"You are right, madam; and besides, when our women are so willing to brave death and endure discomfort, how can we ever be conquered?"
Soon she looked over with significant glances to where we stood, and began to talk at H.
"The only drawback," she said, "are the contemptible men who are staying at home in comfort, when they ought to be in the army if they had a spark of honor."
I cannot repeat all, but it was the usual tirade. It is strange I have met no one yet who seems to comprehend an honest difference of opinion, and stranger yet that the ordinary rules of good breeding are now so entirely ignored. As the spring comes one has the craving for fresh, green food that a monotonous diet produces. There was a bed of radishes and onions in the garden that were a real blessing. An onion salad, dressed only with salt, vinegar, and pepper, seemed a dish fit for a king; but last night the soldiers quartered near made a raid on the garden and took them all.
April 2.—We have had to move, and thus lost our cave. The owner of the house suddenly returned and notified us that he intended to bring his family back; didn't think there'd be any siege. The cost of the cave could go for the rent. That means he has got tired of the Confederacy and means to stay here and thus get out of it. This house was the only one to be had. It was built by ex-Senator G., and is so large our tiny household is lost in it. We use only the lower floor. The bell is often rung by persons who take it for a hotel and come beseeching food at any price. To-day one came who would not be denied. "We do not keep a hotel, but would willingly feed hungry soldiers if we had the food." "I have been traveling all night, and am starving; will pay any price for just bread." I went to the dining-room and found some biscuits, and set out two, with a large piece of corn-bread, a small piece of bacon, some nice syrup, and a pitcher of water. I locked the door of the safe and left him to enjoy his lunch. After he left I found he had broken open the safe and taken the remaining biscuits.
April 28.—I never understood before the full force of those questions—What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed? We have no prophet of the Lord at whose prayer the meal and oil will not waste. Such minute attention must be given the wardrobe to preserve it that I have learned to darn like an artist. Making shoes is now another accomplishment. Mine were in tatters. H. came across a moth-eaten pair that he bought me, giving ten dollars, I think, and they fell into rags when I tried to wear them; but the soles were good, and that has helped me to shoes. A pair of old coat-sleeves saved—nothing is thrown away now—was in my trunk. I cut an exact pattern from my old shoes, laid it on the sleeves, and cut out thus good uppers and sewed them carefully; then soaked the soles and sewed the cloth to them. I am so proud of these home-made shoes, think I'll put them in a glass case when the war is over, as an heirloom. H. says he has come to have an abiding faith that everything he needs to wear will come out of that trunk while the war lasts. It is like a fairy casket. I have but a dozen pins remaining, so many I gave away. Every time these are used they are straightened and kept from rust. All these curious labors are performed while the shells are leisurely screaming through the air; but as long as we are out of range we don't worry. For many nights we have had but little sleep, because the Federal gunboats have been running past the batteries. The uproar when this is happening is phenomenal. The first night the thundering artillery burst the bars of sleep, we thought it an attack by the river. To get into garments and rush up-stairs was the work of a moment. From the upper gallery we have a fine view of the river, and soon a red glare lit up the scene and showed a small boat, towing two large barges, gliding by. The Confederates had set fire to a house near the bank. Another night, eight boats ran by, throwing a shower of shot, and two burning houses made the river clear as day. One of the batteries has a remarkable gun they call "Whistling Dick," because of the screeching, whistling sound it gives, and certainly it does sound like a tortured thing. Added to all this is the indescribable Confederate yell, which is a soul-harrowing sound to hear. I have gained respect for the mechanism of the human ear, which stands it all without injury. The streets are seldom quiet at night; even the dragging about of cannon makes a din in these echoing gullies. The other night we were on the gallery till the last of the eight boats got by. Next day a friend said to H., "It was a wonder you didn't have your heads taken off last night. I passed and saw them stretched over the gallery, and grape-shot were whizzing up the street just on a level with you." The double roar of batteries and boats was so great, we never noticed the whizzing. Yesterday the Cincinnati attempted to go by in daylight but was disabled and sunk. It was a pitiful sight; we could not see the finale, though we saw her rendered helpless.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SIEGE
Vicksburg, May 1, 1863.—It is settled at last that we shall spend the time of siege in Vicksburg. Ever since we were deprived of our cave, I had been dreading that H. would suggest sending me to the country, where his relatives lived. As he could not leave his position and go also without being conscripted, and as I felt certain an army would get between us, it was no part of my plan to be obedient. A shell from one of the practising mortars brought the point to an issue yesterday and settled it. Sitting at work as usual, listening to the distant sound of bursting shells, apparently aimed at the court-house, there suddenly came a nearer explosion; the house shook, and a tearing sound was followed by terrified screams from the kitchen. I rushed thither, but met in the hall the cook's little girl America, bleeding from a wound in the forehead, and fairly dancing with fright and pain, while she uttered fearful yells. I stopped to examine the wound, and her mother bounded in, her black face ashy from terror. "Oh! Miss V., my child is killed and the kitchen tore up." Seeing America was too lively to be a killed subject, I consoled Martha and hastened to the kitchen. Evidently a shell had exploded just outside, sending three or four pieces through. When order was restored I endeavored to impress on Martha's mind the necessity for calmness and the uselessness of such excitement. Looking round at the close of the lecture, there stood a group of Confederate soldiers laughing heartily at my sermon and the promising audience I had. They chimed in with a parting chorus:
"Yes, it's no use hollerin', old lady."
"Oh! H.," I exclaimed, as he entered soon after, "America is wounded."
"That is no news; she has been wounded by traitors long ago."
"Oh, this is real, living, little black America. I am not talking in symbols. Here are the pieces of shell, the first bolt of the coming siege."
"Now you see," he replied, "that this house will be but paper to mortar-shells. You must go in the country."
The argument was long, but when a woman is obstinate and eloquent, she generally conquers. I came off victorious, and we finished preparations for the siege to-day. Hiring a man to assist, we descended to the wine-cellar, where the accumulated bottles told of the "banquet-hall deserted," the spirit and glow of the festive hours whose lights and garlands were dead, and the last guest long since departed. To empty this cellar was the work of many hours. Then in the safest corner a platform was laid for our bed, and in another portion one arranged for Martha. The dungeon, as I call it, is lighted only by a trap-door, and is so damp it will be necessary to remove the bedding and mosquito-bars every day. The next question was of supplies. I had nothing left but a sack of rice-flour, and no manner of cooking I had heard or invented contrived to make it eatable. A column of recipes for making delicious preparations of it had been going the rounds of Confederate papers. I tried them all; they resulted only in brick-bats or sticky paste. H. sallied out on a hunt for provisions, and when he returned the disproportionate quantity of the different articles obtained provoked a smile. There was a hogshead of sugar, a barrel of syrup, ten pounds of bacon and peas, four pounds of wheat-flour, and a small sack of corn-meal, a little vinegar, and actually some spice! The wheat-flour he purchased for ten dollars as a special favor from the sole remaining barrel for sale. We decided that must be left for sickness. The sack of meal, he said, was a case of corruption, through a special providence to us. There is no more for sale at any price; but, said he, "a soldier who was hauling some of the Government sacks to the hospital offered me this for five dollars, if I could keep a secret. When the meal is exhausted, perhaps we can keep alive on sugar. Here are some wax candles; hoard them like gold." He handed me a parcel containing about two pounds of candles, and left me to arrange my treasures. It would be hard for me to picture the memories those candles called up. The long years melted away, and I
Trod again my childhood's track, And felt its very gladness.
In those childish days, whenever came dreams Of household splendor or festal rooms or gay illuminations, the lights in my vision were always wax candles burning with a soft radiance that enchanted every scene.... And, lo! here on this spring day of '63, with war raging through the land, I was in a fine house, and had my wax candles sure enough; but, alas! they were neither cerulean blue nor rose-tinted, but dirty brown; and when I lighted one, it spluttered and wasted like any vulgar tallow thing, and lighted only a desolate scene in the vast handsome room. They were not so good as the waxen rope we had made in Arkansas. So, with a long sigh for the dreams of youth, I return to the stern present in this besieged town—my only consolation to remember the old axiom, "A city besieged is a city taken,"—so if we live through it we shall be out of the Confederacy. H. is very tired of having to carry a pass around in his pocket and go every now and then to have it renewed. We have been so very free in America, these restrictions are irksome.
May 9.—This morning the door-bell rang a startling peal. Martha being busy, I answered it. An orderly in gray stood with an official envelop in his hand.
"Who lives here?"
Very imperiously—"Which Mr. L.?"
"Is he here?"
"Where can he be found?"
"At the office of Deputy ——."
"I'm not going there. This is an order from General Pemberton for you to move out of this house in two hours. He has selected it for headquarters. He will furnish you with wagons."
"Will he furnish another house also?"
"Of course not."
"Has the owner been consulted?"
"He has not; that is of no consequence; it has been taken. Take this order."
"I shall not take it, and I shall not move, as there is no place to move to but the street."
"Then I'll take it to Mr. L."
"Very well; do so."
As soon as Mr. Impertine walked off, I locked, bolted, and barred every door and window. In ten minutes H. came home.
"Hold the fort till I've seen the owner and the general," he said, as I locked him out.
Then Dr. B.'s remark in New Orleans about the effect of Dr. C.'s fine presence on the Confederate officials there came to mind. They are just the people to be influenced in that way, I thought. I look rather shabby now; I will dress. I made an elaborate toilet, put on the best and most becoming dress I had, the richest lace, the handsomest ornaments, taking care that all should be appropriate to a morning visit; dressed my hair in the stateliest braids, and took a seat in the parlor ready for the fray. H. came to the window and said:
"Landlord says, 'Keep them out. Wouldn't let them have his house at any price.' He is just riding to the country and can't help us now. Now I'm to see Major C., who sent the order."
