May 9, 1863, The
New York Herald
His Adventures in the Rebel
The Experiences of Mr. J.H.
Vosburg, One of Our Special Army Correspondents.
It has been remarked that the HERALD had
correspondents in every place where it is possible that anything
interesting may occur, but I believe that I have the distinction
of being the first representative of that press in Libby prison.
On my way from Stafford Court House to
Kelly’s Ford, just previous to the late advances of our army, I
was induced by illness and the lateness of the hour to take up
quarters for the night at a comfortable farmhouse, instead of
proceeding to camp. This was on Sunday evening, April […]. The
house where I stopped was a hospitable one on a road where
troops were passing almost hourly, and I had no reason to
apprehend an encounter with the subjects of Jeff.
Davis. About eight o’clock the next
morning, when starting out for a walk after breakfast,
accompanied by my host, and having passed the gate and into the
road, I was suddenly confronted by two men in the unmistakable
gray uniform of the Confederate service, with guns […..]a
ready.” They had been concealed behind an embankment, and when I
first perceived them were not six paces from me. Bidding me a
courteous “Good morning,” they told me that I was a prisoner.
Under the circumstances to surrender was valorous discretion,
and I yielded, as my captors afterwards remarked, […..]
dignifiedly.” The remainder of the party, making in all six,
THE REV. MR. McMURRAIN,
who was my host, has, I understand, been accused of furnishing
information that led to my capture, and I have heard that he has
been arrested on that account. I firmly believe that neither Mr.
McMurrain nor any member of his family had any complicity in the
affair, and I wish them to be exonerated from all suspicion in
the case. As a highly respectable and intelligent family, their
conduct on the occasion was such as, had I been disposed to
entertain it, would have removed any suspicion from my mind.
Besides, I afterwards learned satisfactorily how and why I was
PASSING INTO DIXIE.
Six men of the Ninth Virginia cavalry
composed the squad which effected my capture. Two were placed on
each of three sides of the house, the fourth being an open and
level field, so that escape was impossible. My horse was
saddled, and for the present used by one
of my captors for scouting purposes, and the remainder, having
me in charge, entered the pine woods and made a straight line
for Ellis’ Ford, distant about three miles. They had crossed the
Rappahannock in boats at this point, and by the same
means we returned. A company of North
were on picket at this ford on the rebel side; but our forces
had left the place unguarded and unwatched, although officers,
orderlies, squads of soldiers and wagons were constantly passing
within a short distance. Several of our men were captured in
this vicinity, and it is surprising that the rebels made no
better use of their opportunities than they did.
Arrived on the southern side of the river,
I was permitted to ride my horse, and this privilege was
extended to me while I remained in the custody of these men,
until I reached General Lee’s headquarters, although I sometimes
voluntarily shared the march of my captors en foot, for none of
them had their horses. These men — […..],” I should say, to
adopt their own invariable phraseology — made me feel as though
among friends. The Ninth Virginia cavalry is mainly composed of
substantial citizens, who furnish their own horses, and fight,
as they profess to believe, for their rights and their homes.
The sergeant in command informed me that my capture had been
planned a week previous, and that he knew me well from residents
of the neighborhood with whom I had become acquainted. It was
hoped that some valuable information regarding General Hooker’s
plans and movements might be elicited from me, from papers or
other wise; but in this I am happy to say my secession friends
were disappointed. When taken I had no papers about me of any
to which these men belonged was stationed at Richard’s Ford, to
arrive at which we performed a journey of about eight miles.
Besides the detachment of the Ninth Virginia, detachments were
stationed here of a Mississippi
and of North Carolina
regiment. The Virginia
detachment was commanded by Lieut. McGrawley, and by him and his
men I was treated with the kindest consideration — rather as a
guest than as a prisoner. I passed the night with them and
shared their scanty fare. It is difficult to conceive how men
can live, much less fight, on what the rebel government allows
its soldiers in the way of rations.
