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\ I, MNIH II.I.IMH i\ir N-r V. NlNKl'V lll'lir 

f^ride, 33 Cerit^. 

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CO. I, 9th ill. cav.; co. b, 95th h.l. vol. l\f. 

PLET'e narrative OF A SOLDIER'S 
CIVIL WAR, FROM 1861 TO 1865, 






Books, as a general i-ule, have prefaees. I 
write a preface to this book, not because I think 
it necessary, but because it is customary. I did 
not keep a diary, and it ma}^ be that I have not 
given the right date every time, but there is 
nothing in this book but what is strictly true, 
and the most of it is mv own ])ersonal exper- 
ience and tha.t of my comrades who ])artici- 
pated in my adventures while a soldier. The 
reason I do not give the names of my com- 
rades is because they are scattered to the four 
quarters of the globe, and I do not know where 
thev are except a few who live neighbors to me, 
and I have no right to use their names with- 
out their consent. 

I will give a thrilling description of m\' exper- 
ence as a dispatch carrier and finally my cap- 
ture and imprisonment, escape and recapture, 
and will also give a complete description of be- 
ing chased by blood hounds and other incidents 
too numerous to mention. 

Yours Truly, 


Rapids City, Ills., 1892. 


At the outbreak of the Great Civil War in 
1861, I was 23 years of ae^e, a stout, healthv 
p young man, not knowing what it was to have 
a sick dsij; had always worked on a farm and 
worked hard, too. In the latter part of April, 
news was received that Fort Sumter had been 
fired upon; everybody acted as if they were 
crazy; all wanted to enlist. I was one of the 
first to enlist in' a three months' regiment, but 
that failed to go on account of not having arms, 

i so I was forced to go back to my home, which 

was four miles south of Belvidere, 111. In Sep- 

--*' ^ tember, 1861, the^^ started to get up a company 

jS of cavalry at Belvidere. I was one of the first 

^ to enlist in that, after which I was appointed 
sergeant. We were sent to Camp Douglas, Chi- 
cago. It did not take long to fill up our regi- 
ment, neither did it take long to get our horses 
and saddles ready; then we commenced to drill. 
What a time some of our men had; some had 

. never driven a horse in their lives and there is 

' where the fun comes in, especially after we had 

1 22053 

4 Tin-: DISPATCH cakuii;k. 

drnwn our s])iirs. The next move .\iter we liad 
drawn our spurs and saddles was when Col. 
Bracket! ordered the bugle to sound the call to 
tall in for drill. The whole regiment was on 
hand with their horses all saddled and bridled 
for a drill. You must remember that our horses 
were well fed and in the best condition; full of 
life and spirt. It was all some of us could do to 
make them keep their place in the ranks. 

"Now," said the Colonel, "When I tell you to 
mount you must put your left foot in the stirrup 
and grasp the reins and the mane wdth your 
left hand, and at the word 'mount,' all 
mount together." "Motmt" was the com- 
mand. Well, we did make the effort to all 
mount together but you should have seen them; 
the horses started off in every direction, pell- 
mell over the field; some were dragged along on 
the ground with their feet in the stirrups, while 
others w^ere on their horses all right, but the 
harder the horses ran, the harder they stuck in 
their spurs; one poor fellow let go all hold and 
grabbed the head and mane; stirrups flew^ in 
ever\' direction and he went straight for the 
barn. Now our stables were all three hundred 
feef long; away went horse and rider, straight 
for the center of the barn; just as the horse got 
within four feet of the stable, it came to a sud- 


den halt, but the rider went on with a crash 
through the side of the barn; he could not have 
made a cleaner hole if he had been shot out of 
a cannon. I must say he came out pretty 
lucky; of course he w^as bruised and stiff 
legged for a day or two but that was all. 
Some of the men got hurt very severely but 
it did not take long for us to find out that w^e 
had to keep our toes in and our heels out. We 
had not drawn any arms yet and all we had to 
mount guard with was simply a stick whittled 
out in shape of a sword. Our officers Avould 
not allow any one out unless they had a pass 
from the Colonel. The guards were placed 
around the camp to keep the men from going 
out but many nights did the boys run the guard. 
If by chance one of the men was out after sun- 
dowai, the guard was supposed to keep him out 
or arrest him and turn him over to the sergeant 
of the guard, but this was generallv the waA^ it 
was done around Camp Douglas: Now, here 
comes some one who has stayed out after roll 
call; he comes straight up to the sentinel; the 
sentinel speaks first: "Who comes there?" now 
if the man has been out on permission, of course 
he has the countersign; then he will answer back 
"A friend with the countersign," then the senti- 
nel wall sav, "Advance, friend, and 2^ve the 


countersign," and after giving it the senti- 
nel then pasess him in, but let me tell you, we 
did not always go according to discipline while 
we were at Chicago. This is the wa}- we had 
among ourselves: Now here comes one w-ho has 
been out too late. "Halt! who comes there?" 
"A friend with a canteen." "Advance and draw 
the stopple." The next thing you w^ill see the 
sentinel look toward heaven, and hear a gurg- 
ling sound as of something going down his 
throat, then finally a pair of lips would smack. 
"The countersign is correct, \'Ou may pass in." 
We had a great many ways of amusing our- 
selves, some pla^^ed cards, some foot ball, some 
one thing and some another, but after all the 
time hung heavv on our hands for we were all 
anxious to get into active service. The first of 
February, 1862, we got marching orders for St. 
Louis, Mo. Our officers then gave us passes to 
go home, it being our last chance before leaving 
for the field. I never shall forget that last visit: 
how my old mother, wife, and two little ones 
followed me to the train, how m^^ blessed old 
mother put her arms around my neck and while 
the tears wrere runing down those old wrinkled 
cheeks, called on God to bless her boy. Oh, 
that parting! how can we forget it, comrades? 
to pick up the little ones and give them one long 


last hug, good bye, wife, little ones, mother, 
and we were gone: yes, gone. The next thing 
was the shrill scream of the engine and we com- 
menced to move slowly out of the depot. The 
train was mostly loaded with soldiers, all leav- 
ing homes, going to fight for their country. 
There was no screaming or yelling, for they had 
just parted from their wives, mothers and homes, 
perhaps never to see them again. 

Now just look over the coach of young sol- 
diers in the first flush of manhood; can they all 
get back to their homes? No, reader, not three 
out of five. 

On we went, every one of those young soldiers 
knew what thc}^ were going for; one could see 
by their sober, determined faces that they had 
weighed their chances and had given all for their 

When w^e arrived at Chicago, we found every- 
thing in a great state of excitement. We were 
to embark our horses, equipments, and board 
the tr.ain for St. Louis. All w^as hurly burly; 
we had to bHndfold our horses in order to get 
them on the train; finally, all was ready and 
away we w^ent for St. Louis. 

On the 16th of February, 1862, we started 
for Benton Barracks. At Alton, 111., we boarded 
a steamboat for St. Louis; after arriving there 


wc saddled our horses and Look them off on the 
levee, mounted, and eoinnieneed our niareh 
through the city for Henton Barracks. The 
streets were lined with peojjle and as the flag 
bearer unfurled our regimental flag, and as it 
floated out on the breeze, you could plainly read 
in large gold letters, "Ninth Illinois Cavalry." 
We could hear on every side, "What a splendid 
regiment!" I think I have every reason for 
being proud of my regiment; all were fine look- 
ing young men, fine horses, and as fine a Colonel 
as ever drew a saber. Col. Brackett was as true 
and brave an ofiicer as ever wore soldier straps, as 
the reader will find out if he follows the pages 
of this true narrative. 

As we marched through the streets of St. 
Louis some hurrahed for the Ninth Illinois Cav- 
alry, while others cursed us to our faces and 
some yelled, "You won't sit so straight in those 
saddles when you get down South; you will find 
lots there that are only two by six." That 
meant we would find our graves. We pjiid no 
attention to their taunts but kept on up through 
the streets. While we were on Fourth street a 
woman thrust her head out of a window in the 
second stor}^ and exclaimed, "Hurrah for the 
Ninth Illinois Cavalry and the girl I left behind 
mel" That set the bovs all in "ood humor, and 


we arrived at Benton Barracks without anv 
further adventure worth}- of note. 

The Barracks were somewhat in the shape 
of a square, only a good deal longer than it was 
wide. They were built to accommodate about 
liftv thousand troops. The parade ground 
covered one hundred acres, and the barracks 
were all around the parade grounds. I do not 
know just how many troops were there when 
we were, but should judge that there w^ere about 
thirty thousand, all waiting for arms, as we had 
not drawni any as yet ourselves. 

Our stables were just in the rear of our quar- 
ters, and about all we had to do was to take 
care of our horses and drill once a day. Some- 
times some of our boys were a little cpiarrel- 
some, and if a man wanted to fight it did not 
take long for him to find someone who would 
accommodate him. Our officers hardlv ever in- 
terfered; they said it was better to let them fight 
it out than to be everlastingly' quarreling, and 
it proved to be the best in the long run, for after 
w^e got into the field there was hardly ever any 
fighting among our own men. 

Well, the 22d of February' came around, 
Washington's birthday, and there was a grand 
parade of all the soldiers of Benton Barracks. 
Every soldier had to fall into line to march 


through ihc city of St. Louis. Now, reader, ste]) 
out of the barracks and take a look up and 
ilown the long ]iarade ground; hrst come the 
buglers, now the drummer and fifers, then the 
regimental bands, all playing at once; look at 
the soldiers coming out of the barracks; the par- 
ade ground is blue with them as far as the eye 
can reach, all taking their jiositions in the ranks. 
Bugles are sounding, drums, hfes and bands are 
playing. Then Col. Brackett comes up, "Pre- 
pare to Mount!" " "Mount!" is the command, 
and the whole regiment is in saddles. "March," 
the regiment is in motion. Then Gen. Smith 
comes along in front of our regiment. "Well," 
said -he, "I have seen some very fine looking regi- 
ments this morning but I must say that the 
'Ninth Illinois Cavahn^' takes the cake for fine 
appearance." Now, reader, do not blame us if 
w^e did straighten up a little more in our sad- 
dles and try to look more like soldiers. 

Awav we w^ent; now^ look back and see the 
boys in blue coming; first cavalry and artillery, 
then infantry, bands playing and flags flying. 
Oh, what a sight! On w^e go through the city, 
which has taken on a holida^^garb. Every win- 
dow is full of flags; every place of business shows 
the stars and stripes, and taking it altogether 
it w^as a beautiful sight. The 23d of February 


we drew our sabers and revolvers. We received 
marching orders for Pilot Knob, Mo., whither 
we started to the lower end of the city, and 
camped out on the levee. I shall never forget 
that night; the first night we had ever camped 
out. The piercing cold wind from the river with 
no tents to help break it, chilled us through; no 
wonder no one slept that night. The next 
morning we put our horses on the train and 
started for Pilot Knob. After arriving we went 
to camp in and around the place. It was a very 
mountainous country, one mountain after an- 
other as far as you could see. We divided off 
into squads, and ever3^ squad hacl their cooks 
appointed; we then came down to government 
rations, hard tack and pork, and you can bet it 
was hard tack and no mistake; you could 
scarcely break it with a hammer. We pitched 
our tents and went into camp life in dead ear- 
nest. The citizens told us that the Johnnies had 
just vacated the place and everybody was on 
the lookout the first night for an attack from 
the enemy. Out on the picket could be heard 
shot after shot, it being the first night, it kept 
the camp in a state of excitement. I do not 
think there was a rebel within forty miles of us; 
the pickets simply got frightened at the hogs 
that were running around through the brush. 


The liogs felt somewhat ashamed of the exeite- 
ment, aiul after the first night, our regiment 
came right u\) to time and every soldier did his 
(liitv like a man. 


Well, we were in the field at last, and when 
we were not drilling or on duty, we were either 
writing to our friends, or climbing the moun- 
tains to see what there was to "he seen. Up on 
Pilot Knob mountain there runs two tracks for 
the purpose of running the iron ore from the top 
of the mountain to the bottom where it' was 
melted. The full cars coming down, drew up 
the empty ones. The mountain is very steep, 
fully a mile high. Some of the boys of our com- 
pany would get in the car at the top of the 
mountain, and get one or two of them in at the 
bottom, and then take off the brakes; away 
they came, while the others that got in at the 
bottom would shoot up like a sky-rocket. We 
were doing this one day when the ropes broke. 
If we had been shot out of a cannon we could 
hardly have gone much faster. Some went one 
way and some another. I looked down the 
mountain, where there was a large pond and as 
soon as I got the mud and dirt out of my e^^es 
so I could see, the first thing my eves rested on 


was two fellows fishing;- themselves out of the 
pond. Thev got oft" the easiest of any of us. for 
they simply got a ducking, while the rest of us 
were all bruised up. The car that we were in 
did not go over one hundred feet before it busted 
into ten thousand pieces. We hobbled back to 
camp to mend our clothes, and came to the con- 
clusion that if any of the rest of them wanted to 
ride they were welcome to it, for we had all we 
wanted. • 

By this time we had grown somewhat used 
to camp life; every soldier found out what was 
required of him. We soon got orders to march 
south. We reached Black river after going over 
lofty mountains and through many small 
townis. It being about the 15th of March when 
we struck the river, it was bank full and the ice 
was running at a very rapid rate. As we came 
up to the river we stopped for a few moments to 
arrange our blankets to keep them from getting 
wet and then we plung?:! in, with Col. Brackett 
taking the lead. "Come on, boj's," was his 
command. We all arrived safely, but somewhat 
wet; our horses had to swim for about two hun- 
nreci yards. The stream was about three hun- 
dred yards wide at this point. There was a 
Dutchman with us by the name of Sands. He 
saw a large cake of ice coming straight to him, 


and, knowing if his horse was struck it would 
drown, he slid off behind and grabbed the horse 
bv the tail and came out all right. We came 
verv near losing a number of our horses; the\' 
were completely chilled, but by perseverance we 
finally got them safe to land. 

As soon as we were all over three of our com- 
panies were ordered to mount. The wind blew 
cold from the north and of course our clothes 
were wet clear through, but we were young and 
did not mind this. 

About twenty miles from the place where we 
crossed was a mill where they ground grain and 
made flour for the surrounding inhabitants. 
Now at this mill the rebels were stationed; there 
were about eight hundred, all armed with 
double-barreled shotguns. Away we went and 
when we got within two miles of the Johnnies' 
camp we stopped to give our horses a rest, and 
then on we went like the wind. We soon came 
in sight of the mill; close to it was a bridge 
w^here a rebelguard was walking back and forth, 
with an old double-barreled shotgun on his 
shoulder. He was agood specimen of the south- 
ern soldier. He was nearly six feet high. On his 
head he wore a slouch hat, was dressed in his 
butternut suit and did not look as if he had 
been shaved for six weeks. The tobacco iuice 

1(> Tin-: DISPATCH canrihk. 

w IS running down each side of his cheeks, and 
as \ve rode up to him he looked up. shifted his 
tobacco from one check to the other and said, 
"Who is yon'ns?" Oiu" ca])tain replied, "We are 
Yanks. (Tive up your gun; you are a prisoner 
now." "I'll be darned! If that don't beat all." 
lie o-ave up his gun and was taken back to the 
rear and placed under guard — the first prisoner 
the Ninth Illinois Cavalry had captured. 

About half a mile from the bridge was an 
open place in the timber, close to the river, and 
here the Johnnies were camped. They were just 
organizing and, of course, did not understand 
about discipline, consequently did not have any 
camp guard out. We formed a line of battle 
and charged right into their camp; some started 
for the timber, some jumped into the river and 
iindertook to swim, and some few got awa}', 
but the most of them were captured . They -were 
iust in the act of getting supper; their camp 
kettles hung over the fires all along the camp. 
Well, now^ let me tell \'OU we were hungry and 
that supper just came in time, and of course we 
helped the Johnnies eat it. We captured six 
hundred prisoners, all their camp equipments, 
about four hundred double-barelled shotguns and 
two hundred old muskets and rifles. We sent 
word back to camp for w^agons and teams to 


haul what we had captured to camp; for the 
rebels onl^^ had two teams and they were as 
poor specimens as I ever saw. 

The "Ninth" came out victorious, and I tell 
you we were proud; more than proud, for we 
had an idea that me could clean out the whole 
Confederacy, but me soon found out that the 
Johnnies could fight. We put a heav\'^ guard 
around our prisoners that night and the next 
morning marched fhem back to camp. 

This being early in the spring of 1862, of 
course we had not learned much discipline. We 
had not been in camp long before the camp- 
diarrhoea broke out; there w-ere twentj^-five or 
thirty deaths, but no monder, tor all we had to 
eat was hard tack, bacon and coffee. Most of 
the "ninth" was made up of farmers, and thc}^ 
had been in the habit of having plenty of every- 
thing good to eat, and of course coming down 
to hard tack mas pretty hard on us. 

Our business while camping at this place was 
to forage for our horses, but to forage for our- 
selves was strictly forbidden. If our boys came 
in wath chickens they had to give an account of 
how they got them and if they could make the 
officers believe the\^ had bought them and paid 
good hard money, it was all right, but if the\^ 
found out that the boys had stolen them, they 

18 Till-: DISPATCH carkihu. 

would be sevcivlv punished. I reineniber one 
man who Cci'iu in with a few potatoes, and as 
he could not ^ivo a straight account as to how 
he got theai, he was forced to carry a rail that 
weighed 50 pounds for twenty-four hours; hut 
this was in '62. They were not (juite so strict 
in '()3, '64 and '65; but you may depend that 
while the officers were watching us, we were 
ahvays on the lookout for them. 

One bright morning three companies of our 
regi nent got orders to go on a foraging expedi- 
tion, and I was one to go and I was very glad 
of it, for mounting guard and drilling began to 
gro X old and anything new was hailed with 
delight. "Boots and saddles," was the call that 
rang out in silver notes from our bugles. 
Every man was in the saddle in an instant. 
Fiiially the Major gave the command, "March," 
and we were in motion. The largest part of the 
command went in advance of the teams. I 
b^ing a sergeant in my company, was ordered 
to take ten men to act as rear guards, and, of 
cours.', we were in the rear of the wagons, so we 
had a good opportunity to do a little foraging 
on O-ir own hook. We w^ound around hills, 
forde.l creeks and finally came to a halt, about 
five iiiihs fro:n camp. The teams were still on 
the .si :le hill and the main bodv of the men were 


ill the valley below. Up to our right a short 
distance from the road was a small log cabin 
with a number of smaller buildings around it. 
Said I: "Boys, do you think there is any chance 
for getting anything to eat up there?" Now, if 
someone will sta\^ here and let me know when 
the command starts, we will go and see what's 
up there. The understanding between the sol- 
dier and teamster was that if the soldier got 
anything, and the teamster hid it for him in the 
wagons and took it to camp, they were to 
divide equally. 

I took two men and up the side hill we went; 
rode up to the fences that surrounded the build- 
ings and dismounted; one man held the horses 
while my comrade and I jumped over the fence 
and went up to the house. We rapped on the 
door, no answer; rapped again, no answer; 
pulled on the latch string and the door opened. 
There was no one there; everything lay in all 
sorts of confusion; chairs, pots and kettles all 
over the floor, just as if the people had been 
frightened away. We found nothing to eat 
there so we went out to the small buildings; 
opened one after another, but found them all 
empty except one, and that one had a large fat 
calf in it. Comrade Carlyle grabbed him b}^ the 
neck, I got him by the tail and down the hill we 


went. We rtiially got him to the wagon, tied 
his feet together, and got him in just as the 
bugle sounded "boots and saddles." On we 
went, over hills and through valleys; for about 
five miles; nothing happened within this time 
only an occasional blat from our calf. We 
finally came to a large swamp through which 
our way led, and we forced one of the natives to 
pilot us through. Now, dear reader, understand 
that we were in Arkansas and it was not very 
thickly settled, so you see we had to go some 
distance from camp to forage. 

