Andersonville


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"Py Gott, I've no patience mit you,' and knocked him sprawling.
He caught hold of the commander of the Rebel Brigade, and snatched him
back over the works by main strength. Wonderful to say, he escaped
unhurt, but the boys will probably not soon let him hear the last of

"Py Gott, I've no patience mit you.'

"The Tenth Kentucky, by the queerest luck in the world, was matched
against the Rebel Ninth Kentucky. The commanders of the two regiments
were brothers-in-law, and the men relatives, friends, acquaintances and
schoolmates. They hated each other accordingly, and the fight between
them was more bitter, if possible, than anywhere else on the line.
The Thirty-Eighth Ohio and Seventy-fourth Indiana put in some work that
was just magnificent. We hadn't time to look at it then, but the dead
and wounded piled up after the fight told the story.

"We gradually forced our way over the works, but the Rebels were game to
the last, and we had to make them surrender almost one at a time.
The artillerymen tried to fire on us when we were so close we could lay
our hands on the guns.

"Finally nearly all in the works surrendered, and were disarmed and
marched back. Just then an aid came dashing up with the information that
we must turn the works, and get ready to receive Hardee, who was
advancing to retake the position. We snatched up some shovels lying
near, and began work. We had no time to remove the dead and dying Rebels
on the works, and the dirt we threw covered them up. It proved a false
alarm. Hardee had as much as he could do to save his own hide, and the
affair ended about dark.

"When we came to count up what we had gained, we found that we had
actually taken more prisoners from behind breastworks than there were in
our brigade when we started the charge. We had made the only really
successful bayonet charge of the campaign. Every other time since we
left Chattanooga the party standing on the defensive had been successful.
Here we had taken strong double lines, with ten guns, seven battle flags,
and over two thousand prisoners. We had lost terribly--not less than
one-third of the brigade, and many of our best men. Our regiment went
into the battle with fifteen officers; nine of these were killed or
wounded, and seven of the nine lost either their limbs or lives.
The Thirty-Eighth Ohio, and the other regiments of the brigade lost
equally heavy. We thought Chickamauga awful, but Jonesboro discounted
it."

"Do you know," said another of the Fourteenth, "I heard our Surgeon
telling about how that Colonel Grower, of the Seventeenth New York,
who came in so splendidly on our left, died? They say he was a Wall
Street broker, before the war. He was hit shortly after he led his
regiment in, and after the fight, was carried back to the hospital.
While our Surgeon was going the rounds Colonel Grower called him, and
said quietly, 'When you get through with the men, come and see me,
please.'

"The Doctor would have attended to him then, but Grower wouldn't let him.
After he got through he went back to Grower, examined his wound, and told
him that he could only live a few hours. Grower received the news
tranquilly, had the Doctor write a letter to his wife, and gave him his
things to send her, and then grasping the Doctor's hand, he said:

"Doctor, I've just one more favor to ask; will you grant it?'

"The Doctor said, 'Certainly; what is it?'

"You say I can't live but a few hours?'

"Yes; that is true.'
"And that I will likely be in great pain!'

"I am sorry to say so.'

"Well, then, do give me morphia enough to put me to sleep, so that I will
wake up only in another world.'

"The Doctor did so; Colonel Grower thanked him; wrung his hand, bade him
good-by, and went to sleep to wake no more."

"Do you believe in presentiments and superstitions?" said another of the
Fourteenth. There was Fisher Pray, Orderly Sergeant of Company I. He
came from Waterville, O., where his folks are now living. The day before
we started out he had a presentiment that we were going into a fight, and
that he would be killed. He couldn't shake it off. He told the
Lieutenant, and some of the boys about it, and they tried to ridicule him
out of it, but it was no good. When the sharp firing broke out in front
some of the boys said, 'Fisher, I do believe you are right,' and he
nodded his head mournfully. When we were piling knapsacks for the
charge, the Lieutenant, who was a great friend of Fisher's, said:

"Fisher, you stay here and guard the knapsacks.'

"Fisher's face blazed in an instant.

"No, sir,' said he; I never shirked a fight yet, and I won't begin now.'

"So he went into the fight, and was killed, as he knew he would be. Now,
that's what I call nerve."

"The same thing was true of Sergeant Arthur Tarbox, of Company A," said
the narrator; "he had a presentiment, too; he knew he was going to be
killed, if he went in, and he was offered an honorable chance to stay
out, but he would not take it, and went in and was killed."