There was no picket on our side of the
river when I arrived at this ford, but one was established
during the day, as also at Ellis’ Ford. The picket at this place
was from the Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry. Immediately on their
arrival took place one of the most pleasing scenes in war,
friendly conversation between outposts of hostile armies. The
effect upon those on the rebel side was salutary, and many were
the expressions of friendly good will towards individual
“Yanks,” and of longings for peace, where no thought of deadly
conflict with these unobnoxious men would intrude.
In the evening a portion of the
detachment went “on a scout,” crossing the river in boats
between our pickets and the two fords. The rebels certainly have
more enterprise in such matters than our troops. Individual men
will plan expeditions to accomplish a certain object, as
capturing a picket, induced sufficient of their companions to
accompany them, and then ask permission to go of their
commanding officer. It is this spirit among the men that has
made them so successful in petty captures.
JOURNEYINGS IN THE WILDERNESS.
The next day we started for the
headquarters of General W. H. F. Lee, distant about twenty-five
miles. I was shown where the left of the main rebel army rested
— a range of wooded hills, three or four miles distant. Further
on the left, and in the vicinity of Culpepper Court House, was
Stuart’s cavalry. On the way, stopping at a small farmhouse for
a drink of water, a voluble old lady attempted to tell us of an
important capture of which she had been informed — that of a man
who had a great deal to do with Northern newspapers — she did
not understand how or what. After listening to her a while, one
of my captors, pointing to me, said that was the man. Giving me
a look of intense interest she exclaimed, “Is that the one? And
he’s good looking man, too,” in a tone of surprise. I took her
compliment for the whole Yankee men, whom she had doubtless been
taught to consider barbarians.
I saw Stuart’s battery of flying artillery,
consisting of thirteen pieces of various descriptions and
calibres, hardly two guns being of the same pattern. The
artilleryman who called my attention to the battery, to which he
belonged, pointed with pride to a solitary Napoleon. I believe
this is all the artillery attached to Stuart’s command. There
were not nearly horses enough to furnish all the guns, but a new
supply was daily expected, having been long promised. Stuart’s
cavalry, of which I saw several regiments, is illy supplied with
horses, a considerable proportion of the men being dismounted.
From what I saw of them I should judge that one half the horses
were superior to the average of ours — being of better stock —
while the remainder are vastly inferior. The men I judge to be
the flower of the rebel army. Yet, as a compact body, I do not
believe they could cope with equal numbers of our cavalry corps,
man to man, on a fair field.
GENERALS LEE AND STUART.
The next day I was taken to the
headquarters of Gen. W. H. F. Lee, distant about twenty-five
miles, where we arrived just before dark. Here I bade a final
adieu to my faithful horse, “Dandie Dinmont,” whose fate will
doubtless be to bear a rebel into action, and perhaps be pierced
by Yankee bullets. I found the young general, and son of his
father, playing chess in the open air before a log fire, near
his tent. Although a courteous gentleman, General Lee exhibits
much of the ability and style of the cross-questioning lawyer in
his endeavors to elicit information. From this interview and
from others, I am convinced that the rebel generals were
completely mystified regarding General Hooker’s plans. They
believed that much of his army had been withdrawn, that the
remainder was more or less demoralized by the battle at
Fredericksburg, and that it would probably fall back
While conversing with General Lee a
messenger from his picket guard arrived, and informed him that
the Yankees were advancing in some force towards the river at
Rappahannock Station. Another reported that they were making a
demonstration at Kelly’s Ford. General Lee sent word to the
picket at Rappahannock Station to resist any advance of the
enemy, and he would furnish proper support. To the picket
commander at Kelly’s Ford he sent orders to oppose an infantry
advance or the laying of pontoons; but if cavalry appeared, to
let them come, as the river was so obstructed by wire they could
not cross, and when entangled they would be an easy prey. This
was on Tuesday evening, just previous to the crossing of the
river by our forces.
