banballat's seed may drop from Judah's stem, 
But Israel dwells where dwells Jerusalem 1 
Samaria's shrines may rise on rival sod. 
But Mount Moriah is still the Mount of God I 

0, Washznckton 1 thou drewest our fedth from Heaven ! 
By Heaven, through thee, our freedom's Ufe was given; 
Thy goal our Union, and our homes thy gift^ 
To thee, this day, our Nation's Soul we lift! 
Thy Ck>d is ours I — on Hue our hopes we oast: 
We trust the Future, as we read the Fasti 
While Truth is steadfast, and while Time is just^ 
Thy path we tread, and in thy faith we trusti 
Though man be weak, we know that God is strong. 
And come what may, the Bight shall rule the Wrong I 
For ceaseless still, o'er traitors quick or dead. 
Our Nation's feet their destined course must tread; 
And where the Ask ov Fbssdom heads our mazoh* 
God's FUlar lead«i and Angel wings o'enoohl 



346 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

BLOODHOUNDS. 

About the' " ides of March" exciting ramots oaine to 
us from the Bed River. We became aware that Oeneral 
Banks, with a new and powerful army, had advanced from 
the Mississippi, captured Fort De Bossey, occnpied Alex- 
andria, and was marching np on the Texas borders. How 
onr pulses beat wildly once more ! how we talked of liberty 
by day, and dreamed of it by night! How some of our 
gallant fellows resolved that tiiey would strike for it; or, 
at least, endeator to strike some path that might lead to it! 

There had been much ''underground" work proceeding 
within our stockade lines during a month past. We had 
speculated — or, at least, numbers had — ^upon attempting 
a stampede from the prison corral, through a tunnel; and 
thence dispersing to the woods and swamps. The project 
was hazardous ; for, though an escape from the yard might 
be comparatively simple, there was an "undiscovered 
country'' outside of our camp which threatened many an 
obstacle between us and deliverance. But some among 
the leaders had been prisoners sixteen months, without a 
word from ''home" to tell them whether their dear ones 
were alive or dead. Others had been so often disap- 
pointed in the hope of an exchange that any risk seemed 
preferable to awaiting tardy action by our government. 

So, big with secret preparation, weeks had passed* 
! Alternate gangs, in regular relief, were digging in the 
/ tunnel. Ground had first been broken in a large "she- 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 347 

bang," or log-house, occupied by stalwart Western officers, 
who rejoiced under the soiibriquet of " Hawkeye Mess." 
The shaft was sunk some eight feet deep, and it was pro- 
posed to tunnel out below the northern stockade to a 
small enclosure, just beyond the line of sentinels, where 
we had buried poor Lieutenant Kimball, the quarter- 
master, in the shadow of two lofty trees. Our work went 
on incessantly, and we disposed of all tiie excavated earth 
by dragging it in a box to the shaft-opening, thence trans- 
porting it in water-buckets to the different cabins, and de- 
positing it in fire-places, to raise the hearth^. This pro- 
cess awakened no suspicion, and the work proceeded from 
day to day. 

There were some, however, who had little faith in 
"underground railroads" or a general stampede. Lieut. 
Col. Kose, and several other officers, determined upon 
attempting their enlargement in small squads. The 
scheme was confined to but few beyond those actually 
contemplating escape. I did not feel great confidence in 
the successful finale of this undertaking, but accorded it 
my sympathy and help, of course. An old box coat, a 
hundred dollars, and some odd ends of disguise were my 
own •ontributions to the stock of preparations. Six offi- 
cers were in the pariy, but this number grew to fifteen 
before the "break" was made. 

Our " band" and " singing club" were wont to practice 
in my cabin, which was a more pretentious edifice than 
most of our "shebangs," built as it had been by log- 
raising " experts," and by " days' work" (as carpenters 
say) for cash, in Confederate currency. Here, before a 
fire of hickory logs, and with a dip candle or grease lamp, 
upon my table, covered by a Mexican blanket, the sona 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, with "6am" and "; 
fh>m the Ghreat West, would meet in harmony, with a 




848 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Iin, two banjos and a triangle ; and here, ** soon as the 
evening shades prevailed,** the rafters rang with "Glory 
Hallelujah,'* "Massa*s Kunn'd Away,*' and " Kally Bound 
the Flag, Boys !" rendered in such vocal thunder as no 
rebel throats might ever master. Meanwhile, recumbent 
in my hammock, stretched between two logs, I smoked 
my calumet and mused on Northern friends and fortunes. 

This night, however, calls the "band" to other quar- 
ters. It has been raining, and thic^ Mouds are lowering 
still. It is a night for enterprise, and the word comes 
that our comsades have concluded that their time is " now 
or never." So, as the evening darkens, we steal, one by 
one, to a " shebang" hard by our southern stockade, where 
the "break" is to be made. Our would-be fugitives must 
creep across the spring, or brook-bed, thence crawl up 
some thirty feet to the stockade, and then, by main 
strength, lift a sixteen-foot post out of its socket, and so 
separate it from a contiguous one as to create a gap suffi- 
ciently wide to give a human body passage through it. 
All the while a line of rebel sentries guards the outside 
of this stockade. The tread of each man, as he walks, 
the ringing of his piece, strike momently upon our ears. 
A single false move on the part of one among the escaping 
prisoners may jeopardize the lives of all. Should a sus- 
picion of the plot be entertained, the, guards may all be 
watching. They might peer through all the interstices 
and detect a moving body even in the shadow. If the 
dirt crumble nois^y, if the uplifted post fall or strike 
against another, if the sudden width of space be observed 
by eyes accustomed to all " signs of woodcraft/' woe be 
to our venturous comrades! Half-a-score of rifles may 
give tongue at once. Nay, we might have a volley fired 
at random into our midst. . 

Put these Yankee boys have made up their minds to 



DEPABTMENT GF THE GULF* 349 

'* take the chances." One after another they emerge from 
their respective cabins and rendezvous in the rear of Col. 
Leake's "shebang," vrhioh is the nearest to the sonthem 
stockade. Inside of this hut our "band" and lusty sing- 
ers have already collected. They tune their instruments 
and voices. They strike preliminary notes. At length 
they burst out. in a jubUant African ohorna: 

'' Ole massa's num'd— «ha 1 

De darkeys stay — oho 1 

It mils' be now dat de kingdom am a coming 

An' de year of Jubilo 1" 

The rebel guards, not forty feet away, tramping their 
beats in mud and darkness outside of the stockade, hear 
this unusual din from Col. Leake's "shebang,* generally 
a quiet one. They peep between the stockade posts and 
discern nothing — ^remark nothing in the wet corral out of 
doors. But presently the music — fiddle, banjos, triangle, 
voices, all combined in an orchestral "norther" — sweeps 
across the brook gully with tenfold vehemence. The 
Yankees are on a musical spree, "reckons" the Texan 
" Johnny," as he listens, on his gloomy post, to the really- 
melodious execution of our vocalists. Presently he 
"orders arms," and gets his ear in closer contact with the 
stockade, wishing, perhaps, that he were in that Yankee 
cabin, listening to good music by its blazing hearth, 
instetid of being an ''outsider" waiting for the "first 
relief," and shivering beneath his ragged blanket. 

Very soon, our "Johnny," hearkening to the Yankee 
banjos, forgets about stockades and prisoners. Quite 
unconscious of a trick, he calls out — "Give us Dixie, 
Yanks!" — and presently that "patriotic" melody regales 
him. "Johnny" is enraptured. "Johnny" joins in the 
refrain — 



360 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

** O we all will sing together — 

Dixie's land ! 
In Dixie's land I take my stand, 
To live and die in Dixie !" 

Meantime, covertly stooping through the gloom, a Yan- 
kee form glides from behind our musical ** shebang." It 
is Col. Bose, doubling his six-foot length, as he isrosses 
the spring and crawls on hands and knees to the stockade. 
He carries a bag of flour and sugar, mixed and burned in 
pellets, with some twists of dried beef and hard tack, as 
provisions for the road ; a blanket and a pair of socks as 
extra clothing. Following him, creep Captain Adams 
and Engineer Mars, and, one by one, a dozen other aspi- 
rants for liberty, each with his little bundle and big 
stick — time-honored helps to fugitives in Dixie's land. 
They gain the stockade, and lie down, in shadowy silence, 
at its base, to listen for the sentry's tramp. 

But rebel '* Johnny," with his ear inclined, still listens- 
at a gap some twelve feet distant. Meantime, a brace of 
stalwart "sympathizers*' with our fugitive boys have 
lifted up a post, and, leaving one end partly in its socket, 
bend the tall log inward, leaving room for egress. Bound 
the post a cord is fastened, with a loop outside. Col. 
Bose peers through the aperture, and takes one step past 
the post. Just then a loud burst of the vocalists, a choral 
swell upon " Dixie," rises from our " shebang." The long 
colonePs figure disappears; another glides behind him; 
one by one, our fugitives dart out and lose themselves 
in mnrkiness. The last one is to pull the cord, and thus 
draw back the post into its socket. But he forgets, or 
fears to linger, and flees outward, after his comrades 

"Huzza!" we almost shout, mentally, without a tremor 
of the lips. "And now for a rousing chorus! Now for 
•John Brown* and 'Bally round the Flag, boysP" 



»-%. 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULP, 351 

" Have they escaped ?" '* Did all get out ?" The eager 
questions pass from lip to lip. Our younger captives wish 
that they had seized this chance. Old prisoners wag their 
beards and smoke. Croakers prophesy misfortune. 

Two hours wear on, and taps have sounded. It is dark 
and cloudy yet. Our music is dispersed. We hear the 
rebel call for ''second relief" to turn out. Presently a 
heavy shower descends. We think of our poor comrades 
drenched and wandering. 

"Happily," one says, '' the rain will make pursuit more 
difficult." 

" Should there be dogs—" 

Ah, dogs ! the negro-dogs I the bloodhounds ! the man- 
hunters ! 

" Oh, there is no danger in that quarter !" cries a young 
lieutenant. '* Colonel Allen says he would never set a 
dog on a white man's trail." 

"And I heard him say," says another officer, "that a 
prisoner's right was to escape if he could, and he should 
only use civilized means to recapture him." 

" That speaks well for Allen, if he is a rebel,'* asserts 
another speaker. "But you never can depend on the 
word of a traitor, gentleman ! I shouldn't be surprised to 
hear the hounds out to-morrow, when the rebs discover 
this stampede." 

"What's that ?" suddenly asks a western man, prick- 
ing up his ears, as the tramp of men came to our ears, 
through the door of the cabin which was wide open. 

"Only the second relief going its rounds," was the 
answer. 

But at this moment a sound of some wind-instrament 
arose on the night air. 

"That's a cavalry bugle !" exclaims a young infantry 



362 TWEMTI X0MTH8 IN THB 

lieutenant. '^Wouldn't I like to see Ghierson dashing 
down on the rebels here !*' 

"Cavalry bugle !" cries an old dragoon. " It's more 
like a cow-horn ! What sort of a call is that, I'd like to 
know ?" 

" m tell you what it means/' responded a Massachu- 
setts captain, captured at Ghtlveston, who loved the rebels 
as Satan is popularly said to love holy water. " Cow-horn 
or bugle, it means that old Allen is a cursed liar, and 
that he's going to set the dogs on our boys — that's what 
it means !'* 

We started up directly, for the truth of this observa- 
tion flashed upon us. The horn continued to sound, shrill 
and loud, and presently the deep baying of dogs began 
to answer it. We looked out into the rainy darkness, 
and could see lights moving to and fro on the hill, at rebel 
head-quarters. 

" They Ve got track of the stampede,'* says our Massa- 
chusetts man. " See the pine-knots dancing on the hill ! 
That's young Allen and the officer of the day, I'll bet a 
shad! They*re mounting horses and calling the dogs, I 
tell you." 

And to this conclusion we all arrived, without contra- 
diction ; for a jargon of oaths and exclamations sounded 
on the hill, and at the guard-house gate ; while the horn 
was wound incessantly, and dogs barked furiously. In a 
few moments, we could see, by the glare of pine-knots 
outside the stockade, a number of mounted men riding 
down the road, followed by a pack of hounds. We began 
to fear that it was all over with our fugitive comrades. 

That night was an anxious one to many in the corral. 
Bain poured down, at intervals, in torrents ; the thunder 
rolled; the lightning flashed so vividly, and with such 
rapidity, that it seemed like an unbroken cannonade. I 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF. 353 

lay awake, in my hammook, thinking of the dreary night, 
as I listened to dashing floods upon my cabin roof. 

At roll-call, next morning, Lieutenant Ross, a rebel 
officer, whose heart was more in his vine-yards and grape- 
vines than in politics or camps, read off the list of pri- 
soners. Whenever the name of an " absconded" one was 
reached, some wag would shout out ''furloughed," or '* on 
leave," while, as the number swelled, this poor lieute- 
nant's eyes grew larger with astonishment. We thought 
the rebel commandant* s shrewd son, Lieutenant AUen^ 
^ad departed with the hounds, but he appeared before 
roll-call was over, and began to check the absentees. I 
can recall his look of ludricrous dismay when fifteen offi- 
cers were reported " missing.** " Fifteen — I" He closed 
his comments with a Southern oath, and then, like a true 
** Christian gcntleraan," sprang on his horse and rode away 
for a new pack of bloodhounds. 

We learned soon that our boys had a start of nearly 
thirteen hours. The bush had been beaten with men and 
dogs ; but the pack was put speddily at fault, it appeared, 
by the rain, and no traces of the runaways had been 
found. We gathered news by scraps from friendly guards 
or growling sentinels. It seemed that the stampede was 
discovered scarcely fifteen minutes after it took place. 
The new relief had passed, the sergeant carrying a lan- 
tern, and its light, reflecting on the stockade, revealed 
the post displaced, with a rope hanging from it. The be- 
wildered sentry could explain nothing ; his muddy brains 
wqre still full of ''Dixie," which our courteous Yankee 
band had played for him; so "Johnny" was "toted** to 
the guard-house, there to answer for his lack of vigilance. 

But now the rain had ceased; th^ clouds disappeared; 
s Southern sun rode high. We heard the tramp of horses. 
Lieutenant Allen and another rebel officer, and half-a- 



354 TWKNTY KO^ IN TH> 

doien mounted privates, armed with gnns and pistols, 
rode off swiftly from headquarters. In advance gallopped 
•' Chilicothe." 

" Chilicothe" was an " expert" among rebel scouts and 
forest-men. It was his boast that he could " out-Indian 
Indians." Never was a truer shot, a tougher campaigner, 
a more unerring hunter either of beast or man. Little 
cared " Chillcothe" whether dogs led or followed. His 
own infallible craft, half skill, half instinct, guided him 
by sun or stars. On him, this prairie-scout and wood- 
land-spy, devolved the task of tracking our poor Yankee 
officers. White man on white man's trail, with a new 
pack of staunch sleuth-hounds, from Tyler, made up a 
pleasant hunt for rebel officers. We saw them set off at 
a canter, and awaited anxiously that day's developments. 

Night came again, and with its shadows came some 
three or four poor Yankee officers, recaptured, fatigued 
and leg-weary. Col. Kose was one of them, and Lieut. 
Lyons, of my regiment, whose rosy face bore sundry 
weather-marks. They had been floundering all the night 
in swamps ; had gained a score of miles, and lain down 
for a nap, to be awakened by the voice of "Chilicothe" 
calling his hounds. Next day, another batch of runaways 
arrived; on the third, more were captured; till, at length, 
thirteen rejoined their bantering messes. All had been 
run down by " Chilicothe" and the dogs. All were in 
woful plight ; their scanty clothing shredded off by con- 
tact with the thickets; their feet and hands sore and 
wounded ; their skin scratched in a hundred places. They 
had lost their route ; had doubled on their trail ; had va- 
gabonded from a score to sixty miles ; and yet not one 
had crossed the Sabine, which was scarcely one day's 
march from camp. So much for the stampede. 

Yet two of the fifteen escaped, in spite of dogs and 



DEPABTMEirr OF THE GULF. 355 

** Chiliootlie." They lost their clothing, food, and even 
their canteens ; but, ivith dogged obstinacy, kept the 
swamps, emerging only in the night, to glean a corn-field. 
Thns, for days and nights, and weeks, they plodded for- 
ward, till the Louisiana line was reached, andEedEiver. 
We heard from them, at last, through prisoners taken at 
the fatal fight of Mansfield. They had gained the Union 
lines, on Eed Eiver, some days before the battle, and 
were forwarded to New Orleans in safety. Afterwards 
we heard the story of this bloodhound chase from many 
lips. Lieut. Collins, a fine western officer, was nearly 
murdered by them. He had stopped to rest, when the 
deep howl of dogs apprised him of pursuit. Ere he could 
make away, two rebels rode upon him. A brace of six- 
shooters were levelled at his breast, and the, accustomed 
threat — ^with a huge oath — of shooting on the spot, was 
flung at him. 

" I am unarmed, and hardly strong enough to stand," 
said Collins. 

Another oath was hurled at him. "We'll give the 
dogs a taste of your infernal Yankee blood. St-boy! 
smell of him, boy ! St-boy ! Seize him — shake the Yank ! 
Stuboy !" 

The furious hounds, thus encouraged, sprang at Lieut. 
Collins. Their glittering teeth, with white foam gathered 
on th« fiery gums, met in his ragged uniform. He felt 
the tearing of his garments, and expected momently to 
bleed; when the rebels, with malicious laughter called 
off their hounds. 

"You see, Yank! they'd as soon eat Yank as nigger! 
If we had old Kangaroo Abe out yer - they'd got him, 
shore, hide, har, and tallow ! Now, jes' tote yer carcass, 
Yank, or we'll shoot yer on sight, by !" 

So marched Lieut. Collins back, thirty miles, at horse* 



356 -« TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

tail, 'wiih his weary pace accelerated by curses. And, to 
tell the truth, our officers themselyes "swore terribly'* 
when their reminiscences were piixed with bloodhounds. 

To fdlly realize and appreciate these "dogs of war,*' 
one ought to be hunted and fugitive, like Lieut. Collins and 
his compatriots. While sinking with fatigue, spent with 
privation, hopeless of escape, to hear the wolf-like yelp 
and long hyena-howl of these trained men-hunters, is 
something to experience, even for ** used«up" Sir Charles 
Coldstream. I warrant it as a " new sensation" for the 
most languid disbeliever in emotions. Some hounds will 
track a human being, day and night, for weeks, and follow 
his scent, especially if it be a negro, hundreds of miles 
through swamps and woods, and over water-courses. They' 
run at times, like game-dogs, smelling the ground, at in- 
tervals making deer-leaps, springing up to touch the over- 
hanging leaves and branches with their noses. They 
double and dart round in circles, cross a stream, and then, 
with a few sniffs of the air, rush up or down the bank to 
find their broken scent again. 

The quickness of their smell is quite as wonderful as 
its tenacity. When a negro, or a white tnan, is to be 
pursued, the dogs are simply taken to the trail and made 
to nose it. On the night of the stampede, a pack, as we 
discovered, was called immediately, and placed upon 
officers' tracks, just outside of the gap by which they had 
passed through the stockade. This pack of hounds was 
not a good one. Though the breed was fair, the dogs had 
been permitted to run after deer and foxes. Consequently, 
though they opened on the human trail, their scent was 
soon diverted by the tracks of animals in the miry woods 
and fields. This was the reason the nocturnal hunt had 
been unsuccessful. In the mornifig, a fresh pack of real 
man-dogs was procured from Tyler, and these tracked 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 357 

onr officers, even after eight or ten hoars' rain had inter- 
vened. The real hounds are never allowed to hunt down 
any game inferior to man. When not in use, they are 
chained up and kept on starving rations. They grow 
fierce as tigers, with forced abstinence, and their scent 
becomes acute in the extreme. Woe to the hunted man 
if hunger-maddened hounds overtake him, in swamps or 
timber, while the mounted pursuers are too far behind to 
call them off or moderate their savage eagerness. Woe 
bo to a fagitivo if the sleuth-dogs once tast« his blood! 



