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Full text of "Reminiscences of his capture and escape from prison and adventures within the federal lines"

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REMINISCENCES 



OF HIS 



Capture ^5 Escape from Prison 



AND 



Adventures Within the Federal Ljines 



BY A 



MEMBER OF MOSBY'S COMMAND, 



WITH A 



NARRATIVE BY A C. S. NAVAL OFFICER. 



COPYRIGHT, 1895. 



RICHMOND, VA 

DANIEL MURPHY, I*klNTER, I307 E. FRANKLIN STREET. 
1895. 



X^K^EIP^OE. 



These reminiscences are taken from private letters written to members of 

my family and a few personal friends, and also from letters written by Lieut. 

Archer to his family, and were not intended for publication, except such parts 

as Col. Mosby may deem worthy of a space in his forthcoming book relating 

to the experiences of himself and his command in the late war, now in course 

of publication. 

FRANK H. RAHM. 



^^° 



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^N'C 



REMIlSriSCENCES. 



Richmond, Va., March 25 th, 1895. 
Colonel John S. Mosby : 

Dear Colonel : Yours of the ipih is to hand and contents noted. I was in 
hopes of seeing more of and having quite a chat with you at our recent re- 
union, but as there were so many for you to divide your time with, I felt that 
it would be more enjoyable to both to await a more opportune time. True 
to my promise, I will endeavor to give you a sketch of my capture, imprison- 
ment and finally my escape and return to Dixie. It is now thirty long years 
since that event, and while I have related it but very seldom, and have never 
before attempted to write it, have on scores of occasions been importuned by 
writers to let them have it for various literary papers, &c. To make it more 
interesting, I will enter into as detailed an account as I can remember, and 
must admit it is very nearly as fresh in my memory to-day as then. 

It was in October, 1864, and while you had gone on the renowned "Green- 
back Raid" with a portion of the command, that Col. Wm. Chapman, with 
the rest of the command, started for Maryland and crossed at White's Ford. 
After making a circuit of a few miles in Maryland (and, by the way, had we 
have been thirty minutes earlier, would have captured a train on the B, & O. 
at the first station beyond Point of Rocks), Col. Chapman decided to return 
by the way of Point of Rocks. On approaching the canal we were inter- 
cepted by the notorious Key's command, who would not dare come out in the 
road and show a good fight, but kept in the field, a fence being between us, 
pouring their fire in the rear of the column. My company happened to be 
bringing up the rear on this occasion. I noticed Col. Chapman coming from 
the front to the rear and surmised that something would soon happen. As he 
approached me he remarked that the Yanks had taken up the floor of the 
bridge spanning the canal, and we will have to whip and scatter these fellows 
before we can relay the floor. So, when your rear is on a line with the gate, 
I'll wheel the command and charge them, which he did, and after standing a 
while they broke and ran in every direction. I saw one fellow giving the Col. 
a pretty good duel. I joined the Col., when the Yankees broke, and this fellow 
was the last man to run. I singled five who had taken to the right and sup- 
posing others were following me, had them all cornered in the fence ; one had 
dismounted and throwing down the rails, the five surrendered without a shot 



being fired, though they were two hundred yards from any of the rest of either 
command. I started out with the party, when one in particular begged me 
to take care of and not turn him over to any one else. I promised him 
I would. We had hardly gone one hundred yards, when, who should come 
galloping to ray assistance, seeing 1 had too many for safety, (hadn't dis- 
armed a single man) but Coley Jordan, whether by accident or intentionally 
I do not know. He remarked, "Give me this fellow, I'll be responsible for 
him," meaning the fellow to whom I had promised protection. I told him no, 
that I had promised to keep him in my charge and would do so. We soon 
re-floored the bridge and crossed the canal, then forded the river, and with 
twenty or more prisoners marched on to Leesburg. On nearing the town the 
prisoner referred to above asked permission to see his mother and sisters and 
tell them good-bye. I then for the first time learned that he was a renegade 
Virginian and hved in Leesburg, having deserted his State and joined Key's 
command, which was stationed at Point of Rocks. I sent him to bid his family 
good-bye, and it happened that he lived next door to a young lady (Miss R. G.,) 
who was at the time in conversation with several of our men, one of whom 
was the renowned Fred. Smith. As soon as she saw the prisoner, she went 
into ecstasy and jumped for joy; expressed a very great and s])ecial desire to 
form the acquaintance of his captor — that she might thank him in person. 
Fred. Smith came down, deHvered the message and escorted me up. She 
then explained to me why she had preferred his capture rather than a full reg- 
iment of any other Yankees, and had prayed incessantly that he would be. 
It seems that every time his command visited Leesburg, this fellow would 
take advantage of the opportunity to search with a squad every house in the 
town, particularly those of the prominent citizens, apparently looking for Mos- 
by's men, and at the same time committing all the depredations possible. 
This, of course, was very trying to the citizens, especially the ladies, who had 
looked upon this fellow with holy horror. I promised Miss G. that I would 
not let him escape, and after receiving a very cordial invitation to visit her. 
which I promised to do in the near future, very ?iear future, the command 
moved off. 

Having decided to write you, I wrote Miss G., now Mrs. C., to ascertain if 
possible the name of thii fellow, and though it has been thirty years last Oc- 
tober, here is her reply : 

Winchester, Va., Oct. lo, 1894, 
Mr. F. H. Rahm : 

Dear Sir : I fully appreciate the motive which prompted your request and 
answer at once. The name of the man was Forsythe, and I recall the inci- 
dent perfectly. I feel sure your account of the escapade will be most inter- 
esting, and shall be greatly obliged for a copy. You see from the heading of 
this that I have changed my home ; have been living here for three years, and 
if by any chance you should visit this place, would be glad to see you and talk 



over old times. Dear old Mosby, I look upon him as a noble-hearted man- 
so brave and altogether nice. 

Very sincerely, R. N. G. 

After the re-union was decided upon, I sent the above letter to John Alex- 
ander, the originator of the reunion^ and an acquaintance of Mrs. G., and 
here is his reply : 

Leesburg, Va., Jan. 3rd, 1895. 
I.iEUT. F. H. Rahm : 

Dear Sir : I am in receipt of your letter with enclosures. I will be dehght- 
ed to meet you at the re- union and talk over old times with you. I am hear- 
ing from the boys from all over the country, and they seem enthused at the 
prospect of looking into each other's faces again. I will be greatly disappoint- 
ed if it is not a notable occasion. The newspaper men ask that you officers 
bring photographs of yourselves. I think they intend to give us a good wri- 
ting up. I read Mrs. G.'s letter with great interest, and knew old Forsythe 
very well — he went to his reward a few years ago. I think I can appreciate 
your exi:>erience with him, and can also well understand how Mrs. G. struck 
the key note to your heart. She was rather given to striking the fellows' key 
notes. I don't know how you are provided for matrimonially, but will men- 
tion incidentally that she is a buxom widow of several years' standing. 

Hoping to meet you soon, Very truly, JNO. H. A. 

On the march I wa"? rolling over in my mind the pleasant little interview we 
had, and begun to plan a trip back when I could remain longer. 1 was dream- 
ing of Leesburg every night tor a week or ten days, and at last, during a little 
lull, as I thought, I told my troubles to a friend (Green, of Co. D), who con- 
sented to visit Leesburg with me. We started October 15th, and remained 
over night at the house of Mr. Lycurgus Smith, below Upperville and near 
Snicker's Gap. I met there Channing Smith, Tom Booker and several others. 
The young ladies entertained us with music during the evening, and towards 
the close we decided to a man not to remain in the house that night. Booker 
and Smith went up on the mountain. Green and I went in the orchard, and 
having found a bin of sheaved oats nearly as large as a hay-stack, we drew the 
two bottom rails and dug a big hole in under the stack and made as comfort- 
able quarters as one would wish. It was a fearful rainy night, so much so that 
I concluded to let my little mare remain in the stable rather than expose her 
to the weather. I, with the rest^ had very carelessly left my pistols piled up 
under the piano at the house. Early the next morning I visited the stable, 
which was a little to the right and in front of the house. The rest of the men 
were at the spring washing, and while currying my mare (which was of course 
unsaddled and tied with a halter in her stall) I heard an old darky exclaim 
" Hello ! my God, look at the Yankees." I ran to the stable door, and to my 
surprise there were at least two hundred Yankees, possibly more, of the 8th 
Illinois Cavalry, coming full tilt across a field towards the front of the house, 
not over one hundred yards off. I knew it was useless to try and get out with 



my mare, so I ran towards the house, hallowing at the top of my voice that 
the Yanks were coming, so as to put the men on their guard. How or why 
it was that I was not made a pepperbox of before I burst through the front 
door I can't imagine. I made no halt, but out the back door and across the 
field towards a skirt of woods I flew, and it having been such a rainy night, my 
boots soon began to clog up with mud, which impeded my progress. The men 
from the spring had joined me, and with all my entreaties to them to scatter, as 
some might escape, yet they clung to me. I scaled two or three stone walls, 
which allowed me to gain on them for a while. Finally, just before reaching 
the woods, they had gotten in the same field, and seeing it impossible to reach 
the woods, being then only ten or fifteen yards behind me, I halted and threw 
up my hands. One fellow reined up his horse, sat deliberately in his saddle and 
while my hands were still raised he took deliberate aim and fired at me, 
but missed his mark. He then came up, and the first words he said were : 
"what number boots do you wear." I told him. He said " skin 'em off, 
then ; let me have that watch." Of course you well know the folly to refuse. 
I gave him my hat, boots, watch, and what money I had, and was then march- 
ed up to the house, where they were re-forming. I recognized that our entire 
party were captured, seven or eight, with the exception of one man, who 
had very recently joined the command and had never before been on a 
raid. In running across the field he rolled into a blind ditch, covered with 
weed and grass, and at least fifty or more mounted men jumped the ditch, 
not aware of his being there. I was informed later that he remained 
there all day and came out that night. I will state here that Booker and 
Smith, who had gone to the mountains the night before, when on their 
way back, had reached the gate leading into the farm and witnessed the entire 
scene. Had they made a demonstration from their position, there is no doubt 
that they would have checked their movements, when I would have had 
ample time to gain the woods. Booker says he saw the fix I was in, but saw 
no earthly opportunity to assist me, as the whole place was covered with the 
enemy, and he and Smith unarmed. After getting to the house, the elegant 
breakfast our friend Lycurgus Smith had prepared for us was partaken of by 
our newly-formed acquaintances, and Mr. Smith was unusually attentive to 
their wants at the table, thinking, of course, when we moved off they would 
leave him behind ; but no. One of the officers said, "get your hat, old gen- 
tleman, and go with us." As soon as I arrived I sought out the major in com- 
mand and told him how much I thought of my little mare, and would esteem 
it a special favor to be allowed to ride her back where they intended carrying 
us ; that I would like to see as much of her as I could. He replied, '•cer- 
tainly. Lieutenant, I haven't any objection." I drew a sigh of relief, as I could 
see a slight ray of hope. On my return I found that a captain had changed 
his saddle from his horse to my mare, and refused me the privilege ; hence, 



when we started I was mounted on a "plug" from the farm and riding one of 
the ladies' side-saddles, which, as you know, wasn't in keeping with my sex. 
Had I been allowed to ride my mare, I had made up my mind fully to give 
them the razzle-dazzle the very first clear open space I came to, and will bet 
my existence there was nothing in that command short of a bullet that would 
have overtaken me. 

On reaching Rectortown we were put on board the train, carried to Alex- 
andria and confined in an old bank building the first night ; the next morning 
we secured a daily newspaper, and while seated and reading the announce- 
ment of our arrival to the crowd a great big burly Irish-Yankee soldier ordered 
me to give him the chair, and because I did not respond as quickly as he 
thought I should have done, he knocked me down for my "politeness." Just 
then the men were so incensed that if I had said the word, I beheve they would 
have torn him into threads, he being the only Yankee in the room. Soon 
after "luncheon" we were escorted to the cattle-pen. There I met one of my 
best friends, who was orderly sergeant of my company— A. G» Babcock. 
A braver and better soldier was not enlisted in the 43d Virginia Battalion — 
a man of Northern birth, who left his home and friends and cast his lot with the 
South. While confined in the cattle-pen a certain number ot our command, 
who unfortunately were prisoners, were escorted out every morning and placed 
aboard the train — some in box cars and some on the cow catcher of the engine, 
being heavily guarded. In this manner they were made to ride up and down the 
rail road to prevent your throwing the train from the track. Babcock and 
Dave Smith, of my company, happened to be two of this party, and I will here 
relate an heroic act on the part of Smith, who was in the box car. While return- 
ing to Alexandria one night, he managed to open the door and made a leap in 
the dark, not knowing where he would land, but unfortunately for him, he land- 
ed almost in the arms of a picket, and was returned to captivity in chains. A 
few days after being confined in the pen, the prison accommodations being very 
meagre, we were removed to the old Capitol Prison at Washington, D. C. I 
was sorry to leave the boys of my own command, and while we were all con- 
fined in the same building, I was assigned to the officers' quarters, the only in- 
mate at that time being Lieut. Beverly Turner, (on Fitz Lee's staff) of Fau' 
quier County, Virginia, of whom you no doubt know personally. Naturally 
we soon began to get quite chummy and plan for our escape. He having re- 
latives in Philadelphia, gave me the name and number in case we were sep- 
arated. In a few days a new arrival was ushered into our quarters — a Lieut. 
Alexander, from Texas, who had been a prisoner three times and each time 
made his escape when an entire stranger in that section of country. He says 
that neither time did he know what State he was in, having made his es- 
cape from trains. Lieut. Turner soon joined fortune with Alexander and left 
me in the lurch, but much to my delight, as my preference was to be alone in 



6 

a case of this kind. The old Capitol was merely a receiving prison and was 
soon filled. On one special occasion we had quite a number of noted arrivals, 
among whom were Gen. Roger, A. Pryor, Col. Randolph Harrison, forty- 
sixth Virginia regiment ; Col. Peyton Wise, Lieutenant-Colonel forty-sixth 
Virginia regiment ; Major Andrew Venable, Assistant Inspector General ; 
Lieut. Ahem, Confederate Navy ; Maj. Hutchinson^ of St. Louis, Mo.; Capt. 
Josiah Ryland, and others. 

I will refer, prior to my capture, to a fight Col. Chapman had with a hand- 
ful of men. He attacked ten times his number at Front Royal and lost five 
men captured, three of whom were members of ray company. Gen. Custer, 
as you know, hung the five men. Wnile I was in prison, we read in the morn- 
ing paper that you had captured nine of Custer's men, carried them to the 
spot where our men had been hung and hung the entire nine in retaliation. 
It began to look a little squally for those of us who happened at that particu- 
lar time to be prisoners, and I will relate a httle circumstance here which was 
calculated to make a fellow put on his thinking cap. Just after your having 
hung this squad of nine, the Yankees began to erect a scaftbld in the prison 
yard almost directly under our window. Col. Woods, the officer in charge of 
the prison, frequently visited our room to chat with our officers, and by the 
way, he seemed to be a whole-souled, jolly fellow ; knew how to give and take 
a joke. At the time this scaffold was being built, there were some thirty or 

forty of our men in this one prison. Col. had it understood with Wood, 

that on his next visit to our room, he would ask him for whose benefit the 
scaffold was being erected. The reply was agreed upon. So, on Wood's next 

visit, Col. put the question to him. and his reply was : "I notice from 

the papers that Mosby is hanging quite a number of our men and as we have 
a number of his men here, we intend to show him that it is a game two can 
play at." Of course this was all gotten up for my benefit. Soon after Woods' 
departure, my friend. Col. , interviewed me in a strain of condolence, say- 
ing it was but natural that I would be the first selected, being the only officer 
in their hands from our command. I notice I did not faint nor take the oath 
to get out, as one of our very prominent officers did, but not a Mosby man. 
However, it made me the more determined to escape if possible. A few days 
elapsed when one of their own party was swung up for having shot a woman 
while under the influence of Uquor. My mind was considerably more at 
ease than it had been for some time on this turn of affairs. 