After completing his examination and
directing a staff officer to ascertain what papers I had — which
he courteously did by asking me to produce them, and taking my
word that I had shown all — General Lee ordered an officer to
have two horses saddled and to accompany me to the headquarters
of General Stuart. We passed through Culpepper and two miles
beyond, to where General Stuart had his tents pitched in a
beautiful grove. After reading General Lee’s despatch, General
Stuart gave an order to the officer who accompanied me, and I
was taken back to Culpepper and turned over to the Provost
Marshal. By him I was put into a very dirty room of an old hotel
on Commerce street.
I was furnished no blankets — mine had been confiscated — and
had nothing but the bare floor to lie on. Here I first began to
realize that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the
Southern confederacy. There was one other prisoner in the room,
a private of the Fourth Pennsylvania cavalry, captured near
THE YANKEES COMING.
During the night, while unsuccessfully
courting Morpheus, I heard our guards saying, excitedly, that
the “Yanks” had crossed the river and were advancing; that there
was a great stir in camp, everything being put in readiness to
move, and that a locomotive had been kept on the track all night
ready for immediate use.
A train of fifty or sixty wagons, with a
cavalry guard, passed our quarters the next morning. A majority
of the wagons were marked
United States. The teamsters
were mostly negroes, and many of this race were with the guards,
uniformed, mounted, and armed the same as other soldiers.
Whether intended for service in the field I cannot say, but
appearances would indicate that they were.
There were evidences of a considerable
scare in town. Citizens could be seen hurrying to and fro, and
the guard informed me that many white residents, and all the
negroes not needed in the army were leaving the place.
ON THE RAILROAD.
Arriving at the cars I found a bevy of
ladies, secesh officers and others, notwithstanding their
anxiety at the approach of the Yankees, anxious to get a view of
a HERALD correspondent. Though this curiosity was manifested
everywhere on my route, I must say that it was always
courteously displayed. The train for Gordonsville was packed to
its full capacity with stampeding citizens, with prisoners,
conscripts, apprehended deserters and negroes. About half the
occupants of the car where I was placed were of colored
proclivities, but with a susceptibility for improvement, as
evidenced in the constant lightening of color from old age to
infancy. Many young [……] seemed to prefer the society of the
more or less colored damsels in this car to that of their whiter
sisters in other portions of the train.
Southern railroads are in a very
dilapidated condition, and the average speed of the trains which
bore me from Culpepper to Richmond,
and from Richmond
to City Point, was about eight miles per hour. Near Rapidan
station, and directly across the Rapidan river, is a range of
hills, commanding a stretch of open and nearly level country in
front. Here, I was informed, it was the intention of the rebel
commanders to make a stand in case General Hooker attempted to
advance on Gordonsville. It is a very strong position, with the
Rapidan in front, and is more or less fortified. I could see
only rifle pits.
I first caught sight of the tall form, and
had an opportunity to grasp the hand, of, Captain Schoenofski, a
Belgian, of the staff of Major General Schurz. The gallant
Captain wore a triste but defiant air, — it was his first
captivity — and frequently ejaculated his favorite parbleu! With
true Belgic vehemence, at the treatment to which prisoners are
subjected in the South.
France,” said he, ‘I have
served, prisoners are treated with great courtesy; but here —
augh! no gentlemen — parbleu!”
Captain Schoenofski had been surprised,
surrounded and captured soon after the crossing of our troops at
Kelly’S Ford. When taken before General Stuart he was offered a
commission in the rebel service and a position on the staff of
that general, which was, of course, declined.
Gordonsville is a pretty enough village, of
perhaps fifteen hundred inhabitants, and was occupied by a
portion of the First Virginia infantry, mainly composed of
Irishmen. I fancied that it was not deemed best to put these men
into the field. The Provost Marshal and commandant of the post
was Major Boyle. I do not think there were any considerable
supplies at this point.
where the prisoners were confined was a small, dirty building,
with a single room. This was crowded with secesh soldiers, in
durance for various causes, deserters and conscripts. There were
but three Yankee prisoners, Captain Schoenofski, private
Harpendig, Fourth Pennsylvania cavalry, and myself. The Captain,
whose company was on guard, took a fancy to invite Captain
Schoenofski to his own quarters, which was a real kindness, as
it was doubtless intended.