"Well, we staid there the next day, buried our dead, took care of our
wounded, and gathered up the plunder we had taken from the Johnnies.
The rest of the army went off, 'hot blocks,' after Hardee and the rest of
Hood's army, which it was hoped would be caught outside of entrenchments.
But Hood had too much the start, and got into the works at Lovejoy, ahead
of our fellows. The night before we heard several very loud explosions
up to the north. We guessed what that meant, and so did the Twentieth
Corps, who were lying back at the Chattahoochee, and the next morning the
General commanding--Slocum--sent out a reconnaissance. It was met by the
Mayor of Atlanta, who said that the Rebels had blown up their stores and
retreated. The Twentieth Corps then came in and took 'possession of the
City, and the next day--the 3d--Sherman came in, and issued an order
declaring the campaign at an end, and that we would rest awhile and
refit.

"We laid around Atlanta a good while, and things quieted down so that it
seemed almost like peace, after the four months of continual fighting we
had gone through. We had been under a strain so long that now we boys
went in the other direction, and became too careless, and that's how we
got picked up. We went out about five miles one night after a lot of
nice smoked hams that a nigger told us were stored in an old cotton
press, and which we knew would be enough sight better eating for Company
C, than the commissary pork we had lived on so long. We found the cotton
press, and the hams, just as the nigger told us, and we hitched up a team
to take them into camp. As we hadn't seen any Johnny signs anywhere,
we set our guns down to help load the meat, and just as we all came
stringing out to the wagon with as much meat as we could carry, a company
of Ferguson's Cavalry popped out of the woods about one hundred yards in
front of us and were on top of us before we could say I scat. You see
they'd heard of the meat, too."

CHAPTER LVII.

A FAIR SACRIFICE--THE STORY OF ONE BOY WHO WILLINGLY GAVE HIS YOUNG LIFE
FOR HIS COUNTRY.

Charley Barbour was one of the truest-hearted and best-liked of my
school-boy chums and friends. For several terms we sat together on the
same uncompromisingly uncomfortable bench, worried over the same boy-
maddening problems in "Ray's Arithmetic-Part III.," learned the same
jargon of meaningless rules from "Greene's Grammar," pondered over
"Mitchell's Geography and Atlas," and tried in vain to understand why
Providence made the surface of one State obtrusively pink and another
ultramarine blue; trod slowly and painfully over the rugged road
"Bullion" points out for beginners in Latin, and began to believe we
should hate ourselves and everybody else, if we were gotten up after the
manner shown by "Cutter's Physiology." We were caught together in the
same long series of school-boy scrapes--and were usually ferruled
together by the same strong-armed teacher. We shared nearly everything
--our fun and work; enjoyment and annoyance--all were generally meted out
to us together. We read from the same books the story of the wonderful
world we were going to see in that bright future "when we were men;" we
spent our Saturdays and vacations in the miniature explorations of the
rocky hills and caves, and dark cedar woods around our homes, to gather
ocular helps to a better comprehension of that magical land which we were
convinced began just beyond our horizon, and had in it, visible to the
eye of him who traveled through its enchanted breadth, all that
"Gulliver's Fables," the "Arabian Nights," and a hundred books of travel
and adventure told of.

We imagined that the only dull and commonplace spot on earth was that
where we lived. Everywhere else life was a grand spectacular drama, full
of thrilling effects.

Brave and handsome young men were rescuing distressed damsels, beautiful
as they were wealthy; bloody pirates and swarthy murderers were being
foiled by quaint spoken backwoodsmen, who carried unerring rifles;
gallant but blundering Irishmen, speaking the most delightful brogue,
and making the funniest mistakes, were daily thwarting cool and
determined villains; bold tars were encountering fearful sea perils;
lionhearted adventurers were cowing and quelling whole tribes of
barbarians; magicians were casting spells, misers hoarding gold,
scientists making astonishing discoveries, poor and unknown boys
achieving wealth and fame at a single bound, hidden mysteries coming to
light, and so the world was going on, making reams of history with each
diurnal revolution, and furnishing boundless material for the most
delightful books.