It was very nearly two months to a day when we numbered eighty officers 
and news came inviting us to Fort Delaware and to pack up and be ready to 
move. I sought out my friend, Major Venable, to whom I related my tale of 
woe as regards going to the Fort ; had a decided aversion to being again in- 
carcerated within its boundary, having been carried there from Gettysburg 
while a member of Company H, 9th Virginia Cavalry. I told the Major it 



was all-important that I should shake the crowd as fondly as I had become at- 
tached to them, &c. I asked him how much money he had; he said, ten dol- 
lars, and that I was entirely welcome to the last cent ; but remarked, "Come 
and look out of the window and see what a heavy escort we are to have." I 
did so and counted forty-odd Yanks to guard eighty-odd officers, all unarmed, 
and handicapped as we were. I replied, it made no difference if there was a re- 
giment ; that I fully intended to make the effort, as I had a taste of Fort Dela* 
ware and was sufficiently amused, and refused his kind offer, as I had four 
dollars and would make that do — that he might unexpectedly have occasion to 
use the ten he had, as i supposed he would avail himself of the opportunity 
to escape if the same was offered. He insisted on my taking five dollars, say- 
ing it was almost out of all reason to expect an escape, and while I was so 
determined he would feel better satisfied if I took the ten. This I refused to 
do, but after reflecting over the matter for awhile did accept five dollars. 
I had figured out my plan to work by, which was, on entering the coach, 
knowing it to be a double track from Washington to Philadelphia, where we 
were to take the boat, our train would naturally take the right hand track and 
I had made my calculations to get seated on the right-hand side of the coach 
and watch my opportunity to find a clay or soft dirt decline, when I would jump 
from the window and in striking the decline break my fall and roll down the 
embankment ; but the jam on entering the car landed me on the opposite side 
of the coach which gave me the extra track on my side to contend with, which, 
in jumping, might prove very dangerous, as the risk of striking a tie or rail and 
being hurled back under the train, made a cold shudder creap over me. But 
I was determined, and watched in vain as we sped along, and noticed at every 
stop made, the guard would alight from the train and line the coach on both 
sides until we started again. We were all packed in this one coach like sar. 
dines in a box, guard and all, the front and rear platform being completely 
jammed with the guard. I had almost given up all hope of making my es- 
cape. While we made our last stop before reaching Philadelphia which was 
Chester, a small town fifteen miles south of Philadelphia, I whispered to my 
friends, Col. Wise and Major Hutchinson, who occupied the seat in front of 
me, to look out of the window and they would soon see me on terra-firma. I 
moved up into the gents' toilet-room in the front end of the coach. It was the 
i6th day of December, 1864, and as disagreeable as it was possible for a day 
to be — a fine, drizzling rain, cold, and freezing as fast as it fell. The street 
lamps had just been lighted in Chester. While the train was standing, I 
peered through the blinds and could see the guard on the ground surrounding 
the train. It soon moved off, and one by one they boarded the train. The 
last man ran quite a distance, swinging to the rail, looking down the coach to 
see that none of the men jumped from the windows or cut through the car 
floor and drop under the coach. When all was safe, as he thought, he jump- 



8 

ed up on the step. Though the train was going at a fearful speed by the time 
1 had raised the window, I made the venture by swinging down the side of the 
car, resting on my right arm, and with one terrible plunge forward I struck the 
icy ground, and for one hundred yards it was all I could do to maintain my 
equiUbrium, which I finally did and came to a slow gate. After the train had 
sped on its way, then came what I considered the most hazardous of all, which 
was to avoid being detected with my Confederate uniform on, and concluded 
that the safest plan was to go to Philadelphia, which was fifteen miles distant, 
and mingle in the crowd, and with that aim in view, I struck out up the track the 
way the train had gone, but had not proceeded far when I heard the noise of 
a train in the distance and soon saw the head-light coming from the direction 
in which the train had gone. The first thought that flashed through my brain 
was that they had missed me and were coming back after me. I could see the 
light, which seemed to cast its brilliancy for a mile on each side of the road, 
and to get from under the glare non-plussed me. However, I ran in all 
haste across a large field and hid behind a tree which I circled in order to keep 
in the shade until the train had passed. I then came out on the track and re- 
sumed my journey, but had not gone very far before I had another obstacle to 
encounter. This was in the shape of a Yankee standing guard at a bridge. I 
hesitated whether to try and flank him, cross the creek and go on, or put on a 
bold front and pierce the lion in his den. To get out on a dirt road I was 
fearful of getting lost, and as it was all-important to get under cover that night, 
as previously stated, I concluded to keep to the railroad. I unbuttoned my 
vest and turning the front of it and my coat under until the brass buttons 
were entirely hidden from view, and being held in position by my arm, I ven- 
tured up to interview the sentinel standing over a fire. After a brief conversa- 
tion, I learned enough to convince me that he was there merely to protect the 
bridge ; and, to make assurance doubly sure, I sounded him by asking whether 
he knew how far across the bridge the sheriff ot the county hved, &c. Had 
a pass been necessary, naturally he would have asked if I had a permit to 
cross the bridge, but in reply merely said no, that he had been on duty there 
but a day or two and was not acquainted. I killed time a while longer, lit my 
pipe, gave him a big chunk of tobacco, and moved on. After that, there 
seemed to me to be nothing but a relay of bridges all the way to Philadelphia, 
and each one guarded as above. I suppose it must have been eleven o'clock 
when I reached the terminus of the horse- car line in the suburbs, where I 
found a car waiting to start. I boarded the car, and was the only passenger 
for quite a distance. Finally, I asked the driver how far it was up in town. 
He replied by asking, all in one breath, "Where do you wish to get off? at 
Walnut street ? " Had he not mentioned Walnut street, 1 might then and 
there have given myself away, as I knew very little about the streets and lo- 
calities of the city. This gave me a cue, and 1 replied in the affirmative, and 



9 

quickly entered on another subject. It was not long before a dozen or more 
young ladies and men got in the car, \vho filled it. All had skates, and no 
doubt they had been to a neighboring pond to have a good time. I slunk in- 
to a wee little space in the corner of the car, wondering how I was to know 
Walnut street when I came to it, and was very sensitive about asking any 
more questions. Finally, the car stopped as it crossed a very brilliantly-lighted 
street, and all hands prepared to disembark. I also got out and followed the 
crowd, and could see by the bearings that they were making towards the cen- 
tral or prominent part of the city, and soon ascertained that we were on Wal- 
nut street. I had not gone more than four or five blocks when I recognized 
a peculiarly constructed house which I had seen in 1859 or i860, when I vis- 
ited Philadelphia on rather a sad mission, that of having a younger brother 
operated on for a case of while swelling. My father came by the Episcopal 
High School with him, and had me to accompany them to be with him 
while he was absent to effect all necessary arrangements for the operation. 
We stopped at the Continental Hotel. After recognizing this peculiarly-con- 
structed house, I knew the way to the Hotel, which was around the cor- 
ner. To get a directory and hunt up the address of my friend Beverly Tur- 
ner's relation, a Miss Juha T., which in the excitement I had forgotten, was 
the height of my ambition. After considering the matter quite a long time, I 
decided to put on a bold front, which I did, and called in the hotel and asked 
the clerk to let me see the directory. Of course I had securely concealed my 

brass buttons as before. The address was No. 2000 W D Place, 

West Philadelphia, two miles or more from the central portion of the city. I 
asked a hackman what he would charge to take me there. He replied, "five 
dollars." (I will here state that though it was twelve o'clock when I called in 
the hotel, everything was as bright as light could make it and a perfect jam of 
Yankee officers and civilians in the vestibule of the hotel. ) I considered the 
matter quite a while before deciding whether I could afford to spend five dol- 
lars in that way, when I had only nine. Finally we compromised the matter 
by my agreeing to pay him three dollars for the round trip in case I had to re- 
turn, thinking possibly I might not find Miss T. in. We started and finally 
reached the place, and for fear the tide of affairs might turn, I told the driver 
not to dismount. I left the carriage door open in case a retreat was neces- 
sary, when I intended to re-enter and drive off as rapidly as possible. I rang 
the bell, which was answered by a colored woman (it should be remembered 
that I was the first and only one who had made his escape up to the time of 
my leaving the train, and supposed the rest had been carried safely to Phila- 
delphia). I asked if Miss Julia T. was in. The servant replied no, she was 
not. I asked how long it would be before she returned. Her reply was that 
she had gone to an entertainment and it might be late, but that her mother 
was in, and asked if I would like to sec her. Not knowing her sentiments as 



10 

regards our cause, I hesitated and finally said no, in rather an independent 
manner; that it was not a matter of much importance. It appears that du- 
ring the interview with the servant Mrs. T. had secreted herself behind the 
door. Suddenly she appeared, dismissed the servant, and invited me in. Af. 
ter introducing myself, of course under an assumed name as Mr. B., I asked 
to be excused, and stated (this I made up under the confusion of the moment 
as I proceeded) that by chance it so happened I was at the Baltimore and 
Ohio depot, wh^ re a train of Rebel prisoners arrived, and among them was a 
nephew of hers, Lieutenant Beverly Turner, who had heard it was my inten- 
tion to visit that portion of the city, and he requested me to favor him 
by calHng and informing his cousin, Miss Julia T., that he was then at the 
depot, where he would remain over night and be sent by boat to Fort Dela- 
ware in the morning, and if she could make it convenient to call early 
in the morning he would be more than delighted to see her. She answered 
this by insisting that I come in, 1 hesitated a long time before making up 
my mind to accept her invitation, although I had a great desire to do so all 
the time. Finally, I reconciled myself to the fact that I had seen but the two 
women, and on a close call, if necessary, one rebel could outgeneral two Yan- 
kee women. With that I passed into the hall. She closed the door and we 
entered the parlor, the door of which she also closed, and then gave vent to 
the following expression : " I know who you are as well as you do yourself. 
Can you tell me one thing ? " "What is it ?" 1 asked. She said : "Answer 
me this : Has General Lee turned all of his officers loose in Philadelphia to- 
night ? " I was dumfounded, and asked her why. She replied, "You make 
the sixth prisoner who has made his escape from that train, all of whom have 
been in this house to-night, and oh my, how you did frighten me.' Just then 
she began to feel the effects of the excitement, and it was a few moments be- 
fore she regained composure. When she did, she said, "Your coming here 
with such a marvelous message from Beverly, who I knew had also made his 
escape and had been here with several friends early in the evening, all of whom 
1 had stowed away for safety, caused me to suspect that you were a detective and 
on their trail ; therefore my caution." She told me to discharge the carriage 
and we would then talk over the situation. I did so. She then told me that 
it was not safe to entertain me there, but would take me down town to a friend 
of hers, in whose hands I would be perfectly safe, and it had to be done that 
night, as she was known to be a sympathizer with the South and it was dan- 
gerous to remain there. I regretted having discharged the carriage and sug- 
gested that I go and get a conveyance, when she remarked no, that she would 
much prefer that we walk and be alone, as in that case she knew it to be bet- 
ter than having a third party along. It was then after one o'clock when we 
started, being, as I have previously said, all ice under foot and still drizzling 
fine rain and freezing as fast as it fell. We were compelled to take to the mid- 



11 

die of the street, as it was very slippery under foot. I suppose we had gone a 
mile or more when Mrs. T. remarked, *' I want you to make a short call with 
me, and don't say a word to any one until I tell you, but follow me." With 
this she stopped at a four-story brownstone front, rang the bell, which was soon 
answered, and asked if the ladies were in. The servant replied yes, you will find 
them all up stairs on the top floor. Up we went, and finally she ushered me 
into the presence of several of the others whom she had stowed away earlier 
in the evening. Among them were my triends, Major Venable, Lieutenants 
Turner and Alexander, and a bevy of young lady sympathisers who had been 
collected from the neighborhood These gentlemen had told them of my es- 
cape and that I was one of Mosby's guerrillas, and that they felt very anxious 
as regards my safety. When I was introduced to the ladies, the enthusi- 
asm of the hand shaking and congratulations that followed was such as to lead 
one to the conclusion that we had not met before for years, while in fact it 
had been only a few hours since we parted. The ladies seemed surprised 
when told of my being the missing guerrilla, and gave vent to exclamations of 
astonishment, saying that they had heard and read so much of Mosby's guer- 
rillas, they had supposed them to be a band of half- civilized ruffians. My 
friends remarked that they had displayed more judgment than I, as they had 
ridden all the way and made their escape as the train was entering the depot, 
arriving at Mrs. T.'s early in the evening. After having spent quite a pleasant 
time, my lady friend and I bade them good-bye and started on our journey. 
On reaching the front door Mrs. T. remarked that immediately across the 
street lived Gen. B. of the Federal army. After having gone some distance 

down town, as far as Spruce street, Mrs. T. said, "there is number ; take 

a note of it ; we will only go to the next corner, where I will bid you good 
night. When you return, ask to see Mrs. E., and say to her that I sent you 
to call on her. You can explain the rest. I will return alone." Now just 
think of the heroism that this lady displayed for the sake of an entire stranger, 
and she advanced in years. I retraced the few steps to the number, rang the 
bell, which was answered by a colored servant. I asked to see Mrs. E. She 
replied that Mrs, E. had retired. I told her that it was miportant that I should 
see the lady and to go and ask if she could be seen. The servant returned 
and said, " Mrs. E. says call in the morning." This was a dreadful set-back. 
My friend, Mrs. T., had gone; it was then after two o'clock A. M., and I was 
compelled to get under shelter that night. I told the servant to return and- 
tell Mrs. E. that it was a matter of the utmost importance that I see her at 
once. The servant came back and asked me into the parlor, and said Mrs. 
E, would be down in a few moments — as soon as she arranged her toilet. She 
soon appeared in the parlor, and before uttering a word wept as though her heart 
would break. As soon as she composed herself, she said that on seeing me 
she recognized who and what I was, and her sympathy for one apparently so 



12 

young completely unnerved her. She even knew who had sent me, and ask- 
ed, before I mentioned a name, whether Mrs. T. came with me ; if so, had 
she returned alone. I replied in the affirmative, when she remarked, "such a 
true and noble woman ! " ghe hurriedly made arrangements for me until 
morning, and asked that I would not leave my room until she sent for me. 
After being shown to my room I was soon wrapped in the arms of sweet repose, 
being, as I thought, buried forty feet in feathers, and never before or since do 
I remember having had such a perfect night's rest. It appeared as though 
thousands of tons of weight had been removed from my brain. Unless one 
goes through such an ordeal, it is impossible for them to conceive the change 
of feeling. I was called at nine o'clock the next morning by the servant, who 
left a suit of citizen's clothes in my room, with a message from Mrs. E. to put 
them on and then come to breakfast. I soon made my appearance and found 
Mrs. E. waiting to breakfast with me, she having given Mr. E. his breakfast, 
who had gone to his office. She dismissed the servant, so that we could 
talk the situation over privately. We then made all the preliminary arrange- 
ments to avoid my being detected, she having already informed Mr. E. that I 
was a nephew of hers who had come in during the night before from one of 
the back counties, and cautioned me carefully to guard that point, and when 
in the evening she introduced me to Mr. E. I was not to enter into a political 
conversation or refer to the war while in Mr. E.'s company — in fact, to have 
as little to say to him as possible ; that he was an out-and-out Republican of 
the deepest dye, but that she, being from Williamsburg and a Virginian by 
birth, was heart and soul with the South. He knew this, and spared her feel- 
ings by rarely ever mentioning the subject of the war. 