While here we were furnished rations of
hard biscuit, many of them mouldy, and a ham to divide among us.
I was allowed to send out and purchase provisions in town, which
was quite a privilege. We had nothing to lie on but some old
DISAFFECTION IN THE SOUTH.
The inmates of this room represented many
portions of the confederacy, and from them I learned much of
interest regarding the feeling among soldiers and people in the
South. I was assured that there is great disaffection in the
army and among the citizens, and that thousands, both in and out
of the military service, would leave the confederacy and go
North if they could. Many asked me anxiously how they would be
treated if they should succeed in reaching our lines, and
declaring that they would take the first opportunity to escape.
They represented the confederate government as a terrible
despotism, by which no man’s liberty or possessions were
regarded. I often heard the expression that this contest on the
part of the South was “the rich man’s war and the poor man’s
fight.” The conscription is being everywhere relentlessly
enforced. In Virginia
it is estimated that there are twenty conscript hunters to each
county. These men, of whom I saw some specimens, are generally
ex negro traders and overseers, and are, to a great extent,
destitute of any human feeling.
One man confined in this guardhouse had
been caught two days before near Culpepper. His wife was ill,
and the next morning he learned that her situation was critical;
but no entreaties could prevail upon those who had him in charge
to allow him to go and see her for a short time, accompanied by
a guard, though the distance was but two miles.
One old man named Walton, of nearly sixty
years, from Fauquier county, caught by a rebel scouting party,
had been confined for several weeks, he did not know for what
cause or what was to be his fate.
An ex-government clerk under Buchanan’s
administration had been caught near Warrenton. He had been long
in confinement, but thought he could not be conscripted, being a
Marylander. He did not know that a clause in the rebel
Conscription act forces into the service all Marylanders found
within the limits of the confederacy.
Notwithstanding adverse circumstances, the
inmates of this prison succeeded in making themselves […..], “to
an extent that would have excited Mark Taploy’s intense
REINFORCEMENTS FOR LEE.
On Thursday morning there passed through
Gordonsville a train loaded with soldiers, composed, as I
learned, of men from four batteries intended only for home
defence at Richmond, but who had been formed into an infantry
battalion for this emergency. We took the train at one o’clock
and on the way met two more trains loaded with troops, artillery
and horses. Altogether, I think I saw pass on this road about
two thousand infantry and two batteries of artillery.
On this train we had comfortable seats and
more pleasant surroundings than on the day previous. We reached
about nine o’clock P.M. Owing to the darkness, which overtook us
before we reached town. I was able to see but very little of the
city, and got no glimpse of fortifications before reaching it.
We were marched to Carey street and halted
in front of Castle Thunder — a not unattractive building
externally — where our conscripts were left. The “Yanks” were
taken to Libby prison, about a block above and on the same
THE LIBBY PRISON AND ITS OFFICERS.
The Libby was formerly the tobacco
warehouse of Messrs. Libby & Son. It is a substantial looking
brick building, three stories in height, and was a mercantile
warehouse of medium description. We were first ushered into a
whitewashed passage-way through the building, and then singly
into the office, on the walls of which are festooned several
flags taken from our troops in different engagements. Here a
record was made of our names and positions, and our money was
taken from us, and a receipt, stating that it would be returned
on our release from the prison, was given in exchange.
Captain Thos. H. Turner the Superintendent
of the prison, and a young man with rather a pert, Southern air,
entered into conversation with me, and seemed disposed to render
himself agreeable. I afterwards learned that Captain Turner was
particularly obnoxious to our officers in his hands, treating
them invariably in a very insulting manner. Mr. Ross, clerk of
the Libby prison, was formerly in the employ of a mercantile
firm in New York
— if I remember rightly, that of Messrs. Carter & Co. — and is a
rather gentlemanly young man, of whom I heard no complaints. Mr.
Ligum, an assistant, is very pleasing and courteous in his
address, and was liked by all our officers.