Next came an officer, banged at the door till tired, and walked away. Then the orderly came again and beat the door—same result. Next, four officers with bundles and lunch-baskets, followed by a wagon-load of furniture. They went round the house, tried every door, peeped in the windows, pounded and rapped, while I watched them through the blind-slats. Presently the fattest one, a real Falstaffian man, came back to the front door and rang a thundering peal. I saw the chance for fun and for putting on their own grandiloquent style. Stealing on tiptoe to the door, I turned the key and bolt noiselessly, and suddenly threw wide back the door and appeared behind it. He had been leaning on it, and nearly pitched forward with an "Oh! what's this!" Then seeing me as he straightened up, "Ah, madam!" almost stuttering from surprise and anger, "are you aware I had the right to break down this door if you hadn't opened it?"
"That would make no difference to me. I'm not the owner. You or the landlord would pay the bill for the repairs."
"Why didn't you open the door?"
"Have I not done so as soon as you rung? A lady does not open the door to men who beat on it. Gentlemen usually ring; I thought it might be stragglers pounding."
"Well," growing much blander, "we are going to send you some wagons to move; you must get ready."
"With pleasure, if you have selected a house for me. This is too large; it does not suit me."
"No, I didn't find a house for you."
"You surely don't expect me to run about in the dust and shelling to look for it, and Mr. L. is too busy."
"Well, madam, then we must share the house. We will take the lower floor."
"I prefer to keep the lower floor myself; you surely don't expect me to go up and down stairs when you are so light and more able to do it."
He walked through the hall, trying the doors. "What room is that?" "The parlor." "And this?" "My bedroom." "And this?" "The dining-room."
"Well, madam, we'll find you a house and then come and take this."
"Thank you, colonel; I shall be ready when you find the house. Good-morning, sir."
I heard him say as he ran down the steps, "We must go back, captain; you see I didn't know they were this kind of people."
Of course the orderly had lied in the beginning to scare me, for General P. is too far away from Vicksburg to send an order. He is looking about for General Grant. We are told he has gone out to meet Johnston; and together they expect to annihilate Grant's army and free Vicksburg forever. There is now a general hospital opposite this house, and a smallpox hospital next door. War, famine, pestilence, and fire surround us. Every day the band plays in front of the smallpox hospital. I wonder if it is to keep up their spirits? One would suppose quiet would be more cheering.
May 17.—Hardly was our scanty breakfast over this morning when a hurried ring drew us both to the door.
Mr. J., one of H.'s assistants, stood there in high excitement.
"Well, Mr. L., they are upon us; the Yankees will be here by this evening."
"What do you mean?"
"That Pemberton has been whipped at Baker's Creek and Big Black, and his army are running back here as fast as they can come, and the Yanks after them, in such numbers nothing can stop them. Hasn't Pemberton acted like a fool?"
"He may not be the only one to blame," replied H.
"They're coming along the Big B. road, and my folks went down there to be safe, you know; now they're right in it. I hear you can't see the armies for the dust; never was anything else known like it. But I must go and try to bring my folks back here."
What struck us both was the absence of that concern to be expected, and a sort of relief or suppressed pleasure. After twelve some worn-out-looking men sat down under the window.
"What is the news?" I inquired.
"Ritreat, ritreat!" they said, in broken English—they were Louisiana Acadians.
About three o'clock the rush began. I shall never forget that woeful sight of a beaten, demoralized army that came rushing back,—humanity in the last throes of endurance. Wan, hollow-eyed, ragged, foot-sore, bloody, the men limped along unarmed, but followed by siege-guns, ambulances, gun-carriages, and wagons in aimless confusion. At twilight two or three bands on the court-house hill and other points began playing "Dixie," "Bonnie Blue Flag," and so on, and drums began to beat all about; I suppose they were rallying the scattered army.
May 28.—Since that day the regular siege has continued. We are utterly cut off from the world, surrounded by a circle of fire. Would it be wise like the scorpion to sting ourselves to death? The fiery shower of shells goes on day and night. H.'s occupation, of course, is gone; his office closed. Every man has to carry a pass in his pocket. People do nothing but eat what they can get, sleep when they can, and dodge the shells. There are three intervals when the shelling stops either for the guns to cool or for the gunners' meals, I suppose,—about eight in the morning, the same in the evening, and at noon. In that time we have both to prepare and eat ours. Clothing cannot be washed or anything else done. On the 19th and 22d, when the assaults were made on the lines, I watched the soldiers cooking on the green opposite. The half-spent balls coming all the way from those lines were flying so thick that they were obliged to dodge at every turn. At all the caves I could see from my high perch, people were sitting, eating their poor suppers at the cave doors, ready to plunge in again. As the first shell again flew they dived, and not a human being was visible. The sharp crackle of the musketry-firing was a strong contrast to the scream of the bombs. I think all the dogs and cats must be killed or starved: we don't see any more pitiful animals prowling around.... The cellar is so damp and musty the bedding has to be carried out and laid in the sun every day, with the forecast that it may be demolished at any moment. The confinement is dreadful. To sit and listen as if waiting for death in a horrible manner would drive me insane. I don't know what others do, but we read when I am not scribbling in this. H. borrowed somewhere a lot of Dickens's novels, and we reread them, by the dim light in the cellar. When the shelling abates, H. goes to walk about a little or get the "Daily Citizen," which is still issuing a tiny sheet at twenty-five and fifty cents a copy. It is, of course, but a rehash of speculations which amuses a half hour. To-day he heard while out that expert swimmers are crossing the Mississippi on logs at night to bring and carry news to Johnston. I am so tired of corn-bread, which I never liked, that I eat it with tears in my eyes. We are lucky to get a quart of milk daily from a family near who have a cow they hourly expect to be killed. I send five dollars to market each morning, and it buys a small piece of mule-meat. Rice and milk is my main food; I can't eat the mule-meat. We boil the rice and eat it cold with milk for supper. Martha runs the gauntlet to buy the meat and milk once a day in a perfect terror. The shells seem to have many different names: I hear the soldiers say, "That's a mortar-shell. There goes a Parrott. That's a rifle-shell." They are all equally terrible. A pair of chimney-swallows have built in the parlor chimney. The concussion of the house often sends down parts of their nest, which they patiently pick up and reascend with.
Friday, June 5. In the cellar.—Wednesday evening H. said he must take a little walk, and went while the shelling had stopped. He never leaves me alone for long, and when an hour had passed without his return I grew anxious; and when two hours, and the shelling had grown terrific, I momentarily expected to see his mangled body. All sorts of horrors fill the mind now, and I am so desolate here; not a friend. When he came he said that, passing a cave where there were no others near, he heard groans, and found a shell had struck above and caused the cave to fall in on the man within. He could not extricate him alone, and had to get help and dig him out. He was badly hurt, but not mortally, and I felt fairly sick from the suspense.
Yesterday morning a note was brought H. from a bachelor uncle out in the trenches, saying he had been taken ill with fever, and could we receive him if he came? H. sent to tell him to come, and I arranged one of the parlors as a dressing-room for him, and laid a pallet that he could move back and forth to the cellar. He did not arrive, however. It is our custom in the evening to sit in the front room a little while in the dark, with matches and candle held ready in hand, and watch the shells, whose course at night is shown by the fuse. H. was at the window and suddenly sprang up, crying, "Run!"—"Where?"—"Back!"
I started through the back room, H. after me. I was just within the door when the crash came that threw me to the floor. It was the most appalling sensation I'd ever known—worse than an earthquake, which I've also experienced. Shaken and deafened, I picked myself up; H. had struck a light to find me. I lighted one, and the smoke guided us to the parlor I had fixed for Uncle J. The candles were useless in the dense smoke, and it was many minutes before we could see. Then we found the entire side of the room torn out. The soldiers who had rushed in said, "This is an eighty-pound Parrott." It had entered through the front, burst on the pallet-bed, which was in tatters; the toilet service and everything else in the room smashed. The soldiers assisted H. to board up the break with planks to keep out prowlers, and we went to bed in the cellar as usual. This morning the yard is partially plowed by a couple that fell there in the night. I think this house, so large and prominent from the river, is perhaps taken for headquarters and specially shelled. As we descend at night to the lower regions, I think of the evening hymn that grandmother taught me when a child:
Lord, keep us safe this night, Secure from all our fears; May angels guard us while we sleep, Till morning light appears.
Surely, if there are heavenly guardians, we need them now.
June 7. (In the cellar.)—There is one thing I feel especially grateful for, that amid these horrors we have been spared that of suffering for water. The weather has been dry a long time, and we hear of others dipping up the water from ditches and mud-holes. This place has two large underground cisterns of good cool water, and every night in my subterranean dressing-room a tub of cold water is the nerve-calmer that sends me to sleep in spite of the roar. One cistern I had to give up to the soldiers, who swarm about like hungry animals seeking something to devour. Poor fellows! my heart bleeds for them. They have nothing but spoiled, greasy bacon, and bread made of musty pea-flour, and but little of that. The sick ones can't bolt it. They come into the kitchen when Martha puts the pan of corn-bread in the stove, and beg for the bowl she mixed it in. They shake up the scrapings with water, put in their bacon, and boil the mixture into a kind of soup, which is easier to swallow than pea-bread. When I happen in, they look so ashamed of their poor clothes. I know we saved the lives of two by giving a few meals. To-day one crawled on the gallery to lie in the breeze. He looked as if shells had lost their terrors for his dumb and famished misery. I've taught Martha to make first-rate corn-meal gruel, because I can eat meal easier that way than in hoe-cake, and I fixed him a saucerful, put milk and sugar and nutmeg—I've actually got a nutmeg! When he ate it the tears ran from his eyes. "Oh, madam, there was never anything so good! I shall get better."