As soon as she knew that I was from the city of Richmond, I could detect 
her countenance brighten. Said she was a warm admirer and a personal 
friend of Rev, Mr. Joshua Peterkin, of Richmond, and asked if I knew and 
could tell her anything of him. I replied that I could — that we had been 
living as neighbors for several years ; that he was still living and in good health. 
A great deal more was talked over, all of which she seemed to appreciate veiy 
much. Said she felt more interested in me than in any escaped prisoner that 
it had ever been her pleasure to assist. Asked whether I had any pocket 
change ; that I would run no risk, and was told where I could find a barber 
shop, which I soon adjourned to ; had a shave, hair cut, and in fact a general 
overhauling. On my return, I found her waiting to take me to get a suit of 
clothes, and after admonishing me to do as I was told and to ask no questions, 
we started. Our first visit was to a clothing store, and as soon as we entered, 
the clerks seeing that I was with Mrs. E., up went a dozen or more hands, 
and they exclaimed, "this way, sir; this way; just look through the stock, 
and if you can be suited, I will try and select your size." In the meantime 
Mrs. E. was being entertained by the floor manager or probably the proprietor. 



m 13 

I made a selection and the change of clothes then and there. The clerk re- 
marked that he knew where to send the old suit, and in rather an undertone 
said, '* I have seen that suit many times before." It then dawnec'. on me that 
I was in the midst of friends. Our next call was at the hatter's. The same 
movements were gone through with there, and I shall ever remember this as 
being the first time I had ever seen a " Derby" hat, a style unknown in the 
South at that time. With that hat and the latest in the way of a suit, I con- 
gratulated myself that I must be looking immense. I returned with Mrs. E. 
to the house and then started out on a promenade through the city, and for- 
tunately I met some of my friends whom I had parted with the evening be- 
fore. Of course we had several "rounds'* together and began to concoct plans 
for our next move. I was told that Colonel Harrison had gone direct to and 
was stopping at the La Pierre Hotel, strictly a Southern house from cellar to 
garret, as were all of its guests — so much so, that when he walked into 
the dining-room to his meals, the guests would nudge each other and remark, 
"there goes Colonel Harrison, a rebel escaped prisoner." I afterwards learn- 
ed that the proprietor had two sons in the Southern army. Also heard that 
one of our brave officers, Major Venable, not being satisfied with his liberty, 
telegraphed to his lady love, who was then in Baltimore, to come to Philadel- 
phia, which she did, and they were married to separate at once and each to 
make their way South as best they could, to meet later, and their plans were 
successfully carried out. I have recently interviewed Major Venable, who 
says that after his marriage he held a reception at the La Pierre House, and 
had well up in the hundreds of couples, ladies and gentlemen, to call on him, 
and it is presumed they all knew who and what he was. 

I will here let Colonel Peyton Wise tell a good one on Colonel Harrison, 
which the latter related to him after his return to Dixie : 

Richmond, Va., May, 1895. 
My Dear Rahm ; 

You have asked me to repeat, in this form, an incident relating to our mu- 
tual friend. Colonel Randolph Harrison, of Virginia, which occurred to him 
during the war, after his escape on the journey between the Old Capitol Pris- 
on at Washington and Philadelphia, while he was en route to the prison at 
Fort Delaware. Among those who escaped was also a little fellow by the name 
of Alexander, whom, because he was from Texas, we had dubbed by the name 
of his State, and rightfully, too, because he had all the flavor of the border 
State people about him, being a member of Mosby's command. (I have no 
recollection of such a member in the command'-^Rahm.) The men who es- 
caped on the journey referred to separated, as was natural, after their arrival 
in Philadelphia. All of them except Harrison pursued what was perhaps the 
wiser part of being in hiding and keeping touch with each other only through 
the medium of the noble women in Philadelphia, who were ready at that time 
to risk liberty and fortune to sympathize in the most practical way with es- 
caped prisoners from the South. These ladies supplied the escaped with food 



14 

and clothing, tended them in sickness and in every form in which the minis- 
trations of women redeem human nature, showered attention upon them. 

Harrison pursued the bolder plan of being the guest of the La Pierre 
House, a hostelry of the city in those days — attended the opera, for he was 
as fond of that form of music as Stuart was of Sweeney's banjo ; took drinks 
at the swell bar of the Continental, and knew people so well that he began to 
be known in a certain circle as the '-Confederate Colonel." On one of these 
occasions, after taking a "gin fiz" or a ''peach blow" at the Continental bar 
with a superior court judge of one of the Northern States, introduced to the 
latter without result upon his liberty by his guide, he sallied forth at high noon, 
when the press of the swell was greatest on Chestnut street, to enjoy a prome- 
nade under such enchanting auspices for a man in his condition. He had not 
walked far before he was accosted by a dapper little figure clothed in jauntiest 
fashion, after the most extreme mode of the high flyer of the city. The figure 
had a gold eye-glass upon its nose, cocked at the most approved angle ; his 
silk hat was the shiniest, his clothes were faultless and the more elegant be 
cause they were as far from loud as they were from cheap. The figure touch 
ed Harrison with quiet hand and said in a grave and low tone, "You are m- 
prisoner ; you are Colonel Harrison, of the Confederate army, and have playei 
your game too well for me to come upon you ere this." Harrison gave it u 
at once — his misery was inexpressible. He damned his luck, of course, hv 
the gentle hand of the experienced detective, as he thought, was more irresisi- 
able than the locked hand-cufts of the most burly policeman. Making the 
most graceful surrender he could, only pleading that he might not be made a 
spectacle of among the fashionable loungers of the street, he declared that 
he would follow to any destination which might be indicated by the figure. It 
was then, and only then, that the dapper little figure, in even quieter fashion, 
said to him : '"You ain't worth a chaw-tobacco; you forget your friends before 
they are well out of sight. Last week I was with you in the Old Capitol Pris- 
on, and my name is 'Texas.' Go thy way; it isn't thy fault, but thy foolish- 
ness, that has made thee whole. You ain't worth taking." 

I would give much, dear Rahm, to see that httle lame Alexander again. I 
hope he lives and prospers. Harrison has gone "up yonder." 

Your friend, 

Peyton Wise. 

After having settled down and become a good and peaceful citizen of Phil- 
adelphia, it occurred to me to try and inform my friends at home of my where- 
abouts. I knew there was a channel through which friends both North and 
South communicated from a friendly standpoint, but whether I could make 
use of it was a question. However, I decided to test it, and sent the follow- 
ing to the New York Herald, with a request to pubHsh it : 

PERSONAL —TO A. J. R. OR JOS. F P.. RICHMOND. VA.— I HAVE MADE MY ESCAPE 
and now sojoviruinpr at the Continental Hotel, Philadelphia. Hope to be with yoa soon. 
Richmond (Va.t Dispatch please copy. BOOTS. 

A. J. R. are the initials of my brother's name, Jos. F. P. those of my uncle, 
and Boots was the nickname I was known by from one end of Richmond to 
the other, and thought I would be recognized from the combination. A. J. 
R. was at the time serving in front of Richmond, and it being an old-standing 



15 

custom for outposts to exchange papers, this reached his hands almost imme- 
diately and a few days later appeared in the Richmond Dispatch. 

The knowing ones will well remember that during the Fall and Winter of 
1864 and 1865 there was an organization on the tapis with plans for the en- 
tire destruction by iire at a pre concerted time of every hotel in New York 
city, and but for some misconstruction of the arrangements every one of them 
would have been in ashes on the same night. While in Philadelphia I was 
interviewed for the purpose of securing my services to operate with the gang^ 
but dechned on the ground of my being in service to shoot and not to burn ; 
igain, if it should fall to my lot to be hung, my preference for a location was 
o be nearer my home, when my friends would not have so far to carry me. 

Most of the men decided to return home to the best advantage offered. I 
oncluded to do so by way of Canada, and after remaining a week or ten 
Jays with Mrs. E., got ready to leave, and laid my plans before her, who had 
liken such an interest in me and had in every sense of the term been a mother 
')) me. I omitted to say that the second day at Mrs. E.'s another escaped 
j'isoner made his appearance. She gave him one of her home suits and some 
^jOney and started him on his travels. This was the first and last time I have 
ever seen or heard of him. When I was ready to leave, Mrs. E. supplied me 
with money, and said that in order to insure my safety and ward off suspicion, 
she would introduce me to a friend of hers who would leave the city on a certain 
night, which she would ascertain from him, so that I could leave in company 
with him ; that he was a Colonel B., who had served the first year as a twelve 
months' man in the Yankee army, and having soon found that he was fighting 
for the negro, would not re-enlist when his time expired, and at heart was just as 
good a rebel as I, and was known as a "copperhead," which was a term ap- 
plied to all who sympathized with the South, and in reality was despised more 
by the Union element than a rebel was, as it was a case of '"a wolf in sheep's 
clothing" with them. The arrangement was made, and Mr. E. was to take 
me to the Continental Hotel and introduce me to Colonel B. on the evening 
of our departure, which he did. Now, you will think strange of Mr. E.'s do- 
ing this in the face of what I have previously said at meeting with Mrs. E. for 
the first time. I can give no other explanation of this except that I have al- 
ways thought that Mr. E. knew full well all the time who and what I was, but did 
not care to let it be known to me, and that both he and Mrs. E. had it arranged 
and understood to be in this shape and for a motive, viz; In case of Mrs. E. be- 
ing detected, who was willing to take all chances, he could plead the "baby act" 
and be reheved of all responsibility in the matter. It was either that or else 
Mrs. E. had the reins and was driving the team regardless of all consequences. 
Now, you might naturally ask how it was that these different ladies took such 
an active part in assisting escaped prisoners. In reply, it may be stated that 
during the war there was a thorough system of underground work going on i 



16 

that is, there were secret organizations formed among the sympathizers of the 
Southern cause, and those who could not afford to take the risk would contri- 
bute with money and those not afraid would give both personal assistance and 
money. A great many such parties were known to be in existence among those 
in prison, and hence such fortunate ones as those who escaped would report 
to them for assistance. I will now return to where I was introduced to Col.' 
B., who I found to be a very pleasant gentleman, living not very far from Phil- 
adelphia. He was on his way to spend his Christmas at home, having several 
brothers, three of whom were officers in the Yankee army and were expected 
home to take their Christmas dinner, being stationed in that vicinity, and also 
two very pleasant and agreeable sisters, a mother and father. Col. B. was the 
only Copperhead in the family, and they were all suspicious of his politics. His 
father was an out-and-out abolitionist of the blackest kind. Soon after getting 
into the sleeper, CoL B. noticed that I did not have an overcoat, and on ar- 
riving at a small town early in the evening, he hurriedly took me to a store near 
the depot and bought me one, for which he paid twenty dollars. He seemed 
to take quite a fancy to me, so much so that he prevailed upon me to go by 
home and spend a few days with him, assuring me that I would be safe. I 
finally consented — could hardly have refused after his being so very kind to 
me. He introduced me as his friend and partner from Philadelphia. During 
the first evening he remarked, " I'll take you down after tea and intro- 
duce you to a particular friend of mine, a Mr. G., editor of the Times. 

He is of the same stripe as I am. We called and had a pleasant chat. Then 
they proposed to take me calling, and before I knew where I was they had 
entered a four-story building, ascended to the top floor, and were at a door 
having a small wicket. After a few raps the door was opened, and in the far 
end of the room were gathered forty or fifty men. Col. B. called their atten- 
tion and in a reasonable tone introduced me as Lieutenant Rahm, of Mosby's 
guerrillas, an escaped rebel prisoner. Had I been shot out of a gun, I would 
not have been more surprised. They clustered around me and were excep- 
tionally warm with their congratulations — assured me that I was among friends, 
and not to feel the least uncomfortable. I had of course to relate all about 
my escape. When we parted it was mutually agreed and understood that 
when on the street we were not to recognize each other. They were no- 
thing short of a band of "Copperheads." For several days I was seen with 
only the Colonel and his friend, Mr. G. The Colonel's mother, kowing her 
son's views, also those of his friend Mr. G., and seeing me with only these two, 
naturally suspected that I was of the same stripe, and did mention the subject 
to the Colonel. Of course he denied it, and after partially satisfying her, re- 
marked that I was very wealthy and would make a good catch for one of the 
girls. He then came and told me of the entire conversation, and to make 
matters more solid and get on the winning side of the old lady, to pitch in 



17 

apo make love to one of the young ladies. It was all cut and dried, and he made 
me promise that I would give it to him straight every morning as to how I was 
progressing. I put in some good work for a novice for the short time I remain, 
ed, and many were the jolly good laughs the Colonel and I had over it, as well 
as Mr. G. It is needless to say that I was in the very best of fellowship with 
Mrs. B., and when we parted it was with a promise to return soon. Miss B. 
and I had arrived at that stage where we were to correspond. (It was mean, 
Colonel, but I couldn't help it; Colonel B. put me up to it.) As previously 
stated, I had concluded to go to Canada, and when ready to leave, the Col- 
onel gave me a letter of introduction, which read as follows: 

Rev. Father C : 

My Dear Friend : This will introduce to you my friend Mr. B., who you 
will find to be all right. He is looking for a situation. Any favor you may 
extend to him will be considered as if ot my own accord. 

Your friend, Walter B. 

This introductory letter was merely a blind, as he was of the same calibre as 
Col. B.,'and after seeing the party I was to enlighten him with all the particu- 
lars concerning my case. He lived in Erie, Penn., and had charge of a 
Catholic institute. Both parties being well known and men of prominence, it 
was supposed that this blind introductory letter would answer to ward off sus- 
picion in the event of my being molested. It was information as regards the 
practicability of my getting to Canada that I was in most urgent need of, 
however. When I called he was absent from the city, and I was again thrown 
on my own resources. I concluded to run down to Detroit, Michigan, as I 
had heard there was a bridge spanning the river which connected the States 
with Canada, and thought possibly I might make a sneak over unobserved. It 
was my intention if possible to avoid Niagara Falls, as I was cautioned to be 
extra careful, it being very heavily picketed and closely watched by detectives. 
I had scarcely gone two hundred miles towards Detroit when I discovered, as 
I supposed, that I was spotted, whether from imagination or not I could not 
tell, but there was a fellow who seemed to follow me from one coach to an- 
other and made every move that I did. I concluded, however, that it would 
be safer for me to give him, in the vernacular of the base-ball rooters, the *'goose 
egg," as I knew there would be a train bound in the opposite direction East 
which we would meet. I kept a lookout and made the transfer as the two trains 
were pulling out from the station, leaving my baggage behind. My next stop 
was at Buffalo, N, Y., about twelve miles from Niagara Falls. After dinner I 
walked to the depot to get some pointers, and seeing an old Irishman washing 
off a car window, asked him how long before the next train for Toronto would 
leave. He informed me that it would leave within thirty minutes. I assumed 
an air of surprise, and asked if he thought I would have time to return up 
town and get a passport to cross into Canada, to which he replied that it did 



18 

not require a passport. After being satisfied on this point, I felt relieved, it 
being the very thing I wanted to kno\", and it was not safe to ask too many 
questions among the -smart set." In due time the train left, and after making 
a stop of a few minutes at the Falls, which seemed to be weeks to me, I could 
see a free country but a short distance off, and the anxiety and suspense en- 
dured at that time was more trying to me than any I had experienced. Fi- 
nally the train again started, and I raised the window and watched for the time 
when we would cross the dividing line, which I could detect from the swell in 
the bridge. As soon as I noticed a gradual decline I knew I was safe, hav- 
ing passed over half the length of the bridge, and into a neutral country. 
I threw myself back in the seat, and for a few moments gave vent to my pent- 
up feelings by hurrahing for Jeff. Davis and Gen. Lee, which antics I kept up for 
a considerable time. I do believe I was crazy for the time being. A crowd 
gathered around me, mostly Canadians, who were more in sympathy with the 
South than with the North. Here was another feast of congratulations. As- 
sistance in every way was tendered me, and I believe I could have raised one 
thousand dollars out of the crowd if I would have accepted it. I was too full 
for utterance. All I cared for was room enough to spread myself, and I 
surely did it. One old rooster from Massachusetts said I was too young to be 
in the rebellion, and evidently did not know what I was fighting for. and that 
if I would accept the invitation, he would take me home with him, be a father 
to me until the war was over, and then send me home. I "cussed him up in 
short order and called it quits," when he dropped me like a hot potato, and left 
mumbling something about a hot-headed Southerner, hot blood, &c. We soon 
reached Toronto, where I reported to the Hon. Beverly Tucker, who was 
the Confederate Consul in Canada. He told me to report to him every morn- 
ing for orders in the event something might turn up, and to tell the proprie- 
tor of the hotel to send ray bill to him. Having reported to the Confederate 
agent, I was then subject to his orders, and it was obligatory on his part to 
defray all of my expenses. Mr. Tucker informed me that he had a squad of 
men at that time at work over there making raids into the States from the 
Canada side, and in a few days news came of a raid having been made by a 
handful of mounted Confederates on St. Alban's, Vermont, where they cap- 
tured the town, coralled the citizens into the public square, and after killing 
the cashier of a bank took charge of its "assets" and skipped back into Can- 
ada. The United States authorities demanded of Canada that she should 
apprehend, if possible, the marauders and bring them to trial. A faint effort 
was made in answer to these demands and some few were captured, and they 
were then being tried when I reached Montreal. Those arrested, six or eight in 
number, seemed to be well supplied with "assets," so much so that they had 
purchased a very fine sleigh, drawn by six snow-white horses, carrying a min- 
iature Confederate fiag between the ears of each horse, which they used in 



19 

being transferred from prison to the court and back every day during the trial. 
The trial was in progress at the time of my departure for Nova Scotia, and to 
this day I have never known the result, but from indications at the time it 
must have ended in a farce. 

