Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
We tried to escape on one occasion, but in this,as in other undertakings, failure crowned our efforts.Some things are uncertain, but we have fully decided never to be caught in that same “neck o’ woods”again, and will relate it for the benefit of others who may be desirous of obtaining fame on bloody fields,and loathsome prisons. We had obtained privilege to visit a rail fence and get wood. Three of us touched the top rail and landed in a swamp on the other side, and, after paddling through it and over some rising ground, entered another swamp.
We had scarcely secluded ourselves around the body of a large tree when we heard the report of the musketry,and, the swamp being only about fifty feet wide.
could plainly see our less fortunate comrades picked up one by one ; this state of affairs was kept up from eight in the morning until about three o’clock in the afternoon; we then ventured to the borders of a friendly corn field, and getting a few ears, retreated to the swamp, and, after eating of the sweet, juicy corn, we patiently waited the advent of evening, discussing in undertones the geography of our proposed route, the probabilities of escape, and the possibility of recapture.
At eight o’clock we bade adieu to our swampy protector, and traveling through cane-break,cotton and corn fields, reached the Charleston and Wilmington Railroad. All was quiet, and no noise was heard save the song of the negroes returning from work at Florence, where they were helping build the stockade. We followed the railroad toward Wilmington, N. C, occasionally passing a stranger,whom we supposed would conclude we were slaves returning to the plantations. At this time we were making good headway, feeling in the best of spirits,and expecting in due time to enter the Union lines at or near Newburn, N. C. The moon was full, the night was clear; in the distance we noticed a train stop at a station; we held a council of war, and decided to make a flank movement to the left and again strike the railroad beyond the town. We passed several cotton mills on the outskirts, and striking a clay road leading toward the railroad, followed it, and accomplished the flank movement successfully.
It was now about one o’clock in the morning.We halted, and tied together our already worn-out shoes. Listening, we heard sound resembling that often heard when chicken thieves are about. We concluded it was only some African, in search of a chicken for breakfast, and, stepping to the side of the track close to the embankment, which at this place was three feet high and overgrown with small pines,were quietly discussing the best method of crossing the Pee Dee River, when our conversation and our locomotion were brought to an abrupt termination by the word “Halt,” and looking down the muzzles of three double-barreled shot guns seemed to give the word a little extra meaning and a double emphasis.
We had no alternative but surrender. We tried to imitate the negroes by telling our captors that we were “gwine up de country,” but perhaps we did not use the proper accent in the African dialect, and received an answer that it would be healthier for us to “go down the river.”
One of our captors was an elderly looking gentleman,wore a standing collar, and assumed somewhat of an aristocratic air; we addressed him and explained that our boarding arrangements had not been good of late, and hinted that a good square meal would be acceptable ; we were told to aboutface,and on our arrival in town would receive rations.
Arriving in the town, we were placed under guard,and received about a peck of onions which had been cultivated for seed and the long tops cut off. Variety is the spice of life ; our last meal was green corn,this one dried onions. It was two o’clock in themorning.!!! To Be Continued.