June 9.—The churches are a great resort for those who have no caves. People fancy they are not shelled so much, and they are substantial and the pews good to sleep in. We had to leave this house last night, they were shelling our quarter so heavily. The night before, Martha forsook the cellar for a church. We went to H.'s office, which was comparatively quiet last night. H. carried the bank-box; I the case of matches; Martha the blankets and pillows, keeping an eye on the shells. We slept on piles of old newspapers. In the streets the roar seems so much more confusing, I feel sure I shall run right in the way of a shell. They seem to have five different sounds from the second of throwing them to the hollow echo wandering among the hills, and that sounds the most blood-curdling of all.
June 13.—Shell burst just over the roof this morning. Pieces tore through both floors down into the dining-room. The entire ceiling of that room fell in a mass. We had just left it. Every piece of crockery on the table was smashed up. The "Daily Citizen" to-day is a foot and a half long and six inches wide. It has a long letter from a Federal officer, P.P. Hill, who was on the gunboat Cincinnati, that was sunk May 27. Says it was found in his floating trunk. The editorial says, "The utmost confidence is felt that we can maintain our position until succor comes from outside. The undaunted Johnston is at hand."
June 18.—To-day the "Citizen" is printed on wallpaper; therefore has grown a little in size. It says, "But a few days more and Johnston will be here"; also that "Kirby Smith has driven Banks from Port Hudson," and that "the enemy are throwing incendiary shells in."
June 20.—The gentleman who took our cave came yesterday to invite us to come to it, because, he said, "it's going to be very bad to-day." I don't know why he thought so. We went, and found his own and another family in it; sat outside and watched the shells till we concluded the cellar was as good a place as that hillside. I fear the want of good food is breaking down H. I know from my own feelings of weakness, but mine is not an American constitution and has a recuperative power that his has not.
June 21.—I had gone up-stairs to-day during the interregnum to enjoy a rest on my bed, and read the reliable items in the "Citizen," when a shell burst right outside the window in front of me. Pieces flew in, striking all around me, tearing down masses of plaster that came tumbling over me. When H. rushed in I was crawling out of the plaster, digging it out of my eyes and hair. When he picked up a piece as large as a saucer beside my pillow, I realized my narrow escape. The windowframe began to smoke, and we saw the house was on fire. H. ran for a hatchet and I for water, and we put it out. Another [shell] came crashing near, and I snatched up my comb and brush and ran down here. It has taken all the afternoon to get the plaster out of my hair, for my hands were rather shaky.
June 25.—A horrible day. The most horrible yet to me, because I've lost my nerve. We were all in the cellar, when a shell came tearing through the roof, burst up-stairs, tore up that room, and the pieces coming through both floors down into the cellar, one of them tore open the leg of H.'s pantaloons. This was tangible proof the cellar was no place of protection from them. On the heels of this came Mr. J. to tell us that young Mrs. P. had had her thigh-bone crushed. When Martha went for the milk she came back horror-stricken to tell us the black girl there had her arm taken off by a shell. For the first time I quailed. I do not think people who are physically brave deserve much credit for it; it is a matter of nerves. In this way I am constitutionally brave, and seldom think of danger till it is over; and death has not the terrors for me it has for some others. Every night I had lain down expecting death, and every morning rose to the same prospect, without being unnerved. It was for H. I trembled. But now I first seemed to realize that something worse than death might come: I might be crippled, and not killed. Life, without all one's powers and limbs, was a thought that broke down my courage. I said to H., "You must get me out of this horrible place; I cannot stay; I know I shall be crippled." Now the regret comes that I lost control, because H. is worried, and has lost his composure, because my coolness has broken down.
July 1.—Some months ago, thinking it might be useful, I obtained from the consul of my birthplace, by sending to another town, a passport for foreign parts. H. said if we went out to the lines we might be permitted to get through on that. So we packed the trunks, got a carriage, and on the 30th drove out there. General V. offered us seats in his tent. The rifle-bullets were whizzing so zip, zip from the sharpshooters on the Federal lines that involuntarily I moved on my chair. He said, "Don't be alarmed; you are out of range. They are firing at our mules yonder." His horse, tied by the tent door, was quivering all over, the most intense exhibition of fear I'd ever seen in an animal. General V. sent out a flag of truce to the Federal headquarters, and while we waited wrote on a piece of silk paper a few words. Then he said, "My wife is in Tennessee. If you get through the lines, send her this. They will search you, so I will put it in this toothpick." He crammed the silk paper into a quill toothpick, and handed it to H. It was completely concealed. The flag-of-truce officer came back flushed and angry. "General Grant says no human being shall pass out of Vicksburg; but the lady may feel sure danger will soon be over. Vicksburg will surrender on the 4th."
"Is that so, general?" inquired H. "Are arrangements for surrender made?"
"We know nothing of the kind. Vicksburg will not surrender."
"Those were General Grant's exact words, sir," said the flag-officer. "Of course it is nothing but their brag."
We went back sadly enough, but to-day H. says he will cross the river to General Porter's lines and try there; I shall not be disappointed.
July 3.—H. was going to headquarters for the requisite pass, and he saw General Pemberton crawling out of a cave, for the shelling had been as hot as ever. He got the pass, but did not act with his usual caution, for the boat he secured was a miserable, leaky one—a mere trough. Leaving Martha in charge, we went to the river, had our trunks put in the boat, and embarked; but the boat became utterly unmanageable, and began to fill with water rapidly. H. saw that we could not cross in it, and turned to come back; yet in spite of that the pickets at the battery fired on us. H. raised the white flag he had, yet they fired again, and I gave a cry of horror that none of these dreadful things had wrung from me. I thought H. was struck. When we landed H. showed the pass, and said that the officer had told him the battery would be notified we were to cross. The officer apologized and said they were not notified. He furnished a cart to get home, and to-day we are down in the cellar again, shells flying as thick as ever; provisions so nearly gone, except the hogshead of sugar, that a few more days will bring us to starvation indeed. Martha says rats are hanging dressed in the market for sale with mule-meat: there is nothing else. The officer at the battery told me he had eaten one yesterday. We have tried to leave this Tophet and failed, and if the siege continues I must summon that higher kind of courage—moral bravery—to subdue my fears of possible mutilation.
July 4.—It is evening. All is still. Silence and night are once more united. I can sit at the table in the parlor and write. Two candles are lighted. I would like a dozen. We have had wheat supper and wheat bread once more. H. is leaning back in the rocking-chair; he says:
"G., it seems to me I can hear the silence, and feel it, too. It wraps me like a soft garment; how else can I express this peace?"
But I must write the history of the last twenty-four hours. About five yesterday afternoon, Mr. J., H.'s assistant, who, having no wife to keep him in, dodges about at every change and brings us the news, came to H. and said:
"Mr. L., you must both come to our cave to-night. I hear that to-night the shelling is to surpass everything yet. An assault will be made in front and rear. You know we have a double cave; there is room for you in mine, and mother and sister will make a place for Mrs. L. Come right up; the ball will open about seven."
We got ready, shut up the house, told Martha to go to the church again if she preferred it to the cellar, and walked up to Mr. J.'s. When supper was eaten, all secure, and ladies in their cave night toilet, it was just six, and we crossed the street to the cave opposite. As I crossed a mighty shell flew screaming right over my head. It was the last thrown into Vicksburg. We lay on our pallets waiting for the expected roar, but no sound came except the chatter from neighboring caves, and at last we dropped asleep. I woke at dawn stiff. A draft from the funnel-shaped opening had been blowing on me all night. Every one was expressing surprise at the quiet. We started for home and met the editor of the "Daily Citizen." H. said:
"This is strangely quiet, Mr. L."
"Ah, sir," shaking his head gloomily, "I'm afraid (?) the last shell has been thrown into Vicksburg."
"Why do you fear so?"
"It is surrender. At six last evening a man went down to the river and blew a truce signal; the shelling stopped at once."
When I entered the kitchen a soldier was there waiting for the bowl of scrapings (they took turns for it).
"Good morning, madam," he said; "we won't bother you much longer. We can't thank you enough for letting us come, for getting this soup boiled has helped some of us to keep alive; but now all this is over."
"Is it true about the surrender?"
"Yes; we have had no official notice, but they are paroling out at the lines now, and the men in Vicksburg will never forgive Pemberton. An old granny! A child would have known better than to shut men up in this cursed trap to starve to death like useless vermin." His eyes flashed with an insane fire as he spoke, "Haven't I seen my friends carried out three or four in a box, that had died of starvation! Nothing else, madam! Starved to death because we had a fool for a general."
"Don't you think you're rather hard on Pemberton? He thought it his duty to wait for Johnston."
"Some people may excuse him, ma'am; but we'll curse him to our dying day. Anyhow, you'll see the blue-coats directly."
Breakfast despatched, we went on the upper gallery. What I expected to see was files of soldiers marching in, but it was very different. The street was deserted, save by a few people carrying home bedding from their caves. Among these was a group taking home a little creature born in a cave a few days previous, and its wan-looking mother. About eleven o'clock a soldier in blue came sauntering along, who looked about curiously. Then two more followed him, and then another.
"H., do you think these can be the Federal soldiers?"
"Why, yes; here come more up the street."
Soon a group appeared on the court-house hill, and the flag began slowly to rise to the top of the staff. As the breeze caught it, and it sprang out like a live thing exultant, H. drew a long breath of contentment.
"Now I feel once more at home in mine own country."
In an hour more a grand rush of people setting toward the river began,—foremost among them the gentleman who took our cave; all were flying as if for life.