369 TWERTi IfONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

RED RIVER ADVICES. 

Shortly after the abortive attempt at a " stampede** 
ehronicled in my last chapter, Lt.-Col. Leake received 
sadden orders to march, with his officers and men, under 
guard, to Shreveport, there to be forwarded for "exchange'' 
to the Federal lines near Alexandria. Though parting 
from the gallant Western men with regret, we rejoiced in 
their prospect of speedy enlargement, and hoped that our 
own would soon follow. Meantime, the news which we 
received almost daily, in reference to a£Fairs on the Bed 
River, served to elevate our spirits wonderfully. 

Mr. Cushing, of the '* Houston Telegraph," had been as 
good as his word in extending many acceptable courtesies 
to our officers. To Captain Crocker and myself he sent 
his paper regularly, and its news, although colored, of 
course, by rebel sympathies, was usually very reliable. 
I was indebted, subsequently, likewise, to this editorial 
friend, for a welcome gift of a real treasure to prisoners — 
a half-ream of good writing-paper, which not only re- 
plenished my own exhausted stock, but served to supply 
my comrades with a medium for conveying their thoughts 
to the beloved ones at home. I shall pleasantly recall the 
kindness of Mr. Cushing, in this and other disinterested 
attentions toward a stranger and prisoner, as a guaranty 
that his heart is right, whatever may be the errors of his 
head upon the questions which make up our conflict of 
opinion. The "amenities of literature*' were happily 



DEPlBTMEin? OF THtf QVlf. 869^ 

illustrated to me, through 8uc& intercourse as it was jxgf 
fortune to have with Mr.' Gushing and other friendly 
spirits in Texas. 

With my accession of writing materials, I found myself 
enabled to transcribe various detached jottings and journal- 
izings, as well as to take down the verbal relations of 
fellow-prisoners, concerning many interesting events and 
experiences, which the limits of this book will not permit 
me to include in its pages. Few among the multitude of 
incidents connected with our war will ever be told vora- 
ciously in official dopuments. Reports by commandants 
of posts, or colonels in command, are in general more ela- 
borate than correct, and yet of such is history made. No 
mortal eye can trace the fortunes of a single battle-hour 
;n all their shifts and changes ; no single record of a con- 
flict, though it be endorsed by the commander-in-chief, 
and vouched for by an army corps of generals, can ever 
comprehend the fight in its details; the sudden dash, the 
quick recoil, the giving and disputing ground, the fierce 
melee, the isolated grapple, the death-shot^ the last agony ; 
with all their infinite phases of wild excitement, iron 
hardihood, cool forecast, and deliberate purpose, veiled 
and canopied with a lurid haze of smoke and dust and 
blood; now dense as thunder clouds, now torn and rifted 
by the dreadful shock of oannonry. We may believe no 
bulletin reports a tithe of what one dying soldier beholds 
with closing eyes, within the compass of his regimental 
line. It is well, perhaps, that all this terrible minutise 
of a human battle should be left to the imagination to 
depicture, and that every fighter should be so involved 
and swallowed up in the great action of the strife as to 
remain quite noteless of all scenes or acts» beyond his 
individual part in the wild drama. Nevertheless, when, 
here and there, apart from the red-tape-bound formula <^€ 



860 / TWENTY MQHTH8 IN THl 

war-offioe reports, we read or listen to some personal story 
of a soldier's battle-life, some episode of peril or prowess 
in the fiery heat of conflict, we are fain to linger over the 
unstudied sentences, and wish that history were wrought 
from such materials. 

So, when the simple reminiscences of soldiers found 
expression in as simple words, and the representatives of 
many a fight exchanged opinions aronnd our log-h6use 
hearths, I often gleaned a better knowledge of the battle 
or campaign than I could gain from all the papers of the 
War Department. Here, in the rapid crayon-dashes of a 
personal story, I realized groups of cannoniers, all grim 
with powder, standing round their gun, and charged upon 
by rebel horse ; and presently a double-quick step behind 
them, and a blase of musketry from the supporting infEin* 
try column, driving back the grey-coats in disorder. There, 
sketched rudely on our clay-floor, with a pointed stick, I 
traced the flanks and centre of a line of battle, with the 
enemy^s direction of attack and the position of our own 
artillery and reserves. Meantime, the observations, "We 
were here," and " Thus we moved,*' ^nd "Here the rebels 
showed themselves," with quick rejoinders and additions 
by a score of mutual actors on the field, were worth, to 
one who would compare and "inwardly digest," much 
more than all the muldplez reports of aids or adjutants 
on regulation-paper. 

Meantime, I could study character at my leisure ; and 
there is a variety of it to be found among prisoners, at all 
times. The "wise and simple*' are closely proximate in 
such quarters as ours were. Nor were my many chats 
with enlisted men, and conversations with officers, pro- 
ductive only of time-killing. I gleaned food for after- 
speculation in much of my daily intercourse, and recog* 



DSPABTMIST Ci* THE QULF. 361 

nised, in the attrition of mind, devoid of conventional In- 
brication, a healthful stimulus to my own mental faculties. 

Ohsss-playing amused, labor occupied, but social con- 
verse was, after all, our chief enjoyment. There were 
many strong intellects among my comrades, with whom it 
became interesting to discuss both men an d books. Among 
the *' oldest inhabitants,*' of Camp Ford, were Col. Leake, 
whose professional schooling and quick wit made him 
sound in argument and ready at repartee; Mr. Finley 
Anderson, a correspondent of the New York Herald, who 
was exchanged before my arrival at the corral, and who 
subsequently, I think, became attached to Gen. Hancock^s 
staff; Lieut. Louis W. Stevenson, of the '' Ironsides," who 
was wounded at Brashear City, and whom I had left at 
the hospital in New Iberia; Captain Torrey, of the 20th 
Iowa regiment, Col. Leake's command ; and many other 
choice spirits, whose discourse wiled prisoH-life of much 
of its irksomeness. 

Captain Torrey, with his regimental brother, Captain 
Coulter, were captured at Aransas Bay, on the Texan 
coast, in December, 1863. He had reached Texas with 
the expedition that landed at Brazos Santiago and Point 
Isabel, taking Brownsville, on the Rio Grande, soon after- 
wards. A force of land-troops, disembarking at Mustang 
Island, and Corpus Christi inlet, marched twenty miles 
to Aransas Bay, capturing there about one hundred pri- 
soners and three pieces of artillery. Reinforcements 
following, an expedition was marched the entire length 
of St. Joseph's and Matagorda Islands, which lie along , 
the Texan main-land. These advances accomplished the f 
seizure of Fort Esperanza, whose garrison succeeded in 
a timely evacuation of the place. Our troops held Mata- 
gorda Peninsula, and the town of Indianola; during several 
weeks, and oooupied the town of Lavacca repeatedly. 



362 TWENTY MONTHS IN TBB 

During this campaign of winter and spring, inconsidera- 
ble damage was done to the enemy, and many casualties 
occurred among the Federals. A worthy and intelligent 
sergeant of my regiment, accompanying Col. Kempsey, 
the former chaplain of our ** Ironsides," who had obtained 
command of a negro-battalion, was drowned in one of the 
bayous, while swimming his horse. Poor Vassar was an 
earnest, loyal soldier, and had earned a better fate. It 
was during this period of coast occupation by our forces, 
that Captains Torrey and Coulter were made prisoners, 
together with three privates and some citizens, upon the 
schooner Gen. Ransom, taken near Lamar, in December* 
In January, a Federal corporal and three privates were 
surprised on the prairie, near Lavacca, while they were 
hunting beef; asd other squads of our soldiers were cap- 
tured while "prospecting" for fuel upon the shores of 
Aransas Bay. Delays and disappointments continually 
harrassed our forces. Sometimes, for days, no rations 
were provided for the men, owing to insufficiency of 
quartermaster's supplies; and, during weeks, the poor 
fellows shivered and froze in their bleak camps, on barren 
stretches of sand, without a stick of wood within miles of 
them. The whole account of Federal operations on the 
Texan coast may be summed up by a large expense of 
fleets and armies, life and money, in holding a useless 
tract of sea-shore, during five or six months ; balanced by 
a few hundred bales of cotton seized at Brownsville. The 
Bio Grande campaign, like its " supporting** campaign on 
Red River, was a lamentable waste of time and treasure. 
Generals and commanders have been superseded and dis- 
graced for much less disreputable failures. 

We have now to speak of the Red River campaign, 
whose disastrous results speedily became felt at Camp 
Ford. Col. Leake and his expectant oomrades had been 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 363 

gone from ns scarcely a week, when, instead of pleasing 
advices concerning their "exchange," a very different 
sort of news arrived to dishearten us. We learned of 
the battle of Mansfield. Dispatches, from Kirby Smith 
to Col. Allen, our rebel post-commandant, notified him to 
prepare for the reception of three thousand Federal pris« 
oners. We were indignant at this outrage on our gooi 
sense. We spurned the report as a "weak invention of 
the enemy." But it was too true. Corroborations of a 
woful repulse of Gen. Banks's grand army of invasion 
came thickly and fast. Conviction force*d itself upon us ; 
and bodily proof arrived, soon enough, in the shape of 
a first instalment of 1186 Federals, captured at Mansfield, 
on the 8th of April, 1864. 

It is no marvel, at the opening of the year 1864, that 
Gen. Banks, Commander-in-chief of the Department of 
the Gulf, should desire to twine some Augustan laurels 
over the Csssar-like baldness of his administration, thus 
far. It is true, he had the credit of reducing the rebel 
strong-hold of Port Hudson ; and it may be that his ap- 
proaches, assaults, minings, and forlorn hopes, necessi- 
tated the surrender of that place, after the suggestive 
example of Yicksburg, some days previous. But, with 
the exception of Port Hudson conquest, and the Teche 
raid, our General's military triumphs had not been bril- 
liant ones. The swoop of Texan legions on Opelousas rail- 
road lines, and their menace of the Crescent City itself, 
were only opening moves of an intricate chess-game which 
has been played on the Trans-Mississippi board, since 
midsummer of 1863. Gen. Tom Green and his tattered 
regiments, repulsed at Donaldsonville, which Green at- 
tacked just after the capture of Brashear City, (and where 
his subordinate, Lt CoL Phillips, lost his life «^^ t&^ 



361 TWENTY MONTHS IH TQi 

•word), posted their batteries on Mississippi onrres, and 
wag«d destructive ambush-war upon river-boats for manj 
a month thereafter. Meantime, rdoccupjing the rail-road 
to Berwick Bay, which the rebels had evaeuated after a 
month*s possession, Maj. Oen. Banks organized and dis- 
patched that famous expedition, of gunboats and trans- 
ports, which, under Grens. Franklin and Weitael, were 
driven back so ingloriously from a mud-fort at Sabine 
Pass. Subsequently transpired the coast-wise operations, 
which nibbled at the edges of Texan shores, till thej 
served to stimulate the organization of a large defensive 
force througji all the State. Then took place sundry 
bloodless explorations into Calcasien morasses, begetting 
much^stonishment among vagrapt ** Cagians," but little 
result otherwise. Finally loomed up — " graviter comma- 
dus—*' the Red River Expedition of 1864 

This expedition was, without doubt, well-planned, and 
effectually preceded by organization and preparation. The 
mortar-fleet and gun-boats of Com. Porter were to co* 
operate with the army. Numerous transports carried the 
troops. Abundant commissary stores and munitions were 
provided. Veteran regiments, with officers of tried skill 
and courage, made up a majority of the forces. What 
was lacking for success ? Nothing — ^but a Ohief 

For it is unhappily the fact that Oen. Banks, however 
capable as a financial or civil executive, has too little of 
that iron in his nature which is requisite for a great mil- 
itary leader. Gen. Banks is not a good Gommander-iur 
chief. He will take care of his army's subsistence, and 
he is equal to an intelligent comprehension of warfare ; 
but he is not a Dictator, as every General charged with 
the responsibility of a Department or a Campaign ought 
te be. He cherishes the sttaviter in tnodo to the neglect. 
cf ik^^JartiUer in. re. Hence,, where the General dunild be^ 



iMfi^BSTMENT OV THE GULF. 365 

supreme* we find the staff omnipotent ; where the Com- 
mander should ordain, ire find the subordinates over- 
ruling. I need not dilate upon a matter that is patent 
to the army of the Gulf; but I might fill chapters with 
testimony which shows that our reverses and disasters in 
Louisiana have been the result of wrong-headed and arro- 
gant intermeddling of staff-officers and other inferiors, 
who should have been kept in their position, under curb- 
reins, and, if necessary, under the whip of a Commander's 
discipline. 

But the Bed Biver Ezpedition moves, and its first steps 
are victorious ones. The rebels retire before its fleets 
and forces. Fort De Bussy, with an iron-clad water-bat-^ 
tery, surrenders, after a brief resistance, yielding garrison 
and guns. Alexandria is speedily occupied. Bed Biver 
is illumined by Stars and Stripes. Yankee craft crowd 
its waters, from the Atchafalaya to the Mississippi mouths. 
Amid all this blazonry of Federal euccess. Gen. Banks 
arrives from his seat of Government, and prepares for an 
advance on Shreveport, by land and water. 

It is a brave sight, this march of our grand army, on 
fine roads, and by a broad river, past the beautiful city of 
Alexandria, which crowns her lofty water-front with rich 
villas — the homes of luxurious planters. Gen. Franklin 
arrives, preceding his army-corps, all reported in good 
health and spirits. Gen. Smith's troops defile through 
Alexandria streets. Gun-boats and transports, propelled 
by steam and canvass, move gallantly under the blufis. 
Cane Bi^er is crossed by a pontoon bridge. Natchitoches 
is occupied by our forces, under Gen. Lei. The rebels 
burn their eotton-bales,* and the smoke thereof becomes a 
beacon for Federal advance. Gen. Banks's progress up 
the Bed Biver, escorted by gun-boats and transports-^ 
salutedby oannon-discharges— -is like that of a conquerot^ 



366 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Porter precedes him, ocoupying Grand Ecore. Porter 
selects a yan-guard of gun-boats, and pushes up the river 
toward Shreyeport. On the third day, he reaches Spring- 
field Landing, but finds that the rebels have sunk a large 
steamer across the channel. Porter is stopped, but he 
sets vigorously at work to remove the obstructions, and 
is about succeeding, when a courier from Oen. Banks 
reaches him. He hears ** unpleasant and most unexpected 
news." Our " army has met with a reverse." In fact, 
the battle of Mansfield has been fought, and Gen. Banks, 
defeated, is falling back to Pleasant Hill. Let us trace 
the Battle of Mansfield. 

Picture a nearly triangular space, broken by woods, 
fences, and fields; its base a long fence, running from 
south-east to north-west; its lower side traced by a line 
extending westerly to a line of woods that forms the loft 
rect-angle, as you approach the area, by a road — the 
Mansfield highway — which intersects that area. Fancy 
your march advancing from the south, through a narrow 
defile of the woods, and suddenly entering on the com- 
paratively open triangular area T have described. This 
was the manner and route of march of our cavalry sent 
forward by Gen. Banks to occupy the enemy, who were 
understood to be in force on the road near Mansfield, but 
who, it was supposed, would not make a stand at that 
place. The cavalry rode on, through the woods, until 
they debouched into the open space, called Moss's Planta- 
tion. They left their supply wagons halted, in a long line, 
on the narrow woodland road, while they galloped on and 
engaged in desultory skirmishing with Texan horse. 

Fancy, now, the advance of our Federal infantry, with 
some artillery, arriving upon Moss's fields, and engaging 
with the enemy, who are massing between the plantation 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 367 

and Mansfield. The left of oar line of battle rested upon 
woods, west of the Mansfield road. There Col. Dudley's 
cavalry brigade had been skirmishing with rebel horse. 
There was the 23d Wisconsin infantry, supported by a 
section of Nims's Battery. On their right stood the 57th 
Indiana regiment, backed by another section of Nims*s 
gunsw Next to the Indiana men were stationed the 77th 
Illinois veterans, not in line, but at an obtuse angle, re- 
tiring toward the right. The 48th Ohioans came next ; at 
their right, the 19th Kentuckians, and next to these the 
83d Ohio volunteers, fianked by a cavalry force under 
Ool. Lucas. This was the first line of battle, just within 
an open piece of wood-land, from its advanced left, on the 
Mansfield road to its receding right, extending south- 
easterly. Before it, at a dislsno of a hundred yards, 
was a high fence, and beyond th(^ fence, at about the 
same distance, rebel lines weix xorming. Behind our 
line of battle, on rising ground, were clear fields, in 
which were stationed the Chicago Mercantile and the 
1st Indiana Batteries. In rear of these batteries, Maj. 
Oen. Banks, with Oens. Franklin, Lee, Stone, Eansom, 
and other commanders, took post at intervals. A fence 
enclosed the base of these fields. 

Now, the battle has begun in earnest. It is nearly 
four o'clock in the afternoon. Our troops have been 
marched from Pleasant Hill ; some of them had to fight 
their way, in skirmishes, over eight miles of road ; others 
have been double-quicked more than that distance. They 
passed, on their route, long lines of our. cavalry force at 
a halt, and have had to file by the wagon-trains that oc- 
cupy the narrow road between Pleasant Hill and Mans- 
field. The fight waxes warm. The foe bring heavy guns 
up. It is now found that a whole rebel army is in front, 
where it was fondly fancied no opposition would be made 



368 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

to our marcli. Presently, our skirmishers and eavaliy 
fidl back. At the same time, a movement of the enemy 
is noticed. They are coming at double quick, to gain 
the fence in front of us. That must be prevented. The 
\ word is given for our line of battle to advance. The line 
' pnshes forward, through heavy timber, and over broken, 
uneven ground, to reach the fence. It is a race for posi- 
tion ; but our side wins. We gain the fence, and pour 
a volley from behind its shelter, that carries death into 
rebel ranks. But, meantime, the enemy^s right has swept 
in contact with our left, which was somewhat advanced. 
At that point the rebels reached the fence first, and, from 
it, drove back our infantry. That left was the weakest 
portion of our line. It should have been the strongest, 
for it was to hold the Mansfield road. But when our 
first line of battle was formed, the 19th- Kentucky volun- 
teers were shifted from the 1st brigade, which held our 
extreme left, to the centre of the 2d brigade, in order to 
strengthen that wing. Hence, in the 2d brigade, our 
right, there were five regiments, while but two regiments 
remained in the left — our real front. The enemy massed 
heavily on these two battalion^s, con^elling them to fall 
back, just as our right won the fence. We maintained 
our line at that fence nearly two hours, delivering volley 
.after volley on the rebels, and repulsing their repeated 
charges. It was not until the enemy^s left, extending 
beyond our front, succeeded in fianking the position, that 
we fell back, in order, to the open fields at our rear. 
Meantime, the enemy's right, having broken our left fiank, 
capturing ^fims's Battery, swung to the rear of our first 
line of battle — occupied the road, which had been left 
with only a small guard of cavalry — and then prepared to 
charge our boys from a new position. 
The Mercantile Battery had been stationed, as before in- 



DEPABTKBNT OF THE GULF. 369 

timated, at the north-west edge of an open field in rear of 
the original line of battle. When our two left regiments 
fell back, part of them, together with some of the contigu- 
ous brigade, being made prisoners, the battery shifted to 
position in a peach orchard, at the left of the Mansfield 
road, about eight hundred yards behind its former ground. 
Two regiments of our cavalry, that had retreated, like- 
wise, before the enemy's left wing, took post at the rear 
of one section, which began a brisk artillery play upon 
the rebels. One piece, however,- was soon disabled; 
while the Indiana battery, which had occupied the right 
of the Mercantile and fell back with it, left three pieces 
to the foe, and became, thereafter, hors du combcU. 