I found it very, very cold in Canada, and more snow than I had ever seen. 
While there I made the acquaintance of several English officers, who 
treated me royally, sleighing antl feasting me on every occasion. I met seve- 
ral renegade Virginians occupying soft berths, and who proposed to remain 
until the war was over. Mr. Tucker requested me to remain in Canada and 
operate there in this secret service, but I (leclined on the ground as before) 
that is, that it was bad enough to take chances of being hung nearer home, 
and more particularly so in this instance, as I had gotten farther north by 
many degrees, and more in the heart of Winter, which made outdoor sport 
entirely too inconsistent and not the least compatible with my feelings. Again, 
I had reflected over the hanging of our comrade, Willis, of Company B, who 
was a young minister— a scene several of our men witnessed at a distance, 
and as the Yankees largely outnumbered them, it was entirely out of their 
power to render assistance. After capturing him they selected a spot where 
stood a tali, slender white-oak sapling. Man after man ascended to the top, 
until their weight bore it to the ground, where they held it firm while they 
pinioned his arms behind him and placed a halter around his neck. Then 
making the halter fast to the extreme end of the sapling, at a given signal they 
simultaneously relinquished their hold, when he could be seen swinging to and 
fro, until the sapling had spent its force, his lifeless body dangling in the 
branches close to its trunk. I have olten pictured in my imagination what a 
scene this must have been, and bethought how narrowly Wilson escaped a 
similar death on a previous occasion — that of the Cornell raid. It was in 
February, 1864, when this memorable event occurred. Foley Kemper and 
Willis boarded at Parson Herndon's, on the mountain side, between Markam 
and Paris. Ned Snead, Tobe Nottingham, John Core and I boarded at Man- 
ly Iden's, in the rear of the Parson's and about a quarter of a mile higher up 
the mountain. It was in the middle of a bleak wintry night, the ground 
covered several inches with snow and still snowing, when the Cornell party left 
Warrenton, twenty-five or thirty miles distant, they having calculated to enter 
our Confederacy about daybreak, which they did after a forced march, or run 
you might term it. Their idea was well conceived, as it was next to impossi- 
ble for our men to remain out over night during such stormy weather; there- 
fore most of them were snugly ensconced in their feather beds, little dreaming 
of midnight marauders. Iden came hurriedly into our room, shouting: "Get 
up, men — hurry — the Yankees are at Herndon's ! " We were at the stable 
saddled up and mounted in less time than it takes to tell it. As soon as firing 
ceased at Herndon's, we ventured down and followed in their wake. Some 



20 

were sent ahead to notify every household of the approach of the Yankees. 
They turned at Paris to retrace their steps to Warrenton, and so rapid were 
their movements, that by the time we had gathered force enough to be the 
least available they were well on their way, though we followed them nearly 
to their very tents. On my return, not having seen either Kemper or Willis 
in the chase, naturally I began to enquire for them. Mr. Herndon informed 
me that he had not seen them nor did the Yankees take them off, and that 
they only captured two of Stuart's regular cavalry, who, while on their way to 
join their command, had stopped there all night. It appears that these two 
had been assigned to a room immediately opposite the one (at the head of the 
steps) in which Kemper and Willis slept, and had very carelessly left the door 
of their room ajar. Of course, the Yankees entered their room first, and all 
they had to do was to wake the boys up. Kemper and Willis heard the com- 
motion and soon had their door rapped on, with a demand to open, which they 
refused to do, when the Yankees began firing through the door. The rear of 
the house was situated on an incline, hence it was some distanee from their 
windows to the ground, being on the third floor. As soon as firing com- 
menced, although in their "evening apparel," they raised their window and out 
they went, to take care of themselves as best they could. Fortunately for 
them the main body of the Yankees were in the front of the house. Kemper 
was found late in the morning on the mountain, sitting on a stump, frozen al- 
most through and through, and it was with difficulty he could be restored to 
his normal condition by continual rubbing and bathing in cold water. Willis 
struck out for the stable loft, where he burrowed deep in the hay. The Yan- 
kees suspected his being there and hunted over every square inch in the place, 
as they thought, but to no avail. Willis told me of their having probed the 
hay with their sabres, and many times, in guarding his front, he would gently 
guide the sabre so as to throw it on one or the other side of him. Finally 
they left, having concluded that he had made his escape. 

Here is probably the most authentic account of Willis's capture and exe- 
cution, furnished by J. D. Baggasby : 

"Young Willis was captured at Gaines' Cross Roads on the evening of Oct. 
13th, 1864, by Gen. Powell's command, camped on the Marlow farm, at the 
foot of the Blue Ridge and on the graded road to Chester Gap, in Rappahan- 
nock county. On the following morning I was captured by the Yankees and 
carried to the Marlow farm, where they had Willis. I could not see him, but 
was only a short distance off. I heard the Yankee officers mention the fact 
that they had one of Mosby's men at Gen. Powell's headquarters, making his 
doom known to him — either that of hanging, shooting, or cutting his throat, 
whichever was decided upon. He was hung about 1 1 o'clock A. M., on the 
roadside passing the Marlow farm, and was taken down on the following day 
by John E. Rickett, Robert Deatherage, and WilHam Bowling, and carried to 
the Baptist Church at Flint Hill, where he was buried on the following day. 
When cut down he was placarded on his breast, saying : 



21 

" Hung in retaliation for a Union soldier said to have been killed by one of 
Mosby's men." 

Yours. &c., J. D. BAGGASBY. 

When ready to leave Montreal, I secured a voucher from the authorities to the 
effect that I was not one of the St. Albans raiders.and with it started for Quebec. 
There I found as quaint an old city as any in existence, as I thought, the en- 
tire city being built very nearly all on one side of a hill. The St. Lawrence 
river was frozen nearly to the bottom, and teams crossed the same as they 
would the street here. I was told that a few years prior to that time they had laid 
a track on the ice across the river and ran passenger trains over it. I remained 
only a few days, when I departed for Riviere Deulu, it being the terminus of 
the railroad at that time. From that station the English government had a 
regular overland mail route to St. John's, New Brunswick, a distance of five 
hundred miles or more, and at that season of the year the distance was covered 
with sleighs. I engaged passage for the through trip, much to the surprise of 
the natives, who had become aware of my being a Southerner and not accus- 
tomed to such weather. It was seldom a native would risk the trip. We trav- 
eled incessantly for five days and nights, and during most of the time I was bu- 
ried at the bottom of the sleigh and covered with the heaviest kind of buffalo 
robes. At intervals of every twelve miles, being relay stations, the teams and 
drivers would be exchanged for fresh turnouts, which enabled us to keep up a 
pretty lively gait the entire distance. We passed the different sentry posts 
without being questioned, except on one occasion, when the sentinel being 
told of only one passenger, he pulled the robes aside and seeing me curled up 
in the bottom, remarked, "Oh, he is only a little fellow; drive on." After 
being out several days, I wondered at the country being so open and apparent- 
ly desolate. For a few miles back we had not seen a tree, much less signs of 
habitation, and I commented to the driver on the country being so open and 
thmly settled, when he asked, ' 'dont you know where you are ? " I replied, 
'•no." He then said to me that when the winters were as severe as that one had 
been, it afforded them an opportunity to take advantage of some near cuts 
across the country, which saved many miles, and for several miles back we had 
struck across an edge of the Bay of Fundy, and were then nearly half way 
over. The view was perfectly grand. As far as the eye could reach not a 
riffle could be seen to mar the scene of one vast sheet of white surface, and 
above, the heavens seemed to be equally as beautiful, there being no clouds to 
obscure the beautiful blue sky. We soon struck a solid foundation, much to 
my delight, and after reaching St. John's, where I remained a few days, I took 
a train for Halifax, Nova Scotia. There I remained several days, after reporting 
to the Consul, who informed me that the blockade-runner City of Petersburg 
would leave for Wilmington, N, C, and if I could secure passage on her he 
would send me over. By that time a dozen or more Confederates in the same 



22 

fix as myself had collected there. I called on the owner, Mr, Alex. Cameron. 
a Virginian whom I knew very well, and told him of my troubles. He very 
kindly offered to make me a present of my passage to Wilmington, but sug- 
gested that I was entitled to my commutation fee for the trip and to draw it. 
which I did, amounting to $50. In a few days we were steaming out of the 
harbor, bound for Wilmington, N. C, and so cold that the water would freeze 
as fast as the paddles stirred it up, and in three days, when we reached the 
island of Bermuda, it was comfortable to go in bathing. As soon as we land- 
ed we were informed that Wilmington had been captuied, which of course 
ended our travels for the time being. We reported to Capt. Crenshaw, also a 
Richmonder, and was told to hold ourselves subject to orders, and as soon as 
an opportunity offered he would send us over. We remained on the island six 
weeks or more, when several of us secured passage on a vessel flying British 
colors and left for Nassau, thinking we might run the blockade to Charleston, 
S. C, and on arriving in Nassau we heard that Charleston had capitulated a 
few days before. We again reported to the Confederate Agent, who ordered 
us to remain at our ease and send all bills to him, and as soon as he could do 
so would send us over. After remaining there about ten days, we arrived at 
the conclusion that our only chance would be to run to Havana and then to 
the Florida coast. We remained in Havana two weeks, and during that time 
quite a number of Confederates arrived, among them several bound for Rich- 
mond, viz : Lieut. Edw, Archer, Dr. Watson, Colonel Robert Munford, Mr. 
Eugene Carrington, and Mr. Robert Harrison of Petersburg, Va. We spent 
a most enjoyable time while there. Our greatest objection was in being com- 
pelled to turn night into day, as the heat was too intense to be comfortable 
during the day, and still another serious drawback was the fact that none of 
us could speak Spanish. We therefore had to attend meals all at the same 
time, so as to help each other. It would have amused you to see us studying 
our little Spanish instructor, in which we found words for daily use, especially 
for eatables. 

One peculiar custom they had in Cuba was their mode of conveyance, be- 
ing a Volante, similar to our present-day two-wheel cart, only with a top, and 
the team driven in tandem, the driver riding the lead horse, with the shaft 
horse to follow. I also noticed a custom they had of all teams going one and 
the same way, up one street and down another. After being in Havana two 
weeks or more, Capt. Maffitt, who had lost his cruiser, the Florida, came into 
the harbor commanding the blockade runner the Owl. He cast anchor 
under the guns of Moro Castle and banked his fires. In a few days a Yankee 
gunboat appeared in the harbor and cast anchor in close proximity to the Owl, 
but kept up a full head of steam, ready at any moment to weigh anchor and 
follow Maffitt should he attempt to leave. Unexpectedly, one morning news 
was circulated among the men to report to the Confederate Consul, when w e- 



23 

were informed that Maffitt would sail at one o'clock, and all who desired to 
go (we knew not where) should be on board promptly by that hour. As the 
time of our departure approached, the news spread over Havana, and when 
the time arrived every house and hill-top, and the beach as well, were a living 
mass of spectators, having been informed that the Yankee gunboat would fol- 
low us out and attempt our capture. As we passed out of the harbor, the 
Yankee boat close by our side, cheer after cheer went up. Maffitt steamed 
down the coast under every ounce of steam it was safe to carry, keeping within 
the boundary limit (three miles oft shore, I think). The Yankee kept well 
out to sea, watching us with an eagle's eye. In this shape we had a fair race 
down the coast. At times I thought we were fairly jumping from billow to 
billow, when at last we noticed that the breach between us began to widen. 
Capt. Maffitt ran the Confederate flag to the masthead and tacked across the 
Yankee's bow, and bade her defiance. She belched forth with her guns, but 
most of the shot fell short, and we soon lost sight of her. 

Now, Colonel, I will introduce to you Lieutenant Edward Archer, of the 
Navy, who was one of our party. In July, 1865, he wrote to one of his fam- 
ily, giving an account of our trials on the coast after leaving the Owl, which 
is as follows : 

Richmond, Va., July 30th, 1865. 
My Dear 

I have been patiently waiting for the railroad to be opened in order to write 
you, giving an account of myself for a period of nearly two years' absence 
from home ; but now, no doubt Frank and William are with you and have 
anticipated me by telling you all about my adventures abroad and on the coast 
of Florida, where I landed on the 23rd of March, and made a very narrow 
escape from starving to death and being eaten up by aUigators. For fear that 
they have not given you an accurate account of our troubles, I will venture to 
repeat them. You know the object of my going abroad ? — on service con- 
nected with the Virginia Volunteer Navy, I having been commissioned First 
Assistant Engineer by the Secretary of the C. S. Navy. Well, having built 
our ship, " Hawk," I sailed from London on the 13th of June, 1864, for Ber- 
muda, where I anived after a beautiful passage of fourteen days. I found Dr. 
Watson had been waiting there six weeks, and his patience nearly exhausted ; 
but when I informed him that I had been sent over by the Captain (Edw. S. 
Styles) to communicate with our President (S. J. Harrison), our status, i. e., 
that he had not complied with his request to send out more funds to pay for 
the ship, and in consequence he (the Captain) and the Purser (D. T. Talley) 
had been detained in London, and would there remain until the ship was paid 
for, he became despondent and swore vengeance upon the head of him who 
had sent him out under false representations, &c. In the course of ten days 
after my arrival in Bermuda, the yellow fever became very fatal and a great 



24 

many people began to leave the island for Halifax, Dr. Watson amongst the 
number. He tried to persuade me to go with him, but I declined, as I had 
been sent over on special duty, and the failure in accomplishing the end — that 
is, to have more money sent out to the Captain and Purser — would be the 
cause of the failure of our enterprise, in which I had put my whole energy 
and fortune, and to which the eyes of our mother State were turned with pride. 
as she was the first to lend her aid in carrying out the act of Congress estab- 
lishing a "Volunteer Navy." My anxiety daily increased, as I had already 
been on the island over four months, without one word of comfort from the 
President of the Confederacy — not even a reply to my many earnest appeals 
to him warning him of the consequences of delay and his early promises on 
our leaving Richmond for England in September, 1863, J" conjunction with 
the dreadful scourge that was depopulating this beautiful island at the fearful 
rate of twenty-five deaths in twenty-four hours in the town of St. George's, 
containing a population of perhaps two thousand souls. This mortality of 
course did not thus continue for many weeks, but, from this stage of the dis- 
ease the fever gradually subsided, spreading itself all through the island. Hav- 
ing become tired of St. George's, I left for Hamilton, twelve miles distant, at 
the western end of the isle, where I obtained board with one of the best, 
motherly old ladies in the place, who became very much attached to me, as I 
did to her. I shall never forget her kindness nor that of her adopted daugh- 
ter, Mary, during my sickness and that of my deceased friends. The name 
of Mrs. Catherine Slater will long be cherished by the many poor Confede- 
rates who have lived at her house and received at her hands that kindness 
known only to those who received it during those times of the greatest sick- 
ness and suffering. Poor Capt. Galloway, Whitehead and McGreggor ! could 
they but speak again, how great would be their laudations of the "Confederate 
mother." Six of us were taken sick, and three of that number died. I was 
the last to be sick, save poor McGreggor, who kindly put me to bed and nursed 
me whilst I was sick. I recovered, and in turn put him to bed, but alas ! he 
died on the fifth day after ! Should I ever forget those days that tried men's 
hearts, and I hope made us all feel our dependence on Him who had sent this 
scourge to this people for some all-wise purpose ! — perhaps to teach the peo- 
ple that in the midst of their affluence and wealth, which had suddenly brought 
this almost unknown island to rank amongst the greatest of the commercial 
world, in the short space of two years. They should ever be mindful that the 
wealth of this world is nothing in comparison with the salvation of their souls 
in the world to come, for we are reminded that it will profit us nothing to gain 
the riches of the whole world if we lose our own soul. But, I begin to be 
prosy. After a residence in Bermuda of nearly six months, I finally received 
a letter from London instructing me to return to Liverpool with the ship, with 
a cargo of cotton. So, on the 4th of December we steamed out of the har- 



25 

bor of St. George's for Liverpool* having lost eight of our men with yellow 
fever during our stay in Bermuda. On the 17th of December we arrived in 
Liverpool. I went immediately to London and reported our arrival. 