"What can this mean, H.? Are the populace turning out to greet the despised conquerors?"
"Oh," said H., springing up, "look! It is the boats coming around the bend."
Truly it was a fine spectacle to see that fleet of transports sweep around the curve and anchor in the teeth of the battery so lately vomiting fire. Presently Mr. J. passed and called:
"Aren't you coming, Mr. L.? There's provisions on those boats: coffee and flour. 'First come, first served,' you know."
"Yes, I'll be there pretty soon," replied H.
But now the newcomers began to swarm into our yard, asking H. if he had coin to sell for greenbacks. He had some, and a little bartering went on with the new greenbacks. H. went out to get provisions. When he returned a Confederate officer came with him. H. went to the box of Confederate money and took out four hundred dollars, and the officer took off his watch, a plain gold one, and laid it on the table, saying, "We have not been paid, and I must get home to my family." H. added a five-dollar greenback to the pile, and wished him a happy meeting. The townsfolk continued to dash through the streets with their arms full, canned goods predominating. Toward five, Mr. J. passed again. "Keep on the lookout," he said; "the army of occupation is coming along," and in a few minutes the head of the column appeared. What a contrast to the suffering creatures we had seen so long were these stalwart, well-fed men, so splendidly set up and accoutred! Sleek horses, polished arms, bright plumes,—this was the pride and panoply of war! Civilization, discipline, and order seemed to enter with the measured tramp of those marching columns; and the heart turned with throbs of added pity to the worn men in gray, who were being blindly dashed against this embodiment of modern power. And now this "silence that is golden" indeed is over all, and my limbs are unhurt, and I suppose if I were a Catholic, in my fervent gratitude I would hie me with a rich offering to the shrine of "our Lady of Mercy."
July 7.—I did not enjoy quiet long. First came Martha, who announced her intention of going to search for her sons, as she was free now. I was hardly able to stand since the severe cold taken in the cave that night; but she would not wait a day. A colored woman came in and said she had asked her mistress for wages and she had turned her out (wanting a place). I was in no condition to stand upon ceremony then, and engaged her at once, but hear to-day that I am thoroughly pulled to pieces in Vicksburg circles; there is no more salvation for me. Next came two Federal officers and wanted rooms and board. To have some protection was a necessity; both armies were still in town, and for the past three days every Confederate soldier I see has a cracker in his hand. There is hardly any water in town, no prospect of rain, and the soldiers have emptied one cistern in the yard already and begun on the other. The colonel put a guard at the gate to limit the water given. Next came the owner of the house and said we must move; he wanted the house, but it was so big he'd just bring his family in; we could stay till we got one. They brought boarders with them too, and children. Men are at work all over the house shoveling up the plaster before repairing. Up-stairs they are pouring it by bucketfuls through the windows. Colonel D. brought work for H. to help with from headquarters. Making out the paroles and copying them has taken so long they wanted help. I am surprised and mortified to find that two thirds of all the men who have signed made their mark; they cannot write. I never thought there was so much ignorance in the South. One of the men at headquarters took a fancy to H., and presented him with a portfolio that he said he had captured when the Confederates evacuated their headquarters at Jackson. It contained mostly family letters written in French, and a few official papers. Among them was the following note, which I will copy here, and file away the original as a curiosity when the war is over.
HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF TENN. TUPELO, Aug. 6, 1862.
CAPT: The Major-General Commanding directs me to say that he submits it altogether to your own discretion whether you make the attempt to capture General Grant or not. While the exploit would be very brilliant if successful, you must remember that failure would be disastrous to you and your men. The General commends your activity and energy, and expects you to continue to show these qualities.
I am, very respectfully, yr. obt. svt. THOMAS L. SNEAD, A.A.G.
CAPT. GEO. L. BAXTER, Commanding Beauregard Scouts.
I would like to know if he tried it and came to grief or abandoned the project. As letters can now get through to New Orleans, I wrote there.
July 14.—Moved yesterday into a house I call "Fair Rosamond's bower" because it would take a clue of thread to go through it without getting lost. One room has five doors opening into the house, and no windows. The stairs are like ladders, and the colonel's contraband valet won't risk his neck taking down water, but pours it through the windows on people's heads. We sha'n't stay in it. Men are at work closing up the caves; they had become hiding-places for trash. Vicksburg is now like one vast hospital—every one is getting sick or is sick. My cook was taken to-day with bilious fever, and nothing but will keeps me up.
July 23.—We moved again two days ago.
Aug. 20.—Sitting in my easy-chair to-day, looking out upon a grassy slope of the hill in the rear of this house, I have looked over this journal as if in a dream; for since the last date sickness and sorrow have been with me. I feel as if an angry wave had passed over me, bearing away strength and treasure. For on one day there came to me from New Orleans the news of Mrs. B.'s death, a friend whom no tie of blood could have made nearer. The next day my beautiful boy ended his brief life of ten days, and died in my arms. My own illness caused him to perish; the fatal cold in the cave was the last straw that broke down strength. The colonel's sweet wife has come, and I do not lack now for womanly companionship. She says that with such a prenatal experience perhaps death was the best for him. I try to think so, and to be glad that H. has not been ill, though I see the effects. This book is exhausted, and I wonder whether there will be more adventures by flood and field to cause me to begin another.
THE LOCOMOTIVE CHASE IN GEORGIA
BY WILLIAM PITTENGER
The railroad raid to Georgia, in the spring of 1862, has always been considered to rank high among the striking and novel incidents of the civil war. At that time General O.M. Mitchel, under whose authority it was organized, commanded Union forces in middle Tennessee, consisting of a division of Buell's army. The Confederates were concentrating at Corinth, Mississippi, and Grant and Buell were advancing by different routes toward that point. Mitchel's orders required him to protect Nashville and the country around, but allowed him great latitude in the disposition of his division, which, with detachments and garrisons, numbered nearly seventeen thousand men. His attention had long been strongly turned toward the liberation of east Tennessee, which he knew that President Lincoln also earnestly desired, and which would, if achieved, strike a most damaging blow at the resources of the rebellion. A Union army once in possession of east Tennessee would have the inestimable advantage, found nowhere else in the South, of operating in the midst of a friendly population, and having at hand abundant supplies of all kinds. Mitchel had no reason to believe that Corinth would detain the Union armies much longer than Fort Donelson had done, and was satisfied that as soon as that position had been captured the next movement would be eastward toward Chattanooga, thus throwing his own division in advance. He determined, therefore, to press into the heart of the enemy's country as far as possible, occupying strategical points before they were adequately defended and assured of speedy and powerful reinforcement. To this end his measures were vigorous and well chosen.
On the 8th of April, 1862,—the day after the battle of Pittsburg Landing, of which, however, Mitchel had received no intelligence,—he marched swiftly southward from Shelbyville, and seized Huntsville in Alabama on the 11th of April, and then sent a detachment westward over the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to open railway communication with the Union army at Pittsburg Landing. Another detachment, commanded by Mitchel in person, advanced on the same day seventy miles by rail directly into the enemy's territory, arriving unchecked with two thousand men within thirty miles of Chattanooga,—in two hours' time he could now reach that point,—the most important position in the West. Why did he not go on? The story of the railroad raid is the answer. The night before breaking camp at Shelbyville, Mitchel sent an expedition secretly into the heart of Georgia to cut the railroad communications of Chattanooga to the south and east. The fortune of this attempt had a most important bearing upon his movements, and will now be narrated.
In the employ of General Buell was a spy named James J. Andrews, who had rendered valuable services in the first year of the war, and had secured the full confidence of the Union commanders. In March, 1862, Buell had sent him secretly with eight men to burn the bridges west of Chattanooga; but the failure of expected cooeperation defeated the plan, and Andrews, after visiting Atlanta, and inspecting the whole of the enemy's lines in that vicinity and northward, had returned, ambitious to make another attempt. His plans for the second raid were submitted to Mitchel, and on the eve of the movement from Shelbyville to Huntsville Mitchel authorized him to take twenty-four men, secretly enter the enemy's territory, and, by means of capturing a train, burn the bridges on the northern part of the Georgia State Railroad, and also one on the East Tennessee Railroad where it approaches the Georgia State line, thus completely isolating Chattanooga, which was virtually ungarrisoned.
The soldiers for this expedition, of whom the writer was one, were selected from the three Ohio regiments belonging to General J.W. Sill's brigade, being simply told that they were wanted for secret and very dangerous service. So far as known, not a man chosen declined the perilous honor. Our uniforms were exchanged for ordinary Southern dress, and all arms except revolvers were left in camp. On the 7th of April, by the roadside about a mile east of Shelbyville, in the late evening twilight, we met our leader. Taking us a little way from the road, he quietly placed before us the outlines of the romantic and adventurous plan, which was: to break into small detachments of three or four, journey eastward into the Cumberland Mountains, then work southward, traveling by rail after we were well within the Confederate lines, and finally the evening of the third day after the start, meet Andrews at Marietta, Georgia, more than two hundred miles away. When questioned, we were to profess ourselves Kentuckians going to join the Southern army.
On the journey we were a good deal annoyed by the swollen streams and the muddy roads consequent on three days of almost ceaseless rain. Andrews was led to believe that Mitchel's column would be inevitably delayed; and as we were expected to destroy the bridges the very day that Huntsville was entered, he took the responsibility of sending word to our different groups that our attempt would be postponed one day—from Friday to Saturday, April 12. This was a natural but a most lamentable error of judgment.