This was substantially the end of the battle. The 3d 
Division of the 13th Army Corps had, after marching 
out of Pleasant Hill in the forenoon, turned into camp 
about two o'clock, P. M., and remained thus till half-past 
three o'clock, P. M., when it received orders to advanae 
toward Mansfield. This force did not reach the scene of 
action till five o'clock P. M. ; when, under direction of 
Qen. Banks, its first brigade formed on the right of Mans- 
field road, its second brigade on the left. The division 
was then moved forward, to the edge of the open field, 
over which the enemy was, at this time, Moving in force, 
to attack our wearied troops in rear. When a distance 
of about three hundred yards intervened between the re- 
bels and our new line, the latter opened fire and drove 
the former. The enemy rallied, and was again repulsed. 
Another force now massed on the rebel left, to fiank our 
right. Lt. Col. Florey, who commanded the 1st Brigade, 
forming our right, dispatched Adj. Watts, to inform Oen. 
Cameron, Acting General of Division, of his peril. Not 
finding Oen* Cameron, Lieutenant Watta reported to Oen. 
VraakUn, who immediately ordered OoL Florey to hold 



370 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

his position, assuring him that the enemy would receiye 
due attention. Subsequently, finding his flank imminently 
menaced, Col. Florey sent Capt. Wells to Oen. Banks ; 
who repeated an order that the position should be held, 
as G-en. Emory was moving up to check the enemy. At 
this juncture, heavy firing was heard in front, the 2d 
Brigade fell back, flanked, and a rebel force of cavalry 
advanced upon our left. Col. Florey then directed his 
brigade to give ground ; when the enemy's column, that 
had massed on our right, closed in suddenly, and the 
colonel found his force attacked at once on both flanks 
and in rear. Another line of the enemy advanced, mean- 
while, at the point of the bayonet. All the late battle- 
field was now overwhelmed by rebel reserves. The whole 
Confederate force, after sweeping roads and fields, and 
swallowing up regiments of our previous line, which had 
continued their resistance, now concentrated on Moss's 
fields. An unavailing rally of scattered forces was made 
at the line of woods, but the mass of our discomfited 
Army Corps retreated in wild disorder on the Mansfield 
road, impeded by cavalry wagon-trains. We had lost 
the battle. 

The 13th Army Corps had sustained the brunt of this 
conflict, and suflered terribly. Its 8d Division numbered 
no more than 1200 men in the fight; its 4th Division^ 
under Col. Landram, comprised about 2000. Col. T. E. 
6. Ransom commanded the entire force, and bore him- 
self gallantly, till he received his wound in a skirmish 
near the peach orchard. 

Our 19th Army Corps remained at its camp, six or 
eight miles back, upon the road. This corps was com- 
posed of 7000 eflective soldiers. Behind, not yet arrived 
at Pleasant Hill, was Gen. Smith's corps of 9000 men. 
Yet our van-guard, repulsed at Mansfield, was so de- 



DEPABTMENT OF THE OULF. 371 

moralized, it would appear, that the entire army was 
obliged to retrograde, the Bed Eiver expedition was 
abandoned, and our fleet and forces barely escaped an- 
nihilation at the hands of pursuing rebels. 

Is this creditable ? Yet it is a fact ! And it is a fact, 
^80, acknowledged even by Texans, that the rebel army, 
'^ough nominally masters of the field ; though in posses- 
/ion of guns, colors, and nearly four thousand prisoners ; 
was, in reality, terrified at its own temerity. It dared 
bot remain upon Mansfield battle ground. It fell back, 
at the very same time that our Federal army was retreat- 
ing upon Pleasant Hill. 

Why was not the 19th Army Corps brought up to re- 
trieve the fortunes of Mansfield? Even though utter 
lack of generalship had attenuated our march, through an 
enemy's country, to such an extent that Gen. Smith's 
corps was left far behind ; even though the fatal mistake 
was made of underrating the enemy's force, and deciding 
where he ought to fight and where he ought not to stand ; 
eveti though mere regiments and depleted brigades were 
thrown forward on a powerful hostile army, without sup- 
porting masses within immediate handling ; yet, after all 
these blunders, Mansfield defeat might have been con- 
verted into a success. Had our general possessed a just 
knowledge of his foe; had he "plucked the fiower safety 
from the nettle danger," and brought up his fresh re- 
serves, to give the rebels a Blucher upon their half-won 
battle-field — Gen. Banks might have regained his ground; 
might have driven the rebels to Mansfield village ; in a 
word, might have pursued his march triumphantly; but 
he chose rather to adopt " discretion as the better part of 
valor," and to lose instead of win his Bed Biver campaign. 

The pages of this book are not the place to discuss all, 
or to relate all, that is familiar to my comprehension re- 



372 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

garding that barren maroli of our army on the Lottisiana 
and Texan borders. History will weigh its merits and 
its demerits. 

But what mighty results hung upon that Bed BiTer 
expedition ! " Texas/' said General Magruder, " is the 
Trans-Mississippi Department !*' Texas, during years, in- 
deed, was the gate and outer wall of the Confederacy. 
It was a prize worthy of our best steel. 

But what is the history of our campaigns against Tex- 
as ? We captured Galveston, the key city, and lost it, dis- 
gracefully. We menaced Sabine City, with a fleet and 
army, and were repulsed by two^ score of militia men. 
We directed our columns toward the Attakapas prairies, 
and penetrated the Calcasieu with gun-boats, only to with- 
draw irresolutely from both. We threw ships and forces 
on the southwestern coast, and occupied the Bio Grande ; 
pawed at an edge of the Nueces wilderness; alighted, 
like the water-fowl, on Decrow's Point ; remained inglori- 
ously squatting on bleak sands during a winter ; and then 
returned, without accomplishing anything; without a 
single raid into those rich interior counties, lying coast- 
wise ; Matagorda, Brazoa^ia, Wharton, and the populated 
bottoms further inland. Yet a true occupation or menace 
of Central Texas might have kept Bed Biver clear for 
our expeditions to that border. An effective army corps 
on the Bio Grande might have occupied Magruder with 
work at his door, so that his famous ** plan of defence'* 
could not have been solely devoted to eastern frontiers. 
But our Federal Commander-in-chief, slowly dribbling 
out his operations, like his armies, by piece-meal, gave 
Magruder and Kirby Smith ample time to consolidate 
their several programmes. So much for our invasions of 
Ve^xas. I shall not discuss the '' Generalahip" which 
4ir6oted^m. 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 378 



CHAPTER XXXIX* 

IMMIGRATION AND POPULATION. 

Only a short time previoas to the immigratioii of Bed 
Biver prisoners, our numbers had received a large acces- 
sion bj the return of more than seven hundred men from 
Shreveport, including our sailors and soldiers who had 
been paroled at Camp Groce, and whom we supposed had 
long since been forwarded to Federal lines. With the 
Camp Groce enlisted men came others, who had formerly 
been confined at Camp Ford, and sent thence to Shreve- 
port on Christmas day of 1863. Dismal had been the 
experience of the latter poor fellows ; bitter their suffer- 
ings during a severe winter in a shelterless camp near 
Shreveport. Even while at Camp Ford, befDre being 
marched to Louisiana, these men were destitute of cook- 
ing utensils, as well as clothing, and could only prepare 
mush, instead of bread, in pots loaned them by the guards. 
On that cold Christmas morning when they left their pri- 
son quarters, cherishing delusive hopes of speedy libera- 
tion, the half-clad and shivering fellows were obliged to 
march over the snow and ice that covered the roads. Of 
the six hundred who started, not two hundred had shoes, 
or other covering to protect their lacerated feet. They 
had been constrained to part with their scanty clothing, 
months before, when, nearly starved, on their marches 
from the Mississippi into Texas, they gave everything not 
absolutely necessary to decency in exchange for food 
wherewitJi to stop the cravings of hunger. But they 



374 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

were American soldiers — these sufFering captives; and, 
inspired by longings for liberty which almost banished 
the sense of pain, they trod manfully forward, tracking the 
road with bloody footprints. Two days after their depar- 
ture these mournful impressions of patriot feet could be 
traced on the snows that surrounded Camp Ford. 

Arrived near Shreveport, to which place they were 
harried by forced marches, the Federal prisoners were 
halted at an ice-bound spring, and thereafter told to shel- 
ter themselves as they might in the open fields and woods. 
The arrangements for ''exchange" had not been effected; 
so they were notified ; and yet no provisions were made 
for their comfort or shelter. Bare sustenance was fur- 
nished them, in rations of meal, with occasional beef or 
bacon. In this condition they were placed under a strong 
guard, and left to shift for themselves. 

No one who did not participate in the endurances of 
these brave men, can realize or depicture those winter- 
months at Shreveport. Some of the naval prisoners, 
warrant officers, who were confined in the guard-house at 
Shreveport, were subject to many hardships and priva- 
tions ; but their sufferings were mild in comparison with 
the exposed dwellers in that bleak camp near the Four 
Mile Spring. Many were the attempts made by rebel 
emissaries to seduce our loyal soldiers and sailors from 
their allegiance to the Union. The seamen, particularly, 
were approached by every inducement which it was in 
the power of Treason to present. They were reminded 
of their daily cruel life, as prisoners, and promised posi- 
tion and liberal wages as workmen on Confederate gun- 
boats. But our noble tars were steadfast in fidelity to 
their colors. They had seen their comrades dying of 
fever, cold and famine. They had been marched over 
. snow and ice, while their blood tracked the path. They 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 375 

were forced to drag fire-wood for miles, in order to cook 
their scanty rations. They were shot do<wn and hunted 
by bloodhounds at every attempt to escape ! But, God 
bless them ! In Shreveport woods, at night, a score or so 
would steal ofF, in groups — under a clouded sky — and, 
while some acted as pickets, a gray-headed tar would 
draw from his bosom ^e "Old Flag'* — the "Stars and 
Stripes,*' and hoist it on a pole, to wave in a fierce " nor- 
ther ;** while the full hearts of his noble comrades were 
relieved by a hearty hurrah that startled rebel sentries 
on their posts, with sudden fear of Yankee insurrection. 
Then Jack would hide away his flag again, and creep back 
in the gloom, to his bed on the hard ground, and his break- 
fast, next morning, of corn-meal, salt and water. 

When, in March, these hopeless captives were again 
removed from Shreveport to Camp Ford, in order to pre- 
vent their recapture by the advancing army of General 
Banks, they presented a spectacle which beggars all 
effort at portrayal. Numbers were literally naked, save 
blanket rags fringing their loins. It was like an irrup- 
tion of squalor and pauperism on Camp Ford. Several 
log-houses, which they had built before their exodus in 
December, were restored to them, and a space of about 
three fourths of our camp-ground was appropriated for 
their use. More than half their number, however, re- 
oeived speedy orders to take the road again. These were 
the enlisted men of Lt.-Col. Leake*s command, who, as I 
have before stated, were paroled and reported for "ex- 
change.** We bade farewell to them a short time previous 
to the first arrival of Bed Biver prisoners. 

But the influx of immigrants, by the thousand, which 
followed the disasters to our armies, not only absorbed 
all the area of ''Old Ford Borough,** but rendered ex* 
pansion a public necessity. An order soon came, there- 



876 'twenty months in thb 

fore, to enlarge the limits of the stockade. This was 
efifeoted, under Col. Allen's direction, without much ex- 
pense, by the ingenious expedient of " docking" eight feet 
from the sixteen-feet split logs that confined us, and using 
the upper halves as new stockade-posts to enclose the 
necessary enlargement. Our population swelled rapidly ; 
though materials for building or shelter did not augment 
proportionably. -But, fortunately, the warm weather was 
at hand, and our new-comers were, as yet, in a healthy 
condition. They were fresh from camp-life and service ; 
captivity was novel to them ; and they soon constituted 
themselves into messes, arranged their bivouacs in streets, 
and began to amass green boughs for wigwams, or dig 
cavernous vaults for troglodytic dwelling. In a short 
time. Camp Ford, in its increased proportions, began to 
wear the aspect of an immense bivouac-ground, stretching 
from side to side of the low stockading. 

We had cherished ''great expectations" of our agricul- 
tural interests before Spring set in. As gentlemen-far- 
iners of the old "Borough/* we had laid out kitchen- 
gardens very extensively. We planted com, rye, lettuce, 
sweet potatoes, water-melons, beans, peas, cabbages, and 
red peppers. We hedged in plots, dug drains, made 
beds, and fixed our vine-poles. A propitious season and 
abundant garden-sauce were much prognosticated. But 
when the ides of April came, and with them General 
Banks — as far as Bed Biver; and, when three or four 
thousand of his troops came some hundreds of miles 
further, breaking, like an irruption of the Ooths, on our 
peaceful prison-yard, then, alas ! our vegetable specula- 
tions were nipped with "moras multicaulis*' frost-fingers. 
Sandals of zou-zous, boots of cavalry-men, trampled un- 
heedingly over embryo garden-crops. A clump of tall 
corn long remained to mark the spot where Captain Ham- 



*i- 



DEPABTMENT OP THE GULF. 377 

mond used to dig betimes on Febrnarj mornings; some 
green sprouts peeped out afterwards from Oapt. Fowler's 
sheltered beds, hard by his log-hut. But Ml else in the 
agricultural line yielded to the invaders. Our Jdtchen- 
gardens became a reminiscence of the past. 

Fancy — but no ! one cannot fancy a resemblance to 
our grotesque city of captivity. It is a place jof Suo- 
coth — of booth-dwelling in the wilderness. 'It is a gipsy 
rendezvous. It is a wigwam metropolis. It is a Tartar 
encampment, without horses ; a Boschman village, with- 
ont oxen. 

Fancy, then, a space of half a dozen acres, enclosed 
with a stockade of timbers eight feet high. One-sixth 
of this area is allotted to the officers, who dwell in log- 
eabins, erected by themselves or purchased from some 
former tenant. Each cabin hut, or " shebang,'' as we 
term it, shelters and accommodates a mess. The num- 
bers of a mess are various ; some messes have no more 
than three, and others muster ten or twelve. These 
** shebangs '* are arranged in streets, right-angled with a 
central thoroughfare called ''Fifth Avenue." Midway, a 
platform, covered with a canopy of pine boughs, is the 
market-place. To this, each day, the rebel commissary 
sends our rations, beef and commeal. These are appor- 
tioned between messes in the ratio of their numberff, the 
meat and meal being brought in bulk, and given to the 
hands of weighers chosen by ourselves from our own 
officers. The cattle have been butchered by selected 
men from our own numbers ; likewise, these experts en- 
joy " tit-bits '* for themselves, of kidneys, livers, and the 
like. To this meat-market comes occasionally some ven- 
turous farmer of the neighborhood, allowed to be a sutler 
or purveyor, for the nonce. Unfortunate rustic ! Victim, 



378 



TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 



oftentimes, of misplaced confidence ! His sugar — h 
thirty dollars a pound — is scooped np by a dosen 
before he can identify their owners ; his turkeys fly 
incontinently ; his sacks of flour are passed from 
hand, and nevermore return to him ; and woe, 
the poor man have whiskey ! Our Yankee foragenT 
no smuggling. Neither commandant nor guarda. 
ever able to protect a sutler's stores. Perhaps thi 
no interest in them. But we counted '' Artful 
in our motley midst, who would have joyed the 
venerable Fagin ! A rebel officer of the day oni 
his pistol stolen from him at roll-call, and we 
threatened a deprivation of our meat-rations till 
tide should be restored. The threat was never 
out, however. Another day, a rebel officer was 
of his pipe, and next morning found it in his pocke 
the " Stars and Stripes *' carved on its wooden bow] 
scamps of Yankee prisoners were forever playing 
on rebel travellers. 

During early prison life here, swine were- quite 
ous around the precincts of Camp Ford, though 
rations seldom visited us within. Our boys, howe 
going out, under guards, to cut fire-wood, would ; 
casion, when accompanied by some "Union" Te: 
kill a fine hog or two, and, cutting the flesh into 
" pack *' it gracefully under sheltering brush. She 
ing their secreted spoils, our foragers could 
sentries unsuspected; and, then, ho! for a feastuj 
masters! One day, the rogues "toted" in a lo: 
low log, from which a fine grunter was soon " ext: 
Captivity is the mother of " strategy/' 

See, then, this camp ! Besides our officers' 
with its street of log-huts, each a small commi^ity, 
doorway shaded by a broad verandah, thick with 




1 1 1 1 1 1 J i 
I i 1 1 1 1 f ! 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULP. 379 

greens ; in some streets these verandahs joining midway, 
80 that the whole space between the houses is protect- 
ed £Fom the snn, which only strikes our porches in check- 
ered light, at sunset, through latticed leaves; besides 
this area allotted to the officers, our prison habitations 
stretch on three sides, densely populated as the tenant- 
houses of a New York ward. What curious abodes! 
What odd contrivances for shelter! Here upright sticks 
sustain a simple thatch of leaves ; there poles fixed slant- 
wise, and overlaid with bark, compose an Indian lodge. 
Some householders are satisfied with blankets stretched 
across two saplings ; others make a palisaded mansion, 
eight feet square, with stakes, inserted in the earth, like 
picket fences, and covered with a roof of twigs. Another's 
dwelling is of basket-work, wrought out of ashwood peel- 
ings ; beyond this is a roof, composed of oak-slabs, slanting 
from a mud-wall six feet high, down to the ground, and 
plastered with a layer of clay. Hard by the brook are 
caverns, excavated in the clay bank, with steep earthen 
stairways entering to their subterrene apartments. Two 
parallel avenues are thus occupied by troglodytes. All 
architectural " styles," from Gothic arches, shaped with 
curved grapevines, down to nondescript contrivances 
that beavers would reject for domiciles, are here elabor- 
ated or improvised, according to the thrift and taste, or 
lack of both, which may have characterized the squad or 
individuaL 



880 TWENTY MONTHS IH TQB 



CHAPTER Xli. 

A DAY AT CAMP FORD. 

Long before daybreak the camp begins to stir. There 
ifi resUesBDesB among our prison legions — ^home-siokness, 
doubtless, in the souls of many sleep-locked hundreds of 
these ragged citizens. I hear the hum of voices arising 
out of morning's grey shadows; the crackling of new- 
lighted bivouac-brands ; the matinal twitter of red-birds. 
Presently the east reddens, and I see the morning star 
setting over yonder wooded hills outside of our prison- 
yard. 

How royally the sun rises, atmosphered with golden 
mist, robed in purple haze of woodland exhalations ! GThe 
camp is alive and vocal. A thousand voices call to other 
thousands. Tatterdemalions roll out of burrowing places, 
creep up from caverns, and emerge from hut-openings. 
Bed-capped zouaves, wide-breeched ; blue-bloused cavalry 
wen, yellow-trimmed ; all hungry-looking ; sergeants with 
service stripes ; jack-tars in poly-patched trowsers ; wa- 
goners in broad hats ; barefooted cannoniers — rank and 
file generally — hatless, bootless, shirtless. They swarm 
out upon the main street; flow into crossways; jostle 
one another at cooking-fires ; pass and repass, laden with 
fuel, rations, water-vessels. Another day begins. 