Captain Schoenofski and I were conducted to
the third door and ushered into a room where, at that time, was
confined one hundred and four officers. We had daily accessions
afterwards. A majority of the prisoners had lain down and many
were surrounded by interested crowds anxiously inquiring the
news from Hooker’s Army. “Is Hooker coming?” “What force has he
got?” “Will he give them bail?” And other questions were asked
much more rapidly than they could be answered. Having at that
time faith in Hooker and entire confidence in the strength and
character of his forces, I was able to give such answers to
these questions as to elicit expressions of delighted
confidence. “If Hooker only whips Lee the confederacy is gone,”
was the expression and apparently the unanimous opinion of these
THE OFFICERS’ ROOM,
where I now was, presented at this time a picturesque
appearance. There were enough cots , made of boards and raised
about two feet, to accommodate half the inmates. The remainder
were compelled to lie on the floor, but this difference in the
accommodations was very slight, the only advantage of the cot
being that it was somewhat out of the dirt and sawdust with
which the floor was strewn. When all were couched one could
hardly traverse the length of the room without treading upon
more than one sleeper or would be somnolent.
The apartment was formerly used as a
storeroom, and is the loft of one portion of the warehouse. Its
dimensions are about fifty by one hundred feet. The long roof is
supported by heavy, upright posts, intersected above by cross
beams and joists. As this portion of the building is of more
recent — possibly older — construction than the remainder, its
four walls are of brick. At the eaves the room is about six feet
in height, and above we have a view of the network of cross
beams and joists, and of the rafters to the apex of the roof.
The room fronts northeast, and from the five square windows we
had something of a view of the town. To the right, across the
street, is a large warehouse occupied us barracks by the City
Guard. Back of this is another large building, used as a
hospital and kept constantly guarded on all sides; for even
sick, and especially convalescent Confederate soldiers, are not
free from the suspicion of desiring to escape on the first
opportunity. To the left Castle Thunder could be seen.
The windows on the right hand side look
across a narrow street, and upon a tobacco warehouse and
manufactory, where, during the day, negroes, mostly females,
could be seen at work with the fragrant weed.
The back windows overlooked the canal, the
James river and the three bridges across it,
Manchester, and a delightful stretch of
country south of the James. Rockets is barely discernable on the
THE FEDERAL OFFICERS
confined here represented nearly every portion of our army and
many a well fought field, while there were some from the navy.
Here were General Willich, captured at Murfreesboro; General
Stoughton and Colonel Coburn, of Indiana, whose brigade was
captured after a desperate resistance against overwhelming
numbers at Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, on the 5th of March
last. There were also Colonels Utley, Gilbert, Buell, Wood and
Fletcher; a number of lieutenant colonels, majors and
subordinates too numerous to mention, and the officers of the
Many had been confined as long as five
months, and there were men from every prison in the Southern
confederacy. The treatment which some of them had received
had been barbarous. Both officers and men of Col. Coburn’s
command had been deprived of their overcoats by Gen. Bragg, and
had been obliged to march and to lie in the cold and wet. Many
of them had perished under this treatment.
CONDITION OF THE CONFEDERACY.
Accounts from all portions of the
confederacy were of rapidly approaching starvation, of general
disaffection among the people, and of returning Union sentiment.
are some two thousand in the mountains who have so far
successfully resisted the conscription, defeating a force sent
to take them. In many places in the South our prisoners found
Union people, who, in some cases, clandestinely offered them
money. In nearly all the Southern jails are individuals confined
and treated with great cruelty on the plea that they were still
entertaining Union sentiments. In
Knoxville particularly the Union
sentiment predominates, and here citizen prisoners are treated
with most atrocious severity.
Confederate officers in
confessed to some of the prisoners that if Lee’s army was once
in retreat there were no bayonets enough in the Southern
confederacy to stop it.
THE HERALD REPRESENTATIVE.
I found that my own arrival at Libby was
expected, my capture having been heralded by the
journals. The officers expressed themselves delighted to have me
among them, as they presumed I would give the public an account
of the treatment they were receiving. The confederacy appeared
to be excessively tickled at having captured a correspondent of
the HERALD — may it never achieve a more important success — and
notices of my arrival appeared in the
Richmond papers. The following is from
the Enquirer of May 2: —
PERSONAL — ARRIVALS FROM THE NORTH. —
[…..] will be interested to learn that Mr.