At the age of thirteen a perusal of the lives of Benjamin Franklin and
Horace Greeley precipitated my determination to no longer hesitate in
launching my small bark upon the great ocean. I ran away from home in a
truly romantic way, and placed my foot on what I expected to be the first
round of the ladder of fame, by becoming "devil boy" in a printing office
in a distant large City. Charley's attachment to his mother and his home
was too strong to permit him to take this step, and we parted in sorrow,
mitigated on my side by roseate dreams of the future.

Six years passed. One hot August morning I met an old acquaintance at
the Creek, in Andersonville. He told me to come there the next morning,
after roll-call, and he would take me to see some person who was very
anxious to meet me. I was prompt at the rendezvous, and was soon joined
by the other party. He threaded his way slowly for over half an hour
through the closely-jumbled mass of tents and burrows, and at length
stopped in front of a blanket-tent in the northwestern corner. The
occupant rose and took my hand. For an instant I was puzzled; then the
clear, blue eyes, and well-remembered smile recalled to me my old-time
comrade, Charley Barbour. His story was soon told. He was a Sergeant in
a Western Virginia cavalry regiment--the Fourth, I think. At the time
Hunter was making his retreat from the Valley of Virginia, it was decided
to mislead the enemy by sending out a courier with false dispatches to be
captured. There was a call for a volunteer for this service. Charley
was the first to offer, with that spirit of generous self-sacrifice that
was one of his pleasantest traits when a boy. He knew what he had to
expect. Capture meant imprisonment at Andersonville; our men had now a
pretty clear understanding of what this was. Charley took the dispatches
and rode into the enemy's lines. He was taken, and the false information
produced the desired effect. On his way to Andersonville he was stripped
of all his clothing but his shirt and pantaloons, and turned into the
Stockade in this condition. When I saw him he had been in a week or
more. He told his story quietly--almost diffidently--not seeming aware
that he had done more than his simple duty. I left him with the promise
and expectation of returning the next day, but when I attempted to find
him again, I was lost in the maze of tents and burrows. I had forgotten
to ask the number of his detachment, and after spending several days in
hunting for him, I was forced to give the search up. He knew as little
of my whereabouts, and though we were all the time within seventeen
hundred feet of each other, neither we nor our common acquaintance could
ever manage to meet again. This will give the reader an idea of the
throng compressed within the narrow limits of the Stockade. After
leaving Andersonville, however, I met this man once more, and learned
from him that Charley had sickened and died within a month after his
entrance to prison.

So ended his day-dream of a career in the busy world.

CHAPTER LVIII.

WE LEAVE SAVANNAH--MORE HOPES OF EXCHANGE--SCENES AT DEPARTURE--
"FLANKERS"--ON THE BACK TRACK TOWARD ANDERSONVILLE--ALARM THEREAT--
AT THE PARTING OF TWO WAYS--WE FINALLY BRING UP AT CAMP LAWTON.

On the evening of the 11th of October there came an order for one
thousand prisoners to fall in and march out, for transfer to some other
point.

Of course, Andrews and I "flanked" into this crowd. That was our usual
way of doing. Holding that the chances were strongly in favor of every
movement of prisoners being to our lines, we never failed to be numbered
in the first squad of prisoners that were sent out. The seductive mirage
of "exchange" was always luring us on. It must come some time,
certainly, and it would be most likely to come to those who were most
earnestly searching for it. At all events, we should leave no means
untried to avail ourselves of whatever seeming chances there might be.
There could be no other motive for this move, we argued, than exchange.
The Confederacy was not likely to be at the trouble and expense of
hauling us about the country without some good reason--something better
than a wish to make us acquainted with Southern scenery and topography.
It would hardly take us away from Savannah so soon after bringing us
there for any other purpose than delivery to our people.

The Rebels encouraged this belief with direct assertions of its truth.
They framed a plausible lie about there having arisen some difficulty
concerning the admission of our vessels past the harbor defenses of
Savannah, which made it necessary to take us elsewhere--probably to
Charleston--for delivery to our men.

Wishes are always the most powerful allies of belief. There is little
difficulty in convincing a man of that of which he wants to be convinced.
We forgot the lie told us when we were taken from Andersonville, and
believed the one which was told us now.

Andrews and I hastily snatched our worldly possessions--our overcoat,
blanket, can, spoon, chessboard and men, yelled to some of our neighbors
that they could have our hitherto much-treasured house, and running down
to the gate, forced ourselves well up to the front of the crowd that was
being assembled to go out.

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