I mingle in the throng that pours along *' Fifth Avenue." 
I pass the ** bakery," where an enterprising New Yorker 
sells his ten-cent leathery doughnuts and caoutchouc 
grape-pies for a dollar in greenbacks. I glance a moment 



DEPABTMSNT OF THE CrtFLF. 3ftl 

at OUT "jeweller's" window — where a eorporal tinkers 
watches ; elbow through the crowd surrounding a lieute* 
nant*8 turning-lathe, which whirls put chess-men at three 
dollars per set; peer into a door where sits a captain 
"editing** our prison-journal, "The Old Flag;*' — then 
reach the " spring," dash head and arms in water, comb 
tangled locks, and look about me. 

"Motley's the only wear!" says Shakspeare, and in 
Gamp Ford we agree with him. Such costumes never 
were beheld before, outside of Rag Fair or the " Beggars* 
Opera." I wish our Uncle Abraham, or Sam, could see 
this " sans ctilotte*' procession marching up Pennsylyania 
Avenue. Such head-gear, from a zouave cap to rimless 
crowns and crownless rims, and tattered handkerchiefs, 
and wisps of straw ! such effigies of garments ! armless 
shirts and legless trowsers ; bits of blankets tied about 
the loins; such patches, of every size and hue! such 
scarecrow figures of humanity ! Their wives and mothers 
would not know them from the^ chiffoniers who rake out 
Northern gutters* 

But they are all United States soldiers and sailors ; 
men who have met our foes on land and wave; brave 
rank and file of fleets and armies sacrificed by stupid 
commanders, and neglected in their misery by the power 
which should protect them. God bless them, ragtrod and 
rough as they are ; for the fire of undying loyalty bums 
in their bosoms, and they love the "Old Flag," in spite 
of those who disgrace it ! 

I sit down at my "shebang*' door, to the morning's 
sumptuous repast. I have corn-meal pan-cakes, with a 
treacle syrup made of melted sugar at eight dollars per 
pound in greenbacks. I have a slice of bacon, which cost 
two dollars per pound. I drink my coffee, made of burnt 



382 TWENTY MOin^HS IN THE 

rye, and am abundantly filled. I watch the mice nin- 
ning over my verandah. 

We grow used to both vermin and reptiles. There 
was a jovial "scare" one night, around the wide-mouthed 
fire-place of our ''Big Mess." Stories and songs were 
current, with occasional jokes about exchange, while flam- 
ing logs roared cheerily; when, suddenly, a monstrous 
snake-head darted out upon the hearth, and presently a 
coil shot up aqiid the smoke and fire, surmounted by the 
crested neck and forky tongue. Our valiant soldiers of 
the Union sprang up wildly, and, for a minute's space, 
the serpent-visiter, a bull snake, five feet long, possessed 
that battle-field. The bipeds rallied, however, and at- 
tacked his reptileship with clubs and chunks of wood, 
driving him back within the fire-place, where he was soon 
despatched. This snake had chosen a hollow log for hi- 
bernation, where he lay all torpid till revived by scorch- 
ing heat to crawl out, literally ** from the frying pan into 
the fire." 

In laying the floor down in my log hut, we unearthed 
a serpent of the kind called ground rattle. It burrows 
under the surface like a mole« One morning, I was awak- 
ened by a serpent of the house species, which pursued a 
little mouse into my hammock. I think the reptile seized 
the tiny fugitive in his jaws ; for presently both fell upon 
a table under me, the mouse escaping, while the snake 
lay stunned an instant, and was killed by one of our mess. 

Of copperheads, rattlesnakes, and hooded vipers, I saw 
many in the swampy neighborhoods of Camp Groce, but 
at Ford prison they seldom showed themselves within the 
stockade, unless brought in with our firewood. But of 
venomous pedipalpi and myriapoda we have many speci- 
mens. It is a daily chance to find a centipede upon the 
door-sill or the hearth* Some measure several inches, 



DEPARTMENT OF THE GX7LF. 383 

hard and horny, with a stinger like a rattle snal^e^s tooth. 
An officer, lying in his bunk of a morning, felt a crawling, 
stinging sensation on his breast, approaching one of his 
arm-pits, then descending his shirt sleeve. Lying still 
and almost breathless, he had the presence of mind to 
loose his wristband very quietly. A centipede crawled 
down his arm, out at his wrist, and thence upon the 
blankets. The officer sprang out to the floor, procured 
a stick, and killed the animal. It was an old one, and 
had left its trail upon his breast and arm as legibly as if 
a line of dots were burned in the skin. The insect's 
''hundred feet," stung as they moved upon the cuticle, and 
left a crimson trace of smarting vesicles. 

The scorpion, or stinging lizard, as we called it, is an- 
other of our insect enemies. Its quick dart from beneath 
a slab of wood, with curving tail erect, becomes quite fa- 
miliar to us. I never heard of serious injury from the 
sting of one, although it is reported to inflict a fatal 
wound in August or July. 

But from another member of the tribe Arachnida we 
have had po»HivA evidence of noxious capabilities. The 
horrible spider, the tarantula, is an especial object of 
hostility, and our boys torment one, when captured, as 
sailors would a shark. They take good heed, however, to 
impale it with a pointed stick, before exciting its wrath ; 
for the insect is a plucky one, and can spring upward 
vertically, to attack. It is a most repulsive object, with 
its orab-liko mandibles and furzy claws, its dorsal hair, 
and bloated belly. When our prisoners first began to 
build their log huts at Camp Ford, they suddenly lost a 
comrade by some strange wound which he discovered on 
his neck. The surgeon said, it pame from a poisonous 
bite, and tried to arrest the virus, but in vain. The neck 
swelled tomorously, and the poor man died. A short 



384 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

time afterward, in breaking earth for a new hat, on the 
ground where he expired, the diggers found an old taran- 
tula ; and no doubt remained that their unfortunate com- 
rade had been bitten by it. 

So much for our more midignant insectivora. As i^r 
beetles, bugs and aphides, there is no occasion to men- 
tion them. Prison-vermin are no respecters of persons 
in rags and tatters ; and our comd-dwellers boafft no ex- 
tensive changes in their sheets or shirts — poor fellows ! 

While I am still eating my frugal breakfast-— com 
mush, rye coffee, and a cutting of bacon fat — some one 
scrapes a salutation on the threshhold. It is " Old Tim," 
a gunboat man-o*-war*s-man. 

"Will yez plaze walk out here, sur?" says Tim, with a 
peculiar wink and head-jerk, in the way of invitation. 

" What's the matter, Tim ?'' 

" 0, yez never nade ax, if yez just go wan fat wid me, 
sir! 0, begorra! it's the divil's own matther ye'U clap 
eyes on, sur!*' 

I rise from my tripod seat, and follow Tim to the main 
street. A press of blue shirts and blue blouses fills up 
the area near our meat-block« There is much excitement 
apparent in the crowd through which Tim makes his way, 
and I become convinced that " our army, can swear ter- 
ribly," when it finds occasion. I am sure that I hear a 
variety of expressions, designating persons and places 
unmentionable in Sabbath reading. Presently, gaining 
the front of ofBcers, I behold the spectacle T^ich gives 
rise to general curiosity. 

The spot where I stand, with all Ihe throng, is half 
way up the hill side on which our corral extends. The 
base of this declivity, as we^ know, is crossed by our 
lower stockade posts^ and on the other side of those posiv^ 



DEPABTMESrr OF THE GULF. {585 

rises the eminence whereon head-qnarters stand. Thus, 
wliile the rebels can look down on ns, from the comman- 
der's house, we, on onr part, can overlook the stockade 
and observe whatever passes outside. And now an in- 
cident is transpiring which possesses a novel interest for 

Northern men. 

Yet it is only a "nigger" wench, receiving customary 
flagellation. 

Such, without doubt, would be the careless observation 
of a Southern gentleman or a Southern lady, who might 
cast a casual glance upon the scene. Custom makes all 
things commonplace. But to me, I must confess, and to 
rough Jack Tars and private soldiers standing round me, 
habit has not yet familiarized the sight ot woman- whip- 
ping. Hence, a very honest vent of expletives, in plain 
vernacular, gives relief to some among us. 

It is a rebel soldier who is doing the whipping duty ; 
whether on a chattel of his own or one belonging to head- 
quarters, we know not. The woman stoops, with lifted 
arms, holding her single garment, an old calico gown, 
rolled up above her head, exposing all her person from 
the shoulders downward, to the flogging. Quite apart 
from any log building, on an open hill-side, this rebel 
brute has dragged his helpless victim out into the view 
of Northern men. Compelling a poor slave to strip the 
clothing from her limbs, and hold it up at arm's-length, 
while he whips her, as no Northern man would whip a 
dog,Athis cowardly fellow seems to brave the indignation 
of our gallant boys, who fling out maledictions that, no 
doubt, are audible to him« We, on our hill, can hear' 
the cracking of his lash as it descends on the back, and 
hips, and legs, and curls around the body of this shriek- 
ing woman! Black she is, and a slave ; but she is of the 
sex that claims our mothers. No wonder that the blood 



386 TWENTT MOITTHS IN THE 

boils in AmerioaH veins, and that the hearts of men re* 
spond to a woman's cries beneath a Southern sun ! I 
hear ** Old Tim" emit some words that are neither ^xz^er 
nor ave; and presently he touches mj arm. 

"Sur," says Tim, ** do yez kilow what I thought uv the 
nagurs whin I kim to Dixie Land?*' 

"What was it, Tim?" 

'*Throth an^ I thought an' I said, God forgive me, that 
slavery was made for the nagur ; an' a very good thing it 
was, in its place, more be token!" 

" You thought that, Tim ?" • 

"Faix, I did, sur! An' do yez know what I think 
now, Bur?" 

"What is it, Tim?" 

"I'm bowld to say, sur — as I said before — that slavery 
is a good thing in its place, sur; but its place is down 
there, sur! — down there, wid the Southern Confederacy, 
an* Jeff Davis on top uv it, sur!" 

Tim stamps with his foot on the ground, and points his 
dexter digits downward, with a significance unmistakable. 
And a murmur and swell of hard words all around us, in 
response to Old Tim, consigns the Southern Eepublic, if 
words could ever consign it, to the influence of a climate 
much hotter than the equator. 

Meanwhile, the lash rises and falls with renewed strokes ; 
the black back, loins, and legs of the slave-woman become 
striped with gules ; her piercing cries ascend to the heav- 
ens, mingled with curses and threats from her rebel 
Bcourger. 

mil ^M 

H I walk back to my cabin, marvelling whether such 
• things have been daily witnessed on a thousand hill-sides 
during seventy years of our mission as a people. 



DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF. 887 

The rebel-dram is beating roll-call. I hurry to the 
officers^ line, which rests its right upon the western gate 
and stretches its long ranks within the stockade. Pre- 
sently, the rebel adjutant rides in on horseback, followed 
by a score of guards wiTih muskets, and their officers with 
lists of prisoners. The official greybacks then divide, 
each to a separate detachment of the Yankees. Then our 
names are read or spelled out by an intelligent *' Southern 
gentleman," who is given to stammering, and makes hard 
work of the patronymics. Meanwhile, we are standing 
under a broiling sun, which tries the flesh of fat men and 
the temper of the leanest of us. But, at length, a welcome 
drum-roll gives dismissal, and the dress-parade is over. 
We are our own masters for the day, within the stockade 
lines. 

The sun mounts higher. Everybody seeks a shelter. 
Our rations must be drawn, for beef comes in daily ; but 
the messmate who is '*cook*' attends to this. Time must 
be killed till dinner hour, and so we look about for 
weapons to way-lay him with. 

The noon heats come, but tempered by a pleasant nor- 
thern breeze. Our green verandahs cast inviting shade. 
We gather at our doors, with books often read but still 
pored over. I loiter upon Shakspeare ; dog-ear a fine- 
print Plutarch, lent to me by ** a good Union man outside.'* 
Colonel Burrell comes up and chats ; Major Anthony sits 
down to chess with me. I write awhile ; then study tac- 
tics; then beget me to my hammock, swinging just outside 
of the log-house, under trellised pine-boughs. 

A rebel orderly comes in with letters for a few of us. 
The disappointed listen, wondering why their letters 
never come. I get a Houston paper, and a crowd sur- 
rounds my doorway, waiting for the news. ''Another 
victory for the South!" "Ten thousand prisoners cap- 



388 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

tared by General Lee!" ''Grant totally defeated!** 
'* Washington to be attacked immediately!*' 

Cool comfort this in midsnmmer. It refreshes us. But 
nothing yet about ''exchange." '' 0, bother on the lying 
secesh paper I" " Nothing about exchange !** " Bosh !'* 

We eat our dinner. Beef like shoe-leather. A " duflT*' 
or com pudding, with molasses, at the moderate price of* 
"thirty dollars in Confederate/' per gallon. Eye coffee, 
and an after-dinner smoke, in wooden pipes, with Texan 
"tabac,*' at the rate of fifteen dollars per pound, in green- 
backs. 

Meantime, near my cabin, industry thrives. Next door, 
chairs are built on Teutonic pattern, by a German officer* 
Here, also, genial Captain TaUey, whilom of the City 
Belle, with Captain Watts, whom he calls "Uncle John," 
is joining stools and scooping mighty wash-bowls out of 
pine slabs, and manufacturing a chess table, whereat I sit, 
in roomy-bottomed arm-chair, not long afterwards. In 
rear of this atelier sundry Western captains play four- 
handed chess upon a double board of their own making. 

Through our cabin window, latticed with a Venetian 
blind — ^my own sole patent — ^I can spy that gallant Buck- 
eye, Major Berring, with his mess ; busily engaged in 
straw-plaiting for summer hats; while Captain Sowery 
times his fingers with a song, and Captain Cochrane trolls 
a rousing negro chorus. I bespeak a wide-brimmed chor- 
peau, to wear with my new suit of clothes, which our 
French tailor is about to fashion from a regulation blanket 
of good butternut woollen. 

Major Berring and two brave captains challenge to 
four-handed chess. We borrow the mammoth board, for 
this absorbing game, and presently fall-to. So fly the 
hours. 

The sun declines, and locomotion recommences. We 



DBPABTB££NT OV THE QULT. 389 

visit and make calls. Our yonngsters practice at gym* 
nasties in the central square, where turning poles and 
parallel bars have been erected. Wrestling trials are 
improvised among the men. A game of quoits goes on. 
The Kansas boys are playing at ball. More venerable 
prisoners sit and gossip in their armchairs. 

We hear the thrum of stringed instruments. Our 
"fiddler," Captain May, is "entertaining ladies." Mo- 
therly Mrs. Allen is visiting our corral, with divers 
rebel dames and demoiselles in her train. They sit in 
wide arm-chairs of Yankee manufacture, chat with Yankee 
officers, and hear their Yankee songs, accompanied by 
Yankee fingers upon banjoes made by Yankee handg. 
Meantime our Yankee fiddler tunes his catgut, and anon 
he gives us " Sounds from Home" — which draw the tears 
from eyes of rebel ladies. So the twilight finds us. 

Now the moon rises, silver-orbed, in an unclouded field 
of blue. Our " secesh" visitors have gone, and Yankee 
instruments are struck to gayer measures. I hear Cy- 
clopean Johnson, the engineer, out-calling for a dance. 
" Gentlemen, choose your partners ! Forward two ' La- 
dies change ! All balances ! Promenade all !" 

Dance on, poor prisoners ! Cheat your hearts out of 
loneliness ! 



990 TWXimC XONTHB Bf THB 



CHAPTER XLI. 

OPERATIONS IN ARKANSAS. 

How different might have been the fate of oar Bed 
River campaign, had the yeteran Steel, or Blunt, or 
Ganby, been in chief command, instead of snch tried 
generals being subordinated to the whims and passions of 
arrogant staff-officers, those ** powers behind the throne'* 
who really governed military matters in our fine ** Depart- 
ment of the Gulf." Steel was a thunderbolt on rebel war- 
paths, when he led out his frontier-men in earnest. Look 
at his resistless advance from Helena to Little Rock, in 
autumn of 1863 ; when with Gen. Rice and Col. McLean, 
leading their gallant Western infantry, in two divisions, 
seven thousand strong, and with Gen Davidson, marshal- 
ling his four thousand bold dragoons — ^the whole force 
skillfully strengthened by forty pieces of artillery — ^he 
drove the rebel masses before him, day after day, in one 
continuous striding toward victory. First Brownsville 
fell, under a dash of his cavalry ; then the breast-works 
at Bayou Meteor were carried by assault ; then, pushing 
the foe still harder, he crossed the Arkansas river, on a 
pontoon bridge ; moved up its northern bank to attack the 
heavy line of fortifications held by rebels; dispatched 
his cavalry against that of Marmaduke, who kept the 
suburbs of Little Rock ; and, finally, rushing forward im- 
petuously, with all his forces, flanked Confederate General 
Price completely, and sent him flying across the country. 
Little Rock became ours, with a loss in the campaign, of 



DSPABTlfENT OV THB OTOP. 891 

scareely a dozen killed or a hundred hurt^ while at least 
three thousand of the enemy were killed, wounded, and 
made prisoners. Nor did the doughty Steel stop here. 
His cavalry hung on Price's rear, harrassing his retreat 
and chafing him twenty-five miles to Benton, where our 
bold Missourian dragoons captured his rearmost wagona, 
destroying the supplies they carried. On followed Steel, 
with infantry and field-pieces — driving the rebel army 
into Arkadelphia, and swelling its list of ** hors du com- 
dcU*\n^ to five thousand. Then Pine Bluff fell before 
our cavalry advance, and it was subsequently held by 
six hundred Kansas boys, against three thousand rebel 
cavalry, artillery, and infantry, in a bitter fight of half a 
day, which ended in another rout of Marmaduke. But 
Steel was active elsewhere all the while; his cavalry, 
under Clayton, surprising Qen. Dobbin, at Julip, and 
taking his camp-equipage, and routing Gen. Green's forces 
at Branchville, with terrible loss to the rebels. This is 
the style in which Steel conducted that Arkansas cam- 
paigning; meantime, re-organizing and disciplining his 
troops, till they moved and fought like veterans. Six 
months of such service cleared Central Arkansas of the 
guerillas who had made the capital their head-quarters ; 
and, when the spring opened, our Federal commander 
pounced upon Arkadelphia, and thence marched for Cam- 
den, to co-operate, thereafter, with the strength of the 
Gulf, which, under Banks, was threatening Texas. Shelby, 
the rebel general, made a dash upon our army's trains, 
at Spoonville, on the road to Washington; but he was 
beaten off with loss. Again, at Okalona,«he attacked the 
77th Ohio regiment,"but was obliged to sound a brisk re- 
treat. Then Marmaduke swooped down, with reinforce- 
ments of his cavalry, but was met by a brigade of Gen, 
Salomon's division, and a single squadron of horse, at 



392 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

Elkin's Ford, up on the Little Missouri. Here brave He* 
Lean, with his infantry, and the Iowa heroes, in their 
saddles, met the brunt of battle, and kept the Confed- 
erate army at bay, till Eioe came up, with his brigade, and 
drove off Marmaduke again. The rebels rallied behind 
breast-works, but were speedily flanked by our advanc- 
ing regiments, when they retreated to the Prairie d'Ann, 
where other strong defences sheltered them. Steel now 
led on, in person, re-inforced by Thayer^s five thousand 
from Fort Smith, which had lately made a junction with 
his little army. Then followed the fight of Prairie d'Ann, 
and a rebel retreat, across the prairie, pursued by our 
victorious boys till far into the night. Two days elapsed, 
and then our army moved in line of battle across that 
wide prairie ; presenting an unbroken front, with batteries 
supporting, and cavalry flanking, and sharpshooters ad* 
vanced to skirmish with the foe. The march wa^ a con- 
summate piece of soldiership ; our line flanking, and ob- 
liquing on the angles of rebel works, until, completely 
out-generalled, they were forced to evacuate once more, 
and fall back, in hot haste, on Washington. Then, Steel, 
without pursuing, wheeled upon the Moscow road, which 
led to Camden, and thus, abruptly, made the foe aware 
of his intentions in that quarter. But their discovery 
came too late. They were now in SteePs rear, instead 
of front, and their only chance of intercepting the crafty 
Federal general was to hasten by the direct highway, to 
reach the neighborhood of Camden first. They made 
some feints upon our rear, to cover this design, but Steel 
was not to be deluded. He only pressed on faster, and 
in three days more had entered Camden, driving its 
small garrison from their guns without much trouble. In 
the meantime, throwing out a force of Clayton's cavalry, 



DEPABTMEMT OF THE GULF. 393 

he out off a rebel brigade, and brought its train, with 
some three hundred prisoners, before his rear guard. 