J. H. Vosburg, army correspondent of The New York Herald
— not the World, as before reported — has arrived in this city,
and is stopping for the present at the “Libby.” He was
encountered at Ellis’ Ford, on the Rappahannock, some days ago,
by a number of Stuart’s men, who insisted and finally prevailed
upon him to pay a visit to
Richmond. Capt. Joe Schoenofski,
aid-de-camp to General Schurz, of the federal army, has arrived
from Kelly’s Ford, and is stopping at the same hotel.
at Libby prison was not exactly ambrosial, nor was it always
quantum sufficit. The prisoners were furnished with half of
moderate sized loaf of good enough bread and less than half a
pound of salt beef daily, with occasional rations of small black
beans or rice.
The beef was never good, and was often so
bad — though this did not occur during my stay — that they were
obliged to throw it away, but no more was furnished in its
place. They were allowed to purchase small supplies at fabulous
prices. Eggs $1.50 per dozen, dried apples $1.50 per pound, and
what was sold for coffee — undoubtedly rye (O Rio) — $1 for a
half-pound package. They were permitted to draw their money in
small quantities to make these purchases. They were compelled to
do their own cooking and to scrub the room they occupied. The
blankets furnished had been used in hospitals, and were of the
filthiest descriptions and swarming with vermin.
The […..] who brought in the rations and
ordered us, morning and evening, to “fall in for roll call,” was
employed to make purchases of needful articles. For […..] he
allowed a premium of fifty per cent in Confederate notes, though
it was well known that they sold readily for one hundred, and
they were once quoted in a
journal at three hundred and fifty. It was believed, also, that
he exacted from prisoners a much greater price than he paid for
articles in town; but there was no redress. Opinions differed as
to the character of this man. His manners were certainly not
pleasing, though he may have had some cause for ill-nature in
the mimicking of his whining voice by our officers, and in
remarks not flattering to his self-love. The pursy adjutant who
superintended the semi daily roll call looks sufficiently
good-humored, but he was by no means a favorite. Neither he nor
the sergeant seemed to consider it proper ever to address a
Yankee prisoner as a gentleman.
A guard from the City Battalion was kept at
the head of the stairway within the room. By conversing with
these men we learned that many of them entertained Union
sentiments, and that all were heartily tired of the Jeff.
OTHER PORTIONS OF THE PRISON.
Over two hundred officers had been confined
in this single room, but before I came another had been fitted
up, and the captains transferred to that. This lower room, which
I did not see, was said to be much less pleasant than the one I
occupied, being poorly ventilated, and the windows boarded up,
so that little could be seen outside, while there was not
sufficient light within. Another apartment was used as a
prisoners’ hospital. The enlisted men were on the lower floor,
and their quarters are represented as anything but commodious.
Still another room was devoted to the incarceration of civilian
prisoners and deserters from our army. Of the civilian prisoners
many were sutlers, and it is said that some of them, as well as
some deserters, have been confined over a year and a half.
Deserters are kept in prison on scant fare, and subjected to
harsh treatment until they take the oath of allegiance to the
Confederacy, when they are conscripted.
visited us on Friday, taking a survey of the prison. He is a
venerable looking man at first glance, with gray hair, but when
one notes his sharp features, with high cheek bones, his cold,
cruel gray eye, and his haughty, insulting air, you readily
believe him to possess the unrelenting heartlessness attributed
to him, and feel that you would like to see his arrogant spirit
broken with his neck.
He was approached by an officer, who asked
for the return of a beautiful pistol belonging to General
Rosecrans, and which the officer had in his possession when
captured. General Winder said he did not feel like extending any
courtesy to General Rosecrans or any of his command, he had
issued orders that would disgrace a wild beast. He, however,
promised to forward a letter to General Bragg about the pistol.