To go into the many details which now occurred would take too much time 
and space, but let it suffice to know that the ship was sold, and left us all with- 
out one shilling in our pockets. I found the Doctor in London, he having 
gone over from Halifax when he heard that I was to return to Lon. 
don. What to be done now was evident, but how to proceed was the ques- 
tion, as a man without money has but few friends at best, and much worse in 
a foreign land. We determined to make a raise and strike a bee line for Dixie. 
So, the Doctor and I started down to the bankers, J. K. Gilliatt & Co., with 
the hope of accomplishing our object. Fortune favored us. We found a 
letter from home authorizing them to advance all the funds we may require. 
Imagine our feelings at being '* lifted " so high. The two small pieces which 
I kept to jingle in my pockets to keep up appearances when in company with 
gentlemen, soon ceased to occupy so much latitude, but were crowded into 
the smallest corner of my pocket to make room for the higher and more pre- 
cious metal — gold. Having shaken hands all around we bade our moneyed 
friends good- bye, and started to our lodgings, 42 Clorges street, to pack up 
and by 6 P.M. we were in Liverpool — I in the highest spirits at the prospects 
of reaching home in a few weeks, and the Doctor in the lowest possible mood 
at having lost his ticket \.o Halifax on his way from his room in London to the 
cars. By 2:30 P. M , on the 21st January, we were under way from Liverpool 
in the Cunard steamer Africa (side-wheeler) for Halifax. During the twelve 
days' passage to Halifax the scenes we passed through were varied enough to 
the landsman, but to old and experienced tars, as myself and others of the 
passengers, they were the same as we had witnessed on many previous occa- 
sions. We experienced heavy weather, terminating in a ^nolent gale, which 
made the old ship groan, and the passengers, I suppose, out of respect, kept 
her company — groaning, rolling, pitching and heaving I Except on one occa- 
sion, at dinner, when 1 received the contents of my neighbor's soup-plate in 
my lapj I suffered no inconvenience, but enjoyed heartily the misfortunes of 
my friends. Arriving in Halifax, we found a deep snow on the ground, and 
heard of the fall of Fort Fisher, N. C. We became doubly blue at this intel- 
ligence, as we had hoped to have left direct for Wilmington. However, we 
were offered a passage in the City of Petersburg to Bermuda by Mr. Alexander 
Cameron, of Petersburg, part owner, who was on board, and left on the i8th 
of February, in company with twelve '• Confederates," who had made their 
escape from northern prisons, &c. During our sojourn in Halifax we enjoyed 
ourselves very much at the '' Rink" looking at the ladies and girls skating. It 
is wonderful to see to what a state of perfection a science, skating, has been 
raised. The ladies, beautifully dressed in short dresses, bloomer -fashion^ 



26 

displaying beautiful feet and ankles, are enabled to cut up all sorts of shines 
on the ice, and perform such feats that were I able to do the like on the 
ground I would consider myself to be envied by passers-by. As they would 
so coquettishly glide by me and give me a dare from their pretty black eyes, I 
could hardly restrain myself from putting on a pair of skates and following 
after them, but, on second thought, when I considered the consequences of a 
fall and the utmost satisfaction it would have given them in laughing at me, 
to say nothing of my mental and bodily feelings, which had just come in con- 
tact with the ice, " Prudence" whispered : *' Don't make a fool of yourself !" 
I never have felt the weather anywhere so cold as it was in Halifax last Feb- 
ruary, and the transition from the cold of Nova Scotia to the agreeable 
warmth of Bermuda on the 2 2d was very marked, and, as a consequence, we 
all had colds in the head for a few days. On my second visit to Hamilton, 
you can imagine with what joy my old friend, Mrs. Slater, received me and 
the Doctor, who had also lived at her house. I did not go back to stay with 
her, but stayed at the hotel. Of course, she wanted to know the reason, but 
when I recalled to her the past scenes which I had gone through, and to go 
back to my old room, would have called back the sufferings of poor 
McGreggor and others who now lie sleeping in the beautiful churchyard of 
Pembrooke Parish, victims of that dreaded yellow fever — she very readily 
excused me, and I saw trickling down her careworn cheeks the warm tear of 
sympathy and affection when recalling the past and bidding me God-speed on 
my journey home. 

On the 28th of February, in company with the twelve Confederates who 
accompanied us from Halifax, we left Bermuda in the barque Europa for 
Nassau, N. P., the Government agent (Maj. Norman Walker), not being able 
to send us on from this point since Charleston had fallen a short time after 
Wilmington. On the passage of nine days from Bermuda to Nassau we en- 
joyed ourselves very much, sleeping on our blankets on deck, it being very 
mild, but many a time we were aroused in the night by suddenly discovering 
ourselves afloat from a passing shower, which gives but little notice in these 
latitudes, but comes down by the bucketsfull, and is over in a very short while. 
Our principal source of amusement was from the pranks of "Jocko" who be- 
longed to one of our party. Poor little fellow ! During one of these per- 
formances he missed his footing, on the ship rolling, and fell overboard. The 
Captain hove the ship too, and lowered a boat with all haste^ we all helping 
the crew, and sent her in search of him. I, with my opera glass in the rig- 
ging, could see him at least a quarter of a mile off, and gave the direction to 
the boat's crew, but on account of the sea then running quite high the men in 
the boat could not see him, and after an unsuccessful hunt for an hour re- 
turned to the ship. I was very forcibly struck with the remark the Captain 
made, thus showing how much attached one can become to such animals: "I 



27 

would almost as soon lost one of my men as that monkey !" On the 9th of 
March, my thirty-first birthday, we arrived in Nassau, being my second visit, 
as I stopped there on my way to Europe in 1863. Nassau, N. P., as you 
know, is an English colony, famous as a blockade rendezvous, about 300 
miles from Charleston, and as some one of our party suggested that N. P. 
stands for " IVigger Paradise" you can infer, from this suggestion, that there 
must be some of the animals in that delectable town. It is said that Nassau 
was the first place Columbus landed, making any lengthened stay, and in com- 
memoration, the English Government have erected a beautiful full-sized 
statue of Columbus in the Governor's grounds. The best band I ever heard 
is stationed here. and is composed of about thirty of the blackest negroes you 
can conceive of. I observed on several occasions when I attended their per- 
formances on the public square, the very peculiar characteristic of the negro, 
that every one of them whilst playing kept their bodies and Jeef in motion 
keeping time; to hold them down would have the same effect as that of hold- 
ing down the donkey's tail as a means of stopping his braying music. (Vide 
Bayard's Taylor's Travels in India.) 

Having gotten thus far on our journey, and by the way, we were further off 
from home than we were when in Halifax, we could go no further without we 
would go on to Matamoras, Mexico, as we found no vessels here going to 
Galveston, so we concluded to go on to Havana and try our chances from 
there, but first having made another raise of a few dollars, our first instalment 
having almost been exhausted, so on the 13th we all left for Havana on the 
blockade runner Mary Louisa Fanny, Capt. Fitz Carter, and arrived there on 
the 15th to dinner. This was also my second visit here, as you know. A 
man having plenty of money can spend it with as much satisfaction here, to 
himself, as any place I have ever been in — -that is, if he is fond of everything 
nice in the way of cooling and refreshing drinks and eatables, and amuse- 
ments of drives, operas, &c. The ladies of Havana, I think, are equal to any 
in the world in point of beauty, dress, &c. I admire very much the fashion 
of wearing the hair, I should say dressing the hair. The hair is beautifully 
powdered white, and afterwards sprinkled over with gold powder, the hair 
tucked up very high with large combs and filled with flowers. I went to the 
opera on the gala night — Sunday. Don't be surprised, for we must " do in 
Rome as Rome does," if we want to see the sights. " Trovatore was per- 
formed. I have never witnessed a more splendid assemblage of beauty, 
grace and wealth in my life. This, added to the charming strains of the 
grand opera, almost turned my head. The " Tacon" Theatre is one of the 
largest in the world, and will hold 6,000 people. Our stay had now become 
longer in Havana than we were authorized, considering we had only a limited 
amount of cash at our disposal. However, we could not get away, so we en- 
joyed ourselves accordingly. The plan of proceeding via Matamoras pre- 



28 

sented now new difficulties, as we found it would take all our funds, and after 
we had landed in Dixie we would have to contend with a great deal of risk 
and trouble in transportation of our baggage across the Mississippi river, so 
we gave it out. Fortunately, Capt. Maffitt, of the Owl, undertook a scheme, 
which, after a good deal of trouble and risk to ourselves, safely landed 
us amongst our friends. The Doctor and myself, after a good deal of 
persuasion, and through the influence of Dr. Garnett, one of the party, who 
was a great friend of Maffitt, succeeded in obtaining a passage on the Owl. 
As the Owl could take only twelve of us, we had to separate from our original 
party which we had travelled with from Halifax, as the number had already 
been made up before we arrived, in a previous attempt of Maffitt to run in on 
the North Carolina coast, and of course they had the preference. On the 
2ist of March we bade farewell to Cuba on a cruise we did not know where 
we were going, Maffitt keeping his own counsel, and we were very willing to 
trust his reputation that all would be right. Two of our original party, 
Charles C. Hemming and John McGinnis, two fine tellows, we managed to 
stow away in the bunkers, and after we had been to sea three hours they made 
their appearance upon deck and reported to the captain. The Captain only 
laughed at their performance, and no doubt silently gave them much credit 
for their anxiety to return to their commands in the armies of Lee and John- 
ston. They had made their escape from Rock Island prison. Just before we 
left the harbor the United States gunboat Cherokee left, and Maffitt ran out 
behind her. She had made a good offing, and expected us to follow her, but 
Maffitt steamed down the coast. Soon we observed the Cherokee to change 
her course and put after us, firing at us. We deviled her a little, and pres- 
ently put on all steam, and soon ran her out of sight. We came across her 
again next day, but she did not see us. On the 23d we reached the coast of 
Florida. Now, for the first time, we were told we were to run into St. Mark's. 
So we continued to run up the coast until 12 M., when we discovered we had 
passed by St. Mark's, as our reckoning placed us off Dog Island, the light- 
house of which we could see quite plainly • so we " about ship" and retraced 
our steps — course — and soon, about 3 P. M., made St. Mark's' lighthouse, 
distance about fifteen miles. We ran quite close, and observed with our 
glasses that the mouth of the river was closely blockaded, and that it would 
be impossible for us to enter, so the captain steered directly out for sea, in- 
tending to return to Havana. This was a sad disappointment to us, particu- 
larly to those of the party who had made before an unsuccessful attempt to 
reach the Confederacy ; so we appealed to the Captain to put us ashore in one 
of the ship's boats and let us look out for ourselves. This he said he could 
not do, but if we choose we could take the boat and make the best of our 
way to the shore, distance about twelve miles. We all readily agreed to un- 
dertake the perilous duty. The life-boat was launched, and immediately we 



29 

all commenced putting in our baggage, the sail having been adjusted previ- 
ously. Whilst we were thus busily engaged, the quartermaster reported that 
" he saw a steamer bearing down for us about ten miles off." The captain, 
fearing she would cut him off and not be able to clear the reefs to seaward, 
gave orders to make all haste and jump in and shove off. Fourteen of us 
were crowded in one small life-boat, bag and baggage. In ouV party we had 
but few sailors, consequently everybody was captain. Imagine the confusion. 
Fourteen land lubbers, all giving orders, and each one at the top of his voice. 
This state of affairs frightened two of our party (Dr. Watson and Eugene 
Carrington) so much that they threatened to jump overboard and swim back 
to the steamer if we did not turn back and put them off; so, rather than let 
them carry out their threat, we put the boat about and returned to the 
steamer and put them out of our small boat on board, at the same time put- 
ting on board some of our baggage, as the boat was too deeply loaded. I 
left one trunk in charge of the Doctor (Watson), who returned on board with 
Capt. Carrington. Having thus Hghtened the boat of several hundred pounds 
of baggage, we then insisted on the Doctor and Captain to come with us, but 
to no purpose. By this time the steamer reported by the quartermaster 
could be seen distinctly from our boat, so once more we shoved off for the 
shore, having received directions from the pilot how to steer. We had gone 
about two hundred yards when the Owl started ahead. We gave her three 
cheers, which were heartily returned. Darkness soon came upon us, and the 
Owl was not seen very long after we parted company. In our hurry and con- 
fusion we came off without any provisions or water, which had been prepared 
for us by the steward. True, I inquired before leaving the ship if they were 
in the boat, and received an answer that they were, but unfortunately the per- 
son referred to a small bag of provisions which Dr. Garnett had in his trunk, 
which, however, had he not have brought, we would have suffered terribly, or 
perhaps starved. We continued sailing until lo o'clock P. M., when we sud- 
denly found ourselves in the marsh, hard and fast aground, although we kept 
a good look out ahead, but it being quite dark we could not judge of the dis- 
tance from land. What was to be done ? What a disappointment, as we ex- 
pected to have found a sandy beach, as the pilot told us, we should land upon. 
It was determined to shove off and go further to the westward. We now 
look in sail, and the best oarsmen amongst us each took an oar and com- 
menced puUing, hoping to find a good sandy landing that night, but as it be- 
gan to grow late we pulled about an hour and a half until i : 30 P. M,, and 
concluded to run in a little cove for the night and wait until morning, when 
we could better judge of our position and distance from the main land. We 
pulled the boat well up ashore, and some of the party remained in the boat 
and others went ashore and made a bed on the rushes and seaweed, covering 
with our blankets to keep off the musquitoes, who very soon after otu: landing 