Arkansas is almos^ an unbroken forest; hills 
and swamps, with no bridges to cross on. Un- 
derstand that I am speaking of war times. 
After we got through the swamp we came to a 
beautiful island and here were two large planta- 
tions on which was plenty of corn. It was get- 
ting late so we went into camp for the night 
close to one of the farms. Now there were lots 
of hogs running around, and let me tell 3^ou 
everj^bod}' had fresh pork for supper. Some had 
chicken, and some turkeys; some had potatoes, 
and I saw one man that had a piece of corn 
bread with butter to put on it; let me tell you 
he was getting too high-toned for a soldier. 
The Major put out a strong guard that night 
but we were not disturbed. The next morning 


we loaded our wagons and after doing- so, 
we started for camp. Every little while our 
calf would give an unearthh- blat, and the Ma- 
jor would run back to look under the 
wagon and on both sides; linalh' he got back to 
the rear guard, and said he, "Sergeant, I have 
heard several times something like a calf bawl- 
ing." "Well, Major, I'll be darned if I haven't 
heard it, too." The Major gave me one look 
and went back again. 

Now for the benefit of the reader that does 
not understand our army wagons, I will explain 
them. -They were all covered and we had par- 
titioned the back part of the wagon off to make 
room for our calf, so w^hen the Major came back 
examining the wagon, all he could see was the 
front part of it and of course that was all full of 
corn. To say that he was mystified does not 
describe it, but when he got back to the front 
he told the Captain that some blasted fool of 
a soldier could blat like a calf. We got back to 
camp all right and as we had no place to put 
our corn we left it in the wagon and when it 
got dark we moved our hams to our mess tent 
and butchered our calf the next morning. E ver v- 
body had a good breakfast and the Major ate 
some of that calf and asked no questions. 


We stayed some two or three weeks at this 
place, then got orders to go further south. We 
arrived at Jacksonport, on White river, and went 
in camp again. The inhabitants, I might say 
the whole surrounding country, were the strong- 
est kind of rebels; the town contained about five 
hundred inhabitants. Just above the towm, 
probably half a mile, the Black and the White 
rivers came together and formed a junction, so 
the White river was navigable from Jacksonport 
to the Mississippi, which w^as 150 miles by river. 
About five miles back of Jacksonport is a swamp 
that commences at Black river and runs across 
the country for fifteen miles and empties into 
White river below the town, so Jacksonport and 
quite a strip of country was on an island. The 
reason I give this place such a thorough descrip- 
tion is because some very interesting incidents 
happened here. About fifteen miles above Jack- 
sonport is a small town called St. Charles, and 
in order to reach the place by the wagon road 
we had to cross an old rickety bridge, which 

OUR JIM. 23 

was a good half mile in length. We got most of 
our forage in and around St. Charles. This^part 
of Arkansas is more level but covered b\^a dense 
growth of timber. Our regiment had been thin- 
ned out some by sickness. We had about 800 
fit for duty. Every morning you would see a 
long string going to the hospital tent to get 
their quinine. A great many of our boys when 
they got sick would give up. The}^ did not find 
mother, sister or wife; no, they did not find home 
care, and were exposed to storms with nothing 
but a thin canvas to protect them. Then the sick 
soldier had no delicacies such as mother would 
have prepared him. He would hear nothing 
but rough words. Of course, the boys that 
waited on the sick did all they could for them, 
but at the best it was not home. As I said be- 
fore, some would get sick and home-sick, too, 
and that kind of a soldier was almost sure to 
die. When our boys went out foraging they 
would always bring back something for the sick 

We had one young man in our regiment whom 
we called Jim. Now this young man does not 
live far from me to-da\^ The reason I do not 
give his name in full is because his wife does not 
wish to draw public attention to their family 
aftairs. This young man Jim was always for- 


ai^in<4 lor the sick ho vs. lie would slip 
around the guards and be <;-one two or three 
days at one time. The next thing you knew 
some one woidd say, "Here comes Jim." Sure 
enough, here he comes loaded down with chick- 
ens, hams, sweet ])otatoes, butter, or anything 
that one could get in the country. Of cotn-se 
they would punish him severely, but that made 
no difference with Jim; as soon as he got loose 
he would give the guard the slip and iiwav he 
would go again for something good to eat, 
which he generally found, and gave his sick 
comrades the lion's share of it. Jim started out 
one fine morning and as he got to the bridge told 
the sergeant of the guard that he had a pass to 
cross the bridge. He had written it himself, 
but the guard knew no difference so he let him go 
and on he went till he came to St. Charles. He 
rode up to a large plantation house, dismounted 
and tied his horse. Now, Jim was as fine a speci- 
man of a man as one would wish to see; only 
eighteen years of age, blue eyes, light curh^ hair 
and a smile always on his face. As he went up 
the walk he saw a young ladv sitting out on the 
porch sewing. 

Jim walked up to the porch, took off his hat 
and made a very polite bow. The young lady 
looked up, took him in from head to foot, then 


went on with her sewing, paying no more at- 
tention to him. Said Jim, "Look here, sis, have 
you any sweet potatoes, butter, chickens, or 
anything good to eat? We haye some sick sol- 
diers do\yn at camp and I came out to see if I 
could buy them something good to eat." Jim 
did not haye a cent in his pocket; his plan was 
to get whatever he could and skip out. Now, I 
will give you a description of the young lady. 
She was also eighteen years of age, black eyes 
that fairly blazed when angry, and ^yhen in 
a good humor they were soft as a fawn's. She 
was a regular bnuiette, line form, rather below 
medium height and beautiful black hair that 
reached within four inches of the floor when she 
was standing. Her name was Virginia La Ford 
and was called a creole. The girl looked up at 
him, her eyes blazing, and said, "No sir; w^e have 
nothing to sell to the Yankees." ''You haven't? 
well, that is all right, I will help myself," said 
Jim. Away he went. An old colored woman 
told him to go down cellar, which he did, and 
got a roll of butter, sweet potatoes, and some 
honey, then he went back to where the young 
lady was and said: "Sis, haven't you got any 
preserves or any kind, of fruit?" Said she, 
"Young man, I think 3^ouhad better look behind 
you before you go any further." On looking 


around, what was his astonishment to sec a 
whole company of rebels riding u]) to the front 
of the house. "Hide me for (lod's sake, for they 
will kill me sure." "Do you think that I am a 
fool that I would hide you after you have been 
robbing me?" "Hide me, please do, and vou 
will never regret it the longest day vou live." 
"Well, I will hide you." So she took him away 
up in the garret and left him there. He crawled 
around some old rubbish and then lay still as a 
mouse. In the meantime the Johnnies rode up, 
took Jim's horse, came in and asked what had 
become of the Yank. The girl told them that he 
had skipped out to the woods; and after 
searching everywhere for him, took his horse 
and went on. The girl went up and told Jim to 
come down. "Now," said she, "don't think 
that I hid you because I thought anything of 
you or \'Our cause, but I hid you because I did 
not want your stinking carcass in our j-ard; and 
now you go, and don't ever show 3'our face here 
again. Jim made as polite a bow as he could, 
thanked her very kindly, and started for camp. 
At night he came up to my post and told me all 
his troubles. We took him in, gave him supper, 
and the next morning took him back to camp. 
The Colonel soon heard of Jim's mishaps, and 
began to question him. "I. understand you 


have run the guard and been foraging on your 
own hook." "Yes, sh"," said Jim, his clear, blue 
eyes looking straight in the Colonel's face. 
"Well," said the Colonel, "I'll try and keep you 
in camp after this, and he put a ball and chain 
on him and kept a strict guard over him. Jim 
v^as marched off to the guard camp with a ball 
and chain fastened to his ankle. 

These things may seem cruel to the reader, 
but let me tell you that if we had no discipline 
you may depend we would not have any army 
long. Our boys were punished for the most 
trifling affairs, and then there were times when 
they were not, when they actually needed it; but 
as a general rule our officers sympathized with 
the soldiers when they went out foraging and 
were alwa3^s willing to help eat what they got. 

A few days after the irons were taken from 
Jim I was ordered to go on picket guard to the 
long bridge; I hadn't been there long when who 
should come up but Jim, on foot and alone. 
"Hello, Jim! What brought you out here?" 
"My legs," said Jim, "and I want to cross that 
bridge." "I have orders to shoot the first man 
that tries to cross that bridge without the 
countersign," said I. "All right," said Jim, and 
before we hardly knew what he was up to, he 
Avas half wav over, running like a deer. Mv first 

28 tin: nisi'ATcii cakkihr. 

thought was that he was deserting. Ot eourse 
we tired our guns and ordered "Halt," but away 
he went and disappeared around the bend of the 
road. About four o'clock in the afternoon we 
could hear the faint sound of firing in the dis- 
tance; it came closer and closer, and around the 
bend in the road we could see the dust rolling 
up over the trees and the firing grew more dis- 
tinct. Of course we were alwa3^s ready for an 
attack. We formed a line across the bridge, 
when all at once a man on horseback came in 
view. Here he comes right on the bridge. 
Lookl The bridge will go down; see how it 
sways! On he comes. It is our Jim! He passes 
us like a flash. Here come the Johnnies. 
Ready, aim, fire! There goes one Johnnie; he is 
dragged along the ground by one foot. Ah, he 
is loose. On comes his horse straight across the 
bridge. "Give them another volley, boys." 
Zip, zip, went the rebels bullets. Now they turn 
back; away they go around the bend and dis- 

"Hello, Bill," said one of my comrades, "this 
is a fine horse of the rebs;" he was as wet as if 
he had just come out of a river. He had been 
ridden hard and long. Over on the other side of 
the bridge and on a little rise of ground, in the 
middle of the road, lav the rider where his com- 


rades had left him. We walked over to him and 
found him lying on his face, with his eves wide 
open. Dead? Yes; he was shot in the left 
breast. We moved him out to one side of the 
road and went back to our post. 

Just got back when two companies of the 
Ninth Illinois Cavalry came riding up. Capt. 
Blackburn said, "We heard j^ou were attacked 
and came to reinforce you." There was no need 
of that. Before dark a rebel lieutenant came 
riding up with a white flag and wanted the 
privilege of taking his comrade away, which 
Capt. Blackburn gave him. 

The next morning when we got to camp, we 
found the officers all around Jim, trying to buy 
his horse. It was a large bay stallion and the 
finest horse in the regiment, and Jim rode that 
horse through the war, and he has the saddle 
and bridle to-day to show his friends. 

Well, in this attack was the first gun powder 
that I smelled, and the first man that I saw 
killed; so the very next day I wrote home that I 
had seen a fight. Not one of our men got hurt, 
so it could hardly be rated as a skirmish, but 
before the war was over, you may depend, I 
found out what a real battle meant. 

Well, Jim had a horse again and everyone 
was praising him up, and this was the wa}' he 


p^ot it. After he left us, he never stopped run- 
ning till he was a good mile from the bridge, 
then got down to a walk, and after going seven 
or eight miles, he came to a large plantation 
house where there were nine or ten horses tied 
to the fence. Jim crawled up close and soon saw 
that they were rebel's horses, and the rebs were 
iill inside except one who was sitting on the 
porch keeping guard; or as Jim said, "talking to 
a mighty good-looking girl." Jim slipped along 
the fence, at the same time watching the porch, 
and when the two there got quite interested in 
•■each other, Jim slipped up, cut the hitching: 
strap, and was in the saddle and off like a shot. 
He got the best horse they had, and also got the 
horse from the same party that stole his horse. 
We found that out by a prisoner that was taken 
shortK' after. 

In about two weeks after this I was on picket 
at the long bridge again, when Jim came riding 
upon his fine horse. "Hello, Billl I have a pass 
to go over the bridge again." Well, Jim was 
honest this time. The doctor got a pass for 
him to go out for food for the sick soldiers, and 
there was no one in the regiment that could beat 
him for that. "Good-b3'e, Jim, don't let the rebs 
get that horse from you Avhile you are spark- 
ing:." "Look out for vourself." Most everv 

jim's proposal. 31 

one of the boys had something to sa}' to him as 
he crossed the bridge. He went straight up to 
St. Charles, rode up to the same house where he 
lost his horse. The same young lady was sit- 
ting where he last saw her, and he walked up to 
her, made a very polite bow and said, "How do 
yoti do, sis?" And she replied, "I thought I told 
you never to come here again." Jim looked at 
her and said: "Now look here; listen to me for 
one moment. In the first place I love you, and 
want you to be my wife. I have thought of 
you, and dreamed of 3'ou, and the fact is you are 
here between two contending armies; you are 
liable to be burned out, then you would have no 
place to go to. Now, way up north in Illinois I 
have a nice little home, and one of the best 
mothers living there all alone, out of liearing of 
the war; all is peace there, and I want to send 
you to my mother to be a daughter to her; I 
know she will love you for her son's sake, it 
nothing else. ' ' What girl could resist such plead- 
ing from such a handsome young fellow as our 
Jim?^ She looked up at him and seeing he was in 
dead earnest said: "When would you want me 
to go?" "Right away; there is a lady from our 
town who is going back to-morrow, and you 
can go right home with her." "I will go in and 
see what mother says." She slipped in the 


house, wliilc Jim stood Iwistini^- his hat in his 
hands as if he was goint^ to make a rope of it. 
Presently the girl came to the door and told him 
to come in. which he did, and found the old ladv 
sitting in a rocking chair. As Jim went in the 
old lady looked up and told him to be seated. 
She asked him a gi-eat many questions about 
his home and mother, to which Jim answered 
satisfactorily-. The old lady stepped out so Jim 
and the girl could talk over their affairs alone. 
Said she: "Young man, you are a stranger to 
me and an enemy to our cause; I do not even 
know \^our name, but I will marry you on two 
conditions — one is that you will let my mother 
go with me, and the other is that I am not to be 
\'Our wife in the true sense of the word till this 
war is over, and then I want it understood that 
if I see anything in your character that is ob- 
noxious to me, you are to bring me home here, 
and forever leave me alone," to which our Jim 
gave cheerful consent. They were married by a 
minister who lived close b\', and Jim sent his w4fe 
and mother-in-law^ up to Illinois, and just let me 
whisper in your ear, dear reader, they are there 
vet, and j^ou may depend there is not a nicer 
familv for miles around. 


One fine morning my Captain told me to re- 
port to Col. Brackett. I walked up to regimen- 
tal headquarters. The Colonel was writing 
when I stepped into the tent; he looked up and 
said, "Be seated for a moment." He soon got 
through with his writing, folded it up, put it in 
a large envelope and handed it to me, saying, 
"Sergeant, have you a good horse? " Now, my 
reader, excuse me if I was proud of my horse 
for there was not one in the regiment that 
could outrun or outjump mine. "Well," said 
the Colonel, "You may need just such ahorse be- 
fore you get back to camp." "I want you to 
take this dispatch to Gen. Curtis, some thirty 
miles from here, and wait his orders." Any- 
thing of this kind just suited me, for I was fond of 
adventure. I w^ent to headquarters and handed 
my dispatch to Gen. Curtis; as he tore open the 
envelope he told me to stop a moment to see what 
it said. After he had read the contents, he 
looked me over from head to foot and finally 
asked, "What regiment do vou belong: to?" "I 


belong to the Ninth 111. Cavalry, Co. I." "What 
is your name?" "William N. Tyler." "Well, I 
think you are the very man I want. I have a 
dispatch to send to Colonel Wyman, who is act- 
ing brigadier-general at Little Rock, Ark., one 
hundred and fifty miles south. Now the road is 
infested with rebels; are you willing to under- 
take it?" "Yes, sir," said I. "Well," said the 
Colonel, "report to me in the morning and I will 
give you instructions and dispatches." Gen. Cur- 
tis was a fatherly old man, but very strict. He 
was all of six feet high, gray eyes and hair. He 
was good to his men and did all he could to keep 
them in good health and well clothed, but would 
punish severely if an3' were caught foraging on 
their owm hook. He gave me orders to report 
to a cavalry regiment and they would find me 
quarters for the night. Early the next morning 
I was on hand but had to wait until almost 
noon before the General was read}- for me. He 
handed me three large envelopes and said, 
"Now, Sergeant, I want you to take these dis- 
patches to Col. Wyman at Little Rock, and 
wait his orders. If you get in close quarters 
with the rebels and are in danger of being cap- 
tured, be sure to destroy the dispatches. What- 
ever you do, don't let the rebs get them. My 
orderlv will go across the river with you, and 


the Captain out on picket post will instruct you 
when to start and what road to take." While 
the General was giving me my orders all the 
officers had their eyes bent on me, so you may 
be sure I was glad when the General gave the 
final order. 

The orderly, and myself mounted our horses 
and rode down to the river. There was a pon- 
toon bridge out for about two hundred yards, 
and the balance of the river was crossed by a 
ferry boat — what they called a rope ferry.' It 
was run by means of a rope fastened from one 
shore to the other. The men on the boat would 
draw it by the rope from one side to the other. 
Just two days before I got there they were 
crossing with some artillerv and horses, and as 
the}-- were in the center of the river the horses 
got frightened and became uncontrollable, cap- 
sizing the boat and drowning nine men and a 
number of horses. We got safely across and 
commenced to climb the mountain on the other 
side. Finally we reached the top and oh! what 
a sight met our eyes; we could see for miles 
around to the north, but to the south it was all 
hills and mountains. My road lay directlj^ 
south, so it proved a pretty rough one. When 
we got to the top of the mountain and looked 
down on White river, I could not see how it was 


possible for our horses to haul the artillery up 
the mountain. It looked to mc that a horse 
•had all he could do to climb it without pulling 
anything. The picket post was on the summit 
of the mountain. The orderh' that came with 
me took the Captain to one side and had quite 
a long talk in an undertone and finally came 
back to me, reached out his hand and bade me 
good-b3'e and told me not to let the rebsget me. 
Then he went back again. The Captain of the 
guard came up and told me to dismount. After 
giving my horse to a man, I went to where the 
guards w-ere sitting around the fire. Some were 
cooking and some were telling stories. One tall 
fellow was telling about being kept in irons for 
four days. He looked up and saw me standing 
back a little and told me to come to the fire. 
"Stranger, the wind blows mighty cold up here 
on the mountain." I walked up and sat down, 
drank some coffee and ate hard tack and bacon, 
so had as good a dinner as if I had been in m^- 
own camp. 

"So the}' have had 3'ou in irons four da3's?" 
* Yes, you see the old General is mighty strict 
about our foraging, but the other day we got 
out of corn and it is very scarce around here, so 
we got orders for a few to go out at a time and 
scour the country for corn. - 


"Our sergeant took ten of us and we started 
out; rode two days and was just on the point of 
coming in witli our corn when we met an old 
darkey who told us to follow an old blind road 
and we would find a farm house down there 
where there was plenty of corn. We went and 
found it just as he said, but only having one 
wagon it clid not take long for us to fill it; then 
we looked arotmd for something good to eat. I 
got one ham and a pig, which I put in a gunny 
sack and threw across my horse and started for 
camp. Well, m}' pig kept kicking and I cut a 
hole in the sack so he could breathe; then he put 
his nose through the hole so he could take a 
view of the surrotmding country; after that he 
was quiet. 

"We got into Batesville all right and just as 
w^e were passing Gen. Curtis' headquarters my 
captain looked up and saw us coming. * Hello, 
boys! where did you get your corn? ' Of course 
that brought us to a halt. The captain looked 
around and saw me with my sack. 'John, 
what have you got in your sack? ' ' Corn, sir,' 
said I, and just then that infernal pig stuck his 
nose through the hole and squealed; now, you 
bet that fixed me." 