One of the men detailed was belated, and did not join us at all. Two others were very soon captured by the enemy; and though their true character was not detected, they were forced into the Southern army, and two reached Marietta, but failed to report at the rendezvous. Thus, when we assembled very early in the morning in Andrews's room at the Marietta Hotel for final consultation before the blow was struck we were but twenty, including our leader. All preliminary difficulties had been easily overcome, and we were in good spirits. But some serious obstacles had been revealed on our ride from Chattanooga to Marietta the previous evening. The railroad was found to be crowded with trains, and many soldiers were among the passengers. Then the station—Big Shanty—at which the capture was to be effected had recently been made a Confederate camp. To succeed in our enterprise it would be necessary first to capture the engine in a guarded camp with soldiers standing around as spectators, and then to run it from one to two hundred miles through the enemy's country, and to deceive or overpower all trains that should be met—a large contract for twenty men. Some of our party thought the chances of success so slight, under existing circumstances, that they urged the abandonment of the whole enterprise. But Andrews declared his purpose to succeed or die, offering to each man, however, the privilege of withdrawing from the attempt—an offer no one was in the least disposed to accept. Final instructions were then given, and we hurried to the ticket-office in time for the northward-bound mail-train, and purchased tickets for different stations along the line in the direction of Chattanooga.
[Footnote 3: The different detachments reached the Georgia State Railroad at Chattanooga, and traveled as ordinary passengers on trains running southward.—EDITOR.]
Our ride, as passengers, was but eight miles. We swept swiftly around the base of Kenesaw Mountain, and soon saw the tents of the Confederate forces camped at Big Shanty gleam white in the morning mist. Here we were to stop for breakfast, and attempt the seizure of the train. The morning was raw and gloomy, and a rain, which fell all day, had already begun. It was a painfully thrilling moment. We were but twenty, with an army about us, and a long and difficult road before us, crowded with enemies. In an instant we were to throw off the disguise which had been our only protection, and trust to our leader's genius and our own efforts for safety and success. Fortunately we had no time for giving way to reflections and conjectures which could only unfit us for the stern task ahead.
When we stopped, the conductor, the engineer, and many of the passengers hurried to breakfast, leaving the train unguarded. Now was the moment of action. Ascertaining that there was nothing to prevent a rapid start, Andrews, our two engineers, Brown and Knight, and the firemen hurried forward, uncoupling a section of the train consisting of three empty baggage or box-cars, the locomotive, and the tender. The engineers and the firemen sprang into the cab of the engine, while Andrews, with hand on the rail and foot on the step, waited to see that the remainder of the party had gained entrance into the rear box-car. This seemed difficult and slow, though it really consumed but a few seconds, for the car stood on a considerable bank, and the first who came were pitched in by their comrades, while these in turn dragged in the others, and the door was instantly closed. A sentinel, with musket in hand, stood not a dozen feet from the engine, watching the whole proceeding; but before he or any of the soldiers or guards around could make up their minds to interfere all was done, and Andrews, with a nod to his engineer, stepped on board. The valve was pulled wide open, and for a moment the wheels slipped round in rapid, ineffective revolutions; then, with a bound that jerked the soldiers in the box-car from their feet, the little train darted away, leaving the camp and the station in the wildest uproar and confusion. The first step of the enterprise was triumphantly accomplished.
According to the time-table, of which Andrews had secured a copy, there were two trains to be met. These presented no serious hindrance to our attaining high speed, for we could tell just where to expect them. There was also a local freight not down on the time-table, but which could not be far distant. Any danger of collision with it could be avoided by running according to the schedule of the captured train until it was passed; then at the highest possible speed we could run to the Oostenaula and Chickamauga bridges, lay them in ashes, and pass on through Chattanooga to Mitchel at Huntsville, or wherever eastward of that point he might be found, arriving long before the close of the day. It was a brilliant prospect, and so far as human estimates can determine it would have been realized had the day been Friday instead of Saturday. Friday every train had been on time, the day dry, the road in perfect order. Now the road was in disorder, every train far behind time, and two "extras" were approaching us. But of these unfavorable conditions we knew nothing, and pressed confidently forward.
We stopped frequently, and at one point tore up the track, cut telegraph wires, and loaded on cross-ties to be used in bridge-burning. Wood and water were taken without difficulty, Andrews very coolly telling the story to which he adhered throughout the run—namely, that he was one of General Beauregard's officers, running an impressed powder-train through to that commander at Corinth. We had no good instruments for track-raising, as we had intended rather to depend upon fire; but the amount of time spent in taking up a rail was not material at this stage of our journey, as we easily kept on the time of our captured train. There was a wonderful exhilaration in passing swiftly by towns and stations through the heart of an enemy's country in this manner. It possessed just enough of the spice of danger, in this part of the run, to render it thoroughly enjoyable. The slightest accident to our engine, however, or a miscarriage in any part of our program, would have completely changed the conditions.
At Etowah we found the "Yonah," an old locomotive owned by an iron company, standing with steam up; but not wishing to alarm the enemy till the local freight had been safely met, we left it unharmed. Kingston, thirty miles from the starting-point, was safely reached. A train from Rome, Georgia, on a branch road, had just arrived and was waiting for the morning mail—our train. We learned that the local freight would soon come also, and, taking the side-track, waited for it. When it arrived, however, Andrews saw, to his surprise and chagrin, that it bore a red flag, indicating another train not far behind. Stepping over to the conductor, he boldly asked: "What does it mean that the road is blocked in this manner when I have orders to take this powder to Beauregard without a minute's delay?" The answer was interesting, but not reassuring: "Mitchel has captured Huntsville, and is said to be coming to Chattanooga, and we are getting everything out of there." He was asked by Andrews to pull his train a long way down the track out of the way, and promptly obeyed.
It seemed an exceedingly long time before the expected "extra" arrived, and when it did come it bore another red flag. The reason given was that the "local," being too great for one engine, had been made up in two sections, and the second section would doubtless be along in a short time. This was terribly vexatious; yet there seemed nothing to do but to wait. To start out between the sections of an extra train would be to court destruction. There were already three trains around us, and their many passengers and others were all growing very curious about the mysterious train, manned by strangers, which had arrived on the time of the morning mail. For an hour and five minutes from the time of arrival at Kingston we remained in this most critical position. The sixteen of us who were shut up tightly in a box-car,—personating Beauregard's ammunition,—hearing sounds outside, but unable to distinguish words, had perhaps the most trying position. Andrews sent us, by one of the engineers, a cautious warning to be ready to fight in case the uneasiness of the crowd around led them to make any investigation, while he himself kept near the station to prevent the sending off of any alarming telegram. So intolerable was our suspense, that the order for a deadly conflict would have been felt as a relief. But the assurance of Andrews quieted the crowd until the whistle of the expected train from the north was heard; then as it glided up to the depot, past the end of our side-track, we were off without more words.
But unexpected danger had arisen behind us. Out of the panic at Big Shanty two men emerged, determined, if possible, to foil the unknown captors of their train. There was no telegraph station, and no locomotive at hand with which to follow; but the conductor of the train, W.A. Fuller, and Anthony Murphy, foreman of the Atlanta railway machine-shops, who happened to be on board of Fuller's train, started on foot after us as hard as they could run. Finding a hand-car they mounted it and pushed forward till they neared Etowah, where they ran on the break we had made in the road, and were precipitated down the embankment into the ditch. Continuing with more caution, they reached Etowah and found the "Yonah," which was at once pressed into service, loaded with soldiers who were at hand, and hurried with flying wheels toward Kingston. Fuller prepared to fight at that point, for he knew of the tangle of extra trains, and of the lateness of the regular trains, and did not think we should be able to pass. We had been gone only four minutes when he arrived and found himself stopped by three long, heavy trains of cars, headed in the wrong direction. To move them out of the way so as to pass would cause a delay he was little inclined to afford—would, indeed, have almost certainly given us the victory. So, abandoning his engine, he with Murphy ran across to the Rome train, and, uncoupling the engine and one car, pushed forward with about forty armed men. As the Rome branch connected with the main road above the depot, he encountered no hindrance, and it was now a fair race. We were not many minutes ahead.
Four miles from Kingston we again stopped and cut the telegraph. While trying to take up a rail at this point we were greatly startled. One end of the rail was loosened, and eight of us were pulling at it, when in the distance we distinctly heard the whistle of a pursuing engine. With a frantic effort we broke the rail, and all tumbled over the embankment with the effort. We moved on, and at Adairsville we found a mixed train (freight and passenger) waiting, but there was an express on the road that had not yet arrived. We could afford no more delay, and set out for the next station, Calhoun, at terrible speed, hoping to reach that point before the express, which was behind time, should arrive. The nine miles which we had to travel were left behind in less than the same number of minutes. The express was just pulling out, but, hearing our whistle, backed before us until we were able to take the side-track. It stopped, however, in such a manner as completely to close up the other end of the switch. The two trains, side by side, almost touched each other, and our precipitate arrival caused natural suspicion. Many searching questions were asked, which had to be answered before we could get the opportunity of proceeding. We in the box-car could hear the altercation, and were almost sure that a fight would be necessary before the conductor would consent to "pull up" in order to let us out. Here again our position was most critical, for the pursuers were rapidly approaching.
Fuller and Murphy saw the obstruction of the broken rail in time, by reversing their engine, to prevent wreck, but the hindrance was for the present insuperable. Leaving all their men behind, they started for a second foot-race. Before they had gone far they met the train we had passed at Adairsville and turned it back after us. At Adairsville they dropped the cars, and with locomotive and tender loaded with armed men, they drove forward at the highest speed possible. They knew that we were not many minutes ahead, and trusted to overhaul us before the express train could be safely passed.