30 

paid us a visit of congratulation on our safe arrival on Confederate Soil. It 
was agreed that each one would keep watch three quarters of an hour to look 
after the boat that she did not float away and leave us in the lurch. I don't 
know how much the others slept, but I know I did not sleep a wink, for be- 
tween the howling of wolves and night owls, and the singing of musquitoes — 
you know how fond of music I am (?) — I became so restless that my eyes 
were propped. This gave me an opportunity of viewing our situation, beset 
on one side by the Gulf of Mexico (Florida), and on the other by wolves, 
alligators and musquitoes, and worse than all, a marsh, the extent of which 
we know nothing about, perhaps impassable to the main land, and without 
provisions and water, except a few boxes of Guava jelly and a little coffee the 
Doctor had, and a half pint of brandy — say I did not see the grim visage of 
death staring us in the face, and when I looked around me in my lonely 
watch and saw eleven stout men with warm hearts lying asleep upon the damp 
rushes, I should dread to think who amongst us will survive to tell the fate of 
the eleven. Whilst in this deep reverie sleep got the advantage of my 
thoughts. How long I slept I know not, but I was awakened by Charlie cry- 
ing out : " Archer, get up, get up ; the day is breaking !" We all immedi- 
ately got up and spread out our blankets to dry, as the dew had completely 
saturated them, and my bones felt as if they were not used to such heavy 
dews. We all now held a council to determine what was best to be done, 
and it was determined to send out a party to make a reconnoissance and to 
return in time for high tide; so that if not successful m reaching the main- 
land, we would be able to continue our course to the windward. Another 
party went out to look for water, as we began to feel very thirsty. In an hour 
one of the water party returned with a canteen of very brackish water^ which 
we, however, drank in moderate quantities. The Doctor, m the meantime, 
looked over his small lot of stores and found a dozen and a half boxes of 
Guava jelly, one pound of chocolate and about six pounds of raw coffee. 
Another party, Lylle, had some medicines, and another one pint of brandy. 
These were our only stores, and there were twelve in all, with no prospects of 
a speedy deliverance from our embarrassing position. Our first duty was to 
appoint a caterer, which fell to my lot by acclamation . Close by where we 
were we found a small running stream, which proved to be brackish water. 
Charley proposed that we go fishing. " Who has a fish hook ?" all cried 
out together. •* We can't fish without a hook," said one. " Make a net," 
cried another. Gentlemen, stop your suggestions ; I think I have some 
hooks in my trunk, said I, and " if you will help me to get to my trunk I will 
look." With Charlie's assistance I soon found the hooks, carefully wrapped 
up in a piece of paper, and in the same place where I had put them last De- 
cember in Bermuda. I furnished also a line, which was made of strong 
thread twisted. Off Charley went, but after an hour's fishing he returned 



31 

with a handful of oysters, which he had found in the creek as the tide fell, 
leaving them out of the water. These were very acceptable, as we had eaten 
nothing all day, and now it was lo o'clock. Suddenly we heard voices in the 
distance calling for help. A party went off to their asistance, as we knew it 
was our party returning, as it was near time, by agreement, before leaving : 
" Bring an oar !" ♦• Bring an oar !" " Some one must be mired," it was sug- 
gested, which proved to be the fact. One of the party was almost exhausted, 
and required assistance. I suggested that the oar should not be sent for fear 
of loosing it, as we had only four, which we depended on for our safe deliv- 
erance should our sail fail us in a head-wind. Presently, whilst we were 
thinking whether we would send the oar or not, one ol the reconnoitering 
party returned, and soon after the mired man (Major), leaning on the arm of 
the Doctor (Garnett), who had gone to his assistance. Poor fellow ! he was 
completely used up. A big drink of brandy and a half box of jelly revived 
him, and the first words he was able to articulate were : " I t-e-1-1 you, bo-y-s, 
t-h-e on-l-y s-a-l-v-at-i-on is to s-t-ic-k to t-h-e B-o-ai T These words 
proved true, as will appear hereafter. After half an hour's sleep Major awoke 
refreshed, and impressed it very firmly on our minds that it would be impossi- 
ble to make our escape through the marsh. True, he did make the mainland, 
but beyond that again there was another marsh. On reaching the land he 
was almost exhausted, and by making the most extraordinary exertions he 
reached the point on his return from which we rescued him. He was the only 
one who held out to get to the land, the others remaining in the marsh await- 
ing his return. He had gone about three miles. Our mode of proceeding 
now became very plain, and that was, we must coast to the westward until 
we reach St. Mark's, the distance we judged to be thirty miles. But here a 
question arose, is St. Mark's to the eastward or westward ? for, as can readily 
be conceived, we had lost all confidence in what the pilot had told us, and 
most of the party believed he did not know anything about the coast of 
Florida. However, I satisfied them that before we left the Owl I had seen 
with my glasses a lighthouse to the westward, but what lighthouse it was I 
could not say, of course. It might have been Appalachacola, and all we have 
to do is to try and make that lighthouse by coasting to the westward, and we 
are sure of not starving, but we may be captured I "Archer, you are Job's 
comforter," said Frank Rahm, " but, under the circumstances, I don't know 
whether we can do anything better." Here followed the strongest epithets on 
the head of the pilot, who had gotten us into this dilemma. Some were cruel 
enough to wish him in our situation, and we on board the Owl on the way 
back to Havana. I inwardly wished njyself back, but, of course, did not 
express my sentiments openly. Whilst we were discussing the best course to 
pursue the tide was rising rapidly, and in a short while our boat was afloat, 
and Lylle and myself having mended the step of our mast which had spht 



B2 

just before we landed, making it necessary to take in sail, we all got in and 
shoved off, stepping the mast again and sailing out of the cove with a light 
breeze from the northeast. The Gulf was as smooth as a mirror on starting, 
but as the breeze freshened the sea rose a little as we left the land. It had 
occurred to us more than once that if we should have a ^'' northeaster^^ our 
situation would be still more dangerous, as we could not venture in the boat, 
heavily loaded as she was, and with so inexperienced a boat's crew, and when 
these storms come up they last a long while ; in the meantime we would be 
consuming our scanty store of provisions. After rounding a point of land we 
lost the breeze, and had to take in sail and row, so our fears of having a storm 
subsided, as we once more got into smooth water. We rowed about five 
miles, when we began to get tired and our hands blistered, and observing a 
little creek, we concluded to run up into it, with the hope of its carrying us up 
to the mainland, about three miles ofi. The idea of trying the land again, 
taking possession of the majority of the party ! We had not proceeded far 
before the boat grounded, and, of course, we gave up the cherished idea of 
reaching the land via that route, so we hauled the boat up in the rushes and 
jumped out on a dry point of land, intending to remain until the tide rose so 
as to go further up the creek towards the land. As we had made a very scanty 
meal before starting in the morning, we now felt the need of something else, 
so we served out a small piece of chocolate to each one, quenching our thirst 
with the water in the creek, which proved to be brackish water. It was pro- 
posed that a party should go out reconnoitering whilst we were awaiting the 
tide to rise. Col. William Munford, Charlie, Frank and myself volunteered 
to go. As it was now four hours before sunset, we agreed to go as far as we 
could in two hours, leaving us the same time to return to the boat before dark. 
Before starting we took the precaution of putting a signal flag on one of the oars 
and sticking it up in the mud near the boat as a mark to guide us on our re- 
turn, and the Colonel and Charlie each took a revolver, leaving the remaining 
one — we had only three — with the party with the boat, with the understand- 
ing that should it become dark before we returned, and they should hear the 
report of a pistol, they were to answer it by firing the one we left them, so 
that we could find the boat by paying attention to the sound of their pistol. 
We had proceeded about a mile, when we came to firm ground covered with 
grass and Palmetto trees. Here our party halted and reclined under the 
shade of the broad Palmetto. We needed rest, as we had waded through the 
swamp up to our waists in mud and water, and our hands full of thorns from 
the marsh grass and rushes, which we were obliged to push aside to prevent 
our eyes from being put out as we fcrced our way through. So encouraged 
were we at finding dry land and trees that it was thought best that one of us 
should return to the boat and bring all the baggage to this point and remain 
there during the night, and by early dawn make an effort to reach the woods. 



33 

a distance of about one mile, with bag and baggage, abandoning the boat to 
her own fate. As Frank had been out the day before with the other party, 
and was almost broken down with fatigue, he willingly agreed to return to the 
boat, informing the balance of the party of our opinion, and on what grounds 
we had based that opinion, &c., whilst the Colonel, Charlie and myself con- 
tinued towards the woods, intending to go as tar as possible, giving ourselves 
time enough to return to the Palmettoes before dark, when we hoped to give 
the party a very favorable report on being able to reach the mainland with 
ease and safety with all our baggage. We had not proceeded far, however, 
before we encountered new difficulties, as after walking about one-quarter of 
a mile we came to another marsh and deep creek. We waded through and 
continued on the other side about loo yards, when we came io anot/ier creok, 
as we at first supposed, but on following up the banks we found that we were 
returning towards the boat, and that this second creek was the yfrj/* returning 
on itself almost in an opposite direction, and, as far as we could judge, we 
would meet with innumerable obstacles, and that should we be able, which we 
doubted, to reach the pines, it would be impossible to carry our baggage, so 
we concluded to give up the attempt and hasten back to the boat to prevent 
the party from coming to the Palmettoes with the baggage, as we concluded, 
with our cidevant, mired friend, that '■'■our only salvation is to stick to the 
boat r Our cup of misery overflowed when we returned to the boat and re- 
lated all we had done and seen, as Frank had arrived and buoyed up the 
spirits of the party by assuring them that there would be no difficulty in get- 
ting to the mainland and walking up into the country to some habitation, leav- 
ing our trunks, if necessary, in the woods to be sent for. We found the fel- 
lows taking the baggage out of the boat and about starting. Was it not 
enough to discourage us ? As the tide had fallen and left us about two miles 
from the edge of the still receding water, we had no other alternative left us 
but to remain quietly and await tlie tide to rise in order that we might make 
another start. New objects of dread now showed themselves, which before 
were hid from view by the water in the shape of immense reefs, extending 
miles out into the sea. We had fully made up our minds to make another 
start about i o'clock A. M., when the tide would be up sufficiently high to 
start, but these dreaded objects caused us to shudder at the thought of the 
possibility of running on one of those rocks and knocking a hole in the bottom 
of our boat, to which we looked for deliverance, particularly as we had no 
hammer or nails to repair so serious a damage, so we concluded to remain 
where we were and take daylight for our boat sailing. If we were disap- 
pointed in one respect, we were overjoyed in another by finding ourselves sur- 
rounded on every side in the creek by fine large oysters, so we all set to work 
and opened enough to satisfy our appetites, with the addition of a small 
quantity of parched coffee, which we parched in the boat's bailer. As it was 



34 

now almost dark, we spread out our blankets on the damp marsh, having pre- 
viously cut down a quantity of rushes to sleeD upon, and stretched ourselves 
out on them, and in an amazingly short space of time we were all, save the 
boatkeeper, dead asleep. As usual, I could not sleep. I never was as much 
annoyed in my life as I was that night. I was completely tired down from 
the effects of my long walk, so my bones fairly ached, and to add to this 
misery, the sand flies and musquitoes would hover around me in such num- 
bers, singing their mournful dirges, in company with the euphonious nasal 
sounds which proceeded from the souKrounding sleepers, kept me busy all 
night in a fever, first by getting rid of those troublesome blood-suckers, and 
then by turning my attention to my musical friends playing so lustily on their 
nose-oons, but, by adding a shake and a turn, 1 succeeded in modifying their 
discordant sounds, without, however, interfering with their rests. Shall I ever 
forget that night ? 

Whilst all this was going on I still preserved my senses. As the ques- 
tion of getting any more water to drink further up the coast had occurred 
to us, how was it possible to carry any with us from where we were when we 
start in the morning. The only thing approaching a vessel of any kind which 
would hold water was a canteen holding about one quart, and a pair of neiv 
boots, which the owner, Lylle, had offered on a previous occasion, but some 
of the more fastidious ones objected to drinking water out of them, simply 
because they had been worn ojice ? Fortunately, a thought struck me. As 
our boat was one of " Francis' lifeboats," it occurred to me that under the 
enclosed seats there must either be copper or zinc tanks, or else cork, 
which, in case the boat were to fill with water, would give her bouyancy, 
this being the principle of his (Francis') invention. If my conjecture 
be right in regard to there being tanks in the boat, then we could satisfy 
the most fastidious amongst us by taking out one of the air tanks and 
making a water tank out of it. By daylight I was up and in the boat knock- 
ing off the side of one of the box seats. The noise awoke some of the 
party : " What are you doing, man ?" said the Colonel. Having explained 
my ideas, which were approved, with the suggestions of caution lest I should 
weaken the boat or cause her to leak, we proceeded to take off the side, and 
sure enough, we found a tank capable of holding about ten gallons of water. 
We took it out and made a round hole for a plug to be filled in and put it aside 
to be filled with fresh water at low tide. During the night the tide had risen, 
and was not yet low enough to get water fit to drink, as the sea water flows in 
the creek and causes the water to become saltish. All of us now went to 
work, some getting oysters and others cooking them in ihtboafs bailer (which 
was an old quart cup), and roasting them in the ashes, &c. The Colonel, in the 
meantime, was toasting some coffee in an old tin cup without a bottom, which, 
after it had been sufficiently toasted, he put in an old handkerchief and 



35 

pounded it up fine, then boiling some water in the bailer and pouring it in the 
canteen on the ground coffee, stopped it up tight and set it to drawing near 
the fire ; so by the time the oysters were done we made in all a very comfort- 
able breakfast. After breakfast John filled the water tank, whilst Lylle and 
I repaired again the step of the mast, it having split in two. By knock- 
ing the Doctor's box to pieces to get some nails, usmg the oar-locks for ham- 
mers, we managed to make a first-rate job of it, which lasted us the rest of 
our sailing. As a precautionary measure, the Doctor used to dose us three 
times a day with quinine to keep us from having chills and fevers, at the same 
time to act as a stimulant, but it was a difficult matter to get the boys to take it 
unless he mixed it with brandy. The tide having risen sufficiently and every- 
thing adjusted in the boat, we started once more. This was the twenty-fifth 
Saturday, third day. Before starting we took as near as we could the bearings 
of the reefs, but notwithstanding our precautions, we more than once struck 
the rocks, and had we been on them in the night we would not have been able 
to have gotten off, so hemmed in were we on every side. After striking we 
took in sail, and took the oars and rowed carefully along. The tide we ob- 
served to be rapidly falling, and to go outside the reefs and return towards the 
shore before it fell would be impossible, so we concluded to lighten the boat 
by jumping overboard and " tracking" her along the shore, as far as possible, 
before the tide fell too low ; besides we could get along much faster than we 
could with the oars. Just before we came to this conclusion the lookout at 
the bows discovered a hghthouse about fifteen miles off. The glass was 
passed all around, some agreeing with him, whilst others said it was a sail. At 
any rate, we for the first time felt safe, and tracked the boat up towards it 
with great spirit. As we approached the object of discussion it proved, to 
the delight of all hands, to be a lighthouse, and off the point we could dis- 
tinctly see masts of ships. This no doubt was St. Mark's, as we all agreed. 
The greatest caution had now to be used to prevent ourselves from being cap- 
tured, and to meet this end we kept as close in land as possible, as an object 
which we all saw about five miles off, and supposed to be a gunboat, was 
steering directly for us. By this time the tide had fallen so much as to make 
it impossible to shove the boat through the mud, so we concluded to stop be- 
hind a point out of view of the supposed gunboat and allow her to pass by, 
and then we would proceed at high tide on our way, say at 1:30 o'clock at 
night. We landed on a sandy point, the first sand we had seen, and viewed 
more closely the object of our fright — the gwiboat — from the top of a Pal- 
metto tree. With the aid of my glasses I positively declared that I could see 
the men walking on deck, and that she was a propeller, but that she was not 
underway, but at anchor. Another declared that he saw men fishing in the 
boats, and that the object was an old wreck, &c. Neither of us could agree, 
preferring his own eyes to anyone else's, consequently each persisted on what 