Just then the captain of the guard came up, 
told me to go with him and took me out to 


one side. "Now," said he, "I want to give 
YOU 3'onr directions." So he gave me verv 
plain directions about the route, so I felt verv 
confident that I would not have any trouble. 
"Now, you had better lie down and get all the 
rest you can. I will see that vou are wakened 
up in proper time, and see that you are pro- 
vided with rations, for you know it won't do 
for you to stop at houses for food." 

I lay down, rolled up in my blanket with my 
feet to the fire and w^as soon sound asleep, and 
did not wake up till the captain of the guard 
gave me a good shake. "It is twelve o'clock, 
get up and have a cup of coffee." I got up at 
once and rolled up mv blanket and was soon 
read}' to start. The same darke^^ that took 
care of my horse was sent along to guide me. 
The bo3's that w^ere awake all had something to 
say and the captain's last words were, "Take 
care of j^ourself, m\^ boy." 

We started. "Now," said the darkej-, "no 
use 3^our trying to ride in dis darkness, for de 
limbs of de trees brush you off from dat horse, 
sure." So I followed close to the darkey. It 
was just a narrow bridle path with blackberry 
bushes interlaced across it and branches of trees 
hung down so that I had some difficulty in get- 
ting my horse along. Said I: "This path has 


not been. traveled for years." "Hush, 3^011 must 
keep as still as you can, Tor we are not a great 
wa}^ from dem rebel guards." That was the 
first I knew of getting 'around rebel guards, so 
you may be sure after that I went along as still 
as possible. On we went over fallen limbs, hour 
after hour, till it was broad daylight. My 
clothes were covered with burs from head to 
foot, so I got the darkey to scrape them off with 
a knife and came out on the main road. "Now, 
mister, I is gone wid you as far as I can gO; so 
you must follow dis main road straight south. 
Good-bye, sir, hope j^ou will get through all 

I led my horse out in the middle of the road, 
examined mv carbine and revolver and found 
them all loaded and in good order. I mounted 
and turned south and jogged along slowly so as 
to keep my horse fresh," so if I had to I could 
make a good run. Over hills and lofty moun- 
tains I went all the forenoon and not a Johnnie 
did I see. I went back from the road about half 
a mile right in the heavy timber at noon, and 
made a cup of coffee and fed my horse with the 
only feed of corn I had with me. Went back on 
the road and on w^e went until dark. I had 
traveled all day and not a living thing had I 
seen except now and then a squirrel or rabbit. 


I was now looking for a place to camp. Finally 
I came to an old blind road that led off in the 
timber; after following this road for about two 
miles, T was just thinking about going in the 
brush and camping for the night, when all at 
once I saw a light ahead. The first thought 
was that there was a rebel cimp. I took my 
horse out in the thick brush and tied him to a 
small tree, and crawled on all fours till I got up 
close to the light, and found it to be a small 
cabin. The clay, from between the logs had 
fallen out and there was a bright fire burning in 
the fireplace, and it w-as the light of the fire 
shining through the cracks. I looked through 
and saw a large fleshy negro woman sitting in 
front of the fire smoking a corn-cob pipe and 
humming over some camp melody. I stepped 
up to the open door and said, "Good evening, 
aunty." I thought for-a fact she would jump 
out of her skin. 

"For de Lord sake, honey, how you scare 
lue; who is you? " 

"Aunty, are there any white folks close 
around here? " 

"No, hone}', no one lives close; no one lives 
here except me and my old man and he's gone 
out to catch a possum." 

"Then there are no soldiers that come here? " 


"No hoiie_v, der been no soldier here since de 
'vvar begun." 

"Well, aunty," said I, "can I stay here to- 
night? " 

" Course you can." 

"Have you got any corn for my horse? " 

" Course we have; we'uns got a cow and we 
alwa^^s keep fodder and corn both." 

I went back, got my horse and put him in an 
old shanty back of the house and gave him a 
good feed of corn and fodder. WJien I went in 
after taking care of my horse old aunty ^ was 
bxistling around getting supper. Just then the 
old man stepped in. He had an old flint-lock 
gun in one hand and in the other he had a pos- 
sum, sure enough. The negro was all of six feet 
in height and was just the opposite of aunty. 
He looked as if the wind would blow him away. 
His gun was as long as himself and looked as if 
it had been made in the year of one, it was so 
battered up. The stock had been broken many 
-times and tied up with strings, and the old dar- 
key looked about the same as his gun. No 
shoes on his feet, and oh! such feet it hasn't 
l>een mj^ lot to see for many a day. His ankle 
'was right in the middle of his foot. When he 
saw me I do not think I ever saw anyone more 
.astonished than he was then. His eyes looked 

42 Tin-: dispatch cakkikh. 

like two peeled onions, lie commenced to open 
his mouth and the more he looked the wider it 
opened. "Well, uncle," said I, "What do you 
think of me?" "Well," said he, shutting his 
mouth, "I don't know." I thought we were in 
the same boat as far as that was concerned. 
Old aunt}^ walked up to him, snatched the pos- 
sum out of his hand, gave him a smart box on 
the ear and said: "Ain't you got no manners? 
standin' der wid yer mouf open as wide as a 
barn door I You don't know nuffin ; you make 
me aipful 'shamed. Now, you go and sit down 
dere and don't open dat big mouf of yours till 
supper. Does 3'e heah? " I think he heard, for 
let me tell 3'ou, when she opened her mouth 3'ou 
would think there was a cyclone coming. 

It did not take aunt\' long to take the skin 
off that possum and clean it. She soon had it 
in the skillet wnih sweet potatoes. 

Old aunty passed close to me and saw my sa- 
ber. "Oh," said she, "What's dat?" I told 
her that the right name for it was saber, but 
most of the boys called it a cheese knife. "For 
de Lawd sake, is dat what you cut cheese w4d?" 
I explained its use to her, after which she asked 
me if I was a Yankee soldier. I answered in the 
affirmative. "Now, is dat so? My old marster 
told me that vou'ns had horns." Now, it may 


be that the reader will thmk this overdrawn,, 
but let me say that most any of my comrades 
will corroborate my statement when I say that 
not only did the negi'oes think that the Yankees 
had horns, but there were a great many white 
folks who would tell us the same thing; I re- 
member on one of our foraging trips we came 
up to a very nice farm house, and an old lady 
came out and said, "Are you'ns Yankees? why,, 
I thought they had horns." 

After old aunty got her curiositj^ satisfied she 
stepped to the door and got two large ears of 
corn and walked up to the fireplace and threw 
them into the fire. 

"What are you doing that for? " I asked. 

"I is goin' to make coffee out of dat corn. 
Don't you like coffee ? " 

"Yes, but I have better coffee than that." 

"Good Lord ! has you got store coffee? " 

"Yes." So I went out to my saddle-bags and 
brought in a large drawing of coffee. The ne- 
groes were highly delighted to get some coffee, 
and so was I to get as good a supper as I got 
that night. Reader, if you ever want a good 
meal go south and let some old black aunty 
cook you some sweet potatoes and possum to- 

The next morning, after I had my breakfast,. 


I went and got all the coffee I had except one 
drawing, and gave it to the old woman. I 
asked her how they came to be living away out 
there alone. 

"Well, I tell yon: my old man is the rail-sjilit- 
tcr, and my old master .sent us to split rails, and 
•dat is all we does." 


I thanked the old lady for her kindness and 
rode back to the road again, went over hills, 
forded creeks, passed farm-houses, but not • a 
rebel did I see. I began to think there were no' 
rebels in that part of the country, consequently 
got careless, and through my carelessness came 
within one of losing my life. 

It was almost twelve o'clock. Right ahead of 
me a little way in the valley that I was descend- 
ing to was a large frame house that stood close 
•to the road, and beyond this house about fifty 
yards was a creek that went across the road,, 
but no bridge over it. Now, I thought this 
would be a good place to eat dinner, so I rode 
down to the creek, watered my horse and as 
there was a large shade tree standing in front of 
the hoiipe I went back, dismounted, took the 
saddle off, wiped off my horse and put the sad- 
dle back on. I had brought corn from where I 
stayed all night. I took off the bridle and put 
the feed bag on my horse's nose and was about 
to eat my own dinner when, glancing around, I 


«a\v a negro standing b}^ the little gate. Said 
he: "Master, are you a Union soldier? " 

" Yes, sir." 

"1 thought so; well, sir, you is in a mighty 
bad fix. My master is in the house and he is 
Captain, and he has fifteen soldiers with him, 
and way up on de top of dat hill is a whole reg- 
iment of confederates, and the}- expect some 
more ever\' minute on the same road dat 3'ou 
came on. But see here now: you go straight 
through dat creek and you will find a bridle 
path that turns to the left. You go on that 
path till you come to the fence; go over the 
fence and down over the hill till 3'ou get down 
in a cornfield, den you can come by this same 
road again. 

While the negro was telling me which way to 
go, you may depend I was not idle; I pulled the 
feed-bag ofi" of that horse's nose and had the 
bridle on sooner than you could say "Jack Rob- 
inson." Now this rebel captain was watching 
every move I made. He turned to his men and 
said, "Now watch me and see how slick I will 
capture a Y'ankee." Reader, I will soon tell 3-ou 
how I found out what the rebel captain said. 
Just as I had got the bridle on, the captain 
stepped out with a double-barrelled shot-gun, 
(and I think the gtm must haA-ebeen loaded half 


full, the way it sounded) and said: "Surrender! 
you Yankee son-of-a-gun," Do not think that I 
am trying to make myself out brave, but let me 
tell you it was fight or die. My horse stood 
straight between the captain and me, and to 
snatch my carbine from the saddle was the 
w^ork of a second, and I brought it to mj^ 
shoulder. Just as my horse swung out of the 
wa\% both guns went off together. The bullet 
from my gun struck the stock of his and 
glanced off into his shoulder and knocked him 
down. I was on my horse in a flash and 
through the creek we went. The negro told me 
afterwards that the water flew thirty feet high. 
I found the path all right, but had to. lie down 
close to my horse to prevent the branches from 
sweeping me oft'. 

Away we went. I soon came to a fence and 
threw the rails down and started up the hill. I 
was obliged to lead my horse to the top, the hill 
being so steep. Just as I got to the top the 
Johnnies were at the bottom, and commenced 
firing up. When I got to the bottom of the 
other ^de of the hill, they were at the top and 
commenced firing down. Close to the bottom 
was a creek with very steep banks. My horse 
did not want to go through and I coaxed and 
whipped all to no eftect. I was about to leave 

48 Till-: DISPATCH cahriick. 

my horse, when "zip" came a l)iillet and struck 
him on the shoulder. He made a sprinj^- for- 
ward, almost jerking the bridle strap out of my 
hand. Through the stream he plunged and 
came within one of getting awavfrom me. The 
corn was just up to ni}- shoulders, and when I 
got started I do not believe I ever rode so fast 
in my life. The corn whipped my feet as if some 
one was striking me with a cane. 

In the meantime the Johnnies had got to the 
bottom of the hill and were blazing av.a}' at me 
with all their might. One bullet Avent through 
the rim of mj^hat and another through my coat 
sleeve. Finally, I came to a fence again. Right 
ahead of* me was a low place in it and over we 
went. When mv horse struck the ground I was 
all of a foot above him, and came down on the 
crupper. I made a grab for the saddle and 
saved myself from a fall, and I came near losing 
my horse again. 

I was out in the road once more ahead of all 
the rebels, and rode on for half a mile, stopped, 
dismounted and tightened up the girth. The 
blood was oozing out of the w^ound in my 
horse's hip. I looked back up the hill and saw 
the rebels coming again. I knew they had no 
horse that could catch me if the wound did not 
affect him. I kept a good mile ahead of them. 


but every time they got to the top oi a hill they 
would blaze away at me. 

About five o'clock, my horse commenced to 
get lame and I began to think I was gone up. 
I looked up on the hill ahead of me, and saw 
soldiers walking back and forth across the 
road. I reached into m}^ pocket for the dis- 
patches to destroy them when two men up 
from behind the fence and brought their gun to 
bear on me and said, "Don't destroy those pa- 
pers." I was caught. I saw that they both had 
blue coats on, but there were lots of rebels who 
wore blue clothes. I asked, "What regiment do 
you belong to . " ' 'We belong to the Thir teenth Ill- 
inois Infantry," they said. I never was so glad 
to see blue coats in m}^ life. The rebelg came to 
the top of the hill behind me and stopped. 
They could see that I had got to our guards. 
They fired one volley and retreated. In the 
meantime, our boys had formed a line across 
the road, but did not v^aste powder bv return- 
ing the fire. I rode up to the Captain of the 
guard, and told him I had dispatches for Col. 
Wj-man. He told me to dismount, and get a 
cup ot coffee, and he would see whether the 
wound my horse received was serious or not. I 
rubbed him down and gave the poor fellow 
some food. The bo3^s in blue got around me. 


askino all sorts of questions about my trip, and 
I orave them my experience from Jacksonport. 
They all listened very much interested. Finall}^ 
one of the men who was standing close to me 
said, "I'll be darned if there isn't a bullet hole 
through your hat rim." As the guard was five 
miles from the main camp, and my horse was 
played out, I stayed all night, and the next 
morning rode into camp, up to Col. Wyman's 
headquarters and delivered m}' dispatches. 
When I first started in the morning, my horse 
walked lame, but after we had gone a mile or 
two he did not seem to mind it. The Colonel 
read over the dispatch and looked at me from 
head to foot. "Well, did you see any of the 
Johnnies on your trip from Bates ville down?" 
"Yes, sir." "Well" said he, "the dispatches you 
brought order me with a brigade back to Bates- 
ville. We start back in the morning arid you 
go to our veterinary surgeon and let him see to 
your horse and you rest to-day, and to-morrow 
3'ou may go with us back to Bates ville, and 
when you get to where the rebel captai^i fired on 
A^ou, let me know. 

As I was wandering around the tent I found 
mv brother-in-law, Lewis Staftbrd, and had a 
good visit with him. The surgeon told me that 
mv horse would soon be all right. 


The next morning, bright and early, every- 
one was in motion. There were about five 
thousand troops, cavalry, artiller}^ and infan- 
try. We soon got on the road where the John- 
nies gave me such a close rub. All at once there 
was firing in front. It did not amount to much, 
just a small skirmish; two poor fellows w^ere 
brought back wounded. The first night we 
camped within five miles of where the rebel cap- 
tain fired on me. The next day about 10 o'clock 
we came up on a high hill and at the bottom 
was the plantation house. I recognized it at 
once as being the one where the rebel captain 
tried to show his men how slick he could cap- 
ture a Yankee. I rode up to Col. Wyman and 
pointed it out to him. "All right," said he, 
"you sta}^ with me and we will make a neigh- 
borly call on him." We rode up under the same 
tree where I was going to feed my horse, and 
dismounted; walked up on the porch and the 
same negro stood there. "My Lord! Is dat 
you? Dem soldiers dun told me dat day hang 
vou on. a tree." "Is your master in?" "Yes, 
sir, you broke his shoulder all to pieces." He 
opened the door and led us in; the captain lay 
on a couch, but had not had his wound dressed 
and it had become very painful. One of the 
men said: 


" You are wounded." -^ 

"Yes," (with an oath) "there was a Yankee 
scout who came along the other day, and he 
was just one second too quick for me." 

"Here is the man now," said our Colonel. 

The rebel captain looked at me and reached 
out his well arm and said, "Shake, stranger, 
you are a good soldier." 

The Colonel sent and had our surgeon dress 
his wound properly and said, "Now^ you are 
fixed all right. You can sta}^ here and no one 
will molest you, or 3'ou can go with us and have 
proper treatment." 

"Well," said the rebel captain, "let me take 
my nigger along and I will go where I can get 
proper treatment." 

They put him in an ambulance and took him 
along. The nigger told me all the particulars 
as we went along the road. He said his master's 
gun went off up in the air, that he hadn't got it 
pointed at me at all. 

We got to Bates ville all right. I went up to 
General Curtis' headquarters and reported. He 
gave me a dispatch to take to Colonel Brackett, 
Ninth Illinois Cavalry, my own regiment, back 
to Jacksonport. I was glad to go back to my 
own regiment again. It was like getting home. 
I had no mishap but got there all right, went 


to headquarters and delivered my dispatch. 
"You have got back," said the Colonel. "Take 
a rest to-day, for to-morrow I will send you out 
on a foraging expedition." 

The men were all glad to see me, and they all 
wanted to go out foraging with me the next 
day. They wanted to know all about my trip. 
I received two letters from home, and my folks • 
were all well, so I felt all right. 

Just as I had finished reading m}^ letters 
Colonel Brackett sent word for me to come to 
headquarters. I went. He told me to be 

"I have a letter from General Curtis here 
that you brought in the dispatches, that praises 
you very highly. He said you were every inch a 
soldier. I have changed my mind in regard to 
.sending you out on a foraging expedition. We 
have lost two very fine artiller}- honses, and I 
heard that they were some fort}^ miles north of 
here. You take one man and start in the morn- 
ing. Come to headquarters, and in the mean- 
time I will ascertain which way you are to go." 


I ran back to my tent, and just then Jim Car- 
lysle came along. 

"Jim, you are the very man I am looking for. 
I want you to be reach' to go with me in the 
morning. I explained what was wanted, and 
he expressed a desire to go. I went up to head- 
quarters, and the Colonel gave me a piece of 
paper with the man's name on that had the 

"Now, look sharp," said the Colonel, "it 
may be a trap to catch you." 

After getting instructions about the road, 
we started and crossed the long bridge five miles 
north of camp, and kept on until noon. Finally 
we came to a double log cabin. We rode up to 
it, dismounted, stepped to the door and 
knocked. For the benefit of the readers who 
never traveled south, I want to explain. All 
the houses if ever so small, have a porch in 
front. The double log houses are built sepa- 
rately, about ten or twelve feet apart, the roof 
covering the whole building. The chimney is 


built on the outside of the house, generally one 
on each end. Thev are built of stone or brick, 
about ten feet from the ground. The balance of 
the way they are built of clay and sticks. A 
lad\^ stepped to the door and told us to come in. 
I asked her if we could get some dinner. 

"0, yes; of course you can." 

The lady proved to be a Union woman. She • 
was a widow. There were any number of Union 
widows all over the south. They had husbands 
who were in the rebel army, but every time any 
of our forces were around they would claim to 
be Union women and call for protection, and do 
not forget it, our officers w^ere always on hand 
for protection. 

She gave us chairs and told us to be seated. 
She was a great talker, and asked us if we were 
married, and if we had children. Jim told her 
that he hadn't been married long. Then she 
wanted to know if his wife was prett\" and any 
amount of similar questions. All the time she 
was getting dinner her tongue was running. 
She told us that she had a large farm, was out 
of debt, and if she could get some real good man 
she didn't know but that she might be induced 
to marry again. I asked her it she knew of a 
man up north twenty or thirty miles by the 
name of Smith, for that A?vas the man Avho had 

56 Tin-; dispatch carrihk. 

our horses. She said shehad heard of the name. 
AVe then settled for our dinners, mounted our 
horses and rode on. 