After suoh arduous and sucoessful campaigning, where- 
by Arkansas was nearly recovered from rebel sway, it 
seems doubly hard that gallant Steel should almost fall 
a sacrifice to the disasters of our miserably-abortive Red 
Biver expedition, under Major-General Banks. That our 
Arkansas commander-in-chief performed his share of all 
preliminary fighting and defeating, needs no proof beyond 
the record of his march from Little Bock to Camden. 
But arrived there, where was our "Army of the Gulf?'* 
The battle of Mansfield had inaugurated its retreat, and 
the Bed Biver expedition had degenerated into a dis- 
graceful failure. 

Gen. Steel now found himself at Oamden; but in his 
front, and on his flanks, and gathering at his rear, were 
squadrons of rebels, elated with recent triumphs, and 
arrogant with future expectations. Already they coveted 
the capture of Banks, and the annihilation of his fleet 
and army. Already they looked upon Steel as an easy 
prey; and nothing less than the permanent expulsion of 
every Federal from Texas and Arkansas was accepted as 
the ultimatum of rebel conquest. Steel saw himself 
beset, and marked for destruction. 

The first designs of the rebels were directed at our 
Federal trains. To cut off supplies from Steel, and to 
encompass Camden with their armies, was thought the 
safer method of proceeding against one whose prowess 
and infinite resources of strategy were so well known to 
his foes. The disaster at ** Poison Springs '.' was a char- 
acteristic exploit of Texan warfare. 

It was on the 18th of April. Two weeks had elapsed 
since our primary Bed Biver defeat. A forage train was 
out on the old military road between Camden and Wash- 



394 TWEinr uonthb m thb 

ington. It was guarded by a few oompanies of the 18ih 
Iowa infontry, and the 2nd Kansas negro regiments Within 
ten miles of camp, this train was attacked by rebel Cl^en- 
end Mazey, with a division, rebel (General Marmaduke, 
with another division, of cavalry, and rebel Genend Co- 
bell, with a third division. Mazey's division was com- 
posed of Gano's Texas brigade, Walker's brigade of Ohoe- 
taw Indians, Khrambaar's battery. There were Missouri 
regiments, Texan regiments, Arkansas regiments, and 
aboriginal regiments, with half a dosen Confederate gen- 
erals to command them. All these were marshalled un- 
der Mazey, and marched against half a regiment of infan- 
try, and a few black soldiers, guarding onr forage trains, 
yet the battle was contested stoutly by our devoted boys. 
Not till two hundred and fifty of its number were killed 
or wounded, and nearly a hundred captured, did the little 
band fall back slowly, and yield four guns and about one 
hundred and seventy wagons to an overwhelming enemy. 
But very proud, nevertheless, were those rebels of their 
unusual good fortune against Steel; and Maxey made an 
official report of the affiiir which might have served, in 
details and bombast, for the bulletin of a Waterloo battle. 
Another exploit against wagoners and their escorts, 
soon followed the battle of Poison Springs. On the 23d 
of April, an empty train of some two hundred wagons, 
left Camden for Pine bluffs, to get supplies for our be- 
leaguered troops. This train was placed in charge of the 
available force of a brigade that Col. McLean commanded, 
in Salomon's division. There were comprised in it, the 
43d Indiana volunteers, in charge of Major Norris, the 
86th Iowa regiment, Major Hamilton, and the 77th Ohio 
infantry, led by Captain MoCormick. These regiments 
had been depleted greatly. With them were dispatched 
about two hundred of the 1st Indiana and 7th Missouri 



DEPABTMENT OF THS GULF. 895 

cavalry, under Majors McOauIey and Spellman ; the whole 
commanded by Lieut.-Col. Drake, of the 36th Iowa volun- 
teers. They encauCiped, after being one day out, on Bayou 
Mars, and the next morning, as the train advanced, they 
found the enemy drawn up in line of battle on the road 
near Mark's Mills, five miles on the Pine Bluff road, and 
six miles from the Saline Eiver. 

Our Indiana boys were in front, and speedily became 
engaged, assisted by a small detachment of the 5th Kan- 
sas volunteers, just coming up from Pine Bluff. Six 
thousand rebels thundered at our little vanguard, but 
more than once it drove the enemy's centre; and, rein- 
forced by the 86th Iowa regiment, comprising scarcely 
four hundred men, which soon dashed up, our brave front 
withstood unshrinkingly the heavy fire of rifles and cannon 
concentrated upon it. For more than an hour, this un- 
equal contest, of less than eight hundred against eight 
times their force, continued undauntedly. Again and 
again ihey pierced the serried centre of rebel battle; 
stubbornly did they dispute every foot of ground; until, 
at last, after two pieces of Stenge's 2d Missouri artillery 
had been literally overrun and captured, and retaken by 
our rallying boys several times, they began to give ground 
reluctantly before their foes. Not, however, till every 
horse attached to the battery was killed, and the gunners 
ahot down at their pieces, did those glorious Western 
soldiers, bleeding and exhausted, give up their portion 
of the train. 

In the meantime, Qaptain McOormick, who, with the 
77th Ohio men, was guarding the rearmost wagons, had 
been. summoned by Col. Drake, to hasten forward with 
all speed. The captain at once started his regiment on 
''double-quick," passing impeded trains and a section of 
artillery, which had become "mired" in the boggy Mar« 



396 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

bottom. For five miles, the Ohio boys advanced at this 
rate, but only reached the front in time to see their com* 
rades captured. The whole rebel force was now before 
the rear-guard, as it been before the van ; but Captain 
McCormick, seconded by Captain Whitridge, adjutant- 
general of the brigade, brought his little force rapidly in 
line, and sought to save the wagons that were yet behind 
him. For another hour, the enemy was held in check at 
all parts, and twice forced to give way in front. But the 
woods were open all around the battle-ground; the rebel 
sharp-shooters could screen themselves, on either flank; 
heavy lines were massing about the train ; and, at length, 
to their dismay, the Ohio soldiers found their ammunition 
gone. They were compelled to surrender; and thus the 
battle of Mark's Mills ended, after a most obstinate 
struggle by our small force against terrible odds. We 
lost two hundred and fifty, in killed and wounded, and 
about one thousand in prisoners, with two hundred wag- 
one, and a hundred teamsters. The enemy's loss could not 
have been less than a thousand killed and wounded ; as 
our skirmishers, deployed in the timber, did fearful exe- 
cution on rebel masses during the protracted engagement. 
Beyond mules, wagons, and arms, the enemy obtained 
nothing but prisoners ; for the train was an empty one. 
The needy marauders solaced themselves, however, with 
an indiscriminate plundering of Federal soldiers. Money, 
watches, and clothing were '* appropriated,'* with cool 
efifrontery. Tattered head-gear was replaced by Yankee 
hats ; bare feet rejoiced in Uncle Sam's boots ; and the 
** sans cuUottes" butternuts became speedily transformed 
into well-clad *' Johnnies," provided with canteens, knap- 
sacks, and comfortable blankets. Our brave Americans, 
robbed and maltreated, were then marched to the Bed 
Biver, and soon afterwards arrived, weary and worn, at 



DEPABTMEin? OF THB GULF. 397 

our populated prison-pen in Gamp Ford. Contemplating 
this new accession of ** SteePs men/' oar soldiers from 
Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and other parts, were prepared 
to appreciate yet more keenly the military foresight 
whereof they were common victims. 

With Steel's soldiers, from « Mark's Mill" battle, and 
other engagements, arrived many teamsters, traders, and 
citizens ; among the latter a son of John Boss, the Che- 
rokee Chief, whose nephew, D. B. Hicks, I have already 
mentioned as among the Kansas prisoners. Boss and 
Hicks were both intelligent and loyal men, and had suf- 
fered severely in the cause of Union. Such martyrs as 
these and their compatriots of the *' Nation," deserve well 
of our Bepublic in the future. I would gladly, if space 
permitted, relate the story of their trials and perils. But 
the rehearsal would involve a national history. I most 
hasten on with personal narrative. 



898 ^^ TWENTY MOMTHB U^ THB 



CHAPTER XLII. 

PRISON ASSOCIATIONS. 

With onr privations and hardships ihere were mingled 
many consolations in the corral. Friendly converse, mn- 
tnal good offices, music, sports, and gymnastic exercises, 
enlivened the monotony of prison life. While the qniet 
ones re-read or studied a few old books, played chessi or 
talked; our athletm practised at "parallel bars" and 
"turning poles" ; our '' industriels" worked at the lathee 
and carpenter^s bench ; our music-lovers met for rehear- 
sal ; and our '' dancing-men " waltsed or quadrilled. We 
had base-ball, cricket, and quoits; promenades, wood- 
chopping, and — sink-digging, moreover, to fight against 
ennui and dyspepsia. 

Many good hearts were among us; many kindred spir- 
its became knit together. It would gratify me to dwell 
upon the traits of better natures developed under the or- 
deal of captivity ; but the compressed limits of my book 
denies that' indulgence. Of a few I may only recall a 
pleasant memory. 

Harry Western, of the "Undaunted Mess,'* was a type 
of the generous young sailor. I do not know who claimed 
him not, some hour in the day, for a friendly helping 
hand. Like sea-boys, generally, he was expert at a hun- 
dred little arts of skill and industry ; now shaping out a 
fancy cap, now fashioning new garments out of rags, now 
finishing a set of chess-men, now denuding hirsute chins 
of bristling superfluity, and now exsecting too-redundant 



DEPARTMENT OF THE CWTLP, ^ 899 

looks from polls of fellow-prisoners. Harry was a genius, 
with notable contempt for land-lubberism, and with more 
than a dash of poetry in his genial composition. He 
woold give ns "Tarn O'Shanter," with all its broad 
Scotch humor, and quote love-linies from Tom Moore with 
true Catullio fervor. Many a ** yarn '' was spun when 
our nautical circle gathered about my hearth-fire; and 
Harry could twi^t his thread with the most intricate ; for 
he had been a sea-wanderer before his teens, and had 
trodden remotest strands, and passed through many a 
strange experience, though scarcely yet the beard of 
manhood fringed his nut-brown cheeks. He had sailed, 
as mate of an ocean clipper ere he turned his twentieth 
year, and was now, at twenty-two, a veteran naval officer, 
with a record of service that might compare with many 
who wore more embroidery on their uniform sleeves. 

Harry Western, as before noticed, was latest in com- 
mand before the surrender of the gunboat Diana, cap- 
tured on the Atohafalaya by waylaying ^rebels. Brave 
Lieutenant Mars, who kept his post in the engine-room 
till all the steam connections had been shot away by 
cannon-balls, and clouds of scalding vapor filled the space 
between decks ; gallant infantry Lieutenant Bulkley, who 
has since found a soldier^s grave in the Shenandoah Val- 
ley; these and many another choice young officer were 
wont to gather in our mess-circles, when Harry ** spun 
his yam." 

Captain Dillingham, of the *' Morning Light," ever in 
radiant humor, drew, for our amusement, on his endless 
fund of anecdote and experience ; Captain Crocker, of the 
" Clifton," — di^ified and spiritual, — shared with us the 
treasures of his well-cultured mind; while the blmtt 
speech and sound judgment of Captain Johnson, of the 
" Sachem," were relied upon to sever any Gk)rdian knot 



^ 



400 ^ TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

of argament. These naval genUemen, with signal-officer 
Dane, whose brilliant spirits defied even fever and ague 
to keep them under; and our leading gymnast, Lieut. 
Dana, who was a Gtibriel Ravel on the "turning bars," 
with Col. Nott, the philosophic and erudite colonel of our 
''Ironsides," made up "Fifth Avenue" mess; at which 
I took hospitable rations, for a few weeks,, till I lapsed 
into house-ownership. 

The 42nd Massachusetts mess, with brave Colonel 
Burrell at the head, maintained domestic status in a 
" shebang," which boasted a detached cook»house. Around 
its bounteous board gathered stout Captain Sherive, who, 
with Lieut. Hibbard, of the 23d Connecticut regiment, 
performed the onerous duties of volunteer commissaVies, 
to divide our prison rations ; busy Captain Proctor, ever 
on the alert to be useful ; polite Captain Savage ; balmy 
Lieut. Newoomb; sweet-singing Lieut. White; sober- 
minded Lieut. Stowell; modest Lieut. Humble, of the 
Mass. 4th ; high-reaching Lieut. Cowdin : and that dash- 
ing sworder. Captain King, of N. H. Cavalry. 

In my own cabin I received, originally, but a single 
mess-mate — Captain Van Tine; whose quiet demeanor 
covered sterling qualities of taste and sense. Our family 
circle became afterwards enlarged by the admission of 
Major Anthony's mess, which gave up its quarters to 
some of the poor fellows from Shreveport, who had a 
** builders' lien" upon them. Thereafter, having removed 
my house — by tearing down and rebuilding — ^in one day ; 
80 that I dined under its roof some forty rods from the 
site on which I had breakfasted within its walls; we 
settled down to a mess of six that continued till our 
final exodus. Major Anthony became general caterer — 
and a provident one ; while Lieuts. Morse and Sampson, 
and Dr. Brennan, shared in our simple minage. 



DEPABTICENT OF THE GULF. 401 

The ''Ironsides" officers were dispersed among Tarioos 
messes. Captain Coe, always cheerful and attractive, 
with tiieut. Stevenson, were mates of Lt.-Col. Leake and 
his officers ; our studious Lieut. Wellington, and chess- 
conquering Lieut. Lyons, combined with another circle ; 
while solid Lieut. Babcock migrated to rural districts, 
near the gate ; bright-eyed Lieut. Petrie carried his good 
heart elsewhere; and that indefatigable "book-collector," 
Lieut. Bobens, built his plank domicile nearly opposite 
my own verandah* But, I am warned to abbreviate des- 
cription. 

So, therefore, with brief notice of what I would wil- 
lingly dilate upon, I must pass to the closing chapters of 
our prison experience. I must advert merely, '* en pas- 
sant,^* as the French say — ^to kind-hearted Capt. Wash- 
bume; quaint engineer Fox, of bird-fancying habits; 
jovial Major Gray; and thrifty Captain Hammond; to the 
ingenious Chambers, whose model of the ** Morning Light" 
was a trophy of Yankee naval architecture ; to kindly and 
active Bridges, who, with Lieut. Delemajter, devoted his 
labors to our sick in hospital; and McLaughlin, whose sto- 
ries of Shreveport prisons might furnish matter for a 
romance. Nor can I give more than allusion to many 
incidents and episodes involved in attempts to escape by 
our comrades ; to the punishment of Capt. Beed, who, on 
recapture, was forced to stand, for eight hours, upon a 
barrel, at our north-gate — with naked feet and head ex- 
posed under the blazing summer-day sun ; till his brain 
became fevered nearly to delirium; or to the brutal treat- 
ment of prisoners who sank under sabre-strokes, or were 
dragged by larfbts fastened to their necks, behind mounted 
rebels ; nor to the stories that intersperse my notes, re- 
hearsing the trials and sufferings of loyal Texans — the 
panics, persecutions, and massacres that marked the first 



403 TWEMTT XOMTHS HI THB 

years of Rebellion in Texas. Among the last-nentioned 
local eyents, however, waa the " Match Plot," which de- 
aerves a paragraph. 

The breaking oat of fires in sereral stores, at Tyler and 
other places, awakened a suspicion that two merchante 
from the Northern States, (who had pnrehaeed patent 
matches, which ignited ahqost spontaneously,) were in- 
cendiaries. The usual senseless hue and cry followed ; 
the traders were thrown into prison; and hundreds of 
hapless blacks were arrested and tortured — in order to 
get evidence of the " Yankee Conspiracy." Free negroes 
and poor white settlers from the North fell under the ban 
at once. Scores of the latter were hanged by the mob. 
More than a hundred negroes, free and bond, were ezeen- 
ted, as I have been informed, on suspicion alone. Several 
were burned at the stake. Thirty white men were lynch- 
ed, in and about Tyler and Palestine; one of the unfortu^ 
nate merchants who had introduced the matches under- 
going this fate — the other escaping by timely flight. 
Blood flowed in all quarters, till the enlightened " Begu- 
lators,*' finding no more poor whites to kill or banijBh, 
decided that *' order reigned" again. 

Burning men and women at the stake is a popular 
Southern amusement. A negro wa^ thus executed at 
Tyler, while our prisoners tarried at Oamp Ford. The 
occasion famished a gala-day for all the good people of 
Smith County, our guards included. 

I heard one day a story of lynch-law executed in our 
camp neighborhood ; my informant being a friendly guard 
who, like many others, was Union at heart, although con- 
forming outwardly to rebel service, as a volunteer. 

During the winter, an old lady, living in Van Zandt 
County, was plundered by a gang of soldiers in Confede- 
rate grey, who beat her shamefully, and (as she told the 



rmPARTMEST 07 THE GULP. 403 

story,) tied her up by her thumbs till she disclosed the 
place where was concealed her specie (some three hun- 
dred dollars) and about two thousand dollars in Confede- 
rate currency. It was asserted that Jayhawkers had 
done this deed, though sober people shook their heads ; 
well knowing that squads of Sibley's men, with some of 
Eichardson's guerillas, and the scattered miscreants of 
Quantrell's gang, were ranging through these upper coun- 
ties. But ** black flag" rebels charged the crime, as they 
would any crime, on Union men — of whom hundreds, for- 
mer citizens, were fugitives in swamps and timber, hiding 
from conscript hunters. It was easy to accuse such out- 
lawed wanderers ; so the chase became set after ** Union 
men." Four individuals were speedily run down : one 
Eeed, a former sherifif of Collin County ; an aged citizen, 
McHeynolds, or McRunnells, who had been chief-justice 
of that district; and two young men, Holcombe and Davis. 
They were arrested at their homes and dragged to Tyler. 

This was in May, when our prison-numbers, at Camp 
Ford, had been increased some thousands, after th« battle 
of Mansfield. The rebels were exultant everywhere, but 
with characteristic cowardice the people of these counties 
feared an outbreak from so large a body of incarcerated 
Yankees, and affected to discover insurrectionary plots 
continually. Three noble-hearted Texans, who refused 
to bow the knee to Davis, were imprisoned in our guard- 
house at Camp Ford — two brothers, Whitmore, one of 
whom had been a prominent member of the Legislature, 
and Eosenbaum, a former attorney-general of the state. 
It was the policy of rank Secessionists .to fix as many 
new crimes on the Union men as could be believed, in 
order that some pretext might be found for general mas- 
sacre or the enacting of terror laws. 

Hence, when Sheriff Eeed and Judge McEeynolds 



404 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

were thrown into prison at Tyler, it was decided that they 
should never go at large again. So, one May morning, 
fifty mounted " Eegulators" clattered into Tyler, halted 
at the tavern door, and "liquored round;*' held oonfah 
with the provost-marshal, galloped up and down the 
town awhile, .and finally drew rein before the pirison, with 
a yell : 

" Bring out them Jayhawkers!*' 

The doors were opened, and the men delivered up. A 
rope being slung about them, they were dragged behind 
the Lynchers to a piece of timber, scarce half a mile out 
of Tyler. There, almost within gun-shot of camps, where 
fifteen hundred cavalry and infantry were guarding Fede- 
ral prisoners, these Lynchers began their mockery of a 
trial The first victim pleaded "not guilty." 