36 

he first declared as obstinately as the man did when he declared that " the 
horse "ndi^Jifteen y^^/high." At any rate, the gunboat did not move. In the 
course of an hour the tide had fallen, leaving the gunboat high and dry, but 
she had suddenly changed her form and size into an immense reef of rocks^ 
and the positively visible sailors proved %oht sea gulls ! I was very much 
run about these sailors^ and the extraordinary magnifying powers of my 
glasses. We all felt relieved, however, and sat ourselves down on the sand 
and held once more a counsel. Our small party now became divided in 
opinion. Six of us were for standing by the boat to the last, and six for 
abandoning the boat and baggage and making the best of our way through the 
marsh into the woods, as it was argued we were only about fifteen miles from 
the lighthouse, and by taking to the woods we would surely come across some 
habitation before going many miles, and afterwards we could send for the bag- 
gage, and on the other hand, the risk of being captured increased every mo- 
ment we remained on the coast and approached the lighthouse. On the other 
side it was agreed that as long as we remained in the boat we would not starve, 
for as a last resort we could at least give ourselves up to the enemy, but by 
leaving the boat we might never be able to reach St. Mark's or any habitation 
before all of our provisions would be eaten up, we not having any compass to 
guide us through the woods, and to say the least, there was more risk attend- 
ing that course than there was by " sticking to the boat," provided that we 
were able to reach the woods through the marsh, as we had failed to do so on 
two previous occasions, and now the woods are much further off than on 
either of those two occasions. To settle the question, two of us — one from 
each of the differing sides — agreed to make another reconnaissance, and the 
whole party to be governed by the report that would be made on our return. 
Lylle and myself were selected, and we started off up the beach. We walked 
about three miles, wading over creeks up to our waists until we were broken 
down, and we concluded that the most rational plan would be to " stick by 
the boat," so we returned to make our report and to satisfy the anxious minds 
of our friends. On our return we found the body of a Yankee sailor which 
had floated on the beach, and had no doubt been killed in the recent attack 
on St. Mark's by the gunboats. We tried to bury the body, but not having 
anything to cover it over with we threw over it a few brushes and left it. We 
recognized it as being a sailor from the blue flannel shirt and pants which 
were partly on the body. Alas, poor Jack ! thy bones lie now bleaching on 
the barren coast of Florida, whilst many of your comrades in that attack 
were buried on the battlefield on the banks of the St. Mark's river. Having 
reported the result of our reconnoissance, it was agreed to " stick by the boat," 
but not without the greatest difficulty in persuading Charlie that it was the 
best plan to pursue, and he at one time threatened to abandon the party and 
go alone. However, after we had talked the matter over, he reluctantly came 



37 

into terms. We all set to work getting supper, and we found our water tank 
very useful, as there was no fresh water where we were. After serving out an 
extra allowance of jelly and chocolates we found that we had left a quarter of 
a pound of chocolate and a few pounds of coffee ; the brandy had all been 
used, so we had to take our quinine without it. We all arranged our beds as 
on other occasions, and tied the painter of the boat around the leg of one of 
the party to keep the boat from fioating away should the tide rise, and were 
soon in the land of Nod. I slept very soundly, and was very loth to get up 
when I was called to " get up." The tide was high enough to make a start ; 
it was I r o'clock at night. We built a large fire on the beach to warm by, for 
we were chilled through by the heavy dew. and arranged our blankets in the 
boat and then shoVed off, intending if possible to run the blockade through 
the f^eet off the lighthouse. Silence having been commanded by our helms* 
man, Godwin, we rowed along quietly towards the lighthouse. The stars 
were shining very brightly, and we took our direction and steered by one of 
the brightest in the direction we wanted to go. The sea was as smooth as a 
mill-pond, consequently the noise from our oars could be heard a great way 
off. We rowed about twelve miles and came to a dead standstill, as another 
discussion arose in the boat as to the propriety of going further. We were 
completely lost amongst reefs and islands, and did not exactly know the direc- 
tion of the lighthouse. Charlie declared he would go no farther, and if we 
did not put him ashore he would jump overboard (a second case of probable 
drowning) had we allowed him to carry out ^is threat ; so we all thought, on 
reflection, except the Doctor (Garnett), that it was best to pull in shore near 
by, and this act proved to be the most prudent, as we soon found ourselves at 
the mouth of a deep creek, which we entered, and on turning around the bend 
at its mouth saw in the distance a fire, which we thought to be a picket fire. 
We now concealed ourselves well up into a little cove, and rested for the night 
in the boat, as the marsh was too wet to lie down in. It was now Sunday 
morning — 2 o'clock. We all slept as well as we could in the boat, which was 
before day lying on her bilge at about an angle of forty- five degrees ; but in 
inclining into that position some of the party were awakened by finding them- 
selves in the water with their blankets, and the row they kicked up aroused 
those of us who were more fortunate, so we could sleep no more that morn- 
ing. Whilst lying partly asleep and partly awake, [ thought I heard a chicken 
cock crow, and I turned to the Colonel and asked him to listen. He listened 
a long while, when we heard an owl holler. •' There's your chicken, Archer > 
now turn over and go to sleep." I must confess I felt cheap, as the sariorson 
the gunboat were first seen by me, and I was still made sport of about them, 
and now, to have another joke on me of hearing an owi for a cock, induced 
me to listen '"or a cock to crow, miyhow, before day. So, listening with all the 
ears I had, I presently heard in tlie distance the cock crow again, and before I 



38 

could announce the fact a half dozen voices cried : " I hear the cocks crow- 
ing !" "Listen" ! ! It could not be doubted any longer, and the Colonel re- 
called what he had said when I first told him I had heard a cock crow. The 
day had fairly broken, and in the distance we could see the lighthouse, and in 
the woods a small log cabin. The sun rose magnificently, and its bright rays 
added joy to the already gladdened faces of our party, who no doubt inwardly 
thanked their Maker that He had delivered them from so perilous a situation, 
but whether into the hands of friends or enemies we could not say ; but if in 
the recent attack on St. Mark's by our enemy's gunboats they had been suc- 
cessful, there would remain but little doubt on this point As soon as the fog 
which hung over the marsh had been lifted we could distinctly see the masts 
of light vessels off the mouth of the river. Seeing so many vessels at this 
point gave us hope that St. Mark's had not fallen ; so, with this hope, Charlie 
and Frank started off about 6 o'clock fully equipped, having previously eaten 
their allowance of chocolate — we had no jelly left — and filled their canteens 
with water from our water tank, which still contained a liberal supply for us 
all, receiving from us before starting an admonition not to return without 
something to eat for us, and assistance to take our baggage through the marsh, 
for although we were in sight of a house the marsh lay still between us and it. 
We watched them anxiously trudging through the marsh, and could see their 
course by the opened furrow made in the grass, although we could not see 
them until they came to a creek, when we lost them. The tide had now fallen 
and left us high and dry in the mud, and we amused ourselves looking at the 
vessels off the lighthouse (not without some anxiety, however, lest we should 
be discovered by their lookouts on the top of the lighthouse and in the tops 
of the ships ; for if it were possible for our party to reach the land, certainly 
they could send out a party and capture the whole of us if they happened to 
see us), and catching oysters, which we found to be better than any we had 
previously found on account of their being in salt water. Whilst I was thus 
satisfactorily engaged in fiUing that part of the inner man which produces a 
good humor with the rest of the body, some one sung out: "Lie down!' 
«« Lie down !" My heart jumped into my throat, for the visions of an armed 
force from the gunboats to take us all prisoners still floated before my mind. 
I, however, complied, and squatted down as low as possible until my nether 
end came in too close proximity for comfort with the water beneath. In an 
opposite direction from me, and nearer the boat, I observed the Doctor 
making tracks for the marsh, but his big cavalry boots retarded his progress 
much more than he liked, consequently he did not run far. Soon, however, 
our fears were dispelled, as one of our party observed Frank, and soon after 
eight Confederate soldiers with Charlie, followed by two negro men with plates 
full of bread and meat ! We all took a long breath, for now we felt as if we 
could do so with impunity, and ran towards our deliverers with outstretched 



39 

hands, which were in turn grasped by them, and such a handshaking and 
congratulatory remarks as were now exchanged can more readily be imagined 
than I am able to depict on paper. We all sat down and ate heartily of the 
meat and bread, and I can speak for the party that we never enjoyed a meal 
so much as we did that one of fat pork and cold corn bread. We were told by 
the pickets that we were in a very unsafe situation, wit/iiti the lines of the 
enemy, and that we must get out of them as soon as possible and with as little 
noise, at the same time. Of course, after this announcement, we did not 
loose much time, and whilst we were eating Charlie and Frank gave us an ac- 
count of their exploits, and as we had to go through the same to get to the 
camp we would know before starting what we had to expect. After wading 
through mud and mire up to their waists, crossing several swamps and creeks, 
they finally came to solid land. They got up into one of the tallest trees near 
by, and with the aid of glasses they made a survey over the land. The log 
hut which we discovered from the boat was not inhabited. They saw in the 
distance two soldiers apparently on picket, whom they satisfied themselves 
were Confederates, as they had on gray clothes. They descended from the 
tree and carefully approached the two men, and when they had gotten near 
enough they made a signal to them with a handkerchief tied on to a stick an- 
nouncing themselves as frknds. They were told to advance by the corporal 
of the guard, who had in the meantime been called by the sentry. As they 
had to cross a creek to communicate their wants, the guard required them to 
hold their pistols up over their heads, pointing upwards, giving them warning 
that the first movement made by them towards resistance they would be shot. 
Of course, this order was readily complied with, as they had more cause to be 
alarmed than the pickets did. This precaution was taken by them, as they 
thought perhaps it was a trick of the enemy to draw them into an ambush, 
and as long as the creek was between them and the enemy all would be right. 
Frank and Charlie landed safely on the opposite bank of the creek, and were 
immediately captured and taken up to the guard-house, about half a mile off. 
They there again reiterated their statement and condition of our party to the 
captain in charge, but he was just as dubious as the corporal was to believe 
them, and they were about to be confined, when, fortunately for us all, the re- 
lief guard returned at the time, and among the guard was an old school mate 
and fellow soldier in the same regiment of Charlie, whom he had not seen for 
nearly two years. Ihe mutual recognition cleared up all doubts as to the 
statement that had been made, and the captain very promptly ordered a guard 
of eight men to accompany Charlie and Frank back to the boat for our pro- 
tection. Having finished our hearty meal we started for the camp, leaving 
Godwin and Lylle of our party, two soldiers and the negroes, with the boat 
and baggage, which they would bring up the creek or " slough" at high tide, 
taking with us our carpet- bags and other light baggage so as to lighten the 



40 

boat as much as possible. We all thought that the troubles which Charlie 
and Frank had gone through to get to the camp were perhaps a little exag- 
gerated, but we had not gone far before we began to realize them to be facts. 
One of our party got stuck in the mire and had to be pulled out by the arms. 
I thought I never should be able to get through that swamp with my carpet 
bag, and had almost determined to throw it away, but seeing Frank ahead of 
me with a trunk weighing perhaps fifiy pounds acted as an incentive for me to 
hold on to my bag. Some of us rested on the other side of this swamp, and 
we got separated from the rest of the party, and did not catch up with them 
until we reached camp. They very thoughtlessly having set fire to the grass 
by dropping a lighted match after lighting a pipe caused us to alter our course, 
as the wind blew the rushing flames towards us, which seemed to travel with 
the speed of the wind. On arriving at the camp we were almost exhausted, 
and we laid down on the grass to gain strength before attempting to take off 
our muddy and torn clothes, or to eat anything. The guard received us very 
kindly and showed us every attention. Mr. Chairs, the owner of the land and 
Salt Works, where we were, showed us the greatest kindness, and ordered his 
manager to prepare dinner for us. After dinner he ordered wagons to take 
us and our baggage, which had arrived in the boat shortly after we did, up 
to St. Mark's, a distance of six miles, where we arrived about 7 o'clock, 
whilst another wagon, with the boat, followed close on behind. We offered to 
pay Mr. Chairs for the trouble and expense he had been put to, but he refused 
to take one cent, remarking that " the troubles you boys have already gone 
through to get back to the Confederacy to fight her battles shows a spirit of 
patriotism which it does not become any patriot and lover of his country to 
discourage by exacting pay from you for so trivial a matter." This remark 
gave us the greatest satisfaction to know that even in the remotest corner of 
the South the spirit of independence prevailed, and that the spirit which led 
us to return home from the gay and fashionable city of Havana, where we 
could have remained even to this time at the expense of the Government, 
had we chosen, was so highly appreciated. We all found comfortable quar- 
ters in St. Mark's, some of us on board the Confederate States gunboat 
Spray, and others in boarding-houses. Capt. Lewis, Confederate States Navy, 
furnished the Doctor and myself with transportation to our homes, and the 
rest of the party, from the commanding officer in charge of the post, to Tal- 
lahassee, which transportation tickets were countersigned in Tallahassee by 
the General (Samuel C. Jones), in charge of the district, on our arrival. We 
left St. Mark's at 6 o'clock on the morning of the 27th of March, and arrived 
in Tallahassee via railroad at 8 A. M. Our arrival soon became noised about 
the city, and immediately the citizens came down to the hotel where we were 
and invited us to stay with them during our visit to Tallahassee. We all 
thanked them, and our trunks were taken up to the houses of those who had 



41 

eJJtended the invitations. The Colonel, Dr. John and myself stayed with 
Col. Gamble, formerly of Richmond, Va., and the others each stayed with 
gentlemen who showed them the kindest and most marked attention andcon- 
sideration. During our stay in Tallahassee of three days we were lionized 
and feasted to our hearts' content. We were informed by the authorities that 
it was the most fortunate thing for us that we entered the creek where we did, 
for had we gone half a mile further towards the lighthouse we would certainly 
have either been killed or captured by the enemy's pickets, and had we gone 
further up the slough (this creek turned out to be the Ocilki slough)^ we might 
have been shot by our own pickets, as on the night previous one of the ene- 
my's row boats had been fired into and driven back from making a recofinois- 
sauce to ascertain, they supposed, how far up the creek was navigable so as to 
make an attack in our rear by a boat attack; so fortune "favored us." I 
shall always look back on those three days which we spent in Tallahassee with 
the gieatest pleasure, as it gave us an assurance that, however badly off we 
were in the Confederate States, there still remained an abundance of true 
hospitality, and a great willingness on the part of all to help each other, and 
as this is the first great principle of a people's success, our hopes were ele- 
vated for our ultimate success in the cause in which we had embarked with 
the determination to " conquer or die." We left our old friend, the boat, at 
St. Mark's, which we subsequently sold to the Government for $10,000, which 
left us each $825, after paying some few incidental expenses. At this stage 
of our journey our party commenced to separate, the Doctor and John going 
to Alabama, whilst the rest of us continued on to Quincy, at which place we 
arrived in three hours from Tallahassee on the 29th via lail. We were 
here treated with the same kindness as we were in Tallahassee, and were in- 
vited to a party, where we met an assemblage of as pretty girls as 1 have seen 
anywhere. The next evening we lelt Quincy in a stage fur Albany, passing 
through Bainbridge and Newton, a distance of about eighty miles, where we 
arrived at 3 P. M. on the 31st. When we arrived at the end of our stage- 
ride I don't think any of us felt much like taking such another fiDr a long 
while. We were cramped and as stiff as if we had been beaten with clubs. 
We now proceeded via rail to Macon, where we stopped a day, and left for 
Milledgeville the next morning; from there we travelled to Sparta, and 
thence to the railroad, the whole distance being forty miles, in an open wagon. 
From this point we went to Augusta by rail. We there heard it rumored 
that Richmond had fallen and our army was retreating. We could not believe 
it, but our disbelief became a reality. We now hardly knew how to act, but as 
I fortunately found the Tredegar wagons there, and they would leave in a 
day or two for Blackstock, the nearest point on the railroad, about 120 miles, 
and as the agent (Mr. Bell, agent for J. R. Anderson & Co., in chaige of the 
wagons) kindly offered to take Qur baggage if we were willing to walk, we 