We had not gone over a mile before \vc came 
to a swamp. It was about two miles through. 
It had a corduroy bridge, that is, logs about 
two feet in diameter, and twelve feet long, laid 
side by side. The water was about eighteen 
inches deep. Some of the logs were floating. 
When our horses stepped on them the\' would 
sink. W'e went on until we got about half wa}' 
across, and came to a place where three of the 
logs had floated out. If by accident our horses 
should get in the swamp, it would be almost 
impossible to get them out. You could take a 
ten-foot rail and push it the entire length in the 
mud. We got down from our horses and after 
about two hours' work, got the logs back to 
their places. Away off in the timber we heard 
the distant sound of thunder. The air was 
stifling. The trees on each side o. the bridge in- 
terlaced overhead. It was almost dark, so we 
had to ride very slowly. The road was getting 
worse and worse, and clouds had covered the 
whole heavens. About three o'clock it began to 
get dangerous to ride, so we dismounted and 
led our horses. There came a flash of lightning, 
and we could see that we were almost over 


the swamp. Great drops of rain began to fall. 

"There is a house," said Jim. Sure enough 
we w^ere over the swamp and close to a large 

We had just got in a large log barn when the 
storm broke in all its fury. You could hardly 
see twenty feet, the trees falling in every direc- 
tion. For two whole hours the storm raged. 
In all my experience I do not think I ever saw 
so much water fall in so short a time. It began 
to get lighter and lighter; we could see small 
patches of blue sky, and finally it ceased raining. 
When the sun came out again it was pretty well 
down in the west. 

"Well, Jim, you wait here and I will go in 
and see if we can stay here to-night." I walked 
up to the house and was just turning the cor- 
ner when two large hounds made a jump at me. 
To draw my saber was the work of a second. 
We always carry our pistols in our saddles, and 
consequently I did not have mine with me. The 
dogs kept just out of reach until one made 
a jump at me and almost got me by the legs. I 
brought my saber down across his back and al- 
most cut him in two. Crack ! went a pistol. I 
looked around and there stood Jim with a smok- 
ing revolver in his hand, and the other dog lay 
quivering on the ground . 


"By thunder! Bill," said Jim, "Those dogs 
would have got away with you." 

I was almost tired out ; yes, and the old man 
was looking out of the window all the time, 
and never made one effort to call them off. 

"Well, let us both go in." 

We never waited to rap, but opened the door 
and walked in. An elderly man, probably fifty, 
sat in a chair, and a young lady sat on the op- 
posite side of the fireplace sewing. 

"How do you do, stangers." 

"Why did you not call off your dogs?" 

"Well, sir, those dogs were mine, and they 
Avere kept on purpose to keep such fellows as 
you off"." 

"Well, old man, they failed that time, and let 
me tell you that just such fellows as we want to 
staj^ here all night, and would like to have the 
young lady get us some supper, Jim, you go 
see to the horses and get my carbine and revol- 

The girl looked up to her father to see what 
he had to say. The old man looked at us and 

"Do you call yourselves gentlemen and force 
yourselves upon us?" 

"Now% that has nothing to do w^ith the case. 
Do you call yourself a gentleman and stand and 


see your dogs tear a man to pieces? There is 
only one thing about this matter: I want to 
know, miss, if you will get us some supper." 

"Yes, sir," said the girl, "If pa says so." 

"Well," said the old man, "Youmight aswell 
get them something to eat, for if you don't they 
might bum the house down." 

Just then Jim came in. It was now getting 

"Jim, you stay here to watch the old man 
and I will go out and see how things look 
around here. Don't let him go out of the room, 
and keep an eye on the girl, too." 

I went all around the place, and back close 
to the timber were two negro shanties. I step- 
ped up to one and knocked. 

"Come in, sir." 

I walked in. There were eight or nine ne- 
groes sitting around, from a little baby to an 
old, white-haired man. The old man raised up 
and said : 

"How do you do, sir; will you sit down on 
this bench?" 

"No, thank you ; I have no time to sit down. 
I would like to know if there are am^ confeder- 
ate soldiers camped around here," 

"No, sir; dar am no soldiers camped around 
dis place, and habn't been for two weeks, and 


da was Union soldiers dat was here tv. o weeks 


"I suppose YOur master is a Union man, isn't 

"No, sir; I is sorry to say that he is the hard- 
est kind of a rebel. His two boys are in de rebel 
army; and, sir, as soon as he found out that 3'ou 
were here, he made me ^o let the dogs loose. 
Dem dogs cost my master five hundred dollars. 
Dev was de best bloodhounds in dis part of the 

"Well, sir, I'm very much obliged for your in- 
formation," and turned to go. 

"Hold on, mister. For de Lord's sake, don't 
tell master dat I tole you anything! " 

I went back to the house and Jim w^as stand- 
ing by the door, watching ever}' move that was 
made. The girl had supper ready. 

Keep your carbine in your lap while you eat," 
said I, and we sat up to the table and ate a 
good, hearty supper. 

"Now, old man, w^e do not wish to abuse 
you or your family, but are going to stay here 
to-night, and if we see an}' treachery on your 
part your life won't be worth a cent. Now, 
Jim, you go to bed and I will wake you up 
promptly at twelve o'clock." 
, There being a bedroom close at hand Jim 


went in and was soon snoring like a bugle call. 
The girl could not restrain a smile at his snor- 
ing. The old man sat smoking his pipe, casting 
glances over to where I sat. Finally he broke 
out and said : 

"Now, look here, stranger, do you think you 
are going to sit there and bulldoze me all night 
and make me sit here?" 

"No, sir, you can go to bed just as soon as 
you please, but I want to see where you sleep." 

"You can't see where I or my daughter 
sleeps, and I want you to distinctly understand 

"All right, old man, you will stay just where 
you are, then." 

He jumped, to his feet and said, "I will not do 
it for any Yankee living. ' ' 

I cocked my gun and brought it to bear on 
the old man and said: 

"Make a move and you are a dead man. 
And, miss, you sit there, too." 

The old fellow turned as white as a sheet and 
dropped back into the chair as if he had been 

"Now, sir, the best thing you both can do is 
to keep quiet and not a hair of your head shall 
be harmed." 

Hour after hour passed until the clock struck 


one. The old man and his daughters were both 
nodding in their chairs. I waked Jim and told 
him to watch so the old fellow would not be 
playing any games on us. I went to bed and to 
sleep, and did not awake till sunrise. There 
was an old negro woman bustling around get- 
ting breakfast. We told the man and his 
daughter they could go anywhere in the house, 
but the\' must not go out until we left. The old 
man jumped to his feet and turned on me like a 
wildcat and said : 

"You will pay dearl^^ for last night's work." 

"All right; you need not think that we are 
going to give you a chance to inform your con- 
federate friends. You know this is all fair in 
war times. Jim, go see to the horses while I 

He soon returned and said that the horses 
were all right. We then sat down to the break- 
fast table without waiting for an invitation. 
Jim asked the old man if he wouldn't sit up and 
have some breakfast with us. The man snorted 
out with an oath, 

"I would die before I would eat with a 

Old aunty's eyes rolled around like saucers, 
and she said, "May de good Lord hab mercy on 
us all." 


The girl sat and \vatched every move, but 
had nothing to say. We finished our breakfast 
and started for the door, when Jim turned 
around and made a very polite bow and said: 

"We are much obliged for your kindness, and 
if you ever come our way, be sure and call on 
us." We then mounted and went on; the road 
was full of branches of trees and fence rails, so 
we had some trouble getting our horses along. 
As we got out into the road, we looked back 
over the swamp; it was a perfect sea of water. 
The logs had floated out and left great gaps in 
the road so it was impossible to go back the 
same way we came. We finally came out to a 
more thickly settled portion of the country, and 
found the roads a great deal better and the peo- 
ple seemed to be more communicative. They 
told us the man, Smith, lived only a short dis- 
tance ahead of us, so we got to his house about 
noon and found the horses all right. The house 
stood off from the road about a half a mile. 
We rode up in front of the house. There were 
eight or ten negro buildings all around the main 
building. The gentleman came out to meet us 
in the door vard. "Is your name Smith?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Have 3'ou got a couple of government 
horses here?" 


"Yes, sir." 

"Well, we have come alter them and you are 
to come to Jacksonport and our (juartermaster 
will par YOU for your trouble." 

We found Mr. Smith to be a true gentleman, 
and a true Union man. He said he did not 
want any pay, that he wanted to do something 
for Uncle Sam. He called on an old darkey to 
come for the horses, and told him to feed the 
horses and take good care of them. 

"Now, you men stay here all night and by 
morning the water will be down in the swamps 
so you will be able to get back all right. He 
told us of another w^ay to go back that would 
take us around the big swamp. We concluded 
to stay, for it did seem to be quite a rest to get 
among Union people. 

Now, my dear reader, let me tell you that 
when we did come across Jnion people in the 
south they were genuine. We were in a Union 
neighborhood; the last rebel we passed was the 
man we stayed all night with. Mr. Smith told 
us that if we hadn't watched the man he would 
have pla^^ed some underhanded trick on us. 
The next morning we started back to Jackson- 
port and traveled until noon, each leading a 
horse. We stopped at a farm house and got 
our dinner, then traveled on till night. We 


could see that there was another storm coming 
up fast, but luckily a plantation house came in 
view and we just reached it as the rain began 
to fall. The owner of the house came out and 
told' us to come in, which we did, leaving our 
horses in the care of a darkey. Although the 
man was a rebel from the top of his head to the 
sole of his foot, he told us that we yvert per- 
fectly welcome to his house and that we were 
just as safe there as if we had been in our own 
camp. I must say that he used us well; we 
hadn't been there over half an hour before sup- 
per was announced. The man introduced us to 
his family. There were three grown up daugh- 
ters and the old lady. They had only one son, 
and he was in the army. As they told us this, 
the tears started from the mother's eyes and 
the girls looked as if they "were ready to cry, 
too. We ate our supper in silence, then went to 
the sitting room and talked until bedtime. The 
next morning we offered to pay him, but he 
would take nothing. We then resumed our 
Journey and ended it just at twelve o'clock. We 
got to camp, rode up to headquarters and re- 
ported to Col. Brackett. 

"Well, sergeant, we were about to send a 
company out to look for you, as we began to 
think that the rebs had got you." 


The 21st of June, just the day before we got 
l)ack to camp with the horses, one of our scouts 
reported a rebel gunboat to come up the river, 
so Col. Brackett gave me orders to take ten 
men and go five miles below Jacksonport and 
watch for the boat. In the meantime the 
camp moved to the piece of land that divides 
the Black from the White river. We went be- 
low Jacksonport to the place stated and settled 
near a bend in the river where we had a good 
view of the river four or five miles. We had not 
been there long before we saw the black smoke 
rolling up away down the river. We w^aited 
until she rounded the bend, then fired off our 
carbines as we had orders and started back to 
camp. The inhabitants of Jacksonport had 
professed to be Union people, but as soon as 
they heard that a rebel gunboat w^as coming up- 
they altered their tune and called us all the 
mean names they could think of. Our officers 
had even put guards over their wells so as to 
keep the soldiers away. One woman in particu- 
lar had given our officers a great deal of 


trouble. She was a good Union woman at 
that, and a widow. She wanted a guard to 
keep the soldiers off her premises, and our offi- 
cers were just fools enough to do it. 

Well, we were the last soldiers to go through 
the town, and, let me tell you, the gunboat was 
coming faster than we had anj^ idea of. Just 
before we reached the town she sent a shell over 
our heads. We soon got in shelter of the town, 
and the citizens commenced to yell at us. Some 
said One thing and some another. Finally we 
came up in front of where the widow lived. She 
was out on the porch dressed in all her finery. 
As we were passing she called out: 

"Is that what you Yankees call skedaddl- 
ing?" One of our men turned in his saddle and 
said something that made her skip in the house 
in a hurry. 

We rode on until we got to the ferry, which 
was nothing but an old scow of a boat. We 
were soon on the boat, and in the meantime the 
gunboat had swung around and commenced 
throwing shells at us. The first shell went over 
us; the next struck the water a hundred yards 
from us, and the third struck close and threw 
the water all over us. Our horses became un- 
manageable. One jumped overboard and the 
rest came near upsetting the boat. The one that 


jumped overboard swam to shore all right. We 
landed our horses and one man went back in a 
small boat and got it and cut the rope. 

We had two large twelve-pound brass guns, 
and never fired a shot at the boat. I never 
did understand why they did not. But I know 
this much about it, we were ordered to mount 
and get out o. there. We went back about 
eight or ten miles and met troops coming to re- 
inforce us. The next morning we went back to 
Jacksonport, but found the gunboat gone. 

There was a large quantity of sugar stored 
at this place, and the Johnnies rolled out the 
hogsheads and spilt the sugar in the middle of 
the road. Our horses waded knee deep in sugar 
for two hundred yards. The farmers came in 
droves and .shoveled the sugarinto their wagons 
like sand. 

That night it rained. The ditches on both 
sides of the road were full of molasses. The citi- 
zens had a little more manners when we came 
back; there were no more guards put over wells, 
and not so much punishing going on if one of 
our men was caught foraging on his o v\ n hook. 

In a few days after this there were two com- 
panies sent out foraging, and some time in the 
afternoon we heard firing in the direction 
the foragers had gone. '"Boots and saddles" 


were sounded and the balance of the Ninth 
was on their way to reinforce. We soon 
came up with the teamsters who were driving 
for "dear life." We passed them and came up 
to where our men had formed a line. The rebels 
had also formed a line about three hundred 
yards in advance, and were crowding our men 
back, but as soon as we reinforced our men it 
turned the tide ot the skirmish. We drove them 
back. I do not think it lasted over half an hour 
and after we got through we had forty men 
wounded and three killed outright. This oc- 
curred June 12th, 1862, and was the first time I 
had been in a'skirmish. The rebels were mostly 
armed with double-barrelled shot-guns. Their 
loss w^as eleven killed and thirty wounded. We 
then went back to camp. 

Skirmishing now became almost an every 
day occurrence. Two companies were started 
on a foraging expedition down White river. 
After they got ten or twelve miles below Jack- 
sonport two companies of rebels came up on 
the other side. As soon as they came in sight of 
one another they opened fire. The river at this 
point w^as five hundred yards across. Finally 
the rebels ceased firing, and one tall rebel 
stepped out from behind a tree and hollered 
over to our men and said: 


" I will dare any single VanK to step out and 
have a fair, open stand up and fight with me, 
and we are to keep on firing until one goes 

Out jumped our Jim. "All right, Johnnie, are 
you ready? " IStew, both sides eased firing and 
looked on with interest. Jim was a splendid 
shot, and as cool as if shooting at a target. 
Both guns went off at once. The Johnnie 
called over, "Are vou hit, Yank? " 

"Not b}' a darned sight. Are you ? " 

"I'm all right, Yank." 

Jim took particular pains in loading. Both 
brought their guns to the ground together, 
reached and got a cartridge together, and pulled 
their ramrods together. The Johnnie pulled his 
out with a jerk and it flew ten feet away. By 
the time he had regained it and straightened up, 
Jim's gun was loaded. He brought it to his 
shoulder, took steady aim and fired. The rebel 
brought his hand to his breast with a slap and 
down he went. Just at this moment the rebels 
got a large reinforcement w^ith artillery, and we 
w^ere forced to fall back. A few days after, a 
rebel deserter came to our camp and told us 
that the rebel who fought Jim was in a fair way 
to get well, and that the bullet had struck in the 
center of a large package of letters that he had 


in his breast pocket and only made a slight flesh 

We theii returned to camp. It was getting 
late in the summer, and the country was in- 
fested with small bands of guerillas. A great 
many of them were fighting on their own hook, 
that is, they were nothing but robbers. They 
robbed the southern and Union people, and if 
they happened to run onto a small company of 
Union soldier's whom they could overpower by 
numbers, and take them prisoners, they would 
march them out into the woods and shoot 
them. Such fellows never came out in an open 
fight, but were always sneaking around in the 
brush, and that is what gave them the name of 
bushwhackers. If by accident one of our men 
was caught alone by the bushwhackers we 
never heard of him again. They would take 
him out in the woods and shoot him, pull off 
his clothes, and leave his body to be devoured 
by turkey-buzzards, and that is why so many 
rebel soldiers were dressed in blue. 

The women folks were even worse than the 
men; they poisoned the wells, and poisoned pro- 
visions and left them where our boys could 
easily find them, and at the same time rebel 
planters would call on our generals for protec- 
tion. As sure as they found out that our army 


was coming that way, they would want a pro- 
tection guard to kee]) the Yanks oft" their prem- 
ises, and our officers would almost always grant 
their request. 

One nice morning I had orders to report to 
headquarters. As I came up in front of head- 
quarters tent. Col. Brackett came out with a 
letter in his hand and said: 

"Sergeant, you are ordered to take two men 
and go ten miles up the White river to a plan- 
ter's hotfse and to guard the property while 
some of Gen. Curtis' men are passing. AUow^ no 
soldier on his premises." 

I did not like that kind of a job, but orders 
had to be obeyed; so I went down to camp and 
found Jim and a comrade by the name of 
Thorne, and started for the old Reb's planta- 
tion. We got there all right, rode up to the 
front of the house and dismounted. There w^ere 
tw^o men sitting on the porch, one a gra^^-head- 
ed man and the other a 3'oung man. They 
proved to be father and son. As I went in the 
gate two 3'oung ladies came out on the porch, 
followed by a colored woman carrying chairs 
for them. When we first rode up, I noticed that 
when the young^m an saw we were Union sol- 
diers he was verj^ uneasy. I stepped upon the 
first step and raised my hat and asked who 


was the proprietor. The old gentleman said, 

"I am." I handed him a letter and he op- 
ened it and examined it a long time, and finally 
called to one of the girls and said : 

"Come here, Mary, and see if you can make 
this out." 

"No, pa, I can't make it out at all." 

"Then the old man turned to me and said, 
''It may be, stranger, that you can read this," 
at the same time handing me the letter. 

"Well, sir, this is what it says: 'Gen. Curtis 
sends his compliments to you and sends guards 
to protect your property while the Union army 
is passing.' " 

"Oh, you are the guards? " 

In a little while a young darkey appeared, 
and the man told -him to show the gentlemen 
where to put the horses. I told Jim to see that 
they were taken care of. As they disappeared 
around the house the old man invited me to 
take a chair which old aunty had provided for 
me. No sooner had I taken the chair than the 
old gentleman began telling me how mean our 
men had .served him; stole his chickens and pigs, 
and, said he, 

"I am a Union man, and my son here is also, 
and of course we want protection." 

"Just at this moment Thorne and Jim came 


around with the arms. Jim handed mc my re- 
volver and carbine. The house was the double 
log kind, with a kind of hall between the two 
houses, and a porch running the whole length of 
both parts, facing the road, and stood back 
from the road about twenty yards. 

Away around a bend in the road to the 
right over a cornfield we could see the dust roll- 
ing up over the corn, as if a lot of horsemen 
w^ere coming. Said I, 

"Mister, supposing they are confederates, 
what are we to do?" 

"Oh, 3^ou're all right. I'll see that you are 
not hurt." 

Then I knew that he was no Union man, or 
he would have no influence with the Rebs; for be 
it known that there was not a Union man in the 
south but what w^as spotted, and was as much 
hated as w^e hated the copperheads of the north. 
I coidd see that the young man was watching 
the cloud of dust with great interest. One of 
the girls jumped to her feet and went in and 
brought out a field-glass. The troops now be- 
gan to come around the bend in the road. 

"They are confederates," said the girl. 

"Our orders vvrere to stay until our troops 
passed, so there was no alternative for us but 
to stay. There were about seven hundred con- 


federates, and all mounted. The}- rode up in 
front of the house, and the planter and his fam- 
ily all walked out to the fence. The rebel Col- 
onel dismounted, and we could see that they 
were talking earnestly about us, for they cast 
glances our way quite often. The rebel soldiers 
were yelling at us, wanting to know if we had 
any horses to trade. The rebel Colonel made a 
motion for me to advance. I stepped out to 
the gate. 

"To what regiment do you belong," the Col- 
onel asked. 