But Andrews had told the powder story again with all his skill, and added a direct request in peremptory form to have the way opened before him, which the Confederate conductor did not see fit to resist; and just before the pursuers arrived at Calhoun we were again under way. Stopping once more to cut wires and tear up the track, we felt a thrill of exhilaration to which we had long been strangers. The track was now clear before us to Chattanooga; and even west of that city we had good reason to believe that we should find no other train in the way till we had reached Mitchel's lines. If one rail could now be lifted we would be in a few minutes at the Oostenaula bridge; and that burned, the rest of the task would be little more than simple manual labor, with the enemy absolutely powerless. We worked with a will.
But in a moment the tables were turned. Not far behind we heard the scream of a locomotive bearing down upon us at lightning speed. The men on board were in plain sight and well armed. Two minutes—perhaps one—would have removed the rail at which we were toiling; then the game would have been in our own hands, for there was no other locomotive beyond that could be turned back after us. But the most desperate efforts were in vain. The rail was simply bent, and we hurried to our engine and darted away, while remorselessly after us thundered the enemy.
Now the contestants were in clear view, and a race followed unparalleled in the annals of war. Wishing to gain a little time for the burning of the Oostenaula bridge, we dropped one car, and, shortly after, another; but they were "picked up" and pushed ahead to Resaca. We were obliged to run over the high trestles and covered bridge at that point without a pause. This was the first failure in the work assigned us.
The Confederates could not overtake and stop us on the road; but their aim was to keep close behind, so that we might not be able to damage the road or take in wood or water. In the former they succeeded, but not in the latter. Both engines were put at the highest rate of speed. We were obliged to cut the wire after every station passed, in order that an alarm might not be sent ahead; and we constantly strove to throw our pursuers off the track, or to obstruct the road permanently in some way, so that we might be able to burn the Chickamauga bridges, still ahead. The chances seemed good that Fuller and Murphy would be wrecked. We broke out the end of our last box-car and dropped cross-ties on the track as we ran, thus checking their progress and getting far enough ahead to take in wood and water at two separate stations. Several times we almost lifted a rail, but each time the coming of the Confederates within rifle-range compelled us to desist and speed on. Our worst hindrance was the rain. The previous day (Friday) had been clear, with a high wind, and on such a day fire would have been easily and tremendously effective. But to-day a bridge could be burned only with abundance of fuel and careful nursing.
Thus we sped on, mile after mile, in this fearful chase, round curves and past stations in seemingly endless perspective. Whenever we lost sight of the enemy beyond a curve, we hoped that some of our obstructions had been effective in throwing him from the track, and that we should see him no more; but at each long reach backward the smoke was again seen, and the shrill whistle was like the scream of a bird of prey. The time could not have been so very long, for the terrible speed was rapidly devouring the distance; but with our nerves strained to the highest tension each minute seemed an hour. On several occasions the escape of the enemy from wreck was little less than miraculous. At one point a rail was placed across the track on a curve so skilfully that it was not seen till the train ran upon it at full speed. Fuller says that they were terribly jolted, and seemed to bounce altogether from the track, but lighted on the rails in safety. Some of the Confederates wished to leave a train which was driven at such a reckless rate, but their wishes were not gratified.
Before reaching Dalton we urged Andrews to turn and attack the enemy, laying an ambush so as to get into close quarters, that our revolvers might be on equal terms with their guns. I have little doubt that if this had been carried out it would have succeeded. But either because he thought the chance of wrecking or obstructing the enemy still good, or feared that the country ahead had been alarmed by a telegram around the Confederacy by the way of Richmond, Andrews merely gave the plan his sanction without making any attempt to carry it into execution.
Dalton was passed without difficulty, and beyond we stopped again to cut wires and to obstruct the track. It happened that a regiment was encamped not a hundred yards away, but they did not molest us. Fuller had written a despatch to Chattanooga, and dropped a man with orders to have it forwarded instantly, while he pushed on to save the bridges. Part of the message got through and created a wild panic in Chattanooga, although it did not materially influence our fortunes. Our supply of fuel was now very short, and without getting rid of our pursuers long enough to take in more, it was evident that we could not run as far as Chattanooga.
While cutting the wire we made an attempt to get up another rail; but the enemy, as usual, were too quick for us. We had no tool for this purpose except a wedge-pointed iron bar. Two or three bent iron claws for pulling out spikes would have given us such incontestable superiority that, down to almost the last of our run, we should have been able to escape and even to burn all the Chickamauga bridges. But it had not been our intention to rely on this mode of obstruction—an emergency only rendered necessary by our unexpected delay and the pouring rain.
We made no attempt to damage the long tunnel north of Dalton, as our enemies had greatly dreaded. The last hope of the raid was now staked upon an effort of a kind different from any that we had yet made, but which, if successful, would still enable us to destroy the bridges nearest Chattanooga. But, on the other hand, its failure would terminate the chase. Life and success were put upon one throw.
A few more obstructions were dropped on the track, and our own speed increased so that we soon forged a considerable distance ahead. The side and end boards of the last car were torn into shreds, all available fuel was piled upon it, and blazing brands were brought back from the engine. By the time we approached a long, covered bridge a fire in the car was fairly started. We uncoupled it in the middle of the bridge, and with painful suspense waited the issue. Oh for a few minutes till the work of conflagration was fairly begun! There was still steam pressure enough in our boiler to carry us to the next wood-yard, where we could have replenished our fuel by force, if necessary, so as to run as near to Chattanooga as was deemed prudent. We did not know of the telegraph message which the pursuers had sent ahead. But, alas! the minutes were not given. Before the bridge was extensively fired the enemy was upon us, and we moved slowly onward, looking back to see what they would do next. We had not long to conjecture. The Confederates pushed right into the smoke, and drove the burning car before them to the next side-track.
With no car left, and no fuel, the last scrap having thrown into the engine or upon the burning car, and with no obstruction to drop on the track, our situation was indeed desperate. A few minutes only remained until our steed of iron which had so well served us would be powerless.
But it might still be possible to save ourselves. If we left the train in a body, and, taking a direct course toward the Union lines, hurried over the mountains at right angles with their course, we could not, from the nature of the country, be followed by cavalry, and could easily travel—athletic young men as we were, and fleeing for life—as rapidly as any pursuers. There was no telegraph in the mountainous districts west and northwest of us, and the prospect of reaching the Union lines seemed to me then, and has always since seemed, very fair. Confederate pursuers with whom I have since conversed freely have agreed on two points—that we could have escaped in the manner here pointed out, and that an attack on the pursuing train would likely have been successful. But Andrews thought otherwise, at least in relation to the former plan, and ordered us to jump from the locomotive one by one, and, dispersing in the woods, each endeavor to save himself. Thus ended the Andrews railroad raid.
It is easy now to understand why Mitchel paused thirty miles west of Chattanooga. The Andrews raiders had been forced to stop eighteen miles south of the same town, and no flying train met him with the expected tidings that all railroad communications of Chattanooga were destroyed, and that the town was in a panic and undefended. He dared advance no farther without heavy reinforcements from Pittsburg Landing or the north; and he probably believed to the day of his death, six months later, that the whole Andrews party had perished without accomplishing anything.
A few words will give the sequel to this remarkable enterprise. There was great excitement in Chattanooga and in the whole of the surrounding Confederate territory for scores of miles. The hunt for the fugitive raiders was prompt, energetic, and completely successful. Ignorant of the country, disorganized, and far from the Union lines, they strove in vain to escape. Several were captured the same day on which they left the cars, and all but two within a week. Even these two were overtaken and brought back when they supposed that they were virtually out of danger. Two of those who had failed to be on the train were identified and added to the band of prisoners.
Now follows the saddest part of the story. Being in citizens' dress within an enemy's lines, the whole party were held as spies, and closely and vigorously guarded. A court-martial was convened, and the leader and seven others out of the twenty-two were condemned and executed. The remainder were never brought to trial, probably because of the advance of Union forces, and the consequent confusion into which the affairs of the departments of east Tennessee and Georgia were thrown. Of the remaining fourteen, eight succeeded by a bold effort—attacking their guard in broad daylight—in making their escape from Atlanta, Georgia, and ultimately in reaching the North. The other six who shared in this effort, but were recaptured, remained prisoners until the latter part of March, 1863, when they were exchanged through a special arrangement made with Secretary Stanton. All the survivors of this expedition received medals and promotion. The pursuers also received expressions of gratitude from their fellow-Confederates, notably from the governor and the legislature of Georgia.
[Footnote 4: Below is a list of the participants in the raid:
James J. Andrews,[A] leader; William Campbell,[A] a civilian who volunteered to accompany the raiders; George D. Wilson,[A] Company B, 2d Ohio Volunteers; Marion A. Ross,[A] Company A, 2d Ohio Volunteers; Perry G. Shadrack,[A] Company K, 2d Ohio Volunteers; Samuel Slavens,[A] 33d Ohio Volunteers; Samuel Robinson,[A] Company G, 33d Ohio Volunteers; John Scott,[A] Company K, 21st Ohio Volunteers; Wilson W. Brown,[B] Company F, 21st Ohio Volunteers; William Knight,[B] Company E, 21st Ohio Volunteers; Mark Wood,[B] Company C, 21st Ohio Volunteers; James A. Wilson,[B] Company C, 21st Ohio Volunteers; John Wollam,[B] Company C, 33d Ohio Volunteers; D.A. Dorsey,[B] Company H, 33d Ohio Volunteers; Jacob Parrott,[C] Company K, 33d Ohio Volunteers; Robert Buffum,[C] Company H, 21st Ohio Volunteers; William Benzinger,[C] Company G, 21st Ohio Volunteers; William Reddick,[C] Company B, 33d Ohio Volunteers; E.H. Mason,[C] Company K, 21st Ohio Volunteers; William Pittenger,[C] Company G, 2d Ohio Volunteers.
J.R. Porter, Company C, 21st Ohio, and Martin J. Hawkins, Company A, 33d Ohio, reached Marietta, but did not get on board of the train. They were captured and imprisoned with their comrades.