'* You lie, Jim Beed ! You're a heap wuss Jayhawker 
than Oineral Banks!" 

" Silence in the coort ?* cries Justice Lynch, a bull- 
headed whiskey-still proprietor. '* Keep still, you all, 
while L fix his flint. Prisoner, Jim Beed, what have you 
got to say why you oughtn't to be black-jacked ?'* 

Beed. — I am not guilty. I've been hunted and perse- 
cuted for my sentiments ever since the State seceded. I 
never fought against the State. My house was burned 
over the heads of my family in the town where I lived, 
an honest man, and served the country. I had to fly, by 
night, with my wife and seven children, to Van Zandt, 
and they hounded me out of that. I declare before 
Heaven that — 

Lynch, C. J. — Shot up! You know yer an old scoun- 
drel, and yer was three ye'rs in Missouri Penitentiary — 

Beed — ^I never was in the State of Missouri. 

Lynch, 0. J. — Blast yer, then, yer an old deserter 



DEPABTMEKT OF THE GULF. 405 

from General McCallocli*s army. The papers was found 
on ye, and yer can't swar 'em down. 

Heed. — I deny it. I was regularly (Commissioned by 
General McOullochy as an officer. He gave me a position 
because I preferred to go back to the army rather than 
be hunted down. I was preparing to join my command 
when arrested. 

Lynch, C. J. — Yer a skulkin* liar and a thief, Jim 
Beed, and we've jest had palaver enough out o' yer. I 
pronounce judgment of the coort. Yer to be hanged at 
once, till yer dead, dead, dead ! and Lord have marcy on 
yer soul ! 

Five minutes afber, Sheriff Beed was dangling from an 
oak-limb above his murderers. 

Judge McReynolds was then dragged forward and re- 
viled by the "coort" in like manner. The old man's son, 
who was one of the rebel soldiers guarding us at Camp 
Ford, heard about the Lynchers visiting Tyler jail, and, 
mounting a horse, galloped from his quarters to the town. 
He there learned that the ruffians had taken their pris- 
oners to the woods. He followed their trail with all the 
speed he could command, but arrived in time only to find 
his father swinging on the tree, from which Reed's dead 
body had been just cut down. This wretched son was 
forced to beg the remains of his parent from the assas- 
sins ; and so great was the terror inspired by the boldness 
and cruelty of these " Regulators,*' that young McRey- 
nolds was unable to hire a wagon to convey the corpse to 
Kaufman county, where his fstmily lived. 

Toung Holcombe — like each of the others — stoutly 
maintained his innocence, and was hanged with the same 
noose that had strangled his predecessors ; for the ruffians 
had provided only rope enough to hang a single man, and 



404 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

were thrown into prison at Tyler, it was decided that they 
should never go at large again. So, one May morning, 
fifty mounted '*Begulators*V clattered into Tyler, halted 
at the tavern door, and ''liquored round;*' held confah 
with the provost-marshal, galloped up and down the 
town awhile, .and finally drew rein hefore the prison, with 
a yell : 

" Bring oat them Jayhawkers !*' 

The doors were opened, and the men delivered up. A 
rope being slung about them, they were dragged behind 
the Lynchers to a piece of timber, scarce half a mile out 
of Tyler. There, almost within gun-shot of camps, where 
fifteen hundred cavalry and infantry were guarding Fede- 
ral prisoners, these Lynchers began their mockery of a 
trial The first victim pleaded "not guilty." 

"You lie, Jim Beed ! You're a heap wuss Jayhawker 
than Oineral Banks!" 

" Silence in the coort I" cries Justice Lynch, a bull- 
headed whiskey-still proprietor. " Keep still, you all, 
while L fix his flint. Prisoner, Jim Beed, what have you 
got to say why you oughtn't to be black-jacked ?'* 

Beed. — I am not guilty. I've been hunted and perse- 
cuted for my sentiments ever since the State seceded. I 
never fought against the State. My house was burned 
over the heads of my family in the town where I lived, 
an honest man, and served the country. I had to fly, by 
night, with my wife and seven children, to Van Zandi, 
and they hounded me out of that. I declare before 
Heaven that — 

Lynch, C. J. — Shot up! You know yer an old scoun- 
drel, and yer was three ye'rs in Missouri Penitentiary — 

"Reed — ^I never was in the State of Missouri. 

Lynch, C. J. — Blast yer, then, yer an old deserter 



DEPABTMEKT OF THE GULF. 405 

from General McGullocli's army. The papers was found 
on ye, and yer can't swar 'em down. 

Beed. — I deny it. I was regularly commissioned by 
General McCullooh, as an officer. He gave me a position 
because I preferred to go back to the army rather than 
be hunted down. I was preparing to join my command 
when arrested. 

Lynch, C. J. — ^Ter a skulkin* liar and a thief, Jim 
Beed, and weVe jest had palaver enough out o' yer. I 
pronounce judgment of the coort. Yer to be hanged at 
once, till yer dead, dead, dead ! and Lord have marcy on 
yer soul ! 

Five minutes after, Sheriff Beed was dangling from an 
oak-limb above his murderers. 

Judge McReynolds was then dragged forward and re- 
viled by the '* coort '' in like manner. The old man's son, 
who was one of the rebel soldiers guarding us at Camp 
Ford, heard about the Lynchers visiting Tyler jail, and, 
mounting a horse, galloped from his quarters to the town. 
He there learned that the ruffians had taken their pris- 
oners to the woods. He followed their trail with all the 
speed he could command, but arrived in time only to find 
his father swinging on the tree, from which Beed's dead 
body had been just cut down. This wretched son was 
forced to beg the remains of his parent from the assas- 
sins ; and so great was the terror inspired by the boldness 
and cruelty of these '*Begulators,*' that young McBey- 
nolds was unable to hire a wagon to convey the corpse to 
Kaufman county, where his family lived. 

Toung Holcombe — like each of the others — stoutly 
maintained his innocence, and was hanged with the same 
noose that had strangled his predecessors ; for the ruffians 
had provided only rope enough to hang a single man, and 



404 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

were thrown into prison at Tyler, it was decided that thej 
should neyer go at large again. So, one May morning, 
fifty mounted "Regulators' 'clattered into Tyler, halted 
at the tayem door, and "liquored round;" held confab 
with the proTost-marshal, galloped up and down the 
town awhile, .and finally drew rein before the prison, with 
a yell : 

" Bring out them Jayhawkers !*' 

The doors were opened, and the men deliyered np. A 
rope being slung about them, they were dragged behind 
the Lynchers to a piece of timber, scarce half a mile out 
of Tyler. There, almost within gun-shot of camps, where 
fifteen hundred cayalry and in&ntry were guarding Fede- 
ral prisoners, these Lynchers began their mockery of a 
trial The first victim pleaded "not guilty." 

"You lie, Jim Reed! You're a heap wuss Jayhawker 
than Gineral Banks!" 

" Silence in the coort T' cries Justice Lynch, a bull- 
headed whiskey-still proprietor. " Keep still, you all, 
while I fix his flint. Prisoner, Jim Reed, what have you 
got to say why you oughtn't to be black-jacked ?" 

Reed. — I am not guilty. I've been hunted and perse- 
cuted for my sentiments ever since the State seceded. I 
never fought against the State. My house was burned 
over the heads of my family in the town where I lived* 
an honest man, and served the country. I had to fly, by 
night, with my wife and seven children, to Van Zandt, 
and they hounded me out of that. I declare before 
Heaven that — 

Lynch, C. J. — Shot np! You know yer an old scoun- 
drel, and yer was three ye'rs in Missouri Penitentiary — 

Reed— I never was in the State of Missouri. 

Lynch, C. J. — ^Blast yer, then, yer an old deserter 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 405 

from General MoCullooh's army. The papers was found 
on ye, and yer can't swar *em down. 

Reed. — I deny it. I was regularly commissioned by 
General McCulloch, as an officer. He gave me a position 
because I preferred to go back to the army rather than 
be hunted down. I was preparing to join my command 
when arrested. 

Lynch, C. J. — Yer a skulkin* liar and a thief, Jim 
Reed, and weVe jest had palayer enough out o' yer. I 
pronounce judgment of the ooort. Yer to be hanged at 
once, till yer dead, dead, dead! and Lord haye marcy on 
yer soul ! 

Five minutes after, Sheriff Reed was dangling from an 
oak-limb above his murderers. 

Judge McKeynolds was then dragged forward and re- 
viled by the "coort" in like manner. The old man's son, 
who was one of the rebel soldiers guarding us at Camp 
Ford, heard about the Lynchers visiting Tyler jail, and, 
mounting a horse, galloped from his quarters to the town. 
He there learned that the ruffians had taken their pris- 
oners to the woods. He followed their trail with all the 
speed he could command, but arrived in time only to find 
his father swinging on the tree, from which Reed's dead 
body had been just out down. This wretched son was 
forced to beg the remains of his parent from the assas- 
sins ; and so great was the terror inspired by the boldness 
and cruelty of these ''Regulators,*' that young McRey- 
nolds was unable to hire a wagon to convey the corpse to 
Kauftnan county, where his family lived. 

Young Holcombe — like each of the others — stoutly 
maintained his innocence, and was hanged with the same 
noose that had strangled his predecessors ; for the ruffians 
had provided only rope enough to hang a single man, and 



406 TWENTY XOSTHS IN THE 

were obliged to wait until one wm dead before proceeding 
to exeonte another. 

Thii lack of mechanical meana to mnrder was a fbr- 
tonate circumstance for one of the accused* young Dayis. 
His fellow-prisoners had been hanged before his face, 
their bodies laid out^ stark and still, before him, and the 
rope was drawn about his own devoted neck, when some 
one rode up— a passing traveller on horseback, who hap- 
pened to be an officer in the rebel service. He t^ke a 
word or two with the "comrti** and the "coort" ordered 
stay of proceedings. 

** Thar's been a mistake, I reckon !" quoth Judge L3mch. 
" That yer young chap is a good soldier, and belongs to 
this yer officer's rigiment — so the ooort olar*s him«" 

The rope was taken from the neck of Davis, and he 
was allowed to depart with his officer for Oamp Ford; 
while the three other victims were left under the shadow 
of those "black jacks." The Lynchers rode away, about 
sunset, over the hill-sides of Smith County, with no com- 
punctions for their crime, no fear of punishment or pursuit. 

"How long, how long, O Lord!'* whispered a Union 
Texan in my ear, when we listened to a recital of this 
story, the day following. " When shall we have our turn ?*' 
He compressed his lips, and a dark look came over his 
face. '^ There will be a terrible reaction — ^a bloody re- 
tribution — in this State of Texas some day I We bide our 
lime !•• 

But I am drawing to the close of my Oamp Ford life. 
I must soon part from comrades in captivity ; and I am 
rejoiced that with none shall I part in unkindness. G^ie 
little differences inseparable from gregarious habitation 
are things of a moment, of trifling importance. The ar- 
rows of humorous satire, or the darts of friendly badinage. 



DSPABTMSNT OF THE GULF. 407 

will neyer rankle in good hearts or clear minds. We, who 
have been thrown together by common mischances — who 
have endured common trials — will remember one another, 
in the future, with more fraternal emotions than can be 
awakened by a retrospect of mere neighborly relations. 
The bond of mutual loyalty — the golden link of patriot- 
ism — will be brightened when we shall look back upon 
Camp Ford, by beams of Friendship, Lovei Truth — and 
that " greatest of all" which is Charity. 

Tet, though my hopes and heart turn northward, I 
leave regretfully so many friends behind. I feel warm- 
hand-clasps, I hear fervent good wishes, from men who 
a few months ago were strangers. I return the strong 
grasp of stout Western veterans ; of men from the loyal 
South: of gallant comrades out of every Union State, from 
Maine to Louisiana. Soldiers and sailors ! God bless you 
all ! We may never meet again in this world, face to face ; 
but we are all marching to that yet more glorious Union, 
in a better world, where the Stars never fade, and where 
there is neither strife nor captivity ! 

So, good bye, ««Undaunteds !" Farewell, " Fifth Ave- 
nue !*• Adieu, " Big Mess I" and all kindred of good-fel- 
lowships! Good bye, honest genial and manfy Major 
Mann, of Kentucky. Good bye, citizens Haley and Clark 
— Don Quixote and Sancho! Farewell, all! May you 
speedily leave Camp Ford as dosolate as you found it, 
and may you follow our foot-prints to the homes where 
your loved ones await you. God bless you all! 



406 TWBcn Monu im 



CHAPTER XLIII 

CLOSDf O DATS. 



With the iwli tide of prisonen, firom Bed Biyer and 
Arlraiuaw, eeme baek thai wandenng tribe of Federal sol 
dien. under LL-CoL Leake, to whom we had bidden " <3od 
speed," on their paroled mareh, abont the first of ApriL 
Thtj had been halted near Marshal, scarcely half-way 
between CSamp Ford and ShroTeport, and had remained 
there till snbseqfuent Bed Biver misunderstandings broke 
off arrangements for exchange. Meantime, a few newly- 
arriTed prisoners, taken at the battle of Saline Biver, in 
Arkansas, bron^t ns the welcome intelligence that Steel 
had succeeded in baffling the rebels, and withdrawing, 
withoat loss, from CSamden* 

As the month ol April drew to a dose, we eounted 
Biore than three thousand captured men within the corral ; 
and the necessary crowding and exposure, as well as per- 
sonal neglect among some squads, threatened a heavy 
sick-list for the summer. About this time, a change of 
rebel commandants took place ; GoL Allen being super- 
seded by GoL Anderson, at l^ler, and the charge of pris- 
oners deTolring thereafter on aLieutenant-Golonel,named 
Borders. 

Another regime speedily b^an to make itself felt 
Our new rebel ruler was a bitter secessionist, of the de- 
monstratiTe sort ; and he speedily contriyed to become 
obnoxious to many Federal officers and men. Gol. Allen 
and his lady, with their son, the lieutenant, bade us fore- 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GX7LF. 409 

well, and we were left to the "tender mercies" of nn- 
sympatHizing strangers; a fact which seyeral soon had 
reason to regret. For, whatsoeyor fault might have been 
found with Col. Allen, during his administration, he was 
always regarded to be conscientious, and was, moreover, 
an educated gentleman. Good Mrs. Allen, his wife, was 
an especial favorite, and with sufficient cause ; for her 
acts of kindness to Federal prisoners were neither " few 
nor far between.'* 

All are not foes, even in a land of foes ; and we had ac- 
knowledged this truth in witnessing the kindly ministra- 
tions of good and motherly Mrs. Allen* Few forgot that 
Col. Allen was a West Point graduate, and so, undoubt- 
edly, many were disposed to judge him harshly on the 
score of his ingratitude. But, though his treason to the 
government which fostered him had been a hundred-fold, 
there was charity enough in kindly Mrs. Allen to have 
covered it with a mantle of forgetfulness. We all respect- 
ed her; a plain, good matron — ^really "a mother in Is- 
rael** to the sick or sorrowful prisoner, whoever he might 
be. At morning, after roll-call, we were sure to spy a 
little handmaid of this Lady Bountiful slipping into our 
corral, with sundry niceties, wrapped in napkins, for some 
invalid; a couple of eggs, a little plat of butter, a few 
wheaten slices, or a bit of tempting cake. If one of our 
sick craved for tea, or '^Lincoln co£fee,** or a cup of 
honey, our good "mother,** as she liked to have us call 
her, never rested till she could procure the treat. I 
doubt not this benevolent woman was an angel at her 
husband^s side, entreating favors for the "Yankee priso- 
ners.** Certainly we traced many a needed privilege or 
long-petitioned-for amelioration to the influence of Mrs. 
Allen. Who so pleased as she, to hurry over with some 
scrap of news, which might impart the hope of " an ez« 



410 TWENTY MONTHS IN THE 

ehange ?** Who strove to cheer the more despondent — 
jested with the merrier ones, and talked on solemn snb- 
jeots with the serious ? When we gathered near the 
''quartermaster's grave,'* on Sabbath days, to hear our 
chaplain preach and pray, the wife of Col. Allen always 
eame and sat among the prisoners, listening to the Word 
with them, and singing to Our Father, who has drawn no 
line between his love for North and South. When all 
of us lie down in our last camping-ground, and when, 
awakened by a celestial reveille, we pass in grand review 
of souls before our Infinite Commander, there will be no 
roll-call of birth-places. I trust, in that dread hour, the 
prayers which this good "mother" offered for the soldiers 
of both North and South, will have been answered by the 
God to whom she prayed; and that the comrades of our 
prison-yards will meet dear Mrs. Allen in a clime where 
peace shall be proclaimed to all of us forever. 

It was though kind Mrs. Allen that many pleasant 
Texan ladies came to visit the corral and chat with our 
imprisoned officers; loyal Union dames and maidens 
among them, too; as we discovered, from time to time* 
And once we were descended upon by the Texan Muse, 
in the person of sweet, but rebellious. Miss Mollie Moore, 

There are "burning Sapphos" in the South, to be 
counted by scores; feminine Tyrtsdi, whose harps are 
constantly jingled with swords and daggers. It is these 
whose martial dithyrambics sound like drum-beats and 
bugle-calls on the tympani of young Dixie. It is these 
who, like mad Cassandras, dance ever in front of rebel 
ranks, chanting their fierce denunciations against northern 
foes. Had they the power, I verily believe they would 
add to their virgin faces and bosoms the talons of harpies, 
merely for the satisfaction of having a chance at the eyes 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 411 

of "hated Yankees." Not a houri of them but would 
promise immortal bliss in her arms hereafter to any rag- 
ged Johnny who dies sweetly and decorously for Dixie ' 
Not a lovely Oorgoness of all but would venture "one 
oye/* at least, on an opportunity to petrify some "polluted 
invader" with a Medusan grimace. 

To our prison-corral, under convoy of Mrs. Allen, came 
the young poetic lioness, though she did nOt present her- 
self with many characteristics of a lioness. She did not 
roar nor enter rampant. Her mane was not blood-red 
nor fire-red, but I must aver that it had a souppon of — 
in fact, that it was of the peculiar tint which possessors 
thereof claim to be golden, but which a censorious world 
will swear to be of a croceous hue. The poetic nose was 
retroussi, rather — that must be confessed — and the white 
brow and cheeks had been gilded in numerous small spots 
by the too fierce kisses of Apollo, in spite of all sun- 
shades. But our Texan Sappho was neither masculine^ 
leonine, rhinocerine, nor elephantine. She was simply a 
young, sharp, self-possessed, pale-faced, Jane Eyre sort 
of a little body, who might be taken for a genteel gover- 
ness or a Yankee " school-ma'am," according to meridian ; 
whose thin lips could curl with bitterness, and whose 
pale-blue eyes might kindle to white heat under strong 
provocation ; whose temper would be saint-like with a 
lover and Hecatio with an enemy* 

She sat, with her rebel friends, before my cabin door, 
while our gallant officers sang songs and played on violin 
and banjo. She kept time, with dancing toe, while Capt. 
May good-naturedly treated her to "Dixie," but grew 
fiery and curled her lip when the artful fellow abruptly 
turned his bowing into "Yankee Doodle." She ex- 
changed badinage with the wits of our prison-circle, giv* 
ing and taking some pretty sharp sh^ts with unruffled 



412 TWEMT7 MONTHS IN THE 

oomposore. And though she was load in her expression 
of rebel enthusiasm, and regretted when onr musioians 
had not the notes to accompany her, that she might sing 
ns the " Black Flag Song," I think, on the whole, that 
Miss Mollie made a favorable impression, though she 
broke no Yankee hearts. To be sure, our minstrels were 
so retaliatory as to strike up the " Star-Spangled Banner" 
when she turned to leave us, and it is a historical fact 
that at least fifty stentorian voices roared out the national 
anthem as a parting salute to the lady. But we separated, 
nevertheless, the most friendly of enemies, and Miss 
Mollie Moore intimated that she might some time publish 
her " impressions" of us. Whether she has done so yet 
I cannot say ; but I live in hopes of turning over, at some 
future day, the leaves of a handsomely-printed volume of 
this Texan girl's " poems," in the blue and gold of an 
appreciative Yankee publisher. May we all live to laugh 
over the little rebel's *< Black Flag !" 