"I belong to the Ninth Illinois Cavalry." 
"Where are you stationed?" he asked. 
"I'm stationed at Jacksonport." 
"How many are there of you?" 
"Do you take me for a fool?" said I. 
"Oh no, I take you for a Yankee soldier. This 
gentleman told me that j^ou were sent as a 
protection guard, and I w^ant to tell you that 
you are perfectly safe, as far as we are con- 
cerned. Do you know when your men are to 
pass here?" 

"I do not know anything about it." 
By this time quite a number of the soldiers 
had got over the fence and were talking to Jim 
and Thorne. It was getting late in the after- 
noon, and away off in the west could be heard 


distant thunder. The Colonel ordered them to 
mount, and they rode on about half a mile and 
went into camp. I noticed that the young man 
went with them. 

Every move that was made by the family we 
were guarding showed them to rebels. The 
great, black clouds came rolling up from the 
west. The lightning was something fearful to 
behold, and the deep bass thunder shook the 
earth to its very foundation. The negroes were 
running in every direction. It could easily be 
seen that they were terribly frightened at the 
approaching storm. Great drops of rain began 
to fall. 

"Just then the rebel Colonel and two cap- 
tains came riding up, threw themselves from the 
saddle and told the darkey to put their horses 
under shelter. As the darkey was leading the 
horses there came a flash of lightning, and a 
deafening crash of thunder followed so closelj- 
that it seemed more like the noise of a cannon. 
One of the horses rose up on his hind feet and 
struck the darkej-^ with his front feet and sent 
him sprawling on the ground. At that all three 
started up to the rebel camp on a run and disap- 
peared round a bend in the road. The old gen- 
tleman was standing out on the porch. He 
spoke to another darkey and told him to go and 


see if Sam was dead. Just then Sam rose to a 
sitting position and looked up and saw us gaz- 
ing at him and hollered out, 

"Oh, massa, I is dunderstruck!" 

The rain now began to pour down and the 
wind was blowing fearfully. The darkey 
jumped to his feet and made for a place of shel- 
ter. We all went into the house, ft was get- 
ting quite dark. They were obliged to light 
candles. In a few minutes a colored woman 
came to the door and announced supper. 

"Now," said the old gentleman, "I want you 
confederates and you federals to come and eat 
at the same table, and I want it understood 
that there is to be no quarreling." 

As we filed into the dining room we laid our 
arms in one corner of the room and sat down 
to the table. I sat next to a rebel Captain, and 
the rebel Colonel and the two girls sat opposite 
us. Every time that the Captain who sat next 
to me had anything to say it was a slur on the 
Yankees. The rebel Colonel did not approve of 
his actions, for he frequently shook his head at 
him. Finally the Captain said: 

"I believe I could lick twenty Yanks alone. I 
knov^r I could if they were all like these we have 

I turned to the old gentleman and said: 


"We came here to guard you and your family 
and not to be insulted." 

"Well," said the old man, "I am very sorry 
this has occurred." 

"Well," said Jim, "It was not two weeks 
ago that one of your men challenged one of our 
men to cgme out and have a square stand-up 
fight across White river. He probably thought 
he could get away with twenty Yankees too, 
but, Mr. Reb, I went out and had a fair fight 
with him and got away with him, too, so if you 
think 3^ou can get away with twenty Yanks 
such as are here, you can try me in the morning. 
If 3'ou get away with me, 3^ou will have two 
more to try your hand on." 

The old gentleman jumped up and said, 

"I want this thing stopped, and want it dis- 
tinctly understood that there will be no fight- 
ing here." 

We finished our supper in silence, and as we 
were rising to leave the table, I said, 

"Ma^ opinion is, you will all get all the fight- 
ing you want before to-morrow night;" and I 
proved to be a good prophet that time. 


We went back in the other room and talked 
over the prospects of the war without any hard 
feelings. The rebel captain had gone off with 
the girls. The Colonel said, 

"I will put a guard around the house to- 
night. We do not w^ant you men to go away 
until we move on." 

I looked out and saw that the storm was 
over. The old gentleman told us we could go 
to bed any time, so it being ten o'clock, w^e took 
our arms and followed the old man up stairs. 
He took us into a room where there were two 
beds, put the candle on a stand, bade us good- 
night and left us alone. 

"Now," said Thorne, "I don't like the looks 
of things here. That rebel captain means mis- 

"Well," said Jim, "That old Colonel is all 
right; he will keep that Captain straight, you 
can bet on that." 

Soon after we got in bed, I heard some one 
talking in the room below us. I slid out of bed 


slyly and pulled a piece of the carpet away 
and discovered a large knot hole in the floor. I 
made a sign for the boys to keep quiet while I 
looked through the hole. The rebel captain sat 
there with his arm around the girl's waist and 
she had her head on his shoulder. She was 
talking to him about us and this is what she 

"That Yankee told the truth when he said he 
had a square fight with one of our men." 

"Yes, the man he fought belonged to m}' 
company-. He is in camp now and a better 
marksman can not be found in the regiment. 
No\v, my dear, can't we study up some plan to 
get away with these Yanks?" 

"No, pa w^ant let us do auA'thing, for you 
know he has fift}^ thousand dollars in gold 
buried down in one corner of the cellar, and if 
he did not have a protecting guard, the Yanks 
might go through the house and find it. I 
know it is hard and mean to have the dirty 
things here, but I suppose we will have to 
stand it." 

"I will tell you how we can fix them in the 
morning. Treat ever3'body to some of that 
nice peach brandy of yours, and put a good dose 
of arsenic in the Yankees glasses, and you ma}- 
be sure that will fix them." 


"Do you really want me to do that?" 

"Of course I do." 

"What will pa say when General Curtis 
comes along and wants to know what has be- 
come of the guards he sent." 

"You folks can say that they never came and 
he will just think they have deserted." 

"But vou know pa is so particular about his 
honesty, that he would spoil the whole thing." 

"Your pa would not know what killed the 
Yanks, and w^e would take their horses and 
arms and your pa would be so frightened^that 
he would keep still." 

"Well, what about your Colonel?" 
• "Oh, the devil with him. I sometimes think 
he is half Yank by the way he acts and talks. 
Now, if 3'ou will kill these Yanks, you will be 
doing the confederacy a great favor. It might 
not be three days before we get into a fight 
with them and they might kill your brother or 
me, so you see you can do as much as any sol- 
dier if you are brave and do what I want you 

"Well, I will do it. for it may be as you say, 
and if my brother and you should be killed, I 
would't want to live." 

"Now 3^ou talk like my own brave little 

82 Tin-; dispatch cakkikk. 

They had ri u,()()(l deal more to sav that 
would not interest the reader. As lon*( as we 
were in no immediate dan<^er, I crawled back to 
bed and went to sleep. The next morning, 
when we woke up, I ])osted the boys about 
what I heard but there was no need of that, for 
<'iway up toward the rebel camp we could hear 
the clash of fire arms — first one gun, then bang! 
came a shell right over the house. Everything 
was confusion in the house, women screaming, 
men cursing and negroes veiling. It was a per- 
fect bedlam going on below. It did not take 
long to go down and out on the stoop and look 
awa\' up toward the rebel camp. The smoke of 
the battle was rising above the trees and the 
rebel Colonel and the two captains were running 
up toward the conflict and soon disappeared 
around the bend in the road. The two girls 
came out on the porch, wringing their hands 
and crying. Just then there came another shell 
crashing through the air and struck in front of 
the house, plowing a furrow in the ground and 
throwing dirt all over the porch. The girls 
skipped into the house and shut the door with 
a bang. The fire now became a steadv roll. 
Here they come around the bend in the road. 
Thev are forming another line of battle, when 
crack comes another shell, striking through the 


the top of the chimney, the brick and mortar fly- 
ing in every direction. Here comes the Johnnies 
again, the "Yanks" right after them. Bang at 
bang, pop at pop! See the Johnnies tumbling 
on every side! See the horses running pell mell, 
without riders. Here they go right by the 
house, our brave boys in blue right after them. 
'Round the corn-field they go, the fire growing 
fainter and fainter in the distance. Now the 
worst part is to come. They commence to bring 
in the wounded. The first to come was the 
rebel Colonel, two of our men bearing him on a 
stretcher. His face was pinched and pale, with 
the blood oozing out of a wound in his breast. 
One of our surgeons came and gave me orders 
to bring in the wounded. As we got on the 
road where the most desperate part of the bat- 
tle took place, what a sight met our gaze. All 
kinds of arms scattered over the ground. 
Hats, caps and blankets, here a horse and there 
a horse, struggling in the agony of death, and 
men scattered all over the ground. Here a 
Yank and there a Reb, some dead, and others 
wounded. The rebels suffered the more, for 
they were taken wholh^ by surprise. 

It was a regular cavalry fight. It was now 
about ten o'clock, and our infantry began to 
come up. It did not take long to get the 


wounded to where they eoiild i>;et care. Our 
forces took possession of the rebel cam]), caj)- 
turini]^ all their wagons, tents and baggage. 
There were thirty killed and one hundred 
wounded. We lost eleven killed and thirty 
wounded. The wounded were mostly taken 
close to th€ house, on account of having them 
close to the water. The rebel Colonel died be- 
fore night. We had our ten thousand troops 
camped within one mile of the house. Now the 
tables had turned. We were with our own men 

I know what my comrade soldiers would 
say. They would say, "Wh}- did 3'ou not go 
and dig up that money?" No, my dear com- 
rades. I went to General Curtis' headquarters 
and made a report of everything that happened. 
He gave me strict orders to keep a guard over 
everything and not allow anj-thing to be taken 
from the premises; but the next morning there 
was not a ham or shoulder in the smoke-house 
or a chicken on the place, and Gen. Curtis him- 
self told the old gentleman that he had better 
take care of his money, for it was known that 
he had it. I want to say that the two girls did 
nobly. They did all that they could for the 
Yanks as well as the Rebs. We stayed there 
until the Yankee armv passed, and the young 


lacl\' never ofifered to treat us to that nice peach 
brand\^ The morning that we were to go we 
shook hands all around, bade them good-bye, 
and as we were standing on the stoop, Jim 

"We are about to go and you will probably 
never see us again, and we would like to have 
some of that nice peach brand}', but would pre- 
fer to have it without arsenic." 

"The girl turned as white as a sheet and 
staggered into the house. The old gentleman 
did not know what ailed the girl, but ordered a 
negro to bring up a bucket full. We filled our 
canteens and took a good drink out of the 
bucket and bade them all good-bj-e again. 

We mounted our horses and started on after 
our men. We came up to the rear-guard five 
miles west of Jacksonport. I rode up to head- 
quarters and reported to General Curtis: For 
the benefit of the reader who does not under- 
stand army discipline I want to say that when 
a soldier or detachment of men was sent out 
from camp, it did not matter how important or 
how trifling their mission was, they were ex- 
pected to go to headquarters and reporv as soon 
as they returned. That was to let the officers 
know what success they had, and also to let 
them see that thev were back again. At this 


time the rebel guerillas were concentrating their 
forces at Jacksonport, and the picket post was 
doubled. The next day after I got back to 
Jacksonport I was ordered to take twentv-five 
men and go out to the long bridge in the rear of 
the town and do picket duty. The guard had 
been fired on during the night before and one of 
our sentinels killed. So vou may depend we 
kept a sharp lookout for bushwhackers. Just 
as we had relieved the old guard and they had 
disappeared around the roads, one of my guards 
came running in from the brush and said, 
"There is a lot of 3'oung pigs running around 
out there." We all went out but those who 
w^ere on post, and through the brush we went 
and got thirteen of them; went back; built a 
rousing fire of rails, skinned and washed our 
pigs, and stuck them on sticks all around the 
fire. A sentry hollered to us that Gen. Curtis 
and his staff w^ere coming up the road. We 
formed a line of the guards and as the old Gen- 
eral came riding up we presented arms. 

"Are you the sergei nt of the guards ? " 

"Yes, sir," said I. 

"Well," said the General, "this is a yer^- im- 
portant post; now you must be very careful and 
tear up the planks in the middle of the bridge 
and pile them up at this end, and if the enemy 


c oiiie up set the bridge on fire. You ean pile up 
all the brush and rails under this end of the 
bridge and have it fixed so you can fire it in 
three or four places at once." Then the old gen- 
tleman looked around and saw the pigs in a line 
around the fire and said: "Hello, what have 
you here, sergeant?" 1 was staggered for a 
moment, but fin ally blurted out: 

" Coons, sir." 

The old General drew his sword and stuck it 
into one of the skins that was close b^'. He held 
it up on the point of sword, with the little pig's 
tail hanging down, and said: 

" That beats all the coon skins I ever did see." 
He tried to keep from laughing and look stern, 
but couldn't; it was too much for him. As soon 
as the old General could control himself, he 
turned to me and said: 

"Sergeant, don't catch any more of those 
kind of coons." He rode off laughing while the 
whole staff followed suit. 

• On the 27th of June a large force of rebels 
made an attack on one of our government trains 
near Stewart's plantation, and as we were 
going to the rescue of the train the rebels fired 
at us. I felt a burning sensation as if a bullet 
had passed through my head. Ever^^thing got 
dark. I fell from mv horse. The bullet came so 


close that the bridj^e of nivnose was broken and 
made me totally blind for awhile. My comrades 
carried me back in an ani1)ulance. The whole of 
Gen. Curtis' army was on the march for Helena. 
My head felt as big as a bushel basket, and fever 
set in; then I was in a very critical condition. 
On we went through swamps, over miles of cor- 
duroy. The burning sun was enough to kill a 
well man; there was no water only what we 
could get from the dirty s v. amps. No wonder 
the men died at a fearful rate. The enemy had 
chopped the timber down and filled up all the 
wells along the road. Some of the time I was 
delirious, calling for water all the time. Oh, . 
that long, dreary march through those dirty 
swamps! We finally got to Helena and I was 
taken to the hospital, and from there was sent 
to Jefferson barracks, St. Louis, and lay there 
until Sept. 20th, when I was discharged and 
sent home. Just as soon as I got well and 
strong I re-enlisted in the Ninety-fifth Illinois In- 
fantry. The reason I did not get back to my 
old regiment was that my brother had just en- 
listed in the Ninety-fifth, and my brother and I 
enlisted and joined our regiment at Vicksburg. 
Nothing happened of any consequence until the 
spring of '64, then we started from Vicksburg 
and went on the famous Red river expedition. 


I will not go into the particulars of this trip, 
but some time in the near future I will write on 
that subject. However, I will give you a few 
points on the incidents of March 9th, 1864. 

The Ninety-fifth embarked on board a trans- 
fer at Vicksburg, and started for the mouth of 
Red river. Gen. Smith had command of our di- 
vision and we proceeded up the river. The first 
place we took was Fort Russey. We captured 
that stronghold, with three thousand prisoners, 
arms and ecpiipments. We then went on up the 
river. There was a good deal of skirmishing all 
the way. At Pleasant Hill occurred the hard- 
►est fought battle of the expedition. 

Then commenced the retreat to the Missis- 
sippi. We were under constant fire for nineteen 
da\'S, and arrived at the mouth of Red river on 
the 21st da\^ of May. This ended the expensive 
and fruitless attempt to reach the head waters 
of the Red river. 

On the 22d day of May the Ninety-fifth em- 
barked at the mouth of the river and sailed up 
the Mississippi as far as Memphis, where we ar- 
rived the latter part of May. 

Now comes the hardest part of my experience 
as a soldier. I will give 3^ou my experience, also 
the experience of others as prisoners of war at 

JVIemeiFS ©f ^ndeF-senville. 


It is said that we should forgive and forget; 
but the man who invented that saying never 
was in Andersonville prison. 

No, my readers, I purpose to tell you just as 
nearly as one man can tell another how the Un- 
ion soldiers were treated at Andersonville. I 
shall begin by my capture, and then take you 
right along with me through the prison. 

About the first of June, 1864, we were or- 
dered out from Memphis to fight the rebel Gen- 
eral Forrest, then operating near Guntown, 
Miss. We met him near that place on the tenth 
day of June, and here occurred one of'the most 
desperate battles I ever witnessed . 


A great many think to this day that wcwere 
sold out to the Johnnies; and I nuist sav it 
looked very much like it, indeed. 

Our horses, our ambulances, and our wagons 
were run up to the front. The field lay in the 
form of a horse-shoe, with heavy timber and 
dense brushwood on all sides. The rebels were 
ambushed on three sides of our regiment; conse- 
quentlv the\' had a cross-fire on us. 

Our Colonel was killed in the first fire. I 
thought for awhile that the whole line of battle 
would fall. One after another of our captains 
fell, until all were dead or so badly wounded as 
to incapacitate them for duty. 

Finally one of our lieutenants took charge of 
the regiment. He had no sooner done so than 
he was shot through the foot. As he went hob- 
bling oft' he gave the command to fall back. 
Well, now, 3'ou can bet that we did fall back, 
and in double-quick time, too. 

Now% right here occurred an incident that 
w^as laughable, notwithstanding the serious po- 
sition w^e were all in. We had a large negro to 
do our cooking. For some reason or other he 
had got up toward the front. In his hand he 
held a camp-kettle, and when the Johnnies first 
fired he stood paralyzed with fear. Finally he 
got his right mind, and then vou oug:ht to have 


seen him run. He turned, and giving an un- 
earthly yell, skipped across the battle-field. He 
did not let go of his kettle, and atever^^ juniphe 
veiled, "I'se going home ! " 

We all gave leg-bail for securit}^ and got 
atross the field in a lively' manner, I tell 3^0 u. 

I made a straght line for a creek, and when I 
got there I saw a tree had fallen across it, and 
twelve of our men crossed on it. In the mean- 
time the rebels had captured one of our guns, 
and turned it on our men who were crossing, 
and swept every man off into the creek. About 
this time I made a big jump and landed up to 
my cartridge box in the water. Again, another 
shot came booming along and cut a nice path 
through the canebrake. It did not take me long 
to take advantage of these paths made by the 
cannon, and get out of that. The first men that 
I met were of my own company. We formed a 
line and held the rebels in check until our cart- 
ridges gave out; then commenced one of the 
most shameful stampedes I ever witnessed. We 
set fire to the wagons that were near us, and re- 
treated. By this time the sun was ver}^ nearly 
down, so we did not get far before dark. 

We traveled all night, and in the morning 
came to a little town called Ripley. Here we 
made a halt to allow the stragglers to catch up; 


and while waiting- here the rebel eavalry <iol 
ahead ot us. 

The little squad that I was with stood right 
in front of a large white house with a bay win- 
dow in front. A woman stepped to the window 
with a revolver in her hand and fired into our 
erowd, killing one of our lieutenants. Some of 
our men still having their guns loaded turned, 
and without orders, fired and killed the woman. 

"Just as we got to the town w^e found the 
rebel cavalry waiting for us. We formed and 
charged. The cavalry opened and let us through, 
we onlv losing three men. 

By this time I was getting tired. I told my 
brother I could stand it no longer. He told me 
to try to keep u :), but I knew I could not go 
much further. 

About the middleof the afternoon we stopped 
to rest. We had been resting only a few^ min- 
utes when bang! bang! went the rebel guns. 
My brother and I jumped to our feet, took hold 
of hands started down a steep hill. 

"Now%" said I, "Go on, for I cannot go any 
farther ; I am played out. You go and try to 
get through to Memphis, and I will hide here 
and get away if I can." 