[A] Executed. [B] Escaped. [C] Exchanged.]
MOSBY'S "PARTIZAN RANGERS"
BY A.E. RICHARDS
During the early stages of the war between the States, the Confederate Congress enacted a statute known as the Partizan Ranger Act, which provided for independent bodies of cavalry to be organized as other government troops. The officers were to be regularly commissioned and the men to be paid like other soldiers. The distinctive features were, that the rangers should operate independently of the regular army and be entitled to the legitimate spoil captured from the enemy.
While John S. Mosby was employed as a scout by General J.E.B. Stuart, he had concluded that a command organized and operated as contemplated by this act could do great damage to the enemy guarding that portion of Northern Virginia abandoned by the Confederate armies. But the partizan branch of the service having been brought into disrepute by the worse than futile efforts of others, his superior officers at first refused him permission to engage in so questionable an enterprise. Finally, however, General Stuart gave Mosby a detail of nine men from the regular cavalry with which to experiment.
At that time the two main armies operating in Virginia were confronting each other near Fredericksburg. To protect their lines of communication with Washington, the Federals had stationed a considerable force across the Potomac, with headquarters at Fairfax Court-house. They also established a complete cordon of pickets from a point on the river above Washington to a point below, thus encompassing many square miles of Virginia territory. Upon these outposts Mosby commenced his operations. The size of his command compelled him to confine his attacks to the small details made nightly for picket duty. But he was so uniformly successful that when the time came for him to report back to General Stuart, that officer was so pleased with the experiment that he allowed Mosby to select fifteen men from his old regiment and return, for an indefinite period, to his chosen field of operations.
His first exploits had been so noised abroad that the young men from the neighboring counties and the soldiers at home on furloughs would request permission to join in his raids. He could easily muster fifty of these, known as "Mosby's Conglomerates," for any expedition. The opportunity for developing his ideas of border warfare was thus presented. With great vigor he renewed his attacks upon the Federal outposts. As a recognition of one of his successful exploits, the Confederate government sent him a captain's commission with authority to raise a company of partizan rangers. The material for this was already at hand, and on June 10, 1862, he organized his first company. This was the nucleus around which he subsequently shaped his ideal command. The fame of his achievements had already spread throughout Virginia and Maryland, and attracted to his standard many kindred spirits from both States. No conscripting was necessary. Those for whom this mode of warfare possessed a charm would brave hardship and danger for the privilege of enlisting under his banner. His recruits from Maryland, and many of those from Virginia, were compelled to pass through the Federal pickets in order to join his command. Yet great care had to be exercised in the selection of his men, and not every applicant was received. If an unworthy soldier procured admission, so soon as the mistake was discovered he was sent under guard as a conscript to the regular service.
Mosby reserved the right to select all of his officers, who were invariably chosen from those who had already demonstrated their fitness for this particular service. It has been said of a great military hero that the surest proof of his genius was his skill in finding out genius in others, and his promptness in calling it into action. Mosby, in his limited sphere, displayed a similar talent, and to this faculty, almost as much as any one thing, may be attributed his success with his enlarged command. When a sufficient number of men had enlisted to form a new company, he would have them drawn up in line and his adjutant would read to them the names of those selected for officers, with the announcement that all who were not in favor of their election could step out of the ranks and go to the regular service. Of course no one ever left. In order to comply with the law, the form of an election was then gone through with, and their commander's choice ratified. In no other body of troops were all the officers thus unanimously elected.
Mosby's command, as finally organized, consisted of eight companies of cavalry and one of mounted artillery, officered by a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, and a major, with the usual complement of company officers. But the entire force was seldom combined. Instead of this, they would be divided into two or more detachments operating in different places. So it was not at all unusual for an attack to be made the same night upon Sheridan's line of transportation in the valley, upon the pickets guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, upon the outposts in Fairfax County, and upon the rear of the army manoeuvering against Lee. This explains—what at the time seemed to many of the readers of the Northern newspapers a mystery—how Mosby's men could be in so many different places at the same time. The safety and success of the Rangers were enhanced by these subdivisions, the Federals having become so alert as to make it extremely difficult for a large command either to evade their pickets or manoeuver within their lines. From fifty to one hundred men were all that were usually marched together, and many of their most brilliant successes were achieved with even a smaller force. Mosby had only twenty men with him when he captured Brigadier-General Edwin H. Stoughton. With these he penetrated the heart of the Federal camp, and carried off its commander. General Stoughton was in charge of an army of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, with headquarters at Fairfax Court-house. One dark night in March, 1863, Mosby, with this small detachment, evaded the Federal pickets, passed through the sleeping army, and with their camp-fires gleaming all around him, and their sentinels on duty, aroused their general from his slumbers, and took him captive with thirty-seven of his comrades.
But the novelty of Mosby's mode of warfare consisted chiefly in the manner of subsisting, quartering and protecting his men. The upper portion of Loudon and Fauquier counties, embracing a circuit of about thirty miles in diameter, was then known as "Mosby's Confederacy." By a glance at the map it will be observed that it bordered upon the Blue Ridge Mountains on the west, and the Bull Run Mountains on the east. The valley between is one of the richest, most beautiful, and highly cultivated in the State of Virginia. It was thickly inhabited with old Virginia families, who were loyal and true to the Southern cause. These people received Mosby's men into their houses as their guests, and neither danger nor want could tempt their betrayal. Robin Hood's band sought safety in the solitudes of Sherwood Forest, Marion's men secreted themselves "in the pleasant wilds of Snow's Island" and other South Carolina swamps, but the Partizan Rangers of Virginia protected themselves by dispersing in an open country among a sympathizing people. They never established a camp; to have done so would have invited capture. Each soldier had his boarding-house, where he lived when off duty, as a member of the family. From these they would come, singly or in groups, bringing their rations with them to some designated rendezvous, march rapidly to and from the point of attack, send their prisoners under guard to the nearest Confederate post, divide the spoil, and disperse. If they were pursued by an overwhelming force as was frequently the case, the evening found them scattered to the four winds, where each man, mounted upon his own fleet steed, could protect himself from capture. If the Federals attempted to follow the chase in small parties, the Rangers, from behind every hill and grove, would concentrate and dash upon them. If they marched in solid column, the Rangers would hang upon their flanks, firing upon them from behind trees, fences, and hilltops. In this way, General Julius Stahel, who had invaded Mosby's Confederacy with two brigades of cavalry and four pieces of artillery for the avowed purpose of utterly demolishing the Rangers, was so annoyed that he retired, thoroughly disgusted with an enemy "who only fought when they got their foe at a disadvantage."
As there were no civil officers commissioned by either party in all that section of Virginia, the people naturally turned to Mosby as their only representative of law and order. It was not unusual for them to submit their property controversies to him for decision. In this way he acquired a civil jurisdiction in connection with his military dictatorship. Being a lawyer by profession, educated at the University of Virginia, his civil administration became as remarkable for its prudence and justice as his military leadership was for magnanimity and dash. I heard an old citizen remark, "For two years Mosby was our ruler, and the country never was better governed." He protected the people from stragglers and deserters, who pillaged friend and foe alike. Every captured horse-thief was promptly executed. He required his own men to treat the citizens with fairness and courtesy, and any violation of this rule was punished by sending the offender to the regular service. Its observance was more easily enforced than would appear possible at first glance. The men were scarcely ever off duty, except for necessary rest. The officers were then distributed among them, and by their example and authority controlled, when necessary, the deportment of their men. The citizens with whom they lived also exercised a healthy influence over them. These relations engendered many attachments that ran like golden threads through the soldier's life and outlived the rough usages of war.
It thus became no easy matter to drive the Rangers from a territory so dear to them, and in which they were befriended by all. On two occasions the entire Federal army operating against General Lee passed through Mosby's Confederacy, and yet his men did not abandon it. They hid themselves in the mountains during the day, and descended upon the enemy at night. They thus observed every movement of the Federal army, and all valuable information was promptly sent to the Confederate general. On one of these occasions, June 17, 1863, Mosby found himself at ten o'clock at night between the infantry and cavalry commands of General Hooker's army. Observing three horses hitched near a house, with an orderly standing by, he left his command with the prisoners already captured, and taking with him three men, rode up to the orderly and was informed by him that the horses belonged to Major William E. Sterling and another officer. In a whisper he said to the orderly:
"My name is Mosby. Keep quiet!"
The man understood him to say that he (the orderly) was "Mosby," and very indignantly replied:
"No sir, I am as good a Union man as ever walked the earth."
"Those are just the sort I am after," said Mosby.
Just then the two officers emerged from the house. As they approached, one of the Rangers stretched out his hand to disarm the major. Supposing him to be an acquaintance, Major Sterling offered his hand in return, but was overwhelmed with surprise when informed that he was a prisoner. Upon examination he was found to be the bearer of important despatches from General Hooker to his chief of cavalry, General Pleasonton. These despatches, which developed the contemplated movements of the army and directed the cooeperation of the cavalry, were placed in General Stuart's hands by dawn of day. On this and many similar occasions information furnished by the Rangers proved invaluable to the Confederate generals.