I had the distinction of provoking another young poetess 
to the publication of a brace of lyrics in reply to some 
verses which were contributed to Mr. Gushing's journal at 
Houston. I regret that lack of space prevents the inser- 
tion of these breathings of the Texan muse ; but must be 
content with a couple of rather conflicting stanzas, both 
addressed, though on different occasions, to my incarce- 
rated Yankee self. The first extract is as follows : 

" As a prisoner you came: as a freeman remain 1 
*' Desertion from tjiants can ne'er be a stain; 
*' Beneath our bright banner we'll proudly enroll 
" The Northern by birth but the Southern in soul 1" 

This, to be sure, was a tempting invitation; but, as I 
eould not own the " soft impeachment'* of being " Southern 
in soul" the next poetic salutation that I received was not 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 413 

quite 80 complimentary. "Let him alone !" said the in« 
dignant syren : 

'* Hie tyrant in his pride, and in his creed the pnritan, 
" Who prajs for peaoe, and lifts the sword to slay his fellow-man; 
*' With " South or Hell" upon his brow combUied, 
'* Behold that Ephraim's to his idols joined !" 

" Let him alone I" 

But the departure of our friendly Aliens left the camp 
without visitors. And indeed the influx of prisoners had 
deprived our " Old Borough*' of the country-village char- 
aoteristics which formerly distinguished it. We were 
now a community of comparative strangers to one another, 
A thousand Federals — the late captures at Marks* Mills — 
arrived during May, and, with accessions also from Hous- 
ton and other points, the population soon swelled to more 
than forty-three hundred men. The check-rein of rebel 
authority began to gall us. Col. Borders issued arbitrary 
orders* One morning we discovered posted on the mar- 
ket-place an order, purporting to be from the Confederate 
general at Shreveport, which ran as follows. 

"Hereafter, any Federal prisoner, being detected in trjring to 
make his escape from the prison — either in the act, or after he has 
made his escape— will be shot by the one capturing him. 
By order of 

Li. Col. J. P. Bokdsbs, 
B. W. MgEaohax, C!om'd'g Camp Ford Prison. 

Lt. &, Acting Adjutant. 

This unwarrantable threat created no little excitement. 
Other events transpired to make us feverish. A man 
was shot dead by a guard upon the Sabbath. The poor 
fellow was walking near the gate, but gave no provocation 
and received no warning. The brutal rebel shot him with 
a pistol. An effort was made to attribute this assassination 
to personal revenge. The murderer was said to have re- 



404 TWENTY MONTHS m THE 

were thrown into prison at Tyler, it was decided that thej 
should neyer go at large again. So, one May morning, 
fifty mounted " Regulators" clattered into Tyler, halted 
at the tavern door, and "liquored round;" held confab 
with the provost-marshal, galloped up and down the 
town awhile, .and finally drew rein before the prison, with 
a yell : 

** Bring out them Jayhawkers!*' 

The doors were opened, and the men delivered np. A 
lope being slung about them, they were dragged behind 
the Lynchers to a piece of timber, scarce half a mile out 
of Tyler. There, almost within gun-shot of camps, where 
fifbeen hundred cavalry and infantry were guarding Fede- 
ral prisoners, these Lynchers began their mockery of a 
trial The first victim pleaded '* not guilty." 

"You lie, Jim Reed ! You're a heap wuss Jayhawker 
than Gineral Banks!" 

** Silence in the coort T' cries Justice Lynch, a bull- 
headed whiskey-still proprietor. " Keep still, you aU, 
while I fix his flint. Prisoner, Jim Reed, what have you 
got to say why you oughtn't to be black-jacked ?" 

Reed. — I am not guilty. I've been hunted and perse- 
cuted for my sentiments ever since the State seceded. I 
never fought against the State. My house was burned 
over the heads of my family in the town where I lived* 
an honest man, and served the country. I had to fly, by 
night, with my wife and seven children, to Van Zandt, 
and they hounded me out of that. I declare before 
Heaven that — 

Lynch, C. J. — Shot up! Ton know yer an old scoun- 
drel, and yer was three ye'rs in Missouri Penitentiary — 

Reed— I never was in the State of Missouri. 

Lynch, C. J. — ^Blast yer, then, yer an old deserter 



DEPABTMEin? OF THE GULF. 405 

from General MoCallocb*s army. The papers was found 
on ye, and yer can't swar 'em down. 

Reed. — I deny it. I was regularly commissioned by 
General McCulloch, as an officer. He gave me a position 
because I preferred to go back to the army rather than 
be hunted down. I was preparing to join my command 
when arrested. 

Lynch, C. J. — Yer a skulkin* liar and a thief, Jim 
Reed, and weVe jest had palaver enough out o' yer. I 
pronounce judgment of the ooort. Yer to be hanged at 
once, till yer dead, dead, dead ! and Lord have marcy on 
yer soul ! 

Five minutes after, Sheriff Reed was dangling from an 
oak-limb above his murderers. 

Judge McKeynolds was then dragged forward and re- 
viled by the "ooort" in like manner. The old man's son, 
who was one of the rebel soldiers guarding us at Camp 
Ford, heard about the Lynchers visiting Tyler jail, and, 
mounting a horse, galloped from his quarters to the town. 
He there learned that the ruffians had taken their pris- 
oners to the woods. He followed their trail with all the 
speed he could command, but arrived in time only to find 
his father swinging on the tree, from which Reed's dead 
body had been just cut down. This wretched son was 
forced to beg the remains of his parent from the assas- 
sins ; and so great was the terror inspired by the boldness 
and cruelty of these ''Regulators,*' that young McRey- 
nolds was unable to hire a wagon to convey the corpse to 
Kaufman county, where his family lived. 

Young Holcombe — like each of the others — stoutly 
maintained his innocence, and was hanged vidth the same 
noose that had strangled his predecessors ; for the ruffians 
had provided only rope enough to hang a single man, and 



416 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

"exchanged." 

At length the hopes so long cherished, so .often damp- 
ened, drew near realization. Early in May, a Confede- 
rate officer arrived at Camp Ford, with orders to enroll 
the names of prisoners preparatory to an immediate ex- 
change. Enrolled we duly were; bat "immediate ex- 
change" receded into uncertainty. Still, oar confidence 
increased when, in Jane, the chaplains taken at Mans- 
field, together with several citizens, were allowed to set 
oat, with their paroles, on a march withoat escort to oar 
lines. Genial "Father Robb," of the 48th Ohio, a Bap- 
tist preacher, who had been my guest during his captivity, 
and who had labored zealously in his vocation, was one of 
the chosen. With Rev, Mr. McCuUoch, a Presbyterian, 
brother of a gallant captain of that name, who was like- 
wise a prisoner, "Father Robb" had awakened much 
interest in religion among the soldiers; so that prayer- 
meetings were held nightly and several conversions took 
place under their ministrations. These gentlemen left us 
about the first of July, and shortly after we welcomed the 
return of our mustering officer with instructions to parole 
the "oldest prisoners." 

It was a season of mingled rejoicing and disappoint- 
ment; of joy to us who numbered ourselves among the 
"earliest settlers," and of "hope deferred" to more than 
three thousand still left in prison. But, the brave fellows 
whom we were to leave shared not a little, after all, in 



DEPABTMENT OF THE GULF. 417 

the satisfaction; since our "exchange*' wonld be a guaranty 
for them that the waters of relief were moving and would, 
in due season, reach their own feet 

It was immediately after our " celebration" of " Inde- 
pendence Day" that we "old prisoners*' received the 
"glad tidings*' of coming liberation. That "Fourth of 
July" will long be remembered. Hogarth ought to have 
been superincumbent over the corral, to take a sketch on 
thumb-nail, of our motley multitude* Description would 
beggar itself in an effort to compute our rags and tatters 
fluttering on Texan breezes ! Fancy might limp in fol- 
lowing the bizarrerie of looks, motions, and habiliments 
which, swaying in a dense crowd, made up the "great 
unwashed" outline of our "fierce democracies' on this 
immortal day of Independence. But Ood bless the gal- 
lant hearts! They were all loyal American soldiers, 
though the tongues of many nationalities betrayed their 
diverse origin; though the "rich Irish brogue" and 
"sweet German accent" mingled with New England's 
nasal idioms and the broad vernacular of Western Prairie 
Land. God bless them all! They love the "Old Flag," 
with their honest souls, and their blood has been shed to 
defend it. 

Under the green canopy of our verandahs, united one 
with another by interlacing foliage, so that the street be- 
fore my cabin was completely screened from the Aun, we 
raised our platform, and wound about the neighboring 
posts some blankets of red, white, and blue. Grouped 
about the rostrum were representative officers from a 
hundred regiments, embracing colonels, majors, captains, 
and lieutenants, hailing from every loyal state and from 
some rebellious ones; bearing the martial monograms of 
regiments from Maine to Louisiana; wearing on their 
frontlets the bugles of infantry, the crossed sabres of ca> 



418 TWENTY MONTHS IN THX 

valry, the trampetfl of sharp-shooters, the tnrrets and 
ffhields of engineers, the crossed cannon of artillerymen, 
and the flaming shells of our ordnance corps* Intersper- 
sed with these were gallant sons of Neptune, with gay 
gold bands on caps and coat-sleeves. But, to tell the 
truth, ponderous majorities of this loyal audience were 
not extremely particular regarding costume, as evinced 
by the advent of our orator in his shirtsleeves and our 
poet in a butternut coat which bore strong resemblance 
to a gipsey's blanket. Squatted on Texan soil, grouped 
by log-house comers, and perched upon tripods, they 
stretched to left and right, a goodly block of sui generis 
American timber. And their "hurrahs" were as lusty, 
their "Star Spangled Banner^* as sonorous, and their 
*'Ood Save America" as impressive — albeit the vocal 
thunder set their rags all fluttering — as if they had stood, 
in pipe-clayed lines, with glittering muskets at an order, 
and the Flag of Stars displaying its brilliant folds above 
ihem. 

Once, twice, does rebel jealousy threaten to mar our 
''celebration." Hardly have the " Declaration's" noble 
truths been flung upon Southern air— scarcely has our 
orator commenced his exordium — when a tftmp is heard 
approaching, and the voice of a Confederate captain roars 
out : 

" Disperse, Yankees ! Oct into your quarters ! Be off! 
Quick ! Every man of you !" 

A file of rebel guards backs the speaker's authority. 
We recognize the o£Glcer of the day, and some one attempts 
an explanation. 

"We had permission from Col. Borders to have this 
meeting," says our chairman, Col. Burrell, brave defender 
9t Gkilveston wharf, who sits on the platform in bran new 



^: 



DEPABTMENT OB THE GTTLF. ^9 

glory of blue coat and shoulder-straps, which have hardly 
been aired by previous wearing. 

'' I'll see about that/' muttered the rebel, turning away 
toward the guard-house. 

Our boys began to steal back again, and our orator 
lifted his voice for another effort. But before he could 
launch the American eagle on her wonted flight into the 
milky way of eloquence, a rebel sergeant was in the midst 
of us. 

"Into your holes with youl" he yelled, with an oatL 
''Don't let me order you again!" 

Thus adjured, our mass meeting began to disintegrate 
slowly; the boys dispersing toward their cabins, with 
lowering looks and wrathful objurgations. They knew 
their own impotence, and that to resist the insulting 
authority of their jailers could result in no good, and 
might afford pretext for^a general massacre. Never- 
theless, free blood asserted itself in the reluctant step, 
and the "curses not loud but deep," which accompanie.d 
the forced degradation of our retreat. 

At this juncture, however, the officer of the day re-' 
turned. He had communicated with Col. Borders and as- 
certained that our "Yankee celebration" was "legal," 
and conducted under high sufferance. So our harmless 
crowds were graciously permitted to congregate under 
the verandahs once more, our orator again ascended his 
rostrum, and the rebel guards fell back to the rear. Op- 
position only gave spice to our enjoyment, and we cheered 
our orators, pledged our " regular toasts," (with nothing 
to drink,) and sang our national songs with renewed ardor. 

Short leave-takings; fall hearts; hurried hand-shak- 
ings; and the "old prisoners" are outside the corral, so 
long iJieir city of bondage. I mount my horse — a Texan 



420 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

pony, hired for the hundred-mile jonmey to Shreveport, 
in consideration of some two hundred dollars of Confede- 
rate currency. Then, waving our hands, in parting adieus 
to comrades left behind, we take up our line of march. 
A dozen others besides myself have bargained for horse- 
flesh, and bestride their various nags. The rest move on 
in slow procession. So, the first day, we count twenty 
miles of traveling, and a like number the day following. 
On the third evening we reach Marshal, where we bivonao 
near a railroad track, and have Yankee music and singing 
at the camp-fire of rebel Major Smith, who commands our 
escort. Next morning, resigning my saddle to a foot- 
sore Kentucky officer, I avail myself, with several com- 
rades, of permission to make the day's journey • on a 
twenty-mile section of railroad. Thereafter, with faces 
and hearts toward Shreveport and " exchange," we march 
cheerfully on our last twenty-mile stretch to the Red 
Biver. 

We halt upon our toilsome march — a line of foot-sore 
prisoners. We have been upon the road since daybreak, 
and it is now past noon. But here are clumps of forest, 
and tracks of beaten mud conducting to a spring. The 
highway forks before us, from this piece of timber, skirt- 
ing it, and we see two roads, one trending to a hollow at 
our right, the other branching up a hill in front. A mole- 
team and a laden wagon, on which sits an ancient negro, 
with a poll as white as cotton-wool, appear descending to 
us. " Watermelons I" shout our "boys;'* and, quite for- 
getful of lame joints, they spring up from the shady road- 
side, and run forward to the sun-parched highway. 

"How much, uncle ?** "What d'ye ax a-pieoe, onole ?" 
" Give us a couple, Sambo I" 

"Fifteen dollar fur dis yer, an' ten dollar for dat dar^ 



DEPABTMEKT OF THE GTTLF. 421 

croons the ancient darkey, who has been sent, probably, 
by his master, from a neighboring farm, to make a profit- 
able market out of passing Yankee prisoners. He points 
to large and small specimens of the emerald fruit, heaped 
up in rich profusion, but is answered by indignant groans. 

"Dry up, old cotton-head!*' ''Fifteen grannies!*' 
" What's Confed. money worth ?" " Git off that box. old 
man !" Then there is a movement forward, and by the 
flanks, and a reconnoissanoe in force at the wagon-tail. 

''Let' dat alone dar! — ^I sees ye!" The old negro 
plunges off his box upon the melon-pile. A yell rises 
from besieging Yankees, as a nimble drummer-boy grips 
one of the tempting spheroids, ducks suddenly under the 
wagon, and presently emerges from the press, followed 
by half a dozen comrades eager to cut into the prize. 

** Oorramity ! dar's anudder gwine !" screams Uncle 
Ned, as a burly fellow, ragged and barefoot, seizes one of 
the largest specimens within his reach, and swings away 
with it as leisurely as if it had been bought and paid for. 
At this juncture, a third melon is suddenly whirled up 
from the heap and finds its way beyond the ring, scram- 
bled after by a dozen scamps with watering mouths. 

"Pass round the ' greenbacks,* boys!" yells a sans cu- 
latteSf whose tatters hang about him in a fringe, like 
Adam's fig-leaves. 

"0! de lor-a-massy! 'top dar' 'top t'ief! Free water- 
melon done gone, an' nary dollar fur massa! O'lang, ole 
mules! Oitout dis yer place!" And, casting himself 
over the melon-pile, with his long gorilla arms sprawling 
out to cover it, the superannuated darkey flings his heels 
across the box, and kicks his mules to start them; but in 
vain! Twenty hands have laid hold upon the wagon* 
wheels and pull them back, while shouts and laughter 
'drown the hapless peddler's lamentations. 



422 TWENTY MONTHS IN THB 

"Free watermelon done gone, an' nary one dollar fur 
massa ! " OUang, ole mules ! Fo' watermelon done gone, 
an' nary dollar fur massa ! G'lang, ye ole fools ! Seben 
watermelon done gone, an' nary dollar far massa !" 

"I say, Unole Ned! what'U ye take for the balance t*^ 
'* Drive on, ootton-head : yon're lighter than you was !" 
'' Tell yonr massa to charge 'em to Oineral Banks." 

" Free mo' watermelon done gone, an' nary dollar ! Fo' 
mo' watermelon done gone, and nary dollar for massa!*' 
The ancient darkey bows his white wool in despair, 
sprawls over the diminished fruit-heap, belabors his 
wretched mules with both heels, like a drummer with 
drumsticks beating the roll-call. All the while he glares, 
rheumy-eyed, upon laughing tormentors, who snatch me- 
lon after melon from under his hands, while their (Com- 
rades hold back the wagon«wheels, stopping all mule-power. 

At length, however, a violent effort of the animals, 
goaded by drubbing heels, succeeds in starting off the 
wain, and, with a sadden turn, the half-unloaded vehicle 
is whirled from out the crowd of Yankees, and goes spiu- 
ning toward the hollow in a cloud of dust. The prisoners 
toss a portion of their plunder to the rebel guards, and 
vent a loud hurrah, which adds new speed to the affrigh- 
ted mules as they plunge down the hill. But backward 
come the cracked bewailings of poor Uncle Ned : 

*' Free watermelon done gorh 1 'leben watermelon gone ! 
£eben watermelon ! cl'ar gone ! done gone ! Nary dollar 
fur massa! Done gone ! cl'ar gone— nary " 

Dust, clamor, lamentations ! I laugh as I recall that 
scene. How ludicrously it reminds one of the rebel 
government and its predicament. This crazy wagon-load 
of watermelons is no bad symbol of Confederate common- 
wealths — their mule-power progress stopped by Yankee 
strength, while, one by one, the watermelon States are 



DEPABTMEI9T OF THB OULF. 423 

lugged off bodily by force of Yankee arms, and eotton- 
headed Davis is sprawling vainly over all with impotent 
bemioaning — 

"Free mo* watermelon done gone! Fo' mo' water- 
melon done gonel — ePar gone — an* nary dollar for massa! 
Pone gone — cPar gone ! 

But eager longing for liberty and ''home" outstrips 
the incidents of travel. Fain would I linger, with pleas- 
ant roadside halts at farm-houses ; fain recal my gossip 
with whites and blacks ; and my confidential chats widi 
loyal Texan guards — eliciting life-histories during short 
rides in advance of leg-weary pedestrians. ' But I must 
hasten over our three-days sojourn at Shreveport; catered 
for by honest conscript, "Uncle Jack," trusty purveyor 
for hungry Yankees; with whom I left my last Texan 
relic in the shape of goat-skin breeches ; — I must pass by 
head-quarters of Kirby Smith, where hang our "Iron- 
sides'* banners, as trophies on rebel walls : I must leap 
from the levee, and leave behind my long-kept dress-coat, 
stolen now from rifled knapsack ! But what matters the 
loss of a uniform ! What boots it, though I emerge from 
rebel toils with but aboriginal costume ! Here flows the 
Bed Eiver! At its mouth the Mississippi rolls: beyond 
is — ^Liberty! 