So he went on and I went down the hill and 
crawded under a large tree that had probably 


blown down. It was not five minutes before 
the Johnnies were jumping over the very tree I 
was under. While laying there I saw a big black 
negro jump up out of the brush with a navv 
revolver in his hand. He saw that the Johnnies 
were all around him, and that his only chance 
was to fight. So he jumped upon a large rock. 
The rebels told him to surrender, and at the 
same time began firing at him. The negro was 
plucky; he raised his revolver, took steady aim, 
and fired. He killed a Johnnie, and fetched 
three more before the\' fetched him. Having 
killed the poor fellow, they went up to him and 
ran their bayonets through him time and 

While this was going on you had better be- 
lieve I was hugging the ground. I la}- so flat 
and close that had I been a case-knife I could 
not have been much thinner. Well, I la^^ there 
until it was getting dark, then crawled from un- 
der the tree and went back up the hill. Right in 
the middle of the road I found a gun, which, 
upon examination, proved to be loaded. I bent 
my own gun around a tree, took up the loaded 
gun and left the road. I made up my mind that 
I would go about four miles south and then 
strike west; b\' doing this I was bound to strike 
the Mississippi somewhere south of Memphis. 


Tlic country between (iinitown and Menipliis is 
all timber land. 

Well, I went stnniblin<2^ over lo^^s, tearing 
tlirouc^h briar-bushes, and finally struck a 
swamp. Ves, I struck it suddenly and unex- 
pectedly. I struck my toe against a log and 
went head-foremost, casouse into the mud and 
water. I floundered around in there until I got 
completely covered with mud and filth. I 
finally got clear of the swamp and came to a 
denseK' wooded place upon ground a little high- 
er. Here I curled up under a tree and went to 
sleep. The first thing I heard in the morning 
was the whip-poor-will. I saw b\' the light in 
the east that it was getting well on towards 

Knowing which direction was east, I knew 
that the opposite direction would take me to the 
Mississippi, and in that direction I took my 
course. I hadn't gone more than a mile when I 
struck one of our men. He belonged to the cav 
airy. As he came up to me I asked him which 
-way he was going. He told me he was going to 
Memphis. "No," said I; "You are going di- 
rectly east." After talking the matter over we 
started off together. We had not gone fifty 
3'ards w^hen we heard the click of guns and 
"Halt! vou Yanks; throw down vour gunsi " 


" Come up here! " " Give me that hat! " "Here, 
I want them boots! " I had a pocket knife and 
seven dollars and thirty cents in my pockets. 
My boots were new, and I had made up my 
mind to wear them if anybody wore them. So 
when I took them off, I stuck the point of my 
knife into the toe and ripped them up to the top 

of the leg. "Now you d d Yank, I'll hx you 

for that." He dropped on his knee, took delib- 
erate aim, and just as his finger pressed the 
trigger, the rebel captain raised the muzzle of 
his gun and it went off over my head. The captain 
said, "That man is a prisoner, and whatever 
you do don't shoot him." 

Well, the Johnnies did not want my boots 
then, but they took my pocket knife and money. 
I told them I had been in quite a number of bat- 
tles, and seen a great many men captured, but 
that I had never known one of our men to take 
a single thing from them; that if their men were 
captured without blankets we gave them some. 
"Keep your damn mouth shut, or I'll 
plug you yet," said the Johnnie. So I kept -it 
shut, you bet. 

The rebel Captain had his son with him, a 
boy about sixteen years old. He came up to 
me and said, "I'se sorry for you." Well, to tell 
the truth, I was a sorrov^ful looking object. 


covered with mud from head to foot, hungry, 
tired and in the hands of what I knew to be a 
cruel enemy. You will perhaps sa}' that I was 
not much of a soldier when I tell you that I 
cried. I could not help it. The Captain's boy 
said, "Don't cry, and I will give you a piece of 
corn bread." I could not help laughing at the 
simplicity of the child, and it made me feel 

Well, they started us for the main road, and 
you can imagine my astonishment when we 
came at last to the road, and found that the 
rebels had 1,800 of our men prisoners. They 
then started us toward the battle ground. 
We marched till sundown and then went into 


I thought about my brother, but was too 
tired and worn out to look him up, so lay 
down on the ground, without blanket or cover- 
ing of any sort (for the rebels had taken every- 
thing and anything that they could make use 
of) and went to sleep, and I did not waken until 
I was aroused by the call to fall in. I had had 
nothing to eat since I left the battle-field, except 
the piece of corn bread the Captain's boy gave 
me, and this was the third day. 

I was so sore and stiff that it was hard for 
me to move, and in the march if I did not move 
fast enough, the Johnnies would prod me with 
their bayonets. We finally reached the battle- 
field, and when we got there, the rebels gave 
each of us a hard tack. Then they got us on a 
train of cars and started us for Meriden, Miss. 
Arriving at Meriden, we got off the cars for the 
evening. You can bet I was glad to stop. 
When w£ finally got fixed for what I supposed 
the evening, we were ordered to form in line, 
and then the Johnnies went through us again; 


and what they did not take the first time, they 
did not leave this time. When they got 
through with us I went and lay- down. I will 
never forget how good it did feel to stretch out 
at full length on the ground and rest. The next 
morning one of our men asked the guard if he 
was going to get any rations. '".Yes," he an- 
swered, "I will give you your rations, you 

d d Yank," and deliberately shot the man 

dead on the spot. In a short time they took us 
down to the Tombigbee river. From there we 
went straight through to Anderson ville. 

When we got within a short distance of that 
place, we smelt something rather strong. I 
asked one of the guards what it was. He said, 
"You will soon find out what it is," and you 
bet w^e did. 

We were, as I said before, in flat-cars. As 
we came up to the little station, we could look 
right over the stockade into the pen. The pen 
looked then as if it would hold no more. I 
looked back over the whole train, which carried 
1800 men, and wondered how in the world 
we could all get in there. At this time there 
were only sixteen acres inclosed by the pen, and 
it contained about 35,000 men. I little thought 
that I would get out of Andersonville alive; and 
oh! how many that marched through the 


prison gates that day came out on the 
dead-cart! • 

The stockade was in the form of a square, 
and made by placing logs in the ground and 
forming a fence eighteen feet high. Inside of the 
main fence was a line of posts set twelve feet 
from the stockade proper, and joined together 
w^ith slats about as wide as the hand, thus 
forming a second fence four feet high which ran 
parallel to the stockade and all around the pen. 
This was the dead line. A prisoner that came 
anywhere near the line was shot by the guards. 
The guards had little sentry boxes built to the 
outside, and well up to the side of the stockade; 
were just high enough to allow the guard's head 
and sholnders to come above the stockade; these 
were reached from the outside by means of a 

They took us from the cars and marched us 
up before Captain Wirz's headquarters. We 
were formed into line and counted off; were di- 
vided into hundreds, and again into squads of 

A sergeant was appointed over each depart- 
ment. Capain Wirz came out in front of 
us and said: "You are a fine looking lot of men. 
I will fix so you will not want to fight any more. 

I will leave the readers to say whether he 


kept his word. The big gates were now swung 
back and we marched in. The old prisoners 
crowded around us and were eager to find out 
what was going on on the outside, and if there 
was any chance for an exchange. 

On the day of my capture I was a hard look- 
ing sight, but it was nothing to what I saw on 
first going into Andersonville. The ground was 
white with maggots, and as the men crowded 
up to me the smell \\ as sickening. 

Some of the men had great sores on them 
that were full of maggots. The\^ had lost all 
the spirit and energy that makes the man. They 
were filthy, and the lice could be seen crawling 
all over them. There were men with their feet, 
and others with their hands rotting off with the 
scurvy. Men were lying on all sides dying, 
while others were dead. 

Was this some horrible dream, or was it 
real? I asked myself. I could hardly believe my 
own eyes at first. Such a terrible sight but few 
men in the w^orld have ever seen. I looked 
around for some place to sit down, but there 
was nothing but the ground, and even that was 
out of the question, we were so crowded. So 
thickly were we packed that I found it diflftcult 
to do anything but stand or move as the crowd 
moved. I felt my head grow light. Finally 


everything became dark, and I was gone. Yes, 
I had fainted. How long I lay there I do not 
know, but when I came to again it was night. 
It was some time before I could realize where I 
was, but the groans of my dying comrades 
brought me to my senses. The air had become 
chilly. I went a short distance and fell in with 
my crowd. We all lay down spoon-fashion. 
One could not turn unless we all turned. The 
man at the head of the rank w^ould give the com; 
mand "right spoon," or "left spoon," and then 
w^e w^ould all turn together. The next morning 
I got up and looked upon one of the most hor- 
rible sights I ever saw. Within twenty yards 
of us three men had died during the night. 
Some of the men were engaged in carrying the 
dead to the gate entrance. I saw^, without 
moving from the place where I slept, the bodies 
of fifty-three men that had died during the night. 
I brushed the maggots from my clothes, and 
walked down to the creek to wash. When I got 
there and had a good view of it, it was hard to 
tell whether it w^ould make one clean or dirty. 
The rebel guard w^as camped above on the creek, 
and they made it a point, it seems, to throw all 
their filth into it, and at this time it was all the 
water we had to drink. I asked one of the pris- 
oners if they ever gave the men soap. He 


laughed and wanted to know if he looked like a 
man thit had ever seen soap. Just the looks of 
him would have convinced the most skeptical 
mind on that point. I went in, however, rubbed 
some dirty water on my face, and called it a 
wash. At 12 o'clock the wagon with the meal 
came in. When I saw them giving it out I 
thought we were about to get a good ration, 
but when the}- came to divide I found my share 
to consist of two-thirds of a pint. The meal 
had been ground with the cob, the same way in 
which farmers grind it for their hogs to-day. I 
drew mine in m^^ two hands, for I had no dish 
to put it in. After two hours I got a tin pail 
from one of the prisoners; but then I had no 
wood to cook it with. One of the old prisoners 
came to m}^ relief with a few shavings, and 
showed me how to use them. He dug a little 
hole in the ground and set fire to the shavings. 
After placing the shavings in the hole, he set the 
pail over the fire, stirred in the meal and 
made a mush of it. I did not get mine more 
than half done, but I tell you it was good. I 
had been without anything to eat for three 
days. I found that the oM prisoners made but 
one meal a day of their rations. For my part it 
was hard to see how more could be made. 
After I had been there about two months, they 


began to prepare the mush outside and bring it 
in to us in barrels . 

Before going any farther I shall give a com- 
plete description of the stockade. When I went 
in first there were about sixteen acres enclosed. 
The gates were on the west side, one on each 
side of the creek, which ran from east to west 
through the middle of the pen. The land rose 
abruptly on each side of the creek, forming steep 
rills. About the center of the stockade was a 
regular quagmire, which covered about two 
acres, and this was one reason why -we were so 
crowded. About this time the weather began 
to get very hot and the death-rate began to in- 
crease. The suffering among the prisoners was 
such as I hope never to witness again. The 
water was fearful, and we begged the rebels to 
give us tools to dig wells with. We dug wells 
all over the prison, but could get no water. 
About this time they enlarged the prison and 
took in eight more acres. I tell you it was great 
relief In and around Andersonville was a for- 
est of pitch pine, so in enlarging the stockade 
they enclosed part of this timber land which, had 
been cleared, but the i contained a great many 
stumps and roots, which were made use of for 
fire-wood. Still the well digging went on but 
no water was found. We were exposed to the 


heat of the sun during the day and at night suf- 
fered from cold, for we had no shelter or cover- 
ing of any sort. Starved for want of food and 
water, hundreds died daily. 

For a long time our men had been trNang to 
get up some plan to make their escape from 
prison. We had dug a number of tunnels, but 
old Wirz had alwaj'-s found us out. We finally 
concluded to start in one of our wells which we 
had dug about sixty feet without getting water. 
This well was about seventy-five feet from the 
stockade; so we went down about eighteen feet 
and commenced digging a tunnel in under the 
stockade. Night after night we worked and 
threw the dirt into the well until we filled it to 
the place started Irom. Then we handed the 
dirt up in part of a blanket, and carried it 
down and threw it in the mire. This all had 
to be done at night, for the rebel guards were 
on the watch, and the least thing that looked 
suspicious was investigated immediately. So 
we labored away, night after night, till we were 
sure we had passed the stockade and then com- 
menced to dig up toward the surface. 

We finally got so near the surface that we 
could hear the rebels talk and walk ; so we con- 
cluded to wait until some dark night, and then 
make the attempt. In three or four days we 


had our tunnel finished (I shall never forget it) 
it was a dark, rainy night, and we commenced 
dropping down into the well, one by one, until 
there were thirteen of us in the tunnel. I was 
the second. Having got to the end of the tun- 
nel, we lay there and listened. All being still 
mj^ comrade began to remove the soil. 

"Hark," he said, "the rebels are changing 

We remained still for half an hour. Every- 
thing having become quiet, our leader stuck his 
head out of the hole. He crawled out, and I, 
being behind him, gave him a boost. The 
next man boosted me, and so on until we 
were all out except the last man. He was the 
largest man in the crowd, and in trying to get 
up through the hole got fast in some way. 
While we were trying to pull him out he hol- 
lered. I tell you there was a commotion among 
the Johnnies then. They commenced firing, and 
you could hear them running in every direction. 
The only thing we could do was to leave him 
take care of ourselves. Three of us staid to- 
gether and made for the woods. Oh, how we 
did run! Every stump and bush we saw we 
thought a rebel. I said, "Boys, hold up; I can't 
stand this any longer." No wonder, for we 
w^ere so starved that there was nothing left but 


skin and bones. Being in such a weak condi- 
tion I was surprised that we had gone so far in 
so short a time. In a few minutes we struck a 
swamp, and started to wade along the edge. 
At the same time we could hear a fearful uproar 
back among the reb^I guards. The noise got 
fainter and fainter, and at last ceased. It was 
so dark that you could scarcely' see your hand 
in front of \'Our face. 

Where the rest of the men were we didn't 
know. We kept along the edge of the swamp. 
Sometimes we were up to our knees in water, 
sometimes we were up to our armpits. We kept 
steadily on until daylight. Just about this time 
we heard the bloodhounds away off in our rear. 
We pushed on with increased vigor. The sounds 
came nearer and nearer. When it became broad 
daylight we could see, in the middle of a swamp, 
a small island. If we could onh- get to it, we 
thought we would be safe, for a time at least. 
The water was covered with slime, and full of 
all kinds of reptiles. The deadly water mocca- 
sin predominated. Our only chance was to get 
to the island; so in we went. We finally got to 
the island, and found it covered with a dense 
growth of laurel. We crawled up under the 
brush and lay down. We could easih' see the 
side from which we came. In a few minutes two 


very large bloodhounds came out of the timber 
to the edge of the swamp. They stood as if un- 
decided what to do, but finally set up a kind of 
howl peculiar to them when disappointed or off 
the scent. In a few minutes five rebels rode up. 
The head man turned to the others and said: 

"Them damned Yanks are over on that isl- 
and." The other said, 

■'If the\' are there I don't see how we will get 

One of the Rebs then yelled to us, 

"Hev, you Yanks, if you don't come over 
here I will send the dogs after you, and they will 
tear j^ou to pieces." 

We lay perfecth^ still. Another of the Rebs 

"I know^ them Yanks are over there. Don't 
you see how the cane is parted where they 
w^aded or swam over?" 

"I tell you what," said another; "I will get 
astraddle of a log and take the dogs over there." 

As he was getting off his horse we heard fir- 
ing in the distance and the howls of more dogs. 
The rebels mounted their horses and started for 
the place where the firing seemed to be. We 
then jumped up and went around on the other 
side of the island, where we found a small 
shanty that had been built by some runaway 


negro before the war. One of the men, who had 
been looking around, came running up and said 
that there was a dugout hidden in the brush. 
To get it into the water was the work of a min- 
ute. It was badly sun-cracked, and leaked, but 
held us all. Two of us pushed with sticks while 
the third baled her out with a gourd which we 
found in the boat. We pushed her along in this 
manner the rest of the day, and always man- 
aged to keep her under the over-hanging trees, 
where we would not likely be discovered. 

It was now getting dark, and the swamp 
was narrow^ing dow^n and the banks w^ere get- 
ting higher. It looked more like a river than a 

**Hark ! w^hat is that ? Don't you think it is 
some one chopping? " 

"You bet it am. Pull in and we w^ill see." 

We pulled in, and climbing out as carefully as 
I could so -as not to make any noise, I stepped 
along from tree to tree until I got close up to 
the chopper. It was a negro chopping wood in 
front of a cabin. A large negro w^oman stood 
in the door, and said to him, "Now, Jake, if you 
want any supper you want to hurry up and 
chop dat wood." 

I looked around, and seeing no other house I 
stepped out and. said, "Good evening." 


"Hello ! " said Jake; "who is you ? " 

"It don't make any difference who I am," 
said I; "but, Aunty, can I get anything to eat ?" 

"Why, ob course you can, if dat blamed nig- 
gah ebber gets dat wood chopped." 

"Is there any white people around here, 

"No, honey; dere is no white folks within 
four miles of us. What's the matter, honey? Is 
you afraid of the white people?" 

"You bet I am. I've just got out of prison." 

"You has? Oh, good Lord I Is you a Yank?" 

"You bet I am." 

Jake then said, "Dat is just what dem sojers 
was huntin' to-day wid all dem dogs, down by 
de cane-brake. Dey said dey had catched four, 
and de dogs tore dem all to pieces." 

"Is you all alone, honey? " 

"No, ma'am; there are three of us." 

"Well, well! bress the Lord. Fetch 'em 

I then went back to where the boys were, 
and told them to pull the boat up and come on. 
When we got to the shanty, the old woman 
gave us one look, and clasping her hands in 
front of her, said, 

"Fo' de Lawd'ssake; I never seed such hard 
looking men in my whole life!" 


No wonder. Each of us had on part of a 
shirt. Our pants were in rags. No shoes. No 
hat. And old Aunty w^as not much blacker. 
She gave us something to eat and then we went 
up into the loft, and lying down were soon 
asleep. We did not wake up until long after 
daylight. Hearing old Aunty bustling about I 
put my head down through the trap door to 
speak to her. Just then Jake came in andsaid: 
"I'se been all around and don't see nobody at 
all." The old woman then told us that we had 
better staj^ three or four days, and then Jake 
would guide us around the swamp, and by that 
time thej^ would have given up their search for 
us. We concluded to accept the kind old 
Aunty's invitation, for we could not possibly 
find a more secluded spot if we looked a ^^ear 
for it. 


Jake was the old woman's son Before the 
war they had been sent to the swamp to make 
cypress shingles, and had cleared an acre of 
ground and built the little cabin, living there 
ever since. They were very ignorant, but were 
true to the northern principles and the Union 
soldiers. Many was the time that our soldiers 
were taken in and cared for when they knew 
that death would be the penalty if they were 
found harboring Northern men. They were the 
friends of the Union soldier, and he knew he 
could put his life in their hands and be safe. 
Jake kept watch for us, but we did not venture 
out. We stayed in the loft most of the time. 

On the fourth day of our stay, just about 
noon, Jake came in very much excited. "Oh!" 
said he; "De sojers is coming! de sojers is com- 
ing! What is we to do?" "Shut up, you nig- 
gah," said old Aunty, "I will talk to dem sojers 
myself. You niggah, does you hear? You go 


and chop wood." Jake went to chopping 
wood. In a few minutes three Rebs rode up. 

"Hello! you nig. Seen any Yanks pass this 

"Fo' the Lord's sake, massa! Is de Yanks 
got loose?" 

Old Aunty goes to the door and said: 
"Wot's de matter, massa?" 

"Have you seen an 3' Yanks?" 

"Is dem Yanks got away? Fo' de Lord's 
sake; what will become of dis pore niggah? 
Dem Yanks will kill us all. Oh, dear! Oh, 

"Shut up, 3^ou old black cuss, and if you see 
any Yanks send Jake over to bis master's and 
let them know there. Thev will send word to 

"Now you just depend I will, massa." 