But furnishing information was not the most important service they rendered. It has been fairly estimated that they detained on guard duty thirty thousand Federal soldiers, who otherwise might have been employed at the front. Even then the Federal lines of transportation were constantly being attacked, with more or less success. It was impossible to protect them against such reckless activity as the Rangers were constantly displaying. No matter how vigilant the Federals were, Mosby was sure to find an opportunity for attacking. Sometimes his success would lie in the very boldness of the attempt. This was never more strikingly illustrated than in one of his attacks upon Sheridan's line of transportation. The Federal arm which had driven General Early up the valley beyond Winchester was drawing its supplies over the turnpike from Harper's Ferry. Mosby, taking a command of five companies of cavalry and two mountain howitzers,—numbering two hundred and fifty men,—passed at night across the Blue Ridge, and fording the Shenandoah, halted a few miles below Berryville. Riding out to the turnpike, he discovered in his immediate front two large trains parked for the night—one going toward the army loaded, the other returning empty. He determined to capture the former, composed of one hundred and fifty wagons. At daybreak it commenced to move, guarded by a brigade of infantry and two hundred and fifty cavalry. The train and its guard were soon strung along the turnpike. The cavalry rode on the flank near the center, a company of infantry marched in front of each tenth wagon, and the remaining force was distributed between the rear-and advance-guards. It was a bright summer morning, and just as the sun was rising the Rangers marched across the open fields and halted about four hundred yards from the road, and within full view of the moving train. Observing the Federal cavalry dismounted across the road a quarter of a mile to his left, Mosby sent two companies of his cavalry and one howitzer, with orders to take a position immediately opposite them and there await the signal of attack, which was to be three shots fired from the howitzer left behind. This detachment did not halt until it was within seventy-five yards of the moving train. Of course the Federals observed all these manoeuvers, but were misled by their very boldness; they never imagined but what this new force was a part of their own army. So when the first shot, which fell short, was fired from the howitzer, several of their officers rode to the eminence not more than thirty steps in front of the detached Confederate squadron, and lifting their glasses to their eyes, prepared to witness what they supposed to be artillery practice. Just then the second shell from the howitzer burst in the midst of their cavalry, who, supposing it had been fired in that direction through mistake, hastily prepared to move beyond range. Immediately the rebel yell was raised, and the squadron dashed at the Federals, scattering them in every direction, and capturing the officers with their glasses still in their hands. Turning abruptly to the left, the Rangers charged along the road, riding over company after company of infantry until checked by a volley from the advance-guard. At the same time another squadron had struck the turnpike immediately in front of their first position, and turning to the right, had ridden down everything between them and the rear-guard. Then, with one howitzer playing upon the advance and the other upon the rear-guard, the Rangers rapidly collected their prisoners, unhitched the teams, and burned the wagons. When reinforcements reached the Federals they deployed their skirmishers and advanced in line of battle, only to see the Rangers riding over the hills in the distance, taking with them three hundred prisoners, seven hundred mules and horses, and two hundred and thirty beef-cattle. But the rejoicing of the Rangers was almost turned into chagrin when they learned from the Northern papers that one of the wagons from which they had taken the mules was loaded with an iron safe containing one million dollars to pay off the army. Upon reading it, Mosby dropped the paper with a sigh, exclaiming, "There's a cool million gone after it was fairly earned! What other man could sustain such losses with so little embarrassment?"
But this failure of the Rangers to secure their "earnings" did not always attend them. Shortly after that they collected a sufficient amount of "dues" to enable them to determine upon greenbacks as the future currency of their Confederacy. It happened in this wise. Taking with him seventy-five men, Mosby crossed, at an early hour of the night, in rear of Sheridan's army, and struck the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad above Harper's Ferry, near Duffield Station. Here they prized up one side of the track to a height of four feet, placing a secure foundation under it. Soon the night express came rushing along. The engine upset, and the train came to a stand without serious injury to the passengers. Immediately the cars were boarded, and every one in Federal uniform captured. Among the prisoners were two paymasters, Majors Moore and Ruggles, who had in a satchel and tin box $168,000, in greenbacks, to pay off the troops stationed along the road. Securing this rich booty, the Rangers burned the cars and repassed Sheridan's pickets before the day had dawned. The money was divided upon reaching their Confederacy, each man receiving something over two thousand dollars, Mosby taking nothing.
Only the men who participated in a particular raid were allowed to share in its spoil. The officer who commanded the expedition always controlled the distribution. It was seldom there was anything to divide except horses and their equipments. Those who had distinguished themselves in the fight were allowed the first choice as a reward for their gallantry, the shares of the others being divided by lot. This system, by rewarding individual merit, encouraged a healthy rivalry among the men, and at the same time removed all inducement to leave the fight for plunder. Often when a charge was ordered, a genuine horse-race followed, the swiftest steeds leading the way.
In this manner the men were mounted and equipped without expense to themselves or the Confederate Government. On the contrary, the army quartermaster kept an agent in Mosby's Confederacy, to purchase from the Rangers their surplus stock and arms. His standing price for a horse was forty dollars in gold. But each Ranger retained two or more of the best for his own use. In this way they were always splendidly mounted. I once heard a Federal officer say he was not surprised that Mosby's men rode such fine horses, as they had both armies to pick from. The cavalry was armed with pistols alone, of which each man carried at least two. Their superiority over all other arms for this branch of the service was frequently demonstrated. It is a weapon that can be used with one hand, leaving the other to guide the horse. Cavalry is never really efficient unless trained to rush into close contact with the enemy. To see the whites of their eyes is not sufficient; they must ride over the foe. In the rapid charge the carbine is not only useless, but a positive incumbrance. The saber is comparatively harmless; it serves to frighten the timid, but rarely ever deals a death-wound. Let two men encounter each other in the charge, one relying upon his pistol, the other upon his saber, and the former, though an ordinary marksman, will almost invariably get the better of his antagonist. The Rangers realized their advantage in this respect. It encouraged them to rush into close quarters, where the rapid discharge of their pistols soon told upon the enemy, no matter how bravely they had withstood the onset. I have seen the victory decided alone by the superiority of the pistol over the saber, where the opposing columns had crossed each other in the charge and, wheeling, had mingled in the fight.
But the Rangers were compelled to discard the carbine and the saber for other reasons than their inferiority in the hand-to-hand conflict. It was always their policy to take the enemy by surprise if possible. Their favorite plan was to wind their way through the Federal pickets during the night, and make the attack at break of day. The rattling of the carbine and saber would have made it impossible to execute these movements with the silence necessary to success. To the uninitiated it would be surprising to see with what noiseless secrecy these manoeuvers could be accomplished. Only whispered commands were necessary from the officers, and the presence of danger insured silence in the ranks. This silence, which was observed so long as silence was proper, served to make the charge, with its shout and its cheer, the more terrible to the foe.
But it must not be imagined the Rangers were always successful. They were themselves sometimes surprised, sometimes repulsed. Nothing else could be expected from almost daily encounters in a country abandoned to the enemy. There were occasions when they were saved from total ruin only by their knowledge of the country and the swiftness of their steeds.
A ROMANCE OF MORGAN'S ROUGH-RIDERS
THE RAID, THE CAPTURE, AND THE ESCAPE
I. THE RAID
BY BASIL W. DUKE
In the summer of 1863, when, at Tullahoma, Tennessee, General Bragg's army was menaced by superior numbers in flank and rear, he determined to send a body of cavalry into Kentucky, which should operate upon Rosecrans's communications between Nashville and Louisville, break the railroads, capture or threaten all the minor depots of supplies, intercept and defeat all detachments not too strong to be engaged, and keep the enemy so on the alert in his own rear that he would lose or neglect his opportunity to embarrass or endanger the march of the army when its retrograde movement began. He even hoped that a part of the hostile forces before him might be thus detained long enough to prevent their participation in the battle which he expected to fight when he crossed the Tennessee.
The officer whom he selected to accomplish this diversion was General John H. Morgan, whose division of mounted riflemen was well fitted for the work in hand. Equal in courage, dash, and discipline to the other fine cavalry commands which General Bragg had at his disposal, it had passed a longer apprenticeship in expeditionary service than had any other. Its rank and file was of that mettle which finds its natural element in active and audacious enterprise, and was yet thrilled with the fire of youth; for there were few men in the division over twenty-five years of age. It was imbued with the spirit of its commander, and confided in his skill and fortune; no endeavor was deemed impossible or even hazardous when he led. It was inured to constant, almost daily, combat with the enemy, of all arms and under every possible contingency. During its four years of service the 2d Kentucky Cavalry, of which General Morgan was the first colonel, lost sixty-three commissioned officers killed and wounded; Company A of that regiment, of which Morgan was the first captain, losing during the war seventy-five men killed. It had on its muster-roll, from first to last, nearly two hundred and fifty men. The history of this company and regiment was scarcely exceptional in the command.
Morgan was beyond all men adapted to independent command of this nature. His energy never flagged, and his invention was always equal to the emergency. Boldness and caution were united in all that he undertook. He had a most remarkable aptitude for promptly acquiring a knowledge of any country in which he was operating; and as he kept it, so to speak, "in his head," he was enabled easily to extricate himself from difficulties. The celerity with which he marched, the promptness with which he attacked or eluded a foe, intensified the confidence of his followers, and kept his antagonists always in doubt and apprehension.
In his conference with General Bragg, Morgan differed with his chief regarding the full effect of a raid that should not be extended beyond the Ohio. General Bragg desired it to be confined to Kentucky. He gave Morgan carte blanche to go where he pleased in that State and stay as long as he pleased; suggesting, among other things, that he capture Louisville. Morgan urged that while by such a raid he might so divert to himself the attention of General Henry M. Judah and the cavalry of Rosecrans that they would not molest General Bragg's retreat, he could do nothing, in this way, in behalf of the other equally important feature of the plan—the detention of troops that would otherwise strengthen Rosecrans in the decisive battle to be fought south of the Tennessee. He contended, moreover, that a raid into Indiana and Ohio, the more especially as important political elections were pending there, would cause troops to be withdrawn from Rosecrans and Burnside for the protection of those States. But General Bragg refused permission to cross the Ohio, and instructed Morgan to make the raid as originally designed.