^ * All of our nine hundred will not see the Promised Land 
of their loyal love — ^their heart-weary yearnings. This 
old soldier from Maine — whom we were wont to make 
merry with, as a half-crazed seer of spirits — this poor dy- 
ing MooRE ! he has made his last march ! his comrades 
bear his body past my bivouac, as we halt on the shores 
of Bed Biver. And this pale-faced, patient Lieut, Hugg ; 
who has borne sufiiering so long and bravely; he will 
never behold the sun-rise ag^in over pine-woods of his na- 



424 TWINTY MONTHS IN THB 

tiye New Jersey. He will pass away, with gallant Oaptain 
Adams, nnder the Stars and Stripes ; but the Crescent 
City moon will look down npon their coffins. 

But the Stars and Stripes! the *' Father of Waters!" 
the blue Atlantic! the glorious, undivided, indivisible 
Union! with all treasures of home; all wealth of respon- 
sive hearts ! are not these still for us ? We have descend- 
ed, at last, the maurky tide of ochreous waters. Far behind 
Hi are the ruined mansions and devastated gardens of 
Alexandria. Yonder lie Federal gun-boats, watchfal at 
Bed Blver gates, like grim mastifib. Below them, with 
her prow turned hitherward, moves a. Mississippi steam- 
er. Her colors — streaming aloft — flash in meridian sun- 
light. " Our Flag is still there !" 

Presently, we see the small '' messenger-boat*' passing 
and, repassing. Our Federal Commissioner of Exchange, 
Col. DwiGHT, has arrived in the river-steamer, bringing 
Confederate prisoners to exchange for us. Col. Skuy- 
manski, rebel " Commissioner of Exchange," confers with 
him .... and the assurance comes, at last, that we are — 
free! 

It is thirteen months since I unbuckled my sword; 
eleven months since I heard from home and the beloved 
who waits for my coming. But now I stand under the 
** Old Flag" again! I clasp the hilt of a Federal sabrei 
and, thank heaven! here — at the mouth of Bed Biver — I 
lift to my lips a well-remembered seal, and trace, with 
misty eyes, upon a letter-sheet, the dear word — wife! 

So, with grateful heart — ^looking forward to oui^ future — 
I praise the gracious Providence which holds in keep both 
nations and individuals ; and which is mighty forever to 
save and succor; whether its mercy be invoked from 
Cabinets and Gohqresses, or from Camps and Prisons t 



THE TENANT HOUSE; 

OR, 

EMBEBS FROM POVERTIES HEARTHSTONE. 

By a. J. H. DUGANNB. 

BetnM/Miy lU/ustrated wWi Original JDesiffnsm 

B. M. DKWITT, PUBUSHEB, 13 FBAKKFOBT STREET. 



Gnat troths in an aget haye been most powerftdly presented to popfolar appra- 
lieneion in the fbrm of allegory, or illnstrated flotton. That our readers may see 
the yery high estimation in which the l^ook is held by disting^nished divines, we 
•almoin a £bw of tiieir enoominms, oat of more than a hundred letters reoeiyed t 

OPINIONS OF THE WORK. ' 

I am thankftil fbr a yoioe so teaching and earnest — Rmt. A. S. Stong, D, D. 
—It interested me, it drew me on, till I have read tt throogh.— Aev. OrviJU 

De»«if, D. D. ^The book commands my respect and my tribute of thanks to 

the author. — Ren, W. S. AXger^ D. D. ^It is gold that has passed through the 

refiner's fire. — Rev. A. A. Miner. ^I should feel no hesitation in commending 

the book. — Rev. Baron SUno, D. D. ItfSutens the attention horn beginning to 

end. — Rev. RoUin H, Neal^ D. D. ^This book is pure as the poems of Cowper. 

'-Rev, Joel Parker^ D. D, ^The author has achieyed the noble task of giying 

Ibcoe and imi«essiyeness to facts. — Rev, Edward Laxhrop^ D.D. ^I cannot doubt 

that it will proye an atlxactiye book, and haye a wide circulation. — Rev.A»a 
Smith, D. — He who begins the reading of this book will find it difficult to 

lay it down till he reaches the dose. — Rev, John DoiUin^, D. D. ^I grateftilly 

confess that, more than any human production I haye recently read, " The Tenr 
mu HauBe," has taught "me to feel another's woe."— Aev. A. D. OiUeUe, D. D. 
——I haye read the *' Tenant Houa^* with satislbction, and haye risen tcom its 

perusal with wanner sympathies.— Aev. S. D, Burehard, D, D. ^If the book 

were less attracttye as a literary production, I should still feel that its author had 
entitled himself to the thanks of the beneyolent for his generous efiTort in the cause 

of himianity. — Rov. Francie L. Hawkee, D, D. ^I haye read with interest the 

ydlnme entitled the " Tenant Hotue.**—Rev, Thoma» De Witt, D, D. ^It treats 

with great powor and pathos the tragic &cts of oujr modem city life. — Rev. Samr 

%A Otgoodt D. D, ^I read it 0n my way) at one sitting. I admired the style, 

and sympathised with the otject of the book.— JZev. W. S, Hutton, D, D,-—^ 
Drawn in such lights and shades as to moye the heart and hand of Christian 
sympathy.— Aev. Edwin T. Hatfield, D, D. ^Very attracttye and much com- 
mended fbr its artistio finroe and beauty. — Ren, JWp& Hoft, D, D, ^I regard 

Qm '* Tenant Hmue" as an eztraordlnary book— « good book— one that was 
nodh needed.— JL JUL JSbKlsy, Ftq^ Sttf^f X T, AMtodatian for JmprwHn^ tha 
Condition qfth9P09r. 



HISTORY of GOVERNMENTS; 

SHOWINa THB FB0OBB8B OF OIVZL SOOIETT, AHD THB 
BTBUOfUBB OF AHOIBNT ABD XODBBN ST ATEa 



•**■ 



By A. J. H. IJUaANNE. 



PUBLISHED BT B. IL DEWTTT, 13 FBANKFOBT ST. 



FBOM Vmmfft'ATtOBSMT A. Oakit Bmjll, 



«i 



■It! ftrtamenti or tenOlBr praporfllon% and Iti OhMtrillou 
Bake this profeHedly 'pnpQ* book, ft aMsai of intertil to Am pwiSWhi— 1 
ttMhtr. Itakonld betong to the iwmaion lehool dopartment of trrwy i 
ka introdoood loy legidatfro aaaotloB. A ial:|)«ot naaalfy ftrUddiaiT kaa 
tothaaepageaintereitfaigftomaimplkityof ita*cmcnt» yataoenrMiyiaiatan^ 
if all Iho important and philoaopliioal TgaAoeltpbm of goramnaali'* 

FBcnc Jddct Vdwibda 

" I kaite ozandned thk woik witti eara^ aad aa atraek with fhe i^aiii aad iiai" 
pila manner in whioh are treated tha eiMntlal elamenta of hiatoty as eoaneoted 
wifii Gkyremment I oannot bat think that it most be an eacoeUent aohool-beok. 
It will be mote than that tome, fbr it if alxeadj to bm a 'nad^ rtftweBOt' to 
the moce important parti of Uetofy." 

FSOK Sbt. a. D. GnURTl, D. ]>. 

"leonildarthaliiaeofiaohawarkmoittimely. We need jtut the infonaft* 
tten thii book girii. Iti oompaotniii and oomprdMOiiTenMi aia aaaaiBf •** 

FBOK WH. OUBHS VOtEB, lb lb D. 

"I like tUi book on gofenunenti eiceeedingly. It it flill to oiy e fflow lo g' of . 
what ii taioit Talnabli, and whataU young penoni ooghtto know. Tkeaottux^ 
power of oompriiiiTig, ai Will ai of exproiiton, ii rwnaTknbla.** 



THE POETICAL WORKS 

OF 

A. J. H. DUGANNE, 

TINTED PAPER. 400 PAGES. WITH PORTRAIT. $6 00. 

From ▲ Beyiew in the " Gbitic and London Litbbabt Joubnal." 

" A Tolome calculated to aroiue many a noble resolTe, to excite many a g^e- 
nial smile, to awaken many ia blissftil sympath]^." *' His ' Mission of intelleot,' 
is a poem of sterlings power, and ftill of splendid 'poetry.' " " There are sach 
earnestness, vigor and brayery in this poem, that it reads like a new application 
of old emotions." " In that deUghtftil baUad, ' The Maiden of the Shield,' with 
what consummate skill the poet has introduced the necessary, and impressive 
repose which precedes the diock of conflict, — ^the beaulifal before the terrible I ** 
" In his ' Iron Harp,' we find more variety, more tender and beautiful thoufhts. 
ThroujBh the stormy chwds of this ' Iron Harp ' rings ever and anon the melocuouB 
tone of a golden lyre." *' The satire entitied ' Parnassus in RUory,' is remarka- 
ble fbrbiwig sarcasm, for unlicensed banter, for solemn mockery, for crushing 
antagonism ; now tickling an author to death with a feather, and now braining 
him with a ponderous battte-axe. Its mischief is so delidous, that one hardly 
wishes the mischief unperpetrated." "Mr. Dug^nne's intellect searches the 
d^rths of sufTering, or explores the mases of injustice, not firom the bare surgical 
relish of amputating some diseased limb of the commonwealth, but lovingly, yet 
bravely, to soften Ihe sufferings of his human brethren. May he fitint aotm his 
generoui task, nor weary in his metrical pilgrimage." 

Fbom a Review bt O. J. Vigtob, Esq. 

ICr. Duganne is one of the Master Spirits of Minstrelsy, whose lonjr has stirred 
tibe great heart of man into a grand entiiusiasm for the Right, the Free and the 
Good. His lyrics long have floated over the great sea of the press — ^like the 
ai^naut Nautili, bearing beauty and hope and a thought of Heaven on their 
wmgs. His more elaborate poems stand as monuments of a mind pervaded by 
the true sublimity of tiie noblest masters of song. There is, in these elaborate 
eompositions, a wealth of imagery, a boldness of conception, a presence of high 
thought, that mark Mr. Duganne for one of the most thoughtflil and introspective 

S»ets of this country. It is with a gpratefiil sense that we turn from them and 
eir mighty thought to the love ballads and lyrioEd utterances, which give the 
TOlnme vanety and season it with sweets from which all can sip. 

From a Review in The " National Inteluqencbb.'* 

The volume before us is issued in the highest style of typographical art, form** 
tng, in every sense of the term, an edition de luxe. As to the merits of tiie poemi 
themselves, a more competent critic than we of the newspaper can presume to 
{hink ourselves has said, in that gravest of American quarterlies, the North Amer- 
ican Review, that they are gems worthy of the casket in which they are so luxa- 
riouily enshrined. 

Fbom a Review bt W. H. Bubleigh, Bbq, 

In bis ready sympathy with the popular heart, and his ability to give vdoe to 
Its thoughts and inspirations, Duganne finds the principal element df his powWic 
and through them he must command a wide popularity. He ia recognised as the 
"Poet of tiie People." 

THE AUTOGRAPH EDITION. 

lilMITUn TO 7S COPTEB. 
WITH ILLUSTRATED TITLE PAGE. 

Caob VolviM eontaininy m AiilQfMi|rii Pomi. 

NOW BBADT. 



THE TENANT HOUSE 

NOTICES OF THE PRESS. 



^flM ftOowing are qnotedfrom edttoriBliMiftioetof the book, in Jonmafaiffaroagii- 
oateTtHy part of the United Stateeand the Oanadai: 

In deaeriptiTe power and tonoliinff pathos, the ** Tenant Hoose" is not exceed- 

ad hy anythinir ever written h^f DiolLens, — Nae Hamtn IkUfy Register. ^A 

highlj intereenngf woric. — Promdence (R. I.) Adverti$er.—-<yt starOing^ and 
stnuupe interest — Bo$ton HertUd.—ML true to nature, and foroibly drawn. — 

Bartford (Ct.) CowranL ^Well sustained.— SsZem (AfaM.) OateUe, ^Pore 

in style.— Boffon AtUu and Bee,^—Ohky good in its tendenoies.— i^iri«MC/Ec/(i 

(ICsfS.) R^^Mican. ^To be read with pieasore andinoflt — Manehuter(N.H.) 

Dewtoerai. Of thrilling interest — Augr^uta (Af&) A^e. A good work fbr 

honumity. — Worcuter {Mat.) PaUadivm, ^All will be snretoread it through. 

— LomeU Vox PopuU. ^Highly recommended.— JSTa^as (iV. S.} Momingr Sun, 

An obserring eye and earnest spirit — Boston JcntmoZ.— — Freshh^ written.— 

Portiand (Afc) Tyantcript. An absorbing worlc WUmingrton UjeL) Gtaette. 

Food for thooght- Pia«&Kr^A Daily DiMck. ^We can testify to its ereat 

power. — Ckarleston Southern Baptist. Portrayed with a master's sldlL— Otcuis 

to Holiness. ^Filled with tonohing scenes. — Southern Preebyterian. ^Its 

moral tone is excellent — AUon (lU.) Dailv dronieJe.— — A highly interesting 

Tolnme. — Ann Arbor (^Mich.) JournaL A graphic work. — St. John (N. B.) CSo- 

knUal PretfryterioMw— Usefhl and instroctiye. — N. Y. Churchman. ^Intensely 

interesting. — Canton (N. Y.) Plain Dealer. A spirited and earnest writer. — 

iforristown (Pa.) National Dtfender. Of most toaohinf interest — Pittsburgh 

(Pa.) Banner and Advocate. A work wliioh goes right k> the people. — Newark 

{N. J.) Dailv Advertiser.— -Ot a superb and sympathetic style. — Louieiana 

Courier. — ^It has won high encomioms. — lowi City Reporter. la an easy, &- 

miliar style. — Laporte (Jind.) Union.— "A masterly fnodoction. — Moline (/U.) 
Jndatendent. One extract is sufficient to recommend it — QreenvUle (Ala.) 

Soutkem Messenger. ^We confisss to an agreeable disappointment — yfetehing- 

ton (D. C.) National Era. ^Has superior merit as a work ct axL—JacksonvMS 

(Ala.) Journal. The straiu^t experiences in a charmed light — Fonddu Lac 

(FFw.) Dem. Press. Once began, it will be read through, — Zion*$ Herald. 

Picturesque and fervid. — N. Y. Express. The language of a warm heart and 

a poetic brain. — N. Y. Dispalck, By a true romancist as well as a true poet — 

if. Y, Leader. — —Of an intense and thrilling interest — Home JoumaL ^Let 

US say it is in Duganne's best style, and we have said enough. — N. Y. Sunday 
Timee. For depth of interest, it ranks with the " Diary dT a London Physi- 
cian."— Porttoml Christian Mirror. Calculated to do good. — American Pres- 
byterian, A picture of social life in these habitations. — PhUaddphia Ledger, 

——We heartily recommend the book.— Softtmore Christian Advocate. An 

instructive and sanctifying boolc — PhiL Evening JoumaL ^In power to fix 

the attention we know not its equal. — Zion's Advocate. ^Artistical, impressive 

and interestliu^. — PhU. Press. ^A work that should be read by lUl, — Lawrenct 

(Meus.) American. ^Deeply thrillinflr pictures.- iV. Y. Daily News. ^It can- 
not be read without profit — Detroit Daily Advertiser. Fasdnating in its in- 
terest as the ihbled serpent's eye. — Burlington (Vt.) Times. Appeals to ev- 
ery Christian and philanthropist — Toledo Blade. A remarkable book. — Phil. 

Oazette. Truth, vivid actuality.- Detroit J^Ves Press. ^Full of ttining in- 
terest— 02i Colony (Mass.) Memorial ^A book of intense interest— i^esZis's 

Illustrated i^TflOfpc^er.— In a masteriv style. — Richmond Enqutrer. De- ^ 

serves a welcome. — Oswego THmes, The author has laid the community un- 
der obligations. — N. Y, Tribune,— ^Bj a master Yuaid.—Avoortook Pioneer. 
<— — A masterly pen. — V. Y. Courier and Enauirer. — ^For its beauty of senti- 
ment, and charaty of language, pure as ttft sunbeams.- iZicAmond CSiristtanAd' 

vacate. No ordinary book.— G9<o»y Canada Star, Bnohains the reader's 

attention.—X^s Illustrated, 



4 



Fine Printing in every Style. 




'JL N '49a->»S o^noQ CT 



UTTERANCES. 

ANTE LUCEM. 
By JL, J. J^ jyXJCkJkNl^fVL 

Tlifai eoDaotton of poems, on the Titiil JaniM of onr nreflent war, la printed ta 
«kf»at style, octavo pages, gUt edged, and txmiid in noh eloth. Pbice, $2,00. 

Fbom Thb Vmw Tobk TmBUHB. 

Ther are suggested by the great straggle with which the ooontry is now con- 
Tidsed and in whieh the writer himself mts home an aotiye and honorable part. 
Ringing with the tnimpei notes of Ubertiy, they will touch a chord in eyery loyal 
heart The Tolume will be equally welcome to the militant friends of freedom, 
and to the loren of robust poetry. 

Fbom Ths N. y. Ihdbfeiidbht. 

The poems here collected are outgrowths of the war— all having a true ring 
for freedom—all earnest, flery and graphic This author's style is crisp, twang- 
ing, and martial. His verses iUl upon the ear like sounds from a brass band. 
Iffeaniag what he says, he says it with emphasis. Kor is there wanting here and 
there a strain of tenderness and sympathy, thrown in with true artisl^a skill, to 
heighten the effeot of his trumpet-notes. 

Bbom The K. Y. Webklt. , 

It is perhaps unneoessarv for us to say anything in Ihvor of Mr. Dugaane as a 
poet, inasmuch as our readen are already perfectly ftMniliar with his style — as 
exhibited in the " Ballads of the Bible, ''^ and other poems from his pen, which 
have long since shriited him in their heart of hearts. Still, we cannot help drop- 
ping a word in commendation of these "Utterances." Utterances they are, 
whfoh, while they add a new lustre to the brilliant wreath which decks the poet's 
brow, do h<mor, at the same time, to the head and hetft of the uncompromising 
patriot, the ardent lover of liberty, and the cordial hater of wrong and oppression. 
Utterances which stir the heart like a bugle blasts and which lead the sons of 
fi«edom to register anew their vows, that the black banner of secession shall be 
humbled in the dust, and that the bright standard of the free shall wave over a 
united and disenthralled country. 



By a. J. H. DUGANNE. 

A series of poems in the ballad style, rehearing principal events of the war fat 

our Union. 

Splendiditif Illustrated WUh Mngra/ving»* 

This volume will cotitain ballads upon the following sutjeots : 



The Fall of Fort Sumter, 
The Uprising of a Nation, 
The March to the Capitol, 
The Battie of Bethel, 
The Death of Ellsworth, 
The Battle of Bull Run, 
The Muster of Pennsylvania, 
Maryland Redeemed, 
The Old Fight, 



Manassas, 

The Second Warning, 
Farragut 

Sheridan's Harvesting, 
The March of Sherman, 
The Sun-burst, 
The Old Flaf of Sumter, 
The Death of Slavery, 
&c., &c., &c. 



The " Battle Ballads " will be issued in the fiOl of 1865. The volume contain- 
ing them will constitute an elegant Gift Book for the Holidays ; an appropriate 
patriotic token to pass from friend to friend. Orders must be sent in l^fore No- 
vember. Specimen numbers, with headings for Subscriptions, and frill pertioii- 
lars, can be obtained by agents who desire to canvass for the work. 



1 

■ii 



3 2044 021 234 ( 



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