At this the Rebs rode off. Aunty had saved 
us. She said she never was so scared in all her 
born days, and Jake's eyes looked like saucers. 

I went down from the loft and told Aunty 
that we had better be going. 

"May the good Lord bress you, honey. I 
does hope dat you may get back to jour own 
folks. I'se awful'fraid you won't, 'caus I seed an 
old cullud woman to-day who say dat de ken- 
tr}^ is jist full of sojers looking for dem \''anks 


wot's runned away from prison. I have baked 
some corn bread and bacon lor you, and Jake 
will take vou around de swamp. 

We started about 12 o'clock that night. Our 
Aunty came to the door, took each of us by the 
hand and said: "Good-bye, and may de good 
Lord bress you and keep you." We all thanked 
her for her kindness and started out into the 
night. Jake went ahead and we followed along 
the edge of the swamp till daylight, when we 
came onto the main road. "Now, massa," said 
Jake, "I'se gone as far as I can go with you. I 
hope you will git through all right, but if I w as 
you I would lay down till night and then take 
de main road for de north." 

We shook hands all around with Jake and he 
was gone. We then went a mile from the road 
and went into a lot of brush and lay there all 
day. When it became dark we struck for the 
north. It was a beautiful starlight night, 
and the road stretched straight ahead of us as 
far as the eye could reach. We passed a number 
of plantation houses. While passing one in par- 
ticular the dogs set up a terrible howling. A 
man stood in the middle of the road. He said: 

" Good evening. Who is yous ? " 

* ' We are friends . " 

"Youans look like Yanks." 


" Suppose we are. What of that ? " 
"Well, I supposed you was. My master and a 
lot of soldiers^are in the house now, and the}- 
have got^seven dogs. They have been looking 
for YOuans]all day. I hope you will get away 
but I'se afraidjyou will not, for the soldiers are 
all over the country looking for youans." 

We then asked him if he would guide us to the 
big swamp^he told us of. He said he would go 
a piece withj^us, and he did go two or three 
miles, bringing us out near a large swamp. We 
traveled along the edge of this swamp until day- 
break, finding ^ourselves on a large cotton field, 
when we made for the woods as fast as we 
could go. When we got to the timber I told the 
boys that I was^played out, so we made for a 
big brush pile and crawling under the brush ate 
our breakfast. We then went to sleep and slept 
way into the next night. At daylight we again 
started north. We went through the woods 
and came] out 'into a cornfield. Our bread and 
bacon had [given out the night before and we 
were talking about something to eat, when Jesse 
said, "Hark!" We stopped and listened. 
Away off over the fields in the direction we had 
come we could hear the faint sound of the blood- 
hounds. We looked at each other for a mo- 
ment and then started for the timber. When we 


got there each climbed a tree. We had been in 
the trees only five minutes when seven large and 
wonderfully ferocious bloodhounds cleared the 
fence and made straight for our trees. I will 
never forget what fearful beasts they w^ere. The 
froth was coming from their mouths and their 
ej^es shone like candles in the dark. Thej^ came 
right under the trees and looked up as much as 
to say, we have got you. They would back off 
a few yards and then come at the tree with a 
bound, snapping on the jump; then they would 
chew the bark of the trees. In half an hour the 
Rebs came riding up. One of them jumped off 
his horse and threw the fence down. Then they 
rode in. There were fifteen in all, and their cap- 
tain was an old gra3'-headed man. They rode 
under our trees, pointed their guns at us and 

" Come down, you damned Yanks, or we will 
fill your carcasses full of cold lead." 

"Gentlemen," said I, "if you want to shoot, 
shoot; for I would rather be shot than chawed 
by them dogs." 

One of the Rebs spoke to the captain and said, 
"Let's make them Yanks come down and see 
how quick the dogs will get away with them." 
"N&," replied the captain, "they look as though 
they had had trouble enough." 


Then they quarreled among themselves. 
Some wanted to let the dogs at us and others 
wanted to take us back to prison. Finally the 
captain came out ahead. They muzzled the 
dogs and tied them together. Then we sur- 
rendered. The captain lived only four miles 
from where we were captured. So they took us 
back to his house. We got there about 4 o'clock 
that afternoon. The old gentleman treated us 
kindly, giving us something to eat and also pre- 
sented each with a quilt. We stopped here over 
night. We had been gone from Andersonville 
seven days and only got twenty-five miles 
away. The Rebs told us that the man who was 
caughc in the hole had been shot where he 
stuck. All the others had been torn to pieces by 
the dogs except one and he had his arm torn off 
and died a few days later. We started next day 
for the prison. We traveled all day and camped 
that evening by the road. At noon the next 
day we got back to prison. Wirz told the 
guards they were d — fools for bringing us back 
and told us we should be thankful to get back 
alive. After relieving us of our quilts the gates 
were opened and we were marched into Ander- 
sonville again. 

We had some praying men at Andersonville. 
They held nightly prayer meetings, and they 


prayed for water. They prayed like men that 
meant business, for we were all dying for the 
want of it. One day after one of these meetings 
there occurred one of the most fearful rains I 
ever saw. It washed the stockade as clean as a 
hound's tooth. Right between the dead line and 
the stockade it washed a ditch about two feet 
deep and a spring of cold water broke out in a 
stream large enough to fill a four-inch pipe. 
The spring is there yet, I am told, and to this 
day is called Providence spring. It broke out in 
the very best place it could for our benefit. The 
stockade protected it on one side from the rebels 
and the dead-line on the other side protected it 
from the prisoners. The fountain head was 
thus protected. We had good water from 
that on. 

As I said before the Johnnies brought in our 
mush in barrels. After it was distributed the 
prisoners would tip the barrels over and go 
in head first trvingto get what was not scraped 
out. They fought like cats and dogs about who 
would get in first. All sense of manhood had 
left them. Starvation had made them little bet- 
ter than brutes. I had often tried to keep my 
mind off of anything to eat but it was impossi- 
ble. I would dream at night that I was sitting 
up to a table loaded with good things, but 

30 mp:moirs of andersonville. 

would always wake up before I got them. 

About this time there was a band formed, 
probabh' the ofif-scouriugs of the city of New 
York. They called themselves the New York 
Bummers. The_y made uj) their minds to live, 
even if all the rest died of starvation. They 
were armed with clubs, and would take the 
mush away from the weaker ones. If the unfor- 
tunate ones were strong enough to resist they 
knocked them down at once; and even went so 
far as to kill several that refused to give up 
to them. We were unable to stand by and per- 
mit such outrages, for to a man who lost one 
ration there, it meant almost certain death. So 
the western prisoners pitched into these "New 
Y^ork Bummers" and had a regular free fight, 
the former coming out ahead. We then took 
six of the leaders, and, holding a drumhead 
court-martial, sentenced them to be hanged. 
We first sent a report through to Gen. Sherman, 
explaining the matter. He sent back word to 
string them up. The rebels furnished the neces- 
sary timber, we built a scaffold and hanged 
them. From that time on every man ate his 
own rations. 

There was one very large man, who was the 
the only fat man in the pen, among the six who 
were to be hanged. When they were swung off 


the big man broke his rope, and then you should 
have seen him jump to his feet, strike out right 
and left with his fists, and lay out fifteen or 
twenty men, and finally fight his way through 
the crowd to the creek, but the poor fellow got 
mired in the mud, and was captured and 
brought back. He looked up and saw the fiye 
swinging to and fro, and said, "I will soon be 
with you . ' ' Then they adjusted the rope around 
his neck and swung him off. 

Oh, how sad it makes me feel when I get to 
thinking of the poor fellows that had to die in 
that horrible slaughter pen. I speak that 
which I know and testify to that which I haye 
seen and nothing more. 

I have seen men go to the privy and pick 
up beans after they had passed through a man, 
and eat them. 1 have seen men lying on the 
ground calling for mothers, sisters, and broth- 
ers. No one to soothe the aching brow or whis- 
per words of comfort, but had to die alone in 
-that dirt and filth. 

Capt. Wirz got it into his head that we had 
arms, and were going to make a break for liber- 
ty, and on the other hand we heard that the 
rebels intended to take some of us out to shoot, 
for the Yankees had been shooting the rebel pris- 
oners, and the rebels were going to retaliate; so 


one day a rebel sergeant came in and command- 
ed about one hundred of us to fall in to go for 
wood. You may depend we were not long in 
doing so, for if there was a happ}^ time at An- 
derson ville it was when we were let out to get 

Why, dear readers, I cannot describe to you 
the happiness which I felt to get out of that 
prison pen for just one hour. We formed a line 
and marched out. After they had marched us 
about halfa mile from the pen the}^ formed us in 
a line, with one Reb in front of each Yank, then 
old Wirz gave the command to ready, aim. You 
may be sure my heart came up into my mouth, 
and for a fact I thought the rebels were going 
to retaliate; but instead of shooting they 
searched us, to see if we had any arms con- 
cealed. Finding nothing of the kind, they put 
us back into the prison. 

The next day the same sergeant came in and 
inquired for men by the names of Root and Ty- 
ler. Tyler being my name I knew it was. 
me he was after, but having the retaliation in 
my head you may be sure I kept still; but one of 
our ow^n men pointed me out. The Johnnie 
came up to me and said, "You are wanted out- 
side;" and looking around he found Root, and 
told us both to follow him. Our comrades, sup- 


posing we were to be shot, escorted us to the 
gate and bade us good-bye for the last time, as 
they thought. The truth of the matter was we 
were taken out to help bury the dead. As far 
as I was concerned it did not make much differ- 
ence to me what I did, for at that time I had 
the scurvy so bad I could have pulled most any 
tooth out with my fingers, while some of them 
fell out themselves. 

Well, we were taken before Wirz. "Now," 
said he, "if youans' wont run away you can 
stay out here and bury the dead." We took the 
oath, and were told to go to a small log cabin, 
where we found twenty of our men who had al- 
ready been taken out for the same business. 


It did seem nice to get into a house which 
contained a fire-place and a crane where the ket- 
tles hung. One of the men swung the crane out 
and hung a kettle of beans over the fire. You 
bet I looked on with interest. One of m}^ com- 
rades noticing me watching the cook said, "You 
had better be careful how you eat« or you will 
kill yourself." That night I laj^ as near the fire- 
place as possible. The bubble of the bean^pot 
was music in my ear. I kept quiet until I 
thought my comrades were asleep, then raising 
myself in a sitting posture, swung the crane 
back and took the pot of beans off. With much 
difficulty I succeeded in finding a spoon ; I then 
sat as close to the kettle as possible, with one 
leg on each side of it, and went in for dear life. 
"Hold on, there," said one of my comrades, "do 
YOU want to kill yourself? I have been watch- 


ing you all this time." For a truth I thought I 
was badly used. 

The next day the men concluded to leave me 
to take care of the cabin, being too weak to be 
of much service. 

The provisions were locked up in a big box, 
and the men went to work. I swept out the 
cabin and walked out to see what could be seen. 
Walking along I saw an old colored woman and 
her little boy, hanging out clothes. He was very 
dirty and ragged. He sat on the bank of the 
creek throwing crumbs from a good-sized piece 
of corn bread to the fish. I went up to him and 
snatched the bread from his hands. He jumped 
up and ran to his mother crying, "That man has 
got my bread." "Never mind, honey; that man 
must be hungr3^" 

The following day three more men were 
brought out to burv the dead. Our cook as us- 
ual hung up the kettle of beans to cook for 

Some time in the night one of the new hands 
got up and helped himself to beans, and before 
twelve o'clock the next day he was a dead man. 
You may be sure I was more careful after that 
how I ate. 

The next day the men took me out to help 
bury the dead. Upon arriving at the place of 


burial I was yet so weak that I was of no ser- 
xice. So they set me to bringing water for the 
men to drink. The way the graves were dug 
was to dig a ditch six feet wide, about one hun- 
dred \'ards long, and three feet deep. They then 
laid them as close as possible, without box, cof- 
fin, or clothes, for the men inside stripped the 
dead as fast as they died. Most of the prisoners 
were destitute of clothes, but it looked hard to 
see from three to five hundred buried in one day 
without clothes on. 

The prisoners of Andersonville w^ere dying at 
a terrible rate, especially those who had been 
longest in rebel hands. The rebels had deliber- 
ateh' planned the murder of the Union prisoners 
by the slow process of starvation and disease. 
It was at first slow but sure, and then it was 
sure and rapid. I have counted three hundred 
and sixty lifeless skeletons of our boys that had 
died in one day. You might walk around the 
prison any hour in the day and see men closing 
their eyes in death. Diarrhoea and scurvy ap- 
peared to be the most fatal diseases. 

None can know the horrors of scurvy except 
those who have had it. Sometimes the cords of 
the victim would be contracted and the limbs 
drawn up so that the patient could neither 
walk, stand, nor lie still. Sometimes it w^ould 


be confined to the bones, and not make any ap- 
pearance on tbe outside. At other times it 
would be confined to the mouth, and the gums 
would separate from the teeth and the teeth 
would drop out. I have seen hundreds of cases 
of this disease in Andersonville. I have seen 
many of our prisoners suffering Tvith this dis- 
ease, actually starving to death, because thev 
could not eat the coarse corn meal furnished by 
the rebels for the Yankee prisoners. 

In the month of June it rained continually 
for twenty-one days, and it is not strange dis- 
eases multiplied and assumed every horrible 
form; there were thirty-five thousand prisoners 
during all the rainy time, without shelter, lying 
out in the storm, day and night. 

As I was going to the well for water, the 
third or fourth day of my stay outside, I met 
Wirz and two confederate officers. Wirz said, 
"What are you doing here?" I told him I was 
carrying water for the men who were digging 
graves. "Well," said he, "If you don't get in- 
side of that gate, double quick, I will have a 
grave dug for you, and prepare you to fill it." 
You may be sure I went in, and v^as a prisoner 
inside again. 

About this time Mrs. Wirz took a great lik- 
ing to one of our little drummer boys. She 


took him out and dressed him in a nice fitting 
suit of gray. The boy was only eleven years 
old, and very handsome. The little fellow^ put 
on his suit of gray, and Mrs. Wirz said, "How 
do you like your clothes?" "I do not like them 
at all," replied the boy. "Why, what is the 
matter?" "I do not like the color." Mrs. Wirz 
liked him all the better for the bold spirit he 
manifested. She then made him a suit ot blue, 
and also a nice red cap, and thenceforth he went 
b}' the name of Red Cap. 

Red Cap would come in every day or two 
and tell us what was going on outside. He 
told us Mrs. Wirz quarreled with Wirz every 
day because he did not try to prepare some kind 
of a shelter for the prisoners. She wished him 
to let a few o." us out at a time to cut timber to 
make our own shelter with. No, he would not 
do that. Finally Mrs. Wirz told him if he didn't 
do something for the relief of the prisoners, she 
would poison him; "For," said she, "I cannot 
sleep nights; my dreams are one continued 
nightmare, and I will stand it no longer." Mrs. 
Wirz was a true southerner, of the kind called 
Creole; but for all that she had a great deal of 
humanity about her. She continued her threats 
and pleadings, but they were of no avail. She 
finally did give him a dose of poison. He had 

DR. bates' testimony. 39 

been threatened so much that when he did get 
it he knew what was the matter, and took 
something to counteract it. After that "Old 
Wirz" let us out oftener for wood. 

Dr. John C. Bates, who w^as a kind-hearted 
and humane rebel surgeon, testified as follows: 

"When I went there, there were twenty-five 
hundred sick in the hospital. I judge twenty- 
five thousand prisoners were crowded together 
in the stockade. Some had made holes and bur- 
rows in the earth. Those under the sheds in the 
hospital were doing comparatively well. 
I saw^ but little shelter excepting w^hat 
the prisoners' ingenuity had devised. I found 
them suffering with scurvy, dropsy, diarrhoea, 
gangrene, pneumonia, and other diseases. 
When prisoners died the\' were laid in w^agons 
head foremost to be carried off. Effluvia from 
the hospital was yery offensive. If by accident 
my hands were affected, I would not go into the 
hospital without putting a plaster over the 
affected part. If persons whose s\'stems were 
reduced by inanition should purchance stump a 
toe or scratch a hand, the next report to me 
was gangrene, so potent was the hospital gL.n- 
grene. The prisoners were more thickly confined 
in the stockade than ants and bees. Dogs were 
kept for hunting the prisoners who escaped. 


Fifty per cent of those who died might have 
been saved. I feel safe in saying seventy-five 
per cent might have been saved, if the patients 
had been properly cared for. The effect of the 
treatment of prisoners was morally as well as 
phvsicallv injurious. Each lived but for him- 
self, which I suppose was entirely superinduced 
bv their starving condition. Seeing the condi- 
tion of some of them, I remarked to mv student, 
"I cannot resurrect them." I found persons ly- 
ing dead among the living. Thinking they 
mereh' slept, I went to wake them up but found 
they were taking their everlasting sleep. This 
was in the hospital, and I judge it was worse 
in the stockade. There being no deadhouse I 
erected a tent for that purpose. But I soon 
found that a blanket or quilt had been cut oflt 
from the canvas, and as the material readily 
served for repairs, the deadhouse had to be 
abandoned. The daily ration was much less in 
September, October, November and December 
than it was from the first of January till the 
twenty-sixth of March, 1865. The men had 
never had ten ounces of food every twenty-four 
hours. The scurvy was next to rottenness. 
Some of the patients could not eat on account 
of the scurvy; their teeth were loose; the}- fre- 
quentlv asked me to give them something to 


eat which would not cause pain. While Doctor 
Stevenson was medical director he did not man- 
ifest any interest in the relief of their necessities; 
the rations were less than ten ounces in twenty- 
four hours; some men did actually starve to 
death on it. There was plenty of wood in the 
neighborhood, which might have been cut to 
answer all demands for shelter and fuel." 

This concluded the testimonv of Dr. Bates, 
and considering that he lives in Georgia it need 
not be said that he testified reluctantly to the 

Charles W. Reynolds, of Company B, Ninth 
Illinois Cavalry, writes his experience: "We 
reached Andersonville about 2 o'clock P. M. on 
the first day of April, 1864, We got off the cars 
in a timbered country with a dry sandy soil. 
About three quarters of a mile off we could see a 
large enclosure composed of timber set on end in 
the ground, with sentry boxes set along the top, 
and that was the Andersonville prison pen. The 
old Dutchman, as he was called, Captain Wirz, 
riding a white horse, came along and escorted 
us to the prison gate. Here he left us with the 
guards and himself went inside to learn what 
part of the prison to assign us to. While we 
were waiting outside of the prison gates a lot of 
Yankee prisoners came from the v^oods with 


arms lull of fagots that they had been gather- 
ing for fuel. At first we thought thev were a 
lot of negroes; but as they came nearer we saw 
that they were Yankee prisoners. They were as 
black as negroes, and such downcast, hopeless, 
haggard and woe-begone looking human beings 
I never saw before. They said they were glad 
to see us, but would to God it was imder better 

"After a while the prison gates were opened 
for us to pass through. As we entered a sight 
of horror met our eyes that almost froze our 
blood and made our hearts stop beating. Be- 
fore us were skeleton forms that once had been 
stahvart men, covered with rags and filth and 
vermin, with hollow cheeks and glowing eyes. 
Some of the men in the heat and intensity of 
their feelings exclaimed, 'Is this hell?' Well 
might Wirz, the old fiend who presided over that 
rebel slaughtering pen, have written over its 
gates, ' Let him that enters here leave all hope 
behind.' It may be that some of the readers of 
this little book think there is a good deal of ex- 
aggeration, but I w^ant to say right here that it 
is impossible to write or tell the horrors of An- 
dersonville prison so that anybody can under- 
stand or realize them." 