A darkey come into our prison every morning
with the Richmond
papers, shouting, in a peculiar and laughable manner, “Great
news in de papers — Enquirer, Dispatch, Sentinel — news from
everywhere.” He sold these half- sheet journals to us at fifteen
cents each, and said he paid ten for them. They contained very
little news, and we gave little credence to their despatches,
but derived no little amusement from the editorial columns.
Many of the officers busied themselves in
making ornaments of the bones of the beef furnished us. These
consisted principally of rings, brooches and vest chain
ornaments, and some of them were beautiful and elaborate
specimens of workmanship. Chess boards and chess men were
manufactured; some sets of chessmen being carved in superior
manner. Three or four packs of dirty cards were kept almost
constantly in use.
On Sunday we were informed that the flag of
truce boat had arrived at City Point, and that we should be
released next morning. It will readily be believed that this
announcement was hailed with delight.
We were all paroled, and about eleven
o’clock were mustered and taken down stairs into the street. On
our arrival there we received the information that the boat was
not ready, and we were remanded to our quarters, but with the
promise that we should certainly be set free on Tuesday morning.
As the soldier guards had been sent away and their places
supplied by convalescents, discharged soldiers and citizens, it
was believed by some that giving us to understand we were going,
and thus inducing us to give the parole, was a ruse to prevent
an attempt to escape when we saw the prison so poorly guarded.
At roll call the Adjutant warned us not to
go near the windows, as the men then on guard were not […..] to
discipline,” and he could not answer for the consequences if we
disregarded his admonition. Little heed was paid to this
warning, and we amused ourselves with noting the awkwardness
with which some of the citizens handled their muskets. One
potbellied dandy in kid gloves excited considerable mirth.
OUT OF DOORS AGAIN.
We were to leave at four o’clock on Tuesday
morning; but every one was ready at two — very little attention
having been given to sleep during the night. The order to fall
in and march down stairs was obeyed with alacrity. The sick from
the hospital were taken in ambulances, and placed first on board
the train. The battalion, consisting of over five hundred, was
marched to the depot, packed in the cars, and in due time
started for Petersburg
and City Point.
LEFT IN PRISON.
A number of civilians are still in Libby
prison: how many I could not learn, as we were allowed to have
no communication with them. Four officers — two Virginians and
two Kentuckians — confined in the penitentiary as hostages for
the notorious Zarvoni were sent to Libby on Monday, and released
with the others. They report as still in the Richmond
penitentiary Captain Graham and Lieutenant Wade, of the Eighth
Virginia cavalry, held as hostages for Captain Dusky and
Lieutenant Varnes, guerilla mail robbers, who, I hear, are
confined in the penitentiary at Albany; also Jos. J. Shuman, of
the Fourth Main, captured at Manassas, who attempted to escape,
and being found in the company of contraband negroes was accused
of negro stealing.
We left in the Libby prison Capt. McKee, of
Mount Sterling, Ky.,
whose feelings at seeing his friends depart are represented as
being apparently and naturally very bitter. Capt. McKee was
provost marshal at Mount
Sterling, and a man named
Ferguson, whom he had arrested as a spy, caused an
article to be published in a
journal stating that he had been badly treated by that officer.
Hence parole or exchange was refused him. He is represented as a
very worthy and brave man.
Several colored sailors, belonging to the
and the Isaac Smith, were retained, but the officers of these
vessels will make the proper representations to secure their
TO CITY POINT.
we saw many fortifications, but no troops. At
a crowd of mingled whites and blacks regarded us with evident
interest while we marched from one train of cars to the other.
and City Point are some fortifications.
Arrived near City Point we caught sight of
the Stars and Stripes on the State of
and the John Rice. This view was greeted with hearty cheers from
our soldiers, and many a sentimental and joyous expression did I
hear issue from the released prisoners at seeing once more the
beloved banner of freedom.
of all those who have had an interior view of the Southern
confederacy is that its power is as rotten as its principles,
and that if we can succeed in dealing it one effective blow at a
vital point — say Richmond, Charleston or Vicksburg — it will
soon crumble into ruins; and, unlike […..] baseless fabric of a
vision,” leave a woeful wreck behind.