42 

concluded to accept his often, and on the second day after we had reached 
Augusta we were on our way marching towards Cien. Johnston's army, 
which we desired to reach, as it would be impossible to get to Gen. Lee. We 
passed through Columbia and Winnsboro before arriving at the Junction, 
Blackstock. We were on the road six days, and passed many a pleasant 
hour, and some very disagreeable ones, too, for when it rained our slumbers 
were as much interfered with whilst sleeping in the wagons as the noted old 
Mr. '" Stol-fo?ie" of Norfolk notoriet), was by "' dem damned mans f We 
were a very seedy-looking party on arriving at the depot, and our legs and feet 
had become much swollen and very sore from so long a promenade, but we 
had not arrived many minutes before we heard the welcome whistle of the 
engine, and having embarked we s on found ourselves in the usually quiet little 
town of Chester, which was now all excitement, momentarily expecting a raid 
upon the town from Sheridan's cavalry, the report of the burning of Salisbury 
and Charlotte having just been received. We remained two days in Chester, 
not being able to go on, as the railroad trains had been stopped ; but all the 
excitement having abated, as the raiders had gone in another direction, the 
cars commenced running, and we went on,- arriving in Charlotte on the 15th 
of April, where we heard of the capture of Lee and his army. We could not 
beheve this report, but the next day it was confirmed, and we of course had 
to beheve it. We were a blue party that day, but, still hoping for the best, we 
determined to push on towards Johnston's army, our last stronghold, and if 
he retreated across the Mississippi we would follow him and fight to the last 
for our " country and our sires." Here we found, to our great surprise, Car- 
rington, whom we had left on the Owl, and one of the two who returned, as we 
had supposed to Havana, until we heard before leaving Tallahassee that the 
Owl had landed them and her cargo near Deadman's Bay ; he had taken 
another route via Washington, Ga., thereby getting ahead of us, but had left 
the Doctor (Watson) where they landed, he preferring to wait for the wagons 
to be sent down for the cargo, when he could get a ride and bring bis baggage ; 
he had tried a small cart, which could not bring both, &c. They had landed 
the day after us at the above-named point, were first chased off by a 
cruiser, but returned that night and landed all safely the next day. Captain 
Mafifitt said he would never go back with his cargo to Havana. We left 
Charlotte for Salisbury on the loth. The raiders had destroyed all the Gov- 
ernment shops, railroad depot, &c., there, and the town looked forsaken. The 
next morning President Davis and his Cabinet came in and passed through on 
their retreat from Richmond, Danville, &c. Times looked gloomy now, and 
when I saw heads of departments paying their hotel bills with gold, and 
others bartering silver for boiled eggs and biscuits, I lost all confidence in the 
Confederate currency, and my faith in the Confederacy itself commenced to 
flag, I turned over to the Secretary some dispatches that had been entrusted 



43 

to me just as he was about to mount his jaded steed to follow in the long 
train of frightened officials headed by Dibrell's cavalry. At this place CharUe 
and our mired man (Major) left me and joined the cavalry escorting the 
President, and I continued alone on to Greensboro' via rail, having to walk 
twelve miles before reaching there, carrying only a small carpet-bag, as I had 
sent my trunk back to Augusta by the wagons, finding it impossible to bring 
it on with me. I immediately went to Gen. Johnston's headquarters and 
found Archer Anderson, who was delighted as well as surprised to see me. 
He told me of the assassination of President Lincoln, and many other 
very important things that were then going on, and, if successful, would 
bring about peace throughout the South. These negotiations, we all know, 
terminated in the dispersing of the Army of Tennessee, and virtually to the 
termination of the war. However unfortunate this end has been to the 
South, we can always look back with pride to the heroic defence we made for 
tour long years with an army half clad and fed, and contending against num- 
bers ten to one. I attached myself to Admiral Semmes' brigade, and received 
my parole on the ist of May and immediately started for Richmond, ar- 
riving on the 4th, finding all of the family well, who were astonished at see" 
ing me, they supposing I was still in Havana or Nassau. ****** 

I have written the above account of my travels and trials, hoping they may 
be interesting to you all whilst they remain fresh in my raemofy, but I have no 
doubt you would rather have heard all I have told you from my own 
lips than from the imperfect manner I have tried to represent them on 
paper ; but as it is impossible for me to say when I shall be able to come up 
to Wythevillc to see you all, I have taken this method of communicating my 
adventures during the time I was absent from home on duty for the '* Vir- 
ginia Volunteer Navy Company." 



I remain, very affectionatel}', your 



E. R. ARCHER. 



Now that you have heard Lieut. Archer's version of our trials and tribu>. 
lations endured while on the coast, &c,, I will state that I preceded him by a 
few days from Tallahassee and journeyed on foot to Albany, Ga , where I 
took a train for Macon, there to find that Sherman had passed on his re- 
nowned march to the sea. I again took the dirt road to Augusta, Ga., and 
by rail from there to Washington, Ga., hence via Abbeville, 8. C, and by the 
way, here is where Jeff Davi^ held his last council of war in the old Perry 
mansion, and where the Cabint-t adjourned. It was from here that each 
member struck out to take care of himself. . From there I footed it to Ches- 



44: 

ter, S. C, where I once more struck the train, whicli landed me at Danville, 
Va., and where I met the different departments, all having left Richmond, and 
there it was I heard of Gen. Lee's surrender. I then concluded to return to 
North Carolina and report to Gen. Johnston, who at that time was in the 
neighborhood of Raleigh, N. C, and on reachuig Greensboro' his surrender 
was announced, and about that time I happened to meet an old chum, 
Lieut. Frank Tappy, of Petersburg, Va , a staff ofiicer, whose general and 
staff had been captured ; said he would also have been, but happened to be 
out on a buttermilk forage. He proposed to me to wait until night and flank 
out a horse each from the quartermaster's department and try and get to your 
command. This we did under cover of darkness, and started that night for 
Lynchburg. Our first stop was five or six miles from Greensboro', where we 
asked for accommodations until morning, Tappy telling the old gentleman we 
were Confeds, but he was loth to believe it, having been expecting to see 
either or both armies at any moment. Finally, Tappy told him that we would 
lie down on the parlor floor, and let the horses graze in the yard under saddle, 
and would hive to ask him to keep awake and watch for us — that we would 
in the morning pay him in hard money for his trouble. This he consented to 
do, and no doubt was building air castles at the prospect of seeing and 
handling hard money once again. With the exception of one or two false 
alarms we enjoyed an excellent night's rest. He had prepared a sumptuous 
breakfast at quite an early hour preparatory to our departure. Tappy asked 
him what the charges were, when he replied : •' I will leave that to )OU, gen- 
tlemen." Tappy pulled out a wad of Confederate notes about the size of his 
wrist and peeled off a $20 bill. The old gentleman remarked : " I thought 
you said you would pay me in hard moiiey ?" Tappy replied: "My God, if 
this isn't hard enough where do you expect to find any harder ?" This satis- 
fied the old gentleman as to who we were, when he was j)erfectly reconciled, 
and said that had he been sure he would not have charged us a cent — that he 
had two sons then in the army, if alive, and was anxious to hear from them. 
We bade the old gentleman adieu, and continued our journey to Lynchburg, 
Va., where for the tirst time we heard of your having disbanded the com- 
mand. Tappy and I then concluded to go to Richmond, which we did 
by the tow-path of the James River and Kanawha canal, making the distance 
of 140 miles on horseback in two days, which reminded me of some raids I 
had been on when in a hurry. In June, 1865, I started for New Orleans to 
look after the affairs of my deceased father's branch house, which had not been 
heard from since New Orleans capitulated to the old Beast. I had to make 
the trip via Cincinnati, then by boat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers 
(all communication from Richmond south by rail having been destroyed). 
The first evening on board I noticed a number of passengers grouped around 
two gentlemen, who were evidently amusing the crowd with their songs. I 



45 

thought I recognized both the men and their voices. One of them soon 
looked up, caught my eye, and in a twinkle grasped my hand and said : "Jones 
is my name ; you don't seem to recognize me." With that he led me off to 
one side and whispered not to mention his name aboard, as the two, Fred, 
and Channing Smith had been outlawed, and a considerable reward had been 
offered by the Government for their capture, dead or alive, inasmuch as they 
had conducted a little private warfare on their own hook for quite a consider- 
able time after you had disbanded. They were then on their way to Mexico, 
and wanted me to join them. Fred had been a very special admirer of my 
little brown mare, as well as yourself, having noticed you on several occasions 
observing her very closely. In two or three days we reached Memphis, and 
in making the landing we noticed a number of horses at the levee to water. 
Fred remarked : '* By the holy Moses, Rahm, there is your brown mare." I 
agreed that it did resemble her, and as soon as we tied up would go ashore 
and examine her. I explained to him that on her right hind hip, when her 
hair was nicely stroked, I could detect a shade lighter color about the size of 
a silver dollar, where she had a scar. We examined it, and sure enough it was 
my mare. I patted her on the neck and called her by name, "Maggie," and 
that instant her ears shot out in front as straight as an arrow, I then re- 
marked : " Fred, it is my mare." The darkey on her replied : " No, it taint 

boss; it's Maj. . We soon found that the Eighth lUinois cavalry, the 

same party who had captured me, were there. After ascertaining that our 
boat would remain there several hours, Fred and I repaired to the camp in 
the suburbs and introduced ourselves to the Major as being passengers on the 
down boat, and, having seen this mare of his, had taken quite a fancy to her 
and if for sale, now that the war was over, would like to buy her. He re- 
plied that she was not for sale ; that he prized her very highly from associa- 
tions connected with her, &c., and on his regiment being disbanded he would 
take her home with him. We finally pumped out of him why he placed so 
much value on her, &c., which was that he had captured her from one of 
Mosby's officers, and as they were all well mounted she must be something 
extra — that he had noticed how she could get over ground, running or jump- 
ing equal to a deer. I abandoned all hope of again owning her, and told him 
of the entire affair in detail as to under what circumstances, where and when 
she was captured, and that I was the original owner of the mare, and the 
party captured at the time ; he recognized my having asked him to grant me 
permission to ride her as far as we were going, and remarked it was well that 
I did not, as he thought many times that it was a dash for liberty I expected 
to make, and the chances were that I would have been killed. He and the 
rest of the officers were delighted to see us, and we enjoyed an hour very 
pleasantly. When we parted it was with the promise that if he in the future 
concluded to part with her he would write me at Richmond, Va,, and give me 



46 

the refusal of her, but up to date nothing has ever been heard from him. On 
returning to the boat Fred was outdone, and made me a proposition to remain 
there and flank her out that night, and he would get another, when we would 
make it by dirt road to New Orleans. This I would not listen to, as I was in 
a hurry to proceed on my way, though I felt awtully tempted to accept this 
proposition. I continued my journey to New Orleans, transacted my busi- 
ness and returned to Richmond, where I have been ever since. In 1870 I 
adopted the road as a profession, and on my first trip I had occasion 
to visit Abbeville, S. C. I bought a ticket at Greenville via Abbeville 
to Columbia, S. C, which left me fifty cents, all the cash I had then in 
hand, expecting to reach Columbia that night, where I would receive more 
funds. Having two hours in Abbeville to transact my business, I did not 
doubt in the least my ability to reach Columbia the same night. When 
nearly through my engagement, several ladies came in the store and mo- 
nopolized the time of my customer until the departure of the train. Not 
knowing a soul in the town, and having only fifty cents in my pocket, I could 
not see very well how I was to remain over, as there was not another train 
until the next day. I excused myself to my customer, and remarked that the 
signal whistle for the departure of the train had been blown and he would have 
to excuse me. He replied that he had not completed his purchases, and it 
would pay me to remain until the next day. I knew the condition of my 
finances, while he did not. However, I considered the matter for a few mo- 
ments, and finally decided to take my chances and remain, as I thought the 
flattering temptation to do so justified it, inasmuch as I had been in tight 
places before, and managed to wiggle out after a fashion. We adjourned 
until after dinner, when I returned from the hotel kept by three old maiden 
sisters, better known among the travelling fraternity as " The Three Graces," 
and completed the sale of my bill. Later in the evening my customer and I 
took a walk over the town, he explaining all objects of interest to me, among 
them the Perrin mansion. The rest of the evening and night I was trying to 
brace up and settle on some basis by which I could pay my two- dollar hote^ 
bill the next morning and leave. Soon after breakfast I strolled out towards 
the suburbs and over the same ground I had been the evening before. With 
my hands clasped beind me, while looking intently down to the ground think- 
ing over my situation, I recognized a suspicious-looking piece of paper, which 
I picked up, and found it to be a two-dollar bill. This occurred immediately 
in front of the gate entrance to the Perrin mansion, and where Jeft" Davis and 
his Cabinet met for the last time. 

One more remarkable coincident pertaining to the war. Colonel, and I will 
then bring my little tale of woe to a close. If you remember, in the summer 
of 1865, several of us formed a group and had our photos taken. Among 
the number were you, the centre, surrounded by the Richmond contingent, as 



47 

follows : Lieut. Ben Palmer, Sergeant Babcock, Tom Booker, Norman Ran- 
dolph, Walter Gosden, Ike Gentry, Charlie Quarles, Otho Butler, John Pur- 
year, and several others who were non-residents. In 1892 I visited the Chi- 
cago Exposition, and in passing the old " Libby Prison" my curiosity got the 
better of me, and I had to enter and view the old building once again. I 
found it to be a fac-simile of the building as it stood here in Richmond. On 
entering I noticed a little red-headed Yankee forming a crowd to start on 
his lecture. 1 listened attentivelj', and of all the absurd descriptions of what 
happened to the inmates of the Libby during the war, I wondered what 
would come next. The crowd to a unit plied question after question to him. 
He noticed the signs of disgust which my countenance betrayed, and when 
ready to turn his audience over to lecturer number two, in another depart* 
ment, he remarked to me : " You seem to be familiar with my lecture." I 
replied: *• Entirely so,' when he grasped me by the hand and said: "You 
must be an old comrade ?" I replied : " If four years' services entitled me 
to that honor, I did not know but what I was." With this he led me to the 
desk and asked me to register, name, command, &c. I replied that possibly 
they would not relish my registration, which seemed to puzzle him for a mo- 
ment, when he replied : " You must be a Johnnie ?" I asked if it had just 
occurred to him that there were two sides during the war ; that it evidently 
had not from the tone of his lecture. I then explained to him my being from 
Richmond, and the old building was as natural as it could be. He insisted 
that I should register under the civilian's list, and put command, &c., which I 
did, and wide open, as " Lieut. F. H. Rahm, Richmond, Va., formerly of 
Col. John S. Mosby's Forty- third Virginia Battalion. Partisan Rangers." 
When he saw it I thought he ivould lose his breath. His first exclamation 
was : " The h — 11 you say !" " Come this way ; I want to show you some- 
thing !" He soon wheeled and asked me to look at that picture and see if I 
recognized any of the men. It was the group I previously referred to, 
" Mosby and his Men." I was equally as much surprised at seeing this as he 
was at meeting me. I remarked that every man there was alive, and on my 
return to Richmond I intended to tell the men what I had seen, and that the 
Yankees had punched the eyes out of the last one in the group, when his re - 
ply was : " For God's sake, don't ; they will make a raid up here, sure." We 
had quite a lengthy and very interesting talk over old scores, he being a mem- 
ber of Custer's command, which we had met on many a field. He said I 
was what he called the only " real live Johnnie" he had seen since the war 

Colonel, owing to unavoidable circumstances, it was impossible for me to 
attend the recent reunion of the command at Salem in August, but hope to 
have the pleasure of meeting you at the next, here in Richmond, on the 23rd 
of May. Still, should an allwise Providence decree that we meet no more on 



48 

this earth, may your spirits be wafted on breezes of sweet perfume to a 
brighter and happier clime, there to dwell with angels evermore. 

With best wishes, sincerely your friend, 

FRANK H. RAHM, 



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