COMRADE WM. X. T^ LEK,
\ I, MNIH II.I.IMH i\ir N-r V. NlNKl'V lll'lir
f^ride, 33 Cerit^.
ffiJii 3l miA^ '1
THE DISPATCH CARRIER
COMRADE Wm. N. TYLER,
CO. I, 9th ill. cav.; co. b, 95th h.l. vol. l\f.
A rHRILLTNG DESCRIPTION OF THE ADVENTURES
OF A DISPATCH CARRIER IN THE LATE WAR; THE
CAPTLTRE, IMPRISONMENT, ESCAPE AND RE-
CAPTURE OF A UNION SOLDIER — A COM
PLET'e narrative OF A SOLDIER'S
INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE IN THE
CIVIL WAR, FROM 1861 TO 1865,
AS WRITTEN BV HIMSELF.
I'ORT I5VRON, ILL.:
I'UKT HVKON "Gl.OKE" PrINI
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.
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
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-
RUNNINCx THE GUARD. 5
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
6 TIIK DISPATCH CARKIKR.
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
THE PARTING. /
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
8 I MI': DISPATCH CAUKli:U.
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
BENTOX BARRACKS. \)
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
10 Till-; DISPATCH CAKKIHK.
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
ARMY RATIONS. 11
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.
TIIK DISl'.VTCll CAKKIHK.
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
14- THK DISPATCH CARKIKR.
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
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,
OUR FIRST PRISONER. 15
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
DISEASE IN CAMP. 17
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
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
20 THK DISPATCH CAKKIKK.
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
THE FATTED CALF. 21
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-
24 Till-: DISPATCH CAKKIHK.
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
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
HIDING IN A GARRET. 25
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
26 TIIK DISPATCH CAKKIKK.
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
JIM IN IRONS. Ji
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-
A REBEL KILLED. 29
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
30 Till-: DISPATCH CAUKIKK.
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
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
32 THK DISPATCH CAKKIHK.
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
34 TllK DISPATCH CAKKIEK.
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
ON DUTY AS SCOUT. 35
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
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
36 THK DISTATCll CAKKIICK.
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^-
"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. -
PIG IN A GUNNY SACK. 37
"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
"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
38 THE niSPATCII CARRIKR.
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
THROUGH THE WOODS. 39
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.
40 TIIH niSPATCIl CAKKIKH.
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? "
NEGRO HOSPITALITY. 41
"No hoiie_v, der been no soldier here since de
"Well, aunty," said I, "can I stay here to-
" 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
POSSUM AND SWEET POTATOES. 4-3^^
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,.
44 THE DISPATCH CAKRIHK.
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
"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
46 THE DISPATCH CARRIER.
«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
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
CHASED BY REBELS. 47
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.
INTO THE UNION LINES. 49
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 ro.se 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.
50 THK DISPATCH CARRIKK.
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 REBEL CAPTAIN. 51
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
52 THE DISPATCH CARRIER.
" 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
"Well," said the rebel captain, "let me take
my nigger along and I will go where I can get
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
BACK TO CAMP. 53
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
THE UNION WIDOW. OO
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
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
ATTACKED BY HOUNDS. 5 t
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 .
58 THE DISPATCH CARRIER.
"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
"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
A REBEL FIRE-EATER. 59
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
"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
60 THK DISPATCH CAKRIKK.
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
UNWILLING HOSPITALITY. 61
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
Hour after hour passed until the clock struck
62 THE DISPATCH CARRIER.
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
AMONG UNION SOUTHERNERS. 63
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?"
"Have 3'ou got a couple of government
64 THK DISPATCH CARRIER.
"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
OUR RETURN. 65
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
A ^EBEL GUNBOAT. 67
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
6S THK DISPATCH CAKKIKR.
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
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"
A LIVELY SKIRMISH. 69
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:
70 TIIK DISPATCH CARKIKK.
" 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
/-' TIIK DISPATCH CAKRIKK.
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
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
• PROTECTING A PLANTATION'. 73
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
"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
74 THE niSI'ATCH CAKKIKK. ^
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
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-
THE REBEL COLONEL. 75
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
"To what regiment do you belong," the Col-
"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
"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
tb THE DISPATCH CARRIER. «
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
"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
THUNDER STRUCK. 77
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:
78 THE DISPATCH CARRIER.
"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-
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
80 THE DISPATCH CAKKIEK.
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
"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."
LAYING A POISON PLOT. 81
"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
^ A CAVALRY FIGHT. 83
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
84 TIIK niSPATCII CAKKIKK.
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
PEACH BRANDY. 85
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
86 TIIK DISPATCH CAKRIKK.
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
ROAST I'IG. 87
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
88 THH DISPATCH CAKKIHK.
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.
NINETV-FIFTH INFANTRY. 89
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 .
^ MK.MOIKS OK ANDIiUSONVILLH.
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
GIVING LEG-BAIL. 3
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;
4- MHMOIKS Ol" AXDKKSONVILLK.
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
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
vSLAYING A NEGRO. t)
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.
t> MHMOIKS OI- ANDI'RSO.NVILLH.
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 "
THE CAPTURE. /
" 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.
8 MKMOIRS OF ANDERSON VILLE.
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;
10 MEMOIRS OF ANUERSONVILLE.
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
ON OUR WAY TO PRISON. 11
prison gates that day came out on the
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
12 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
INSIDE THE PRISON WALLS. 13
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
14- MKMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLK.
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
DESCRIPTION OF THE STOCKADE. 15
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
16 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
THE ESCAPE. 17
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
18 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSON VILLE.
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
CHASED BY BLOODHOUNDS. 19
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
20 MEMOIRS OF ANUERSONVILLE.
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."
HIDING IN A GARRET. 21
"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!"
22 MEMOIRS OF AXDERSONVILLK.
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
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
24 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
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
OFF AGAIN. 25
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."
26 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSON VILLE.
" 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
THE CAPTURE. 27
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."
28 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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-
We had some praying men at Andersonville.
They held nightly prayer meetings, and they
PROVIDENCE SPRING. 29
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
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
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
SEARCH FOR ARMS. 31
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
32 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONYILLE.
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-
BRRYING THE DEAD. 33
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-
AT THE BEAN-POT 35
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
36 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSON VILLE.
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
TERRIBLE SUFFERING. 37
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
About this time Mrs. Wirz took a great lik-
ing to one of our little drummer boys. She
38 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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.
40 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSO.NVILLE.
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
REYNOLDS TESTIMONY. 41
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
42 MKMOIKS OK AXDKRSONYILLK.
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
REPORTED EXCHANGE. 43
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
44 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
SOUTHERN SYMPATHY. 45
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,
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
46 MKMdIRS OF ANDKRSOXVILLE.
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
A REBEL VILLAIN. 47
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
48 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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.
BACK TO ANDERSONVILLE. 49
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
50 MEMOIRS OF AXDERSONYILI.E.
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.
A KIND ACT. 51
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
52 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONYILLE.
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-
54 MK.MOIKS OV ANDKRSONVILI.K.
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
HOMEWARD BOUND. 55'
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
56 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVIlvLF.
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.
WITHIN UNION LINES AGAIN. 57
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
58 MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
EMBARKED ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 59
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.
GO MEMOIRS OF ANDERSONVILLE.
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
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