It was getting along toward fall and the 


rebels told us there was going to be an ex- 
change. Oh, how m}^ heart did jump. Could it 
be possible that I w^as to get back to see my 
kind old mother, and mj^ wafe and little ones 
who had mourned for me as dead? If I could 
only write the feelings that overcame me I know^ 
you would feel happy for me. It, however, 
turned out to be false. We also heard that 
General Sherman was getting close to us and 
the rebels began to move us out of the way. 

The greatest portion was taken to Charles- 
ton, North Carolina. There were seven thous- 
and of us left. In a few days they marched the 
rest of us out and shipped us to Savannah. We 
arrived there the next day, the hardest looking 
set of men you ever set eyes on. They marched 
us from the cars to a new stockade they had 
prepared for us. As we marched through the 
citv the citizens gathered on each side of the 
street to see the Yankee prisoners pass. As we 
marched along some of the citizens said they 
felt sorry for us, others said we were treated too 
well. They finally got us to the gate and we 
were marched in. We were then in hearing of 
our own guns. This stockade consisted ot 
about ten acres. But after all the citizens gave 
us more to eat than they did around Anderson- 
ville, for they sent in beef and other things that 


we never got at any other prison. We did not 
staj' long at Savannah. The}' took us from 
there to Thomasville, one hundred miles south 
of Savannah. On our way from Savannah two 
of our men made their escape. The guards were 
stationed on top of the cars and the prisoners 
were inside. Two of our men made a desperate 
jump for liberty. We were going at the rate of 
twenty miles an hour when they made the 
jump. When they struck the ground they 
tumbled end over end. The guards blazed away 
at them. I could see the dirt flying all around 
them where the bullets struck, and we were 
gone, and so were they, and I found out since 
that they got through to our lines all right. 

When we arrived at Thomasville our guards 
marched us back in the w^oods about three 
miles. They did not have any stockade at this 
point, so in order to keep us from making our 
escape they had a ditch dug all around us. 
Four more of "our men made a break for liberty 
at this place; three of them got away, the fourth 
was shot and died in two days afterwards. We 
stayed at Thomasville tw^o weeks and then our 
guards marched across the country to a small 
town called Blacksheon. As we were marching 
through the countrv the colored people came out 
on the road to see the Yankees go by. We v. ere 


in a deplorable condition, the larger part of the 
prisoners were almost destitute of clothes, and 
as we were forced to march along in the cold 
biting wind, there were a good man}^ of the 
prisoners died on the road. Most of the men 
were without shoes. Their feet looked more 
like big pieces of bloody meat than like human 
feet. They could easily be tracked b}- their poor, 
bleeding feet. 

As I said before the colored people gathered 
on each side of the road to see the Yankees go 
by. Seeing an old lady standing close by the 
road I spoke to her and said: "Aunty, what do 
you think of us, anyway? " " Wel-l, mas'er, I'se 
very sorry for you." Well, to state the fact, the 
tears forced themselves to my eyes in spite of all 
I could do to hear one sympathizing word, even 
if it was from an old colored woman. 

When we first started from Thomasville one 
of the guards came up to me and said, 'Yank, I 
want you to carry this knap-sack. I told him I 
was not able to carry myself. "It don't make 
no difference to me whether you can carr}' your- 
self or not; but you w^ill carry this knap-sack as 
far as you go, or I will blow your brains out." 
So I was forced to carry his knap-sack, which 
weighed about forty pounds. 

Some of the time I thought I w^ ould fall, but 


I managed to keep along until the first day 
noon, when we made a halt, and the rebel gave 
me a small piece of meat. "Now," said the 
Johnnie, "I have given 3'ou a good ration, and I 
hope you will can^ my knap-sack without 
grumbling." We started on, but had not gone 
over five miles when I gave out. I could not go 
any farther ; so down I went my full length on 

the road. "Get up, you d d Yank, or I'll run 

A-ou through with this bayonet." 
/^ If he had done so it could not have made any 
difterence with me, for I had fainted. A confed- 
erate ofiicer made him take the knap-sack, and 
he put it on 'another prisoner. I staggered to 
my feet and went on and on. Oh, would this 
thing never end I But finally we did get through 
to Blackshire, more dead than alive. That 
was the terminus of the railroad that went 
through Andersonville. I was glad to get 
where I could rest. To lie down and stretchout 
at full length w^as more delightful than I can de- 
scribe. Ah. would this thing never end, or was 
I doomed to die in rebel hands? I want to say 
right here that there were seventeen thousand, 
eight hundred and ninety-six deaths of Union 
prisoners at Andersonville. 

We went into camp about half a mile from 
the town. The next morning they marched us 


through town. The colored folks came from all 
sides to see the prisoners and their guards go 
by, all dressed in their holidaj^ clothes, for this 
was the day before New Year's. One old colored 
woman had a piece of sugar-cane. She was 
some distance ahead, standing close to the road, 
watching us go by. Many of the guards made 
a grab for the piece of cane, but she avoided 
them every time. Just as I got opposite her she 
darted forward and handed me the cane. The 
rebel guard raised his gun and brought it down 
over the poor old woman's head, and she fell in 
the road like one dead. The last I saw of her, 
her colored friends were carrying her off. How- 
ever, I heard the next morning that the woman 
had died during the night, of the blow she re- 
ceived from the rebel guard. You may be sure I 
was pleased to get the sugar-cane, and it was 
a great thing. The cane was very refreshing 
and nourishing, and I felt verj^ grateful to the 
poor old colored woman ^who lost her life trying 
to give me something to eat. 

They marched us up to the cars. We were 
put in box-cars. Just as the guards had got us 
loaded a handsome lady came riding on horse- 
back and began talking verv earnestly to one of 
the confederate officers. Our guards told us she 
w^as pleading with the officer to make us a New 


Year's present. She finally got the officer's con- 
sent, and two large wagons drove up to the 
cars, and each prisoner got a good half pound 
of pork, and it was good pork, too. Oh, how 
thankful we did feel to that good lady for mak- 
ing us that nice present. It is a singular fact, 
that always during our despondent times there 
is sure to break through the black clouds a ray 
of bright sunshine. 

We lay in box cars all night, and next morn- 
ing went through to Andersonville. We arrived 
there about ten o'clock the same day. On New 
Year's day, 1865, v^re w^ere ordered out of the 
cars. It was a very unpleasant day. The wind 
w^as blowing cold from the north, and v^e hud- 
dled up close to keep warm. The rebels were all 
around us and had fires. We were not in the 
pen, but just outside. 

One of our little drummer boys stepped up 
to the fire to warm, when old Wirz came along 
and ordered him back. The boy started back, 
but seeing Wirz going away went back to the 
fire again. Wirz turned, and seeing the boy, 
drew his revolver and shot him dead . The little 
fellow fell in the fire. I could not hear what the 
rebel guards said to Wirz, for the wind was 
blowing the other way, but this I do know^, he 
took their arms away and put them in irons. 


The}' then counted us off and opened the gates, 
and we marched in. We were prisoners in An- 
dersonville once more. Well, I must say my 
hope of getting out was very small; for even if I 
had been permitted my liberty I could not have 
walked five miles. There were only about seven 
thousand of us, altogether; so you see we had 
plenty of room; in fact it looked almost desert- 
ed. I had been used to seeing it crowded. We 
had no shelter of any kind, so four of us clubbed 
together and dug a hole seven feet deep, and 
then widened it out at the bottom so as to ac- 
commodate four of us. It was all open at the 
top, but it kept the cold winds from us. 

It finally came my turn to go for wood. 
There were six of us picked out to go. One of 
the six was a very sickly man, and could hardly 
walk, without carrying a load. He could not 
be persuaded to let some stronger man take his 
place, so out w£ went, sick man and all. We 
went about half a mile from the pen, and every 
man went to work picking up his wood. Fin- 
ally, we started for the stockade; but the sick 
man could not keep up; he had more wood than 
he could carry. We went as slow as our 
guards would let us, in order to give him a 
chance. Just then Wirz came riding along on 
his old white horse, and seeing the sick man 


some twenty yards behind, said, "Close up 

there, close up there, you d d Yankee." The 

sick man tried to hurry up, but stubbed his toe 
and down he went, wood and all. Wirz sprang 
from his horse and ran up to the poor sick sol- 
dier and kicked him in the stomach with the 
heel of his big riding boot, and left him a dead 

man. "That is the way I serve you d d 

Yanks when you don't do as I tell 3'ou." The 
rest of us went back to the prison pen, sick at 

How was it our government left us there to 
die? We knew the rebels were anxious for an 
exchange, and we could not understand wh}^ 
our government would not make the exchange. 
I know this much about it, if our government 
had made the exchange the rebels would have 
had about forty thousand able-bodied men to 
put in the field, while on the other Jiand our 
government would have had that many to put 
in the hospital. The rebel sergeant came in ev- 
ery day and said, "AH you men that will come 
out and join our army, we will give you good 
clothes and rations." There were a few that 
went out, but they went out simply to make 
their escape. As far as I was concerned, I 
would have died before I would have put on 
their gray uniform. 


We had no snow, but had cold and heavy 
rains. One night, just as the guard called out 
"Twelve o'clock and all is well," our hole in the 
ground caved in, and we had a terrible time 
struggling to get out; but we finally got out, 
and there we sat on the ground, that cold rain 
beating down on our poor naked bodies. When 
it did come daylight, we could hardly stand on 
our feet. One of my poor, comrades died before 
noon, and another in the afternoon, from the 
effects of that cold storm; so there were only 
two of us left. 

In about a week from the time our place 
caved in we were taken out to get wood again. 
As our little squad marched out, about fifty 
yards from the stockade I saw a good sized log 
lying there. It was about eight feet long and 
two feet in diameter. I saw that the rebel 
guard w^ a kind looking old man, and asked 
him if he would be so kind as to help me get the 
log inside of the stockade. "Now," said he, "If 
youans won't try to run away, I will help you." 
I gave him the desired promise, and he laid 
down his gun and helped me to roll the log in. 
That w^as the second time I had received a kind 
act from one of the rebel guards. The other 
time was when the rebel Captain gave us three 
quilts. I got a couple of railroad spikes from one 


of my comrades, and split the log all up in small 
strips, and then we fixed our cave up with a 
good roof, and I must say it was really com- 


One da}^ when the Rebs brought in our meal, 
an old prisoner managed to steal one of the 
meal sacks. He s^ole the sack to make him a 
shirt. He cut a hole in the bottom for his head, 
one in each side for his arms. It made the old 
gentleman quite a shirt. Wirz missed the sack, 
and refused to issue any more rations till the 
sack and man were found. He found the man 
and took him out, .and put him in the stocks 
and left him there all night. In the morning 
when he went to let him out the man was dead. 

In the middle of February the guards told us 
they didn't think we would have to stay much 
longer, as the south was about played out. 
Could it be possible that we were about to get 
home again, or were they about to move us to. 
another prison, and simply telling us this to 
keep us from running away? Finally we were 
ordered out and put on flat cars and sent 
through to Salem, Alabama. There we were or- 
dered off the cars. As we stepped out on the 
platform a rebel citizen came up with a stove- 


pipe hat in his hand. He had it full of confeder- 
ate money; and as we passed him he gave each 
one of us a bill. I 2:ot a fifty-dollar bill for mine 
and I traded it oft' to an old woman for a sweet 
potato pie, and thought I had made a big bar- 
gain at that. 

The guards marched us to a pen the\' had 
prepared for us. They opened the gates, and 
we marched in. Now you could see a big 
change in the guards and rebel officers. We 
were used better in every respect. That night 
the rebel band came up and serenaded us, and 
finalK' passed their instruments through to the 
Yankees, who played Yankee Doodle, Hail Co- 
lumbia, the Star Spangled Banner, and a good 
many other pieces. Then tlie\' passed the in- 
struments out, and the Johnnies played the 
Bonnie Blue Flag, and Dixie, and a good many 
more rebel pieces. 

The next morning the\^ marched us out to 
the depot, and we got on to flat cars again, and 
were sent through to Jackson, Mississippi, 
where we were ordered off the cars and formed 
inline. The rebel officers said, "You will have 
to march on foot to Yicksburg," and we had to 
take an oath not to molest anything on our 
way. Then the guards were taken off, and 
only a few rebel officers sent to guide us 


through to Vicksburg. We were three days in 
marching through, if I remember right. Fin- 
ally we came in sight of our flag, on the other 
side of Black river from us. What a shout 
went up from our men, I never shall forget it. 
It did seem as if I could fly. I was going home 
for sure; there was no doubt now. ■> As we came 
up we found a good many ladies that had come 
down from the north to meet us. They brought 
us towles, soap, shears, razors, paper and envel- 
opes, and even postage stamps, and our gov- 
ernment had sent out new clothes, blankets and 
tents. Oh, this was a perfect heaven. We 
washed, cut our hair, and put on our new 
clothes. The clothing was not issued just as it 
should have been, but every man helped himself. 
I got one number seven and one number twelve 
shoe. By trading around a little, however, I got 
a pair of twelves; so I was solid. Then I looked 
around for my comrade, who had slept with me 
for the past six months, but could not find him. 
I saw a man standing close by me, laughing, 
but I did not know it was my comrade I had 
slept with, until he spoke to me. It is impossi- 
ble for me to make you understand the immense 
change made in us. From dirt and filth and 
rags, we stepped out clean and well dressed. 
When I came through to our lines I weighd 


just one hundred pounds. My average weight 
is one hundred and ninety. Some of the men 
were worse off than I. You may be sure, ray 
dear readers, I did feel thankful to God fof my 
deliverance. I had a praying mother away up 
north, and do feel it was through her prayers, 
that I got through to our lines once more. 

We got some coffee and hard-tack, and 
pitched our tents about five miles in the rear of 
Vicksburg. Well, my dear readers, it did seem 
nice to go into camp in our own lines. I was 
almost rotten with the scurvy, and so weak 
that I could hardly walk, and my skin was 
drawn down over my bones, and it was of a 
dark blue color. 

Our men died off very rapidly for the first 
few days. Finally, our doctor had our rations 
cut down, and the men began to gain. My 
mind at this time was almost as badly shat- 
tered as my body, and didn't become sound till 
I had been home two years; and the fact of the 
matter is, I never have become sound in body. 
I have the scurvy yet; so bad at times that my 
family cannot sit up and eat at the same table 
with me; and as far as manual labor is con- 
cerned, I am not able to do any. The govern- 
ment allows me four dollars a month pension, 
which I am very thankful for. 


Our camp was on the west side of Black 
river. After we got in the rear of Yicksburg, 
we were put on what was called neutral 
ground, and the rebels had their officers over us. 
We were not exchanged, but our government 
made this bargain with the rebels: If they 
would send us through to our lines, our govern- 
ment would hold us as prisoners of war until 
they could come to some kind of an understand- 
ing. The fact was, the seven thousand that I 
came through with never were exchanged, but 
were discharged as prisoners of war. It has 
been now twenty-two years since the war, and 
there may be some things that are not correct, 
but you may depend that everything is as near 
true as I can remember, in my story. 

After we had drawn our clothes and tents 
and got our tents pitched, and drawn our ra- 
tions, the first thing done was to write up to 
Belvidere, Illinois, to my wife and mother, to 
let them know that I was through to our lines. 
Oh, what rejoicing there was away up in my 
northern home. When they first got my letter 
my wife exclaimed, "Will is alive! Will is alive!" 

As I have said, ladies from all over the north- 
ern states brought to us books, papers, writing- 
paper and envelopes. So it seemed like a per- 
fect paradise to what we had seen for a long 


time. Finally I got a letter from home. I can- 
not describe to you how happy I did feel to hear 
from my wife and little ones once more, and front 
mj^ dear old mother. She wrote they were alH 
well, and so anxious for me to come home. My 
brother who had left me on the side hill, had 
been captured, but made his escape. He had 
died shortly after reaching our lines, and my 
other brother had died at Nashyille hospital. 
So out of three brothers I was the only one 
likely to get home. 

Ever}' time that we wanted to go outside of 
our camp we had to go to the rebel Colonel and 
get a pass. One morning I went up to head- 
quarters to get a pass. I w^ anted to go down 
to Vicksburg, but could not find a rebel officer 
in camp. It was the day that Abraham Lincoln 
\yas assassinated. Our officers had let the rebel 
officers know it the moment they had received 
the news of the assassination. The rebel officers 
had made a general stampede during the night. 
They were afraid that when the prisoners of 
war heard of it they would want to retaliate. 
I do think that the rebel officers were wise in 
getting out of camp. 

When the news came that Abraham Lincoln 
w^as killed there w^as silence in the camp. Every 
man you met looked as though he had lost all 


the friends he ever had. It was days before the 
men acted like themselves again. ' 

We finally received orders to embark for St. 
Louis, and at the same time received news that 
the rebel armies were surrendering on all sides; 
so we were sure that the war was over. We 
marched down to Vicksburg to take a steamer 
for St. Louis. When we got on the levee we 
found only one boat ready to leave. Our officers 
then divided us up and put three thousand of us 
on board the "Henry Ames," and the balance 
had to wait for another boat. It was my luck 
to get on the first boat. I never will forget how 
happy I did feel when the big wheels began to 
revolve, and she made out into the broad Mis- 
sissippi. I was on my way home, sweet home, 
where I would have a good bed, and sit up to 
the table and eat with my family once more. 
Oh, happy thought! .It seemed to me as if the 
boat only crept along; I -wanted to fly; I was 
sick of war and rumors of war; I did not want 
any more of it in mine. It was all the officers 
of the boat could do to keep their prisoners in 
subjection. They were running from one side of 
the boat to the other for every trifling thing 
they saw on the banks of the river. They were 
free men once more, and were going home; no 
wonder thev were wild. 


We finally got to St. Louis. We were then 
marched up to Benton barracks. When we ar- 
rived there we heard that the other prisoners 
we had left at Vicksburg had embarked on 
board the steamer "Sultant," and when just off 
from Fort Pillow her boilers had exploded, and 
out of three thousand and five hundred prison- 
ers only three hundred were saved. How hard 
it did seem for those poor men, after going 
through the hardships of Andersonville, and 
almost in sight of their homes, to have to die. 
I knew that my folks did not know which boat 
I was on, so I hastened to let them know. 

We staid in Camp Benton about three weeks 
and got paid for rations that we did not eat 
while prisoners of war, and three months' extra 
pay. My pay altogether amounted to seventy- 
six dollars. They then sent us across the Mis- 
sissippi and we took the cars for Chicago. The 
citizens all through Illinois heard of our coming 
and out of every door and window we saw the 
welcome waves of handkerchiefs and flags; and 
they had tables set in the open air with every- 
thing good you could think of to eat upon them 
for the prisoners of war. We finally got to Chi- 
cago, and then there was a grand scattering of 
the prisoners. Thej^ went in all directions to 
their homes. 

Home again. 61 

From Chicago I went to Belvidere. My 
father, mother, wife and little ones live about 
four miles south of town. There were ten or 
twelve who belonged in and around Belvidere, 
and when we got off the train there was a large 
crowd of citizens there to meet us; and such a 
cheer as they set up I shall never forget. There 
was a carriage waiting to take me out home. 

As I came in sight of the old farm house the 
feelings that came over me I shall never forget. 
The carriage stopped; I got out and stepped to 
the gate; my old mother stood in the door; we 
gave one another a look and I was in her arms. 
" Oh, this is my son, who was lost and is found; 
who was dead and is alive again." And surely, 
if ever the fatted calf w^as killed it w^as killed 
for me. Then, oh, how good it did seem to have 
my vv^ife and little ones around me once more; 
and sit up to the table and eat like a Christian. 

Nov^, my kind readers, I w^ill bid you good- 
bye, and some time in the near future I will give 
you the remainder of my recollections of the